Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I don't typically blog about things other than my family. However, this subject (or rather, the "spirit" of this subject) got me thinking. This is not written towards any one person or any one comment so please don't take offense or send me hate mail. You have expressed your opinion, now I wish to express mine.

Many people are complaining that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is "stupid", "does not raise any awareness", "is not raising any money", "people are not donating",  etc....

Let me offer you this ... This time last year the ALS Association received $1.9 million in donations (July 29-Aug. 19). During this same time frame THIS YEAR the ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations. It seems to me that A LOT of people are not just dumping a bucket of ice over their heads. Furthermore, this increase in donation money has come from both current donors and 453,210 new donors. Again, seems like there is some awareness being raised here.

To take this one step further, let me give you the example from my own family.

One of my children was challenged by a friend in a different state via Facebook. Yes, I had to take a WHOLE 30 seconds out of my life to show him the video. Of course he didn't have a clue what ALS was, stood for or why dumping a bucket of ice over your head would help anyone. So, we went to that glorious tool called the internet. Last night both of my children learned about ALS. They learned that it affects the nerve cells in your brain and impairs your ability to control your muscles which eventually renders your muscles useless to the point of paralysis. They learned that after diagnosis, the average life expectancy is 2-5 years. They learned that ALS is not contagious. They learned that ALS does not discriminate.

Awareness and understanding. 

The entire lesson took about 5 minutes. However, it was not a lesson that I was planning on teaching that night. In fact, it had never ever crossed my mind to teach my kids about ALS. For that matter, I have probably heard the term and explanation of ALS more in the last two days than I have in the last two decades.

Awareness and understanding.

Before you throw your ice bucket to the curb and say there is no logical correlation between a bucket of ice and raising awareness, let me ask you a few questions.

Is there a correlation between raising awareness for breast cancer and a bunch of people getting together and drinking beer? No? Google Beer 4 Boobs.

What about Poker Tournaments and raising awareness of pancreatic cancer? No? Google All In For A Cure.

Have you ever seen a person wear purple to raise awareness for autism? Some might even post a photo on Facebook.

Then there's always the not so popular colon cancer campaign where you were supposed to post  picture of your booty to raise awareness.

Also the ever popular, what color is your bra? campaign for breast cancer.

Don't forget golf outings, silent auctions, bake sales, gofundme sights, races, bike rides, walks, selling t shirts, car stickers, car washes, galas....

These are all challenges in one way or another. Give more. Do more. Raise more awareness. Is it such a bad thing to have a little fun in the process?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer 2014 - Time Freedom

Every summer we make a Summer Bucket List. Some things are "big ticket" items that we already have planned (trip to Florida).  Some things are smaller ticket items that we look forward to doing as a family (Great Wolf Lodge). Other things are free (Deanna Rose) and we do them just because we love to! These are the places we've gone and things we've done this summer. I'm so EXTREMELY blessed to have this time freedom. My husband works hard so that I can stay home with our boys. It's summer days like yesterday (spending 12!!! hours at Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun with friends) that makes my heart so full.  I can't believe I get to stay home and give these two amazing summer memories with their friends and family.

My family is my WHY. I absolutely enjoy spending these summer days with the boys. Steve takes off work for our big vacations. But how amazing will it be when he has the time freedom to be able to spend these days with our boys too??

I'm working in the pockets of my life to do just that. I still get the joy (insert sarcasm here) of doing the mundane day-to-day of a house wife (laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands, etc...). But look at all the COOL things I get to do while I'm working!! While I'm out with my kids, I talk to people. That's it. That's my job. Talking to people. Sharing with them about how I intend to bring my husband into the time freedom loving life. Sharing with them about getting healthy, staying healthy and having enough energy to make all these fun memories!  In case you haven't noticed, it takes A LOT of energy to keep up with a 10 year old and an 8 year old.

We took a week long trip to Florida.

Went to Lawrence for the day.

We volunteered at the Humane Society.

Boated and boated and boated some more with great friends! 

We had lots of campfires and smores.

