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Why we do it.

This face?  This feeling she has of pride and confidence in a job well done?  The knowledge that her hard work has paid off?  The elation of seeing a 9.55 -- best score ever on floor (not her strongest event).  Knowing her All-Around score contributed to her team taking second place?   Eagerly awaiting the chance to do it again? Begging to go to gym another day this week because she can't get enough of the new skill she's mastering on the bars?

This is why we do it.

"It" being the constant running around. The sacrifice of play dates and sleepovers and hours chilling on the couch. Replaced instead with the completion of homework or eating dinner in the car some evenings. Four days a week of running to and from the gym -- a tough work out 14 hours a week, by nearly anyone's definition-- conditioning, strength training, overcoming the mental obstacles of the sport.  Meets 3-4 hours a way which require hotel stays, early mornings, birthday parties of best friends missed, and lots of time in the car -- all for a few minutes of actual competition.

It IS worth it. But it's about the journey, certainly, and not the destination. That said... when that destination happens to also land you at the top of the podium?  It's not a bad feeling at all.  Congratulations, Gracie-Grace.

In other happy news....

In addition to T's finding employment at the best place he can in this industry without us moving (woo hooo!), I have some happy news from a friend who's also finding that life has a way of bringing you sunshine again, after a much harder, more difficult storm.

My friend, Dawn, who lost her husband to a freakish illness in January 2009 (he was only 48), is travelling the world with her two darling kiddos, and finding plenty of adventure -- and good in life.  You can read about her journey on her blog, above.  

I'm not surprised that Dawn has entered this new phase so gracefully, as she's quite an amazing catch (phenomenal writer, too!) and her children are precious, precocious, and just plain adorable.  Quite easy to be around.

I can't think of anyone more deserving of a second chance at love and happiness -- so here's to Dawn and Pete66 :)

p.s.  You may notice that I rarely update publicly. If you'd like to be added to the private filters, please just comment and let me know.  I'm a bit paranoid about what I put out there :)

Need inspiration?

If you're anything like me, you can always use a little inspiration.

This blog is one I've introduced before. My friend, Dawn, who lost her husband when she was 38 and he was in his early 40s a bit over a year ago, has a lot to write about as she raises her two young children alone.  She began this blog the weekend after she and I leaped off a cliff overlooking the ocean, paragliding (in tandem with an expert).  It is aptly titled: Adventure Mom.

Dawn is now travelling the world with her two children, stopping in New Zealand for six months. There, she's connected with two other 30-something or 40-something widows.

Her strength is amazing. Awe-inspiring. Magnifiscent.  I am continually amazed by her ability to process her journey as a widow.  She's also one heck of a writer, which doesn't hurt.

The Ways They Make Me Smile

 This morning I woke up to Grace making pancakes, entirely on her own, having watched Tim do it a thousand times.  She was so proud of herself as she served them to me.  Now, if I could just teach her to start the coffee...

After breakfast we headed out to do some shopping for school items.  The girls pointed out to me that they've used the same backpacks and lunch boxes for three years.  Is this unusual?  I bought Lands End because of the quality, and all are still in fine shape, but I suppose it's not too indulgent to allow them a change of pace. Interestingly, they're still using the raincoats I bought that year as well, though this year Abby will move into the one I bought for Grace when G was in first grade.

We went to Target, Kohls, Famous Footwear, Payless and then another Target looking for shoes for Grace. Sneakers in a size three that are not too wide are hard to come by.  Finally, the second Target had a pair.

Meanwhile, Grace declared herself to be a "dress-free zone."  And Abby informed me that tights are her "enemy in clothes."  She likes dresses and leggings still, but not tights apparently.  

Abby also told me that my new perfume is amazing, or as she put it "the best thing to ever happen to my nose."

It was a good day. I look forward to their return from blueberry picking.  When everyone's getting along and they're acting so dang cute, it's just the best.

I cannot believe....

 In less than two weeks, I will have a second grader and a FOURTH grader.  How did this happen?   Wasn't I just changing diapers x 2 only yesterday?

Even when I began this LJ, the description of myself was a WAH mother of preschoolers.  Preschoolers!  And now we are firmly in the middle of the elementary years.

It boggles my mind.

