Saturday, May 25, 2013

Goldilocks Bike Ride in the Rain

Last Saturday, I rode in the Goldilocks bike ride again.  I was so excited to do it because I had enlisted more friends to ride with us and I loved last year's event so much.  I knew the forecast was calling for rain so I ran out the day before and bought a light rain shell.  But I was totally unprepared for how freezing cold it was going to be.

Here is what I was wearing the day before on a ride around my neighborhood so you can imagine that I wasn't anticipating the cold:

We got there that morning--ate the yummy porridge and fruit breakfast, picked up our swag bags, and took the obligatory photos.  At this point it started POURING rain.  We were all soaked before we even got on our bikes!

I feel like I am a pretty tough person most of the time.  I can push myself when I am working out through pain and rely on mental grit. (Stop laughing Sam!)  But nothing makes me give up faster than being cold (and wet!)

Within the first ten minutes of being out there, my fingers froze and my feet got completely soaked.  I could feel the water sloshing around in my cycling shoes.  At this point, I gave up mentally.  I had hung back to talk to a friend and my group of friends were way up ahead of me. 

This is where I lose all dignity.  I decide my friends are dead to me.  We had decided to do 40 miles  but in that moment I decided I was doing 20.  I didn't know if I was ever going to catch up to my friends but I didn't care anymore how they were going to get home!  In fact, it was a good thing I didn't see a Papa Bear vehicle or I would have waved the white flag, called it quits and gotten in the car. I was that cold.

We stopped at a rest stop and I caught up with my friends.  I talked to them and they all agreed to do the 20 miles and be done.  Everyone was freezing.  The cool thing about Goldilocks is that the volunteers made it a fun event even when everyone was miserable.  There were Papa Bears at the rest stops taking our bikes from us and "parking them" and one guy even gave me his coat to wear while I was taking a break.  I was really impressed with these guys who gave up a Saturday to come volunteer in the rain!

Knowing that we only had 10 miles left, we got back on our bikes and soldiered on.  The odd thing was, once I was completely soaked and my fingers were numb, it was okay.

Of course, at the Finish Line, the rain stopped and the sun came out.  You can finally see my cute Goldilocks jersey from last year.  A very nice friend bought it for me!

They gave us darling little necklaces and we had a yummy lunch (at 10:30 in the morning!)  Next year I am doing 60 miles no matter what!  And if it is raining, I am going to be prepared with warm gloves and plastic bags over my shoes!

Of course, my favorite part of the whole thing is how girly and darling all the details were:
Even the port-a-potties were pink!

Dani (the gal in charge of Goldilocks) is so nice--she bought everyone's Zazoosh photos to make up for the rain. (Zazoosh is a photographer that takes pictures of people along the route and sells them after the race.) Here is the one of me:

And finally: my cute t-shirt from the swag bag to remember the day!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Am a Fan (Late Spring Edition)

Once again, I am copying my friend Marta's Am a Fan series and sharing my latest loves:

Chick-fil-a wraps.  These babies come with an avocado lime ranch dressing that I could drink by itself.  Add a Diet Lemonade and a large waffle fry and I am in Heaven.

Selling stuff on Ebay.  I just started and I am hooked.  I am selling everything from shoes to PBK bedding.  My used Lululemon workout clothes are selling for more than I paid for them originally.  The shipping situation still throws me for a loop but I am figuring it out.

Harmon's post office:  I am shipping a lot of stuff lately (see above.)  My mom just put me on to the post office inside Harmon's.  They have everything the real post office has without that super grouchy dude working at the Draper location.  You know who I am talking about.  I used to wait extra long to get the other lady working there just to avoid him.  Now I can avoid him all the time and the lines and hit the post office at Harmon's. 

Loft Sunwashed Tees:  Some people swear by Old Navy V-neck tees.  My favorite tees are from Loft.  They are soft, they fit well and you can get them 40% off almost all the time.

Pizzeria Limone: At Christmas time, my friend Mariah introduced me to Pizzeria Limone in Fort Union.  The place has tasty wood-oven pizzas, good salads, gelato, and every one's favorite fountain drink mixer extraordinaire.  It is delicious.  And now we are getting one in Sandy right by my brand new McD's!

