On the Eve of my FIRST 5K in pictures

12:05 am: Waiting for Daddy in the airport parking lot.

1:20 am: Finally back home. Kids woke up in the car and talked the entire way home.

11:00 am: At Sam's Club eating too many samples and buying grub for tomorrow's bbq

4:00 pm: Pilgrim hat cookies. Thank goodness I make desserts that I do not like...

4:10 pm: ... with the exception of this dessert. Nutter Butter cookies? Yes. Mini chocolate chips? Of course. Cherry Jelly Belly? Mmmmm...

All day: trying to hug him as much as possible while he's here.

10:00 pm: Slightly freaking out about the cold and rainy weather tomorrow morning. Writing another 1K words before bed. Will post pics of FIRST 5K EVER tomorrow.

Countdown to Daddy

Tick tock, tick tock…

“When is Daddy coming home?” “How many more days until Daddy gets here?” “Can I go on the trampoline with Daddy?”

The kids and I have been so excited for R’s next visit, even more so when we booked the flight so that every day there was a new, smaller number until Daddy flew back home.

This morning L woke up and asked if we were going to the airport now.

“No, dude,” I said (yes, I sometimes address my kids as Dudes). “Tonight when it gets dark.”

I planned on letting the kids have Movie Night which is code for “the one night a week Mommy lets us pig out on junk food, sleep in the living room, and stay up as late as we want (or 9 pm, whichever comes first).”

I even sat with the kids in our unheated-on-purpose living room and watched Goosebumps to keep them awake. I wanted them to stay up late so Daddy could sleep in tomorrow morning.

“Mommy, I don’t think I can stay awake.” “I think I’m sleeping now.” Those were from the older two. The youngest passed out at 8:30 pm, a new late record for her.

“What? You guys don’t want to watch a movie? How about WII?”

They groaned.

Whoa. So they fell asleep at 9-ish, snoring in time with the dogs’ snoring. Even that damn chiweenie was tired. She gave up trying to wake the youngest after a few minutes and slept next to her.

Here are some of the things I Google’d while they were sleeping:

– “piano sheet music free adele someone like you”
– “b-52s love shack video”
– “freddie mercury”
– “starbucks 24 hour drive thru locations”

Starbucks is not open 24 hours in our town and I was exhausted. Drive thru closed at 11:00 pm. R’s flight does not land until 12:05 am. Yes, AM.

Yikes! It was 10:30 pm!

I recently realized that I have always had “senior moments”; they were just called “dumbass moments”. How hard could putting three sleeping kids in a car be?

The tallest one went first, still wrapped in his blanket. I realized that if he comes up to my nose in height it will be extremely difficult to maneuver his long limbs.

Then the middle went next. And finally the baby.

All strapped in. All wrapped in the blanket they fell asleep in. Yes, the car was in the garage and the garage was still closed.

Doh, gotta put the dogs in the garage.

Came back to the youngest wide awake, doing the potty dance in her carseat.

Double yikes.

Luckily she took care of business and we were off with twenty minutes to spare at SB for a delicious hot venti soy peppermint mocha, no whipped.

Only they ran out of soy milk (who is lactose intolerant? this gal) and had only enough to make a tall one so would it be alright if they made me a smaller size on the house?

Ooh la la! Thank you!

So now I am sitting in the car with the sound of three snoring children and the clickity clack of my laptop with about fifteen minutes before R lands.

Yes, I have been eating Nutter Butters like they are going out of style. I made fifty reindeer cookies and thirty-five pilgrim hat cookies so oops. (I’ll post pics soon.)

Yes, I have 25K words to write in the next 12 days.

Yes, I will probably skip Zumba tomorrow morning.

But you will not hear or read any complaints from me. This is exactly where I want to be right here at this very moment. Even if I was having a senior moment and wore flip flops instead of Uggs in 40 degree weather. Even if the oldest woke up to complain that his sister’s head kept leaning on him for twenty minutes.

If you’ll excuse me, there’s a sailor waiting for me at Terminal A…

11/15 = 5K + 50K

As you have probably guessed this month, no news means bad news! I am unapologetically behind on everything in my life. I am 8K behind on my word target goal. I have not exercised in a week and even went to… (gasp) McDonalds the other day for dinner. Tonight I updated my Facebook status and watched Glee AND New Girl instead of writing.

But oh, if these are the woes of my life, then I have no complaints whatsoever.

There is a something burning inside of me that’s keeping me going. No, it’s not my appendix bursting and ew, no, I don’t need a cream for it.

