Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cleaning out the closet

I must confess, my daughter has too many clothes. Most of them weren’t bought by me,  as we have wonderful hand-me-downs, and we both love them! Hand-me-downs were my favorite when I was little and my daughter shares that, her excitement for them is immeasurable. She’s also a bit of a pack-rat, like me. Thus, Too many clothes equal Too Many Choices, which equals a meltdown before 8 a.m. every day.  That is going to change this year…or at least I'm doing everything I can to change it.

Skye started Kindergarten this year.  So, the week before school officially began, I made a date with her to go through her closet. It was almost a mini-shopping spree as we tried on all her clothes. I had a two-fold plan: 
  1. Weed out the clothes she had outgrown
  2. Commit to wearing what we were going to keep.
My daughter was a trooper and tried on everything I asked her to.  We celebrated when pants were too small, cheering because she had "grown SO much".  We made several piles…the keepers, the hand-me-down givebacks, and the giveaways.  She wanted a fourth pile that she could sell at our garage sale, but I convinced her we should give them away.  

It was tough to convince her to give away a few items that she LOVED, but in the end I told her we needed too so we could buy new school clothes.  That worked like a charm, and I was delighted.  It was a smooth process with absolutely no meltdowns. Only  a few tears came at the end as she laid her head on the giveaway pile and said good-bye to her old clothes.  But it didn't take her long to bounce up with a huge smile at the prospect of filling up the holes in her closet with lots of 6-T's! 

She's so big now…

Friday, September 23, 2011

"All My Children"...ends

I did many interviews before the Olympic Games in 1992, and the three most often asked questions were…
  1. How did you get your name?
  2. What do you dislike?
  3. What can't you live without?
My answers were always the same, with questions two and three being answered  Cheesecake and "All My Children".  

I grew up in an "All My Children" family.  My grandpa Charlie, my dad's father, and my mom watched it every single day they could.  I grew up with Angie and Jessie, Jenny and Greg, and of course Mrs. Erica Kane.  I was so involved in the soap opera that when Jenny died, I almost vowed never to watch it again. Almost. Then, all my friends (tons of them guys) were coincidentally into the show in college.  We would gather at our friend’s dorm to catch the episodes.

Somehow, after the Olympics, the show found out that I was a fan and reached out to my agent to see if I wanted to play myself on one of the episodes.  I’m not sure who was more excited…oh, who am I kidding, my mom was off the charts elated!!  It was the only time she said, "You cannot do this without me."  And I didn't.  She played an extra walking behind me in the hospital.  

My part was with Stewart Chandler.  I was visiting the Children's ward in the Pine Valley Hospital, but I was lost.  So I stopped and asked Stewart, "Excuse me.  Do you know where the Children's ward is?" My scene was very short, I at some point I said, "Oh, I happen to have my medals right here" and pulled them out.  Classic!  I had my picture taken with as many people as possible and snapped one with Susan Lucci and my mom.  I ran into Kelly Ripa a few years ago and said, "Do you remember when I came on the show?"  She smiled and said, "Oh yes.  I looked like I had eaten myself."  It made me giggle. It was a great way to describe my look at that time also.  Maybe it was too much cheesecake, which they served once we wrapped.

Made Mom's year! Mom & I with Susan Lucci

Thank you All My Children for all the entertainment, and for giving me one of my favorite post-Olympic medals memories.  You were so kind to me, and made my mom and I feel so welcome. Daytime TV will never be the same.

You will truly be missed.
You know I loved AMC if I'm willing to post this photo of myself :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Janet Evans' Comeback

In the last few months, several news stories have been published about Janet’s comeback. But it was still surreal to be up at 4:30 a.m. standing by a pool and watching Janet walk in for her 5 a.m. practice last week. We looked at each other and immediately started giggling.  We were both thinking, can you believe we are back at a pool together…giggling because for just a second, we were 17 again. Was Barcelona really 19 years ago?...

