Friday, December 23, 2011

Silent Night, Holy Night!

I wanted to embed this properly, but the technology options available to me at the moment will not allow it.

Follow this link to see a special Christmas gift from Brother Bear:

Brother Bear's Christmas Gift

Merry Christmas from our den to yours. May it be Christmas not because of the number of gifts you unwrap, but the ones that already surround you in person and in your heart.

"This was the best Christmas we ever had. It had to be because it always is. I heard my mother say so every year. It was she who protested that she didn't want a present; she just wanted us all to be together and to love one another. It was she who feared that seasonal frenzy would overshadow eternal verities. She was apprehensive that we might get so caught up in the excitement of giving and, regardless of what anyone tried to teach us, of getting, that we would ignore "the true meaning of Christmas". Christmas Gift!, Ferrol Sams

May this be the best Christmas you ever had!

Monday, December 19, 2011

You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch!

Brother Bear:
Mama Bear, were you born in the 19th Century?

Mama Bear: Uh, no, sweetie. I was born in the 21st Century. What year do you think I was born?

Brother Bear: Hmm... I think, 1908?

Mama Bear:


Dearest Santa -

If you are anything like me, you despise last minute gift request. I understand you have a really long list, and scads more cubs to buy for than me. I get it.

But, would you do me a teeny, tiny favor and add one more eensy, weensy thing to your list? Just one thing:

I would like a lifetime's supply of Botox.

I've been very, very, veeeeeerrrry nice. I mean, I didn't say a SINGLE WORD when my sweet bear cub suggested that I am ONE HUNDRED AND THREE years old. SEE? I'm definitely on the nice list.

Thanks in advance for allowing this last minute request. I owe you.

Love and Kisses,

Mama Bear

Thursday, December 15, 2011

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

"...This was the year that I bribed five-year-old Sara Kate to say "Heehaw" in the Christmas pageant. I offered her five dollars, but she held out for seven. Her mother wanted her to be an angel, primarily because that costume is easier to make, but Sara Kate willfully insisted on being a donkey and her mother indulged her. She very nearly indulged me when the heehaw broke loose in the church." Christmas Gift! Ferrol Sams

Sugar Bear (the sheep) in the church's Preschool Christmas Pageant willfully refusing to be herded and instead admiring the "pretty red flowers," waving at her brother bear, and sitting when she was supposed to be standing (or visa versa).

I loved every minute. Because, all too soon, these are the minutes I'll wish for again.

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' " Matthew 19:14

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Weary World Rejoices

The following "Dear Santa" letter came home in Brother Bear's folder yesterday:

I wish I (or Papa Bear) could take credit for instilling this precious giving heart in our cub. But we can't. He came hard wired with that heart for giving.

I've been a little off kilter this week. A little too much Scrooge and not enough Bob Cratchit. Thank goodness for my Tiny Tim. It's just what I needed to see today.

God bless us. God Bless us, every one.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sunday: Angels in my midst

(part 4 in a 4 part series)

SUNDAY (continued):

And the rain just kept coming.

It took me about 20 minutes to get to the start line (which was way better than last year's start line fiasco). I searched out Brother Bear and GrandDaddy Bear, gave them a wave and kiss, turned up my tunes and headed out.

I'll go ahead and get this out of the way first: The first ankle deep gully-washer puddle (between mile 3 and 4) was the worst. The other 9,462 puddles were a piece of cake. I mean, really, what's another puddle when your feet are already freezing cold and wet?

I felt like I was keeping a good pace early on but unfortunately the weather conditions had messed with the mile markers, so I couldn't keep a solid record of my mile times (I don't use a pace band or a GPS. I'm old school!). I tried to keep track of things in my head, but my math skills couldn't keep up for long. I decided to just keep plugging and recalibrate whenever I had a chance.

Let it be known that this really isn't the greatest running strategy in the world.

But in the words of the famous finned philosopher, Dory, I "just kept swimming."

My first bearfriend sighting was somewhere between mile 6-7. I saw 3 Mama Bears from MOPS who were out cheering for their loved ones racing. It's possible I attack-hugged one of them. She did have a glittery sign with my name on it, though! (Side note: I realized several miles later that I got glitter all over me from the hug. I deemed it pixie dust from the speed fairy {speed as in, run faster, not the other kind} and would make me run fast). I was glad to see them as it gave me a nice lift.

Shortly after that, a complete stranger bear ran up next to me and said, "You are running in honor of your son?" (The back of my shirt stated this) I told her that I was. She looked at me and said, "Alright. Well, I'll run for him too!" I was overcome with emotion and really didn't have words for the kind offer from this bear. But I think I muttered out a heartfelt thank you and she disappeared into the crowd as quickly as she came.

I think it's possible she was an angel. Little did I know what was coming...

At mile 9.3 I saw the beloved angels bears from my awesome church manning the water station. I'll just stop right now and say that it was, by far, the BEST water stop on the course. Can you believe that they had someone specifically assigned to try and sweep away the puddles? Awesome. I hooted and hollered as I passed through and gave my dear bearfriend who thought the idea up a giant wet hug. Too bad she was wearing a fisherman's poncho or I would have really soaked her through!

Then I headed to the lake, also known as "THE GODFORSAKEN LONELIEST MILES OF THE RACE." There aren't many spectators, the miles are starting to add up, and the mental game begins. I suffered through. I sang "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" out loud in honor of my Survivor Bear Friend who suggested the song. Apparently, Mother Nature thought I was talking to her because the wind and rain came back with a vengeance! Urg.

