Sunday, December 21, 2008

2009, Here we come!

I apologize to all my readers. I have been so busy since Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the first thing to go is my blogging and facebook time. Here's a quick update since I doubt I will be on much in the next week!

Master Cleanse Days 3-5 were amazing. The first 2 days sucked. I had the worst headache in the world. But once I got over that, it was great. It was nice to get a break from food for a while and be reminded that there are other things that can bring joy and ecstasy besides chocolate. I would encourage anyone to do a cleanse like this, even if it's only for a couple of days.

I'm eagerly awaiting Christmas. I've been enjoying this Holiday Season more than I can remember any in recent past (well, since 2004 anyway). We've had out-of-town guests, many parties and lots of preparation for said parties. We have enjoyed being with our friends, and I've enjoyed having my sister-in-law in town this last month. Bella gets to play with her cousins ("Con-Con" and "Baby") and I get to have someone in the family who I can talk to and share interests with. Bella and I will both be sad when they head back to Washington this week.

I still have a bit more shopping to do and another (expensive) package to ship out tomorrow. If it were any other time of year, I could name hundreds of things I'd rather spend money on than shipping. But for Christmas, it's always worth the expense.

Christopher and I turned in our security deposit today for a house we will be renting beginning in a little less than a month. We are very excited since it's much closer to his office, our friends and the beach. Oh, and it's a HOUSE. As our friend, Lori, says, "no shared walls". Even though we'll still be renters, we're moving up in the world with our own 4 walls, garage, yard and washer/dryer hook-ups. I can't begin to express how much I am looking forward to 2009.

I feel like I haven't felt in years. I see God moving in ways I've been blinded to as of late. I am finally excited about the possibilities that could be waiting just around the bend. And I think I can say that I actually like my life. That feels very good.

So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get my book out of the car and read more about its Aspergian author before resting my weary eyes on this cold California evening. Oh, and here's a little something for the Christmas season.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cleanse Days 1 & 2

This is pretty much how I felt most of the day yesterday:

HEADACHE!!! Pictures, Images and Photos

I've fasted before, but this really is different. I guess all that freshly squeezed lemon juice helps clean my insides just like it cleans everything else in my house.

It takes me about 1/2 hour each morning to prepare my "lemonaid". First I have to squeeze all the lemons (about 7 or 8), then measure the syrup and the cayenne pepper, pour it all into the pitcher and add water up to the 2L line. Then drink. All day long.

I'm learning that part of my problem is that I've stopped drinking enough water. I used to drink a ton of water, but after yesterday, I'm pretty sure that I need to be drinking more. Of course, my other problem is that I can eat an entire box of cookies at one time. That being said, I'm formulating some goals for when I begin eating again. I'm not sure if I want to share them or not yet (or at all) since it's such a personal thing right now, but I can say that I only want to reintroduce things that are healthy and helpful for my body. I also want to make cleansing a regular habit so that if I start to fall into unhealthy habits, I have a check system built into my schedule.

With that being said, I will not go pour another glass of lemonaid and drink it as quickly as I can.

Side note: For those of you concerned for my lower half, it really hasn't been bad at all. I haven't had to worry about all those warnings I've read about being close to a toilet at all times. Not yet anyway. Maybe my body is different and that will all kick in tonight or tomorrow. We'll see. For now, I'm happily sitting on my chair and not my toilet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Take 2

master cleanse Pictures, Images and Photos

Just before I began training for my 5K, I was planning to begin the Master Cleanse. Needless to say, I did not end up doing the cleanse. A few of you checked in with me just to make sure I wasn't crazy enough to do them at the same time (there's another word I want to use for the idea "at the same time"'s a good word, but I'm too tired to think of you know what word I might be thinking of?)

Well, anyway, tomorrow begins my cleanse. I need it. I am so looking forward to not eating for an undetermined amount of time. Don't worry. I won't do it longer than 10-12 days. I doubt I'll even go that long. But I never like to put time limits on this sort of stuff...I just see how I'm feeling and what I think I can handle, and I go with it.

It's the night before, and I just drank my tea. It was the detox tea I already had in the cupboard because I forgot to buy laxative tea at Trader Joe's today.

Note to self: This is the reason lists are important. Purchasing the supplies for the cleanse was the main goal of said excursion to Trader Joe's. How I missed the tea is beyond me.

Wish me luck. I will keep you up to date. It's entering a very busy season for me...and probably you as well...but I will try to blog at least every couple of days!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

December 4th. Let's backtrack.

My wedding took place on October 8th, 2005. But I don't like to celebrate that day. Not because I don't love my husband or I'm sad we got married, but because that's not the day that changed my life. The day that changed my life was December 4th, 2004. That's the day I had my first date with the man of my dreams. Afterward, I journalled every detail of what took place. And then it only took a month for me to realize that this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Christopher, here is to 4 years of being together, experiencing life, learning together, growing together, loving one another when it's hard and when it's easy. Here's to our beautiful baby girl, and here's to a future full of love, adventure and fun...oh, and a lot more answered prayers...just like this one:

new orleans white christmas Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I heard about this on the radio this morning.


Tell me what you think...

...I think I might want it for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Check him out

It seems I'm not the only blogger who's trying to get more healthy. My friend, Johnny just did his first triathlon. For those of you who feel, like me, that there's no way you'd ever be able to do a tri, check out his thoughts and feelings as a beginner simply trying to better himself.
triathlon poster Pictures, Images and Photos
Oh, and that thing about me not being able to do a tri...well, it's kinda true right now since I've barely just learned how to ride a bike in the last couple of years. Seriously. I've ridden on 2 different occasions, no more than 4 blocks at a time.

Chris Brown and 2 Toddlers

keep running Pictures, Images and Photos

I walked out the door this morning totally expecting to walk maybe 3 miles this morning. The funny thing about that is that the reason for it was more a lack of motivation than the ability of my body to run. But once I got to the end of our little cul-de-sac I decided I would start running; and that's all it took. I ran the entire 3.7 miles. I guess sometimes all I need to do is start. And that's enough to motivate me to keep going.

Now I'm sitting here listening to Chris Brown while two little girls play peek-a-boo behind me. I feel much better about myself than if I had not found it in me to run this morning. Although I may not get much work done today, I'm glad I at least accomplished something.

I hope you can find it in yourself to start something today. Even if you don't least you had the courage to start.

start something Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One quiet moment

I have a feeling this Holiday season is going to go by incredibly fast. It's already December, I will be picking my Dad up at the airport in two hours, Phil has already come and gone, the Christmas Tree is up (and I'm still cleaning up the mess from that). I spent almost a month completely focused on getting ready to run 3 miles, and now I'm finding it difficult to prioritize waking up in the morning...let alone waking up early enough to get a good run in! I'm eating out of stress and convenience, which many of you know is NEVER a good thing for me. I haven't gotten any work done in the last week and I'm barely keeping up with my housework. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm not even keeping up with that. Just ask my husband.

So for now, I have one quiet moment in which to reflect and to connect with you out there in cyberland. I hope you are not feeling as crazy as I am right now. I hope you are finding time for yourself, for exercise, for your family, for your friends, for laughter and for joy. I hope you are not one of those people whose joy is sucked dry because of the hectic nature of the Holiday Season. I know that for me, although it is hectic, it is my favorite time of year. I love the soft glow of Christmas lights in my house, the faint scent of pine in the air, the hussle and bussle of shopping (whether online or in the stores), finding the perfect gift(s) and wrapping them neatly to place under the tree. I hope to continue with my training as I enjoy the Holiday Season, and I hope to share my struggles and victories with you along the way. So until the next quiet moment I'm able to eek out of the craziness, have a wonderful day and enjoy the cool, brisk winter air!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dear Readers,

Angelo is right. I do owe you an update from Thanksgiving. It has been a busy few days. Phil came into town Wednesday evening, we hosted Thanksgiving and, well, Phil is still here. That means constant party and no sleep...and no time for internet.

