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Be Still My Heart

18 Jul

I cannot tell you how much joy this picture brings me.

swim meet

This is my daughter, who at 18 months developed a crippling fear of the water. With swimming being my favorite hobby and sport, I can’t tell you how frustrating this was for me. She would literally get into the fetal position and cry like she was dying when I put her in the pool at that age.

What she didn’t know is that I am one stubborn Mamma. I was not going to allow for my child to be afraid of the water. My daughter would love the water, I pledged.

It took years of work. I found that she was mainly hysterical when I tried to teach her to swim, so I signed up for pricey swim lessons despite the fact that I had taught swim lessons myself for many years.

I kept exposing her to the water, and eventually, she fell in love with it. This past year, I decided she was ready for swim team. She passed try outs with flying colors, and has been absolutely in love with swimming and swim team this entire summer.

She has participated in two meets, and I tell you, it’s like a dream come true for me. There were many days I doubted that my daughter would develop an affinity for the sport of swimming. But she has. She is good at it, and more importantly, she loves it.

Being at the swim meet, I am in my element. I know exactly where she needs to be and when for her races. I know about how much time we have in between events so that I can take her into the adjacent indoor pool to have her practice a few skills. I am able to coach her. (This is in stark contrast to when she did gymnastics last year, as that is WAY outside my element.) Being at the meets and working with her makes me remember how much I truly enjoyed coaching. And now I have my own little swimmer who eagerly awaits my coaching.

I don’t know how long this will last. I don’t know how serious she’ll be about swimming. But for now, I love that our free time can be spent together at the pool, where she listens to my instruction, and respects my knowledge as a swimmer. I love how my chest swells with pride as I see her step up to the blocks, and how she smiles when she hears me cheering for her. Swimming was so good for me as a child. It taught me discipline, exercise, nutrition, goal setting and gave me a great network of friends. Here’s to hoping that my daughter will have the same experience.

I Think I Deserve a Medal

2 Jul

This past week, I survived the longest trip I’ve even attempted with the kiddos…  We had a 13 hour trip (a red-eye nonetheless) to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean, with a 21 hour return trip.

TWENTY ONE HOURS, PEOPLE.

Seriously, isn’t there a medal for that? That included a SEVEN HOUR LAYOVER in Miami.  SEVEN HOURS!

I got my kids to sleep on a two hour layover in LAX at 10pm at night.

 

LAX

My husband had said, “there is no way you’ll get them to sleep in an airport.”

He then walked away to go to the restroom, and upon his return, he saw both kiddos snuggled up to their pillow pets with eye masks on and ear plugs.  I swear I could have puffed out my chest and pumped my fists in victory.

I also got them VIP access to the cockpit.  Perhaps the flight crew took pity on me, but this was super cool.

driving a plane

driving a plane 2

But in all seriousness, the trip was AMAZING.  No, AMAZEBALLS.

We gathered all 14 of the extended members of my family at Turks and Caicos to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my parents.

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FIFTY YEARS!  Wow, as much as I may joke that I deserve a medal for surviving a long trip with my kiddos, seriously, isn’t there a medal for making it to your 50th wedding anniversary?!  My parents have set a wonderful example of loving unconditionally and how to raise a family with love, warmth, high expectations and values.  It was an honor for me to bring my little family together with the rest of our clan to celebrate this amazing accomplishment.

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The Beaches resort in Turks and Caicos was first class with amazing customer service.  They had a private beach with reefs within a short swim, and white sandy beaches and turquoise waters that are the perfect temperature.  It is my happy place.  I could have totally gone AWOL and stayed forever.

The resort also had a water park that was fun for all 6 of the grandchildren and all of the adults.  I can’t tell you how entertaining it was to watch my mom do water slides and my dad do the lazy river!

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for teaching me how to love and how to raise a family, and for this amazing vacation!  We will never forget it, and are still glowing from the experience!

