Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reflections: 2010 Goals

It's that time of year again - desperate to keep my mind off of the mess of new toys and clothes in my living room, I start thinking about my goals for next year.  If my brain can't take the present, might as well look to the future, right?

Only, for today, I decided it would be good to look back to the past. Specifically: my January 2010 post outlining my goals for this year.

How did I do?

1) Increase my focus on being "healthy and strong"
This was goal #1, so it's the most important, right? I hope so, because it is one of the only ones that I really made some progress on this year! I switched gyms this fall to one with a kids area that Little Man actually likes going to. It has made all the difference in the world. I've been hitting the gym 5-6 days a week and really look forward to that time. I feel "healthy and strong', and it is a good stress release and time to get focused on my day.  I recently started the weight training workouts in The New Rules of Lifting for Women and am seeing results already.  I am committed, and staying committed (minus my birthday and Christmas which was a cookie debacle), to clean eating, which feels great!
Goal Accomplishment Rating: 4/5

2) Cut back on tv & movies
Let's get real. This didn't happen.  My husband and I crave our evening brain shut off time after the kids go to bed, and we are still "shutting off" to movies and tv. Hey, at least we saw some good movies this year!
Goal Accomplishment Rating: 0/5

3) Add some adventure
When I wrote the original goal, I talked about my plans to go on crazy adventures with Eric and the kids. To do things that are out of the ordinary and create memories.  I think we did a little of that this year. I hope to seek out more adventure in 2011! We did a major landscaping overhaul of our backyard that was definitely "adventure" in a torturous, exhausting way.  Oh yeah, and I went to Haiti on a missions trip, one of the big adventures of my life so far.
Goal Accomplishment Rating: 4/5

4) Put some money into savings
This turned out to be a wish rather than a goal.  I'm giving myself 1 point because we didn't go into debt!
Goal Accomplishment Rating: 1/5

5) Become an intentional friend
This is a rough one to gauge.  I think I was mentally an intentional friend this year. I thought of my friends more, prayed for friends. Didn't do very well at reaching out to friends. Room for improvement.
Goal Accomplishment Rating: 2/5

6) Read more good books
I read like crazy this year! I think I read about a book a week. Not all were good books, but many turned out to be among the best I've ever read (see previous post).  One funny thing about looking back at last year's goals is that under this goal, I mentioned reading "The Bookseller of Kabul" and having weird dreams from it.  I have absolutely no recollection at all of reading that book, and my Goodreads page shows it listed as a "to read". What is up with that? Did I start it and then stop because of weird dreams? Why don't I remember anything about the book at all? Perplexing.
Goal Accomplishment Rating: 5/5 

Hopefully within the next few days I will have a chance to share some of my goals for 2011!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Books I Loved in 2010

In the past year and a half when I have been a true stay-at-home mom (before that, I was a SAHM but worked on contract from home a little bit for a social services agency), I have gotten back to reading. Lots of reading. 

It's time for "year end" countdowns of the best and worst of 2010, so I thought I'd recap some of the books I read this year that I really enjoyed. *Note: these are books I read in 2010, not necessarily books published in 2010.*

THE TOP TEN

10. "The Samurai's Garden" by Gail Tsukiyama  -- Reading this book was like sitting in a quiet garden. It was soothing and very eloquently written.

9. "Slave" by Mende Nazar  -- This was a difficult read - an autobiography about a woman who lived through slavery in modern times.  While not a pleasant topic, the story is amazing.

8. "Five Quarters of the Orange" by Joanne Harris -- Probably would not have read this one if not for the recommendation of a friend. The themes of the book are the relationship between mother and daughter, past and present. Oh yeah, and there is lots of talk about cooking and food!

7. "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini -- I think I'm the only person in the world who hadn't read this book or seen the movie.  Still haven't seen the movie, but I am definitely glad I read this book about friendship, betrayal and coming of age in Afghanistan.

 6. "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton -- Part mystery without being too "mystery genre", this book fell right into my wheelhouse: generations of women and their interconnectedness.  Blurbs about the book I read were pretty vague and didn't do much to sell me on reading it, but it was one of my favorite books of the year. I will definitely be reading more Kate Morton in 2011!

 5. "Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers -- I love pretty much all of Dave Eggers' work and this is no exception. Zeitoun is a "fact based" novel, basically the novelization of the true story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-American living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. What starts as a story of heroism in the face of a natural disaster turns into a telling story about the way immigrants and the poor are sometimes treated by our country's officials.

4. "The Heretic's Daughter" by Kathleen Kent -- I tend to enjoy books set in colonial times and this is no exception. Another "relationship between women" book, a young girl struggles to understand what is happening when her mother is accused of witchcraft in Purtian New England.

3. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein -- I admit, I may have read this at the end of 2009, but I can't remember, so I'm counting it.  I am not a fan of gimmicky books, so I was surprised to find I really enjoyed this book narrated by... a dog! It is funny and tender, left me thinking and talking about it for a long time afterward!

 2. "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova --  It is not often that a work of fiction changes people, but I believe this is such a book. Narrated by a woman suffering from early onset Altzheimer's Disease, this is fiction that reads as autobiographical.  It is deeply moving and really made me think.

 1. "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by Dave Wroblewski -- I know what you are thinking: Did you seriously pick a book from Oprah's Book Club as your favorite book of the year? Luckily, I didn't realize it had been a OBC pick when I read it! This story was fascinating in pretty much every aspect. It was funny, sad, hopeful, interesting. Everything that makes a book engaging and, well, good! Though not hard to read, my brain was completely swamped by the time I finished reading. I wandered around the house for days in search of a "beach read" because I was totally worn out by the emotional toll this book took on me. What's not to love?



THE BEST BOOK YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF...

"The Art of Devotion" by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin -- I won this book on a reading website and was able to participate in an online discussion with the author.  This is a first novel that I thought was really fascinating and well written. Another "mystery that isn't mystery genre", this book tells of the story's events from the differing perspective of multiple narrators. As soon as you think you understand the "what" and the "why", perspective changes and you realize that maybe you don't understand any of what is going on at all!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Adventure in Wheel-ing

A few weeks ago, I joined a new gym. Last year's econo-gym membership was a big waste of money as I never had the time to go when I had energy, or energy to go when I had time (after 7pm or before 5am). Lured in by a lap pool and childcare, I jumped ship to a national chain with a new gym in our area. I have always done well with group fitness classes and this gym offers lots of classes that seem really cool. Plus, they have a pretty nice kids area set up with a very reasonable fee so that I can actually work out during the time a normal person would be awake!