Regardless, let me get to the point. I ROCKED the Turkey Trot! As I stated in an earlier post, I certainly did not win the race. The first runner was returning as I was still in the first mile, but that doesn't matter. I finished. It took me approximately 45 minutes. It's hard to say exactly how long it took because Tanya and I didn't get there until 7:30 (when the race was starting). We had to get our numbers and we probably started about 10-15 minutes late. The clock at the finish line read 53 minutes when I passed it.

I'm quite proud of myself because I haven't given up on running now that the TT is over. I ran 2.5 miles this morning and plan to keep at it. I've been informed there is another race the week of Christmas, so I may sign up for it.

Thank you all for encouraging me and walking with me as I change my personal habits and strive toward better living. I appreciate each of you and am especially glad to know that some of you have been encouraged to be healthier just by reading my blog. I hope that will continue! Thanks again!



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving Pictures, Images and Photos

These past couple of days have been pretty busy. I've been moving furniture around, getting rid of a desk to make room for tomorrow, cooking, cleaning (well, I'm about to do that), as well as training for the Turkey Trot tomorrow morning. It's been a really great week and I'm highly excited that this is the beginning of the Holiday Season. I love the Holidays. I love that this is the first time we've felt settled enough to really make the Holidays our own. I can't wait to have family and friends at our house tomorrow for dinner. I look forward to spending tomorrow evening with our friends.

I've been training for almost a month now to be able to run this race tomorrow, but now that I've completed a 3.7 mile jaunt on my own, the excitement of that 3.1 miles isn't as great as I'd expected it to be! Regardless, I'm looking forward to saying that I've officially run my first 5K.

Well, as I said, it's been a busy few days, and that's not changed in the last 10 minutes. I still have a lot to get done and not enough time to do it in. Oh, and my phone is ringing.

Gotta go! Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A different kind of training

A very short yet productive weekend is coming to a close.

Christopher and I had the challenge of taking care of two toddler girls this weekend. Bella's friend, Ellie spent the whole weekend with us so that her parents could enjoy a weekend away. They were like two peas in a pod.
Toddlers Pictures, Images and Photos
This was Bella's first sleepover, and I think she enjoyed it. She got some practice sharing her Mommy with another little one, and she and Ellie enjoyed playing, giggling and watching movies (lots of movies) together. It was so fun that 45 minutes after I put them down for naps, I finally had to put them in separate rooms so they would actually go to sleep. Keith and Liana came to pick Ellie up around 7 and they were thoughtful enough to bring Christopher and I a bottle of wine complete with two wine glasses from one of the vineyards they visited. They also brought Bella back a purple tutu. Thank you, Dicksons!

Not only did I get some training in having multiple children this weekend, but I spent the majority of my free time researching and writing 3 articles for Wisegeek. This is (hopefully) the first step in a process of becoming one of their editors. Once they review the three articles I submitted today, they'll let me know if I fit their style or not. I've got my fingers crossed. Some of you know that deep down, I dream of becoming a writer. Honestly, I'm a little scared of that dream because, I don't know if you realize this, but it's a pretty easy dream to fail miserably at.
Writer Pictures, Images and Photos

So we'll see what happens.

I didn't do any running today. You all know how Sunday mornings go. Christopher left before 6 this morning, and I wasn't getting up in the 5 o'clock hour two days in a row. I was hoping to get done with all my articles by 9 so I would still have some time to run around the block, but I didn't finish until almost 11. I'm okay with it. My sense of accomplishment from my writing totally rivals what I've been feeling after a run.

I hope you feel as satisfied with your weekend as I feel about mine. If not, well, there's always next week!
Customer satisfaction Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The Hare and the Tortoise Pictures, Images and Photos

This old adage from that Great Sage, the Tortoise is, in my estimation, categorically false. Let's look for a moment at what the experts have to say about the length of time a 5K should take.

Kilometer Chart

Kilometers Miles Fast Moderate Easy
1 0.62 7 min. 10 min. 12.5 min.
2 1.24 14 min. 20 min. 25 min.
3 1.86 21 min. 30 min. 37.5 min.
4 2.48 28 min. 40 min. 50 min.
5 3.11 35 min. 50 min. 62.5 min.
6 3.73 42 min. 60 min. 75 min.
7 4.35 49 min. 70 min. 87.5 min.
8 4.97 56 min. 80 min. 100 min.

The list goes on up to marathon lengths, but since I'm not there yet, I didn't see the point in pasting all of it in this post. Take the link if you're interested.

If you look at the 5K, you will see that it is a 3.11 mile jaunt that should take 50 minutes if you are walking at a moderate pace. After i got home this morning, I took the car's odometer out for a spin to see how far I went (I've extended my course to Downey, Florence, Woodruff and Firestone). That particular route is 3.7 miles. This 3.7 miles took me approximately 60 minutes to run this morning.

Now, understand that I'm not complaining that it took me the same amount of time to complete this at a run as it would take someone who was walking at a moderate pace. However, I am using this fact to illustrate my profound disagreance with the title of my post. I don't care who you are; you are not going to win a 3.11 mile 5K by running at a walker's pace. It's not going to happen. I'm happy to be able to complete it at my own pace of running. For me, it's an accomplishment and I'm proud of it. But I'm not going to win. No way. No how. Unless no one else shows up but a fat man with a short-legged poodle.

FYI, there was a different photo of the tortoise and the hare that I wanted to post, but thought it might be inappropriate. So if you are easily offended, don't take this link.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thoughts on a cool morning

So here's the break down for this morning:

10 minute walk (I had to let myself start slow...I was not very motivated)
15 minute jog
5 minute walk
15 minute jog
5 minute walk
15 minute jog (minus 1 or 2 minutes lost to stop lights)
Cooled down with a 5 minute walk around the block
Stretches, crunches, push-ups

And now here I sit with my glass of cranberry juice and my blog, sharing a few minutes of my morning with you, my loyal reader.

I feel like I'm having to start over almost daily. I'm really struggling with the way I handle food. This, in turn, has serious impact on my running, as well as the way I feel about myself. On the one hand, I'm proud of myself for getting up early and training my body to do what I want it to do. But on the other hand, there's are feelings of shame and disappointment for the things that I put into my body while I'm alone. I've been trying to figure out why I am (still) a closet eater, and the best I can come up with is that it's a bad habit left over from when I was a kid. I was alone a lot (especially at night since that's when my mom worked), and I remember that most nights I would lay in my mom's bed watching TV with either a bag of chips, a plate of cookies or a bowl of ice cream (or all three) to keep me company. Food was my friend, my companion, the thing that was always there for me. So now, as an adult, I find myself looking to food as a release from a bad day or as a way to celebrate a good day or simply as a way to not feel alone. This is highly disappointing and I wish it were not a part of who I am. But it is.

So for now, all I can do is continually give myself grace. I know that God gives me grace upon grace to cover my bad behavior, so who am I to withhold that grace from myself? It is not my job to judge myself (just like I'm not to judge others), so I will live everyday to the best of my ability. I will keep training and running and I will try to learn how to fill my heart and life with joys and comforts that are not edible.

Speaking of joys and comforts, my sweet daughter has just been woken up by her Daddy and is waiting for some breakfast. She is standing next to me saying, "Nummy, nummy." I guess that means I should bring this entry to a close and go about my Mommy-duties.

