Even When It’s Not Easy

I read in a book that when given the choice between right and being kind we should always choose to be kind. Both boys understood that concept. Wouldn’t it be great if we could teach it to the whole world?

I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here. You, my reader, are kind. You probably show kindness wherever you can, whenever you can, to everyone you can. I don’t need to tell you not to judge others because they wear mismatched socks, or yell at their kids, or cut you off on the highway, or took the last bag of storm chips. I don’t need to tell you to use words of encouragement, to lift others’ spirits, or how a smile can change someone’s day. I think my readership already understands the power of kindness.

You do, don’t you?

However, the words”you can” from that last paragraph leaves us a bit of a loophole, doesn’t it? If you can, you do. If you can’t, you don’t. It is really tough to show kindness that arsehole who just told you you’re a bad parent. It’s really tough to show kindness to the jerk who just flipped you the bird. It’s really tough to show kindness to the idiot who just drove a front loader through your house. But if you can, be kind.

I see it as paying it forward. I’m kind to someone and in return they’re kind to someone else. Eventually, that chain of kindness will return to me. Or you. Or all of us. I think that’s how karma works.

I can honestly say, as much as the boys can drive us absolutely mental sometimes, one thing they fully understand is kindness toward others. Crash looks out for his classmates with special needs. He makes sure they get outside safely when the fire alarm scares them. He sees that they have all their belongings while they’re on field trips. Bang knows how people people laugh. He has adopted all the ladies of the church choir as friends. Sure, they can be total jerks to each other. They’re brothers. However, when it comes to others, I’m proud of them.

*Kindness is one of the greatest attributes one’s character can possess.

*An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

*When you lift others up, you also lift yourself.

Please share your favorite quote on kindness in the comment section. It can even be one you made up…

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The Metaphor of My Running Playlist

My heart goes out to the victims and their families of the Vegas shooting. I can’t imagine how terrifying a time that was. My heart also goes out to those in Edmonton who faced a terrorist and fell victim to such extremism. May they find peace and solace in these troubling times.


Running has always been a part of my life. I’ve played sports since I could kick, throw, and swing. Then in high school I discovered wrestling (thanks Doug!) and I ran even more. Until I entered university running was just a way to keep in shape for all the other sports I played. It was never a sport itself.

Then it was. My first race was a relay race in western Maryland. Teams of two would take turns running a five and half mile loop through the woods. For. Six. Hours. We took second and I was hooked. Since then I’ve run four half marathons and several 10k races. Mostly, I’ve just run. Not for training. Not for racing. But just for the sake of running. Call it “me time” or “exercise time” or “nuts” but I enjoy it. I just wish I had more time for it.

Sometimes I run to music and sometimes I let Mother Nature provide the soundtrack.

Here are the top 10 songs in the playlist I listen to on my runs and why I run to them…

1. Lose Yourself – Eminem

The beat for this song start my run perfectly. It matches my cadence. Lose yourself in the music, the moment and that’s exactly what I do. I tune out the world and tune into myself – my footfalls, my breathing, and the road ahead. Suddenly, my frustrations with the kids, my honey-do list, and the million other worries of adulting melt away behind. I outrun them all. Did I mention the bpm (beats per minute) is spot on?

2. America’s Sweetheart – Elle King

This is just a fun song. While I’m usually too out of breath to sing along, I try. Out there where no one can hear me I can sing my heart out without puncturing eardrums. So kick out the jams, kick up the soul / Pour another glass of that rock and roll and I kick up the pace and pour another glass of kick ass.

3. The Light – Disturbed

This song is moving and I love the grungy vocals behind the usually heavy metal band. This song is about seeing the positives, seeing the light no matter how bad things seems to be. Sometimes darkness can show you the light. By the time I get to this song I’m at mile 2 and this one settles me in for the next 3+ miles. Don’t let hope become a memory. Because there are many things I hope for – money, health, family, travel…

4. Love Run Out- One Republic

The drums. The piano. Driving. Pulsing. Invigorating. I’ll be your light, your match, your burning soul. Well, duh. I’m your hubband, DW, I’ll be what you need to me to be. Even on those days when you get growly at me. Even on those days when all “my best” traits are shining through in our offspring. Don’t worry, my love will never run out.

