Blank Calendar

This is our main household calendar. It is the control center. It gets updated every 2-3 weeks [Tedy tends to erase the bottom two weeks]. Right now it is blank. Soon it will be a rainbow. Every person in this house has a color. Heck, even the dogs have a color. There are also colors for special events. Soon it will be full of appointments, end of summer trips, back to school events, etc. The quote at the bottom should read: “What we do in life echoes in eternity”

Tedy of course has peeled off some of the letters, but I know the message. I try to live by it. Random Liz DeLise fact: Gladiator is one of my all time favorite movies.

Staring at my blank calendar before it becomes a rainbow got me thinking, which led to blogging…

Life and this calendar are flexible. Nothing is set in stone. It can easily wipe away. Our lives change and unbeknownst to us it can easily be wiped away in a moment.

Yet we try to control it all. We try to make set plans and we often become slaves to our schedules.

“Death smiles at us all. All a (wo)man can do is smile back.” Not to be all gloom and doom but I’m often reminded how much this rings true. How it can also be applied to craptastic situations in life as well.

I’ve been hit hard by some craptastic times this summer. Being an Army wife means that my calendar has to be extremely flexible. Yet it means I also stare at it a ton and count down the days until Troy comes home from yet another assignment that has meant time apart from our family. While at war Maximus knew exactly how many days he had been gone from his family “two years, two hundred and sixty-four days and this morning” I know that time frame as well though I am not the soldier. I look forward to being reunited and I am ready for a new adventure, hopefully together. Yet until then I must remember all of these words as well as my most favorite Gladiator quote: Strength and honor.

My mother is one of my biggest supporters even though we can be like oil and water at times. She reminds me of what I already know but sometimes lose site of. When I call her bawling my eyes out [thank you Younique for making an amazing mascara so it doesn’t stream down my face] she reminds me of these things. She reminds me that no matter how tough life gets. No matter how much I lose in this crazy battle of life that I can get through it. She reminds me to live in the rainbow. To realize that even though I get struck down time and time again that I embody strength and honor. To smile back, to embrace life and accept that even though it may wipe away at a moments notice that it is a beautiful rainbow. That it is full, that I must stay true to me and remember that what I do in life echoes in eternity. That what I do in life will have a lasting impact on my children. In times of sorrow when other people have me down my mom often tells me to not let others run around rent free in my head. She’s right. You hear that mom?!?! I admit it, you’re right.

So I guess that’s part of what this blog post is for. To help me through and maybe help someone else through. To start with a new blank slate and to move on and turn it into a beautiful rainbow. That my children will remember those rainbows of life and not dwell on the darker times. This is the Rambling Mom blog, I tend to ramble but hopefully you’ll get something from my ramblings too.

What’s said on the run…

Rule numero uno of the code of the Sole Sisterhood is: What’s said on the run stays on the run.

Or so I thought…

After many discussions with my husband, Troy, he said point blank: women’s running cliques are just modern day sewing circles; you gossip more than you run. When he said this, at first I laughed it off and chalked it up; he didn’t get it, he wasn’t on the run with us, he didn’t really understand.

Then I noticed on my runs people saying things to me and asking questions about things I hadn’t told them. Some of these were very personal things I had mentioned to someone else while running. Troy’s words started ringing in my ears and I didn’t find it so funny anymore. It hurt.

I’m going to call myself out on this post so let me make that clear right away. I admit that I played into the gossipping.

However, there’s a lesson to learn and it was hard and hurtful for me to learn. Once I realized Troy’s words were true, and that it was gossipping, I tried to make a change. You can only change yourself though. You can’t change the actions of others. Sometimes if others choose to continue a behavior you’re not comfortable with the best thing for you to do is to step away, and I have after the issues got worse and I got hurt a bit more.

I’m not going to go into details about the tipping point incident for me here on the blog because that would defeat the purpose of this post. What I will tell you is this…be careful with what you say while on the run. Just because something is said on the run and is repeated by another person during a different run doesn’t make it right. When that happens you take a piece of someone – and think of it this way, would your Sole Sister truly want to hear those words about herself if she was present at that run? Is that really being a Sole Sister in the first place? No, it’s violating rule numero uno of the Sole Sisterhood.

