16 November 2013

Seven Hours

I do not understand how you people do it.

Stay-at-home moms? You are miracle workers and heroes and deserve crowns and medals and chocolate and a paid vacation away from the madness you surround yourself with every. single. day.

Here's the short story: my sister had her yearly MS appointment in downtown Atlanta yesterday, so I volunteered to come watch my two nieces (ages six months and 2.5ish years) since Erin and Cole had to leave the house before sunrise to make it to the neurologist.

Long story: Holy cow. Where to even start? Let's break it down.

6:30 am - Erin and Cole hand me the baby monitor, a huge cup of coffee, and scamper out the door, laughing and giggling and wishing me luck. Ok, the laughing and giggling part I made up, but still. Erin looked liberated with a twinkle in her eye.

6:31 am - I'm staring at the baby monitor - which toggles back and forth between the girl's rooms - praying they sleep until their parents get home that afternoon.

6:35am - Everyone is still sleeping. I had my Kindle with me, but I didn't read a word. I couldn't tear myself away from the monitor. Did someone move a leg? Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Slllleeeeeeeeeeep.

7:30am - Everyone is still sleeping. I'm watching the news and on my third cup of coffee. I later regret this when both girls are up and I don't have a free minute to pee.

Erin had left me a list of "how to keep my kids alive while I'm gone for seven hours" taped to the fridge. 

I wore a path in the floor going back and forth to refer to the guidelines, and got a little panicky when at 8am, everyone is STILL SLEEPING. Erin's note said the girls usually get up around 7:30. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG??? THIS IS NOT WHAT THE LIST SAID!!!!! WE CANNOT DIVERT FROM THE LIST!!!

So I'm figuring at this point Jesus either answered my prayers and they were going to sleep all day, or else something was horribly wrong. Do all mothers have those wicked emotional swings of "everything-is-ok-but-not-really-is-everyone-still-alive?????" But I remembered a very specific episode of "Friends" that stated never wake a sleeping baby or else you will want to kill yourself later. I could see the occasional arm or leg move on the monitor screen, so I just let them be.

8:01am - Adelyn wakes up. No noise, nothing. I just watch on the baby monitor as she stood up in the middle of her bed and started stripping. Awesome. Clothes were flying everywhere. I go poke my head in her room and say, "Good morning!" She responds with "AUNT ADDIEEEE!!!!!" Morning person to the max. We change pull-ups, Aunt Addie puts Little Addie in a puppy shirt and pants, and we go see about breakfast.

8:07am - Baby Liddie starts crying. I'm in the middle of cutting fruit for Adelyn. Ummm.....I do what all awesome aunts do and I turn on Dora and throw a handful of Cinnamon Chex in Adelyn's general direction to keep her occupied while I sprint down the hall to Liddie's room. Liddie immediately smiles and lets out the biggest stink I've ever smelled. And that's saying something considering my line of work.

I'll spare you the details.

8:15am - Back in the kitchen. Liddie on one hip, trying to warm her bottle in the warmer thing while Adelyn stares mindlessly at Dora singing "Vamanos, let's go!" I tell myself it's educational and she's learning a second language. I don't get the bottle in Liddie's mouth fast enough (which Erin warned me would happen), and she starts freaking out. Then, once bottle is in, she decides she doesn't want it. So Liddie gets put in the highchair with a handful of Cheerios while I mash up a banana and finish cutting Adelyn's fruit.

Do I sound frantic? I was. My mind was screaming "Don't let them smell your fear!!! Stay calm!!"

Liddie goes nuts on the mashed banana.

I quickly realize my personal "Clean up as you go" mantra does NOT work in these types of situations. Adelyn eats her whole plate of strawberries and oranges, as well as the other half of Liddie's banana.

Girls fed. Score.

9:00 am - I leave dishes and food pieces for later (not too worried since the dog is helping vacuum up Cheerios), and we all go downstairs to the most wonderful room my sister has set up - a dedicated playroom filled with a gazillion toys. 

The best part is it has four walls and a door. Children corralled. Liddie is happy to just sit on the floor and gnaw on some toys, while Adelyn and I play dress-up, color, have a dance party, and play with makeup. Objective: Stay busy, wear ourselves out. 