Old Navy Work Out Clothes:  Old Navy has been putting out some awesome moisture wicking work out clothes lately. They have some great Lululemon looking knock-off items.  I love their compression capris, bra-tops and bright tanks.

The Mindy Project:  This is Mindy Kaling's show.  Remember when I told you how funny her book is?  Her show is just as funny.  She makes me laugh out loud.  Warning--Sometimes it can be a little crude.  It is on Fox.  DVR it!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dating: Knowing What I Want and Finding It

I think one of the greatest things about dating later in life is that I have figured out what I really want.  I have figured out what I need too, which is more important.  When Sam and I were doing marriage counseling, we read a book called The Five Love Languages.  While I found the book a bit cheesy at times, I think the underlying message that we all feel loved in different ways was brilliant.   The key is to identify which way your partner feels loved and show them love in that way. 

My love language is Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch.  Knowing that about myself now, I know I need to find a man who can compliment me and express his love to me verbally.  I also need physical touch.  I like a man who will put his arm around me or hold my hand in addition to the bedroom stuff.  These things make me feel loved and adored. 

Remember when you were a Mia Maid and you made a list of all the qualities you wanted in a future husband?  You wrote stuff like "RM, handsome, tall?"  Well, those are all still on my list but that is the jumping off point.  My list has gotten a whole lot longer.  Making the list was easy--finding a man with all of these characteristics is the hard part.  Here are some of the things that I have realized are important to me now:

1.  A man who is kind--first and foremost.  And I want a man who is kind to others, not just me.

2.  A man who values education and preferably has an advanced degree.  I want a man who has a career (not just a job), is passionate about his work and takes it seriously.

3.  A man who loves his family and respects his mother.

4.  A man who is a devoted and loving father.

5.  A man who has a strong testimony of the gospel, holds a calling and takes his Priesthood responsibilities seriously.

6.  A man who is funny.  I am a sucker for guys who make me laugh.  Seinfeld is usually my litmus test.  If a man loves Seinfeld and quotes it..we will probably hit it off.  If he loves Colbert, that is gravy.

7.  A man who is fit and active.  I used to think this didn't matter to me but it does.

8.  A man who can be a man.  I love an alpha-male.  I think it is because right now--I have to make all the decisions and be the head of my household.  I want a man who takes charge, makes reservations and solves problems.  I like a man who opens doors, makes the first move and isn't afraid to show me he is interested in me.
9.  A man who is honest, classy and speaks kindly of his ex-wife.  This speaks volumes about the guy.
10.  Okay, okay, tall is always a bonus for me.  I am 5'9--I love a tall man.  And of course, we have to have chemistry--chemistry is more important than looks.

The older I get, the more I realize what matters in a spouse.  I refuse to settle. When I was going through a hard time at the end of my marriage, I would turn the radio on and this song by Sugarland always seemed to be playing. I still hear it and it reminds me that I am not settling this time around for anything less than everything:

"I ain't settling for just getting by
I've had enough so so for the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high
Just enough ain't enough this time
I ain't settling for anything less than everything"

Monday, May 13, 2013

Online Dating 101

I have a love hate relationship with online dating.  Here is the thing:  It has come a long way.  My parents are still down on it and encourage me to meet people the "normal way."  Unfortunately, there is no normal way anymore.  But in my parents' defense, their idea of online dating is stuff they have seen on 20/20 about chat rooms and 50 year old dudes trying to seduce 15 year old girls.  I think the stigma of being online is gone.  Really, it is just "online meeting." 

I have had several friends who have met and married someone they met on a dating site.  I think these sites work because it is the quickest, easiest way to meet other people who are single and looking to date.  I love being set up but it doesn't happen all the time.  So if you just want to date a lot and meet people quickly--go online.

Here is my advice for the ladies about online dating.  You men are on your own--just kidding.  You know I can't wait to write my advice post for the menfolk.

1. Accept that there are no rules.  Quit thinking that men will be honorable or abide by the societal norms of  real life interaction.  You can be messaging with a guy for weeks and he can disappear overnight.  Poof.  You will never hear from him again.  Some guys will message and immediately ask you out.  Others will want to message for months.  (My least favorite thing in the world!  Who needs a pen pal?!)  Everyone has their own way of online dating.