Rule numero dos is defined above. It has multiple parts though. They all go hand in hand so let’s break it down real quick.

Part a) listen – that means that you give all involved in the run an opportunity to talk. You shouldn’t always be the one talking (this is coming from a talker – I know I’m a talker – I’ll admit it can be a fault of mine at times and is something I’ve been working on, to actively listen to others as well).

Part b) doesn’t judge – DOES. NOT. JUDGE. If a Sole Sister shares her goals with you, those are HER goals. You can give constructive feedback but ultimately it is HER decision and HER life – not yours! Sometimes you won’t agree with each other and that is fine. Sometimes your goals won’t be aligned with each other and that’s fine. That’s the beauty of it, we are all different, running unites us. Do. Not. Judge – there is no room for any form of pace shaming in the Sole Sisterhood.

Part c) makes running fun – FUN!!! Don’t constantly be dumping (I use dumping instead of venting because you all know what I’m talking about and know the difference) on your Sole Sisters. Celebrate. Celebrate your accomplishments. Don’t dwell on things of the past that may have gone wrong in a race. Celebrate. Have fun!!! When a Sole Sister is down in the dumps allow her to vent but don’t make the entire run a bitch session ) gossip run…HAVE FUN!

That’s all folks, the code of the Sole Sisters is very short and easy. Please make sure you’re adhering to it. When the code is broken you really are just another gossip / mean girl circle. Oh and talking about the mean girls is being a mean girl yourself by the way. Again disclaimer, I’ve broken the code – I ask my Sole Sisters to forgive me for having done so and pledge to do my best to be a better person than I was yesterday. We cannot dwell in the past, races aren’t run in reverse, we must keep moving forward.

Outlook 

Today is day 15 for #31daysofskirtsports and the theme is outlook…again…oops.  There was a slight error when making this years theme calendar and outlook was placed on it twice.  Instead of posting another picture for this theme I decided to write about it.  

Many other Skirt Sports Ambassadors chose to post pictures of gorgeous views.  You can check them out on Instagram by searching the hashtag #31daysofskirtsports.  I thought about hiking up Comanche Lookout Park and getting a pic of the San Antonio skyline but the day got away from me and we didn’t make it up there.  Which is totally ok, we still had an enjoyable day but it got me thinking about outlook a bit more and some of my reasons for running.

out·look

 

\ˈat-ˌlk\

noun

  • : the way that a person thinks about things
  • : a set of conditions that will probably exist in the future : the future of someone or something
  • : a place where you can look out over a widearea ; also : a view from such a place

Joy…I run because it brings me joy.   It is not a chore for me.  Even racing brings me joy and I like to have fun when I run, especially when I race.  I am not a pro.  I don’t get paid to do any of this.  So what’s the point in stressing over it?!  Yet just because I run for fun doesn’t mean I’m not competitive.  I am.  I am very competitive but I compete with myself and only myself – well, actually the clock too but you get what I’m saying.  Just because I have fun and will walk at times doesn’t mean I don’t have goals – I do, I just don’t share all of my goals with people because they’re my goals and when I race it’s my race, my pace.  Running as an adult is an individual sport (minus the few rare times I participate in relay events) for me.  

There are 20 possible answers in a magic 8 ball.  “Outlook not so good” is one of my husband’s favorites to use when he’s not so sure how to answer a question.  He often pretends he has a magic 8 ball in his hands and shakes it and reveals his answer – I got him a real magic 8 ball as a gift once because of this.  

What does a magic 8 ball have to do with outlook and running?!  It’s all about perspective.  It’s all about your outlook.  If your outlook is not so good then you’re going to have a miserable time as a runner.  You’ll get caught up in all of the nonsense that can happen.  You’ll get burnt out on running and racing because you’re constantly stressing and worrying about this and that.  

There is power in outlook.  When you use it negatively you’ll get a negative return.  When you use it positively you’ll get a positive return.  The journey to some of the most gorgeous views, to some of these outlooks posted today, is hard!  Yet if you have a positive outlook on your way to the outlook it’ll make the reward that much sweeter!  