It worked.

9:50am - Liddie starts to get fussy. According to The List, this is when she usually needs to go down for her morning nap. Warm a bottle, rock her for awhile, sing, love, snuggle...yeah right. Here's what actually happened. Adelyn promised me she would play quietly by herself, but I didn't trust her. At all. So I ran upstairs with Liddie while giving her about six sucks from the breakfast bottle, rocked her about three times and buckled her in her swing. Sound machine on, lights off, kid was asleep in 30 seconds.

I'm feeling pretty awesome at this point. I have magical baby-asleep powers!

I'm also exhausted and keep looking at the clock. It's only been two hours since they woke up! What the heck???? I'm ready for my own nap and the house looks like a tornado hit it. How could this much damage be done already this early in the morning??

Oh. And I guess I need to let the dog out.

Oh. And yes. They're potty training Adelyn, who will pee-pee, but not do anything else and who's favorite word in the whole wide world is "NO!" So yay. I had to guilt-trip her into attempting to potty and wash her hands, so then I hate myself for getting stern with her.

10:15am - Adelyn and I are back downstairs playing, and I'm checking the baby monitor every five seconds to see if Liddie is still sleeping. I don't like leaving her upstairs while I'm downstairs, so I convince Adelyn to make a game of cleaning up the playroom - yes, Mary Poppins style - and I literally bribe her with snacks and cookies (at 10:15am!!!) to come upstairs and watch Daniel/Thomas/Sesame Street while I clean up the kitchen.

First - when did Bert and Ernie turn into Claymation? That was weird.

Second - Erin's list said Liddie would sleep for about an hour. Two hours later...

12 NOON (!!!!) - Liddie still sleeping. I checked about sixteen times to make sure she was still breathing. I texted Erin seventeen times to make sure I wasn't doing anything wrong. Erin was thrilled Liddie was sleeping so well, so I started breathing again. Plus, Erin said she and Cole were done at the neurologist and were on their way home.

Like a five-year-old, I kept looking out the window watching for them to pull into the driveway.

12:05 pm - Fixing Adelyn some lunch. It has 30 more seconds in the microwave when Liddie wakes up. Crap. I turn up the sound on Sesame Street and rush down the hall to get the baby.

Who, by the way, immediately wanted her own lunch.

I take Adelyn's lunch out of the microwave, throw in Liddie's sweet potatoes and baby food turkey, and put her in her highchair with more Cheerios. 

And the bottle warmer burned the crap out of my fingers. 


Meanwhile, Liddie is not impressed with her Cheerios and people from six counties over stopped by to see who was crying so loudly. Adelyn then sees her lunch on the counter, and immediately starts crying and freaking out.

I think I turned four full circles trying to figure out what to do first. This is how it went down: I gave Adelyn a bite of her mac & cheese while she was standing there with her mouth open from crying. It worked. She took her bowl over to the TV and finished watching something about frogs. Liddie had no interest whatsoever in the sweet potatoes or turkey, but finished off a bottle and a half and then got plopped in her baby holder thing. 

I want to kiss whoever invented those. 

We made it. Erin and Cole got home, Adelyn goes down for a nap, Liddie close behind around 2pm. I don't notice any of this because I'm in a worn-out coma and Erin had rewarded me with a Campfire Mocha from Caribou.

I wanted to curl up in a dark corner and sip my coffee. 

Instead, we tried to entice Liddie to crawl. 

Didn't work. The only thing we succeeded in doing was ticking the baby off an making her fussy. 

Erin does this EVERY DAY and I don't know how. Especially with such a debilitating and fatiguing neurological condition as MS. I have hospice patients who have MS who are wheelchair or bed-bound, and it just amazes me that Erin has the stamina to do this. I get concerned because if I get that tired after just seven hours, Erin has to be ridiculously exhausted. It's not helping her MS any to let herself get that fatigued, but she does it with such a selfless attitude.

