I Stand with Planned Parenthood

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Last week I attended a Planned Parenthood “Pink out” rally at the California State Capitol during my lunch hour. I’d estimate there were about 400 people there in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. California lawmakers wore pink scarves and blazers and pink boxing gloves.

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Athena, the goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare, presided over the rally at the west steps of the Capitol, just as she stands on seal of the state of California. (May she be with us these next four years because we need both wisdom and strategic resistance in the face of Trump’s attack on our democracy.)

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I’ve been a supporter of Planned Parenthood for years, however yesterday I initiated a monthly donation. I’m proud of this. I support every woman’s right to choose. And firmly believe that women’s rights are human rights—Thank you, Hillary Rodham Clinton for saying this in 1995 in your speech at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Clinton took this idea to a global stage as First Lady, and it is now prominent in feminist discourse and was everywhere at the Women’s March on the 21st of this month.

The First Lady Hillary Clinton during her speech in Beijing, China.
By Sharon Farmer/White House Photograph Office – National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain, Link

With the ACA under attack, women, men and teens will need Planned Parenthood more than ever for basic health care screenings and all sorts of essential services. I am happy to help.

WEAVE Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

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WEAVE is an important organization in our community that benefits women and children. The name is an acronym for Women Escaping A Violent Environment.

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I liked his sign

“WEAVE is the primary provider of crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County.  Through its involvement in the Rescue & Restore Coalition, WEAVE also provides outreach and services for international and domestic victims of human trafficking.

“It is WEAVE’s mission to build a community that does not tolerate domestic violence and sexual assault and provides survivors with the support they need to be safe and thrive. WEAVE’s vision is a community free of violence and abuse.

“At WEAVE we believe that crisis intervention services are only part of the solution. Prevention and Education are critical in improving how our community responds to violence. WEAVE is committed to breaking the cycle of violence by educating the community to better understand the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault.”

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It’s always a challenge to know when to bring difficult topics to children. Balancing the need to educate them about problems in our society with the need to not wake children up too soon to pain and suffering and injustice is a thorny dilemma. Honestly, I think about this stuff all the time.

Our family had some good age-appropriate talks leading up to WEAVE’s Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, which took place on May 3rd. Our brother-in-law, Matt, got us involved. His family law practice, Forester Purcell, was a big sponsor of the event, and they put together a team of more than 50 men to walk in high heels as a way to raise awareness and funds to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.

My men turned up to walk it together. In heels.

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Forester Purcell team was 54 men strong

This was a crazy day for us, frankly. This two-hour WEAVE event was sandwiched between an early morning baseball game and the school’s May Day festival. The day was packed full and challenging, and totally outside normal.

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The truth is, this wasn’t my sons’ favorite event. A lot of grown-ups were being silly. (They’re pretty used to that, though.) The boys did have moments of fun, which it seems I didn’t really capture with my camera.

I’m very, very proud of them, of Ian, of my brother-in-law and step brothers for participating in this event. It’s visible. It’s meaningful. It’s important.

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And I am deeply grateful to all men who stand up and show young people how to be peaceful, respectful members of a society we are building together on the principles of equality, safety, and nonviolence. I am deeply grateful that my sons have such role models in their lives.

WEAVE says, “We had more 1,200 men pre-register and nearly 100 sign up the day of. We are still reviewing the tapes for final count of men but know at least 1,100 walked the walk. We will be submitting the final application to Guinness Book of World Records. Your efforts raised more than $352,000 to support survivors in our community. THANK YOU!”

I’ll say it, too. Thank you, Matt, Danny, Ian, Lucas, and Asher. Thank you, Sacramento.

And He’s 8

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This is my beamish boy. He turned 8 at the end of January. In the past I’ve tried to write letters to my children on their birthdays, but this year I’m struggling to keep up with all of my responsibilities. So, I’m just getting to this now.

This is my Asher. My sunbeam. My giggle. My fresh breeze.

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Asher is all I could ever want in a son. (And I can absolutely say that about both of my sons.) Asher is brave and honest, mischievous and fun-loving. He is kind and giving, and willing to pitch in. He’s a fierce warrior for justice. He is strong and righteous, but also sensitive and easily embarrassed. He is well-loved by everyone he meets. He is precious beyond all things.

