Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tia the Season

2 trips to Target
2 trips to KMart
100 trips up and down the stairs to the basement
2 injuries
9 hours over 2 days
1,300 lights
250 ornaments 

The tree is up! Thanks to Superstar Shelly for taking the lead on this project and seeing it through to the end!

And thanks to David for the tireless assembly and lighting. Merry Happy Christmas season is here!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

First Wonderful Snow

Today is our first snow of the season. It started last night, actually and its a full-out blizzard with wind whistling through the door and snow whipping around outside. Last night Shelly and I went grocery shopping and OF COURSE the ENTIRE CITY was at that one grocery store. Big storm looming, holiday approaching... I'm surprised we even found a place to park! When we left, I told Shelly it was like Disney. "What? Disney is a grocery store?"  Everywhere you walk is crowded, can't move around without bumping into someone, waiting in long lines for hours on end. I don't think she believed me.

Anyway, today there is this beautiful storm blowing around outside, and here we are inside, all on our own activities and it seems sublime. Perfect. Kids are playing at their own stuff, I'm cozy on the couch reading a book and enjoying some warm tea. Shelly's writing on her blog. Archer and Eli are playing Monopoly and I hear Archer explaining the nuances of trading properties as they go through the game together. The ELECTRONIC version of this game is a LIFESAVER! I may have to permanantly hide/retire the "actual board and colored paper money" version of this game. When the thousands of dollars of collered bills come out there's always some disaster in store.

So why am I making a point to tell you about this? It seems like so often, in this perfect little house of ours (which is plenty big for five people), someone is always under foot or getting on someone's nerves. There are so many reasons to argue. But today. ALL DAY so far (and we're already past lunchtime!), there has been NO arguing. On a day when we're stuck inside, I haven't made up any rules about what rooms each person has to stay in/out to avoid the other person who also needs to... Whatever. We're enjoying each other's company. And that makes it a perfectly PERFECT snowy day!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Another Runner in the Club

What happens when your Mom and Grandpa get completely crazed / consumed / obsessed with something for six straight months where everything in their lives revolves around that one thing? Run Run Run diet training shoes times map app run run distance pace map my run sweat run hot run cold jalapenos wind  dairy pounds motivation blogs texts shirts professionals longer faster off day good day you can do it run run run. I'll tell you what happens: The kids who have been listening all along, decide that they want to join in the fun!

Archer joined cross country as part of JAMS 6th grade / middle school. Parents and grandparents are now cheering him and his team on at their weekly meets. Run fun run fun fun. So now there is one more person to join the conversations on runs, race strategy and planning, shoes etc. He ran a 9:53 last night at their meet and had a very strong finish. (I think partly because we scared him when we started yelling/screaming at him, that he was trying to get away from us.)
Shelly has let us know in no uncertain terms that she is disappointed with her Mom and Bampa for not including her in our run outings. I mean, how long is a kid supposed to listen to the adults talk about their fun before they get to join in? One day she ran over a quarter mile with us in just socks, no shoes, trying to join our fun. We sent her home and then felt badly about it for the rest of our 5 mile run. So tomorrow, we start a family run that includes Shelly and hopefully, we will make that a regular fun run outing too. 
Moral of the story: If you want to keep the fun to yourselves, don't talk about it in front of the children.

 ~ Bampa
Thanks for the guest post, Bampa! All I'll add is - my heart swells with pride and joy when my son talks about how sore he is, how he encouraged someone at practice today, when I see him pushing so hard to get to that finish line and then as he gets closer he pushes even HARDER. GO ARCHER!!!
AND Come on Shelly! I can't wait to run with you!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I Think I Need a Personal Assistant, or Maybe Just a Tissue

It would be great if someone could help me manage all the different schedules I'm in charge of...

We are FULLY immersed in school now. Last night David said the return to the routine had gone very smoothly. We discussed how its not really new to me anymore, not many surprises and we just slip right back into it. Kind of.

The difference this year is Archer and Eli are both at new schools. They've done very well adjusting and I'm proud of everyone for their great attitudes. We are, of course, busier than ever.

Archer is still in Scouts, every Monday. He's also decided to join the Cross Country team at school (yay!). That's Monday through Thursday. He gets home after 5:00. Yesterday was his first practice and he wore my old running shoes (they're at 600 or 700 miles by now, worn out?). He came home exhausted - not only did they run, he walked a mile and a half home with a 20 pound backpack. I guess I'll be picking him up after practice from now on.

After missing a week of ballet, Shelly gets to officially start this week. She's gotten rid of the boot and she's ready to go! That's every Thursday.

Eli has gotten the hang of riding the bus and asks me many times each morning, "Is it time to go yet?" We hang out at the corner picking dandelions and making wishes. I hug him so many times in the morning, loving his warm little body against mine, a little sad for the time slipping past us and the time we can't go back to. My little boy, so grown up with so many stories and things to share. He told me today, "I know you're going to do all the really fun stuff when I leave!" I'm not sure what he's imagining, but here I am at my desk, working on emails, wishing he was at my side with his truck delivering random stuff to my feet. Or with his pockets full of tools asking what needs fixed, because he's the Builder Man and he can fix anything for me. Or am I hungry? He just opened up a restaurant called Peanut Butter and Jelly, but he can make anything else too.

Yesterday when we walked to the bus stop, I watched Eli and tried to remember when Archer and Shelly were that small, just starting out in 4K. So confident and stepping out into the world, onto the bus, on their own.

