Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Catch up

I know.

It's been a while.

Everything has been on repeat... laundry, dishes, etc. I straighten up the house all day long and it's never done. Skywalker's room is fine because he's in school all day and he has to clean it up himself. The girls room is always a mess... The Princess is capable of cleaning up but most of the messes are made by Chewie. The large majority of messes are made by her. Vader's solution is to tell Skywalker and the Princess that they have to clean up her messes, but as the oldest child I just don't think that's fair. So I wind up doing a large part of it. She's napping less and less and in her room... making messes. The other day she put aveeno lotion in her hair and I had to give her a bath when Skywalker came home from school.

We're potty training now... and it sucks. This is the first time I've done it during the school year when we have to leave the house and it's setting us back because I put pullups over her underwear to try to help protect her clothes. She's fine when she's naked. She's getting better about staying dry when she's wearing underwear. But she just does not poop in the potty. When she does it's a fluke. She'll sit and try, but for the most part she's either pooping in her nighttime diaper or in her underwear. In some ways I wish I hadn't waited until I could stay home for an entire week or 2, but I didn't. We did stay home the first couple of days because I was sick. I was just so tired of wrestling with her to change her diaper.

I had Skywalker's Parent/Teacher conference yesterday and he finally has a teacher who understands his strengths and is positive and encouraging. He's doing so well, finally reaching his potential. He's doing his work well, but also finishing it, something he couldn't do last year. She said he takes his time, but she's okay with that because he's doing quality work. He's her strongest reader, she has a range of kids who read 22-108 words per minute and he's the 108. We already knew he was good at math, but he's also good at writing, which shocked me because he doesn't like it. But he says he doesn't like to handwrite because his hand gets hurt, he'd rather type. Apples. Trees. I have an online blog because I don't like to write in journals.... She's going to try to incorporate the computer more since he's so good with it.

The Princess is doing well in preschool and if I could send her to kindergarten now I would. She's driving me a bit crazy. I call her Sibyl... she'll be fine one minute, cleaning the floor for me, and then screaming the next because she doesn't want to pick up a lego. She's been hitting me A LOT. She's been in time out every day for a week now. I'm not quite sure what's going on... she talks like a baby a lot too so it could just be that she thinks she needs to act like Chewie to get attention.

Naptime is all screwy and I haven't been able to run a lot. This week has been the exception because Vader was home yesterday and he'll be home Friday so I'll have 3 outside runs. Last Sunday I ran 7.2 miles. It took me forever, but it was less time that it took me to run 6 the week before. I would like to run a half marathon someday, but I don't see it happening soon.

Haze is still on the leash and taking pain medication for her leg. It's a giant pain in the neck. I don't know how much longer we have to do it.

I have dishes that need to be done and messes that need to be cleaned up and books that need to be reviewed. And a throbbing headache. But I'm getting cuddles from Chewie so it's all good.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blathering

School started a few weeks ago and we have yet to fall into a good routine. The girls were sick last week and that screwed things up. Chewie has been taking later naps, leaving me with very little time. She finally fell asleep at 2 (after taking her diaper off. Again. I don't even care if she wets the bed, I just need her to sleep.), I got the Princess up there shortly after and that leaves me with a grand total of 40 minutes. Yesterday we had gymnastics so she was tired enough to fall asleep at 12:30ish and slept a good 2 hours. I was able to run my intervals and shower, and they woke up just as I got SkyWalker off the bus. I'm not sure what's better--to have more time to myself or to have them sleeping when he gets home. I think it's the former. And I think we're going to have to get up a wee bit earlier in the morning so naptime is earlier.

The Princess is ready for kindergarten. She's ready to go and I'm ready to send her. I'm going to have to request a teacher who is very patient with little girls who don't know how to stop talking. Because she can NOT STOP TALKING. My head is going to explode.

Chewie is talking much more and repeats everything and likes to tell me to be quiet and shhh and "top it." She's very rude. She's peeing on the potty again but not doing anything else. She likes to take her diaper off. And her clothes. Big surprise. I don't know why my children always like being naked. I would like to go cold turkey and potty train her, but I don't want to have to stay home. And I can't stay home because of preschool. I need a school break, but I don't want to do that over Thanksgiving or Christmas, so that leaves February. But that seems so far away and I am so very tired of wrestling her to get a diaper on her.

SkyWalker is doing well in school. He has a nice positive teacher so I think things will be good this year. He is getting tired of living in a house with so many girls and gives me guilt trips on a daily basis. He is definitely growing up. He used to be so grateful for anything and this birthday he complained about the books I got him, the legos I got him, everything. I intended on saying "I'm sorry your birthday has been so disappointing." but instead I said "I'm soSOBrry, your SOB birthday SOB has been so disappointing SOB!" (No, I cannot blame this on pregnancy hormones. I am still not pregnant.) He left the room. Vader followed him and I wasn't sure at the time whether or not he told him to be more grateful or not to worry because Mommy does that crap to him all the time too... but he did eventually thank me for everything and seemed to be genuinely happy with it all.

I've done very little. Dishes/laundry/sweep. That's pretty much it. And run. I stopped writing articles because the payback was so little compared to the stress of trying to write multiple articles a week. I generally just read the books I have to review for VOYA now.

Vader and I went to see Primus last night. I didn't recognize many of the songs, but it was a good show nonetheless.

Haze hurt her leg, the same way Isaac did years ago. Vader took her to the vet yesterday who confirmed that she should have surgery. He also said, however, that we could medicate her and keep her on the leash and make her comfortable. At first we both thought there's no point in that if she did completely tear her ACL. But then I came on here and looked up Isaac's SECOND injury and all we did was medicate him and keep him on the leash for months and then he was fine. It was when I was pregnant with Chewie and we really didn't want a second surgery. I would like Haze to be healed... but I don't really want to do another surgery. Besides the fact that it's another $3000 that won't go towards redoing our attic (if we ever redo our attic), I just don't want her to have to go through that. If she has to be in the crate for 2 months and won't be able to lay right next to me...  When Isaac hurt his first leg he couldn't even get up the deck stairs. I had to put a ramp out so he could get up. When Vader touched it, he didn't howl in pain, but he definitely yelped a bit. Haze has shown none of that. She'll still run if we let her (we've had her on the leash for over a week), she doesn't yelp or cry or seem in pain. She's just limping and walking funny. I'm kind of leaning towards giving her the medication, keeping her on the leash, and waiting it out. If she gets the surgery she has to be crated for months and then confined to a leash for more months. So we might as well wait and see.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I should have gone for that run

I've gotten into the habit of taking a week off after I run a race. It's not so much for recovery, but more so that I can theoretically get all the things done that I neglected in my pre-race frenzy. This doesn't usually happen, but I like to do things theoretically. What does happen is that by the time I do my first post-race run I am eager for it. I have been looking forward to today all week long.

It didn't happen.

My kids have gotten some strange quick moving virus. Skywalker started with a dry sore throat and then got a fever. The Princess followed with a fever and headache and a little vomiting yesterday morning. Chewie had a fever on Friday. They all have a cough but no other symptoms. I've been drinking emergen-C like crazy, but to no avail. Last night I succumbed and had a fever ALL night long. Literally all night long. Not just a fever but crazy head pain too. It was horrible. At 5ish I thought there's no way I'm running today. I got up around 8 and my fever had broken but my head still hurt and I was starting to cough and I was just wrecked from not getting any good sleep. Vader suggested I skip my run. I shouldn't have listened but I figured if he was suggesting it then there was a good reason not to run, it wasn't just me wimping out.

I should have run.

Not just today, but all week. Perhaps I could have avoided even getting this if I had been running all week! I definitely should have run today. Even if all I could do was a mile or so, it would have been better than the moping I've done all day. Although I am pretty achy right now and I laid down TWICE which is something I never do. I would go out right now and run but the boys are fishing and I am home alone with the girls. One of which is coughing on me right now. And the other has just woken up from her nap.

So I guess I just have to look forward to next week. I'll try to get out at some point during the week and I may have to resort to the treadmill, but it's Sunday's run that I always get to do outside and look forward to.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I've been wrong before

So. Yeah. About that race?

I smiled a lot:


I ran hard:


And I gave it my all:

Yes, I'm still heel striking.
It happens when I run fast and overstride when I see the finish line.
I'm okay with that.

And I made it in 27:35 (official time), 8:53 avg pace, 24/54 people, first in my age group of 4 people (yeah, 4 people) earning me my first and most likely only medal. I thanked every single volunteer I saw and enjoyed the race from start to finish.

It must have been the shoes.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another month, another race

I'm running another 5K tomorrow. It was the second race that I ran last year and I remember it very clearly and swear I just did it yesterday. I swear someone is messing up my time/space continuum.