2.  Understand that most guys exaggerate in their profiles.  On the LDS sites, people have to say how active in the church they are, etc.  If they say they go to church "Always" that means most of the time.  If they say "Sometimes" that means they never go.  I have learned not to put too much stock in anything people put in their profile.  They probably wrote it years ago.  A lot can change.

3.  If a dude lies anywhere on his profile or is cagey or doesn't answer questions, bail now.  I love it when guys put their age as 42 then later in their profile they will admit to being 51 but everyone tells them they look a lot younger.  Riiiiight.  If they are willing to lie to you about something as insignificant as their age on a dating website, imagine what they will lie to you about down the road.

4.  Avoid the guys who write "just ask" instead of answering questions.  If they can't sum up what they do for work in single sentence, I don't need to go any further.  No long explanation needed.

5.  If a guy tells you he is funny, he's not.  If he is funny, he will show you he is funny in his profile.

6.  Always meet at the restaurant for the first date.  Never have the guy pick you up at your house. Two reasons for this. A. You don't want to be murdered. and B. if he is a dud, you can make a quick get-away without an awkward doorstep scene.

7.  Don't give out your cell number until you have messaged with someone on the site for a bit. That way, if you can see that the guy isn't funny, or is looking for a hook-up, or admits to having an affair or some other deal breaker--it is easier to unload him without him having access to you in real life via your phone.

8.  Never, never, never send a "sexy" or inappropriate photo of yourself to anyone.  I am a lawyer so I am very mindful of leaving evidence.  This applies to dating in general..not just online dating.  If a dude asks for a racy/sexy pic.  Drop him quick!

9.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  Don't even message with someone who doesn't have a picture (there is probably a reason there is no pic and it is never good).  If you are a girl, you should include at least one full body shot otherwise (I am told) men assume you are out of shape if all you have are face shots.  For men it is the opposite problem.  Men are often guilty of posting pics of themselves doing extreme sports or they will have a picture with five other people and you have to squint to see which one they are.

10. Don't try to be something you're not.  It will come back to bite you.  I get tired of everyone pretending to be so outdoorsy in their profiles.  We all love to be outside but 99% of the time we are all just doing normal stuff..going to work, driving kids around, going out to eat and to a movie.  In my profile I said "I am not outdoorsy unless shopping at City Creek is outdoorsy."  I like hiking and skiing, etc but I am definitely not a nature girl and don't want to have to live up to that if some dude wants to go camping every weekend.  I read one guy's profile that was so refreshing.  He described himself as the "indoorsy type."  He loves air conditioning, good tv and fine dining--so honest!

11.  Spend some time on your profile.  It will pay off in the end.  Try to show your personality and what makes you fun and unique.  Try to put some things in there that guys can ask you about or comment on when they message you. 

12.  Don't put pictures of your kids on your profile, don't say how many kids you have or their ages, and remember that there are some scary Larry's out there looking to prey on single moms.

13.  Do your homework.  I always always find someone in common who knows the guy and can vouch for him.  It is a small dating world out there, especially in Utah.  I haven't found a single guy yet who I couldn't get the scoop on . 

14.  Finally, be proactive.  I usually let the guys message me first but I have had my best luck when I found a guy I thought looked promising and sent him a message.  Guys love that.  But then I let them take it from there.  They have to ask me out and be the man from that point on!

That's it!  I could talk all night about this.  I love asking guys I go out with about their experience with meeting girls online.  So funny to hear about it from the other side.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dating the Second Time Around

I am FINALLY giving you the dating posts I have been promising.  As much as I would love to give you hilarious dating stories, I am not going to do that.  I am saving those for my book.  Dating is hard when you're 20.  It is 10x harder when you are divorced, in your mid thirties, with four kids. 

I am going to need do this as a three-part series.  This post is about dating generally.  The second part is going to be about online dating.  The third part is going to be about knowing what you want and finding it.  And I may do a bonus post for the guys with a few hints and tips.  All of this is the world according to Brooke.  Which let's be honest--might as well be gospel truth right?!  But I do put the disclaimer out there that I only speak for myself.

