Turn Around and Swim

Life | Lessons | Laughter | Love


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Mommy’s Playground

20130329-122846.jpgI’m not a fan of treadmills. First they scare me. Anything with a revolving conveyor belt that can accelerate at extremely fast speeds is just a recipe for disaster. I am way too competitive. Like this one time when I had a great pace going and the chic next to me starting inclining and raising her speed, well of course I had to keep up. I was so inclined it was like I was running up Mt. Everest.

It was all good until a giant boulder made its way towards me. Unbeknownst to me, my water bottle lost its position on the mega incline and went under foot. Needles to say little Ms. Competitive went flying into the elliptical machines. It was just all very bad. It went way too wrong. 20130402-103349.jpg

That was then and now I prefer to let nature provide the incline. When I travel off the beaten path I find gems such as these. 105 to be exact. I will climb and incline. If I fall I only land in the river. No big deal, I will just turn around and swim.

It fares much better then getting catapulted into an elliptical machine while plastic surgery man drops beads of sweat on me. He was so botoxed up he didn’t even realize he had a women entangled around his machine. Don’t blink, you might miss a flying woman. This man gave eyes wide open a whole other meaning. Umm, help me sir!

20130402-103437.jpgReally. I am over that catastrophe. Really, I am. Anyways, the farther in I go the more picturesque the scenery gets. The sun is shining bright, Spring is chirping in the air and the last bits of snow are slowing melting away. It’s a natural obstacle that forces me to hop, jump and skip over the ice. It’s my own rendition of Happy Feet without the penguin waddle. Some might beg to differ but I had the whole playground to myself so no judgments forwarded.

20130402-103413.jpgI love this route. It does present a few obstacles such as the slippery slope and raging river below. But best not just peer what lies beneath as overhead can be majestically dangerous as well. With their stunning beauty they could also cause severe injury. Therefore, I veer closer to the slope than completely beneath these beautifully crafted ice sculptures.

Perhaps by this time of the year we are all a little sick of the cool temps and snow. But having the four seasons never allows my runs to get monotonous. Even if I travel the same path, everyday it looks different. Everyday I notice something different. The sounds are different. The smell is different. The people passing by are different.

20130402-103401.jpgThe variety is the key that a treadmill in a basement or gym could not compete with. Each foot in front of the other creates its own symphony. So much so that I want to trade in the air buds. It is nice to have that iPod strapped tight to my arm while listening to my favorite running music. Yet, my footsteps and Mother Nature provide the most upbeat yet tranquil sounds that soothe my soul and rev my engine. Plus Mother Nature’s downloads are free.

The babbling creek is one of my favorites. It’s powerful but calming all in the same. I seem to run at a faster pace trying to keep up with it. I get lost in the sound and do not even realize I’ve accelerated. At one point on the path, I have to depart with it. Some days I just run through it. Like a farewell defeat. Other days, I carefully use the rocks that hinder its flow.

20130402-103333.jpgIt reminds me of life. How some days we conquer and others days we take it slow, erring on the side of caution. Using the creek’s hinders to relate to our own. One step at a time trying to carefully plan our crossing. Then there are those days we choose to not care. We plow through. Sometimes we arrive sooner and other times later. We may have a cleaner crossing one day and a messy one the next. Yet, when we depart from the rhythm of the flow, we still end up in the same place and continue to move forward.

I venture off the beaten path to gain acceptance of the challenges, conquer my fears of the unknown and relish in the beauty and adventure. It’s my personal playground, void of some responsibilities. The place where I am cradled by Mother Nature. Wrapped tightly in her arms. The place where a mother can regroup and recharge. The place I prefer over any machine. My zone. Mommy’s Playground.

It is wide open out there. The hardest part is starting. But when you finish, you will be renewed. Breathe it in, take it in and stimulate your senses. Break a little sweat, get dirty, run hard and play.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing” – Benjamin Franklin

So what do you prefer? Do you venture off the beaten path or stay on the guided trail? Do you prefer to get your thrill ride via a machine?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

In a new post created for this challenge, share a picture that says FUTURE TENSE.

Future Tense

Future Tense

The start of a toddlers day involves chocolate milk, changing out of a pull-up and watching Blues Clues.  It’s the little things in the mind of a three-year old that gets their day off to the right start.

