Sunday, January 30, 2011


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


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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A little crap... followed by a little pee

I had kind of a sucky day.

Lots of money snafus, whiny cranky baby, whiny cranky constipated school-boy, my sinuses-allergies combined to kick me when I was down. I got the van stuck in the snow while backing it up the driveway after getting SkyWalker off the bus. It stayed there until Vader dug it out at bedtime. I spilled hot tea on myself. I didn't run. It was just a crapilicious morning.

But then, my little monkey, the one who can't sit still did something amazing. She's been sitting long enough for me to read her books (multiple books!) and that in itself is noteworthy. But today, at bath time, she sat on the potty long enough to actually PEE in it! She's been sitting on the potty... for a second here or there before she tries to jump off. Today she sat and I said "Are you going to pee?" and by golly she nodded her little head and she peed!! Real PEE! In the potty!

Sometimes all it takes is a little pee to brighten your day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Many things

I'm trying to get back into the blogging thing. This used to be my outlet and then well, things changed, and it wasn't what I needed it to be. I've decided to take it back though, so now it's just a matter of finding the time.

I've been doing fairly well this winter. I keep running and taking my Vitamin D and dreaming of the hot sweaty sun. I've managed to do my one weekly outside run--until this past weekend. It was below 0, or felt that way with the wind chill, and I just couldn't do it. I was so annoyed I couldn't run outside that I didn't run at all. I've tried to make up for it the past couple of days, but I've been doing so good extending my distance outside and doing more of the hill, that I feel like I've started the week off with a deficit. Which is so hilariously funny coming from a lazy bookworm. I did do 3.5 today and finally realized that I could play a DVD on my desktop computer in front of the treadmill. So I watched the first episode of Buffy and that got me through 40 minutes. I've accepted that I'm just going to go slower on the treadmill. Which is also funny to me remembering how afraid I was to run outside.


I'm getting serious pressure to have the next baby. From my CHILDREN. I think they ask me every day when we're going to have the next baby and whether or I not I think it will be a girl or a boy. On the way home from preschool today the Princess wisely declared that she thought it will be "a girl. Or a boy." SkyWalker goes back and forth, wanting a brother, but then changing his mind because he loves his sisters so much. He said he wants one now because he just loves babies and "it's a good thing we decided on 4." I don't remember him being in on the decision. I'm not quite ready for it myself. Chewie is doing much better communicating, and seems to be climbing on tables less, but I need to get out of this winter. It's been the snowiest, coldest winter I remember in a long time, and I know that adding pregnancy to it will increase the hibernation urge. I'm trying to think positively and not assume that I will spend 8 months vomiting again. I plan on continuing running, even if it's slower, and hope that it will counteract any morning-all day sickness. One of the Princess's preschool friends is one of three and his mom is expecting her fourth. It was so nice to hear. The world is a different place now... if you have more than 2 kids people look at you like you're irresponsible and insane. If it weren't for my aging uterus I would have a million babies. I figure it balances out with all my child-free friends.

I was marveling at how much SkyWalker has grown and how I remembered when he was just a teeny tiny baby. He snuggled up to me on the couch and told me that I can still call him my baby--when we're home. They certainly make it *easy* for me to want more kids. Maybe if they were rotten I'd be done.


My book blog is growing and I'm happy that I'm paying more attention to it than to the examiner articles. Examiner isn't paying what it used to and I wouldn't be surprised if someday it doesn't pay at all. So I'm focusing more on the blog. I was reading a lot of other book blogs and it was actually funny how many of them talked about getting burnt out and not having time to read what they wanted to read because of so many publisher demands blah blah blah and they've been doing this for a year, or less. At first I felt a little left out--I've been book blogging for SEVEN years and I don't have publishers beating down my door for reviews. But I also don't feel pressure. I get books from the library that I *want* to read, I have the books from VOYA to read, and I just started requesting e-galleys from Netgalley for my iPad. I think a lot of book bloggers got into it so they could get free books. I always got free books--from the library--and see it more as reader's advisory. If my reviews can help someone decide if they want to read a certain book, then my job is done. Even I'm not employed, I will always be a librarian at heart. It's about sharing my love of books, especially YA books, and not about getting books before they're released.


