Kids, Today…

The school year starts Monday and it’s monumental for the Guzzio kids. First year of high school, middle school and youngest about to wrap up elementary school. I have vowed not to say the typical back to school parent comments: “Where does the time go?”, “They were just babies”, “How on earth do I have a child in high school?”

Truth be told, I am more emotional about Robbie starting high school than any other milestone. But not based on the before mentioned sentiments. Sure I loved when he was a baby, but it’s more that I am so proud of who he is and want to embrace the now. Today.

All summer I thought of this. You are just ready. Even if heading into this new chapter means it ends that much quicker, it is exciting for all us. My hope is I am here to help you to continue to work hard, set goals to meet them and make good choices.

So here are things I want you to know as you begin this journey:

1. There is no one path. Listen for the pieces of life that excite you, that make you feel full and engaged and go towards them.
2. Play. Join. Volunteer. Work. Help others. Try something new.
3. Talk to me. Talk to Dad. Talk to the amazing adults in your life — you have been blessed with plenty. The combination of us have heard it, seen it, done it all. We can handle it. You are not alone.
4. Stay organized. Stay neat. Honor the details. This will serve you always.
5. Kind before cool. Think about how you talk to and about others. Think about what you say and how you say it. Be good to people.
8. Be proud of yourself, your peers, your school. Try out, participate, play. Compete, sweat, learn to win and lose. But just play the game, not for a scholarship or the big leagues, but because you love it and you love how it makes you feel and grow and learn about yourself and about life.
9. Be a serious student. You were given a creative, strong and curious mind. Challenge it. Ask questions. Think critically. Do not take for granted your abilities. Love to learn and carry that always.
10. Build relationships in abundance — with your classmates, with older and younger students, teachers and coaches — because we learn the most from each other.
11. Be that friend.
12. Be safe. Wear your seatbelt. No speeding! Don’t drive distracted. Sober drive, sober ride. Please, please, please stay the hell away from pills, powder, and needles. And shots of things and chugging things and competitions about who drinks the most of things. Call me. Call me. Call me.
13. Wait for sex. Please. You come from people that make babies early and often. And someday, if you find yourself in love and unable to wait another minute — know consent means two people verbally, deliberately, clearly saying the word “Yes.” Not sure? Wait! Body sharing is not casual business. But if you must, wear a condom. Every damn time, wear a condom. Babies & STIs — they’re the real deal. The realest.
14. Save those dollars. That’s college knocking. All hands on deck.
15. Be funny and playful and ridiculous. Stay up late and sleep in, laugh until it hurts and don’t take yourself too seriously. Let the child in you live always.
16. Take risks and mess up. Preferably in a typical, correctable, healthy, learn-from-your-mistakes kind of way. But still, be vulnerable and brave enough to always reach and grow and stumble beyond what you thought was possible.

You’ve grown taller than me. You’ve even grown away from me — pushing back, questioning — becoming an individual with thoughts, beliefs, ideas and experiences separate from the whole.  All of this, as hard as it can be to face, is the point of raising children — to grow you up, out, and away. So we start the great journey of high school August 28, the final frontier between childhood and your future.

Some of this is for Charlie too, starting the 6th grade. My middle child in middle school. Luckily, he and all of us have learned from Robbie forging the path but Chuckles has his own compass for self-direction.

And the last one, the girl, the crazy little lady who couldn’t wait to start school and follow in the footsteps of her big brothers.

You Belong with Me, today and every day. Our special drives alone for the next two years listening to Taylor Swift are going to be epic.

I know the time will pass quickly and they will be off living their own lives, but for now I will enjoy each day with morning talks while making zillions of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, watching football and coaching field hockey games, hearing about academic success and what interest them and saying good night.  Some days that might include an extra big hug.

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AMPED Up: Whac-a-Mole Just Isn’t for Carnies

Why is it when you get hit with one life shit sandwich, you suddenly are being punched in the face like a game of Whac-a-Mole?

I was once told great advice to deal with a lot of turmoil. “When friends and family are ill or in trouble, you need to be there for them and deal with it.  But don’t ignore your own needs and path to success. How will it help them if you fail and ruin your own life?”

Enter the skill of compartmentalization. One outlet I use to achieve this is running. I have that dedicated time to sort through personal and business challenges, shed a few tears of joy and sadness and craft short and long term strategies.

Playing sports for most of my life, this running thing had legs outside of being a cheap alternative to therapy.  “Running marathons is so much fun!”, said no one ever after mile 18.

But it is fun and what gets me through some tough days when I feel like a misfit carny. Or just a good way to balance out when I ate a corn dog and funnel cake and washed it down with a 1500- calorie margarita.

You can’t just run some miles to prepare, especially if trying to achieve certain PR goals. You’ve got to mix it up. Hybrid ain’t just for cars, IT infrastructure or the hydrangeas that were a great surprise under the deck this year.

