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Monday, March 30, 2009

Ah-mazing

Allow me to transform this blog from its family-oriented theme momentarily into a bragging outlet.

On Friday evening, I went running and had one of the strongest runs yet (as I told my friend Angela, as in mother of beloved Brady and Anna- I now bow to the inhaler). I very proudly broke the 4 mile mark, something I had not been able to do whilst sucking oxygen-depleted gasps now fixed by the bronchiodiatler, Albuterol. Yes, I have confirmed exercise induced asthma. Emilie, my running muse- as in "I didn't used to be a runner and now I am and I think you could be too"- told me about www.mapmyrun.com which allows you to map out a course and calculates mileage for you.

When I completed my course (and very proudly found it to be 4.13 miles) I also had it tally how many calories I had burned. It came up with an impressive, and utterly ridiculous, 7,000 plus calories. Wow! This running thing may have more to it than I thought. I let Em know my results, told her that I had eaten an entire chocolate cake and was going to bed. She emailed me back, "Um.. hate to break it to you but it was actually more like 700 calories..."

But the real kicker comes the next day when she asks me to fill in as her partner for her long run (on her May 1/2 marathon schedule). Six miles but I could join her 2 miles in for a 4 miler for me. Nah, why not try the whole thing? I can always walk if I get tired.

Let me tell you folks- especially those who don't think they are runners- I ran the whole frickin' thing. And could have kept going. I used to say my favorite part of running was stopping. I am now a reformed, born again runner, friends. And if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. Tune in weekly for my sermons on finding runner's redemption...

Also, along the same bragging note- we have renters (with contract to buy within the year) for the Savage St. house. (Thank you Mindy and Charissa for matching us up.) As in, the Savage St. house is occupied and bringing in money. Will wonders ever cease?

(I seriously hope not. I have a lot of miracles I would still like to see.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Remember them?

Maya's typically wild streak.




Anna looks like she is generously giving Maya her pacifier but really she is returning it because she stole it in the first place.






Oh, my...


Sunday, March 22, 2009

back in business

We are online again finally. Our internet was down for an entire week and I felt like someone had cut off my oxygen.

Actually, maybe I feel that way because I am actually having trouble breathing and am going to the doctor's tomorrow to get checked for asthma.

Okay, so today I bought myself a new pair of running sneakers and plan to register for the 1/2 marathon officially and tomorrow I am going to get fitted for an inhaler...

Oh, blessed spring... welcome to our frosty state. Know we herald your arrival even if the best we can do to show it a brief reach for 50 degrees at high noon and some rather rude snowflakes that fell today. My bulbs know better. They have peaked their heads up in greeting. Hello little daffodils- hope you slept well and thank you for finally waking...

Monday, March 9, 2009

the big choice

Announcement everyone... the girls slept until 7 a.m. Hallela-freakin-lujah.

Ella and Brady are getting eggs which will hatch into chicks (hopefully) at preschool and Ella couldn't be more excited about it. She tells me how they need to be in the inkybator or binkybator (incubator) in order to hatch. I think she believes, despite my corrections, that we are bringing one home. Help me.

But here is the real kicker. Last night, Ella was at the kitchen table eating when she noticed a man walking down the street with his dog.

"I wonder if he has a partner," she muses. "I bet he has a girl partner."

Okay.

"Some people have girl partners and some people have boy partners." Discussion ensues and observations made about the couples in our lives.

Then I ask, "Ella when you grow up do you think you'll have a girl partner or a boy partner?" I'm purely curious to see where her trajectory of thought.

"A girl partner. No, I would like a boy." Then, with complete earnestness, "But how would I get a boy?"

No worries, love. I think Brady Smith would sign up without a second thought...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saving Daylight??

Yesterday our neighbor brought over about 100 pairs of shoes for Ella that her daughter had grown out of (thank you Karen!). Ella dumped them all out in the middle of the living room and tried them on as if it was a timed event. She looked like Carrie Bradshaw in a Minolo Blanik outlet store.

Today she asked me if we could order a book from the Scholastic catalog about Halloween? Huh? Halloween now? It was a book about bones with a skeleton on the front.

Ella has figured out a new favorite food and since its components are all fruit I am beside myself. She dips grapes in diluted orange juice. Yum! I gave her a wooden skewer and the introduction of a tool has made it into a sport.

