Adventure, family, Fitness, grandchildren, prairie, running

Run Grandma Run

Did I mention that I’m a runner?  These days I dabble but I used to be pretty good and fairly fast.  I’ve run 14 marathons in the past 11 years.  Three of those marathons were the Boston Marathon – which means, it’s true.  I am/was pretty fast for an old lady.

(BTW: That picture up top – that’s me with my daughter-in-law.  Pretty fun to have a DIL that is willing to run with you!)

My last marathon, in June of 2017, was actually called Grandma’s Marathon.  I’ver never really known why its called that except for the restaurant (Grandma’s) near the finish line.  When I signed up for that race, there was a spot to check whether or not you were a grandma.  I checked that box.  But there was nothing extra in it. Not even a designation on my race bib.  Hmmm…

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I’ll just note that those are NOT grandmas on that logo.

I’m not saying my marathon days are over but they might be. A significant amount of peer pressure might sway me but it would need to be significant.  It’s a lot of work, a lot of time, and I’m clearly no spring chicken.  I’m a grandma through and through.

Now I stick to middle distances likes half marathons or 10K’s.  I’ve run two half marathon’s this year and a Ragnar Relay.

This weekend I ran a half marathon – Big Woods Half Marathon.  I signed up for it about 6 months ago when it was on sale for $20.  As race day approached, I debated whether or not I’d do it.  I wasn’t feeling particularly well-trained and it was a different type of race than I was used.  It was a trail race – which is much different than a road race. It would be run through a state park.

My training had been a bit spotty – quite a bit of traveling for work and particularly poor weather for outdoor running. But then I’ve never NOT run a race I’ve signed up for.  Not once.  So I thought I’d just go, take it easy, and enjoy the lovely scenery.

The race location was a good hour from home.  When I left for the race early Saturday morning, it was lovely and clear, but cold.  It was a beautiful drive through some of Minnesota’s best farming country.

Fall and harvest is beautiful in Minnesota.  It reminds me a lot of the vast prairies of my homeland in Alberta, Canada.

One big difference is that instead of wide open fields of wheat, I see corn everywhere.  I’ve grown to love it like I loved the smell of wheat harvest in the fall in Canada.

There were beautiful farms and quaint little towns all along the way.  For some reason my GPS took me down every back road it could come up with.  I even got to try my skill on some gravel roads, thank you very much!img_3674-1

I finally arrived at the race location – a beautiful setting outside Faribault, Minnesota.  I’d never been there before but I’m glad I made the trip.  It was such a lovely drive.

As I got ready for the race to start, it was clear that I was surrounded by people who were familiar with this race, had done it before and were back for good reason.  I soon learned why.

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Yep – I know.  It’s a bit blurry.  You try taking a picture, while running!

Thirteen miles through the most beautiful, fall, forests.  It smelled wonderful; that distinct scent of wet and dying leaves.  img_3684-1Clearly, they’d had a lot of rain in this area because in addition to the beautiful foliage and sweet smells of autumn, were many, many, many puddles of mud.  The blackest mud I’ve ever seen!  I tried to avoid the mud as much as I could but it meant all sorts of detours to run around it.

It just became too exhausting to run around it so I just went through it.  I kept thinking of the book – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.  I’ve read it so many times to the littles.  There’s the part where it goes “squelch squerch, squelch, squerch, squelch squerch” through the mud. That’s exactly what it felt like I was doing. 51pcSwQGWSL

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Well, ultimately I finished that race.  It was really hard.  I mean, so hard.  The best part of that race though, was the incredible hospitality of the sweet church ladies after the race.  It was the best post-race food I’ve ever had!  Hot soup, fresh bread, home made cookies … I’ll take that over a salted nut roll and bag of chips any day.

Today, I feel like I got hit by a bus.  I’m seriously getting too old for this.  But I’m glad I did it and plan to do it again next year.  I think this grandma might have another race or two in her!

Oh … I said earlier that I’ve never missed a race that I’d signed up for.  Well, that streak is about to end.  I signed up for race that is the same day as one my littles’ birthdays.  Easy decision – I’m going to celebrate that birthday out of state instead of running a race out of state.  Good choice!

