Five years


My sweet Skeeter,

It has been five years since you made your unexpected appearance, a day earlier than your scheduled entrance. Clearly you wanted and demanded to be born on October 10th of 2010.

Your dad and I never have to guess how you are feeling. You wear your heart on your sleeve. Your capacity to love knows no bounds. The only trouble we have right now is reminding you that not everyone loves to be hugged so tightly and then picked up.

Your memory is amazing. We think you might have inherited your godmother’s ability to remember anything that is said. Your knowledge of song lyrics is practically equal to mine, and you can remember a ridiculous amount of movie lines. We wish you wouldn’t remember everything daddy or I say, especially things we say while driving.

You are so loved sweetheart. We wish you another year filled with love, laugher and learning.



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Fitness Fridays: Letting Go of One Goal and Embracing Another

Don't Wait until you've reached your goalIf you follow me on any of the social media channels, you will notice a lack of running posts.  I had initially planned to run my first half-marathon this year on November 1st as part of Milwaukee’s Inaugural Running Festival.  After getting sidelined by an injury, I thought that I could ease my way back into the training program.  After three weeks of long runs, I had my strong left leg buckle underneath me.  My calf started cramping, and I hobbled along.  My amazing running buddy Sharon never left my side.  She shared some fuel and water with me, and we slowly made our way back.

After I spoke with the half program training manager, she thought it could have been a combination of loss of electrolytes and that my left side had gotten weaker.  Since my injury was on my right knee, I devoted a lot of mindful thought and energy to building strength back up on that side.  I went back to my physical therapist, and she worked on both legs. I brought her the training plan to review, and she made suggestions for a slower ramping up plan.

The following long run, I knew that I was only going to run about half of it.  I started out with my pace group, but I could not keep up.  My speed is much slower as a result of the injury and retraining my running gait.  I had not warmed up properly because I got there late.  I ended up cutting my run short, and I stopped at just around three miles.  The rest of the group was running nine miles that day.  I was crying with every step I took.  I just could not get my legs to loosen up.  I decided at that moment that I quit the training program. I could not continue to train for this race without ending up with yet another injury.  I called my husband to tell him.  Then I walked into the store, and I burst into tears.  Disappointment and sadness filled my thoughts for a few days.

This injury and slower than normal recovery taught me that I need to be patient with myself and give myself grace.  I love running because it gives me joy.  When I was pushing myself too much too fast, I did not feel any joy.  I ended up going for a four mile a few weeks later with my cousin and the Minerva Muses.  I ran at an even slower pace than I had for my half training, and I felt fantastic.  I felt joy and elation.  I knew that this is the type of running I need to get back to.  I want to run just for fun, not to win prizes or get a personal best.

Now I’m focusing on building back up strength in my entire body.  I am doing weight training, Body Combat, yoga, PiYo, walking, and dancing.  I know that I will get back my strength and speed.  I am focusing on continuing to do my physical therapy exercises, and I try to foam roll every day if I can.  I will run again, and I hope that I can run in a 5K before the end of the year.  Grace is a lesson I will continue to practice again and again.  I will become a stronger runner because of this setback.

Posted in Health and fitness | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Mama’s Night Out

A Phish concert 076as self-care?  I can hear you all snickering.  Unless you know what fuels me, then you cannot begin to understand how amazing that concert was to my soul.  Music is a part of my life.  Certain bands help me connect to my pre-mom life. No band does that more than Phish.  I saw my first concert right before my freshman year of college.

This year’s Phish concert was a gathering with my husband, my sister, and my brother-in-law.  Serendipity was meeting a local Warrior Mom friend who I adore on my way to the bathroom.  Karen is a gem and a total music junkie just like me.

I also got to make a new friend at the concert.  I happened to see a note in a Facebook group of the Climb Out team leaders that a Warrior Mom was going to be at the Phish concert that weekend.  I messaged her, and we became Facebook friends.  We then exchanged phone numbers.  My family members were dumbstruck that I was going to meet this woman I had never met in person before.  I find that connection so difficult to explain.  That sisterhood of those who have struggled is like no other.  Amanda and I chatted for over an hour.  She knows one of my dear friends, Andrea, so we bonded over the awesomeness of our amazing friend.

I danced like no one was watching me for the entire concert.  Movement feeds my soul. I stopped dancing only to rest for a bit and to go the bathroom  I felt so free and so alive.  I was able to enjoy the evening without worrying about my girls.  They were in the capable hands of their grandparents.  The conversation, the dancing and the amazing company made this evening a memorable night.

Posted in Humor, parenting, self care | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Push and Pull of Back to School

wpid-20150901_102314.jpgMunch started back to school on Tuesday. My sweet Skeeter had a staggered start for 4K, so she didn’t start back to school until Wednesday. Rather than send her to daycare I decided to spend the day with her.

I let Skeeter decide what she wanted to do for the entire day. She wore her nightgown to drop off her big sister at school. I insisted on a pair of shorts. She happily obliged.  Skeeter then requested a morning snack and a TV show.  Her suggestion to ride our bikes to the park sounded amazing even though it was so humid.  She patiently waited while I pumped up my flat tires.  She did a fantastic job crossing the busy streets, and she listened to all my instructions.  I was so grateful for the hour we spent at the park, playing while we both cooled down.  My black bike helmet sucked in all the heat.  Thankfully the ride home was quicker than the way to the park.  Skeeter’s confidence in her new-found skills helped.

We ate lunch at one of her favorites, McDonald’s, and she got to play all by herself on the indoor playground.  I spent most of my time just watching her, taking a few pictures and videotaping her.  I only checked my phone from time to time to keep an eye on the time.