As part of a scheme to win a free trip to Hawaii (which didn't end up working), I spent the first 2 weeks of my membership trying out each fitness class the gym offers. The one I was least looking forward to: Yoga/Pilates.

I have never been a huge fan of yoga classes. I went a few times when I was pregnant, but have never really gotten into the stillness of yoga, the "let's relax and listen to our breathing", the "pay attention to the tiny muscles in your forehead... release all of the tension between your eyebrows". I am just not made to slow down that way, and the idea that I am "exercising" by laying on the floor in Corpse Pose ticks me off when I'm in a foul mood.

But, I found that I really enjoyed the yoga/pilates class at my new gym. I was sweating! I had sore muscles the next day! And, most positive of all, my tight-since-having-children hips actually stretched out a bit and felt wonderful! I'm a little addicted now just because of the hip stretching alone! Not to mention that anytime we are seated for stretching, she always reminds us to "put both your butts on the floor", which I find really cute since she is a tiny, blonde yoga-ess.

I am far from a Yoga Master. I am decently flexible and probably above average in the balance department. On most poses, our instructor shows us a beginner position and a "level 2" position. Occasionally there is a "level 3" position which is prefaced by her saying something like, "Only try this if you have been coming for awhile" or a threat (in teacher tone) like, "If you can't keep your back straight on level 2, I better not see you trying this!" Most of the time I'm cool in level 2. On some things, I am flexible enough to pull off level 3.

Today's adventure, and story, begins about half way through class with Bridge Pose. Like this...


I assure you that I am as toned as this lady and looked HAWT in my light pink, skintight yoga-wear. (!!)

Anyway, so I'm rocking the Bridge Pose and figured we were finishing up (though, knowing the class a little bit, I wouldn't have been surprised if she had said, "Now, grab your ankles and slowly walk towards the green wall to your right.")

Then, she busted out the Level 2... Wheel Pose. "If you feel comfortable here and have the flexibility to attempt this..."


Never one to shy away from a backbend Level 2, I was thinking I can do this! I can push up into a back bend! (Those of you who read yesterday's blog are coming to understand that my internal dialogue often includes gross overestimation of my abilities...) And then... I went for it! Arms above my shoulders, I pushed up from Bridge Pose to Wheel Pose. I made it! I am sure I didn't look as bendily perfect as this lady up above, but my heels stayed on the ground, I didn't pull a muscle, and I didn't tip over. I call that "Mission Accomplished"!

So, here I am in the dimmly lit group exercise room in Wheel Pose. My upside down view of 1/2 of the class revealed that only 2 or 3 of the 15-20 people I could see had attempted/successfully made it to the Wheel. And then, I realized my problem.

How am I going to get down from here?

A quick picture flashed in my mind: like some generic comedy flick, I pictured being stuck in Wheel Pose and having to call out to the Yoga-ess for help getting back down to the ground. Honestly, I was scared for a few seconds that I was going to hurt myself trying to get out of Wheel Pose.

In the end, I ignored the desire to call for help and decided if I threw caution to the wind to bend myself in half, I would do the same and drop myself back down to the mat. I ended up bringing my head directly down onto the ground, probably not an ideal exit, and rolling my spine down until I was back to safely laying flat on the ground.

Whew! Crisis averted!

And you know at dinner tonight, I bragged to Eric all about how I kicked some awesome Yoga butt and Wheeled like a champ!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Porch swing reupholstery fail

We have a second generation porch swing that came with us from our old house when we moved last year. Handed down from our friends (who graciously left it on the porch when we bought the house from them), I admit that I love the idea of having a porch swing more than I love actually using it.


The sad grandpa porch swing was relegated to the random mow strip/concrete pad on the side of the house when we moved because of how tiny our back porch was. But then, this spring, we landscaped the back yard and suddenly the porch swing had a home!


The only problem: the fabric was worn thin from years of use, misuse and unuse. (Is that a word?)


"Have no fear!" I told Eric. "I will reuphoster it and make it look fabulous!" I was well intentioned and truly believed that I could take on this little project with little to no effort required. I can sew! I've made pretty elaborate Halloween costumes. I was on costume crew for a few plays in college. I have made some of my own clothes.  The "how to reupholster your porch swing" sites online make it look so easy!


The problems started early on. And remember, this is late April or so...  Our probably very cheap porch swing (sorry Clifts!) has an all in one cushion and cover, meaning I couldn't take off the cover and use it as a pattern to create a new one. Oh no. In fact, I actually needed my husband's help to dismantle the ENTIRE swing so that I could remove the pad/cover in order to measure and plan out what I needed.


Mid May.


Pad removed and spread out on the dining room (no doubt tracking in 10 years of hidden dirt and who knows what), I measured and planned. Headed to the fabric store and found some super cute weatherproof fabric, which was more expensive than I expected.


And yes, I got home to discover that my fabric was about 2 inches too narrow! So, back to the store a few days later only to discover... the fabric was gone! No problem, I thought, I'll go all Project Runway and "make it work". I bought the same fabric in the same pattern but in complimentary colors and used it as edging down both sides, widening my fabric enough to do the job.


Late May.


I get this great idea to use a staple gun to affix the fabric on to the original pad/cover so that I don't have to sit outside in the 90 degree weather handsewing an entire porch swing. It seems like it would work! But after stapling the pad to my dining room floor (hello cheap laminate tile flooring!) and then dragging the whole thing outside, it quickly became apparent that my little quick fix idea was not working.


Did I give up? Never! I doubled the fun by using craft fabric glue spray, spraying the crap out of the back of the fabric, glueing it to the old fabric and THEN stapling it on!


Yeah, my head is hung in shame.


Early June.


I decided to go with it, despite Eric's incredulous looks, and see if it would hold together. At this point, other than a few visible staples, the cover actually looked pretty good. We even sat on it once.


Mid June.


I haven't mentioned that I live in a windy area. This is important because it only took about a week for my "fancy" porch swing cover job to start coming apart and flapping in the wind. At first it was just the bottom, which didn't actually impede the use of the swing OR show the original cover, so I let it go. Eric wasn't pleased.


By late June - 2 months into my "simple" project - basically the entire cover had come apart and was folded over itself, dangling off the swing, blowing in the breeze. Yes, I somehow made a 10 year old porch swing with an entirely worn and destroyed cover look WORSE than it did when I started. Did I fix it right away? Nope. Instead, I spent the summer pretending that it didn't exist.


I did make a few lame apologies to Eric for my lameness and promised I would fix the porch swing, but my heart wasn't into it.


