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National Running Day 2012

6 Jun

For my 2011 National Running Day post, click here. (So much has happened since then!)

Today is National Running Day! As if my facebook and Twitter feeds aren’t filled enough with running news, updates, and posts, a day like this really takes it up a notch. It’s funny…it is almost like this day reminds us to stay excited about running. All the buzz about #RunningDay made me feel excited to run and re-energized me a little! Woot!

National Running Day Badge

This is what I *used* to run for…

National Running Day Badge
National Running Day Badge
National Running Day Badge

The obvious question is…how did I celebrate?

Well, I Tweeted out DOZENS of race promo and discount codes for races all over the country. Most of them were only good for today, but if you see a race you are interested after today, go ahead and try the code. There are chances that it might still work!

(If you are not on Twitter, you can check out the screen shots here, here, here, and here for the codes and links. By the way, why are you NOT on Twitter??)

I registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon in November! This will qualify me for Heavy Medal this year from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series! WOOT!

As I left work and walked to my car, I started getting pretty excited about getting home, scooping up Baby Key in the BabyJogger, and going for a few laps around our apartment complex. And then this happened…
Rainy Interstate

Booooooo! I know I am not made of sugar and I am fully capable of running in the rain, but dragging Baby Key out in a thunderstorm with lightning is just not a good idea.

But all was not lost! By late this evening, however, there was a brief window where the rain stopped and we went out and got our run on. Granted, we “only” went 2 miles, but 2 miles is better than 0 miles!

After my run, I went to Competitor Group’s site, logged my miles, and got my badge. BOOYAH!
National Running Day Badge

Playing “single mama” while my husband has been out of town has been tough and it means that I have even less free time in the evenings with making sure Baby Key is taken care of. Between that and the cruddy weather, I am quite content with my National Running Day 2-Miler!

How did you celebrate National Running Day today?

Out with the old, in with the new!

1 Jan

2012 is here and I could not be more excited!  There are big, exciting things coming and I cannot wait to share them all with you!  I cannot complain about this year, as 2011 has brought me many wonderful things…we moved to a new city, was launched, I competed in lots of awesome and fun new trail and road races (and even a triathlon), and we welcomed a beautiful new baby boy to our home!  What an adventure it has been!

2012 will be really exciting and I hope to venture into some new territory.  I have some big plans for this site and I plan to try and take things to a new level.  Fingers crossed!  Now that I am feeling my body feeling more whole and complete again, I have some big racing goals too!

This year, I plan to:
*  Run the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay
*  Run the BRASF Mardi Gras Mambo 10k
*  Run the Rock N Roll New Orleans half marathon
*  Compete in (2) Rocketchix Triathlons

I am also planning a late summer/early fall marathon, but I have not picked one for sure yet.  I have a couple of friends that want to do a destination race, and I just need to check with my finances to see what is feasible.

And last, but not least, I have decided to get my RRCA certification!  I am shooting to complete this in March of this year.  The March training will be held in Atlanta and I have been itching for an excuse to go run with some of my friends who run with the Black Girls Run! group anyway!  Fun!

I am very optimistic that there will be many more adventures that I find my want into and I cannot wait to share them all with you.

Thank you all so much for hanging with me through 2011!  I hope you continue to stick around for the ride!

Hugs and high fives,

Holiday Ketchup

26 Dec

WARNING: This is a long one…but I swear I tried to keep it as brief as possible!

Okay, so I am not really writing about holiday ketchup, but more like holiday catch-up. Although holiday ketchup sounds like a pretty interesting tomato-y holiday tradition, there will be not discussion of condiments here. 🙂 Since I have so much ground to cover with this blog, I am just going to give you a quick series of updates to keep from going all over the map. Are you ready? Let’s go!

If you have been following me on Twitter (And if you have not, what are you waiting for!? It is a party, y’all!), you have probably seen that I have been posting a lot about how hard of a time we have been having with Baby Key. My child cries ALL THE TIME. For a few weeks, I thought it was just regular newborn crying. However, when the crying became incessant…and the sleeplessness set in…I knew something was wrong. Newborns just could not cry THIS much. It just was not normal. This past Monday, I had finally had enough. After two full days of crying and no sleep, I had reached my limit. In tears, I called the pediatrician and begged her to work us in. After she examined him, she finally diagnosed him with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). While I am not thrilled that he has this condition, I am happy to know what is causing his fits so that we can work to make him feel better and happier.