5. Hall of Fame – The Script Ft. Will i am

This song makes me feel like I can conquer the world. You can move a mountain / You can break rock. I can and I will. Okay, maybe not move a mountain, but I can run up this really big hill. Maybe I can’t break rock but I can break my personal best by running just a bit faster.

6. My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark – Fall Out Boy

I love the energy of this song. I get lost in the song and forget that I’m 5 miles into my run with another 1.2 to go. So light ’em up up up / I’m on fire. I’ve run this far, on fire I am. This song provide me that boost of energy to finish my run strong rather than limping, sucking wind, and begging for someone to come get me.

7. Hey Brother – Avicii

I just love to sing along with this one, even if it is difficult to do when you’re this far into a run you’re supposedly doing for fun. The water’s sweet but blood is thicker. Family is important and by this point in my run I’m headed back to them. So close to loved ones and food. So refreshed and feeling new, albeit worn out. Plus the bass is pretty wicked sweet. I can feel my feet nearly leave the ground.

8. Demons – Imagine Dragons

This song is a bit slower than the others. For good reason, too. I’m nearing the end of my 10 song playlist and I need a little rest, slow the pace just enough to hold the notes and belt it out before getting back to where people can hear me. With a little luck, I’ve been able to outrun my demons and leave them far, far behind.

9. The Fighter – Gym Class Heroes ft. Ryan Tedder

Hell yeah I’m a fighter. That’s why I’m out here getting my miles in. So I can fight harder. While I’m not exactly sure what I’m fighting, other than the old me in order make a healthier, new me. Ya ever feel like your train of thought’s been derailed / That’s when you press on Lee nails. Fake it until you make it. Be the best you can be until can be better.

10. Iron Man – Black Sabbath

My heart is in the classics, my parents music. How cool is it to listen to a sci-fi song on your run? Dude time travels to the future, hits a magnetic storm on his return and turns to iron. No one listens to his warnings of an apocalypse so he kills them, becoming the apocalypse he warned of. Plus it’s good old Ozzy Osbourne with Black Sabbath. On certain runs this is my cool down, stretch afterward, song. After a good run I feel like an Iron Man. Though not the killing kind because I’m too tired. And I don’t kill. Except that run. I killed that run.

What do you like to listen to when you run?

Now go run and catch me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook!

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From Mark Remy at dumbrunner.com

Body Like A Bugatti

I’m going to show you two vehicles and I want you to decide which one you want to drive to work. You’ll certainly get the boss’s attention with either of them, but which one would earn you an invite back to work? Especially if you took your boss for a spin. 

You probably picked the Bugatti Veyron. I sure as hell did. It’s a 2.6 million dollar vehicle. It’s oil change is $20,000. It’s set of tires is $30,000 and will need to be changed every 2500 miles. It’s a high performance machine that can reach 60 mph from a standstill in just over 2 seconds. This is a high maintenance vehicle if I ever saw one.

While that dump truck is powerfully strong, it’s certainly not high maintenance. It runs on dirty diesel fuel. It takes about 45 minutes and a downhill to reach 60 mph. It’s not a luxurious ride.

I want my body to work like a Bugatti.

Unfortunately, I’ve been driving it like a dumptruck. I’ve been fueling it with diesel instead of high octane. I haven’t gotten it up to speed, revved the engine, or treated it like the machine it could be. Sweets, and salty chips don’t make an engine or a body run well. Sitting on my butt doesn’t work either. It takes exercise and eating right to make our bodies like the well oiled machines others would be jealous to drive. 