We went to Worlds of Fun with friends from Colorado.

And Oceans of Fun too!

Planted a garden and enjoyed peaches from our trees.

We spent a hot afternoon at the spray ground.

We spent a hot morning at the Ropes Park.

We made stepping stones for the garden.

Cam took his first sewing camp (with all these girls) and loved it!
We spent hours and hours at the pool with friends!


More hours.....

More smores!

Finished out a great baseball season!

Cam enjoyed going to the skate park.


More boating!

We went to the orchard to pick peaches and blackberries.

We spent a cool morning at Deanna Rose Farmstead.

We headed to Lego Discovery with Colorado friends!

And got to spend 3 days with them!!

Both boys attended overnight Scout Camp.

Both boys also took a computer programming camp.

We couldn't miss 7-11 FREE slushie day!

And bowling with friends.

Colin took a cooking class.

More bowling.

Visited with my Dad on July 4th!

Spent a great 4th of July with our cousins!

Went to a 4th of July Parade.

Took up slack lining.

Spent a rainy afternoon at the Nelson Art Museum.

Jumped on the trampoline!

Went to a few Royals games.

Walked around the Overland Park Arboretum.


Visited some gnomes and fairies.

Played some board games.

Went to the zoo.

Kayaked around Africa (at the zoo :-).

Completely chilled out.

Went fishing.

Went camping.

We went to Great Wolf Lodge.

What you don't see... movies, home made popscicles, firefly catching, flashlight tag, night swimming, ice cream sundaes, creating a chalk city in the driveway, going to the park, visiting Moon Marble Company, playing video games, building forts, making houses for the cat, lego building, nerf gun wars, slip n slide with friends, art camp, physics camp, baseball in the backyard...... We've had a GREAT summer!!! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Just Try!

This morning I set out for an easy (slow) 3 mile run. You probably know by now that I'm one of those strange people the actually "likes" running. It clears my head and starts my day off right. What you probably don't know is that even a 3 mile run is still hard for me. I can't seem to make that 3 miles without stopping to walk. Maybe it's psychological, maybe it's a physical barrier or maybe my body is just too conditioned to NOT run 3 miles. Whatever the case, it's been a very long time since I've been able to RUN that distance without walking some - even running at a snail's pace.

Today, I ran the WHOLE three miles! Then I ran another mile! Then I turned the corner and realized I either had to backtrack to get home (doing the math that would be an 8 mile run) or I needed to run up a fairly daunting set of hills to get home. If you live in the area, you know that the hill from Nall up 119th to Mission Rd. and then Mission Rd to 127th is a bugger!

I tried to run those hills on Saturday and stopped halfway through thinking I was going to need to call Steve to come get me. They. Kicked. My. Butt.

Well, today I  had to make it up those hills since Steve was at work. Since I didn't want to run 8 miles today, up the hills I went. I GAVE IT MY ALL AND I RAN THE WHOLE WAY!! It wasn't graceful. It wasn't pretty. At one point I flashed my sports bra at a car coming towards me since I had to wipe the sweat out of my eyes with my shirt. But I ran up those hills! I mastered every single one of them! As a bonus, I ended up running 6 miles!

I tried this same thing on Saturday... and failed. Yesterday, after having conquered my fear of water sports last Monday and getting up on the kneeboard for the first time, I tried to turn a 360 on the board ... and failed.

But I TRIED! Today I tried and succeeded. Yesterday I tried and failed. Tomorrow I might fail. Or, or might succeed. But I'm going to TRY something. I'm going to set a goal and TRY.

Don't worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try" ~ Jack Canfield

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Conquering a Fear - I Did It!

On Monday I conquered a fear. Just writing that sentence makes it sound so simple. But it was not simple. This fear was bigger than me and has been for many years. Let me explain.

When I was a kid, we had a swimming pool in our backyard. A gloriously huge, crystal blue, open 24/7, right in our backyard pool. I swam and swam and swam in that thing ... as long as there was someone else with me. If I was alone, I turned into a great big chicken! I had a ridiculous irrational fear that if I was in the deep end alone a shark would mysteriously come up through the drain and eat me. Not only that, but I thought I would drown.

