Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blabbidy blab blab

Just some random stuff here today, as I really don't have anything earth-shattering or exciting to share. No more visits from exotic wild creatures since Monday, and I would like to correct my error from Monday's post, it was NOT a hedge hog, but a baby groundhog. Somehow that makes me more sad, but thank you to my brother-in-law for pointing out that hedge hogs do not in fact live in North America. Thanks you Steve, I do like to be accurate, always :)

Baby Groundhog

Hedgehog

The kids are LOVING the funball! (see Monday's post) Especially Evie. So if you have room to store a giant inflatable ball (ours is residing in the shed) and a compressor to blow it up with (your arm will fall of using the included pump) then GET ONE! FUN!

We have a nose-picker in the house. Well, two actually. But only the one is causing any kind of an issue. Gross.

Sarah is still defiant with regards to the potty. I am baffled. Jason will be out of diapers before she is.

I would like to know what law of the universe dictates that every time Matt and I contribute to our IRAs, the market takes a nose-dive. Every.Single.Damn.Time. Makes me want to stuff it under the mattress instead. (But I won't, so don't come looking for it...)

I signed up to run a half-marathon in September, and now my right foot hurts & needs a break, just as I was trying to add days & pick up the pace. Anyone local know of any good spinning classes??

Matt picked up the window yesterday for our bathroom remodel! It's so cute and small! I can't wait to have that hole cut in the outside of my house to let the light in :) I'm hoping we'll have some progress there this weekend so I can share next week. (Not the window, but the cabinet & pocket door definitely.)

I'm painting the girls' bath this weekend. This was one of the first rooms done almost 8 years ago when we moved in so I'm more than ready for a change - enjoy your holiday weekend and come back on Tuesday for pictures!

Monday, May 24, 2010

An epic tale of tragedy, irony, and love

I wasn't going to tell this story today, I had something else planned. But sometimes the universe just throws things at you which makes your story gel, and provides you with a new perspective on things. So my other thoughts will have to wait for another day.

This is the story of Hedgie the Hog. With some other bits tacked on at the end, but mainly about Hedgie.

Last weekend we were zipping through yard work and I'd asked Matt to cut back the boxwoods out front and scatter some fertilizer/bug killer under them (we had leaf miners, or so I'd been told). I had just returned from grocery shopping with Sarah and Jason the following Wednesday morning, last week. Matt happened to be outside when we got back & he and I were chatting while Sarah and Jason played a little bit out front. I walked over to the front door to retrieve a package, took it into the house & came back out. It was then that I noticed I'd walked right pass a HEDGEHOG just sitting in my begonias about 4 feet away from where I was standing, and had walked right past not 3 minutes before.


I swear I thought it was dead. I (of course) called Matt over to 'handle' it. We were looking at it, wondering what it was, and then he nudged it with his foot & it kind of reared back - I shrieked (of course), and so I hustled the kids inside to let Matt deal with it. I'm thinking this hedgehog was living under the boxwoods & had been poisoned by the shrub stuff - you don't normally find hedgehogs sitting in your flowers.

I continued on about my business and put away the groceries and fed the kids lunch. I happened to pass the garage door and noticed Matt had gardening gloves on & was relieved to know the animal was being 'removed'. A few minutes later he came in and got some carrots from the fridge & a bowl from the yard sale pile. Here I am, thinking he's gotten a shovel and moved the thing out into the woods to die in peace, but no - he had this half-dead animal in a cardboard box with an old towel, some carrots and water. He then proceeded to put the garage door down with this animal in a box inside our garage. At this point I was starting to question his sanity...

I went out maybe 2 hours later to take a picture to text to my friend, who'd sent ME pictures of the adorable kittens she's fostering, and it's GONE. Lovely. We now had a half-dead poisoned wild animal roaming the garage. I called Matt up from his office (because clearly this was not my problem to solve) and we started hunting around. It wasn't along the walls behind anything, and wasn't hiding under the truck or the van, so I helpfully suggested maybe we should back out the cars and leave the door up for a while & maybe it would leave.

Well - no good deed goes unpunished. Matt backed his truck out just fine, and then backed the van out and - we found Hedgie. He must have climbed up on the rear tire of the van. May he rest in peace.

Now for those of you who have the impression that I'm a sweet person - I laughed until I had tears rolling down my face, and then I kept laughing. I did feel bad about Hedgie, and bad for Matt, who just wanted him to die in peace, but it was just a strange, surreal turn of events that I couldn't help it. And the fact that we've been averaging 6 hours of sleep a night I'm sure didn't help.