I do hope that this encourages some of you. I know our struggles may not be the same, but I think we all have areas in which we are less than our best, and it is to those areas that I speak today.

"Learn to limit yourself; to content yourself with some definite work; dare to be what you are and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not; and to believe in your own individuality."
-Henri Frederic Amiel (Swiss writer)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bedtime update

This is for those of you who've been eagerly awaiting my daily update.

I didn't run today. I woke up an hour late again, but I wasn't planning to run anyway. I was supposed to be doing my "spiritual training" this morning (more about that some other time), but not much of that happened either. I woke up with an awful sinus headache and that general grossness you feel when your body is fighting off the sickness your child is trying to give to you.

I'm feeling a little tired right now (after all, it is after 11pm), so I think I'm going to go to bed and pray that my body feels better in the morning and that I actually wake up on time tomorrow.

Sorry if this isn't as "inspirational" as some of my other posts. I'm not feeling all that inspiring right now. Here is a quote I ran across that you may or may not agree with...I won't say which category I fall under...but it might be food for thought. Feel free to let me know what you think about this sentiment.

Everything is created twice -- first mentally, then physically. --Greg Anderson

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Something extra...

Just because I love them too.

One week left until my carb-o-licious dinner

DeVina The VegetariaN? Pictures, Images and Photos

A week from tonight, in addition to picking up my husband's best friend at the airport, I will be ingesting a "big plate of pasta" in preparation for my 5K the next morning. I'm looking forward to that. But that's not what I'm here to talk about right now.

This morning, I woke up late, but still went for a run. It was 40 (ish) minutes long and I ran for most of it. Actually, the run:walk ratio went something like this:

20 minute run (with a 1.5 minute stop at a red light)
5 minute walk
15 minute run, with 2 1-minute walks interspersed

I felt amazing after I ran this morning. That is, until I went to lunch. My mom, Bella and I went to Mambo Grill since we couldn't find any parking at Mimi's. This was quite disappointing because I knew exactly what I was going to order at Mimi's. This was not the case at Mambo. After perusing the menu for about 5 minutes, I decided to ask what was on the new sandwich they were offering.

Oh, what's that you say, David (the owner)? Slow-roasted pork, ham and swiss cheese on sweet bread? Sounds great! I'll take it!

It also came with fries. What the heck was I thinking?

I had very good intentions of only eating a few fries and taking half of the sandwich home with me. But I didn't. I ate all of it. And wanted to puke about 15 minutes after I left the restaurant. So that great feeling I had from running was completely overshadowed by the incredible amount of meat ingested by my body this afternoon. I'm still feeling the ickiness of it all.

I once heard that when God created our bodies, He did not design them to ingest meat. We were not meant to be meat-eaters. This argument was evidenced by the way our teeth are designed (dull, not sharp) as well as the length of time it takes our bodies to break down animal meat, among other arguments that I can't really remember right now.

When I eat a substantial amount of meat, I'm always reminded of this by the way my body feels. I'm lethargic. I'm heavy. I feel gross and it is at times like these when I wish I could will myself to throw up. But I can't. And I'm not going to try now. I have enough bad habits.

I guess I'll just wallow in my meat-coma and wait for a new day.

Oh, and by the way, this in no way means that I am becoming a vegetarian.

dont eat meat Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shout Out

United Kingdom Pictures, Images and Photos
I was just checking my weekly Sitemeter Report, and one of my most recent visits was tracked to the United Kingdom. To you, my lone UK reader, I want to give a shout out. I love your country (no matter which one it is...they're all beautiful), and I'm honored that you stopped by to see me. :o) Come back anytime.

To the rest of my readers, I appreciate you, too. I'm just amazed that my "writing" is being read by someone on an entirely different continent. I love the internet. Sometimes.

One last note

I just got out of the shower, but I have to share with someone the beauty that is Aromafloria Muscle Soak Body Wash. It is very rare that I find a product that actually delivers on its promises, but this stuff is freaking A-mazing. I just looked up the entire line of the Muscle Soak Aromatherapy and I want it all. Like yesterday. My body has been so sore from running, especially my back and my knees; but the peppermint, lemongrass and eucalyptus oils really help sooth my joints and muscles. I can't imagine how great the massage oil would be. Christopher, if you're reading this, I would like this for Christmas, please.

Okay, I'll stop with my free advertising.

Free Advertising Your Biz Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day....what day is it again? I lost count.

I did it. I finally got my new running shoes. My friend, Johnny, a fellow Revolution X volunteer, happens to work at Runner's High on 2nd Street. When he found out I was looking for shoes for the 5K, he told me to come in and he'd help me out.

I finally got to the store tonight around 6pm, and there he was, ready to help me find some shoes for my big old feet (in addition to helping babysit my 20 month old who was like a kid in a candy store with all those beautiful shoes and socks). He had me try on a few different pairs (all men's, but we won't talk about that) and run up and down 2nd street to see which ones felt better. First he had me try Adidas, then Nike, but as soon as I felt the soft cushioning of the Brooks Defyance envelop my right foot, I knew that these were the running shoes I'd been waiting for. The ones sent straight down from heaven specifically for me. All my prayers had been answered. My dreams had come true. And, my dear readers, those heaven-sent shoes are the same ones pictured above. Aren't the beautiful?

And not only are they beautiful; they are effective. I came home, put Bella to bed, adorned my new purchase, and proceded to jog for 52 minutes straight. None of this run-walk business. I jogged for almost a solid hour!!! I am stupified by the difference a new pair of shoes has already made in my training. Wow.

So whatever day it is in my training, things are going well. I know that I have 10 days left until the Turkey Trot, and then I think I'll be taking some of my friends up on their offers to run a half marathon. I'm not going to put some huge amount of pressure on myself. I just want something to work toward so I don't quit. I can't believe how far I've come already.

Next step, jogging stroller.

jogging stroller Pictures, Images and Photos

A fellow blogger's story

Some of you know that I struggle with some food addiction here and there (and everywhere). It's not something I talk about too seriously because I don't feel like many people can understand it. I'm probably wrong about that, but I will digress from this point for now. My own insecurity and shame is not the topic of this post.

I started following Lyn's blog about a month ago, and I have deeply appreciated her honesty about a struggle that I've been fighting for so many years. Yesterday, she posted a part of her story. She describes honestly and rawly the circumstances surrounding her own addictions. I hope you can read it and appreciate it just as I have.

Lyn's story

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 11

It's Saturday again, and as such, I set out to run as far as my body would comfortably take me. Even though I was running at an excruciatingly slow pace, I am proud of my 25-minute jaunt. That's right, I ran the first 25 minutes, then walked 5, ran 8 and walked another 6 or so. I would have run more at the tail end, but my back was bothering me. This is, no doubt, because I desperately need new shoes. I've begun researching good running shoes, but have not committed yet. I need to find a good pair for wide feet. If you've got any suggestions, let me know!

In light of the way my back was feeling this morning, here is your quote for the day:

"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."
lance armstrong Pictures, Images and Photos
-Lance Armstrong, American Cyclist

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 9

A couple things have changed today. First, I'm taking the word "Training" out of my running posts. Since I've changed the title of my blog to "In Training", I think it goes without saying that it is a training day. And even if it doesn't, that's tough because it's my blog and I'll do what I want.

Secondly, I started the next step in training. According to my trainer, I was to begin the 15 minute runs today (run 15, walk 15 for an hour), but I decided since it was my first day back after an injury, and I still have two weeks until the run, and since I already know that, at my best, I can run for at least 10 minutes at a time, that I would start with 10 minutes (run 10, walk 10 for an hour).

