PSA: Boardwalk Etiquette

It's that time of year again. Summer vacation is in full effect and beach towns along the seaboards are inundated with seasonal visitors, many of whom enjoy relaxing strolls, family rides, and exercise routines down the boardwalk. As someone who partakes in each of the previously mentioned activities, I make sure to follow a few guidelines and work hard to teach my children the proper safety rules and manners needed:
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Once Upon a Dream…

They were sleeping peacefully on a top floor of the hotel room in Washington D.C. with an 8 month old Riley between them when the bombs shook her awake, the entire building quaking. Dawn darted upright, still dazed and wide eyed, searching for answers. The flashes of light blazing through the slats in the shades and echoes of explosions were close. 

“Wake up, Scott. It’s here. It’s time. The war is here and we need to fight,” Dawn spoke gently, tears flowing down her cheeks as cradled the baby and slipped her safely into the infant seat…

….and then I woke up to the downpour of the storm that really did shake me awake and rattle our house, our 8 year old daughter sleeping between us, and the news of this weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey…

On Daddy’s Shoulders

I watch in awe as you carry our world on your shoulders as if it’s nothing to bear.

You swing them up so gently as their tiny hands clutch to the safety that you provide.

They bounce with delight as I marvel at your strength, ever solid, never waning. 

They rest their little legs, take solace in the throne you have provided, and feel like royalty for this moment.

The smiles on your faces brings reassurance that all is alright, everything’s going to be okay, life is still good and sweet and wonderful just the way it is, in this moment.

To the untrained eye, it’s just a ride on daddy’s shoulders. To me, it’s everything that’s right in our world. To our children, it is their world…

May your shoulders always be this strong and may our children know that you will always be there to carry them when they are in need.

Happy Father’s Day to an amazing dad! XO

Not Another New Year’s Post about Working Out!

First day back to gym in the new year is: Crowded. My 67-ish laps (“ish” because I lost count after 4…) around the indoor track were a dizzying constant bob and weave between moving pylons of people and interval pacing to make up for the stop and go traffic of idle chit-chatters and bottle necking near the merges from the weight and cardio rooms. The rubber necking was kept to a minimum and I did my best to thank those who let me into their lane or made a shoulder for me to squeak by, though I’m never quite sure if I’m loud enough when I say, “Thank you!” My headphones and music give me a false sense of my own volume and I don’t want to be the shouter or the rude girl who squeezes by without so much of a puff of “thank you” or an “excuse me.”  It would be easier if the track was marked with a fast lane and a slow lane, but I’m not there enough to put in a request like that.  I prefer to run outside, but today’s temperature didn’t break twenty-five and I’m kinda secretly hoping global warming or El Nino or climate change comes back by later this week, but not really… Remember December? That was lovely!… Besides, even if winter is here to stay, I’m pretty sure that most New Years Resolutions are not, if history is any indication, so I can continue my interval training for the next 2-ish weeks, until more space opens up.

Side note: can we discuss gym gas? I get it, your digestion may be off from the holidaze or breakfast or last night’s Chinese takeout, but “better out than in” should be used only when out…doors. Running though fart clouds is gross. Especially when they linger… Ain’t nobody got time for that…

Anyway, my indoor tracker says I walked 2.5 miles and my phone’s step count says my 9800 steps were equivalent to 3 miles but I walk faster than a 2o minute mile, even when injured, which I am thankfully not. In reality I probably ran 5 miles in the hour that I was there and it felt amazing to be back at it after taking such a long a hiatus to heal post marathon. After the NYC marathon I initially took a few days off and then tried to run easy 5-10ks 2-3 times a week.  After 2 weeks, my quads were shot and my stride actually hurt. It was awkward, I was awkward, the whole thing was just a mess. I couldn’t even jog to the mailbox without cringing.
So I took December off.  Totally and completely with the exception of 2 cardio classes and 2 swimming sessions, I just took it off.  I focused on the Holidaze and did them right.  My intention was to return to running, strength training, and eating well during winter break, but the children and husband decided to get sick instead so we all just lazed about the house trying to break fevers, Lego Starwars records, and the scale that we don’t have.  Besides, Doritos were on sale, and I’m fairly certain that I counted the nacho cheese as a protein one fine morning for breakfast.  The kids were simultaneously confused and elated.

