What is your next “butterfly” moment?

Spent the day shopping with my littles for all of the fun things that they need to start school this week.  Little Kate (10) told me how excited that she is, but said that she still had butterflies about starting a new year and class.  Big John (14) is way too cool to admit that he also has a little case of the butterflies, as he is entering his freshman year of high school.  I tried to remember the last time that I had butterflies….

What gives us the “butterflies in the tummy” feeling?  Is it fear, excitement, insecurity, anxiety, joy? Probably all of the above and much more. I have done many new things over the last several years – moved 13 times – away from family, friends and great jobs, started new businesses, took challenging courses, competed in a figure competition way outside of my comfort zone  – and done many new races over the last few years, triathlon – Ironman – and running races.  I don’t really get butterflies anymore.  And I think that may be a bad thing.

So….what is going to be our next butterfly moment????

Ironman 2013…here I come….

When I volunteered for the Ironman US Championship, I thought it would be a wonderful experience to see a race from the “behind the scenes,” since I had competed in many.  Time to give back, right?  Well, I ended up receiving much more than I gave.

Several months ago, I met with an incredible young woman, Sarah, the race’s Volunteer Director.  We met for coffee to discuss all of the different volunteer opportunities that this inaugural race would afford.  I was truly excited and offered to help in any way that I could.  I told her that I would happily accept a role as a Volunteer Captain and work wherever she saw fit.  After our meeting, I waited anxiously for the email indicating where I would be stationed on race day – August 11th.  Finally it arrived!!!  I would be the Volunteer Captain for the two days of Race Registration/Packet Pick-Up at Pier 92 and for the Women’s Change Tent on race day.  Okay…hold up…that was a bit more volunteering than I had planned….

As I am one who has great difficulty saying no, I embraced my Volunteer Captain-ships.  Several captain’s meetings later, after discussing countless scenarios for an inaugural race, and begging my local friends to volunteer with me, promising them a fun experience, I couldn’t wait for race week to begin!  (Luckily, I have many wonderful friends in my area, who eagerly registered to volunteer with me!)

My last captain’s meeting actually turned out to be our version of “packet pick-up.”  I headed into the city, from northern NJ, to get all the goods that I needed.  Visor, fleece pullover, polo shirt all with the Ironman US Championship logo – yummmm…awesome swag!  Things that I needed to wear to indicate my “Captain-ship.”  Finally, we had arrived at Race Week.

This Ironman race was not only inaugural, considered to be “the US Championship,” but it was situated in the busiest city in the US – NYC, baby.  That presents problems on so many levels – traffic, parking, congestion, and the list goes on. Driving into the city from home, I was nervous about everything.  Why?  I had no idea.  I have done many races, including Ironman, but I had never volunteered before, let alone be in charge!  Actually, I had never been in charge of a large group of adults before – preschoolers-yes, but adults-no!  I channeled my inner teacher and parked at Pier 92, nerves in tow.

After the initial chaos of packet pick-up set-up, things started to go very smoothly.  My volunteers showed up and were eager to help.  Athletes were so excited and race ready.  Picture perfect!!

Two days of this and I was in love with volunteering…exhausted, but in heaven!!  Next up…RACE DAY!!!!

I remember well what Ironman race day feels like as an athlete.  It is scary and exciting!  I felt that same way this race morning as a volunteer.  The transition area began to fill with athletes in line to board the ferries to the swim start and volunteers heading to their posts!  The energy around race morning was electric!  I entered my post – Women’s Change Tent – all quiet and calm,  awaiting the athletes arrivals after they had completed the swim…ready for us to help them  change out of their wet clothes and head out on the bike and then after, to the run…not the most glamorous post, but essential to the athletes.  My volunteers soon began to arrive in change tent too.  An amazing group of ladies ready for what race day was going to bring – teammates of mine, friends and volunteers (that became my new friends) that worked with me during packet pick-up and decided to join me in the tent too. We set up any essential items that the ladies might need – water, safety pins, vaseline, tampons etc.  And then we waited…and waited….

Women’s Change Tent

Ironman US Championship covered areas in New Jersey, New York and NYC.  Therefore, as you might realize, the swim took place in the Hudson River.  And also, as you may know, the current in the river is FAST!!!  The athletes started to roll in about 40 minutes (crazy fast for a 2.4 mile swim) after the race start and didn’t stop for the next two hours.  Non-stop activity!!  Women of all ages, shapes, sizes.  Pros, amateurs, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, friends…you name it.  Ironman welcomes anyone who is ready for the challenge of a lifetime.  It was a pleasure helping them in their quest to become one.

Ladies only 😉

My volunteers are what made this experience so amazing.  They showed up, did their jobs – happily and kindly.  They made me, as the Volunteer Captain, look good.  They were incredible!  Especially the Women’s Change tent ladies!  We saw some unspeakable things, heard a lot of unpleasantries, but also assisted very appreciative ladies in that tent and we ALL finished the day happy and smiling!