She also got really crappy news at her MS appointment. As a nurse, especially as a hospice nurse who sees these things every day, I want to scream at her to rest when needed, to take care of herself so she doesn't end up chasing her kids from a wheelchair wearing oxygen and having a feeding tube. But it's just not the reality. Those kids come first, and she makes them first above herself. I'm so proud of her.

And also more than a little in awe. Everyone thinks Matt and I hate kids because we don't have any, but that's ridiculously untrue. We love kids. My husband is a teacher and coach, for crying out loud. If he didn't love kids, he would have chosen a significantly different profession. But honestly? I'm weak and incapable of this kind of commitment. I will be the first to tell you my sister is way stronger than me, because I just don't think I could do this every day forever and ever. At least with my job I get weekends and evenings off...but Erin is on-call 24/7. Saturday and Sunday schedules are the same as Monday - Friday. Just the thought of that is daunting to me.

So, to wrap this up, my sister is awesome. And she and Cole have awesome kids. Who I kept alive.

In time for Makeup Party Part II. 

Today I Love: Being an Auntie and spending precious time with my nieces. I also love the fact we're all still alive and speaking to each other. 

23 October 2013


I'm just going to come right out and say it.

I quit CrossFit on Monday.

I cried.

It hurt, but I had reasons. I still have reasons. I also know I can go back later, but right now, this was the right decision I had to make for myself.

So why did I quit?


I told Rob that it was money and the fact I'm just not mentally there anymore.

Both true.

The money thing? We're not eating ramen and cheerios for every meal or anything. But you know what's worse? We've been sliding on our tithe at church. Where does that tell you my priorities were?

I love CrossFit, but I love Jesus more.

The mental thing? Don't get me wrong. I love working out. I love the feeling of accomplishment and the rush of endorphins. I love feeling healthy and fit. But you know what's worse? Thinking about working out and diets and food and squatting more than 100# more than I think about my relationship with my Savior.

I love Crossfit, but I love Jesus more.

I need to refocus where my life is right now.

I absolutely love the verse my friend Heidi posted on Facebook last night. The benefit of surrounding yourself with Christian friends? They get it. They encourage when they don't realize they're encouraging you. Heidi is going through her own similar struggles, and I thought this passage sums up what I'm feeling perfectly.

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8 ESV)

It's not just this life we're preparing for. Sure, with Crossfit I can probably hold my own against a zombie apocalypse.

But with Jesus, I can hold my own against satan and the things unseen. Much more important in my opinion.

With my Monday night bible study and Revival Week this week at church, I'm discovering my first love, the God of my youth that I met that one Thursday night at church camp when I was 14. I might have changed, but I'm so, so happy to discover that the God I've set on the back shelf is still the God I loved with all my heart almost 19 years ago. He hasn't changed. He's my constant.

Last night at church the pastor was talking about how as Christians, we hear about the "mountaintop" experiences, only to bring us back down in the valley again. How Christianity is a rollercoaster ride.

Which pretty much sums up my life the past 20 years.

But you know what? Hebrews 6:19 tells us that God is an anchor for the soul. He's constant. He's the exact opposite of a rollercoaster. He's firm. Secure. Solid. Never changing.

It's time to get off that rollercoaster and just live in the consistency of Jesus. Stop looking for that mountaintop - we don't have to work to "feel" his presence. He's already here!!! 

So there you have it. That's me. I'm a CrossFit quitter. Judge me if you have to. Hate me. Chalk me up to just one more person who couldn't stick it out.

I really don't care.

My soul is at peace with this decision, which is the most important part

But if anyone wants to get me a kettlebell for my birthday, I wouldn't turn it down.

Today I love: My Jesus. My sweet, sweet Jesus doesn't just help me get through the day, He is with me through the day.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love
What depths of peace
When fears are stilled
When strivings cease

My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life
No fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

I found my strength, I found my hope
I found my help in Christ alone
When fear has set, when dark has fall
I found my peace in Christ alone

I give my life, I give my all
I sing my song to Christ alone
The King of kings, the Lord I love
All heaven signs to Christ alone

Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand


29 September 2013


Things on my mind. Very random.

It's hard searching for the perfect area rug. We can't do shag because of dog hair. We can't do woven because of dog hair. We can't do dark colors because of dog hair. We can't do light colors because of the occasional dog accident and husband-spilling-Coke-Zero accidents. I give up.

