My baby boy is 7

How in the world did Cole turn into a 7-year-old? 7! That is a big age.  There is not even a hint of baby left, and some days we might as well fast forward to teenager. Being his mom is the best gift I could ever receive.  He is funny, a little crazy, definitely bull-headed, an amazing artist, and he has the sweetest, kindest heart of any child I have ever meet. His love of nature and respect for the world around him is to be envied.  On hikes through the woods, he wants to save his water so he can water the flowers along the trail (because they have to be thirsty too).  He will chase down any piece of trash that is on the beach. After watching Planet Earth, we have had numerous conversations about life cycles and food chains.  He has definitely shed more than a few tears for the seals who are eaten by sharks.

The best part of being his mom is that I have a front row seat to watch him grow up, to see him discover who he is, and to witness him discovering his passions in life.  It’s an amazing thing to watch.

Welcome to the World Cole Reed
Look who is the Big 1
Welcome to the wonderful 2s
The big 3 - with a blue cake with bugs on top (the only thing he wanted for his birthday)
Coley is 4
Wow! It's Cole's 5th Birthday
The big 6
Today Cole is 7

I love you Cole Reed! Life would be incomplete without you!

Tonight’s festivities included: Swim Lessons (his request!), dinner with the families at Tijuana Flats, and cake and gifts at our house.  We bought him a backpack for hiking, a glow-in-the-dark yoga mat, and tons of pokemon goodies.  We are also celebrating on Friday at Great Wolf Lodge. According to Cole, “this is the best birthday ever.”  We even sang “Happy Birthday” to Cole!!!!

Hello iPhone

Today I am saying goodbye to my old old phone.  It decided it had enough this past weekend. Just for fun, it likes to call 000-000-0000 and 888-888-8888 all by itself. It even likes to constantly hit the 0 button while I’m talking so I get to listen to a nice beep every few minutes. To be even more spiteful, the zero button doesn’t actually work for dialing or texting. I could have picked up my new iphone at the store yesterday, but by ordering it online, we got 1 month free service. Saving over $90 bucks is definitely worth the wait in my life.

Am I going to miss my phone? Nope! Am I exciting for a the new iphone? Absolutely! I am a little intimidated by all the fancy features, and I am sad to let go off all the old photos on my phone. It’s pre-memory card days and pre-facebook photo days so I have a lot of fun memories stashed on my phone (fingers crossed Verizon can transfer them).  In the meantime, I’m attempting to email as many as I can to myself.  (Not an easy task when 0 and 8 are constantly appearing in the middle of my address).

Here are a few of my favorites photos and a walk down memory lane:

sigh.........very early in our dating life
My first gift from Christian - a water bottle (and I loved it!)
Cole and Christian meeting for the first time at the Aquarium
Cole washing his bike so he can be like Christian
Fun day working in the hospital supply room! we found an elephant! I miss that job!
One of the million photos Christian used to send on his bike rides
Sweet baby Cole

What did we ever do before phone cameras?  Next up on my great adventure into the iphone world will consist of figuring out how to blog from my phone! I think I can even make an app for it! Yay for technology!

Starting to get a little crazy

Ready to Swim

We are definitely back to reality in our house. Cole’s home. Spring break is over. And Cole starts swim lessons tonight. Whenever we add another element to our normal daily routine, I always find myself getting anxious.  I like routine. I like having a plan. In the past, I would normally throw my hands up, give up something I love, and toss dinner plans out the window.  We would normally just pick up Chickfila on the way home.  Not anymore.  I’m reminding myself to breath, relaxing my brain, and reorganizing our nightly routine. Seriously – It is only 50 mins of swimming twice a week.  I can handle that.  Cole will be swimming for the next 8 weeks on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:20.  I know families juggle so much more than swim lessons twice a week. I’m envious of those who can get it all done. There are a few thing I won’t do though – sacrifice family dinner time, give up my training, or ask Christian to drop all of his hobbies.

In order to keep my brain relaxed and open, I need to find a balance for cooking dinner at home, getting Cole to swim on time, my training plan, time for yoga with Christian, nightly meditation, homework, and just some good family fun time (all after 4:30pm and before 8:00pm bedtime).

Found Christian cooking dinner when we got home!

Tonight’s plan – Christian has offered to stay home from swim so he can be responsible for dinner (Love my husband!).  While Cole is swimming, I’m going to take advantage of working at the rec center. I’m going to get a little bit of extra work done and I’m going to walk 20 minutes on the treadmill – if one is available.  Then Dinner, hang-out time, bedtime for Cole. After Cole’s in bed, the husband and I have a date with our yoga mats followed by some evening meditation. Bedtime by 10pm for us old folks.

