Thursday, November 24, 2011

Oh what a day.

Happy Thanksgiving! I love Thanksgiving. It is kind of the perfect holiday in that it isn't full of buying stuff-- except food-- and you get to spend a fun day with friends and family. For the past few years we have spent Thanksgiving at the home of friends we love. My husband has known them for most of his life (and I have known them for as long as I have known my husband) and all of our kids are about the same age. It is such a joy to see how much has changed every year while also having so much about the tradition stay pretty much the same. The food is always amazing, the kids are always loud, the grown-ups are always laughing. So perfect.

Today, though, we were hit with a couple decent sized annoyances before we were able to enjoy ourselves. This morning I took the family dog running with me, which I have never done before. I figured she needed the exercise since we would be gone all day and I knew it wouldn't be a fast or long run for me. Just past my turn around point a couple with two dogs came past and my dog tried to lunge at them. I held her leash short and she reared up on her hind legs, in the process I lost my footing on the wet asphalt and came crashing down. I scraped my left thigh and elbow pretty good and sat on the ground stunned for a moment before I started crying. I freaked out because my piriformis muscle on that side had been in a lot of pain for a few days and I immediately thought I was toast after the fall. I got up, brushed myself off and limped home. The verdict is still out on how much damage I did beyond the road rash/bruising/swelling, but hopefully it isn't as bad as I imagine.

I was pretty sad/mad/annoyed with the whole thing and had to muster up some energy to carry on with the rest of day. I started to realize it wasn't the worst thing in the world (yes, I can be pretty melodramatic!) and that I had so much be grateful for all around me on Thanksgiving day.

A few hours later my family got ready and piled in to the car. It had been making a bad noise but, well, we were getting used to random bad noises with the car. It was concerning, but didn't overly worry us. On our way to our friends' house some warning lights started coming on, then it became hard to steer. We pulled over at a gas station and we finally figured out that the girls and I would take a cab to our friends' house while Matt waited the hour plus for the tow truck. What a pain in the ass. Our friends went to pick Matt up and they got back to their house just as the food was being set out for dinner. Thank goodness. A beautiful meal with people we love made the troubles of the day fall away.

I am so thankful that although the car is broken we are able to get it fixed. Despite plunking down almost a grand two weeks ago to get something else fixed. Or maybe this is finally the time to get a new car? We will see. But either way, thank goodness for my husband's job. Thank goodness for our health. Thank goodness for love and family and being together and getting through the shitty stuff but being in it together as a team.

Earlier this week all four of us worked together to put together an IKEA bed for Eloise. It took four hours, but we did it. Yes, the girls got in the way a bunch and a few little things went awry, but we did it. We worked as a team, and I am so thankful to have this team, my family, on Thanksgiving day and every day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saying goodbye to Cheddar

Last night we had to do one of those super crappy things that really makes me sort of hate this parenting gig: we had to give away Iris's hamster, Cheddar.

I don't know how much I ever wrote about Cheddar, so here is a quick background: Iris had wanted a hamster for a pretty long time, so for her seventh birthday a hamster was her only gift from us. Well, technically, the hamster cage and all of the supplies was the gift. We didn't get the hamster until late July, a few weeks after her birthday, because we were gone on a three week vacation after she turned seven.


We found a hamster who loved to be held, who was great with the girls and who was just all around completely adorable. All of us in the family grew to adore him. For reasons which we never figured out, though Iris truly loved Cheddar and was often gentle with him, she treated him very poorly enough of the time that it was getting stressful for all of us-- most especially Cheddar. We tried different things and made rules around how to handle him and talked about it with her until we were blue in the face, but none of it worked. The behavior kept getting worse and worse until one night we were scared he might have been hurt enough that he wouldn't live. That night was the final straw. He needed a safer place to live. We explained our decision to Iris and she seemed a little indifferent and then a little sad.

While I would love to hash out all of my thoughts about why this was happening or what else we could have done, I don't really want to get too much more in to it here. I think it's just one more piece of Iris's complicated picture and while she is a sweet, amazing, loving little girl, sometimes she does things she doesn't really understand, and regrets, but it doesn't stop her from doing them.

