family

The Fog Rolled In Fast

It was a Friday night. A little chilly but tolerable. An outdoor event was on the agenda. All seemed normal until the riveting phone call shattered the ambient air.

A different kind of chill entered the air. A painful chill. A sudden chill. A heartfelt chill. A family member passed that chilly night.

Our beloved Axel the husky was killed tragically when he escaped from a fenced yard. A runner by design but loyal friend to the end. Axel was smart, fluffy and a joy to be around. He was the runt of the litter when we got him, overbite and all. He was just perfect for us.

Like most families we are less than perfect thus a pup with an overbite would fit right in. The breeder said don’t you want to pick a different one? Nope he was the one that we thought was special. We all loved him in an instant.

Year after year he played dress up and entertained the kids shenanigans and photo shoots. Pretty sure he made his way into many tiktoks over the years and he was always photogenic.

Axel never met a stranger. He was well-mannered but affectionate. This tragedy has left me in a fog since I found out about his fate. I can’t turn back time but I can honor his memory.

Axel was a therapy dog for one of my kids. He comforted him when rough times were upon him and he provided companionship when it was time to play. Dogs just know what their humans need.

Every time I run and want to quit, I would think Axel is running along side me in heaven and he wouldn’t quit. When I’m sad like I am now I will flip back in my photo reel and smile and say those are tears of joy not sadness as we had many good years and memories together.

When my family is sad I will support them as we work through this tough time together. The hurt will pass in time but I am forever thankful for my memories.

I do have other pets to help me soothe my sorrow because they know when their human is sad. I am grateful for this but anyone who has dealt with a tragic death knows all to well the ripping from ones arms is so very different than the death of somebody aging.

Unplanned. Unexpected. Unwanted. Those are the ugly U words that come to mind today as I sit in fog holding onto to memories. Say a prayer for my pup in doggy heaven as he chases squirrels or whatever he so chooses to chase. You will be missed Axel!

These bold blue eyes will forever be visible in our hearts. 💞 As with any loss of a family member one must mourn. This post has been sitting for a bit until I was ready share and honor his memory. Lost but not forgotten.

fitness and nutrition

My Dumbbell Museum

A few days ago I shared about some “vintage” Easter treasures that have found new life in our home during the coronavirus pandemic.

There’s another area in our home that has found some new life as we have become more and more isolated.  All the members of my family have lost access to our gym and fitness facilities / practices, so our makeshift basement gym space has become a hub of activity on and off from 6:30 am (my exercise time) on throughout the day.

As with many things in this new “normal” we are making do with what we have. Stuff is coming out of corners, emerging from piles, being excavated after years of gathering dust.  Most of our gym stuff is old, inherited, or has other stories.  Here’s a glimpse of my fitness lives through my gallery of dumbbells.  And these are only the ones that I use(d)…those above 25 just aren’t on my radar at the moment.

Starting with the smallest:

Empower handweights: 2.5 lbs

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I used these when I was trying to walk my weight off.  Before running, before CrossFit, before any of it.  I would pump my arms up and down as I walked. Not sure how to use them in my current routines but anything is possible!

Reebok coated baby dumbbells: 5 lbs

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These are from my “aerobics in front of the TV while the kids are napping” phase.  Seems like not that long ago, but it really was.  I showed these to my son this week and he remembered watching me do my little routines with them from the stairs. Now they are paint-splattered and worn.  But, I remember holding the weights over my head and lowering them behind my head to feel my triceps burn. They work for T-raises and other isolated accessory movements.

Super Star Orbatrons: 11 lbs (yes, 11 pounds which makes them extra awesome!)

These babies, with their sand-filled copper sheen, date back to my childhood. They’re almost as big as my head! And I use them almost every day. I know, you’re jealous.  They’re fabulous. My dad would sit and do curls with these at the dinner table while he was reading the paper.  He was always fighting to retain any bit of strength he could on his ultra-arthritic arms. So these have sentimental value.  They are big and clunky. They are round, which adds a challenge when I am trying to balance on one in pushup position while picking up the other.  But they make me smile in all their 1980’s style glory.

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(Pause to note: I am reallllyyyyy missing 15-pounders right here. I often used those in weighted situps and some of the slower accessory movements.  I keep scanning the internet for used ones almost daily!)