Parenting is definitely a hard balance between sacrificing everything for your children and selfishly keeping everything for yourself.  I struggle with both constantly, and I tend to go extreme on either end.  I need both running and yoga in my life, and I want Cole to have the same passion about something. After our Shamrock final-mile disaster, Cole, Christian and I had a long talk about Cole finding something he loves – drawing, running, basketball, swimming – I don’t care what it is, but I want him to feel proud of himself.  He told us that he really loves swimming. In fact, according to Cole, he loves swimming so much that he might have gills on his skin. Cole is a good swimmer under the water, but now he is ready to tackle learning to swim on top of the water.

Can Cole complete my 40 day goal challenge for me? While he is ready to jump feet first into “swimming on top of the water”, I have my feet firmly planted on the pool deck.  Looks like I’ve got some things to learn from my cute child with gills on his skin!

In order to move forward and literally get my feet wet, I need to explore what is holding me back. I know once I jump in, I’ll be fine. I know how to swim. I think I’m mostly embarrassed to swim laps for the first time.  I have no knowledge on how to properly swim the breast stroke (is that what it is called?). I really don’t want to look like an idiot. Similar to Cole, I’m uncomfortable with the thought of having an audience.  Let’s be honest though, who is going to be watching? The lifeguard? I just need to do it! I’m going to use the next few days to do some research and then I’m going swimming. Next Wednesday on my training plan is a free exercise day for me. I had planned on cycling, but I think the pool is calling my name. If I don’t get over this silly fear of mine now, I will never do it.  I’m using up too much energy thinking about when I’m going to swim. I just need to do it.  I’m putting it out there – I will swim laps next Wednesday (May 4th). If you are a swimmer, please send me words of encouragement, tips, etc. I need it! I might even take notes during Cole’s swim lessons.

I hope he is paying attention - I need a coach

Oh Happy Easter

Today is my perfect family day.  I need to make a point to make more Sundays just like this one.  The day started off quiet. I woke up before everyone in the house and was able to sneak in some quality time with my book. When the house finally woke up, Cole searched for eggs and his Easter baskets. I constantly struggle with the Easter basket. Cole doesn’t eat a lot of junk food, so I don’t like to fill his basket with it even though it is an Easter tradition. This year his basket was filled with Gummy Bunnies and Chocolate Eggs from Trader Joe’s along with some Pokemon cards, a new DS game, and an itunes gift card. I filled the eggs with a few treats and lots of quarters, dimes, and nickles. Cole loved it.

After our Easter celebration, we ran a few errands – garden center, trader joe’s, blue ridge mountain sports, and Taylor’s Do It Center.  Plants! Groceries for the week! My reward hammock! and a new grill! FINALLY!

We ended the night with an amazing dinner – grilled mahi, asparagus, quinoa with veggies, and corn on the cob – and cornhole with Christian’s parents (Mom and Dad – you are coming next time!). There is something magical about a good grilled dinner followed by family time outside. It is so simple. There is no fuss involved. Everyone is together.  Everyone is laughing. These simple moments tend to disappear with the normal hustle and bustle of daily life. I’m bringing them back to our normal daily routine – simple, healthy, yummy dinners followed by fun time in our backyard.

Alex enjoying a belly rub and a bone

Stay tuned – we will be inviting everyone over to share these magical family moments with us.  They are too good not to share.  Happy Easter. I hope it was just as magical for your family.

40 day goal challenge – Set #2

Who gets to start fresh every 40 days? I do! I absolutely love this idea!  Thank you to JT at Smile with your Heart for the awesome idea! I’m completely committed to them! Today is day 1 for me.  I’m using this set of goals to building off of the last set.  They are all about creating a better, healthier me. I really wanted to set goals a bit “bigger” this time, but I’ve decided it’s not right for me right now. Right now I really need to focus on getting my body healthy, letting my bone heal, and strengthening my entire body!

Set #2 (April 23 – June 2)

1. Trader Joe’s Sundays – grocery shop for the week and plan ahead (Last Sunday I went to Trader Joe’s at 8am. It was empty and I had a blast shopping. I sent $122 and got more than enough food for us for the entire week – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks!)

2. Create Vision Board

3. Post life goals – 1 year, 5 year, 10 year

4. Follow training plan & listen to my body

5. Eat dinner Solo – no laptop, no magazines, no books (Thanks Sara!)

6. Take Cole on his 1st backcountry  backpacking trip

7. SWIM! Take a lesson to learn real technique, take a aquatics class, jump in and swim a lap! I don’t care what it is, but I’m making myself get in the pool!

8. Learn to change a flat tire on my road bike

9. Start composting in our backyard

10. Make/Buy a rain barrel

11. Find a yoga studio I want to join.

12. Paint 1 room in our house.

13. Get Cole to a kid’s yoga class

14. Visit Sara and Shawn in Richmond

15. Per Kerrie’s request – start brainstorming bigger ideas