Sunday, October 3, 2010

Where've I been...

I don't ever post. It's hard to because when I do have time on the computer I want to read about others and escape my life for a few minutes, not reflect on it.
There have been many many changes around here.
I'm homeschooling my oldest. He's in fourth grade. It hasn't been an easy transition.
At this point in my life I expected to have 2 children in full time school and one in preschool 3 days a week for 2.5 hours.
You know what they say about best laid plans.
My oldest struggled in school, not necessarily academically but certainly with the mundane and pointless work he was given to do.
He struggled socially. He's a bit eccentric and uses big words and concepts no normal third graders understand. He fit in better with kids in the "gifted" ( I struggle with that label) program but I hesitate to put him in something that may lead to more homework.
I know I made the right choice. The more I read about what I can do and the advantages of homeschooling the more excited I get. Of course now it's implementing those changes and hoping for a co-operative son. Right now he's transitioning as well. It's hard for him to get used to the fact that just because he's home, it doesn't mean he can lay around and play video games all day. And I don't let him get away with something he might be able to in a classroom with 22 other children. It's baby steps really. I get amazingly stressed out when I talk to parents of public schoolers. They want to know how we're doing and I feel like I have to assure them that my son is learning. I feel like I have to account for our time.
I talk to parents of homeschoolers and they're so relaxed. They assure me that this will take time. That we are getting used to it. It could take a year. I love homeschooling moms.
Right now it's baby steps. He goes to an elective program for a day and a half where he interacts with other homeschool kids during his Drama, P.E., Math Games, Art, and Themes classes. Then the rest of the week we do a science experiment and Math every day. That's it for now. He reads every night and I have trouble keeping up with his need for new books.
The other challenge I face is that he is around his 5 year old brother more often and this leads to more arguments.
Also, I started this school year with my husband being gone every weekend from Friday early afternoon to Sunday night. He has Fire Academy training for 10 weeks. We're excited, happy, anxious for him to be done. I started out really strong. Hardly missing him and then he was back. That was the end of summer when the kids and I could be outside until dinner. Now sometimes we're stuck in the house all day and they love playing imaginary games that involve screaming and by the end of the weekend I feel like I'm dying inside. It's been 6 weeks. He's not home yet...I'm waiting. I need him. It's been hard.
I really thought it would be a piece of cake and I was strong enough but I feel like I'm falling apart, losing my creativity and my energy.
It's been hard for him living in two worlds. He comes home and has to study for the written exams he'll be taking the following weekend. He tries to balance quality time with the four children, work to pay our bills, and have time to study. He's amazing but he had a moment recently where he broke down. Two days later he told me he's really closing his wood shop. That is a huge deal. I was strong for him in that moment. But since then I've slowly been falling to pieces inside.
I am trying to keep the future in sight. He will get a job soon as a Fire fighter. I have faith in him. I'm trying to have faith in God, that these hits won't keep happening to our family.
I'm trying to play Polyanna and focus on the good. He's excelling in his Academy, the kids are healthy, I'm healthy. I have wonderful friends and family close by. We LOVE EACH OTHER.
But the fear and doubt creep in sometimes.
I'm just trying to keep the house together and be strong and positive for the kids.
Even my running has lost its savor lately.
My friends are planning a midnight run in Seattle this weekend and I'm hoping that will edify me.
For now I guess I'll continue to take it a day at a time.
Be well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nowhere To Go But Up

That really should be my life's mantra.
I finished my race and I'm proud of the way I ran, even though I didn't run as fast as I hoped for.
It was an extremely tough route, I'm not making excuses. But I think for my first race it was very ambitious.
I have to admit I was very disappointed with my placing in the race and my mile time. But honestly it only makes me want to try harder and do better. I have printed out my results and will keep them in a safe place until next year, when I put myself through that same torture again. Because I'm not satisfied with leaving it the way it is...and now I know what to expect.
There is a girl I know who ran it. She placed fifth over all females, first in her age group. I'm going to keep my eye on her. She is tall and lanky like me. She probably doesn't shovel as much junk food in her mouth as I do. I'm going to "man up" and start running with her. I was scared to at first and now I'm just in awe. I want to know what her secret is.
So I'm going for a run now, it's hills again today and I'm going to push myself. I'm going to pretend she's running with me.
I did love the race, I loved the finish line. I think I will do a few more 10k's and 5k's before the summer is over because I had a lot of fun!

