Sunday, March 30, 2008

Random Thoughts

I'm trying not to pay any attention to the 8 inches of snow that fell last night and this morning (our town even made the news!). Actually, it is melting now and the snow has turned to a nice rainy drizzle (which is what we usually experience this time of year in the Seattle area).
I'm "womaning" the oven this afternoon - tending the evil decadence of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies - mounds of mouthwatering yumminess (is that even a word?). I only make these puppies about 4 times/year because they take an entire afternoon or evening to make. Don't let the word "oatmeal" fool you - while there are 5 cups of oats in them, there is also a full pound of butter, 4 cups of sugar and 4 eggs, not to mention 4 cups of chocolate chips. We leave out the nuts because our house is nut-free for the health of our son.
That leads me to my big question for the day: Should I even be making these cookies when our son can't eat them because they have eggs and butter in them (he's also allergic to those ingredients)?
Until today I haven't felt too guilty about making the cookies. We freeze most of them (they take up most of the freezer, though, because the batch is about 8 dozen LARGE cookies!) and have an alternate treat for our son when we eat them. But this afternoon he keeps asking, "Can I have that ingredient?" "How about THAT, is THAT on my list?" He also throws guilt-inducing comments at us like, "Mmmmmmm . . . . those sure smell good. I bet you'll really enjoy them, won't you?"
On the other hand I have my overworked husband who BEAMS and dances around the house giddily (again, is that a word?) for days when I make the cookies. You can HEAR the man smile at the mention of them. And today, he's run down with some sort of sinus deal (attributed, I believe, to the blooming cherry trees, which are now thorougly confused by this unusual snow) and so I thought the cookies would help him feel loved and cared for (because 2 children hanging on him all day isn't really doing the trick!).
So, tonight (assuming there are any left, as my son keeps delivering cookies to his dad to help him feel better!) the adults will have gourmet cookies and the kids will have orange jello for dessert. I guess I'll take comfort in the fact that we'll make my son's treasured pumpkin cookies later this week, but it just doesn't seem quite fair. I really hope that he outgrows these food allergies (and that my daughter doesn't have them, too), otherwise this might be the last time I can deal with the guilt of making them when the kids can't enjoy them, too.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Hammer is a Tool

This has been a LONG and rollercoaster-like week for me, so I'll keep my post short (er, mostly) and light. Here's a funny little exchange between my son and husband on the way to my son's ice skating lesson:

son: Hey, Dad, can we listen to some loud music?
husband: Sure! What do you have in mind?
s: I really like Hammer!
h: Oh, you mean Tool?
s: That's what I said - Hammer!
h: Right. We can listen to Tool.
*turns on Tool, loudly, of course*
s (using a regular voice, rather unsccessfully): What instruments are they using, Dad?
h (yelling): What?
*turns down music*
s: Why'd you turn down the music? Now I can't tell what instruments they're using!
*music returned to loud volume*
s (using regular voice, again unsuccessfully): Is that guy singing? What's he saying, Dad?
*music turned down*
h: What did you ask?
s: Why'd you turn down the music? Now I can't hear what he's saying!
h: You were asking me a question, but I couldn't hear you.
s: That's because we're listening to it LOUD!
h: Which is why I can't hear you when you talk. What's your question?
s: Can we stop talking so I can hear the music?
*music returned to loud volume*

Of course, as my husband relayed this episode, he was all too happy to point out the difference between our rides with our son.

Rides with Mom (that's me!):
- ambiance music is some sort of kid-friendly, family-approved music, ranging from Kindermusik tunes to various guitar soloists to the soundtrack from the musical Frog & Toad (recommended, but not more than once/week, or you'll be singing that "Toad looks funny in a bathing suit!" in your sleep)
- breaking out into song is okay and everyone is encouraged to join-in
- conversations about anything!

Rides with Dad (few and far between : generally only to ice skating & to the hardware store):
- music is generally LOUD and may be: Phish (not too shabby), Tool (not Mom-approved), Grateful Dead (better than Tool), Moe (will do) . . . generally anything goes, ECEPT for items in Mom's car
- breaking out into song is okay if you're singing along with the LOUD music already playing
- music is playing to negate the need for conversation
- coversations are okay if they keep son's thumb out of his mouth (we're working to distract him from thumbsucking!)