I can honestly say I couldn’t do it, attempt to make an Olympic Trials again at this stage in my life. I tried in ’96, and my heart just wasn’t in it. You have to both love the sport and have the desire to be at that level. You have to be able to give 100% mentally and physically. You have to be able to flip the switch in your life, and Janet just can. We’re both very satisfied with our Olympic experiences (she has a few more than I do), but it’s the desire to be in the water, competing that’s the difference.
"You can't really take away my competitive spirit," she said. "If I do this, I want to do it well. Over the last few months, I've seen I can manage my life and my schedule while doing this. It has fulfilled my expectations on every level. I feel like I can be back in the game." – Janet quoted from an AP story in USA Today.
Don’t think that just because she’s getting back into Olympic form, that it takes anything away from her home life. Janet is a mom first! During her "dry-land" workout, her blackberry was never far away. No matter what, she answers whenever "HOME" calls.  She says the time and focus at the pool actually make her a better mother. How awesome. And you could tell…she was definitely itching to get her afternoon workout wrapped up so she could go home and squeeze her little ones.

Janet is truly amazing. When we met to do the Yahoo!Sports interview at what she calls "their little beach cottage."  I called it PERFECT with dark floors and elegant, cozy furniture.  They were doing a little work on the place, so like any mom, Janet was multitasking, juggling our interview with construction workers and her kids. It was great to be with in her home, watching her daughter being a “big helper” and seeing her son give fantastic hugs.

It’s inspiring, as a former elite athlete and a mother, to see Janet make this journey. And it’s even more refreshing to see that she is 100% doing this for fun and with a tremendous love for the sport.  She genuinely loves to swim, but it is not her life. Her family comes first, and that was very apparent to me when even after her day, she made time for date night with her hubby.

Click here to see her episode of Yahoo!Sports Elite Athlete Workouts.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kindergarten in Español

Skye was in preschool for two years. But she hit the “Big Time” this year and started Kindergarten. She rides the bus to her new school, where she's learning her subjects in both English and Spanish. A fairly new program to our area called "Dual Immersion".

In DI, the kids are taught content in both English and Spanish and at half-day, they flip flop so that each day, half their day is in each language. Mind you, they are not learning Spanish, they are learning Math and Science in Spanish. But, they will soak the language up like sponges.

Although we were told by the administration and teachers that kids will be frustrated in the beginning, and I mean, wouldn't you be if for half the day a teacher spoke to you in a language you didn't understand. But we’ve seen nothing but excitement and an incredible enthusiasm for learning from Skye. She comes home saying something new in Spanish every day...And I try my best to ask her questions in my broken Spanish to be a part of her world. I truly feel that she is having fun with this new world, and it warms my heart to see her building confidence in the classroom!

Students in the DI program will gradually begin to comprehend, and be expected to respond in Spanish as well. By the fourth grade, the kids should be fluent in Spanish, both reading and writing. How amazing is that! As a parent, I just need to encourage her every day to not give up on a class if she gets frustrated. But so far, so good!

We had a choice as to whether we wanted to put Skye in regular Kindergarten or the Dual Immersion program. I speak about three years worth of high school Spanish, and my husband is fluent in German. We both wish we spoke more languages, and we feel it’s such a gift to be given the opportunity to learn another language at an early age. To us, it was a no brainer. Now, we need to pull out our Rosetta Stone and get to learning because if we don't, her Spanish will pass us by.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall…Time for sports

Over scheduled.  Have you heard this term?  It is tough to slow yourself down, but I really hope all of us parents can do just that.  There are so many opportunities for kids nowadays. Introducing them to activities is one thing, but over scheduling is a whole different beast.  We didn't have that many options back when I was young, and to me, that was a positive.  Your kids don't have to be involved in everything, nor should they be.

I see it all the time: Moms rushing to get their kids out of their ballet outfits, into their soccer uniforms and to the game on time.  It is crazy to think of how much you can pack into a 6-year-old's day. It makes me tired just thinking about it. Ballet to soccer, I can actually understand that one.  But when it comes to activities and sports, it is important to choose.

This year, I am asking my kids to choose between a few different things. My son is 3 and my daughter is 5.  They want to do a bit of everything from this list: soccer, t-ball, dance, karate, skiing, ice skating, swimming and gymnastics.  All of these activities cost money, some being much more costly than others.  As parents, we chose skiing as one of their winter activities. (It helps that we all love it and we live in Utah.) And we narrowed the others down to either karate or gymnastics for our son, and dance or gymnastics for our daughter.  It surprised me that when we asked them, they didn't complain or hesitate. 

