Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 1026: I'm Ba-ack!

I hope you read that in Poltergeist fashion.

Because it is Halloween.

And I've finally been missing my daily posting this week.  So, I'm back.

Today was mostly fun.  With a little frustration in the middle (including, but not limited to, a naughty dog eating the entire pound of chicken thighs I was thawing!), while I was trying to prepare the annual Halloween Spooky Dinner.

Fortunately, evening came and the fun and games commenced!

We had a little bit of a theme going on this year.  HH and I went as Sleep-Deprived Parents of a New(ish) Baby.  The rest were all Star Wars, in case you can't tell.

A close up on my little Princess, in case you didn't recognize her costume at first.  I'm pretty proud of this.  I made it.  For all of $3.50.  There were plenty of Joyful Moments trick-or-treating with the kids.  Sweet P and Little M were pretty excited and feeling so grown up.  So fun watching my tiny little Yoda maneuver all of those big front porch steps.  And, of course, showing off Princess Leia and even getting asked by multiple people if they could take her picture.

She is just that cute.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 1025: Relay

I ran a relay today.

A 78 mile relay.  With seven other crazy runners.  On my team, anyway.  There were thousands of people  involved.

It started at 4:30 this morning.  With thunder, lightning, pouring rain, and the long drive to the starting line.  The weather was supposed to keep up that way the whole day.  But, somehow we lucked out and the rain let up right around the time we sent our first runner off.

I didn't run until the seventh leg, so I had plenty of time to chill.  And talk and talk and talk.  Mostly me.  And one of my friends.  I only really knew two of the other people on my team.  I'd briefly met one other, but the remaining four were complete strangers to me.

Which made it not at all awkward when I pulled out my breast pump.  And turned it on.  And used it.

Good thing I had such awesome teammates.  They even helped me out when I couldn't decide which shoes to wear--Vibrams:  tried and true, but little protection on gravely roads; or New Balance sneakers:    cushion-y, but old and clunky.

I went with the New Balance for the first leg.  Got a slight blister, but was grateful to not have to worry about stepping on some of the bigger rocks, or getting stuck in the mud.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

At each of the exchange points, there was a nice (well, not always nice) spacious parking lot for us to park the van in.  And plenty of time to sit and wait, or get out and wait, or pump some milk, or do whatever until the runner came in and the next one went out.  Until mine!  Then we were stuck in this big long line of over-sized vehicles with nowhere to park.  Until we finally found a place to park.  With only a few minutes to spare.

And I hadn't yet used the port-a-potty.  It's something I have to do before I run.

So, I hopped out, ran to the back of the line, and realized I probably wasn't going to make it.  So, I began explaining to those in front of me the predicament I was in until they had all ushered me on to the front of the line.  And, I kid you not, I literally ran out of the port-a-potty and there was my teammate.  Don't worry, the p-o-p came equipped with hand sanitizer.

And I was off!

Except, I had been so caught up in the bathroom issue, I hadn't paid any attention to which way I was supposed to be going.  And because of the way the race went, there weren't very many other people at that point.  So, I spent the first little while frantically asking every volunteer I passed, "Is this the right way?!"

And then, I realized that I was going way too fast (my watch tells me my pace!).  So, I tried to slow down, but the adrenaline was just pumping too intense.  And then at 1.6 miles in, when I tried yet again to drop it down to at least 8:30 min/mile, my watch went crazy.  It died.  And then tried to restart.  And died.  And tried to restart.  Repeat.  Every 30 seconds.  Bada-Beep.  Bada-Beep.  Bada-Beep.

I thought about tossing it into the cornfield.  But, then thought better of it, fiscally speaking.  So, I ran faster to try and get it over with.

And then I was about 3 miles in and I felt like I was going to throw up.  Too much information?  Sorry.  It was a memorable day for me.

So, I slowed it down for the last mile and a half.  But, I made it in.  And still felt good about things.  And my team was delighted to listen to my watch.  Bada-Beep.  Bada-Beep.  Bada-Beep.  Every 30 seconds.  For hours and miles.  Between my non-stop talking, my breast pumping, and my watch I was rapidly moving into the Favorite Teammate slot.

But, at some point, it stopped beeping without any of us realizing it.  Until it was time for my next run.  I pulled it out.  It was on.  I wrapped a clean sock around my wrist and placed the watch over it and headed off again.  And it was a success.  Turns out it was my sweat that's been disrupting my watch function.  This leg was only 3 miles and was my last, so I let it rip.  I did it in just under 24 minutes.  Not my fastest ever, but pretty good since having a baby four months ago.  I even had a sprint finish and just barely came in before the girl who had been ahead of me.  I felt good.

I walked back to the van, sat down, and didn't move for a couple more exchange points.  My muscles tightened and cramped.  I knew it wasn't the best idea, but I was just SO tired!  And it didn't matter because I was done.

