Friday, October 18, 2013

Hot Mama meets Humble Pie

Certainly humble pie has 0 calories, right??? Cuz I ate the whole pie tonight and didn't exercise today - so I sure hope so.

I was blown away by the response to my Pretty Woman Meets Hot Mama blog post. My blog has been shared and spread across Facebook over the last 24 hours, and I've received more "hits" on my blog than ever before. While I have been so blessed to see the response of many stating how thankful they were for my words, I neglected to really take into account some of those words. I have allowed the emotion of how so many can be encouraged by my words override the reality that just maybe...I have wounded with my words.

Early this morning I received a call from the founder herself of Hot Mama. She was very apologetic and kind regarding the situation yesterday. (Apparently she has even received a handful of emails today in regards to my post.) I was pleasantly surprised by how she was handling the entire thing. She had read my complaint I sent in, as well as my blog. (Gulp.) She assured me this is NOT the character of their store or values. It appears to be an isolated incident in a field that is sure to have such misunderstandings happen. (Seriously!!! Have you ever worked retail?? It is pretty awful.) She told me that Hot Mama wanted to make things right. The conversation closed, and I thought that was the end.

Until this evening.

As Aaron and I were on our way to a date night, I received a call from the saleswoman herself. She was sobbing. She too had just read my blog. You know. The one where I said I wanted to punch her in the face and called her names of my own. Yeah. That one. She explained her heart to me (including how awful it feels to read that someone wants to punch you in the face), her genuine love of moms, her intentions in what she spoke to me in the store, etc. I did stand my ground and voice that it is NEVER okay to say to ANY woman that they carry weight in any one particular are of their body. But beyond that...... humble pie. It doesn't taste very good.

I realized in an instance how my insecurities and my frustrations came out to the entire Internet World about a woman who I did not know. I made a judgment of character through one brief interaction. Because I was wounded - I wounded. This, my friends - is NOT okay. I truly am the worst of sinners, and have no reason to slander anyone. We all make mistakes. We all say things we wish we could shove back in our mouths. We all mess up. She messed up. Then I messed up. It's not pretty. Such is the world we live in.

After a truly genuine and great conversation with this saleswoman where we could hear and understand each other - I hung up and began to feel the weight of my words. I realized that my insecurities had won (again). What I intended to encourage others .... and in a way, did .... was not as pure as I had hoped. I lashed out at the thin girl, because I am not. (She actually IS a mom, and stated that she hasn't always been thin. Huh....) I did exactly what I didn't want done to me. I don't want to be judged for my definition of beauty by the skinny girls. Yet I sit in judgement of them. I assume they all starve themselves and judge me. But that just isn't true. Sometimes, maybe .... but it is not for me to know or judge.

Why do women do this?? Working moms vs Stay at home moms. Skinny girls vs fat girls. Rich vs poor. The list goes on. But us women?!?!?! We are BRUTAL! And more often than not - we are most brutal against the women we wish we were. I am the worst.

I am saddened that in a post that encouraged so many, I deeply wounded one. That isn't who I want to be. It's not what I stand for. I'd like to think it isn't who I am. But at the end of the day - regardless of what is or isn't ... I am reminded of the one truth that Jesus died for all of us. Skinny, fat, talented, dumb, smart, rich, poor, sinner or saint.

Who am I to cast the first stone???





*****I do still stand behind every other opinion I voiced in yesterday's blog.....other than my judgement on this sweet woman and the company Hot Mama. For that I am sorry.*****

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pretty Woman meets Hot Mama


**Testing**Testing** Okay, this thing still works.....

I went into a store today called, Hot Mama. I was greeted by a rather "Pretty Woman" type of salesperson. I picked up a cute Sweater Tunic Dress and asked if they had it in my size. To which she responded that a dress like that will cling to my stomach, which is where I obviously carry my weight and should look at something different. (A- Do I cry? B- Punch her in the face? C- Leave the story immediately? or D - Leave the store only after crying and punching her in the face?)

