Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Santa and crocodiles and Barbie, oh my!

I haven’t mentioned Adam in awhile, so here goes:

Adam did not, even just a little bit, like Santa Claus this year (the ONLY way he would have anything to do with Mr. Claus is if we sat near him on a bench. I was not prepared to be photographed and hadn’t showered yet that day. Not one of the best photos of me). Can you tell how scared Adam is? Do you like the random Jolly Rancher sitting on the piano bench? And does it look to anyone else like Santa is doing the Macarena?
So, we can add “Santa” to the list of things Adam is scared of (right behind “the vacuum, firetrucks, and blowdryers.”) After last weekend, we also discovered that he was absolutely TERRIFIED of the creatures and floats at the Holidazzle parade. It didn’t help matters that someone dressed like a crocodile pretended to eat Grandma Patti’s head. That night, he told me about a hundred times, “That crocodile won’t get me.” I tried to explain that the crocodile was PRETEND, he was funny, it was a person dressed up, like on Halloween, but he didn’t get it. He talked about that damn crocodile the next day, too.

He wants a Barbie for Christmas. And a choo-choo. And a REAL monkey. And maybe some green pancakes (huh?) Santa is bringing him a Danika Patrick race car driver Barbie (no dice on the monkey, though), a book, some slippers, and a booster seat. He’ll be getting plenty of toys and clothes from his grandparents, aunts, and uncles, so we went easy this year.
I was stressed when choosing a Barbie for him. I finally chose Danika because she was wearing the most clothes, and because Aaron was OK with giving our son a race car-driving doll. Have you seen how SKANKY Barbie is today? What message are we sending to our daughters? Dress less for success? I was very disturbed while standing in the Barbie aisle at Toys R Us. Barbie sure has changed since I was a little girl.

When I told him I had a baby in my belly, he told me he has a baby in his belly, too.

When he wants to turn on the light, he says he’s going to “open the light.”

He has a baby doll named Sobie. I have no idea where he came up with that name. He’s very affectionate with her, likes to wrap her in blankets and change her diaper and carry her around. I hope he acts this way toward his baby brother/sister.

His favorite food is French fries.

He gives great hugs and sloppy wet kisses.

He’s fascinated by people. Every time we receive a Christmas card, he wants to know who’s in it (or if it’s a regular card, who sent it). When I’m on the phone, he demands to know who I’m talking to. If I say, "I'm talking to Megan." He replies, "Oh, MEGAN."

He has a great memory. A few weeks ago, when I told him we were going down to Austin, Minn. to visit Great Grandma Margaret, he replied, “Austin is a naughty boy! Austin threw his shoe at Grandma Patti! No-no Austin!” (He was referring to an incident that took place at a park this past summer.) I had to explain that Austin is a city, too, not just a naughty boy.

He already has opinions about his clothes, and my clothes. He threw a fit one morning — no kidding, a full-blown screaming and crying hissy fit–because I selected my orange coat instead of my grey one. “I don’t like that coat! Put it back! WEAR THE OTHER ONE!!” he cried. Seriously. Do most 2-year-olds even notice what coat their mom is wearing?

All of a sudden he's really into making forts in the living room. When the blanket is draped over two chairs, he wants us to “come into his house.” Last night I asked why, and he replied all matter-of-fact, “Because it’s cold out here.”
When Aaron asked why (sometimes Aaron likes to push his buttons), he responded, “That’s enough. COME INTO MY HOUSE NOW.” (yes, sir!)

Every night, before bed, I tell Adam “I love you” and now he can reply “I love you, too.”
I don’t know if he realizes what love is, but the words are music to my ears.

And now a few words about the WEATHER:

A few weeks ago, my college buddy in Milwaukee said her 4-year-old son looked out the window and started crying because the weather forecasters had predicted a snowstorm and instead all they got was cold and rain. No snow? He felt cheated.
I feel cheated because we’re supposed to get a whopping snowstorm and it’s throwing a huge wrench in everyone’s holiday travel plans. My aunt is canceling Christmas at her house in Rice Lake, Wis., my parents are worried about driving from the northern suburbs to my brother and sister-in-law’s house in the western suburbs on Christmas Eve, and even Aaron said something about “playing it by ear.” This morning my mom called me at work and casually mentioned, “We might not make it tomorrow.”
What? Might not make it? Inexcusable! Not an option! It’s Christmas Eve! We can’t celebrate without Mom and Dad! That’s absurd!
On the flip side, I have friends who are totally unfazed by the storm warning. They’re like, “Snow. Meh. We live in Minnesota. We can deal.”
I don’t mind the snow; it’s the ice that gets to me. And weather forecasters are predicting sleet and freezing rain, in addition to strong wind gusts and up to 18 inches of snow in some parts of the state.
Apparently this will be a VERY white Christmas.

Winter irritations:
Snowstorms. Warming up my car before driving (and sitting in a freezer while waiting for my car to warm up, every muscle tense from the sub-zero temps). Chiseling off my windshield and windows. White-knuckled driving when the wind is whipping the snow across my line of vision, giving me limited visibility. Black ice — causing veteran drivers to slide through stop signs even though we’re traveling slower than that 90-year-old woman who just passed on our left. Adding time to my commute (esp hard because I’m always running late). Wearing my ugly winter boots on the bus and multiple layers (long underwear) when the temps start to dip. Snotsicles. Dry skin. Chapped lips. Missing the green grass and flowers.

‘Tis the season to be crabby. Sheesh! Sorry!!!

Despite getting a (sometimes) bad rap, winter can also be pretty amazing. Winter is peaceful, tranquil, restful. It is the calming snow-covered sounds of Mother Nature on a quiet morning, the smoky smell of wood-burning fireplaces, a mug of hot chocolate warming your hands, a vivid blue sky against a blanket of white, and warm, buttery bread dipped in hearty stew. Winter is the excitement of ski vacations, the novelty of partying on ice, the thrill of the holidays. I do love Christmas.

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”

Happy holidays to my AWESOME family and friends!! I hope everyone travels safely, drinks a glass of wine for me, and remembers the reason for the season. Love you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More fun and games

I stole this Q&A from my friend Katie, and if I could figure out how to link to her blog, I would.
But because I’m lame, here’s the address:

What is your current obsession?
Healthy baby!

What are you wearing today?
Grey pants, blue and grey striped shirt, black boots, black fleece (it’s cold in the office!)

What’s for dinner?
I’m thinking Arby’s.

What would you eat for your last meal?
Rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn on the cob, tiramisu. (I’m such a simpleton.)

What’s the last thing you bought?
The last “fun” things I purchased were at a holiday fair. I bought a vanilla-scented soy candle, a Nub onesie for my friend Amy’s baby (made by my friend Kirsten), and some thank-you cards (created by my friend Christy). I am very proud of my creative friends!

What are you listening to right now?
Kelly, the web editor, talking to another coworker about online ads.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Only for an hour? I don’t know … Alaska? Jamaica? Ireland? Australia? Brazil?

Which language do you want to learn?
I would love to learn sign language.

What is your favorite color?
Any and all earth tones

What’s your favorite piece of clothing?
I love my orange fall coat and my black winter coat … I love my gold heels … I love my grey cable-knit turtleneck from Aaron

What is your dream job?

What’s your favorite magazine?
Minnesota Monthly! (duh)

If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
Insulated winter boots so that my toes don’t go numb while waiting for the bus.

Describe your personal style?
Practical, comfortable, more classic than trendy. I love wide-legged pants, turtlenecks, long-sleeved Ts, hoodies. I wear minimal makeup—unless I’m going out— then it’s all about the liquid eyeliner and lipstick!

