Saturday, June 23, 2012

Our Adventures in Destin, FL

We had so much fun in Destin. Madi loved playing in the ocean with Papaw and playing in the sand. She got a cute little bathing suit tan line too ;)

The majority of our time was spent leisurely at the condo going to and from the pool and beach. Also, taking naps (for madi and I anyway!) I would usually get up and go run in the morning before Madi woke up and then come back and study until she decided to get up. Then we would have breakfast and get ready to go to the beach. After the beach we would come back and have lunch and Madi would take her nap while I would study some more. Then we would spend the rest of the evening at the pool. Dinner was usually spent at a restaurant somewhere in the area.

Monday night, after a long and lazy day at the beach, we met up with Clayton’s friend/brother Tyler. He’s stationed with the Air Force in Ft. Walton and I hadn’t seen him in a year or so. It was nice catching up and talking with him over dinner, although all the family back home was jealous that I got to see him and they didn’t ;) My niece Kylie thought he was so cute and Madi wants to look at the picture we took all the time. She says, “I see Tyler?”

On Tuesday we went to the Gulfarium. Usually we go on rainy days but a few of us were sunburnt so we figured it would be a good time. She saw a bunch of animals. She loved the stingrays and the dolphins (like her mama!) Earlier in the week, we were walking on a boardwalk out in the middle of the water and my mom mentioned to Madi something about alligators. She was terrified! Now, she won’t walk on a planked floor without worrying about there being alligators. But did she get scared when we saw one in the water 3 feet away at the Gulfarium? Nope. I don’t get it.

Wednesday, I got up to run for the second time that week. I absolutely love running around the area that our condo is in. It’s so peaceful, the weather is perfect, there’s always a breeze, and it’s an active area. I’m constantly passing other runners/bicyclers/etc that are  waving and saying good morning. It’s the best start to your day.  I caught some pictures while I ran, the scenery was just too beautiful not to capture for others to see.

We met some of my Mom’s friends for dinner Thursday night. After we played on the playground nearby on the beach, we had Italian ice cream and then went putt putt golfing. I didn’t realize until we started how hard it is to play when you have a 2 year old who doesn’t understand the game. All she wanted to do was chase our balls after we hit them, pick them up, and throw them in the water next to the green. We fished several balls out of the water, needless to say. Madi was entertained though!

Then Friday, we spent the day relaxing by the water and enjoying our last day there.

I’m so happy that Madi had a good time this year. Last year when we took her she was only about 10 months old and hated the sand and the ocean frightened her. I’m happy to say that this trip was an overall success. It is nice to be heading back home to see our family and get back to our routine though! See you next year, Florida!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

When I was four, my dad and I got married. In the living room floor of our home, he stood on his knees in front of me at eye level. I wore a purple princess costume and my mom did the honors. In the grand view of things, it may have been insignificant and only lasted a few minutes but honestly, it’s one of the best memories I have of my father and I. He was always doing things like that for me, and also for my brother. He’s known, at least in our family, for not disciplining us because “they wouldn’t let me!” He hated to see us upset. Whatever we wanted, he found a way to give it to us, no matter what. And that time, this little girl wanted to marry her daddy.

It’s true that a father is a girls first true love, of course not in the actual “fall in love” kind of way but the pure, consistent, strongest love there is. He was always there, supportive and kind, and still is today. I’m almost 19 and he still looks at me like I’m the little girl in that princess costume. I’m positive that there’s no other man on this earth that has the ability to do that, overlook all flaws and only see that love you’ve always had. (except my pawpaw of course)

You can see straight through him if you look him in the eyes. He’s honest, hardworking, and the best family man I know. As I’m writing this, we’re packed like sardines in his truck driving 11 hours to Florida with three adults, a 7 year old, and a toddler, and hes the only male. Not to mention all of the luggage that comes with that many people! It’s not the most pleasant situation but he wouldn’t have it any other way. He has to have his girls with him. We have so many pictures of him wrestling both of his granddaughters with a huge smile on his face.

The point of this blog is to show how thankful I am for his role in my life. As I get older, I realize more and more the effect he’s had on my life and how he’s shaped me as a person. Many people never have that positive influence in their life and today I feel truly blessed that I have one of the best Dad’s there is. I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

Oh, and he’s a looker too ;)

I'd also like to say Happy Father's Day to my brother, who is quite possibly the funnest Dad & Uncle that ever lived.

To my Pawpaw for his genuine love that shines every day that I see him. He's kind of like my father in that way, you can see straight through him to the strong heart he has.

And to Clayton. Madi's face lights up when she sees you, which reminds me of the true love I talked about with my Dad. She adores you, we both do.

“Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.” - Joseph Addison

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Destin, FL!

We finally made it. (!!!) After leaving at 3am this morning and hitting the road, we are all dragging. We only stopped once, around 9:30am to get breakfast, and have been on the road the rest of the time. Around 1pm we got into the city of Destin and had lunch and did a little shopping to waste time until our Condo was ready. We're all really tired and will probably turn in early tonight. Madi slept from 3am-5:30am and then after that only slept for an hour. Needless to say, she's an emotional wreck! But we're looking forward to hitting the beach tomorrow, fully rested. :)

For now, here's the view from our balcony and from the pool!

Also, Kylie went around taking pictures last night while we were all busy packing.

I have a special post planned for tomorrow for Father's day. Also stay tuned for more pictures from paradise ;)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Run for your life

Yesterday was National Running Day, so I thought it would be appropriate to talk about my experiences as a runner.