Okay, 1) I do NOT carry my weight in my stomach. I carry my weight through my hips. The weight in my stomach belongs to the four children that made a home in my stomach for a while, thank you very much. And 2) You just DON'T say that to a woman - mom or not. I am a grown woman, fully capable of trying on said Tunic Dress and deciding for myself if I like the fit on me or not. I appreciate the honesty of a salesperson, but not meanness .... especially in a store committed to clothing for MOMS. 3) I MOST CERTAINLY don't want to hear a comment like this from the seemingly anorexic 20 year old who most likely has no children.

Here's the real deal though. Our culture has continued to grow in it's definition of beauty and success. And the demands on young moms are just unbelievable. We are expected to have it all, do it all, and be a size 3 while at it....and then post the proof on Social Media. Gone are the days of wandering to the park or the mall in yoga pants and a hoodie. Nope, we can't even step out our front door without our make up on and dressed like a HOT MAMA less we be looked down upon. (By who??? Oh yeah, other moms who are just as tired as we are!) Don't get me wrong. I have nothing wrong with doing your hair or your make up. I have nothing wrong with wearing stylish clothing. I have nothing wrong with women being thin, pursuing thin, or any other fitness decision. I have a problem when women find their worth in this and expect me to do the same. I have a problem when someone else puts their definition of beauty on other women. On me. (Maybe I like flaunting my mom belly....maybe.)

What this saleswoman failed to recognize in her sharp, brief interaction with me is that in an instance, she opened up a wound that has taken much work to heal. I've never been the "little" girl. I've never been the "stylish" girl. I've never been much of any kind of girl. (Seriously - don't ask me to wear a dress!) I was, however, the girl who struggled with an eating disorder for 9 years of her life because I am still a girl who feels the constant demands to be all of that.

I wonder what this woman would have done if I would have told her that after 9 years of battling an eating disorder, I am now FREE. Or that I sell solution-based, Nutritional products for a living, and teach others how to regain their health. Or that I have run several half marathons and a full marathon in the last year. Or that I bike 30-40 miles several times a week. Or that I have gained and lost 330+ pounds in the last 13 years alone. (No, I was never 400 lbs....I have fluctuated that much weight up and down.) Or that I sleep with the same man every night who loves me, dimples (read: cellulite and stretch marks) and all. (Get your head out of the gutter...I said SLEEP! Don't you know how tiring my life is??) Or that in my pursuit of being thin, and healthy, and HOT, I have come face to face with the reality that God made me a Norwegian/Bohemian (read: big hips), mom of 5 (+1 glory baby who still took root in my big belly long enough to leave her mark), short, pear shaped (a pear who apparently ate an apple), running, biking, pursuer of health, lover of JESUS, HOT MAMA. And that is OKAY.

I pursue health because it is just that - health. Not WHO I AM. I pursue being a certain weight because when the scale hits a certain number, or my clothes fit tighter than skinny jeans - I just feel "blah" and that is no fun. I want to have energy to keep up with my busy life, and that won't happen at a certain weight. I pursue setting an example for my girls of what it looks like to live healthy and still enjoy life. (Eat, drink and be merry...right???) I love helping other women break free from the bondage of having to be someone they are not. I love being healthy on MY terms. I don't want to set the bar so high that my sons can't ever find a hot enough woman because of how I have portrayed beauty to them. (haha...I am FAR from that danger!) But I DO hope to set the bar high for my sons and my daughters on what true beauty is. I hope to set the bar HIGH in self acceptance and honoring the differences of others appearances.

So tomorrow, after shopping at the plethora of other cute boutique stores in our area, I think I will walk back into Hot Mama with yoga pants on, holding at least 8 bags of new clothing in my hand, look that woman in the eye and say - "Hey. Remember me?? I was the one you wouldn't help yesterday. Big mistake. BIG mistake. Oh....and eat a burger, will ya???"





ps. Just before I sat down to write this blog, I saw a very timely post floating around Facebook. I did take the time to read it and very much appreciated it. I especially loved her before and after photo's. In fact, I think that we should start a movement on social media of our favorite before and after photos portraying TRUE beauty, our beauty. Hot Mama's. Here are some of mine.