It's about time I tell you that my "stretch" goal for the race was a 4:15. I knew it would be a stretch as it was 10 minutes faster than my previous best time, but I decided that I was going to reach for it. For those of you who aren't marathoners, you need to know that all large marathons have "pacers" who are paid to run in marathons at a certain assigned pace and help guide other runners who want to reach that pace. They run with some balloons on a stick that say the time goal they are running. I'll be totally honest with you right now. I can't stand the pacers. They drive this uber competitive Mama Bear crazy. CRAZY. My last 2 big races, I've been caught in the middle of them and for whatever reason, they just get in my psyche and get me off my game.

So, this year, I decided to outsmart them. Or so I thought. I started well in front of the 4:15 pacer knowing that, if I kept my pace, I would never have to interact with them.

The key in the paragraph above being, "if I kept my pace." Which, If you remember from earlier, I was having trouble keeping up with that data, therefore, I was unaware that around the lake I had slowed down a bit. So at mile 15 when I took a walk break and a crowd passed me led by a lady with balloons, I was utterly shocked. And totally heartbroken. It was WAY too early to have these guys on my heels. And it only meant ONE thing. I HAD SLOWED DOWN. Gulp.

I think it's time for me to introduce you to Kathleen, the 2011 White Rock Marathon Clif Pacer for a 4:15 marathon. Because, she is a key figure in the rest of this story. Cyberbears, meet my nemesis Kathleen:
(Okay, she was wearing a hat, coat, gloves and pants when I saw her. But other than that, this is exactly what I saw!)

Determined that I was NOT going to get caught up in a cat and mouse with the Pacer, I sped up. But I swear I could hear Kathleen's footsteps behind me. It was driving me crazy.

Luckily, at mile 17, I was surprised by a family very dear to us who had come out in the rain to cheer. I was so very grateful for them! I wanted to stop and chat with them, but Kathleen was still breathing down my neck. One of them snapped a picture. So you don't think I'm exaggerating, look at the upper right corner of the picture and you can see Kathleen and her stinkin' red and white balloons (you'll also see one of my running buddies smiling right behind me in the trash bag poncho. He had finished his leg of the relay and was cheering his other runners along. What a sweetie!):

That picture is likely the last time I smiled until the finish line. Because I REFUSED to get passed again, I dug in my heels, sped up, and dropped my walk breaks at mile 18. I have never tried this before in a race. The program I run says that you can do this if you are feeling good in a race. Which, I still was. I also knew that EVERY Wednesday for the entire six month training season, I would do 8 miles of speed work. So, I told myself that this was just going to be another Wednesday training session. I just had to convince my body.

It was about this time that Mother Nature decided that I was too dry and needed more of a challenge. The sky opened up with what I could only describe as the biggest, fattest, coldest raindrops ever. It's quite possible that I called Mother Nature a very dirty word. But, in my defense, she deserved it.

I kept digging and ran some really fast splits. In all honesty, they were too fast. As I hit the hills at mile 21, I knew I was in trouble. But I REFUSED TO GIVE UP.

At mile 23, Kathleen and her taunting bunch of balloons caught up with me. She was literally behind my left shoulder. I heard someone ask her "are you ahead of pace?" and she said, "yes, one minute." But that gave me no confidence because I knew I had started ahead of her. I kept her behind me.

Until mile 25.

At mile 25, I SWEAR she sped up. I SWEAR IT. She took off past me like a bullet. It was at this point that I realized my gas pedal was already on the floor, and I had nothing left to give. I was already physically beat, but seeing her pass me took away every bit of my mental stamina. My goal was literally running away from me.

I was toast.

It was at that point that this bear from the crowd started running beside me. He looked at me and then he pointed at the pacer and said, "You want to do 4:15 don't you?" All I could do was nod my head and sob a pitiful yes. He then said, "Alright. Let's do it. You can do this. I'll run it with you!" I looked at him in shock! Here was this COMPLETE stranger who was willing to make this sacrifice for someone he'd never met. I started to cry in earnest and just continued to nod my head. So he started running beside me.

And, miraculously, I started to speed up. I started to feel power in my legs again and the possibility that I might still have some gas in the tank. The stranger then looked at me and said, "You don't need me. You've got this. YOU CAN DO THIS!" and then disappeared.


I'm still trying to process this experience. It's likely that this bear could have been a regular Joe off the street. It's also likely (given my physical and mental state at the time) that he was a figment of my imagination. It's also highly likely that he was an angel sent to remind me WHY I was running this race and setting this lofty goal.

Whatever he was, he motivated me. I began running with a force and passion I thought I'd left behind at mile 4 and zoomed past Kathleen. It was about this time that I noticed a god-awful sound. I then realized the sound was coming from me. I was crying, no, sobbing. We are talking wailing wall sounds uncontrollably coming out of me. So much that a guy in front of me looked back to see what was going on. Not my finest moment.

I took a couple of deep breaths in an attempt to regain control (and not scare my fellow racers away). I said a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift I've been given to run. I prayerfully thanked each person who had physically, emotionally, and financially gotten me to this point. I thanked our mighty God for the opportunity to make a difference with 26.2 miles.

And then I waddled my fluffy behind to the finish line as fast as my legs could carry me. I started screaming before I could see the finish line. I was overwhelmed with everything this day meant to me, to my family, to all the patients at TSRHC.