At the suggestion of the doctor, we have changed his formula from Enfamil Infant Premium in the light blue container to Enfamil Gentlease in the purple container. While I breast feed during the day (actually I pump and then bottle feed the breast milk), we do supplement nighttime feedings with formula. The plan is to also feed him smaller amounts, more frequently. This feels like taking a step back but if it makes his temperament milder, I will absolutely do it. Also, he has been given a prescription of 10mg of Nexium daily. The pediatrician says every child is different, so he could grow out of it in two weeks…or several months. Sigh. However, in just the few days since he changed his routine, the situation seems to be improving. I am hoping that he will soon get to the point where we can put him down and not have him start screaming. We are doing our best to be optimistic!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Well, my friends, I am *officially* another year older…and maybe another year wiser? Ha! I wish! Last Monday, I turned the big 2-9. Once upon a time, I thought 30 was old, but, surprisingly, I do not have a lot of anxiety about approaching my thirties. Besides, 30’s are the new 20’s, right?

I did not really spend my birthday doing anything spectacular. In fact, it was anything but stellar. I try really hard to remain positive and upbeat, but I am going to have to be honest…my birthday sucked. Monday morning started out with a meeting with a lactation nurse who diagnosed me with candida/mastitis in my breasts (SO painful) and the afternoon was filled with a doctor appointment for Baby Key where he was diagnosed with GERD (see above). I spent the whole day in tears.

I had planned to drop my kiddo off with my mom for the afternoon and Super Husband and I were going to catch a movie and go for a bike ride. None of that happened because of the doctor appointments. After my kiddo’s appointment, I was so drained from the day’s events that we just went to my mom’s house…where I promptly proceeded to replace the my bummy feelings from the day with Swedish Fish, strawberry cake with vanilla frosting, and vanilla fro-yo with Magic Shell. A sugar hangover commenced promptly on Tuesday morning.


Super Husband and I are really looking forward to having some help while we are in South Carolina. His parents and sisters are itching to spend some time with Baby Key and this Mama Bear welcomes the break! I *need* it. While on holiday vacation, I am hoping to be able to run everyday. I realize that some people might think that my getting excited about running while on vacation is completely ridiculous, but forget them. They have not been cooped up in a house for 6 weeks!

My legs are begging to be moved!
My lungs are craving fresh air!
The pavement beckons the steady rhythm of my feet!

On Christmas Eve morning, I joined up with some old friends and my sister-in-law for a group run. It was so great so see my old running friends! It was really cold and I had a little bit of trouble (let’s just say that super cold temps + breast health issues = big time difficulty) but I did the best I could. I cut the route short because I was feeling awful, but hey, I was out there.

While in town, I also want to visit the local running and triathlon stores. There is a MUCH larger selection here than in Baton Rouge and I have got birthday money to spend! What should I get? Any suggestions?

I also want pick up a copy of a new running magazine, called Pace. My running buddy, Denise Bryson, just started it and I cannot wait to see the first issue. If you are in the Upstate South Carolina area, look for it! Oh and be sure to follow the mag on Twitter…@pacerunningmag!
My post-partum running has been going pretty well. I started out with a walk and when that went well with little soreness, I stepped up to running. Here is a little recap:
1. 1.50 miles – outside walk – neighborhood – Thursday 12/08/2011
2. 2.22 miles – inside run/walk – treadmill – Saturday 12/10/2011
3. 1.20 miles – inside run – treadmill – Friday 12/16/2011
4. 4.30 miles – outside run – LSU lakes – Sunday 12/18/2011
5. 2.25 miles – outside run/walk – downtown Greenville – Saturday 12/24/2011

On run #3, I felt light-headed and started getting tunnel vision. I definitely attribute that to poor nutrition. Whatever the reason, I felt it best to stop.

On run #4, I felt AMAZING! And guess what!? My guts did not fall out like I thought they would! Ha! It was also my first run with my new training buddies (more on that in a moment).