You see, there may only be 40 bugattis in the world, but this is only body we’ve got. It’s even more rare, even more precious than a 2.6 million dollar car. The difference between our bodies and the cars is that our bodies get stronger when we run them hard. Our bodies run smoother, more efficiently. Whereas cars wear out, need oil changes, new tires and $21,000 routine maintenance to prevent them from breaking down while running hard. They don’t get strong with workouts. 

It’s time to eat right, time to exercise right, time to get this machine running better than a Bugatti.

The Mystery Blogger Award

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It may be a “Mystery Blogger Award” but my nominator certainly is no mystery. Thanks, A Momma’s View for the nomination.

Okoto Enigma writes, “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts.  Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates.  They are one of the best out there and they deserve every recognition they get.  This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion. 

To think that someone else thinks I’m an amazing blogger with ingenious posts which captivates, inspires, and motivates simply leaves me speechless. As for finding fun and inspiration… that’s easy considering the two, wild subjects who often find themselves at the source of this blog of mine. I can’t imagine what you would be reading about if it weren’t for those two.

Rules For The Nominees:

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • List the Rules.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself. See below
  • Answer five questions from the nominee. See below below
  • Nominate anywhere from ten to twenty bloggers. I’ll try! It’ll be below below below
  • Notify the bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog. Got it. Below x 4…
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, including one weird or funny question. okilydokily
  • Share the link to your best post. easy peasy

3 things about me

  1. I can touch my nose with my tongue
  2. I can juggle 3 objects but not 4
  3. I used to play the tumpet

5 Questions

1. Would you jump in front of a bus for a complete stranger?

Perhaps? Maybe? Depends really. I suppose if I’m being really honest with myself I would, but only if I can get myself out of the way as well. I’m not sure I could take the hit for a complete stranger. I do have my own life, wife, kids, and family, too.

2. If a neighbor was a hoarder and lived in unsafe and unhealthy conditions, would you ignore it or take action?  If you did, what would it be?

I probably wouldn’t. Like Momma said, hording is an addiction, a mental disorder. Would attempt to get them the help they need? Yes. First I would attempt to get them to see that how they’re is unhealthy. If they refused my help I would attempt the help with a professional. Perhaps an addictions expert. Would I attempt to clean their house? Most definitely not. I don’t even like cleaning my own house. I suppose if they refused to accept any help I would eventually just end up moving.

3. If you could go back in time and change one day in your life, which day would it be and why?

I’m not going for the butterfly effect here. If I were to go change one day, only that day would change, not all the days after it. However, one decision I would change would be decision not to attend my grandfather’s funeral. I was in university when he passed. Back then, death was still foreign and scary. Really, it still is, but I can face it now. I’m older and wiser now. I should have been there.

4. What is your favorite word?

Really. I know, really? It has all the functionality of that F word. (I like that one, too. I just use it much) You can imply “WTF” with a well intoned “really?”. Or it could mean, “OMG” with a different intonation. Or you use it consecutively you can express your love. Because I really really like you. Really?

5. The weird question:  If you knew you could get away with it, would you rob a bank?

Are we talking about stealing a buck 50 or millions? For millions, I would. I’d be all over it. Banks are insured. They’ll get their money back. I’d share the wealth, though. Family, friends, charities. I definitely would keep my big mouth shut about it. The money would just mysteriously appear and only I would know of its existence. Of course, it would probably erode my guilty conscience until I snapped.

My favorite post

I like what Momma’s View said about not having yet written her best post. I hope I haven’t my best yet. But my best so far? That would be this one, The Value of a Teacher. But I had the most fun writing Life Before and After Kids.

My nominations

I know some of you don’t do the awards and nomination thing. Too bad, I’m nominating you anyway because I think you deserve the recognition for writing such spectacular blogs. If you don’t accept, that’s fully okay. Consider this your virtual high five, smack on the ass, fist pound.

