This smarty mom is just a little different, because I am going to let Cristin do all the talking. She is an amazing mom from my neighborhood and her Electric Lemonade crew is some of my favorite people. I have already introduced you to Denise and Leigh. So after we introduce Cristin I’ll be sure to introduce the last of the super stars. I’m not sure how one south Charlotte neighborhood could have so many amazing women, but it does. Smarties, meet Cristin!
Married to Steven Ackermann for 12 years
Two Children: Isabella (9) Ethan (5)
Air Force Raised – moved every 3 years but born in Dover, New Hampshire
Has lived in Charlotte for 9 years
Graduated from Southern Illinois University
Electric Lemonade Girls
Our story is not uncommon. It’s our friendship that makes us unique. We are the Electric Lemonade Girls. We live in a large suburban neighborhood full of diverse groups of people. There are empty nesters, those just starting out, and then there’s everything in between. We fall into the somewhere in between category. We are all in our thirties, from young, to mid, to late.
There are 5 of us now calling ourselves the Electric Lemonade Girls and we each carry our own story. Let me introduce you to: Lindsay is the working professional whose husband stays at home with their children. Kristi is a young widow, whose husband passed away 4 years ago from cancer, and has one son. Leigh is a working mother expecting her second child. Denise has three children, two of whom are twin boys (not quite 1 yet!), and I am Cristin, the oldest of the group and mother of two. Our common thread is friendship.
Between the five of us, we watch each others’ dogs, baby sit each other’s children, and hold the keys to each other’s houses. We gather for BBQ’s, street parties, celebrations, girls nights and family get togethers. We share our ups and downs, we brag and complain about our children and we belly ache about the ins and outs of our thirties. While thirty is young for many, for us it’s been a period of time sprinkled with great difficulties. It’s when we first started realizing we weren’t invincible any longer. Laugh lines are appearing, gray hairs are sprouting and mid-sections are growing. Some of us experienced fears and anxiety for the first time. We are starting to see the world through experienced eyes. Some of us, done having children, didn’t know what to expect next and that’s when it started to happen.
When I was turning 35, I sat at Lindsay’s house and we started sharing things we thought we would have done by now or would have liked to do but haven’t yet. On the spot we decided my birthday was going to be celebrated while white water rafting. In one day Kristi had the trip planned. While the rapids weren’t exactly the thrill we were seeking, we all took turns jumping off of a ledge into the freezing 42 degree water feeling free and liberated. We took the first plunge into our quest to add more “life” to our lives. My husband calls it a mid-life crisis but whatever it is I say, “bring it on”. In the years that follow, we have kept the theme going. I don’t like calling it a bucket list; I prefer to call it our “life list”. Every time we get together something is planned, whether it’s the next pajama party, day at the spa or a new adventure.
It was last summer when our friend Denise invited us all over to share in foods from Ecuador. The food was out of this world good and she was serving frozen electric lemonades to kill the kick of her amazing chimichuri sauce. This is when we came up with our greatest challenge yet. Leigh, an experienced runner, mentioned that she and her husband would be running in Thunder Road Half Marathon in November. Whether it was the chimichuri or the electric lemonades running its way through our veins, we all decided we had to do it too. Mind you, at this point no one but Leigh was in any shape to walk a mile let alone run a half marathon. Denise just had the twins, Kristi hated to run, Lindsay was busy working and I was busy doing something, anything but exercising. We were determined this is what we needed to jump start our thirty something year old bodies and stressed out, busy lives.
Within a week we all managed our way into various shoe stores. Laced up in new kicks and several dollars later we were sure this was a very good first step. Saturday morning runs where scheduled by Leigh and the training began. Runners we were not, but we really wanted to be. The word of our race commitment spread quickly to other friends, neighbors and spouses. Our group grew from the core five of us to ten people practically overnight. We all thought we might die those first few weeks, but we were in it together. Lack of oxygen, shin splints and aching feet…remind me again why do people do this? But slowly we were running more than we were walking and we could slowly breathe again. Our clothes started fitting a little looser, all except for Leigh’s, whose belly was growing with a new pregnancy as our mileage increased. We started looking like runners in our new running clothes but more importantly we started feeling like runners. Kristi, who of the group hates running the most just finished 10 miles and Lindsay has become what her husband called, “an athlete”. Denise actually said she liked running the other day and I feel better than I have in years.
I am so pleased to say that the Electric Lemonade Girls are RUNNERS and we are so proud. No matter who is first or last, I can’t wait for everyone to cross that finish line in our bright yellow shirts, knowing that we will be ready for our next great adventure with electric lemonades in hand!!