Half of the team still had a third leg to run, however.  So, I sat in the back and kept on chatting away as we continued the race.  Somewhere along the way, one of my friends began feeling unwell.  And it just kept getting worse.  And worse.  And she had to run the very last leg.  Poor thing!  We stopped at one exchange point and my other friend and I got out to use the lovely p-o-p's.  On the walk over, we were discussing concern for our other friend.  I remarked that I'd volunteer to switch, but I was way too tired to manage another 4.1 miles.

Then, we climbed back in the van and I did just that.  "Hey, if you want, I can run that for you."  What?!  But, she was so instantly grateful, I couldn't take it back.

Fortunately, there was another leg in between, so I had a little time to get out, walk around, and try to stretch out my supertight muscles.  And then it was time to go!  I felt pretty good for the first mile.  My right knee and hip started hurting from my tight muscles, but I knew they'd be okay after I got home and stretched everything out.  I was keeping up a pretty good pace still, but then my left arch suddenly seized up.  With every step it felt like it was going to tear.  It hurt so bad!  My old friend, Plantar Fascitis.  But, I still had a couple miles to go.  I contemplated dropping out.  But, I was pretty sure my friend would feel awful if I came up lame after switching spots with her.

So, I stopped and stretched things out a bit.  I said a very fervent prayer.  And I kept going.  For a couple steps.  Then I had to stop and stretch it out again because of the pain.  And I got passed by a couple people who encouraged me onward, assuming I was stopped because I was tired.

Odd side story:  One of them happened to be the guy who sold me a new pair of Vibrams two nights before at the sporting goods store.  How weird is that?  I wasn't wearing my new shoes because I'd decided not to keep them.  After trying on all of the different shoes and deciding which pair I wanted to keep, as I was headed to the check out, he awkwardly says, "Hey, I really like your jacket."  Weird.  And being the awkward person I am, I responded with, "Um, thanks?  I got it at Target.  On clearance!"  I never know when to stop sharing information.  Or how to just leave it at "Thanks."

Back to the relay.  After Shoe Salesman passed me and told me to keep going, I got back on the trail and  passed him back.  And kept going.  In the grass.  If I ran in the grass the pain was tolerable.  But, it slowed me down.  It wasn't the pace I'd been keeping, but I still managed to finish it in under 34 minutes.  My goal had been 35, so I was happy.

And finally, the end was in sight.  The entire team was supposed to be waiting for me at the end of my 4.1 miles, so we could run the remaining 0.26 miles in together.  As I neared the meeting point, I saw plenty of other teams cheering on their running teammate.

But not mine.

I got a little nervous, but then they were there.  And we ran it in more or less together.  They were in no rush, while I just desperately needed to finish, so I just kept going.  One friend came and joined me at my pace, thankfully.

Aaaahhhhh...Then it was finally over.

And we met up with families at a local pizza joint.  Unsurprisingly, Baby B instantly threw himself on the floor in a crying mess when he saw me.  Punishment for not being with him all day?  But Darling A was just all smiles and sweetness.  It was so great to see her (and everyone else!) again.  HH had done a great job taking over for a day and they'd all had a great day.  The kids had a run a race of their own with the schools and had both done a great job.

A good running day.  I'm so glad I got to run that extra leg.  I really thought I was done after the first two.  Blowing way past where I thought my limits were = Awesome.

After a nice warm shower, relaxing on the couch with HH to watch a movie (I think I only made it about 20 minutes in before I was falling asleep) was such a great feeling.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 1024: Pumpkin Patching

Today was not awesome.

But, tonight we went to the pumpkin patch.  In spite of a toddler insisting on running around naked at the time we were supposed to be leaving to meet HH.  I have to remind myself that not too long ago, even that was a Joyful Moment because learning to undress himself is a necessary and exciting step towards independence (and potty training!).

It ended up being a pretty fun night.  I had no idea how intense this place was as an awesome place for kids to play, or we would have allotted more time for the fun.  They had the whole CandyLand board, a big bouncy pillow thing, hay stacks, a castle, slides galore, buggies, haunted houses, goats, sheep, pigs, bunnies, and the most elaborate hayrack ride I've ever been on.  So many fun and scary vignettes--it was great!

You can tell how totally tired I was by the time we went on the hayrack ride.  But look how adorably sweet Darling A looks!

Tonight was totally worth the effort.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 1023: Continuing Giggles

On the way home from violin lessons, the oldest two were laughing hysterically at this song:

I am promoting neither the song, nor the video.  Honestly, I don't understand the appeal.  But, the kids think it is hilarious because they have no idea what he is saying.

Usually, I find a different song when this comes on, but when they instantly burst into peals of laughter, I decided to let them listen.  And then, Darling A joined in.  She frequently giggles now whenever she hears any of the rest of us giggling.  It was so cute.

