5k training

I have this big desire to be able to workout without inconveniencing my family.  I love cycling but that isn’t practical when I have to leave my dogs at home and find somebody to watch my girls.  If I’m outside working out why do my dogs need to be crated and bored?  That caused me to want to run; although I have always seriously disliked running.  I purchased a single jogger after Elizabeth was born and ran for a bit until I finally received a diagnosis of diastasis recti for my super fun ab issues.  At that point I stopped running and began physical therapy (while being pregnant with Alodia) and all was well.  That stroller became our beach junker and is still used when I only run with one of the girls.

I recently purchased a double jogger, my absolute favorite stroller: the Baby Jogger Summit x3 double.  Seriously I haven’t used any of my other 4 strollers since purchasing this one. #strollerhoarder

I am following the zen labs fitness app C25K which is a good coach and challenges me just enough to keep my motivation up.  This stroller practically pulls me along, unless the coastal winds are blowing against me which is always a great time.

My husband and I have signed up for a stroller-friendly 5k hosted by and benefiting the Semper Fi Fund.  We will be running it with his unit’s team and I plan to run it from start to finish.  Most likely he’ll be pushing the stroller so our times can be better, but I haven’t made a final decision about that yet.

Back to my favorite stroller ever – since finding this gem we have already committed to giving our Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double to a friend who is having a second child.  I’m not sure I can rid myself of our other strollers: our city select with second seat, single jogger, and umbrella stroller.  Feel free to give me words of encouragement that I can minimize my strollers down, and wish me luck while training for my 5k next month! 😀

He’s home

Elizabeth missed her dada so much while he was away.  In fact I didn’t really notice how badly she missed him while he was gone.  She wasn’t fussy or asking about him in any unusual ways; sadly it’s common for them to miss each other even when he does come home after work.  He simply leaves for work before she’s awake in the morning and comes home after she’s in bed again; to her, he wasn’t home that day.


I had no idea when he was going to be coming home; in fact I thought it was going to be the following day.  Out of nowhere I saw him pull into the driveway and told Elizabeth “let’s go outside, dada’s home!”  Instantly she ran toward the front door which was conveniently open as it has been beautiful mid-70’s weather lately.  Later in the afternoon while we were at dinner to celebrate dad being home Elizabeth would not let him go.  We set her up in a booster seat, which is also a first, but she just wanted to be held by him and cuddle.  When Elizabeth cuddles she rests her chin on your shoulder and pats your back; it’s seriously the cutest thing.  Being held by dada was the only thing she wanted the entire evening, and the following day.  It was so sweet to see, and I cannot get over it.

Since then, she has gone back to the normal routine of sometimes seeing him during lunch, sometimes not at all, we’re so unbelievably blessed that she is easy going and not really bothered by the unpredictable schedule yet.  She is arriving at the age where she will be impacted by his being gone for days, weeks, and God forbid, months.  We’ve been very self-sufficient in maintaining the home and our lives together (with Alodia, too).  Not much changes in our routines and habits when he leaves nor when he returns.  As a family we kind of just fit him into the rythmic works of our everyday lives.

As heartbreaking as it will be to see her sadness when he is absent, celebrating his returns will be worth it.

Finding peace

We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy. -Albus Dumbledore

I recently made a decision to clean my life.  Actually, clean doesn’t really explain it properly.  I scrubbed and disinfected my life.  I began this process shortly after Elizabeth was born about a year and a half ago; I finally realized that I wasn’t as happy as I could be.  However I remained unable to pinpoint exactly what changes needed to be made to ensure that I was as happy as I should be.

I began my pursuit of happiness by purging belongings of mine.  This was helpful twofold: 1. Minimalism is freedom, and 2.  We move very frequently, therefore fewer belongings is simply fewer things to pack, move, unpack, etc.  I was relieved, but it wasn’t removing the weight from my shoulders that inspired the purge.

At that point, I decided to attempt to change personal habits.  I did this by making sure to clean up immediately to reduce stress throughout everyday life and also to set a more concrete schedule for waking, eating, etc.  Like minimizing, this too improved my life, but still fell short from removing the weight I was aiming to dispose of.