Grubbs n Critters
Anxious Mom
Coach Daddy
Ah Dad
Not the Average Mama
Green Grapes
Mirror and Soul
Harsh Reality
Return of the Modern Philosopher
Niki’s Thoughts

Your 5 questions

  1. What is your best trait?
  2. What would you do if you won the lottery?
  3. You see a car veer off a bridge. Do you jump in the water to rescue the driver?
  4. What is your blog mostly about?
  5. Ben and Jerry want to make an ice cream flavor in your honor. What do you taste like?

Thanks again, for nominating me for this award! I’ve never gotten this one before. This gives me an extra day to put together the post about our skating trip and DW getting kicked off the ice.

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Disney LEGO

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I figure this post should get a million views. Of course they’ll mostly be by kids between the ages of 5 and 10. Every kid into Disney and every kid into LEGO.

And every adult into either, as well.

DW and myself included.

Backstory first. Crash’s teacher emailed us last week to tell us what great job he did on his writing. He sat undistracted (major feat) for two and a half hours and wrote a play. His writing was neat. His writing was on the lines. We were so happy to hear this news! One thing he normally does’t like to do is write. He loves making up stories, of course, but to write it all down? You might as well ask him to wash the dishes.

We told him how proud we were of him to work that hard for that long and to do neat work was incredible. We praised him. After the boys were in bed, I had to go to our friendly, local Wal-Mart for kids Claritin (allergy season). While I was there, I popped over to the toy department and found some LEGO mini-figures. I picked up one for Crash for his hard work in school and I picked up one for Bang for whatever hard work he did. When I showed them to DW she noticed they were Disney and got all excited. Then I did, too.

LEGO has just released its first series of LEGO mine-figures!

The next morning, the boys opened their package to reveal that they had just earned the Cheshire Cat and the Genie. That morning, after DW dropped Crash and I off at school, she and Bang went back to the store to get more. Judging by feel, we think we’re missing just three characters.

The boys have to earn them, though. We’re mean like that. Crash woke up Sunday morning and cleaned up all the toys in the basement! Cha-ching! He’s been motivated!

DW just informed me that if I fix all the mistakes in this post I can earn one too! I hope I get Stitch.

Our hope is that when these characters are passed on to our grandkids, they’ll be worth more than what we paid for them. It’s Disney. It’s LEGO. We’ll at least have some fun with them until then!

IMG_0280Cheshire Cat, Genie, Maleficent, and Donald Duck –
the four who have been earned so far.

Note: Our minifigure collection is NOTHING compared to Tracey’s Funko collection

Best Motivator Ever!

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but….

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I did get the boys to clean up their toys in the basement and they vacuumed.

So what if I had throw some of their stuff (including a Minecraft (*GASP!* book) in the garbage bag. Best. Motivator. Ever.

There might have been a few a tears. Though, once they started cleaning I stopped putting toys in the garbage bag. This, in turn, stopped the flow of tears.

Then, once they had the basement cleaned, I dumped the garbage bag of toys and they cleaned those up, too.

Now they’re playing on their plasma cars in all the freed up space they made by cleaning.

Movie night tonight, after supper, too…

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Boom!
There’s my post for today.

A Kick in the Arse

The hardest part of going for a run is putting on my shoes. Well, that and running up hills. Finding the motivation and making the time to go can be difficult. So I’m going to leave these here to look at later. These will hopefully be my kick in the arse to help me put my running shoes on.

And my fitbit is sad. So I need to run so I can kick my friend’s (and my mom’s, dad’s, brother’s, and sister-in-law’s) butts. Lace ’em up. Tie em’ tight and hit the road or the trail or the treadmill!

Motivation

Motivation is a fickle beast. What may motivate one person has no effect on another. What motivates a person today may do nothing the next. Finding that right motivator is a difficult task, especially if you’re trying to motivate a kid to clean.