Run #5 was awful. I have been having some really big complications with breast feeding my son which have led to some breast health issues for me. In the last week, the cold weather and the friction from a sports bra have made exercising really uncomfortable. However, I think I have everything under control, so now I just have to wait for soreness to go away. Blech.

I know 5 runs in 2 weeks is not all that impressive, but it has been so hard to get away or do ANYTHING when Baby Key is having his fits. During his “witching hour,” Super Husband and I literally have to take turns with him in 15-20 minute intervals. It is exhausting. However, now that that issue seems to be getting resolved, I am hoping to be able to commit to 3-4 runs per week (one speed run, one tempo run, one long run, and maybe one fun run).

I am going to have to find some way to get my running in because I have races coming up and I need to start getting back into tip-top shape! That’s right…I am back, suckas! While I am not at all in the shape or at the speed I was pre-baby, I do feel ready to start entering races!

In early February, I will be joining 5 others in the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay. We will be taking turns running legs with the total distance covered being 126.2 miles. The route is from Baton Rouge to New Orleans along the old Mississippi River roads (the roads used before the interstate between the two cities were built) and the overall elevation is negative. New Orleans sits farther below sea level than Baton Rouge, so here is a big WOO HOOfor running 126.2 miles downhill! I do not know the members of my team that well but I am sure that training together will give us the perfect chance to get acquainted. Yay for making new friends! I met the team captain, Amanda, while I was training for the Rocketchix Triathlon earlier this summer. I am really looking forward to this experience!

Team name needed! Any suggestions??

In March, I will be running the 2012 Rock N Roll New Orleans. I am currently signed up for the half marathon, but depending on how I feel after the Rouge-Orleans, I *may* consider running the full marathon. MAYBE. I caught a GREAT deal on the registration fee earlier this year. It was only $35! I ran the full marathon this year and loved the course. Can I do it again this year? Will I be ready?

In 2012, in the interest of saving money, I will probably do a lot fewer 5k and 10k races and focus on events that really challenge me…half and full marathons, adventure/mud runs, and maybe a sprint triathlon or two.

There are a number of other awesome events coming up that, while I am not running them, I am involved with in one way or another. I will definitely be present at these races, so if you are going to be there or if you are running them, please let me know so that I can say hello or cheer you on!

January 15: Louisiana Marathon (Baton Rouge, LA)
January 22: Gulf Coast Half Marathon (Gulf Shores, AL)
March 22: RRCA Certification/Training (Atlanta, GA)
April 15: Gulf Coast Half Marathon (Pensacola, FL)

On a side note, if you are looking for an awesome race in which to qualify for the Boston Marathon (BQ, baby! BQ!), please consider running the Louisiana Marathon! The course is incredible and it takes you through some of the most historic areas of our city. Plus, it is an inaugural year and it is always fun to run an event in its first year! Oh, and have you seen the race bling? HELLO!

In the last month or so, I have gotten my hands on some fantastic fall/winter running gear to test out. Some of this stuff is so unique and the technology is really innovative. I have already started wear-testing some of the gear and will continue to do so over the next couple of months. Lots of gear/product reviews are coming soon, so be on the look out! I will help you spend some of that holiday cash that I know will be burning holes in your pockets! Plus, there will be some fun giveaways so you will not want to miss that!

So, with all that, I’m off for a run! I hope the holiday season has been as good to you as it has been to me! This pretty much catches you all up from the last couple of weeks! I promise not to wait so long before posting again!! 🙂

How have you been doing? What have you been doing to keep yourself sane during the holidays?

Things October Brings

3 Oct

October is, by far, my favorite month! Even though Christmas is my favorite holiday, the month of October always seems to bring extra special things. This year, it brings extra EXTRA special things! Here are just a few reasons why October is a good month…

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
I am a huge supporter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and have participated at many levels in several chapters of this organization. I have run in more Race for the Cure 5k races than I can even remember, have walked in five 3-Day for the Cure events, and have crewed one 3-Day for the Cure event. In fact, I am even in a promotional video for the 3-Day for the Cure! Granted, I am in it for 0.27 milliseconds, but hey, I am in there! Breast cancer is a disease that has personally affected my family and I do everything I can to help support finding a cure for it. I secretly fear that one day I will be diagnosed, as I am in a genetic “high risk” category. However, I do the best I can to help keep my body strong and healthy by eating right and getting exercise so that I am able to handle anything that may or may not come in the future. I believe that all the research being done to find a cure is worthwhile and I believe that we will see a world without breast cancer. Every woman deserves a lifetime!