                                  BEFORE



                              AFTER
 



*********The founder of Hot Mama responded to me this morning after reading the complaint I sent via their website. She also read my blog. I was very impressed with her humble and apologetic attitude. She assured me that this was very much an isolated incident and they are already taking the steps to address this whole thing. The philosophy of Hot Mama is to help moms look and feel their best. She understood that I left that store not feeling good at all, and was very sorry. That said, I enjoyed hearing a bit of her story. She is a woman of faith as well, and has founded her business on that. I appreciate that. I'll probably give the store Hot Mama another shot. I may just look for a new location. ;) ********

Monday, August 5, 2013

hard is not your home

It's been a long couple of years here in the Britton household (more specifically, the last year). I'm not complaining about that. Just stating a fact. I'm so thankful that I have a husband who has the sense to push the reset button at just the right time in such a season.

Last week Aaron spoiled me and took me to Cozumel, Mexico. It was .... amazing. Dare I say ... epic. Throughout the trip, Aaron kept commenting on how he noticed that we both kept taking deep breathes. It's almost as if we've forgotten to breathe for the last 18 months or so, and then all of a sudden we came up for a breath of fresh air and found more than we bargained for.

There was no time in Mexico. There were no decisions to be made (unless you count whether to swim in the ocean or swim in the pool a decision). There was no whining, no complaining, no tears, no fighting, no struggle ... no hard. (Unless you count me on the last day there when I was throwing a temper tantrum about having to leave.) It was .... heavenly.

Aaron and I had time to reflect, re-connect, relax, read, be bored (when is the last time you were truly bored?? It is great fun, actually.), laugh, eat, drink, dance, and well - breathe. It was ... heavenly.

On my last day there, I was not happy about having to leave. "Just one more day?", I kept asking. Aaron, being the mature man that he is - kept telling me to just be thankful that we had this chance to hit the reset button before the busy fall/winter months. Hmph. I don't want to. There is no beach in the fall/winter. Actually, the truth is - I was realizing that I was scared to death to go back to "hard".

Don't get me wrong - we don't have a HARD HARD life. Just a hard life. You know, the normal hard that is accompanied by a gaggle of kids, normal marriage stuff, normal family stuff, normal financial stuff, normal moving stuff, normal health stuff, normal ministry stuff, and normal adoption struggles. All normal, but all hard at times....sometimes more than others.

As I sat in my private pool (yes, we had a private pool!!!) overlooking the ocean, I began to search my heart and ask God to reveal what was really going on. He quickly showed me that I have chosen to make "hard" my home. The daily routine of life, the daily struggles, the NOW...I've forgotten that the hard of NOW is not my home. Heaven is my home. One day there will be no more hard. There will be no more time. No more decisions to be made. No more whining, no more complaining, no more tears, no more fighting, no more struggle .... no more hard. I have much more than Mexico to look forward to.

Upon this realization (or more like a reminder), I began to ask God to help me live out the days ahead of me remembering such truths. I've grown weary of being weary. I've grown tired of taking myself so seriously. It's time to start laughing again. Time to find joy in the hard rather than drowning in it. So I asked for this. I asked for a renewed heart and a renewed mind to go home to a life that will still look the same on the outside, but with the ability to see HEAVEN in my days. Or at least the hope of it. I asked for the ability to live out the hard with such an eternal perspective in mind that the hard didn't seem so ... hard. I couldn't believe I had forgotten such simple truths - but alas, I'm human.

So if you are struggling....be it actual HARD HARD, or just daily hard - ask God to give you a glimpse of Heaven today. Ask him to remind you in a way unique to you that this too shall pass. Get away if you need to. Turn everything off (including the kids). Remember why you love your spouse. Remember why you love your God. Remember why you love your kids. Remember why you do what you do. Remember that HARD is not your home. Heaven is.

And if all else fails - go to Mexico.  

It was fun getting dressed up. 

Breakfast view each morning. Not too shabby.

Our "glass bottom boat" that we took out for our snorkeling excursion. We got to hold star fish, saw a few giant turtles, and floated in 30 feet deep water that was crystal clear all the way to the bottom. God's creation is stunning.

