Thursday, March 26, 2015

An Experiment: Slacker Momma Attempts To Step Up Her Game For One Week

I am a mood-driven person.  I can have all the best intentions in the world, but if I don't FEEL like doing something, chances are good that it won't get done.  Or it gets done half-assed.

Now, this doesn't apply to things for my job, promises I make to people or things my children need.  I'm not an asshole.

No, I'm talking about stuff I *should* do, things I make lists of which to do, things other people (most likely my husband) would really like for me to do.

Point of fact - I've had the idea for this post for 2 weeks, but hadn't written it.  I'm actually struggling to keep writing because I'm being tempted by this Kingdom Keepers book sitting here with only 100 pages left to be read.

I decided to see if I could be RESPONSIBLE for a week.  Do all my housekeeping, child rearing, life-supporting duties bestowed upon me as a SAHM.  All of it, when and how it was supposed to be done.

MONDAY:  I was a freaking rock star.  Loads and loads of laundry.  Ran 3 miles.  Goodwill stuff gathered.  Rooms tidied.  The SHEETS were washed, for goodness sake.  4 sets, replaced back on the beds before bedtime.  Except for the kid in the top bunk.  Momma don't climb up there.

Outside housework, I attended a book fair planning meeting and then covered for my kid's teacher so she could attend a luncheon.  I shopped for fave snacks & beverages for teachers so I would be ready for staff appreciation week.

People were fed dinner.  I attended a meeting at church.  I read to my children before bed.

Monday found me falling into my clean sheets completely exhausted but secure in the knowledge that I was a bad ass of responsibility.



TUESDAY:  Tuesday was Monday's toothless whore of a sister as far as wife / mom goes.  I teach preschool that day and was on for an extra hour of lunch bunch that afternoon.

I don't believe anything got cleaned that day, not even me or the kids.  Hasty dinner (probably hot dogs) before I hustled the youngest 2 off to church class while I worked in the nursery.  I was responsible, but not for anything related to my family.


WEDNESDAY:  This may as well have been Running With Scissors Day.

I started out super responsible by meeting with my oldest son and his middle school teacher about why he's being such a jerk about his homework and how I can force him to do it help him handle it better.  It was a tough meeting and tough decisions were made.  Incredibly depressing.  I had to be at the elementary school soon and hadn't had breakfast.  I hit the McDonald's drive thru.  Only problem with that was that I gave up fast food for Lent.  The way I felt after watching, helpless, as my child was told he'd screwed up beyond repair - well, I sure do hope that even Jesus could turn a blind eye to that little bacon, egg & cheese hug I got that morning.

I hit the elementary school to work on book fair stuff with my Wonder Twin friend and within minutes she had me laughing and feeling so much lighter.  By the time we left, hours later, she had shown me where the good candy was stashed in the media center and we were daring each other to pick up the mystery phone we found in the workroom.  (Good thing we didn't.  It's the school loudspeaker.  Haaayyyyy...)



The mood swing brought out my inner Scarlett O'Hara and it was decided that everything, including my 5 mile run, could wait until tomorrow.

It was business as usual the rest of the week.  Got stuff done as necessary.  Anything non-vital would get done if and when it suited me.  At most, I got in two days of legit responsibility.  TWO.

A new week came and with it tons of laundry.  I thought about the sheets.  Didn't I just wash those?

GAH.

I'd like to think that I am as responsible as I need to be.  People are cared for.  Our house is not a wreck.  There are clean clothes and food.  I get them and myself where we need to be when we need to be there.  Sure, I can improve, but I need to try not to expect Stepford level of myself and then fall apart when I don't make it.  But that's really hard for my personality which essentially has 2 speeds - full out or dead stop.



How do you manage all your responsibilities?  Where is your "good enough" line?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Oofos: Have I Found The Perfect Post-runDisney Shoes?

Disclosure:  I was given a complimentary pair of shoes by Oofos for purposes of review.  No other compensation was given and all opinions are 100% my own.  'Cause I'm like that.

It's hard enough finding a pair of shoes that feel good after running half marathons and marathons.  Now consider running runDisney races.  After knocking yourself out for 13.1 or 26.2 miles (okay, or 39.3 or 48.6) the absolute best thing for you is to KEEP MOVING.  Fortunately, the Disney Parks give you plenty of reasons to get up off the lounge chair.  Your legs will thank you.

