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A long, long time ago . . . so long ago, I had to stop to look-up when it was, each Monday I wrote about how I was starting the week with a thankful heart. Though I took a break from writing those posts, it doesn’t mean I threw my thankful heart out the window. But I do feel that I’m at a place in life where it is a good idea to return to the practice of writing out the good things. Having a six year-old boy in the house will do that to a person.

Today is Thursday  (oops, not yet!) Wednesday, not Monday, but I do have a thankful heart. Today I’m thankful:

1. I talked with my boss and it looks like I’ll get to teach not one, but TWO hooping classes starting in January, bringing up my class total to THREE with the Cardio Kick class I currently teach. Sweet!

2. I’m having a meeting at the end of the month with my boss AND her boss to hammer out the details for me to coordinate and direct a youth running program for our YMCA branch! This really makes me giddy!!!

3. Though sick yesterday (germs do NOT read calendars), my daughter was well enough to return to school today, enabling me to get back to the Y for my usual Wednesday workout and to the grocery store to re-stock our pantry. This, too, makes me giddy! Life really is all about the little things.

4. Tomorrow I have a Girls’ Night with a friend I haven’t seen in a few months. We’re venturing here: The Vineyard Table

5. I remembered the password for my WordPress account on my first try. I guess it HAS been a long time since I blogged regularly. This will change.

How about YOU? What makes your heart thankful today?

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When I’m feeling overwhelmed or frustrated negativity can seep into my brain and set up camp there. So today I’m going to play a little game as I start the week with a thankful heart. I’m looking for the upside of negative thoughts in effort to push the negativity OUT!

1. The rain returned last night (and hasn’t stopped all day) . . . but we took advantage of a string of nice days and filled them with park time and even a trip to the beach. We’ve stored up the outdoor activities like squirrels so the next stretch of inside days will have their own flavor of fun.

Here’s me running in jeans and Keens with sweet ol’ Albus Dumblepup on the beach. This dog loves to run and saw the sandy beach as his opportunity to GO!

2. My running mileage for last week was shy of my weekly goal . . . but I did an extra day of yoga, which relieved my tight hamstrings and made it possible for me to end the week with a good run. And my legs feel great this week!

3. My husband and I didn’t make it to the Watershed Preserve in time for a hike on our date night (darn early sunset!) . . . but we made it to our favorite restaurant (45 minutes away) for a delicious dinner over which we did some preliminary planning for summer adventures. We also made the HARD decision about what to do for our children’s schooling next year. It really was a good night and now we know for the next date night to head out just a little bit earlier to get in that hike.

4. The late winter sunrises make my Saturday morning running group hard to motivate . . . but we’re taking the next month or so off. I hope the break will bring people back feeling fresh and motivated in April when the sun is up. This also gives me a chance to reach out invitations for others in the community to join us with the goal of running the June 5K/10K Duvall Days races. Sometimes fresh starts can make all the difference.
5. The kids were horrible in the car on our way home from the beach . . . but they did have a few bright moments that let us know the trip was worthwhile overall (see photos below – even the dog is smiling).
How about you? Can you find the positive outcome from an otherwise disappointing situation?
Have a great week – and happy running!

Welcome 2010.

I kicked off the year on January 1st with 3.5 miles on my trusty ol’ treadmill. After two weeks of not running, it was fabulous. Delicious even, if a treadmill could be considered such. I went the next step and even recorded my mileage! That’s right, this year I’m going to track it. I suppose that could be considered one of my New Year’s resolutions – write down the good things!

Remember the running calendar I told you about in December, Carol Goodrow’s What a Day for Running!? Well, I bought one when they came out and a running pal of mine gave me a copy for Christmas. We’re using one to keep track of family stuff and I’m using the other to track my mileage. I think I’ll hang the second one by the treadmill for ease of recording since I use the treadmill year-round (I DO get outside for runs, too, don’t worry).

Though the year is still quite new, it has been full. A local friend of mine welcomed her second son into the world at noon on the 1st and my college roommate said goodbye to her mom for the last time the night of the 3rd. These two life-changing experiences prompted me to return to my Starting with a Thankful Heart posts. Life is too precious and too short not to take notice of the little things that make life full and rich and worth sharing.

So, on this first Monday of 2010, I give you a short list of things that make my heart happy.

1. I am thankful for my daughter’s question as I tucked her into bed tonight: “Can I hold yours hand?” While her nearly-three year-old self can sure push me over the edge sometimes, she does know what to say to melt her mama’s heart.

2. I am thankful that I cranked out 2.5 miles this morning before getting back into the groove of post-holiday reality. One day at a time I’m getting back to my workout routine and it feels GREAT!