The last attempt I made was concerning relationships. Only recently did I became aware of the impact toxic relationships have had on me my entire life.  It is difficult to notice things you are so used to.  It’s like the smell of home: you are capable of noticing the smell of others’ homes, but are desensitized to your own, although it is there.

I decided to clean my life of relationships that involved 100% negative emotions, and 0% positive.  These relationships were with people who I dreaded talking to because I was constantly insulted, discredited, humiliated, or just plain old bullied.  With these people, I would experience something wonderful (pregnancy, for example) and absolutely dread informing them because I knew it would result in a snide comment.  These people caused me to become a worse person when I was thinking of or in the presence of them.  The last thing I want is for my family to suffer through the same things I have, especially with me being the toxic person; and they definitely were while I was preoccupied over these awful relationships.

Obviously that led to a bit of drama from some third parties, but the amount of support I received was truly eye-opening.  The immense weight lifted from my shoulders was, and is, immeasurable.

There have been so many improvements to my life which I never could have envisioned being bound to this one simple stressor.  I feel uplifted, peaceful, and relaxed in ways I never have before.  Letting go has been one of the most freeing things I could have ever done for myself and my family.

I can only hope that it is just as peaceful for the other people.  Without the awfulness they associated with me (as I’ve been so constantly informed), I genuinely hope they are as happy as I am.  Some things are simply not meant to be and forcing them is where situations become catastrophic.

Know that it is okay to let people go if both parties are suffering because of a forced relationship.  Be at peace with finding, rekindling, or utilizing loved ones who truly do love you.  Do not put up with any form of abuse for any excuse whatsoever.  Stand up for yourself so you can be at peace, it’s well worth it for you and those who sincerely love you. ❤

Allow yourself to be happy so that you can be the best you for those who need that.

Valentine’s Day craft inspiration

I love holidays and especially love the fun that comes with them.  People tend to tuck their creativeness away until holidays where it will suddenly emerge!  I wouldn’t complain if we were all creative all the time though. 😉

Crafts and artwork are always fun, and the best thing is that with holidays I don’t necessarily have to be mentally creative or imaginative for the themed crafts since so many people already have been and share their great ideas.

That brings me here, with lovely ideas to do for Valentine’s day crafts for Elizabeth and Alodia which I have rounded up here to share with you.  Once Elizabeth wakes up we’ll begin our craft date on the porch! ❤


These hearts are quick and easy and can be made entirely with leftover craft scraps and recycling.  How great is that?  I can imagine how cute these would look hanging on a girly Christmas tree, too.


Crafts that celebrate not only a holiday but that also capture a moment in time like these fingerprints are especially dear to me.  This fingerprint heart tree could so easily be mailed to loved ones as a Valentine’s day card!


These hearts are so pretty I’d love to make some simply to hang in the girl’s play area!  They just use paper, paint, scissors, and shaving cream.  Imagine how fun that will be for little hands to get messy with (even big hands, lets be serious, I’d smush it around too).

I can’t even collect any more at the moment, I’m too eager to get the supplies assembled so Elizabeth can dive right in after waking up before it gets dark and buggy!  Happy Sunday!

Sources: yarn hearts  |  fingerprint tree  |  shaving cream heart

What is a dad?

My dad wasn’t there.  He abandoned my mom and my two older sisters while I was still a fetus, maybe even earlier.  He physically left when I was just six weeks old.  Legally left us when I was about 6 months old.  The divorce was nasty, I found records of it when I was about 20 and while reading through them, I sobbed, I never made it through all of them.

My father figure as I refer to him as, George, was a godsend.  Many of my traits, philosophies, mannerisms, and interests come straight from him.  He has the warmest heart, but carries a big “fuck it” attitude.  He is one of the hardest working people, even when not at work.  When a flood destroyed my mom’s garage while I was an infant, he built us a new one, and he put it in a better location.  When my mom’s cars were in the shop for whatever reason (as they frequently were) he provided a backup pickup for her to use.  When we had basketball or lacrosse games or recitals, he was there to cheer us on.  Christmas mornings, he was there.