Rides with Mom & Dad (weekends only!):
- music is generally off
- son interrupts any Mom/Dad conversations to have all focus to himself (unless music is turned on to negate conversations!)
- daughter happily enjoys sights out window while tuning out above mentioned conversations (smart girl!)
- breaking out into song is highly encouraged for all to deter daughter from crying when the trip has been too long

Ah, parenthood!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

America's Kids Run

I love reading about other people's running experiences - the joy of setting a PR, the frustration with shortening a run because the snow is eyeball deep (I don't know HOW you people do it!), the elation of reaching a distance or speed goal. Lately I've been sitting at home celebrating alongside you blogging runners at my computer. I remember my early days of running (not so long ago, really - just back in 2003!) when I was seeing first-hand the joy of running as it bubbled forth from my third-grade students. There is nothing quite like a dozen giddy girls wiggling their hands over their heads to celebrate an upcoming run!
While reading about fellow adults is fun and motivates me plugging along with my own running, I'm THRILLED that I'll get to see this young passion for running again soon - I'll be attending the America's Kids Run Expo on Friday, April 26th in Spokane, WA and then staying to witness the kids in action on Saturday morning. I can't wait! 60 schools of children are participating in the event - well over 3,000 kids. Can you imagine the energy of that many kids harnessed at the start line? WOW!
The America's Kids Run developed in the 1980s as Junior Bloomsday to get kids excited about the Bloomsday race in May (a 12K race with over 50,000 runners - woah, baby!) and see how they could become fit and race, too (though at safer and more attainable kid-friendly distances). The run is still going, though the name has changed and the race reaches children on military bases, too (see the site to read about it!).
I faxed in my form today to be at the Expo, so it is all official. I'll be there - ready to see the future runners of Washington!
**** Goal Status Report ****
Hooray - the book is officially in 6 stores IN the state of Washington (and one store placed an order for MORE books because they sold-out their first batch already)! The stores out-of-state are now just icing on the cake . . . and I have 3 more business days to get a few more lined-up. Not too shabby. :) I'll hear from a store in GA next week . . . and am working on a few in NC and CA, too. I didn't really know when I jumped into this book publishing world that sales would be so challenging, yet rewarding. It's a good thing I just jumped in blindly, or I might not have done this . . . what an adventure!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We Are Girls Who Love to Run is on a RADIO SHOW!!!

At 8PM EST today (March 25th) you can listen to an interview on the radio show Following Your Passions (via webcast!) about how I brought We Are Girls Who Love to Run to life. If you miss it tonight, visit the site again in 3-4 days to download the show!
It really was a fun experience, though I'm still shaking a bit from the excitement and intensity of it all!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008


My husband took our son to his ice skating class tonight. I have yet to go see this fantastic showing of "Preschoolers on Ice" myself, but made reservations for next week. Since Little Sister was down and out with the flu for one day shy of a week, I thought it would behoove (I love that word and just HAD to use it!) us to give her this first healthy day at home without subjecting her poor little bod to a fresh batch of ice rink germs. Funny thing is, though, he was reluctant to go to class, which is a complete 180 from his first two weeks (after the first week he came home bellowing how great class was, skating around the kitchen in his socks singing about how great he was and how he was going to be the teacher for the next class!):
son: I don't have to go to ice skating tonight. I think we can just stay home and mow the lawn (his favorite outdoor activity since he was big enough to reach the handle of a plastic lawn mower)
me: I bet you'll get to play a new game this week. Remind me - what did you play with your classmates last time?
son: Goose-duck.
me: Oh, right! Duck, duck, goose. You came home and told me all about it last week!
son: But now I know how to play it. I'm just not feeling very confident.
me: You're new at skating. The more you practice, the more confident you'll feel.
son: Nah. I can just stay home.
me: (feeling like I'm trying to tread water after 15 minutes of effort!) I bet Dad will rent skates again today and you can skate with him!
son: Maybe.
me: (feeling like we might have a breakthrough) And that will give you practice for when I'm there next week and WE skate together after class. You can show me all of your moves and teach me how to get back up when I fall.
son: Oh, I can do that. But, it would be okay if we just stay home.
me: Well, your dad left work early so you could have this special time together. So, why don't you enjoy hanging out with him on the way and just see how it goes . . . come on, let's go get your stuff together!
He wasn't feeling totally confident after that, but I did manage to get him ready to head out for class without falling apart and bailing. My husband resumed the cheerleading and some diversion conversations on the way to the rink (which, as luck would have it, is a good 45 minute drive *ugh*. . . I'm glad he was the one up for THAT stretch of convincing - whew!). The report upon return home was something along these lines (though insert about 30 other conversations between each of these comments for a true look at how it went):
son: I skated all the way across the rink without falling down!
husband: I skated 3 laps around the rink by myself as he watched, but he did join me for the fourth lap (last week he didn't!).
son: The best part was watching the Zamboni!
husband: I feel a bit guilty because one of the instructors spent nearly the entire class working with just him . . . but he didn't bail like another little kid!
son: We can all skate together next week. Do you think Little Sister can join us too?
me: Do you think they'll rent skates to 14 month olds?
little sister: (arms flapping - head nodding emphatically up and down) Yia . . . yia . . . dadadadada!
This is really our first experience with our son's wavering confidence (and I'm sure it won't be our last, because the little cutie just keeps getting older and finding new experiences to try!), so we're trying to be encouraging and supportive without being too pushy. We want him to learn to stick things out (unless there's a safety concern or he's just totally in a puddle) and give them a few tries before deciding to move on to another interest. I hope we've done that in a healthy way. We'll see after this series of classes (just 2 more to go!) if he brings up skating again next winter when we take him to a hockey game, or if this will just get tucked under his hat so he can tell his friends in college: "You think THAT'S crazy? My parents signed me up for ice skating lessons when I was THREE! They didn't even go out on the ice with me, they just threw me out there to fall on my face by myself with kids I didn't know and a few teachers!" 
I'm sticking with our version: "You have the coolest parents ever - they let you take ice skating lessons when you were just 3 years old! And your friend from school was even in your first class! Even better, your dad took off work early to take you so you could have special time together." 