At the end of the day she sobbed saying that she wanted to be by me.  She hadn’t been next to me all day long.  I fumed to her that I didn’t understand  We spent the entire day together.  Later that night it hit me.  My sweet girl’s love language is physical contact.  She wants to sit right next to me or on top of me or her dad.  Skeeter craves physical closeness.  I finally realized why I felt like she pushes boundaries.  She knows no physical space.  She loves to be touching or holding hands or hugging.  That is how she shows love.  This realization will help us all transition back to school by understanding her need for closeness and our need for some space.

Posted in Humor, parenting | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Traveling Anxiety and the Warrior Mom Conference

The night before leaving for Boston, I had a complete meltdown.  I completely panicked and started sobbing uncontrollably.  The work week leading up to the conference was hectic for me.  I felt like I was a hamster on a wheel.  I had no time to sit and center myself before traveling.  I felt apprehensive about how the conference would be.  I was meeting some of my tribe who I had only known online.  Will I be myself? Will people like me?  What will the conference vibe be like?  I was a volunteer for the conference.  I panicked thinking that I would let Susan down.

I am so grateful that I traveled with friends to this conference.  As I started packing and bombarding my husband, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law with flying questions, I realized that I had not flown in about 8 years.  My last plane ride was down to New Orleans.  Being stopped by TSA only heightened my anxiety.  I sat and breathed through it although the anxiety sweats occurred almost immediately.  I completely forgot about the 8 oz bottle of lens cleaner for my glasses.  I use them for computer work mainly.  I was a bit annoyed that I had to toss it, but stuff happens.

Becky and Ruth were so patient with me as I stumbled a bit pulling my rolling suitcase.  The flight to Boston seemed so quick, mainly because the three of us talked nonstop.  Once we got off the plane, we met up with Jennifer.  The four of us shared a cab to meet Anne-Marie and Lauren for lunch.

In the meantime my work phone kept vibrating with messages and e-mails.  I asked Ruth to e-mail me to see if my auto reply was working.  In my haste to do all the things, I neglected to put on my out of office message.  I was mentally kicking myself.  After lunch I got settled in our hotel room, and I sat down to work for about two hours.  Normally I would not have done this because I was on vacation.  I knew that leaving all those loose ends would make my conference experience stressful and more anxiety filled if I did not complete those outstanding tasks.. I  sat down in the peace and quiet to wrap up the last remaining items to be present for the entire conference experience.

Anxiety reared its ugly head the final day of the conference.  I panicked just before facilitating a group session. I could not locate my co-facilitator, and I had to pee.  I had to apologize to my group who graciously accepted the anxiety freak out.  Thank goodness for the amazing Liz from MotherWoman who kept me focused and calm.  Anxiety is a part of me, but it does not define me.

Posted in postpartum depression, traveling | Tagged , | 3 Comments


My heart is heavy again and grieves for the ugliness that resides in our country.  The arrest of Sandra Bland appalled me.  I do not understand how it escalated so quickly.  The officer asked her a question, and she responded with honesty and assertiveness.  For failing to signal a lane change, Sandra Bland was arrested.

I know that some of my friends have probably blocked from their news feed or unfriended me when I talk about race relations.  Black lives matter.  Black men and women are dying at unprecedented rates in this country.  We are NOT a post-racial society.  Do you hear the vitriol that is spewn at our President?  People do not respect the office because of the color of the man who is in it.  Period.

I struggle with what to say, especially in light of the fact that Sandra had spoken up about her struggle with depression.  When in doubt, I remember the words that Divya Kumar said to us at the Warrior Mom Conference.  “Women from ALL different places and backgrounds have these illnesses.  They face different challenges based on their identities, privilege and life circumstances. ” I will continue to share the voices of diverse perspectives.  When words fail me, that is how I choose to be an ally.  I get uncomfortable and examine my own racial bias. The only way the system will change is if those in power are willing to change it.  As a white woman, I have privilege.  I must choose how I exercise it.  I choose to continue to speak up about racial injustice and the disparity that is inherent within our educational system and our government.

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Why I Climb #COTD 2015

036I climb for me.  I had no idea what was going on after the birth of my sweet Skeeter.  I just knew that something was not right.  I constantly felt like I was losing my mind.  I feared everything.  I worried that something would happen to my sweet baby girls.  When I found Postpartum Progress and put a name to what was happening to me, I felt relief and hope.

I climb for my beautiful, brave, kind and strong daughters.  I talk to them about how I got sick after Skeeter was born.  I tell them that I will be there for them when and if they become mothers themselves.  I let them know that they can talk to me about anything at any time.  I love them unconditionally, and they are so important to me.

I climb for my sister, my sisters-in-law, my cousins, my friends, and my community of Warrior Moms, past, present and future.  This community rallies around each mom who needs help.  We are here for you. You are NOT alone.  You will get well.  Help is available.  Lean on the network of Warrior Moms who have been there.  We have been pooling our resources and information together to find support locally for struggling mamas.  I am hoping to reach as many mamas who need help in the Milwaukee community.  Please join us to climb out of the darkness at the gorgeous Havenwoods State Forest right in the heart of the city of Milwaukee.  If you cannot make it to the climb, please donate to this cause so that we can get resources to all mamas.  Watch this and help us give hope to all the mamas out there who are in their midst of their journey to recovery.  We want them to claim #myfightsong as their mantra to help them through their dark days.  Know this.  Never give up hope.

Posted in postpartum depression | Tagged , , | 4 Comments