Life is sooooooooooooo busy as a working momma of THREE kids... but, life is also full of so many "little" things...you know, those simple pleasures that really bring so much joy... I'm mostly thinking of the dopey things that my kids say and do that make me laugh... but also the little adventures we have or the day trips that we do... you think you will remember them all, but those memories really do fade over time. I am hoping to sit down once a month (ideally, once a week, but being that I hardly manage one decent shower a week, we'll aim for once a month for now! LOL) to detail those quotable quotes or beautiful little actions (or those not so much) as well as our family activities. I hope you enjoy!! :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Am I a Runner??!

Am I a runner?
Me after sophomore year:
Don't you want to pinch my cheeks
(or, wax my brows...if you can't make
fun of yourself!)?

I laugh, because this is the question that I still ask myself on a regular basis, even after almost two decades of leisurely running (well, perhaps more accurately JOGGING...i.e, at a pace pretty equivalent to, if not slower than, a speed walker! ) and the past year of fairly active running including a huge goal achieved and another one set.  Last fall I ran the Woodrow Wilson half marathon.  This year, I plan to run the Marine Corps Marathon!

It all began after my sophomore year of college... After I had packed on the dreaded "Freshman 15" plus an additional 5 more for good luck.  My parents had both been fairly active runners while I was growing up, so I had great role models for setting fitness goal and keeping them.  Truth be told, my mom has always been better at this than my dad...sorry, dad, she just has that determination that nothing will get in the way of what her mind is set to do...but I can't really remember a time growing up when they weren't both at least fairly regularly running.  In fact I still have people telling me that they see my mom out in all kinds of weather conditions walking (the body can only withstand so many years of running... Of course, that number of years depends on the person, but my mom has hit it).  So, when I was tipping the scales more so than I wanted, they helped me come up with a plan and stick to it. 

I had always been a stationary biker.  Running was hard for me.  I always became winded and crampy.  I didn't understand the fascination, let alone the downright ADDICTION some people seemed to have with it.  But, then it all changed... kind of... I met Colonel Bahr!  Colonel Bahr was the father of one of my freshman year besties, Tara, (and to this day one of my dearest friends!).  He taught me the SECRET to successful running!  Apparently, it's all about the breathing.  Who knew?  I learned the art of breathing... Counting steps as as I breathed in and then breathing out the same number of steps... Usually 3 or 4 steps in and then 3 or 4 out, but reducing it to 2 if a cramp moved in to work my way through it without stopping my run.  Now to you REAL runners out there, you are probably chuckling to yourself thinking, "Well, DUH!", but this was really a game changer for me.  I was able to run!  And after nearly two decade of running (YIKES... I am getting old!!), the breathing pattern has become second nature.

Over the next decade I mostly ran as a form of exercise to keep healthy.  I never really ENJOYED it, more like I saw it as a necessary evil.  In my late 20s I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure several times... Twice for a co-worker battling breast cancer and once for Mrs. Bahr.  At that time a 5k felt like a million miles and I couldn't tell you what my pace was other than slightly faster than barely hanging in there.
Bryan, after WW 1/2 in 2011

And then, in September of 2011, I got an email from my brother Bryan seeing if I was interested in doing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge half marathon that October.  There wasn't time for full training at that point and I was not confident at all in my ability to run it without training properly.  But I went out to support him.  The whole time we were there I was trying to psyche myself up to set the goal to return the next year as a participant.
Cheering on Uncle Bryan

Of course when my friend Eileen (who IS, undoubtedly, a runner) found out, she swept me up into her running fun.  We signed up to run the "Jingle All the Way" 8k.  I found that I could not only do an 8k, but could do a halfway decent time, AND was more likely to make myself get out and run during the craziness that is my life as a working momma of three if I was signed up for a race.
Jingle All the Way 2011

In talking to my friend Tara (maiden name Bahr!) about the half marathon, she seemed excited and likely to commit to it.  This helped give me the shove I needed for two reasons.  First, the type A in her immediately went out and did research sending me all sorts of options for training plans and making me realize that running a half might actually be doable.  Second, she had just given birth and would barely be 5 months post-partum, so what was my excuse?
Before the WW 1/2
College Buddies

Bryan was going to run it again and my mom, who still has running in her blood, got swept into the excitement, too.  Throw in Eileen and another friend from college and I suddenly had quite the support system.  Last October, I returned to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half as a participant.  And, somewhere in the midst of the training, I fell in love with running!!  Running is a time that I can be ALONE.  As a busy mommy, that RARELY happens.  Add in some good music, and my mind can actually relax and sort through things and de-stress without someone interrupting, asking for a PB & J or where their bat-belt is.  It helps me feel good...both mentally and physically.
We FINISHED (we all did, even
if two aren't pictured!)