So finally today, yes it is early September, I took the first steps to rectify my porch swing reupholstery fail. I am giving in and will be hand sewing the cover. Baby steps. Today, I pinned my cover back on to the swing so that this weekend, I can do the sewing. From far away, the porch swing actually looks pretty good. See?




But don't get too close!!!




Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It sounds like a train in here... must be time for school to start!

Back to school time is upon us. This is Sister's first "back to school" since last year was her "first day of school". She is making the jump from 2 morning a week preschool to 5 morning a week pre-kindergarten. It has proven to be a fairly easy transition for her so far: same teachers, already knows most of the kids in her class, Daddy still around as principal. We'll see at the end of the week whether 5 mornings in a row causes serious crabbiness or not. Thank goodness she still naps!

Little Man and I are getting into a blessedly low key routine while Sister is at school. And it goes a little something like this... (hit it!)...

Drop Sister off at school.  Come home and play cars.  Head to the gym for a workout and Kids Club. Pick up Sister and head home for lunch.

As I'm not completely obsessed with playing cars like some people in this house, I'm hoping that we can add a little variety in the playing time and go to the park or library or something every now and then, but I'm not holding my breath!

Little Man has had a few weeks to get used to the gym Kids Club and has done well there. It has been an adjustment for him to go without Sister, but after a minute or two of tears, he has been fine.  I am very thankful that he has a fall birthday so he is going to be a little older when he starts school.  He would NOT be ready this year AT ALL (even though he never shuts up and is known for busting out words like "thermostat").

Yesterday we had a nice relaxing time playing cars out on the grass in the front yard. So quiet now that all the kids are in school! Today, those early fall winds are whipping around the neighborhood, so we opted for... cars in the living room! See? Some variety already!! We had a nice conversation about where heaven is, how we get there, whether Jesus has a car and a garage, if there is a thermostat in heaven, etc. (I'm sure everyone's 2 year olds ask about thermostats in heaven, right???)

And Sister? Loving school so far. She has graduated from not wanting to tell me anything about her day to telling me some specific things she did during the day. Her favorite part: "All of it". Oh, and snack.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

From the Lost

Welcome back to me! Sorry to say it has been awhile. I just got back from my mission trip to Haiti and then couldn't remember my new password from when my account was hacked a couple of weeks ago. Will post some Haiti pics and the full story during nap times this week. In the meantime, you may have heard of the cool new site for all of us "in the know" called I Write Like. You paste a sample of your writing - a blog entry, for example - and some kind of algorithm thing analyzes your writing style to tell you what famous author you write like. Apparently I write like Cory Doctorow. Didn't know who he was, had to google him. Apparently, my blog writing style is similar to... a blogger! A liberal, science fiction writing blogger and journalist. Word.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Share Group Inc.: You're on my list!

For weeks now, we have been getting calls DAILY - sometimes up to 3 times a day - from "Share Group Inc." We are on the No Call List and have caller ID so I don't usually answer when they call. But still, annoying to have your phone ringing multiple times a day from some kind of telemarketer, right?

Last night, I was fed up and ready to tell someone off. So I answered the phone only to hear an automated message tell me something to the effect of: "There is a call for you. Please wait on the line for our next representative." I hung up.

I did some online research today and discovered that Share Group Inc. is a marketing/fundraising group that makes fundraising calls for all sorts of organizations. Just by typing in the phone number from our caller ID, I found many posts on various sites by people who have been getting calls as often as we have.  Apparently, a few years ago, calling back to the number would lead to an automated message with an option to opt out of the calls. So I tried that, but no such luck. Now you just get to leave a message so someone can... call you back... AGAIN!

I don't really understand all the details of the No Call List, but apparently somehow Share Group Inc. is exempt from the No Call rules. I get the impression that agencies that otherwise wouldn't be able to call me because of the List can hire Share Group to call me instead. Nice.

I think I'm probably in the majority here - hounding me multiple times a day does not make me more receptive to a fundraising pitch when I do finally get fed up enough to answer my phone and then wait for someone to be available to talk to me. I wish I could just call the police or something. As it is, I might get my whistle ready for the next phone call.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fire Humans and Flags: From the Mouths of Babes

Learning my lesson about not talking publicly about breasts... I wrote a post about summer dresses for larger chested ladies and what happens? My blog gets hacked!

Well, I'm back with a big karate chop to the throat of my hackers, and a nice, fancy "secure" password. 

Take THAT!

******

In other news, Little Man (2.5 years old) has been dealing with some nasal issues due to the dry air here. It has led to multiple "I never thought I'd be doing this" moments with me shining a flashlight into his nose and extracting boogers that look like green raisins from his nostrils with a pair of tweezers. (Probably not medically advisable, I know, but a kid's got to breathe, right?) Enough is enough, despite his fear of air conditioning, wind, and all mechanical noises, we decided it was time to bust out the humidifier. 

The humidifier ranks pretty close to the air conditioning in terms of inducing fear. At this point, both things are not scary until, conveniently, it is time to go to bed. But, the humidifier is much more entertaining because Little Man calls it the... "fire human"!!

"Mama, I don't like the fire human in my room."

His other funny toddler word play: he calls the fly swatter a "flag", so any time he sees a fly he shouts, "I'm gonna flag it, Mama!" and runs for the fly swatter. Then I get to say, "Flag it, Little Man!" 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rant: On Sundresses


*** Warning: the post contains a discussion about my boobs.***

Summertime, and I want a... really cute summer dress!

Woe is me, this is a problem for me every summer. I RARELY wear skirts or dresses any time of year, but in the summer, I almost always prefer a lightweight, flowy skirt or dress, long or short. (Unless, of course, I'm out weeding in the backyard or something,)

Apparently, I have a body shape that is next to impossible to fit in a casual summer dress, unless I want to shell out close to $100. And my "body shape" is not super crazy or anything. Yes, I am 5'10, but I'm an average weight and don't have major problem areas I want to disguise. The main problem: I have breasts. Yes. I am a woman and I have breasts. Proportional, but large enough to need fairly substantial support.

Strapless and spaghetti strap dresses are out. And also anything that gives me cleavage like the Grand Canyon. Apparently, that leaves me with... nothing! What the hay?

I think this is my 4th summer looking for a casual summer dress that is affordable, fits the boob-age requirements, and is long enough that my underwear isn't showing everytime I bend over. Last summer my mom found me a couple of maxi dresses that are cute, but one has a stripe of white cotton just at the bum area that is see through enough to require a slip. Personal opinion: slips in 100F weather are just inappropriately hot! The other one is also cute, but maybe a little cleavage-y. The first time Aunt Leona saw it she asked me if I was trying to "pick up a man".

