Monday, December 6, 2010

Waiting to Exhale

I did it.

It only took me



I did it.





(Oprah Winfrey at the finish of the Marine Corps Marathon. I looked WAY better at the finish yesterday. Ha ha ha!)

For those of you who aren't marathoners, it's an ongoing joke that everyone wants to beat Oprah's time. Because, well, IT IS A REALLY GOOD TIME. She ran her race in 4:29:15. My time yesterday was 4:25:01!!!!

So, forget about running a PERSONAL BEST marathon (which I did thankyouverymuch!). Forget about my motivation for running this year. Forget about everything else. What is important is, that I beat Miss Winfrey. Right? (I still think there should be some sort of html code for sarcasm. Then you would know without me having to tell you...). Oh, and I also beat a host of other celebrities, in case you were wondering. I beat: Alanis Morisette, Al Gore, Jared Fogel (celebrity?), Katie Holmes, Mario Lopez, Meredith Viera and Al Roker. Yes, I know this because there is a website, and I went there. (Feel free to go there and see who I didn't beat as well. I don't mind!)

Anyway, yesterday's race was incredible. The weather was PERFECT! Freezing cold while we were waiting, but perfect for running. It was a new course, so I was a little concerned about the unknown, but it ended up ok. The start was a little tricky, as it was delayed by 10 minutes and THEN they did wave starts. Blech! It took me over 30 minutes to reach the start because I was in Corral K. It would have been nice to know that up front, as I would have prepared better.

In my excitement, I made some serious rookie mistakes, but I was able to adjust eventually. Unfortunately, as a result, Miles 23-25 were a SERIOUS gut check. I sobbed like a baby for two miles. Seriously. Ugly cry, snot streaming from my nose, loud noises, sobbing. Don't believe me, just ask my friends at Mile 23 and Papa Bear at 24. I was mortified. I think it was a combination of how terrifically horrible I felt at the moment and the realization/relief that I was almost done. I honestly didn't think I had it in the bag until the last .2 of the race. And then I ran (what felt like a sprint, but was more akin to a waddle) to the finish line screaming like a banshee and pumping my arms in the air. Yes, I was that crazy person and I didn't care! And then I crossed the finish line and realized that I COULD NOT WALK ANOTHER STEP. It was mighty humorous to me. They forced us to step up a curb to get our finisher's medal and I SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED passing on the medal!!

Obviously, my excitement is due in significant part to my success in yestarday's race. But I ran this race with a purpose and new motivation this year. This race supports the hospital where Brother Bear is a patient and eventually had his surgery last February. The race raises over $500,000 for said hospital. Did I mention that in EIGHTY TWO YEARS of existence, this hospital has NOT CHARGED THEIR PATIENTS A SINGLE DIME?? Incredible. So this year, I ran in honor of my very brave cub who toughed out a hard year and was such a trooper. I ran in thanks to the hospital that treated him with care and compassion and did it without charging us a dime. I also ran for two cubs that are patients of the same hospital and have an amazing Mama Bear from my same hometown. They are siblings, Will & Ellie. You can read more about them here.

So, to say I was motivated is an understatement.

But I couldn't have done it without all of your support. The encouraging calls, notes, and texts before the race, the new song from my Big Brother Bear who has conquered and overcome way more than a marathon this year (to say it was a motivational song is an understatement), the INCREDIBLE support from my church that sponsored the water stop at 9.5 (and my dear Bear Friend that coordinated it all), The complete stranger (angel) with the poster of Isaiah 40:31 just when I needed it, my bear friends with the AWESOME glitter-y sign at mile 23 - when I thought I couldn't make it one more step, those smiling faces and that sign gave me the motivation for 3.2 more, and - of course - Papa and Brother Bear who braved the weather, crowds, and traffic to see me at mile 9.5, 14, 18, and 24. Having the support of all of you whether virtually or in person was monumental.

Thank you.

Papa Bear (a way better, way faster runner than me) has a quote from Chariots of Fire that he loves and truly believes. The main character, Eric Liddel says, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure." While God did not make me fast, I still love this quote. When I run, I feel God's pleasure. It is a sort of holy experience for me. Yesterday was holy and awesome.

And now, I will go nurse my blistered toe (first one in THIRTEEN marathons!?!?), and sore legs. Apparently, Mama Bear don't bounce back like she used to.

But that doesn't matter because, I BEAT OPRAH!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lucky #13

For all my runners...

A Marathoner’s Benediction

Go. And as you go, may the wind be always at your back pushing you and motivating you.

Go. And as you go, may the crowds be loud, motivating you when you need it most.

Go. And as you go, may the water stops be ready, nourishing you for your journey.

Go. And as you go, may the road be flat and fast, encouraging your inner Kenyan.

Go. And as you go, may the chafing and cramping be minimal, keeping you from pain and suffering.

Go, And as you go, may the Lord watch over you and keep you, giving you faith when you feel you have none left.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

This just in..

Bethlehem is overcome by a mysterious illness. Only angel left standing. Baby abandoned in manger. Mother of God is missing. More details at ten.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm fallin'

On the last school day of every month, Brother Bear's school forgoes the usual uniforms and allows "free dress" for the day.