I wish I could freeze time for a few years. I like these ages of 7 and 8.  Hush. Do not tell me my daughter is nearly nine, because I will not believe you.

But I believe I said this same thing about 4 and 5.  According to my sister-in-law though, who's been there and done that, the Golden Age of Childhood (in her opinion, ages 4 to 11) is about to come to a screeching halt with G.  And then not far behind that will be A.   *sniff*  It's been fun.


 A brand new blog from my friend, Dawn.

I love how beautifully she writes about everything -- but she really captured the paragliding journey from our weekend at the coast, and connected it eloquently to her new perspective on life, having lost her husband just three months ago.

Welcome to the world of blogging, Dawn!    

Never underestimate the power of a good laugh

 Last night mum_in_nw   and I got together for a glass of Pinot and chocolate torte at The Heathman, followed by a movie, "It's Complicated."  We were going to see "The Lovely Bones" because we both loved that book. But "It's Complicated" was at a better time for us (9:30 as opposed to 10:05, and you know we're in our 40s now, so a 10 o'clock movie is kinda late).  

I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. In fact, I don't know that I have ever laughed as much at a movie.  When we were leaving the theater and heading to the restroom, every time I thought of one line delivered by Meryl Streep, I'd start cracking up.  In fact, I laughed all the way through our bathroom trip, to the point where the woman in the next stall asked me, "What movie did YOU see!?"

Then, coming home, even though T was nearly asleep as I crawled into bed, I thought of that line again, and could. not. stop. laughing. So I had to describe the entire scene to him, which probably lost something in translation.

This morning, I woke up, thought of that scene, and began laughing again to the point I got the hiccups.

I guess that movie just really hit my funny bone the right way. Or I was in dire need of a good laugh.  Or it's been too long since I saw a truly funny comedy.

LOVED "It's Complicated."

If you've seen the movie, any ideas which scene made me laugh particularly long and loud?  There are many to choose from, but there is one that is just priceless. I love Meryl Streep. Love her.

Have you laughed uproariously recently? At what? Any movies I should add to my list?  And if you haven't and would like to, go see It's Complicated. It's worth at least one good belly laugh. I promise. :)

Random Friday Thoughts

 So much to say, so little time to say it, it seems.

Top News Of This Week/Month:

* So far, so good with the gymnastics. Grace comes home tired and famished, but still happy and loving it. She's also learning a lot. I am amazed by her progress in so little time.

* The Devour phone from Verizon was defective. It never charged. So I took it back and because they did not have another one, they upgraded me, at no extra charge, to the Droid.  I am absolutely lovin' the Droid. It is an amazing little tool, and I can't believe I ever survived without a smart phone now.

* I am in a new decade of numbers on the weight loss front. This is exciting, and it motivates me to keep going. If I can get to the decade below this one, I'd probably be satisfied. It's one decade above wedding weight, but I'm almost 41 now. It is probably unlikely that I will weigh 125 ever again, sad as that may be. No point in making the goal unrealistic and setting myself up for disappointment, right?

*  Girls' report cards came home yesterday. Both were fantastic. Abby is "a very advanced reader" and Grace "excels at math, working above grade level."  Grace also reads at least two chapter books a week. How we got so lucky with two kids who love to read and who enjoy school is beyond me. Almost makes me NOT want to upset the applecart by doing the Challenge (GAT) program for them next year. But I won't know how they tested until April anyway.

*  It's possible that BIL and SIL-H may move back to Israel for BIL's job. This would be a serious drag for us. SIL-H is one of my best friends. I love both BIL and SIL Wasn't five years over there enough?! I want them to be here. So does SIL-H, but she knows this is a great opportunity for BIL, so may do it. :(  We shall see. Only time will tell. She told me when I took her to her b-day lunch. I got teary at the mere thought of her leaving. :(

*  DH's new four day work week is awesome. I love having him around to help with kid-chauffering one afternoon a week. It's also made him realize what my afternoons are like, and why it's often hard to get things done around here, keep up on the shopping and cooking and laundry, etc.  That said, he'd be a better SAHD than I was a SAHM.  He is like his mom in his ability to keep moving -- like the energizer bunny.

*  Spring is almost here, and I'm glad. I hope it inspires me to get more organized everywhere...I could use that!