Anna, I envy you and your cute little summer black dress! I will continue on my search, and maybe within the next few years I will find something! (By that time, I could've probably gotten years and years of wear out of a $100 dress, but I just mentally am not ok with spending $100 on a dress that is supposed to be a casual, playing with the kids and hanging out outfit.)

Maybe I should just cut some of these out and glue them on my body:



Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer - the hardest part of the year?

I am a stay at home mom to two routine-loving toddlers. They don't know they love the routine, but they do. And I do too.

Enter summer...

I've been longing for warm weather, playing outside, freedom, maybe *gasp* a small vacation or two. And here it is!

Eric is a Christian elementary school principal. Before the current year, he was a Christian elementary school teacher. "Summer off", right? Ha! I have a husband who shrinks away in terror from the idea of "down time". He gets incredibly anxious when he has free time. Luckily for him, "summer off" is an imaginary concept.  There is no "summer off" for someone in his position. Today is the "first day of summer" in his world, since yesterday was the last day of school. He was gone by 7am to be at school for multiple meetings. Will spend the afternoon helping teachers pack up their classrooms so that each room can be painted (by, you guessed it, him!) and moved to a different room for the start of next school year. That's right, my husband will be spending his "summer off" painting an entire school. And taking his admin. classes. And going to meetings.

The hardest part of our summer schedule blossoms from my own mind.  In actuality, these summer days don't look much different from any other day of the year. The problem is that a large piece of my brain thinks, "This is summer! Eric will be home more! We will do fun things! We will go on adventures! He will be around to help me with the kids and household tasks!" But it doesn't happen. I get my hopes up that he may come home for lunch or be home early so that I can go to an appointment without the kids or we can go to the park as a family. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.  It really is much easier when I don't even get my hopes up. At least then when he's home unexpectedly, it's a welcome surprise, unlike the opposite when I expect him home and he can't make it. 

Here's to a wonderful summer of adventure! Hopefully I'll be able to get us all out of town a few times!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Multi-tasking, in a "one task at a time" way

I used to be a great multi-tasker. It was, in fact, one of the attibutes that I was often praised for in professional settings. Give me a piece of paper to make a list and off I went... tackling tasks like, well, someone good at football tackles someone else - Brian Urlacher, maybe? Yes, I'm the Brian Urlacher of multi-tasking.

Except, now I'm not.

Mommy brain?

I have turned into a "one task at a time" person. This is almost as shattering to my self-image as when I discovered I was an introvert after years of being "zany and outgoing" as a teenager.  Suddenly the me I thought I was is a me I don't recognize. Mind blown.

Tomorrow is L's princess birthday party. I am doing last minute planning and cleaning today because I couldn't think about the party until this week. Before that, I had softball coaching related tunnel vision. Then, applying for the mission trip to Haiti tunnel vision. After the party tomorrow, the focus shifts to my mission trip minute talk at church, and the accompanying poster I have to make. And then, to the garage sale that is in two week to raise money for the mission trip.

The problem with this kind of task tackling, I have discovered, is that nothing is allotted more time than what I have between tasks. L's party gets a week and a half because that's how long it's been since I finished the task before it.  Minute talk for church gets one week. Garage sale planning, one week. 

It's not the best use of my time. And yet, if I try to push it into what really would be the smartest use of my time, it's like my brain just shuts off and I'm totally incapacitated. If "totally" means forced to sit on the couch watching Arrested Development (best TV comedy ever?) and eating junk food.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Foreign Language Acquisition... Fail!

I have never been much of a foreign language person. Something about my brain and learning style, I guess. In high school, I took German. This has served absolutely no purpose in my life, other than translating some scary music lyrics by a German heavy metal band. Even that was inexact: "I think they're saying something about blood, and then that word is 'hate'." Why did I spend 3 fruitful years of high school and one and a half of college "learning" German? Follow the high school logic here: everyone else I knew (except best friend, Andrea, who took French) was taking Spanish and lots of people knew Spanish, so I wasn't going to take Spanish. Therefore, German, because it seemed more obscure and alternative.

In college, I realized that the fact that everyone knows Spanish would make Spanish a desirable skill. Plus, I was majoring in sociology with the potential future career option of social work. So, I signed up for Spanish in my junior year of college. I made it 3 weeks before dropping. Why? I was in a Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8am Spanish class and I almost never made it to class on time. Hilarious looking back on it. It's not like I was staying up late studying or partying.

I managed to fake my way through college German - earning a whopping 1 semester of credit for my 3 years of high school German because of my poor performance on the German entrance exam. 

Now I understand the value of knowing other languages. My brain just isn't built that way.  I have a very poor recall for vocabulary.  I can read some German words and know what they mean, hear less German words and know what they mean, but remembering the words on my own to try to speak German. Nope.

(I actually have had much better recall with sign language, so any readers who know about multiple intelligences and brain workings may be able to give me some insight into myself upon hearing that.)

And now, preparing for Haiti, I find myself in a position where learning basic French expressions and some important phrases would be extremely beneficial.  I have no understanding at all of the French alphabet. How, for example, does Carrefour (which in my mind is pronouced "Car-4") come out as "Kah-foo"? Baffled.

I checked out a 3 CD set of basic French from the library, which also includes a little textbook. Let me tell you, the only thing more difficult than trying to learn a language is trying to learn a language by listening to a CD while also listening to the angelic sounds of two toddlers fighting over yogurt.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adventures on Ambien - Part 2

Apparently I had a pretty funny conversation with Eric two nights ago after taking my Ambien to help me sleep.  Typically on evenings I take the sleeping pill, I read for 5-10 minutes and then harmlessly pass out until morning. But two nights ago, Eric didn't come to bed until after the 5 minute mark and then we started talking about things. At some point it seems I crossed over into crazy Ambien world while we were talking.

Good timing. The same day there was a guy in the news for making a threat on a trans-Atlantic flight headed to the US. Oops! Turned out he took EIGHT Ambien at the start of the flight, and that is where some people are looking to find the rationale for the threatening behavior/statements.  Talk about an "Ambien Adventure".

In comparison, mine is pretty tame, but still funny (at least to me and Eric). Below is the dramatic recreation based on what Eric recapped for me the following morning. Of course, I have no memory of most of this.

So, we were talking about his trip to Portland, a three hour drive he'd be making the next morning.  I remember him talking about his schedule and what he'd be doing while he was there.  Then, as I crossed into crazy world, I decided it was necessary that he take my car to Portland.