Believe me, NO ONE is more grateful than me that this day only comes once a month.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Hangover

Sugar Bear when I went to wake her up from her nap today:
This is what five days of playing with cousin bears, being spoiled by grandparent bears, and eating all the Tiger Butter you can handle looks like.

If you think she looks bad, you should see Papa Bear!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Secret Recipe

Today on Facebook, I'm divulging a secret recipe. Click here to read more.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stylin' and profilin'

At least someone in this den knows how to work the new boots style:

Friday, November 12, 2010


When Brother Bear set his Cub Scout sales goal at $600, I thought it was a bit lofty. But, being the crafty smart marketers they are, the company made the carrot pretty darn big:
Because, what this den needs is flying marshmallows, right?

I want to say "thank you" to all of you that helped. But, um, did I mention the flying marshmallows?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today on Facebook, I'm talking about (of all things) being speechless. Click here to read more.


A conversation overheard at the breakfast table in The Four Bears Den -

Mama Bear: So, Brother Bear, did you have fun with Papa Bear at the (Insert Professional Basketball Team Name)'s game last night?

Brother Bear: Yes! It was really fun!

Mama Bear: What was your favorite part?

Brother Bear: The dancers.

Mama Bear: (Intrigued. Does he mean, "My favorite part was the dancers" as in, "I wanna BE a dancer" or something else? Must. Ask. More. Questions.) Hmm. So, what exactly was your favorite thing about those dancers, sweetie?

Brother Bear: I liked that they were so...flexible, Mama Bear.

Mama Bear: (eying Papa Bear and trying not to spew peppermint mocha coffee through her nose) Aha. Flexible. That is pretty cool, Brother Bear.

I mean, come on, Cyberbears, "flexible" is the exact word I think of when I look at this:
Don't you?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A letter to Sugar Bear

Dearest Sugar Bear,

Your Papa Bear is tucking you away in bed, and I decided to write you a note. Mama Bear learned a lesson today. Actually, it's not like I learned it today, it's been 37 years in the making. And really, I'm learning it every day. But I'm writing it down for you today. Because it is my sincere hope that in writing this down, I'll begin to unravel the binds that keep me from remembering the lesson. More importantly, by making this public, I'll have a record for myself to live this lesson. To truly live it, so that maybe it won't take you 37 years to get there too. I hope not to get to preachy. But you know me by now Sugar Bear. And, occasionally, I can get a little preachy. Just listen to the heart of the message, because that's all that really matters.

Humor me.

Today I went shopping. Just a quick run through Target. I thought I might get a few new clothing items to add to my wardrobe as the season changes. Everywhere I look, there are bears running around in fall outfits, and I am totally digging the styles. My favorite is the leggings with knee high boots and an oversized sweater, shirt, or coat. I totally love it! I perused the aisles with this style in mind, grabbing leggings and shirts that matched the idea I had in my head. Pleased with my choices, I headed to the dressing room with confidence that I would have a cute outfit in no time. As I started to try on clothes, and found outfit after outfit in the "reject pile" that is when I remembered:

I have a big bottom.

Yep. It's true. There's no denying it. And, if genetics have anything to do with it, you will too Sugar Bear. I'm happy to take the blame, but I'm thinking the blame goes a bit further up the chain that just me. But not only do I have a big bottom, I have a small top in comparison. Big bottom, and small top make for very challenging, very frustrating shopping.

That's not the lesson I learned. I already knew that. And chances are, if you are reading this Sugar Bear, you know it too. The lesson is, as Paul Harvey says, "the rest of the story".

So, yes, indeed I have a large derriere. And I often make fun of it (here, for example). But more often than not, I'm frustrated by it. I'm frustrated that I don't look like all the other bears out there, especially the ones glaring at me from the glossy pages of magazines and movies. I'm frustrated that buying a dress usually means adding alterations to the tab. I'm frustrated that if I can get "skinny jeans" over my backside there's room for a small furry animal at the waistline, I'm frustrated that feeling "comfortable" heading out for the evening means I have to wear a very uncomfortable contraption called spanx. I'm frustrated that I've never tried a triathlon because I'm afraid to wear a bathing suit and have my hind end jiggling in public.

After a while, I kind of get beat down by this.

But today it stops. Today, I realized that there's more at stake to this issue than me. I have to think about you now too. Because your little eyes are watching me - and paying attention. Every time I come home from the store sad or look in the mirror and complain - you are learning. You are learning that a Mama Bear shouldn't love her body.

And that's just wrong. In so many awful, horrible, ways - it's wrong. Because what I see in glossy magazines and movies isn't the truth. It isn't the average, everyday bear. It is a lie. And every time I look in the mirror and see that I don't measure up, I'm continuing that lie. And I don't want to pass that on to you.

So, here are some truths I know, truths I'm going to hang on to. Truths I'm going to tell myself when the outfits don't look like I hope... I'm in some of the best shape of my life. I'm training for my 13th marathon and that meaty backside has followed me every step. Those hips kept you safe in my womb for 9 months and continue to carry you where you need to go most days. Sure, they're dimpled, but they are dimpled with life. Some of that life was blissful ignorance (my teens, when I could eat anything I wanted), some of it stupidity (my twenties when I fixed everything with food) and some of it joy (carrying and feeding you and Brother Bear). I'll wear those dimples with pride, as a badge of honor. A life lived abundantly. I will not be ashamed.

