Running, Sweet girls

Another running injury

For a decade now, I have identified myself as a runner.

I’m not a crossfitter or a cyclist or a walker – I am a runner. I run. I have shoes specifically designed to run. I have a running partner who apparently is as crazy as I am because she and I like to run at 5 a.m. in my pitch-black dark neighborhood.

Running, like any type of exercise, has its own community and own sense of words – fartlek, PR, intervals. How’d you do in your last half marathon? Oh, I made it in right under 2 hours – and you, as a runner, know what that means. You as a non-runner can understand a bit, but a runner who hears that knows if that halfie runner is faster or slower than you. You know the amount of time and effort that went in to prepping for that half marathon. You know how limp that person’s legs must feel right now – they feel like gelatin.

For the past three weeks, I have not been able to run.

It started mid-January, when I hopped on an athletic club’s treadmill and started to run. Immediately, I felt a sharp, unyielding pain in my right knee. It was not some random pain or one that I thought I could ignore. I sometimes, to Kyle’s chagrin (and probably most medical professionals’), “play through the pain,” but I couldn’t this time.

There happened to be a trainer nearby, so I asked him his thoughts. He, as politely as he could, suggested that it could be that I hadn’t warmed up. I tried hard not to scoff, as I never warm up (which, of course, may be a problem, but I digress).

He also suggested tendonitis.

I tried warming up. I walked for five minutes. My knee didn’t hurt at all walking, but the moment I started running, the pain returned.

So I stopped.

Last week, I actually went to see a PT, who also determined that I have extremely weak hips, which could be adding pressure to my knees. Therefore I started hip strengthening exercises.

So for the last three weeks, I’ve rowed a little on a rowing machine. I’ve done the elliptical. I’ve lifted weights. I’ve done Zumba. I’ve done everything that hasn’t made my knees hurt.

I haven’t run.

Running has always been the easy exercise, the one I could burn 300 calories in 30 minutes and add a piece of cheesecake to eat after dinner. I could burn 500 calories in under an hour. But – only running is not good. This is coming from a self-identified runner, too. I’ve always known I needed to cross train, to participate in other activities. But I haven’t because it’s just been easier to run.

Now that’s come back and bitten me in the rear.

I’m trying to enjoy other exercises. I like running on my lunch break. I like doing Zumba on the TV in my bedroom. I love rowing (go figure). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing something different and not feeling the pressure of getting a certain mileage in every week because I physically cannot right now.

But I do so miss running.



Parenting, Sweet girls

Blood and guts

The Artist may end up as a doctor…or the next Stephen King.

Earlier this month, Kyle had a minor surgery. I say minor, but he did have 12 staples and was home a couple of days recovering. So minor – but it was still surgery.

We let TA know about the surgery, that Daddy would not be able to play around for a while, etc. Especially that first day, even though he would be home with us, TA, her sister, and I needed to let him rest. Then we would see how things progressed throughout the week. TA was relieved that Kyle wouldn’t have to spend the night in the hospital, and the first day she was gentle and kind, and every morning she would ask, “How are you feeling today, Daddy?” Kyle quickly recovered and started walking around the house, and we took his gauze off, revealing 12 staples. Because we know how TA loves blood, guts, and gore, we decided to show her.

His staples absolutely fascinated her.

But then – she wanted to take them out.

As in – she wanted to be at the doctor’s office when they were removed so she could take them out herself. Because what 5-year-old wouldn’t want to do that?

This is nothing new for TA, though. Kyle is a Type I diabetic, and he has an insulin pump and a sensor to track his blood sugar. TA loves to watch him put in new pumps and sensors. She loves watching him check his blood sugar with a stick, when that occasionally occurs. When her baby sister has a cut or a scrape, she wants to check it out, wipe it down with alcohol, and slap a band-aid on it.

So, again – her desire to take the staples out – it was just her.

The day Kyle got his staples out, I picked TA up from school, and she asked, “Did Daddy get his staples out today?”

“Well…he should be at the doctor’s office now.”

“CALL HIM! CALL HIM CALL HIM!” she urged. “I want him to bring them home!”

“Bring what home?!”

“The staples!”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. My dainty fairy artist wanted her father to bring his post-surgery staples home.

I called Kyle up and told him her request.

“Yeah, she told me about that this morning,” he said, laughing. “Tell her I will do what I can.”