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter rain

Happy Easter!
Yesterday we enjoyed sunshine and near-60 degree weather, making it the perfect day for lawn mowing and weed pulling. The neighborhood was out in full force spring cleaning their yards - including our little family (our son even had his lawn tools out - mower, hoe, shovels, the works!). I'm sure it was a great day for thousands of runners, too, though our daughter hasn't quite shaken this stomach bug she's had for nearly a week, so we opted for the yard workout so we could be home for her to nap or snuggle with one of us.
Today the weather forecasters were dead on with their 100% chance of rain prediction. It has rained 100% of the day and doesn't look like it will let up anytime before night fall. That being said, the Easter Bunny had some quick thinking to do. Heaven help us when the Easter Bunny has to remember all of his problem-solving techniques next year (though we're counting on our detail-oriented son to help us stay on track). At our house the Easter Bunny thought it would be fun to draw clues and hide them in plastic eggs - the clues were then handed in for the actual items (with my son's food allergies, we stay away from the traditional candy stuff). For a 2 year old, this was great. The Bunny didn't count on him remembering those details for this year . . . so here's how the weekend went:
- Son's question: How will the Easter Bunny put clues in the real eggs? (last year we somehow missed the egg decorating tradition and went plastic - not sure why . . . )
- Our half-baked answer: Oh, he'll probably just put the clues beside the eggs. Your eggs are too pretty to try to pry open - and that would make a big mess!
- Son's question: Will the EB come at night like Santa?
- Our half-baked answer: The EB doesn't want children to have to hunt for eggs in the rain, so he waits until early morning to hide them.
- Son's question (first thing in the morning): I don't see any eggs. When will the EB come?
- Our half-baked answer: Well, since it is raining hard, the EB has to go into EVERY house, which takes longer than if he just hides eggs in the yards. Hopping from house to house in the pouring rain is hard work. He'll probably visit our place while we're at church.
- Son's question (when we got home from church): I still don't see any eggs! Isn't the EB coming?!
- Our half-baked answer (through silent eye-communication between parents): That EB is a good hider - you better go downstairs to find your egg collecting basket!
*While son and husband (carrying Little Sister) completed the basket-finding mission downstairs, clever EB quickly hid the eggs and forementioned clues upstairs*
The egg hunt was well received (even with the issues we had to tap dance around!) - he was thrilled to be able to read the clues and trade them in for his goodies. Before long the excitement of it all was nearly forgotten, as the smells of breakfast filled the air and our son was reminded that his stomach does, indeed, rule his life (and ours, too).
I'm glad the questions of the day are now documented so we can reference them next year!  The Easter Bunny sure does have a hard job - it isn't as clear-cut a mission as his pal Santa's!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Two-thirds of the way there!

Javamom is working on her B-Fit B-Day Challenge this week to celebrate her birthday (Happy Birthday, Lisa!) - and is nearly finished with her week-long swim, bike, run goals. I have no interest in triathlons myself (I'll need a good series of swimming lessons before you can convince me to do open water swims!), but I'm thrilled for the folks who are up for the challenge of them and will cheer them onto their goals. While Lisa sweats to cover her distanced related to the number 37 (guess why!), I'm plugging away at my less physical, but still challenging, goal of getting my book into 6 running specialty stores by the end of the month. With just one week left, I'm happy to report that my efforts are starting to pay-off:
- 2 stores already have the book in hand (one of which was thrilled to sell a copy within 2 minutes of having it out for shoppers!)
- a store in Idaho will have their books by the end of next week (not sure if I should count this, since my original goal was 6 stores in WA . . . but after I set the goal, I decided I should be more assertive and send copies to the entire Northwest region - with another target population of the Southeastern states next week because I lived in NC a few short years ago . . . this got long and probably didn't need to be in parentheses - sorry!)
- a third WA store placed their order today (hooray!)
- I'll touch base with another WA store at the start of next week (that should be Store #5 toward my goal - or maybe just #4, based on the above pondering!)
- And then, of course the calling continues for follow-up to all of the others who have gotten review copies . . . but, things are looking good!
I also am happy to report that I ran 2 miles last night (9:22 & 9:13 respectively) - proving to myself that my winter pace of 10:00 miles was not challenging and that it is time to work on distance now that I know I have some speed in these legs. The run felt SO GOOD - and I proved to myself once again that strong running (for me!) really is all about the breathing. If I wavered from my inhale 4, exhale 3 pattern, I'd get short of breath and start second guessing my abilities. Once I resumed the pattern, I was able to forge ahead, feeling confident and happy again. Hooray for breathing!
Wishing you all well on YOUR goals! No matter if your goals are fitness, work, parenting, or of another nature, I highly recommend breathing your way to achieving them - holding your breath is never helpful!  :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Night of Spirit Teams