There are towels to fold and dinner to cook and heineys to wipe.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Not as in the "final frontier".

When we bought this house over 8 years ago it was SO BIG. I always knew we would have kids so I intentionally didn't do anything in the upstairs rooms, but the rest of the house was still just BIG.

It has gotten smaller.

That's natural when you add three more people (and two dogs). The living room is full of toys. The kitchen is full of toys. The office is full of toys. The part of the office not full of toys is full of guitars and musical equipment. My sewing/puzzle table now houses SkyWalker's computer (the desktop. His laptop is upstairs)  and various other stuff.

I had no space.

I've done pretty good over the last year of creating a mental space for myself. I run 3-4 times a week and I make sure I do child-free whether it's on the road or the treadmill. I read a lot more and book blog and write my examiner articles. I have my monthly girls' nights and make sure that there is a spot in my brain that thinks only about ME and not about the rest of the world.

But I needed a physical space too. When I mentioned this to Vader he was caught up in what I would do with this space. Not that I had to justify it, but for him it was "I want to do puzzles so I need a table" and for me it is "If I have a table I can do puzzles, scrapbooking, whatever." There was NO spot for me. None. There was no room in the office, no room in the kitchen (and I don't consider the kitchen my space. I'm not that interested in cooking.). Finally I looked to our bedroom... that we share with the dogs. We have a large dresser in there but we couldn't move it because of the TV. We just HAVE to have that TV in there. /sarcasm I came up with an idea to move the dresser upstairs into the Princess's closet, take her smaller dresser for Vader's stuff and then have more room in our bedroom. Luckily we didn't have to actually do that. We just slid the dresser down a bit, moved the dogs down a bit, and then opened up a corner. My own corner. I took the craft/homework table from the kitchen--the one that NOBODY does any crafts or homework on and is primarily a climbing tool for Chewie and moved that into the corner. I moved a smaller toddler table into the kitchen so they can still sit and do their playdoh. As of yet I haven't been able to sit down at my table, but it's nice knowing that I have a place to sit.

My space

The kids' space. One of many.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mall Runners

I have just had the most awesome winter running idea. Most of my runs are on the treadmill regardless of the season because of the small creatures in my house I need to take care of on a daily basis. But once a week when I have backup I hit the road. I've been doing really well sticking to it when it's been below my comfortable temperature of 50. I've run when it's been below freezing! But I draw the line at negative numbers. This weekend is supposed to be really cold. REALLY cold. I don't want to run outside, but I don't want to run on the treadmill either. I don't have a gym membership so I can't just drive to the Y and use their indoor track.

And then it hit me.

The mall.

How perfect would that be? I know that there are mall walkers. Why not runners too? We could stop at the security desk and get a badge or sticker or some identifying thing to alert people that we are mall runners and not shoplifters. Run. Stop at the food court and get a drink/snack. Do some shopping. As we're running past the shops think of all the goals and motivation! Do an extra mile and buy that shirt in the window you just passed! Other people would see us and think "Wow, that's cool! I'm going to go to Dick's right now and buy some running shoes!" It's a win-win situation for the mall! And they don't even have to do anything. When I run outside I don't have a sidewalk or a pretty little path. I have broken up asphalt and dodge the holes and dead animals. The mall doesn't have to have a designated running path. We can just dodge the people. It'll make it interesting.

This is it, people. Let's make it happen.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

Vader left the house at shortly before 5 am to go across the state for work. He won't return until late tomorrow night. He's the one who gets up with SkyWalker in the morning and gets him on the school bus at 6:50. Which meant I was going to have to do it this morning and tomorrow. But, luckily for us, we had a snow day. So instead of waiting for the bus at 6:50 I got to lay in bed awake wondering if Vader was in a ditch somewhere and if my dogs would EVER stop barking at the plow guy. I had contemplated getting up at 5 when I was wide awake, but I didn't and sure enough I fell back to sleep right around 6:30 and woke up at 6:45 when the dogs declared war on the plow guy (one of the best decisions we ever made was having someone plow our driveway. Totally worth the money.)