Anyway, my point is, although 2016 started out with quite the fizzle, for more reasons than those mentioned above, I’m bringing the bang back. It may have been 4 days late, but I finally made it out of the house, back to running, back to healthy eating, and started the P90X3 program thanks to some dear friends who are Beachbody coaches, and this is only the beginning of the plethora of positive potential for this year.  Bring it 2016… I got this…

Attitude

Dear Yesterday,

You beat me down and pushed me around. You slapped me in the face and then, when I wasn’t looking, swung at me with your balled up, clenched, little fist. You were rude, sly, and down right mean. You were unwelcomed and barged in without an invitation or hesitation. I let you win, throwing up my arms in defeat. I was so taken aback at your presence that my only gratitude that you were gone at days end. But you are persistent, and returned under a new name…

Dear Today,

You woke me up at 4:30am. You had me running around in circles, cleaning messes you left in your wake. You tried your best to wreak havoc on me. You did your best to bring it.

Well, I don’t know what “it” is, but you certainly can’t have mine. You are no match for my time with my children, sunshine, fresh air, laughter, snuggles, and me.

I know you will return tomorrow and try again. But I am on to you, wise to your ways, and you have little chance of success. I won’t lie and tell you that I enjoy this little game, but I will continue to play and to dominate the score board. Good luck to you, though you have no chance.

Dear Tomorrow,

Don’t even think about it…

Sincerely,

Positive Attitude

PS: Thanks for the reminder

{this was originally written and published on facebook as part of my 30 Days of Thanks on November 14, 2013.}

Fill Up The Cup

Ok, so let me start by stating that this whole #MerryChristmasStarbucks over a cup is the kind of news that should not be reported and I realize that by writing and posting this, it’s adds the proverbial fuel to the fire. But this time of year is especially hard for so many people and stories like this truly highlight why.

Is the pastor who began this rant and “movement” really willing to hang his hat on a cup? (Side note: the red cup is in no way related to the Holy Grail.) It’s just a cup! Have some perspective. I can recommend a good book if you need one…

I personally avoid Starbucks regularly because I find their coffee to taste awful and it’s too hot for human consumption unless you buy it iced…which probably won’t be served in The Red Cup anyway. {I will say that their organic cheese & protein meal was just what I needed before the NYC marathon though, so I can’t truly claim to avoid the franchise…I just rarely go there.} Also, can I state a fact? WAY OVER PRICED. {And I really don’t understand their sizes…sorry, I know I should by now, but I don’t, probably because I rarely go there.} That being said, here are some thoughts I have on the matter:

I’m Jewish. My husband is Catholic. Our children learn both and accept the differences. We practice together and our children have no confusion on either, although they do ask a lot of questions because that’s what kids are supposed to do.

We say Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. Sometimes we say Happy Holidays. I even sent out our perfect family holiday picture card last year that said, “Happy Chanumas!”

I go into our children’s classrooms at public school to give a little schpiel (aka: social studies/history lesson) about real religious persecution (the story of Hanukkah) followed by a math lesson on gambling (dreidel) and then hand out spinning tops and chocolates wrapped in gold because I’m cool like that.

We decorate the Christmas tree, have an elf who mostly stays on the same shelf because I’m lazy and forgetful, and light the menorah right next to the advent wreath. We have different opinions of what God means and frankly, although my belief is strong, I have some serious faith issues right now. (This boycott the cup thing isn’t helping.)

We’re not very religious, but we’re very realistic in our strong beliefs in teaching, modeling and instilling moral values in our children. We “do unto others as we would like done unto us” and we “do not do unto others what we do not want done unto us.”