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Lately Asher has had a series of brief illnesses. Several colds and a stomach bug. Nothing serious. His asthma is being well maintained, so that’s a relief. But he’s had illness after illness and it’s resulted in quite a bit of time at home with me. And while I hate when my child is sick, I do kind of love those quiet moment of cuddling and reading, working on my laptop beside him while he rests on the couch. I guess he really likes that kind of at-home time, too, because he’s been having a hard time coping on the days he’s been well enough to be at school. We seem to keep starting over. Just when he kind of gets his feet under him again and starts feeling comfortable with the school rhythm, he comes down with something new. Then he must reintegrate again. This means tears, feeling sad and lonely at school, missing mommy. He’s being supported by teachers and staff, and I couldn’t hope for a more loving environment for him. Little by little we’re bolstering him, helping him through his anxiety.

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He was in a pretty good place recently—just in time for a two week spring vacation. He was delighted to have his free time at home, with his favorite playmate Lucas and the neighborhood boys to knock around with during vacation. He likes his days easy, and prefers not to be told what to do with his time. (I can relate.)

Loves #8yearold #birthday #celebrations #family #love #boys

Anyway, I’m jumping back to January now: Asher’s 8th birthday was wonderful, full of friends and family and a visiting Bacon dog. We had his party at the indoor swimming pool like last year. Swimming in a heated pool at the end of January is a treat!

My friend Criss helped me fulfill Asher’s birthday wish: He wanted a cake depicting the Hungarian Horntail and the arena from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. No small order there! But Criss is a baking genius, and when I told her his wish she amazed me by saying, “Sure. We can do that.”

And we did.

Hungarian Horntail dragon in a rocky arena with golden egg, inspired by Harry Potter IV (vanilla cupcakes). Criss was the genius who sculpted the dragon body. I got to make the wings.  #friends #community #learning #gratitude #birthday #celebrations #8yea

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And he loved it. He even ate a bit of the gum paste dragon later on.

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He dodged the camera all day #8yearold #secondgrader #birthday #celebrations #beauty

I think the party was a big success. And I think this boy is the bees knees.

Home sick again

He teaches me something new every day. This week, since spring break ended and he went back to school, has gone better than I expected. Monday was a bit rough, but he seems to be more quickly getting back into the school rhythms. There’s nothing in the world like a happy Asher.

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I love him so!

 

Salad Days

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I ate soooo many salads this summer. Starting around June 4, I decided I wanted to eat more vegetables and challenged myself to eat 100 salads this summer.

I had one rule:
1. They had to be meal salads, which means they could have meat or other protein or fat or dairy or carbs like croutons or quinoa, but they must be mostly vegetables.

I didn’t count side salads, like when we had hamburgers and salad, or when we had pork chops and salad.

I'm calling this a breakfast salad. #100saladsummer #food

Breakfast salad Kale, Brussels sprouts,  cabbage, sungold tomatoes,  over-medium egg. #100saladsummer #food #summer #health

Then, for the first time in my life, I started eating breakfast salads.

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Salad days continue #summer #100saladsummer #food #health

I ate salads for lunch and salads for dinner.

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Salad number 22 #summer #food #health #100saladsummer

Still eating meal salads ... I think this is 19. #100saladsummer #food #summer

Lunch salad: chicken, spinach, broccoli, snap peas, tomatoes

Power lunch: kale salad with hard-boiled egg and good salami, coconut water "martini" #summer #food #health #100saladsummer

(Alas, that was coconut water and not a martini.)

Salad number 51, approximately.  I lost count. #100saladsummer #food #summer #health

And I know you don’t really care what I eat (ate). Totally fair. But this challenge I created for myself was good for me and I’m very happy I did it.

Grocery store kale salad. Too sweet, but I ate every bite. #100saladsummer #food #summer #health

Grand total? Not 100. I ate approximately 57 meal salads from June 4 to Sept 22.  I lost count somewhere in the 30s, and made an educated guess. That’s 57 burritos I didn’t eat! I call that a win.

 

100 Salad Summer

100 Salad Summer #100saladsummer

I’ve decided to do a challenge that I’ve just made up for myself. I’m going to eat 100 salads this summer (it’s got a nice ring to it: #100saladsummer). I don’t diet very well. I am totally committed one moment and then, as soon as I’m hungry, my commitment usually vanishes. So usually I don’t diet. Which is a fine trend that I don’t really care to try to break. And I don’t have time to research the latest food thing. But I started thinking it would be better to eat fewer burritos (my weakness) and more salads. So. This.

These are my rules for myself:
1. They are meal salads, which means they can have meat or other protein or fat or dairy or carbs like croutons or quinoa, but they must be mostly vegetables.

What do you think? Join me? Encourage me?

Cross Country

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I’ve been meaning to write this post for four months now. A-hem.