I haven't done any regular consistent speedwork since June so I have no expectations that I will beat my last PR. All that I have focused on is transitioning to the Merrell Pace Gloves so I could run the race in them and not my Mizunos. I'm glad to say I got up to 3 miles (and a little more) in them so that's what I'll be wearing tomorrow morning. Even though I don't intend on beating my PR, I'm looking at this race as an automatic PR for me. These shoes are so different from traditional cushioned racing shoes that it's like I'm starting all over again... so my PR should too!

I don't have any real goals for this race. Whatever happens, happens. All of my friends are running the 10 mile instead of the 5K, so I'm kind of solo for this one. I'm just hoping to run fast enough to make it back home to watch them all run by since the 10 mile goes past my house.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why I can't run long distances

It has nothing to do with the actual distance. Or my tendency to get diarrhea afterwards. But let me back up.

Last night we had our monthly girls night out. I made dinner for the family and when I finished eating I got in the shower and then left. The dishwasher had been running when I left but it doesn't take more than a couple of hours. When I got home, more than a couple of hours later, the dishes in the dishwasher were clean, but they were the same dishes I left. All of the dinner dishes were piled up next to the sink. I suppose I should be grateful they made it to the sink and weren't left on the table. Bedtime is always before 8 so there was plenty of time for someone to unload and reload the dishes.

Before last Sunday's run I had thought about doing a different route--one that was much hillier--but when I drove down that road I remembered that there is no shoulder at all and every time a car comes from the other direction I always think there's going to be a collision. I mentioned the road to Vader who confirmed that it would be a bad idea. He thought I just wanted a different route (I want to work on more hills) so he suggested I run to the state park 5 minutes from our house. I figured, why not? So I ran to the state park. I knew it would be farther and longer than usual. I figured I'd run to the park, pee, and run back. When I got to mile 2 and I hadn't made it there yet I could have turned around but by that point I needed to stop and pee. So I kept going. It was mile 3 when I made it to the bathroom. It was wicked hot and while most of the way was nice and flat, there were some pretty nice hills too. I didn't want to go from running 4 miles for my long run right up to 6, in the heat, because I was pretty sure I'd be in the bathroom the rest of the day. So I took a few walking breaks. I probably ran 5 out of the 6 miles. I got back home more than an hour after I left. What did I come home to? Can you guess? A sink full of dishes! And Vader on the computer, not even pretending to interact with the children. I had to shower and I had brunch to make so I wound up with an even bigger pile of dishes.

There is nothing more frustrating than coming home from a fun experience and being hit with what your absence meant, especially so visually... It almost feels like a punishment. Like, sure you can go out and run for an hour and I'll keep the house from burning down and the kids from escaping, but you'll still have to do all the drudge work only now you'll have much less time to do it. I'm sure that this is not intentional on his part, but this is the message that I get, the feeling that I get, and all of the positive feelings I have from running or being at girls night fly out the window.

How can I train for a 10K so that I can actually run all 6 miles at a decent pace? How could I train for a half-marathon?? It's not enough to have verbal support, it's not enough to say "yeah, go out for a run." I need someone to pick up the slack in my absence and not just watch TV with the kids.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The best birthday week ever

It started like this:


Something major has been brewing for a long time now but I've been too afraid of jinxing it to put it here. After 3 1/2 years, my BFF, Shinesalot, is back home. Not quite next door, not yet sure of where they will finally hang their hats, but they're back in the same area code and a hell of a lot closer than Texas. I can't quite put into words the enormity of this.

The day after they returned we celebrated the 4th of July with 2 parties. We had fun in the afternoon with sprinklers and friends and then in the evening we enjoyed some fireworks on the lake with Shinesalot & family. My kids were up later than they've ever been before.

Vader took Tuesday and Wednesday off from work, so we got to see him for 5 whole days. On Tuesday we took the kids to play some putt-putt and Chewie surprised me by not running off... too much. Then we went to Wal-Mart and bought a bike for me to ride. (I'm not giving up running, but I wanted to have a bike so I could encourage SkyWalker to ride his. A week before he actually got on his bike, sans training wheels, and learned how to ride! I may have misled him into thinking his BFF could already do this. But that's okay since today his BFF took his training wheels off and learned how to ride with his best buddy by his side in my driveway. All's well that ends well.). On Wednesday, my actual birthday, we went to Howe Caverns with the kids and they all did so well. No crying or complaining. It was great.

On Thursday I was planning to go to dinner with The Happy Runner, which would have been an awesome way to end my birthday week. Instead, she tricked me and I had dinner with all the girls, including Shinesalot! It was a lovely surprise (although I disappointed them by not actually registering any surprise. ) I brought my camera,  but forgot to take any pictures.

After years and years of suckitude surrounding my birthday (something always gets screwed up), it was so nice to have multiple days of good times. And to know that there are more ahead.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

In which I come to my senses

Finding the time to blog is actually more difficult than finding the time to run. Funny, no?

I had been following a transitioning plan from a podiatrist on facebook who runs in Vibrams. It was very VERY slow. Increasing 1/4 mile every 2 weeks. But then... I read The Barefoot Running Book. It was a free download and I was able to read it on my iPad, which was cool. One of the things I really loved about the book was how very nonjudgemental it was. On most barefoot running sites (wow, I just typed breastfeeding. Ha!) it's either naked foot or you suck! But Jason Robillard just wants you to run better. Whether it be barefoot or in minimalist shoes or even in traditional cushioned shoes. That was really nice because over the past couple of weeks I've concluded that barefoot running--real barefoot running--is just not for me. I don't like pebbles in my heel. I do agree that we don't need the super cushioned shoes that running stores want to sell us, but I don't think that means we have to run completely barefoot. Which is why I love the Merrell Pace Gloves. It's a nice in between. If you want a shoe that will let you feel every rock and get the ultimate feedback, this isn't it. But if you want a shoe to protect the bottom of your feet with a zero heel raise so you can still feel the way your foot lands... then this is it. I'm glad I've concluded this because I would have been super pissed if I paid $90 for shoes and then wound up running barefoot.

Anyway, in this book he gives super tips on how to transition to a minimalist shoe or barefoot running. And that every one is different and has different abilities so there's no one size fits all plan. I've been walking around barefoot A LOT for a while now. I'm still relatively young. I haven't had any major injuries. And I run short and slow. So, rather than increasing 1/4 mile every 2 weeks I bumped it up to every 2 runs based on his suggestions. And then I bumped it up again. I made a plan for myself that had me running every day--alternating between the Pace Gloves and the Mizunos--and then I woke up. Was I that concerned with my "numbers" going down that I needed to do that? Not with 3 kids at home. So I dropped most of my Mizuno runs. I kept the long run on Sundays with the Mizunos. But then the rest of the week are all Pace Gloves and if I can only run a mile, so be it. The last run I did was supposed to be 3/4 mile but I bumped it up to 1 and I had no pain. So I think I'm doing okay. I should hopefully be all transitioned for my next race in August.

Yes, I know this blog has been all running for a while. It is NOT turning into a running blog, I swear. It's just that since Isaac died I've found myself not wanting to blog about anything. I will return to the antics of my children. Tomorrow I might even recap the best birthday week I've ever had...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Short silly runs, big hills, sad dog

It's been 2 weeks since the Friehofer's and I have barely run. I took the week after off so I could rest my foot. It feels much better now, although it's not completely pain free. But now it's more that I am just aware of it, rather than out and out pain. When I stretch it in certain directions in hurts more. I'm pretty sure it's muscle and not a fracture. I don't think fractures go away on their own.

After the week off I started transitioning to my new Merrell Pace Gloves. It is a brutally slow process. It's pretty much like learning to run all over again. I can only run 1/4 mile or 2 minutes for the first 2 weeks. I'm in the second week of that. Last week I ran on both the treadmill and the driveway. After I got back from my Friday evening run I switched to the Pace Gloves and ran my 2 minutes on the treadmill. On Sunday when I came back I went back out with the Pace Gloves. I want to make sure that I test them on the road, but it's such a pain in the neck being limited to 2 minutes. This week I've decided to alternate runs instead of switching shoes. I did my "regular" run yesterday and then today did my Pace Glove run. But I didn't actually run in the Pace Gloves... it's recommended that you throw in some barefoot running in the first couple of weeks, regardless of whether you are transitioning to minimalist shoes or going all barefoot. Since I was doing it on the treadmill today I wore my injinji socks, no cushioning but I didn't have to worry about the 'mill getting too hot (although with only 2 minutes I don't know how much of a worry that is anyway.)