I came across the finish line, stopped my watch and saw this:

I then walked approximately (or, what felt like) 13.1 more miles to receive my medal and my finisher's shirt. Then I made the tortuous return walk back to find my family. Who, by the way, made the wise decision to stay in the dry hospitality area instead of the freezing cold downpour. Hugs and tears were dispensed. Brother Bear brought me a steaming cup of coffee with a peppermint stick in it and I gulped it down.

I was in heaven.

Save the freezing cold, sopping wet clothes. Luckily, in my crazy panicked packing state the night before, I had thought to pack an entire outfit including undergarments, socks and shoes. Y'all. I've never been so happy that I inherited the overpacking gene from my Mother Bear as I was right then. I stripped those wet clothes off as fast as I could. And, for the record, my feet looked like white prunes. It was disgusting.

While my race was a whirlwind of emotions culminating in achieving my goal, Papa Bear's race wasn't exactly what he wanted. The crowd, the wind and the weather really affected his race and he came up short of his goal of qualifying for his 4th Boston marathon. He was very disappointed. I reminded him that 1) conditions were sub prime 2) he had started a new, stressful job 4 days before the race and 3) oh yeah, HE'D HAD HIS APPENDIX SURGICALLY REMOVED a mere 48 days prior. After all that, these were his dismal results IN THE PAPER the next day:

Yeah, 337th out of 4570 runners is pretty awful Cyberbears. HE SHOULD BE ASHAMED. But, as a competitive person myself, I understand his disappointment and share it with him. The good news is, he'll live to run another one. And, if I know him like I do, he'll qualify again. (Even if he says that he'll never run another marathon.)

So, I think that about covers it. Aren't you glad? That was a NOVEL! But I didn't want to leave out a single detail! I wanted each of you to have a small taste of the entire weekend, the entire experience. It was a precious, awesome, humbling, honor of a weekend.

I call that a success.

Thanks for taking this ride with us. We couldn't imagine better companions.

The End.

Or not.....

Sunday: Runners on your ARK!


My first thought after I shut off the alarm that morning was, "IS IT STILL POURING RAIN?" I tried to convince myself that it was reindeer on the roof, but one look out the window told me differently. The forecast the night before called for "light rain." Let's just say kindly that the forecaster needs to be fired. Tout de suite. Noah built an ark for this kind of weather.

This is a hysterical historical chart of the weather we endured throughout the day:

(Side note, the commentators on the local news' race coverage kept saying these were "ideal running conditions" or "runners love this weather." I'm going to go out on a limb and say his email inbox is currently full of emails to the contrary. Papa Bear and I had discussed that we could handle rain OR we could handle cold. But the two together? In NOAH'S ARK type rain conditions? WORST. RUNNING. WEATHER. EVER.)

But I digress.

Team Four Bears headed down to the race in 2 shifts. Shift 1 (the early shift) was Brother Bear, Papa Bear, GrandDaddy Bear and moi. Shift 2 (the late shift) was GrandMommy Bear and Sugar Bear. Shift 1 took the train, Shift 2 drove in later so that Sugar Bear could get her beauty rest.

The train was packed with runners and by the time we reached the race location I was a nervous wreck (more than the night before). I've never had race jitters so bad. We were lucky enough to have access to the VIP Hospitality Area, so we could get out of the weather. And (more importantly) we had access to REAL potties! Not porta potties! But speaking of weather, it was starting to show signs that the rain might actually stop. Which was fantastic. And, it turns out, a big fat lie. We waited in the hospitality area until the last minute possible. I was so nervous that I was nauseated and the smell of the food buffet almost sent me over the edge! If anyone ever tells you that race jitters go away after a few marathons, I'm here to tell you it's not before marathon number fourteen.

GrandDaddy Bear kindly took the reigns of watching Brother Bear since Papa Bear and I were running the marathon. Apparently, Brother Bear had a blast hamming it up with other patient champions, TSRHC employees, Marines, local Bar Association members trying to break a pancake serving record, and generally anyone who would look in his direction. We've always bemoaned the fact that he's such a shy cub. (Snort, snort, guffaw.) While I wasn't there to see it, word is that he and GrandDaddy Bear had a blast enjoying all the start line festivities.

About ten minutes before the race start, we headed to the start line. We found a perfect spot for Brother Bear and GrandDaddy Bear to watch it all and Papa Bear headed to his start area (waaaaaaaaay up front). I then hugged my cub tight, felt a knot rise in my throat as I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "I want you to know that this race today, this is for you. For all you've endured. I'm running today for you."

Then I headed to my starting spot (waaaaaaaaaaay in back).

And then the sky opened up.

(To be continued...)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Saturday: Pasta Found, Mind Lost

(Part 2 in a 4 Part series)


GrandMommy Bear & GrandDaddy Bear arrived. They kindly watched Sugar Bear and got her in bed on time while Papa Bear, Brother Bear and I attended made an appearance at a wonderful annual "Angel Tree Party" hosted by a dear bear friend (we had taken the opportunity earlier to shop for our angels as a family...but we hated to not stop by for this very special event). We then hopped in the car and drove in a TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR to the Annual Pre Race Pasta Dinner. I believe we were the last to arrive due to traffic. I was mortified. But we found our seats and had a wonderful pasta dinner with some other Patient Champion families and a TSRHC employee and his lovely wife.