It was a tricky situation because although I would have been happy to take care of Cheddar for the rest of his days, we didn't want Iris interacting with him. It didn't seem fair to have him in the house and keep her away from him, though.

We were fortunate to have a dear friend of ours-- Iris's best friend and her mom-- take Cheddar. Although Iris, and Eloise, knew for a few days that Cheddar would eventually be going to a new home, the process of my friend calling and saying they would take him and him going home with them was a matter of a few minutes. Eloise, especially, was incredibly upset. Iris was very sad, as well, but she tends to be a little more stoic about her emotions. I am glad that after the initial heart-breaking sadness about Cheddar leaving wore off neither girl seemed to be acting any different. I don't know what that means-- probably just their own kid way of dealing with it, I suppose.

This whole thing has kind of rattled me a bit, for lots of reasons. I don't know why Iris acted towards him the way she did. I don't know if or when we can get another pet. I don't know why I miss that darn hamster so much.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Obsession

It's true. I have gotten a wee bit, um, obsessed, with running. I've been running or attending a "boot camp" most days of the week and kind of mildly sulking on my (usually forced) days off.

There are so many things I love about running-- but the biggest one is how strong it makes me feel. Sometimes, in the middle of a long run, I just think "holy crap, I'm really doing this!" and feel a lot of inner pride for pushing myself and for going past my pre-conceived limits. The other night at my running class our instructor asked us all to share what we say to motivate ourselves during a run. I said "I tell myself I am strong and I am awesome" and basically, I do. And sometimes, it's not so much in a motivating way-- sometimes it's more in the way that I am in awe of myself, like, "whoa, I AM strong! and I AM awesome! look at me!" I had to giggle when I found out that several of my classmates, including my instructor, borrowed it for their own motivation, too! We are all strong and awesome!

Though I got serious about my fitness last January, then more serious by joining a boot camp class in July, I didn't really start running until October. I credit my overall level of fitness with helping me hit the ground running (so to speak) and being able to run close to three miles right off the bat. Yes, it was a tough run that first night, but I still did it. Since that night I have upped and upped and upped my mileage so that now my personal record in one run is 5.6 miles, which is two laps of the inner path around Green Lake:


It only recently occurred to me that I might be pushing myself a bit too hard. I have had a few aches and pains, and when I research how to deal with them it always says they most often occur from overuse. Oops. "But I wanna ruuuuuun!" I whine. I am now learning the fine art of not just pushing myself to go further, but also allowing myself the R&R my body needs to recover and build muscle. Who knew you weren't really building muscle as you actively pound the pavement? Nope, you need to adequately rest in order to do that.

I looked up a 10K training plan last night to figure out what rest/run/cross-training days should really look like so I have a better idea of what I should be doing. It's helped me relax a little and know I can get to where I want to be without constantly pushing for more mileage every time I lace up my sneakers.

The other fun part about running is the whole new world of running gear! I decided that the money I made selling my wedding dress last summer would be well spent on outfitting me for running-- and that is a good thing, as running clothes (at least, the uber-techy kind) are not at all cheap. I do hit up a local discount store for a lot of things, but that will only get me so far. Now I scour websites looking for deals on fun pieces to add to my wardrobe. My newest obsession is finding the perfect running skirt (or skirts, if I can afford it!). They look so darn cute in the pictures!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Running, soccer, home school, babysitter and snow. In that order.

Oh geez, too long between updates! Things have picked up even more around here, I suppose.

Last week I signed up to run a 10K in December. Um, yeah. I signed up kind of randomly so that I would have the chance to run with a cool group of ladies I met online, but I do think I will be ready for it. Last weekend I ran 4.5 miles in an hour and this weekend I did 5.4 miles in just under the same amount of time. Since a 10K is 6.2 miles, I should be good to go a month from now! Whew! If you would have told me even three months ago that I could run for an hour straight I would have said "No WAY. Nope. I would die." and I have to admit that I constantly amaze myself at what I am able to accomplish, which is always a good feeling.

