Sunday, June 27, 2010

Drinking the Kool-Aid, and loving it...

So, as you may or may not know, I'm participating in a 5K run in August. I've been following the "Couch to 5K" program. I have just completed week 4 and that means...I'm halfway there. When I started the program, I struggled BIG TIME! I still do. If you see me "running" you might just think it to be more of a "jog prance". I have all the right moves, but the speed, a little lack luster. That being said, now that I'm approaching week 5 in the program, I can now run for a straight 5 minutes. 4 weeks ago, I could barely run 1 minute. So, I am seeing the progress...and it is good.

I have others that will be running with me in my first 5K in August. Aunt Fudge, Uncle Fudge, Uncle Berry, Aunt Apple and of course, Daddy Brown. Can't believe that all these family members would be willing to sign on with me on my first big adventure. Uncle Fudge, Uncle Berry and Daddy Brown could basically go out and run a 5K at any point in time upon demand. They are all well conditioned and in very good shape. Aunt Fudge, Aunt Apple and I are working through the program. We are inspiring and encouraging each other all the way.

As I was running the past Saturday morning, I was pondering my experience thus far. I'll be completely honest, when I start to run, I feel like my legs are going to fall off. I feel like I'm going to die. As I continue on though, I feel a little bit more confident that I can do it. In the beginning my mind was filled with doubt. I was my worst enemy. My mind would tell me I couldn't do it. My mind would tell me to stop. My mind would tell me it was hopeless. So it was a great surprise as I am entering into week 5, my mind has changed all on its own. While running, my mind is telling me, you got this. It tells me, keep it up and you can go a little bit further. Sometimes it tells me to go faster. I still feel like it is possible I might die sometimes, but I know that I won't.

Entering into week 5, I will be running for 15 minutes with 2 walking breaks on day 1. I will be running 18 minutes with 2 walking breaks on day 2. And then on day 3, I will be running for 20 minutes with no breaks at all. That is the plan. That is exciting to me. My last successful attempt to run for a consistent 20 minutes or longer, was in my early 20's. I can't wait. I know I can do it...before I even get out there. I know I can do it because the Lord has blessed me to find something that I actually enjoy doing. I never knew how much joy I could receive from finding a program that works for me. I was so skeptical when I started this program. I have a bad knee, I'm overweight, I have had a tough time staying on the workout wagon. It would be easy to quit again. It would be easy to say, I don't have the time or I just don't want to today.

As I get closer to August 21st, I get more excited. As I complete another week, I get more giddy. As I see the changes happening in my body, I become ever thankful, ever grateful. Thankful not only for my progress, but for the others that this program is affecting change. Last week, Daddy Brown pushed the Brownies in the stroller and they all ran with me. As we were getting to the end and I was barely able to keep going, Daddy Brown whispered something to the Brownies. The next thing I heard was the Brownies yelling..."Go Mama, Go Mama!" and "You can do it, Go Mama!" It was great. Big Brownie asks me everyday that I get ready to run, "Mama, why are you running?" I tell him, "Mama needs to get healthy and exercise." He asks, "But why Mama?" I tell him, "Because I want to live a long, happy and healthy life with you." He usually says, "Ok Mama, go get healthy!"

As funny as it may sound, I have a rule when I run. NO TALKING...I lose my focus and concentration. I have never enjoyed running with others for the obvious reason, I'm self conscience of how I look and how I sound when I'm running. That is getting better as I am getting better. I imagine as I'm running, little ounces of yucky fat falling off my booty. Gross and funny at the same time I know. I feel so good when I complete the run each morning or each night that it helps me get through my day and I actually look forward to my next run. As of yesterday morning, I have lost 5 1/2 pounds since I started 4 1/2 weeks ago. Not bad...not bad at all!

Yep, I think I am not only drinking the kool-aid, I think I'm LOVING the kool-aid. Let me encourage you to get up and find your flavor of kool-aid. When you do, indulge yourself and make a difference in your life and the life of others.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Papa, Pops and Daddy...