We celebrated the amazing story of the Junior Race Director, wished everyone a great race, oh, and saw the dancers for a local professional sports team. UP CLOSE. AND PERSONAL. Cyberbears, I'm here to tell you that I now know the answer to "who wears short shorts?" Wow. I'm guessing they didn't partake of the pasta that evening. Papa Bear might have possibly used his precious, cute child to finagle a picture with said dancers. Brother Bear (and the dancers) were happy to oblige. AND I TOOK THE PICTURE. I am nothing if not a loving wife and Mama Bear.


We then headed home in the STILL pouring rain, BUT NOW FREEZING COLD TEMPERATURES. (Is the caps lock helping at all with the foreshadowing?) Brother Bear headed to bed. Papa Bear quickly, calmly and methodically packed his race day bag. I, on the other hand, RAN AROUND THE HOUSE LIKE A CHICKEN WITH MY HEAD CUT OFF trying to figure out all the myriad details for the next day, cursed blogger for deleting my race day post AGAIN, and became a general, wheels off, nervous wreck. It was not pretty. We finally headed to bed where I tossed and turned until my alarm went off.


(To be continued....)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Friday: T Shirts, Turkey Necks and Toe Funk

(Part 1 in a 4 part series)


Friday started with the family gathering around the newspaper to see the sweet article in the local insert to our metropolitan paper. Since Brother Bear reads the paper at breakfast every morning, this was truly one of his highlights. I then reminded him that he was a regular cub with a regular Friday spelling test and sent him off to school for his test. I picked him up shortly thereafter to begin the weekend festivities.

The events started with the annual pre-race tee shirt signing event on Friday. They have the patient champions and several race celebrities sign tee shirts for the patients. Fun was had by all. Brother Bear took his role very seriously. See here:
(He had been working for weeks on the smiley face and peace sign that went along with his signature!)

Sugar Bear hammed it up, fussed it up, ate a bag of popcorn and then commandeered the camera. See here:
(This is your camera)
(This is your camera with a 3 year old)
(Um. Why haven't any of you CyberBears told me about the turkey neck I'm apparently growing?)

I, all the while, beamed with pride. Oh, and I might have also possibly used my cute cubs to finagle a picture of myself (oh, and the cute cubs) with 2 of the elite Kenyans. It's also quite possible that I squealed like a teenage girl at a Bieber concert when they said yes.


We then headed down to orthotics to discuss a rash that had recently developed on Brother Bear's legs where he wears his night braces. I was kindly informed that the rash was due to nothing more than simple BAD MOTHERING on my part. I left the hospital in shame. Shame, I tell you. (Bottom line: real Mama Bears don't let their cubs' braces grow "things" in them. Ew!)

(To be continued....)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Living to tell the story


I've been working on the weekend recap in my head since Sunday. Unfortunately, I've been rudely interrupted by this:
and this:

Did you know that laundry and dishes don't give a hoot if you ran 26.2 miles the day before? Well, now you do. Bah Humbug!

I will try to recap the highlights of our weekend. I'm afraid I just won't do it justice. If I don't, then call me. I'll walk you through every detail. In depth. With hand motions.

Until then, I've broken the weekend down into a four part series. There will be one post for Friday, and Saturday and two for Sunday. I hope this will make it a little more manageable.

First post is tomorrow morning...


Monday, December 5, 2011


Getting out of bed just might be my biggest accomplishment of the day today (that first step was a doozy). Can't wait to tell you all about yesterday! More details to come!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


...The Hopis consider running a form of prayer; they offer every step as a sacrifice to a loved one, and in return ask the Great Spirit to match their strength with some of his own

(Born to Run - Christopher Mcdougall)
Today Papa Bear and I both run 26.2 miles in honor of our son and all of the patients at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC). We run so that each of the (over) 120,000 patients seen per year at TSRHC has the opportunity to receive the same excellent care our son receives. For each of these patients, we will keep moving.

We will not quit.

We could not have made this journey without your support, your love, your friendship, your sacrifice. You have encouraged us along the way. You have listened to our endless discussions of all things marathon. You have sacrificed financially to support a cause that means so much to us. Tomorrow as we run, each step we take will be a prayer of thanksgiving for your gifts to us.

YOU are spreading the word.

YOU are lighting a fire.

YOU are making a difference.

YOU are Team Four Bears.

Thank YOU.

Erin & Brent Basden - Emily & Ben Guthrie - Jill & Julian Vigil - Laura & Ryan Prejean - Holly Smith - Robyn Lilly - Maggie Lamberth & Family - Mary & Kenton Keller - Charlotte Allen - Jeanne, David, Emma & Lottie Vickers - Lydia & James Perry - Sarah Thompson - Abbey & Chris Adcox - Christie & Iain Michie - Kerry & Travis Dunbar - Anonymous - Maggie Funk - GrandMommy & GrandDaddy (Carole Jean & Maxey) Abernathy - Virginia DeMent & Family - Sheila & Gene Moore - Jill & Larry Granberry - Papa Ross Franck - Jewell & Paul Abernathy - Emily & Seth Kenton - Kathleen Alverson - Brenda & Gwin Morris - Kristy & Vic Iaconos & Family - Eric Horstman - Kim & George Mason - Geri Cortinas-Long - Lauren & Bill Hollis - Hillary Campbell - Kendra Hallett - Akli Tabti - Karen Hurtado - Della Mae & Perry Smith - Mimi & Poppa (Sandy & Ross) Woodbury - Kim & Russell Williams - Mary Hope & Derry Burns - Monica Citilan - Mary Pat & Joe Czajkowski - Jamilia Abdashimova - Ashok Settyvari - Goldman Sachs Matching Gifts Program

...there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding.
(Born to Run - Christopher Mcdougall)

Friday, December 2, 2011





Words escape me.