What are you going to do after this?
Take the bus to Maplewood, get my little guy from daycare, figure out dinner, maybe go to the mall to get my niece’s birthday gift.

What are your favorite films?
Amelie, E.T. (phone home!!), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Wizard of Oz, The Breakfast Club, Beaches, Dirty Dancing (oh, the memories!), Shawshank Redemption

What’s your favorite fruit?
Bananas, grapes, pineapple, Honeycrisp apples, raspberries, oranges

What inspires you?
People who overcome the odds.

Do you collect anything?
Shot glasses

Your favorite books?
Charlotte’s Web is my all-time favorite book. Others I really liked: Under the Banner of Heaven, City of Thieves, 1984, The Giver, The Handmaid’s Tale, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Lovely Bones, The Bell Jar, Water for Elephants, so many others I’m forgetting (Amanda, I need to borrow more of your books! You always have such great suggestions!)

What are you currently reading?
The Secret Life of Bees (thanks to my good buddy Karla)

By what criteria do you judge a person?
Teeth and shoes. (HA! Joking!) How do people judge other people? Are they GENUINE? Kind? Friendly? Polite? Funny? Thoughtful? Interesting? Respectful? Do they constantly tell me I’m smart? Pretty? Funny?

What skill would you like to acquire immediately?
Immediately? I don’t know … balancing the millions in my checkbook?

What would you tell yourself 10 years ago? 10 years from now?
Ten years ago, I was 24, working at the newspaper, and dating JJ. Wow. That seems a lifetime ago. I would tell myself to hang in there -- I will make more than $9.35/hour writing some day, babies aren’t as scary as they seem (really, they aren’t!), and I’d say, “Chrissy -- wear some less modest clothes and show off your nice stomach!!!!”

10 years from now: I will be in my mid-40s (!), my family will be complete, and I will feel just as blessed and lucky as I do today. I would probably tell myself to enjoy my kid(s) when they’re babies, because they’ll grow up way too fast.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Trick or treat!

This year was Adam's first year trick-or-treating, and I think he did pretty good considering the fact that he's a little bit of a scaredy cat right now (jack-o-lanterns? scary. ghosts? scary. masks? REALLY scary) and it was COLD outside—so cold he wore layers under his already insulated costume—and, well, you just never know how a 2-year-old will react to any new experience. We took him trick-or-treating in my parents' neighborhood of Forest Lake, and he said "trick-or-treat" at all ten houses (in a very quiet voice), and I am proud to note that he also said "thank you" after each neighbor dumped a treat (or treats) into his pumpkin bag. He's very good with his "thank you's." (Not always so good with the "please's," but we're working on it. Sometimes he can be kind of bossy.) When he put on the dalmatian costume, generously lent to us by our daycare provider Mary, he pulled on his ears (what are these things?) and complained that he couldn't see his tail. It was pretty cute. When we were done hitting up the neighbors, he helped my mom pass out candy to the older kids. And on Sunday morning, he proved that he takes after his Dear Old Mom when he made a beeline for his candy bag and ripped into a piece of chocolate even before we had breakfast. But really, isn't that part of the magical charm of Halloween? At least when you're a kid?
I love Halloween. I love it for the theatrical aspect of dressing up more than the macabre aspect of celebrating the spooky. I love carving pumpkins (I don't even mind digging out the slimy guts), I love Halloween parties and seeing how creative people can be this time of year, I love seeing photos of my nieces & nephews & friends' kids dressed as: a pumpkin (Greta), bear (Aliza), frog (Sadie), bumblebee (Morgan), gangster (Kayla), "something scary" (Lane), what was Logan??, Luke and Anakin Skywalker (Leo & Lou), a vampiress (Eva), and a whole assortment of superheroes, witches, angels, kitties, monsters, lambs, bunnies, lions, and monkeys.
Aaron and I went to our good friend Remme & Jim's Halloween party in Canada (aka Ramsey, Minn.) and had a BLAST. We have hosted the party in our East Side garage for a number of years, and it was nice to pass the torch to someone else. Jim has a huge, gorgeous home - perfect for entertaining - and both Rem and Jim were such gracious hosts (Lurch and Morticia Adams). Our group is very creative - something I absolutely love about my friends. Megan was a Renaissance-era lady in waiting, Brian was a very believable Indiana Jones, Shawn and Trish were pirates, Amy and Andy were white trash, Jodi and Walter were zombies, Russ and Katie were Fire and Ice, Luke was a beer bottle, Jeremy was an early 90s rapper. Rounding out the group were SNL cheerleaders, a sexy cop, a convict, and a drunk guy with a wig. I had fun playing The Grinch. Everyone but Adam liked my costume. He watched me get ready over at Grandma Patti's and kept saying, "Mommy is green - like a bunny!" My sister-in-law Trish theorized that he compared me to a bunny in order to get to his "happy place." Or maybe he thought I looked like a rabbit with my black nose and whiskers? He also told me a few times that he did NOT want to "hold me." (Usually he begs to be held.) The green face paint worked well, but I realized about an hour into it (like I do every year that I paint my face) that it's ITCHY when it dries! And it's messy when it starts flaking off! Aaron was Richie Tenenbaum from the Royal Tenenbaums, although guesses ranged from a caveman to the unibomber when he asked our friends if they knew who he was supposed to be. Good times!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ten looooong miles

Ten looooong miles

Last Friday night (10/2) Aaron, Adam and I went to the free Health & Fitness Expo to pick up my race packet. There were over 70 vendors at the St. Paul RiverCentre and while we had no intention of buying anything, we wound up spending $52 (I have the same problem at Target, when I go in for shampoo and napkins and somehow spend $75). We bought me some really cool fitted ear bud thingies (I don’t run with headphones mainly because I have a hard time finding headphones that fit my ears), a long-sleeved running shirt for race day, and some Gu Chomps for fuel (I tried a Gu gel packet once, and it was like eating a spoonful of raspberry jelly on an empty stomach. I gagged when I swallowed. I tried a Chomp at the Expo and it was yummy – like a thick and chewy Gummi Bear). I didn’t know if I’d really need “fuel” since I was only running 10 miles, but I figured it would give me something to look forward to around mile five.

My race packet contained my ChampionChip (an ingenius little invention that looks like a poker chip. You attach the plastic chip to your shoelace and—once activated—it magically records your official time), my race number, and a sweats-check bag in case I wanted to wear layers to the starting line, then drop my sweats off at a truck before the race started. When I left the Expo, I felt very “official.”

On Saturday we woke up around 8 a.m. and headed over to our friends’ Leah and Paul’s beautiful home in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis for the Badgers/Gophers football game. College friends Jenny and Dan drove from Milwaukee with their two kids, Sam, 4, and Madigan, who will be 2 in Feb., and our friends Kay and Joe drove from Green Bay with their three kids, Grace, 3.5, Andrew, 2, and Claire, who will be one in Feb. Softball friend Kevin was there, along with a bunch of Leah and Paul’s buddies. As you can imagine, the house was loud and chaotic. It was a good kind of chaos though (even though the Badgers won). In true “house party” style, Leah and Paul even got a keg. I figured I could have a few beers since beer is full of carbs, and carbs are good before a long run, right?