Thank you to my fellow blogger over at Minnesota Prairie Roots who coincidentally mentioned the half marathon in her blog last week!  Reading her blog made me just a little more excited to run yesterday.

empty nest, family, grandchildren, retirement

Working Full-Time

There’s really only one job title I want.  That title is “Full-Time Grandma”.  I could spend all day every day with my littles.  Well, at least I think I can.

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Trying out all of baby sister’s head bands

I have this one big thing that holds me back from spending more time with my littles.  It’s my job.  My full-time, big girl job.

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My office – it’s a bit messy

I actually really like my job.  I enjoy going to work every day; I look forward to it. Sometimes I get to travel for work.  This year I’ve been to New York and Las Vegas, and I have Orlando and Chicago coming up.  That’s not too bad.

It sounds really fancy. It’s not.  It’s just a little, obscure company that you’d only know about if you work in this industry.  But I don’t care.  I don’t need much.

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It’s Sunday night and I’m NOT dreading work tomorrow.  That’s a good thing, right?

Many of my girlfriends are full-time at home.  They get to grandma whenever they want.  They get to go to lunch with each other whenever they want.  I used to be full-time at home as well. Not anymore – I’m at work.  I’ve been full-time for almost two years now.  I used to feel like I was missing out on the girlfriend fun.  I’m fine with it now.

Sometimes work gets in the way of seeing the littles though.  I’ll miss one of the littles’ birthdays while I’m in Orlando.  That’s not cool.  At the same time, it’s probably unrealistic to expect that I can be there for every birthday – as much as I’d love that!

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I haven’t missed a birthday yet – but it’s bound to happen 😦

I’m glad that if I’m going to be working, I enjoy what I do.  It helps fund all of those grandma trips to visit the littles (and the bigs), which is kind of helpful.  I’m a bit torn though.  If the littles lived closer, maybe I wouldn’t like working full-time.

For now, we’ve got a good thing going though.  And we’re building that new, big house for the littles to visit, remember?  So I guess it’s off to work for this grandma.

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It’s coming along!

What about you?  Are you a full-time working grandma too?

 

empty nest, family, grandchildren, parenting, retirement

The Sandwich Generation

You know that generation of people who are stuck in between their children and their parents – where they’re kind of on the hook (so to speak) for both sides?  You might be in that generation if you’re exhausted.

This is where I currently find myself – smack dab right in the middle.

For Labor Day weekend we went to visit the littles which is always, always, always THE BEST.  I love to visit them.  In one weekend we went to the zoo TWICE.  We actually have a pass for a zoo 6 hours away.

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The littles’ parents are fairly financial independent but are still “students”.  He’s a medical resident and she’s a stay-at-home mom to three perfect littles.  So we “treat” them once in a while.  We bought steaks for dinner – which was a treat.  We’ve helped them with small projects around their house.  We do what we can.

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I painted all of the cupboard doors for another one of my children with the help of these two.

We have four other children who are in varying stages of needing “help”.  Some are students and others are independent.  Still, as long as they’re with mom and dad, there is a sense that mom and dad are “buying”.

I treat them to new clothes or other items on occasion as I see needs or respond to “hints”.  I mean when the kid shows up with holes in his shoes and says he can’t afford new shoes, what’s a mom to do (insert eye roll here).  If you’re wondering if dad is less of a sucker, he is definitely not.  He’s worse than me.

Then there’s the other side of the sandwich.  Our parents.  As we were driving back from our trip to see the littles, we got a phone call from my dad:

Me: “hey dad”

Dad (who lives 18 hours away): “where are you guys?”

Me: “we’re about 3 hours from home – driving back from seeing the littles”

Dad:  “Oh.  Well I’m at your house.”

Me:  (nothing. shocked silence)

I knew he was coming to visit.  He visits regularly.  But I specifically said that this week was NOT a good week because I would be busy getting #5 ready for college and, if you recall, we are living temporarily in a 2 bedroom 1 bath tiny condo.  Did I mention dad also has a dog?

GAH!

I did what every good daughter would do and told him that he would need to get a hotel.  Of course he didn’t like the cheaper one I picked out, booked, and paid for from 3 hours away, while driving.  He find a “better” one for twice the price!