Then one day my little Peeno just gazed out the window.  As he was watching the neighbors head off to work and his older brothers leaving on the bus he turned to me and said, “One day mommy I will be like them.”  Then he went back to making sound effects of Thomas while he drove his train along the windowsill. 

One day my little man, one day. 

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time – Abraham Lincoln


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$182.13 and You Got What?

Some people decided to drink their St. Patty’s Day away. Others suddenly turned Irish for a day. Some looked to the leprachauns for luck and inspiration. I went broke on my three little clovers. I decided to forego the festivities and spend the day with my little men. We had a great day filled with a mommy workout, a free lunch due to their creative coloring artwork submissions to a local cafe, boys haircuts super pimped out style, a trip to the grocer and an all hands on deck homemade dinner. It was the “Patty’s Day of Perfection”. Well almost.

After it took more of a workout to get out the door Sunday morning to get the kids to my gym than my actual workout, I got dooped by the gym childcare center. Apparently somewhere between a gym name change and last Saturday they now require a key card pass to check the kids into the kiddie zone at the gym. I’m sorry but I seem to have missed that memo. It required all this paperwork, new credit card on file, blood type, shoe size, a photo ID of me with the kids, me separately and then each kid separately. By the time I checked into the workout class they were already 3 towels of sweat into their groove and by the time I busted my first bead, class dismissed. Huh?

Then off we went to gather our free brunch courtesy of childhood doodles. As they each cashed in their lucky leprechaun coloring pics, I was standing in between them and the mob of drunks from the local college who needed a quick carb fix before round two of their Guinness frenzy. Yikes. When you tell children some people just act silly on St. Patty’s day and they look at you with a questionable gleam in their eyes, do know they know. Anyways, we carried on through our brunch while I distracted them by spilling Vitamin Water all over my lap. Oh boys, time to go, mommy made a mess.

Would you like a hot facial wrap with your neck and shoulder massage there little fella?

Would you like a hot facial wrap with your neck and shoulder massage there little fella?

Luckily it was a “National Holiday” or something observed for all things Irish and nobody was getting their haircut on a Sunday afternoon. Most people don’t down 10 pints of Guinness and crave a haircut. Most people. So we had the whole place to ourselves. Now let me tell you these boys got the royal sports spa deluxe treatment for free. I’m talking haircut, scalp massage, wash, wax, dry, finish, hot towel facial wrap and neck and shoulder massage. They definitely got the MVP VIP upgrade. I can only imagine how they talked their way into this one.

When I went to the ladies room I didn’t expect to come out and see the three amigos getting massages and wrapped in towels. But I do know what I will do the next time they are getting too wild and crazy. I will institute the mommy hot towel wrap massage session. They were so quiet. I totally would have paid extra for this service and I even inquired how I can pay in advance to secure this MVP VIP treatment in the future. I actually read six uninterrupted pages of my book I downloaded last August. Count them. Six. Six whole pages.

Now with nothing but time and booze free fun ahead of us, we headed to the grocer for a few things. The kids begged and pleaded for each of them to have their own cart. Peeno had a mini me and Noochie and Nickelbass got the express shopper dual basket cart. So we were off. Mama duck and her three little ducklings cruising from aisle to aisle. Now when there is one cart and eight hands, I can usually put things back onto the shelves (a few aisles away of course – and I do apologize in advance for messing up the store). But when there are four carts and three sets of grabby hands, I cannot be responsible for what happens.

So, as they were unloading their carts and I was desperately trying to open a fruit stick for Peeno before he had a major meltdown, the cashier was scanning and scanning and scanning. It wasn’t until my oldest asked, “Umm Mommy, do you have money? Like a lot?” I immediately threw down the fruit stick, well, tried to shake the sticky thing, and peered up at the running total. $170.00 and still scanning. Then the cashier pages Customer Service Baggage Help. Oh no that could never be a good sign. So when all was said and done I had to hand over a card because cash wouldn’t cut it as my total was $182.13. Cha-ching! Now mind you I had just gone grocery shopping three days earlier.

Being this independent can only mean trouble.

Being this independent can only mean trouble.