After the game, we headed back to the East Side where Aaron made Adam and I a delicious spaghetti dinner (more carbo-loading!), we watched some TV, and then I went to bed. I wasn’t feeling the best … I’m guessing most of my nausea was due to nerves. I had no trouble falling asleep, but I had a heck of a time staying asleep. I tossed and turned from 3 a.m. until I finally got out of bed at 5 a.m. I showered, put on my running gear, tried to eat a slice of peanut butter toast, got Adam up and ready, and started to freak out just a little when my parents arrived at 6 a.m. to ride to the Metrodome with us. Race day was here! There was no backing out now!

As the five of us drove downtown, there was a light mist falling and the temp was around 48 degrees. It was COLD. Suddenly I didn’t feel so confident in my long-sleeved shirt and shorts. I felt like a self-conscious kid on the first day of junior high and hoped I wasn’t dressed all wrong.

Aaron took the Fifth Street exit off 94 and HOLY COW was there traffic. And traffic. And more traffic. I have taken that exit a billion times to work, and yet it looked completely different this time around. It was 6:45 a.m. and the 10-mile was set to start at 7:05 a.m., with the marathon starting an hour later. There were runners and cars everywhere. It was pretty apparent that I would miss the start of the race if I sat in the car any longer (the light changed three times and our car barely moved), so I followed the lead of other runners getting dropped off and said some hasty goodbyes (it felt weird saying, “See you at mile six!”) before kissing Aaron, patting Adam’s knee, grabbing my parents hands, then flinging the door open and bolting across the street. I followed some other runners toward the Dome (I was glad to see some of them wearing shorts like I was), stood with some people at a gate for a minute, then realized I was in a line for the marathon. I saw a small sign stating “10 mile” with an arrow to the right, and took off jogging. I was cold. I was nervous. I didn’t know exactly where I was going. I followed more runners all the way around the Metrodome to the corner of Portland and Fourth Street and was relieved to hear a traffic cop bellowing “Ten mile over here! Corral one, over there! Corral two, line up over there! Corral three that way! Corral four over there!” I headed over to corral four with 10 minutes before start time. People were chatting nervously/excitedly (most people had a running buddy) or zoning out, listening to their headphones. We were packed together and the body heat felt nice. A little after 7 a.m., the “Star Spangled Banner” blared through the speakers and we all turned to face the American flag. At 7:05 the first corral started running, at 7:08 the second group got going, at 7:11 the third corral took off, and at 7:15 it was our turn. We crossed the starting line and rushed toward the Mississippi River like a stampede. The mood was lighthearted and happy, with people joking and laughing and talking. I wondered how long that would last. I passed some runners, some runners passed me, we were all trying to find our individual pace. The first mile flew by. It felt like we had only run a block, not a mile. I glanced down at my stopwatch to see if I was on pace and was disappointed to see that I wasn’t. I was at 10:30 rather than 10 minutes. I turned it up a notch in order to shave 30 seconds off my next mile. At the second mile marker (which didn’t come quite as quickly as the first) my watch read 20 minutes. I did it! Trying to make up that time may have been my downfall, though, because I was WINDED and between miles two and three, I was faced with a boomerang incline that left me wondering if I would have enough energy to finish. How could I possibly run another seven and a half miles when I wasn’t even sure I could get up this hill? I heard some choice swear words right about then; the same four-letter words exploding in my brain. Soon after the hill, I had to use the bathroom and was glad to see some port-a-potties around the bend. I made a last-minute decision to hit the biffies and was SO GLAD that I did, even if it added minutes to my time (there was a line). Not only did I feel better physically, the brief stop gave me time to collect my thoughts. I could run ten miles. I could-I could-I could.

The first time I really noticed cheering spectators was on the Franklin Bridge, before we hit East River Road in St. Paul. Seeing cheerleaders with their signs “We’re proud of you!” “Run Fast!” “You can do it!” got me excited to see my family between miles five and six, although I knew there wouldn’t be a sign involved. When I asked Aaron if he was going to make a sign, he responded, “How about we just yell really loud instead?”

At mile four, I hit a wall. I tried to remind myself that—if I was running a marathon—I’d be at mile 20. Thank God I wasn’t running a marathon! How do they do it??? I quickly realized that if I was going to get through this race, I was going to have to play little mind games. I decided to walk through every water stop until the last mile. I had never—not once—walked during my training runs with Aaron (and we ran nine miles just the week before), but I needed to set little attainable goals in order to keep going. I really missed having my running buddy beside me. Even though I was running with thousands of others, it was lonely on the course.

At mile five, I reached into my pocket for a Gu Chomp. I popped it in my mouth and BLECH! it immediately turned into a sticky mess. I had to scrape it off my teeth with my fingers and contemplated spitting it out. So much for my fuel.

I saw my mom (holding Adam), my dad, and Aaron right after that point, at the intersection of Cleveland and Summit. I stopped to give them all a big hug. What a beautiful sight! Adam’s eyes lit up when he saw me, and I felt the exact same way. They were clapping and cheering and having a great time. I told them I’d see them at the finish.

I ran into my friend Jeremy a little down the road, and he ran alongside me, encouraging me and asking how I was doing. I was honest. It was tough.

I struggled up the Summit Avenue hill (what was up with all the freakin’ hills?!?) and at the crest I could’ve kissed a spectator on the mouth when she shouted from the sidelines, “Way to go, runners! You made it up those awful hills! It’s all downhill from here!”

At mile seven I saw my friend Kirsten, standing alone on a corner, and stopped to give her a big hug. She laughed and told me to “Keep running!”

I had a 5K left, which should’ve been enough to give me the mental endurance I needed to finish strong, but a 5K is still 3.1 miles. Not three blocks … three miles. I was grateful for the water stops and, let’s be honest, used them as an excuse to walk a few steps, regardless of whether or not I was thirsty.

I was thrilled to see mile marker 8, and even more ecstatic to see mile marker 9. I didn’t stop after mile 9. I was almost done!! I saw the Cathedral and then, around the corner, there was the Capitol in the distance. I gave it everything I had and sprinted down the hill to the finish.

My friend Lisa gave me a big hug after I crossed the finish line (she volunteers every year for the marathon) and it was great to see a familiar face and even better to know I was done!! I ran ten miles!!! I collected a banana and granola bar, a bottle of water, and my finisher T-shirt and shortly after that I saw my parents, Adam and Aaron. They said they were proud of me and asked how I felt. I told them that—next to childbirth—running ten miles was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And even though it was a grueling mental battle, and even though my time wasn’t what I had hoped it would be (I was shooting for 1:40 and I finished at 1:47. I know I’m being too hard on myself, but I can’t help it. I keep replaying certain parts of the course over in my head and wishing I had done things differently), and even though the cold air threw my system for a loop and my lungs are just now getting back to normal—four days later—I would totally do it again.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Slow and steady

That's me in the blue shorts, running a 10K race (6.2 miles) in June (I think Aaron shot this around mile five??) I was hot and sweaty and sore and ready to be DONE. I thought that race was so incredibly hard. Clearly I am crazy, because I will be running TEN MILES in a week.