It's time for another Paleo challenge, starting TOMORROW. September 30. I'm not going to incessantly post every day of my menus like I did back in July; weekly updates will be annoying enough. I have some new recipes I want to try (apple & pumpkin egg strata bake for fall, anyone??) and with our new grill/smoker, this time around will be a no-brainer.

The good thing about my last Paleo challenge is that some new habits formed, and stuck. Like no more Splenda. I tried Splenda in my coffee a couple weeks ago just for something sweet and I about passed out. It was nasty. I ended up dumping the cup down the drain and starting over with a good ol' cup of pure black caffeine. Yum.

I won't see my husband again for a few weeks/months/years. Not only is he teaching and working on his Master's and coaching golf, but fall baseball started yesterday. Awesome.

With Matt off coaching baseball all day yesterday, my friend Marilyn and I went out to explore the area. She's lived here awhile and works for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Department, so she knows all of the awesome nature trails and animal hideouts. We went to the Centennial Trail, a really cool conservation area north of Vero that's a great place to explore and see all sorts of different native birds and plants.

The Centennial Trail commemorates one of the nation's very first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Right here in Florida. Ten minutes away from my house. Very cool.

I'm such a history nerd.

From Florida Hikes: Pelican Island isn’t just a National Wildlife Refuge, it’s the National Wildlife Refuge that started the whole concept going, back in 1903. Even further back, in 1858, the small island in the Indian River Lagoon – offshore from where the refuge access is today – was documented as a brown pelican breeding ground.

On March 14, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an order to designate Pelican Island as the first Federal bird reservation, the first time ever the government set aside land for wildlife. The National Wildlife Refuge system evolved out of this act, as did our National Parks and National Forests. On March 14, 2003, the Centennial Trail was the centerpiece of a nationwide celebration of the National Wildlife Refuge system.

Easy hike, beautiful scenery.

Each plank of the walkway commemorates a National Wildlife Refuge, in order of year added.

Shout-out to Missouri!

Then we walked a mile or so on the mushy beach sand, allowing me to wake up this morning with aching calves and sore feet. Yay!

Today I love: Natural, non-touristy Florida and dry shampoo that smells like blueberries for my dogs. They are stinky!

22 September 2013


You know when you have to get on an airplane and fly four states away and you don't know when you're going to see your friends and family again and you end up with a massive crying headache? 

That's all I've done today. 

This weekend was awesome and beautiful and sparkly and perfect. 

If my family knows how to do anything right, it revolves around throwing a fabulous wedding. 

The setting: my Auntie Mary Eleanor and Uncle Sam's house. The memories made growing up here...the absolute perfect place to celebrate even more family. 

I think I heard Uncle Sam say the last time a wedding was held here was in 1886 or something. Yes. The 1800's. Horses and carriages. 

Speaking of...

The 19th century has nothing on us. 

And what's a family get-together without the porta-potty tent sponsored by Eaton Funeral Home? 

After all, dad did tell Erin that she was able to go to college from the money made from the little machine in the ladies restroom. So this is fitting. 

The wedding was gorgeous. After living with my cousins Tom and Gretchen for a year during nursing school, their son Jonathan is more like a little brother to me than second cousin. I'm so happy for him and Anne! Gorgeous couple who are definitely going places. 

They have a definite standing invite to come visit any time. Love them!! 

The Eaton-Farrell-Stolte families also get ridiculously ridiculous. It must be all the sets of twins. 

Selfishly enough, one of my favorite parts of the night was dancing with my Daddy to our song - My Girl. We've danced to that song since I was three years old...I'll never get tired of him twirling me around and stepping on my feet. 

All of the single and/or no-kids cousins had our own table...just like when we were nine.  

This grown-up version was a lot more fun. 

My super-adorbs niece had her own idea of fun. 

"Uncle Matt!! Let's go this way!!"

"Now this way!"

"Look, Uncle Matt! Horses!"

"Look, Uncle Matt! Poop!"

Matt: "Look, Adelyn! Soybeans!"