So when the magic 8 ball of life tosses an “outlook not so good” at you, take a moment to acknowledge it but don’t dwell.  Move on, accept that this journey may be difficult.   Accept that racing or training is going to be hard some days.  Then, pause, take a look at the beauty all around you.   The beauty in simply being alive and being able to move and be out on the course or trail or road, wherever you may be.  Breath it all in and soak in the positivity – trust me – it’s better when you’re having fun.  

Mom Philosophy?!

As a mother of five I am often asked many questions about mothering.  I take a look around and wait for someone else to answer the questions because, really?!  Am I really the one being asked for motherly advice?!  Don’t these people understand that I’m just basically winging this whole mom thing?!  Yet apparently I must be doing something right because the questions keep coming.  I never really thought about what my Mom Philosophy is until I was asked to by Skirt Sports (they rock by the way).  Naturally, I polled some of my closest friends who have seen me in the ups and downs of motherhood over the past 9+ years.  I was told that I say things like: “Kids are washable” and “Just let them be kids.”  I was told that I am resilient, and that there’s laughter in my house even during the toughest of times.  As I pondered these things and thought back on how I’ve grown as a mother and how I would like to continue to grow, I settled on one word: adventure.  According to the dictionary, the definition of adventure is: an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks.  That’s it, that’s my Mom Philosophy – ADVENTURE!  I hope that I am instilling a spirit of adventure in my children.  I hope that with all they do in life that they don’t ever fear adventure but embrace it.  As Amelia Earhart famously said: “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”

Nuby Review 1 – EZ Squee-Z Feeder

A while back Baby Cinco and I were chosen to be testers for some Nuby products.  We received these products in trade for an honest blog review on them.  First one up for review is the Nuby BPA Free EZ Squee-Z Feeder.  Let me start off by saying that I have been a huge fan of various Nuby products for almost 10 years; so I was super excited when I received a response back that we had been chosen to test out and review some products.  The Nuby EZ Squee-Z Feeder is a good product for babies who are eating level 1 foods.  It works well with jarred baby food or even well pureed homemade baby food.  We like to use it for apple sauce.  I’m all about honesty so I will say that it was a slight pain in the butt to load the food into the feeder.  It doesn’t hold a ton of food but that’s what makes it great for babies just started on solids.  The feeder has tiny holes in it so the food squeezes out when baby chomps down. 

Hhhmmmm…how does this thing work…

ah ok…I got this mama.

As you can see in the pictures above (taken when we first used the product a couple of months ago, so Audie was about 7ish month old) the design of the Nuby EZ Squee-Z feeder is easy for baby to grasp and hold himself.

Not pictured it the top that goes over the feeder.  Since baby has to chomp down to get the food out it makes for a mess free snack to carry in the diaper bag with you.

When the food starts to get low you do have to give it a good shake down to get the most out of it.

Now let’s talk about cleaning real quick…

I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this but considering how people found mold in other baby feeding products (not naming any names) I can easily see that happening with the EZ Squee-Z.  Please be sure to take it completely apart and thoroughly clean and dry it to prevent molding!  Note: putting it back together is a little bit tricky so pay attention to how you take it apart so you’re not spending too much time like I was to get it back together.

The Nuby BPA Free EZ Squee-Z Feeder comes in three colors: Blue, Pink & Green.  It can be found at your local Babies R Us store so go check it out!

Be sure to check back soon for another review on another Nuby product.  Also, give Nuby a follow on Instagram for the latest on their products.

What’s Up Wednesday – March 15, 2017

I’ve been doing a little weekly VLOG series on my YouTube Channel.  Just trying to get out there a bit more and share some of my thoughts and feelings on certain things and items I like and answering questions people may have recently asked me etc…

Today was very difficult to post.  In about a 6 minute video you get a glimpse into the chaos of my life.  Into what it’s like to have a child with Autism.  A child on the non-verbal end of the spectrum, where we may never be able to have full conversations with him.  I know there are success stories out there but I can’t compare those experiences to ours.  Every child is so different.  Autism is a puzzle and you’re not always sure if all the pieces are even there.  Or you start solving the puzzle and something comes along and decides to toss it off and jumble the pieces back up or turn it from 100 piece puzzle to 1,000 piece puzzle.

