(Catching up on some old "meant to post them back when they actually happened" blog posts!)
A bit of backstory: Ellie was born at Bella Vie Birth Center a few weeks after the Haiti earthquake 2 years ago and actually the midwife that was supposed to help deliver her ended up going to do relief work in Haiti the week she was born and we ended up with another midwife from the birth center who had just returned from Haiti. Well, these 2 midwives along with several others have since created a free birth center in Haiti that is run and supported by their non-profit MamaBaby Haiti.
This past summer they organized a fundraiser effort for MBH in which they asked people to sign up for the Portland Triathlon with the goal of raising $500 each to help the birth center. As soon as I heard about it my mind went back to those first weeks postpartum when I sat on my couch with my brand new babe on my chest, reading/hearing about their experiences in Haiti and the kind of circumstances babies were being born in in Haiti and I just couldn't NOT do anything. Even at that time, I knew in my heart that I would someday try to help their efforts there.
The opportunity to raise some money and support MBH finally presented itself to me and I found myself signing up for my first Sprint Triathlon! (Sprint distance = 1/2 mile swim, 16 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run).
I trained with a group of about 7 people all summer, receiving workout instructions from our trainer every Monday that had me running, biking and swimming all week long and then meeting up for group training sessions almost every weekend. The big day finally arrived on August 21st and we were up before the sun to head down to the Portland Riverfront to get things all ready to go for what would end up being the most challenging thing I have EVER done!
Sunrise behind the Hawthorne bridge (which I would later swim under and run across)
setting up transition area
Fellow fundraisers and team mates-
we were the only "fundraising team" participating in the triathlon
and seeing all those green shirts out on the course was super encouraging!
I knew I wasn't dying sweating alone!
My age group of women taking off on the swim, I'm in there!
(and was quickly left in the dust splashes so I didn't endure too much elbows or kicks to the face)
Time for two 8 mile laps up and around barber blvd. and one big steep hill! (twice-ugh!)
almost done, time to run
maybe a hundred yards to go
smiling because it's finally over and the finish was in sight!
Biggest cheerleader and support of all, through out the entire training time and day of.
I finished in 2 hours 7 minutes and was 9th place in my age group of about 14 women.
It felt AMAZING to finish! During the race I kept telling myself, NEVER AGAIN!! (knowing I had also already signed up for the Oktoberfest Tri in September!) But by the time I was able to cool down, get some water and enjoy the whole atmosphere of people who had also just done what I had done, I was feeling pretty proud and "endorphinized" and was excited to try another one! (and I did!)
All in all, the people who supported my fundraising efforts helped me raise almost $1000!!
I hope in the future to be able to do more fundraising/supporting/serving for MamaBaby Haiti!
Check them out here!
Thank you SO much to all who supported me in this effort
OK, I need to get something off my chest that has been stirring up in me....I am thankful for the stirring because it is my hope that it will cause action....and I am thankful for this blog because it is my hope it will create accountability and support....
I've been using the television WAY too much lately with Ellie and it has become a bad habit!
I am NOT ok with this and this is me admitting it and then committing to making some changes. It goes against the parenting style I desire to have for my girl and it boils down to me being plain LAZY! I am going to skip the beating myself up part of this blog (done it enough in my head) and just focus on my goals and desire for change.
Let me also say, that I am 100% NOT judging ANY parents that do let their kids watch tv. This isn't about that.
This isn't about me wanting Ellie to never watch tv or movies, I do believe there's a time for that and I have always wanted to have family movie nights with popcorn and jammies and kids piled on the couch when their older....But if I'm being honest, I will tell you that lately OPB has been on at our house every morning from 7:00am to 11:00am and that is 4 freaking hours!! I don't care if Sesame Street is educational, I no longer want to accept this about myself.
This is about me not wanting to take the easy/lazy road when it comes to how I want to spend time with my daughter. I don't stay home with her all day and so the time that I get with her is limited and precious but more often than not lately I have found myself turning to a cartoon or movie so I can get something done, have a moment to myself or do something that (yes, I am going to admit this!) satisfies/fufills me MORE in that moment than simply playing with/being with my daughter....
Ok, maybe I am going to beat myself up a bit over that one because it kind of sickens me that that is where I am at right now in my feelings. I have a beautiful amazing daughter in my life and every single word in my letters to her are completely honest and true but I also know I have gotten selfish and off track. And I'm not going to settle for that because I know I am better than that and I also know she DESERVES better than that. I am not saying that my world needs to revolve 100% around Ellie, 100% of the time because it doesn't and it can't and it shouldn't. I need to focus on being the "best" me for me so I can be the best me for her, and him and HIM. I know there is a intricate balance of motherhood, wifehood, sisterhood, daughterhood and everything else we want to be as women that is involved there.
