Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Story of How I Lost My Mom on the Subway in New York City

When my mom was here in Maryland visiting for the holidays my Christmas gift to her was a trip to New York City. My mom had never been to the East Coast before so New York City, Baltimore, Washington, DC, it was all new to her. My mom is not a city gal, sure she grew up in the suburbs of LA but I bet it is safe to say she has never rode public transit nor tried to navigate the extensive and confusing NYC subway system.

Our day started out great! We saw Times Square, ate at a cute French bakery in Rockefeller Center, saw the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and skating rink, and even made our way to Saint Patrick's cathedral without a hitch.

We had pedestal tickets for 1pm at the Statue of Liberty and got on the subway towards Battery Park. This is when things took a turn for the worse. I've only been to NYC once before and it was with my hubby who is a better navigator than me. We got on the first train headed downtown expecting it to take us to Battery Park or at least within walking distance. Turns out it only went to the World Trade Center. We got off and I pulled out my map to figure out which train to get on next. A gentleman asked where we are going and told us what train to get on. As we were going down the stairs we heard the train arrive and he asked if I wanted him to hold the door. I said, "yes" and stepped onto the train with my mom right behind me. As I stepped through the door I turned around to hold it for my mom and the door had shut in the split second I stepped through it. So there I was headed on a train to "who knows where" and there was my mom in the subway station, unsure what to do next. Of course there is no cell service in the subway since it is underground.

The next 45 minutes were a bit stressful to say the least. I got off at the first stop, waited for the next train to see if my mom was on it. She was not so I assumed she was waiting where I left her so I headed back there. She was not there either. I went up to street level to call her cell phone, no service on her part. Then I asked someone who worked there for help and they suggested a few places for me to look at the World Trade Center subway station. She was none of those places either. At this point we were late for our 1pm Statue of Liberty ticket and I was done with the subway. I just wanted my mom to get to street level and I would take a taxi to pick her up wherever she was. I had no idea if she realized she had to go to street level in order to contact me. This whole ordeal made me realize that I have lived my entire adult life with the convenience of cell phones. My hubby reminded me before cell phones people made plans when traveling together of where to meet and what to do if separated. I should've thought of that!

They say, all's well that ends well, and my mom was not lost in the New York City subway system forever. She took the 1st train that came and got off at the 1st stop. I wasn't there so she asked for help on which train to take to get to the station we were headed to. She did what she should've done but in the chaos of it all I didn't even remember what station the gentleman had originally told us to go to. As soon as she got to that station she went to street level and regained cell service. When I got the call from her I hailed a cab, picked her up and had the cab drop us off at the Statue of Liberty. Quite the drama!

Turns out our timed, reserved ticket is good all day and we were still able to see the Statue of Liberty, go up to the pedestal, and tour Ellis Island, all in time to make it back to our bus by 6:30PM. All's well that end's well!

My mom in Times Square

Rockefeller Center

Radio City Music Hall

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Center ice skating rink. So much smaller in person than it looks on TV.

Saint Patrick's cathedral

Lady Liberty

That's me!

That's my mom!

The original torch before renovation, now inside the statue.

My mom with the city in the background

Friday, January 21, 2011

Unmet Expectations

Have I mentioned I am a work in progress? I think we all are. As the years tick by I learn more about myself, the world around me, and the complex nature of relationships and other people.

Some people are easy-going, they let things slide, they don't get upset that easily, they can step over the dirty laundry and piles of toys and not really notice them. My husband for the most part is one of these type of people, I am not.

I get upset about things that in the end are not that important. I like order, and routine, and planning. I like things organized and for the most part picked up. I occasionally step over the dirty laundry but it makes me crazy inside. I can only do it so many times before I have to stop and take care of it, no matter how tired I am. I am a perfectionist and I like to be in control, both of which do not bode well when trying to raise three children. I am not perfect and neither are my kids and my husband, so why does it make me upset when the little things get ignored or not completed time and time again?

I really don't know the answer. I've only been me, my entire life, not anyone else. Some days it seems heavenly to be one of those easy-going, laid back type of people. No need for planning, no need for organization, just jump in head first and sort out the details while you are in the midst of it. I suppose this is the way things are supposed to be though.