Everyone was excited that it was a snow day and happy to be together. I posted an article while we were all still in pajamas just after breakfast, we quickly got dressed and did math homework and the older two played a little and then we had lunch. Chewie slept okay, SkyWalker and the Princess played in his room and I had just enough time to run 3 miles and shower. Then I brought the laundry up there and without saying anything SkyWalker started to help me sort it and put his own clothes away. So the Princess put her clothes away--which fell short of making it into the dresser, so SkyWalker picked THOSE up and put them away too. Usually it takes me so long to put their stuff away because the three of them like to climb all over the clean clothes and me and cause a ruckus. But today it was done in no time. After that we made corn muffins and then we all went outside and played in the snow. They shoveled and fell down and jumped and I had to drag Chewie in crying. She would have stayed out much longer. We ate our corn muffins, had breakfast for dinner (french toast for them and an omelette for me), and then headed upstairs for bed.

It was an amazing day.

I take for granted, sometimes, how lucky I am that I have kids who get along so well with one another. SkyWalker has always played on the Princess's level, even when she was a baby, but now that she is older they've really become companions. It's so nice to see. They often giggle and laugh. I can leave them together to play outside in the snow and not worry. Not everyone can do that. I am so lucky that they are so good to each other.

But today was not all about luck. I worked hard when they were younger to set routines so that they have alone time and so do I. I remember when SkyWalker gave up his nap and I... just let him. It was so stupid of me, but he had been in daycare and now he was home and it was kind of nice having alone time with him while the Princess napped. It wasn't until I was pregnant with Chewie and couldn't physically keep up anymore that I started the Quiet Time Experiment--something that turned out to be a lifesaver. Because I enforced it with him, the Princess doesn't fight it. During the summer we had some struggles because they wanted to play together but they were too loud and would often wake Chewie. But now that SkyWalker is back at school the Princess has settled into her routine of being in her room quietly while Chewie is sleeping. Last week she played with her new doll house and then "got tired" and took a nap herself. On the weekends when Daddy is home I am not as vigilant about quiet time and it's okay. And on special days like today I let them play together and they are often so happy for the chance that it works out. And I am glad that Chewie sleeps in her crib giving me the freedom to run on the treadmill or take a shower or go out to the mailbox. I honestly do not know what I would do without that alone time. We're all so much better off because of it.

Today was one of those days when the little things clicked, like a sign saying "You did it right!" It's not often that one ever feels that way with parenting, so when it happens it's nice to have a record of it...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Woo hoo

I am sitting on the couch, with my feet up, posting to blogger. What's different? My husband is still using the laptop in the kitchen. How is this possible??

My beloved iPad.

I've wanted an iPad since they first came out but i had an ipod touch and just couldn't justify the expense. And then just recently we had to buy a new laptop so i thought my iPad dreams were over. But I've been doing a lot of this book blogging stuff and I've had to turn down authors because i didn't have an ebook reader and couldn't use the laptop as much as i wanted to. I don't often ask for things from Vader. I didn't even ask for a diamond ring for my engagement ring! My reward was an iPad for Christmas. We didn't actually order it until after New Year's because i thought maybe i could wait for the next one. But life is too short to wait for things you really want.

I'm not sure why it's not automatically capitalizing the I all the time, but i don't care enough to go back and fix it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Another year

Last year we had NYE plans but couldn't go because the Princess had a big fever. Never fun, but especially not with a kid who had 3 surgeries to fix her kidney problems. Luckily this year there were no fevers, we had babysitters (all the way from Long Island) and we celebrated the New Year with good friends instead of going to bed at 10. Again.

This last year has just flown by though. I truly feel like it was just LAST Christmas and here we are cleaning up from another one. Last year I had a baby and now I have a walking climbing trouble maker; last year I had an insane 2 year old and now I have a mostly sane 3 year old; last year we were adjusting to kindergarten and now we've got a big first grader who takes his sister outside to play in the snow all by themselves.

It's been a really good year in many ways. New cousins were born. New friends were born. New habits were born. I logged a total of 299.6 miles in 2010, which is 299.6 miles more than I did from 1975-2009. I'm not giving myself any specific running goals for this year... the only goal I have is to keep on running.

Chewie has just fallen asleep, the older two are playing in the living room and I am hiding downstairs in the office so I can work. Which means I should probably do that.