Metal Hex Dumbbells (on bench): 20 lbs.

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These came from my in-laws. They at least have flat sides so they don’t roll around like the 10s do. These are my go-tos for overhead presses and many other movements.   Not much to say about them but they are durable and well used.

Rubber Hex Dumbbell: 25 lbs.

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Finally, the only “new” dumbbell in the bunch.  I bought this when I was at my first CrossFit gym.  That gym had nothing between 20 and 35 pounds, and that span was too big of a jump for me.  So, I bought myself *one* 25-pound dumbbell. I hid it in the ladies dressing area when I wasn’t using it.  It was not too long ago that picking this up was a feat!  I remember doing my first 25-pound single-arm snatch with it only a couple of years ago.  Now, I mainly use it for snatches.  Using it still gets me winded.

I don’t have 30-pounders which stinks.  We have 35s but they are metal.  I’m not especially confident (and I am truly clumsy) so I tend to leave everything over 25 alone, especially since I don’t have a coach watching these days.  But that’s ok.

I move every day, I lift weights, and I’m making do with what I have.  I guess that’s a motto for me at this point fitness-wise.  Making the best with what I have, and hoping for the best as time goes on. It’s not glossy or shiny or perfect or new, kinda like me. As with these dumbbells, there are many ages and pages to my fitness story.  This chapter will be a memorable one.

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balance, challenges

Abundance

It was my fourth trip to the grocery store in the past ten days.

Even in that long time, the scene was mostly the same.  Fruits and veggies were pretty well stocked.

But, canned goods were basically empty. Same with the pasta aisle. Fresh meat cases completely bare. Bread was hit or miss. Toilet paper shelves had tumbleweeds on them once again…ten days later.  Ten days!?!

It’s enough to make me anxious.  People walking around the store, shopping with masks and gloves, looks of mistrust.

Where did everything go?  Why is there nothing left?

Early on in this coronavirus crisis, I listened to a podcast by Lewis Howes.  I was still going in to my job at that point, so it was only a week ago (but wow it seems like so much has happened in that week).  I was listening to “8 Ways to be Calm and Prepared During a Crisis.”  It was number 8 that stood out to me the most: Keep giving.  Howes talks about how important it is to stay in an abundant mindset, even when (maybe especially when) things are scarce.

But it’s not just an abundance of things he is talking about.  He talks about time, energy, effort, love for people we know and even people we don’t.  He told a story about an exchange with a stranger in an elevator.  Instead of ignoring the person at this awkward time, he made the effort to talk to them and share just a word or two of general encouragement.  We are all in this mess together (even if we have to stay physically separated from most).

I took his advice this week.  Every morning as I was out riding my bike or running, I made it a point to say a clear “good morning” to everyone I passed.  I looked them in the eye. Many were surprised, but most responded.  During the day, I reached out to colleagues just to check in and say hello.  I tried to text my gym friends, since many of us have stopped going and I want to encourage them to stay active and connected.  I had longer talks with both of my brothers than I have had in months.  I wrote letters and started creating artwork to send to people I can’t see or who might need a lift.

Abundance happens to be a common theme in the book I am reading right now, too: “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero.  More on that later, but continuing to work on my inner dialogue about what my purpose is and what is available to me is a big challenge. I do think I happen to be reading this book right now for a reason.  I have never had an abundance mindset, which is reflected in my home, my income, how much I eat, how much I spend, and all kinds of other ways. I have always been worried I will run out of things.  But, as I have been working on for years, I am rewriting my story toward a more magnificent ending. This is one doozy of a chapter for me, and for many of us.

How about you? How can you come from a place of abundance when we are faced with possibly having less, earning less, even trusting less and connecting less?  What do you have to give abundantly? We all have something, even many things.  Who can you lift today?  Share your story in the comments.

 

 

celebrations, coaching

Growing Up Fast

They may not be fully grown but they represent a few of my maturing players. Many team colors over the years but the same great kids and lots and lots of memories.

I have known this group since they were in elementary school. I wasn’t their only coach but I was fortunate to have them with me for a few seasons, reasons, tournaments and so on.

We built strong bonds. We built trust. We giggled. We traveled from state to state many times and boy do we have car stories to tell. They got better in the sport they love. They had their glow up. Now they are in high school. Almost ready for college.