I have written a post about my dad, Papa, back on his birthday. He means the absolute world to me. I believe that I was parented well by both of my parents. My dad has been an inspiration to me for each and every day of my life. I try to spend every chance I get with him, and we enjoy each other through laughter the most. He has a great laugh...a laugh that is contagious and hearty.

Daddy Brown's dad is also an awesome Dad. Pops and Daddy Brown work together and have for over 15 years. They are very similar creatures. Pops is funny and gracious all in the same note. He has the kindest spirit. When Pops is with his grandchildren, he literally lights up. The absolute best time to see Pops, is the quick moments I see him wrap his arms around Gran Gran or Aunt Fudge and even Daddy Brown. You can see the pure joy and happiness on his face. He doesn't have to say it, you can see the love in his eyes.

As Daddy Brown and I have children now, I get to see the love in his eyes too. The sweet and kind love for our babies. The precious love that I could only have dreamed of for our children. Firm when he has to be, but so soft and gentle. Daddy Brown enjoys the rowdy play with the Brownies. He enjoys the "backyard" adventures which include picking up frogs, catching lizards and catching bugs, just to name a few. They enjoy eating the "fun" foods when he is in charge. He would give his ever being to make them happy. He even has the magical power of healing a boo-boo with a kiss.

The Brownies ask for him on work days every morning. "Where is my Daddy?" is the question I get from Big Brownie as he enters the room. I remind him that he is at work. "But why, he wants me?" he asks as I try to explain it is Monday or Tuesday or so on. I finally began to explain why Daddy Brown goes to work..."Daddy goes to work so that he can provide us with food and gas for our car and other things like our home." Oh yes, Daddy Brown is a great provider of all things wonderful. He gives a tremendous amount of support, thoughtful in almost every action he makes, helpful with the housework and enjoys being with his family.

Happy Father's Day to 3 of the best Dad's in the world. The world is a better place because these three men exist. Each one different in their own right, but with one thing in common...they were blessed to be wonderful Dads. They continue to contribute to our lives and they are all role models. I'm blessed to know them and fortunate to love on them every day!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Big Brownie's 3rd Birthday Adventure...

I hope to start a new tradition of giving each of my boys a special day, hopefully more than just one a year, but especially around their birthday. A day that is separate from the birthday party and a day for them to do whatever their hearts delight, within reason of course. Tomorrow is Big Brownie's big day...he will be 3 years old. I can't believe it. My heart skips a beat when I think about how fast these 1,094 days have passed. In light of all the "Big Boy Changes" of late, I decided he and I needed a special Mother/Son day out. I asked Daddy Brown if he could hang with Little Brownie this past Saturday and Big Brownie and I set out to have an adventure together...just the two of us.

We started out a little later in the day than I had anticipated, so rather than having breakfast together, we had lunch. Lunch at Big Brownie's favorite restaurant...O'Charley's. He ordered a salad, chicken tenders, fries and lemonade. The waitress brought us our salad and rolls and Big Brownie dove in. Towards the end of the meal, she brought him his own special birthday dessert and he giggled as that was the most awesome thing in the world to him. He waved to other patrons, exclaiming, "I'm on a special adventure with my mom and I'm 3 years old." Several people stopped to wish him a Happy Birthday and that made him giggle even more.

We headed to one of our favorite spots these days...The Dollar Tree, to purchase a few goodies. Big Brownie picked out a hoola hoop (which I proudly and not to cleverly demonstrated the hoola hoop technique in the store), a big bubble hoop, a smiley face balloon and a strawberry shortcake ice cream popsicle. We ate our ice cream in the car and boy was that a mess. Next, We headed to the train tracks and train car just down the road to walk the tracks, pickup rock, look at the cows, play on the stationery train car and share the sunshine. Amazes me that we can have a full 2 hours of fun just talking, laughing, exploring, running and loving. We both had so much fun.