I just realized I haven't posted for a few days (my daughter had the stomach flu - ew! - and I managed to compose a few blogs in my head, but never made it to the computer to make them real . . . ah, the life of a mother/author/publisher/wife/woman/runner . . . )
Last night I had the honor of being a guest a special event at our local high school. "A Night to Remember" was put together by the school's Drill Team coach, Jenn, to bring the drill, dance, cheer, and flag teams together to perform award-winning routines for parents, friends and guests. As a former "pom" from my high school glory days (hahaha - I'm surprised my fingers would even type that!) it was a powerful experience to see these teams of girls having so much FUN, support one another and put on some really nice performances.
To sum it up, here's a Top 10 list of what I enjoyed about the night:
10. The parents of the seniors were recognized with their daughters, celebrating the power of family!
9. The girls escorted the VIPs and families to the seating area - nice touch!
8. Between routines there was a slide show showcasing each team at their events over the course of the school year
7. The middle school spirit camp participants got to perform with the teams at the end, showing off what they learned from each of the four teams
6. They all danced to music I recognized, making me feel young (or maybe they were dancing to "classics" and I should be worried??)!
5. Each team chanted enthusiastic and uplifiting cheers together before taking the floor to perform
4. The teams called out cheers of support for one another!
3. They held a fan-participating "drill down" for select parents/friends to experience the drill element of Drill Team (I had flashbacks to pom camp from my own drill down competitions)! What a hoot to see the dads doing "about face" "hand salutes" and "parade rest"!
2. If the girls were nervous about the event, it didn't show. They were all bouncing around, smiling and being themselves.
1. This was the first event of its kind and it was well-coordinated and received by all in attendance (even little kids, like the three year-old next to me, were spellbound by the routines and smiling older girls). It was FUN!!!
There is definitely contraversy about if the participants of spirit teams are athletes (I'll add links to some recent news articles to this later today - I hope!). If you had attended the event with me last night, you would see that these girls put hours and hours of physical work into learning, practicing, and polishing their performances. It takes athleticism, team work and determination to put together these routines. Even more impressive, though, was that these girls exuded confidence and satisfaction that being part of these teams is what they WANT to do and what they ENJOY doing. I wish I had been so lucky in my pom years.
Congrats to the athletes of the Cedarcrest High School spirit teams on a year of successful competitions, performances and sisterhood! Your family and school community should be proud of your accomplishments!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Time to Let Go!

The evening run went so well on Saturday (and I DID sleep Saturday night, too!) that I suited up for a run last night after the bedtime routine with the kiddos. I got to start the run earlier, too, since my husband has returned from his trip (welcome home, Love!) and could oversee our son who likes to avoid his bed and lurk in the halls to see what he might be missing (which is really NOTHING!).

It is a bit cool downstairs, so I like to run in pants and a sleeveless shirt on the treadmill. I find it is the right balance of warmth for me. My favorite pairs of running pants/tights are still in the stinky workout basket, awaiting their turn in the washer, so I spent a few minutes sifting through the gear in my drawer before I found a favorite pair of leggings from my dancing days (ie., from nearly 15 years ago! *gasp*). If you've been following my blog at all, you'll know that I do best when I've had a good amount of sleep and that without sleep, I tend to do things mindlessly. Sometimes I'm lucky and all goes well, other times, well . . . things go less well. Though I had one good night of sleep under my belt, I'll need at least 2 more under my belt before you can consider me rested and back to the thop of my game. These leggings have seen their fair share of blood, sweat and tears (holes, not the water-like substance that drips from eyes) - BUT, as I pulled them on, I paid no attention to the holes & the lack of rebound to the fabric after stretching them, blinded by the fact that they still fit - and off I went to pound out a few miles . . . or just one mile, as it happened.

My warm-up walk was filled with a few gentle tugs to get the leggings situated just right - the seam was twisting funny, but I coaxed it into place without too much trouble. As I picked up the pace and fell into a comfortable cadence (9:31 pace), the trouble started. The elastic in the waist band gave out completely and the elasticity that remained in the thighs sheer moments earlier when I put them on bid me farewell. Clutching my pants with one hand and swinging my remaining arm for balance, I was determined to finish my goal of 2 miles before vegging with the husband for a bit before bed. Folks, there is no WAY 2 miles could have happened, even if I was more like Deena Kastor, knocking out miles in half my usual pace. I was probably pushing it by finishing a mile.

My husband, the loving, sarcastic man that he is, offered up some lovely encouragement, "You don't have to hold them up on MY account." To which I questioned, "And just HOW would one run with their pants around their knees? I'm not holding them up for modesty here!" To which he admitted, "Ah, you have a point there. That would be significantly more difficult."