"But, it really needs the highway miles!" I insisted.

Well aware of my altered state, though I guess I probably looked pretty normal, he said, "I can't take your car. Remember? My car only fits one car seat." [His car is older and the seatbelt configuration can't hold both our car seats at the same time.]

"That's ok," I replied. "I don't have to go very many places while you're gone."

(Eric looks at me like I am an idiot)

"But, even if you have to go ONE place, you still can't fit the kids in my car."

Apparently I was working really hard to convince him that he needed to take my car. The next morning he gave me props for my tenacity and "creative" persuasive skills. "Unfortunately for you, you didn't make any sense and your arguments didn't work."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lost in the landscaping

I logged on to blog  this morning and discovered it has been a month since I last wrote. *hanging head in shame* All I can say is that I have been overcome by a busy life. Not a moment to spare for a random thought to float through my mind, much less to snatch on to it and direct it through my fingers. And yet, I may be worn out, but I am coming through to the other side.

Let's go back a month...

Eric and I spent his spring break working on our backyard landscaping. We had ambitious plans for the week and pushed ourselves to the limit to get almost all of it done.  Starting Saturday, we woke up, got the kids dressed and fed, and then basically spent the rest of the day until dinner hard at work.

In the end we cut out almost a quarter acre of sod, moved some, hauled the rest away in 3 very full trailer loads and then unloaded them. Talk about sore! We tackled the unusable, weedy dog run and made it clean and useable.  Eric moved or capped around 8 sprinkler heads. We replaced sod in the flooded part of the yard.  We marked area for our patio extension.  We ordered and received 5 trucks of mulch, 1 truck of gravel and 1 truck of playground chips. Spread all of that lovely ground cover.  And, in the last 2 weekends we built the kids play structure.  We've gotten bids and scheduled work for the patio extension and concrete curbing. We've priced trees for our landscaping.

Some pics...


Before....


During...

 




After...




I will admit that during our work, there were many times that we concluded we were really insane to take on such a big project on our own.  Two thoughts kept me going:

Number One, the logical rationale: We are doing these improvements on a tight budget and the more work we do ourselves, the further we can stretch our money when making these changes.  I kept saying, "We could be paying someone $30/hr. to be doing this for us." True, after loading 2 trailers full of sod and seeing we had another load left, the following thought was, "$30/hr really isn't that unreasonable!" But, we pressed on and our reward is that we actually have some money left for some trees and flowers!

Number Two, the illogical, but more fun, rationale: As I was chucking sod on to the trailer, I was reminded of multiple challenges on The Amazing Race that essentially involve "finding a needle in a haystack" and how some of those tasks apparently go on for hours and hours. I decided to think of the sod carrying and throwing as a task from The Amazing Race. "If I load all of these sod rolls before the other team, I will get to the mat first and hear Phil say, 'Amanda and Eric, you are the first team to arrive! You have won ONE MILLION DOLLARS!'" Looking back now, I was clearly insane from exhaustion. But, at the time, it was the quirky motivation I needed to press on. 

However we got through it, a majority of our backyard work is now complete.  It has been really nice the past few days to be able to go out there in the sun and really take pleasure in the yard we created.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Final Frontier

Our backyard... the final frontier. A land of infinite possibility. Limited only by... our meager budget!

One of the things we loved about our house when we looked at it last spring was how big the backyard is. A big, flat rectangle with almost no landscaping to personalize it, unless you count weeds!


We've spent our first 9 months here talking about all the possibilities for our backyard. We have a fairly large playstructure in boxes in the garage, waiting to be built.  Otherwise, we have done very little with the yard to this point.

All that changes in the next few days! Plans are being made. We are going to be expanding the landscaped edges of the yard, putting down mulch, maybe adding a few plants and trees.  Eric's mom, landscape designer extraordinaire has drawn us a few plans to look at as an end goal. It will take time for us to get there. But I am really excited that we are at least starting!!

Today the kids and I hit Walmart, Home Depot and a local nursery to price out some of the items we are going to need for our big backyard project.  By the end of the week, we should have an estimate for concrete edging for the borders. (Who knows if we can afford it? We like what it looks like and more than half of the homes in our neighborhood have it, so it would put us "on level" with the rest of the yards around us.)

Here is a sneak peak of our two plans/options. 


So excited, and ready to do some hard work!

Monday, March 22, 2010

5 Secrets of Mom-hood

1. Guilt is as accurate as a thermometer for diagnosing illness.
I'm actually talking about myself here, not my kids. They aren't old enough for that yet. Someday...

I don't get sick very often, and when I do it is usually just run of the mill bugs - cold, sinus infection, allergies. As a stay at home mom, there is no "time out" button, or "day off" option. This has allowed me to develop a very discriminating system for determing whether I consider myself "sick" or not. Guilt. If I am sick, but have the energy to feel guilty about all of the everyday things I am not doing (playing with the kids, housework, cooking), I am not officially sick. When I stop caring about that stuff, then I get to wear pajamas all day and make Eric cook!

2. Birthdays for small children are about parents more than kids.
I will never forget my daughter's first birthday. What a momentous occasion! Her first bite of cake. Her first "party".  She had no idea what was going on, of course. Frankly , I think the idea of a party for a 1 year old seems silly. But we had the party and I learned secret number 2. It was all for me! All of those cheering people and friends gathering around thought they were applauding my daughter on her big day. Nope! I was off in the kitchen getting more paper plates and soaking in the positive vibes. I survived my first year as a mom! (And, at that point I was close to 5 months pregnant with my son, so that was with extra emphasis on survived)  Every birthday party I have attended since my daughter's has brought this memory to mind and I always take time to say a little prayer for Little One's mom. Thank you that she survived the year too! If I've attended a birthday party for your child, know that I was there thinking of you!  Do other moms feel this way? Not sure. No one else has ever really talked to me about this. But I definitely feel like that first birthday welcomes moms into a new club... we are surviviors of our children!

3. Moms are always fabulous!
My daughter taught me this one.  Whenever I ask her how I look, no matter if I'm wearing pajamas, workout clothes or a party dress, she always describes me in glowing terms.  Her mommy is always "beautiful", "a princess", "fabulous", "fancy" and/or "very gorgeous".  She must only see the best parts of what is inside me!