The Saints love tatas, too!

Dropping Temperatures and Fall Fun
October ushers in wonderful things like cool snaps, decreasing temperatures and fall festivals. While I realize that Autumn technically starts in September, it is during the month of October that I really feel like fall is upon us. Leaves start turning and falling off the trees and I can hear the crunch of them as I shuffle down the sidewalk. Oh, and pumpkin-flavored menu items start showing up on restaurant menus and in grocery stores. Even though I know it is super healthy, I am not a HUGE fan of pumpkin. I do, however, love me some roasted pumpkin seeds!

Halloween and Costumed Races
Really, do I need to say anymore? Aren’t we all just big kids inside? Who doesn’t love the costumes, the candy, and the spooky (cheesy) Halloween soundtracks!? C’mon, you know you love it when Monster Mash is played on the radio! Halloween is my second favorite holiday of the whole year and I literally start planning my costumes (yes, PLURAL) for the parties I will be attending and the races I will be running MONTHS in advance. In fact, I have a whole post dedicated to some of my favorite running costumes coming later this week, so be on the look out for that!

Race Volunteering
I have promised my husband no more races until after Baby Key arrives. While I know when to stop or slow down when running on my own, all of that common sense flies right out the window when I am in a race environment. My pack mentality completely takes over and my uber competitive monster rears its ugly head. So, to prevent myself from overdoing it, I am going to be volunteering at several local races so that I can stay active in my running community! Plus, it is super fun to support others and experience a race in a different way!

…and last but certainly NOT least…in fact, this is the MOST EXCITING thing this October brings…

Baby Key
Yep, it is highly likely that Baby Key will have an October birthday! YOWZA! Picture me with my eyeballs bugging out of their sockets because that is pretty much what I look like ALL THE TIME these days. While technically my due date is not until November 7th, my doctor has informed me that women who remain very active during pregnancy (read = women like ME) typically deliver one to two weeks early because their bodies are pretty much just “ready to go.” Trust me, this body is DEFINITELY ready to go! Let’s get this show on the road and let this mama-to-be get back to running…with the Baby Jogger, of course!

What does October bring to you? Do you have anything special or fun going on this month?

OFF TOPIC: I Probably Should Have Written This Yesterday…

12 Sep

…but I didn’t. I did not want to put out one more 9/11 post. I certainly do not mean that in any offensive way to all the bloggers who selflessly and thoughtfully shared their experiences of what happened that day. It is just that yesterday really hit me in a way that I was not expecting, a way that felt deeply personal (even more so than in years past), and I just did not know how to express it in a way that would portray exactly how I was feeling.

Yesterday, a lot of running forums on the internet were posting things like “How has 9/11 affected your running?” and things like that. Again, I do not at all mean to sound offensive, but when I think of 9/11, the very LAST thing I think about is how it affects my running. When you are talking about the events of that day, running seems so trivial, so insignificant. 9/11 has affected EVERYTHING.

I was not going to even write this post. However, coming into work this morning, the radio morning show I listen to was still talking about “where were you when it happened” moments and I just could not push my feelings about 9/11 down. I teared up. I felt stupid sitting in my car, driving down the interstate at 6:00AM, crying like a baby.

My perspective this year on 9/11 has completely changed. Now that I have a son on the way, my perception of family has completely changed. There are so many words that have taken on a new meaning to me.


Seeing the images yesterday of all of these families affected by 9/11 really, REALLY got to me. I started thinking of all the children that were left fatherless and motherless. All the wives left without husbands and all of the husbands left without wives. Having suddenly lost my father at a young age, I know what it is like to have a parent taken away from you with no notice at all. I look at the faces of those children and know how hard birthdays, holidays, and Mother’s/Father’s Days must still be. I then thought about my child and how I never, ever want him to know how that feels. I thought about my husband and how thankful I am that I get to wake up every morning and see his face.