I’m running the Twin Cities 10-mile race on Oct. 4, and just thinking about it fills me with a mix of anxiety and excitement. I get a nervous knot in my stomach when I picture myself getting to the Metrodome around 6 a.m.—when it’s still dark outside—and trying to navigate my way to the starting corral. (The race starts at 7:05 and I don’t want to be scrambling to get to the starting line, esp. with 6,000 other competitors.) I know I’m going to be too nervous to eat an entire banana or muffin that morning, even though I will need the fuel. I get the same way before I board an airplane. I try to eat when I’m anxious, but it’s a challenge when the food turns to cardboard in my mouth and I get a lump in my throat as I swallow. I hope I don’t have to go to the bathroom a billion times before the race starts.
I can picture the other runners around me, stretching or hopping or listening to their iPods or chatting with friends or running to the bathroom or quietly observing. Maybe I’ll befriend another loner, someone else who seems as nervous as I am, someone who can joke with me about getting to the finish line in one piece.
I wonder what the weather will be like that morning as we line up on Portland and Fifth (pleasepleaseplease no rain!) I wonder what I’ll be thinking when the starting horn goes off. (Maybe something along the lines of “HOLY SHIT! I’M GOING TO RUN FROM THE DOME TO THE CAPITOL—MINNEAPOLIS TO ST. PAUL!!! WITHOUT WALKING!?!”)
Will it be a massive stampede of runners as we head toward the Mississippi River? At what point will the crowd start to spread out? And what about that hill on Summit Avenue? That loooong hill between miles five and six? Will I even notice the beautiful homes on Summit (probably not)? Will I keep a consistent pace or peter out?
I’ve been training with my running coach, Aaron, who pushes Adam in the jogging stroller, so it will be weird not to have them alongside me, pacing me. It will be weird not to hear Adam singing “Farmer in the Dell” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider” as I struggle through another mile. Aaron won’t be next to me in a physical sense, but I’m sure I’ll hear his words of advice as I run: “Short, choppy steps uphill … long strides on the downhill … if you can run five, you can run six … if you can run six, you can run seven … you can do this. I know you can.
I never would have thought, at the start of this summer, that I’d be running 10 miles in October. The most I had ever run was a 10K (6.2 miles), which was enough of a challenge. I huffed and puffed my way through a 10K in June and just about died. Obviously I didn’t learn my lesson, though, because in a little over a week, I will be huffing and puffing my way through 10 miles. Am I a glutton for punishment or what?

I decided to sign up for this race because:
A) The opportunity sort of fell in my lap. Our magazine is a media sponsor, so we were able to sign up a media team after the original deadline (other runners were selected based on a lottery).
B) Being part of a team would hold me accountable and prevent me from backing out.
C) I like having a goal to work toward.
D) I would love to have another baby in the next year and I’m guessing I won’t be running much during pregnancy/when that baby is little. Now or never.
E) I used to be friends with running, and I missed that relationship.

I was a varsity sprinter all four years of high school and a sprinter and triple-jumper at UW-Eau Claire, and I will always have a soft spot for track and field (I even thought about coaching at one point). Some of my best high school and college memories revolve around track … the friends, the workouts, the coaches, the parties. I loved sprinting. Short distances, though, are one thing; distance running is a whole different beast. I was on the cross-country running team in junior high, and I was pretty good (my best mile time was 7:15) but I didn’t love it. I quit CC in tenth grade and never looked back. I still had gymnastics and track so I didn’t miss it (although I did miss the fact that it kept me in shape. I gained 15 lbs. between my freshman and sophomore years).
Distance running is such a mental game. Such a small part of running is the competition. It's really an individual sport (unless you're an elite runner or something). First of all, you have to mentally commit to the run so you don’t think of last-minute excuses to back out. (Thursdays and Sundays were the days Aaron and I designated as training days, with some Saturdays thrown in, too, and we were good about keeping that schedule. When I woke up Thursday morning, I knew I would be running four miles after work. When I had a longer training run on Sunday, I mentally prepared for that run all week.)
Then, once you start running, it’s a mental game to keep running—it’s a race against yourself, a race against the clock—esp. when you’re tired and dripping with sweat. But when you finish, it’s such an awesome feeling of accomplishment.
Aaron finished Grandma’s Marathon in 2005 with an impressive time of 3:27, never stopping once for a drink of water or to catch his breath, just running, running, running for three and a half hours, and he—the Natural Runner—has even said that the best part of running is when you’re done.
But before you can be done, you have to conquer all those miles and all those thoughts. I don’t run with an iPod (they’re discouraged in the majority of longer races because of safety reasons), and sometimes it’s annoying peeling the layers of my mind. If you were able to get inside my head those first few runs, it wouldn’t have been pretty. I read somewhere that if you start a run with a negative attitude (which I used to), you will find yourself in the Bite Me Zone, thinking negative thoughts like: “This sucks. Am I almost done? This sucks. I want to walk. Why are those women hogging the ENTIRE walking path? Can’t one of them move out of the way? OMG. Could that dude behind me please PICK UP HIS DAMN FEET while he's running? That shuffling is driving me nuts! Why is that man smiling at me? Am I here for his fucking AMUSEMENT?”
So now I try to think differently as I lace up my new Asics and head out the door toward the lake. And you know what? It helps. I rarely enter the Bite Me Zone now because I remind myself that it was my choice to go for a run, and it was a good choice.
“I will do the best I can. The first mile is always the hardest; it gets a little easier after that. I really am fortunate to be able to run when there are so many people who can’t. I am taking charge and doing something good for myself. I could be sitting on the couch, but instead I'm burning calories. Keep going, keep going, keep going. Slow and steady wins the race. (Well, maybe not WINS the race, but at least finishes the race.) Remember that guy you met who ran a 10K just weeks after a hip replacement? Think about him and how he fought through the pain. Remember that story about the cancer patient running a marathon? Think about how tired she must've been. I will feel SO GOOD when I cross the finish line. I had a baby, how much harder could another mile be? I can do this.”

Wish me luck. I think I’m ready, but I’m still nervous and could use some encouraging words!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gettin' DOWN with Shakira

Last night, Shakira performed on “America’s Got Talent” and while I don’t normally watch the show, I couldn’t tear myself away from that performance. Shakira looked amazing, the song was catchy (She Wolf, just in time for Halloween!), and OMG the girl can shake it on the dance floor. As soon as Adam heard music, he ran over to the TV from where he had been playing with his “choo choo,” planted himself in front of the screen, announced “She’s DANCING!,” then promptly began IMITATING Shakira. Oh how I wish someone else had been there with me to witness it! (Aaron was playing softball.) She bent forward, he bent forward; she bent back, he attempted to bend back (2-year-olds don’t typically do a whole lot of back-bending, ya know? I think he was surprised to realize that he could bend back without tipping over); she put her hips in motion, he shook his; she dropped down to the floor and put her leg over her head, he watched like “Huh?”; she did some crazy belly dance contortion move; he finally gave up and walked away. Adam has no idea how sexual Shakira’s moves are, so I was trying really, really hard not to bust out laughing when he was imitating her. I’m fairly confident that he could’ve won some prize if I had videotaped his “performance” for Funniest Home Videos.

Adam is a funny little dude, and from what I’ve been told, he’s very verbal for having just turned two. Sometimes Aaron and I look at each other like, “Where did that come from?” when he puts two or three sentences together.

When he’s crabby, he can be very contrary. His favorite word right now is either. “I don’t want to drink my milk, either.” “I don’t want to wear my jacket, either.” “I don’t want to sit in that shopping cart, either.”

His favorite nursery rhymes are The Muffin Man, A Tisket, A Tasket, and Farmer in the Dell. I love it when he sings. I especially love it when he sings this stanza:

The wife takes the chai
The wife takes the chai
Hi-ho the dairy-o, the wife takes the chai (tea?)

Or when he belts out A Tisket, A Tasket and sings “I wrote a letter to my love, and on the way I dropped it.” (You wrote a letter to your love? Wow. And here I didn’t even think you were potty-trained yet!)