3. I am thankful that others reach out to share their passion with the world. A high school friend of mine is kicking-off her 2010 in grand running style. Please take a minute to visit my Beth on her Sweaty Quest for Enlightenment blog. She’s a strong, smart, sassy go-getter of a redhead who is using running to get her life back after several years of serious illness and time taking care of everyone but herself. Please join me in supporting her on her quest and enjoying her new found passion for running! And I do have to toot my own horn here, too, in mentioning that she’s a big supporter of my book, for which I am forever grateful.

4. I am thankful that after the stressful holidays we managed to squeeze in a day trip to Camano Island yesterday before my husband’s vacation was over. We practically had the beach to ourselves and even brought along dear ol’ Albus Dumblepup. There were many treasures to be found, as you can tell from my son’s bursting arms.

How about YOU? Is there something big or small that makes you thankful today?

It is too pretty of a day to be sitting at the computer (for which I am most thankful!), so I’ll keep this post short.

I’m starting this week with a smile in my heart because I’m thankful for:

1. The 5 women that joined me to run on Saturday morning (and one brought along her daughter to ride her bike along side her!). This women’s running group is really picking up momentum! It is great to see people come together to share their passion and support one another, no matter their speed.

2. The beauty of Camano Island, WA. We spent Memorial Day there and went back again yesterday. I haven’t felt so connected with a place since living in Italy for a summer. Although the day was a bit hazy, we could still see the Olympic Mountains and enjoyed a picnic and walk along the rocky shore of Camano Island State Park.

3. The excitement of running this week to prep for Saturday’s Duvall Days 5K. I’m thinking that with all of the weight training and more frequent runs I’m doing that this could be a PR race for me! I ran the Duvall Days 10K last year (brutal hills!!!), so it should be fun to do the flat 5K route for a change of pace this year.

4. I remembered to use sun screen today! Sunscreen is almost part of our daily routine now. It took some getting used to once the weather improved, but now even the kids think to ask about it.

5. The house has been purged of baby gear. That’s right – 2 SUV loads of stuff (in good shape, no junk!) went to the Duvall Co-op Preschool to help raise money at their garage sale next weekend in conjunction with the big Fire fighter’s Pancake Breakfast event next door to the preschool. This is BIG time stuff in our little town. 🙂 There’s actually room to park a car in our garage now – and should I want, I can twirl around in just about any room in our house without knocking my shins into excess toys.

I do thank you for stopping by to visit, but I must encourage you to please leave a quick comment and then step away from your computer and get outside to enjoy your day/evening! What about me, you ask? I’m following my own advice by relaxing in our hammock before the kids get up from their naps and we head to the park.

Happy June and happy running!

Somehow I got away from my “Starting with a Thankful Heart” posts. They really are a great way to kick-off a work week, so you can count on me getting back to those. When I find frustration building-up or feel like I’m swimming against the current, I can often turn my attitude around by taking a minute to acknowledge at least ONE thing for which I am thankful.

Granted, gratitude can be a bit like pulling teeth when you have a two year-old screaming in your ear and a four year-old taking apart every last thing he can get his hands on. But it can be done. And when I can latch on to one or two things for which I truly am grateful, I find I can get to the root of the screaming (lately, the arrival of molars and a significant physical growth – as evidenced by the dramatic shoe size change overnight!) and redirect my son’s curiosity for good instead of evil (it always helps to address him as a Superhero and give him tasks that can “save the day”). Oh, don’t bother asking me about the socks – I really don’t know why they’re an important part of the outfit, but they are.

In the spirit of those usual Monday posts, here’s my “Ending with a Thankful Heart” gratitude list:

1. My husband recognizing that I was ready to hear him say “You can run faster if you want to. I know you can.” After plodding along at the same pace for at least 2 years and with a nearly 6 months of strength training under my belt, he’s right. I can go faster – because I have the tools to do so. I kicked-off my “I can go faster” mind-set this morning with a tempo run on the treadmill – and, no kidding, he was right!

2. The open arms of the great outdoors. For SO many reasons, but especially since it provides my children with a place to be themselves, full throttle.

3. Pizza. Late-night pizza with my husband after a full day last night and family pizza night with my mom tonight. Is there such thing as too much pizza? I’m sure there is, but we haven’t reached that point yet.

4. And finally, as my dad would say, “Cuteness personified.” The boundless energy of my children can’t be beat (though there ARE days when I could use a second run to get a bit more time to myself – let’s be honest here!). They wear me out and they challenge me daily, but I wouldn’t trade ’em for anything.


How about YOU? Can you think of at least one thing for which you are thankful this week? Big or small, feel free to share in the comments.

It took a few weeks, but I think Mother Nature finally caught on that this is April and the appropriate season is SPRING. In celebration of the wonderful stretch of days we’ve had over the past week, I’m posting my “Starting with a Thankful Heart” entry a few hours early.

