Wednesday, March 23, 2011


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.


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.


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


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.