Sharing the Event of Mother’s Day

I may not be rich. I may not be successful. I may not be gorgeous. But I make a darn cute kid, as is evidenced by the photos I’m including. Yes, I’m showing her off today. That’s practically my sole reason for blogging. She’s cute. Indulge me. Eddie treated me to a brunch at Montelle Winery in Augusta, MO, Sunday. If you know me, you know it’s one of my favorite places. To top it off, he even coordinated with my mom, and she came along, too! Three generations of Tracy/Adamson/Strimel girls noshing on good food. What could be better?

In spite of the wonderful parts, Mother’s Day was bittersweet this year. It was our last day in St. Louis and my brand new pregnancy–just confirmed last Wednesday–began miscarrying late the day before. Kind of a kick in the pants for a day devoted to mothers but, hey, stuff happens. I figured I could sit around all crampy and sad or just buck up and get on with business. I got on with business, and it was a nice day. Now I don’t advocate miscarrying and moving 700 miles in three days, but it taught me about strength and the human mind. It’s a load of crap that happiness is what you make it but…big but…you can do a lot to turn things around just with your head.

So my sage advice that I like to offer along with these philosophical pieces is this: take care of yourself, take care of those you love, and remember that you are stronger than you think you are. I don’t care who you are, what’s wrong with you, or what you’ve been through in the past…you will surprise yourself by what you can handle. And if you need to sit down and cry once it’s all over, that’s okay too.

Oh, and if you’ll permit me a couple of seconds…I think this little one was a boy. I just want to tell the world that he existed even though it was just a few weeks. If there’s a heaven somewhere, I hope he’s with his little sibling and all the little ones like him.


Been Up in the Gym Working on My Fitness, Or Day 7 of Skechers GOrun

Okay, so I couldn’t resist the Fergie song reference. I’m a card-carrying hard rocker but who doesn’t love a little Fergie sometimes?

Today marks day 7 with my Skechers GOruns. I absolutely adore them! One of my concerns had to do with barefoot running, and the possibility of funky shoes. This is so not the case. I’ve been on the treadmill every single day during my trial and they are as fresh each morning as they were on day one. So there goes that concern. The shoes are actually molding (not like the fungus) to my feet. They seem to fit and feel even better with each wear. They don’t look quite as factory-perfect now but they conform beautifully to my feet. Oh, and I have yet to wear a blister or hot spot. Unheard of, I tell you!

Here’s the best part: my knees don’t hurt at all. I mentioned last week after my first run that I didn’t have knee pain that day. I’m 7 days into it and still don’t have knee pain. I’m actually of the opinion that they perfected my stride, which has reduced the pain. I really did feel it in my Asics the day before I started this trial but not since. Perhaps this is TMI but I’ve had hormonal aches and pains (sciatica with shooting pains down my leg, hip pain, etc) since I was pregnant three years ago. During that hormonal window each month, I’ve generally been in pain since I started my foray into running. I’m still feeling some aches in my hip and back but the other pains that are exacerbated by the run are much less this month. I hate to sound like a snake oil salesman but I’m starting to wonder if it’s the shoes. I think I’ll know for sure after a couple of months of this. If it’s the GOrun style that helps, I’ll be a Skechers athletic shoes convert for life. Testify, right? (Insert goofy smiley emoticon.)

So nothing but glowing reviews so far. Along the same lines, I finally fell for the Zumba hype and ordered a set. It got here today. If you can stand another product review, look for one soon. Oh, and I also bought the Barre Method. I had outstanding gluts when I was a ballet dancer. I’m hoping it will bring some 15-year-old perkiness back to this 30-something physique.

Toodles for now.

As it Turns Out, I’m Superwoman…Running and Ear Infections

I fell off the treadmill a few days ago. No, that isn’t a euphemism for complete failure. I literally stumbled off the treadmill. In hindsight, that was the first clue that I had two big ol’ ear infections but, like every mother, you pretend you aren’t sick until it’s practically time to call the CDC. So I’m walking for a few days. It’s about all I can do to keep a 3 mph stride; Amoxicillin should fix that soon. I’ve actually received messages asking how the running was coming, so I felt like I owed a recap to some of you.

Now it’s time for a funny observation. I realized today that I am actually Superwoman (and I bet you are, too, if you are reading this). Before having a child, I did get an ear infection every now and then. I. Was. Wiped. Out. I’m talking on my back, writhing in pain, crying for my mother (okay, maybe she was already there that one time but I still asked for her). Post-baby? I clean the floors. I feed, bathe and dress said child. I go grocery shopping. I write contract and non-contract blog entries. And I do it all with not one but two raging ear infections.

Superman may be able to save Gotham but I’m pretty sure the fate of the world rests on mothers.

Now I’m off to my Fortress of Solitude (aka the shower) for 10 minutes of peace and quiet. I’ll be back with prettier content in a day or so!

Insults, Nitpicking and Hating on Our Sisters

A few days ago, a FaceBook friend posted a picture of Kate Gosselin walking the red carpet. I’m not a follower of Kate’s show or escapades but she’s a beautiful woman. Heck, if I had that kind of body after having one, let alone the 6 or 7 or however many kids she’s birthed, I would be strutting everywhere in a string bikini. Upon loading FB later, I saw the same post with a huge list of comments like “She’s ugly inside” and “She paid for that body.” Now, I don’t know Kate Gosselin. She may very well be “ugly on the inside” but I’m betting none of those women (oh, yeah, did I mention the comments were all from women?) have met her either. So why the hate?