And I did it. I actually didn't feel like I was working as hard as I was last week. I assume that's because instead of 2-minute breaks between runs, I had 10-minute breaks. It was kinda nice. My knees weren't too keen on the whole thing, but they made it and I'm proud of them, even though they might have felt like they were carrying the load of an elephant!

Running Pictures, Images and Photos

I'm off to the shower then to meet a friend at the mall. Here's your quote for the day! Take it to heart; it's a good one!

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit."
-Aristotle (Philosopher, Scientist and Physician, 384-322 BC)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Training Day 8

It's 6:22 AM, and no, I haven't already gone for my morning jaunt. I'm actually going to skip this morning, let my ankle take a break, and if it's feeling okay tonight, then I'll run. If not, I'll just take a walk.

You know how when you've hurt a joint and then you rest it for 8 hours, it usually feels pretty good when you get up? Then it slowly deteriorates throughout the day? Well, I want to avoid pushing it too hard this morning because it seems to be feeling mostly fine. The last thing I need is to make my already unconditioned body worse so that I'm not able to continue training for this run. If all is well, I'll start my next step in the training process tomorrow morning instead of today. I believe it's run 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes for a longer period of time. I'll call Cheryl today and find out.

Any tips or pointers?

Oh, and I know I skipped my quote of the day yesterday because I was a little too bitter to even want to read something encouraging or uplifting. But, in light of my ankle, here is a quote for today:

"Of one thing I am certain; the body is not the measure of healing-peace is the measure."
-George Melton

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Training Day 7-A Tale in 6 Pictures

Here I sit for my morning update, Starbucks in hand and a bag of frozen grapes on my ankle. Any guesses about how my morning has gone thus far?

Bad Day? Pictures, Images and Photos

First, I get out of bed (6:18am) feeling much like the whale in this picture. I decide that it can't be as bad as I think, so I should get on theweigh 4 Pictures, Images and Photos

to prove to myself that all is well with the world. Wrong decision. According to the scale, all is not well with the world, and I continue to feel like the whale in the top picture.

Then the decision is made that I should not run, but walk my normal course due to the not-so-great feeling in my left hamstring. Turns out no amount of stretching after the fact can make up for the lack of stretching prior to running. So I get my water bottle and set out for my morning walk.

I make it halfway (the mid-point of 5th and Firestone) on Woodruff when I step into a...
HUGE Pictures, Images and Photos
I hear my left ankle crunch and I almost fall, but don't. I do, however, hobble myself into the mall parking lot wondering whether or not I should call my mother-in-law to pick me up before she heads to work. But then I notice the hobbling becoming less and then turning into a slight limp. No problem. I can walk this off. And since this day already sucks, and I'm in the neighborhood, and there's no power-walking for me in the near future, I decide that, quite frankly,
We all need Starbucks Pictures, Images and Photos
So I stop in to see my friendly neighborhood barista and order a frothy hot holiday beverage to nurse my broken spirit and injured ankle during my (slow) walk home.

I have since arrived at home, taken my shoes off and realized that "walking-it-off" might not have been the best idea. It was, at best, a feeble and inaccurate hope. My ankle is pretty tender. Once I realized there was some pain, I pulled
frozen grapes Pictures, Images and Photos
out of the freezer, propped my foot up on a chair and began this, my tale in 6 pictures.

I hope you've enjoyed what little bit of humor I've eeked out of my morning, because I'm not gonna lie...I'm a little
Bitter Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, November 10, 2008

Training Day 6

I didn't run yesterday because it was Sunday and we left for church at 6:30 am. But I did run today. It was a pretty pitiful morning for me. I didn't get up until 8. Then I sat in front of the computer checking emails and messaging people until 9:30 when I was finally motivated enough to go for my mandatory run. Everyone was still sleeping after our late night at Disneyland, so I headed out the door at 9:43. I did 30 minutes. No more, no less. I made the mistake of not stretching beforehand and my left hamstring is bugging me a little bit. I'll do more stretches throughout the day.

Bella finally ate breakfast at 11. I don't think today will be a nap day. I'm going to do some cleaning while Bella keeps watching Sesame Street. Then maybe we'll go out to see G-ma Doris in Marina Del Ray.

In closing, I'd like to share some wisdom from one of my all-time favorite transcendentalists:

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense."
–– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, November 8, 2008

In case you were wondering

My friend's fiance emailed me this survey, so I thought to myself, "Self, why not put this in your blog?" To which my self answered, "Why not? I'm not doing anything and could certainly use this to kill some time before bed."

So here you go, not that you asked..

HAVE YOU EVER... (x means 'yes')

( ) Been to Europe...nope, just the UK
(x) Been on a cruise
( ) Gone on a blind date
(x) Skipped school ... only in college
( ) Been to Canada
(x) Been to Mexico
(x) Been to Florida
(x) Been on a plane
(x) Been lost
(x) Been on the opposite side of the country
(x) Gone to Washington, DC
(x)Swam in the ocean
(x) Cried yourself to sleep
( ) Played cops and robbers
(x) Recently colored with crayons
(x) Sang Karaoke
(x) Paid for a meal with coins only
(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't
(x) Made prank phone calls
(x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(x) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
(x) Danced in the rain
(x)Written a letter to Santa Claus
(x) Been kissed under the mistletoe I think I did the kissing, though
(x) Watched the sunrise with someone That's what friends are for...sunrise on Bourbon Street!
(x) Blown bubbles
(x) Gone ice-skating
(x) Gone to the movies
( ) Owned your Favorite Car Not day I'll get that Jetta.

NICKNAMES: Kick, Kicky, Leilani, Lela-Ann, Wifey
MOM'S NAME: Doris (not sure why only my mom's name matters)
BODY PIERCINGS: Just ears. I used to have my tongue, but gave that one up. I miss it sometimes.
HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE YOUR JOB? I freaking love it. Except for the 1st grader. He's a little exasperating at times.
HAWAII? Yes, please.
EVER BEEN TO AFRICA? Not yet. It wasn't the right time.
EVER EATEN ONLY COOKIES FOR DINNER? Duh. What normal female hasn't done this?
EVER BEEN ON TV? I feel like the answer is yes, but I can't remember why I would have been no?
EVER STEAL A TRAFFIC SIGN? Not yet...only a shower curtain. Maybe the traffic sign will happen during the next pregnancy.
DRIVE A 2- OR 4-DOOR CAR? 4 door


NUMBER? One. It's the least complicated.
MOVIE? Mary Poppins can usually brighten my day, as well as Tyler Perry.
HOLIDAY? Thanksgiving/Christmas are tied right now.
DESERT? I wish I was picky enough to have a favorite.
DAY? Usually, Saturday or Monday.
BODY WASH? Currently, Aromafloria Muscle Soak
TOOTHPASTE? Mentadent, but I never use it.
SMELL? Fig scented candles

HOW DO YOU RELAX? Watch TV or sleep...or shop.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS? In a house full of kids
HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED SOMEONE DIE? Only when I was little, I remember my g-ma having hospice care in our playroom at her house.

Training Day 4

I woke up this morning questioning whether or not I would even run. After all, it is Saturday. Well, not only did I run, but I decided to see if this training thing is really working by starting off with running as far as my body wanted to go. Well, my body made it for about 10 minutes, from my place to Woodruff Ave (for those of you who happen to be familiar with the area). Then I completed my time with my normal walk-run routine. I shaved some time off of yesterday (I ran the same course), but I added to my running by about 3-4 minutes. Go me!

I know it's only grace and a good attitude that got me to this place this morning, but I hope that I can make these same choices day-by-day as the weeks wear on. Not only up until the Turkey Trot, but for the rest of my life.