Hybrid training is the key to healthy, injury free and goal-achieving performance.  I have tried many different marathon programs, supplements, clothing, sneakers and more. Here are my top suggestions and what I will be using to prepare for the Philly full marathon to take place November 19. (I know, I know – never say never! Now that my blisters have healed, I am up for another 26.2 dog fight!)

  1. Isagenix – this is an unbelievable product. It is great for weight loss and the performance line is amazing for athletes. I followed the full program along with taking AMPED leading up to the 2015 Philly marathon. Personal record achieved. I didn’t take Isagenix leading up to Boston 2017. Epic fail – missed my time by 38 minutes. Enough said. *Contact Jen Shriver if you don’t have an Isagenix rep!
  2. Cross Training – I am officially a yogi bear. From hot, warm to Yin, I am feeling the difference in my mind, body and soul. I also just started to read, Power Speed ENDURANCE: A Skill-Based Approach to Endurance Training  by Brian MacKenzie and will be following this program!
  3. Ice, massages and chiropractic adjustments  …oh my! Closer to 50 at this point, I am needing all the hybrid help I can get!

We all know there are days/months/years that you just can’t avoid the slap(s) to the face. Figuring out ways to soften the blow or take that hit, heal and move forward to the next adventure is a skill-based approach that is unique to us all.

As my good friend Buddha teaches: No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.

 

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It’s at Dad’s House

If you are divorced, the frustration of the statement, “It’s at Dad’s house”, can make your body tense and your blood boil. It is inevitable when looking for something or when ready to leave for school, sporting events or the long list of activities you are running late for and need that important book, paper to sign, shirt, etc.

What is worse for me to say is, “it’s at my ex-husband’s house”. It feels negative and doesn’t fit Dave; the guy I dated, married, bought multiple houses with, created three children together and continue to remain friends and a part of each other’s families. Conscious uncoupling doesn’t seem to offer any clarity or be the right descriptor either.

What I do know is that Dave is a great Dad and I would be remiss if I glazed over that in this online diary.  Every day we share the responsibility and parent together, but in our own unique way. And that, from what I can see, is creating three incredible people.

From continuing the Christmas tradition and serving up waffles and a big breakfast for my family at his house, to taking the kids to his family’s vacation in Ohio…

Maintaining a fun land of games at his house including the basketball 3-point shooting contest, pool and ping pong tables, go-kart with obstacle courses, trampoline and his award-winning chiros that are a sleep over staple for the kids and their friends.

Working out in the yard and teaching them how to mulch, grow a garden and take care of your home. Overall, he is teaching them through his actions to be kind, good people.

We are both fortunate to have been raised by two great Dad’s and now our kids benefit from what we’ve learned. These two Grandfathers impact the children in their own unique ways too, just as Dave and I do. It does take a village and multiple houses where life takes shape.

Happy Father’s Day, Dave, the two Bobs (Granpdpa and Pop Pop) and all Dad’s today!

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14 Years On Becoming Robbie Wise

14 years ago today, Robert Harrington Guzzio came into this world and I am so amazed at who he is becoming. Happy birthday to my oldest child!

I know most enter into parenthood with the the same blindness, but I didn’t have that maternal instinct and I love my sleep. What to Expect When You’re Expecting gave me a great recipe for oatmeal, but then this guy was staring right back at me and I had no idea what to do next.

Just like the scene from This is Us, actress Mandy Moore talking to her unborn children, I had a few heart to hearts with Robbie before he was born and many times late at night once he arrived. I shared my secret that I didn’t know what I was doing. He looked at me with eyes that saw into my soul, held on tight with his little fingers and let me know it would all be OK.

It wasn’t luck, the book On Becoming Babywise, was a life savor. Through charts, strict instructions and an approach that Dave and I agreed on 100%, we had so much fun that we gave Robbie two siblings!

It isn’t just the two of us that continue to raise this unbelievable kid, it does take a village! From the special bond with Great Granny:

Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and a God Father:

To the friends, teachers and coaches that influence and mentor.

You can never really prepare your mind for raising and child and it continues to evolve.  I will cherish today and every day seeing him turn into an incredible young man!

 

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The Personal Destiny Dog Fight

The thinkers of the ancient world pondered the question of who governed the universe— the gods or destiny? Was the world ruled by reason or by blind necessity? According to Heraclitus, everything depended on destiny, and destiny meant necessity. The essence of destiny was reason, which guided everything. What the, what?

Clearly my personal destiny of running a marathon, selling and buying a new house, parenting three kids and holding down a full time job was not guided by reason. In fact, many told me I was insane. It was a dog fight every day and at last I have crossed the finish line. For now.

Spending 4:08 hours running the the Boston marathon on April 17, I had a lot of time to think about my life. I did not feel the well-earned pride, glory and sense of accomplishment that I dreamed would happen when qualifying for Boston. Was it my dental debacles since December or my socks that were too thick for the temps and had my feet barking like a mad pack of coyotes?