So, today, I'm going to start loving my body anew. I'm going to be a changed Mama Bear. And in the process, I'm hoping I'll help you learn to love the body God gave you - just the way you are.

Because you, my sweetest Sugar Bear, are beautiful - every single inch of you.

Believe me. Believe me.


Mama Bear

P.S. - In college, like me, you'll probably fall in love with a rap song (or another such song) that talks about how there are some bears who love bears with large backsides. You'll find it funny but also endearing. You'll say to yourself, you want a bear like that someday. Don't look for that bear. Because, he only cares about the exterior. Find a bear who loves the interior and recognizes that the exterior, while lovely, is simply the vessel that carries the important stuff. He's the one that will last. But...that's another lesson for another day....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pondering a P.R.*

* P.R. stands for: Personal Record. Runners (and other athletes) use it to describe a race in which they did their very best. For those of us middle/back of the packers, P.R.s are important. Because the only records we'll ever set are our own. And really, that's all that matters.

Today, I ran a P.R. for a half marathon. I'm pretty darn excited.

For entertainment purposes, I thought I would would walk you through my thoughts and actions during the process of setting a P.R. for a half marathon. For those of you runners, I'm hoping you'll be entertained. For those of you non-runners (seriously, today's the day to start!) you'll get just a wee glimpse into the mind of a crazy person runner. Enjoy.

Deep Thoughts In A Half Marathon:

  • First thought out of bed on race day: I THINK I'M GOING TO THROW UP. I THINK I'M GOING TO THROW UP. Seriously, my hands are shaking. What was I thinking? WHYdid I ever tell anyone that I was hoping for a P.R. today? There is no way I'm going to make it across the finish line, much less run my fastest race ever. Oh well. It was a nice thought. Now, where's the coffee?
  • Thoughts waiting in line for the porta-potty: This is ridiculous. How can this many people need to go to the bathroom? This is so inefficient! They need to have separate porta-potties: one for the poopers and one for the pee-ers. That one's open now? Uh, you can go ahead of me. No, I'm not being nice. It's self preservation. That bear was in thereWAY too long.
  • Standing and waiting for the start: Sheesh it's cold. I feel like I forgot something...what was it? Nah...just pre-race jitters. {Moment of silence announced} Prayer Time! "Dear Jesus, please don't let me die today. Or, fall flat on my face. Amen." Hmm..why can't I find a place for my gel pack today? Did I forget something? Nah...not as many times as I've run! Oh well. Where's a good place to put this? Hmm..the cavern of wasted space in my sports bra is the perfect place. {Star Spangled Banner starts playing} Dang! I always get so emotional when I hear this song sung. Wait. No one's singing? It's just music? Taped music? Hmm, my race funds put to good use, it seems!
  • Race Starts: I'M GOING TO THROW UP. I'M GOING TO THROW UP. I'M GOING TO THROW UP. Must do something to distract myself. Time to turn up the tunes!!
  • Three minutes in: Walk break (I take them every 3 minutes)! Oh, GOD, I'm going to be trampled!!!! left shoe seems a little loose. Wish I'd fixed that before I started. I have a feeling I'm going to regret that later.
  • One mile in: WATER BOTTLE! I FORGOT MY STUPID WATER BOTTLE? You'd think I was a rookie!!!! Oh well, I'll be forced to drink water from a cup with the rest of the crowd. I'll survive. I think.
  • Mile 2-4: Oi! My legs still feel like bricks. And we haven't even hit the hills. No way I'm today.
  • Mile 5: That sounds like a car coming up behind me, up this giant god-forsaken-hill. {Peek over shoulder} Oh, shew. It's just a bear pushing a cub in a jog stroller RIGHT PAST ME LEAVING ME IN THE DUST. No biggie. My ego can handle it. Wait, is that cowbell I hear? Indeed it is!!! HEY DEAR BEAR-FRIEND AND HER PRECIOUS CUB!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING OUT! IT'S SO COLD, BUT YOU CAME OUT, AND YOU ARE SO AWESOME!!!! MORE COWBELL!!! WITH FRIENDS LIKE THIS I CAN TOTALLY KICK THIS HALF!!!
  • Mile 5.5: Oh! I'm halfway now! Time for my gel! I think I'm going to start a group called, "Runners Against Flapping Fannies." I've seen too many fannies flapping out of too-short-shorts today. Geesh. BUY SOME LONGER SHORTS BEARS!!
  • Mile 6: Ooh. That mile was faaaast. Nothing like moral support to kick it up a notch. But maybe not SO much!
  • Mile 6.5: Oops. NOW I'm halfway. Nothing like a half marathon to challenge your already lacking mathematical skills! Seriously, you'd think I was a rookie!
  • Mile 7-8: Oh. Dear. Lord. When will these hills stop???? Time to kick it in if I want to P.R. Ignore screaming hamstrings. They are sissies.
  • Mile 9: What mile was that? Crap. I officially have no earthly idea what mile I'm at, but I'm too embarrassed to ask another runner. Wait, is that the 2:00 pace group in my sights???? Woooo hoooo baby!
  • Mile 10: Why hello, 2:00 pace group. Enjoy the view of my BEHIND folks. Because, I'm officially passing you now. I might just even SET A P.R. TODAY!!!
  • Mile 11: Excuse me lady-bear, did you just say, "keep going, you can do it" as I stopped for my regularly scheduled interval? Ugh. I want to trip you. You are going to regret saying that when I pass you in a few minutes.
  • Mile 12: I AM A KENYAN! I AM A KENYAN! I AM A KENYAN!!!!!!! I can totally do this. I'm going to do this!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M GOING TO DO THIS!!!! No tears girl, no time for tears!!! Oh, who am I kidding!!!
  • Mile 13: Why are all these bears standing around and NOT CHEERING FOR ME? I'm SETTING A P.R., bears! GET ROWDY!!!!
  • Mile 13.1: I DID IT! I DID IT! I cannot believe it!!!! Oh, stop looking at me. I know I'm screaming like a banshee-bear. I know I'm making a fool out of myself. BUT THIS, this right here? THIS IS MY MOMENT. I'm going to bask in it. And you CAN NOT take it away from me. So, I'm going to jump, and I'm going to scream, BECAUSE I JUST RAN A HALF MARATHON IN UNDER TWO HOURS!!!!
  • After receiving medal: Oh Dear Lord, I cannot walk. Breakfast burrito? Heck, yes! Bring it! Man. I'm really rethinking that whole - I'll walk home after the race. Two point two miles sounded so short this morning. Taxi? Taxi? Where are the taxis?
  • After arriving home: Bathroom. Coffee. Shower. Fuzzy Slippers. Bed. STAT.
Thanks for all of your support. I'm now going to bed.