How often is it that we kiss our spouse goodbye in the morning, routinely yell out “I love you” as we are running out of the door, and then head off to work, as usual. That is exactly what so many people and families did that day. How easy it is to get in the rut and take for granted the simple act of hugging your loved one and telling them, “I love you.” We don’t mean to be so flippant about it, but we all do it at one point or another.

Yesterday also made me reconsider the words “sacrifice” and “bravery.” My child is not even born yet, I do not know what he looks like, what he sounds like, what kind of person he will grow up to be…but I can tell you this…if faced with the option, I would already be willing to trade my life for his. He is my child. The firemen, police officers, emergency workers, and first responders to arrived at the World Trade Center that day defined sacrifice and bravery. So many of them worked tirelessly for HOURS and DAYS and lost their lives doing everything they could to save complete strangers. Given the same situation, I don’t know if I could have done what they did. In fact, I know I could not have. I like to think of myself as a strong person, but I know I would not have had that in me.

At service yesterday, we learned about loyalty. I like to think of myself as a loyal family member and friend. We all have slip-ups and we all make mistakes, but I try really hard to show my loved ones that I am there for them through thick and thin. However, do I have that same loyalty to my job, to my calling? Is it so ingrained in me that I would do it, even if it issued me a death wish. Probably not. Most of us would not. The heroes that day were loyal to their jobs and loyal to their teammates. They were there to serve and protect others, to save people…many knowing they would never make it out alive. While I am thankful for my job, I can assure you that loyalty to my job and supervisor would be gone if I knew I would not be walking out at the end of my day.

To everyone who was at the site of the World Trade Center that day, I am awed, humbled, and thankful for you. You showed great love for your fellow Americans by doing all you could to make a difference, to help those around you. Thank you for reminding us about what is truly important.

Hug your spouses. Hug your children. (If you’re pregnant, hug your belly. It still counts.) Smile at a police officer. Say thank you to a firefighter. Give a member of the military a pat on the back and a, “Job well done.”

Really mean it when you say, “I love you.”

My apologies if this seemed rambling or slightly incoherent. I just needed to get my thoughts out.

Running on GREEN.

19 Jul

Every April, many people get on board with the “go green” initiative in celebration of Earth Day. I have run several Earth Day races (5k distance – half marathon) in celebration of this event, but I have often wondered how truly “green” the event is…you know, other than printing a picture of the planet on the race bib.

Obviously, I am not speaking for all runners out there, but statistics show that most of us who run, or even do any sport outside, appreciate the great outdoors enough to know that it is important that we do our part in keeping our environment clean. In general, most of us have, at some point, bought a free-trade organic-certified something or other from Whole Foods, tossed an aluminum can in a recycling bin, chosen a non-woven/cloth bag over a plastic one, or made an effort to use a refillable water bottle over a plastic one.

But when it comes to races and large events, do we maintain that same mentality?

The other day I was listening to a podcast about the efforts the Hartford Marathon has made in order to make their event more eco-friendly. I was really impressed with some of the things that they were doing. I also had no idea how many ways there were to cut back or adapt things to lessen the impact on our environment.

Here are just a few things that the Hartford Marathon, Boston Marathon, Houston Marathon, and other events are doing to reduce their carbon footprint and be kinder to Mother Earth:

•   Paperless registration (no printed forms whatsoever)
•   Maximize online marketing for the event and minimize printed materials; use word-of-mouth “grass roots”    marketing
•   Enlist sponsors that support sustainability initiatives and green practices
•   Encourage carpooling to the event
•   Offer incentives like special port-a-potties and massage tables for those who bike to the race/event
•   Choose a race site that is easily accessible for public/mass transportation
•   Select hotels that are eco-friendly for out-of-town participants

•   Print bibs on “seed paper”; this paper actually contains seeds and the whole bib can be planted after the event
•   Use recyclable Tyvek bibs; Tyvek can be recycled to make things like park benches, playground equipment, etc.
•   Use canvas or non-woven reusable bags instead of plastic bags for packet materials

•   Have recycling bins everywhere
•   Enlisting volunteers to help sort trash to divert as much as possible from our landfills
•   Use as much solar-powered electricity as possible
•   Use CFL lighting technology instead of fluorescent or incandescent lighting
•   Select a port-a-potty company that uses earth-friendly, non-toxic chemicals
•   Use buses that run on bio-diesel fuels to transport runners to the start line

•   Use compostable paper cups
•   Have trash bins readily accessible for energy gel packets and other trash
•   Use electric scooters to lead runners instead of traditional motorcycles

Alternative Medal. I won a tree!