What I'm coming from

What I'm going to


My "regular" runs have been less regular too... I'm not training for anything, I don't need to get a certain number of miles or hit a particular pace, so I've done a lot of running with the Princess in the driveway, and yesterday I put Haze on the leash (and harness) and we ran around the yard. It was the most fun I've had running, but at the same time it was sad. She's not the puppy she used to be. I remember her pulling me around on the leash, but for most of the run she was doing a 12 minute pace. I told her she was slow and she did speed up to an 8:45 but she couldn't keep it up. We didn't even do a whole mile, but it was actually pretty taxing than just a mile on my own would have been. When we were done she immediately took a nap. We never really took the dogs on the leash because we have the fenced yard for them to pee in and they always ran around with each other. But without Isaac, all Haze does is lay around. She's lost weight from not eating as much. I thought she was only eating once a day, but Vader said it's been less. But after running with me yesterday, she ate her dinner last night AND ate her breakfast this morning. So I might have to do this more often with her. It's worth it to give up my regular mileage.
This sums up her activity on most days now.


Last Friday I ran the Big Hill on my road again and it just kills me. I had thought about riding Bridget's coattails and doing hill repeats, but quickly said Uh-uh. I was curious about the elevation so I uploaded my garmin data and compared the elevation graph from my road and the Freihofer's. There's a pretty big difference in the hills. See for yourself:

Elevation from the Freihofer's. There are hills but it doesn't look like any of them are more than a 40 foot difference.

My road. I did the hill twice during this run. I must have run a little bit further down the second time. In any event, there is a difference of roughly 150 feet for the first time and 180 for the second. 
I guess now I know why I kept waiting for the "big hills" at the race. Maybe if I did those hill repeats I could break 27 next year...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Freihofer's Round Two

Sure, it's a goofy smile, but it's a smile damnit!
I am most happy that I am wearing an orange bib (slower expected finish) in a sea of yellow bibs (faster expected finish)

I outlined my goals in my last post and of them the smiling thing was actually the most important to me. I had been hoping to achieve my A goal of 28 minutes but with my foot hurting the past week I thought I would be happy with anything in the 28 range... but really expecting 29 or slower. But that still beat my last year's time of 33:18.

I came in at 27:58 (chip time). It's only 2 seconds, but it's 2 seconds UNDER my A goal. I think that's a 5 minute and 20 second improvement over last year but feel free to correct my math.

I'm pretty happy.

I ran smiling most of the way. Around mile 2 my bladder rebelled and I once again felt the urge to pee (I peed 3 times before I left the house and 2 times before the race). What's odd is that I was fine for a long time and it's just been the past few weeks that mile 2 sets off the pee-urge (no, I'm not pregnant). Always mile 2. It might just be in my head now. Anyway, I ignored it and kept on trucking. My foot felt miraculously fine. I didn't even have to pretend it wasn't there. It just didn't hurt (sure I'm icing it now and it hurt like hell walking to the car, but it was totally worth it.) I've been reading lots of barefoot runner blogs and ultramarathon runner blogs and used a trick I learned from them--it's easier to run faster than slower. When I felt tired I sped up. I guess it worked. The really funny thing was that I had been anticipating really bad hills. I've been running the big hill on my road A LOT the last couple of weeks to prepare. There was the one hill when we first started running but there are SO MANY other women it's impossible to get ahead that I didn't even notice the hill. And then the rest of the way there were some gradual inclines, but I kept waiting for the hills! After running my big hill it was EASY for me! Amazing!

It was a great race all around. My Strong Running Mama friends did great! It's so nice to run a race with good friends by your side. Okay, not by my side since they all smoked me, but you get my meaning. Our fearless leader, The Happy Runner, did beyond amazing, smashing her A goal and finishing in 22:51! I can't even fathom that!!

The stats for those of you interested (i.e future me): 1036/4142 overall; 120/520 age group; splits: 9:12/8:53/8:46 (I like it when the numbers go in that direction. Kind of easy too when you're starting out with 4000 other women!)

We are the pink/black duo because pink is the new black.
Or maybe black is the new pink.
SkyWalker and the Princess ran their own races. Unfortunately they were a couple of hours after my race, but it gave us an opportunity to walk around and eat lunch and see Andy Morse for a few minutes. The Princess's race was first and she was raring to go. In fact once she got to her mark she just started going and I had to grab her back! I held the Princess's hand (her request) for her 50 meter dash. We unintentionally color-coordinated. She was so excited and happy and smiled the entire way and really had a great time. She says that next year she will run without holding my hand so that she can try to beat me.  Once again, she insisted on showering with me when we got home.


See, he's ahead. 



SkyWalker did so much better than I thought he would. He really gave it his all and ran trying to beat me. I let him. But it wasn't that hard to let him... of course I did run a lot more before and had just run with the Princess, but still I foresee the days of my children beating me coming very soon. He was smiling and laughing the whole way and enjoying himself. He had to run further than the Princess--a whole 100 meters. He did a GREAT job. And then complained about having to walk so far to the car.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Race goals & minimalist shoes

In just 4 days I will run in the Freihofer's Run for Women. For the second time.

I've been doing a lot of running lately. Not as much as I was supposed to, but a lot more than I had been. In March I ran 39.9 miles (more than the 26.8 I did in February). April was similar with 40.1 miles, but for May I have run 58.2 miles. That's more than I have run in a month ever. I'm not sure how I managed that because I feel like I skipped a lot of runs.

My time in last year's race was 33:18. So, my goals:

A. 28 minutes or faster
B. Beat 29:25 (my last 5K time)
C. Beat 33:18

The biggest goal has nothing to do with time or pace. I want to run smiling. I want to look like I'm actually enjoying myself instead of like I'm going to pass out at any second. I want to embrace the Run Smiley Collective. And I want to finally get a good picture of me running.


My new shoes (Merrell Pace Glove) will be getting here on Friday. Just in time. I will NOT be wearing them for the race since it will take a good 6-8 weeks to transition to them! Kinda crazy. But they are minimalist shoes and totally different than the cushioned Mizuno's I'm wearing now. I flirted with the idea of barefoot running, but I'm just not there yet. I also thought about the Vibram's Five Fingers, but decided against them. These shoes have the Vibram soles so I can still feel the road and get the feedback by feet need, but it's more of a traditional shoe than the VFF. I wear the Injinji toe socks so my toes get a little more individual action, just not as much as the VFF. I had to order them online so I'm hoping I got the right size. I've got a general idea of how to transition to the shoes (very slowly) but I need to sit down and come up with a weekly plan for the summer.

As much as I'm not ready for barefoot running, I think I'm going to do it down the driveway getting SkyWalker off the bus.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

One day

Tomorrow it will be 4 weeks since Isaac has died. In many ways it seems like an eternity has passed, but yet I still feel like I am out there on the deck watching helplessly.

It's not easy to grieve for a dog. Or a pet. People don't expect you to do it. They don't quite get it. There are no funerals or rituals or ceremonies to help you grieve and move on. So it tends to linger.

We move through our days. Quietly. Trying not to notice the absence. Trying not to feel the emptiness.

Haze sleeps a lot. She wants to be close always. She lays under the table as we eat, not begging, just being close. I let her.

I am glad that I am home. Glad that I have filled my house with loud children for her to follow and love. If I were working I am sure I would have quit by now just to stay with her. She has always been a people-dog. I am sure that one day she will be fine. We both will. One day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Isaac

I never realized how much a presence he had in this house. The house was always quiet when the dogs were at the kennel, but both dogs were gone. And when he had his surgeries and spent the night at the vet, it was brief and we were distracted. But now it is just so clear that he is missing. He was always under my feet. I couldn't cook, load the dishwasher, check the fridge, or do anything without him right there waiting for me to drop something. He loved the steam of the shower and would often lay down on the bathroom rug as I showered. Anytime I was in the bathroom it was the perfect opportunity for him to come and lay his head in my lap. He was just always there. I always knew where he was because I could hear him breathing and wheezing 3 rooms away. Scratching. Shaking. Licking his balls. He filled an entire house with his noise.

Haze spends most of her time laying down, watching us, wondering. The first night she eagerly ran to the door when Vader came home from work, thinking he would be bringing Isaac home. Every once in a while she walks around and just looks. I can see it in her eyes. She is very very quiet. She doesn't bark. She looks confused at feeding times and waits as long as she can before she gives in and eats.

He was only 8. I'll never know what happened. We were on the deck. One minute he was fine, the next he was laying down and dead. SkyWalker saw him lay down, heard him whining, told me and I said he was fine. He said "No, there's something wrong", and I went to him and he wasn't moving or responding. Vader tried to get his heart to start again, he tried chest compressions, tried everything we could think of. We're guessing that he had a heart attack. But we'll never know for sure. Vader took him to the vet the next morning to be cremated and he chose not to have him examined. He chose not to bring home his ashes. So we'll always have this question hanging over us. Wondering if the tapeworm he'd had the week before had done more damage than we thought before he got medicine. Wondering if something else had been going on. Wondering.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quiet

For a long time I have told Isaac to be quiet. To stop barking. To stop shaking. To stop scratching. To just be quiet.