The luxury of this age is that programs don't last longer than a few months, so it's easy to fit in a lot of sports and give your kids options. Outside of a few exceptions, most sports don't require specialization until their teens, so feel free to let your kids explore what they like.  Just be sure to watch your child, and make sure they're not exhausting themselves trying to keep it all up.

And…if during the year, you kid comes up to you and begs to try something different or change their decision, listen and allow it. Trust me…if a kid asks you over and over to do a sport, it’s important to them and they have a passion for it. Both my husband and I were that way with our Olympic disciplines. You never know….

Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer&Schwinn: Biking to school

Below is an excerpt from my latest Schwinn Ambassador blog. It's a compilation of some great back-to-school biking tips! Hope you enjoy.

Biking to School

Do your kids ever bike to school? In Utah, we’ve been back in school for a few weeks. Every day, I see children biking to and from school as well as moms and dads meeting their kids on their bikes after school to ride home together. Skye sees them too! While she’s not quite advanced enough to bike by herself just yet, she sees the first and second graders doing it and can’t wait until she can ride just like them!

You can find the rest of this blog and these great tips under the Summer&Schwinn tab here on Schwinn's Facebook page. 

Happy Riding!  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Marathon Training: The home stretch

This all began back in April 2010 when my girlfriend emailed me our training schedule. I had already signed up for the Chicago Marathon, but that didn't seal the deal. It was the schedule…that, to me, meant it was GO time. I am no stranger to training, and my favorite part has always been the home stretch. So my friends, if you are going to be at the start line with me on Oct 9th in lovely Chicago, then you too are in the home stretch of training. Although the words bring a smile to my face, what they actually stand for is some not-so-easy miles.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will log most miles of my training, which will include an 18- and 20-miler as well as some pretty hefty track and hill workouts. These workouts make the tough, tougher, and those that were scared, confident. These long runs will be hard! There is nothing easy about marathon training. In fact, I am going to go out on a limb and say that the training is harder than the race itself. That ought to make you feel better.

There are a few things I would like my fellow runners to keep in mind over the next few weeks:
  1. If you have bad pain, now is not the time to run through it. You have already put in a ton of work. Don't risk your chance of being able to run the event…rest could be your best friend. 
  2. If you are feeling too tired to go on and want to quit, take it street by street. While running, set your goal as just one more mile or just a few more blocks. Once you reach that goal, do it again. I find this helpful when I get into the teens of my long runs. If you don't have any serious pain, you can always go farther than you think. 
  3. Be sure to “eat right” for your long runs. The meal that makes the difference is the night before. Don't think just carbs. I had a great marathon once eating almost an entire roasted chicken. Your body needs some protein to keep going! And the combination of carbs and proteins will help your muscles heal. 
  4. Hydrate well before you start to sweat…that means the day before! And don't stop until the day after your run. 
  5. Think about why you’re running when the going gets rough. We all have reasons why we are pushing ourselves to do this. Dig deep for your motivation and inspiration. 

And when it comes time to rest before the race….enjoy that as well. Happy running!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Summer&Schwinn: Giving Kids Artistic Freedom

I have the pleasure and honor of being a Schwinn Ambassador and encouraging families to get out and ride their bikes together. My family loves riding, and I hope that sharing our stories and tips through Ride Schwinn will motivate other families to enjoy biking. Below is an excerpt of my latest Schwinn blog and its link. I thought you might enjoy it. I'm going to start posting excerpts and links to all my guest blogs, so you can find everything I'm sharing in one place. Thanks for following.

Happy Riding....

Giving Kids Artistic Freedom – Even With Their Helmets!

Recently, the kids and I went on a bike ride. They considered it a BIG one because the plan was to ride all the way to the park – a whole 1.2 miles away from our house. We packed up with snacks readily available (My daughter Skye gets a little antsy about longer distances and having munchies on hand are key), and were off! ...

The rest of the blog on available on Schwinn's Facebook page, here