Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Quick Love Note

Archer went off to his bedroom the morning we were packing up to send him off to camp. He came back with a folded up piece of paper, "To: family". He told me not to open it until everyone was awake and could read it together. Awww!

Thanks dad for the wallet (David made a very nice duct tape wallet and surprised Archer with it.)
I love you mom
I love you Shelly
and eli I'll miss cuddleing with you
Love you aallll
from, Archer

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Because No One

Wants to be left off the Injured list... 
Eli fell down in the driveway and scraped his foot and shin. That wasn't dramatic enough so he tried again an hour later. Another Two for One! (Two scraped knees with one fall.) Much more blood, this time he was awarded a big bandage. Congratulations son!

Only one more kid to go, let's see if we can get them out of the house soon so the next injury is on someone else's watch. Any takers?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Counting Down

School starts soon - Eli is carefully keeping track on the calendar. Archer and Shelly oversee the marking of days and counting what's left of summer.

The Big Day is coming up fast, just one week until Dad and I cross that finish line. It's all I can think about. I've banned myself from talking anymore about my shins, hip, blisters. I'm already planning what I'll eat, when I'll go to bed, what I'll wear, on and on.

Shelly just slipped into the room and left this behind for me to find and AGAIN. Again I am overwhelmed by my family's love and support. Thanks Shelly. 

I heard something from Bart Yasso (of Runners World magazine) and scribbled it down before I could forget.

Never take a finish line for granted.

Never assume I'll have the privilege to do this next year, take the opportunity to do it now. Fully grab every chance to challenge myself, try new things, and drag everyone else along for the ride.

So... Are you with me? Let's do this thing! One week to go! (Ten days till school!)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Shelly Says

Shelly says she thinks her injury might be the Worst of the Month in our family. I'll give her that. In fact, I'll give her Worst of the Summer. The boys come in a close ties for second place with Most Mosquito Bites and the Two for One Skinned Knees awards.

Shelly was helping to put away dishes when I heard a clatter and then a scream. I'll spare you the gory (and scary) details, but as the story came out, I learned that she had dropped a cereal bowl and it hit her big toe JUST RIGHT. Just WRONG. I spent the rest of the evening reading to her, adjusting the ice pack, and bringing her whatever she asked for. I slept in her bed with her and called the doctor first thing the next morning.

Dr. T recommend we see a podiatrist. Great. Que phone calls to the health insurance people, doctors office people, and finally we found someone who could see us right NOW. Hurry out the door, poor Shelly hopping along on one foot. Wearing my shoe, because hers fell apart the day before in an unrelated incident.

After filling out lots of forms and waiting forever we were in. X-Rays. Exam. Secret conference with the very kind doctor in the hallway. (Do what you have to do to her foot, but please don't talk about it in front of Shelly.) And the verdict? Broken toe. From a stupid cereal bowl!!

The good news is that she'll probably only need the boot for two weeks. Also she probably won't lose her toenail. The bad news is no swimming. She'll have it for the first week of school and ballet. And after only the second day with it, I think she's sick of people asking what happened. 

Shelly, you're a trooper, just a little bit longer and the whole thing will be a distant memory! And you just might overcome your fear of ever touching another cereal bowl!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Just a little afternoon trip to the musseum, thanks to the summer reading program and some free tickets the kids earned with all their time reading. Good job kids!

We learned new things (did you know that the mamoth skeleton in the museum was found just 20 miles from where we live??). We visited old favorites (Streets of Milwaukee/Villages of Europe). Some of us got a little more up close and personal with the exhibits than we may have wanted...

See that butterfly with wings the size of David's hand? Imagine how big that thing really is... We visited the butterfly exhibit where we could walk among hundreds of butterflies, see them up close and personal and maybe one would even land on your hand! How exciting! Until... until one lands on your FACE! That giant butterfly flew right up to me and landed on my MOUTH! Keep in mind, we'd been warned not to touch the butterflies because we could so easily damage their fragile wings and legs. Do I brush it off? I can't really talk - if I open my mouth what will happen? Don't panic, there are 50 other people in the room that will witness me having a meltdown, including my kids... HELP! I could feel its feet grabbing on tight. I could feel its tongue (that's a "proboscis" for those you who want the technical term) touching my lip. (Butterfly kisses?) It WOULD NOT GET OFF. David suggested I blow on it, he tried, I tried, it hung on tighter. Finally he used the museum map, snuck the paper under each of its legs until it was on the map and off my face. Whew!