Maybe we've all started back up with the school routine, and maybe we're all getting pretty good at it. But maybe I'm also wishing I could just slow it down a bit, remember those single moments of holding their small hands. Maybe I'm a bit sad that Archer doesn't ask me to help him blow dandelions to make wishes anymore. Shelly doesn't want me reading to her or picking out books for her, she's got her own ideas about what she likes. She won't let me braid her hair and definitely not ever tell her what to wear.

I guess for now I'll just hold Eli's hand as we walk to the bus stop, wave him off and wait for the tribe to return home to me at night and share their stories.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


First day was yesterday for Arch and Shelly, they came home with good reports and stories and yes, HOMEWORK.

Shelly packed a special lunch so she'd be allowed to sit at the Peanut Free lunch table with her friend. She was asked "only about 95 times" about her foot.

Archer went to the wrong classroom only once all day. Figured out the locker combination right away but forgot which locker was his. Found a Minecraft book on the top shelf of his locker - bonus!!

Sounds like they both got off to a great start. Today it's Eli's turn. Last night he said he was nervous. Today he keeps asking me when we can go. "I just want to leave you now!" Ha! I'm glad he's ready to go!

Archer, why can't you smile nice? You're going to regret that someday!


Yes he wore his boots for the pictures yesterday. Hopefully we can track down some shoes today before its time to go.

I thought I was a pro at this First Day of School stuff, this is our 8th year of it. But I'm feeling pretty torn today. My baby is going to climb on a big scary bus and ride off alone. Sigh. Have fun Grahammy, I'll miss you, but I can't wait to hear your Spy Report on everything you see today.

Goodbye Summer, hello School!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Badgerland Striders HALF MARATHON!! Our FIRST!!!

Tried to go to bed early last night. Fell asleep around 10:30?
Woke up at 2. No going back, laid there for two hours. Considering I don't feel nervous about today's activities, my sleeplessness sure says otherwise. 
I'm giving up on bedtime and moving on. By the time I cross the start line I'll be ready for lunch...

And now for the good news: Looks like it's going to be a wet start to the day!

Bring it on!

Kids awake and dressed, kind of. 

Promises of granola bars later mean they can skip breakfast now.

Roll out

U-turn for for forgotten water bottle. Doh!

Meet up with the rest of the team

Arrived on location. Monsoon in full force.

3 trips to the porta potty, start feeling nervous. Check the weather app 100 times to see when the rain will stop. Change into dry socks, running shoes on, ready to go. REALLY feeling nervous. Rain has slowed to a mist. Re-tie laces. Join the crowd at the start line. Did I mention I was feeling a bit nervous at this point?

I don't even know why I was nervous, I KNEW we would be fine, we would cross the finish line together. We had trained and talked and prepped all we could. We were READY.

8:00 GO!

Everything now is based on miles and not the clock. The trail was crowded for what felt like a long time. At least the first mile? Just before we saw the 1 Mile sign Shelly was waiting. "You've done the whole half marathon! You're about to cross the finish line!" She made all of us crazy runners smile and Bampa proudly proclaimed,"that's my granddaughter!"

She was right - around the bend we crossed the finish line. We looped around the park and over the finish line again before turning to the long stretch south.

Everyone around us was so happy! Maybe that's why we flock to these events, all of us in this club of runners. We run on our own most of the time and it makes us feel good so we keep doing it. Today, we got to be in a crowd of happy, smiling people who encouraged each other. Shouted positive stuff at strangers and then turned our eyes forward again to continue on our journeys.

I think it was about 4 miles in when we headed south. This was a long stretch of paved trail where we occasionally dodged puddles and mud. Mostly, though, it was clear. 

The first runner in the pack passed us somewhere along here, going back the opposite direction. He finished an hour before us and I'm guessing he was running twice as fast. Just stay out of his way. ;)

There were some small hills but nothing too major. Every time we were going down someone would buzz past us. There were a few walkers going up. I kept my stride short to control the descent, and we didn't walk up.

I had come up with a list of things to talk about with Bampa and as we ran, I started going through. Wrote the initials on my arm so I wouldn't forget the list...

(VSBIM. Secret code. Supposed to end with an N, but it was late and I was delirious when I wrote it.)

Each thing took a mile or two as we stretched out every possible angle on the topic. This took us all the way to 11.5 miles when I asked if he wanted the next topic on my list. (Next one was "I" in case  you were wondering.) "I just want to see the Mile 12 sign," he said, and that was it. Our only focus was the finish line. There was a lot of self talk - Pick your feet up! I can DO this! I WANT this!

And then, Mile 13, "We're right there! We're THERE!" And we finished together, and I went through the finish, had a medal hung around my neck, stepped off to the grass and turned to Dad. We grabbed each other in a giant hug and I just kept saying, "We did it! We did it!"

And that was one of the best days of my life.  Not possible without the incredible support of David (our chaperoini).

Thanks to all.

13.1 miles

Love that I get to proudly display my mileage acheivement. Not so sure about what to do with the shirt, though... It'll be hard to wear that and feel proud of myself!

Aftermath of wet socks and shoes from the wet road and grass. Everyone's feet were white and wrinkly by the time we got back to the van to head home.

Home in time for lunch, quiet time while the kids play games, my first ice bath (only really bad for the first 5 minutes, then just kinda bad till your toes are frozen), then maybe a nap. Bliss.

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!