•   Hand out water bottles made with plant-based plastics or low-plastic designs
•   Use finishers’ medals made with recycled metal
•   Encourage participants and spectators to bring refillable water bottles
•   Donate leftover shirts to a homeless shelter
•   Collect discarded shirts, hats, gloves, etc. from race participants and donate to a homeless shelter
•   Collect shoes for shoe recycling programs such as Soles 4 Souls or Nike ReUse a Shoe
•   Use plates and eating utensils made from plant-based plastics; use napkins made from recycled paper

Photo courtesy of The Baltimore Sun.

Did you know that there is even a group that officially certifies an event as “green?” The group is called The Council for Responsible Sport. After looking over their website, I have realized there is A LOT that goes into making an event green and a stamp of approval from them shows that an event really has gone the extra mile to become eco-friendly.

One of the most important thing that I think races can do to encourage the “go green” movement is to EDUCATE participants and spectators. Tell people how to help. A lot of people really do want to help make a difference and do what they can, but they just don’t know how. Race organizers can engage people to feel like every little bit helps and to carry over this earth-friendly mindset into their own homes after the race.

Have you ever been to a race that was advertised as “earth friendly” or “green”? What did they do to show you they were making an effort? What are some other ways you have thought of or noticed that race organizers could be “greener?”

Today’s Awesome Factor = Back flip!

1 Jul

Okay, you know…if I could *actually* do a back flip, I would. But I don’t think that would be too smart with a baby bump, so today, I’ll just say that I would do a back flip!

I do not know if the runner’s high I got going this morning on my run decided to stick with me throughout the rest of today or what, but today is rocking!

Here is the hit list of how my day has gone…

It is Friday…of a holiday long weekend. HEYO!
This is completely worth celebrating all on its own.

Run 1 of the Day: 6.2mi in 01:18.01
I got some major support from by running buddy, Jeremy, and even though it was hot, we managed to get through it. Thanks, buddy!

Smoothie King Muscle Punch Plus (with no Turbinado)
After my run, I was so hot. I decided to cool off with a smoothie from Smoothie King. I have tried just about every other chain smoothie joint from coast to coast and Smoothie King is my favorite. And with only 266 calories but lots of flavor, the Muscle Punch Plus with no Turbinado is my “usual” when ordering.

Great phone call from my sweet husband!
My husband has been in Houston since yesterday and had a BIG meeting today…one that could mean a lot for our little growing family. He called to say the meeting went REALLY well and that he was headed back home to me! Big hugs are awaiting his return!

Checked yesterday’s mail (yep, I’m a slacker) and got these goodies! Woot!

Decided to kick my feet up (to prevent pregnant runner cankles!) and read my new Runner’s World
Yes, for a whole hour I laid on the couch, feet up, reading a magazine. What has gotten into me! Oh, and did I mention that 16 & Pregnant was on? Yep, that completed the trifecta. I love trash TV. Got inspired for a second run later in the day by this…

Made a delicious lunch for myself!

Spinach salad, strawberries, and cashews!

Got an e-mail saying I had been selected as a Mommy Blogger for Woman’s Hospital!!
Woman’s Hospital is the hospital where I was born…and where Baby Key will be born. It is the most amazing facility and I am completely honored to be able to share my mama-to-be and future mama stories with their readers! Plus, their fitness center is where I have been doing all my training for the upcoming Rocketchix Triathlon at the end of this month!

Run 2 of the Day: 1.12mi in 00:14:34
Slow, but so what? Today is rocking and I’m not letting it get to me. Today is all about celebrating victories!!

Checked today’s mail (trying to stay on top of things!) and got some surprises!