I haven’t given up on myself. I ran a little over a mile on the treadmill and walked another half a mile. In fact, I felt like a badass because I whipped off my Navy hoodie WHILE I was running. I even got my ass kicked afterward by taking Vanessa’s Zumba class.

While I haven’t been writing my novel per se, I’ve been doing a lot of outlining, asking myself questions that readers would ask, and trying to put all of my main characters in mortal danger. I don’t include those ten pages of notes in my word count. If I did it would probably add another 10K but I want these 50K words on November 30 to be 50K words that I actually want to reread and edit one day, not 50K words that I want to hide in the hard drive of my laptop.

And yes, I did have fast food the other day but I really only crave Micky D’s once a month if you know what I mean.

So yes, I’m behind but I’m not out of the race!

OMG, the 5K is in FIVE DAYS and even more nerve-wracking, more exciting, more breath-taking, and more nuts?


Nope, no complaints from me.

11/8 = 5K + 50K

I’m in the second day of a sub job. Here are signs that I am where I need to be right now:

  1. Subbing at the junior high where my kids will be going and these junior high kids are actually pretty nice. Yes, I’m shocked.
  2. Subbing PE and “powerwalked” with first period. Thirty seventh graders walked the track while I jogged behind them yelling, “If I pass you, it’s a bad sign! Don’t let an old lady beat you!” I jogged half a mile then walked another quarter of a mile. It was pretty hilarious to hear, “AAAARGH! She’s coming!” and “WHAT THE HECK? SHE’S RUNNING?!” With the two other periods, I walked two miles! Wow! Getting paid to exercise? Yes please!
  3. The second activity I had to do with each class was show an edited-for-school version of “Supersize Me”. So I admit I crave a Big Mac about once a month but the vomit scene was NOT edited out. Thank you, Morgan Spurlock, for leading me from temptation this week. No thanks to his editing team because of the part where he mentioned his groin area did not feel normal. He even said “penis”! Yeah, try being a sub for thirty junior high kids when that word gets said. (I ignored the word AND them.)
  4. Some kid asked me before class if I was the… get this… TA! Teacher’s assistant! I said, “What? As in another junior high kid?” He replied, “Yeah.” Me: “THANKS!”
  5. The other PE teachers are amazing and very helpful.
  6. One of these teachers just did the Tough Mudder up in northern California! Wow! She has one of those push-cart things because she got a cast on her leg removed but not because of the race. She had surgery the next day for a previous injury. I told her R did the race too and how I was inspired to run a 5K soon and perhaps try the Tough Mudder in a couple of years. And guess what she said… She said I should sign up anyway! She suggested to go as a team so we could all work together so how about it? Who wants to do this with me NEXT OCTOBER?



Ran half a mile without stopping.
Walked two and a half miles. Very awesome that I did this during work hours!


Still at work as of 10:15 am.
Hopefully I can get some exercise in.

It is now 8:11 pm and that’s a NOPE, I DIDN’T. Eh, I’ll go to the gym tomorrow.



Did some research for my novel.
Actual research too not “Hey, let’s play on the NaNo forums” or “Maybe I’ll see
what my friends on Facebook are eating for lunch”.

Did not write because I felt like vegging in front of “How I Met Your Mother” for a couple minutes and went to bed early.


Filling out a “Fantasy World Building” survey to work on background. Last March I wrote a fifteen page manuscript before a SCBWI conference and paid to have someone critique my work. Great experience and feedback, which included that I should work on the characters and world a little more.

When you sit down and write realistic fiction (or a blog about your life for that matter), everything is implied. The world is the same. We share a lot of the same experiences, a few of us may even share the same lifestyle. The first year I participated in NaNoWriMo, I wrote a silly novel about a military spouse raising her kids while
her husband was deployed. Big stretch, I know. If you need more info, I write
another post, right?

But when it comes to creating a whole world complete with complex characters that need a driving force to keep the story moving forward, I have found that I cannot cut corners. And that my friends, is what I’ve been doing.

I can’t just have a few characters that talk to me and throw them into some random place. They (and my novel) will just wander around aimlessly with nothing to do.

Hence, my need to research and invest more time into building a foundation where these characters will be able move, act, and battle evil until the words… “THE END”.

I hope I reach those two words in the next twenty-two days!

11/6 = 5K + 50K

I subbed last week for the first time in a couple of weeks. While I am happy to be subbing, how quickly I grow accustomed to living the stay-at-home life though it was not pretty because the oldest was getting over the dreaded stomach flu.