View from the balcony of our room. 

Our private pool.

We had a romantic dinner on the beach to celebrate 14 years of marriage. We arrived to this set up for us. 

Table for TWO

Our sunset dinner

Amazing Spanish wine on the beach. Yes, please.



My Beloved.



Thursday, June 27, 2013

winterspringsummer2013, Part 1: New House

I've been consistently writing blog posts about once a week for the last 6 months. I just realized none of them were posting.

Okay, I'm lying.

This winterspringsummer2013 has kicked my butt! However....life seems to be finding its new norm - so I'm hoping to return to these parts a little more frequently.

My winterspringsummer2013 has lots to unfold. From 20 weeks of training to running my first ever FULL marathon. Spring break: DISNEY!! Deciding in February to try and sell our house again. Listing our house in March. Selling our house in less than 24 hours. Searching for a new house. Searching some more. Crying & panicking because apparently the market is brutal. Searching. FINDING! Moving out. Homelessness for 3 weeks. Moving in. Get ready for the 14 part series to come your way that was....say it with me.... my winterspringsummer2013.

I'm going to start with NOW. Because 1) It's what people have been asking for (house pics), and 2) I know me, and reality says - I probably won't get to the other 13 parts, so I'm leading with the biggest events first. ;)

Like I said, our house of 8 years went under contract in less than 24 hours. The market here is INSANE! This was the third time we have tried to sell over the last 4 years, and we've never experienced anything like it. After 15 showings over the 24 hour time span, I breathed a sigh of relief at not having to clean anymore! That was a tough day! We weren't exactly prepared for what was to come in our search for a home. As fast as our house sold, so was every other house. If we did happen to find something we actually liked, we got to it 5 offers and 20 seconds too late.

We gave our amazing realtor our must haves, and she worked so hard to look under ever rock of Boulder County and beyond to find us what we were asking for. We weren't easy on her either - we were looking to be closer to Boulder (preferably in a town called Broomfield), we wanted more house, more yard, a lower mortgage and at the top of the list??? NO RANCHES!!! We looked at countless homes (most of which were ranches ...I tried to keep an open mind.) Finally, one day we were on our way to view what the Internet photos and description boasted to be the house of my dreams (newer, spacious, bright, multi-levels...oh the levels!!). Right before we left, she sent us a listing for a new house that had just come up in our desired location. Ohhhh....but it was a ranch, and an OLD, flipped one at that (flipped meaning it had been mostly redone by people who fix up houses for a living and re-sell them...OLD as in 1957)! We agreed to see it anyway before seeing the dream house. As I walked through the little ranch, I had a peace settle in like I had been longing for...a feeling of HOME. Aaron and all the kids liked it too (which is saying something for us all to agree!) I didn't want to write off my dream house just yet though, so we went to the other house too. Aaron walked through the Master "Suite" alone, and announced to me there was no way I'd want to pass this dream up! I walked into the french door bathroom and shrugged. Meh. I like the little, old ranch.

Within an hour, we entered a bidding war with about 4 other offers. The next day my realtor called with news so sweet to my soon to be homeless ears: "You got the house!"

The fun began of packing and moving from our home of 8 years. After closing on our house, we had a few weeks before we could close on the new house, so we bummed from hotel to house to house of some wonderful friends. 3 weeks later and 40 volunteers later - we made it into our new house! And I LOVE IT!

God was so good to us with this house! This house is such a great fit for our family! There are tons of neighbor kids that end up in our house every day (HUGE win for the kids). We got everything we asked for and more. (Well, except it's still a ranch. God is a funny guy.) More house, more yard, lower payments, perfect location and the more??? A pond. God gave me a little retreat space to sit and relax, pray, talk, write, etc.... In fact, I'm by my pond right now. There is a bluejay drinking the water right now not even 10 feet from me. I'm not kidding. A special little gift that I know only came from Him!

Okay....I'll stop blabbing. It's the pics you out-of-towners want to see. Sorry.

Front of house. Don't be deceived by how little it looks. It's not! Oh...and I have a bit of yard work to do...

