Friday, July 19, 2013

The Day of the Domestic Diva

Today was one of those days where my ambition went into hyperdrive and I transformed into the Domestic Goddess. I was so amazing, I couldn't hardly believe myself.  It was a day of cleaning, cooking, baking, play dates and swimming lessons.  Would you believe me if I told you I made my own cheese from the milk of our very own goats?  Well, believe it!  Today I was everything I always wish I could be...except I wasn't.

Why is it that even on the really good days when it seems like everything is going right, things can so quickly go wrong?  Why is it a three-year-old has the power to derail my sense of accomplishment with one three minute tantrum?

I was up nearly two hours before the kids this morning and I did not let the grass grow under my feet today.  Before the kids were up I had cleaned the bathroom and the living room, done a load of laundry and folded three more loads and started vacuuming the floor. They came downstairs and I gave them breakfast before mopping the floors, taking out the trash, doing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen and the dining room.  When all was done inside, I headed outside to clean the kiddie pool because the girls had a play date at noon.  Are you tired yet?  I sure was!

To much to do!  Must keep going!  After nearly five hours of housework, it was time to feed the girls lunch and get them into their swimming suits and slathered up with sunscreen.  Not a moment too soon!  Their friends came down the drive just as they were suited up.  I got to spend an hour visiting with a couple friends as the kids played in the pool.  Soon it was naptime for the little tykes and our guests had to leave.

My girls were still enjoying the pool and who am I to end a good thing early?  I headed into the house and decided now would be a good time to make some goat cheese.  It only takes 20 or 30 minutes to prep, so why not?  I could have it done and hanging in the cheesecloth by the time my little one needs to come in for a nap.

Nap.  It should have been a four-letter word today.  I had to go out and deliver the hateful news at 1:40 and you would have thought I had told her I was going to string get up by her toenails.  A very uncharacteristic, full out, screaming fit.  That child landed herself in timeout faster than she could repeat, "I DON'T WANT A NAP!"  I have a feeling that reasoning with an over-tired three-year-old is somewhat akin to trying to reason with a delusional mental patient.  They are talking nonsense.  They are completely out of sorts.  They are convinced that they are right and will make you believe it too, even if what they are saying is coming out as complete jibberish to anyone listening to them.  Anyway, nothing a three minute timeout can't fix, right?

Eventually calm is restored and it is off to bed.  (But not before the truck book in which every little flap musty be opened and every picture identified)  I have about an hour and a half before swimming lessons, so how about I start some ciabatta bread to spread the goat cheese on?  Ok.  I grab all the ingredients and get them working in the bread machine.  Not only have I gotten all this done, but now I have an hour to channel surf while I put together my cousin's wedding gift and get it all packed for shipping:-)

Soon the bread machine dings and I get the dough out on the pan so it can rest and rise while I'm at the pool with the girls.  Now it is time to wake the beast.  Do you ever have one of those moments where you want to ask, "Who are you and what have you done with my child?"  That was the case when I tried to convince my daughter to put her swimming suit back on.  "I can't do it!  No!  Let me do it myself!  I don't know how to do it!  I don't want your help!"  I finally told her that if she didn't suit up herself, I would do it for her.  This resulted in her throwing the bathing suit across the room and a lot of screaming.  Ok.  Timeout number two.

I get her sister and all of our junk strapped and packed into the car and go back into the house.  I then struggle with a kicking, screaming, fighting child and finally get her into a swimming suit.  (I imagine this must be what it is like to dress an angry cat)  I quickly rush her out to the car and get her strapped into her carseat before she had a chance to strip it back off.  I climb in and turn down the driveway, only to now see that sometime within the last hour a giant dead tree limb has fallen down and is blocking the end of the driveway.  Just what I need.

After all I just went through to get out the door we might not make it out of the driveway?!!!  Someone has a twisted sense of humor.  I turn and tell my girls I don't think we can go and tears of disappointment immediately start welling up in the eyes of my five-year-old.  "Fine!  Don't cry!"  I think we can make it with a little off-roading.  We squeeze between the branch and the ditch and we are off.

Just another day in the life of this average woman trying her best to be Supermom.  We can start of with the best of intentions, but life will always happen.  We cannot control all the actions of our children, our husbands, our dog, the weather, or even the trees and shrubbery.  We can do all the right things to set ourselves up for success and glory only to have everything turned on its head.  I look back on the day and I am honestly impressed with what I got accomplished, but I am more greatly aware of how things seldom go as planned.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

What Was I Thinking?!!!

Have you ever gotten an idea to do something that sounded awesome in the beginning, but the closer you draw to the point of no return, you wonder if you've lost your mind?  You spend months preparing yourself mentally and physically until you fool yourself into thinking you're prepared...until the day arrives.  Now you may think I am talking about childbirth, but I'm not.  Somehow this spring I managed to talk my husband into thinking that doing a half marathon with me would be a good idea.  I know.  My powers of persuasion astound even myself!

We ran a 10k last summer and survived, how much harder would a half marathon be? Do the math.  It's twice as far.  It could be A LOT harder!  And this is not an ordinary road race.  Oh no!  We sign up for an extreme trail run.  This translates into a lot of steep uphill climbing on rocky, sometimes treacherous, terrain.  I lost count of the number of times I tripped and stumbled over a rock or a tree root,  but I do know that I only fully wiped out twice!

Oh, it was all fun in the beginning...if you think running is fun, which I only do about a quarter of the time.  The first couple weeks of training, the furthest I ran was only about four miles. In the beginning that was plenty.  Very quickly, the distances got longer and I began to question whether or not this was something I really should be doing.  I'm not sure if my body was designed for this.  But did I listen to that little voice telling me this was not a good idea?  Noooooooooo! (Imagine I said that in the sing-songy, I-told-you-so way)  The deadline for the early-bird pricing was approaching and I went ahead and signed us up.  We were now financially committed.