There was a huge cow...maybe a bull, it didn't have horns, oh I don't know. I do know that it was the biggest cow I had ever seen up close. Big Brownie and I went to the fence and perched to talk to the cow. The big "bull cow" ventured closer and closer...and closer to the fence. Big Brownie was so excited, he wanted to "pet him". However the closer the "bull cow" got, the more nervous I got. I kept thinking, "this rickety fence will not hold his 'bull cow' in if he decides to charge". So, once the cow got within 3 feet of the fence, we backed several feet away. As we were getting close to leaving, it started to sprinkle. So back to the train car we ran to climb on one last time under cover. Big Brownie got to take some pictures with my camera and boy, he snapped 50 pictures in a few minutes. He especially liked taking pictures of our car.

After the rain subsided, we went to the convenience store to get a drink and a snack. As this was Big Brownies special adventure day, I told him he could get 1 beverage and 1 snack. Out of all the junk food he could have chosen, without a fight from me, what does he choose? A yellow apple, 1 orange and a big water. WHO IS THIS CHILD? I was so proud of him. When he asked for both an apple and an orange, of course I said, "YES!" After a little hydration and snack, we headed to the playground to conclude our adventure. We played and played and played some more. The ball field was just feet away from the playground and before leaving...why not run around the bases for a HOME RUN? So, we did. The day was perfect. Big Brownie was allowed to snap off another 100 pictures on the short drive home from the park. He thought that was "COOL".

I'll admit, I teared up several times. For sure at O'Charley's when I looked down to see my son choose his meal and eat with very little assistance. As we ate together, he slid next to me in the booth and placed his hand on mine. I choked back tears as he looked up at me and said, "Mom, you are my best friend." I almost lost it at the train tracks when I remembered the pictures of my Big Brownie at 16 months old. Aunt Berry brought him there and took pictures of him walking down the tracks. How much he has grown. And on our way home, he thanked me for his special day. Oh me, 1,094 days and counting and our first Birthday Adventure is in the books.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Trying to be THREE...

In a few short days, my Big Brownie will officially be 3 years old. It breaks my heart and my heart rejoices at the same time at the thought of having a 3 year old. It has been a week of breaking out for Big Brownie.

We FINALLY threw our favorite companion away. I have taken the "Binkie" away from Big Brownie before as a punishment for misbehaving several times. I felt so guilty in how it was taken, that ultimately, I gave it back. So, I decided that we needed to do this openly and together. Tuesday night, I explained to Big Brownie that this would be his final night with his old friend. He could sleep with his "Binkie" one last time and then in the morning we would throw "Binkie" in the trash can. I asked him if he understood, "Yes Ma'am" was his reply. I asked him to repeat what we had discussed, "I understand that tonight I will get to sleep with 'Binkie' one last time. In the morning when we wake, I will throw 'Binkie' in the trash can." So off to bed he went happy and content.

The next morning after we rose from our slumber, I asked Big Brownie, "Where is your 'Binkie'?" He had put them on his dresser as he had done for the past couple of months. I asked him to go upstairs and get them. I asked him, "Do you remember what we are going to do with 'Binkie'?" He said, "Yes, we are going to put him in the trash can." So, he went upstairs, retrieved his old friend and gently placed him in the trash can. With that, the "Binkie" is now gone. A bit of a snag in that Little Brownie uses the exact same type of pacifier as Big Brownie. So, Little Brownie only gets his "Binkie" at nap time and bedtime and his old friend is left in his crib. This helps in the temptation of Big Brownie going back to his old addiction. Rest-In-Peace "Binkie". You will be missed.

Our second big milestone is that Big Brownie is officially 100% potty trained. We have gone 4 consecutive nights without a diaper/training pants. He has gotten up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and back to bed he goes without so much as a peep. I was down to my last couple of size 6 diapers and DREADED the idea of buying more. Big Brownie came upstairs Sunday night and said, I don't want to wear a diaper tonight, I want to wear my underwear. And with that simple, BIG BOY statement, he is just that...a BIG BOY!

In that he seems to be growing up so fast, these two big markers in his life complete and the fact that he will be 3 years old, he is trying to find his boundaries. Our boundaries are very clear in the this house. Listen and pay attention to what you are told. Act immediately to our requests. Be kind and considerate to others and their belongings. Apologize when you have disobeyed and forgive when someone has hurt your feelings. Hug and Kiss the people you love often. Speak clearly and use your words. It is okay to be upset, mad or sad, however, you may not be disrespectful when you feel this way. Take a deep breathe and calm down. These are a couple of the things the Brownies hear on a daily basis. Even when boundaries are clearly laid out, it is their job to test these boundaries. It is my job to enforce these boundaries.