But...  your feet are still pissed at you.  That's not magical.  Finding the right pair of shoes to tour the parks in after your races is crucial.  Because regular flip flops don't give me enough support, I've always resorted to wearing running shoes.  Not my favorite, after my poor feet were being pounded in them earlier in the day.



I was given the opportunity to try out a pair of Oofos shoes and I jumped at it!  I have heard NOTHING but good things about these and had kept meaning to check them out.  You know how that goes.

I was pretty impressed at the selection.  I loved that they had different styles; there are clogs, flip flops and slides.  I normally don't like things between my toes, but I have a beautiful little bunion on my right foot that makes slides uncomfortable for me sometimes, so I chose the flip flops.

There are tons of colors!  I seriously had a hard time choosing.



I settled on the Periwinkle because it seemed like a nice, summery color.

I had not been running like I should.  Or, you know, at all.  I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon - my first full - in January.  Yay, me!  I completed a total of 2 three mile runs in between that race and the Asheville Half Marathon that I ran on March 15th.  Ouch.  I knew my feet (among other body parts) would not be happy with me, so I made sure to pack the Oofos.  Not only was I going to be sore post race, I was immediately getting back in the car and driving 3 hours home.



Bottom line - these shoes win all the things.  #WIN.  They are comfortable from the first step.  The cushioning is amazing.  I know this is not a thing for everyone, but this 5'2" girl felt a little taller.  I found that after a short period of adjustment, I was not bothered by having the thong between my toes.  I was worried that there might be blisters because of the material out of which the shoe is made.  Nope - no problem even though I wore them around for at least 2 days straight.

The shoes molded to my feet in all the right places.  They also strike me as being quality, long lasting shoes - nothing flimsy about them.  My feet were babied and ready to run again.

I'm probably going to order an extra pair for summer and would love to try out the slides to see how those feel on my foot.

If you are an athlete or have a job that requires a lot of time on your feet, I would definitely recommend that you check these out!  Their website lists retail locations if you are skittish about ordering something without trying it on first or you can order straight from their site.

Have you tried Oofos?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Asheville Marathon and Half Marathon 2015 Recap - Running In America's Largest Backyard!

Disclosure:  I was an ambassador for the 2015 Asheville Marathon and Half Marathon and received free race entry.  All opinions are my own.

I'm linking up today with My No Guilt Life, Run The Great Wide Somewhere and MCM Mama Runs for Tuesdays on the Run!  Join us!  

On March 15th, I ran the Asheville Half Marathon for the 2nd time.  I ran it last year solo and although it was cold and wet, found it to be a good enough experience to want to repeat it!  It was lucky #13 for me - my 13th half marathon!

I had convinced two other friends to join me in Asheville, NC this year - my local friend Wendy and a FL running friend, April.  I had assured them that the hills were NOT that bad and it was no big deal.  Ahem.

I spent most of Saturday at the expo working at the Bondi Band booth.  I really like these lightweight, sweat-wicking head bands.  Tons of fun sayings, too!  I found one that I thought was pretty perfect!


Other priorities at the expo - the wine.  Biltmore Winery produces a chardonnay and a cab that you can get with a special marathon label on them.  Someone recycled my bottle from last year.  Someone.  So I had to get another this year.  It's already been enjoyed by my book club.


The expo was fun and the Bondi Band table was crazy busy.  We had dinner out and then got ourselves ready for the next morning.

I was SO thankful that the weather was gorgeous!!  Last year I was miserable - cold and wet.  In fact, we think this is why I actually believed myself when I told Wendy and April that the hills were not that bad.  After running this course again, in a much better mood, I can only conclude that I must have shut down last year and blocked out the hills.  Because they were there, and they were, in fact, kind of a big deal.  Wendy has already told me that she will never trust me again.  April was cursing my name.  I plead guilty.  So sorry, ladies.

But the beauty of the course balances out the effort required.  I stand by my statement that this is the most peaceful and beautiful course I have ever run.  And for every up hill, there is a down - our time actually stayed pretty consistent overall.



You hit the Biltmore House right before the 10K split and of course we had to stop for some photo shenanigans.  Because we are nothing but serious regarding our races.






