I can. I will.

I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been struggling for days to find words to describe my workout Thursday morning, to describe the feeling I had as I finished my first round of Body Back (yes, first; yes, I’m going back for more).

squat jumps.

pushups.

reverse crunches.

bicycle crunches.

burpees.

mountain climbers.

Sure, those words work. And this week, yoga, barre, Body Back, Stroller Strides, Fit4Baby also work.

strong.

brave.

feisty.

understanding.

forgiving.

humble.

grateful.

love.

Those words work too. In yoga the other day, we were asked to set an intention for our practice. Mine was understanding. To be understanding of myself, and my limits; and of others and their limits.

As I began my workout, that I knew would be grueling, that morning, humble popped into my head. I’m humbled and grateful for what my body does for me each and everyday, for responding when I ask it to. I’m humbled that my brain listens when I tell it to STOP saying “I can’t” and start saying “Of course you can”.

I finished off Body Back 17 pounds lighter, 4″ smaller almost everywhere, standing taller, running faster, doing more pushups, situps, squats and holding a longer plank. I finished it knowing that when I want to have a class do a spiderman pushup, or a pushup to side plank, I can do that, and look damn good doing it. I can be an inspiration to others…that’s a heady feeling.

But I’m not done.

Now that I see what I’m capable of, what my body can do for me (you’d think after birthing three children, I’d have some sense of it, but it took a lot more), I want to continue to be faster and stronger. And then, I want to turn it around. I want to pay it forward, give it back. Because this feeling? It’s not mine. It has to be given…has to be shared. I’m so proud of myself and the hard work put in to get where I am. I can’t wait to take other mamas there, too.

I can. I will.

Watch me.

Exceeding expectations

I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase lately. Well, the last few days anyway. You see, in my blogging absence, I’ve been through just a few things. Namely, a major injury. A major injury that precluded me from running the Rock n Roll Half marathon. I pinched a nerve in my shoulder, resulting in a completely numb arm, for the better part of a month. Then a partially numb arm for a while, and so on. I’ve been through 4 months of physical therapy, and 4 months of not running much, and 4 months of wondering if I’d ever get back to “normal” and be able to do things that make me really happy.

And then I realized that I could. Suddenly, my arm was feeling better. Well, not suddenly, but still it felt like that. And I graduated physical therapy (got to ring a bell and everything). And I’m starting to train for a half in August. And I began Body Back. And it dawned on me that, at age 32, I’ve exceeded all expectations I ever had for myself. Now, I know that sounds kind of sad, but I think I had rather low expectations, and I had zero confidence in what I was capable of. Those who know me well might wonder at this, as I seem to be a pretty confident person, and I am, but I have always had a lot of self doubt.

I’m not a runner.

I’m not strong.

3 kids? Are you crazy? (well, yes, yes, I am.)

I’ll never be thin.

If you’d asked me 6 years ago if I’d ever thought of running a half marathon, I’d have laughed in your face. If you’d asked if I ever thought I’d have 6 pack abs, I’d have guffawed. If you’d suggested I should have three kids, I might have hit you. And thin? Well, nah. It’s just “not my body”.

But am all those things. I am a runner. I am now one of those people who can just hop on a trail or treadmill and run three miles. Like it’s no big thing. And the whole time I choke back tears because 2 years ago, this seemed impossible. I look at my stomach, after giving birth to three kids, and smile at the muscles that I can see developing. I look at my arms and shoulders and love seeing the strength I’m working so hard to build. I’m smaller than I’ve been since high school, and well, that’s fun too. I have three beautiful children who drive me entirely crazy, but I can’t imagine a life without.

At 32, I have already exceeded all expectations of myself.

What’s next? For me, the sky’s the limit. I don’t know what’s next. I want to be stronger, faster, healthier. I want to motivate more mamas to believe that they CAN be amazing, awesome, strong, and to not feel limited by genetics or your body, or your kids.

And so, in some ways, this is a bit of a love letter. To myself, to my husband (for giving me the time and encouragement to keep going), to my friends for cheering me on, and to Hilary and the Stroller Strides crew. There is seriously NO WAY I’d be here now if I’d not met you.

This Hour

In a (very) random burst of inspiration, fueled by serious lack of sleep, frigid temperatures, and beautiful sunlight, I stepped outside today to take a few shots of the wheelbarrow. And then I walked back in, and proceeded to shoot for about an hour, my life. It’s mundane, but looking back through it tonight, it’s beautiful. I’m feeling grateful today for simple pleasures: popcorn, laundry, library books, beautiful fabric, napping children, forts, iphones, and now, at 10pm, wine.

{one}

inspired by a favorite blogger: {one} photo from the week. {one} photo that sums it up, offers it up. {one} that somehow captures it. what it is, i’m not quite sure. do you have {one}? share it in the comments.

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inspired by a favorite blogger: {one} photo from the week. {one} photo that sums it up, offers it up. {one} that somehow captures it. what it is, i’m not quite sure. do you have {one}? share it in the comments.

The Middle One

I won’t pretend that I try to give my kids equal time on this blog – after all, this started 6 years ago as Ryan’s blog. But my middle, my Finleigh, there’s something extra special about that kid. Maybe it’s my soft spot for 2 year olds (yep, love ’em). Maybe it’s my soft spot for redheads (married one). Maybe it’s just her squishy cheeks. But there’s something about that girl.

She’s fast. She only cuddles on her terms. She likes things HER way, and she don’t give a crap if you have other ideas. We call her Honey Badger. And it suits her. To a “T”.

When she slows down though, oh my, what a sweet heart. I just breathe all her toddler-y goodness in at night, as she’s drifting off to sleep, doing her family roll call (Ryan, daddy, mama, Asher, Finleigh, Zoe, Unca Mike, Annie Allison, Unca Jame, nonna, papa) and naming off all the parts of my face (eyes, eyefrows, lips, ears, cheeks) and pausing with her sweet, slightly sticky, pudgy little hand on my cheek. I melt.

I know I enjoyed this age with Ryan. But I also know I had a lot of other stuff going on then: school, work, the possibility of going back to work, my own inner demons – I had a lot of my own crap. And, hindsight being, as always, 20/20, I know this sweet little moment is fleeting. So fast.
She’ll be 2 in 2 months. And those little hands will lose their pudge, and her cheeks will slim down, and she’ll no longer need me to lay with her at night and give her “nosies”. So, for now, I breathe it all in.

Happy Six, Peanut

She hates it when I call her ‘Peanut’ now. Tough patoots, I say. It’s your nickname and I’m not giving it up. Oh, and you’re a peanut, so it’s fitting. I’m not a nut, she replies. No, not in that sense…

She’s becoming a truly, truly lovely young lady. She’s sweet, caring, responsible, thoughtful and smart. I’m quite proud of her, and of the choices and decisions she’s making, and learning to make, as she navigates this big world we live in. I think she’s going to make it.

She asked for a “star” party this year. And, well, this mama delivers. Star party it is. Stars everywhere…the cake, the decor, the dress. I’m “that mom” and I think I’m OK with it. I haven’t decided yet.

Whatever the case, Happy Birthday, kiddo. You are my favorite six year old.

And look! Mommy (and Asher) made it into a photo, and wore stars. Just for sissy.

{one}

 

inspired by a favorite blogger: {one} photo from the week. {one} photo that sums it up, offers it up. {one} that somehow captures it. what it is, i’m not quite sure. do you have {one}? share it in the comments.

{one}

inspired by a favorite blogger: {one} photo from the week. {one} photo that sums it up, offers it up. {one} that somehow captures it. what it is, i’m not quite sure. do you have {one}? share it in the comments.