Rock in stream Pictures, Images and Photos
"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins- not through strength but by perseverence."
-H. Jackson Brown

Friday, November 7, 2008

Training Day 3

“Life’s battles don't always go to the strongest or fastest man,
But sooner or later the man who wins is the fellow who thinks he can.”

I can do anything for 30 minutes. At least that's what I was telling myself while my alarm sang to me this morning at 6 a.m.

And guess what? I can. I did my 30 minute run-walk, and it got even easier than yesterday. I'm not saying it's a cake-walk yet, but it's definitely getting easier.

Although, I did have a false start. Two minutes into my first run, I had to stop in order to stretch. My left hamstring was unbearably tight. So I stopped at 6:22, after I'd run for a minute or two, then started all over again. That may not sound like a big deal, but that's an extra minute or two that I had to run!

I did a lot of stretching after my run today. It felt good. My back's a little tight. I'm sure that I would benefit from some yoga, but I've got to get a move on. I have to hit the showers before running errands and getting things prepped for my Mom's birthday dinner tonight. (Sorry Cheryl, I might have a piece of cake. The good news is that if I give myself permission now, I might have the willpower to choose 'no''s a strange dichotomy, I know.) I will leave with the definition of the verb "to run". This way there is no question in your (or my) mind what it is I am doing on a daily basis.


verb, ran, run, run⋅ning, noun, adjective –verb (used without object)
1. to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Training Day 1

After my previous post about running the Turkey Trot, my friend, Cheryl Harrington, offered to train me. She decided last year to run the Long Beach 1/2 Marathon and spent 6 months training with Claudia Sloan (the Sloans are amazing runners). I watched her persevere and learn to love running. And now she's offered to help me learn to love it as well. Today was our first day. She left 25 minutes ago and I am just starting to feel the goodness of the run (those of you who've ran, know what I'm talking about). We spent a half hour pounding the pavement, running and walking alternately (run 4 minutes, walk 2). Poor Cheryl had to listen to me huffing and puffing the entire way.

Before she left, she reminded me of something I once knew, but have since forgotten. My body is the temple of God. I have to treat it that way. I am to respect it, honor it, discipline it and do whatever it takes to make sure it lasts me the entirety of my stay on earth. And I am not only to make sure that it lasts, but that it functions properly during my time here.

I fear I've fallen into the trap of being comfortable. I like my bed. I enjoy my TV shows. I spend endless hours on the internet checking email, reading blogs, etc., I like to go to coffee with friends, eat what tastes good whenever I want to eat it and be "happy" and "comfortable" as much as possible. Unfortunately, I've forgotten that in the world that God has created, discipline is the foundation for a good and productive life. Paul talks about disciplining himself and his body so that he can "run the race set before him". There are countless Proverbs regarding the merits of disciplining oneself and one's children. God's discipline is something that is to be desired. Yet we, as Americans, believe that the most important things are comfort, independence and individuality. Most of us don't value the discipline it takes to be successful inside ourselves. We value making money. We value work. We value entrepreneurship. We value the next big thing. But do we value the internal strength of character that comes from our own disciplining of our private lives? I dare say that most of us do not. And that's quite unfortunate.

My hope is that over the next few weeks, I will relearn some of these values God had taught me a while back. My hope is also that I will gain some balance. My hope is that I will be steady. My hope is that I will begin some habits over the next month that will stick with me for some time, maybe even the rest of my life.

In preparation for this blog, as well as my own personal encouragement, I looked up some quotes by runners, for runners. I hope that they will encourage you as they have me this morning.

Running Test Pictures, Images and Photos

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired...You've always got to make the mind take over and keep going."
- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian

"Believe in yourself, know yourself, deny yourself, and be humble."
- John Treacy's four principles of training prior to Los Angeles 84

"In a country where only men are encouraged, one must be one's own inspiration."
- Tegla Loroupe, Kenya, 1994 New York City Marathon champion

"The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed."
- Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ

"Run hard, be strong, think big!"
- Percy Cerutty

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More positive outlooks

I was just going through my google reader and came across a blog from an acquaintance of mine. Read it and be encouraged. :o)

Welcome, Mr. President.

obama Pictures, Images and Photos

Tonight, the United States has a new President. When I went to vote today, I wanted to vote for this particular candidate, but I couldn't do it based on my own moral basis. That is what it is, and I won't go into it here.

The reason I DID want to vote for Obama today is that I want change and hope for something new. I, like many others, felt like McCain would have been more of the same, and more of the same is not anything I desire. Not only that, but the other day, I was thinking about McCain vs. Obama and the idea of voting character. I was wondering which candidate would listen to what God wants for him and for this country and I heard this voice in my head say, "What if Obama is the one with a humble heart? What if he's the one whom, if prayed for, would do the right thing? What if McCain is the one out for his own agenda and this is just his last hoorah as a politician?" And that's when I started to wonder.

You see, I don't believe that the "issues" are the only issues that count in an election. These men (and women) have hearts. And only God knows their hearts. Now, I'm not saying that I know what God knows. I don't. But, to all my friends who expect Jesus to return tomorrow or who are talking about moving to Canada ASAP, I challenge you to start praying earnestly for this new leader of our Country. Pray not out of fear, but out of love. Our God remains the same. Our Leader isn't different. The leader of the country is. Maybe we should remove ourselves from this patriotic faith of ours and see the political system of this country for what it is...the world's way of doing things. God works in any and all worldly systems...but his people have to pray. Maybe the problem with this country is that God's people were counting on W's "Christianity" to be enough to lead the country instead of humbling ourselves and asking God to lead the leaders.

Just a few thoughts on the close of this Election Day 2008. Sleep well, my friends. I know I will.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

25 days...

turkey run Pictures, Images and Photos

...Until I am running a 5K. I have never (officially) run a 5K in my life. I have, in fact, run 3 miles at one time, but it was a long time ago. I weighed 25 lbs less, I was infinitely more toned and had lots of time to spend at the gym and running at the park.

Tanya called me last night to say she'd signed up for a 5K on Thanksgiving morning and do I want to do it with her. "Sure," I say. I'm happy to do it, although it's questionable as to whether or not I will run the entirety of it.

I got home today after lunch and sat down on the couch. I was waiting for Christopher to get off the computer so I could use the internet when it dawned on me that this 5K is going to happen. And it's happening in less than a month. Therefore, instead of sitting my chubby butt down in front of the computer, I should probably put on some sweats and tenni's and hit the pavement. So that's what I did. I donned aforementioned gear, walked out the door and around the corner, and I began to jog. I lasted for approximately 3 minutes until I started walking again. During my first 20 minutes out, I had a few more spurts of 1-2 minute runs, but gave it up completely in my last 20.
Somehow, in the next 25 days, I have to turn that initial 3 minute jaunt into 3 miles. Good Lord in Heaven, what was I thinking?

I am happily accepting any pointers or encouragement any of my loyal readers might have for me from now until Thanksgiving Day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Master Cleanse, here I come

master cleanse Pictures, Images and Photos

If any of you have read about the Master Cleanse, you will recall with me that it is probably the most vile suggestion you've ever heard. This cleanse is one that suggests drinking 2 liters of a lemon juice-maple syrup-cayenne pepper "lemonaid" per day, as well as downing a liter of salt water (per day) in order to completely clear out one's insides. This liter of salt water results in numerous tummy-rumblings and consequential trips to the restroom.

I did this said cleanse (minus salt water) for approximately 2 days back when I lived in New Orleans. The suggested duration is anywhere from 3 days to two weeks. My taste buds weren't convinced that I needed the third day.