When I got divorced, I was really excited to get back "out there."  It felt really good to have men interested in me, to go on nice dates and get complimented.  I was surprised that men didn't seem to care that I have four kids (which I thought was going to be the kiss of death for me.)  What I didn't plan for was the heartache involved. I thought getting divorced was hard emotionally. While it is true that nothing will ever touch losing your marriage--I think the emotional roller coaster of dating is almost as bad.

My belief is that if after the first date, I can't see myself potentially marrying that person down the road, I need to say no to a second date.  At this age, most people are dating to find someone to marry.  No one is out there just to play games and have fun. Gone are the days of just going on a date for the free meal--sooooo not worth my time and energy!   When I get asked out for a second date and I am not interested, I say "Thank you so much for lunch/dinner.  I had a great time talking to you.  I just did not feel a romantic connection.  Good luck to you!"  Done.  The reverse also happens.  I have had guys who don't want to go on a second date with me.  But it is worse, because as women, we don't get told straight up that the guy isn't interested.  We are just left waiting for a call or text that never comes.

The same is true in relationships.  As soon as you know it isn't going to work--it is time to hit the belly release and give a good strong arch.  Cole and I broke up recently and that has been very hard.  We both knew that there were reasons it was probably not going to work for us to get married so we opted to say good-bye now.   It has been hard for both of us.  Break-ups suck.  And they don't suck any less as a grown adult.  In fact, they suck worse, especially if that person has met your children, your parents, your friends, gone to church with you, become part of your life.

The upside to dating the second time around is that you can see how someone is going to turn out.  When you are 20, you can see potential in people but you don't know the choices they will make down the road.   At this point, I can see how active someone is in the church (super important to me), how committed they are to their children (also important), if they have a career they are passionate about and make enough to provide (important.)  You can also see where they failed in their previous relationships/marriage.  I am honest with my dates about where my weaknesses are.  I have found that most men are honest with me as well.  It is good to know going in where we are going to struggle and if each others' weaknesses are going to be a deal breaker.

I also firmly believe that when I do find the right man and we get married, we will not take each other for granted.  We will appreciate the good things about our new marriage that we didn't have in our previous marriages. 

Dating has changed a lot since I was in my early 20s.  Texting, Facebook and email have totally changed the way the game is played. I tell my single friends who are getting divorced that it is time to spruce up their Facebook page. You have to market yourself.  Even if you are not a big facebooker, it is the first place a guy is going to go to check you out and see if he is interested.

Tomorrow, I will do a post on online dating.  It is it's own animal!  I've got some tips for my friends who are recently divorced and want to go online!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mother's Day for the Divorced Mom

I've got motherhood on the brain.  After all, it is Mother's Day on Sunday.  I have been on my own for almost two years.  Sam and I got separated in July of 2011.  I remember the first month or so feeling so good.  I felt like I was being carried by some unseen force.  But then I remember a few months later, feeling defeated--feeling like my life was never going to be good again, at least, it was never going to be the same.  The adrenaline had worn off and the daily grind was a struggle for me.

Things are better now but sometimes I still catch myself daydreaming of my "other life."  You know, the one that I would be living if I hadn't got divorced.  I let myself go there for about thirty seconds and then I snap back to reality.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my life.  I am very blessed.  But every so often, I just want my old life back, where my kids didn't pack little bags and go back and forth between two houses and everything was just less complicated.  For me, that will always be the worst part of getting divorced--knowing that my kids' lives will never be the same.  I know that I will eventually get remarried and my life will probably be even better than it was before.  But I can't say that for my kids.  I still maintain that I got divorced in large part for my kids but I think it is going to take years for my children to understand and believe it was for the best.

I had the perfect childhood with a mom and dad who loved each other and everything was pretty idyllic.  My kids will never have that.  They will always have two homes. They will eventually have to deal with step-parents and step siblings. They will have the long awkward wedding invitations listing two sets of parents.

But at this point, I can't do anything about that.  All I can do is reassure my kids that both Sam and I love them more than anything.  I tell them that they are going to be fantastic, strong, amazing adults because they had to go through some really hard stuff as kids.  They will already know something about adversity when they are called on to face greater trials. 