We put him up in the hotel for FOUR days until I could get my crap together at home.  Then he transitioned to a mattress on our dining room floor.  No Daughter-Of-The Year award will be received this year.  Well wait – maybe.  My dad likes to eat out. He thinks Minnesota has The Best Restaurants.  Also I’m busy.  So we ate out a lot including ice cream every night.  Guess who paid?  Every. Single. Time.  (it was NOT dad)

I spent the week entertaining (and feeding) my dad while simultaneously helping an 18 year-old shop and pack for college.  Let’s be clear on the “helping” – I did it all.  Also I do indeed work full-time.  I mean someone has to pay for all of this.

And now I’m sick.  I mean physically. I have a headache, my nose is running, and my throat hurts, and I’m about to board a flight to “help” my college kid get settled in at his new digs.

If I was a sandwich, I’d be a grilled cheese.  The kind that’s flat and oozes cheese out the sides.  stretchy-vegan-rainbow-grilled-cheese-637x320-1491866355

Maybe I’m just an enabler but I’m wondering … how are YOU managing being in that sandwich?

diet, family, Fitness, General, Uncategorized

Weight Loss and Age

At the end of August, we’re going hiking in Estes Park in Colorado.  Our athletic friends who are joining us said we’ll be going on a 7 mile (one way) hike.  Being concerned as one might be for the health and well-being of one’s spouse, I proposed a weight loss competition leading up to our hike.

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YES!  We’re staying at the Stanley Hotel – but hopefully not in room 217!

My husband is always always always game for a competition (see image below) so he readily accepted the 6 week challenge.  The greater distance between the number on the scale at the beginning of the 6 weeks and the end of the 6 weeks will determine the winner.  The winner gets $150 shopping spree (which for me is ONE store – maybe TWO things). CAVEAT:  The loser has to accompany you on the shopping trip.

ME:   I run or bike most days – far – like 6+miles running/20+miles biking.  I don’t eat much junk food. Very little soda. Not a big fan of ice cream.  I’m not out of breath going up 2-3 flights of stairs.  I have a sit/stand desk at work and use it.  My breaks at work usually involve walking and reading while on the treadmill.

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Thats me! I mean I’ve got room to lose – but not too bad for a grandma.

HIM:  Not a runner.  Does no physical activity other than being pulled behind our boat occasionally.  Loves junk food – especially potato chips.  Never passes on the ice cream.  Enjoys soda – lots of it.  Huffs and puffs after 1 flight.

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That’s him.  He looks great! 

Two weeks into our or weight loss challenge, he’s working out pretty regularly via elliptical trainer and being more careful with the junk food.  I’m running more, sometimes twice a day.  Counting calories.  Salads for practically ever meal.

He complains to me “I’ve only lost 10 pounds and I’m working out ALL the time” (insert EYE ROLL here).  I check the scale.  1 pound.  ONE.  I’ve lost 1 pound.  S E R I O U S L Y??

So I decided to poll my Go Grandma Facebook followers.  They had a thing or two to say on the subject:

First, my solidarity comments:

Lori S.:  Story. Of. My. Life. “We’ll lose weight together; I’m with you on this!

  • What was I thinking, getting into a weight-loss competition – with a man?

Martha L.: The men diet by eating one dessert instead of two and lose 7 pounds.

  • Truth, sister!

Nancy J.: You don’t need to worry, you look great!

  • Ahhhh… thank you Nancy.  The scale says otherwise.

Kimberley F.: I can be so regimented and eat amazingly…workout kickboxing 3 times a week and I see no change. My spouse goes to the gym for 2 weeks harder than normal and he drops it like crazy. If I go any harder at the gym the only thing I will drop is dead. Weight loss after 50 sucks.

  • TRUTH!!  Living that right now.

Then the “what you need to do” comments:

Sherry K:  Is it time to hit the weights & find your measuring tape instead of the scale?

  • Yes – it might be.  Weights are my winter go-to.  Minnesota summer – I want to enjoy it outside – on a run.

Val O: I’ve released 49 lbs. Three words,..Daily Mindset Work. The other thing is, if we are burning more calories than were bringing in, our bodies go into starvation mode and wont release the fat. Drinking enough water is also a factor. It’s made all the difference.

  • “Released”, you say?  Release me from this 50+ year-old body. Water though – I do not drink enough water.

Pauling V.: Drink more water. Flush out that liver and release the fat!

  • More with the water!  I don’t have the time to pee all day.