He taught me how to work, how to fish and shoot a gun, drive a car, hammer a nail, swear like a grumpy old man, and he taught me to respect myself, most importantly without guilt.  He was also the one to drop me in a snowbank if I wasn’t behaving right.

My husband is the best father I could ever imagine for our girls.  I didn’t grow up with a dad to admire.  I didn’t dream about walking down the aisle at my wedding with my dad (but I did dream about the day I could change my last name for a positive reason).

20150714 Butler-324

My husband isn’t home frequently.  His work is physically and mentally demanding and exhausting.  He holds so much responsibility concerning both people and things, and that’s just talking about work.  It seems like when he is home he’s either doing work or sleeping; he rarely cleans or does projects around the house.  He doesn’t have time for hobbies.  But he does father our children.  He is always able to push whatever he’s busy with aside for one or both of the girls.  Almost nightly, when he’s home, he falls asleep with one of them on his chest.  I have so many photos I could print a calendar with a new photo each day.  He lovingly sleeps in Elizabeth’s room if she’s having a particularly rough night, and he so delicately carries them both so I have “off” time.


He mentally freaks out when one of them gets hurt or startled, like so many dads-of-daughters do, and he simply cannot say no.

I’m hoping that he will be present for their recitals and sports games, and that he’s able to teach them how to fish and shoot, drive, and use tools.  However in his career path he may not be able to do many of those, if any, but I know he does (and will do) everything he possibly can for them.  ❤  He is the perfect dad.

Sappy post because Elizabeth has been asking for him all day but she’ll have to wait a couple weeks to see him. (Plus he deserves a little praise every once in awhile, right?)

6th move since November 2013

Boxes everywhere.  2017 has been so crazy!  It started off, as usual, with a birthday and anniversary back to back.  Then we traveled to Arlington for an interment of a loved one which was a beautiful ceremony and a nice see-you-later.  That was a quick 2 day trip.  After that we signed the lease for a different house in our neighborhood and had 5 days overlap to empty the old one and begin moving into the new one.  Since then we have been slowly working toward making this new house home, then celebrated another birthday.  I can’t even begin to explain how ecstatic I am that my daughters have birthdays in July and October!

The new house we’re in is a single story with a large front yard.  Across the road is a small wooded area which leads to a river.  The sunsets are phenomenal.  This house has been updated since it’s birth unlike our last house.  Because of this it has much better aesthetic.  Oscar and charlie have both mastered their annoying quirks in this home: Oscar digs in the back yard and Charlie figured out how to escape through the fence, and Elizabeth absolutely adores having all of the square footage on one floor so she can run twice as much as before.

I have completed two small decor DIY projects for his home, one which has been on my mind for two years now!  Posts about those projects to come.  ❤

I hope your new year has been going as successfully as ours has here!

Post Christmas mess

We are officially moving next week.  I cannot believe it’s happening so quickly!  It’ll be like this: my birthday, our wedding anniversary, an interment at Arlington Cemetery for Will’s great uncle, then moving day.  Four days of booked.   It will be so much at once but we can do it.  We’re going to postpone our anniversary celebration until we’re settled into the other house and can relax a bit.  Plus that will give us additional time to plan what we want to do as we really haven’t.


We began tearing down Christmas decor on the 26th which is early for us.  We had to box everything up so we could move onto permanent decor and other “things.”  Our home looks like it was pillaged last night; there are boxes everywhere in our living area, both empty, half full, and closed up with tape.  By the evening of the 27th everything Christmas was boxed up, in the garage, or in our move-out staging area in one corner of the living room.  Our dining room is accumulated packed boxes and soon we will be packing our belongings upstairs.

I cannot wait to share all of our recent projects with you as we’ve been so busy with the holidays that I haven’t had time to write about them.  I will find time and share our recent fun after we settle in.  2016 has been a tough year for many but it has brought so many extraordinary things as well.  ❤