 

 

Run or Dye… Or Wait Until You Die…

3 Jun

Color Run

On Saturday, I took Little Man along with me to meet up with one of my best friends and her to kids to do Run or Dye at the University of Nevada, Reno campus.  This was our second color run.  We did Color Me Rad in the Fall, when I attempted to have my daughter run, but ended up with her running out of steam at about mile 2, and I had to kick the 3 year old out of the stroller and onto my back so that I could push my daughter.  Hefting 100 pounds of kids isn’t my idea of fun, so I told my daughter she couldn’t do another 5K with me until she trained…  Which she chose not to do.

Anyway, I digress.  I was excited to run the 5K, as I haven’t run one since my knee injury, and the UNR course is hilly, so I knew it’d be challenging.  We arrived 15 minutes prior to start time, and I hurried to adjust my laces and get my son strapped into the stroller.  We lined up, and everyone was happily throwing colored powder at each other, which was mildly entertaining.  And we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  At one point, my friend said, “I think they’re letting 10 people go at a time.”  She wasn’t far off.

We ended up having to wait with our kids (two 3 year olds and one 1 year old) for almost 2 hours.  It was ridiculous.  And have you ever tried waiting with three young kids standing in the hot sun without any food or entertainment for them?  Torture.  It was so bad that my friends were ready to bail after waiting 1.5 hours.

When we FINALLY got to start running, I was amazed at the people who only ran about 100 yards.  I’ve always had a rule with myself that I won’t do a 5K run unless I can run the entire time without stopping.  But the culture around 5K runs has changed in recent years.  99% of the people tend to walk, and they walk slowly, spreading out all across the course with no regard to having slow people stay on the right.  It was challenging for me to maneuver the jogging stroller around all of the walkers, and I had fun telling my son, “look how fast your Mom is!” as I tore past all those walkers.  I had him convinced by the end of the race that he had a “sports car stroller” and we “won” the race together.  It was also an ego boost for me as I ran past all the high school and college students.  I heard one young guy complaining about a hill as he walked up it.  I ran by him saying, “yeah, try pushing 45 pounds up this hill!”

 

Color Run 2

 

Anyway, we headed straight from the run to the outdoor pool, which was our first pool outing of the summer.  Let the warm weather activities begin!  I had so much fun swimming with the kiddos this weekend, and am excited to see how much they will progress in the pool!

For those of you contemplating a color run, I would recommend Color Me Rad over Run or Dye.  Run or Dye was a disorganized mess if you ask me!

 

Living the Dream

14 Mar

I’ve wanted to be a write my entire life.  I have notebooks full of short stories and poems that I wrote when I was in middle school and high school.

I briefly thought about majoring in English, but my family encouraged me to choose a career path with better outlook for a solid career.  Which was great advice.  But as I climb this ladder in a business career, it seems to take me more and more away from the creative writing that just comes naturally to me and makes me happy.

This time last year, a good friend of mine self published a children’s book.  Just around that time, my daughter built a leprechaun trap that was really a  “cozy home”.  When I asked her what she’d do if she caught a leprechaun, she said “I’d wish for fairies” without hesitation.

That is when it hit me — I am living with these kids with awesome imaginations, and instead of struggling to write the next great American novel, I could start writing children’s books.  That is where Louie the Leprechaun was born.

I found that I would write, get stuck, and then read it to my daughter and her friends, asking them what should happen next.  They’d give me a few nuggets, and I would use their inspiration to complete the story.

The entire time I have been writing this past year, I have felt energized and just plain excited.  I get visions of what future books could be, and love talking it over with kids to get their ideas.

This week has been exciting and a bit terrifying for me.  I’ve been doing a book tour of local elementary schools, and also sent out press releases to the local newspaper, and there was an announcement about my books made at work.  It has felt a bit like walking around in my day to day life naked.

I don’t know why I’ve always felt so private about this dream.  When my closest friend in Reno got my email announcing the books were published, she wrote back and said, “I never knew you wanted to be an author.”

But what I’m learning is the more people I tell about this little venture, the more I feel accountable to make it happen.  I’m also learning that there is a heck of a lot more to the whole process than just publishing a book…  Anyone can get a book up on Amazon, but it takes a lot of effort and creativity to actually sell the books.