Living Room. All the walls in the house were painted "Greige" (The new word for grey/beige. Nice, huh.) I LOVE the color, but it has been hard for me to figure out how to make it all work.


Fun new pillows will help tie my warm colors in with this "greige"!


And how about some soft, classic/contemporary curtains??? :)


LOVE LOVE LOVE my new kitchen. Knotty pine cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and my new IKEA buffet to tie it all together!



Informal Dining Room. I don't really know what a formal dining room is, but I've decided we have an informal one. All I care about is we can fit our gigantic table with room to spare! Bring on the entertaining!!
  

Piano is now upstairs instead of tucked into a corner of the basement. It sits in the dining room. I love listening to Aaron play, and look forward to hearing it more often. In fact, I make him play while I eat. 


Off the kitchen/dining room is the doorway to the basement.

This is a big, long, empty room...well, except for Charlie. The kids have already taken over, and I don't even care. One day it will be the perfect teenage space. For now - the kids can have their way with it and I never have to look at it! Eden is just excited because she can do SIX cartwheels from one end to the other. 

Yes I did take a pic of our storage room because I'm beyond excited to have one! An d yes, that is a throw rug in the storage room. It didn't work with our new color scheme upstairs - so I may as well make the storage room pretty. :)



Master bedroom. It's no suite, but it's ours and I love it! My new IKEA bed frame that I scored for $60!! The new house has some tiny bedrooms, which we were more than happy to exchange for big open living spaces!


And these pictures are just a few of my favorite things in the house:

Back splash in the kitchen.


A laundry shoot. The kids love it, it makes me laugh...and a little nervous. 



Honeysuckle and a light post. What's not to love?

A bunny planter left by the previous owners. I will name him Peter. 

I HAVE A COAT CLOSET!!! And all our coats fit in it! 

French doors off dining room leading to my retreat...I mean...backyard.


Peace


HOME


Monday, March 18, 2013

Panko Fried Avacado Chicken


If you are someone who needs 100% measurements when cooking....you should be warned, I am not. Sorry. I am also not famous for blogging about my cooking ventures, and I don't know how to take cool pictures of food. So if you can't handle these things - move along. But you will be sad, because this recipe is scrumptious!

A friend of mine who also likes to make up recipes gave me the inspiration for this meal, and I just tweaked it a bit. To my surprise, I came up with what has been a family favorite for many months now. (Even for the kids...which in this house is saying something! This is the only meal that they ask for MORE of.) 

You will need: 

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Panko Bread crumbs (if I HAD to guess, I would say 2 cups)
Taco Seasoning (1 pkg)
Flour
2 Eggs
Avacado (1-2 depending on size)
Pepper jack Cheese (or whatever your favorite is....my younger kids like it with Colby Jack because they think pepper jack is too spicy)
Canola Oil (or whatever oil you prefer. I have used EVOO before, but it seems to burn the bread crumbs quickly)
To Prepare:

Give flour, eggs & panko crumbs each their own dish. Mix taco seasoning in with panko bread crumbs.

Lightly dust chicken (that I'm assuming you have washed) with flour.

Dip in beaten eggs
  
Coat fully with panko/taco mix.
Cover the bottom of your pan (this is my new enameled cast iron skillet that I LOVE!) with oil - just enough to cover the bottom.

Once the oil is heated, place coated chicken breasts in oil. Cook for  8-10 minutes on each side (depending on size of chicken breasts). Just watch carefully toward the end of the time on the second side, as it can burn quickly.
This next step is the most important, and maybe you don't need to be reminded. But just in case-
TURN OFF THE STOVE TOP where your frying oil is sitting!!!!
hehe

Slice avacado (I used 2 because we LOVE the avacado!) and place on cooked chicken.



Top chicken with cheese of choice. (Or if you are lactose intolerant like Aaron - don't use any cheese!) Place pan under broiler in oven until cheese is melted. (I have done this just in the skillet I fried the chicken in, but it makes it really hard to clean.)



EAT!!! I serve with a side of black beans and a big yummy salad (and tortilla chips, not shown).