4. Moms don't have secrets.
Bought a latte at the grocery store this morning? My coffee-disapproving husband is sure to hear about it when he gets home from work.  Not that I ask the kids to keep secrets from anyone. We don't even discuss such things and I would never ask them to do something like that. But one would think that they might forget some insignificant details of our day, like that I got a caramel latte at the store. But, no. Hours later, something conspires against me and suddenly my kids are ordering "caramel lattes" from each other in the play kitchen. Or telling Daddy about how they got to have ice cream on the way to softball practice. They can't remember what they did today, but they can remember that my coffee was "iced" or that I accidentally said "dang it" when I stubbed my toe.

5. What a limited understanding of "love" we have!
My mind cannot comprehend all of the different kinds of love I have experienced in my life. Loving your parents, loving your sibling, loving a pet, loving friends, being "in love" as a teenager, romantic love, the love you share with your husband or wife... (my husband might add "loving your car", but I don't really get that one!)  None of it prepares us for the love we feel for our kids. No books or advice from other moms can describe it either.  How fully I love my daughter! And when I was pregnant with our son, I worried about how my heart would have room for him. And then, he was here and there was a full heart of love for him too! That love gave me a much greater appreciation for my own parents, as I can only now hope to understand how they love me. And thinking about that makes me think about God. How great is His love for us beyond even this? Uncomprehensibly great! Fullness beyond fullness.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Patrick's Day 5K

My first 5K was last Saturday.  I had my IPod with my playlist all set up and talked with Eric and some friends before the race. That helped keep me calm.  I was really worried about going out too fast and I think my concern about it balanced the pull of the pack of runners and I ended up right around the speed I had been running while training.  The hardest part about this race for me: I do well running outside when I look ahead a block or more. But when you're running in the middle of a pack in a race, looking ahead that distance all you see is... more runners. So that was a difficulty. And then when I realized that was throwing me off a little, I admit it, I did start to panic.  The middle part of the course turns on to a paved trail that was pretty narrow (maybe 3 people could fit across it if they were careful) and that got a little chaotic as I reached that part still in a pack and not soon after started encountering the super fast sprinter runners returning from the out-and-back. Apparently, those speedy gentlemen have not all learned the rules about staying to the right, because there was a lot of zig zagging and avoiding going on.  But as we got about a mile in, the large group I was with started thinning out and then it wasn't as congested.

I ended up finishing in 32:56 -- about a 10:30/mile.  The funny (or embarassing, depending on how competitive I'm feeling at the time) thing about that pace is I ended up running with 2 distinct groups of people. About 1/2 were people like me: plugging along slow and steady, not in peak running condition but not huffing and puffing. The other 1/2 were men and women who were like I USED to be: I'd be going along and out of no where some random person would sprint past me from behind. Then about a minute later, I'd pass them as they are walking off to the side. A few minutes later... same person would sprint past again! A minute later, walking on the side. There were actually quite a few people working this "tactic". I tried to give the benefit of the doubt -- maybe these people are doing Couch to 5K and they are only on week 2 or something? Eric says, "No, those are people who don't know how to run." He finished 44th overall, so I believe him. (I finished 111th out of 285 women overall, 45th out of 102 in my age group -- not that bad for my first time! AND, I finished before the winner of the 10K, so that's a little encouraging, I think.)
So, I made it through the whole race without walking or throwing up. I was cold for the rest of the day. But, I woke up the next morning with only minimal soreness. Looking for a race in May or early June now. Thinking about trying to head down to Bend the first weekend in June for the Heaven Can Wait 5K that supports breast cancer research.  Get my run on in Drake Park!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Mornings with my girl

I really enjoy mornings with my big girl, L.  She will be four years old in a few months. L is a strange combination of "morning person" and "slow to wake up".  She is regularly awake by 6:30am and would come bounding out of her room, if not for her "light up clock".  But then once she is up, she's usually very mellow and snuggly. She doesn't like to eat much in the morning, takes forever to get dressed, and lays around on the floor near her mommy or daddy.

Because Little Man sleeps in (at least compared to L), we have a little bit of time each morning where it is just Mommy and Big Girl.  We have a nice routine going. It is one of my favorite parts of the day - also, coincidentally one of the quieter and more calm parts of the day.

Usually by the time her light up clock releases her into the world at 7am, I am getting dressed in the bedroom.  L likes to climb into the big bed and get under the covers, or sometimes just follow me around the room.  Typically there is some kind of "embarassing if it were out in the real world" comment about the color of my underwear, whether my pants fit, etc.  Then once I am dressed, I say, "How do I look?"  Before she can answer, it is very important that I stand back across the room from her so she can look me up and down. 

This morning I dressed for our softball practice this afternoon. I said, "How do I look? Do I look like a coach?" Her answer: "You look like...a coach. And... very fancy. And... Beautiful."

Then it's her turn to get dressed.  It doesn't matter how tired she has been up to this point, she always gets very worked up when it comes to getting dressed, especially if it's a school day! I sit on the bed and watch her spin around the room like a whirling dervish as I repeat over and over again, "Take off your jammies, please. Take off your jammies, please. Take off your jammies, please." Most days she chooses her own clothes. Her fashion sense is uniquely toddler. She has very firm ideas about what matches and what clothes need to be paired together, and apparently I didn't get the memo about the guidelines in this area. Today I tried to pick her outfit and was scolded for "not matching", and then she proceeded to choose the socks that were least likely to fall into the matching category.

Perhaps she doesn't know what "matching" is? In any case, she likes it. Outfit is almost always completed with "lighting shoes".

As she gets dressed, L shares with me whatever thoughts run through her head.  It is during this time of the day that she seems like a little girl and I inevitably start thinking about the years to come and talks in the bedroom and the period of time where I won't even be allowed in to her bedroom, much less expect her to talk to me about her thoughts. Aaah... Today she told me about a dream she had - there was a kitty and I was there ("Were you really there?") and then she "thought about" her teacher.  We talked about her best friend and the book her YaYa got her at the school book sale.  We talked about the bruise on her face from where she fell off the bleachers at school last night.   We talked about going to Bible study this morning and playing with her friends there. 

Today when she stood back for her "how do I look" moment, she said, "Tell me the same thing I told you." So I told her she looked like a coach, and very fancy, and beautiful. She was happy to hear it.

And, the final step of the morning, going downstairs to get her "blend" out of the refrigerator. Her daddy leaves her a small cup with his leftover smoothie each morning, and it is a highlight of her day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

5K Playlist

If my husband can run in an Elvis costume, I can run with my IPod!

I've been running to a Couch to 5K podcast and the music seems to help me a lot. So last night I endeavored to create a playlist for my first 5K, which is on Saturday. I probably made it more complicated than I needed to. I tried to keep the beat of the songs relatively similar, which led to the dismissal of some songs that I really like. But I have found the songs that meet my criteria: songs I enjoy, appropriate beat, and songs that I think will distract me, if necessary. I'm sure that more than one person will hear me singing outloud while I'm racing Saturday. Hopefully I won't bother anyone!