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Lucas joined the school’s cross country running team this past fall. He’s in sixth grade and it was his first opportunity to be involved in school sports, and he jumped in with both feet and tons of heart. The team started practicing even before the school year began, and Ian and I watched with wide eyes as he completed two after-school practices each week and ran meets on many Saturdays and a few Wednesdays too. The sixth grade boys turned out in force (I think we had eight from our class), and for many of them it was their first team sport experience. I am so proud of them. They were supportive of each other, encouraging, and really gave it their all.

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They trained hard and had a lot of fun too. Practices often involved running more than 3 miles.

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They practiced and ran races in 100-degree heat. Races were usually about 1.4 miles or 1.25 miles long.

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These are shots from their very first meet at the Lagoon Valley Classic Invitational in Vacaville.

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This was a meet that took place at Capital Christian Center school. I love this photo because it illustrates what it’s like to have sixth, seventh, and eighth graders racing at the same time! (Fortunately, they gave medals for the five fastest boys in each grade.) It also illustrates to me how much growth our boys are going to experience in these next three years.

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Some of our boys are just born to run; they’re fast and lithe, and they want it bad. But all the Sacramento Waldorf School boys were dedicated and worked hard to improve their times. And they all did through their training.

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Lucas got 5th place (among 6th grade boys)! He is feeling great!

Lucas came in fifth of all the sixth graders at this Capital Christian race. It was a very proud moment for him.

Over the course of the season, which was about eight weeks long, he improved his mile time by more than two minutes. By the end of the season he was running a mile in under-7-minutes.

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This was in the foothills at Foresthill High School for the Wildfire Invitational. The Waves middle school runners were warming up. This course took them a little more than a mile through the forest. It was a beautiful location.

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Go waves! Last middle school meet of the season.

And how’s this for a culminating moment? In the last meet of the season (“The Other Meet”), the runners trekked out over a track through an undeveloped field on the edge of some soccer fields. They ran past a hornet nest, and the insects stung them. Some described seeing runners covered in hornets. All of our boys came back with a sting or two. They kept running and all of them finished the race! So tough! I think I would have flipped out had I been in their shoes.

The middle school runners’ season ended in the middle of October. The Waves high school runners continued to train and run till Thanksgiving. I somehow misunderstood the team schedule and assumed that Lucas would train through November also. When we learned that was not the case, it was a great disappointment for him. He was having the time of his life and getting so good, he just wasn’t ready for the season to end! I am quite sure that he will be on the team next fall.

The Waves high school runners went on to perform very well in statewide competitions. They run faster and farther in their meets. The coach is looking at this big crop of young, middle school runners with excitement, perhaps imagining what they will do when they are older.

We are so proud of Lucas and what he accomplished! We are delighted that his first team sports experience was so completely positive, so affirming and encouraging. We are so grateful to the coaches, the other parents, and to kids on the team for such a wonderful time. And we cannot wait for next year’s season.

Mothering

There are some moments when I despair. I look at these two strange beings who bicker and occupy my home, who confuse and frustrate me, and are so different from me, and I wonder if I am having any civilizing influence on them at all.

Then I get sick, like I am now, and they come to me with soft small hands, stroking my skin and hair, bringing me cool wet cloths for my forehead, and rubbing my shoulders. They hold me close, cuddle up next to me, worry about me, and whisper sweet words of comfort.

And I feel their mothering and hear my own words coming back to me. It’s a mirror, and a window to their future selves.

Giving Thanks

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Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday. I warn you, this post is going to try to do too much.

Thanksgiving vacation has been all in all pretty great. It started a day early with my grandmother’s funeral services. That first weekend was full and emotionally difficult, but the funeral services eased into an early Thanksgiving family gathering (Ian’s family this time), where people were kind and gentle to me and let me slide on everything because I was sad, and then a party at my home for Tony and our local November birthday girls. My friends made it soooo easy for me to host that party by helping to prepare my house. Once I got over being embarrassed by the neglected state of things, I let go and allowed them to make the place sparkle and shine. When the day of the party came, I just got to sit back and enjoy having my home full of lovely, friendly people. Many, many thanks to Lady K and Jami for making it so perfect.

Trail

I got to do two trail runs with Stacy. She is a super running partner for me—very encouraging and she has introduced me to the joys of running on the trails instead of the street. We’re evenly matched, and that means I don’t have to worry about holding her back, and vice verse. Running near the river means we get to see vistas and oak trees, deer trails and sparkling sunshine. This fills my heart as much as the running does.

Sunday's trail run

While they had time off, the kids and I did some normal stuff, like shoe buying and errands. We had lunch with Papa and Uncle Mike one day. I couldn’t help but think I should go and visit my grandmother, but … the time for doing that is done.

Running with my boys; I think we're ready for tomorrow's 10K.