Thankfully Evie, our resident Animal Lover, wasn't home to witness any of this, and Matt had removed the evidence & cleaned up before the big two came home from school. Sarah did ask me the next morning, though, where the animal in the box was. Um, it's gone honey.

So there was the tragedy and irony, now for some love. Matt took the little kids to Costco on Friday so I could get some yard sale prep done, and he came home with 3 bottles of the chardonnay I'd tried and loved, a FUNBALL for the kids ($30 at the warehouse!), and a garden gnome for me - because I love them :)


This afternoon, after sitting in traffic for two hours, Matt took the time to blow up the funball on this gorgeous day, AND handle the 3 foot long snake I'd found climbing the shrub out front while taking pictures.

And by 'handle', of course I mean he walked it back to the woods so it could terrorize me some other day :) He IS the Man Your Man Should Smell Like.



Clearly, I've got the better end of the deal here, and I really need to remember that more. And no, even though I'm within the weight limit, I don't fit in a funball. But I had a good laugh trying!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Mom thoughts

I've been thinking about the kids, and my relationships with each of them. As babies, they really are just extensions of you - completely dependent on you to meet their every need, they don't really know themselves as 'separate'. Fast forward 8 years and they are completely separate from you. Still dependent, but separate.

Evie is completely different from me, and I don't always 'get' her. Half the time she's talking about something she saw on TV, the other half she's pretending to be some sort of animal. I can't really relate to either one. Have you noticed in some of the pictures I post that she has cat ears on?

Evie is a ringleader for the other three. Rather than setting an example & leading the others in good behavior, she tends to whisper naughty suggestions in their ears and then claim innocence of it all. Or is that what big sisters are for? (I seem to remember mine getting me into a fair share of trouble.)

On one hand I don't get her at all; on the other, she is a total pleasure spend time with, just the two of us, and she is so brave out and about in public. Evie's never met a stranger and seems to make friends so easily. She played piano in the school talent show last week in front of about 100 people or so. At age 8. I was so nervous for her! I didn't even start lessons until I was 8, and didn't do a solo in public until I was 15. She just took it all in stride and DID IT. Big girl! I do see myself in her in some ways, for example all of her Easter candy was gone in three days, and she can be as lazy as the day is long - but in other ways she's a mystery to me & I can't wait to see where she ends up.


William? The one we worry about? The one who is up before 6am to play Wii? He's a nut. Sometimes I look at him and just wonder what's going on in his head. Because I really have no idea. He's quiet - riding in the car just me and him, he doesn't have much to say, is just content to look out the window - and then other times (usually when it's lights-out time) he is just dying to share what is in his head. Now that he is learning to read and write, I LOVE seeing what he brings home from school, that little window into his mind. He talks about marble tracks a lot, and Wii, and his bunk beds were a favorite topic when they were new.

William is turning into quite a soccer player (Evie too, for that matter). I always figured he'd take after me and stink at sports involving a ball, but he really seems to dig soccer & is coming right along. Saturday morning he kicked the ball from the line all the way to the goal, one shot. Now, this is U6 & nobody really tried to stop it, but still! GO WILLIAM!



There was a time I would have dreaded taking William anywhere for an extended period of time, but at the talent show last week he sat quietly in his chair and didn't fidget at all. He's really growing up on me - today I walked downstairs and was greeted by William with 'Hi, Jen', and I've noticed that the jeans I bought him in February now seem to be up around his ankles. Is this how it happens? One day you look at them and they're as tall as you are? Or taller?

And then there's Sarah. Sarah began screaming her way towards independence around the time she turned 2. Literally. It really took me aback, the screaming, because she was so sweet and smiley early early on. Let's just say she doesn't like to be told no. She's a funny girl, she can be so matter-of-fact at times. Matt just shakes his head and looks at me like she's my clone or something.


She is such a big girl in so many ways, and yet still refuses to use the potty unless we push the issue. I really don't get it. She's the girly one of the two girls, and also a thief - you'd better keep all small boxes and tiny things locked up or Sarah will squirrel it away to her room.

Jason is still my baby :) I wonder how long I can get away with calling him that? I've already told you how I feel about him - he's the apple of my eye, and really takes after his daddy. They are two peas in a pod, even if Jason wants nothing to do with him right now. 'No - I WANT MOM.' My heart will break when the day arrives that Jason wants Dad in stead of Mom.