Wait, no they don't.





(You get the picture)


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Moved by the Music!

Team Four Bears is now only $635 $610 $585 $575 $475 $450 away from our $5000 goal!
Want to help us reach our goal?
Just click HERE!!

Are you moved by music? I know I am. Music helps me pass the time, think about something other than the pain of a long run, inspires me to run longer, faster, and not give up.

My choice of music is incredibly eclectic. My play list ranges from rock, pop, bluegrass, country, gospel, and Glee (that's a musical genre, didn't you know?). I tend to gravitate towards songs that have inspirational words versus great musical prowess. Given that I have NO musical skills whatsoever, that kinda makes sense. Most people would think that I need fast, upbeat music to get me across the finish line. For a 5k, maybe. But not me. I need the words, the inspiration. Are any of us surprised by this?

These are the current top 5 on my running playlist:
  1. Marchin On - One Republic
  2. Hey Hey Hey - Michael Franti and The Spearheads
  3. I'll Fly Away - Allison Krauss & Gillian Welch
  4. I Will Rise - Chris Tomlin
  5. Less Than Perfect - Karmin
(I think my 16 year old niece-bear just passed out from the uncoolness of that list. So very sorry EBear! I promise I'm still cool. Sorta.)

So, a few marathons back, I wasn't feeling the motivation I needed to get myself across the finish line. So, I asked my bear friends to help me. I had them email Papa Bear a song they thought would help get me across the finish line. He then loaded them on my music player and I listened to them the whole race. IT. WAS. AWESOME. And hilarious. And downright fun.

So. I'm doing it again this year. With a twist.

Donate at least $10 to Team Four Bears and you can suggest a song for my playlist. If it's not already on my playlist, I'll download it and be forced to have the opportunity to listen to it during the race on Sunday. No matter what. Sweet, sappy, funny, obscene. Even if it's rap.

"Official" Rules -
  1. Donate $10 or more to Team Four Bears
  2. Put your song suggestion in the comments on this blog or in the comments section of this link on Facebook.
  3. If you have already donated to our team, just put your song suggestion in the comments on this blog or in the comments section of this link on Facebook.
  4. One song per donor.
I'll then put a return comment to each of you confirming that your song selection has been added to the playlist.

Help us reach our goal of $5000 and musically motivate me across the finish line!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Motivational Challenge - Winner!

Team Four Bears is now only $635 away from our $5000 goal!
Want to help us reach our goal?
Just click HERE!!

Our Motivational Challenge winner is Emily G Bear! Emily is a super hip young Mama Bear of three young cubs. She is so very bright, loves her kiddos, is a culinary whiz, and has a razor sharp wit. In addition to crossing paths with her at church, I often catch up with her at the local gym. We can trade stories of being called a man when we rock our sassy short hair during our workouts!

Emily G Bear's motivational story for getting/staying fit (her words):

"The days I get to go to the gym are the only days I get a shower."

Did I not mention the razor sharp wit? But, seriously, what better motivation for a Mama Bear with young cubs at home than a guaranteed hot shower (without interruption from the cubs)?

Love it.

Thanks to all that participated! So glad to see there are other bears out there that are pushing themselves and finding motivation!

Keep moving!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Motivational CHALLENGE - What's your motivation?

Team Four Bears is now only $710 away from our $5000 goal!
Want to help us reach our goal?
Just click HERE!!

What is YOUR motivation?

I watched this YouTube video recently and was moved beyond words. You may have already seen it. Maybe not. Take a moment to watch it (major kleenex alert!):

Amazing, no?

When bears hear that I'm a marathoner, their first comment is something along the lines of "Are you crazy?" or "I couldn't run 26.2 miles if I was being chased by a bear!" (Come on. Did you expect me to use another animal?) To answer their first question, yes, I am crazy, but not because I run. And in response to their second comment? Well. Yes, yes you could.

You just haven't tried.

But here's the thing: I understand not trying. I've been there. And really, while I've never had to lose as much as Ben (in the video), I've had to have inspiration to get myself off the couch, out the door, and on the pavement. I feel Ben's journey. I share his process.

It's no secret that I've battled weight issues for a long time (helloooo, public battle!). Those issues eroded my body image and began to make me think I was something less than fearfully and wonderfully made. Over the past year, I decided to change my focus (again...very publicly). I decided to focus more on the positives (my fitness, my strength) and less on the negatives (a number on a scale). In doing so, I became more confident, happier and STRONGER than I've been in a long time. And if that means my jeans fit a little better too, well, that is just icing on the cake!

Now, let’s be real here. I’m not perfect. Not by a long shot. However, each day, I'm finding my list of "cans" is overtaking my list of "can'ts." Sure, I still battle old demons and sub-par choices (like my single handedly demolishing almost an entire Cheese Ball at Thanksgiving, for example). But, I know now I’m moving forward on this journey, not back.

One step at a time.

And that is all that matters.

So, don’t be surprised the next time you hear someone tell me “they could never…” you then hear me interrupt them with a long list of why they certainly could.

And now, for the TEAM FOUR BEARS Motivational Challenge:

I want to know what is YOUR motivation for getting and staying fit? Do you have a story to tell? Put it in the comments section and let me know. I guarantee I’ll read every story!

But, do you also want EVERYONE to know your story too? Well, put your $MONEY$ where your motivation is! Be the HIGHEST DONOR to Team Four Bears on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2011 and you will WIN the opportunity to tell your story right here on THIS BLOG!