At this point, I’m just trying to break even on my little venture, but I see so much potential.  Reading at the schools has been so rewarding…  The kids treat you like a rock star, and have been so excited by the story of Louie the Leprechaun.

Even if this little effort of mine doesn’t amount to much, I think it is setting such a valuable example for my daughter (my son is just a bit too young right now to fully understand what is going on).  She has been a part of the process from the beginning — hearing my drafts, giving me ideas, and now she gets to see me promote the books, and tomorrow I’m doing readings at her school to up to eighty (yes 80!!!!) kids at a time.

I like to think I’m teaching her to follow her passions and her dreams, and to do everything she can to make those dreams a reality.  I’m teaching her how to make a little business — a bit about marketing, and how there are costs at starting this up.  When she saw that an order form had been sent home to every student at her school, she said, “Mom, you’re going to be rich!”

I took that opportunity to explain to her that these books surely won’t make me rich, but we’re trying to sell as many as possible to cover my costs, and then donate some of our proceeds to charity.  The rest of the proceeds will be put towards the making of future books.

I was invited to an open house at an elementary school on Tuesday, and since it was in the evening, I packed up my kiddos.  We set up a table (using her leprechaun house, the books and bookmarks to decorate), and the kids helped me hand out bookmarks and talk to people about the books.

Who needs Girl Scouts to teach business skills?!  Instead of having my daughter sell highly processed cookies that practically everyone feels obliged to buy anyway, I’m teaching her how to pitch someone on something they’ve never heard about, and giving her the confidence to go up and approach people about our books — something we are very proud of.

At least that is my plan.  Anyway, it has been a great, yet an exhausting week.  For the first part of the week, I was deathly afraid that I’d be stuck with the $500 of hard copy books I ordered.  But you know what?  Things are picking up speed…  I think I may just sell all of those books.  And that is a good thing.  A really GOOD thing!

Visit www.adelinesmagicalmoments.com to read more about my books.

Here is a picture of Little Miss helping me sell books and handing out bookmarks.

selling books

A Valentine For My Past Self

14 Feb

I read a great article on the Huffington Post yesterday about a woman writing a letter to her past self regarding Valentine’s Day. I thought it was such a great idea that I’m writing one to myself.

This is the recipient intended for this note:

old school

Dear 16 Year Old Lynnette,

Happy Valentine’s Day! I can’t remember this specific Valentine’s Day for you, but I remember this holiday used to be a BIG DEAL for you. There was always excitement that you’d receive a surprise Valentine, or that the current boy of interest would get romantically inspired for the big day.

It often didn’t work out that way. I remember many Valentine’s Days where you pined away, just dreaming of the time in your life where you will have a Valentine, and imagining those days as romantic, with candlelight dinners, chocolate, flowers, and yes, perhaps some jewelry or poetry.

You will have Valentine’s Days where you get sweet sentiments from guys that are just NOT very exciting for you, and there will be a few Valentine’s Days with unrequited efforts, where you will be utterly depressed.

Do you know who your best Valentine of all times will be? Your Mom. There is a woman that remembered you every year, and gave you quite the care packages even when you lived far from home. There was also your Dad, who brought you one flower every Valentine’s Day, but the fact that you knew you could rely on that one flower each year you lived at home with him is a special memory for you now.

So what are your Valentine’s Days like now that you have that permanent Valentine? Not at all like you imagined. Your Valentine is proud that he isn’t a “sucker for that marketing scam”, and he doesn’t see much of a need for romantic gestures after making that one huge gesture of marrying you. But hey, he’s there, he’s opening a special bottle of wine, and you aren’t going to be lonely.

What is really special about the Valentine’s Days of your future, though, is your kids. Like your daughter, who made you multiple Valentines, and professes her love for you daily. The same girl that dressed in a tutu, heart tights, a heart shirt, and 80s style pink gloves for the occasion. And then there is your son, who isn’t sure he wants to give away his Transformer Valentines, and is covered in the Transformer tattoos and heart stickers that came with the Valentines he picked out at the store.