I abhor stereotypes, but by-and-large, women seem to choose insults and nitpicking when they feel inadequate or lack confidence. To be totally honest, I’ve done the same. And to be even more honest, it wasn’t until the last few years that I’ve stopped hating women. What have I hated? The cattiness, infighting and struggles to gain superiority for no particular reason other than to hurt or “put her in her place.” It was the ultrasound that revealed Zoey’s sex that began to change me. I don’t hate women now. I don’t like a whole boatload of them but I don’t hate women. They are struggling the same way I am…some just use a poor arsenal.

The moment the sonogram tech saw “girl parts,” my focus changed from what I hate to what I need to teach a future woman. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am not confident in my looks. Textbook-wise, I should be a Barbie or Victoria’s Secret model (tall, busty, blond, thin…in my adult years) but somehow it didn’t all translate like that. Oh well. I’m kind of past all that at this point. I need to be a strong woman who appreciates herself AND other women so that my daughter will grow up to be a strong woman (which should be the textbook definition of “gorgeous”).

I realized the other day that I toss out compliments all the time. If I had a nickel for the number of times I’ve posted “You are beautiful!” on a FaceBook comment, I’d be wealthy. But I MEAN IT! I’m (almost) past trying to compare myself to others and I am past putting down others to bolster my confidence. I started this for my daughter but it’s made me feel so much better about women and about myself.

Before I close, let me tell you…You Are Beautiful!

Enjoying the Moment

I hate New Year’s Eve. I hate that the year is ending even if it’s been a less than stellar year. I hate that there’s a new year starting…too full of unknowns. For that reason, I always stay at home, drink responsibly, and try to make sure I’m sleeping soundly at midnight. I asked myself just a few weeks ago why I’m like this. Well, for one I hate change. I hate the unknown. I have to and often do push myself into new situations because stagnation is bad. If I was an extremely positive person, though, I might instead say I’m into living in the moment. Sadly, I’m not the living-in-the-moment type. That being said, I think maybe I need to be.

To me, living in the moment is enjoying where you are, who you are with, what you are doing, and how you are feeling. It isn’t burying your head in the sand or missing deadlines or drinking a whole bottle of vino with little regard for the consequences. It’s about feeling content and enjoying life. It’s about enjoying the few minutes of silence or a 5-second cacophony of laughter from your 3-year-old in between tantrums.

And so I enjoyed the moment today. I put Zoey in coveralls, snowboots, a coat, a hat, mittens, and a hood (and she looked like the little boy from A Christmas Story) and dressed similarly myself and we played in the snow. I had things to do but, really, what was more important? We walked up the block and traced the footprints of others, I watched her make multiple snow angels, and we went sledding. I even got on the sled twice and let her push me. (Yes, a 3-year-old can push her mother down a hill.) And it was frigid and fun and I am so incredibly glad I did that even though I didn’t get more edited on a dissertation I’m editing.

I’ve realized that I’ve missed so much of the scenery because of the minutiae. Living in the moment will never come easily because I’m a worrying type A but I’m making some conscious strides.

Check out what I experienced living in the moment this afternoon…

Why You’re Probably a Role Model and Don’t Even Know It

When I was 17, my friend Joni’s mom pulled me aside and thanked me for being such a good role model for her daughter. Now I was a generally squeaky clean, “good” girl and didn’t do much, if anything, that would make me a poor role model, but this freaked me out a little. Even at 17, the idea that anyone was looking at me as a guide was monumental. I remember driving home and creating a laundry list of people who might be watching and learning from me. My youngest brother topped the list, and I became much more aware of my actions and words when I was around him starting that day. I continued to be mindful of the fact that someone might be watching and learning from my actions into my adult years but became less concerned. Then Zoey was born.

I know what you’re thinking–Courtney is going to launch into how she’s trying to be a good role model. Well, it’s true that I am, but the fact of the matter is that I started looking for role models. I’ve always been confident (except in the looks department), bold and in-charge. This period in my life and the addition of a child who would model after me made me feel otherwise. I needed and began looking for role models, and not just in the parenting department. My molting period started about the time I found out I was pregnant and I needed guidance by way of regular, real-life women. Some of these people seemed to sense my needs and began carefully visiting my office a little more often, offering a pat on the back and doling out anecdotes (advice they cloaked in palatable packages). Others became unknowing examples. I’ll admit that the first year after having a child was not attractive on me. I was lost and it was hard, especially with a husband who traveled 260 days out of my first 365 days of being a full-time working mother. And this, too, is a topic I’ll springboard from a little later.

Cut to today. I’m still trying to figure out who I am am. I see it more as an adventure than something scary. And I’m still looking for and at role models. I have so many, too, that it would be impossible to name them all. Some of them know that I watch and learn from them (my mother, my sister-in-law Vickie) but the bulk of them probably don’t even know I watch their moves, read their FaceBook posts and visit their blogs looking for my next bit of inspiration and guidance. Heck, some of these women don’t even know I exist (my absolutely favorite fashion blogger J’s Everyday Fashion, for example. A great resource for creating editorial looks on a shoestring budget.) The point is I have been a role model and I have role models who don’t know they are role models. I absolutely do not mean to put pressure on my own role models. We should all, I think, look at ourselves, though, and ask if we’re comfortable with what we’re putting out there. We should also all look at ourselves and ask if we need a role model or two. I hope that the answer you find is ‘yes’ !