I aimed for about 35 minutes of running songs, since my goal is to finish in 35 or less. Then the last song is my cool down song.  It always reminds me to breathe, think about my accomplishments and thank God for what He's provided for me.

Without further ado, my 5K playlist...

"Shut Up & Let Me Go" - The Ting Tings

"Billie Jean" - Michael Jackson

"Ready to Go" - Republica

"Tambourine" - Eve (I could only find a sample of the explicit version, but I have the clean version on my playlist)

"Local God" - Everclear

"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" - Beyonce

"Grace Kelly" - Mika

"Dead Man (Carry Me)" - Jars of Clay

"Hit Me With Your Best Shot" - Pat Benetar

"Live Like We're Dying" - Kris Allen

Cool Down (hopefully!): "Born Again" - Third Day


What do you think?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hustling

Running, running and running...




This week is my official first week of spring. Newness abounds!

We've been blessed with about a week and a half of beautiful spring weather - high 50's, low 60's and SUNNY! Aaahh... I've been working in our backyard, prepping the ground for the building of the new, gigantic play structure. Planning out some landscaping changes (waiting on Eric's mom for help!).  Last week I was thinking, "I really need to start thinking about how to make a raised bed vegetable planter" and what do you know? The next day in the paper there was an article about how to make a raised bed vegetable planter! One of the many things on my plate.

Saturday is my first real 5K.  "Real" meaning my first 5K that I actually plan to run in it's entirity. I have to admit that 8 weeks ago or so when I started training to do this, I didn't really think I could. And now I am 5 days away from greatness! In 2 weeks I've gone from running 1.7 miles outside with a pretty strong side cramp at the end to running just short of 3 miles with no side cramp at all! I have confidence. And I love the sense of disbelief that I have had every single time when I have checked my mileage (either with my car or on this site my friend Hailey told me about: Map My Run). I check mileage AFTER I have run and every time I make myself double check for accuracy because it doesn't seem possible that I actually ran that far! And, more importantly, I ran that far without passing out, puking, major side or knee pain. I am actually enjoying this! Hooray! I've been keeping track of my runs at Log Your Run because I'm a "keeping track" kind of person.

Also today... first day of softball practice! Yep, I've committed myself to 8 weeks of after school practices and games.  Thankfully a school mom is going to help me with the kids so that is a big stress taken care of (thank you, Pam!) - not having to worry about teaching middle school girls to pitch AND make sure my kids aren't running around in the street or throwing themselves off the school playground.

Getting ready for these first practices, looking through equipment, etc. has remined me of "the good old days" of playing softball, of pretty much living softball.  The song above was one of the songs I used to listen to pre-game in college before pitching warmups.  It still keys me up to this day. Sad. I guess I've become "mom who relives the glory days by coaching". The strangest thing about reminiscing about old softball stories, victories and defeats, friendships and all the rest is that I didn't meet my husband until after I graduated from college and finished playing softball.  He has never seen "Softball Amanda", though I'm sure at this point the hardcore, competitive softball fiend version of myself wouldn't surprise him.  I am hoping that this will be the first step in developing some competitive, softball loving, hardcore middle school girls! (Maybe not quite as competitive or hardcore as I was at this age. I might get fired if they do some of the things I did!)

This will be an interesting experience for me, to be sure.  The girls are in middle school, but many have never played organized softball before. Lots of chances to teach fundamentals.  Lots of chances to use the word "hustle". I was thinking it might be fun to pick a practice at random and say "hustle" as many times as I can and see if anyone says anything. You know, keep things exciting for myself!

I went past the field around lunchtime and found that it has been torn apart by the grounds crew. Practice plan, scrapped. I won't know until I get there in an hour or so what, if any, of the field will be in usable condition. Welcome to the first practice, ladies! Here's a big mound of dirt!

A couple of pictures from my college softball days.  I have tons more, but don't know how to work our scanner!


That's me, batting!


Post game, me and my catcher, Lori. We're showing off matching knee bruises. Hard to see here, but I've actually got stitching marks from the ball on my right knee.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The First Date

8 years ago today, Eric and I went on our first date. The date is easy enough to remember - today is also Eric's sister's birthday. Happy birthday, Lindsey!

Eric and I were in a Master's cohort together and also teaching in neighboring classrooms at a tiny private elementary school on the south side of Chicago.  We were probably spending 95% of our awake time together (or at least in the same place in the case of teaching at school).  Though we had an instant "connection" and became close friends quickly, we did not go on our first date until about 10 months after we first met. 

There were a few akward hiccups on the road to that date but we were having a nice time as we headed up towards where I grew up to go ice skating and spend the day around my hometown.  As I recall, we had a pretty good time ice skating. Neither of us were very good, but there was plenty of skating going on. At least we weren't skating holding on to the half-wall or anything.

As the skating session was coming to an end, we were getting ready to finish up and I decided we should take one more trip around the ice. There it was - the crucial decision made.  About 3/4 of the way through that last loop, I hit a chunk in the ice and fell forward. My left skate caught on the right pant leg of my jeans. I fell with my legs in a "4" shape, straight on my left knee.

My immediate reaction was actually, "Could anyone be more embarassing than me?", as the skating rink guy came skating over to see if I was ok.  The next thought... pain.

Eric and Skating Rink Guy helped me skate over to the side on one foot.  My knee hurt, but weirder was that the skate on my left foot suddenly seemed to weigh about 500lbs. It was so heavy I couldn't lift it and it felt like it was weighing down my entire leg. 

I was given an ice pack and a brief evaluation by Skating Rink Guy, who announced that it was a bad bruise and went on his way.  I couldn't put on my shoe without crying out in pain. Attempting to walk was ridiculous. Eric went to get his car.

Then the party really got started --- while we were inside skating it had begun to snow... hard. A thick, blizzardy, "sane people aren't going out on the roads" snow.

When I could barely bend my knee to get into Eric's little Toyota, we decided that I needed to see a doctor. Off to the emergency room we went.  I wasn't in tears but was in the most pain I had ever felt at that point.  Initially, it seemed the doctors agreed with Skating Rink Guy's conclusion -- bad bruise. But they decided to send me to get x-rays just to confirm.  They asked me to rate my pain on a 1-10 scale. I think I said "6 or maybe 7", which apparently is the border between a high dose of Ibuprofen and "the good stuff". Insert suspicious glances from nurses looking for drug seekers here.