They are now working as volunteers to pass their knowledge on to the younger kids coming up in the ranks. Something they probably didn’t imagine when they first suited up in their lacrosse gear for the first time. This picture was taken in the state of Alabama about 5 years ago.

I have a front row seat in watching them excel as leaders on and off the field. They don’t get paid. They work hard. They are role models. From brace-faced young girls to whistle-blowing officials. These girls have grown up all things lacrosse. They are now choosing to volunteer in the sport that has afforded them so much. This gem of photo was a first 3 v 3 tournament in the Sunshine State back in 2016.

These girls may not see the value of what they are doing today but they are leading by example. Those they are mentoring and will later mentor others. They will springboard off this leadership experience as they head off to college. Their team bonding will crossover into the workplace one day. This keepsake photo was after a hard fought championship game in sunny South Carolina in 2017.

They are tomorrow’s workers. They have a solid foundation. They will be successful. I will enjoy watching them grow into greatness. How can I not include the toy soldier photo from a holiday tournament held in Georgia every year. One that is festive and full of crazy costumes and most notable is the cold temperatures and bad weather that comes with a December tournament.

This is why I coach. I love being a part of these girls’ stories and I love having them a part of mine. From costumes to travel and beyond the sport of lacrosse has bonded these girls for years. They are there for each other when times are challenging and they push each other when the need arises.

As many of my lacrosse girls approach adulthood, this is my big thank you for letting me be a part of your journey. I remember so many of my coaches throughout life and the lessons they taught me. I hope my players remember me one day and the memories we made.

So many hurdles for these girls and other athletes who had their seasons interrupted because of the Coronavirus scare. Uncharted territory. The closest reminder for me was 9/11 however none of these girls even remember 9/11 as they were not born yet. What a crazy reflection in this growing up post.

I now feel old and experienced in life having seen the Gulf War, 9/11 and now Coronavirus. Crazy to think my parents talked about the potato famine and I get to tell stories about the toilet paper famine.

This post is for my three musketeer trio and those junior coaches that paved the way before them. You know who you are.

inspire

Book Buddies

I’m on a small book kick. One that I can read pretty quickly based on the size and of course my attention span! Grateful that I have friends who are avid readers but also like to share books. I guess that makes us book buddies of sorts.

This time around I got Wolfpack by Abby Wambach on a book rotation. My kind of read. Short and sweet but potent at the same time. Pretty soon you will see a short and sweet publication from 2 CHX but we are not quite ready for its unveiling just yet.

A lot of time and planning goes into publishing a book. From the cover design to the binding to the words itself. Even if small, a book designed correctly will pack a punch. I’m putting the Wolfpack book to test as I write this blog and we shall see how it holds up to the 2 chicks test.

I would give this read a two thumbs up. For one it was simple. No big fancy words. Just short, sweet and to the point. I guess that style appeals to me.

Next footnote was the subject matter and the vantage point it mentions. It pretty much dialed into a post I wrote about recently called life’s penalty box. As an athlete, a coach, an author and I mom I could relate on many levels.

I had many takeaways which meant I learned something. It also reinforced my non-apologetic lifestyle I live. I will springboard off this small book and use it as inspiration for the current batch of youth I am working with.

A little book. A quick read. A thought-invoking book. Keep learning. Keep living. Keep challenging yourself. Inspiration is always around. Thank you Abby for sharing your triumphs and failures with the world. I hope my blog lets you know you made an impact today from a far. As March is upon us, I am feeling lucky I had the opportunity to read this little gem of book and share my thumbs up rating with all of my readers.

dare to be different, friendship

A Little Chick Story

I am sure some of you are looking for a flirty chick flick type of story, but this is just a chick story about where we got our start. Boring to some but memorable to us.

2 Chicks and a Pen met on the lacrosse field. One chick on each side of the fence which is so symbolic to our overall bond and relation in general. One chick was a coach and one chick was a spectator. A particular spectator who spent most days hiding under an umbrella avoiding the sun, the shade, people, and rain on any given day. The coach however was loud and in-your-face kind of coach which was what made the two most unlikely to be paired in the way we are today.

An unlikely duo developed a friendship first through their kids. Then quickly friends turned into extended family. From there the friendship developed into a deep-rooted partnership that took on the brand that we know today as 2 Chicks and a Pen.