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's My Time

For five years now I have lived in this home,
and for five years I have woken up on the first Saturday of June and watched as a group of crazy people run passed my house.
The town that I live in is built into some rather large hills. The people of the town thought it would be fun to organize a run that went 3 miles up, then 3 miles down.
For five years I have cheered with my children for the people that are braving this run, and each year I have thought...maybe next year? Maybe next year I'll be strong enough to do that.
I have questioned my strength right up until the last minute, but last Tuesday I paid the $25 fee and now I WILL run this race.
After five years of wondering if I could ever do something like it I'm going to take the plunge.
It's my time now.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What I Am

Last night, after the children were nestled all snug in their beds Husband I settle down into our cramped office space to catch up on some Hulu. If you don't Hulu I highly recommend it.
He posed a question out of the blue that I wasn't ready for...
"Erin, are you happy?"
Even now, writing that question out, staring at it, I don't know how to answer.
I don't know whether to break down and list my fears and frustrations or my blessings. It's like they both come at me at once. Some weeks it's easier to forget the frustrations. But more often than not they clutter my mind leaving little room to remember what is the core of me.
That I truly am happy. Why wouldn't I be?
I have a man that is working his a** off and doing everything humanly possible to help this family thrive.
But at the same time that means he needs to be gone, leaving me alone to worry and try to pull it together for our kids.
I am happy, but I am worried. I dream of a future where all these "if only's" stacked up in my mind can slowly be filed away in the drawer of accomplishments. I am also in love and absolutely in awe of these beautiful children that we are blessed with. I know there are many who yearn for the love that we have in our home and I try to always put that at the forefront of my mind.
I work with what we have, he works for what will be.
And I am happy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

AM Running

I had my first early morning run yesterday.
I've been putting it off, sighting excuses that my body doesn't work that early.
I know most races start by at least 8am, and my race is 24 hours long, so I will be running at many different times. I'm the #10 position on my team, that means I will be running in the early evening to begin with (this is my zen time to run, I'm really looking forward to it.) Then in the wee hours of the night (again, I'm a night person, this will be a lot of fun for me.) But when it comes to the morning after, the run when we've been up all night in a van...I'm not sure how I will do. Lucky for me that's the easiest run of my three.
I would like to train my body to work at an earlier time of day.
Think how much house work I could get in whilst the little ones slept? I'm just not that disciplined.
But yesterday my run went better than expected. This I blame on my pride, and my wonderful friend Kati, who invited me to come along.
Kati has been running longer, she's done a marathon, she's a little faster but not intimidatingly so.
She also has mileage on me.
I ate an orange before I ran. Not a good idea. On the last mile home I was feeling that orange. My body was complaining. It was saying "why the heck are we running so dang early in the morning?!" I started to burp up orange. I had to concentrate on each landmark saying in my head that I would tell Kati I needed to walk after I reached that bridge, or that sign. I kept tricking my mind. Kati pulled ahead a few strides and I was losing confidence in myself.
And then I finally caught sight of the trail head. The finish line. I was able to give it everything I had and sprint to the trail head leaving Kati behind, though not by much. It felt really good.
We only ran about 4 miles, but I never stopped, and my body still had energy to push through in the end so I know I'm getting stronger. I love seeing little improvements in my body, they're what keep me going.
I really want to run the town 10k. It's always on my mind right now. But I'm scared. I haven't signed up yet. I'm afraid of coming it dead last. My friend Fawn actually did come in last in that race once. I know my kids will be watching since it runs past my house.
I don't want to be dead last. I'll settle for almost last.
I need to sign up for this race so I don't wuss out but we don't have the extra funds just yet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Perfect Storm