But back to my mothering...I go back and forth between bursting with pride in how well I am doing and feeling like a total failure.   I guess that's normal.

Here is the thing..I'm not so good at the homemaking side of mothering.  We dig through the baskets of clean clothes every day for underwear and socks.  (I call it "go fish!")  Dinner is usually something fast and easy--most nights there is no roast in the oven.  But that was never my forte.

I feel like my strength is holding my big ol' 9 year old in my lap and crying with him because he wishes his parents weren't divorced.  I am good at going to five sports stores looking for a particular pair of bball socks for his Easter basket. I am good at listening to my 8 yr old's lengthy stories about what one girl said to another at school today.  I am great at taking her shopping and finding her the cutest clothes.   I am good at putting on a full witch costume and helping with the school parties on Halloween.  I am really good at body slamming my 3 year old and wrestling with him in my bed for thirty mins in the afternoon when all of his siblings are gone.  I am good at cheering him on as he learns to use the potty. I am good at snuggling with my 5 year old in the morning and telling him how special he is.  I am good at taking him to BYU sporting events even though he gets tired and wants to leave early.  I am good at reading with him before he goes to bed.

So while I mess up and say things in frustration that I want to take back or I lose my patience, I need to remember that I am doing the best I can.  I am not the perfect mother--not even close.  But my mother wasn't perfect either (sorry mom!)  However, she was and still is the best mom for me.  I think I am the best mom for my kids.  And that is something worth celebrating.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

How to Find the Perfect Pair of Shoes--a Step by Step Guide

Remember my post about finding the perfect snow boots?  That was nothing compared to this. That gave you a glimpse into my shopping insanity.  Over the years, I have developed a new way to shop.  No longer do I go out on an endless browse.  This is how I operate these days:

Step 1.  Decide you have a NEED for a particular item (in this case--bright fluorescent, preferable mango-colored) Nikes.

Step 2.  Tell yourself you will not rest until you find the perfect pair.  Isn't there some quote about the greatest cause of unhappiness is trading what we want most for what we want at the moment?  Don't give in to fatigue and just buy the first pair that looks good.

Step 3.  Get online.   Do a search on Amazon, Google images and every shoe place you can think of.  Order anything that looks decent.  Make sure you use your AmEx card (for miles, duh!) and so that nothing is coming straight out of your account.  Make sure you get free shipping.  Sometimes you have to order extra stuff to spend enough for free shipping.  Do it.  You can always return it. 

Step 4.  Get giddy everyday checking the doorstep for packages.  When you get one, open it like it is Christmas morning--you have no idea what is inside because you ordered so much stuff!

Step 5.  Once everything is here..Lay out the shoes for some photos to post on Instagram.  Get your friend's opinions.

Step 6.  Send photos to your boyfriend at work and make him weigh in on the shoes.  He loves this, I promise.  Then when he comes over, try on all the shoes and work out clothes for him in person.  This is really a test to see if he has the stamina to be considered marriage material.

Step 7.  Fast and Pray.  Just kidding.  But do sleep on it for a few nights.

Step 8.  Tell yourself you are going to narrow it down to one pair.  Then rationalize that you had merchandise credit at Famous Footwear so the polka dot pair was almost free and decide to keep two pairs. (The polka dot pair was a bonus pair anyway--your original mission was to find the Mango pair--remember?!)

Step 9.  Wear the perfect pair to the gym.  Pose with your son in his soccer uniform because he is on a team called Orange Crush and you coordinate with him perfectly.

Step 10.  Return 5 pairs of shoes with one trip to the Post Office and UPS store.

Step 11.  Start looking for more workout clothes to match said shoes especially the polka dot pair you were not originally planning to buy.

There you go folks.  I'm not crazy or anything right?!  Don't answer that.

Sammie's Baptism Day

Sammie got baptized yesterday.  Two of my siblings flew in from out of town to be there to support Sammie.  It meant a lot to me to have my whole family there.  It was also nice to have Sam and his family join us.  My amazing neighbor Doug got my yard ready (including pulling weeds and cleaning out my nasty garage.  Seriously!)   My sis-in-law Annette took these awesome photos.  Prepare yourself for picture overload.