So while Uncle Matt was busy with the children, Erin and I were like, "Look!! A photo booth!!" 

Love me some sister time. 

You should see the pics mom and dad took. Something about red lips and a fireman helmet...I don't want to know. 

So after embarrassing Matt with waaayyyy too much southern-baptist-white-girl dancing, we crashed back at my parents house until the brunch this morning. 

Where the tears started. 

I tried so, so hard not to. 

But I'm a Missouri Girl first and foremost. No matter how much Matt tries to convince me that I really do love 30000 degree temps year-round, well, let's just say the leaves are starting to turn colors and I was able to wear shorts and long sleeves...one of my favorite combos. 

Plus the family...my family is nuts. Crazy. Off-the-wall insane. But I am too. We get each other. We can be ridiculous together. 

So I burst into tears when I hugged my cousin Libby good-bye. I cried in the car on the way to the airport. I cried again when I hugged my parents in the kiss-and-fly zone. I was still crying when we went through security. Again in the Cardinals store by our gate. Again on the plane. 

Matt was starting to get a little concerned. I think he might have even offered to get me another puppy at one point. 

But now we're in the car, driving home from the Orlando airport. It's rainy and overcast, but I'm not crying anymore. After a little more than a year in south Florida, it actually feels like home. I cnt wait to get to the house and see the pups. Get back to work tomorrow. 

Get back to my box. 

First thing I did when we landed? Checked tomorrow's WOD. (I know!!) It's more thrusters, which I'm still crazy-sore from on Saturday after doing CF in Sullivan. 

But this is the first time I really don't care what the workout is. I'm just excited to go see the faces. CF is more than working out. It's a community. 

So while I'm missing my family and friends back in Missouri...as completely cheesy and stupid as this sounds...I'm looking forward to seeing the people who encourage me and motivate me and make me feel like I belong despite the fact I'm not a hometown girl.  

I don't like feeling alone in a new state- like no one knows me because I didn't grow up here- and Crossfit has truly made me feel like this is now home. 

One can only be so blessed to have families - no matter how they look or act - in so many places around the country (here's looking to you too, Alabama!!)

Ugh. I'm so cheesy. I need to go drink a protein shake and lift something heavy. Good grief. 

Today I love: Matt. No matter if we're in Missouri or Florida or Alabama, he's my one constant that sticks with me across the state lines. Whether he wants to or not. Bahahahahaaaaaaaaa!!! 

And the fact that the Cardinals clinched their playoff spot. Merry Clinchmas!! 

21 September 2013

No Excuses

I'm back in my hometown of Sullivan, Missouri this weekend for a family wedding. I haven't been back in about 1 1/2 years, so it's been fun seeing what's changed and all the people I've missed.

But geez, Daddy. Really????

First thing: Snuggle with grandpa. 

Then my nieces. 

Then go WOD my butt off because, while I'm trying to stay as paleo as possible, chili mac supreme at Steak n' Shake just had to be ordered. 

I'm so lazy sometimes!!

But vacation is not an excuse to not WOD!!!

So hence, lots of running. Hills. Missouri is full of them, Florida is not.


I forgot all about that.

My friends Natalie and Kyle have a nice little box in Sullivan, and we did a decent WOD this morning with thrusters, pull-ups and running. Lots of running. 

It felt good for so many reasons, despite my uuuuggggghhhhing about the running. 1) Missouri is sooo much cooler than Florida. WOD's in 57 degrees is a little nicer than 90 degrees. No humidity!! and 2) No one is cooking much this weekend, so eating out has been a challenge.

How do you eat out and still be paleo?

Well, for starters, don't go to Steak n' Shake and order the chili mac supreme. With cheese fries.

The good news is that's been my worst mistake so far.

Thursday morning on the way to the airport: Protein shake, pumpkin coffee from DD. Snack on the plane: apple, almonds, cashews, dried coconut. Cracker Barrel Thursday night - grilled chicken salad.

Friday morning: Protein shake, blueberries. Lunch was the Steak n' Shake disaster, but dinner was plain pulled pork, broccoli and salad at my cousin's rehearsal dinner. Not too bad. 