We went running at Del Campo high school’s track on the day before Thanksgiving. We were getting ready for The Run to Feed the Hungry the next day. Thanksgiving morning dawned and we four went to East Sacramento to run a 10K. My goal was to run together as a family, keeping to our six-almost-seven-year-old’s pace—run when he could run, walk when he wanted to walk. It kind of worked and kind of didn’t. I kind of got the experience I had hoped for, but … well, let’s say that Ian was right and I was wrong and it is evidently too hard for fast boys to slow down enough to meet mama’s family experience agenda. We’ll chock this up to experience; I don’t actually know if we can do this event together again.

Asher ran 5.5 miles. We walked the rest and I’m so proud of him. He was absolutely determined to run, and lots of people cheered him on all along the course.

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Here we are after the race. There were approximately 30,000 people there. The weather was perfect. The mood, festive. The course started and finished at Sacramento State University and looped through lovely East Sacramento. It was nice and flat.

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And let me boast a moment by saying that running this 10K was an incredible accomplishment for me, personally. I’ve never been able to run this far in my life. I am slow, but the training I’ve been doing these last two months has paid off.

A big part of why I’m pushing so hard to rewire my brain about exercise is because I see how naturally movement and athletics comes to my family. I see how much joy they derive from using their bodies and I want very much to be a good role model for them. I also want to be physically capable of doing things they like to do. They have inspired me to be better about this aspect of my life.

Anyway, Thanksgiving. We went to my parents’ home for Thanksgiving dinner and enjoyed a few hours with them and my brother and his girlfriend. It was relaxed and easy, and just what I needed.

Today's trail run

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Sorry, more trail run pics. (Stopping just a sec to take a photo is fun and then I have pretty evidence that I really did it.) Stacy doesn’t seem to mind. We ran yesterday morning I am thrilled to keep going even after meeting our race goal.

Mom and Dad, and Mom's sibs and sibs-in-law, minus one

We visited with my mother’s side of the family yesterday, too. Her brothers were in town visiting, so we got all five siblings together. Many thanks to my cousin Emily and her husband Mike for hosting. The shape of our family has changed and it was nice to meet all the kids and get them together. It was sweet how well they got along!

The "grandkids"

Asher and I have been reading a lot about Pilgrims, and the “first Thanksgiving” of 1621, which is entirely mythologized in our American culture. We’ve read about the time when the Wampanoag encountered the colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts, who were able to settle the area because the former occupants, the Patuxet tribe, had been wiped out by disease. Amazingly, this interest Asher has is completely his—I didn’t choose these topics or books for him. Doubly amazingly is that both books about this time of American history do not give the American myth of the first Thanksgiving.

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We’ve also been reading about Vikings, and how archaeologists and historians know what they know about them. Asher seems to have a budding interest in history.

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We watched some “Avatar The Last Airbender,” a family autumn staple, and a movie called “Arthur and the Invisibles.” We have snuggled in, cooked and eaten meals together, gone to piano lessons and basketball practice, and the boys have started working on Christmas projects. Ian and I had a date night, Lucas did math homework, and I painted a bit and today I planted irises and tulip bulbs.

See what I mean? Too much in one post, and a full and wonderful week. We are thankful for so much love and abundance in our lives!

And So It Turns

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I actually asked myself today, “where can I write about all these feelings I have to process them?”  Um … oh yeah! I have a blog.

It’s a full, exciting time and I am finding myself short on spare time. But, when I don’t write, I get kinda weird in the head, so I think it would be good for me to write more. This is a lesson I seem to have to relearn frequently.

Morning workout, 8-week fitness challenge, Waves Women

I’m back in the saddle with the whole exercise-for-fitness journey, which is my conflicted little hamster wheel. (It had been a long time since I was exercising regularly and I won’t bore anyone with the reasons why.) For the last seven weeks I’ve been going two mornings a week to a workout with a group of moms from our school. I call us the Waves Women, though our group has no official name. One lovely, enthusiastic lady recently became a personal trainer and she offered to whip us into shape in an eight-week program. I caught wind of this group a little late, but joined up. We’ve been exercising in the mornings in the park right next to the Waldorf school. The workouts at first were a little hard for me, but they’ve become much easier. And while I kind of hated it at first, as I have come to know these women better, I really have come to enjoy the whole experience. Because they are awesome. They show up and bellyache and laugh and try and modify and encourage each other. It’s very real and wonderful. (Many thanks to Black Francis for taking the photo above and letting me publish it here.)

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So, I would just like to say thank you to Meredith for giving her time and encouragement and energy, and thanks to all these super people for making this experience fun for me. Turns out I like working out with people I know!