I have lived some parent’s worst nightmares.  I have lived through my child escaping out of the house via a window and being on the porch roof.  I have lived through my child running away from home.  I have lived through my child running away from school.  I have lived through my child having meltdowns in public, and I have learned to ignore the nasty looks at these times.  One of my worst nightmares is that since my son can’t really speak, that something will happen to him, where someone will harm him and he won’t be able to tell me about it.  This has happened, more than once, and it happened again today in a way that has left me fairly speechless and my mind is completely boggled.  I work so hard day in and day out to keep his world as safe as I possibly can.  I work so hard to make sure he receives all the therapies and services that he needs.  We research providers, and have left providers that we didn’t think were a good fit for our family.  Y’all, IT SUCKS!  That is all – it just simply SUCKS!

I’m not sure how many times I said “it sucks” in my VLOG today but it seemed like it was all that I could say.  I just need you all to know that.  Just please allow us to say “it sucks” and acknowledge that yep, some days it really does suck.  Do not apologize to me about it because you have nothing to truly be sorry for.  It’s not your fault that he has Autism, it’s no ones fault, it’s just the card we’ve been dealt for whatever reason.  Saying “I’m sorry.” to me about it puts me in an awkward spot honestly.  If you’ve said it to me before don’t worry too much about it, I don’t have any instance in mind but from here out just take a moment of pause and instead of saying you’re sorry for what happened just acknowledge with me that “it sucks.”

It’s March 15th – “beware the Ides of March.”  *sigh* yep… what I mean is that as a parent, and especially if you’re a parent of a special needs child, we must always beware.  Don’t let the fears control your life but use that “spidey-sense”, that tingling you get, that sensation that something just isn’t right, that this just isn’t working…acknowledge it and trust your instincts.  Just because something may have worked before doesn’t mean it’ll always work.  Once that “mommy instinct” goes off, trust it.  It may suck to adjust through but usually that instinct is there for a reason.  Mama Bears everywhere, good luck.  Be brave when you “beware the Ides of March” in your life.

More than a cute outfit…

Disclaimer: this post started out as a little update in the Skirt Sports Ambassador group but quickly grew into something more.

The 2017 Skirt Sports Ambassador season began just a few short weeks ago. It’s expanded so much this year and it’s so exciting. Heck we even broke the internet and the company is switching to a new host to help speed up things for all the new skirt converts. 

This week I was asked a few times how I became an ambassador.  Most people mean well when they ask such a thing but I did have one person who was a bit shocked that a company would pick someone like me to be an ambassador. I mean let’s be honest here, I am not the fastest runner, I am not the most flexible person, I am not good at lifting I’m not even that great of an athlete honestly.  Even though I used to coach [swimming and lacrosse], I don’t coach sports anymore. I don’t have any sort of personal training certification heck I don’t even have a real job by societal standards.  So really, why would a company choose someone like me to be an ambassador for them?  I’m not completely sure honestly but here I am for my second year as an ambassador, and at the captain level for this year, so there must be something about me that they see that others may not.  I’m not writing this to brag or anything, I just want to share my story with you. 

A while back Skirt Sports did a photo shoot with some of the ladies in my Moms Run This Town [MRTT] group from Savannah, Georgia.  That’s when I first became intrigued by the company and signed up for their emails.  I didn’t buy anything right away because at the time I was pregnant with our 4th child [Mikey] and about to move from Georgia to Texas. I didn’t think these clothes were for someone like me. Yet then as the stories about these ladies that I ran with started rolling out…real stories, real women (now I get what they say “real women move” as part of their motto), I became more and more interested.  Even though Skirt Sports was founded by Nicole DeBoom and even though she’s an amazing well know triathlete, she’s real.  She’s more than her athletic accomplishments. She recognizes this in others as well. She recognizes that real women move and she has built an amazing community and company around that motto.  I am proud to now be a part of that community. 

