Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Show Me The Bling - Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Medals Revealed

Disclosure:  I am a Rock 'n' Blog Ambassador for the Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Marathon & Half Marathon.  I have received race entry in exchange for my promotion of this event.  All opinions are my own.  

In case you missed it, I shared with y'all about the Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Remix Challenge a while back.  If you run either the full or half marathon on Saturday, November 8th AND either the 5K or 1 mile "shake out" run on Sunday, November 9th then you will be eligible to receive this little beauty! 

But I was eagerly awaiting the Main Bling.  I'm happy to announce that it has been revealed!  

I'll start with the 5K.  If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (please do!) then you will have seen my sneak peek.  I LOVE this medal.  I am actually considering upgrading from the 1 mile run to the 5K on Sunday just so I can get this.

Ready to the see the Full, Half and Relay medals?  

I'm glad I'm running the half marathon now for a reason beyond the obvious - I love that green on the medal and on the ribbon!

Now that you've seen the bling, join me!  Make sure to sign up for the Remix Challenge so you go home with ALLLLLLLL the pretty medals!

Really?  You need just ONE more reason?

American Idol alum Phillip Phillips is the headliner for the Saturday concert and there will be bands all along the course.  I love the city of Savannah and I can't wait to run through it and soak up all the beauty - twice!  

Join me and sign up today!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer In The City at The High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Disclosure:  I was provided with complimentary tickets to the High Museum of Art in exchange for promotion of this event.  I was given no other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.

For anyone who doesn't put an art museum at the top of their "family friendly" activity list, I urge you to visit Atlanta's High Museum of Art and reconsider!  My kids have visited the High several times this year and have had a blast!  Check out some of the kid-friendly things we've experienced at the High while viewing their Go West exhibit and their Dream Cars Arts & Rec: Family Day!

A few impending rain showers couldn't stop us from attending Summer In The City - a celebration that was a surefire cure for my kids' back-to-school blues!  $5 was all that was required for all kinds of kid fun.

We made it a few steps onto the Sifly Piazza before I had two kids lounging in the hammocks and one kid going straight for the table full of Lego bricks.  The hammocks and the metal house frames are part of an interactive, ever changing exhibit titled "Mi Casa Your Casa".

My oldest #AintGotTime for lounging in hammocks.  As soon as he saw the tables of brightly colored Lego bricks his eyes glazed over and I knew we had lost him.

It was a rare moment, y'all - everyone was happy.  All three were content.  If that's all the High Museum had to offer us that day, it would have been declared a good time.  A few showers came our way, but I had an umbrella and we were under the beautiful trees, so we built on.

When I could finally drag my men away, it was with the enticement of finding out what other activities lay inside.  Oh.  Hold up.  The sand art table beckons.

 Sand art.  If y'all are ever anywhere that has sand art, be sure to hit that LAST.  'Cause you know who ends up carrying that stuff around.  But my guys were happy and excited that they got to do an activity where they got to KEEP something cool.  They are used to going to "family fun" events where most of the best fun comes at an extra cost and mom doesn't shell out for that often.

My middle son wanted his face painted.  The other two weren't interested, so I dispatched the 12 year old to escort his little brother into the amazingly fun Greene Family Learning Gallery or, as my offspring will forever call it, "The Kids Room".  On the way to the face painting, we passed through the atrium and saw Dave Holland of the percussion group Ritmo Blu.  He was handing out all kinds of percussion instruments and encouraging kids to get their groove on!  Y'all.  That was the loudest thing I have ever experienced in my entire life.  LIFE.  But the kids were having a blast!

Face painting.  When it was Thing 2's turn, he informed his artist he wanted flames.  After a minute of thought, work proceeded.

I had no idea what I was going to be seeing.  I was super impressed with the final result and Thing 2 proclaimed it "Awesome!"

After reuniting my kids in the Greene Gallery, I was able to get a breather while they played with all the fun creative toys in the room.  After a while, we headed back out to the piazza.  The rain had cleared and the skies were beautiful.  As you were, boys - hammocks and Lego bricks.

We closed out our day waiting on one more fun souvenir - a caricature artist was on duty and we were able to snag his last two spots for my youngest boys.  (My oldest wants absolutely nothing to do with this kind of attention - he was happy being one with Lego.)

My kids had an amazing time at Summer In The City.  It was everything we look for in a kid-friendly event - hands on and creative yet simple.  At $5 this was a bargain for all the activities available and take-home craft opportunities.  We never even made it into any of the museum's exhibits but that's okay - it just means that there will be more to show my kids the next time we head to the High!