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Christopher P.:  You can NOT outrun a BAD DIET. Its NOT about the exercise, its ALL about what you eat

  • I love it when a man chimes in on my posts. And solid use of the UPPER CASE.  He has some great suggestions though.

Then came the weight loss program suggestions:

Allison B.:  The Whole 30 Program

  • It’s apparently awesome.  It will “change my life” – according to the website.

Christopher P.: My 100 Pound Weight Loss Journey

  • Well, thankfully I’m just hoping for 20 pounds, not 100.  So I better not do that one!

Then there’s all of the people who have a supplement that guarantees weight loss or will kick start your metabolism or give you more energy.

I’m over ALL OF IT.  Here’s the fact I’m going with.  I am a 50-year-old woman.  Losing weight like I’m 25 is not going to happen.  And AARP agrees:

5 KEY WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT AFTER 50… As with crow’s-feet and varicose veins, you’re simply more susceptible to gaining weight once you hit the big 5-0. And it’s not your imagination: It also becomes increasingly more challenging to shed those pounds once they’ve settled around your hips.

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There you have it.  AND Here are the 5 ways:

  • Pile on the protein
  • Join the resistance (strength training)
  • Get enough shut-eye
  • Try occasional fasting
  • Practice mindful eating

What I LOVE about all of these suggestions is that they are ALL sustainable.  They’re not fads, you can follow these suggestions forever.  No gimmick.  It’s about a lifestyle adjustment.

I will continue … we’ve got 2 weeks to go.  I’ve lost 3 pounds now.  I actually don’t really care too much.  I know I have a healthy heart and I have lost inches for sure.  He’s lost 15 pounds.  He needed to lose a lot more weight than I did and it is important for his heart – and for our clothing budget.  He needs his suits to fit.

Our WEIGH-IN is the same day we have tickets for the Minnesota State Fair.  That should be a very tasty celebration.

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family, grandchildren, parenting

Bullying. Just Stop It

It’s been a tough year for me.  It’s taken almost a year for me to admit it. I’ve been trying to come to grips with why, how, what.  It happened out of the blue.

BULLYING.

It never really occurred to me that I could be bullied by another adult. I’m a grandma for goodness sake.  I’m strong.  I’m smart.  I’m successful.  I’m independent. I’m even nice, usually. The bullying was subtle at first.  It took me a while to realize it was happening.  Then gradually, slowly, it became less subtle.

I tried to make nice with the bully because that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?   I tried to ignore it – pretend it wasn’t happening. I tried really hard.  I did everything you’d tell your child who is being bullied.  “Ignore it”  “You’re better than that” “They’re not worth it” “Don’t let it get to you”…

It was lonely.  You see the bully bullied others.  So if you (the “onlooker”) wanted to avoid being bullied, you stayed on the safe side of the bully. Pretended to be their friend.  Don’t cause any waves.  Just stay under the radar and you’ll be fine.  AND if you really wanted to stay on the safe side of the bully, for goodness sake, DO NOT stand up for the bullied (insert eye roll here).

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Which one are you?

I needed a break from the bullying so I took a break from putting myself in places where I could be bullied.  I took a break from people who in my mind cared more about staying on the good side of the bully than taking care of the bully’s bullied.  Whether that was true or not, didn’t matter because in my bullied mind it was true.  And the break helped a   lot.

I won’t even begin to compare my experience with bullying to that of a child.  There is no comparison.  And heaven help the person who EVER … I mean EVER bullies one of my littles!   I’m simply pointing out that bullying can happen with adults too.  Sometimes in the work place.  Sometimes (a lot) on social media.  And even sometimes it can happen in the places you should feel the most safe – like church.

So let’s just be nice.  There’s a lot of pain and hurt in this world.  There’s a lot of hate.  I just listened to this great podcast called Why We Hate.  I’m not saying you have to agree with every opinion out there, but if you disagree, just be nice.  Listen a little.  Ask some honest and sincere questions.  I bet you’ll find more common ground with those that you disagree with than you think.

And just don’t be a bully.

There is one thing I’ve learned over the past year.  If you continue to harbor the pain that the bully has unfairly inflicted on you, then the bully wins.  I refuse to let that happen.  So I will forgive and move on.  I’ll hold my head high.  I’ll be more aware of those that are bullied.  I’ll be more courageous and stand with them.  I’ll do my part to stop the hate and keep the peace, at least in my little corner of the world.

