Monthly Archives: May 2013

Mixing It Up

If you’ve known me for over 18 years, you’d know that I used to be very vanilla. Perhaps not to people who really knew me well, but for the most part I kept my spunk under wraps. At 5’9″ and curvy, I had good reason (so I thought) not to draw further attention to myself.  Silly.  My kids would like to remind me that I now measure 5’8″ (due to faulty tape measurer I’m sure!) and I’m still curvy but I long ago ditched my past wardrobe of everything neutral for things that are more me.  The kids dad helped me do this (geez, when he reads this he’ll never let me live it down!!) and I’ve been grateful.  Not just for encouraging me to bring color in my life, but to capitalize on my own personal spunkyness as well.  Fortunately, since my kids have grown up surrounded by style and perhaps a bit of attitude, they’ve never seemed apprehensive about speaking their minds through fashion.

I do still adhere to the age old rule of having staples in your closet.  Black, white, brown, blah, blah, blah….  They are the building blocks of creating something special and unique but (in my opinion) should be used as just that – foundation.  The joke in my family is that in my vanilla life I used lots of different colors:  Off white, beige, ecru, mother of pearl, soft brown, cream, etc….   Now sometimes my kids roll their eyes and ask if I’m having a “flashdance moment” or if I’m seriously wearing that.  What they don’t realize is that for years I wanted them to wear a pin that said, “Today I dressed myself” which would serve 2 purposes.  One it would make them feel proud of themselves.  Two it would alert everyone that I had nothing to do with they’re outfit of choice.  So perhaps in my frenzy of continuing to find myself through fashion, I too could don the pin.  Mix it up, have fun, be you, get creative, ask opinions, feel good about yourself.  Rock it!!

Even black and white can be fun - mixing patterns

Even black and white can be fun – mixing patterns

Ashlea

Ashlea.  My kids love knee socks and we have a drawer full of fun ones

Gabrielle

Gabrielle.  She tried to take these socks from me, but I whacked her over the head with them.  If they stay in my drawer we know where they are to use another time

Alana

Alana being sporty which is her style

Kezia and Ashlea

Kezia and Ashlea. Bam.  Embrace you!!

Kezia

Kezia.  My most unique dresser

I DID IT, I DID IT!!!!!

Holy track practice Batman!!!  Again I handed off my camera to the kids and they got great shots (as you can see). Ten months ago when I joined the Endurance Reno team, I had been training alone for a few years. I pushed myself pretty well (I shaved 15 minutes off my half marathon all by my lonesome!!) and I was super consistent about my runs.  Then I met everyone on my new team and holy cow!!  I never, remotely, in any way shape or form pushed myself like I do with my team!!!!

Olivia and Me at our team Duathlon last year.  She was injured so she did the bike portion and I did the run and yes, we won first place!!!

Olivia and Me at our team Duathlon last year. She was injured so she did the bike portion and I did the run and yes, we won first place!!!

In that first week Coach told me he wanted me to keep an eye on my new teammate Olivia and try to keep up with her.  We met and she is a pint sized ball of fire!!  Our first or second meeting the team met on a trail for a 5+ mile run.  Olivia exclaimed, “I love hills!!” and took off.  I don’t love hills and this is an 1800 foot elevation gain in 2 miles.  It’s listed online as a “day hike” and should probably have ropes installed so people don’t slip back down. It’s ridiculously hard.  Over the last ten months I have grown to love Olivia for lots of reasons not one of them being running hills with her.  She crushes me.  We have run together a lot though.  On a slower day, during warm up and cool down and if she’s running moderate and I’m running hard, she is one of the best supporter/pusher teammates.  When Olivia texts me to “come out and play” it’s game on every time!!

Last night after our track run!!!!  Olivia is my #1 supporter!!!

Last night after our track run!!!! Olivia is my #1 supporter!!!