The folks at the High Museum of Art do an amazing job of coming up with ways to make art accessible and engaging for kids of all ages.  There are guided family tours of the museum on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Discovery backpacks full of fun ideas for how you can guide your own family through the museum, and more programs in the works to show kids that art is alive and vibrant!

Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep current on all their happenings!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Robin Williams Can Teach Us About Depression...

...and addiction, and personality disorders and general mental illness.

My first experience with actual, clinical depression was not mine, really.  I was dating someone who I was watching slowly but steadily fall down into that pit.  As a foolish girl in her early 20's, I totally bought into that idea of "the love of a good woman can save him!"

Um, no.  Not so much.

After imploring him to seek out help and him refusing, I had a decision to make -stick with this sinking ship or get in the lifeboat?  I got in the boat.  I asked him to get in with me but again, he refused.  So, I wished him well, prayed another lifeline would come along that he would be ready for, and sailed away.  And I don't feel guilty for that.  There was nothing more I could do for him until he wanted it.

All through my 20's I worked in youth ministry and I thank God that I didn't come across anything more than garden variety teen angst.

But I wonder - how many people do I know that struggle with depression?  People like Robin Williams who seem to be the happiest of the bunch.  They are skilled at masking it.  I am honored to have had a lot of people tell me that I am funny.  I had a sweet co-worker say, "I love working with you when you are in a good mood because it makes it so much better!"

I am not, however, always in a good mood.  I have my days - days where I show up at my kid's school and chirp away wit and happiness but I want nothing more than to lay in my bed.  Not because my body is tired but because my soul is tired.  Sleep is the great soother - the only natural and non-toxic way to forget about everything that troubles you.

I'm lucky that when I do have days like that, I have the strength to tell my inner camper to buck up and move along. I have three little people who need me.  But not everyone else is so lucky.  If you are truly, truly depressed, you cannot just "get over it."  "Snap out of it."  "Look at how much you have and be grateful - there are others who have it much worse than you."

I had been bottling something up for a while and not too long ago it just hit me all of a sudden.  I experienced what must have been a mini-panic attack.  As usual, not wanting to make a big deal or "bother" anyone, I just shot my friend Patty a quick, weird message on Facebook.  The response was immediate and decisive - "CALL ME".  At the end of that phone call my problems were certainly not solved, but I could breathe.  More importantly, I was laughing.  It gave me the juice I needed to get back on track.

Call somebody.  Send weird FB messages if that's what it takes.  Send up that freak flag and see who spots it.  In this whole wide world of people, there is SOMEBODY who knows how you feel.  If the only choice you have the strength to make today is to reach out and tell someone how you feel, do it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

2015 Asheville Marathon and Half Marathon - Discount Codes!

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, (and if you don't, please do!) you should already have seen me proclaiming joyfully that I was selected as an ambassador for the March 15th Asheville Marathon and Half Marathon!  

I ran this event last year (the half) and I loved it.  It was one of the most beautiful and peaceful runs I have ever done.  The course is entirely on the Biltmore Estate - away from the noise of traffic and civilization.  The front half is run on the mostly paved paths and trails open to Biltmore guests.  The back half, though, is open to the marathoners and they get to run on "the wild side" that is normally closed to the public!

The first thing people say to me when I mention "Asheville" is that they are concerned about the hills.  I was, too.  I was pleasantly surprised, however, that all of them seemed to be rolling hills - I really had a lot more struggle running the Georgia Half Marathon in Atlanta.  For more information on the whole race, check out my recap from last year.

This is a smaller race and therefore I found plenty of space and quiet to soak in the peace of my surroundings.  I didn't turn on my iPod once, y'all, and that's huge for me.

As an ambassador, I've got discount codes!  $20 off the full and $10 off the half is a bargain for what you get from this race experience!  The expo was great, the run was amazing and the swag?  You'll want to read the recap to find out more about that!  Message me at momsmagicalmiles @ gmail.com for the discount codes, or contact me through Facebook or Twitter.

There will be plenty of hotels affiliated with the race, but I need to put in a plug for the Brookstone Lodge in Asheville.  Affordable room for my family of 5 and minutes from Biltmore and downtown Asheville.  Check them out when you are looking for accomodations!  (No, I don't get any kind of comp from them.  We stayed free for one night last year but I continue to recommend them because I think the place is great and the value for a family is fabulous.)

I hope to see you in Asheville!  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Too Old For Reeboks?