Emilie and I took the kids out for (what we thought was) an early supper last night. Apparently everyone goes out to dinner at 4:45 on a Saturday evening. Talk about a competitive sport. It felt like being on candid camera. Too long a wait at one place which we find out after chasing children for 10 minutes, me running in to Pizzaria Uno to secure a table before the troops followed, playing a relay race with the wait staff to try to get our drinks, our emergency bread sticks order and our kids make-your-own-pizza moving before bedlam broke loose, and literally trying to contain what felt like three (I can't really count Ella so that's why it isn't four) wild animals in a leather booth. Emilie and I were like zoo keepers and no crackers, books or tic tac toe games could occupy for more than a minute. At one point, Emilie got up to walk Reed around while we waited and he snatched a bread stick right off the waitresses tray as she held it in the air. Luckily it was actually our bread stick order... Poor Emilie didn't feel well, they gave us our bill and we threw our credit cards at them and tried to eat while our hands were busy settling our kids. There was about a 2 minute period where the kids ate and it was quiet. The whole restaurant breathed a collective sigh of relief. Then the mac and cheese lost its appeal and the restless feet of Reed Gabriel started tapping. Sounds relaxing, huh?

But really this post is my official complaint about the time change. Did I not do a proper job explaining to my kids that this it the day you sleep later because it is actually earlier?? Apparently not. Maya was up at the real time of 4:45 (now 5:45- try telling my body that- it felt like the middle of the night) and Ella was up at 5:20 (now 6:20). And it didn't get light until fricking 7 a.m. I know, I know, you Seasonal Affect Disorder folks, you're psyched about the light. All I want is to feel human when I wake up again...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

the buddy system

I have every other weekend alone with the girls. I psych myself up for this and try to plan way ahead so I am not left with no structured time in the presence of other adults. This, of course, is tricky, because the weekend is the time most people spend as a family so I try not to interfere (too much.)

This weekend Emilie is on her own because Sam is at a swim meet all weekend proving his aquatic worth (and quite well I might add.) So, of course these extroverted moms planned ahead. This morning we went to the children's museum (which was super fun until Reed took off at lightning speed and made it down a level before he was apprehended) then a break for lunch and nap with a plan to reconvene for play and supper out before we pile them home and put them to bed.

And all I can say is, thank god.

You see, I went out last night with my friend Jess and had two (two!) incredibly yummy margaritas. I finally accepted my vacation-less state and decided not to wait for Mexico to catch a bit of a break. You know, back to good friends not letting you forgot your promise to yourself to drink more alcohol. The bummer is I only got 6 hours of sleep and I am dragging. And then losing an hour with the time change tonight, I think I'd better go to sleep when the girls do...

Funny Ella comments... we picked out new pacifiers for Maya at Target yesterday and Ella wanted to get these cool, wild animal print ones that made the baby's mouth look like a lion or a zebra. I had to nix this, telling her I was looking for BPA-free ones (as in the ones without the toxic chemical in the plastic.) This morning she gave Maya her new pacifier and said, "It's a good thing we got the PBS ones!"

Ella's flare for fashion has taken a new turn. Does anyone remember the twirly dress of yesteryear? The yellow sundress she wore everyday until it looked ratty and beaten? The one that was improperly cut so it curved up high in the back and eventual started to show her bum? The one she wore well into the fall with tights and a sweatshirt? The one Emilie called her "uniform?" Well, I fear she has a new fixation. She asks to wear the same pink flowered shirt and black velvet twirly skirt everyday. The excuse of it being dirty equals Ella in the form of an emotional puddle on the floor. She actually stood in front of her closet full of really nice clothes, many of which are skirts and dresses, yesterday and said, "These just aren't so pretty." Eee gads.

So today, she got on her usual (at the least the tights vary) and came out of the bathroom holding her new bracelet from Brady for me to put on and her princess lipstick. I actually heard myself say, "How about we brush your teeth before you put on your lipstick?"

Friday, March 6, 2009

empathy

Last night Ella fell on her way to turn on her nightlight before bed. She fell hard. The kind where there is a pause during which a kid takes a giant inhale before exhaling a guttural scream. She opened her mouth then let out the second wail and out poured the red, as she calls it. When she fell, her teeth jammed up against the inside of her lip, and came through to the outside. She literally has teeth marks on the skin below her lip.

I sat on the bathroom floor holding her crying, bleeding form while nursey went to get Ibuprofen. Maya tottled over, blankie in hand and crawled onto my lap as well, and leaned her head into the crook of Ella's neck. She took her normally rough and smacking hands and stroked Ella's arm. It was the sweetest expression of empathy I think I've ever seen. And quite lost on Ella who cried (who could blame her?) for a very long time.

Yesterday, Brady came over as usual before preschool and had breakfast with us. He just got back from an incredibly exciting trip to Disney and he and Ella were twittering and whispering and laughing about nothing that made any sense. As I'm sipping my tea, I hear Ella say in a loud stage whisper, "There were two blueberry muffins left and one was going to be for you and one for me, but Mommy ate them and now there are none for us!"

