Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Sweaty Sisterhood

A good friend tells it like it is. She'll tell you she liked your hair better long, that you were a little too hard on your kids, and that, yes, you need the breath mint she just offered. Somehow hearing the brutal truth from some friends doesn't sting like it would from others. In fact, it feels good just knowing there is another person with whom you can be 100% yourself.

So I was glad yesterday morning when Cindy, my sister in sweat, got me out of the house and running before I had time to make too many excuses. She was a bit of a hard ass, actually, but I was grateful she called me on my cop out. Without her persistence I would never have made it out the door-- getting ready for Christmas Eve had me busy (and stressed) all day.

The best thing about sisters in sweat isn't just that they can give you a good kick in the rear when you need it, but that they depend on you too. After I thanked Cindy for convincing me to run, she admitted that she needed me too. She knew that without my commitment to meet her at Fat Lorenzo's (the pizza joint half way between our houses), she would never had made it out the door herself.

So I guess this post is really a tribute to all those wonderful girlfriends that have kept me moving over the years, and let me keep them moving, too. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Raising Spiritually Fit Kids

Running has been my church for the past ten years. Alone, with a friend, or with my husband, hoofing out short and long runs most days of the week should have me at clergy status by now.

Unfortunately, it's not that easy.  I've logged tens of thousands of miles on my legs and yet sometimes I feel like I am right where I started, spiritually speaking. Leaves me wondering what I can do to make it easier for my kids than it's been for me.

I was raised Roman Catholic--went to church every Sunday and never missed a holy day. My high school was Catholic, I went to a Catholic college, and I attended Catholic graduate school (twice!). I participated in all of the appropriate sacraments and had my children baptized.

Despite my uber Catholic upbringing, I've not pushed religion on my kids like my parents did on me. Guess I figure it hasn't given me any significant spiritual advantage, so I'm looking at other ways of fostering their growth... We go to church, but not every Sunday. We give thanks before meals, but sometimes we don't. Yes, we've given our kids an introduction to a spiritual life, but sometimes I worry that they're missing something, that we should be giving them more in the area of structured religion.

It was a priest who first introduced me to the idea of running as my church, as a form of prayer. I'm quite certain he didn't intend for me to jump ship and start a church of my own, but that's sort of what I've done. And while the Church of Running has a huge congregation, I'm starting to think it's not enough anymore. Not for me, and not for my children.

So I've done some shopping around... I think I've found a good community for my family. A place that will help them grow spiritually, not just religiously. But I know they need to find their own personal churches, too. Might not be the same as mine; but it would be wonderful if they are.

I'm not looking for any conversion conversation, but what are your thoughts on raising spiritually fit kids? What is spiritual fitness? Does it include structure and individuality, or just one of these? Does age matter? Are you beliefs a reaction to or in support of your own upbringing? And what about the idea of workouts bringing you closer to your higher power?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Make the Decision

Kids are notorious for turning the ordinary into something extraordinary.
The past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic. It's not so much the holiday preparations that have me feeling a little under the gun, but a long string of colds, sinus infections, kid activities, and a husband traveling for work. Nothing terrible, but getting everything done has resulted in me becoming a frazzled mama.

And with all this multi-tasking, I've noticed something... when I'm busy juggling too many balls, multi-tasking DOESN'T translate into efficiency--it usually just means something is going to drop. I felt it happening earlier this week... I was so preoccupied with finding time to squeeze in a run that it never did happen. At the end of day two I was left feeling bad about not running AND about how much time I'd wasted just stressing over it.

The answer to this blogger's time crunch!
So, I made the decision to let go of something  before the choice was no longer mine and I unwillingly HAD to let it go. I'm on day four of not running and I'm doing okay. I'm not trying to think about where that sliver of time is--I even kept with my choice when the opportunity to run did present itself.

Of course I have to do something to get sweaty... I need my outlet. So, I've been riding my Spinner bike downstairs. It's not quite the same heart thump I get from a run, but at least it warms me up. 

And I've taken the lead from my daughter; I've discovered another new use for the laundry basket. I've actually been able to do a little work on here (guess where I am now?). Just another good reason to make the choice to pull back when you have to... helps you look at life from a new perspective, see things you may have missed before. Not running this week helped me find what might just be the best desk I've ever owned! Now I am comfortably multi-tasking again... freeing up more time that I can actively enjoy my family!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Easy Meals are a Big CROCK

I'm not a cook. Too me, making dinner is like organizing one of those races where everyone starts at different intervals in hopes most people will finish around the same time. I just can't ever get it to work out like it is supposed to. I don't like to estimate, substitute or pinch. I'm not sure how to tell if a hard boiled egg is done and I never trust the meat thermometer. College chemistry was easier and much less stressful.

Because of this it's quite easy for me to fall back on the same old meals:  tacos, spaghetti and pizza. (I'm not proud, just honest.) So on Tuesday night when I thought our dinner of spaghetti leftovers was a go, I decided to put together a bench for our entryway before getting our oldest fed and ready for basketball practice. When I was finished, I realized there was no spaghetti. Thank goodness I have a husband who is very creative in the kitchen--he whipped something up in no time at all.

While on my run this morning, I realized something needs to change. If I'm going to have time to do more of the fun things I want to do (like putting together that bench or going for an evening run/walk), I'm gonna have to face my fear ignorance disdain for cooking. Because while I'm not spending hours slaving away in the kitchen, I am spending lots of time and energy worrying about it. Worrying about what meals to plan, worrying that my husband might get resentful of my kitchen anxiety, and worrying that I don't provide the best meals I can for my family.

So, I've decided to put some serious effort into become a great crock pot cook. It just might be a fit mom's most powerful time saving weapon. Throw in a bunch of food and it's off to the races. Everything is done at the same time and it stays heated until YOU'RE ready to eat! I knew this life-changing appliance was great, but forgot about it during the warm summer months. I feel like I've been born again.

I've done the basics... a pot roast and maybe some chili... but I'm ready to step it up a bit. Anyone have any great (easy) recipes that work well in the crock pot? Extra credit if you think my finicky kids will eat it!