It's been over a month since my last confession...and I have SO MUCH to's funny how I used to run to the computer and vent every time something monumental would happen. I loved flushing out my woes, to what felt like a sea of strangers. They didn't know me, they couldn't see me. I couldn't see them, or any pity on their faces. It felt safe.
But lately I haven't felt like complaining and am wary of what I post because I never really know who's reading. It could be Gina* who lives down the street and whom I see every Sunday. We might not really be friends, she might just be a nosy blog stalker who likes to read her neighbors business and form her own assumptions.
But then again, my readers could be a very small number of very beloved know who you places like San Diego and Fountain Valley and even here in my little Eastside town.
You know me. You know I'm dramatic. I feel. I love.
We recently went on a vacation to the Southland. My home away from home. I say vacation loosely because my poor husband had to work the whole time and we had no extra money for any commercial fun like Disneyland or Sea World.
My kids and I spent the time annoying my husbands parents. We swam in their pool when it was warm enough, but mostly we just tried to amuse ourselves and stay out of Grandpa's way.
About three days into the trip my husband and I received some hard business news which made us stress out for the rest of the trip.
The Wednesday after we got home something happened in my son's classroom that made me decide to pull him out for the rest of the school year. Thursday night my charming four year old broke his arm at the park we were at. His Dad is an EMT and got there shortly after the ambulance to ride with him to the hospital.
Here we are three weeks later and he still doesn't have a hard cast. His bones aren't healing like they should and we fear he may need an operation.
We are adjusting to home school life with my eldest. It's an adjustment...
And I have my first running injury which I self-diagnosed as a shoe problem and finally went and got fitted for some proper ones. The foot/ankle is healing slowly and I'm still trying to train in the midst of it.
I feel that I'm such a novice runner that I don't have time to lose. I even sucked up my pride and went running with some very experienced ladies. They left me in their dust, but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed hearing them talk even though I couldn't hold a conversation.
Joanne has four children, her oldest is 10 or 11, her youngest is 22 months. She's been running for 6 years. She says she's finally beginning to like running.
Jody is an athlete. She has a 4 month old and 2 older children. She's extremely competitive, plays soccer, and is a certified personal trainer.
My friend Kati runs because she feels she has to. She loves junk food and has 3 boys, the youngest is just 1 year old.
I must admit I'm a romantic about many things and running is one of them. To imagine being able to run long enough and hard enough that I feel like I'm flying, that's what I'm working towards. I loved running when I was young, but when I became heavily involved in the dance world I was to afraid to ruin my knees or ankles.
I'm finally running 3 miles feels good. Very good. And when no one else is on the trail with me I raise my arms and fly. Funny to you maybe. I sing out loud. I imagine that finish line and how good it feels to cross it. I picture myself running our town 10k, it's well known for it's crazy hills. The fear I have for those hills makes me run a little harder.
I run for many reasons, but none of them are because I HAVE TO. I just want to. It's fun. It makes me smile. And maybe that's what sets me a little apart from these ladies who right now can run circles around me.
What I'm struggling with is getting my body moving in the wee hours of the morning. I'm more of an evening mover but with the inconsistency of my husbands working hours I need to get it done before he leaves. This means in the hour of 6am.
I feel nauseous at 6am. It's too early for shaking the body. We'll see. I'm planning on getting up tomorrow but so far my body has rebelled.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Slow and Steady

This is not a running blog but since I'm in training right now if you read my blog you will hear a lot about it.
I'm only in my second week of training. I'm an impatient person. It's been frustrating when I can't run as far as I want to.
Today I had a breakthrough. Today I finally felt stronger. I didn't feel winded. I completed my distance at a steady even pace and was not panting when I finished. It felt fantastic and made me all the more excited to run tomorrow to see if I could go even further.
My son rides his bike with me so I don't have to be alone on the trail. He keeps me humble. Today he asked me when I would start running. Because, he said, I was only jogging.
Baby steps, son. Baby steps.
My heart is getting stronger, my legs need to follow. For now I'm happy with the progress that I can see.

Monday, March 22, 2010

That's Right I said it.

Here's a story about a girl who was fairly puny growing up.
I look at my daughter as she struggles to stay afloat in a swimming pool, or wrestle effectively with her Dad. There is NO muscle in those arms and legs. For now she's oblivious.
Every time her mother sees those appendages flail she is reminded of her struggles with her own puny body.
She remembers trying out for volleyball and basketball and always chosen last. She hid her anger. She knew the other girls didn't think she could play. She was puny. But she had something to prove. She stuck in out the full year of volleyball but was never really accepted as part of the team.
She sat alone on the bus to the games and watched the other girls sing songs and joke around. They were never mean to her, it was just like she wasn't there.
So recently when joining a team for this run she was questioned about her ability to finish the race, her seriousness to train and RUN the whole thing. She was doubted.
Little did the team captain know what kind of fire she had ignited.
"Bitch, not only will I run this race, but when I'm done you will say WOW. I didn't know she was so good."
Yeah. That's right. And that's what I think every day when I'm running and I want to stop.
I've been confronted by doubters, and they shall breath in my sweat and dust as I pass by.