Yesterday, Christopher casually informed me that our friends are planning to do the cleanse for 10 days beginning this weekend. He also made the mistake of saying that if I wanted to do it, he'd be game. Well of COURSE I want to do the cleanse. I live for this stuff. I'm a believer in giving our bodies a break and cleaning out all the gunk; I also believe that giving up food for a while gives us opportunity to focus on other things.

So on Monday morning, we will begin The Master Cleanse. I will juice lemons, measure maple syrup and add the cayenne pepper to only a small "shot" of this mixture so I don't have to sip it throughout the day (it's so gross). I will drink the salt water. I will drink the salt water. I will drink the salt water. I will drink....

Oh, sorry. I forgot you were reading. Where was I? Oh, yea...I'll drink the salt water and enjoy the cleanliness of my insides.

And I will be forced to find something to make me happy besides what is passing over my taste buds.

Master Cleanse, here I come. And be warned...this time, I will master you.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My affair with the Daily Show

Since Christopher's out of town and my house is clean and Bella's sleeping, I am becoming reacquainted with an old friend, Jon Stewart. Most of you know that I'm not a big fan of politics. However, I do love the Daily Show. If my political news could come in the form of humor and sarcasm ( least that's how it is today), I would be a much more politically minded person.

Sarah Vowell was the guest on today's show and in her discussion of Sarah Palin's visit to New York, this is what she said (well, it's not all she said, but this is what made me laugh):

"The East Coast was American enough for Al Qaeda and it should be American enough for them."

I hope you can enjoy the irony, even out of context.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


This morning, I couldn't find my Bible, so I went into our new "library" Christopher made from all the books we just got back from Missouri and pulled one from there. As I was flipping through it, I came across a book mark. I don't usually use book marks, so I pulled it out to see what it was. On the back of this large purple laminated book mark was the obituary for my friend, Eryn Wright.

Eryn was younger than me. I met her when she was a freshman at my college. I think I was a junior at the time. She was a beautiful young woman. She had glossy blond hair, a brilliant smile and a beauty that could melt the coolest of hearts. She and I laughed a lot. Our group of friends laughed a lot. She had given up a career as a (probably very successful) hairstylist to see what God might have planned for her in Ministry, but her life was lost before that plan was actualized. She was 18 years old and in the summer between her freshman and sophomore years of college when she was involved in a car crash that killed her.

For my friends and I, this was a time that united us. It drew us from wherever we'd gone for the summer and brought us back to our campus, then to Eryn's family's home for many nights. We experienced the stages of grief together. We cried together. We laughed hysterically (and probably inappropriately) together. To those friends--you know who you are--know that I think of you this morning with fondness in my heart. I love each of you and what you've meant to me through the years.

To Eryn, I so look forward to seeing you again. I can only imagine the exquisite beauty you are as you worship at the feet of Jesus right now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

You choose.

My Mom was at our place on Monday night watching Dancing With the Stars. Since I'm less than interested in the show, I was doing something completely unrelated. That is until I hear the song "Bleeding Love". My neck snaps, and the first thing I say is, "What in the world are they thinking using this song?" Just so we're on the same page, this is the performance I was watching.

Okay, so if you took the time to watch that, you can see that it wasn't awful. They did okay. However, being the So You Think You Can Dance fan that I am, nothing could compare with THIS performance, also done to "Bleeding Love":

Maybe I'm biased, but you tell me. Which performance do YOU think is better?

Score one for Leanne Teacher

On Thursdays, I teach Writing/English to three Middle-schoolers.  Two of the three are new to the school, and one of those two is somewhat challenging.  He's the "cool guy".  By his own admission, his parents are extremely strict, therefore school has become his outlet for "bad" behavior.  

And he's all mine for one hour a week.  Actually two since I have him for Speech on Fridays as well.  Regardless, it is the Thursday hour that I'll be telling you about now.

So today, their writing topic was their best friend and the qualities they appreciate in that person.  They needed an example of how to do an intro, so off the top of my head, I give them something I might write...

"Tara Books (shout out!) is the best type of friend a person could have...(more great things about Tara)...Her loyalty was evident after Hurricane Katrina, when I wanted nothing to do with anyone, yet she never stopped calling me (or something to that effect)."


"Wait.  You were in Hurricane Katrina???" 

"Yes, I was."

And that's all it took.  "Cool guy" now has a reason to respect someone he thought was "just another teacher" because--can you imagine--I actually have a story that begins before I taught him writing.

Leanne Teacher--1
           Cool Guy--0

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 30. Not July 30.

It was 93 degrees here in sunny Southern California today.  I wore (from the bottom, up) Sketchers, jeans and a sweater...a turtleneck sweater with flouncy sleeves.  

"Leanne," you say, "why did you think it would be a good idea to wear any form of sweater on a day like today?"

"You," I answer, "obviously you don't understand that when it's the day before October, the weather should allow for a bundling up of sorts."

So, just to make sure that I am not completely crazy, I decided to do a Google search for "Fall Clothes".  Among many other things that support my nutty ideas, I found an article stating that the following are important parts of "The Basic Elements of a Fall Wardrobe":

Fabrics:  corduroy, faux fur, suede, cable knit, quilted fabrics and wool
Pieces:   turtlenecks, long cardigan sweaters, jeans, pants, scarves/mittens, long skirts, long- sleeved button down shirts, boots, hoodies, etc.

Next Tuesday is supposed to be 73.  I guess I'll have to break out my wooly gloves and go buy me a pair of Uggs.

Come on, California.  Could you at least get it below 70 for October?  That would be great.

The individual responsible for this list obviously does not reside in Southern California.

Yay for stuff!

The rest of "us" has finally been redeemed from Middle America.   My Mom arrived yesterday to begin her new contract in Fountain Valley, and along with her she brought a UHaul filled with most of the things we left in Missouri when we moved to California two years ago.

There are still a couple of prized possessions that I suspect may be gone forever, but we got back a ton of pictures and books, dishes, curtains and other various parts of our past we'd forgotten about.  Yesterday was a very busy day of unloading, unpacking, cleaning and visiting.  And we still have a TON of stuff that needs to find a home in this apartment.  And I look forward to finding those homes.

For now, I'm content to see our dishes and crockpot (the one of two items we actually received from our wedding gift registry) sitting on our countertop as I go along with my busy day.

  Speaking of which, I need to start grading some papers!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Let's call it an experiment

Lately, there's been a lot of talk around Revolution about "being" the church.  With the start of Life Groups, a lot of us now have opportunities on a weekly basis to step up into our role as "the Church" and I am hoping to go as far as to utilize this very blog on a regular basis to give you (my readers) opportunities to help others whom you may not even know.  So here is your first opportunity.

There is a couple I know who's gone through the adoption process but still has a few fees to pay before everything is completed.  The total left is around $500.  To a lot of us, that's not a huge sum of money.  But to this family, it will help close a chapter of their lives and move on into the future as a fully legal family.  Would you consider helping them?

You need to be aware that when I do this, I (typically) won't give names.  Therefore, you can either do a trust fall in the form of a blank check given to me or you can email me and I can connect you with whoever might have the need (or let you know where you can buy a gift card, etc.).

As the title of this blog suggests, this is an experiment.  I hope to see a positive outcome from my faithful readers!  Wouldn't it be cool to have a blog that's dedicated to randomly meeting needs?  Wouldn't it be cool to be a reader and a need-meeter of that blog?

If you can help this amazing family, email me (  

Friday, September 26, 2008

A challenge

I've spent the last couple of nights reading my Self magazine.  The focus of this issue seems to be almost solely on issues surrounding Cancer (mostly breast cancer).  And let me tell you, I'm a little concerned.