I am saying that I want to have an attitude that reflects my true heart and desires for our life and my child. I am saying that I am ready to make some changes and not settle for easy and convenient anymore. I have seen all kinds of ideas for interacting with kids, or teaching them, or just being with them all over the internet, in books and just lived out by people and I have always appreciated them and looked forward to doing them with my own kids and it's just time for me to get back to that. A friend once told me that "they loved how I got down on the floor and just played with Ellie" and I want to be that mom again. I know I still AM her, I just want to be her MORE again.
This is what I do know:
there will still be times Ellie watches some tv,
but there will be times where my knees are dirty from crawling around on my floor and dishes will remain unwashed for a while longer,
there will be times when it's hard to read a book for the 50th time again,
but there will be times where my soul is blessed by a hug and a slobbery kiss,
there will be times when it's a struggle to think of something new to do,
but there will be times of adventures, pretend, and fulfillment.
Ultimately the hard, the boring, the frustrating, the lazy, the ugly, the WHATEVER....will be drops in the bucket compared to,
the times of peace, joy, learning, sharing, growing, living, LOVING.....and i KNOW this!
(I think I really needed this typed out reminder though!)
This is what I also know: There will no longer be 4 hours of cartoons in the morning, I COMMIT to knowing that and living it out and I want you: dear readers, friends, mama to know it too!
There is grace in community, there is strength in accountability, there is renewal in confession.
Your mama has definitely failed at consistent monthly posts to you on here but I hope to get a few more in before you turn 2! In just 2 short months away! Then I hope to make this little blog here into a book for you to always have.
Baby, (i know I should probably stop calling you that too!) I just want to tell you how special you are to me and your daddy. You are such a light in our life. You constantly amaze, teach, challenge, and humble us. We are so thankful for you and that God picked you to be OUR daughter and for us to be your parents!
Ellie, you are spunky and sassy, super brave and full of energy. You are also a sweet heart and a lover. You are determined and smart. You are changing every day and we are continually amazed by you!
Currently you LOVE: to say "Hi" and "Bye" to EVERYONE when we are out and about (charmer!), twirl and spin in circles until you fall down from dizziness and then get back up and do it again, watch a "moobie" (movie), play with your new kitchen, more specifically tear apart your entire kitchen :), write on the chalkboard in your room, NOT sit in the shopping cart (mama's fault on that one!), take off your pajamas and even diaper at some point in the night/early morning nearly every night!! and offer kisses to EVERY dog and cat you come across. I have made countless memories witnessing you do all of these things and more!
(Your Christmas present this year made by your dad and I)
Some other things you are doing/saying since my last letter to you are:
- Saying: mama, dada, baby, ellie, carter, nanny, papa, no, mine, yep, please, eat, ball, cracker, hi, bye, purple, blue, yellow, two, nine, "read a book", "watch a movie", snack, "take a "back" (bath), hello, puppy, cat, hat, pretty and some more I know I am forgetting!
- You know a lot of you shapes and we practice on your chalkboard. You know circle, heart, square, triangle and diamond for sure.
- You also know some colors now and get them right about 90% of the time, your favorites are definitely yellow and blue but you also know red, green, orange and purple
- When you count, you only say two and nine, which is super cute but we're working on that one :)
- You can climb INTO your crib, but not out of it! Not sure when we'll put you into a big girl bed yet.
- You are pretty good at sharing what your playing with and we always see you offering toys to kids when you are in sunday school or at story time. Of course you have your "mine" moments but I'd like to think when I see you offer toys to kids who aren't playing with something, it is because you want to make sure everyone is included, which is a trait I hope you will grow up with!
- You LOVE to take a bath and request one every night
-You put out your hands to hold ours and pray EVERY time we sit at the table, without us prompting you. You also say Amen! (heart melt!)
-You love to color and read books.
-You love to sweep and I shortened the swifter just for you to use to push around.
-You love to jump on the couch or beds (and YES! we let you, get that energy out girlfriend!!)
-You like to say "no", so you are learning about timeouts :)
- Everyday it seems like you learn or say something entirely new!
Ellie, you have stolen our hearts! Thank you for being exactly who you are! I am so thankful to be your mom and be the recipient of your sloppy kisses, your sweet snuggles, your tight hugs, your precious love. You challenge me and motivate me to be better each and every day.