For a week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Linking and learning...

Okay, I'm going to be honest.

I've been hesitant to link my weekly writing for my church's Facebook page to this blog. I don't know why. Maybe because it seems, I dunno, self-promoting. It's also a little different from my normal writing here - so it may be a stretch. There's also the whole "Oh my gosh you'll know where I live and my name and you'll come stalk me and kill me" thing. But, um, since my 3 loyal Cyberbears are family and friends - that shouldn't be a problem, right?

Honestly, this Facebook writing takes a lot of my time and, therefore, pulls me away from this blog. Which sometimes frustrates me. Because, the guilt of leaving you guys hanging is monumental.

The simple solution is, I know, to link this blog to my weekly column. "Duh!" you say. I know. Sometimes it just takes me a while to get there myself.

Thanks for being patient.

So, going forward, each week - normally Thursdays - (unless I'm overcome by writer's block) you can come here and find a link to my weekly musings for my church. And for those of you who aren't Facebook savvy (Papa Bear and Big Sister Bear, I'm talking about you), you can follow the link without a Facebook account! Yeah!

Hopefully, you'll enjoy it. And, hopefully, you won't stalk me, or call me by my real name, or anything scary like that.

Because, that wouldn't be fun at all.


Cross Training

Today on Facebook, I'm talking about cross training. Click here to read more..

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween


Hopefully this picture portrays that this year, Sugar Bear GOT Halloween. Let's just say she lived up to her name...

My Snow White and Darth Vader.

Monday, October 25, 2010


The Four Bears set out on Friday night for our very first family tent camping adventure. (More to come later). We had to pack the car extra tight to get all of the items needed for 2 grown bears and 2 cubs to survive 2 whole days in the wilderness (read: everything but the kitchen sink, and only because it was bolted down).

So, in order to get everything tucked in the vehicle, I decided I needed to do a little light "housekeeping" in the car. And that is when I made a horrific discovery.

Let me back up a little.

The Four Bears Den doesn't travel on the road well (just read here if you need a reminder). So, Mama and Papa Bear like to waste as little time as possible while driving. And that means, no unnecessary stops. Brother Bear, on the other hand, loves unnecessary stops. Way back when he was potty training, he realized that he could get Mama and Papa Bear to stop the car immediately by simply saying, "I gotta pee!" Slowly but surely, we got wise to his little tricks and put a stop to them.

Enter, the pee cup.

Yes, you read that right. When we travel long distances I put an container with a lid in the car for the express purposes of the "urgent" tinkle. This genius idea saves us at least 30 minutes on every road trip. When we arrive at our destination, I simply empty and wash the container and return it to the car for the next time.

Or, so I thought.

When I was cleaning out the car, I noticed that one of the 45 cup holders in our car had something in it. Assuming it was something else, I grabbed it to throw it away and that is when I discovered my horrible mistake.

I know, you're already there aren't you? I can hear you groaning, and squealing, and retching. Because that's what I did.

I was holding a container of old urine. Did you know that urine can go bad? I could have gone my whole life without knowing that little nugget!

The really, really, awful part of this is: I'm not exactly sure how old that pee is.

Best case scenario: our family vacation in August.
Worst case scenario: our return trip from the Land of the Bears in July.


I'm thinking of having the car detailed, just in case.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Subtlety, thy name is Brother Bear!

Notes I found on my computer last evening:
(Phonetic translation of note #1 {lest you get seriously confused} "Please put my bike").

Lucky for him, I knew where he wanted me to "put bike". Because, heaven forbid, the cub put some effort into finishing his sentence instead of wasting my post-its with pleases and smiley faces!

Sadly, in full disclosure, I have forgotten to "put bike" several times, clearly causing Brother Bear to develop serious trust issues with me.