(“Official” Rules: donate the highest $ amount to Team Four Bears between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 to win)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's in your grocery cart?

Through your generosity, Team Four Bears is now only $760 away from our $5000 goal!
Want to help us reach our goal?
Just click HERE!!

Our Thanksgiving shopping list
lovingly prepared by Brother Bear

The Four Bears Den has been put in charge of an entire food group for our Thanksgiving festivities. That food group is: PIE. Mmmmm, who doesn't like a good pie? Specifically, Pumpkin Pie & Pecan Pie. Since both the cubs are home today and Papa Bear is working, I thought it would be fun to let each cub "help" me with the preparations. In my mind, this will work out great. Each cub will have a pie assigned to them. They will be neat, follow directions, and never, ever lick the beater.

Yeah right.

Seriously, I expect it to be controlled chaos and my only goal is that I don't have to redo any pies.

But, even if I do, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Looking for a good Pumpkin Pie recipe? Look no further! This is my go-to recipe for pumpkin pie:

Mama Bear's Spiced Pumpkin Pie

2/3 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp ginger
1 1/2 cup canned solid packed pumpkin
2 TBS mild flavored or light molasses
3 large eggs
1 cup whipping cream
1 frozen deep dish pie crust

Put a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Whisk first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk in pumpkin, molasses, and eggs and then add cream. Pour mixture into prepared frozen crust. Place pie on preheated baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake until set (sides puff up and center is just set) - about 40 minutes. Can be made one day ahead, just cover and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature. (If you are an overachiever and want to use homemade pie crust, feel free. Just be sure to watch the crust so it doesn't burn!)

So, what are you making for Thanksgiving? All of it? One part? Nothing? Let me know!

Monday, November 21, 2011


I've mentioned this before, but Papa Bear and I are a house divided when it comes to looking at a glass (proverbially speaking, of course). He, ever the realist, sees a glass half empty. I, on the other hand, see the glass as half full. One of the many reasons we go together like peas and carrots. ( Assuming you like peas and carrots together. Which I don't. Because, eww. They are the grossest veggies known to mankind {other than brussel sprouts and cauliflower - gag!} why would you ever put them together?)

I digress.

So. We are twelve days aways from the 2011 MetroPCS White Rock Marathon. TWELVE days! There isn't anymore training left. Just waiting. My favorite thing!

We've had some bumps in our training plan this year. Papa Bear's bump was the worst with the unexpected removal of his appendix. He's bounced back rather quickly, but he's worried his goals for a 4th Boston are out of reach now. Cup half full.

I've started the season with a strained hamstring and ended it with a strained quadriceps. Both minor annoyances. I currently have a chest cold (or tuberculosis...jury's still out) that I'm hoping to kick sooner versus later. Other than that, my training season was spectacular. And any seasoned marathoner knows, that's not a good thing. We runners are a superstitious lot. And for me, that means I need to have one horrific training run before the race. Or else, the race may be the horrific part. But, who knows, right?

So, we are a mere twelve days away from a spectacular day of family running and celebration, and we aren't feeling 100%. We also aren't at 100% of our fundraising goal. We are $1275 short of our $5000 goal. We need to raise (over) $100 per day for the next twelve days to meet our goal.

Now, a Mama Bear could look at this and get discouraged. She could whine and pout, and talk a lot about how half full that glass is.

But not this Mama Bear.

This Mama Bear's cup is not only half full, Cyberbears, it's overflowing.
  • Overflowing with gratitude for a team of doctors, nurses, orthotists, and physical therapists that treat my cub with dignity, respect, love and passion.
  • Overflowing with gratitude for friends and family that have supported us emotionally through our journey.
  • Overflowing with praise for the gift of being able to run ONE mile. Much less twenty six point two. A point that is never, ever far from my mind.
  • Overflowing with humility at the number of friends, coworkers (Papa Bear's), and family that have sacrificed from their pocketbook to help us raise money. We know that each dollar you donated, whether one or one thousand, was a dollar you could have spent on yourself or your family. We are honored.
So, no, you won't hear me complaining, or talking about a glass half full. No way, no how.

No matter what, my cup overflows...

***Interested in making a donation to "Team Four Bears"? There's still time!! Just click here!***

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Conspiracy Theory

Today on Facebook, I'm talking about a radical conspiracy I've joined. Click here to read more. Warning: reading this post may change your life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Loud and Clear

Have you heard the voice of God? Today on Facebook, I'm talking about hearing God through (of all things) my car stereo. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Conquering Fears

Yes, Cyberbears. I conquered a fear this weekend. It was difficult. There was a wee bit of crying. And nashing of teeth. And perchance some other minor dramas. But I stuck with it. I endured. I did it. I conquered my fear.

No. I didn't conquer my fear of making up my bed, Mother Bear.


That's me! In a pair of skinny jeans! Seriously! Do you see the exclamation points?


Remember this post? Yeah, me too. Well, my derriere is still round and ample. But, day by day, my confidence is growing. I'm becoming more confident with the body God gave me and how I'm putting it to use as His temple. And, the skinny jeans? Well, besides being a reward for my goal setting and achieving, they are a fun reminder that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Even if I have a lil' junk in the trunk.

Here's hoping they don't go out of style too quickly!

Thanks for joining on this journey with me. I hope to, in time, share more with you about how I'm trying to conquer my body image issues - one day, one challenge at a time.