The hospital staff was very nice and let Eric come back with me to the exam room.  We both giggled a little that people seemed to think we were more "together" than we actually were. "Maybe they know something we don't... hee hee hee..."

I was unable to get my leg into all the positions for the x-rays they wanted. In particular, laying on my back with my knee bent so my foot was flat on the table was a problem. After an attempt at forcing it, the merciful technician said, "We'll let them take a look at what they have and if it isn't enough we will try again." Thank goodness. I waited the couple of minutes for someone to come get me with the wheelchair.

When I wheeled into the exam room, Eric was a little pale. "So, it's broken, huh?" he said. "WHAT?" Apparently the nurse got to the room before me and had already shared my diagnosis with him -- broken patella. So now we know, it is possible to break your kneecap from something other than a mafia hit (though I did tell a few people that is what happened).

My first broken bone other than a toe. My patella broke into a peace sign.  The doctor praised my overall conditioning/strength. Apparently falls like mine typically result in torn tendons and ligaments around the knee, but my ligaments and muscles were strong enough that they held and as a result the stress went straight to my kneecap. To this day I don't know if that was actually a good thing. Did I get the better end of the bargain?

With a prescription for Vicodin, Eric shuttled me and a giant leg brace around town trying to find a pharmacy that was open late on a Saturday in a blizzard. Eventually we found one.  We headed over to my mom's house and found that she was not home and wouldn't be until very late.

Eric made me a Digornio pizza and we watched "True Lies", classic Arnold - my first time seeing the movie.  I sat in a drugged up stupor while Eric rubbed my feet, held my hand and felt uncomfortable about being alone in a house with me while I was in a vulnerable state. 

He was an excellent nurse and very honorable, for the record.

Eight years later, we have plenty of stories of botched dates, botched anniversaries, overlooked special occasions. By far, this is our most extraordinary milestone story. How many people spend their first date in the emergency room in a blizzard?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sister shares the Good News

This morning the kids were playing "Happy Birthday", one of their favorite games.  They wrap random items in towels or napkins and give them to each other as birthday presents, sing the birthday song, open the present and cheer.

Today, my "almost 4" year old gave her little brother a present and this time she also gave him a card. What she said was so cute that I had to write it down:

"B, God wrote you this card.  It says, 'Do not worry. When you pray I am with you. I am with you all the time... even when you are outside.'"

Very wise!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

On the Road...


Today was a historic day! I bet you were eating lunch or watching USA vs. Canada hockey and didn't even realize that I was out changing the (my) world!  

Today in my training for the 5K in two weeks, I moved from treadmill running to running outside. Not only that, but today's training run is the biggest hurtle in the Couch to 5K running program. The dreaded "Week 5 Day 3" -- running continuously for 20 minutes.  Doesn't sound like a big deal, but "Week 5 Day 2" is two 8 minute runs with 5 minutes of walking in between. Kind of a big difference for those of us in the limited running ability category. But... I did it! And I did it on my first run outside! I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated by everything I had heard about adjusting from treadmill running to running outside. And it didn't help that Eric ran right before me and came home complaining about how much his legs were hurting. I can't recall the last time I ran for 20 straight minutes, and am not sure I have ever run this far outside without walking in my entire life. That's a pretty big accomplishment, right?

Observations from my first run outside:

* I found myself able to think about something other than running! When I run on the treadmill, I become obsessed with the amount of time I've been running (or the amount of time I have left). The time obsession kicks my panic response into overdrive and I start to tense up, worrying that I won't be able to run as long or far as I'm supposed to. Outside, I spent time worrying about being hit by a car (surrounding neighborhoods don't have great sidewalks/bike lanes), looking at horses, enjoying the sunshine on my face, checking out upcoming terrain... even composing this blog! I was able to really listen to and appreciate the music on my IPod, which hasn't really been happening often when I run on the treadmill.

* At first, I thought I couldn't do it! Those first few steps were scary. And I'm not just talking about the familiar "I really should have gone to the bathroom before I started this!" thought. I expected the same result I have had over and over when it comes to running. In short, I expected to run one block and then feel like I couldn't breathe or lift my legs. But then I made it through that first block and I remembered I've been practicing for this! I may not have great form, and I may not have been running very fast, but I was doing it!!

* I set smaller goals for myself.  I think my dad probably gets the credit here. I don't have a specific recollection of him teaching me to do this, but a vague sense that he did. Or maybe it's just because he ran when I was growing up. Anyway, I do well when I get to accomplish something, so I like setting small goals along the way to the end goal.  And that is what I did today. Once I survived that first block, I set a goal about a half a mile away. And then I didn't think about it again until I got there. When I got there and realized I could breathe and move and keep going, I was really proud of myself!

* I knew I could make it! I didn't run wearing a watch on purpose so I wouldn't know how much longer I was supposed to run.  But Eric and I had talked about a route for my run (keeping in mind my approximate speed), so I knew when I made the turn back towards our neighborhood that I had to be about half way. And that last stretch to home was a long straight path where I thought about my upcoming 5K.  I had a pretty good stitch in my side at that point, but my legs felt good and I just kept telling myself "keep on moving" and "you are going to do this!" And I knew I could do it.  Not only that, but I know now that I have a really good chance of running the entire 5K on the 13th. I know I can do it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

NBC Olympics coverage conspires to steal much needed sleep

I have always been a big fan of the Olympics.  I remember watching every minute of figure skating as a kid. I remember Rosalynn Sumners competing in the Olympics when I was 7.  I loved it enough that I love the movie Ice Castles (which I just found out is being remade soon INCLUDING a remake of Melissa Manchester's Through the Eyes of Love).

So, it drives home all of the things I have been hearing from friends about how horrible the Olympic television programming is this year.  Last night they didn't start showing the women's skating here until well past 10pm. I'm pretty sure my parents weren't keeping me up that late to watch figure staking while I was in elementary school. Pretty much nightly I sit down to watch the Olympics, check out the little blurb on the "info" about what will be showing and am moderately to very interested in what it says will be on in primetime.  But every night I have been disappointed as the programming during the hours I am normally still awake (8-10pm) includes highlights of snow dogs or ice fishing and "thrilling" events like cross country skiing or ski jumping (my least favorite winter Olympics sport). 

Seriously, I know I am a stay at home mom and a person who tends to need more sleep than average, but does the average person REALLY stay up until midnight so they can watch figure skating or speed skating? I'm truly perplexed. Maybe I just have a really warped sense of what other adults are doing at their houses while I am fast asleep.