The Valentine’s Day of your future is busy, but fun, and not nearly as romantic and dreamy as you imagined, but much more sustainable and real.

So keep smiling, and rest assured that you’ll have to spend a lot less time on your hair in the future, and know that the dress you’re wearing in that picture will be the last hand-sewn dress your Mom will make for you because you will complain about it too loudly. You should just bite your tongue and realize what a treasure those handmade dresses really are.

Love,

Future Self

valentines day

And I’m Back…

22 Jan

ImageTap, tap, tap…  Is this thing on?  Well, I went and did it again…  Neglected my poor blog for 2 months.  I don’t feel that bad, though.  Next month, my blog will be celebrating its 11th anniversary, so honestly, in the grand scheme of things, if I drop off for a few months, it’s not that big of a deal.  Sure, I probably lost 2 of my 5 readers, but I’ll get you back!

So, December pretty much reached out, swallowed me up and spit me out the first week of January.  I started off the month recovering from a surgical procedure, which meant I was blessed to have my Mom come out and be my nursemaid for almost a week.  It was great getting to spend so much time with her and to eat the amazing meals she cooked for our family! 

So after Mom left, I went back to work, had to catch up from being gone, and once I was caught up, it was holiday prep time full steam.  Over the holidays, I had 9 days of visitors, including my entire side of the family and half of my husband’s side of the family. 

Add on top of that great snow conditions in the mountains, and our little family has been sneaking up to the mountains to ski every opportunity we can get.  My daughter started ski team earlier this month, which she absolutely LOVES and has done wonders for her skiing skills and confidence.  Our three year old son, Little Man, has been hot and cold with skiing — one day ripping it up, and the next day collapsing in tears.

I’ve made my way back to the expert hills and moguls, after recovering from my knee injury, which happened two years ago tomorrow.  My knee feels awesome, and my next goal is to return to the steeps…  I have to admit I’m still afraid to fall, so doing moguls without a really steep slope has been my groove lately.  The hubby and I are skiing in Utah next month, so hopefully by then I’ll be back to the steeps.  It’s either that or get left in the dust by the hubby on our “romantic ski vacation”. 

Who am I kidding?  Ski vacations with my husband are full-on athletic and endurance events, followed by hot tubbing and collapsing into bed at night. 

But besides all that, I have been making great progress on my biggest goal lately, which is my children’s book series.  I finished two books, complete with an editor’s edits.  I’m working on my third book, so I now need to start thinking about my marketing and distribution strategy.  It is awesome to be making one of my bucket list items happen for me, even if it means self-publishing. 

So there you have it, back now for regular updates…  I think! 

 

Rest in Peace, Buddy

5 Dec

Shadow Dog

1997 – 2012

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We lost our dog today.  He was 15 years old, which is 105 years in human years.  He had been declining for a while, so we knew this was coming.  He took a turn for the worse overnight, and we knew that he needed to be put out of his misery today.  Shadow was a loving dog that loved our kids and never growled at them as they clamored on top of him.

I met Shadow when JB and I first started dating, and he immediately treated me as one of his family, or pack.  For several years, he was my perfect running match, as neither of us ran very fast.  Over the years, he walked with me through both my pregnancies and recoveries from C-sections, and would talk with such character when he was hungry (which was a lot).  In his younger days, he would find pieces of trash on our walks, and carry them around like they were treasures.  We always knew when he had trash in his mouth, as he got this very proud, yet sheepish look about him.

My husband had two dogs when we met, and I had one dog.  They were all large and black (one Rottweiler and two lab mixes), and we dubbed them the Black Dog Club.  It was a bit overwhelming owning 250+ pounds of dogs, but it was also a lot of fun.  It is sad to have now laid to rest the last member od the Black Dog Club.  For the first time in over 10 years, I am without a dog, and it feels very lonely.

We’ll miss you, Shadow Dog.