When we got home and I began to unload the groceries, these are some of the items we now have in stock. Two pineapples, a cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes on the vine, hydroponic tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, potatoes in every family to include Idaho, Yukon, Red, Sweet and Yam. We also have every variety of Kids Cliff bars in triples. Three mega size shower gels, deodorant for a five-year old, protein powder for a nine-year old, bananas, more bananas, another pineapple, almond bites, ice cream sandwiches, 4 pints of ice cream and frozen pizza in plain, BBQ chicken, Greek, pepperoni and sausage. We also have sesame sticks, trail mix in everywhere color of the rainbow and I no longer have a pot o’ gold.

But we learned about economics and bartering. We learned that sometimes it takes 4 bags of coffee to get the grinder to explode work and grind the beans. We learned that our grocer has a baggage help person on staff. We learned that coupons are pointless when it comes to keeping hands from getting stuck on a conveyor belt. We learned that mommy cannot just whip out a card when the green stuff runs low. We learned teamwork and most importantly we learned that spending time together, no matter what the cost, is worth it. Even if after $182.13 and my bags didn’t even include mommy juice wine.

After the initial shock of cost and the full stocked pantry, we were able to use our ingredients to prepare a delicious dinner. Like all hands in the cart, we had all hands in the Sunday dinner food prep. It was lovely and if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t get a sitter for two hours at $10.00 bucks a pop for a quiet budget wise trip. Sometimes the most unplanned and out of budget mishaps turn into the best adventures.

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle. - James Russell Lowell

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle. – James Russell Lowell

So parents, do you bring your children to the grocer? Do you leave them at home with a sitter? What did you do back in the day?


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E.T. Finally Went Home

E.T. Please Go Home!With the modern technology of today, this should be really easy for you buddy.

E.T. Please Go Home!
With the modern technology of today, this should be really easy for you buddy.

I had this bright idea about three weeks ago for Friday family movie night. I figured I’d light a fire, make some organic popcorn via stove top and put in E.T. It was PG right and the 1980’s were such an innocent time. For instance, I only had to fast forward a few times during the opening scene when the junior high boys and their little siblings were playing poker and smoking cigarettes. It’s all good. Oh and just one other time when one of the characters was calling Elliot “penis breathe.” Such a different time back then. Take note I am still not explaining what “penis breathe” is and oh my goodness the cigarettes and second-hand smoke, what is that they ask? Fast forward. Fast forward. Fast forward.

Well I might have dodged a few bullets and left Google to curious minds (insert website parental block) but I cannot escape from E.T. I cannot escape from the fact that for three weeks E.T. has caused me 21 sleepless nights. The fact that the slimy little alien resides in my three-year olds closet and now he refuses to sleep in his room or own bed. The fact that E.T. will not go home. He has traumatized my parental guidance well-being as well as my three-year old.

Whose fancy idea was it again to watch this during family movie night? Never, ever assume PG in the 1980’s is equivalent to a negative G un-squared rating in the millenia. Just because our parents exposed us to such horror in extra terrestrial beings, fury hairball Gremlins and homes in Amityville does not mean we should be quick to assume these viewings as 1980’s young-ins were safe and in our best interests as children. Perspectives change big time in 30 years. Imaginations are now technologically stimulated. “Penis breathe” is disgusting and microwaves and fury animals should never coincide. I should have researched a 1980’s PG rating. I mean it would have told me rated as such for language and mild thematic elements. Never assume, mommy. Never assume!

Plus as a mother of three boys, it is bad enough I have enough masculine energy in my home to last me a lifetime. I don’t need to stimulate the thoughts of little boys or need fake aliens harassing me. I would be horrified if my son’s kindergarten teacher called me because my little Noochie was in the principal’s office for calling a fellow kindergartener a “penis breathe.” Oh and the thought of my little dog being a test pilot for a Gremlins retake in my stainless steel microwave just sends chills up my spine. Do not give my boys any more ideas. And E.T., please phone your mother and go home already! You are driving me nuts!

Picture Courtesy of Google Images

Picture Courtesy of Google Images

Well, last night just like clockwork, little Peeno ventured into our bedroom teary-eyed and horrified. E.T. was screaming and giggling in his closet. As usual, the response was, “E.T. IS NOT REAL! Go to sleep!” Then in the morning little Peeno ran out again in tears because I left him alone in my king size bed and E.T. could have escaped from his closet and taken him. I can’t win. Plus my five-year old chimes in, “So, mommy, is E.T. then fictional or nonfictional?” I literally spit out my coffee laughing. He is so academically literal and if I answered, “He’s not real,” I would have been given a literary lecture. So I answered, “He is fictional. Now please eat your breakfast.”