I will never hear his barking, or shaking, or scratching again.

It is too damn quiet.

Isaac and Haze slept every night curled up together.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Planning

I have a plan.

My plan was going to be to take it easy with everything. I stayed under 30 minutes and got my PR for my last run. I made a whopping $42 from the examiner--for 3 months of work. School is drawing to a close and my time will be even more limited. So I thought I'd just take it easy right now.

But I don't really do that. I mean, it might look like I'm taking it easy, but really I'm always juggling lots of different things and thinking about lots of different things.

My plan now is to just not sleep.

No, not really. Although that would make things easier. Thanks to the Happy Runner, I have a plan to get my 5K time down to 28 minutes for the Freihofer's in June. I ran it in 33:18 last year, so 28 would be awesome. We'll see. To really help me with my training I've come up with a way to get 2 outside runs a week instead of just 1. I always run on the road on Sundays. But now I will also be running Friday evenings. I'll feed the kids and me dinner (Fridays are always pizza--frozen--& salad. Easy peasy.), and as soon as Vader walks in the door at 6 I will walk out. Or run out. Most of my Friday runs are in the 3-4 mile range so it shouldn't take too long. Vader will eat his salad and I'll get home just in time to help get the kids in the bath. This obviously only works when it's light out at 6 because my road has no streetlights. But I'll take it. This is beyond awesome because of the planet-aligning I need to do to get Chewie to nap.

The days we stayed home last week Chewie napped great. The days we went out, she did not. All it takes is 5-10 minutes of sleeping in the car and she won't nap. Yesterday we stayed home, had lunch at 11:30, she was in her bed by 12 (without the Princess), asleep by 12:30, and then I put the Princess up there before 1, she was so quiet she got bored and fell asleep too. I paid for it at bedtime, but that was okay. Today, I managed to keep her awake when we got the Princess from preschool and I got her down  by herself shortly after 1. I brought the Princess up there at 1:30 and Chewie was sleeping on the Princess's bed. It was adorable. I'm not quite sure what happened, but she woke up and proceeded to destroy Pinkalicious: Tickled Pink. Luckily it's not a running day. So, I need to either stay home or make sure we are home before noon and Chewie doesn't fall asleep in the car and I have enough time to put Chewie down for a nap and then get the Princess up there so I can run & shower before I need to get SkyWalker off the bus. Wednesday is intervals day so it's a given I'm just going to be home now. I guess I'll have Fridays to do things.

I was going to write about my Blog Critics opportunity but someone is home from school now and two other someones are awake and destroying their room. So that'll just have to wait.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Half an excuse

Today we packed up the kids early and left the house at 8 am (early for us) so we could all go to Chewie's third hearing test and ENT consultation. The good news is that her right ear is totally clear now, there's no more fluid and she passed the hearing test in that ear. The bad news is that she failed it in her left ear. There wasn't any fluid or signs of infection. But there was a lot of negative pressure. The ENT was fairly confident that the negative pressure was the cause of the failed test and that her hearing is not actually affected. He said that all it takes is one good ear to develop normal speech patterns, so we're not at a critical point right now. He thinks that it could very well be seasonal. He recommends that we just wait and see. So, we'll be going back in August for yet another hearing test. Hopefully that will be enough time for the pressure in her to equalize, or whatever it is that pressure does.

I'm glad that he doesn't want to rush into tubes or any other surgical solution, but it would be nice to just have this over with. Until then I suppose she has half an excuse for not listening to me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oh yeah, that race I ran

As I've said before I'm not really that big into races. I don't feel the need to run one all the time. (Aside--I just typed one run instead of run one. I think I officially have only 2 brain cells left). When I do run one it's usually because my friends have already signed up for it.

Until last weekend. There was a 5K 5 minutes from my house. Now, I did a 5K close to home over the summer, but this was a different place. This was on the river, at the local state park. It truly was beautiful and I would kind of like to run the course and NOT race it so I could appreciate the scenery. Anyway, none of my friends were able to do it because they were all still recovering from that HALF-MARATHON they ran, but I signed up anyway. It was so close to my house, how could I not? I planned on registering the kids for the kids' race but the registration process was a little unclear so I figured I'd wait until race day. I'm glad I did. As it turns out we were too late for the kids's run. Luckily I was the only one really annoyed. The kids didn't seem to care too much. None of their friends were running either.

So, we got there later than I intended, but still with plenty of time for my race. It was COLD. Not like December cold, but just gloomy and overcast and a little windy. I had worn my racing jacket for standing around, but I wound up wearing it the whole race. Sure, there were people in t-shirts and shorts. And yes, I did warm up. But I am seriously a good 20 degrees colder than most humans, so I was okay with that. I picked up my packet, went to the bathroom, came out of the bathroom and saw an older guy staring at me. I thought for sure I had pulled my pants all the way up, so I was confused. I walked in his direction and thought I knew him... and mistakenly thought he must have been a librarian. Luckily he told me who he really was--the father of one of my former library teens. It was really funny because that was the last person I thought he was going to be. Yeah, he beat me.

When I got back to Vader and the kids Vader said he was going to go back to the car to look for gloves for the Princess. We were now 20 minutes away from race time. Just as I was getting seriously nervous because he has that problem with time and you know MOVING QUICKLY WHEN IT'S IMPORTANT TO ME, I saw a familiar person. A life-saver really. The Happy Runner had brought her two kids out in the cold, gloomy, dismal, dreary day, way out of her way, just to watch me race. Just seeing her instantly calmed my nerves because I knew I could leave the kids with her until Vader got back. I didn't have to though since he showed up a minute after.

I lined up, intentionally going towards the back so that I wouldn't start out too fast like I did at the Clove Run. I found myself next to... a librarian! It was nice to make a little small talk. There was also a preschool mom there but I don't know where she was in the beginning. We started out and I had to dodge people and a racing mom with a stroller and sticks and rocks. Yeah. Did I mention this was a trail race? I should have known that, having been to the park a million times, but I was just expecting some paved trail to magically appear. Ah well. So, I ran my first trail race. It was hard, harder than I expected. Dodging the tree roots and mud and rocks and other runners and branches and all sorts of crap was a little exhausting. I kept my pace okay for the first couple of miles (splits according to garmin: 9:28/9:31/9:28). Then we hit sand and I kind of wanted to flail my arms at the sky. But I kept on. When I hit the last quarter mile I wanted to really step it up and I tried. I mean, I did pick up the pace, but after having just come off the sand (with hills too!) my legs were just so tired, so I didn't quite pick it up as much as I had wanted to. Nonetheless I still came in at a faster time than I have before. 29:25 (according to my garmin it was 29:22, but I'm not going to complain about 3 seconds... too much.) That final stretch when I was just about to lose it, I heard a voice. There were lots of people cheering and talking, but I instantly picked out the Happy Runner's voice, and she brought me in. I didn't let go until I crossed the finish line.

There were plenty of faster people there and loads of faster times, but in each of my races I have gotten a PR. Sure, there's only been 4 races, but still, to improve in each race is not bad. And to think that 2 years ago I would have accused you of smoking the buddha if you suggested I would one day run in a race...

I leave you with this picture. Take a gander at the look on my face, people. Priceless. Just priceless:
I am clearly not amused by the bear-man.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I always thought this house was full of too much gas

I'm not running now because I'm waiting for a return phone call about our continuing water problem. I will bet anything that I will not get it. I did not run on Monday because I was waiting for the Culligan man to come. He was supposed to come between 1-3. He pulled in the driveway at 2:55. Awesome.

Even more awesome is the craptastic result of his visit. But, let me go back to the beginning.
Our water sucks. There's sulfur and clay in it. We've always had a Culligan filter system. Chlorine takes out the sulfur and F86 takes out the clay. We've always had some kind of problem--too much sulfur, too much chlorine. There's never been a nice balance. Back in 2008 (thanks archives!) we had to have ALL of our pipes replaced because the chlorine was eating through them. Vader talked to Culligan and asked if there was another system we could use because of that and they said Nope. So we spent $6000 to replace all of pipes with Pex instead of Copper.

Guess what? The chlorine was never supposed to be in the water. But, once again, I'm ahead of myself.

So, a couple of weeks ago I did a bunch of laundry, as usual, and the water smelled like rotten eggs by the end of the day. Vader checked and something was wrong with the pumps. Culligan came, did a tune up and got things working. He randomly mentioned that we should think about getting the chlorine filter replaced because it's only supposed to last 5 years. We've been here almost 10. Vader asked how we would know if it needed to be replaced. The guy said we'd smell chlorine or sulfur. Hello? We said we always smell  chlorine or sulfur. It's never odorless, it's always one or the other. He said the chlorine filter has TWO functions--to take out the sulfur and to take out the chlorine. Could someone have told us that when we said chlorine was eating through our pipes? Think they could have said THEN, oh, there shouldn't be chlorine in your pipes at all.