Good thing for him I buy post-it notes at Sam's. I'm saving all my money for his therapy sessions.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dont ask, don't tell...

is normally my policy when it comes to Papa Bear and his adventures with the cubs. Because, what I don't know can't hurt me.

Let's face it. These cubs need their time with Papa Bear. If they spent all their time with me they would be freckle-less, book worms, who are afraid of germs and the dark. And that wouldn't be any fun at all, would it? Thus, they need Papa Bear to introduce a little adventure into their lives.

I know that. I understand that. I just don't want to know the details.

Exhibit A (a picture Papa Bear sent me from their adventures on Saturday):
I rest my case, Your Honor.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The moral to this story

A conversation overheard at the State Fair between a certain Mama Bear and a certain Brother Bear whilst observing what had to be the world's largest swine.
Brother Bear: (urgently, panic-ly interrupting Mama Bear and Sugar Bear's conversation about "what the big piggie is doing") Mama Bear! Mama Bear!! That pig is soooo fat, its bootie is sticking out!!

Mama Bear: (trying to get a mental picture of description and failing miserably) Huh? Uh, Brother Bear, what do you mean?

Brother Bear: (speaking in excited, almost frantic terms) Mama Bear! The pig is sooo fat, the part of the body where the poop comes out is sticking out of its bootie!!!

Mama Bear: (now officially picturing the world's largest hemorrhoid attached to the world's largest swine and becoming officially intrigued) Uh. Hmm. Brother Bear, why don't we head down to the other side of this pig and take a look at what you're talking about. (because, of course, if said piggie did have a raging case of hemorrhoids, said Mama Bear felt it was her moral obligation to call PETA.)

Brother Bear: (arriving at the "business" end of things and pointing) SEE, Mama Bear? Its bootie is coming out of its bottom!

Mama Bear: (gasping. stifling the urge to concurrently scream and laugh) Oh. Well. Um, Brother Bear, that's not the pig's bottom. Um. You see. That pig there is a boy pig. Apparently a very, very, very boy pig. And what you are seeing there is (insert very biological, very technical, very calmly, very confidently stated term for piggie's very large, ahem, accoutrements). All boys have 'em, even piggies!

Brother Bear: (making a face like he was being served spinach with a side of brussel sprouts) Oh. Ew. Well, that's just disgusting don't you think, Mama Bear?

Mama Bear: (calmly weighing her options between what she wants to say and what she knows she should say) Um, no, no, not really. That's just nature, Brother Bear! You know, God made everything and that's just the way He made that piggie.

Brother Bear: Oh. Okay. Can we go ride some rides now, Mama Bear?

Mama Bear: (exhaling for the first time in several minutes) Absolutely, Brother Bear. Absolutely!

And the moral to this humorous little tail (snicker, snicker)?

Never, ever take your kid to the State Fair.

(I told you I didn't like the fair....)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Love at first bite

So Sugar Bear is entering that fabulous stage that all Mama Bears love: potty training. (I sure wish sarcasm was visible on a blog).

Anyway. In our den, when a cub does what a cub needs to do in the proper location, ahem, a cub gets a treat. A sweet treat. A horrible-for-your-body-and-teeth reward. That's right. Feel free to judge. I'm waaaaaay past worrying about it. So, as I was saying, we give a treat: M&Ms, or as Sugar Bear calls them, "m-and-m-and-m's".

So, Sugar Bear has figured out how to manipulate the system ramped up her interest in potty training thus requiring a recent trip to the store for more treats.

And that, Cyberbears, is when I fell in love.

I had a coupon for $1 off 2 bags. I intended to buy 2 bags of the regular treats. But I was intrigued by a new version of M&Ms. Plus, Papa Bear was in a land far, far away and I was jones-ing for some chocolate rewards of my own for surviving the week without him.

Cyberbears, meet my new love. Pretzel M&Ms, meet my Cyberbears.

Oh my. They are the perfect combination of sweet and salty (just like the packaging says) and great for snacking while doing just about anything. (Not that I've tried that or anything).

These things are going to make me a contestant on "The Biggest Loser-Bear".

And when I'm crying and puking in a bucket after the world's hardest workout, holding on to the treadmill for dear life, and Jillian screams at me in her meanest voice ever, "WERE THOSE PRETZEL M&Ms WORTH IT NOW?" I'll look up at her with snot hanging from my nose, wipe the puke off my chin and reply, "HECK YES!"

They are that good.

**This blog entry was not a paid endorsement for either Pretzel M&Ms or The Biggest Loser-Bear**

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Brother Bear had a internet chat last night with his Cousin Bear. They were giggling and talking and having and absolute blast. At one point, Brother Bear ran out of the computer room to fetch something he wanted to show his Cousin Bear.

Later that evening, I returned to the computer room and found this:

Here's my question: Am I being invaded or protected?

With all the books, games, movies and lego creations around here, I should know the answer. But, honestly, unless they are Luke, Leia, Hans, Yoda or Darth Vader, THEY ALL LOOK ALIKE TO ME.

This is my life, Cyberbears.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Oh my heaven!

When did you get old enough to be SEVEN YEARS? I just can't believe it! Now, I wasn't quite lucid when they brought you into this world, so someone had to give me photographic evidence of the moment you entered this world:
I guess I'll have to trust it...