3 children’s books published, a business formed, countless blog adventures documented, thousands of fans around the world, and so many memories made. From napkin scribbles at a local restaurant to book signings to field research destinations, we have experienced so much on our path and we have so more ahead of us.

The picture below shows us running a 15k together this month. We have also run a half marathon, some 5k extreme races and some 10k races together. I’m sure when we started writing together running races wasn’t even a blip on the radar. Now we schedule fitness events throughout the year. This is just one of the ways we have grown in love of fitness, friendship and ability to share stories with others.

The way the story goes, we launched in 3 days according to Chick 2, but that’s fairly inaccurate. We actually have several years under our belt currently. Originally we connected almost immediately but that’s not 3 days or even 3 weeks. We began using writing prompts as a way to get to know each other. We traded countless hours writing and chatting. Trust followed.

Soon after, 2 Chicks and a Pen hatched as a legitimate business entity. Goals were set. Timelines established. Projects mapped out on the horizon. We went on to naturally evolve as writers, motivators, athletes and so much more. Our story is unique to us. Nobody will be able to replicate our vision.

The creative spark we have is definitively categorized as amazing. Our timeline is limitless. Our zest for life and sharing it on a large scale is fearless. Our opposite personalities is part of the dynamic. We just do things the #2chx way.

Our journey has had many twists and turns and ups and downs to say the least. We live life so it’s expected. Juggling families, careers, life and our own personal journeys. Somehow on our path Chick 2 joined the Crossfit movement and hasn’t looked back. We did some research and development on nutrition and used ourselves as guinea pigs. Some of these stories we share on this very blog. That’s just one of the side bars that spun off of 2 Chicks. One of many.

We took the road less traveled. We are a legal business entity. We register our business and pay taxes each year. We have a big online presence yet we are active in our community. We have an expensive hobby but we set out with a goal to improve lives through literacy. Whether we write on paper, print our stories in book form or write online we are communicating in our grandest fashion. We are succeeding at our mission and leaving a literal legacy behind.

Word wizards of sorts. We have so much to share some days that we are busting at the seams. While other days we may suffer from writer’s block and can’t string a sentence together. One chick may hold on to featured articles for days or weeks or even months on end until they reach perfection. One chick may write away fast in the moment but has to rewrite several times to correct typos. It’s a creative process for us. We do it over and over and love every opportunity we can sink our teeth into.

My favorite memory to date is reading our stories to kids and having them ask questions about us, our writing process and the whys behind the stories. When they realize what’s beyond the book itself their curiosity sparks. I want to be a writer! I want to be an illustrator! I want to make a cartoon book with my friend! Those innocent but curious minds are in growth mode. Exposing them to our stories lets them see opportunities for themselves. Infinite opportunities.

Chick 1’s writing process is notably different than Chick 2’s. Neither is wrong or right, just different. We are constantly evolving and choosing our path(s) as we mature in our creative minds. Keep watching.

We appreciate you joining in on our public ride or chickscapades whether it’s one post you read or many. We leave a trail of chick dust here, there and everywhere. You may see us on the web, maybe you follow us on Instagram, maybe you catch our tweets, maybe you are one of our local pals who knows us around town. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, we love you.

As Valentine’s week is upon us. We wanted to share a little of our inside story to you. As a sort of love story for the world. Our love of literacy. Our passion for serving others through words. Who doesn’t love a good back story.

Give us a like online. A social share. Be our Valentine this year. Send us a sweet note. A quick feedback note can let us know what you like about our brand. If you don’t like us it’s okay, we know we are not a one-size-fits-all model. That’s why you can choose to visit our page or invest in our books.

2 Chicks’ next public event is on 2/22/20, an event honoring Veterans and supporting suicide prevention efforts, which is near and dear to both Chicks’ hearts. If you are interested in getting involved check out this link. You can donate online.

http://www.official22wod.com/

Happy Valentine’s week!

balance, celebrations, Uncategorized

31 Days 2020 Style

Last year I blogged about my 31 days in January as it was the first month of my #1095days project. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when I made the post, however I thought about how I needed to repeat this task each year to see how my life changed, if it changed at all. I made the calendar reminder and here we are with a post update. Here goes…

January just seems like the longest month ever generally speaking. During the month it may feel like a year has passed, but it is actually just one month. One single month of 31 days. Each day representing a day to make a difference in the world some way, somehow. Master planning for the year or recapping the previous year? Each year may be different based on environmental conditions and life in general, but the year always starts with 31 days in the month of January.