As I get ready to face this new week, my heart is full of sunshine. I am thankful for:

1. The 11 mile training run my friend Kajsa did today. No, I didn’t go with her, but her daughter played with my kids in the yard while she hit the trail and her husband weeded the front garden beds for her. Hooray for her!

2. The countless hours of gardening we enjoyed this week/weekend. There’s nothing quite like wheeling around loads of soil, sifting it, collecting rocks, chasing kids in the yard, planting new trees, pulling weeds, raking, and breathing wonderful fresh air all the while. And, NO, I’m not usually a gardening gal, it was just that good.

3. Homemade worm farms (constructed enthusiastically by three children – ages 4, 3 and 2). Priceless.

4. The season’s first sunburns that remind us that YES sunscreen is important. I have it out and ready to incorporate into our daily routines.

5. A full visit with my mother-in-law. We had a great time doing a little bit of everything and the kids have many great memories to hold them over until we’re able to see her again.

6. The flexibility of casting aside a run to enjoy all of the above.

I did get in 3 runs during the week as part of my SaneFitness workouts (I start Week 5 of the program tomorrow – it IS great!), but no longer runs this weekend as I initially planned. But I realize that I am more balanced this evening because I chose the yard work over a run (my husband did offer me the chance to get away for a run, but I turned him down).

As for tomorrow? I run! But not as far as those Boston Marathoners. I wish them – AND YOU! – happy running.

The last two days have been absolutely beautiful: blue skies, a lemon-drop of a sun radiating its warmth down to us, a gentle breeze that ruffles your hair but won’t knock our trees down onto the neighbor’s house. Good stuff.

With this new weather comes renewed energy and an increasingly positive outlook on things. Today I am thankful for much, especially:

1. My grandma and uncle are in town visiting. I love that we get to have 4 generations of family together for the week, especially this year when Little Sister is TRULY interacting with my grandma by singing her songs and telling her whatever is on her mind. After being around my two kiddos this afternoon, my grandma is amazed that once upon a time she chased after three small boys all day. “This is why young people have children!” she declared.

2. Yesterday we went on a family hike at Wallace Falls State Park (this gal got some great shots there!). Mr. Music hiked the entire 1.9 miles up to the lower falls and thanks to the distraction of the question “What superhero would YOU be?” he made it all the way back down to the car without a meltdown! It really is QUITE a hike. But knowing that he can do that one opens up all kinds of great hiking adventures for us this spring and summer. Just thinking about the possibilities makes me smile. And the cross-training of a hike was good for this runner’s legs.

3. Little Sister is big enough to entertain herself (mostly) in the backyard while we do yard work. We spent all of yesterday afternoon and early evening puttering around the yard. We adults were moving the vegetable garden and getting the outdoor play toys cleaned up while the kiddos played in the grass and occasionally lent a hand. Last year I was on chaos-prevention detail chasing Little Sister around to keep her out of harm’s way, which was fine. BUT this year I get to DO things in the yard, which is much better!

4. Since increasing my mileage and being a bit more hard core with my weight lifting workouts, I’m really noticing a difference in how my clothes fit and how strong I feel throughout the day. Be sure to read my review about the SaneFit card deck to see how you can win the card deck and see some great results in your fitness, too! Remember, you have until the 30th to post a response.

5. We’ve had 2 days in a row with morning-to-night blue skies and sunshine. Tomorrow promises to be the same. Bet you can guess where I’ll be most of the day – OUTSIDE!!

Have a wonderful week, Dear Readers! I hope the sun reaches you this week, too.

It is snowing again here. I’m not talkin‘ a few little wimpy flakes, or even the on-again/off-again freezing rain we experienced yesterday. Today’s snow is the REAL deal – it started about an hour ago and we already have 2-3 inches. Our street looks like someone coated it with whiteout. The birds all look confused and we have giant cotton balls on the branches.

If I actually took a photo today, it would look much like this picture of us in December. But, we’re too cozy inside today (and Little Sister is a bit too grumpy with her molars coming in) to bundle up and head outside.

Despite the birds’ confusion, Mother Nature is giving us a visual treat. The kids are getting a total kick out of describing the way the snow is falling, since it seems to change every five minutes. According to them, the snow has transitioned from:

floating

to

racing

to

drifting

to

blowing

to

float racing

back to

floating

And so, now that the snow is slowing (dusting, I’d call it), I can pry myself away from the window to think about what I’m thankful for this week:

1. Our “hot” date on Saturday night to Costco, Target and Qdoba while the kids enjoyed their first sleep-over at my parents’ house in over a month.