I hope you will tell me the ways that I can be a better advocate for the bullied and how you have been an advocate for stopping the hate. Continue reading “Bullying. Just Stop It”

family, grandchildren, parenting, Uncategorized

Adopt a Little for a Day

The littles and their momma have been visiting “the other grandma” (maternal) for a few weeks while Dad finishes up work out of state. I’m insanely jealous.

She’s an amazing grandma too. She’s got the “grandma thing” perfected. I’m jealous but I’m happy for the littles and their momma. They get to play with cousins, aunts, uncles (there are a lot of them!) and just get loved on so much. It’s all good.

So to ease my aching, missing heart we adopted a couple of littles and treated them to a fun day. I figured it was good practice. Two, seven year-old boys – how hard could it be?

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This is a picture I took just after we parked the truck – so I’d have something… just in case I lost them!! Then I gave them a firm but loving lecture on “staying close”.

We took them to the Chippewa Valley Air Show. It was a perfectly cloudy day. Not ideal for watching airplanes but ideal if your goal is avoid sun burning other people’s children.

We bought $85 worth of food/snacks/and car trip toys. But good news – under 12 gets in FREE to the air show. We spent another $75 on air show food. I mean, who doesn’t want to eat a $10 frozen pizza with a $7 Coke?

The air show was fantastic – full of high flying jets and stunts, as I had hoped. We even got treated to the Blue Angels.

Our little seven year old charges? Not quite so interested in the air show. I mean there were GRASSHOPPERS to be caught and contained.

For the record, it was MY idea to put their grasshoppers in the empty water bottles.  Just saying …

What a great and exhausting day nonetheless. I’m not sure that the littles enjoyed it as much as I did. I was hoping they’d fall asleep in the car for the 90 minute drive home. Nope. Not a wink.

As we neared home, they begged us to let them come play at our house a little longer. I said a half hearted “I wish we could …” as I dialed their parents for immediate pick up on our return.

I guess I’m not quite ready for 7 year old littles. I need to build up some grandma stamina first!

family

Dads and Grandpas – NOT Optional

Happy Father’s Day!  We try hard to give Father’s Day equal billing to Mother’s Day but we’re not that great at it.  I wonder why?

We could value our dads and grandpas a bit more.  Although, now that I think of it,  grandpas do pretty good.  They really can’t go wrong.  They are fun and cause trouble with the moms and grandmas for spoiling the littles.  But it’s okay – it’s grandpa.  We give him a little extra room to be dangerous  – and silly.

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Grandpa with the Littles – spoiling them with more treats and toys

Maybe its just me.  Maybe I could do better.  Maybe everyone else is really good at taking care of dads and grandpas on their day like we take care of moms and grandmas on their day.

My children’s father (who is actually my husband – still – after almost 32 years), is a good dad.  He’s a hard dad sometimes, in the ways dads need to be. Dads need to be the enforcer, the law.  Children should fear their dad just a little.  It’s a healthy fear – because he loves his kids.  No doubt about that.

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They all got capes – because they’re all super heroes – even dad.

Ok – call me old fashioned.  It’s okay.  Yes, I’m speaking generally.  Yes, this doesn’t apply to all dads.  I get it.  But it’s Father’s Day so here it is.  Dads are important.  Dads are necessary.  Dads are not expendable or optional.

So so so many times I have disagreed with how the dad (my husband) has parented.  So. Many.  Times.  Still, we turned out some pretty great kids and it was not all me.  They would cry to me that dad was mean or they don’t want to drive with dad or dad did this or said that. But now as adults, they go to their dad with their problems.  Not the emotional kind – I still get all of those.  But he gets the rest.  I wonder if he ever disagreed about the way I parented … hmmm.

I need him to solve the problems when I’m just done with it.  I need him to edit the resumes and maintain the cars.  I need him to stay up late and wait for that darn kid to get home because I’m too tired.  He’s the fixer.  Just like my dad was the fixer – and still is.  Just when you think there’s NO WAY it can be fixed – he makes it happen again.

So honor the dads today.  They’re not perfect.  But then again, neither are the moms.

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Proud Grandpa (my dad) greeting his grandson.