I quickly corrected her, saying that it was fine for Mommy to eat them- I just hadn't known they were gone when I suggested Ella and Brady share them.

Ella looked at me quizzically (I swear with a hint of 14 year-old-defiance) and then turned to Brady and said in amazement, "How did she hear what I said?"

Apparently, the whisper takes some perfecting. Especially when your mother is a mere 3 feet across the table from you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

breaking down

Maya fell on the floor yesterday and landed on the cup she was holding, producing her first bloody nose. "She's got red!" Ella yelled. I don't know what I was expecting. Perhaps, "Nurse, STAT to the kitchen!"

The auger on the corn stove busted this morning (a very messy and obnoxious repair job Sandi did about 2 months ago), the CD player in the Vue was non functional yesterday, our oven won't get up to temperature, the snow blower has a tire that wants to spin like a top instead of use its traction to move forward, I had to shovel out the Savage St. house AGAIN because it still hasn't sold, and our van is getting its bumper replaced for the second time in 6 weeks.

Then we had the sewer back up into our basement. Now we are officially swimming in shit.

Sandi called Roto Rooter and spent 48 hours playing the phone equivalent of hide and seek with them. They said they would come between 4 and 6 Friday and then called at 11 p.m. when we were asleep and said, (in normal cheery daytime tones) "Sorry, we haven't gotten there yet. Can we come in a little bit?" They totally won, though, because we fell for it when they told us they would come at 8 the next morning and then again when they told us they would "call back in 10 minutes" after they figured out what the hold up was. They even went so far as to put Sandi on hold on about call number 12 and then hang up on her. Buh-bye Roto Rooter.

The plumber I called the next day was there within a hour and a half to wade through the mess, give me advice on toilet paper (don't use Quilted Northern, Charmin, or my personal favorite- Cottonelle) and the wisdom of not flushing the supposedly flushable tampon. Just the conversation I want to have at my kitchen table with a complete stranger.

The sad part? I really enjoyed the company...

Now the professional cleaners are downstairs, to the tune of somewhere near $700, and the seasoned (69 year-0ld) cleaner is breaking in his young side kick on his first ever sewage clean-up. There is a lot of bitching going on down there. It pretty unprofessional but I don't really blame him. Although it is nice to have someone else cleaning up the mess around here. I offered to make him coffee but maybe java a poop don't mix.

The aforementioned senior citizen cleaner was giving me some life advice this morning as I was starting the pellet stove. He is a cheery fellow who is wearing a surprisingly nice white collared shirt for today's job. He was telling me about appreciating having a job and just taking the massive clean-up one section at a time, yada yada. Maybe I should quit therapy and have him clean for me and talk to me instead- get two birds with one stone.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

cocktails and cardiovascular progress

Two funny things happened to me.

First, I was in the wine aisle at the grocery store, and I thought, "I should drink more."

No, that isn't the funny part.

To say life has been stressful for me lately would be like saying it was just sort of okay that we just inaugurated a black president. My brain works overtime most days and I am usually running on empty- the kind of empty where the low fuel light has been on a while and your really pushing your luck. So I thought a little unwinding at the end of the day would be reasonable idea to give myself a break. I bought a bottle of Riesling.

Now, I am not saying that I don't have my addictive/compulsive tenants to my personality. I could easily abuse any cake, peanut butter cup, ice cream or chocolate, good or poor quality. God help me if it is a peanut butter cup ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce served over warm chocolate cake. Okay, you get the point. But, bysome stroke of miracle given the alcoholic genes I carry, I just am not drawn that way.

So the next day, I realized I had forgotten to drink the Riesling. And I thought, "Dammit! I forgot to have a drink!" Luckily, my friends Meredith and Jason brought the alcohol part of a cooperative dinner part last night and she made me the yummiest blackberry pomegranate martini (okay, in truth it was more than one.) Real friends won't let you forget a promise you make to yourself to consume more alcohol.

Secondly- okay really 1A- I seem to have a penchant for running in the snow. I've been running most days and every time I lace up, the powder falls. Except yesterday it was ice slivers shooting into my eyes like glass. The rest of the day? Sunny and warm... I ran during the only period of precipitation.

And the second thing... I went out for a run today just to blow off some steam. I didn't feel like running, was just going for survival of the fittest. And a crazy thing happened. My frickin heart and legs just went out and did it. My mind was not in the game- I even thought about just walking- but there I was running for dear life, thinking about stopping, and my body saying, "Um, you know we can actually handle this..." Whose body is this anyway?