The world would not operate well if everyone was easy-going and laid back and didn't plan a thing. Some of the best ideas have come from the planners, and thinkers, and dreamers. If no one cared about getting things done, we often wouldn't eat a hot meal, our house would soon turn into a disgusting mess, homework wouldn't get completed, and grades would slide.

The natural order of things is a ying and yang, a bit of balance. Most couples I know are not similar in personality, yet are different in personality in a way that they balance each other out. I encourage my husband to plan and stay organized and on top of things and he encourages me to relax a bit, let things go, and give up some control. Your kids personalities are a total crap shoot. We have one with a similar personality to me, one with a similar personality to hubby, and one with a personality like neither one of us, it certainly keeps things interesting!

I guess all I can do when I face unmet expectations, especially from the ones I love is to try not to get upset, re-evaluate my expectations and make sure they are reasonable, and lovingly encourage the person to meet their responsibilities. Life really is too short to sweat the small stuff! Here's to making improvements in this area!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Day In Our Nation's Capital

When my mom was here visiting from California we spent a chilly day touring DC. If you've never been, DC should be added to your must visit list. There are so many free activities to see and do. Plus it is our nation's capital and full of history.

The Washington Monument

The flags encircling the Washington Monument

My mom and the kids in front of the White House

The White House

Can you tell I was a little cold?

The Lincoln Memorial

View from the Lincoln Memorial towards the Washington Monument

Brennan and Phoenix

Great monument to a great president

Korean War Memorial, "Freedom Is Not Free", a powerful reminder to all of us!

We spent a couple hours at the Natural History Museum

Dinosaurs! When I was a kid I loved dinosaurs and knew everything about them.

My mom and Brennan

It was a nice day, spent together with family, seeing the sites. You can't ask for much more!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You Cannot Exercise Yourself Thin

One of my goals for 2011 was to lose 10 pounds. I am happy to report that I am making great progress! I have lost 5 pounds and 1% body fat in about a week and half.

So what have I been doing? Calorie counting! It is truly amazing to see how quickly the pounds are melting away and how almost effortless it has been. The bottom line for me is I was obviously overeating. A lot of factors go into how your body gains and loses weight, age, metabolism, genetics, height, body-type. I've never been overweight but my weight has fluctuated from 127-147 over the past 15 years. I am 5 feet 8 1/2 inches and have a relatively small frame so that entire range is in the "healthy" category. Unfortunately for me all my weight goes to my middle section in an area I call the spare tire, belly fat, side fat, and back fat, not a pretty picture.

I calorie counted and lost a few pounds this summer so I had a baseline for how many calories I needed to consume to lose weight, in my case around 1800 calories. About 2000 calories is probably the amount I need to maintain my weight. I was likely consuming 2200-2500 calories per day to pack on an extra 7 pounds over the last 6 months.

I'll also tell you I haven't exercised much over the past week and half. I ran 2 miles on the treadmill once, took a couple walks, less than normal due to the frigid cold. I firmly believe exercise is not the key to weight loss, yes it is important but not the key. While I gained 8 pounds the past 6 months I was training for a 10K and running 3 times per week, about 10-15 miles per week. Obviously the exercise was not keeping me thin.

I guess the real question is can calorie counting be maintained long term? I think the answer is no. Hopefully the lessons about portions and purposefully thinking about everything going in my mouth can stay with me and I can maintain a healthy weight long after the calorie counting app on my phone has been turned off.

2011 is off to a great start!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Phoenix!

Happy 8th birthday baby girl! I can't believe the baby of our family is 8 years old today. Where has the time gone? Eight is such a fun year, still sweet and innocent, still believe in magic, yet maturing and becoming more independent, more grown up with each day. I'm afraid I am going to blink and all three of my kids will be grown up. Here's to celebrating you Phoenix, and the day of your birth!

Can you believe that chubby, bald baby on the right is my teeny, petite girl?

Phoenix on her 1st Birthday

Bath time fun

2006, Brennan and Wynter 5, Phoenix 3

Little FiFi at our wedding, 2008

My beautiful baby girl on her 1st day of kindergarten

March 2010, her 1st trip to Disneyland

2010, my beautiful ballerina

Christmas 2010, looking cute as can be!

Happy birthday Phoenix! I love you!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Just One More Day

I first posted this on my blog on 4/24/2009 but when reading through my archives I wanted to repost it. As moms we get so busy that sometimes we forget to just stop and take the time to enjoy our little ones while they're little. The time you have with them is so precious and goes by so quickly!

Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.

Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.

Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck and I will buy you one if he comes by.

Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess ever y decision I have made where you are concerned.

Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.

Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.

Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.

Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.

Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given, I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.

And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a Little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask Him for nothing, except one more day............

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Go Big Or Go Home!

I am not one for resolution setting but I do like setting goals for myself throughout the year and working towards those goals. My life has taken twists and turns that I would've never expected but I know God has big plans for me and my family and I know 2011 is going to bring great things for us.

My 2011 Goals:

1) Be debt free except for student loans! No more car payments, no more credit card payments! Hubby and I are on track to be debt free except for our students loans by the end of June 2011. We have worked and strived hard to meet this goal. Our student loans will be next on the list!

2) Become homeowners! We're tired of renting, rates are low, and we will be free of car and credit card payments. Besides we'll be turning 29 and 32 this year. I think it's about time we owned our piece of the American Dream (whatever that means).

3) Be ready to start trying for a baby. I've been wanting another baby for a long time but I've been patiently waiting while we get some things in order (see goal 1 and 2). In May, Nate and I will be celebrating our 3 year wedding anniversary. Hopefully by the end of 2011 we'll be ready to at least start trying for a baby.

4) Run a half marathon. In 2010, I ran my first 5K and my first 10K. I am planning to start training for a spring half marathon in February. If that goes well a marathon my even be in the cards for fall 2011, we will see.

5) Eat healthier, exercise more, and lose 10 pounds. I've gained 7 pounds since July, yikes! With a fluctuation of 2-3 pounds for water weight that still is significant. I definitely I am going to lose 8 pounds and get to a healthier weight for myself. Those last two pounds have always nagged me and I think this is the year to bid them farewell as well.

6) Attend Sunday church worship at least twice per month. I strongly feel that your relationship with God is not dependent upon how often you attend church but I like church. It's uplifting, it's encouraging, I learn a lot, and so do the kids. Now we seem to only make it about once a month with Nate's traveling for work and other various activities. In 2011, I want to commit to at least twice per month.

7) Post new content to my blog 3 times per week. I am at this weird place with my blog. I have been blogging for over 2 years now and in no way want to give it up, yet I struggle to find the time to post. I have all these good ideas swirling around in my head and no time to publish them. My goal for 2011 is 3 posts per week.

8) Manage my time better. Be on time more. I am not the best time manager. I often try to do about 5 things at once, get a little bit of each of them done, and nothing done completely. In 2011, I want to try to improve on this. I also tend to run late to everything. Being timely is an important life skill and I need to improve in that area.

9) Save more money and spend money wisely. In 2011, I want to find ways to save our family more money and spend the money we do have wisely. Whether it be cutting our grocery bill down or eating out less. We live on a fairly reasonable budget but there is always room for improvement.

10) Travel to my heart's content. 2010 was a great year for travel for me and my family. We took a trip to California and visited family, friends, and spent 3 days at Disneyland, in March. In July the kids and I took a road trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Wilmington, NC, and to visit my dad just north of Charlotte, NC. In August, we spent two weeks in Colorado, visiting family and friends and having fun. In December, Nate and I took a ski trip to Colorado. I hope 2011 holds more traveling adventures for us, including exploring some new places.

So what are your goals for 2011?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Time Away

Getting time away from the kids can be very challenging. When we lived close to family we managed to get in monthly dates and occasional trips away. Here in Maryland it has been a bit more challenging.

Hubby and I really enjoy taking trips without the kids. Traveling with five people is very expensive, not to mentioned having several days in a row of one-on-one time with your hubby is very nice.

In early December we were able to sneak away for a long weekend to Colorado to ski without the kids. I found a great deal on airfare, hotel, and lift tickets so we couldn't pass it up. Winter Park did not disappoint with its early season skiing, this year the conditions were great. We stayed at a ski in, ski out lodge at the base of the mountain, that was a 1 bedroom condo with all the amenities. We both love skiing and had a great time!

The view from our hotel balcony

Another view from our hotel

A cute outdoor ice skating rink at the Winter Park base area

Without my ski clothes on I was a bit cold

Winter Park base area, all the skiers making their way to the lift

The professional slalom course

Berthoud Pass