The course takes you behind the house, through the gardens and heads down to the French Broad River.  It was on the way to the river that we saw an amazing sight - a full grown deer ran across the pasture, leaped over the electric fence and ran right in front of some runners on its way into the forest.   This.  This is one of the reasons this race is unique - I most likely will never see anything like that again.   It was literally awesome.

Wendy forgave me some once we got down to the river since the course flattens out.  It was pretty, but the path is dirt with some loose stones around.  She was worried about losing her footing.

Spectators do not have access to the majority of the course.  You don't have that cheering, but I didn't mind because the few places we did encounter people yelling and clanging cowbells, it seemed totally out of place and I found it a little jarring after the peace of the rest of the course.  We did enjoy finding this young man at the spot where the marathoners split from the half marathoners.


It was 2 days before St. Patrick's Day, and at this point in the race we could use a little luck to push us through.

I don't think the marathoners probably found this as funny as I did.


We were coming up on the last few miles and I did remember enough sucky parts about this to warn Wendy properly.  From mile 10 1/2 to 12 there is a rude out-and-back.  It's rude because as you approach, you can see and hear the finish line but you are diverted away and down this path that you think lasts forrrreeeevvvverrrrrr.  I told Wendy how long it would be.  I also warned her that you have to run a pretty big damn hill before the finish line.  Course directors can be cruel sometimes.



We finished, though, and got our "woodalion" and our swag.  Yes, you do not receive a metal medal.  This is artsy Asheville and you get an artsy woodalion.  That's just fun to say, isn't it?  But the real swag for me was my new warm and fuzzy blanket with the Asheville logo embroidered on.  This thing is the bomb.  They hand out a variety of colors so I was able to get a different color from last year's blanket.  I don't let my children use these.  I have an unnatural love of this item.



This year, the food tent had a crazy long line.  Last year, you were handed a reusable tote to load up on all your selections in the food tent.  This year, we saw people just walking around with plates.  We decided to bag it in favor of seeking out an actual restaurant breakfast.

Overall, I really like this race.  The course is unmatched for uniqueness and beauty.  Next year, they are making the event occur over two days and you can run both races as a challenge.  The half course sticks to the public Biltmore paths,  but the full course take runners onto paths that are only open to Biltmore Estate employees.  It's called the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge and I think it's a great way to see the best parts of the Biltmore Estate.  You can register now!

Have you ever run a race that was completely unique?  What did you love most about it?

Monday, March 23, 2015

#MagicalMonday Disney Link Up! Show your DisneySide!

Welcome to the Magical MondayLinkUpMagical Monday
A place to show your Disneyside
and Amy from
Want to share the Magic and spread some pixie dust? 1.) Kindly follow your hosts and co-host.
2.) Link up your Disney post.
3.) Check out some of the links & share 3 other posts from the link using the #MagicalMonday.
MommyDaybyDay
<a href="http://www.mommydaybyday.com" target="_self"><img src=" https://mommydaybyday.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/magcial-monday-button-size-e1425849672316.png" alt="MommyDaybyDay" width="125" height="125" /></a>

Friday, March 20, 2015

Medieval Times Spring Break BOGO!

Disclosure:  I am receiving 2 free tickets to Medieval Times in exchange for promotion.  All opinions are my own.  My boys LURVED this place and we can't wait to go back!

Our family doesn't really travel anywhere for Spring Break.  We save the big vacation for summer.  This doesn't mean, however, that we don't do anything fun!  We usually staycation it at our favorite places around Atlanta.

I think we just added a new item to our itinerary!



Medieval Times is SO much fun!  You are sitting inside an arena where brave knights participate in all kinds of daring feats on horseback to defend their kingdom!  While you are watching the show, you are served an amazing dinner.  Best part to the kids?  You eat with your fingers.  That was a huge win for my boys!  



This spring break, Medieval Times is offering a buy one, get one ticket deal at all locations!  Here are the deets:

Must mention or enter code BOGORB at time of purchase. Buy one full-priced admission and receive the second admission of equal or lesser value FREE. Not valid with other discounts, offers or group rates. Not valid for the Sat shows at the Buena Park location. Restrictions may apply. Valid thru 5/3/15. Make your reservations by call 1-888-935-6878 or visit medievaltimes.com

Monday, March 16, 2015

Magical Monday Disney Link Up!