And, of course, you know he brought those staples home to her.

That evening, right before dinner, Kyle handed the staples in a plastic bag to TA.

Her eyes lit up like it was Christmas all over again. She jumped up and down, squealed, and then ran to her room. In a couple of moments, she came back and said, “Come here! Come here! I have to show you something!”

We went in her room and saw her accomplishment. TA has a “special things” section in her room, on top of her dresser.

Right beside a covered red rose toy from “Beauty and the Beast” and a photo of her and Disney princess Belle, she had placed the plastic bag of staples.


celebrations, Parenting, Sweet girls

Christmas toys

Happy December!

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m pretty ready for Dec. 25 when I can pull out all the toys I’ve hidden around my house. The girls are getting older now – and much more agile – and it’s getting harder and harder to hide their gifts. We’ve been storing most of them in Kyle’s car, though I do have some in the closet where they can’t reach.

As they also can’t read – or at least can’t access the Internet and this blog, I thought I would share what our little Engineer and Artist are getting for Christmas. I always look to other parents to see what they’re getting their kids so I can get some ideas, so I thought I’d share what we bought the kids Thanksgiving night while lying in bed in pjs and watching Netflix (which is the only way to shop this time of the year).

Both of the girls are into “Paw Patrol” and “Puppy Dog Pals,” but The Artist also loves her American Girl doll, Mary Ellen. In her letter to Santa, she specifically asked for a car for Mary Ellen (In case you were like me and did not know until recently, please be aware there is a Target brand for American Girl — Santa has a budget!!) and a Skye (“Paw Patrol”) doll.


So, yes, she received both of those — and The Engineer will receive a Skye doll too, because we don’t want to deal with her stealing Big Sister’s doll. Because it will happen otherwise.


Both kids also received mermaid tail blankets with reverse sequins – reverse sequins have been a BIG deal for The Artist for a year now. She loves them. They also love cuddling in blankets and watching TV, so I thought these would be practical, too. And, yes, both got the same color blanket – again, not fighting over colors this year.

Speaking of colors – each kid got a big box of crayons, too. We go through crayons like Kleenex at our house. The girls color and draw every day, and we have gone through a big box of crayons since school started this fall. So I figured two huge boxes would help for this coming spring.

The Engineer (again, she is two), has the Paw Patrol Lookout Tower, which will be probably just slightly shorter than she is. She’s going to be so excited – so will The Artist. I can totally see them both playing with this a lot during break.


The Engineer also received a new pair of shoes, because she desperately needs some, a Paw Patrol Look and Find Book, and a Skye hat because her hats are too small. We don’t usually wear hats in Louisiana during winter, but we’ll have about a week of super cold weather, so she’ll need a hat then.

The Artist (who is five) also received a pair of shoes, which are needed, a new church dress (also needed), and a book on how to draw fairies and mermaids.


We try to get the kids four big gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. We succeeded for these four, and then they’ll receive small stocking stuffers as well, like nail polish, stamps, and candy canes – or mermaid tail blankets and colors, ha!

Lastly, too, we have the kids pick out a gift for each other – so in a few weeks, I’ll take The Artist shopping to get her sister a gift and then The Engineer will “pick” out a gift for her sister. It’ll probably be hair ribbons. Girl needs some new bows.

What are your kids getting for Christmas?

celebrations, Food, Sweet girls

Halloween food

We moved the summer of 2015 into our new home. We took our outdoor cat, our indoor dog, and our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to a new house in a new neighborhood with new traditions.

One of these was the annual neighborhood Halloween party and trick-or-treating. I was so excited. For the first time, The Artist was old enough to actually trick-or-treat and understand the concept.

I bought her a “My Little Pony” Pinkie Pie costume. She wore her old Anna from “Frozen” costume instead. All the kids in the neighborhood loaded up for a hayride and community trick-or-treating.

The Artist had a blast. A BLAST. She was the youngest trick-or-treater, but she worked so hard to keep up on her short little legs. The moment she was sitting back with me in the trailer she would immediately dive her hands into her candy bag and start sugaring up.

With the other kids being older, sometimes, if the houses were close together, they would go to two houses at one stop, and the trailer would just move up to the next house. The Artist, however, was the youngest and slowest, so I tried to help her by carrying her. She saw the trailer moving away and thought it was leaving us behind. She ran as fast as those short, toddler legs would go, yelling, “No! Wait! Please!” She was channeling her inner Anna (from the scene where Elsa runs away), and I absolutely died out laughing.

