Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holy Cow! 
It's been a month since I have been here. 
I've been lots of places since then. 
Including Florida (see above) and Chicago.

Christmas is here, which I am actually looking forward to this year.
We won't be going anywhere, and will have no bags to pack.
All our big meals will be with family and not at our house.

Our fireplace will be usable again tomorrow...just in time for a few days off and for the snow to fall.
I've been thinking about the new year and "resolutions."
It will be significant this time.  And I will stick to it.
It will have something to do with creativity, I just know it.

Happy Holidays to all of you.

it's been a long time...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

it's been a really long time.  Too long, in fact. 
The weather has turned cold,
winter break is almost upon us,
and where did the time go?

Things have changed,
yet are still the same.
Molly's birthday is on Monday.
How can my baby be 9 already?

We leave for Florida on Friday
and will spend a week in paradise...
together as a family,
for the first time in 3 years.

I have not been running
nor photographing
I am feeling a little blue
and run down.

A vacation will do a world of good
but then we will come home
and jump feet first back in to life.

Thank God for vacations...

and family.

this body

Friday, October 15, 2010

this body of mine has done me well
I ask a lot from it, and it continues to respond
I work hard to keep it strong and toned
I abuse it at times too...

tomorrow I will ask it again to work for me in a race
I am running in the KC marathon
not the whole thing, but in a relay
5 of us have been working hard and training for each of our segments
the route is a hilly one so we have added hill repeats to our weekly runs
they're really hard...but rewarding

we are all ready
we will have a blast
we will ask our bodies to again work hard for us

and for the first time in a long time, I am happy
I am happy with this body of mine

you capture - togetherness

Friday, October 1, 2010

I love this picture of my kids.  We had headed down to the river so I could practice taking silhouette shots.  Obviously the light and the placement was all wrong (I have since figured out how to make it work), but I discovered this happy accident when I uploaded the shots. 

My kids really do love to be together.  Don't get me wrong, they get on each other's nerves...they fight...and they sometimes hit and pinch, but usually that only happens when they have been together too long.  Most days after school and practices, they want to hang out together.  They tell each other stories about their day.  The help each other with their homework.  They just hang. 

How lucky we are. most days I remember this.


that time of year

Friday, September 10, 2010

Photo from retro phone application on my cell phone.  I don't love the resolution.

The light is changing, the apples are ripening, and it is maybe going to be fall soon. 
Soccer has started, football is on the TV, and jeans are being worn.
The best part about living in the middle of the USA is the changing of the seasons.
And here comes the next one!

the fifth grader

Thursday, September 9, 2010

This is Carson...yesterday...In a plastic bag having all of the air vacuumed out of it.

Carson is a fifth grader. Fifth grade was too long ago for me to remember exactly what it was like, but I do remember a few things: Mrs. Burch, sex ed and dissecting things like pig's eyeballs and hearts, and Chad Melvin puking every.single.time.

But, this is about Carson.  You see, somehow I have lost my baby.  He has grown up.  He has started doing things like wiping off my kisses, and sometimes turning his head away at the last second and not allowing me to kiss him.  He stopped letting me kiss him on the lips at the end of the school year last year.  I was hoping it was "just a phase."  It wasn't. 

Fifth grade in our town is the boss of the elementary school.  You are the big kids in fifth grade.  Maybe that is why these subtle changes are happening.  Carson seems to be more rude...more middle school-ish lately.  He sometimes talks with that subtle undertone of "you kind of annoy me..." He and Molly get on each other's nerves much more lately.  They fight a lot.  I separate a lot.  He and his friends "talk" back and forth on the computer thru their fantasy football website.  They type things that are funny and silly, and that I know will turn into bad words and slang all too soon. 

When did this happen?  When did all of this start?  I think back and wonder.  I feel like we eased into some of these changes, but others, I think must have happened overnight one night while I was dreaming of beaches, carrot cake and a sabbatical.  There are glimmers of hope, though.  Last night, I went to give Carson a kiss goodnight, and he grunted at me, turned his head, and gave me a lips kiss.  The first one in a very long time (that I didn't have to steal while he was sleeping.)  I got a tear and smiled in all my dreams last night. 