There, I put it out there. My fear is out there for the whole world to read. As much as I loved the pool, the ocean and even swimming in the lake, I quaked on the inside every time I faced a body of water alone. Mix this fear in with a lot of self-doubt and you have the makings of an "I can't do it" attitude.

On Monday, I flipped the script. I literally turned my "I can't" into and "I can". We went boating with some great friends. The weather was great. The company was great. The kids were great. Steve took the day off of work and we just had some good family fun. Everyone else on the boat was reveling in all the water sports. I, however, don't do water sports but I WANTED to do watersports. See above paragraph for that explanation. ;-)

My self-doubt was in full force. I'm not strong enough. I'm not coordinated enough. I'm not brave enough. I've never done it before. A lake shark is going to hunt me down. I'm going to get a brain eating amoeba (those are REAL!). I'll pull my back out. I'll break my neck and be paralyzed. I'll drown. Get the point???

No one even asked if I was going to knee board or ski. I've never done it before so why would I do it now? My kids didn't push and prod. My husband didn't encourage me. They weren't being mean. They just know mommy doesn't do those kinds of things. Mommy is safe. Mommy is not a risk taker. Mommy doesn't "do" water sports. In fact, mommy barely does the swimming pool.

But all day long I sat there watching everyone else having a great time. I was having fun watching them but I started thinking, why can't I at least try? What's the worst that could happen? Well, the worst that could happen is that I could die.  The rope could get caught up in the motor and pull me in a chop me to pieces. However, I decided the likelihood of that happening was pretty slim. Probably the worst that could happen would be that I would fail. I wouldn't be able to get up on the board because I'm not strong enough. That's the worst that could happen. And that would be embarrassing!

But, I was with friends. Really good friends. Friends that I knew wouldn't care if I failed. As far as my family goes, I knew they would just be proud of me for trying. It's something that I knew they would never in a million years expect me to try so they wouldn't care if failed or not. I knew they would be cheering me on no matter how pathetic I looked.

So, I announced to everyone that was I going to try knee boarding. By "everyone" I mean the three other adults and 4 kids that were too busy scarfing down licorice to care about what I just said.

The next thing I knew I was in the water (BY MYSELF WITH ALL THE SHARKS AND BRAIN EATING AMOEBAS) trying to figure out how in the world I was going to get my nearly 5'10" body up on that little board going I don't even know how fast. My kids made it look easy. My husband, friends and their kids made it look easy. It's NOT easy. (Colin making it look easy.)

The first go-around it was all I could do to hang onto the board. My legs were dangling in the water like two dead fish and I just knew that shark was coming for me. I really felt defeated and told everyone in the boat that I didn't think I could do it. And I REALLY didn't think I could. My arms and hands hurt but I decided to give it one more try.

The boat started going, the board started going and I started to pull myself up. I got stuck halfway up because I couldn't figure out how to get my knees underneath me. That's sort of an important part of knee boarding. So I held on and kept calm. I tried with all my might and after what seemed like 2 hours, I got myself on the board.

Ok, great. So I was on the board and strapped in. I grabbed the rope and nearly went flying from the force. I'm not sure why I didn't realize that grabbing the rope meant that you had to engage your core strength to keep your balance, but it shocked me. Best tricep and core workout ever, by the way.

I was on. I was up. I was strapped in. I had control of the rope. Hearing everyone cheering me on from the boat, I was CERTAIN I looked like this:

I felt amazing! I had conquered a fear! Lots of the them actually! I was in the water with sharks and brain eating amoebas all by myself. I was strong enough, talented enough and brave enough to do this! The best part about the whole thing... knowing that I had just shown my kids a different side of me. An adventurous side. A risk taker side. A fun side. A fear conquering side. I always tell my kids to just "try". Try something new. Try a new food. Try out for a sport. Try a harder level of book. Try a new gymnastics move. Try the faster batting cages. Just TRY!
But I never tried. My cop out was "Mommy doesn't do those things." Yet I expected my kids to try. This time, I TRIED! I failed the first time but I went back out and TRIED! And you know what, I didn't DIE!
It's amazing how a small thing to everyone else can mean so much to someone else. My family goes out into the water like it's nothing. They ski, knee board, tube ... whatever. For me, this was a HUGE moment. It's one I won't EVER forget! It's etched in my mind forever because it's the day I really showed my family and myself  that I have courage, skill and heart.
I've told my husband that by this time next year, I want to learn how to surf. That means I have to go into the ocean where there REALLY are sharks. I REALLY could drown. Not to mention the jelly fish, sting rays, killer whales....oh my gosh what did I just get myself into?!?! But on the upside, I get a guaranteed ticket to the beach, so who cares if I die, right?!
Today I encourage you to write down your fears. Write down what scares you. What you don't have the courage, the mental, physical or emotional strength to do. And then, DIVE IN! Don't think! Just do! Before you get too scared! I did and YOU CAN TOO!
By the way, after reviewing the photos that my friend took of me out there, I guess I looked more like this. ;-) But that's ok, I CONQUERED MY FEAR!

Friday, April 25, 2014

2 Year Olds Should Run the World

To the DAD in the school parking lot this morning,,,

This morning when I dropped the boys off at school, there was a dad walking through the parking lot carrying his screaming 2 year old son like a stack of potatoes in his arms. The boy was throwing the mother of all fits. I have no idea what he was screaming about as his words were a mix of tears and sobs. The dad just kept silent and kept walking. I smiled to myself and offered him a, "You're doing a great job Dad" comment in solidarity for all the parents that have ever carried a fit throwing 2 year old to the car. His response, with a weak smile and a soft voice, "I'm doing my best."

When I came back to my car about 5 minutes later, the dad was still in the parking lot. He had made some progress by putting the boy in the car but the child was now screaming about his seat belt. That's a tough one. I remember this battle with my kids long ago. You wonder why they even think it's an option since in the last 730 days, they've never traveled in a car without a seatbelt. And yet, there's the power struggle. Short of the dad putting his knee against the child and buckling him in, the dad was in for a long wait.

I stopped at that moment and said a prayer for this dad. Whether he was just covering for one day for mom or this was his normal day job, this guy was going to need some back up. I couldn't really offer to buckle the child but I felt a huge amount of empathy for this guy. So I offered a prayer for his patience and for the son's submission.

It's hard to start your day off with a fit throwing 2 year old. Thankfully, my kids are past this stage. I can send them to their rooms, send me to my room or just take away their prized electronics (sometimes copious amounts of wine helps too).  But the stages of toddlerhood are a complicated quizzical mess. You can't reason with a 2 year old. You can't fully explain the ridiculousness of throwing an hour long fit to a 2 year old. You can't walk away and leave a 2 year old alone in the house.

I'm pretty convinced that 2 year olds should run the world. They're smart, driven and have great stamina for what they believe in. They will argue for hours because they are right. They possess an unnatural willpower that adults just don't have. They don't waver on their quick decisions (sneaking chocolate from the candy dish when you're not looking) and they can gather all the attention in the room with one loud scream. With a simple pouty face they have the world at their fingertips. They could care less what others think of them. They feel passion to their toes and let the world know it. They play hard and sleep hard and yet possess a ridiculous amount of energy to just keep going.

Yes, 2 year olds should run the world. We'd have more nap times, more candy and more playing. We'd run the day without a schedule because 1 hour at the park might just not be enough. We might not share well and always play nicely but at the end of the day, we'd all go to bed knowing that we've had a full productive day of decisions, playtime and eating with our fingers instead of utensils.

Someday, I hope a 2 year old will run the world with the same passion that they have right now! There might be some crying and fit throwing during their reign, but I bet there would also be a lot more laughter! So here's to all the two year olds out there...cheers to you my sweet little friends.

Wouldn't you want one of these boys to run the world?

Okay, maybe one of these boys instead.