So with all that in mind, I’ll be stopping by my local Starbucks tomorrow, (or Dunkin Donuts or possibly another local coffee shop because I honestly don’t know where a Starbucks is around here…weird, right?) to buy a few red cups of coffee or pre-made food items to share with those actually in need. There are several names for this type of act or movement:

    Pay it Forward

      Buy One Give One

        Random Acts of Kindness

          Human Decency

            Kindness

              And if you happen to be the religious type: The Word

              So let’s start this holiday season right and with a positive perspective. Please join me to #FillUpTheCup

                

              Mondays

              That moment when your threenager comes into your room in the middle of the night because she’s scared or something to that effect and climbs all over you and your husband for no less than 2 hours until she finally settles in a horizontal position across your pillows which you happen to be using and when Daddy suggests that she moves she begins to sob an uncontrollable “Oh Woe Is Me” sob that makes you unwillingly rise from your non-slumber and carry her back to her bed and lay down next to her so she calms down but then you fall asleep only to be woken by your husband an hour later because the sun is rising so you slip out of her bed so as not to disturb the now-sleeping-beauty and begin to get ready for the day by getting your other children dressed, fed, making lunches, and all that other schtuff that makes mornings absolutely and maddeningly entertaining if you were a fly in the wall but you’re not, so you’re just mad, probably from the lack of sleep for the better part of a decade.   But then the princess emerges from her kingdom mere minutes before it’s time to depart and you think, “Effit. Keep the pajamas on and here’s breakfast to go, Kid” because it’s time to go and MONDAYS

              You arrive at school and you hear the comments about your daughter still in her pajamas but you don’t let it bother you because 1) You made it to school on time for her older siblings  2) She’s the youngest so rules don’t apply to her…duh… 3) It’s not a school day for her anyway 4) MON-DAY {nuff said.} 

              After a busy but accomplished day of cooking, cleaning, and playing dress up you inform your threenager that it’s time to get out of her dress up clothes and into real clothes where upon she immediately ventures upstairs to put on a fresh pair of pajamas, tights, and her tap shoes which she disliked SO MUCH that she insisted on dropping dance class, which you did just last week, but now she is happily tapping off into the sunset to pick up her siblings at school, where people notice that she is wearing yet another pair of pajamas and that her “outfit” makes no sense and you STILL don’t care because 1) You made it to school on time to pick up her older siblings 2) She’s still the youngest so rules still don’t apply to her…duh… 3) It wasn’t a school day for her anyway 4) She looks adorable 5) MON-DAY {nuff said.} 

              #thiskid #threenagers #thirdchild #mondays


              Fall…ing

              That moment when you have just ordered your marathon outfit, new shoes, battery backup for your phone, runners pack for long training runs, and signed up to compete in a local hat trick (5k+10k on Saturday plus 1/2 marathon on Sunday) that’s in 2 weeks which is good because it takes place 2 weeks before your full marathon so it’s meant to be your last hurrah before tapering and you’re even more excited about it because your 7 year old daughter is going to run the 5k with you. So you go out to run a quick training mile with her, but your not-quite-4 year old wants to join the “girl’s run” so she comes along for a warm up 1/4 mile and while running next to her you roll your ankle on what was likely an acorn but probably just clumsiness and you’re thinking, “OMGoodness that hurts like a &$@!!!!!” But after a few steps you’re ok, so you bring your younger daughter back to your house and run the rest of the mile with your older daughter and everything’s fine until 2 hours later when you take off your shoes to get changed for a family fun night of bowling and you start to feel increasing pain in your foot. So you take some ibuprofen and inform your husband that you can no longer walk or put pressure on your foot AT ALL and you get into bed to elevate your feet while your oldest daughter plays nurse and gets you ice and stays by your side so your husband can take the younger children to get a new movie (since bowling was cancelled) and an ace bandage for your injury. But then, as you’re waiting, you are actually writhing in pain and using your Lamaze training that you never actually needed during labor and delivery because EPIDURALS but you’re glad now that you took the class because you might actually hyperventilate and you’re now shivering in shock and thinking , “Damn that little acorn. This better just be a bruise because come hell or high water you are running in that marathon in less than one month.” And also, “Eff you Universe, Mercury in retrograde, and Murphy! Enough of these Shannanigans!” So you call your husband and tell him you think you might need an X-Ray. So your in laws come over to watch the kids while your husband takes you to an urgent care facility and the doctor offers you a pain killer shot in your ass which may or may not burn and you’re thinking that you’d rather not feel like your ass is on fire. So you politely decline pending the X-Ray results which fortunately show no break, just a bruise, which is FANTASTIC news. So you gladly take the air cast and crutches knowing that you’ll be just fine and back at it in a few days and hobble off into the sunset… 