Here's to being hopeful, thankful and determined.  Here's to being able to continue to be open and honest when Carson and I talk to each other.  Here's to a whole new world spreading out before him...

This is Carson in 2005...the first day of kindergarten.

a life changing event

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Tuesday night, we were lucky enough to gain another child.  I know it was in a rather unconventional way, but we love him all the same.  Our host student, Hector, from California, via the Kansas Weslyean men's soccer team, moved in with us.  Hector is starting his senior year at KWU, and he needed a more stable, family oriented place to finish out his college career.  That place is our home.

All my life, I knew that I was destined to give back.  To help others who needed it.  The thing is, I always thought I would do that in some big, grand way.  I would travel to some remote country and give my all helping small children.  Or I would live in the slums of a city and help the elderly live out their days in dignity.  NEVER in a million years did I ever think it would happen in our own backyard, our own HOME, with a college kid from California.

When Hector told us he wanted to go home to California and not finish up with school, our response was immediate and confident.  He could move in with us for the next year.  He would live in our spare room in the basement, go to school, coach Carson's soccer team and continue working at the Country Club on the weekends.  For us it was a no-brainer.  It was the thing to do.  It was the RIGHT thing to do. 

It wouldn't be easy for him, he would be expected to eat family dinners with us. He would have his share of chores around the house.  He would get to babysit the kids from time to time, and he would pay us some rent (which we will save for him and give back to him upon graduation.)  It wouldn't be easy for us.  We would have another body to maneuver around in the house.  We would have one more mouth (a college kid at that) to feed.  Another shower to get scheduled in the day.  More loads of laundry, but we would do it. 

It has proven to be the right thing.  Hector is already a member of our family.  His parents have texted, called and written letters to us.  They are so grateful, polite, and thankful.  I know it won't always be cotton candy and roses, but it is good.  It will always be good.  It is good because it is the right thing.  And I feel like I am doing what I have been called to do all along.  To help someone in need.  I might not be in a big city, or a foreign country, but I am making a difference in some one's life, and that's what really counts, right?  My biggest hope is that he pays it forward one day.

random thoughts

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time"
Willem DeKooning

Really, isn't that true?  When I think back to times where we were really struggling with getting everything paid, and never felt like we had a penny to spare, all of my mental time was taken up with the thoughts of being poor, and how to make ends meet.  We are currently in a better place, and I find that I don't spend nearly as much time thinking about those things.

There has to be a happy medium where we are always conscious of our situation, but when the situation turns more dire, we need to be confident that we have "saved for this." We need to be able to rely on what we have been doing all along to get us thru a hard time.

Just pondering...


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Last night we reached a milestone.  Carson came with me and we ran 2 miles together.  I did have to beg him a little to go (and promise that next time he could ride his bike while I ran), but we did it...together.

He is definitely a faster runner than me (come on, he has 29 years on me) but he was sweet and waited for his mom.  His basketball coaches passed by us in their car, as well as his papo, and I could see the delight and surprise on all of their faces.  I was beaming the whole way.

I think this could be the start of something really great for us!

ps, can you tell I finally found a sunflower field to shoot?

my 5 things list

Friday, August 13, 2010

Melisa at the lil bee does a My Five Things post, and I thought I would do my own:

1.  Spend a summer travelling around the world with my children before they are grown.
2.  Write a book.
3.  Retire as a college professor.
4.  Build a house in the country.
5.  Finish a half-marathon in under 2:30.

How about you?  Do you have a list of things you want to do in this lifetime?  I love this list because all of these things are do-able, but will require work and persistence. 