Let me preface by saying that there is a history of cancer in my family.  Neither of my parents have suffered, but my Grandmother and Great Aunt both lost their lives to Breast I have cause to be somewhat worried.  I think.

Okay, so there are a few things.  First, over and over again I've read that to keep your chances of developing cancer down, exercise and keeping weight at a healthy level is paramount.  I've been working on weight loss the last 6 weeks, but only for the sake of aesthetics and not having to buy a whole new wardrobe.  This takes my motivation to a whole new level.
Second, I read about these things called BPA's and a woman who believes they are to cause for her development of the disease.  BPA is freaking everywhere.  If you don't believe me, go here.  

To those of you who are alarmists, I hope this doesn't ruin your day.  But I do hope that it will give you pause to look at your life and think about what you are doing to and with your body and if you are taking the best care of it as you can.  I firmly believe that God has given us our bodies, and just like everything else he's given us, we are supposed to take care of it.  We can't treat our bodies wrongly and expect them to last or even work correctly for us.

My challenge to you today is to take the link above and do a little cancer research.  But I not only want you to get information; I want you to find ONE thing that you can change about the way you live that might help your body stay healthier longer.

My goal?  30 minutes a day of exercise.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My life is my job

Has anyone ever had one of those weeks where, although great things are happening, it feels like nothing is getting accomplished?

As I sit at my desk after just waking up at 8:45 (almost unheard of for me) looking at the disaster that is my home realizing that I have no clothes because my laundry is incomplete and not even here because I left it at my personal laundrymat (my in-law's)...I think to myself...

So this is what it would be like if I worked full time.  

And, for now, I'm really glad that's not the case.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I have the smartest 18 month old ever

Well, I'm sure there are others like her.  And even some more advanced.  But this morning, after breakfast, we were in the living room reading books and Bella stood up and pointed to her diaper.  I figured that meant she already peed or pooped, because that's what it usually means.  But I went with my instincts and asked if she wanted to try using her potty.  We both ran into the bathroom, I took her diaper off, and to my surprise, it was dry.  So she sat down on the potty and after about a minute, I hear this wonderful tinkling sound.  Bella peed in the potty for the first time ever!  Yay!  

And here is the evidence...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh the things you can get away with...

...when you're 18 months old.

Today, Bella's lunch was turkey and provolone on toasted rye, tomato/roasted red pepper soup and applesauce (which I gave her toward the end of the meal).  She wasn't the least bit interested in the rye bread until the applesauce was introduced.  That's when she decided, since the bread couldn't possibly get any worse, maybe she should try dipping it IN the applesauce.  Well, I guess that was a good idea because that's how she proceeded to finish the entirety of the bread.

Far be it for me to keep my daughter from trying new things.  Even if they might seem gross to the adult eye.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Halloween help!

Since my husband is currently elbow deep in "The Fringe" I have no one to talk to about this except the blogosphere.  

We need halloween costume ideas.  We'd love to have a family theme, but I'm finding it's easier said than done.  So I've been looking at everything from farm animals to the Jetsons (there's a pretty cool Jane Jetson costume) to....well, you name it and I've been looking at it.

So here's a chance for you, my readers, to help us, The Lytles, come up with some ideas for this halloween.  Nothing is out of the question, so lay it on me!

I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dear lister of sale-838585793

I want your chair.

Christopher makes fun of my new-found hobby of checking Craigslist daily for deals that, even if they are amazing, I don't have the extra cash or storage space to take advantage of. I love to shop, even if I don't buy anything, so Craigslist is PERFECT for me. And here are the reasons why:

1. There is no impulse buying. Any purchase made on Craigslist must be quite calculated and you have to have the proper equipment to be able to pick up the item(s) you are purchasing, which leads me to point 2...

2. I have a Dodge Intrepid. Most things I want don't fit in my car. And even if they did, I would probably have to drive out to Hollywood or Santa Monica because that's where all the cool stuff is anyway, and honestly...

3. Gas is too expensive to drive to pick up someone else's junk when I haven't seen it in person to know it's really okay and they're not just trying to lure me miles away from my home in order to break down my defenses and sell me something crappy simply because I don't want to have wasted the trip.

So I ask you: What is worse? Spending time looking at things I can't have just because I can and it fills my desire to "shop" (I like to think of it more as hunting) OR going to actual stores and spending money I don't have on stuff I don't really need, or, in some cases, don't even want?

I thought so.

So Christopher, if you're reading this, I hope you can appreciate the fact that I'm on Craigslist instead of NY & Company dot come or victoria' secret dot com or borders dot com or going to the mall every other day spending more money that I shouldn't be spending.

And for the rest of you, it's true. If I had my $60 of blow money (it's the money we budget to spend on anything we want) already saved up, this chair would be mine. I have no idea where I would put it, but it is now my goal to have a *fully functioning* barber chair in my home.

And I did show Christopher, and he thought it would be pretty cool too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I wish the world could revolve around me

I think I have the only 18-month old around who is not totally enthralled with the TV when it's on.  For the last half hour, I've been trying to get some work done on the computer, so I put the Jungle Book on for Bella.  The entire time, she has been standing next to me, crying for me to pick her up.  When I pick her up, she sits on my lap and watches the TV from across the room.

Apparently, Isabella is a very social creature who cannot bare to be alone on the other side of the room watching a dancing bear.  As we speak, she is sitting on my lap attempting to pull my face down to look her in the eye and she is crying because I'm not doing it.

Don't get me wrong, I love playing with her.  When she woke up from her nap, we played in her room.  Most days, we go for walks and play chase all around the house.  But God forbid that I try to get anything done that doesn't involve her while I am in her presence. 

Yay for being 18 months old and thinking the entire world revolves around you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I woke up and was getting ready to go start another day of intern life at Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, MD. Uncharacteristically, I had my TV tuned to one of the morning news shows, so for once, I actually knew what was happening as soon as the media knew what was happening. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I stood frozen in my make-shift basement apartment staring at planes crash into the twin towers just a few hours away from where I was standing.

By the time I'd made it to the office, one of the towers had fallen and the other was pretty close to the same. The pentagon, which was only a short drive down I-95 from where I lived, had also been targeted. Heath (my boss) told me to go home.

I didn't go home. I went to my college campus where all my friends and I stayed in the lounge of the guy's dorm for (what seemed like) two days straight wondering what the heck was going on. No classes (they were cancelled), no work (a lot of stuff closed down for those 2 days) and no clue what just happened to our neighbors (when you live in Maryland, New York and DC, although you may not like it sometimes, are definitely neighbors).

Here's to the memory of the 343 New York City Firefighters and the 2,974 civilians who lost their lives on that day. Here's to the children who've been growing up without parents and grandparents...the spouses who've bravely faced the loss...the parents who saw their children die needlessly.

May we remember today, as a country, that vengeance is not the answer. More lives lost will not bring back our dead.

And may we remember, as the Church (if, indeed, you are part of the Church) to take care of the widows and the orphans...for this is true religion.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's okay to pat yourself on the back sometimes

It's been a long busy week. Which explains why I haven't done an update on Gustav (no major damage...yay) or Kenya (they finally left from New Orleans on Thursday instead of Monday).

I'm quite proud of myself for this week. I exercised almost everyday. I even incorporated yoga because my hips are turning into those belonging to an 85 year old woman (I need to get new shoes). I always feel better when I do yoga. I scheduled my week and, for the most part, stuck to it. That's a huge step for me. I still have a long way to go (scheduling dates with my hubby, family time, time with God, etc.), but I took a step in the right direction. I even RSVP'd to a party. Granted, I did it an hour before it started...I still did it! This morning, I knew I needed to get away, so instead of forcing myself to stay in Downey out of obligation, I left at 6:30 and headed to the beach for an hour long vacation. I needed the beach. Oh, and I'm working on an article for possible publication (long shot, but I'm still working on it).