He's cracking me up at 2-1/2. There's an assortment of little 'men' that he has with him at any given time - little people from the Geotrax train sets; the fireman from a fire truck; a two-inch tall Mickey and Minnie; Mr. Incredible, among others. He usually has one or two clutched in a hand or stuffed in a pocket at any given time. He's turning into quite a talker, and I love hearing him role-play with these things.

So where was I headed with this? I have no idea. I guess I'm trying to say, that as babies, you KNOW your kids - or you get to know them very intimately in those first days and weeks together - and you KNOW what they need and what they want when they cry, or when they are happy or playful or upset. And then they get bigger on you and get thoughts and ideas of their own and it gets harder to figure out, until they're this big kid who, unless you keep them talking to you, you really will have no idea what is going on in their world.

I guess the key is to get them talking, keep them talking, most importantly, listen. That will be the hard part for me, as I tend to tune out the din whenever possible - but going forward I'm going to try very hard to always make sure I have my listening ears on.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Allow me to complain about food

So I went grocery shopping last week, and was in need of some Tastykakes for William's lunch. William likes to pack lunch rather than buying at school, in direct contrast to Evie. This sweet boy actually said to me one morning, 'I'll buy lunch, Mom, so you don't have to make one for me'. I don't recall ever complaining about making lunches for the kids, so I was really surprised by this, and reassured William that I am perfectly happy to make him a lunch if that's what he would prefer - but I digress.

So I'm at the store, cart full of food, and come to the Hostess/Lil' Debbie/Tastykake section. Mind you, I was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and there really is no option for me other than Tastykakes. I prefer the Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes or Butterscotch Krimpets myself (again, I digress). So, I'm scanning the shelves, scanning, scanning, and I can't believe what I'm seeing.

The tiny little Tastykake section amidst all the other desserts only has SUGAR FREE Tastykakes.

Now. I am all for choices in the marketplace, and understand that there is a percentage of the population that has a need for sugar-free foods. However, I'm starting to feel a little -I don't know what - not persecuted, I really don't have a word for it - let's just say that sucralose (Splenda) is showing up in more and more and more packaged food products.

Evie had gone shopping with me a few weeks ago & asked for pickles. Sure, I said, grab some pickles. It wasn't until I was rinsing the empty jar (because it never occurred to me to check) that I noticed SUGAR FREE!!!! on the label. Turn the jar around, and there's sucralose on the ingredient list. Sugar free pickles, who'd have thunk?

I realize that some of you may enjoy artificial sweeteners in your beverages and food products, but I choose not to, and I prefer my kids not eat it either. Remember back 30 years ago when margarine was so much better for you? Today - or at least until they removed all the trans-fat from it - it's actually WORSE than butter. I choose to consume and feed my family real butter and real sugar, hopefully in moderation. Pretty much anything that says 'light' on it you can bet has a lot of artificial crap in it to make it *seem* like the real thing.

Big Red gum was a lifesaver for me (ok this is an exageration) when I was pregnant with Sarah. I'd chew Big Red in between meals so I wouldn't nosh on food & with her I only (only!) gained 35 lbs as opposed to the 40 I gained with Evie and William.

Last year Wrigley's decided to change the formula - New and Improved! Well guess what - it has a funky texture now, and leaves an aftertaste. I read the label, and guess what - sucralose. I bought up all the old stuff I could find at the store in bulk and have been hording it ever since.

I'm also a little funny about soy flour. Well, soy in general, but soy flour in particular. I'm just not convinced that it's good for you. Anyway - try finding a bread product on the shelves that doesn't have soy flour in it. Mass bakers add it because it 'improves the texture' of the product while also amping up the protein. I've actually started buying hot dog and hamburger buns from the fresh bakery section of the store - they don't have soy flour in them, they taste great, and they aren't loaded with preservatives to keep them fresh for 3 weeks either!

So enough complaining - I actually have found some things that I like, & would like to share with you!