So, I was pretty excited when DisBroad Patty showed me the link to a recent campaign by Reebok.  They put out the call for ambassadors!  If you "qualify" after taking their survey, you get a free pair of Reeboks.  Just write a review for their site.  Cool!  I'm a Brooks Ravenna girl, but, hey - I'm open minded!  (Read:  I'm a blogger, and bloggers lurve them some free stuff.)

I scurried to the survey.  Name?  Got it.  Gender?  Done.  Age?

Okay, wait.  I think there's something wrong with your site, Reebok.

See that drop down box?  Yeah - that's it.  It doesn't go past 35.


Y'all.  I didn't even START running until I was about to turn 40.  I'm now within spitting distance of 44.  When I was 35, I didn't do anything more athletic than reach for another glass of wine.

So, what's the deal, Reebok?  Why the age restriction?  Are you now going to be the Abercrombie & Fitch of running shoes?

That's really disappointing, and it's making me regret the purchase of my son's new Reeboks for school.  I may not be your target audience, but I sure spend a lot of money buying shoes for 3 people who are.

I would love to hear Reebok's rationale for why only people 35 or younger are the best ambassadors for their brand.

What do y'all think about this?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The High Museum of Art, Atlanta - Summer In The City!

Y'all should know that our family loves the High Museum of Art.  We were able to check out the Go West exhibit as well as the Dream Cars exhibit during Arts & Rec Day.  That's why I'm so excited about their latest event!

  We've already gone back to school here in Atlanta <sad trombone> but the High Museum of Art wants summer to last just a little bit longer!  THIS Sunday, August 10th from 11am - 5:00pm will be an event that is guaranteed to be a good time for everyone in your whole family!

There will be live music by Ritmo Blue's Dave Holland, a Legoland® building activity, a Marilyn Monroe collage that is interactive, sand art, face painting, kid-friendly food, gallery tours, museum shop discounts and lots more!

The price is a bargain for family fun - FREE for members, $5 for non-members.

The High has generously provided me with a 4 pack of tickets to give away!  U.S. residents only, giveaway ends at midnight August 6th.  Tickets only valid on Sunday, August 10th.

Good luck!

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Lessons From The Tree House - How I Got Schooled by Mary Pope Osborne

All 3 of my kids have loved the Magic Tree House series of books by Mary Pope Osborne.  I'm working my way through them again with my youngest and we brought Tigers At Twilight on our recent beach vacation.

Any parent knows the word "vacation" is a bit of a stretch sometimes.  If you have a kid with behavioral issues, the word "vacation" becomes paper thin.  You think they will be happy - it's vacation! Their personality is not left at home, though.  And really, who is happy everywhere they go?

My oldest son has ADHD & ODD.  He is genetically predisposed to being impatient and finding fault with things.  This does not blend well with vacations and he does not check his disposition at the van door when heading out on a road trip.

I get so frustrated.  He has so many good qualities.  He's great with little kids, almost a pied piper.  He's got encyclopedic knowledge of the animal kingdom, especially reptiles and amphibians. He's a great artist.  When he shows it, he has the best smile in the whole world.

When his less-than-stellar traits emerge, I get frustrated.  "If he could just..."  "If he would just..."  "Why doesn't he..."

After a somewhat unpleasant afternoon, I found myself reading our latest Magic Tree House to my youngest.  The main characters had freed a tiger from a trap.  The tiger then turned on them and tried to attack.  A wise man listened to their story then sent them to retrieve a lotus blossom from the river.

"This perfect lotus blossom grows from dark, thick mud," he said.  "Its beauty cannot live without its ugliness.  Do you understand?"

I try to have patience.  I go out of my way to make him happy.  It's discouraging when he snaps and snarls.

"When you saved the tiger, you saved all of him, "said the blind man.  "You saved his graceful beauty - and his fierce, savage nature.  You cannot have one without the other."   

The immaturity he displays at times is part of the reason he can be so in touch with and mindful of younger kids.  The focus he uses to find all the negative around him comes from the same stash that allows him to tell me every single lizard known to man and where it can be found.  The fantastical leaps of logic he makes when arguing a mindless point stem from the same well of creativity from which his drawing and painting flow.

The graceful beauty of his smile and the savage nature of his unhappiness are entwined - for now, at least.

"Take this lotus as a thank-you gift from all the forest for saving our fierce friend," said the blind man.  "Our world would not be complete without him."

Would our world be easier without him?  Probably.
Would our world be less painful?  No way of knowing.

But our world would absolutely not be complete without him.