(Oh. And, bonus item. Said jeans cost only $16.99! Thanks to dear friends JoBear and LHBear for hooking me on the greatness that is TJMaxx!)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Deep Thoughts

Or not so much.

It seems that with all I've had going on with life, I just can't seem to string a poignant thought together these days. My commitments are too many, my to-do list too long, and I've felt pulled in a million different directions. I've been overwhelmed with life emergencies as well as making serious decisions for our family that have left me bereft of anything worthy to write, much less post. My brain lately is only capable of random, short spurts of twitter-esque thoughts. Fashion Friday pictures linger on my hard drive. My plans and goals for updating on Team Four Bears have been delayed and delayed. Basically, I've left this blog "like a ship without a sail, like a boat without a rudder, like a fish without a tail." (extra points for those collegiate Cyberbears that know the reference!). For this control freak Mama Bear, feeling this way has been beyond frustrating.

The good news is, many of my (over)commitments are closing down in the next few weeks and (for the most part) big family decisions are behind us. The clouds are parting and I'm starting to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

The bad news is, in an effort to entertain my audience (all 3 of you), I've decided today to deliver the deep thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head lately.

I'll just go ahead and say this now and get it out of the way: send all complaints to our corporate headquarters - myfriendandspousewhoencouragedmetostartthisblog (at)fourbearsinthebed (dot) com.

Without further adieu:
  • While editing/reviewing recent communications and writing, I've noticed that I have a terrible habit of leaving my parenthesis open. Instead of thinking of myself as a grammatically incorrect, I've decided to label myself as someone who likes to keep her options open.
  • If I were in charge of some local races, (which I'm not. Because, I DON'T HAVE THE TIME!) there would be some significant changes. Numero Uno being the porta potties. Bottom line: you can never have enough porta potties at a race. Never.
  • As evidenced by deep thought above, my never ending immersion in potty training, an elderly dog, an eight year old boy, and a spouse, my life is consumed with poo. I never thought this would happen. Yet here I am. Immersed in poo. I could start a blog about poo. Seriously. When I listen to one of my favorite songs, "These Are The Days" a life immersed in poo is not exactly what I'm thinking. (Cub Master Bear...that one's for you)
  • Numero Dos race change would be wide, wide, wide starting areas. 2700 people smushed into a small space is more than this claustrophobic Mama Bear can handle. Don't bears have personal space issues anymore?
  • I set another PR this weekend for a half marathon. Shaved 2 minutes off my previous best. I'm kinda stoked about it. Interestingly enough, I ran a much smarter race than last year, but it was (or, it felt like it was) a harder race. Either way, color me happy.
  • I've seen and heard nothing but complaints about Daylight Savings Time. Can I say, it has been THE BEST THING EVER for our den? Seriously. I'm bouncing out of the bed. NO JOKE! Papa Bear's jaw hit the ground this morning when I got out of bed without snoozing the alarm. And the kids? They wake up BEFORE the alarm AND (more importantly) they are HAPPY about it. Bring on the Daylight Savings Time, Cyberbears. Bring it on.
  • I have a new addiction habit: nightly bowl of sugary cereal. It's a problem. The cereal changes from week to week (based on the sales), but the addiction habit sticks. Perhaps there are 12 step programs? Or, perhaps, I'll just stick my head in the sand. They are whole grain cereals after all.

Okay. So, maybe I should have kept my thoughts to myself. But, where's the fun in that?

Hoping to be back soon with something more interesting...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lost and Found

Am I the only one that spends WAY too much time looking for lost things? I hope not. We recently had a "lost and found" experience that offered me new perspective. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


If there were ever an argument for the validity of evolution, it would begin with the amazingly useless human organ, the appendix. Known only to mankind for it's ability to wreak havoc on a mundane Monday night to an otherwise supremely fit and healthy bear.

Or so I'm told.

For those that don't know, Papa Bear came down with a nasty case of appendicitis last Monday night and subsequently had said vestigial structure surgically removed on Tuesday. Ever the overachiever (or, perhaps just tired of his "home health care") he decided to be readmitted (well, really, the surgeon decided that part) on Friday due to a "postoperative complication". I'll spare you the details. But, let's just say that if Papa Bear didn't lose his dignity during the first hospital visit, I GUARANTEE YOU he lost it the second go round. However, it was worth the loss of dignity to get him feeling better. (So saith me.)

I'm a week behind on everything (especially sleep), but a week full of gratitude. So many bears jumped to our aid, all of them at the right time, with the right things. Being torn between my cubs at home and needing to care for my spouse was challenging, but knowing that they were safe in the arms of dear friends made it much more tolerable. I am indebted to these fine bears for so much, not the least of which was dealing with Sugar Bear's potty training regression last week. Eek.

But also things like:
  • Dropping everything at their own house to oversee my house while we rushed to the ER
  • Waking up extra early to check on our status and change cub watching shifts
  • Clothing and feeding my cubs, getting them to school, picking them up from school, entertaining them, loving them, etc...
  • talking me off of the ledge via text when I had reached the end of my rope
  • bringing me a breakfast burrito and the (much needed) strongest cup of coffee I've ever had
  • packing a bag of things from home I might need
  • knowing, without asking, that a change of undergarments and socks would be exactly what I needed (and knowing where to find them!) after 2 nights in the same clothes
  • packing snacks and advil. Oh, for the love of all things holy, that advil saved my life
  • Figuring out the little details I couldn't
  • Telling me you are bringing dinner. (And knowing that you would have to tell me, not ask me) And bringing comfort food at it's finest.
  • Dropping off a perfect Sunday lunch (with leftovers!). And ignoring the fact that I was still in my pajamas. At noon.
These things are just a few of the wonderful things you all did for me. I'll take these over flowers any day.