Costco was demo-ing these salmon burgers a few weeks ago, and they were really really good! We don't usually cook out much, mainly because I don't want to eat a 300 calorie meat patty and, while I love a hot dog or 3, I don't really want to eat them. So I'm very happy to say that I love these salmon burgers - each patty only has 170 calories, and they taste terrific on my soy-free bun with a little bit of mayo (the real kind, thank you!) some tomato, and spinach. Yum! Much to my surprise, the kids were all clamoring for one. Never expected that in a million years. Maybe next time - they had to eat the hot dogs we'd cooked them :)


Another recommendation, if you're going to have a cookout with hot dogs, Oscar Mayer is making an angus beef hot dog that doesn't have any artificial preservatives in them. They use celery juice & some other stuff. I was really excited to see that I could buy a hot dog that didn't have any sodium nitrates or nitrites in it. Yay!
Thanks for letting me vent, this has been on my mind for a while. I haven't watched Food, Inc. mainly because I'm afraid. I'm looking at what I see happening now in the grocery store, and projecting ahead to a time when I have to make all of our food from scratch out of things I've grown in our garden, or had to butcher myself and wondering if we're all going to starve? But then, I could stand to lose a few pounds - as you all know ;)
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One more recommendation - I tend not to wear eye shadow on a regular basis as it always seems to end up under my eyes, making me look like a raccoon - but I saw this at the store the other day & gave it a shot:

I wore it today for most of the day, and I have to say I LOVED it! I used the 'wet' application and was really happy with how it held up for the day. It comes in a couple different color variations, so hunt one down for yourself and give it a go!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Time crunch and some random stuff.

I can't believe, as I am writing this, that it's Wednesday afternoon. Where does time go? There just never seems to be enough of it. And I know, I'm preaching to the choir here :)

When we found out we were having four (how often do I bring THAT one up?!) my main thought was, if we can make it through the first year we'll be ok. You know, sleepless nights, late night feedings, all that good stuff. The reality of it was, Jason was REALLY REALLY REALLY easy. He was sleeping mostly through the night by 4 months, and just sort of went with the flow. Which was good because Sarah was a holy terror at 2 - this is when, if you told her 'no', she'd just start SCREAMING. Screaming Sarah is actually how I referred to her. Which is odd, because we just thought she was so sweet as a newborn! And she really was :) Time tells though, and that girl has a LOT of her mama in her!

Fast forward to now, and where are we? Sarah and Jason are partners in crime and get into more and more trouble every day. While I'm cleaning the floors, they're helping themselves to Oreos. I discovered this yesterday when I intercepted Jason on his way to wash his hands - not that he can reach the sink by himself, but at least he was trying! You'd think I wasn't paying any attention to them at all, but that's not really the case - I could hear them getting something out as I crawled around Cinderella-style, but usually they go for the pretzel rods or goldfish.

In the last year Jason's gone from two naps to one, and some days Sarah skips one altogether. They all get up between 6:30 and 7, and we don't get Evie to bed until 8:30 or 9 some nights. So I get MAYBE 90 minutes of downtime in the afternoon, and then Matt and I have from 9 until whatever time we get to bed to accomplish anything without interruption. I think I need a nanny. Or a maid :) (don't we all?)

So I haven't been by to visit any of my favorite blogs in at least a week; the piles of crap are growing ever larger, and I haven't crossed anything off my project list in weeks. I was thinking the other day though, that Jason will start preschool in just 15 months (Sarah starts this September). At that point, I will have traded nap time for 9 hours a week where I'm not tied to the house and can go wherever I want alone!

The elephant in the room that I am refusing to acknowledge, of course, is the fact that my baby boy goes to preschool in just 15 months. I want to put him in my pocket and keep him just the way he is. He's still the easiest of the four, and I'm hoping that doesn't change.

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And now for some Random Stuff. I could probably make more than one post out of this, but I only seem to manage two a week, and I've got you here now so keep reading:

ECLIPSE TICKETS GO ON SALE ON FRIDAY!!!!

Will I be going to the midnight showing? Is the sky blue? lol! Will I be seeing it at the IMAX theater an hour away? Is the grass green? Actually, we're not going to the midnight showing in IMAX, but WILL be headed there soon thereafter! Oh, and Breaking Dawn premiers November 18th 2011. Save your coins and join me in LA for some celebri-stalking :)

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One thing I HAVE been doing is scouring the interwebs for motorcycle apparel. Because I like my skin and bones intact. Thank you all for your concern about my safety, and make no mistake, I'm concerned for it as well :) I am not getting on my bike and riding - once I learn how, that is - anywhere without adequate protection. For me, that means jeans with kevlar reinforcement (Matt finds it funny, I think, that I'm insisting on this) and also a jacket with armor in it.