I initially thought his stomach pains last Thursday stemmed from him refusing to use the restroom.

“Um, why didn’t you go to the bathroom?”

“I didn’t want to use my tickets. Unused tickets go into the raffle on Friday.”

“Hmmm. And you had how many?”


Seriously? This boy could not spare one itty bitty ticket to take care of business? Also, he is his father’s son; the number of frozen bean and beef burritos in the freezer fell by half in the past twenty-four hours.

Perhaps he exceeded the allotted number of frozen burritos in a twenty-four hour period.

Or perhaps not.

The next morning, he had a fever and numerous trips to the restroom. [Yes, I am aware that one day when he’s not much older, he’ll read this post and be very embarassed.] Needless to say, he stayed home from school and being three days from Halloween, I’m sure he willed his body to heal as soon as possible.

So back to work I went and Friday’s job was particularly nice in that my middle child’s teacher asked me to sub. I was wary about taking the job, not because of her students or teaching style, but because I was A’s girl scout leader last year and that was a bit of a disaster. I can’t say I blame her. I mean, if you spent the last two years hanging out with one of your besties, how could you be expected to sit still and learn a couple hours a month in addition to school? She constantly demanded my attention and whined when she didn’t get it. Though we still make plans with her friends today, we had to drop girl scouts.

Surprisingly, she did none of those things on Friday. She did not raise her hand to say “I LOVE YOU” or try to hug me during instruction. She did great!

Speaking of working, it is a great feeling to be requested but a bummer when I have to turn down work for various reasons, stomach viruses included. While it is nice to sub at my kids’ school, I look forward to visiting other schools, learning other teaching methods, and taking pictures of bulletin boards I’d love to recreate one day. Tomorrow I begin a two day job at… wait for it… a junior high! Physical education at that! I’m already planning which velvety jog suit I’m going to wear and refraining from wearing my Prince concert tee underneath. I have no idea what to expect but what a hilarious sign to boost me through this 5K training.



Did not feel like packing up the kids into the car and driving to the gym to run on a treadmill. Still have the memory of my last experience on a treadmill in which a woman picked the treadmill next to me of all the other EMPTY treadmills in the gym, mind you.

And if that weren’t enough, she ran fast. And was half my size. And I know without a doubt that it was not her intention to intimidate or scare or “show off” next to me. That was of my own insecure mind’s creation all on it’s own. I know that.

But not then. Not at that very moment.

I felt like a marshmellow with legs. A smelly, sweaty mess that breathes too loud and runs too slow. Then I start questioning my pace, forgetting the pace I’m comfortable with. And that’s when the injuries start.

Ooh, almost landed weird on my foot. Which causes me to overcorrect which causes a slight sprain in the other knee.

Oy. When did it become so exhausting? I will be sure to ask my brain next time it’s on.

Decided to challenge myself by running with the dog. Middle child decided to tag along at the last minute on her scooter. It was NOT an easy run and could not keep a steady pace for obvious reasons:

1. My dog does not run in a straight line.
2. My dog did not “go” before we left.
3. My dog likes to chase people when they walk by. Well, not so much “chase” and “smell”.
4. My daughter had an issue with her back wheel. And then didn’t. And then did.
5. Did I mention my dog doesn’t run in a straight line?

We ended up doing a couple of miles but I felt really good afterward. A got a few good sprints out of me, that quick little kid. My goal was to run three days and ten miles a week. I was a bit shy in mileage this week but I think this conversation makes up for it.

On our way back, I said to A, “Thanks for coming with me.”

She said, “Thanks for inviting me. I just didn’t want you to be TOO alone.”

“Wow, that’s really nice of you,” I said. “Thanks!” And I gave her a hug.

Then she added, “Also, I didn’t want zombies to get you.”


And the race to catch up begins…

Expected Word Count for Day 4: 6666
Actual Word Count for Day 4: 5596

Expected Explanation: I couldn’t because I had to work and am behind on putting the Halloween decorations away.
Actual Explanation: None

Expected Word Count for Day 5: 8333
Actual Word Count for Day 5: 6022

Expected Explanation: I couldn’t because I had to finish laundry and took the kids to the bookstore for the first time since Borders closed. Also one of my best friends came over to hang out and we were going to have a write-in at my house.
Actual Explanation: None
What Actually Happened: We ate the kids’ Halloween candy and talked about Kim Kardashian.

Expected Word Count for Day 6: 10K
Actual Word Count for Day 6: 8502

…but I put all three kids to bed BEFORE 7 pm. Thank you Daylight Savings Time! Also my goal is to get 10K words before I go to bed, hopefully in the next two hours!