Favorite Exhibits

Shelly - Villages of Europe, what would it have been like to live there?

David - Dinosaur Fossils

Archer - Butterfly Room

Elijah - Butterfly Room. And the Escalator. We took every possible opportunity to ride the escalator. We talked a lot about the escalator on the way home, and at dinner, and the next day... David and Eli drew diagrams of the escalator and talked about how it works... Everything's an adventure!

Beach Day

We met up with some friends for a beach day, and when we got there, there were MORE friends, bonus! 

We had planned on just staying for the mornng because the weather elves in my phone said there would be stoms in the afternoon. But then... the elves were wrong, the storms never came, we stayed too long and all ended up sunburned. 

I hadn't brought much food because, you know, we were only going to stay a little while. So... My starving children stood with their sad puppy eyes in front of Willie's mom until she offered up some chips - Shelly snatched them up and retreated with her friend Sarah down the beach. Once those were gone, Sarah must have turned her sad puppy eyes on her own mom because the next thing I know, the two girls are sharing some other treat with some other family... Does that qualify as "beach bum"? Begging food off the next family down the line? 

Anyway, we finally went home where I decided we should ge a picture of the four of us together and we broke out the selfie stick. Seriously, why do I even own one of these things? And if I'm going to own it, I should probably practice a little more... I don't think you're supposed to SEE the selfie stick in the selfie picture. Oh well, we had fun with it!

Other notes:
1. The water was like ICE which didn't stop the kids but I mostly sat on the beach and roasted rather than freeze my feet off in the water.

2. We saw a BALD EAGLE! WOW! Pretty rare and unexpected for our neck of the woods. Except there are no woods here - our neck of the city?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Running All Summer

My obsession with running continues to seep into every single part of my life. Every little twinge is a question - is that an injury? Every possible variable weighed - what's the best outfit? Do I have the wrong kind of socks? Are my songs in the right order? Go to bed early so I can wake up early and run before it gets too hot. Eat spaghetti and not pizza. Eggs for breakfast, not yogurt.
This blog is supposed to be for and about the kids. Every extra second that I have on the computer is spent reading about the best training plans, diet, shoes. No time for writing about the kids. And yet I'm constantly thinking about how I can get them to come with me on the next run, drag them along when I look for better running sunglasses.
Run. Run. Run. Tomorrow I run 12. (I've never run that far before. One year ago I would have sworn I'd NEVER do it.) I just added new music to my playlist. As I listen to it, I'm about jumping out of my skin to get out there and run it NOW. In two weeks I will run 13.1 with my best running partner, advisor, encourager. He's started calling me Coach as I lecture him about not lifting heavy stuff because I don't want him to claim injury in two weeks.
Let's go! Let's go! I CANNOT WAIT to see that finish line, to cross that line with Dad, to know that we ran it together and NOTHING can match that experience - training together, achieving that goal together. Something we never thought we'd do. And here we are. LET'S DO THIS THING!!

P.S. Thanks to Mom for sending me the inspirational posters and always telling us we're doing great. Thanks to David for listening to my never ending discussion on every stupid little detail. Thanks to Archer and Shelly and Elijah for cheering us on, EVEN when you're biking alongside me and I KNOW you don't want to be there. Thank you to EVERYONE. You sure help make the journey more fun. I love you guys!!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

He's Home!

And all is right with the world.

He came home not nearly as dirty as I expected. Only two minor injuries (ask him about the fish hook and hot tomato soup). Only two or three dozen mosquito bites and NO TICKS!

The gang is back together and enjoying snuggles and laughs before a (hopefully early) bedtime. And all is right with the world.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dear Archer,

Today is your fifth day away from us. I miss you a lot. Before you left, we talked about how this will be your longest trip away from home. Nerves, excitement, planning, packing and finally loading up and driving away. I hope you're having a fantastic time!

Now it's 11:46 p.m. and I can't sleep so I checked WeatherBug. I hope you're sleeping well now. I hope your tent doesn't have holes. It looks like in an hour or two it will start raining. It looks like it will rain on you tonight and all day tomorrow. I'm sorry. I hope you can have fun even in the rain, maybe that will keep the bugs away. Maybe you'll have lots of great stories and come home covered in mud.