We trick-or-treated for hours that evening, and close to our house, The Artist was feeling the effects of being up late and eating too much candy. Kyle took her to a house very close to ours. She apparently had a wet pull-up that was uncomfortable, so she decided to strip it off, throw it in our neighbor’s yard, and continue on trick-or-treating.

Kyle carried her and the wet pull-up two houses down to our house and to her bed.

The next year, I had a newborn, so she and Kyle went solo trick-or-treating, and last year we just walked up and down the hills on our street in the very appropriate misty fog. The Engineer was old enough to trick-or-treat this time, and she loved it. She couldn’t believe she could just walk up to people, hold out her little pumpkin, and people would give her candy. Frankly, I’m generally surprised with this concept, too.

We all love the Halloween season. Every time The Engineer sees a pumpkin, she yells out, “Pumpkin! Happy Halloween!” It is precious. The Artist has drawn about a hundred Halloween pictures – she very much wants to go trick-or-treating dressed as a witch. And because we love celebrating the end of the week during the fall season, this last Friday we had a Halloween dinner consisting of ghosts bananas, pumpkin oranges, kitty cat cheese, and spider donuts. You know, super healthy stuff.

For the ghosts, I used mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth. I peeled cutie oranges and used celery for the stem of the “pumpkins.” And the cheese was the easiest – in fact, for The Artist’s birthday this year, a friend gave us 101 cookie cutters, so we can do pumpkins, cats, bats, and ghosts like this (Because The Engineer has a love for cats and pumpkins, I am sending her to school this week with cheese quesadillas shaped like pumpkins and cats.).

The spiders were easy, too, but instead of trying to push the M&Ms into the chocolate, I would suggest adding a little chocolate icing for the eyes.

And, even though the dinner wasn’t full of all the food groups, it sure was colorful and fun.




Parenting, Sweet girls


There are times in our lives when we see someone else doing something and we think, “Why didn’t we think of that??” These are life hacks – like using an empty toilet paper roll as an iPhone speaker or using nail polish to identify different keys (this works unless you use cheap polish, btw). But this short list is specifically for Mom hacks. Some are original (such as the dog one), but some are from other amazing moms who are working to hack this life as best as they can. Cheers to you, Mom hackers – I toast to you!

  1. Spinach popsicles

I have blogged about how I get my kids to eat their veggies, and this is 100 percent still the case. I have found out, though, that fresh spinach works better than canned (which smells like dog puke — just being honest) and my new handy Ninja blender is amazing. I’m sure the Vitamix is swell, too, but it would have broke the bank.

  1. Paying my children

The Artist recently started getting paid for various good deeds, such as staying in her room after bedtime, getting on the good colors at school, and cleaning her room. I also have determined this works well on weekends. I pay her a quarter every Saturday and Sunday to entertain her sister until 8 a.m. Mommy and Daddy get up, drink their coffee, and get dressed before the kids are even out of the bedroom. I also pay her to clean her sister’s room. No shame here.

  1. Laundry baskets in the tub

I think my friend Sommer did this with one of her boys, and when I saw the picture, my mouth dropped. WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA. When you have a baby who isn’t quite ready to be on his/her own in the tub, put the child in a laundry basket in the tub. The Engineer LOVED this. She thought it was the coolest thing ever, and so did I.

  1. Bathing the dogIMG_2191

Speaking of baths, the other night I put the girls in the tub with Vicki, our Chihuahua, and told them to bathe Vicki. They LOVED it. Vicki did not, but that’s okay. She smelled a lot better with some Johnson & Johnson’s.

  1. Cleaning with thieves

My kids think it’s super fun to clean. They do a really poor job wiping things down, but I don’t care. They’re learning, and at least that one stone square on the floor is quite sparkly. But The Engineer also likes to put everything – let me repeat, everything – in her mouth. I can’t give her a Clorox wipe! But I can give her a towel dipped in Thieves cleaner. So if she puts it in her mouth, it’s not so bad. Not great, but better than if she ate the Clorox. My friend Kelsey is a YL consultant, so if you’re interested, let her hook you up!

So those are five of my @momhacks. Feel free to share yours! We all need a little help surviving and thriving in this parenting life.