Over the past year my home environment changed. My workspace changed. I added a puppy to the mix which is close to resembling having a newborn in diapers. I adjusted to loved ones having health issues. I traveled to new places. I lived life, basically. I had no regrets.

Add the cold and chilling January weather, rain, rain and more rain and that equates to another whole level of awful. Sprinkle on a busy schedule and those 31 days were gone before you know it. Or maybe the 31 days go fast because I am always waiting for February to arrive. February is my birth month. I am always looking forward to February. Once February comes and goes it’s time to think warm weather, sunshine and vacations on the horizon or maybe it is just because the chill in the air is starting to depart.

Just as I did last year, this is a memory tracker where I write down 31 significant or interesting things that transpired in my life in January. May be boring to some but it’s part of my story. 10 years from now, I may not be around. If for some reason I am not around, my loved ones can see how my life view was in this snapshot of time. That is a pretty cool time capsule, if you ask me. Here is my 31-day reflection to start this month with a bang.

1. I attended a vision board party. This was a blast and I recommend it every January.
2. I completed a weighted CrossFit workout with my friend again. We now have an annual event!
3. I got tattooed. I didn’t even realize it was an annual thing until I did this exercise!
4. I booked travel to seven different states, all for different reasons.
5. I toured an assisted living facility. This was an experience in itself.

6. I wrapped up a coaching session with an awesome millennial. She is ready to soar on her own.
7. I gained weighed and lost weight. This surely hasn’t changed year to year.
8. I tracked my nutrition consistently. This may be a reset for many this time of year.
9. I worked on my 2020 goals like a boss. I have some lofty goals this year.
10. I rode my bike 20 miles in one ride to celebrate 2020.
11. I worked out on a Sunday at 5am with crazy friends.
12. I worked on taxes for multiple entities which is so boring, but I am ahead of past years.
13. I organized a large event and it went off without a glitch.
14. I signed up for a mud run and 10k race out of state.
15. I took a jump rope class.
16. I managed a concrete expansion project at a property I own.
17. I got a massage which I guess I did last year. Self-care matters.
18. I spent time with family and friends. This hasn’t changed since last year.
19. I made kale soup for the first time. This was so good.
20. I coached lacrosse. Watching my team grow is amazing but this is my last year coaching!
21. I took on more responsibilities on the work front. I just volunteer too much.
22. I cheered my daughter on during basketball games.
23. I dealt with a tenant full of excuses for this, that and the other.
24. I got to dress shop with my daughter for her first big dance event.
25. I got my hair cut. I did this last year, too.
26. I had a water leak at a property I own. This was not fun. It was expensive though.
27. I shopped on Amazon a little bit, but maybe not as much as last year.
28. I shopped local as well and this is a big goal for me in 2020.
29. I blogged. I blogged a lot more than last year.
30. I solidified a sale of a house. No more expensive storage space.
31. I planned for some upcoming challenges on the horizon. Fingers crossed all goes well.

2020 was the start of a new year, a new beginning mixed with new friends and old friends. It’s funny when you look at who is around your circle, who has passed by, who is excluded and who you are feeling lucky to have welcomed into your circle. I am thankful for opportunities on the horizon and at peace with all that is part of my history aka the past.

Last year I wrote: Even when life tosses you to the wolves, we are still empowered to find our inner sunshine and really just seize the day, the week, the month. I can safely say I feel the exact today as I did a year ago in relation to this statement. Each day is a new page in my story book. It could be a day of adventure or a day of emotional highs and lows. No matter how my day flows, I get back up and start again the next day looking for sunshine. Coincidentally, today I get a message from my friend stating: Love you and all the sunshine you bring to my life…. As you read future posts you will often see why the word sunshine is so meaningful to me. #buddy

In 2019, I wrote: Keep on keeping on and take a moment to reflect on your January. If you had only one day left on earth what would you do with your day? This rings a bell to me since I put out a 2020 challenge to my readers regarding what will you do with an hour a day. Funny how life circles around.

This year I will sign off with, Happy Birth Month to ME. Looking forward to this time next year when I review my 31 days again. I love new traditions. I wonder if I will have another tattoo in January of 2021?