Brother Bear, It seems like yesterday that we brought you home all tiny and soft and placed you in this cradle hand-made by your grandparent bears:

And now, now you are a BOY cub. There's no more baby cub left.

You've grown so much over the past year.
Not as much physically, but in character.

You grew in courage, facing an uncomfortable surgery you didn't want.
You grew in strength, managing the post-op pain and rehab.
You grew in maturity, learning the ropes at school and on the playground.
You grew in compassion, finding ways to give to others with what little you have.
You grew in humor, learning how to tell jokes and master a well timed physical pratfall.

These are stats the doctor won't measure at your 7 year checkup. But rest assured, we've observed them. We cherish them.

We love you.
Our first.
Our boy.

Happy Birthday Brother Bear!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Head first into trouble

These two bear cubs are going to make their Mama Bears' fur go grey. Not that any of you would know because, well, there are treatments for that condition. But know that, underneath all the treatment, it's full on grey 'cause of these two-twos.
But you know what? They are worth every penny we might spend on treatment!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sales Cub of the Year

I certainly can't.

Looks like we'll be eating LOTS of popcorn this year..

Friday, September 17, 2010

Downhill slide

I'm a runner bear. (Those of you who know me well just said a collective, "duh!?!"). Anyway, I'm currently training for my 13th marathon and (most days) loving it.

As a marathon running bear, I sometimes battle something called ITBS. It's no big deal if you know what the symptoms are, and keep them in check. After 12 marathons, I know the symptoms well. I also know that, for me, the key to keeping ITBS at bay is stretching.

Thus, every day after my run, I take a moment to do some simple yoga poses that help stretch my IT Band. Now, normally when I do yoga I'm in yoga pants which tend to cover your legs. But when I'm doing these particular stretches, I'm still in my running shorts.

So the other day, I was in a quiet corner of the gym dutifully stretching and enjoying a nice "downward facing dog" pose. Whilst there, I got a hairbrained idea to take a look at my legs, instead of the floor as I normally do.

Bad idea.

When I looked at my legs, I let out an audible cry. For this is what I saw:
(I have been assured that no elephants were injured during the taking of this picture)

Okay. So maybe I exaggerated a little. That's what I felt like I saw. here's what I really saw:
(Rest assured, no Mama Bears were injured during the taking of this picture. A stunt camera-bear was employed)

But seriously, look at those knees. Do you see now why I gasped? Apparently the elasticity of my leg skin has a lifetime warranty of 37.5 years. WHY DIDN'T ANYONE WARN ME? I want my money back! Goes to show that you just don't realize how valuable skin elasticity really is until you NO LONGER HAVE IT!

I'm currently researching (read: google searching 'til my eyes turn red) knee skin lifts. Until then it's bermudas, capris and long pants for me. (I'm now realizing why culottes were all the fashion craze amongst the Mama Bears when I was a cub). I'm contemplating bringing the burqa to main street fashion.

Sigh. They really mean it when they call it the "downhill slide" don't they?

Author's Post Script:
  • It's not often that I get a chance to google search "elephant knee/leg pictures", "downward facing dog", "culottes" and "burqa" in one day. Let's just say that I might have wasted valuable Mama Bear time clicking and giggling today.
  • I still can't believe I posted a picture of my nekked legs for all you Cyber Bears to see. Go easy with your comments please. Can't you see I'm fragile?
  • I'm pretty sure that after this post, I've officially landed myself on some sort of government blog-watch list. Consider yourself warned.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I want my Hillbilly baby back!

Thanks to a mom/teacher bear known for her love of pulling teeth (why someone would love that, I have no earthly idea), Brother Bear's "tooth that just wouldn't come looth" was wrestled free last night at church. It wasn't without drama, or more blood than any of us would have preferred, but a visit from the tooth fairy seems to have eased all the pain!

I'm glad that the choking hazard is now gone from his mouth. However, I'm watching my precious baby shrink away with each subsequent tooth. I must admit that while the new smile is pretty darn cute, looking at it also makes me a little weepy. It's nothing but big teeth, braces and smelly socks from here on out.

So tonight, I cuddled him extra hard while I had the chance. It's my right as a Mama Bear! Right?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hillbilly hello!

Alternately titled, "The tooth that just wouldn't come looth"...

Brother Bear has a loose tooth that has been hanging by a thread - literally - since Friday. I was certain that our corn on the cob with dinner on Friday would do the trick. Nope. This is one stubborn tooth.

Oh, and did I mention that I refuse to be a part of ripping a tooth from my sweet, innocent bear cub's mouth?

So, we wiggle and we wait and we wiggle some more. And we might also giggle a little every time we try to have a conversation with this:
Does anyone hear banjo music?

Thursday, September 2, 2010


"It's what all the ladies who lunch are wearing now, dahling!"

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Below is a "viral video" I hope my bear cubs never see. I think I aged a year watching it (while thinking about how Brother Bear would find this soooooo fun). Gulp.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Monday was the first day of school (first grade) for Brother Bear. So last week, many of the other First Grade Mama Bears decided it would be a good idea to get back in the swing of things by doing a few practice runs of getting to school at 7:50 a.m. Thus, Thursday and Friday of last week, we planned early morning play dates at the school.