Argh.

So then we have some other Culligan guy come out to replace the filter. He says there's something wrong with the "box" on top with all the controls and there's no sense replacing that because now we're getting into the $700 range to fix an old system. We should just get a new filter. And by the way, we should have a filter to to take out the F86 that's taking out the clay. So yeah, our water should not have sulfur, clay, chlorine or F86 in it. And it does. So now we're looking at replacing two filters and the price tag is getting in the thousands. Right before he leaves (after doing nothing) he tells me we also have methane in our water. Methane gas. He lit a match over the water and it went PFFOOOM instead of doing nothing.

Yeah.

We met with the Culligan salesman last night. To get the two new filters we need and the aerator to get rid of the methane gas will cost us nearly $8000. Yes, $8000.

I'm thinking of putting a sign out front saying "Free meth" but I'm not sure it'll work...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No, you're not crazy

There was a blog post here and now it's not. Those of you who are smart enough to subscribe with google reader or some other blog reader are now in the top secret club. Those of you who don't... sucks for you.

There was just a bit too much detailed info about Vader's job and I was given a gag order last night (and he didn't even know about the blog post!). Luckily he is a luddite.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

Wednesday has apparently become my blogging day. I don't know why. It's not easier than any other day.

Last Friday I did a very quick short run because the girls were refusing to nap and making a lot of noise. When I came upstairs from the office (where the treadmill is) the Princess called down to me that she had something to tell me. Now, she ALWAYS has something to tell me that usually have no importance whatsoever. But that day she needed to tell me that Chewie had put her leg OVER the crib. Ugh. I had seen her lifting up on the rail and wondered when she was going to attempt to climb out. I watched her on the video monitor and sure enough she was trying her best to get out. UGH UGH. Have I mentioned she STILL has a soft spot? At almost 2 years old? The last thing I need now is a head injury. I left her up there, but I couldn't get in the shower knowing she might climb out and fall.

On Saturday we went to the store and got a big girl bed for the Princess. It's just a white bed, simple wood, but she picked out TinkerBell sheets so she loves it. We took apart the crib and put it in the attic (first time in 4 years we haven't had it up!) and moved the Princess's toddler bed to Chewie's spot.

Sigh.

Whooosh. What's that sound? Time flying by.

Both girls love their new beds. The Princess has actually taken a nap because she just wanted to lay in her bed and then she fell asleep. Once Chewie falls asleep she stays in it all night long. It's the falling asleep part that's not so good. It takes a good 10-30 minutes of telling her to get back in her bed (it's somewhat funny seeing her on the video monitor clearly out of her bed, then walking up the stairs, hearing little feet running, and finding her laying in her bed. I forget that she knows what's going on because she doesn't really talk.) She took a good nap on Monday, but nothing yesterday. Today seems to be a bust too. I can leave her up there awake and do other things during naptime, but I just can't go downstairs and run and have BOTH girls awake and roaming freely in their room. It's fine with the Princess, but not Chewie.

This sucks.

I'm going to have to rearrange my entire life now. I have to decide if I'm running after bedtime or before they wake up in the morning. And I've been doing just oh-so-well with the getting up thing. /sarcasm

I have a million things to do, but Chewie has her ENT visit tomorrow to see if she's going to need tubes in her ears. So I'm not quite focused enough to write reviews and articles and complete sentences.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Standing on your own two feet

I think the greatest gift a friend can give you is the courage to believe in yourself. To find inspiration within YOURSELF. We're not born with this. Many of us need to have someone else to impress, to be accountable to, because we just can't rely on ourselves.

I started running last August with the couch to 5k program. I was done by December, and by done I mean I quit. There were legitimate reasons, a baby who only napped 45 minutes, new school demands by the kindergartner, the crazies of a 2 year old. But really, I quit, because I wasn't enough to keep myself going.

Then my beyond-awesome friend started a running group for people just like me: moms who had never run before. I immediately said I couldn't do it. I started to run again on my own, but it wasn't the same. And then I woke up. I realized I could do it and that I needed to do it. At first a lot of it was that I wanted to be a part of this group, I wanted to be with these people. I wanted my happy runner friend to be proud of me.

On paper it looks like I haven't come that far. I've only run 3 races since then, all of them 5Ks. I'm not training for a half marathon. I'm not much faster (33:18 my first race, 29:40 my last). One of my friends commented the other night that I had been increasing my distance, and now that I did the 6 miles don't I think I can do twice that? I naturally scoffed. But I've been thinking a lot about it. A year ago I thought there was no way I could actually run 3 miles. Now? I *know* that with the training I could run a half-marathon. Or even a marathon. I *know* that if I wanted to do it, I could do it. I just don't want to. I don't have the hours to train, I try to balance my life with other things (reading, writing, those stinky kids). Sure, I'd like to do it with them, but that's not a reason to do it. Not the right reason. So, even though I'm not running as fast or as far, I think I've come a million miles from where I was last year. I'm not training for anything but I continue to run 3-4 times a week. And I'm doing it for me. I'm not running to fit in, I'm not running to make friends, I'm running for myself. And when it comes right down to it, whether you're running in a group or alone, you've got to be able to stand on your own two feet.

Like I said, the greatest gift someone can give you is the courage to believe in yourself. I am so tremendously grateful to my happy runner friend for giving it to me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The power of the run

This has not been the best of times. After a gloriously wonderful winter break full of fun and friends, we had a week of sickness and staying home. This week was supposed to be a return to the routine. We had plans on Monday with friends... it snowed. Then yesterday Chewie woke up with a horrible rash all over her back and chest. The Princess still went to preschool and Chewie & I still went food shopping, but that's hardly fun. We had plans to go have fun today, but Chewie's rash has spread to her face and legs and I just couldn't take her out in public. Even if she's not contagious, I know every mom would be staring and wondering. (Pretty sure it's just roseola.) So we stayed home again today.

I am not chipper.

I miss my friends. The girls and I are getting a wee bit tired of each other. We're getting snippy. Okay, I'm getting snippy and they're getting whiny and Chewie's crying at everything. I put them down for naptime at noon. NOON.

I got on the treadmill for my Wednesday intervals and thought about doing what I always do (3 or 4 fast quarters at 6.9 with a 1% incline with walking intervals in between) but I thought back to Sunday. This past Sunday I did not run 6 miles. It was raining, Chewie was still sick, Vader was installing faucets. So I went out with the idea of only doing 3.1. I started out a bit fast and thought I'd better slow down I'm not going to make it. I let that take over for a quarter mile up a tiny incline and then said What? Screw that! If I wasn't going the distance than I was going to go faster than normal. So I did. I didn't go race-pace for the whole thing, but I did okay. And at the end I really pushed it and wound up doing my last mile faster than the others. So today, I thought if I can go that fast on the road, why not now? Why? It's only a quarter mile. So I did. I upped my speed a bit and ran at 7.2 with a 1% incline. I did the quarters in just a tad over 2 minutes. The very last one I pushed it a bit and sped up to 7.5. The first break I ran very slow, but the rest I had to walk. I was okay with that though since I was really trying to push the running. One thing at a time.

And now, I am restored. Ready to face the girls (who have naturally woken up already since I put them down at noon, but the boy gets off the bus in 10 minutes so they're staying put). Ready to face the rest of the day. I've been frustrated that I'm not getting up at 5:30 and running like I want to, but maybe it's better for me to run in the middle of the day. Maybe it's better to do it when I need it most, and not when I think it would be most convenient.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Isn't it time?

I have never been a fan of winter. Sure, I enjoyed having snow days as a kid, but winter always meant cracked bleeding hands for me and being too cold. I am not fond of being cold. I prefer to be just a breath away from sweating at all times. When I was working, snow days were unheard of, so winter always brought the stress of having to decide just how much I wanted to risk my life just to get to work. Once I stopped working it was a lot less stressful. Snow still interferes with things but I can deal with missing a playdate better than I can deal with having to call in sick to work because there's a blizzard but the library still hasn't closed.

This winter I've tried really hard to not have my normal attitude. I've made sure to keep running 4 times a week (aside from my 2 week hiatus). I take a lot of Vitamin D. I don't stress about snow days. I've been doing pretty good and haven't been complaining, even though it seems like this winter is doing its best to test my resolve.