The story of the sunflowers

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My friend and I made a plan
we were going to photograph sunflower fields
in the waning evening light

I had the fields located
the camera batteries were charged
and the sunset looked to be beautiful

we drove 30 miles to the North
and located the fields
but to our dismay,
the flowers were nodding their heads

there would be no sunflower photos tonight
they were thirsty or sleepy
and the light had faded much too quickly.

But luckily, the carnival was in town...

road 4

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our final day of fun was spent at the Marengo Cave, and canoeing 7 miles down the Blue River. 

For the second morning in a row, Molly couldn't get out of bed by 8:30 for breakfast with
the other guests of the B & B. 
Admittedly, we were all tired from our crazy, full day at Holiday world!

The cave was awesome, and the canoeing a blast.  I was really tired at the end of our float, but Carson was a real trooper and paddled most of the way with me.  There were more than several places we had to get out and push/pull the canoe.  But as you can see we took advantage of one of them and got out to play. 
(Molly will probably kill me when she sees this photo some day!)

We had a blast on our adventure, and are definitely planning on doing something fun like it again next's so fun to find different reasons to check states off  our list!

road 3

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

3 very tired folks, after a whole day spent at Holiday World and Splashin' Safari.
I might be getting too old for a day at a theme park...just sayin!

road 2

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We made it!
Day 2 was filled with all variety of things.
We drove from St. Louis into Indiana, and had the requisite photo at the "Welcome to Indiana" sign.

It took longer that I thought it would to get here, but we DID detour a little bit.

We drove around and eyed Holiday World, and decided that we were
MOST DEFINITELY excited to spend a whole day there.
We spotted Lincoln National Park, and then headed to the Leavenworth Inn, our home for the next 3 days. 

We grabbed a bite for lunch and then took the scenic route into Corydon, IN
to take a look at an actual Civil War battlefield site. 

After a little rain shower, the butterflies were out in full force, and I spent some time outside with my camera.

It was a fun day.  We decided that Holiday World was the plan for the day on Wednesday. 

road 1

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The kids and I are on a road trip.
We're heading to Santa Claus, Indiana.
Day one was filled with driving.


Books finished by Carson:  1
Movies Watched by Molly:  2
Books on tape listened to:  1  (it was really short)
Fights: none...
Hours driven:  7
Quit for the night:  Hampton Inn in Belleville, IL

the sounds of silence

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I sit in my living room and look out my windows
there is blue sky out the front of my house and grey out the back

I have been sick and alone in my house for 2 days now
the only sounds are my stuffed-up-nose-breathing and
the air conditioner running full speed

Molly is in Houston with her cousins
Carson is at basketball camp until bedtime
Todd has been working hard

Silence is golden, they say
and I think it is true
a few days of physical and mental silence
and recovery can make a person whole again

real life...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Here's another edition of...'yes, this is my real life..."
Tuesday night we had a shrimp boil with some great friends. 
There was wine, laughter, and of course shrimp.
The new potatoes were freshly dug from the garden,
The shrimp had arrived that morning straight from the gulf

It was an absolutely gorgeous June evening
And an absolutely wonderful night...

a random list

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things I am thinking about::

:: summer rain showers
:: the pool in the evening
:: Todd's 40th birthday!
:: various skin rashes on the left side of my body
:: Molly at tennis lessons
:: My mom's birthday!
:: starting to take photos again
:: a fun weekend with the kiddos
:: pizza, pop, and tennis for Caron on Friday night
:: a wonderful shrimp boil with great friends last nite

oh hello there...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 this thing on?

I've been away. 
Have you noticed? 
There have just been too many things. 
I just haven't been able to write. 
Nor have I taken any photos. 
Sad, huh?

I think I might be back now.
Back in my own skin;
Back into a little bit of a routine, now that school is out;
Back into the swing of things as they say.

I have poison ivy again,
more grey hairs,
and a deliciously tanned body.
I am ready for the summer and all of the fun things it brings...
including much more time at the pool,
I've got to get rid of these silly tan lines,
and read more books!