I've been finding it difficult to choose a jacket. It's funny - Harley has a parts catalogue as thick as a phone book with stuff to customize your bike with. Matt asked me what I wanted to do to mine and I just sort of looked at him - isn't it fine the way it is? What needs to be changed? - but the choice in ladies jackets leaves a lot to be desire, IMHO.

Anyway - I don't want to look like a cliche, and I don't want to look like a dork. I want to look like me, on a motorcycle. And I'm not really sure what that means. These are the jackets I've narrowed it down to, so if you have an opinion, let me know.

SHIFT jacket in black plaid


Same SHIFT jacket in black


GoGo Gear Racer - this one's not out yet, but soon.

GoGo Gear Military Jacket

Alpinestars Stella T-Lux (cream and black)

I was originally thinking something other than black, but most of the non-black choices are meant for and look like racing jackets, so I'm kind of stumped. I like this last one, but am thinking, after reading descriptions, that it's meant for cool weather (as is the GoGo Gear military jacket). I'm kind of liking the SHIFT jacket in black plaid...plus it's at a bargain price (but is that because it's fuggly?) See, I need help. Chime in below, and have my thanks :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back to the grind

Mother's Day is over. I can tell, because the kids are back to their old bickering selves.
For one reason or another, Sarah and Jason brought William to tears over his cereal this morning. Don't ask me why, because I have no idea.

Evie was awake by 7:15, but couldn't manage to get dressed & downstairs for her breakfast until 7:40. Once again, we were rushing into the van at 8:02 to get Evie and William dropped off at two different schools before 8:10. Thankfully we live in a small town and the schools are about a mile apart.

The one bright spot of our morning was when Sarah, first one up, came downstairs at 7 to announce that she'd used the potty. All by herself, with no prompting from anyone. Yay Sarah! Of course, she hasn't used it at all today since then, but the ball, as they say, is in Sarah's court on this one.

My Mother's Day was lovely. I slept in while Matt cooked breakfast for everyone, then flipped through some magazines & sipped some coffee. Matt took the family to church & I played hooky at home & enjoyed the silence! At nap time I tried to read but fell asleep (darn!) and then we ran a few errands & picked up take out from Olive Garden. My dreams of spending the afternoon reading on the deck were foiled by the 60 degree temperature and 15-20mph winds, but you can't have everything :)

It was a busy weekend. Friday evening after soccer practice and dinner, the kids had movie night and Matt and I went outside for my first motorcycle lesson :) I can now start it and turn it off, and go from neutral to first gear, and I actually let out the clutch and rolled forward! Of course, the first time I tried this the bike (and me) almost tipped over - thankfully Matt was there to help keep it and me upright. No more mishaps occurred though, and I'm anxious for my next lesson! (Yes, I am taking a safety class - in July - and yes, I will be very careful.) It's a lot to absorb, this learning of a new trick, and I'm glad I'll be able to practice before the class.

Saturday was filled with soccer in the morning, and then my afternoon was filled with volunteering at our PTO's 'bookfest' fundraiser. They really did an awesome job - used books were collected by donation for weeks leading up to this and then organized and sold for a fantastic bargain. There was a BBQ lunch, a raffle and live auction, moon bounces, face painting and more. It was a ton of work for the PTO and as a parent, I really appreciate all their effort!

So that was our weekend! I don't know if I've mentioned this here before, but I think Mondays are my favorite day of the week - after the craziness of the weekends with everyone home and busy with this and that, Mondays are just kind of 'chill' days for me and the little ones - Matt goes into the office (or on a trip, as is the case today) and the big two are in school, and it's just low key and quiet here. It's the one day of the week where I don't make any big plans :) And now I'm off to enjoy my last half hour of nap time before the big kids come home!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vroom Vroom!

So we're having a mid-life crisis. Or we've lost our minds. Or maybe it's just me, and I'm going off the deep end. Doesn't feel like it though! I'm excited - for Mother's Day, my dear husband has bought me my very own two-wheeled death machine!