Crash earned Minecraft for his tablet last weekend when he helped us stack wood at his grandfather’s house. He’s been asking for it for a solid year, at least. We kept trying various tasks for him to earn it: don’t instigate his brother, help clean the house, clean up his Legos. Nothing worked. I’m not sure if Minecraft (which he seem to need so desperately) just wasn’t worth it or what his deal was. We stacked firewood for about two and half hours last Sunday and while he worked slowly he did it. Mind you he’d stack a piece then sit and complain about being tired or hot. Or thirsty. Or his back hurt. Or he was sweaty. Then he’d stack another piece and repeat the process. After about an hour and half he finally realized that he was going to have to work for it.

It’s time he learns that you can’t get something for nothing. A lesson he probably should have learned long ago.

Anyway, he worked and he earned. But now that he has it he has to continue to work to continue earning his time. He has daily chores to do now. The difficulty of the chore determines how many chores he has. Making his bed, and putting away the silverware from the dishwasher are all easy so he has to do them all in one day. Cleaning his toys in the basement is big so that was his only chore yesterday. Guess what. Cleaning his toys proved more difficult than playing Minecraft was worth. He’s on day two of not cleaning his toys. Bang helped me clean his portion of the toys this morning. Crash played Legos and cleaned diddly squat. So apparently, Minecraft that he was dying to get, just isn’t worth the 15 minutes of cleaning it would take to play.

This leads me to think about what motivated me. I enjoy a clean house so I most days I don’t mind it. Plus it’s not worth it to tell DW she folded the clothes wrong, so I just do it myself. But, I’m now thinking of a slightly different form of motivation.

Exercise. I enjoy it. I don’t mind the sweat and heart thumping it entails. But some days (most days until recently) just putting on my running shoes was a huge effort. Thanks to my Fitbit and a few challenges from friends and family, I’m getting back put there, albeit, a bit slower than I was 3 months ago. But I’m running.

Motivation to do, to accomplish, to just try, ultimately comes from within yourself. Right now, close your eyes and think of what it is you want to do, to accomplish. Think of what it will take to achieve. Think of yourself in the moment you acheive it. Now open your eyes and make it happen. Yes, it’s as easy as that. Will it be easy to accomplish, probably not. But anything easy isn’t worth accomplishing.

I’ve put my running shoes back on. Now, if I could just motivate Crash to clean!

Kick in the pants

run viewHere is a view from our run yesterday.

Bang has been asking and asking to go for a run. He loves to go in the stroller and get pushed while I run. We see log haulers, cement trucks, excavators, train tracks, trains, and windmills (which he used to call big fans). He loves it.

I haven’t been running for 6 weeks. Hence, I’ve fallen way behind (major understatement) in my 1,000 mile challenge. He was asking and asking and this morning’s weather was good, except for the wind, so we went. He was hoping I’d go 8 miles because at the 1/2 way point to turn to go home is a gate which, of course he’s named “the gate” that he likes to pee on. We’re four miles from civilization and since the world is a boy’s urinal, why stop him.

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the gate. The head wind we were fighting was just too much. He was disappointed at first, but accepted it after I told we’d try to make it to the gate next time. As you can see in the photo, we have a view of the water for almost the entire trip. Most of the time there is at least one cargo ship docked here. Last summer Crash was able to ride his bike to the gate with me. I was impressed.

We had been riding farther distances each time we went. We started just riding around town and would total about 3 miles. Then we rode out of town for a 4 mile ride. Then one day he wanted to go over the next hill so we ended up going 6 miles. After that I asked him he wanted to ride to the gate. We made it. Though we ended up fighting the wind and some rain on the way back. Bang is getting pretty adept on his bike and I don’t foresee his training wheels lasting the summer.

Bang provided me with the kick in the pants I needed to get running again. Now that it’s light outside until 9:00, I should be getting out after they’re in bed when I typically go. But I’ve gotten used to sitting and relaxing during this quiet period in our house. So we’ll see who wins this evening… shoes or pajamas?