I gutted out the rest of the training schedule.  I made it through. So...I can do this, right?  Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.  The last long run was 10 miles (3.1 miles short of the full race distance).  I had to cut it a little short when I looked up ahead and I saw a skunk between me and my turn-around point.  Nuh uh!  Screw that!  I high-tailed it back and I finished it with a very limited amount of soreness.  Ok, not quite 10 miles completed.  On race day the pumping adrenaline will push me through the last few miles, right?  Right?!!!

So the night before the race, I print out the waivers we must sign and turn in before the race.  Here is just a little excerpt of what I was insane enough to sign:
I realize that the course for the Dances With Dirt (DWD) race presents a number of potential dangers to me and I hereby assume the risk arising from all of them. I realize that I will be running on a variety of surfaces, some of them far less than perfect, including but not limited to roads, unimproved trails, mud, swamps, cliffs, lumpy fields covered with waist high grass and river crossings. The roads are open to motor vehicle traffic that has the right of way. I know that broken bones, reactions to poison ivy and other plants, insect bites and bruising are common occurrences in this extreme event and that I will be far into the wilderness away from medical support. I realize that the danger of injury and even death exists as well and I hereby assume all the risks that may be present on the (DWD) course.

Oh. My. Word.  This may have been a bad idea.  But we paid money!  We have to do it!  So of course we wake up at 5:00 a.m. and head out to Devil's Lake (ironic?) for the race.  We get our numbers and join the herd.  The gun goes off at 7:00 and we are off.  The first half mile wasn't bad.  The next 1 1/2 miles were death.  It was all strait uphill.  Steep and rocky.  We pretty much walked at least a mile of that stretch.  I thought, "If the whole thing is like this, there is no way!  I cannot do another 11 miles like this!"  Fortunately, at mile three it got better.  There was a lot of uphill battling, but there was plenty of downhill action as well where I could let momentum do half the work for me.

We wound up climbing all the way to the top of the bluffs, where we even passed by some rock climbers!  The view over the top of the bluff down to the lake was breath-taking.  I wished I was able to spend more time looking, but I had to watch where I was going because of the rocky trail.  At times I felt like I was running through a tire obstacle course as I dodged the rocks and the tree roots.  I was constantly tripping and stubbing my toes and, like  I said, I really did manage to wipe out twice.  We kept on going.  With about three miles left my husband felt his hip starting to strain so we had to pull it back somewhat.  He couldn't run uphill anymore because the shortened stride really caused a lot of pain.  Fortunately, the race ended by going back down the hill that had been such hell in the beginning.  It was a great way for me to finish out the race! (My husband maybe not so much)

Once we were down at the bottom of the horrible hill, we had to walk for a while as my poor hubby was in a lot of hurt.  I could have run ahead for a better time, but since I talked him into this insanity, that would have been a pretty jerkish thing for me to do.  When we could see the end, we jogged it in and we finished in 2 hours 58 minutes.  That works out to an average of about 13.5 minutes per mile.  Not a stellar time, but when you figure in the amount of walking we had to do for either safety, because it was simply impossible to run, or pain, it wasn't too bad.  I am happy we finished in under three hours.

Today I am really feeling the pain, but I also feel accomplished.  I can check that one off the bucket list.  I think I may have run two half marathons first and my last!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What, Wait! July?!!!

Does anyone else ever find themselves cruising along and all of a sudden, life hits hyperdrive?  I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized we are about to close out the second week of July.  What?!!!  Hold up!  The second week of JULY?  That means the summer is practically half over!  It seems like pre-school just ended and it finally just got warm!

We have been so busy lately that it feels like life has just been happening to me rather than me living out my life.  Fourth of July trips, swimming lessons, gardening and lawn mowing, dealing with a flooded basement, church service projects and all of the little summer things that have eaten up my time.   I look back on it an see that most of it has been fun, but at the same time, I have not really been savoring the moments.

My children are growing up so fast and it seems that each day goes by quicker than the last.  One moment I look at my older daughter and she is little and cute and still has that look of baby about her and the next minute I turn around and she is tall, leggy, independent and looks every bit the kindergartener she is about to become.  It thrills me and scares me all at once.  I am so proud of who my children are becoming, yet there is that piece of me that doesn't want to let go of my babies.

On the other hand, I am sure I am not the only housewife who fantasizes of all the things she will be able to accomplish during the day once the children are in school.  The idea of regular trips to the grocery store without any helpers I must say does make me feel a little bit giddy:-)  Being able to get to the gym before supper on a regular basis would be amazing!  Cleaning my house without turning around the next minute to see all of my efforts trashed would give me a great deal of satisfaction.

Then I wonder, will it be lonely?  Will I be bored by the end of back-to-school week?  Will I run out of projects to keep myself  busy?  Ha!  (Pause a moment for some mental hysteria.)  I am looking forward to doing some of the things it seems like I have been putting off for the past five years.  I am looking forward to baking cookies for snack time at school and chaperoning the field trips.  I look forward to really digging in to some of the home improvement projects around the house that I can't effectively work on with constant interruptions.  But still...

The summer is flying by.  I see the school year looming over the horizon.  I am trying to squeeze in all of the fun things I was thinking about back around Memorial Day.  Still looking forward to a trip to the amusement park.  Perhaps a trip to the zoo.  We need to finish up swimming lessons and take part in activities at the local library.  We have a little weekend vacation coming up next month.  And still, it will all go too fast.  I need to remember to take a moment, take a breath, and allow myself to enjoy the moment.  Laugh.  Goof around.  Take pictures.  Squeeze a little hand, they won't be little for long.