Today was Eloise's last soccer game of the season. I have to admit, I am glad. I definitely go through phases where I am excited to take on more activity in our lives, but then I appreciate the break when that activity is done. Especially with the cold weather descending on us and the lack of sunlight . . . . it's a good time of year to scale back. Eloise has said she wants to join soccer again in the Spring, which is great. She can be a bit of a, well, jerk, on the soccer field sometimes and that has proven a bit frustrating. Today, for instance, she just randomly whacked one of the girls from the other soccer team and then told her coach that she didn't touch her. Grrrr. However her skills and her enthusiasm for the game are improving, so that is wonderful.

We got a whole pile of brand new curriculum for Iris's homeschooling and I am excited to dig in tomorrow. There will be a week of school and then a whole week off, as our home school schedule follows Eloise's public school schedule. Last week when Eloise stayed home sick one day I learned that it is very tricky to do school with Iris when Eloise is home. I am sure if I got a little more creative I could figure out ways to keep Eloise busy or do a project that engages both of them, but, well, sometimes I don't feel very creative.

Iris has a new babysitter that comes five hours a week and we both looooove her. She does cool projects with Iris, like teaching her how to make little felted characters, and takes her rollerskating and plays with her. Iris likes the break from me and I like the break for a little alone time and time to do errands without dragging Iris along.

Last but not least, I am really excited for Christmas and winter to get here! I just read a weather report that said it will get cold enough for possible snow this week and I doubt there is anyone in Seattle who wants it to snow worse than I do! Growing up in Wisconsin, you would think I would have had my share of snow, but no. Getting snow in Seattle is such a treat. If snow was here for months while temps hovered around freezing, I would be singing a different tune, but a few days of being dumped on before it all melts away is always welcome.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Halloween

I hate when I wait too long between blog posts because then I have too many things to write and not enough time to write it all.

Ah, such a curse, right?!

I will focus on some Halloween activities, because Halloween pictures are always cute.

The weekend before Halloween I ran my first official 5K. I have run a 5K distance, and more, before the race, so I wasn't at all concerned about that, but I was definitely nervous about doing it in an organized run. I ran in the "Pumpkin Push 5K" at Seward Park, so the route was gorgeous and it was a truly beautiful, sunny day in Seattle, so we got lucky! I went with a new friend, and we ran most of the race together, chatting along the way. I decided to break ahead on the only hill about 1/2 way through since, well, I don't know, I guess I just felt like it. I finished the run with a respectable 33 min chip time, though I was hoping for 30 mins or less. 33 mins put me smack in the middle of the females in my age range, though, so I have nothing to complain about! There were photographers there, but I didn't order the pictures. You will just have to imagine how bad-ass I looked racing towards the finish line!

On Saturday afternoon the girls and I carved pumpkins. Sadly, all I have is our "before" shots because I was lazy taking "after" shots and when we got home from trick-or-treating someone had taken the girls' pumpkins off of our porch and smashed them in the street. Let me tell you, it really sucks having to explain to sad children why someone would smash the pumpkins they worked so hard on. I was pretty angry, but what can you do, other than take better precautions next time?





On Halloween night I suddenly realized that I was in no mood to go trick-or-treating, but once we starting getting ready (and by "we" I mean, I got Iris and Eloise ready) I got more in to the spirit. Their costumes are pretty great every year, and for the past few years they decided on their own what they would be, but this year was super fun. I present to you, Medusa and the Angel!

 Turning Iris to stone.
 I felt very "Toddlers and Tiaras" applying eye liner to my five year old.


I made Eloise's headband, though I wasn't very pleased with how it held together. I hot glued the plastic snakes to a fabric covered headband. The snakes kept coming off! I didn't know another way to get them to stay on, so by the time we were trick-or-treating the head piece had already lost about three snakes.

Last year we went trick-or-treating in my husband's sister's 'hood. Their particular hood, and house, go ALL out for Halloween. It's amazing. Hundreds of kids flock there for Halloween so it's also very fun to see so many people out and about. My sister-in-law and her husband live in a communal house with many very smart and very talented people so they put on a huge production for Halloween. Last year they did an elaborate zombie theme and this year they did a "twisted circus" theme. My brother-in-law said they gave out 1700 pieces of candy, with one piece to each child who came through (of course, some kids came more than once, but certainly not ALL!)