But, my friends, I am getting weary. I am getting tired of bundling the kids to leave the house. Wrestling with car seat buckles on top of winter coats. The constant layer of snowy dirt from the dogs' feet and the kids' boots. I am especially tired of the cold. I think I could deal with more snow, but less cold. Snow doesn't make the oil man come every month. But this bitter cold we've had... We have paid over $2000 in oil since December. That is a lot of money. And I don't have my house very warm. It's 63 in the morning (9-12), 67 during the day and from 6-9 am, 65 at night. But when it's in the teens or below 0 outside, it takes a lot of oil just to heat it to the 60s. I would gladly have it on 70 all day and night, but I'm trying to cut down a little bit on how much we use.

I'm very proud that I've kept running outside this winter and that we've gone out and done things and not hibernated. I'm proud that I haven't jumped on the Winter Sucks bandwagon. I'm proud that I haven't given in to my natural negativity this time of year.

But I'm ready for spring now.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Reluctant reading

When SkyWalker first learned to read it was miraculous. He would read a couple of words, pause to look up at me and smile, and then continue. He was so happy, so proud, so full of joy.

Now it's a battle every day for him to do his reading homework. He doesn't want to read out loud, or he doesn't want to read to himself, or he just doesn't want to do whatever he has to do. He likes shared reading and his definition of that is him reading a line and me reading a page. He absolutely does not like answering comprehension questions. Getting him to summarize what he's read is like pulling teeth. He can't remember details of something he read 15 minutes ago--yet he can recall scenes from movies he saw years ago and places we went to and a bunch of other things. I think he has two problems--he's not paying attention to what he's reading because he just wants to get done with it and he's not paying attention because he doesn't give a crap. I've told him he can read whatever he wants, his encyclopedias, magazines, superhero stuff. Doesn't matter, he just resisted.

For the past couple of weeks he's been getting work back from school with notes saying he didn't finish a particular section or he needs to slow down and read all the directions. He's also been biting his nails and sucking on his lower lip A LOT.

I had the idea that maybe if I could get access to Accelerated Reader at home he'd be more interested because it would be extra computer time, so I figured I'd e-mail his teacher and ask her if that was possible and then also just ask if he was nervous at school. She e-mailed back that they don't offer Accelerated Reader at home (for the record, I actually disagree with AR, but I'm not going to buck the system that much.) and then she called me later to talk about how he's doing. He does NOT seem nervous at all to her, which is good, but he does seem reluctant to do anything that he thinks might be too hard for him, even if it's not. She's had to tell him to go use the AR because she's found him just sitting at his desk, flipping through his anthology and shuffling papers around trying to make himself *look* busy (I actually find that hilarious). Once she tells him to do it, he does it. She said he's not being disobedient or rude or outright saying no, he's just reluctant to do it on his own. He has said the reason he doesn't like the comprehension questions is because he's afraid he's going to get something wrong because he just can't remember, so rather than try and get something wrong, he just doesn't want to try.

Argh.

So, she suggested we take a step back and have him read the earlier readers and really work on the recall so he can build his confidence by getting those questions right. It's hard to remember details when you're also trying to figure out what the words say. Once he knows he can do the recall, then we should work on getting him to read longer and harder books.

So, I took all of his readers, the level 1s and 2s and 3s, and spent Saturday afternoon coming up with comprehension questions for each book. 3-4 questions ranging from easy to hard, and assigned each question a point value. I typed them all up, printed them out, put them in a binder along with some looseleaf paper for him to write his answers. He can earn points and when he gets a certain amount of points he'll get some kind of reward. That was Saturday. He did one that day, did another completely on his own on Sunday, and started another one today. He said he was going to spend quiet time teaching his sister to read (we have yet another snow day). They were pretty quiet until just now, so maybe he actually did.

He has an amazing memory and he *can* read. I know that he can do this. I'm not quite sure what it will take for him to get interested in reading again. I'm hoping that our comprehension binder will help. He gets perfect scores on his math tests almost all the time (I think he's gotten one or two questions wrong out of 12-13 tests) because he's interested in that. He's only in 1st grade and if he's already reluctant to read and not able to remember what he's read... the rest of school is going to be really hard.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Easy

It would have been so easy to say no. Just like I did at 5:30 am when my alarm went off. I had no problem saying no then. But I didn't say no, and after a horrifically long day I put my kids to bed and got on the treadmill.

The girls both have colds and the Princess had a low fever on Tuesday. I hemmed and hawed and then followed my gut and brought them both in to the doc (mistake--I should have made one appointment and then smiled sweetly and said, can you just look in Chewie's ears too? Instead I made an appointment for both of them and had to pay 2 copays. $40!) They both have ear infections. It took forever at the doc since they both had to be examined (after a long wait too), then the Princess had to pee in a cup just in case, then we had to pick up their amoxicillin, then we got to go home. We left at 10 am and didn't get back until 1:30. We had lunch and I knew there was no way I was running during naptime. It was after 2 by the time we were upstairs. I had to get SkyWalker off the bus and I usually get out there by 2:37-2:40. Ugh. So, no run. I got SkyWalker, the Princess still wasn't sleeping and Chewie took a very short nap so there was no run then either. I spent the rest of the day holding Chewie while she cried about various things and arguing with SkyWalker about his reading homework. After "we" put the kids to bed, luckily earlier than usual, I did the dishes and watched the clock and thought about how I just wanted to sit on the couch and snuggle with my iPad.

Instead I laced up my sneakers and headed downstairs. I did my intervals--Wednesday is always intervals--and thought about cutting it short. Modern Family is on Wednesday nights! But I have DVR for a reason. I had planned on doing just 3 fast quarters and then trying to run slowly in between instead of walking. I really wanted to minimize the walking. So I started out with a slow run for half mile (5.0 speed) instead of a warmup walk. Then I went right into the first fast quarter (6.9 speed). I ran at 4.5-5 for the next quarter. I couldn't keep it up though. I had to walk after the next fast quarters. But that's better than before. I did a 4th "fast" quarter at 6.0 which doesn't really count but I wanted to do a little extra to make up for having to walk.

I showered, watched Parenthood and then Modern Family, and it all worked out. I was really happy that I didn't let myself get away with any excuses and I did what I wanted to do. But evening running really just isn't for me. I have GOT to get my butt out of bed in the morning and run before the kids get up so my day time is less stressed.

I'm currently listening to Chewie coughing in her crib. I'm glad I'm not planning on running now because I'm pretty sure this nap is going to be cut short too.

Someday when my last child is in school, I will be able to run whenever I want to. Outside! I just have to wait another 7 years or so.

Monday, February 28, 2011

You get all this in just one post

Running:

My week off turned into two. It was somewhat unintentional. I had been looking forward to my long Sunday run but it was wicked cold so I chickened out. Why yes, I did feel like a major lame-o since my friends were running a marathon relay that day and had no choice about the wicked cold. But, I made cookies with Nana and the Princess instead. The next day should have been a treadmill day but we were out and about and was distracted by the results of Chewie's hearing test (see below) and playing Words with Friends with both SkyWalker and Nana that it wasn't until bedtime that I realized that the ENTIRE day had flashed by without a run. I pretty much knew the rest of the week was shot. We had a ginormous amount of fun with our friends resulting in naps being thrown off schedule and thus runs not being, um, run. But it was all worth it.

I got back on the treadmill on Friday with an easy run and then hit the road yesterday for my long run. I've been slowly building up my distance and planned on running 5.5 miles. But then I thought that I would plot out the 6.2 miles and if I wound up running 5.5 and walking the rest that would be fine, but at least I'd know how far I'd have to go to get the 6.2 (10K). I ran nonstop for 5.2 miles putting me at the bottom of the Hill. I stopped for roughly 30 seconds (stopped the watch and didn't move) and gathered myself. Then I started the trek up the hill. I was pretty wiped after already running 5.2 and in case I haven't mentioned it, this hill is, well, a HILL. I went up the first section which turned out to be .10 of a mile. I stopped for 10 seconds. I repeated that two more times until I was at the top of the hill. And then I just ran all the way home. I needed to go past my house just a smidge so I could get the full 6.2. I did it all about 3 minutes faster than the last time I attempted it. The last time I walked and I didn't go near the hill. So I'd say I did much better considering the slowness up the hill!

I'm glad I ended February on a high note, since I did about half the miles that I did in January--only 26.8 miles. Well, it is the shortest month.

******
Chewie:

At Chewie's 18 month checkup we started the early intervention process for speech. She wound up not qualifying because she communicated just enough, but she is delayed. She needs to improve by the time she's 2 or we'll have to do the whole thing again. Part of it was a hearing test. Her first was in January and she failed. She had a cold and they said the results were consistent with people who have colds so we didn't worry and just rescheduled another one for 4 weeks later. She had no runny nose so I sent her off with Vader and didn't give it a second thought. She failed again. Although she had no outward symptoms she had congestion or fluid in her ears. So she's on a steroid nose spray (the same one SkyWalker was one for his allergies) and hopefully that will help the fluid drain through her nose. We have an appointment with an ENT for the end of March and if it hasn't drained by then she'll most likely need to get tubes in her ears. And then we'll have to do another hearing test. Hopefully she'll pass that one and start talking soon. Not that I really want her to talk because the Princess DOES NOT STOP, but I'd like her to have the ability to talk.