2. Wednesday afternoon Mr. Music and I will complete the final requirement for the application process at the Multi Age school in our district (the student visit). The lottery will be drawn in early April and we’ll finally know what the plan is for Kindergarten.

3. MizFit is rolling on creating a MizFit Mag!

4. I looked down at my legs yesterday before doing my Treadmill 5K and realized that my “Runner Legs” are back! Now that I’m back on track with running 4-5 days/week and doing my strength training, I’m seeing the results. Now I’m feeling more confident that a few 10Ks and a Half-marathon will be good fits for this year.

5. The quilt my mom and I are making for the school auction is nearly complete. I’ll post a photo after I put the finishing touches on it tomorrow. It is INCREDIBLE! Neither of us has made anything like it before.

How about YOU? What are you thankful for this week? Did you reach a fitness goal? did you finish a fantastic book, did you try a new recipe that was a big hit? Come on, don’t be shy – celebrate it with a quick note in my comments!

Didn’t get a run in this morning as I had hoped, but I did tackle some things that were more deserving of my attention today:

1. The mid-year conference with my son’s teacher
2. Doctor Trip #4 for the week (#3 for Little Sister)
(That’s Mr. Music on the left . . . and Little Sister reading her favorite book below – photos by Jennifer Tai Photo Artistry)
As we inch toward Friday I am feeling quite worn down, but not nearly as much as I expected after taking care of two really ill children for so long. I’m sure it is because of these things:
1. The unwavering/unconditional support of our extended family members. My parents showed up to take care of Mr. Music so I could take Little Sister to the doc without having to entertain TWO children in the waiting room and exam room. PRICELESS! As if that wasn’t grand enough, my mom made dinner for us twice this week. That helped more than she’ll ever know. My mother-in-law (a nurse!) helped from afar with kind words and encouragement – also helpful!
2. The wonderful doctors/nurses/support staff at our local pediatrician’s office. Each time I called for an appointment (they likely can identify my voice by now) they were able to get the kids in to be checked within 2 hours. Unfortunately we weren’t able to see the same doc each time, but they are all fantastic and their careful note-taking made it easy to have the cases transferred from one to the next. We did see the same nurses a few times, so that was great. Our follow-up appointment will be with the same doc we saw today – hooray! Each doctor took the time to listen to my concerns, get feedback from the kids verbally and with careful exams, and then take time to explain how their illness had progressed and what steps we’d need to follow to get them healthy again.
3. My husband has been working like a maniac for the past few weeks, but he checks in with me a few times/day to see how things are going with the kids. He didn’t have meetings one afternoon, so he came home in time for one of the appointments – again, so Mr. Music didn’t have to endure the doctor’s office during his sister’s appointment (he’s feeling much better and the two hour visits are more than his busy body can endure now that it is nearly back to normal!). Super Husband has also been knocking out the dishes each evening and put the kids to bed without me last night so I could take a few minutes to let my brain check-out.
4. I did workout 3 out of 4 days this week (and may be able to run like a hamster tomorrow – fingers crossed!!!). I’m not sure how I would have survived the week without my own good health and fitness. Between being up with the kids 87 times/night (well, maybe not THAT many times, but darn close), carrying around a 30 lb. two year-old and a 40 lb. 4 year-old, taking 3 showers with a toddler in one day (to rinse off the yack that landed on both of us) and holding down the two year-old for medicine taking time (a NIGHTMARE with that one!!!) several times/day . . . I HAD to be fit to accomplish it all.

Tomorrow will be Doctor Trip #5, but it is for a follow-up and will hopefully be the green light to get back to the basic antibiotic regimen. Pneumonia is for the birds. Heck, I wouldn’t even wish it on birds (and I’m not a fan of birds – go ahead, ask anyone). But we’re going to get through it, thanks to the team of folks pitching in to take care of these sweet kiddos.

The whole family has been sick for the past 4 days. No running for this mama or her husband. But, just as the fog finally lifted to confirm that the sun does still exist, the end of the sickness is in sight . . . and my running shoes are calling to me once more.

This week is a promising one for a number of wonderful reasons:

1. I can breathe through both nostrils at the same time.

2. Wednesday is Little Sister’s 2nd Birthday. I can’t even believe it.

3. The kids went to bed EARLY. Don’t you dare read those words aloud, or they’ll wake up. Please read silently and let us bask in this rare evening!

4. I added 3 new titles to my reading list and I just love the excitement of new books. (which I promise to share with you soon – I owe you at least 2 reviews and you SHALL have them ASAP!)

5. Thanks to reason #1, Tomorrow I shall run! (no rhyming intended, it just happened)

Have a wonderful, HEALTHY week! Oh, and if you haven’t done so already, take a peek at the new site: www.runningmoms.com Their tag line is a great one: Strong Body, Strong Mind, Strong Mom.