On the agenda Wed night were 4 -400’s with a break between and 6 – 300’s with a break between, which I had never done.  During the warm up I was having a weird cramp (rare for me) and I was a little worried about doing the actual run.  Olivia was just in front of me at the start line and I thought to myself, “Try to finish the lap with Olivia only 1/4 lap in front of me by the end”.  And we were off!!  At the end of the second lap, she turned to me and said she was impressed that I was right on her heels and that I was pushing her so we should just keep it up.  I was pushing HER???  I was trying to CATCH her!!!  She and I ran the entire workout “together” which means she was always just in front of me but I was very close on her heels enough to realize I actually almost kept up with her!!!!!!  HAPPY DANCE!!!!   The 400’s were run in the low 6 minute mile range and most of the 300’s were sub 6 minute miles.  Who knew??  Well, Olivia did and she told me herself that she knew I had it in me, but I didn’t know.  Now I do so perhaps I’ll be able to stick with her more often.  Except for those hills…..  Olivia can beat me on those….

Dumping!!

Photo dump of randomness. This is one of my favorite things since I get to look at the crazy stuff that’s on my phone that doesn’t necessarily match up with anything else.

Ashlea loves her bowtie - she ties it herself.  Bomb!!

Ashlea loves her bowtie – she ties it herself. Bomb!!

MOM!!! Look at this!!!

“MOM!!! Look at this!!!” Gabi likes to save things to my computer to show me

Do people have too much time on their hands???

Do people have too much time on their hands???  Gabi strikes again

My BodyRock Sport capris!!!  All but one I got for Mother's Day!!  YAY ME!!!  They're so soft......

My BodyRock Sport capris!!! All but one I got for Mother’s Day!! YAY ME!!! They’re so soft……

Taylor on Fox & Sox day with his sisters jacket...

Taylor on Fox & Sox day with his sisters jacket…  Quite the outfit…

Ashlea Fox & Sox day!

Ashlea Fox & Sox day!

Gabi Fox & Sox day. My kids are cray-cray!!

Gabi Fox & Sox day. My kids are cray-cray!!

Doesn't everyone's laundry room have mostly sports wear hanging to dry??  Wait, there's one vest from work.....

Doesn’t everyone’s laundry room have mostly sports wear hanging to dry?? Wait, there’s one vest from work…..

Jenn's Phone 598

Taylors bday cake – turned 14. Where does the time go??

Jenn's Phone 609

Ashlea and Gabrielle at their dance recital

Found the salt I wanted at Trader Joes - 3rd store but now I know where to get it!!

Found the salt I wanted at Trader Joes – 3rd store but now I know where to get it!!

On a lunch whim while at Trader Joes, I went with an employee suggestion and got the egg salad and pretzel bread.  Delish!!

On a lunch whim while at Trader Joes, I went with an employee suggestion and got the egg salad and pretzel bread. Delish!!

Dog was barking, Gabi checked on him, there was a snake in the yard, I went out, knew it wasn't poisonous (Bull Snake), wanted to get it out of the dog yard, 2 dogs went crazy on it and killed it.  At least they know what to do in a crisis!

Dog was barking, Gabi checked on him, there was a snake in the yard, I went out, knew it wasn’t poisonous (Bull Snake), wanted to get it out of the dog yard, 2 dogs went crazy on it and killed it. At least they know what to do in a crisis!

The snake. Over 3' long

The snake. Over 3′ long

 

Meeting New People

At this past Sunday’s Reno Running Company store run I ran with Sam and Olivia – two of my favorite people EVER!!! And I didn’t get a single picture!!! I had been thinking of Olivia for a couple days thinking I should text her when she texted me to ask if I wanted to “come out and play and have a run”. YES!!!!!!  I was planning on going to the run but this put it on my list entitled “Must Do”.  I was so happy to run with them!

At the end of the run we met a new person that a couple of our teammates knew.  I found out that not only is she a high school teacher, she’s my 9th grade daughters math teacher.  What are the odds.  Good news is that I adore her.  Bad news is that she got to see the frustrated Mom in me rise to the surface……  Not at her but at the system in general and my daughters lack of enthusiasm.  At any rate, meeting new people is fun.  The most fun??  Sending my daughter a text showing her who my new running buddy is.  Priceless!!!

My text said, "Look who my new running buddy is??"  Text back??  "Hey!! That's my math teacher!!  Uh oh.  Was the conversation good or bad??"  My reply?  "Let's just say we'll both be spending more time with her!"

My text said, “Look who my new running buddy is??” Text back?? “Hey!! That’s my math teacher!! Uh oh. Was the conversation good or bad??” My reply? “Let’s just say we’ll both be spending more time with her!” My daughter doesn’t realize that Jen is WAY faster than I am so I won’t actually be running WITH her,  but that’s a need to know subject.