And another favorite is Old Macdonald, who has either a cow or a moose on his farm and that’s it. If I try to suggest another animal “How about a chicken? A horse? A pig?” he adamantly responds, “NO! A cow! NO! It’s a moose!”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know ANY farmers who raise moose.

He likes to be given tasks, and if I forget to give him the honor of throwing something away, he whines. Sometimes I have to “create” garbage (pronounced as "guy-bidge" by Adam) so he can take a trip to the trash can. He also wants to sweep whenever I get out the broom, which is both sweet and somewhat annoying all at once. Oh, and the DISHES. He must help me whenever I do the dishes, standing on a chair next to me, getting about a gallon of water on the floor, announcing “MOVE!” or “’scuse me!” as he tries to wash his sippy cup (again) or his fork or bowl or whatever he’s “helping” me wash. I now realize that doing the dishes will be a loooong process, and plan accordingly.

If there’s dirt, he will find it. And get covered in it. And eat it. And get it stuck in places dirt wasn’t meant to be.

He still loves playing with balls and can now (sometimes) hit a T-ball off the T. His other favorites include his tool bench, tackle box, just about any type of animal, books about animals, puzzles, bubbles, his bubble lawnmower, his doctor’s kit, trains, trucks, and motorcycles (he has a scooter that he proudly calls his motorcycle, and whenever he hears a motorcycle, he stops what he’s doing, gasps, says “Motorcycle?” and wildly searches for it). He also loves marching bands, watching nursery rhymes on Cable’s On Demand Channel 1 (Baby Boost), “driving” those little Fred Flintstone foot-pedal cars (he’s too little to reach the pedals on Big Wheels, but he can zoom around all he wants when he’s relying on his feet to push him from A to B), riding the carousel, the park (pronounced "pike"), going for long, slow walks, going for runs in the jogging stroller, eating cheese crackers or hummus with pita chips or meatballs or pizza or ice cream or string cheese (he’s finally over his milk protein allergy! Hooray!), and those darn Nuks! We’re going to have to wean him from pacifiers soon, and it’s not going to be pretty.

After constantly talking about going potty, and announcing when he was going to poop, and asking us if we had to go poop, we bought Adam a potty chair, just to get him used to the idea. I quickly realized that he’s nowhere near ready. When I was in the shower, I came out to find his potty chair covered in about half a roll of toilet paper and a small bottle of lotion, my face powder, a little yellow candle from his bedroom, a Mickey Mouse figurine, a rubber duck, and a pair of Adam’s shorts.

He is still absolutely terrified of the vacuum.I mean TERRIFIED. He has been known to hide behind the couch when I pull it out. I wonder when he'll get over this fear?

He is now 25 months old and weighs 24 lbs., which puts him in the tenth percentile. Adam’s cousin Max is the same age and weighs 37 lbs., which puts him in the 90th percentile. I think of them as Small and Tall. His cousin Morgan, who is also the same age, is taller than him, too. If it’s true that you double your child’s height at age two to discover their adult height, Adam will be about 5-feet 6-inches tall. I don’t know how accurate those “predictions” are, though.

When I pick him up from daycare, and he races toward me, his little floppy sun hat bouncing on his head, his arms outstretched for a hug, it really is the highlight of my entire day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Me-Me Time

Adam liked wearing Aaron's shoes around the house, even though he could barely walk in them.

Me-me Time!

Inspired by Willikat, here’s a post to fill some space. I’ll write a full update later ... complete with details from our trip to Alex, Adam's bday, and camping.

1. The phone rings. Who do you want it to be? Tonya telling me she’s moving back to Minnesota.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Always

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? I try to do a little of both.

4. Do you take compliments well? No. I have a compliment-accepting issue. I’m working on it.

5. Do you play Sudoku? No desire

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive? Very doubtful. I’d probably eat poisonous berries or mushrooms or get mauled by a black bear. If I could bring my dad or Shawn with me, I’d have a better chance.

7. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Nope, but my grandparents owned a resort, and that was better than any camp!

8. What was your favorite game as a kid? Neighborhood games like Capture the Flag, Kick the Can, etc.

9. Would you slow dance with someone that you knew was married? If they knew my intentions were innocent (just a dance), then absolutely. It’s kind of fun slow dancing with married friends.

10. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you? It would be tough.

11. Do you like to pursue or be pursued? Be pursued

12. Use three words to describe yourself. Inquisitive, outgoing, procrastinator

13. Do any songs make you cry? I usually get emotional when I hear the “Star Spangled Banner.” I also love “Silent Night.”

14. Are you continuing your education? No, I have my BA in journalism and I’m good with that. (Plus my student loans are finally paid off!)

15. Do you know how to shoot a gun? Yes

16. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed? If my loved ones were already safely out of the house, I’d probably grab my purse … or photos

17. How often do you read books? A lot. It’s how I pass the time on my bus ride to and from work.

18. Do you think more about the past, present or future? I used to live too much in the past, now I’m all about the future.

19. What is your favorite children's book? Charlotte’s Web

20. What color are your eyes? Brown

21. How tall are you? 5'6’’

22. Where is your dream house located? Oregon coast

23. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth? Many, many, many times

24. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden? What a weird question. I can’t remember.

25. What is the furthest place you traveled today? From St. Paul to Maplewood to Minneapolis

26. Do you like mustard? Not a big fan

27. Do you prefer to sleep or eat? Sleep

28. Do you look like your mom or dad? I have some features from both (Dad’s chin, Mom’s face shape & nose, etc.) My personality is more like my dad’s.

29. How long does it take you in the shower? 15-20 minutes

30. Can you do the splits? I did them all the time when I was a gymnast, but haven’t tried to do the splits in a long, long time. (I’m sure I’d pull a muscle.)

31. What movie do you want to see right now? My Sister’s Keeper

32. Do you think The Grudge was scary? Never saw it. I don’t watch scary movies (my brother Nick keeps telling me I should watch The Haunting in Connecticut, based on a true story. NO WAY!)

33. Do you own a camera phone? No

34. Was your mom a cheerleader? Um, no

35. What's the last letter of your middle name? E (Michelle)

36. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Seven or so

37. Do you like Care Bears? I like gummi bears. Does that count?

38. What do you buy at the movies? Licorice

39. Do you know how to play poker? I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t know how, but I do want to learn!

40. Do you wear your seatbelt? Always

41. What do you wear to sleep? Tank top and PJ pants

42. Anything big ever happen in your hometown? Bret Hedican, hockey great (married to Kristi Yamaguchi), went to my high school, and a few years ago Mayor Sandberg declared Aug. 12 as “Bret Hedican Day” in North St. Paul … it’s also home to the world’s largest stucco snowman (44-feet-tall).

43. How many meals do you eat a day? Three

44. Is your tongue pierced? No

45. Do you like funny or serious people better? Funny

46. Ever been to L.A.? Close, just down the road in San Diego

47. Did you eat a cookie today? Not yet

48. Do you use cuss words in other languages? Caca!!!

49. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads? Pay

50. Do you hate chocolate? I’m not psycho, so no.

51. What do you and your parents fight about the most? We don’t fight.

52. Are you a gullible person? Me?

53. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy? No, just my husband

54. If you could have any job (assuming you have the skills) what would it be? I’d be singing and dancing on Broadway.

55. Are you easy to get along with? I think so

56. What is your favorite time of day? 4:45, when I get to see Adam’s face after a long day of work, and then again at 6 when Aaron gets home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I don't like that mouse!

Is Greta's driving REALLY that bad, Adam?
Adam's favorite game at Chuck E. Cheese was skeetball. Go figure.
Even big kids like playing games every now & then.