I've missed you and this place.
Thanks for waiting for me.

slippery slope

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Does your life sometimes feel like this?  Sliding fast down a slippery slope with curves and turns...Just when you get comfortable with one course, it up and changes on you?

Lately I have been feeling pretty comfortable with my life.  Changes we have made for the better, time spent with family and friends is refreshing and rewarding.  But when I took this photo, all I could think of is how well it symbolizes how I feel much of the time.  I like things to be changing and moving and growing, but when I stop to smell the tulips for a bit, I remember how nice they smell, and I have to remind myself to slow down.  I have to remind myself to enjoy this time...because all too soon, it will change...again!

two lips

Monday, April 19, 2010

the tulips in my life

A letter of thanks to the running gods

Thursday, April 15, 2010

  1. See above photo.  Thanks for the beautiful lilac blooms, and more thanks for the scent that follows me on my long runs through residential areas.
  2. Thanks for introducing me to Bondi Bands.  They've saved my life...fashionably. (If you don't know about them, you hafta get over to the website and get some!)
  3. Thanks for Saucony.  I've put on a lot of miles in this most recent pair of Saucony shoes.  No injuries or complaints by my feet to date.  Thanks for that!
  4. See below photo.  Thanks for these hooligans.  They try hard not to complain and really cheer me on when I am putting on so many miles at the end of this training.


a host of nothingness

Friday, April 2, 2010

    • my past 2 weeks have been mentally and emotionally exhausting; I think I am over the hump now
    • I need some creativity in my life; I need some time and a place for creativity in my lkife
    • I have the best friends ever; dinner with one, wine with another, lunch with another and dinner with yet another all this week
    • I love my kids; ages 8 and 9 are the best.  Really, they are
    • family is all you have; it is the ONLY permanent thing in this world

1000 miles from nowhere

Friday, March 26, 2010

I took a little drive the other day, a detour if you will.  I was headed to a small town in a small county for some work, but I saw the sign for the Auto Tour of the Santa Fe Trail that cuts through Marion County, KS.  I stopped and took a folded piece of copy paper which showed a map of the county and the driving tour.  
I had to take dirt roads, blacktop roads and gravel roads. 
I stopped, turned around, and backed up many times. 
But wow. 

Being places where you could see the ruts in the land from the hooves and wagons was really powerful.
Imagining what it was like for those pioneers who came west in search of freedom and a better life.
Thinking about reading the Little House on the Prairie with my kids and having to explain,
really explain what life was like then. 

I enjoyed myself immensely. 
So much so that I was almost there...
I could hear the laughter in the prairie grass.
I could smell the cooking fires.
I could see the river to be crossed all too soon.

It's amazing what there is to see and do here in Kansas.
I'm learning that every day.

eats shoots and leaves

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I have not been at home for the past 6 Saturdays.  I have slept in beds in Kansas City, Hays, Grand Island (NE), Kansas City, Tulsa and Oklahoma City in the past 6 weeks.  NOTHING (really...nothing) has been done at my home over the weekend for that long...well, only laundry to get ready for the next trip.

All of this has been done in the name of basketball.  Carson finished up the 4th grade travelling ball season in Grand Island, and then we were off to the Big 12 Tournament and the first and second rounds of the NCAAs.

The only good thing about being gone all those weekends?  I didn't miss our spring.  We still barely have any buds on the trees...the first daffodil bud is just now popping up...and my grass has not yet changed from brown.

Yes, I am looking forward to this weekend.  To waking up in my own bed, and to doing a little spring-ifying around our house!

on strength

Monday, March 15, 2010

A mere 2 weeks ago I had a whole post written in my head about strength.  I was feeling so strong in all these areas of my life. 
  • My legs were strong and were carrying me longer and longer distances.
  • My lungs were strong and breathing was extremely easy.
  • My heart was strong and I was able to be myself and not worry about others.
  • My head was strong and I was happy and content with the world around me.
Here I am today and it seems to have all fallen apart.  I have had several terrible runs in a row, and I am wondering if I will even be able to run this race in May.  My breathing is labored, I have a stitch in my side, and my legs are just pounding the pavement (and not in the good way).  My heart is heavy.  Work is stressful, friendships are strained, and decisions feel like they need to be made.  The world around me is not what I thought it was.  But is it ever?