On top of all that, I think God finally broke through something that I didn't even know was there. He just keeps coming closer...layer by layer. I'm grateful that He knows how to get through to me. He knows I don't have a clue how to get past myself, so He's gotta do most of the work.

And right now, I'm going to ignore the urge to think about what implications that last statement might hold for my own parenting, turn my computer off, take a shower and go to bed.

Sometimes doing the right thing means not being so hard on yourself all the time. At least for me that's what it means.

Monday, September 1, 2008


My friends from New Orleans are scattered over much of the Southern United States. My mom is among them (she flew down to meet the Kenya team on Friday, and evacuated to Paragould, Arkansas Saturday morning). I just checked on Gustav and he's still a Cat 3 with a possibility of strengthening. I'm tempted to stay up for another couple hours until the next advisory pops up, but I know I need to sleep.

Waiting for a hurricane is the most bizarre experience ever. You never know what's actually happened until after the storm, so until then, all you can do is pray. Or, like some people I know, have parties so everything in the freezer gets eaten before they leave town and their fridge stops running. Truth be told, although I'm nervous for my friends down South, I'm a little jealous that I'm missing the party.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are you kidding me?

Really?  God is not this cruel.  And so help me, if I hear anyone talking about how God is planning mass final destruction on a city they know nothing about except "Girls gone wild" videos and slanted Mardi Gras press coverage that they shouldn't be watching anyway because they're "good Christians" (and good Christians shouldn't even see those things), I might go buck.  And I don't mean "buck" in a So-You-Think-You-Can-Dance kinda way.  I mean "buck" in the back-away-from-Leanne-because-she-might-kill-you kinda way.

Here's the story

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One other thing that makes me request

My little brother.

Things that make me smile

Well, one thing in particular.

I'd like to see Angelo imitate THIS baby.

The Happy Housewife?

Some of you know that last week was a pretty rough one for me. Consider that my last blog was the beginning of said week and you'll understand. So today, I am working on becoming a "Happy Housewife". Here are just a few of the good deeds on the agenda for the day:

Christopher and I have FINALLY loaded up an item that has needed to be returned since almost 3 months ago and we will be returning it this evening.

Last night, in a fit of "needing" to have food, I bought a clearanced bag of dark chocolate kissables when I stopped at CVS to get toothpaste for Bella. Unfortunately, I did eat a substantial amount of the candies last night. BUT I have decided that instead of eating the rest of the bag like a pitiful bon-bon eating housewife, I will bake cookies with them, like a June Cleaver-esque sort of housewife.
This is not to say that I haven't eaten some of the batter, nor that I won't eat any of the cookies. But at least this way, others might benefit from my chocolate-buying insanity.

Bella and I took advantage of our early morning outing to the Hub (we dropped Christopher off at work) and swung over to Seal Beach to play in the sand. Other than Bella running and hiding behind me whenever she heard a big wave, it was a lot of fun. And even the hiding part was fun for me.

We have a play-date with Jessica and Mare, who we haven't seen in ages.

Hopefully I'll be meeting a friend for coffee during Bella's nap this afternoon.

And finally, the most ambitious of all these undertakings, I will put the laundry away. And by doing this, I might also pack for my trip to New Orleans this weekend (it might be the only thing that motivates me to sort through all the clothes).

So that's my day. Nothing big, but it should be much more positive and productive than the majority of my last week.  Here's to the Happy Housewife.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Am I really blogging about this while I'm on vacation?

It's really hard for me to unwind, especially when I'm with other people. It doesn't matter that the "other people" are the part of my family that I love the most. It's the fact that I'm still a mom and a wife. I still feel like there are expectations. And when I feel like I HAVE to do ANYTHING, then I don't know how to relax. Maybe I don't know how to relax regardless. Or maybe I honestly have such a hard time dealing with change that, no matter where I go, it takes me a good 2 days to acclimate. Or maybe I'm so insecure that when I have freedom, I don't know what the heck to do with it so I put needless expectations and pressures on myself.

I think part of the reason I had such a hard time our first 2 days here was because of the book I was reading. It's called "Running in Heels" and it's about a single girl who's struggling with every corner of her life. A third of the way through the book, the reader discovers that the heroine battles with anorexia and her newly developed habit of binging and purging. It was at this point in the book that I began to relate with the character and my focus began to shift inward.

Those who know me well, know that I struggle with food. I've never been anorexic or bulimic. The only reasons for this are that, 1) I don't have the self-control to starve myself and, 2) I hate to throw up...and I'm barely successful at making myself throw up when I'm truly sick anyway. But I can't tell you how many times I've thought about how much easier my life would be if I could cultivate one of these 2 habits.

(And yes, I know it's bad to think that starving or purging could somehow make life "easier" or better in any way.)

At one point, Natalie (our heroine) says:

"As I work on the toast, I add and subtract--calories gained, calories spent, eating it on, running it off--the sabotage is involuntary...What do people do, who don't think of food? Their lives must be gaping holes, chasms of nothingness punctuated by random meals. What would I think about, if I didn't think of food? I'd think the unthinkable. So food is what I think of."

I get this. I wish that one day I will know what it's like to not "think of food". It's constant. I feel good because I've (finally) made a healthy choice. Or I feel guilty because I've eaten a "bad" food...or too much of a "bad" food. Or I'm thinking about how I'm going to eat as much as I can in order to not feel the things that I'm feeling. Or how I'm going to burn enough calories to make up for what I've eaten. Or I don't want to go out to eat socially because it means appetizers and heavy foods and looking at deserts (and wanting them). Or I'm worried that I'm going to become the 286 pound Leanne that I've been able to avoid for the last 6 years. And it's all because I'm afraid. Afraid to feel. Afraid to make a bad decision. Afraid that people won't like me if I assert myself. Afraid that I'll feel lonely if I don't have it. Afraid that if I have another goal, I might fail. And I can't fail at food. I know food. It knows me. Intimately.

"I'm bored of using my body to speak my pain. If only I could learn to use my voice instead."

Those of you who've struggled with these types of addictions know that this quote speaks to the root of the issue. We use food, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sex, work, money, things, hobbies, ANYTHING to occupy us instead of dealing with what is real. We don't use our voices. We act out. Like children.

My daughter doesn't have much of a vocabulary yet, so when she gets upset, she hits someone, she bites something, she throws herself on the floor. She acts out. But she is 17 months old. She doesn't know how to use her voice yet.

And apparently neither do I.

Oh, I know how to use my voice when it comes to others. I can see straight through most other people and I can tell them what their problems are and how they should deal with them. But when it comes to myself, I'd rather hide in a corner (or any other dark, solitary place) with a bag of Oreos.

But like the quote says, "I'm bored" of it. It's annoying. It's tedious. It's tiring. And it's time to use my voice. Time to be an adult. Time to stand up for myself and take my life (my body?) back. Again. Because trust me, this isn't the first time. Or the 2nd time. Or the 50th time. This is everyday. And y'all, I'm so tired. It wears me out. And a lot of you are sitting there right now knowing exactly what I'm talking about. You're tired too.

If I'm writing this to you, then know that I feel for you. You can comment or not...these kinds of issues aren't for the faint of heart. These aren't things that most people want to publicize...just the ones like me, who are just 'off' enough to not care if people know they're crazy. So know you're not in this alone.

As for me, I'm going to cry a little bit for myself, and then I'm going to try to live my life. And enjoy it all the while.