 Enjoy!!!






Thursday, March 7, 2013

Simplify


Do you see the half burned picture hanging over the stove? In its full glory, it said - "Simplify". And with the burning of that sign in my kitchen, apparently so living simply went up in flames with it. Oh...who am I kidding. It's never been a specialty of mine. Maybe the kitchen fire was really an effort to keep me from hypocrisy.

What does it mean to live Simply? I've been trying to find a good blog or stories or SOMETHING that will show real life stories of people living my dream - simplicity (and an added bonus would be a LARGE family living simply IN the suburbs....I like to have my cake and eat it too). Rather than actually finding a blog I can relate to though- I find stories ranging anywhere from extreme minimalism, to the coupon clipping-make everything from scratch-grow your own garden-homeschool your 15 kids-live in the country with no life to the outside world. Nothing is wrong with either of these forms of "simplicity" (or whatever they are). But if I were to follow in either one of them in an attempt to conquer simplicity, I would have to turn into some phantom creature that I am not. I don't "practice" minimalism by definition. However, I don't believe we live in terrible excess either, and the things we do hold on to, I'm not convinced I'm going to hell for keeping. I've tried clipping coupons. Grocery shopping while following my lists of which stores to go to to get the best deal for the week, and needing to flip through my scrapbook of coupons just to find my $.55 cent coupon for 45 bottles of ketchup sorta makes me want to gouge my eyes out. I've tried making things from scratch....and well...see above photo. I've grown a garden the last couple of years, but as of last year, my garden became a breeding ground for weeds and a litter box for my two dogs. YUM! I gave homeschooling a shot for a solid 7 months (give or take those few weeks I decided to not do anything). You know when your child is failing kindergarten and you are the teacher that you are seriously lacking in proper credentials....or at least I was. I live in the suburbs, because to live in the country in Boulder CO, I would have to murder Aaron for the insurance money. Oh wait... his policy isn't that much. I think I'll keep him around. And as for having no life to the outside world...well, I LIKE the outside world. I like to leave my house. I like to people watch. I like to interact with people not me. I get tired of me.

So then what? Have I blown all my opportunities to a life of simplicity? I think as a culture, we love the idea of living simply. Heck...there's an entire magazine dedicated to it. Although, if you've ever actually tried any of their suggestions, even THEY aren't all that simple.

What do you picture when you think of the word "simplicity"?? Is it a houseful of happy, clean children who are well fed, kind to each other, QUIET, sitting around by the fire petting the calm dog playing scrabble with one another while Mom is taking cookies (from scratch) out of the oven and Dad is sitting in the armchair smoking a pipe reading the daily news?? Sounds very....50's. I wasn't alive in the 50's, but I have come to the conclusion that those pictures were lying.

Or maybe you think of a home filled with no toys, white or grey walls, clean kitchen counters, IKEA vomit in every room, pictures on the wall that don't have any meaning to you as a person - but just ooze simplicity?

I don't know what I think of. Obviously from this post, you can see that I've been grasping at straws for a while now....and coming up short. If it's been offered as a way to live simply, I've probably tried it.

Enter reality. I don't know about you, but we have a handful of kids and a couple of dogs. We live in the suburbs. We live in a house that while it has a lot of room, feels far from simple. (Sidenote: We are trying to sell our home AGAIN. I recently had someone say to me - "Don't you think that any house would feel chaotic with five kids and two dogs?" Probably. But darn it - I'm gonna hope I can find that magic SIMPLE bullet just the same!) We have loud children who sin. We are parents who sin. We are messy. We live on a budget that is pretty on paper, but hard in real life. We try to battle the soccer mom mentality of having our kids involved in 48 different sports all at the same time (not only because it is costly, but because hauling my kids to all those activities they won't actually stick with sounds like the complete opposite of simplicity to me). We are middle class.