I guess it just goes to show you...things change so very quickly and we need to remember to be content.  To be content with our lives, to not always be looking forward to wht is next, and to take things as they come...  enjoy our lives and ourselves and all of those around us.

it's all out there in front of me

Friday, February 26, 2010

Today has been a beautiful day.  The sun is shining (for the second time in as many days), it's 50 brilliant degrees out and it's Friday.  How much better can it get?

I have run 93 miles since 12/28/09 in my half marathon training.  Sheesh, that seems like a lot, doesn't it?  Today's 4-mile run ended up with a sub-11 minute pace.  Hip hip hooray!

We go to Hays, America tomorrow for the weekend for our second-to-last 4th grade boys basketball tournament.  We'll eat out as a team on Saturday night which will be fun for all of us!

It's 3:07pm and I have 2 hours to waste until I get to go home.  Think we can lock the doors and go home early?  That's the thing with being the responsible one in can't really do those things.

Here's to a lovely weekend!

my sweet girl

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Following is a comversation Molly and I had the other night:

Molly: Mom, are we ever going to move?
me: I don't know, not any time soon.  Of course you'll move some day.
Molly: Why?
me: Well, you'll probably go off to school, but maybe you can go to school here in Salina and still live with me...
Molly: well...probably not.  I think I will go away for college
me: ok, well, by then you'll probably be sick of living with me anyhow and will want to move out.
Molly: No mom, I will never be sick of living with you.  I LOVE you.

Isn't she just the sweetest girl ever?

I love you, Molly!

ps, aren't those just the best sweetheart lips you've ever seen?

the speed of time

Monday, February 22, 2010

You know it?
Life is mostly about the passing of time, I guess.
Some days we need time to go faster and others for it to to slow down.

I think of time often:
  • how many minutes left on the treadmill?
  • how long until the kids need to be taken or picked up?
  • when will dinner be ready?
  • how minutes did he play in the games this weekend?
  • time to go home from work?
  • how long until I get there?
  • how many more minutes until bed time?
  • how much longer will this meeting last?
  • what was her fastest time in the swim meet?
  • when will you be home?
  • when can I find time to be creative?
  • can I run faster in the next race?
  • can we have a few minutes alone?
I have been pondering time a lot lately. 
What will I do with the time I have been given? 
How can I make an impact with my time and talents? 
Am I spending enough time with my kids? 
How can I show them how to use their time wisely? 

ps, above is my first experiment with capturing motion with long shutter speeds.  It was great fun and I ca't wait to get out there and do it again!

open letter to mr treadmill

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Dearest Mr Treadmill:

I have spent far too much time with you lately.  I know that you have good things to offer:
  • the TV
  • magazines or a book
  • a set pace
  • a "soft" surface
  • the distraction of other folks
However, I so much prefer to be outside.  Tonight, for instance, I shunned you and ran outside; on your enemy the asphalt, and I was in love again.  The air was cold, I saw my breath.  I breathed clean air, not the recycled stuff you have to offer.  I know that the temperature isn't as controlled as when I am with you, but that's ok...sweating through all my clothes and 2 sweat towels isn't my idea of a good look. 

I must thank you, though.   For you have afforded me the luxury to train inside in this, one of the coldest winters in recent history.  You have also made me stronger.  I was able to kick it in on my last half-mile tonight due to you.  Because of your sub 10-minute pace, I am able to run a sub 11-minute pace outside.