               

              IALAC

              A few months ago, as I got the kids ready for bed, we stepped out onto the balcony of my parent’s beach condo to read bedtime stories. We gazed out towards the sea and saw participants of the Challenge Atlantic City full triathlon still making their way down the boardwalk. Some were happily trotting along while others were clearly struggling toward thd end of this massive accomplishment. I began clapping and cheering, “You got this!” breaking the serenity of the Sunday evening hush of waves.

              Some racers looked around, confused as to where my voice was emanating from, while others pumped their arms up, perhaps in gratitude, cheering for themselves and their mysterious fans. Some continued trudging along, while others added some bounce and speed to their steps.

              The kids became excited and joined in, questioning each passer-by, “Is that a racer, Momma? That one? Go! Go! Go! You can do it! Finish strong! Finish proud! You totally got this! You’re awesome! Go! Go! Go!”

              It didn’t take long for me to get choked up, a mix of parental pride at the kid’s overt enthusiasm and sincerely decent spirit towards others, and knowing exactly the point in this journey that each runner felt, be it “I can do this!” or “I’m ready to throw the towel in.” “I need help.” “Almost there!” “I’m done.” “I think I can.” and even, “No. I can’t.”

              The children were concerned about my tears so I explained that I am both very proud of them for showing support and cheering others on when they need it most, and that I know how those athletes feel at this point of their race because I am at that same point. I have been there for what has both seemingly and actually has been years. In fact, I think we’ve all been THERE, regardless of whatever journey you’re “racing” in…

              An old friend and camp counselor used to share a story about a girl with an invisible IALAC sign. I Am Lovable And Capable. The story goes that the girl’s sign tears throughout the day as some things go wrong or she is insulted. Some tears are barely visible, while others rip the sign in half or even shred it to near pulp. Yet the sign is said to regenerate each night so the girl can begin each day refreshed and ready to take on life.

              In school, as part of an anti-bullying campaign, Lady J and Bud are learning about bucket fillers and bucket dippers. The basic idea is that we each carry imaginary buckets. You can choose to fill other’s buckets through compliments, acts of kindness, and inclusion and in doing so, your own bucket fills. Or you can dip someone’s bucket with insults, physical harm, or exclusion, which will also dip yours.

              Well, something that my Facebook feed won’t tell you, is that my IALAC sign is shredded and has a really hard time regenerating to full strength overnight but it’s still hanging “pinky strong”, and although my bucket feels half empty many days, other days it feels half full and it often fills and flows over the brim.

              So I think I’ll be ok. This part of my journey is just really, really hard.

              I’m at the part of the race when you think, hope, and pray that the finish line is nearing, while most onlookers have packed it in and the cheers have almost become silent. The day is nearing an end and they have their own lives to live. This is the part when Fight Song, Carry On, Try, Stronger, Defying Gravity, Final Countdown, We’re Not Gonna Take It, Mahna Mahna,  and Paul Revere {because Muppets and Beastie Boys…} are on constant repeat on my internal play list and I dig deep to fill my own bucket and tape the shredded pieces of my sign back together.

              And through the taped up tears in my sign and holes in my bucket, I still do my best to not only treat others as I want to be treated, but to instill that practice into my children because it’s that important and that simple.

              So we stood there, the children and I, cheering the racers on from the balcony as the sun began its descent, trying to help others strengthen their IALAC signs and hoping to fill their buckets, knowing that mine will be just fine…

              CWK #247365711: Bud, On Bud

              Strolling down the boardwalk Bud gently takes me by the hand and asks if he can tell me something. “Of course!” I respond, and this truly observant five year old proceeds to explain the complexities of humans with such honest simplicity:

              “Sometimes I’m happy. Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m silly. Sometimes I’m mad. Sometimes I like to have fun. Sometimes I’m serious. But I’m always me. Even though it’s not always easy.”

              #HowDoesHeKnow #truth #wisdomofchildren