Maybe Marcy is onto something with new running gear each season. Or maybe I should just let go of this last piece of my pre-running past and splurge on a suitable pair of running tights, acknowledging that these leggings owe me NOTHING . . . and that maybe I owe THEM a trip to the trash can.

So, farewell, old friends. It is time for me to let you go. Thanks for many years of supporting me . . . may you rest in peace!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mixing it Up

In effort to restore my belief in myself as a runner, I'm trying something new today. I'm switching my run from the morning to the evening. Before having kids, I really was a morning person. Now I'd LIKE to be a morning person, but I've become more of a "love sleep" person, which tends to keep me in bed as long as the kids will allow!

My attempts at morning runs on the treadmill before my son wakes and needs me for guidance through the morning routine have been few and far between. Those few times have been positive, and DO awaken the runner in me, but she wants to be awake more! So . . . as soon as my son falls asleep (Little Sister spoils us by falling asleep as soon as we put her in her crib!), I'm heading down to the treadmill to enjoy a nice, long run. I won't have to worry that he's going to wake-up and need the first of his breakfasts (he's our little hobbit, enjoying "second breakfast" on most days) or that his sister will have an early wake-up day and need my attention, too. I can just run, mom-brain turned off and runner-spirit turned on.

The tricky part will be when I discover what night running will do to my sleep. When I was growing up as a dancer (I spent a sizeable chunck of the first 16 years of my life in a dance studio) it always took a good amount of time to unwind from the physical exertion of night classes. That's what's great about exercising in the morning - it wakes me up and keeps me going through the day. Maybe my other new "habit" (well, it isn't really a habit yet, but I hope it will be soon!) of reading for the last 30-45 minutes before bed will help quiet my mind and body so that I can sleep. Too bad we aren't equipped with an off switch - that would really come in handy . . . though there is that pesky need to have someone to flip said switch back to ON in the morning. Hmmmm . . .

Before I head down to run, I will report that I did go to my Vinyasa yoga class on Thursday night (BIG HOORAY!) and that I did run on Friday morning before picking-up the kids from my parents' house after their treasured weekly overnight. The run replaced my Friday morning cleaning session (I did sleep-in a smidge, too!), but the run was long over due and there's ALWAYS cleaning to be done, so I figured it could just wait. :)

Here's to trying something new to help me get back to my passion! I wish you well in your own positive steps toward your goals today!

*UPDATE* - I ran two miles (9:50 pace first mile, 9:40 the second - negative splits, whoo hoo!) and had a third mile of incline walking (to prepare to run uphill). Unfortunately it is nearly 10PM and my son is not yet asleep. He peeked in to say hello during my second mile, which proved to be agitating. I ignored him and he eventually went back to bed. Thankfully the frustration pushed me to stick with the treadmill to do the third mile. I'm now feeling less disturbed and centered and was even able to calmly tuck-in the little goober for a 4th (and FINAL) time tonight. He seems to be settled now so I can grab a shower and read a few pages before turning into a pumpkin!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Take 4

I reported earlier that I did not get in a run this morning. That doesn't mean that I didn't get in a good workout, though! I had the honor of escorting four children a good half mile or so (I'll check the distance tomorrow on the way to pre-school) from our house to the park at the top of a fairly decent hill. This would be a great time to mention that the four kids were all under the age of 4. I'm sure some of you are cringing right now at the thought of it, but the following things helped:
- they all "got their snack on" prior to leaving the house (full-bellied children are generally happy children)
- the three-year-olds visited the potty immediately after the snack and before the departure
- the one year olds like the double jogger and were good passengers, both being more laid back than their older siblings
- each child had a drink in a desireable/distinct cup
- graham crackers were dispersed upon arrival to refuel the three-year-olds who made the trek by foot (I wish I had my camera with me, b/c the four of them sat on the park bench, shoulder-to-shoulder, with their drinks and graham crakers and as casually as can be without talking, poking, getting up, crying or anything - AND, I didn't plan it, it just happened naturally!)
- I had my Ergo Baby carrier with me just in case (had I left it at home, my daughter would have insisted on being carried and the three-year-olds would have duked out who would get to ride in the jogger - but, it works just like an umbrella - bring it and you won't need it!)
- the two kids who aren't mine were retrieved AT the park, enabling my son to ride home next to his beloved sister
- I brought extra hats, so when my son's friend wanted a hat, too, I was able to say, "Look at this cool hat - it's striped like your leggings - what do you say?" and she went, "That's a fun hat, it sure is nice of him to share it with me." Whew - this gal knows more about fasion at the age of three than I can even hope to know before I die, so I wasn't sure if she'd go for a BOY'S hat!
- the temperature was "just right" for these four little goldilockses - nobody got too cold or sweaty
- the park has a porta potty!
- we played for about an hour
The trip was just what the kids needed (my son "opted" not to take a nap this afternoon) to wear themselves out for a good night's sleep! So far, so good (knock on wood!). Tonight I sleep! Tomorrow morning I shall wake the treadmill from its slumber and remind my body of how great it is to run!


