My Sacrifice for Lent 2012: Exercise at least 5 days per week with no music leaving time to think and pray. Started today with a 1.5 mile run.
Sacrifice of time
Sacrifice of desire to just sit on the couch
Sacrifice of distraction
The invite was for a little earlier in the morning than we are usually up and looking cute, so my husband helped her get ready while I spent way too much time blow-drying my hair. When I came downstairs, instead of my little toddler there was a bonafide little girl standing by the door, anxious smile, asking, "Mommy, are you FINALLY ready?!?"
We arrived at the Discovery Science Center and were greeted with a goody bag and a plush Dora before plunging into the exhibit. Agirl was beside herself to take pictures with the plastic versions of Dora and Diego at the front.
Imagine the excitement when the real Dora arrived, and greeted Agirl with the biggest hug I've ever seen a character muster.
She flitted from spot to spot, climbing monkey bars and a rock wall, sliding over and over again, placing stars into constellations and watching them light up- every activity was interactive.
I really liked the signs for parents encouraging teaching kids the Spanish words. Very Dora Spanglish hip!
Dora and Diego- Let's Explore!is a great exhibit, full of fun features perfect for kids as young as three. If your little ones love Dora as much as Agirl does, it's like walking around inside a museum of the best Dora episodes and getting to play in each one.
Dora and Diego are hanging out at the Discovery Science Center until May 6, 2012, and the exhibit is included in regular DSC admission. I would absolutely and highly recommend it for a fun morning with your pre-school aged kids.
I forget how important it is to spend one-on-one time with Agirl, how fast she's growing up, and how much she loves Dora. Thanks DSC for a great reminder!
Agirl and I have been painting nails a lot lately. She loves to sit with her little fingers resting on my thigh while I brush a varying shade of pink on her tiny nails. Often when I'm finished, she pretends to blow on her nails and says in her sweetest voice, "Mommy, will you paint your nails like mine?"
I've been indulging her recently, heading to my corporate job with Pepto Pink nails that more often than not is chipping and cracked. Very businesslike.
This is really part of a bigger challenge- looking the part of a businesswoman with the budget of a college student and two little people who do their best every morning to use me as a human jungle gym. It doesn't help that all of my super cute work clothes are a size that I can only dream of fitting back into.
So I've had to suck it up and buy suits in a size that I don't like seeing on the tag. To my surprise, I found a few that straddled the line between Coldwater Creek and Hoes 'R Us and that I actually feel good in.
But if you look beneath the hem of my new jacket, you'll still find nails that look like they belong on a Barbie. Personally, I think Dream House Pink suits me.
Why?It's a question I'm asked daily by my toddler, Agirl. I rack my brain finding reasons to convince her of a multitude of things. Why we brush teeth. Why we clean up after ourselves or why she can't spend all day playing Angry Birds on my "iPhone Toucher."
Last night, she stumped me...
Mike is my husband's cousin's husband. Mid-thirties, handsome, two young children and a beautiful wife. He's one of those people you instantly feel comfortable around and his easygoing kindness is both endearing and intriguing.
Shortly after the birth of their youngest baby in February 2011, Mike was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. Just days before his diagnosis, his wife Robin and I talked on the phone- her daughter was having a tough time transitioning to the bottle as she returned to work as a teacher, an issue my daughter had dealt with when I went back to work. We'd swapped tips and shared working mom woes, unaware of what was to come.
We heard about Mike's diagnosis and my heart broke, both for Mike and Robin and for their two young kids very similarly aged to my own. It was too close, too real. But Mike was young, seemingly healthy, and we had every confidence that with the right treatment he'd be good as new.
Three rounds of chemo over 8 months, and Mike wasn't getting better. Despite aggressive treatment and all the love and support a person could ask for, Mike passed away this week. He made it just long enough to celebrate his daughter's first birthday.