Adorable onesie from my in-laws!

Super cool stickers from Brooks Running!

Now I’m off to take a shower, do some laundry, make my grocery list, and start dinner for my husband who should be home soon! I feel like Super Girl today!

On the plate for the weekend is…art show tonight, family reunion/swim party/husband’s birthday celebration tomorrow on , church picnic on Sunday, and 4th of July race and baby shopping at the outlet mall on Monday! And, of course, I’ll get in some running and biking time as well.

Let’s get the weekend started!! WOOT!

How is YOUR day going? What victories are YOU celebrating today? What fun things do YOU have planned for the long, holiday weekend?

Father’s Day Is No Longer Bittersweet

19 Jun

For most of my life, Father’s Day has been a bittersweet holiday. My father passed away suddenly when I was a child, leaving my with a great big hole in my heart and an overwhelming feeling that I got cheated out of a parent. Every year when commercials would come on talking about Father’s Day, I felt left out. As I got older, I learned to realize that my father’s death was part of some greater plan (not that I had to completely understand that plan) and that I should be thankful for the other wonderful male influences in my life.

I don’t remember a ton about my father, except that he was incredibly creative and artistic. I always remember him being the life of the party and for the way he always made me feel like a princess. I was certainly “Daddy’s Little Girl.” My dad was a music lover. Whenever I hear Creedence Clearwater Revival and Fleetwood Mac, I think of him. His favorite song, however, was “American Pie” by Don McLean. I remember he ran a lot too. He ran the Great River Road Run every year. I secretly wish they would resurrect this race in town so that I could run it in memory of him. Who knows, maybe that’s where I get my love of running from? 🙂

My mother’s father, my Paw Paw, was a super special guy. He was an antique bottle dealer which meant he spent a lot of time digging around in the ground and selling his goods at antique show and flea markets. He made the very most awesome chocolate fudge. My Paw Paw was a serious animal lover. He also had the fattest cat I have ever seen in my life and insisted on feeding him fresh shrimp daily. In addition, he actually had a family of raccoons as pets. I know they weren’t domesticated or anything, but he insisted on frying a pan of fresh corn bread for his raccoon family daily. To this day, whenever I see little raccoon figurines in gift shops, I immediately think of him.

My father’s father, my Granddaddy, was one hard-working man. He was a mechanic by profession, but he was also a cigar smoker, fisherman, gardener, and fantastic story teller. He could grow the biggest, most beautiful watermelons you have ever seen in your whole life. My Granddaddy smoked three cigars a day. My most vivid memory of my Granddaddy is sitting with him on the swing, under his carport, leaning against him under his arm while he smoked his afternoon cigar. You would have thought lung cancer would have been the thing that got him, but it was prostate cancer. When I found out he was really sick, we didn’t get to his house in time to say goodbye. I still wish I would have had that chance.

The best “dad” I have had has been my brother. My brother is 10 years older than me and ever since my father passed, he has stepped in to play big brother and dad. He is enough older than me that when he gives me advice, I generally listen, but he is young enough that he can still understand what I’m going through. These days, he inspires me to work hard, remember what life is really all about, and work hard with my training. He is also a runner and cyclist and I’m so proud of him being an IronMan.

This year, my view of Father’s Day is certainly more sweet than bitter. Knowing that Baby Key is half way here (we are 20 weeks today!), and celebrating today as my husband’s first Father’s Day is pretty exciting. He keeps telling me that, technically, next year is his first Father’s Day, but we are celebrating today anyway. At the beginning of the year, we started going to a new church. Brent played guitar in the service today for the first time and I may or may not have gotten a little teary that he picked today to do it. I’ll have to be sure and tell Baby Key that on his first Father’s Day, his daddy was playing guitar for him in church. 🙂

The very best daddy-to-be in the world and me.

Today, we are celebrating by relaxing, eating some homemade crawfish etoufee, green beans, and rolls. For dessert, we’ve got cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream. Super healthy? Probably not. But this Father’s Day is just getting sweeter by the minute…

To all the dads and dads-to-be out there, Happy Father’s Day! You are special and important. Never underestimate how much your children need you. Hug them often. They won’t forget it.