Unlike the Midwest and the New England regions, the Pacific Northwest hasn't been slammed with snow storm after snow storm this year (we do feel for you, though!). We did have our share of tumultuous snow for a few weeks across the Cascades, closing the passes that connect Western and Eastern Washington, but that has passed (no pun intended!) for now. What we've experienced is the taunting of Mother Nature - sunny and beautiful (60 degree weather) days for 6-8 day stretches, followed by grey, overcast days with no end in sight for the fog lifiting, only to have another sunny day coax everyone to the garden centers for spring planting, but immediately tossing in another long stretch of gloom and rain.
Our commute to pre-school this morning left me looking for movie production crews doing a remake of the classic Brigadoon. The fog was so thick that I couldn't see beyond the trees across our street - usually I can see across the valley to the ridge leading into Redmond (breathtaking!). It really looked like the world stoped at the treeline, that if the world was flat as the explorers of old believed, the edge of the world is nearly at my doorstep! As we drove out of our town to the next, I half wondered if Duvall would still exist when my daughter and I returned home for the morning, or if it would magically disappear for a century like the mystical town of Brigadoon. I'm happy to report that our town DOES still exist and thankfully our home does, too. Nearly three hours later the fog is just starting to clear and I can even see a house on the ridge across the Valley - whew!
I'm disappointed to report that I did not get in the run this morning that I've been longing to take. While the congestion is clearing, my son was restless with busy dreams last night from 10:30 (I was nearly asleep) until about 12:30 (I reassured him and tucked him in at least 6 different times). At one point he had me promise to share the apples with him, leaving me quite curious as to WHAT was going on in his dreams. He did wake up cheerfully this morning, so I have high hopes for a pleasant day and good sleep tonight.  Tomorrow is another day - and the running clothes are already ready!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Working Mom-style in March!

This time change thing is wreaking havoc on my mornings. Or maybe it is the middle of the night childcare that I've had to do with the kiddos' stuffed noses. Or maybe the fact that once I'm up with the kids I can't turn off my brain to go back to sleep. Hmmmm . . . I think it is the combo of the three that has definitely done me in!  Last night I did finally stop staring at the ceiling to read a few chapters of a book. I'm about half way through it now and will probably finish it tonight. I wish I could remember what it is called to report about it, but it is really just a fluff read - one of maybe 3 titles I haven't read that are hanging around the house.
I haven't run since I posted about my husband's challenge. That reality leaves me a bit sad and frustrated, but then I think of the accomplishments and life events that have kept me from running and I feel better. It's almost like the 12 Days of Christmas song (feel free to hum along - my son would!):
I haven't run for 3 days, but that is all because:
- 12 hours of no sleep
- 11 snotty tissues (grossly under exaggerated for the "song's" sake!)
- 10 mugs of hot tea
- 9 phone calls returned
- 8 review books sent out
- 7 emails lingering
- 6 meals a makin'
- 4 dozen emails
- 3 loads of laundry
- 2 sniffly kids
- and a husband on a business trip!
My clothes are set out for a run first thing in the morning on the treadmill. We've all been sleeping until at least 7:30 this week (WAY late to be out the door by 8:10 for pre-school!), so if I get up around 6:30, I SHOULD be able to knock out a good run (3 miles, I hope!) before the sniffly ones wake up and we have to get ready for our day. Since it is just 9:30 now and I'm heading straight for bed and a few quick chapters, this plan is do-able!!!! 

Monday, March 10, 2008

Running . . . noses

So today I'm the full-time caretaker of 2 runny noses. My son climbed into our bed at 6:30 this morning (felt like 5:30 with the time change!) struggling to breathe through his clogged nose. Over the course of the following hour I helped him clear his nose about 4 times before we finally just got up and I had him take a steamy shower. It really helped, but I'm still keeping him home from pre-school today to keep things low key and give his body a chance to recover. He even agreed that it would be a good idea to stay home today and rest - and this kid LOVES going to school!
Little sister has been battling the runny nose for 2 days now. I initially thought it was teething related (tooth #9 came through last week, and I think #10 is about to surface!), but now that Big Brother has it, I'm fairly certain it is a cold. She slept for 12 hours straight (I'm a bit jealous, to be honest!) and is less cranky than yesterday, but still in need of a tissue-holding vigilant mama. She had her first taste of lemon tea this morning and seemed to like it - since it was warm, I'm sure it felt good on her little throat.
I'm drinking tea today, too, to help ward off any germs and keep my own nose and throat healthy!  I'm ready for winter to be over so this cold/flu stuff can be on its way!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I've been put to a challenge!