For Music Monday what I would love is more inspirational running songs for my playlist.
I'm not speaking of Eye of the Tiger, that does nothing for me.
Here is my current playlist that will need to get longer as my running time increases;

Keep the Car Running and No cars Go~ Arcade Fire
21 Century Digital Boy~ Bad Religion
Single Ladies~Beyonce
I Dies~ Bif Naked
Viva La Vida~Cold Play
Sound of Pulling Heaven Down~Blue October
Song 2~Blur
Mint Car and Just Like Heaven~ The Cure
Debaser~ The Pixies
Pretty Much the whole Bleed America Album from Jimmy Eat World
Crash the Party, Invincible, Lately It's So Quiet and Do what you want~OK GO
My life would Suck without you~ Kelly Clarkson
Don't Let me Down~No Doubt
Mo' Money Mo' Problem~ Yes, the Notorious B.I.G.
Do Your Feet Hurt~ MxPx
Use Somebody~Kings of Leon

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Never say Never

It's so the drama here.

My little sis is going through a divorce. Ouch. I've been there and it sucks.
I haven't been attentive. I suck.

My sons teacher wants me to meet with her, The Principle, The School Psychiatrist, The School Nurse, to discuss him and his needs and health problems.

My son has special needs alright. He needs an enthusiastic teacher. He needs kids to stop bullying him and saying unkind things.

What he has is two parents who have his back. We're ready. My husband is SO ready. I have to say that when I first received the e-mail I had a stomach ache for two days. Here we go again. They're going to tell me that there is something wrong with my son. They're going to tell me that I should medicate him. They're going to tell me they don't know what to do with him.
As a mother it's such a helpless feeling.
But I'm kind of excited to see my husband in action. Another reason why I count my blessings for such a supportive mate. He has an agenda. He's ready to go to battle for our boy.
He's a good kid, our oldest boy. He's sensitive, and kind to his siblings. He's got an artistic spirit like his Grandpa Keith. I love him so much. I want to wrap his sturdy body back under my wing and keep him there.

So lately I've been thinking of alternatives. I've never wanted to homeschool. Never. I didn't want it to take away from MY time. But I want to now. I want my son to feel joy in learning. I want to endless stream of worksheets to end. I want him to be able to delve into a good book and read until he's had his fill. I want him to feel safe in his learning environment.

It's definitely an option I'm going to stay open to. And yet again I learn never to say never.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Just one of Dem Days

Crap. Whenever I'm having a day like this that song comes to mind, you know Monica, 90's, Hip Hop.
"It's been one of those days that a girl goes through when I'm angry inside, don't mean to take it out on you...Don't take it personal."
It's a great song. Today I'm singing it in my head, to make myself feel better for making someone I love feel less than loved.
To that person I say I'm sorry. I should have just kept those ungratefully negative words in my mouth.
Some days my independent spirit gets the best of me.
I know we won't be here in this state of poordom forever. I know I have so much to be grateful for. So that makes me feel like a bigger loser for wallowing.
Monica said it best when she said
"It's just one of them days, when I wanna be all alone
It's just one of them days, when I gotta be all alone
It's just one of them days, don't take it personal
I just wanna be all alone, and you think I treat you wrong

I wanna take some time out to think things through
I know it always feels like I'm doing you wrong
But I'm so in love with you
So understand that I'm only in love
You're the only one I need
So have no thought that I want to leave
And baby trust me please"

Happy music Monday everybody.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Today has been one of those Northwest gems...the kind of day that we wait for, that we know is coming, and when the sun finally pops from behind the clouds to shine all day we relish in it.
We throw off our rain coats and fleece jackets and play in the beautiful Vitamin D rays.
But that is completely off subject. I can't help it. It's so much fun to hear the kids playing outside while I blog and whilst dinner cooks in the oven.
Which brings me to my point. When you have your first child you don many hats. One of them is the family nutritionist. It's a huge responsibility to feed your children. One that comes with much guilt when you feel like your failing.
My oldest has always been a sturdy child, but after moving to the Seattle area my pediatrician told me by his current BMI he was obese. What a blow that was. I've never had a weight problem and didn't know how to help him. We ate normal meals, he rarely had juice, or candy, I do bake cookies and brownies every once in awhile but nothing over the top. I think what he really needed was more exercise.
We have now become a much more active family, rain or shine.
But it also got me to thinking if I was really helping him enough as the resident dietitian.
One of my close friends put her family on a vegan diet. The benefits seemed clear to me, but at the same time I didn't think I could pull it off. I do frequent vegan blogs and try to go meat-less more often than I used to.
Tonight, for instance I am cooking this number and let me tell you it smells AMAZING.
My kids saw me roasting the eggplant in the oven and admonished me that I would have to be the first one to try it. They are always hesitant to try new things, but I just keep on trying. Because I don't want to eat chicken or ground beef every night for dinner. And I don't want to raise kids that are scared of anything green. I know adults that still won't eat their vegetables and I find it ridiculous.
It's definitely on the bucket list to give Vegan a chance. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Party Planner

