What Holiday Sanity?

It’s December 21st and I still don’t have a tree up.

Yep, I seem to be winning as a mom, yet again. I mean, I got the elves out, so that counts for something, right? Let’s not really talk about the fact that the only reason the elves are img_0554-e1513893588192.jpgout is because the nine year old “reminded” us. And save for the one morning that it was discovered that they didn’t move from their location the previous day, which resulted in a voodoo-like ceremony complete with cinnamon sprinkled on an antique secretary desk, we’ve generally done pretty well.

img_0553I bought the stupid book that gave me ideas on all kinds of crazy elfin shenanigans, but really, they are just hanging from the same old ceiling fans and fireplace mantle. The creativity has just gone. OK, side note, I haven’t accidentally cooked the elves in the oven yet, so there is that, right?

I’d like to say that it was the marathon I ran this weekend that was the culprit for adding holiday stress, or the half marathon we directed, or the fact that Sean is opening up a pie shop. But really, this is nothing new. We seem to always be overbooked and looking for Texas A&M to hurry up and perfect human cloning so we can do everything we somehow commit ourselves to.

Parties.

Extra swim lessons to make up for the lessons missed on holidays.

Holiday treats for the nine year old’s class.

A new cat and not really sure how to put up a tree and not deal with the ensuing disaster that I hear cats are capable of with a tree.

Yep, my house is a wreck and the only way you know it’s Christmas currently is the slightly more frequent Amazon prime deliveries on the doorstep.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. We are all stretched way too thin this time of year.

So how do I plan to make it to the home stretch of December 25th without losing my crap?

img_0535For me, I choose to live in a sort of delusional parallel universe that if I’m not at the house seeing how much I need to clean, or the fact that the lights in the front yard were, in fact, placed there by said nine year old, then Christmas can be put off until I’m ready… next June… 😉

img_0353Yep, I go for a run. It doesn’t fix the fact that nothing is getting done, but it’s a great stress reliever! I am living in my little run skirts so that I can head out for a run at a moment’s notice. We are also using our Instant Pot like crazy to make sure dinner happens. I’m also trying to stick to my usual early morning swims so that I am at least getting something done before my day gets taken hostage by whatever crisis is coming my way.

Let’s see, what else?

img_0552Well, for starters, I have learned to take advantage of that Amazon Prime membership. Every time I think of something else I need, I just order it and voila, it shows up on my doorstep, many times the very next day. Even the toilet paper. Down to one roll? Open the app and order a case. If it can’t be Primed, chances are it’s not getting bought right now.

I quit getting creative with Christmas as well. I asked my kids for a list of all the little consumable crap they are always wanting. Clarinet reeds, extra bike tubes, CO2 cartridges, Pokémon cards, all of it. I made a list for each of them and added “gift cards” for two or three of their favorite stores. I purposely made sure the lists had even items that were less than $5. Then I took a photo of the lists and sent them to all the family members. But here is the kicker: I told the family that if they didn’t give me a list like these, they weren’t getting anything. This is the year of me NOT being creative and NOT going to the mall to just browse til I find that one gift. (insert eyeroll here)

img_0162We finally decided that we can’t be everywhere. It was hard to only show up for a party for thirty minutes, or not at all, but for the sake of our sanity, we had to draw a line in the sand. When the nine year old has on her wish list that we would spend more time with her, it made it super easy to walk out of that party. We have given ourselves permission to have a cluttered house and to let a lot of things go this year. But we have plans to finally go buy that Christmas tree tonight. And if we are lucky, get some plastic ornaments so that when the inevitable happens, and the tree falls due to a spastic cat, we can just pick right back up and keep moving forward. With grace. And a whole lot of laughter.

 

 

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What Inspired You to Begin?

I get a little emotional the second Sunday in December. That’s the date of the Dallas Marathon, my hometown race.

I have lived in the neighborhood that the course runs through since I moved to Dallas. Oh, how it would piss me off to see my streets blocked on a random Sunday morning, making brunch plans impossible. To say I wasn’t a runner was an understatement.

In 2011, I topped out at 75+ pounds overweight. I was miserable. I was sedentary. I was on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication. I was headed down the same damn path that so many take. It was my primary care doctor that just made an off-hand comment about how “this is as good as it gets” and “it’s all downhill from here.” I hated him at that moment. But a few weeks later, sitting on my hotel bed watching tv after a long day at work in another city, room service carnage all around me, something snapped. I literally, out loud, said “GET UP!”

I walked over to my laptop and joined Weight Watchers. I found a meeting at a location nearby and walked out of the hotel room. I stopped by the concierge desk and instructed them to remove the television from my room before I returned. They looked at me like I had three heads, but they said they would get it done. I sheepishly slinked into that first meeting to figure out if they could help me take control of my life. I was overwhelmed, but there was this insane drive to just make the change. I stopped by the Sports Authority that I saw on the way and bought a pair of workout pants and a pair of clearance shoes that I now know were nowhere near the right size. But the beauty of buying a pair on clearance was that no one had to help me, which meant I could remain as invisible as a fat middle-aged woman could be in a store she never thought she would be in. When I got back, I put those Nikes on told myself that if I was going to watch tv, it would be while walking on a treadmill.

But I digress… this is about the MARATHON!

So, fast forward a few months and it’s an insane, cold, stormy December morning in 2011. The family slept in, as usual, and we went out for a lazy Sunday meal. We went north, to Panera at North Park Mall, rather than our usual spots south of us because of the street shut downs. As I unapologetically ate that macaroni and cheese (side note: that stuff is amazing! All 950 calories of it!), the door opened. In walked a guy all bundled up and a woman who had just run the race. She was drenched, shivering, wrapped in a heat blanket and wore a medal.

She seriously looked like hell. Most would feel sorry for her, because seriously, it was COLD and WET that day! But all I saw on her face was exhausted confidence. She finished! She had an air that said she could conquer anything.

I turned back around and looked Sean right in the eyes and said, “I’m going to do that race!” His eyes widened and the concerned look came over his face.

“You know what race she just ran, right? I mean, do you even know how LONG the marathon is??”

“I don’t know, but I know I want to do that race. I want to know what that feeling is like. She looks like she can do anything!”

I hadn’t run a single step, but at that moment, I became a runner. I spent the next year tackling 5Ks and 10Ks and registered for the Half Marathon. I eventually ran the Dallas Marathon a couple of years later. Now, it’s a permanent spot on my calendar, either running or volunteering. I love this race and I love the people in it.

But the weekend always brings back that sense of nostalgia. I have no idea who that girl was. I don’t know if she ran the full, the half or even the relay. Maybe she was a “one and done-er.” But every year, I am reminded that the power of one person can profoundly change your entire life’s trajectory. So, my annual “thank you” goes out to her. Thank you for bringing me a confidence that I never had before. Thank you for helping me turn my entire family into a family of runners. Thank you for the amazing people that have been brought into my life. Thank you for showing me how awesome running and friendship could be. Thank you.

Simple Kale and Quinoa Salad

I adapted this recipe from one I found online at nourishmovelove.com. The original recipe was delicious, but I found it a little one dimensional and needed something. What it needed was meat and a higher fat content. 😉

Also, this recipe was converted to make a really enormous amount of salad because I was meal prepping.

Mix all of this in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups broccoli kale salad (I bought bagged salad from Super Target!)
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup avocado, diced

Combine:

  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Toss the salad with the dressing. Top with 3 ounces of grilled chicken or tuna fish and a handful of sliced almonds.

This literally took only a few minutes to prepare once the quinoa had been made the night before.