So my husband (he's 6'4" and FIT), thinks that if I put my mind to it that I can run faster than he does (can you hear me laughing as I type this?). He's told me this a few times in the past year and each time I have little to say other than, "Really?" while scrunching up my face and sticking out my neck like a turtle (as if this will somehow express my bewilderment more emphatically).
I think his point may be somewhat valid, though not completely within the realm of possibility. YES, I do think that it is time to turn up the heat and get this bod moving faster than the gentle 10 minute miles I tick off on the treadmill (I'm pretty sure I run faster on the pavement, but that's because when I run outdoors I'm usually with my husband!). I'm not quite sure that this is going to be the year that I shave-off 3 mintues/mile, though. So, to bust out of my monotony, kick myself into gear, and see if my husband is onto something, I ran a faster mile yesterday (instead of a slower 2-3 miles like I've been doing this winter). I did the first half mile at a 9:31 pace and finished the mile at 9:12. It felt good yesterday AND I still feel good today! 
So, I'm officially moving out of the boring, safe zone I've been navigating for far too long. I'm ready to find a plan that will get me on the right track for a 10K in early June (Duvall Days) that will also help me realize the strength and speed that is hiding inside me. I might not beat him to the finish line of that race, but my husband won't have time grab a post-race snack AND take a turn in the port-a-potty (Honey Bucket, loo, Johnny-on-the-spot . . . whatever!). He'll just have time to pick one!
Look out, Love - I'm ready to run!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Do Not Attempt This At Home!

I did a very dangerous thing last night - I sniffed a basket of laundry to see if it was clean or dirty. Wait, I haven't gotten to the dangerous part yet - the basket was filled with (insert your own favorite scary music here) . . . running clothes (*gasp*!!!). I'm not sure what posessed me to make such a careless sniff, but it happened. I was attempting to get caught up with the laundry while the kids were at my parents' for the night. It is much easier to cart the clothes up and down the stairs without children in tow and fold the clothes without having piles knocked down and strewn across the floor. The problem was that there were three filled baskets of clothes in front of the washer and dryer and I didn't know which were clean or dirty.
I suspected they were all clean, but couldn't clearly remember when the loads had been finished (if they had!). So, without thinking, I leaned in and sniffed each load. Towels - clean. Darks - clean. So far, so good. Running clothes (my husband and I both run, so you can imagine how ripe a load of running gear can get over the course of a few days) - clean. Whew! As soon as I confirmed that they were clean, it hit me what a crazy choice that was! That could have been a horrific experience. Beyond bad. Worse than changing diapers bad. I could have passed out!
My gasp at the realization that I had miraculously escaped danger of rank, sweat-drenched shorts, shirts and socks alerted my husband, who immediately called out from the nearby computer room - "Is everything okay?" I reported my carelessness and he responded, through a repressed laugh, "What made you think THAT would be a good idea?"
So, this is my message of warning to you all. I was lucky this time, but you never know when the tables will turn and YOU will be faced with an unknown laundry status. Approach your workout clothes with focus and extreme caution. And, please, give your nose (and your stomach!) a break and come up with an alternate course of action - no sniffing!
Oh, and let me know what you come up with, because I'm bound to need a Plan B next week when I'm faced with the laundry predicament again.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Today I was reassured that the good manners we try to teach our children really ARE sticking. Here's the exchange between my son (3 1/2 years old) and me this afternoon:
Son: Oooh, Mama, that's a nice shirt.
Me: Thanks.
S: Who gave it to you? It looks really nice
M: It was a gift from Aunt Liz and Uncle Paul for my birthday.
S: I hope you called and thanked them.
M: Yes, I did call. I also sent a thank you note.
S: Did you call when I was napping?
M: I don't remember what you were doing, because they sent me the shirt back in November when it was my birthday.
S: It's a really nice shirt. You could call them again today and thank them again if you want.
We've got the gratitude down!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

One Small Step

So one of my personal beliefs is that you can reach just about any goal (realistic ones - creative, whimsical ones like "teach my dog to do dishes" and "be President of the United States" - had to throw that in for you political folks! - tend to not fit my belief structure) by taking small, positive steps toward said goal. A blatantly obvious example of this is the goal of completing a marathon. On the simplest level, you clearly need to place one foot in front of the other repeatedly for long periods of time - eventually you'll get there. To kick it up a notch, you add some pazazz to the goal with some details like a target marathon or completion time. This makes the steps more fun to take, too. Then there's the fun of having multiple goals and working toward them all at the same time (or leap frogging with them). Life becomes a dance when you can get this moving in the right direction.

Well, enough of that crazy metaphorical stuff . . .

One of my current goals is hoovering at basic, only because I'm in uncharted waters and haven't figured out how to add a splash of confidence to quantify and qualify the goal. I want my book to be carried by running specialty stores. Here's how I'll think through tackle setting a more specific goal:

How many stores? All of them!
Is this realistic? Nope. It's more along the lines of whimsical. This is a fairly unique product and I'm one of two people on this team!
What's more realistic? As many stores as possible.
Can you make that more concrete? How about 6 in the state of WA by the end of the month.
NOTE: As it is MY goal, I have the freedom to revise it at will, so if I hit 5 within the next 2 weeks, I'll raise the bar, I promise. This is a short-term goal, afterall.