Thanks to them, I found out yesterday that I was named the Ironman US Championship Volunteer Captain of the Year!   With that honor comes an entry to an Ironman race of my choice.  Have to decide on which race I’ll do soon.  Decisions, decisions…the hubby and littles are weighing all of their options and ideal locations.  I am just hoping that the volunteers for that race are as wonderful as mine were!

Another exciting step on this Go Long Mommy’s Journey…

My Peanut Butter Hero…

Have you ever noticed how your disposition affects everyone around you?  I mean, have you REALLY noticed?  Sometimes I like to experiment with my family – unbeknownst to them, they are usually the subjects of my sociological studies….

Many evenings I am not the calm mommy that I would like or even pretend to be.  I am busy making dinner, making tomorrow’s lunches, finishing up laundry, checking homework, forcing boy child to actually do his homework, cleaning up from dinner and getting the girl child ready for bed.  This frenetic pace that I achieve  (which I could only hope to replicate in my running someday) is usually followed with the following statement, “Mommy, why are you so grumpy?”  I, however, am in NO way, shape or form grumpy. I am actually very happy in my busy mode, dashing through the house checking things off my mental checklist.  While I’m in “the zone” I rarely look around to see what that does to my household.

Why does busy + focused = grumpy?

I have always known that when I am grumpy, it sets the tone for my family.  It seems they have difficulty rising above my “cloud” and going about their happy business.  If I am grumpy, they are more tense, easily irritated and very intolerant of each other. Why does my mood dictate the mood of those around me so dramatically?  If I am quiet, then my hubby and littles are too.  Everyone seems to retreat to their own solitary quarters and all interaction ceases.  But what would happen if I actively worked to be my most jubilant self all evening and see how it goes….

So, last night I tried a different course of action….

I spent the afternoon in that “zone” and accomplished all of my “busy”  things.  Picked up my lovely little girl child from school, helped with homework, begged boy child to finish his, finished dinner all with the biggest smile on my face and a song in my heart.  We were all engaged in family happiness all afternoon.  Girl child was helping make lunches when I realized that we were out of the most essential lunch item – peanut butter.  Texted hubby who was at the gym asking him to please bring some home.  For those of you who don’t know hubby, he is the quintessential Type A personality minus the need for constant contact – i.e. does not check for texts etc constantly, like the rest of the free world.  Therefore, the chance of him checking for my immediate need for peanut butter is not likely.  But again, determined to be the most positive me, I tried to rise above, all the while mentally adjusting my checklist for the rest of the evening and tomorrow morning to accommodate the lunch-related issue.  Shortly thereafter, hubby got home from the gym and I approached him with my happy go-lucky self. (ignoring the obvious lack of peanut butter)  He responded in the very same fashion – dove right in about his day, sharing details with a few chuckles, frustrations with smile and  laughing and joking with our littles.  As he was getting ready to retreat to our room to get his things ready for today, he turned to me and out of his gym bag came one glorious jar of JIF peanut butter and a huge hubby  smile = one huge wife smile.

Once again, my scientific study proved true…

Busy, focused, frantic mommy & wife = grumpy mommy & wife = quiet, irritable, grumpy littles & hubby

Smiley, happy, attentive, positive mommy & wife = smiley, happy, attentive, positive littles & hubby

Surprisingly simple concept that most people already know and yet don’t really pay attention to, but a surprisingly large amount of pressure on one busy mommy….

A new journey…

Funny I don’t recall setting up this blog site in April of 2009….

My name is Jennifer, Jenny or JLo (not Jennifer Lopez =) as my hubby calls me.  I identify myself as a 38-year-old mommy, who does lots of other things too.  2012 plans include actually using this blog, for one thing.  My mind is a slate for lots of useless information, which I have been told is not as useless as I may have originally thought.  I can remember movie lines and appropriately (maybe a bit annoying) apply them to everyday  conversation.  I enjoy converting yummy, sumptuous, fattening foods to the healthiest version of itself as possible.  I have read about a billion parenting books, as I have an extremely fun, “energetic” and challenging son, who loves to keep me on my toes. I keep my sanity by running, doing triathlon as often as I possibly can and by socializing with friends all over the country.

Due to my husband’s wonderful career, we have moved 13 times in our 15 1/2 year marriage, which comes with many positives and negatives.  I have made wonderful friendships with people all over the country, only to have to say goodbye when a new move presents itself.  My children, J (13) and K (9) also have this same experience.  However, I used to think that it was harder on them to move than my husband and I, but now I realize that it is really the opposite.  So while my littles were off playdating and hanging with friends, Hubby and I have developed a “you and I through it all” mentality.  Thus began a joint journey of fitness and triathlon, which as become a bit of an obsession, I must admit!  Although I read a great quote recently that helps me rationalize it…..”Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.”

Please indulge me as I begin this new journey into blogging.  Not sure how often it may happen or how much useful info there will be, especially considering that it took me 2 1/2 years to remember that I had set up this blog….

Welcome

Hello welcome to my new blog!!!! Please take a look around, i hope you enjoy what you see!