The girls gather for a group photo: Rem, AJ, Greta, Karla, Nora, me, Lisa, & Leah.

We went to Chuck E. Cheese last month to see our friend AJ, in town from New York (traveling solo with three kids under the age of five. I get tired just thinking about it!) and it was fun to catch up. She moved there two months ago for her husband's job and seems to like it so far (although she readily admits that she misses her friends). I was anxious to see how Adam would like Chuck E. Cheese. I mean, doesn’t every kid under the age of 75 enjoy like it there? The games (and tickets that get you nothing but cheap crap), the singing and dancing characters, the flashing lights, the excitement in the air?

A big group of us met there, and I’m sure it looked like a birthday party, with nine kids under the age of five and nine adults. After we sat down to a meal of some (really awful) pizza, the curtain parted on stage and HEY! There’s Chuck E. Cheese!

Adam looked nervous.

No, I take that back, he looked terrified.

When the giant robotic mouse started singing and doing those shaky back-and-forth dance movements, I thought Adam was going to jump out of his skin. He turned his head away from THAT HORRIBLE SIGHT, wrapped his arms tightly around my neck and told me in an urgent voice, “I don’t like that mouse. PUT HIM BACK NOW.”

I tried to explain that he’s a fun, silly mouse, he won’t hurt us, he’s PRETEND. Adam refused to look at the stage for the remainder of dinner. After we ate, we were able to distract him with games, but he made it VERY clear that he wanted nothing to do with “that mouse.” We tried to put him on a ride with Greta, and once he noticed good ol’ Chuck hanging out in the backseat, he lost it. (Refer to photo #1.)

Lately, though, he’s become obsessed with looking at pictures of Chuck E. Cheese online, so that is now our new nightly ritual. When he sees the photos, he announces, “That mouse is silly!” It’s like he’s reassuring himself that Mr. Cheese won’t rip his face off. I have to skip the photo of the giant mouse doing a line of coke, though. That one isn’t very family-friendly.

Jodi, Holly, me, Aaron, & Adam after finishing the 10K Bellin Run in Green Bay.
Lilly, Quinn & Adam at the Bellin Run after-party over at Holly and Kevin's. Adam was in his element.

Adam's first time kayaking (we were in Crivitz, Wis.). The deepest part of the river was waist-high, and there was hardly a current, so we felt safe taking him out on the river. He liked it, too!

We drove to Green Bay in early June and successfully finished the Bellin Run 10K race. (Six miles!) The race took place on a beautiful June morning and 16,000 participants signed up to run or walk it. I guess the Bellin is one of the largest 10K races in the world. In order to accommodate so many runners/walkers, we were grouped into one of seven waves. The first wave was competitive runners, and then you were classified by your estimated mile time, with five minutes between each wave. The sixth wave was for those walking the course, and the seventh wave—the one where we landed—was for strollers. We had to wait nearly an hour to even start the race, and then we had to weave around a never-ending sea of walkers for FOUR MILES before we were finally next to other runners. It was very draining. (Why didn’t they put those with jogging strollers ahead of the walkers? Does that make any sense at all?) But we still managed to finish in a little over an hour, and I only walked once for about 15 paces in order to drink some water without it splashing down the front of my shirt. Have you ever tried to drink water from a Dixie cup while trodding along? It takes talent that I clearly don’t have.

The after-party at Holly & Kevin’s house was a blast (mmm margaritas! ladder golf! a bouncy house for the little ones!), we had the opportunity to visit with college buddies Julie & fam, Kay & fam, and Sara & Jon (and check out the lovely little Green Bay Zoo), and we even drove up to Crivitz, Wis. one night to stay at Holly & Kev’s cabin. They took us kayaking down a river (Adam’s first time kayaking!), we drank beer by a bonfire, then we became voyeurs as some people across the lake shot a movie. (Horror? Porn? We had the binoculars out and we still couldn’t tell.) All in all, it was a really fun, adventure-packed weekend.

Adam's list of "I don't like its" = caterpillars, Chuck E. Cheese, the vacuum, bouncy houses, and firetrucks. Surprisingly, though, he wasn't scared of the loud "crackerworks."

On the way to my parents’ home in Forest Lake over the Fourth of July, Adam said (quietly) from the backseat “Stuck.” I figured his sippy cup was stuck in the holder or his shoe was coming off or something. Not quite. Aaron had folded a portion of the backseat down in order to get his muskie pole to fit in the Vue and didn’t think twice about the pole resting near Adam’s carseat. Adam, being a curious toddler, got his finger wedged in one of the fishing pole hoops. “STUCK!” he yelled this time, trying to get his little finger free. I turned around in my seat and tried to pull his finger out, and that’s when he started crying. Hard. Actually, it was more of a hysterical scream. His finger wouldn’t budge. I climbed into the backseat and picked up the pole (finger attached) and noticed that his finger was turning purple. I tried gently pulling (more screaming), I tried lubing his finger with lotion to see if it would slip free (it didn’t), I tried tilting the pole upward to get the blood flowing into his finger again, rationalizing that it was probably swollen because the circulation was restricted, so if I could just redirect the blood flow the finger wouldn’t be as puffy. During this ordeal, Adam was crying at the top of his lungs, I was trying to console him and feeling totally helpless in my efforts to make him feel better, and in the way back of my mind I was hoping we wouldn’t have to go to the ER with our son attached to a fishing pole. Just when I thought I couldn’t stand another agonizing scream, his finger popped free. I rubbed it until it returned to a normal color and kissed his tears away and hoped that he wouldn’t be scared of fishing poles because of that incident.

After a rocky start, though, the rest of the weekend was a lot of fun. Aaron and I are fortunate to have a place to go that’s like going to a really nice cabin, only without the drive. We went out on the boat, drank Bud Lite Lime (this beer tastes best on hot summer days), went to a parade, grilled chicken, burgers, and hotdogs, ate corn on the cob, pasta salad, and Special K bars, played bocce ball, went for a long walk, watched the fireworks, and had lunch at The Lakehouse. Sunday came way too fast.

Back to the parade: We were invited to join Aaron’s dad Rick, a fire marshal for the city of Lexington, in his firetruck during the Forest Lake Fourth of July parade. We weren’t sure if Adam would like it, so we told Rick to pick us up about halfway through the parade (just in case). I felt like a little kid at the circus. I’ve never been inside a firetruck OR been part of a parade! Adam, on the other hand, hated every second of it. He sat in the front seat with Aaron and clung to him like a kitten who had just been chased by a Doberman (if he had claws, they would’ve been imbedded in Aaron’s back). He cringed when Rick honked the horn and only relaxed when the ride was over. Much like the Chuck E. Cheese experience, he told Aaron in a quiet voice, “I don’t like this truck.” When the ride was over and we set him down on solid ground, the poor little guy was shaking like a leaf. His cousin Morgan, however, loved every minute of it and waved out the window during the entire parade. (I think she’s either practicing to be a pageant queen or a politician.)

In other news: Ever since we taught Adam the whole clinking-of-the-glasses “Cheers!” thing, he wants to do it ALL THE TIME. Not just when we’re eating, either. The last time we had a “cheers” moment we were brushing our teeth. When he proclaimed “Cheers!” and came at me with his tiny Elmo toothbrush, it took me a minute to realize that he wanted us to clink our toothbrushes together. Crazy kid.

One of my dear friends recently told me he’s in treatment for Oxycontin abuse and had been using for 2.5 years. I had no idea. It makes me think of this quote: “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting their own battle.” I am so grateful that a friend of his confronted him and urged him to seek treatment.