Now that we no longer have the "Binkie" to use as punitive damages, other privileges are beginning to come in to play. Yesterday, Peanut Butter Fudge came over to play. The Brownies had a BLAST with him. Aunt Fudge picked up P.B. Fudge before everyone got up from their naps. As Big Brownie woke, he asked if P.B. Fudge could go outside and play in the water. I explained that P.B. Fudge had already left. Big Brownie didn't really recover from being upset to the fact that P.B. Fudge was no longer here. He threw a nasty fit.

As he finally calmed down, I began to prepare dinner. This is a time the boys usually get to watch some of their favorite DVD's, VHS tapes or television programs. It keeps them occupied and out of the kitchen. As we sat down to eat dinner, I turned the TV off and we said our prayer. I'll admit, I have a flaw. I CANNOT stand baby talk. Big Brownie is well aware of this hot button and will push it often. Most of the time, I try to ignore it. I can explain the consequence to this action and take a deep breathe myself, but last night, I was already at DEF CON 3. I took a deep breath and ignored it. When Big Brownie realized that wasn't getting the reaction he wanted, he pushed another hot button...banging his fork on the table. I attempted to ignore this, until Little Brownie thought it was funny too and began to join in. Trying to keep a "Monkey see, Monkey do" situation from arising, I told Little Brownie to stop, which he did. I told Big Brownie that he had a choice. If he continued on with the banging, he would not be allowed to go outside after supper was complete. Wanna take a guess which choice he made? Yep, no outside time for him.

As supper progressed, he ultimately dumped his plate full of food onto the floor. I officially declared supper time over and Daddy Brown could tell I had moved to DEF CON 4. He whisked Little Brownie up and outside they went. I explained to Big Brownie that not only was he not going outside, but there would be NO television for the rest of the night. Consequently, another fit ensued. Taking deep breaths and keeping my cool, I went upstairs locked all the bedroom doors except Big Brownie bedroom door. I explained that he needed to go to his room, keep his door open so I could hear him and he could be upset in his room. As he calmed down, he creeped down the stairs and told me he needed to use the bathroom. I agreed and when he was done, explained that he needed to return to his room for some quiet time.

He complied and before long, he was playing in his room quietly. I came upstairs and explained why he was there. I explained what was unacceptable in how he behaved. He understood and said he was very sorry. I told him that I forgave him. We went on the rest of the night in similar fashion, however, I'm pleased to say, I made it without spanking him. I made it without losing my mind and without losing my cool completely.

I don't like the cliche of "Terrible Three's". I don't like to use words like terrible or bad. I like to use words like unacceptable behavior and uncooperative action. I never want my babies to think that I think they are bad or terrible kids...because they are not. They are TRYING me. They are TESTING me. They are looking for me to give them discipline, guidance and direction. Along with love, kindness and most importantly, forgiveness. It may take a few more steps for me to try out these techniques. It would be easier to yell at the top of my lungs at them and spank them. And I do yell at them at times, before I take my deep breath and before I have calmed down. I do explain to Big Brownie that he has a choice when making a decision. He can comply with my request or I can use my "Ugly" voice. He doesn't like my "Ugly" voice and will do as asked most of the time. I do believe in spanking, but as I have said before, that is an ultimate punishment.

Big Brownie is brilliant. He has a great second nature of seeing emotion in people. He can tell if someone is mad or sad or happy or proud. I'm so extremely proud of the little young man he has become. I am so happy that he has a grasp and understanding of his place in our family. I hope and pray everyday that he will continue to "Try" me so that I can teach him right from wrong. I accepted the responsibility of being his mother. I accepted the responsibility of being his teacher. As he is trying to be three, we accept the responsibility of showing him all the love and compassion that we have to give, while guiding him to be a man of mercy and a man of grace. For now, he is almost three and still every bit my Big Brownie.