The good news is that I am already taking those small, positive steps to reach my goal! Today I visited 2 running stores and have one filled invoice! With one more store (maybe the second one I visited today?) I'll be 1/3 of the way to the goal - and these books will have a greater chance of reaching the hands of readers sooner (the ultimate goal of this entire project is to find good homes for these books!)! Hmmmm . . . putting numbers to this stuff is motivating - like it is for those of you who post your splits. Maybe I should start tracking that here, too. Hmmmm . . .

The hard part about this goal (you're thinking - how hard can this really be, Brianna? You go to a store, you talk with the manager, you show your book, you make your sale, you go to the next store . . . lather, rinse, repeat, right?) is that good impressions are made without children in tow. It's hard to sell a book if your kids are pulling the GU off the shelf or swimming through the clothing racks. Can you see it in your mind's eye? Me, too - really, ONLY in my mind's eye - I'm not THAT person! The point is . . . as a stay-at-home mom my time to sell books is very plotted and specific - and not scheduled in week-long chunks. I was fortunate today to be part of a childcare swap with a friend of mine. We swap childcare every week, which is GRAND (everybody wins!), but does make for a bit of a snail's pace for this specific goal compared to the amount of work I can knock out from the comfort of my computer. BUT . . . when I do get out to pitch the book, the steps end up being larger than what I can do from home, even making the wait worthwhile.

So, for this month's store goal: That's one small step down . . . and about 4.5 to go!


I've mentioned before that my three-and-a-half year old son is Mr. Music - he sings, plays instruments, and literally hums his way through every day. I jokingly tell people that he is an "incessant hummer". There are days that he hums lovely little tunes while he does things around the house. Other days he just hums one note over and over and over and over (well, you get the idea!). Let's just say I prefer his happy little tune days!
Well, last night we confirmed that the term "incessant" is more of a reality than a light joke. When my husband checked on Mr. Music before we went to bed he discovered that our son even hums in his sleep!  I am NOT making this up!  This little redhead literally eats, breathes and SLEEPS music!
When I was a teacher I always thought I should be paid for the work I did in my sleep. Though papers never got graded and my classroom didn't get organized, I do think that my dreams helped me work out classroom issues and create new lesson ideas. Imagine how cool it would be if the running I did in my sleep could actually improve my time or endurance.  THAT would be a great help, because I'd be able to get in a run every day that way!
Overall, I guess my son's sleep humming serves as a reminder that when we find a passion, it becomes part of our very fiber and there is just no escaping it - even in our sleep! 

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Childhood Denials and Orchids

While at the checkout stand at the grocery store last week I noticed an unusually disturbing headline on one of the tabloids. Please keep in mind that this is from memory (I didn't write down the EXACT wording, but this is darn close): "Concern for Suri Cruise grows as she is denied McDonalds and Television"
WHAT? The media is concerned about Suri's development because she isn't a regular at a fast food restaurant and her parents follow the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations to keep children under 2 engaged in activities instead of allowing them to be sedintary and watch television. The article implies that by keeping Suri away from "mainstream" pop culture that she will have an unusual and stressful childhood - that keeping her away from the media might be harming her.  Hmmmmm . . . I guess the media world should worry about my kids, too!
But, it brings me to one of my missions - pass along encouraging, self-esteem building and celebratory information (not celebrity!) that helps people be live to their potential. If there are foods and television shows, books or magazines (or whatever!) that I think will be detrimental to the health of my children, you can bet that I will do my best to steer clear of them. But, rather than moan and complain about the horrors of negative choices, I'll be teaching my children what makes our family's choices positive ones (balanced meals with fresh foods are easier for your body to digest and use as energy for your body, the characters in this book treat one another nicely and work together to solve their problems, getting outside to run around and play is fun and gives us a chance to be creative, etc.).
My trip to the store was eye-opening in a positive way, too:
Amid my horror at the implication that I'm a horrible parent (or anyone else is) because I don't take my kids to fast food restaurants and don't let my 13 month-old watch television, I was plesantly engaged in conversation with the gentleman behind me in line. He wasn't purchasing a week's worth of groceries as I was, but rather 2 orchids from the Floral Department. Now I don't usually visit Safeway to meet my floral needs (unless my son convinces me to let him pick a bunch of cut tulips for me or his dad because they're "so beautiful") so I was a bit curious about his purchase (as was the checkout clerk, who really is the one who struck up the conversation!). He proceeded to open my eyes to a vast world beyond my own little circles of motherhood, book publishing, and running. As it turns out, there are entire societies and clubs dedicated to orchid hybridization, orchid shows, and educating the general public about care and maintenance of orchids. Literally THOUSANDS of varieties of orchids exist, with new varieties being added to the list daily. As I managed to kill off an orchid in less than 4 months, I was amazed that this talented gardener has dedicated time and energy to tending dozens of varieties of orchids - and even creates his own hybrids. He was purchasing the 2 new orchids because they were a variety he hasn't seen in the Olympia area where he lives. Amazing!
It just goes to show - you never know what you'll discover while in the check-out line at the grocery store!