I’ve also been doing a lot more walking and running lately. I’ve been walking with several friends semi-regularly and running a couple of times a week—but I had a cold for part of October and that slowed me down a bit. One day I walked 8 miles because I didn’t feel up to running, but walking was just right.

Good morning

It’s hard to go wrong when you can get out to places like this within just a few minutes. So, anyway … fitness. My motto right now is “Do more.” We’ll see where that takes me, but I can tell that I’m in a better place for it.

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This past weekend I acted as the officiant in the wedding of two dear friends. I was honored to be asked to do this work, and I am so happy for them. The whole thing was beautiful and I’m very pleased with how the ceremony turned out. Ian was the Best Man, and that meant that our boys were rather on their own for much of the day’s festivities. They were super good and I’m proud of them. There will probably be photos from the day floating about, but I confess I took none. I was too nervous before the ceremony to even think about getting out my camera or my phone.

Writing and performing this wedding ceremony has had me thinking a lot about love and commitment. About how two people can honor each other through time and changes and growth. How you continue to blend two lives in concert when people have differing needs and wants. I know that it takes work and patience and understanding. I know it takes open dialogue and discussion and that isn’t always pretty stuff. I know marriage includes a lot of unglamorous things that fall into the highly unsexy categories of “Daily Grind,” and “Working the Plan,” and “Roles.” I’m 18 years into my marriage and it’s frequently bewildering but always rewarding. It isn’t a fairytale, however, and no marriage can be—unless we’re talking about the kind of fairytale in which fingers get pricked and sacrifices are made and sometimes the woods are dark and scary.

Anyway, here’s what I know about love: It doesn’t fall from the sky or blossom at your feet without effort. You make it, and make it, and remake it, again and again, every day. You plant the seeds of love in a thousand little actions every day. What I don’t know about love and marriage is a lot longer than this paragraph, I’m sure.

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And now, about Halloween. I am feeling like I blew it this year. But I also know I don’t need to feel that way. I know that in the past I’ve set the bar for our Halloween costumes pretty high, and this year—well, the wedding and my work ate up Halloween. We will still go trick-or-treating. We will still see friends and enjoy our spooky night. Our kids will end up wearing something. Lucas has taken point on his assassin costume. He’s relaxed about it, and not worried about it being fantastic. Asher is going as a potion maker, and we have found a couple of items at the thrift store and he’ll carry with him tiny bottles of colored potions. That’s all his idea and I don’t have to control it. Right? Right.

I love Halloween, and I will have other opportunities to go mad about it. Just not this year. And that’s OK.

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So, maybe this post is about starting again, about continuing to try, about compromise and doing the good work, and about forgiveness. Maybe.

Tough Mudder #3

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Ian participated in his third Tough Mudder last weekend on July 13th at Northstar at Tahoe. (He’s been diving into a number of really challenging things lately.) He was in great shape for it and he went through the course really quickly.

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It turns out that you really should read the whole packet about boring stuff like parking. We had to park far from Northstar and take a bus in; the trip took 45 minutes and Ian was late for registration and his start time. But, it really doesn’t matter all that much. I waited up the hill a bit, listened to the pep talk (“I do not whine! KIDS whine! … This is a challenge, not a race.”) and the national anthem, and watched the start of the race as the Mudders charged uphill to begin the 10 mile course.

Then I found the lodge, an electrical outlet, and sat with my laptop and worked. I bought a sandwich and a beer. I’ve got loads of terrific pictures from past Tough Mudders, but I don’t really know what to do with them, and so this time I opted not to stand in the sun taking pics of athletes I don’t know—even if they are incredibly beautiful. Besides, I was under a deadline.

Eventually, when I figured Ian might be nearly done, I walked out and watched at the earliest place I was likely to spot him. While I was watching for him, he came up behind me, beer in hand and headband already on. I completely missed seeing him do the final three obstacles, which were the only ones I was even likely to get to see him do. Anyway, he finished in 3 hours and 18 minutes! Far faster than I had guessed.

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And then he enjoyed a really good burger and a beer. And we found we had some extra time…

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So we rode the chair lift up to see a couple of obstacles on the course, Electric Eel and a wall obstacle that I’ve never seen before. I have to say, it’s kind of fun watching people crawl through mud and cuss when they get shocked.

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We were on top of the world on that mountain, with brilliant blue Lake Tahoe in the distance and fabulous views in all directions.

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A great day, to be sure. Many thanks to the Bennetts for taking care of our boys while we were gone all day.

Congratulations, my love! I’m very proud of you.

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2017 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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