Now might be a good time to mention one of my favorite things of summer is we don't have to be anywhere at 7:50 a.m.

I prepped Brother Bear and he was beyond excited. Thrilled. Because, well, the last 5 days of summer were....challenging around our house. I told him I would wake him at 6:45 a.m. Thursday morning and we would go through our whole routine (sans the uniform) and be at school at 7:50 a.m. for a play date.

So, Thursday morning, I'm awakened from my deep slumber at 7:20 a.m. by Papa Bear saying, "I have to go to work now..." Turns out, Brother Bear had woken up on his own, dressed, and eaten breakfast with Papa Bear. All while I was hibernating and ignoring my very annoying alarm clock. Needless to say, I had egg on my face and we did not make the play date.

Thursday evening over dinner Brother Bear and I discussed how on Friday we were really going to do a "dry run". We were going to do all of our morning routine and get to school no later than 7:50 a.m. Because, this was our last day to test and see if we could do it. Plus, there would be friends.

Brother Bear's response to me?

"Sure, Mama Bear! Well, assuming that you wake up of course!"

I could do with a little less honesty around here sometimes...

Monday, August 23, 2010


Two years ago today, I was enjoying my very quiet morning. Papa Bear was on a long run, and Brother Bear was still sleeping. I watched the sun rise, relaxed a little, and made out my very long list of to-dos for the day.

And - in an instant - my list of to-dos changed to one thing: bring Sugar Bear into the world!!

Two years ago today, you gave me a wonderful surprise.
Two years ago today, I fell in love again.

In that short span of time, you've taught me much...
My "lists" and to-dos aren't important. They can wait.
The joy of life with a newborn.
Sibling love is a beautiful thing.
How to be more relaxed this time.

I love that every sentence you say end with an exclamation point.
I love your passion...well, mostly.
I love your sparkly eyes and the way you work a crowd.

You are my sunshine, Sugar Bear.
For a while, I wasn't sure you would grace our lives.
Oh, how blessed I am that you did!


Mama Bear

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Survival Techniques

We got a last minute call tonight that Papa Bear would be working late. I decided that I didn't want to "cook" a full dinner for the cubs. So I pulled a rabbit out of the hat:

The Babysitter Dinner.

Oh, don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about! You have a grand date night planned, and the last thing you want to do is stand over the stove all dressed up for the evening. So instead, you whip up something really easy and call it "dinner". And you always have it on hand - just in case.

Mine is: hot dogs, pasta, and grapes (or insert other seasonal fruit we have on hand at the time). No judging Cyber Bears. I used to put together a really healthy impressive meal for the babysitter but then I had an epiphany: She doesn't care. Rather freeing, I must say. And since we have a babysitter about every - oh - 6 months or so, my cubs aren't too nutritionally deprived. Because every other night, I feed them all organic, free range, nutritionist approved, gourmet meals.


So, what's your go-to Babysitter Dinner?

Don't tell me you don't have one.

I know better.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Excuse me?

It's the dead heat of summer. This Mama Bear is hot, tired, out of fun ideas, and, did I mention hot? So, at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, I decided to load the cubs up and take them to the grocery store. "It's an adventure!" "There'll be cookies!" (yes, I AM that Mama Bear!)

Since I use coupons and bargain shop (not to mention I'm trying to drive the behemoth kiddie grocery cart) it takes a while to get through all the aisles. The cubs are relatively well behaved during the shopping experience. Then it came time for checkout. As it is impossible for me to be in two places at one time, checkout becomes a little more tricky. I'm trying to pay, answer the checker's coupon questions, and keep an eye on the cubs. Not an easy task.

Apparently, the natives got a little more restless than the bagger would prefer. I thought - given the circumstances - they'd done pretty well.

So, the bagger helps me to the car and starts unloading the groceries. I get the cubs buckled in and then go to the back of the van to help her unload the rest of the groceries.

And then she said, "You need to teach them how to behave."


Cyberbears, it took EVERY FIBER OF MY FURRY BODY to keep myself from becoming tomorrow's headlines.

What I wanted to say? "Hey lady, I don't tell you how to bag my groceries, how 'bout you do the same with me?"

What I actually said? "Thank you very much. I think I have it from here."

I'm outta grace for the day. She literally did me in. Not a drop left. It's 5:56, Papa Bear gets home at 6:00 p.m. and I'm hiding from the cubs until then.

When does school start?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pasta. It's what's for dinner!

Beating the heat and keeping a six year old bear cub busy require a lot of creativity! This summer, during Sugar Bear's nap time, Brother Bear and I have been experimenting with cooking. Surprisingly enough, most of the recipes he selects require sugar. And butter. And chocolate. Not so good for our waistlines around here...

Now that he is getting more "experienced" in the kitchen, I thought it would be fun to let him make dinner for the family. And, since it feels like the surface of the sun these days, I thought pasta salad would be a great way to start. (Thank you, Highlights Magazine for the recipe!).

Yes, I gave him a knife. Scariest part of the whole experience!

Mama Bear definitely supervised this part!

Vegetables! Oh my!

Stir well.

And, voila! Dinner is served
(with fresh cantaloupe plucked from our garden as a side!)

It would have been even better if either of the cubs had actually eaten the salad he created. Sigh. Oh well!