For some reason, 2009 has become the Year of Moving out of State for many of my friends. First AJ & John moved the whole family to NY (he was promoted at General Mills), my friends Christine & Pat are moving to Grant Park in Chicago in two weeks (a new job for Pat), my book club/kickball buddy Katie is moving to NYC at the beginning of August (her office moved to NY), my coworker Julie is moving to NYC mid-August (she’s 23, single, and looking for adventure), my friend Kylie is moving to Boston at the end of August (her fiancĂ©, the editor of the magazine where I work, accepted a job there), and my cousin Sara is most likely moving to California in early fall (job change/love interest). PEOPLE, STOP MOVING AWAY FROM ME!!!!

On the plus side, I now have lots of cool places to visit!

Megan, Christine, and I at Christine's wedding. Jan. 2009. (Christine is moving to Chi-town.)

My good friend Amy with my dear cousin Sara and kickball buddy Katie. Sara is moving to Cali and Katie is heading out to the Big Apple. (Fortunately, Amy isn't going anywhere!)
My friends Kylie & Andy are moving to Boston. We're sad that they're leaving but can't wait to visit them in Beantown!

A quote I like: “People are always talking about the good old days. I wonder, why don't we talk about the good now days instead?”

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No cry. We friends, OK?

Adam, before The Pink Eye Episode.
(We hid the top photo in Aaron's suitcase before he left. In the bottom pic, Adam was trying black beans for the first time over at Uncle Jay & Pete's new house. He couldn't get enough of them. Who knew?)

Adam woke up on Sunday and didn’t even seem to notice that he had pink eye. He looked so pathetic, with his left eye stuck shut, and how did he react?
“Mama, GET UP! I want pancakes!”
Ok, so your vision is the same as a one-eyed pirate’s, and all you can think of is breakfast? You are so your father’s son.

I thought he might be getting pink eye Saturday night, when I noticed some eye goo, so I wasn’t at all surprised to see that he couldn’t open it the next day. That’s exactly what happened to me when I had pink eye in grade school. I remember my mom applying a warm washcloth to my eye, so that’s what I did with Adam. Worked like a charm. His eye wasn’t bloodshot, but he had a ton of “drainage.” (I know, I know, gross.)
Aaron and I called the nurse’s line and we were told that the Target near our house has a weekend clinic. We were able to get him in right away. The doctor, a nice Asian lady who kept saying to Adam, “Good boy. We FRIENDS, ok? No cry. We FRIENDS,” was so short she had to ask for Aaron’s help to reach the sterile gauze pads on the first shelf. (Can you imagine being that small?) I wonder what she would’ve done if we’d been short, too. Maybe she has a step stool hidden in the room somewhere.
Anyhow, she told us to wet the gauze, then wipe the drainage from the inside of his eye to the outside, wash our hands regularly (and his), and then gave us a prescription for an antibiotic. Twenty minutes and $9 later, we had our little bottle of eye drops.
At first Adam let us put the drops in his eyes. By the end of the night, though, he went on an Eye Drop Strike. I have never had to physically restrain him before, and had no idea that a 23-pound toddler could be so strong. I felt like I was wrestling a wildebeest.
I tried reasoning with him (“This won’t hurt, I promise. It’ll be over in a second” and guess what? Two-year-olds don’t know how to reason), I tried showing him how it’s done by putting my contact lens re-wetting drops in my eyes (he didn’t care), I tried boosting his ego (“Don’t you want to be a big boy? Big boys get eye drops”) and I tried bribes (“I’ll give you a cookie if you let me do this.”) His response? “NOOOOO! PUT IT AWAY, MOMMY! NO DROPS!” He screamed and cried and thrashed around and squeezed his eyes shut and right when I thought I was going to be able to sneak a drop in he’d dramatically turn his head like a model in a Breck commercial. That struggle made me realize just how hard this whole parenting thing would be as a single unit. Fortunately I was able to enlist Aaron’s assistance, and then later, I had my dad help me.
When I brought Adam to daycare this morning (after taking the day off yesterday, because the county requires that a child be on an antibiotic for at least 24 hours before returning to daycare and no daycare = no work), I forewarned my daycare provider, Mary, that Adam didn’t like getting the drops and would carry on like a crazed lunatic.
“Let’s try it right now,” she said. “You hold him and I’ll put the drops in.”
She made it sound so easy. I looked at the clock. I was already running late to catch my bus. Didn’t she realize this could be a 10-minute ordeal? I mean, I figured she had experience with the whole eye drops thing, since two of the kids at daycare had pink eye in the last month, but Adam was not as calm as those kids. ((Pink eye is highly contagious among little ones. Not so much for adults since we know to regularly wash our hands. Well, most of us, anyhow. I won’t name any names but there are a few people at work who should be ashamed of themselves.))
I figured Adam would go out of his head at the mention of “drops,” but surprisingly, he didn’t react at all. I wondered if maybe he has selective hearing. (It seems to be a common affliction among most men.) I mean, really, he just about went ballistic whenever I said the word.
Mary handed him two Skittles and he looked at them, blinked at her, willingly LET her put drops in both eyes, and hardly moved an inch. Where was the fight? The screaming and crying? Who was this kid? He turned his head once and made a sort of defeated whimpering sound, but that was it. I swear he behaves better for Mary than he does for me, probably because he already knows how to manipulate me.

In other news, Aaron is in Washington for work (scouting out a beef ranch with the president of Lunds/Byerly’s) and I miss him. He called when he landed in Spokane and then again after he took a private jet to the ranch in northern Washington. I asked how the ranch was, and he said it was a nice house located on 100,000 acres. I can’t even imagine that much land. He was able to call me because they were doing a photo shoot at the top of a mountain and he got cell reception “up there.” As we were talking, I could hear the horses and cowboys in the background. Real live cowboys! I told him to take lots of photos. He’s going down to Yakima today and then to Seattle on Wed. He returns on Thursday.
I would HATE it if he had to travel regularly for work (even if it did include a nice fat raise), and I know he would, too. I would rather live frugally than deal with the consequences of having my spouse gone all the time: doing everything as a single parent, going to bed feeling lonely, just knowing that he’s missing out on big events and simple everyday moments. And I can’t help but think about the high infidelity rate among business travelers, mainly because cheating is easier. (Booze readily available all the time, regularly meeting new people, freedom without home responsibilities.)
My friend Christine travels quite a bit, and you wouldn’t believe the pick-up lines she’s heard. Some of the men are so ballsy they don’t even try to pretend they’re single – as if a wedding band makes them MORE desirable or something. Slimeballs.
Anyhow ...

We’re going to Green Bay this weekend and I’m so looking forward to a little get-away. Our friends Holly & Kevin have an annual summer party (very family-friendly, they even rent one of those bouncy houses for the kids) following the Bellin Run, a 10K race. Aaron will be pushing Adam in a jogging stroller. The last time I ran the Bellin, I finished in about an hour (three years ago, before I got pregnant). I don’t have a time goal this year. My goal is to keep breathing, whether that means barely shuffling along or—as I like to dream—running at an impressive clip. The beer will taste so much better knowing I have “earned” it.

In a few weeks we’re going to a sort of “mini reunion” at Como Park with some of Aaron’s high school friends. There will be 14 kids under the age of 10 (the majority under the age of 5) and 18 adults. Can you say chaos? It will be fun to meet the kids and catch up with the adults. We haven’t seen some of those friends since our wedding four years ago. Four years! The only time I’ve seen some of their kids is in a Christmas photo.

