Things I want to say about my marriage

  • That it is better than I had any right to expect it to be
  • That we have been incredibly fortunate, blessed and well cared-for in our lives
  • That despite our blessings marriage is a job, and often one or the other of us has to work a little harder on a given day
  • That I feel afraid to say 'look at us, we are happy' because it feels like a brag or a jinx
  • That I want to say it anyway; today we have been married for eight years and we are happy.

# 8 from Amanda Blythe Photo on Vimeo.



7 Years

6 Years



run mandy run

I've always had a hate/love relationship with running.  My girlfriends recently reminded me of our militant refusal to run the mile in high school gym class.  As a direct consequence of my athletic slacking I still couldn't run a mile without stopping when I started training for my first 5k in 2002.  I finished that race..barely.

I'm not sure what combination of stubbornness and forgetfulness kept me coming back to running in fits and starts over the next decade, but I found myself signing on for longer and longer races until somehow I was eyeing a half marathon thinking yeah...I could do that.

I bribed myself by signing up in a fun city (NOLA!) at a time of year I knew I'd be itching to get out of Chicago. This time around something just clicked. I loved training for this race- the discipline, the routine, the way it kept me from sliding down the slope of seasonal depression.

Things started to get a little dicey the week leading up to the race. A persistent sinus infection, days of insomnia and a long day of travel lead to a bit of a meltdown when I arrived at the race expo to pick up my packet. For the first time I considered that I might not be able to do it, and I found myself in tears in the middle of a sea of runners. It was not my finest moment.

Still, I got up the next morning before the sun, put on my big girl pants and laced my shoes.  The walk from our hotel to the start line was straight up Bourbon, and it was more than a little surreal to pick our way through last night's drinkers and the puddles of discarded beer (oh god I hope it was beer. It totally wasn't beer.)

I am not fast, so the folks in my corral weren't the most, shall we say...dedicated athletes. But they were fun.

I probably could have used a jello shot myself because I felt like this:

Once we got going I felt great, though.  The first five miles were bliss- I had good legs and our path through the garden district was amazing. In retrospect I was probably going a little too fast.  I also did not stop at any water stations for the first three miles which was a mistake.  I did almost all of my long training runs inside and I rarely stopped to drink. I didn't really account for the punishing sun and how it would impact my later miles.

In mile six things started to hurt.  This was annoying but ok, I've become adept at accepting a reasonable amount of pain on a long run.  Mile 7 the wheels started to come off. I made the mistake of timing my miles...I really wish I hadn't.  Watching my pace slow really got into my head and I had trouble shaking it off. Around this time I also started to become fairly dehydrated and I never really got on top of that again. 

Miles 10 - 13 were really really really hard. 

I don't quit (firstborn), and I would have walked to that finish line if I had to but I really wanted to finish strong.  I don't remember much from those miles except the certainty that my legs must have been weighted with sandbags because I simply could not make them go any faster than they were going, and it felt like I was barely moving.

I also vividly remember the people cheering us on and I sincerely think I might not have finished were it not for them.  Somehow, some way I shuffled my way to the finish line in 2:35:35.  I'm not proud of this time, but it's mine...and dammit so is this stupid medal.


Probably one of the fondest memories I will ever have is the slow walk from city park towards our hotel, 40oz beer in hand, sun on my face and the race firmly behind me. It was perfect, down to the cab that rolled up just when I'd had my fill of walking. 

If you've cheered me on in this race - in person, online- or if you've ever held a sign on behalf of a complete stranger I thank you truly and sincerely. I honestly never could have done this without your love and encouragement.

I promise to stop flooding my facebook feed with running updates now. At least for a while.

As for the rest of my time in New Orleans..it was awesome. You should go there, 1/2 marathon optional.

P.S. that dude in black ran the full so...yeah. I'm not as cool as I think I am.

p.p.s. thanks to kevin for the race day photos.


Music together

I spent Saturday morning at the Tiny Toes Music Together class in Hinsdale. This is the second time I've had the privilege of sitting in on a class and it's really a blast. If you have little ones I can't recommend this class enough, Roberta is super talented and the kids and adults alike have a great time.


Thank you

I'm a minute late with this but I wanted to thank all of you that took the time to help me with Kevin's 40 memories birthday project.  It felt really really good to watch him take a walk down memory lane. I cried, he didn't..but he did laugh a lot and I know it made him feel really special that you all were thinking about him. 



The idea was shamelessly stolen from this lovely lady, and if any of you ever decide to do a memory project for someone I owe you a memory. Even if I have to make one up.



On Sunday I will celebrate  my 7th wedding anniversary by putting my husband on a plane to Miami for two weeks.  I will try not to think about the hurricane bearing down on Florida from the other direction.  This is pretty emblematic of the year we've had; one filled with dizzying highs and gut crushing lows.  Looking back on it though, I can't say I'd change a thing.  Today it feels like we have wind in our sails and blue skies on our horizon after months of turbulent seas.

The last two months with Kevin largely absent have highlighted in stark detail all the ways in which my life is richer with him in it. 


Kevin, when you are here I laugh 76% more and I change 100% fewer light bulbs.  Thank you for being my partner in crime and home repair for these six trips around the sun. Let's do it again.


  Last year