And now I've moved on to the REAL goal: to run a FULL marathon.  I know I'd like to be able to say that I've RUN a marathon, just not yet sure I really want to actually RUN it...ha, ha, ha!  I do get all choked up emotionally and have butterflies in my stomach at the thought of race day!  Of course, Eileen (who  has run this before and is going to get me through this!) and I tried to sign up the second registration opened with laptops, iPads, etc, but the site kept crashing and the race sold out before we were able to get through.  So, we have to go with plan B which is running to raise funds for an organization.  There is something more noble to it and makes me feel even MORE committed, even if it adds the stress of raising funds.  We are running for the Wounded Warriors Family Support group - an organization that should be near to everyone's hearts as it helps those who have been injured while fighting for our freedom!
My biggest fans!!
Eileen, who PUSHES me!

Week 1 of my 16 week training plan starts TOMORROW (well, today... wrote this in the car yesterday)!  I would LOVE your support!!  There are several ways to do so.  First, of course, to donate!  My page can be found: http://www.razoo.com/story/Marine-Corps-Marathon-2013?referral_code=share  Second, if you run, find me on MapMyRun (free running app that I use) so I can see YOUR activity which will help me on days I'm not feeling so motivated.  Third, come out on race day: October 27th.  I've heard that the last 6.2 are the hardest emotionally.  It would be so awesome to see familiar faces!!

I'd like to think I'm
setting a good example
for THEM!!

And, to get back to the original question, I can now say with confidence that YES, I AM a runner... Now, if only I could lay off the cookies (or, as with this morning, the cinnamon buns with my coffee)! ;)

Jingle All the Way 2012
An Annual Tradition?  Who's in
for 2013?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mad Ramblings of a Police Officer's Wife: My Response to the Hawthorne Dog Shooting

     Twas the night before the 4th and all through the house,
     Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!

I warned you with the title... mad ramblings!  It is 3 a.m.  I cannot sleep.  I have a headache.  I feel stressed. For any of you who know me, you know that's not me.  I'm usually quite happy-go-lucky-- downright flaky at times-- with a love and passion for life that is unparalleled.  Tonight?  Not so much.  I am channeling my inner Grandma Rose (sweet little Rose's name sake) whose compassionate soul often took on the weight of the world with a quiet, inner strength.

Today began as any other.  After the alarm went off, I reached for my phone to hop on FB to get all my latest news updates and make sure all is right with the world before I ventured out of bed.  Little did I know that, over night, a video had gone viral.  Curiosity got the better of me and I hit play.  It's not a "good" video. The video shows a confrontation between a suspect and the police in which his dog got loose and was shot by one of the officers.  Although, quite frankly, not a dog fan, I am a fan of life and respect for life, so of course I was affected by watching the dog be killed.  However, what I could not really believe is the incredible BACKLASH against the officers involved in the video who were, according to most, displaying a gross use of force against this poor, innocent dog-owning man who was just minding his own business and recording the police situation.  No one seemed to question the owner's responsibility in the whole showdown that occurred.  It was immediate police bashing as those officers SURELY had neither no need to shoot, nor DARE to arrest the innocent dog-owner who was video-taping the situation.  Oh, let me tell you, the police officer wife in me was OUTRAGED.

I like to think of myself as the perfect candidate to be a police officer's wife.  I don't sweat the small things.  I have great faith.  Therefore, I don't lie awake at night when my husband is on duty obsessing that tonight could be the night that he won't come home to me.  Most of the time those thoughts are compartmentalized and pushed to the recesses of my mind, where they exist, but don't consume me.  Of course there are times, like this time when I was headed down Rt. 1 on my way to a playdate for my then only kiddo when I heard sirens and saw a police car speeding by me and, lo and behold, it was my husband turning into a townhouse community going full throttle.  I must admit I was worried during that entire playdate and had a hard time focusing as I knew he wasn't going lights and sirens to do a wellness check on an elderly woman (He's been known to do that, you know, wellness checks on elderly folk.  Once he did it on his day off, bringing our oldest, who was a baby at the time, because what old lady doesn't love babies, to bring her a new phone because hers was broken...police officers do these types of things all the time...it's who they are).  But, it is not at all often when the reality of what my husband does is thrown in my face, so life went on.

Of course, there was that other time almost 5 years ago now that really affected me and that I struggled with for awhile.  There was a local school shooting here:  http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Shots-Fired-at-Northern-Virginia-Community-College-78796192.html.  Luckily I didn't know about any of it until I later talked with my husband as I was consumed with a busy day as a working momma.  I was frustrated, though, because John was supposed to come pick our then 18 month old from me so that I could fully participate in the "Mommy and Me" soccer class with our then 3 year old.  Little did I know his tardiness was the least of my troubles as he was held up because he was part of that first group of officers who responded and went straight INTO the shooting situation when most normal people were running out.  Luckily, the shooter's gun jammed, so he was sitting there, peacefully awaiting arrest when they found him.  I struggled for awhile after with the fact that, on his way to the call, his only thoughts were of GETTING there and stopping carnage... not of the wife and kids that he had at home or his own, personal safety.  I'm sure I realized in my heart of hearts that this is who he was long ago when I married him.  However, it's one thing to know something in your heart of hearts and another, completely, to be dashed with a bucket of cold water reality.  I struggled for awhile with the reality of our situation and the knowledge that, in the heat of the moment, he would, again, run forward to save others without looking back.  But, as will happen with my insomnia of tonight, life does go on and those realities get pushed back into the recesses.