Good Enough

A year ago Mother’s Day was tough for me.  Let’s just say a conversation with Chris about the holiday didn’t go super well and kind of put me in a serious funk.  On Mother’s Day all the kids (as usual – one of my favorite traditions!!) made me breakfast and brought me all the cards and little things they make me.  It’s awesome!!  They all pile into bed with me and then we eat my breakfast together.  Last year Gabrielle made me a card that said, “You’re not the best Mom but you’re good enough for me”.  The combination of my conversation compounded with that statement pretty much made me cry in the shower.

The kids wereright - you CAN fit 9 of them in bed with me!!

The kids were right – you CAN fit 9 of them in bed with me!!

I asked Gabi what would make me the “best Mom” and she said, “Oh if you bought me whatever I wanted whenever I asked.”  Right….  I let her know that I didn’t want to be the best Mom if that’s what it took.  Since then it’s been a joke in our family.  Randomly the kids will say, “Well, you’re not the BEST Mom…”  Bri likes to say, “Hey, Mom, what’s wrong with your face??  It looks grumps.  Hey – you’re good enough for me.”  Thanks guys.  This year to keep tradition Gabi rewrote it in my card.  She is ridiculously hilarious.  We got a great laugh at it and sometimes that’s what you need to do.  I daily question how well I do as a Mom.  Balancing work, kids, outside activities, running, friends, etc…takes it’s toll and most Mom’s question if we’re being the “best” Mom.

I suppose it’s not really about being the best at anything (yes including running) but striving to DO your best.  I’m human, I make my quota of mistakes, but in the end because I always try my  best, I agree.  Wherever I’m at, I’m good enough.

Gabi and Me. Good enough indeed

Gabi and Me. Good enough indeed

Stop Being So Serious!!!

One of my best friends – Kelly Kalley – texted me a couple days ago to ask how I was doing. I answered in kind….

This is what I sent her

This is what I sent her.  I was on a hike.  I said, “This is how I’m doing!!  How are you??”

She said (and I quote) "You're a dork!"  Well, yes.  You're welcome!!!

She said (and I quote) “You’re a dork!” Well, yes. You’re welcome!!!  I assumed that’s why people want to be friends with me.  That and wit.  And superior intelligence….  But it’s probably  because I have awesome kids!!!  (On a side note, didn’t I get botox??  Seriously, why the #11 still??!!)

I was really taking Kalley for a 2 mile walk off leash.  She's named after a beautiful black dog that was named Callie but I changed the spelling for my besty Kelly

I was taking Kalley for a 2 mile walk off leash. She’s named after a beautiful black dog that was named Callie but I changed the spelling for my besty Kelly who I was texting on this walk.  Sometimes we just take things too seriously.  Need to chillax and have a little fun.  It’s even better when the fun gets in 2 more miles for the week and some puppy training!!!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day, be thankful and have fun!!!

Brianna Graduates!!!!

Bri is 21. She’s one of those insanely smart, Mensa is knocking on the door, amazing young women. She was so off the charts smart in 7th grade that the teachers didn’t know what to do with her. So I enrolled her in two classes at our community college. Yes, she was 12 so I would drive her there and sit while she was in class.  She took two classes at “regular” school and earned her grades by teaching part of her own class and helping the teacher grade papers and assisted in the academic planning.  That was her Jr High experience.  She attended the first two years of high school because I was trying to keep her with her peers so she could have a “normal” teenage experience.  But the second two years she went right back to the community college and ended up graduating high school with 47 college credits.  It’s been three years since she graduated high school and she received her Associates in Arts with a distinction in business on Friday.  In her mind it took her forever, she has enough credits to have completed 4 AA degree’s, but I’m just proud to be her Mom.  I know she’s had incredible experiences, a wealth of knowledge and is more certain of the subjects she likes and doesn’t like than most of the kids her age.  Time flies past and I seriously doubt she’ll regret spending some of hers learning.  Up next??  Her BA degree which she’s already enrolled in this fall.