This was the climax to the Marine Corps in 2011, a trail marathon and Philly in 2012, and the coveted qualifying time for Boston in 2015. I should feel like a bad ass mother…f#%^&. Something just wasn’t clicking.

Fast forward and the epic eight days of 2017 began on April 10. Company user conference, Boston marathon and then to top it off, dental surgery! The destiny and necessity stars aligning and I was feeling a little overwhelmed and discombobulated. That bad feeling lingered like the toot someone continued to let loose at the user conference keynote.

My flight home and drive to Boston, surprisingly uneventful. Easter morning I see the kids and I’m not going to lie, it was tough. It all hit me- the guilt. No one needs to cast judgement that I am an absent, bad Mom because I do an excellent job criticizing myself on a daily basis.  Maybe this personal destiny thing shouldn’t be allowed once you are married, employed and / or definitely not when you become a parent?

The next morning, the usual Pig Pen debacles ensue and I barely make it to the starting line. Thought we had a local ‘hot tip’ and would drive up to starting line. No go for Pig Pen. We scrambled, drove up 495 and just make it to the next bus going to the race start. A lady even tried to sick security on me because I was getting on the wrong bus. Deep breath. I headed out at 10:50, it was late, way hotter than the temps I trained in for the last five months and I had a finger on the pulse of this pit in my gut.

The elite female runners break from the starting line in the 2017 Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass., Monday, April 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

The plan was for my family to be somewhere around mile 13 or 14. I gave the kids essentials to hold so I could have a pit stop along the way.  I was nervous after 2013, but having my family there was the best moment of the race! I came up the hill and I spotted my oldest son’s hair.  Happiness that I can’t even begin to explain, but so grateful I have it caught on video. https://youtu.be/gdJo69zLlXE

I had set out to break 3:30:00 and knew as I stopped to drink water every mile I was not even close. Heat stroke was affecting so many runners and I needed to be smart. I needed to be a Mom. I needed to finish strong.

I crossed the finish line, we went right to the car and drove the six hours home.  Stinky with blisters covering my feet, I was snuggled between the kids, talking about the race, listening to them laugh, fight, fart and pretend snore and it was total bliss. The next morning I drove them to school and Evy got out of the car wearing my medal. She said she wanted to show and tell everyone how proud she was of her Mom. Charlie said he will be running the 150th Boston marathon.

We all have our own view of necessities and personal destinies, make it your best and finish strong. I know for me, the next year I aim to be calm and simply better at all aspects of my life. Who knows what new athletic, work or crazy goal I will conjure up after that!

The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solved; it is a reality to be experienced

(Jacobus Johannes Leeuw)

 

 

 

 

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Evster is 9 – Watch out World!

I announced the birthday blog trilogy back on Feb 26, when Charlie turned 11. As I started thinking of what to say about Evy, I realized I wrote a tribute blog, It’s a Girl, to her in 2015. (Sorry boys.) If she ever says she is not spoiled, I have an online record proving otherwise. In any case, happy birthday, Evy!

Nine years later, I am still surprised and even more grateful that I have a daughter who on this day practically delivered herself and is named after her amazing great grandmother, Evelyn Reed, and her great Aunt Margarite Thomas. We all are so incredibly blessed with this child.

The strangest part is that I gave birth to my two oldest sisters morphed into one. The bossiest 9-year-old I ever met. I have so much to learn from this natural born leader:

Be silly

Cherish family near and far

Make your mark on the world

Love all God’s creatures (even brothers)

Know your own special gifts (which may include previous mention of said brothers)

Being the only daughter is so special and a bond for the rest of our lives!

Love and happiness surrounds this girl and everyone who comes in contact with her!

A special birthday wish that this life becomes all that you want it to – but know you are an amazing gift to me every day!

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Chuckle D Licious Turns 11

It recently came to my attention that most of the Kennett Middle School has read my blog. The photo below is what really grabbed the attention of the adolescents and my kids are mortified. Mom job is going pretty, pretty, pretty well!!

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To celebrate the uptick in readers, I will write a blog as a birthday gift to each of my children. Fun fact: the kids birthday are as follows 2/26, 3/27, 4/28, a sign that I should be more orderly! The middle child kicks it off — happy 11th birthday, Charlie!

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Today is so special, and I can’t decide if the best part was the moment I saw him at 12 noon when he arrived into this world in 2006:

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Watching Robbie meet his little brother:

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…or the hoagie my sister, Megan, brought me from Bella Italia that still brings a tear to my eye, it was so delicious! Just kidding my curly-haired, smart, athletic, kind, and wonderful child!

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The title of the Brad Paisley song, I thought I loved You Then, sums up how I feel about my Charles, Chuckie D, Chuckles, Chaz, Charlie Bear, Chuckle D Licious. My heart gets bigger every day watching him grow into an incredible, young man.

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To say I am thankful for the unconditional love he gives back to me and the inspiration to keep improving and be a better person, is an understatement.

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Happy birthday and don’t ever forget who gave you that signature head of nappy roots!!

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