So, I got to drive home listening to three of my children giggling hysterically (Baby B was at home with Daddy).

I really needed that today.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 1022: Giving Pause

I'm taking a break.

Things have been unraveling.  We're taking some major steps to, hopefully, get things back on track.  In the best possible way.

I hope.

But, I'm going to take a week, or two off.  Or, so.  If something nice happens, I may do an occasional post so that I don't forget the sweet memories we make every day.  But, don't look for anything scheduled over the next little while.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 1021: I Seriously Underestimated

This may be a horrible admission, but it's Little M's smarts I'm referring to there.  Don't get me wrong--I knew he was a smart boy.

I just didn't realize how smart.

But, since school started and I've seen what he brings home, I started getting an inkling.

Tonight, I got a better look into that at Little M's parent teacher conference.  Remember, I was a little apprehensive about this.  But, his teacher pretty much just had great things to tell about him.  She really likes him.  He's doing a great job of listening and following directions.  And he's one of only a handful in an advanced reading group out of the whole Kindergarten.  And he's above level in math, too.  Yeah, I'm a little proud.

Sorry for the bragging.

I'm a little ashamed.

But, not enough to un-type it.

I also had a nice chat from my little sister.  I'm looking forward to a Joyful Moment from the arrival of her little baby any day!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 1020: Baby Heads

I can't believe I forgot to mention a phone call from my mom yesterday morning.  I've really been missing/needing her lately, but I'm horrible about making phone calls myself.  So, the phone call with her was great.  And just what I needed.

Today has been so so.  Some good, some not so good.  Lots of snuggling.  Snuggling is definitely preferable to chasing down a naughty toddler, but being in physical contact with another being for every moment of an entire day (they tag teamed again), can be a bit exhausting.

Still, I'm not really complaining about that.  I know what a blessing they are.

I just gave Darling A her bath.  She smells delicious.  And her head is so sweet and soft and fabulous.  I love baby hair.

And now she's being ridiculously chatty and smiley.  So fun.  Although, she is supposed to be drifting off to sleep and going to bed...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 1019: FroYo

The kids had no school today.

This literally gave me a panic attack last night.  We somehow ran completely out of milk, so I knew I had no choice but to take them ALL to the grocery store with me.  ALL 4 of them.  Before we could have breakfast.

Because, for some reason I couldn't think of a breakfast that did not require milk until long after the milk had been purchased.

Anyone ever heard of scrambled eggs?

Should I still be struggling this much now that my baby is 3 1/2 months old?

Anyway, I finally came up with a plan for the day with HH just before falling asleep last night.  One that I could live with, but I thought the kids--who have been begging to do all sorts of different fun outings all weekend--would dislike immensely.

Imagine my relief when I explained it to them and they said, "Cool!  That's super busy.  I thought today was going to be a boring day, but it's not!"

I was confused at how that all worked out, but I wasn't about to question their logic since it ended in happiness.

So, we headed to the grocery store for our milk and picked up a few donuts (bagel for me--I am at least still trying to avoid sugar), hurried home to put the milk and produce in the fridge, headed off to the violin shop for some long overdue and much needed repairs on Little M's instrument, managed to entertain four children in a tiny space full of very expensive and very breakable instruments for over half an hour while the very skilled, but very lacking in people skills man helped us out and then took a "very important" phone call in the middle of ringing us up which lasted about 10 minutes before he could finally resolve our bill and send us happily on our way, then to the gym for a run I was not really looking forward to, but which ended up being rather nice in spite of the delightful wind, and then home.

The morning was pleasant simply because everything went better than I expected.

Lunch time was decidedly unpleasant because it was late and everyone needed everything all at once.  Ah!

But, we got through it and then the kids requested to watch this movie while Baby B slept.  Not on Youtube though.  We actually own it.  And since it's faith-centered, how could I say 'no'?

So, I had a peaceful break.  I got to take a shower and get a few things done.  It was really nice.

Then, the kids made popcorn for a snack.  All by themselves.  Well, I directed.  But, I was feeding Darling A, so that was all I could do.  The oldest three did all of the rest all by themselves.  It was really sweet to see them working together and how proud they were at the end.  It was air popped, not microwave, so it really did require a little effort. (c:

Anyway, we were supposed to go mini golfing tonight for Family Home Evening to reward the kids for being in bed by 7:30 every night last week.  But, it was a chilly overcast day, so we made alternate plans just in case.  The kids voted to go to a local frozen yogurt bar.  And although it wasn't raining, it was late by the time HH got home and everyone finished dinner.  And windy.  So, the frozen yogurt won out.

I know what you're thinking.  But, I have drastically reduced my daily sugar intake.  I've splurged a few times.  Each time I've been sick the rest of the night.  That has made it easier to resist.  So far, tonight I'm feeling okay, but I'm still not going to go all sugar/treat crazy--no worries!