(Oh, and for those of you concerned, it was NOT topless dinner night at the Four Bears Den! Brother Bear was recently out of the pool, thus, the shirtless attire.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Not now...

"Not now, I have to pay the bills.."

"Not now, I'm on the phone..."

"Not now, can't you see I'm doing the dishes?"

"Not now, I have to update my blog!"

"Not now, I need to make the grocery list and clip the coupons..."

"Not now, I need a break!"


Not now.

That can wait.

You cannot.

So, now, I will pull out the paints and we will get messy and laugh. I will encourage your inner artist and your passion for all things purple. I will tell you what a good job you are doing, and how much I love you - no matter what. I will smother you with kisses, and wipe you up when you are all done. I will smell your baby cub scent and savor your last month as an "infant" bear.

Now - now - I will sit with you at the kitchen table. I will spread a million tiny colored plastic pieces across that table and watch in wonder as you nimbly click them together. I will be amazed at your precision and determination. I will tell you how you are being so patient and such a hard worker. I will sing along with you as you work. I will do this for two hours straight, without leaving your side. I will rejoice with you when your masterpiece is finally finished, and then, I'll play along in the epic galactic battle you start with your newly created toy. I will tell you what a good job you are doing, and how much I love you - no matter what. I will smother you with kisses, and give you a "high five" when you are all done. I will smell your boy cub scent and savor your last month as a kindergartener bear.

Now, I will remember that now is fleeting. That now is the time for you. For all too soon, it will be you saying "not now" to me. And then, you will be gone.

I will say now.

Right now.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Nothing says, "Welcome home from vacation" better than a clogged and overflowing toilet.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You are a redneck when...

This is a true story of our return trip from The Land of The Bears...

We decided to make our 16 hour return trip in one day, so we packed the car the night before in order to facilitate an early start the next morning. Both cubs were dressed and fed before 7 a.m. (a small miracle in our den), and we were out the door at 7 a.m. sharp. Brother Bear, having been appropriately drugged with Dramamine was a happy clam, and Sugar Bear and I were passing the time singing songs.

The roughest part of the trip is the first hour, as we are driving out of the mountains and we already know that Brother Bear and I suffer from car sickness while in the mountains. Well, about 45 minutes into the trip Sugar Bear started saying, "I wanna go home. I wanna go to sleep." I, ever the optimist, thought this was perfect because she would maybe sleep some of the way. I gave her all of her sleeping necessities: lovie, blankie, lamb and paci and hoped she would soon be hibernating.

And then she looked at me, and I knew we had a problem. Everything went into slow motion at that point. I grabbed the emesis basin we keep in the car for these express purposes, but unfortunately, I was too late. She started barfing everywhere and refused to vomit in the basin. Lovie, blankie, lamb, paci, the car seat and her clothes were all casualties.

We pulled over as quickly as possible and started triage. I stripped her down to her diaper and wiped her down as best as I could while Papa Bear tried to start cleaning the car seat with baby wipes. I assessed the damage and promptly told Papa Bear we were driving directly to the Mal Wart* (*name changed for privacy...ahem) in town and buying a new car seat. Ever the penny pincher, Papa Bear said he could get it clean. I then proceeded to tell him in no uncertain terms that there was no way I was driving 15+ hours in a van with a six year old car seat that reeked of regurgitated cheerios and milk with Brother Bear gaging and saying, "eww! It stinks!" every 15 seconds. (This story is sounding eerily reminiscent of the trip some 28 years ago when my family learned the hard way that I suffered from car sickness. But I digress). Papa Bear relented, and I plopped Sugar Bear in my lap while Papa Bear drove us straight to the local Mal Wart. (Thankfully, it was a 24 hour store, as we had barely reached 8 a.m.)

I went in the store to get the new car seat, pacifier, Lysol wipes, baggies and air freshener and instructed Papa Bear to find the local hazardous waste disposal plant to properly dispose of the car seat and other accoutrements (Turns out that's the dumpster in back of the local Mal Wart. Who knew?)

(Sidenote: I was forced to buy a new car seat with: 1) only the selection provided in said Mal Wart and 2) NO prior research or comparison shopping. Let's just say this was a major "growth experience" for me.)

When I returned $100 dollars poorer, Sugar Bear was running amok in the van (remember, we just threw away the car seat) and Papa Bear mentioned something along the lines of "I think she's having a poop."

We commenced cleaning at that point, with me prepping the new car seat and disinfecting things, while Papa Bear triple bagged all the tainted items that had to make the drive home.

Finally, we were ready to install the car seat when Papa Bear notices that Sugar Bear has something on her leg. Then he says, " Oh my God, it's poop! She has poop all over her!" Now, mind you, it's been a good 15 minutes since that off handed comment about "I think she's having a poop" to now. And she's made several trips from the back of the van to the front as well as taken a seat in the new car seat. I take one look in the van and new car seat and realize that more Lysol wipes are in order. Papa Bear takes a hold of Sugar Bear while I wipe up her, the new car seat and the car. I then proceed to change her diaper.

On the ground.

In the parking lot of Mal Wart.

Lest you think I'm making this all up, Papa Bear deemed the event "picture worthy".
It's stories like these that made me start a blog.

Feel free to laugh. I still am.