Last Saturday, when you were working at a car wash to raise money for this trip, Shelly and Eli and I snuck over to the post office and mailed  you a camera. Did you get it? On Monday we mailed you three postcards and a letter. Did you get more mail than anyone else? On Tuesday I mailed you a card with some jokes, did you share them with your friends? Did you have to sing a song to get your mail from the camp leaders? After that we didn't mail anything - by the time the letters get to camp you'll already be on your way home.

Eli has started sleeping in your bed. You might have to bribe him to get your spot back. You've missed out on pulling Eli in the trailer with your bike while I go running. Fourteen miles this week. We'll make up for lost time next week, what do you think? Shelly says, "Its just not the same without Archer here." 

I'm so glad for you to have this opportunity to go out into the world and explore. I miss hearing your jokes and stories and I'm looking forward to having you home. I can't wait to see your muddy shoes and dirty face and give you a great big hug and ALL my kisses the moment you step out of the truck. We'll make an Archer sandwich with all our hugs and we don't even care how much you squirm to get away because all your friends are watching. 

Can't wait to see you soon!


P.S.  You'd better start planning for a way to bribe your brother so you can get your bed back. Good luck!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Chock Full O Fun

We FINALLY went to the library to check out their summer programs. There was supposed to be something about amphibians and reptiles. Turns out the guy was sick and the program was cancelled. BUT as we all know, that wasn't even the reason we were there. BOOKS!!!
We loaded up on lots of books and even bought a bunch of old magazines they had for sale. Jackpot!
Then, because the reptile thing was cancelled we had a little extra time and found a beach to play at.
1. It is completely hidden from view and you have to go down the steepest dirt path ever. I was wearing flip flops, not great. E just sat down to slide down the path.
2. Shelly said, "It's sad. People leave all this trash here." She's right, that part was sad.
3. Eli said (as we watched Shelly race on ahead of us when it was time to leave), "Shelly's a mountain climber!"
4. Mostly the kids just threw rocks in the water while I goaded them to try to find a BIGGER rock to throw in.
5. Eli dressed himself, which is why he's wearing a sweatshirt on the hottest day of the year. I'm so proud!
Time for afternoon activities. Archer's STEM group made AquaBots or something (AquaBoats? SeaSomething? Can't remember the name...). They walked to the lake to try out their robots and we joined Archer to see how it all worked. It worked very well, nice job, Archer!! E got to try for 30 seconds too. Then he played in the water.

Shelly finished up her first week of art class, her horse drawings are all very impressive and I can't wait for you to see them!
And then, the finale for the day. The Run. As usual, E is in his trailer, Archer is pulling him along and Shelly's riding alongside. It was super hot and we were just going on a trail, no roads, so I let the kids go without helmets. Archer's last words before we turned and started down the path, "Now let's ride off into the sunset!"
It turned out to be one of the hardest four miles I've run yet with the kids. Two days ago when we were on this trail (going south instead of north), we saw at least a dozen bunnies. I decided to count the bunnies to distract myself from sore legs and any other gripes I could think of. This time, going north, there were NO BUNNIES. Instead, there were FOUR hills. I did each of them twice - first push Shelly's bike up the hill. Then push Archer's bike plus the trailer plus the boy in the trailer. There were three water breaks for the kids to fight over who was drinking all the water. There was one potty stop for a kid to pee in the grass while I shouted "chop chop someone's coming hurry up!" and (sorry kid, I do feel bad about this) pee ended up all over their leg. There was the moment when I came up behind Archer and the trailer and gave it a push to help boost him along, but instead he tipped over into the gravel (again, sorry!). Then in the last mile, as my head was down and all I could think was, "WHEN will this nightmare be over?" I saw, not BUNNIES hopping along the trail, but a dead mouse and a few feet later a bird's wing.

When we finally got back to the van, I just had to sit on the bumper for awhile and recover. My average pace was 13:52, which is pretty disappointing. But I'm surprised it wasn't worse, since it took me over 16 minutes to do mile 2, and almost 15 minutes for mile 3.

Anyway, that was
1. Maybe the worst run ever, but also
2. Maybe the best one for laughing at ourselves later? Hopefully?

After that we picked up some fried chicken and went home to recover in the air conditioned house. So. Until next time...

Happy Trails!