*******
Blathering:

My alarm went off at 5:30 this morning and I did the daily debate of "I should get up but I'm not in the mood to physically move my body." At 6:20 I heard SkyWalker tell his father that I forgot to make his lunch! Argh. I jumped out of bed and he was right. Vader was making his lunch but I stayed up. It was lovely. I was going to run but my neck is in serious hurting mode, most likely from that damn hill yesterday. But I'm hoping that being up early today will help me fall asleep early tonight and get me back into that routine. If I could run before the kids even get up... oy.... and then have naptime to do THINGS! Oh the joy.
*******
Poetry:

Today's trek down memory lane is my most successful poem. Published 5 times according to a resume I found in the box.

The Hands

Why do I remember them?
Only the hands,
Once capable and quick,
Now slow and unsteady.
The hands.
I don't remember
the eyes or the voice.
But I remember
Those old, dying hands.
God, how they look like
mine.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Why we love DK

As a children's/teen librarian I always liked DK books. In particular, the nonfiction books are always very visual and kid friendly. I bought SkyWalker his first DK encyclopedia when he was very young. I followed that up with another one this past Christmas.

Facebook has a lot of problems but the one thing it does really well is what it was actually created to do--keep people in touch who would otherwise not be connected because of distance. I discovered through facebook that a high school friend of mine worked for DK. Since SkyWalker enjoys the encyclopedias as much as we do (he and Vader read a section each night) I told him that I knew someone who worked for DK. He and the Princess were impressed and scoured their DK books looking for her name. I mentioned this to her through facebook. Her response? Have each of them pick 5 books from the website. For FREE.

WHAT? FREE DK books?? We eagerly inspected the DK website. SkyWalker chose another of encyclopedia and some Star Wars readers. The Princess chose some princess books and fairie encyclopedias. We were giddy! It was like Christmas all over again.

She also said to never buy a DK book again, that she would be my source... but you know what I did right? I bought SkyWalker a DK dictionary soon after. While we love free books, we love DK more and in this publishing world we need to support them! I just want to publicly thank Rachel Kempster and DK for helping to feed our addiction.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Get ready

Oh, get ready.


Jack Kerouac Lives *

"I am God"
he wrote.
If you are God,
then surely
I am a Goddess.

* "I am God" taken from "Poem" in Pomes all Sizes by Jack Kerouac.

***
I love it so much, I can't even tell you. I *really* needed to attribute "I am God" to Kerouac? Like they were going to find this and claim I infringed on his copyright of that statement, that obviously no one else ever said. HAHA. I love it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Writing

I was looking for, something, ah, my old Wonder Woman datebook cover, when I came across a box containing all my old high school poetry. Rather than keep them locked up I thought I would share them, if for no other reason than to laugh (although some of these were actually PUBLISHED in small presses and were responsible for me winning awards and scholarships). These poems are TWENTY years old. TWENTY. Muse on that one, man.

Here is your first installment:

Writing

Writing is
like the wind,
lifting my soul.
Carrying me to
the safe utopia
in the dark abyss
of my mind;
Grasping my hand:
an anxious mother;
Hovering over me with eagle eyes:
an over-protective father;
Yet, letting me be free
letting me be me.
Writing is like the wind.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

And vacation is off to a fine start

I meant to clean the kitchen yesterday. I should have.

We woke up late--again--and immediately after breakfast I cleaned the upstairs bathroom. Then I started on the kitchen. I did the stove and the sink but not much else since we still needed to have lunch. I told the jedi that I was cleaning up and to not make any big messes. Ha. They took all of the stools and chairs and made a fort over by the dinner table. Okay. I let it go. SkyWalker has been learning about money so he had a bunch of coins under the table. Okay. When I finished the stove & sink I decided I would take a shower. I put the dogs outside and told SkyWalker he was in charge. What could go wrong?

I came out and discovered that they had moved on from coins and had all of their dollars on the floor too. It tiny pieces. SkyWalker blamed Chewie but I reminded him that he was in charge and she would not have gotten them to rip up if he had not left them in her reach. I told him to start cleaning everything up before we had lunch. The Princess let it slip that they ALL ripped up the dollars. 8 dollar bills. EIGHT. I managed to tape most of them up but I have no idea if they are still legal tender or not. I told them they were not eating lunch until they cleaned everything up--picked up all the loose change on the floor, returned toys to the living room, returned stools and chairs to their proper place and fixed the table cloth they pulled off. SkyWalker started picking up the coins, Chewie dumped them out again, SkyWalker started crying about how he had already cleaned up and he cleans up everything, blah blah blah. He and the Princess turned on each other and blamed the other one for going to slow. My absolute favorite part was when he dramatically said that if she didn't clean up faster he was going to be dead from not eating lunch. She reassured him that he wasn't "EVER going to get dead from not eating lunch." He had an absolute hissy fit when I told him to fix the tablecloth because he didn't know how to do that. I explained for the millionth time that if he doesn't know how to fix something/clean something up that he shouldn't make the mess to begin with.

Nana will be here in a little over an hour. The children are upstairs. Vader is at BJs, actually he's probably playing at Guitar Center. I told them that when naptime was over we would be starting a new day. No arguing, no yelling, just happy listening. Anyone want to bet how well it goes? I've got $8...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting it done

I wanted to post about the great 5 1/2 mile run I did last weekend... but it never happened. I started on Sunday but it was so cold, so much colder than I thought, that I turned around to come home. I thought I'd get back outside later in the day when temps warmed up... but it never happened.

Then Monday I, once again, lost track of time having a fun-filled morning with my friends and by the time we were home I knew there was no run in my future.

Instead of beating myself up about it, I am A) wicked proud that out of this entire snowy cold winter I have only missed TWO outside runs. Only 2! I thought for sure I would be done running outside by December at the latest and that was before I knew it would be the snowiest coldest winter EVER. So the fact that I only missed 2 runs? Is wicked awesome. And B) I decided to take THE WHOLE WEEK off. There is such a difference between not being able to run and choosing not to (for a brief period of time). I think the break will be good for my ankles. I'm already really looking forward to getting out there on Sunday for my long run.

Because I chose not to run all week, I also chose not to write or do any of my normal regular chores (besides the mandatory cooking, dishes & laundry). I dedicated this week to getting all of those pain in the neck tasks done that I never have time for. The ones that eat away at my brain while I am running and writing and trying to keep my head above water. I cleaned out my car (basically straightened it up, I didn't vacuum it), cleaned out the entire fridge, cleaned my toilet and mopped my bathroom floor (it's the one never seen by other people so it's always neglected), and transferred pictures and videos from SD cards to the computer. I still need to clean the stove & sink and the upstairs bathroom, but I'm feeling pretty good about what I've gotten done. So much of what I do each week are things that I do EACH WEEK. I am never done with laundry or dishes. I never have a feeling of accomplishment of "that's done." But I don't clean out the fridge every week that's for sure...  I make my lists so I can cross off laundry when it's done for the day, but it's not quite the same as feeling like I've actually made a difference.

Next week I return to my regularly scheduled activities with a clear head and renewed motivation... or will attempt to with kiddies home from school.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why I don't sleep

All of my children sleep through the night and have done so for a long LONG time. And yet I am still exhausted each morning. My sleep is always interrupted:

video

This happens all night long. This is actually pretty tame to what it's like in the middle of the night. Usually it sounds like an emphysema patient is sleeping with us.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Darkness

We live in darkness
Blissfully blind
Unaware of what's lurking
in the shadows
Until the Sun
The Sun
with its pompous
self-righteousness
Its rays glaring
and exposing
every crumb and dust particle on my floors.

What? Did you think I was getting a little high-brow with the blog?? Nah.

But seriously? You know what I'm talking about. That time of day when the sun shines through the window the strongest and just highlights EVERYTHING that you have not done. Even if you just swept yesterday, there's a new pile of dust and dog hair and cracker crumbs.

I have chosen not to run during today's nap time (which has yet to occur since Chewie is crawling around her crib and the other 2 are running from room to room) and will hopefully get it done after bedtime. I had to take control of the house. Dishes, the kitchen sink, crumbs. I still have all the kids' laundry to fold. From 2 days ago.

Balance would be so much easier to attain if the children and dogs would stop contaminating my house and just stay in the bubble wrap.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Actual conversation with the Princess

just moments ago.