After asking many questions to my friends who had tried Skirt Sports I finally bit the bullet and bought my first skirt, the poparrazi gym girl ultra.  When it first arrived in the mail I was still a bit hesitant but then I thought hey, I played field hockey all the way through college and knew what it felt like to run in a kilt with shorties underneath and I missed that feeling.  Let me give you a bit of backstory here that I don’t really like sharing because I don’t like this side of me being shown but I know how important it is to show it every once in a while…I was severely depressed when I bought my first skirt. I was so depressed that I couldn’t even see how depressed I was. I was at one of my lowest lows in life and barely recognized myself.  Heck, I had chopped off all of my hair in hopes that it would help bring some spunk back. Yet it didn’t.  I was in darkness very badly.  When I look back at pictures of myself from that time, even with all the compliments of how cute my hair looked, I never felt like myself. I felt like an imposter. I was faking it. 
If you knew me back in college you may know that my sophomore year I battled depression very badly. I was almost kicked out of school for not showing up to class and for failing one course and getting a D in another and plummeting my GPA, it was a 1.9 that first semester.  I wasn’t a 4.0 student but I was at least a Dean’s list student. I know that was almost 15 years ago now but I still think about it regularly because my coaches recognized that I needed help.  With the help of my coaches and teammates I climbed out of that hole and look fondly back on my time at Regis. So there I was about 12 years later and back down in a hole and longing for my team again.

I decided that I would start training in the gym girl ultra and use it for one of the legs in my upcoming capital to coast race. I was surprised at how well the skirt worked. No chaffing was a huuuuge bonus.  I bought a second gym girl ultra for C2C.  The skirts worked amazing during my legs of the race and I couldn’t talk enough about them. It was around that time that other friends started encouraging me to apply to be an ambasaador. So I did. 

I had no clue what to write on the ambassador application and asked Troy his thoughts. His response was classic, “I like how your butt looks in the skirts.” No joke y’all, I included that in my application.  Around the same time I found out that I was pregnant with baby Cinco [Audie] and in that same week we also found out that Troy would be leaving just a couple weeks later for a 6 month deployment to Africa. I plunged deeper into depression. 

When I went to do the OB paperwork for my pregnancy with baby Cinco the nurse recognized that I scored fairly high on the depression screening and that I needed help.  I finally said yes and agreed to start therapy.  Shortly after, I was accepted as a Skirt Sports Ambassador, and am honestly still a bit in shock.  2016 was an extremely difficult year for me. As I’ve said before, I cannot take medication because my body doesn’t process it properly and it does me more harm. So I have tried almost all other alternative therapies out there. Heck I even did some hypnotherapy sessions, which were some of my favorite sessions honestly. One of the things we discussed in therapy was to focus on the simple things. To just get dressed.  That’s it, get dressed.  We discussed my fitness and how important it was to keep active. OK so now all I had to do was get dressed in my active wear. So I did. I know, I know, it’s ridiculously simple, but when you’re battling your demons even what seems to be the simplest of things can be a huge accomplishment. So here’s where Skirt Sports comes in again; get dressed in my active wear and then go work out at some point.  I know it may sound trivial but it helped me out so much. I love how my skirts look. I enjoy taking the time to focus on something simple. I enjoy choosing a cute outfit. I enjoy putting on that outfit and love how it makes me feel. Heck I liked it so much that as you know, I chose to wear one of my favorite skirts and sports bras as one of my outfits for my maternity photos! 

 Not just the the clothes but the encouraging community behind Skirt Sports, all the other real women, they may not know it, but they helped me out of that hole.  I’m not saying that life is all fine and bright and dandy now because honestly, it’s not. I still struggle. I still have days where it takes every fiber of my being to just do the little things but it’s so much better than it was before. 

When the outfit shown above arrived at my door today, I felt the need to share a bit more of my story with you because even though this is a ridiculously cute outfit, it’s more than that.  I am very thankful that Skirt Sports saw something in me, and chose me to be a part of the ambassador team.  I’m more than my athletic accomplishments, I’m more than a mother of 5, I’m more than the wife of an active duty solider who is yet again on another assignment away from his family, I’m more than my depression…I don’t know exactly how else to describe it than to say it all adds up to be me. Beautifully flawed, real, me.