Welcome to the Magical MondayLinkUpMagical Monday
A place to show your Disneyside
and this week's Co-Host
Amy from
Want to share the Magic and spread some pixie dust? 1.) Kindly follow your hosts and co-host.
2.) Link up your Disney post.
3.) Check out some of the links & share 3 other posts from the link using the #MagicalMonday.
MommyDaybyDay
<a href="http://www.mommydaybyday.com" target="_self"><img src=" https://mommydaybyday.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/magcial-monday-button-size-e1425849672316.png" alt="MommyDaybyDay" width="125" height="125" /></a>
Add your link here

Friday, March 6, 2015

Three Books That Furthered My Civil Rights Education - Win Tickets to see the Gordon Parks Exhibit at the High Museum of Art

Disclosure:  this post contains affiliate links.  If you click on the links for the books, you will be taken to Amazon.com.  If you make a purchase of anything while you are there, I will get a small tiny commission.

I know.   I missed Black History Month by 6 days. 

I didn't get the idea for this post, though, until I was looking through my Goodreads app.  I was going to write a post on a completely different genre of books when I was reminded how great these books were.  I hope y'all won't hold my lack of timeliness against me.



The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother (10th Anniverary Edition) - James McBride
I used to volunteer at our local library, shelving books.  I found it took me a while to finish because I kept stopping to read the jackets of books that looked interesting to me.  That's how I found this one.
  

Could not love this story more.  It features McBride's mother, Ruth, a white Polish Jew from the midwest.  She cuts ties with her family and religion when she marries a black man, converts to Christianity and moves to NYC.  Twice widowed, Ruth raises 12 children amongst racism and poverty.  Here is what struck me the most - she never discussed skin color or her past with her kids.  She did not teach them to identify anyone as "white" or "black".  As her children grew older, they would periodically ask, "Mom, are you white?" to which she would brush them off with, "I'm light skinned."  She taught her children that people are who they are, and you treat them with kindness and respect, regardless.  To this end, all 12 of her children went on to rise from poverty and lead successful careers.  I highly recommend this touching tribute to a mother from her son.  

Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn: A Saga of Race and Family - Gary Pomerantz
Growing up in Atlanta and being a history geek, I love to read about Atlanta's past and the people who shaped it.  This book chronicles two prominent Atlanta families - the white Allen family and the black Dobbs family.


Ivan Allen, Jr. was the son of a Confederate cavalryman and was a two-term Atlanta mayor in the 1960's.  

John Wesley Dobbs was the son of a Georgia freedman and his grandson would be the first black mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson.

Allen and Dobbs coexisted as political leaders within their own communities.  The story of Atlanta's setbacks and growth is told through the lives of these two prominent families.  I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the history of my city and making connections; I knew of Dobbs only because of a street named after him.  I obviously had no idea Maynard Jackson was a descendant of the man known as "the Mayor of Auburn Avenue".  The book gave me a more thorough knowledge of my own city and how it's inhabitants lived and were treated.  

A Hungry Heart: A Memoir - Gordon Parks

This was another of my library shelving finds.  I always liked to shelve the biographies because I am a literary voyeur.  

I was captivated with the life Parks lived.  He was an absolute Renaissance Man.  Parks is most known as a highly-lauded photo journalist.  One of his earliest works was "American Gothic, Washington, D.C." which posed a black cleaning lady with a mop in one hand and a broom in the other in front of an American flag, an obvious take-off on the famous Grant Wood "American Gothic".   His work was first in fashion, shown in Vogue and Glamour.  He joined the staff of Life magazine and remained there for 20 years before founding Essence magazine.  

As if he were not busy or successful enough, Parks also became a screenwriter, director (remember the iconic "Shaft"?) and composer!  From growing up poor in Kansas, through surviving the Great Depression as he job-hopped across America and on to receiving national acclaim for his work in the arts, this book is a fascinating story.  

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta is currently exhibiting a series of Parks' photographs and is titled, "Segregation Story".  It chronicles the day to day lives of a multi-generational Alabama family in the 1950's.  There are more than 40 photographs in the exhibit, many being shown for the first time.  The exhibit runs through June 21, 2015.

The High Museum of Art has graciously agreed to give one of my readers a family four pack of tickets to the museum so they can view the Segregation Story exhibit!

Giveaway open to U.S. residents only and runs from 3/6/2015 - midnight 3/12/2015.  Winner must notify Mom's Magical Miles as to a date they would like to attend; tickets will be held for them on that date.

a Rafflecopter giveaway