Now given that my children run circles around me from sun up to sun down and I have no time for searching for E.T., I probably would never have gotten to the bottom of the horror in his closet. But since my hubby is a kid at heart, if you will, he went on an all out search for E.T. with the boys. If I ever credit this man for his childlike behavior, it will be for the finding of E.T.

So while they were on an alien hunt I was getting ready for work, packing lunches, doing laundry, woofing down breakfast and getting ready to make my bed. You know, big kid things. Then there on my bed was an article of clothing and a few accessories that I haven’t seen or touched in many years. It was my wedding slip, veil and tiara head-piece. I come running out to the kitchen where the alien hunt meeting was taking place and start frantically asking who touched this and why is it on my bed and flipping out of sorts. My husband looks at me and says, “Do you want to get to the bottom of the E.T. debacle or what?”

I sure do but not at the expense of my time and secretly hidden garments from the boys. There are certain things that are just off-limits and I purposely hid them in the closet so nobody will touch them. As all eyes are looking at me while I’m holding the garments and accessories, their gazes became blinding. In that moment of darkness I realized I was holding E.T. and I hid him in the closet. Oh my heavens. So, now that I just freaked out on everybody I looked at them and sure enough, my husband says, “THAT, what you are holding, is E.T.” E.T. was hiding in Peeno’s closet after all. In fact the more I looked at it, I could see the slimy alien dressed in a wig and tiara hiding in the closet. I just had a major mommy failure.

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Can You See The Resemblance?

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So the moral of the situation goes if your three-year old says E.T. is in his closet, he probably is. If more often than not your husband acts like a child, it may just save the day. For as a grown, mature adult, I never would have taken up the hunt for E.T. Like my five-year old, we are too literal. For in our minds E.T. is fictional. It’s black or white and everyone should grasp this concept in my family.

But in the future I will get down like GI-Joe ready to turn into The Hulk if need be to find the 1980’s or equivalent creatures that lurk in the closets of little boys. Now that E.T. is in my closet, I should get a complete night of sleep. Until next time when they stumble upon the clawed pinstripe sweater man, Freddy. Oh and if you sometimes question your sanity, blame it on the movies we were exposed to in the 80’s. It’s all Spielberg’s and the likes fault.


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The Art of Losing an Hour

Last year I approached spring forward very roughly.  It was not quite my style nor very character like of me.  But it happens, we venture off path every once in a while.  It’s okay.  We live, we learn and we carry on.  So this year I re-blog my Art of Losing an Hour post as a reminder of what not to do tonight.  Happy Daylight Savings Time!

The Art of Losing an Hour

March 12, 2012 by | 2 Comments

It is that momentos time of the year; Daylight Savings Time.  When we “Spring” forward  with the hopes and promises of springtime to arrive.  Yesterday might have just been the finest Daylight Savings Day ever by way of weather and WEATHER ONLY!

Just last Thursday it was snowing and yesterday you were not even able to grab a parking spot in the local Metroparks.  Man kids running, bikers, motorcycles, lovers walking hand in hand and runners galore.  There were kites flying, birds chirping and layers shedding.  It was a balmy 68 give or take a few degrees.  Now that is what most would call a “Spring” forward!

Had I gracefully approached the loss of an hour I might have gained full appreciation yesterday for Daylight Savings Time.  But I sprung forward and landed right on my face.  The trek may have been worth it at the time, but trying to navigate through Daylight Savings Day on three hours and a mild to severe hangover made for a slippery ride.

So, I have compiled a list, mostly to myself, so I do not make the same mistakes next year when I “Spring” forward.  So, if you will, please learn from my mistakes and never, ever repeat!

Top 10 Things To Avoid the Day/Eve Before Daylight Savings Time

1.  Low to no carbs. You have to carb Load!  Yes, that’s right, maximum carb consumption!  If you are going to consume wine in Margherita fashion, you best get your starch on.  Crispy romaine, a few tomatoes and 3 greasy croutons will not absorb that type of wine consumption you silly rabbit. (Note to self: this is not how to consume wine either)

2. Shots – Just Say No!  Shots can never be a good thing. With a lack of starch and wine consumption up the yin yang what was I thinking?  Shots are just an evil reminder that I am not 21 anymore.