She is so independent. Today I got a call from another mom in her kindergarten class.
She had passed out invites to a costume party and told her little friends that they could come any time, but that "it has to be sometime today."
"Oh, and my mom is making peanut butter cookies."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Phase two:

So I've been pregnant, nursing, or caring for multiple toddlers for the past 9 years.
It's been a wonderful part of my life...watching one of my close friends go through it for the first time brings back memories.
That first positive pregnancy test.
The first time we told everyone.
Watching my belly grow.
Counting the days.
Reading anything I could get my hands on.
Worrying that my child would be deformed because I could only stomach fried foods.
The next three were just as special and exciting and surprising.
Growing a life is always a unique experience.
And watching these little ones grow has been no less surprising and unique.
As funny as it may sound, I love to pile them into my mini-van and they're all strapped in safely, and we're listening to music, and I catch glimpses of my children in my rear-view mirror.
They are wonders to me.

But they are growing, they are becoming more independent. Half of them can use the toilet without any help at all.
75% of them are attending a school of some sort for at least 2 days a week.
My baby has her first friend. Ruby.
And when all the stars align...when my four year old is in preschool and the other two are in grade school, Ruby's mom and I trade babies.
Ruby's mom goes to her class on Mondays.
I had the delicious delight of going back to my Yoga class this Wednesday.
I savored it, people. I drank it in as a woman who had been thirsty for years.
It's been 2 years since my last yoga class. But this time was even better. This time it was at 9:30 in the morning! A time usually spend playing puzzles or reading books, or doing the menial labor a mother must do to keep her house in some semblance of order.
It was wonderful. It was liberating. And during that first sun salutation I realized that my life was beginning to change. I was no longer that "young mom." I am a seasoned veteran. It's something I'm very proud of. I have wanted motherhood more than any other career this world has to offer. I'm good at what I do. I'm blessed to have been able to bear four healthy children.
But I'm on to phase two.
Phase two is the rearing of the brood, but this includes more time for me.
I'm dancing again, I'm practicing yoga again, and it feels so good saying hello to my body again.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Look Who's Dancin'

So after 15 years I've finally dusted off the ballet shoes (actually I invested in new ones, the old one had holes in the toes) I found a friend who handed graced a barre in 6 years and we signed up for a community Adult ballet class.

Now, let me tell you, "Adult ballet" can mean many things. My friend Elana thought it might mean a bunch of spry 18-20 year olds who were caught between graduating their dance schools and the real world. I was a little worried that it might be a bunch of geriatrics out trying on a tutu for the first time.

Thankfully it was neither. It is a class of late twenty to thirty-somethings dusting their off their own dance shoes.

So in loving memory of my early beginnings...a tribute...bare with me now...

Notice that arabesque? Not planned. That is innate talent right there. I'll admit I was not cut out for jock life. I was extremely puny as a youngster and always was picked last to play on any teams.

Yes, I enjoyed my leotards and tights. I hated the bangs my mom insisted I keep because of my high forehead. Today it would be considered very Zooey Deschanel.

For your viewing pleasure I'm posting a photo that still to this day makes me blush.
No girl should be forced to run around in a light blue spandex unitard. It is not flattering to any body type.

It's been fun. Now if only my turn-out were what it used to be.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Music Mondays

I have always loved music, I'm always looking for new bands to satisfy my cravings.

Mondays I will feature a band that is one of my current favorites.

Today I happen to be rediscovering...they have a song on Rock Band, they have a very famous YouTube video, but I can't help blasting them in my mini-van whenever the kids aren't in the car.

Check out Ok Go my favorites right now;
Bye Bye Baby
Crash the Party
Oh Lately it's So Quiet.

Granted it's not a band for you Josh Groban Fans.

I leave you with the video that launched their popularity...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blogging it out.

I had a blog once. It was beloved and precious unto me. But too many people in my neighborhood started reading and getting nosy.

I prefer to blog to strangers, close friends, and acquaintances that I only see every once in awhile. It's fun. And if you don't get me, well, at least I don't get a weird look from you in the halls of my church building.

It's been almost a year of my little blogging hiatus. I've missed the writing aspect. I've missed keeping in touch with my friends this way. But I've enjoyed reading blogs so much more than I used to.

So to my friends, hi!

To strangers, welcome.

And to acquaintances, I hope I don't know you in real life, and if I do pretend you don't read me.