Incorporating Family and Fitness

I’ve been fit my entire life which is a blessing. It has made it easier for me to maintain my fitness goals while having a family. Sometimes that balance is difficult with changes in location, finances, schedules, etc… but in the end it’s always manageable. I know I’m a better mom, wife, friend, sister, worker, etc… when I get the release and decompression fitness gives me. Still, there is a schedule and family to manage.  When the R5K team started back up for the summer season, I realized that changing my Thursday night run with the team to Wednesday relieved the family schedule considerably and I jumped on it.  Many of us bring kids with us so my youngest two come along while 6 of the older kids are wrapped up in a church activity.  It was a busy night for me this week with additional choir concerts and kids to shuttle (love the end of the school year!) but with Olivia driving and moving dinner earlier, we got it all done.  I handed off my phone this past Wednesday and told the younger two to take pictures of themselves…….  Then I got a few shots in myself.

Set Goals and Be Nice!!

My team – Endurance Reno – is a small group of people I consider elite athletes.  I am in awe of them daily – not only their accomplishments but the devotion and support we show each other. When entering a race it is with the understanding that I will most likely finish in the top 10% and often place in my age division – a fantastic accomplishment.  On my team, however, about 80% of my teammates are faster than I am and I never feel less than.

The Wednesday team is the R5K team and has several more people.  When the season started up, it was time to get to know another group of faces all ready to work hard.  That first practice several weeks ago was an inaugural run for some and the energy – as well as the nerves- ran high.  I had never met several of my shiny new teammates, but on our team, you love them anyway.  For those of us that are on the Endurance team, when we finish, we use our cool down to assist anyone slower to finish.  It’s important to have goals and push ourselves individually but there’s no reason not to be nice.

Me with Melissa

Me with Melissa at girls night out.  Nice nighttime fuzzy shot!!

When the team had a girls night out (epic fun and necessary to do again – soon!!), one of my newer teammates, Melissa, told me “I love you, girl!!  From the first practice and every single practice since, you’ve run me in!!  You are my sister!”  I hadn’t realized that every practice I paired myself with her and ran her in, but it made me so happy, since then I’ve made sure I do.  Every week I’m excited to hear her progress – she’s down 23 pounds and now considers herself a runner (rightly so!).  This week we did a timed 5K on the track.  For those of you who don’t want to count, it’s 12.5 times around.  It’s a mental battle for me to count each lap – so much more difficult than just running 3.1 miles on the street.  I finished my laps and found Melissa.  On her final lap, I jumped in with her to run her in.  It was the first time she had completed a 5K without stopping!!!!!!  Speed comes with time, but endurance is more difficult to build in my opinion and this was an enormous milestone for her.  From the woman who had never run a lap to completing a 5K without stopping in a matter of weeks is amazing.  Kind of like her!!

Melissa and Me after she finished!!!  You go girl!!

Melissa and Me after she finished!!! You go girl!!

What an amazing accomplishment!!!  I love this new girl!!!

What an amazing accomplishment!!! I love this girl!!!

 

Box Of Surprises

One of my best friends – Kelly Kalley, owner of BodyRock Sport – did something awesome for the girls and me. She went through her closet and jewelry and instead of donating a box locally in NYC, she sent it to us. I LOVE HAND ME DOWNS!!!! All the girls got something, we had a fun “try on in Mom’s room” to see what fit whom and who would argue about jewelry. It was so fun, so appreciated, such a little treat of awesomeness.

When I was growing up, my best friend Kate was just a bit bigger than I was and her family had money which mine most definitely did not.  That was when my love of hand me downs began – I so looked forward to bags of clothes from her – and has continued into adulthood.  It is the reason why I still hit up all the second hand stores to find something wonderful for next to nothing – like my brand new with tags Columbia jacket retailed for $220 that I got for $23.  It’s how my kids remain well dressed even though I’ve rarely had the money to indulge in a trip to the mall (although that would be a blast!!).  At any rate, a box from a friend in NYC who is a fashionista running a clothing company was a rare and wonderful treat and all 6 girls (plus me!) got some new to us stuff.

4 of the girls chillin' while I lay everything out.....

4 of the girls chillin’ while I lay everything out…..

Kezia

Kezia

Ashlea with shorts and sports bra

Ashlea with shorts and sports bra

Ash adds a tank top

Ash adds a tank top

Jenn's Phone 507

Kezia's new glasses

Kezia’s new glasses

Gabi tank, shorts and attitude!!

Gabi tank, shorts and attitude!!

Gabi's glasses

Gabi’s glasses