3. Pulling an all-nighter.  Real smart.  As if losing an hour isn’t enough, I have to close the house down.  Who do I think I am? I don’t wear a cape.  Go home fool!

4.  An oversized Panini stuffed with turkey, cabbage and french fries.  These should be illegal as they are stomach aches, among other things, in the making.  Especially when consuming this delectable at 1:45 in the morning.  How did I go from a fine food and wine enthusiast to a college student?

5.  Thinking you are minus 3 kids.  Yep, HELLoooo mommy!  My Panini loving shot doing wine guzzling a$$ will need to get up with three kids in oh say less than 4.5 hours.  I have to maneuver through Daylight Savings Day with my mommy title.  No, there is no abandoning post.  Ha, ha, dummy, deal with it now.  Once you earn that mommy title, it is yours for life! Hangover or no hangover.

6.  Getting home at 2:30 a.m.  Oops that is now 3:30 a.m!  “Spring” forward has sprung.  Now we are down to 3.5 hours, 3 kids, one very dirty stomach and a pounding head.

7.  Rounding up a big crew to meet at Starbucks pre-spin class at 8:00 a.m.  Can’t bail now as I peel myself off my bed linens, slap some cold water on my face and get my workout gear on.  OUCH and why do I look so blurry in the mirror?

8. Getting on a stationary bike for a 15 mile, one hour ride at 9:00 a.m.  I already have my spin on…in my head!  I was so dehydrated I couldn’t even sweat.  How in the world did I make it through that class? The whisper of the fan was hurting my head.  You go mommy, pedal now, faster and faster.  No pain, no gain.

9.  “Playing” mommy.  There is no such thing unless you are a little girl.  So, sure kids, we can go to the park!  Fresh air might do us all some good.  Let’s take full advantage of this spring-like day and play.  You go ahead now, while I slumber under this tree.  Who am I kidding?  Swinging, hiking, frisbee throwing and uh oh, hello again Panini.

10. Navigate through Daylight Savings on 3 hours of sleep.  Never do this on any given day either.  Sleep is crucial, beneficial and very much appreciated.  Yah, sweetie, there is no nappy, nap like back in the day.  You need to push through this day, non-stop, until the kiddies are tucked into bed.  But you go girl, have another shot!

So, with all appreciation for what Daylight Savings promises to bring, is it really necessary to “Spring” forward via loss of an hour? As if time is not limited as it is, you have to go and get all short on me? I need you minutes!

I know now not what to do next year.  In fact, I think I am going to settle into a nice Daylight Savings Spa Retreat.  The H2O plentiful, non-alcoholic, detoxifying,  fresh fruit and veggies type.  I would rather lose the hour gracefully than party like it’s 1999. (Although, at the time, it was blast!)


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Mommy’s Got Yoda Ears

Damn straight Skippy. Don’t think you’re getting away with that broken giraffe figurine lying in pieces under the ottoman. Oh and those candy wrappers neatly tucked in between the couch cushions, I got your number. How about that homework assignment from last weekend you were supposed to complete. You think crumbled in the corner of the pantry behind the paper towels and drink boxes is a conspicuous enough place that it will not be found? Oh boys, you have no clue.

I know all the tricks, all the treats and how to break all the rules. The only difference between mommy and you, boys, is that I never got caught. So wisen up or your busted!

Somebody Did It!

Somebody Did It!

My little guys turn into tornadoes the minute the shower water sputters out its first drop. It’s like a free for all for 11 minutes or so. It is amazing what damage they can do while I breathe in and breathe out as the steam invigorates my mommy senses. Little do they know I have become the woman who hears things the minute I get into the shower.

For example, just the other day while I was on my second lather up I could feel them entering the attic. Something about that muffled sound of creaking wood while the water poured to the shower floor. I was still half soaped up and ran out of the shower and sure enough, the attic door was abruptly closing. Even though they all magically appeared on the sofa singing to Little Einsteins, I knew by their shortness of breathe, they had ventured into off-limits territory.

So boys, take note. Just as your littlest brother has and fearfully admitted to me yesterday, “Mommy’s got Yoda ears.” You have a lot to learn while I’m in the shower young Jedi’s!

I'm all knowing...(Image Courtesy of Google)

I’m all knowing…
(Image Courtesy of Google)