I never ran in high school, and frankly didn't understand why others did. It was torture! I always dreaded having to run in drill team, though I wished that I enjoyed it. About a year after Madi was born, I found myself feeling lazy. I was close to the weight I was before I got pregnant but had a little more to lose that just wasn't coming off. I also felt like I needed to find a workout and stick with it. I tried yoga, pilates, weight lifting, dancing (again), etc. I enjoyed it all but I didn't look forward to doing them again once I was finished like I do now with running. What initially made me try running was Madi's father. He was a cross country runner in high school, and still did it when he had the time. He is, and was, extremely good at it too. So I went out and I ran. The first time I ran, I lasted half a mile. That was enough to make me want to stop. I felt pathetic, since Clayton (Madi's dad) could run miles and miles without breaking a sweat. I had to keep telling myself that he had always been a runner and I can't expect those same results. After I caught my breath and picked myself up off of the ground, I noticed that I felt good. That's when it all began.

When Madi would visit her Mimi, I would run. When I would find free time after school, I would run. I asked my in-laws to buy a jogging stroller for Madi and I for Christmas. That opened up a whole new realm of possibilites. For several weeks, Madi and I went running 6 days a week. That didn't end up sticking because of school and other obligations. But she loves to go with me and have time outside. While I push her, she yells, "Mommy wun!" The added weight is an extra workout too. ;) Before I knew it I could run for 45 minutes without even thinking about stopping.

The biggest obstacle for me was learning, and remembering, that once you run long enough to find that you have a "second wind", it doesn't get any worse. You hit a certain point and your body starts to work for you. You don't have to push so hard to keep going. Your movements become sort of robotic. Your mind is clear and you can go for miles just on the momentum. Getting to that point is what takes the most work. But you get out of it what you put in. If you stop before you get there, you've wasted your time.

It sounds cliche but running has taught me that I am capable of far more than I think I am. I never thought that my body could handle running 4+ miles at a time, but it can. You see that if you just keep pushing yourself, you can do anything.

I hope this influences someone to at least try to do something new. Whether it be running, yoga, biking, anything. You may discover a lifelong passion, like I did.

Below are pictures that I've taken while on some of my runs.

"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it."
-Oprah Winfrey

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lessons Learned

The past 2 years have been a time of learning in my life, not only about life and parenting, but also about myself. I've compiled a list of things, with short descriptions of lessons I've learned along the way, that I still remind myself on a daily basis.

First off, Pick your battles. It's a common but true lesson that has been repeated countless times. Why? Because it's absolutely true. I can tell you this because I have a toddler and if I didn't constantly tell myself this, I probably wouldn't be sane. Sometimes, it's easier to let them empty the wipes box out on the living room floor than to make a big deal about it. Exploring is an important part of toddler life and their independence. If it isn't hurting anything, then so what? That's a good opportunity to teach them how to clean up afterwards too ;)

Also, Relax. I'm a very organized (well in most cases) person and constantly have a running to-do list in my head at all times. I don't like to start a chore/project and then walk away without it finished. I can't stand a sink that's filled with dirty dishes or for the washer and dryer to be full of clothes that need to be put away. However, if I never let a chore wait, that's all I would do, day in and day out. I cherish time where I sit and play with Madi, just her and I. I know she does too. So when I walk by holding a basket full of laundry, and she holds up a book and says "read mommy," I often catch myself thinking "no no I have to finish this first." But how many times will she want me to sit on the floor and read an Elmo book to her over and over? I can always fold the laundry. These moments will not last forever. I always tell myself, "I can do it later, enjoy NOW."

Third, a mess can always be cleaned up. Madi loves to explore, anywhere and everywhere. And like the mom that I am, I shy away from potential messes like playing outside after it has just rained (mud), or things like that. I always want to tell Madi "no, lets do something else, that will get you dirty." I feel guilty though that I'm hampering her curiosity. I want her to be the child who explores and isn't afraid to get dirty. How can I expect her to do that if I never let her do it at home? I can't. If she gets dirty, fine. Enjoy the smiles that it brings and have baby wipes on hand. Done.

Mistakes happen. The perfect parent doesn't exist. Everyone loses their temper or says something bad in front of their child. They don't come with manuals. When mistakes are made, all we can do is learn from it. Make sure your child knows that you love them and that's all that matters.

The next one is something I've picked up from reading The Happiness Project. The days are long but the years are short, cherish the little things. In the midst of a hectic day where you have a million errands to run, it's 98 degrees outside, you have a cranky toddler pulling at your shirt and a long line at the grocery store check out- breathe. Look around you and I'm sure you can count at least 5 things you are immensely thankful for. I do this all the time to snap myself back to reality. This happened the other day, I was SO stressed out, then the littlest thing happened to remind me how great my life was and how I should be happy. Madi looked up at me and gave me a kiss. Then as I was staring at her with adoring eyes, she sneezed and said "betchew madi." How can you be stressed out when you have such an adorable baby in your arms? You can't. The days are long and tiresome but thank god they are or they would pass unbelievably fast.

Those are the deep sentimental things. I've also come up with a list of simple ones to remember.

White should be avoided at all costs. Period.
Never leave home without a diaper. Children know when you do and poop-splosions will happen.
Relish in the now.
Cookies solve problems.
Hugs can cure anything.
If they want to read the same book over and over, do it.
Learn to apologize.
Don't be afraid to teach them that no one is perfect.
The power of baby wipes. That's all I have to say.
Create time for yourself.
Smile through it.
Say I love you. A lot.
Uninterrupted quality time with your kids (no phone, TV, etc) is the most important.