As fate would have it, there was a 5K/10K for pancreatic cancer this weekend in LA and members of my husband's family had signed up in support of Mike. As we finished walking 3.1 miles honoring Mike, the rest of the family in Northern CA were walking the beach to honor his life at his memorial service.
...After the walk, Agirl asked, "Who died?" My husband shared with her a toddler appropriate version of Mike's passing. Her next question, "Why?"
Overhearing the conversation, I thought about how I would have answered had she posed the question to me. The trouble is, I'm asking myself the same question with no answer in sight. The "why's" are neverending and incredibly puzzling.
What I do know, which I rely on in moments where the world seems turned upside down, is that I am not in charge. Its not up to me to decide who lives or dies or even what happens tomorrow. That realization used to paralyze me, frighten me. Now I see the freedom in it- that my only responsibility and the only thing I can control is to live the time that I have to the fullest.
I can't say that I believe that before he was diagnosed Mike thought that he was ready to leave this life. But looking at the legacy of family, friends and love from his short 30ish years, it's unquestionable that he fully lived the time that he had.
That inspires me to be better. It also tempts me to jump on a plane tomorrow and take my little family to a deserted island in Hawaii and soak in every moment. Instead, I believe my challenge is to soak in every moment and live fully in exactly the life that I have.
Explaining that to a three year old? Hopefully I will show her to live full of gratitide and graciousness, hard work, humor and humility, love and laughter.
At the end of her conversation with my husband, Agirl spontaneously prayed for Mike. "Dear Jesus, please keep him close to your heart. Amen."
10 years ago, the idea that I would have ever run a 5K would have surpassed comical. At 275 lbs the notion of running a mile, much less three, bordered on insulting. Back then, I started slow. I figured I had no where to go but down.
Walking was enough, and eating pretty well most of the time was good enough. I was in my early twenties, with little responsibility and little life committment. If I wanted yogurt as a meal and a run at 8pm at night, no one else was depending on me for a real dinner or bathtime. I had the luxury of making it all about me.
Its been a long battle the last decade, losing and gaining and losing again. Weight isn't the only affected piece- I've gained and lost and gained again my self-confidence in direct proportion to the numbers on the scale. Tiring doesn't even begin to describe the war that has been waged- bite by bite, step by step, glance by glance.
And then, she came along. And I was exhausted and overweight again and tied at the boob to this little screaming bundle of perfection that I didn't want to leave for a minute. Talk about excuses- now I had a bevvy of them within fingertip's reach. At first, I used them liberally. She needed me. She could only be comforted by mom. She liked my pillowy chub to rest her sweet head on.
Then she started getting bigger. Now she could walk, and talk, and she was losing her baby fat even though I still had mine. The excuses ran thin, and so did I. Ran myself thin, or at least thinner. In fact, ran a 10K. And then he arrived.
I wasn't quite as exhausted or overweight with him. But he was my snuggle bug and I knew that I'd have to go back to work in a few short months and I wanted to soak up every ounce of him that I could. He was sweet and soft and the last thing I wanted to do every day was put him down and go for a run. I needed him to need me.
As his first birthday approached, I started to think about her first birthday. It was an over-the-top themed celebration with handmade edible cupcake decorations. He was getting a restaurant-bought dinner with family on a Wednesday evening. Classic second-child move, and he couldn't have cared less.
On her first birthday, I ran a 3.1 hilly circle around a local lake. I had never run a day in my life until 6 months prior, and I wanted to prove that I could conquer something difficult. I did it, huffing and puffing, and I was proud of the accomplishment.
On his first birthday, I ran the same path but with a different outcome. I still finished, but I wasn't huffing and puffing. I felt great, and I kept thinking throughout the run that THIS accomplishment was for him. That he deserves, and she deserves, a happy and healthy mom. And each step I take around this lake is one step closer to giving them something so simple and so necessary.
Get Carried Away with Carrie! Mom to two, I try to balance a marriage, career, a fiendish workout regimen and Paleo diet. I model life around the belief that "People will often forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou Read more about me here. Let's get-carried-away!
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