Where in the world is simplicity though? Somewhere in between the reality of loud, fighting, thankless, naughty children to longing to give our children a good life - full of love, honesty, truth, joy, peace, fun, laughter, and yes...the occasional sport. Somewhere in between life in a large mansion with no one to fill it's rooms or a tiny house incapable of inviting others in because it is already bursting at the seems, to living in a home that is inviting to others and peaceful to us. Somewhere in between racking up credit cards in order to live the American nightmare that promises happiness, to living within our means and being joyful about it (EVEN when living in our means looks VERY different than the American dream). Somewhere in between striving to try be simple, or look simple, or throw simplicity out the window and clinging to chaos, to resting in who we are as individuals knowing that what works for someone else may not work for us....SOMEWHERE in there simplicity is sitting quietly waiting to be found. I just know it. And it's not wrapped up in a pretty little picture that will work for all of us. But it's there. It's not just ONE aspect of life - minimalism, coupon clipping, homeschooling, one car, clean counters and closets....it's GOT to be a combination of every aspect of our life...I just know it. One day I will hang that sign in my home again and NOT set it on fire. I just know it.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

All in a day

I'm sad that I haven't blogged in a while. I'm hoping to get back to it soon. And since I didn't do much of anything today, I figured I had the time.... Or not.

Today began at 4:30 am. For anyone who knows me even a little bit, you would know that 4:30 am is still considered the middle of the night to me...not a time to be waking up on purpose. However, I've signed up for my first ever FULL Marathon, and my running buddies needed to head out early today. So I was left with a choice of running 14 miles alone, or waking up early. I woke up early. Yawn.

14 miles later....I DID IT! Marathon training just got real! May 5th is right around the corner, and the miles are just gonna keep growing. Giddy up. The bummer is, my body is wanting to fight this every step of the way. From horrible shin splints (which I thought was possibly a stress fracture), to IT band, to my newest joy - hip flexor PAIN (no really - PAIN), I'm wondering if this marathon thing is for me. I even had a nightmare last night that I was pregnant again, but refused to tell my running coach because she for sure wouldn't let me run, and I was tired of my health issues standing in my way. (Um, messed up priorities much?!?!? Don't worry though. I'm not really pregnant.)

After soaking in an epsom salt bath, my muscles finally thawed and I could move once again. So I headed towards the boys room which needed painting. I've been touching up paint in the house (more on that in a minute) and when I grabbed the paint for their room, I ended up painting polka dots on accident. Either their paint has seriously faded, or it was some random paint color that I never actually used but for some reason was in my garage. Either way - I was left needing to re-paint their entire room. Sigh. 5 hours later, my body wasn't happy with the days chain of events so far. Early morning + 14 miles + hip flexor pain + 5 hours of painting = OW. The good news is, it also equals about 2000 calories burned (or more). WIN!

At the end of my painting party, Aaron comes in asking if I smelled something. Uh...yes. Paint. He was smelling gas, so I walked out of the painted room and agreed. We called Xcel to report it. We were instructed to wait for them to come, and were told leave the house. So we headed down the road to a local pizza place. While we were sitting down to eat, Xcel showed up and Aaron headed right back home. Sure enough - a gas leak. Some valvey thing a ma jigger had broken and gas was flowing into our home. We would have no furnace for the night. Um...it's supposed to be very cold and snowy...this isn't going to work for us. (Not to mention we have a sick kiddo who doesn't need to be frozen in the middle of the night.) At this point we packed up and headed to a hotel for the night. As with our previous household drama's (ahem, kitchen fire & fridge flooding), we found The Residence Inn to come to our rescue. A family of 7 with 2 big dogs is not easily displaced. Thankfully, the kids think we are on vacation. The dogs, however, can't stop freaking out about their new surroundings.

We settled everyone into bed around 9:30....and really, what else would I do other than blog about my day? Why not??? It's not like I'm tired or anything.

Oh wait...I threw out a "more on that later".... why am I painting? We are putting the house on the market (yes AGAIN) at the end of the week. So we are busy getting it all ready to sell. This is our 3rd try over the last several years. Third times a charm, right??? I'm super excited about keeping the house clean and dealing with showings with 5 kids and 2 dogs. This is gonna be fun! Hey...maybe we'll just check into this hotel until it sells. I like it here.

Never a dull moment.