My mom reserved a cabin in Alexandria for our annual family trip. Swimming, relaxing, boating, fishing, playing games, eating, drinking, talking, bonding. I can’t wait.

I’m super excited to go camping at Hok-si-la Campground on Lake Pepin this August. I reserved the group site again, and I think there will be ten tents if everyone goes. Yee-ha!

I’m looking forward to Adam’s second birthday party this August. Two years already?! So much has changed in the past year. Other upcoming summer birthdays: Aaron (36!), Max (2), Morgan (2), Sadie (1), Jods, Megan, and my big brother.

We don’t have any weddings on the calendar this summer, but we were invited to Kylie and Andy’s wedding in Nashville this October (we’re still trying to figure out how we can make that happen) and I was asked to be my friend Julie’s personal attendant at her wedding this January. I love, love, LOVE a good wedding!!! I figured out that I have been to 47 weddings since I turned 18. I might try to blog about it in the future.

How about you? What are you looking forward to this summer?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jingle Bells in May

Not all car rides are as much fun as this one. (On the way to the Minnesota Zoo with good friends Tonya and Amy.)

A conversation in the car ride home from daycare:

“Did you have a good day today?”

“Back-it ball.”

“You played basketball?”


“Who did you play with?”


“Daddy was at work, Silly! Did you play with Sam and Niko and Zander and Zoe?”


“What did you have for lunch?”


“You had corn? What else?”

“Peanut butter.” (**I asked his daycare provider this morning if that’s what they had for lunch yesterday, and she said no, they had ham sandwiches and peas.)

“I wanna CWACKER.”

“Here ya go. Here’s a cracker. Actually, you can have two.”

“One, two, three, four, five, nine, ten, JINGLE BELLS, JINGLE BELLS!”

“You want to sing Jingle Bells? Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the -”


“You don’t want me to sing?”


And it starts already …

Friday, May 15, 2009

If you were here

My family - May 2, 2009. Adam in his first tie! This was taken way past his bedtime, thus the "Another photo? What? Just get me home already!" look.

Life happenings:

One of my best friends, Amy, got married May 2 at the historic Stillwater Courthouse. I was one of her matrons of honor. It was a beautiful wedding, she was a gorgeous, happy bride, and my best friends (and family) were in attendance. I even gave a speech and didn't faint.

Being in the wedding reminded me of going to prom. The hair, the makeup, the dress, the anticipation, the planning, the pampering. What girl doesn't love that? My niece April is going to prom tomorrow. I went to prom 15 years ago. I think about my prom date Brian every time I hear "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton. I wore a cute blue dress from Dayton's, Brian bought matching blue Docs, we ate at Gallivan's with a group of friends, we were part of the grand march at the Landmark Center (such a cool prom venue), we danced, Brian complained about getting his photo taken so much, and all I asked for -- all I really wanted -- was to feel pretty and appreciated after putting so many weeks of preparation into that one night. Instead, the night ended with a big stupid fight. Oh, high school drama. I have no desire to re-do high school. Life gets so much better after that. I wish more high school kids realized that.

I love 80s music. Brings me back. How can you listen to a song like "If you were here" by Thompson Twins and not think about that scene from Sixteen Candles when Samantha (Molly Ringwald) is sitting on the table, birthday cake in the center - candles glowing, cute Jake Ryan leaning in (gazing lovingly at her *sigh*), and not get chills? What a great song. What a great movie. I guess this post is taking on a prom theme, isn't it? The plot of Sixteen Candles is about getting noticed, it's about karma, it's about being awkward - something every high school kid can relate to. And in the end, the beautiful prom queen gets dumped, the geek winds up with the prom queen, and Sam gets Jake. Everyone wins (except for maybe the prom queen).

Oops I did it again. I got on the wrong bus last week. I didn't realize it until I was halfway to my destination. This is the second time I've boarded the wrong bus since I started working downtown. In my defense, I was only one digit off, I was taking a late bus that day so wouldn't expect to recognize the driver or passengers, and there was a crush of people boarding so I didn't have as much time to pay attention to the route number. When I realized what I'd done (thinking shit-shit-shit), I called Aaron (voicemail, he was at softball), my friend Megan (she was on her way to the lake), and my friend Karla (no answer). I was too embarrassed to leave Karla a detailed message with everyone standing so close - the bus was standing room only - so I whispered, "Hi, Karla. I'm in a bit of a pickle. Call me back if you have a chance." She called me back almost immediately and volunteered to rescue me by getting Adam from daycare and then driving out to the 'burbs to pick me up from a McDonald's near the foreign park and ride. That is a true friend. She didn't act annoyed or mad or inconvenienced. She simply said that these are the sorts of things friends do for one another. I can't thank her enough. We laughed about it on the ride home, but come on! Seriously. If I do this again, I'm not telling anyone. I'm calling a cab. My friends are all very nice and understanding (and helpful) but I'd never live it down.

Adam recently told me there are turtles in our sink. When I said to him, "Silly boy! Turtles live in our sink?" He looked at me, looked at the sink, then answered (in all seriousness) "Maybe not."

I have been faithfully working out now for 8 weeks. Getting up at 5 a.m. to do a workout video isn't such a bad way to start the day. (Who thought I'd ever say that??) I started taking the stairs every morning, too, up to the sixth floor. I don't know if I've lost any weight, but I do like knowing that I'm doing something good for my body. I've also started running again with my friend Julie. Just three miles one day a week, but hey, it's better than nothing.

I miss my friend Tonya. Why did she have to stay out West when I moved back home? I feel her absence in some way just about every day. It was great having her and Sam here in town for a week. It was also really nice spending time with Becky & Little G (they live in San Diego). Becky was able to (miraculously) translate a lot of what Adam was saying. She works with kids so she speaks their language. When we brought our little ones to the zoo, this is what I heard Adam say at one point: "G-blurble-shto-er-blurble" and I smiled and answered "You're hungry?" and he looked at me in frustration, like I was insulting his intelligence, emphatically told me "No-no-no!"and then Becky said "Oh, he's talking about how Georgie is sleeping in the stroller." And Adam beamed at her, nodded yes, looked at me like "Why can't you be smart like that lady?" then went back to admiring the camels.

I think Adam needs a sibling.

I need some good Book Club suggestions. (Infidel?)

I was looking at a photo of Aaron and Adam the other night and my heart swelled. I often wonder how I got so lucky. And not just once, but twice!

I wish my friends in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, California, New York, and DC could fly to Minnesota for free.

Keep Pots Clean Or Family Gets Sick is a way to remember kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. (You can thank me later when you win a Trivial Pursuit pie piece.)

I really do believe there will be a cure for cancer in my lifetime. There has to be. We can't keep losing people to this terrible, heart-breaking disease.

How do marathoners do it? It is so inspiring watching them run.

I can't wait for patio season. It's been a long, miserable winter and a cold, wet spring. Enough already. I want to wear my flip-flops again!

I am addicted to chapstick.

We're going out of town in the morning with Meg, Bri and Sadie (I anticipate a very fun weekend) and I haven't done the dishes, laundry, picked up the toys, or packed.

And now, courtesy of Mitch Hedberg:
I saw this commercial on late night TV, it was for this thing you attach to a garden hose, it was like "You can water your hard-to-reach plants with this product." Who would make their plants hard to reach? That seems so very mean. "I know you need water, but I'm gonna make you hard to reach! I will throw water at you. Hopefully they will invent a product before you shrivel and die! Think like a cactus!

Good night!!