I was on the phone with My Daddy Bear updating him on all these things and he said, "Wow! You guys have some great friends."

Indeed we do. Indeed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

No Words

Ever been at a lack for words? Yeah, me neither.

No, seriously though. I had an experience this weekend in which I realized my words were insignificant. Click here to read more.

Your Future

Want to know what I wish for my future self? Here's your answer:

Seriously. The power of hard work, determination, will power, positivity, and a never-say-never attitude. Awesome.

Thanks, MissAdaptation for the tip off to this story.

So, what do you wish for your future self?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Monday

This made me laugh. Because, HONEST TO GOODNESS, I went to my Doctor about ten months after Sugar Bear was born looking exactly like this lady. My symptoms included: tired, can't remember anything, and want to kill my spouse.

I believe she quoted those exact words in the cartoon above to me.

In hindsight, I'm so embarrassed that I didn't recognize it. But, GAWD, in the moment of trying to navigate life with two children, I thought I had something seriously wrong with me.

At least it's not fatal.


Thursday, September 29, 2011


I went to the same pediatrician from 18 months of life to, oh, let's call it 18 years old (I'm fairly certain I'm one of the few patients he had to kick out of his office...). His name was Dr. Payne. Seriously. With a name like Payne, you are FORCED into either a career as military official or a pediatrician. Because every four year old cub loves to hear the words, "Sweetie, are you ready to go see Dr. Payne?" Right?

Anyhoo. In the bathroom of Dr. Payne's office there was a silly little poem above the toilet. It read:

"If you sprinkle
when you tinkle,
Be a sweetie and
wipe the seatie."

And, considering I had somewhere between twelve and, oh, six million and forty two urinary tract infections in my life, I spent a lot of time in that bathroom reading that silly poem. A lot.
So, yesterday, Sugar Bear finally did the big deed in the potty (I'll save you the details. And the picture. Papa Bear was not as lucky as you...). Big deal in our household. B-I-G. I'll admit right here on my blog to some serious poor parenting and let you Cyberbears know that I bribed the heck outta that cub. I think I might possibly have offered her a car when she turns sixteen. But, I was desperate folks!

Wanna know what the winning bribe was? Do you? Well, I'll tell you. My Sugar Bear stayed true to her nickname and held out for a Sprinkles Cupcake. Oh. Yes. She. Did.

And all I could think of yesterday the rest of the day was that stupid, stupid poem.

Kinda ruined the cupcake experience for me.

Welcome to just a small peek into the madness that is moi, Mama Bear. You are welcome.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Don't Know How She Does It

There's a movie coming out now (based on a book that, incidentally, I was reading when I found out that Brother Bear was going to join our world) called I Don't Know How She Does It. Heard of it? It's about a working mom who is trying to balance everything in her life. Although I LOVE me some SJP, I'm not 100% sure I'm going to go see it.


Well. I'll tell you. (Hold on just a second while I get my step stool a little closer to the pulpit. Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing on? Can you hear me? Okay. Good.)

It's because, hello, (spoiler alert) reality is: SHE DOESN'T REALLY DO IT. That's right folks. The regular, run of the mill wife/mother/etc., CANNOT DO IT ALL. (Audience gasps) It's a lie portrayed beautifully through characters like: June Cleaver, Carol Brady, Shirley Partridge, and Claire Huxtable. Great moms? Sure, on paper and film. Real moms? Meeehhhh...not so much.

Real moms spend every single day walking the tightrope of life, falling down, getting up, falling down, getting up, going to bed and then getting back up the next day to do it all over again. Real moms feel the pressure (created by society) to be perfect and daily fight the battle to grasp that ever elusive, ever moving golden ring.

And Mama Bears, we're never going to get it. It just isn't possible.

When I think of the title "I Don't Know How She Does It" I actually think the same thing. Because these are the kinds of things this Mama Bear does:
  • Shows up for Sugar Bear's ballet class (not the first one, mind you) at the time the class gets out...not when it starts.
  • In the hustle and bustle of back to school hysteria, forgets to plan her youngest cub's birthday party until two weeks before said birthday.
  • Ignores the blinking oil light on the car that says "-151%." Because, if the Swagger Wagon didn't spontaneously combust at -135% it will probably survive a few more errands.
  • Drops off cub at school wearing her pajamas because getting 5 more minutes of shut-eye beat out vanity.
  • Cannot, for all that is good and holy, get her youngest cub to poop in the potty.
  • Has a list, but cannot find it.
  • Recognizes at, oh, midnight or so that she never got around to brushing her teeth. Or bathing. Or combing her hair.
  • Forgets friends' birthdays, anniversaries and other very important life events. Constantly.
  • Has her cub study the spelling list all week only to realize at 11 p.m. the night before the test that she gave the cub the wrong spelling list.
  • Registers for a mandatory scout training class less than 24 hours before said training class begins.
  • Oversleeps and misses her weekly long run with her running group. That she's supposed to help lead.
  • Goes a whole evening without recognizing that she has her panties on backwards. (Truth. Very, very uncomfortable truth)
I could go on. But I won't. Because you get the picture. And I don't even have a paying-outside-of-the-den job. (For those of you who do - hats off. You guys rock and are my total heros.)

So, despite my love for SJP, I hope you'll excuse me if I skip this one.

I just can't do it.