You will always be my friend, but I just don't feel the chemistry like I do with the outside.  I will continue to meet you for lunch sometimes, and will speak of your good qualities to my friends.  But I just can't say those th little words you beg for.  I can only say:  Thanks for being there for me when I need you!


as a parent

Friday, February 5, 2010

As I sit and listen to the rumble of the trains
I ponder the decisions I have made

Last night was a hard night
For me and my kid and our family
I had to tell Carson he wasn’t going to play in his basketball tournament this weekend
Because he didn’t get his homework done

He cried
I cried
He sobbed
I wept

We talked about responsibility and consequences
And how much we loved him
I wondered about the words and the punishment
And how much it would affect him 
I am still solemn
I grieve for that little boy
That is now growing older
and has to learn these things the hard way
I am sad for him and for us

Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done
I have never felt so conflicted
Like such a failure
Or so emotionally spent.

Life is hard


Friday, January 29, 2010

Do you get lonely, even though you are busy?
Do you feel like sometimes time just flies by and you haven't had time to stop to think...
much less tie your shoes?

In the last 30 days, I have been gone 11
Always gone with people...
friends, family and co-workers
but I have been lonely...

I haven't had time to read a book
I just finished catching up on all 564 posts in my reader
I can't imagine what it would be like to do something creative...

Thinks are looking up though:
There is no travel scheduled,
There is snow on the ground,
and the 1/2 marathon training has begun in earnest...

I went to the library this week and checked out 3 books.
I'm looking forward to getting back to myself
and enjoying the end of the winter.

the light of friendship

Friday, January 8, 2010

I am the luckiest person I know.
My friends are the best.
I have great friends from high school that email the stories of their lives back and forth.
I have great college friends that will run in half marathons with me.
I have great Salina friends who will gather on a Thursday night for wine...
and hopes that school will be cancelled in the morning (it wasn't).

Next weekend I go to Colorado with my girls (remember last year?).  We have decided on pedicures and massages.  We've packed our swim suits for the hot tub where we can look at Pike's Peak while we soak.  We have drawn names out of a hat to pair up for making meals.  The wine will flow, and the the good times and laughter won't stop until we fall into bed at night.

My friends are some of the brightest lights in my life...and for that I am so very thankful.

the quiet

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Here I sit in the still and quiet of the early morning.  I can hear the heater running,,,how often is it quiet enough in your house to hear the heater running?  Occasionally the dog shifts.  Sometimes I hear a sleepy sigh from one of the kids.

In 20 minutes I will wake the kids, I sill like to get in bed with them in the morning and cuddle a bit and wake them gently if I can.  I can't get enough of their sleepy, warm bodies in the cold mornings.

In 25 minutes the shower will start running.  The dog will scratch to go out, and already the quiet will start to dissolve.

In a half hour, the "mom"s will start.  The water will run for brushing teeth, and filling of water bottles.  The kids will inevitably find something to start bickering about.  We will begin the rushing about to get out the door for school and work.

...and my quiet will be gone...until tomorrow morning.

**photo from the beach in Georgetown, Grand Cayman

so much

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

There is so much to say and so little time.  So little, that I am in fact writing this as I wait for the train to pass by...then I must go take Molly to swimming, pick Carson up from basketball, and then make some dinner (why must kids eat dinner?) and then find some time to go for a run before the -10 degree weather comes in tonight (along with more snow!).

Quickly though -

  • The cruise was great, and the weekend at home doing laundry after wasn't so great.
  • I joined the Blog Camp 365 photo a day project.  I am excited and scared all at the same time.  Hopes are that it will improve my photography and processing skills!
  • I got the bestest Christmas present of all time:  Old Gringo boots!
  • I am working on a photo book from Snapfish of our trip for my mom and dad & brother and sister-in-law.  I'm excited to see how they come out!
  • Lots of travel coming up:  Colorado next week for a long weekend with the girls, then GA again for work.  For February...who knows?  I haven't gotten that far yet!
  • I started training for the Lincoln 1/2 marathon this weekend.  I am excited and inspired to run again.  I was reminded last night of how much I love the cold, snowy nights.
and this:  This is the second of my 365 photos.  I LOVE how it turned out!