The Princess: "When I'm a mom can I take care of [Chewie]? And when you're still a mom can you get a new baby? Can you ask someone for one?"

Me: "Who should I ask for a new baby?"

P: "Whoever you want to. Just don't get a boy baby."

Me: "Why not a boy baby?"

P: "Because all the boy babies spit all over."

Me: "Girl babies spit up too."

P: "Hannah doesn't."

M: "She did when she was a baby. So did you and Chewie."

P: "No, we didn't spit up. Well, just one day we spit. And then the next day and the next day and then lots of days."

And then she was done with the conversation and walked away.

50 miles

My ideal running routine is Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I've been trying to run a little longer which means starting a little earlier which means being home. Tuesday and Thursday we don't get home from preschool until 12 and then we eat lunch and then we argue about nap/quiet time so I decided to have those days be my "other" days. I did a good long run (for me) on Sunday and planned on taking it easy yesterday. We went to a playdate in the morning and then had lunch with our friends. I had NO concept of what time it was. It was just... such a lovely morning that I didn't even think about time. When we left Panera it was already after 1. If I'm going to be on the treadmill for 45 minutes and then shower, the latest I can start is 1 to be out in time to wait for the bus at 2:40. Eeps. But I had already decided I was going to keep it easy so I thought maybe I could still squeeze it in. Then Chewie fell asleep in the car. We got home and it was clear there would be no immediate nap. I sighed, did the dishes, decided to wait until SkyWalker got home and run. I got the girls upstairs at 2. Chewie did not even attempt to fall asleep. She wasn't crying so I just left her there. SkyWalker and I walked in the house at 2:45, the Princess came down the stairs, Chewie was still awake and I thought for sure my run was doomed. I had to help SkyWalker with his math homework. I did a little HTML work on the blog (I added a label cloud over on the side) and then Chewie fell asleep at 4 pm! SkyWalker and the Princess were watching Cyberchase on the computer and I said "should I run now??". I really didn't want to wait until bedtime because I'm so wiped out by the end of the day. But I really wanted to run. While doing my HTML work I had noticed my running stats... I was only 1.1 miles away from 50 miles for the month! The Princess told me to go ahead and run (that's what she said  "Go, go ahead and run.") so I put the dogs in the bedroom, hopped on the treadmill and did an easy 1.25 miles before I had to make dinner.

Just so I could say that I ran 50 miles in January. I ran 17 days. That's not bad! If I did that every month I'd get 600 miles for the year, twice as much as last year. But I'm fairly certain that I won't be able to do 50 miles each month.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hills

I've mentioned the big hill before. I worked very hard at coming up with a 3.1 mile route that avoided the hills on my road. As it is my road is very wavy (I thought those were hills before. They're not. But it is wavy.), so I really didn't want to run those hills. But now that I'm not training for anything in particular and my friends are all doing super long distances so nobody can really run with me anymore, I've decided to tackle the hill. In addition to that, I've added a 1/4 mile in the other direction each week.

By the time I got to the hill today I had already run 3.5 miles. Without stopping. That alone is big for me on my road. I have always had a really hard time not stopping. I think it was more of a mental block than anything else--I just had myself convinced that I couldn't run the entire thing. But now that I've added the hill I just can't walk before I even get there! So, anyway, by the time I get to the hill I've already run what I used to do TOTAL. The last couple of times I've wound up having to walk part of the hill and I was okay with that because doing any of it was progress. I've wanted to take some pictures of the hill, so today when I got to the bottom I stopped, stopped the watch, didn't move, and took a picture with my cell phone. Then I started the watch again, ran up the first leg of the hill, stopped again, took another picture, and then ran up the second part of the hill and kept going until I had done my 4.5 miles. Technically I didn't run it all in one bunch, but it took maybe 30 seconds, a minute, for me to snap a pic and get the phone back in my pocket. But because I had that tiny break I had the confidence that I could actually run up the whole thing. It surely wasn't fast, but I didn't walk it.

Unfortunately the pictures I took look like a nice flat road! I think next week I'll see if I can take a picture looking downhill, because really this is a HILL. And I want proof!

I don't know why I want proof. Other than the fact that this hill has grown to be so symbolic. I thought it was once insurmountable, but now I'm seeking it out. I'm running it. This hill represents all the worry about Vader's job, the worry that Shinesalot won't find a job out here, the worry that the Princess will need her tonsils out too, all of those worries that I have no control over, and I'm climbing it and leaving it behind.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kerplooey

Sometimes things go kerplooey and there's not much you can do. I had planned on running when the girls were at naptime, as I often do during the week. We left late this morning for storytime which meant that I left a sink full of dishes. I HATE leaving a sink full of dirty dishes because it means I come HOME to a sink full of dirty dishes. We got home, I quickly made the girls lunch, added to the sink full of dishes, and attempted to get them upstairs. The Princess very nicely requested that I not run today (a first for her) and instead play with her.

We've entered that PLAY WITH ME stage. I didn't even notice that SkyWalker was out of it until I realized that the Princess is now in it. Most of the time I don't notice because she plays with SkyWalker. But the past few days she's been unsatisfied playing by herself or with her sister when SkyWalker is at school and wants Mommy to play with her. It's not as simple as just spending time with her either. I need to get on the floor and play Superheroes with her. Playing Superheroes for her is pretty much like playing Barbie Dolls only with Wonder Woman, Batgirl, the O'Brien twins (she has two of the same female character so she has dubbed them twins. When she calls them she says "O'Brien, O'Brien". It's funny.) and if she's feeling daring she'll grab Magneto or Wolverine or Batman. She is allowed to play with Superman--the one with the broken arm is hers and the unbroken one is SkyWalker's. Anyway, all she wants to play is Superheroes. I do not LIKE playing Superheroes. Just sitting there on the floor and making them talk makes me want to sleep. But, I wound up playing Superheroes.

I got Chewie up for her nap, played a little Superheroes, convinced the Princess to go upstairs for quiet time and quickly changed into my running clothes. Even when I run inside I am still delayed by winter--I have to take off all my multiple layers of clothes and put on my running stuff and try to convince myself that I will warm up and it's okay that I'm cold now. It SUCKS. Lately what I've done when we're staying home is to put my running clothes on UNDER my regular clothes. It saves just a bit of time, but I need that time. I couldn't do that today because we went to storytime and my running clothes are stinky. So, I changed, headed downstairs, decided that since it was now later than I intended I would alter my goals and just do an easy 2 miles. I plugged the treadmill in and ... nada. I thought perhaps I had forgotten to switch it on, so I did it again. Nope. (I keep it unplugged because I have 3 small children.) Then I noticed the silence--I looked up and the baby monitor was off, the clock was off, the computer and cable modem was off. The lights were still on though. I went to the circuit breaker switches thingy and saw one that said "off." I switched it back on but it wouldn't stay on. I finally called Vader at work and after half an hour of flipping switches and running back to see if anything worked I finally got everything stabilized. By then it was 1:30 and while I could have run a mile or so and taken a quick shower before getting SkyWalker off the bus, I was just so irritated that I didn't. I also was a little hesitant to plug the treadmill in again and get on it, just in case something happened while I was running this time.

I did the dishes, swept, and regained control of my kitchen. The girls are sleeping. SkyWalker is now home and watching his 30 minutes of TV. I'm annoyed... but I ran 3 times already this week, 9 miles, and I feel better now that the dishes aren't staring at me with their yogurt covered cheerio yuckiness. AND... I have my running clothes on under my regular clothes (necessary to pick up SkyWalker off the bus) so there's a good chance I'll get on the treadmill after bedtime when Vader will be there to catch me if it launches me into the air.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Real Runner

I thought I was a real runner before. When I continued running after the Freihofer's last June, when I started researching ways to make myself a better runner, when I started buying running clothes and gadgets. But today, today my friends, today I became a real runner.

As mentioned previously I did not run outside last Sunday. Which meant I did not run/walk the big hill. I started the week with a deficit of miles. So I've been trying to make up for that by running more on the treadmill. Usually my Wednesday run is my speed workout in which I do some kind of crazy intervals and attempt not to die. I didn't run yesterday so today was my Wednesday run, but I decided against the intervals and instead did hills on the treadmill. I've been running at a 1% incline to better simulate road-running, but today I cranked it up. I walked, then ran at %1, then ran at 3% for half a mile (with a 5.5 speed). Then repeated that. I finished it up with a final walk at a 5% incline.

That does not make me a real runner.

The entire time I was running I felt something amiss with my toe... a little bit too much closeness. Like a NAIL digging into the neighboring toe. But still, I ran. When I got done and took my shoes off to get in the shower I looked down and saw a nice bloody mess from what was indeed a toenail digging into the side of my other toe. My first bloody running injury!

I have arrived.