11/3 = 5K + 50K (or Wicked)

The best song lyric to describe what I’ve been feeling lately is from a musical I’ve never seen but worship the lead in everything she does, including her recent stint on Glee.

Idina Menzel, the goddess herself, sang, “Something has changed within me. Something I can’t explain.”

Our family goes through a depression whenever there is a huge adjustment. How effortless it was to get used to having R home when he was in recovery. How quickly we were at ease when we came home for a couple weeks in July for L’s birthday. How excited we will be when he’s home for a week this month.

Alas, there can be no rainbow without clouds. Or rain for that matter. [Note: There is a blog I follow called Rain into Rainbows. Give me 24 hours to figure out once again how to post the link. :)]

I recognized that a few weeks ago.

Last month I found a book called “Simple Abundance” at a used book booth at our parish festival. Flipping through it, I saw there was a brief essay for every day of the year and I thought, “Hmmm. Why not?”

I forgot about that book that I bought for two dollars until I decluttered my room. My room that included clothes the children outgrew, toys that were salvageable, and too many teaching aids. All intended for Goodwill, mind you.

That night I opened the book and read a handful of essays, one of which described keeping a gratitude journal. I remember a few episodes when Oprah talked about keeping that sort of journal but never did.

Until now.

When I remember and am not exhausted out of my mind, every evening I write down five things I am grateful for in my gratitude journal, summarize the highs and lows of my day in a few sentences, and read/reflect on one of the daily meditations from “Simple Abundance”. I can say with utmost certainty that I experience a deep, restful sleep those evenings.

Since starting the journal, I feel like I slow down, purposefully looking for things I can be and am grateful for, and living with purpose. The other day when R blew out a tire and had to pay over a hundred dollars to replace it, I listened. Didn’t bitch and moan about the cost, about how much we have (or haven’t got) in our bank account, about something that happen to anyone at any time. I was grateful that it happened on base and no one got hurt.

Would I have had that reaction last month? Who knows? I do know that I don’t waste another moment of my life taking anyone or anything for granted.

Keeping a journal is not everyone. So I beg the question, what rituals center you?



I did not make it to the gym as you can see by the pics above. I’m not beating myself up over it. I’m not going to feel guilty either. The weather has dropped at least twenty degrees without warning. But I suppose fall weather doesn’t need any warning because it’s fall. Luckily my personal goal is to jog ten miles a week. Did I forget to share that? Anyhoo, I’m almost up to seven miles this week and I have the weekend to catch up. Tomorrow is Friday, glorious Friday, in which I have a sub job in… wait for it… my middle daughter’s class. Should be interesting, fun, exciting, scary, nerve-wracking, hair-pulling, and Starbucks-inducing all at the same time.

Luckily I’ve got most of a peppermint mocha in the fridge for tomorrow. I have found that while I still have a healthy (for a six foot tall man) appetite, there are less voracious moments. I’m not sure how to explain that. I am definitely a stress eater, particularly when it comes to matters of the heart, the kids, my husband, etc. When I have these moments, I feel empty and the only thing that can temporarily satiate those hungry-for-anything-but-food moments is when I’ve stuffed myself full with food I cannot recall. So yes, it exists but not with the frequency and faux appetite that it once was.

Huh. Highly profound at 10:30 in the evening. I suppose that’s what happens when I limit my Red Vine intake from a handful to… (gasp) two.



I brought my laptop fully charged to my sub job this morning in case I had free time.

And I did!

Signs that I knew it was going to be a productive writing day:

1. this particular classroom had a wonderful and talented special education aid who really knew these kids and helped me immensely! I thanked her profusely and asked her why I even bothered to come to work. Yes, she was that good. No, I was not offended that she took charge over some activities.

2. this particular school had a minimum day and had dismissal over two hours earlier than a regular school day.

3. this particular school office had nothing for me to do after the kids were dismissed. Yes, I asked because technically I am supposed to be there until 3 pm and I’ve gotten to know which schools are sticklers for that rule which I do not oppose at all. I just try to avoid sub jobs at those schools, lol!

4. my friend agreed to pick up my kids and let them play at her house with her kids for an hour or so.

5. there was not a long line at the grocery store because the worse possible time to figure out when you’ve run out of milk is in between bowls of cereal. Yikes!

6. my peppermint mocha was served in a the signature red cup. Ahhhh… fall is here.

Expected Word Count for Day 3: 5,000
Total Word Count for Day 3: 5,458