It all came back to me today, however, with the harsh reality that the general public HATES police officers, DISTRUSTS police officers, JUDGES polices officers as if they have the first CLUE what it is like to wear a uniform and be put in situations where, guess what folks, THERE IS NO TIME TO THINK!  You know what is keeping me up tonight?  The fact that my husband (who is but one of many, but, of course my favorite and own, personal hero) would be running into dangerous situations such as a school shooting to rescue people, cowering for cover and suddenly finding God, who are the SAME people who responded to the Hawthorne video like this (here are just a few of my favorite)...

  • I want to shoot the cop in his kneecaps and watch him squirm around on the floor.
  • Its a blatant abuse of power.
  •  Be careful with any interactions you have with police
  • Gun weilding brainless idiots who clearly have a fear of dogs.
  • Hope you get shot you piece of shit pig.

  • It's nice to know that my husband would lay down his life for people who have such high regard for him and his.  It doesn't make me bitter at all or angry (insert sarcasm here).

    Now, let me reiterate, I am not, at all, saying that the police officer should have or should not have shot the dog.  I simply taking GREAT offense (I know I shouldn't, but I do) to the backlash on these officers because it very well COULD have been my husband in this situation.  He has been in many situations where he has had to draw his weapon.  One particularly insane situation comes to mind where he not only had to draw his weapon, but there was a real possibility that he was going to have to fire... all the while being filmed by a bystander who, I'm sure, was hiding behind his rights to "occupy a public place" and film when, in reality, he was probably just looking for his own 15 seconds of fame hoping that John did pull the trigger so that he could take his video to media outlets and crucify him.  I don't know what it is like to be the officer in that situation.  But I do know what it is like to help one decompress and it isn't pretty.  Guess what folks?  Police officers aren't gun-happy people who can't WAIT to shoot a moving target.  Most pray that they never have to deploy their weapon.  And, God forbid if they ever do, do people stop and think of the impact killing someone (or, in this case something) has on someone who is sworn to serve and protect?  No.  They jump to judgement and tell, from the comfort of their own home, how the officer surely didn't need to do what s/he did.  Guess what people?  Again, I've never been in the situation personally, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that in such high pressure situations, police officers aren't THINKING.  They don't have TIME to think.  It's life or death.  It's kill or be killed.  You take time to rationalize and draw up a t-chart on pros and cons of firing your gun and guess what?  You're dead.  It's instinct and adrenaline at that point.  Does that always end in happily ever after?  Of course not.  But instead of sitting back in the comfort of your homes assuming what it's like, in this case, to have an 80lb rottweiler pissed off at YOU, why don't we look at what LED to the situation in the first place??  How about some personal responsibility for the dog owner?

    What you don't see on the video, is that the police were responding to an ARMED ROBBERY situation that escalated into a barricade situation.  They did not arrest this guy because he was filming as countless people would try to lead you to believe... there were plenty of other people filming.  They went to arrest this guy because during the high stakes situation that they were handling, this guy was taunting them and blaring music and impeding their ability to respond to the dangerous situation at hand.  That is not okay.  THAT is why they went to arrest him.  The dog owner made the conscious choice to be disruptive.  He could have, at any time, walked away and stood, quietly filming, with the rest of the crowd for his shot at his 15 seconds of fame.  But he did not.  He CHOSE not to.  The officers there were responding to him and, unfortunately, his poor dog who happened to be at the mercy of his thoughtless owner.

    I'm done.  I had to get all the toxins swirling around in my head OUT so that I may sleep.  The purpose of this writing is NOT to get into the debate of whether or not the officer should have shot the dog.  How can I make such a judgement, in good conscience, when I know nothing about what it was like to be in that situation?  It is to get all those police haters out there to realize that police officers are human.  They are good people, REAL people.  I love my husband and am incredibly proud of what he does on a daily basis to help the community in which we raise our little family and of the example he sets for them.  I am also blessed to know many of his co-workers who share that same ethic and willingness to rush into harms way to serve and protect.  Please think before you rush to judge or criticize.  And, only positive comments, please.  If you want to assert your 1st amendment rights to free speech as I am here, find your own piece of internet.  This one is mine.

    Mad ramblings are over.  Tomorrow I promise to be back to my chipper self... or, at the very least, cover the cra-cra a little better! ;)