And I have to say, the Walters Family was looking quite amazing last night. 

He's not just hot in baseball pants, people. 


Today: After the WOD, I downed a couple scrambled eggs and bacon x2. The first mess of bacon I made was stolen by my niece who took a whole handful straight off my plate and ran away yelling, "I want soooommmmeeee!!!" Sure thing, kid. You better run. You're lucky I didn't take your hand off.

Just kidding. Kind of.

Stay off my bacon, people.

The rest of the day is wide open. I always tend to be better at staying on track when I do my workouts - energy and motivation to not ruin what I accomplished. But you know what? I'm not going to beat myself up if I have some wedding cake. I'll just get up tomorrow and run some hills again before we fly back to FL.

Maybe. Hills are up there with burpees in my opinion.

But cake. Mmmmmmm.

Today I love: Thrusters and bacon. Thrusters and bacon.

12 September 2013

Again Tomorrow

Rob is apparently feeling pretty sadistic this week.

Crossfit has been ridiculous.

Monday: Front squats, squat sequences, then handstand push-ups, burpees, run. Multiple times.

Burpees. The bane of my existence.


We had to do three of the "girls."

Isabel - 30 snatches. Annie. 50-40-30-20-10 reps of double-unders and sit-ups.  Fran - 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups.


If we are being realistic and not completely outside our minds, those workouts are typically done one at a time. Separate days. Separate weeks, for that matter.

I almost died. I almost threw up. I had a very hard time maneuvering my steering wheel on my drive home. I spilled all my water down the front of myself because I couldn't lift my arms to get the bottle up to my face.


Wednesday - SO, SO glad it was a rest day, because 1) My abdominal muscles decided they hated me from the day before and decided to boycott any further workouts, and 2) There was no way in hades I was getting on that dang Airdyne. Plus sprints.

Today: Another day of pure insanity. 1000m row....then we're expected to do box jumps, push presses, and wall-balls?

And you all know by now how I feel about wall-balls.

Let's discuss the box jumps.

It's taken me a good five months of Crossfit to even come close to having the courage to jump on the box. I stand there and stare at it, hoping I will just magically float on up there and have it over with.

It's seriously intimidating.

Especially when Rob is staring at you, almost willing you to not do it so he can make you wear shin guards, because, true - out of everyone in the box, you're the one who will probably miss the edge and scrape the crap out of your shins.

Conversation this morning:

Me: "How hard will it be to row with the shin guards on?"
Wendy: "Why are you wearing shin guards?"
Rob, standing there just listening, raises his eyebrows like, "Helllooooo, isn't it obvious??"
Me, pointing to Rob: "Him. That's why."
Wendy, laughing. "Do you want a helmet, too?"
Me: "And elbow pads. And goggles. Probably a couple pillows. I'll be the special kid in gym class today."

In all honesty, Rob and Wendy are awesome. Great trainers who look out for you - safety and proper form is #1. I like that. Even if I have to wear the dang shin guards.

So, shin guards and all, I finished the workout without injuring myself or anyone near me. Bonus.

And yes. My abs are still revolting from two days ago.

Seriously. WHAT THE CRAP was up with Tuesday???

You're also probably wondering why the WODs are named after girls. Most CF workouts have a name associated with them for fallen heroes and military personnel.

As for the girls...

Nice, boys.

But after all that ridiculousness, all the insanity, all the sweat dripping into your contacts and making them burn, you still walk away feeling like you did something great.

While most people are still in bed.

Speaking of tomorrow, I think it's time for another Paleo challenge. Not tomorrow, but I'm thinking about doing it again in the next few weeks or so. I haven't fully gotten back on track since vacation, and I need to rein everything back in.
Last night I really wanted soup and some bread for dinner, and I ended up splitting half a loaf of french bread with the dogs, because with me and bread, I just can't have it in the house or I will eat all of it. ALL OF IT. Uggghhhh. I felt like JUNK afterwards. I started getting shaky, like I do with carbohydrates and my stupid low blood sugar. I can't keep doing that and expect to have good workouts.
So, I'm going to be putting together some better plans in the next few weeks. Anyone want to join me?