This has sort of come out of the blue, I guess. It started back in late February - Matt wanted to get a motorcycle. He'd had sport bikes in the past, but had always talked about getting a Harley. He went the sport bike route and purchased a ninja back in early March because of the people we know that ride around here, the ones Matt would most likely ride with had sport bikes. Well, Harried Mom and Harried Dad are no spring chickens and we get aches and pains when doing things for extended periods of time. For me, washing my floors like Cinderella makes it hard to stand back up straight. For Matt, riding the ninja caused him a great deal of pain in one of his arms and the luster of the sport bike dulled quickly. Within I think 5 weeks, the ninja was sold on Craig's List, and the Fat Boy had come home to us from the Harley dealership.


Can't say that I was particularly upset about this turn of events, as for some reason, Harleys just seem a little safer. Call me crazy. Anyway - before Matt brought his bike home, there was the 'should I buy a backrest for a passenger?' discussion. I said, no, I'm not going to ride it with you, that's crazy, we'd need a babysitter. I think that changed early one Sunday morning when I was running & saw a bunch of people ride by on their bikes - one that stood out to me was the guy riding with his lady-friend on the back. She just looked kind of miserable, peering around his head to see where they were going. That is NOT going to be me, I thought - I want my own bike! (In my mind, it's also safer for me to have my own - that way, God forbid there is an accident, we don't BOTH end up in the hospital...)

Leave it to Matt to take an idea and RUN with it. Ok, it wasn't just him - we both spent a good bit of time trolling ads for used bikes & I found this one in a town not too far away in West Virginia. The more Matt looked around & researched good bikes for women, the more convinced he became that this would be the right one, and that it was a fantastic deal.
There's this little bag on the front where I can keep my license and phone,
and maybe have room for Pocket Edward left over :)


So Friday morning we loaded the kids in the van and headed over to get my new bike, and Matt rode it home for me.

Now I just need to learn how to ride it.

And then I can be just like Bella :)
Well - subtract the vampire boyfriend and wolf best friend, then add back 20 years, a husband and four kids - but other than that, yes! Just like Bella!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Busy Busy

It was a crazy, busy weekend, but so much fun I'm just recovering now!

We had a birthday party...

a soccer game...

a race...

the circus...

a wonderful weekend with my dad,
William talked about playing Wii with Granddad for weeks.
They are two peas in a pod.


...and I lost my mind, but that's a story for another day...so let's talk about the race!

I was so excited for this year's 10k race (6.2 miles) - Matt missed my first one last year because he was on his way home from Guam, so I was very happy to have him here for this one, and my terrific friend and neighbor Michelle was running with me! Or rather, after running with her a few times pre-race, I knew she'd be waiting for me at the end :) Anyway! In contrast to last year's weather which was perfect for running - low 60's & overcast - this year dawned bright and sunny with a projected high of almost 90 - thankfully the start time was 8:30 am & I knew I'd be eating my post-race popsicle by 9:30.

Me & Michelle, lined up waiting for the gun
And we're off!
Me reaching out to high-five William
Coming uphill on the final mile. This really sucked.
And done!

Funny race story, this 10k is part of a week-long festival in the neighboring town and while there are a lot of serious runners, there are also lots of people out just to have a good time - there were at least 2 in gorilla costumes (one of which was pink), girls in tutus, feather boas, and lots of pink and green to celebrate the apple blossoms. This year there were 2 guys running in jorts and metal band t's while carrying a boom-box. Matt missed me the first time I passed him because he and Rob (Michelle's husband) were so busy watching these two they didn't notice me - William saw me, but being that he's William, he of course didn't say anything :) By the time the jorts guys had moved on, Matt realized that Evie and William had seen me and taken off down the street with the runners, trying to catch up to me. Michelle's kids? Playing in the grass with Sarah and Jason. I told you my kids are different.

Anyway - long story short, at the half-way point I was ahead of my pace from the previous year but it was a pretty warm morning and this course is 'challenging' - this is a quote from the elite runners who actually run these races and WIN. I was feeling pretty good up until the last 1.2 miles but at that point it starts going uphill and it just got hard. I ended up finishing about 18 seconds later than I had last year, which kind of bums me out because I feel like I was better prepared. I can tell you that walking afterwords is a lot less painful this year than it was last :) Although looking at the pictures, it occurs to me that if I'd spent less time searching the crowds for my family and waving, maybe I'd have shaved off those 18 seconds?

I'm actually thinking about maybe trying something longer in the fall - there's a half-marathon in DC in September but it has a 1/2 mile hill at the end called the 'Rude Awakening', so that may not be the one for me - we'll see! If a half-marathon can't get the 6 pounds off my butt, I don't think anything will - and then maybe I can stop talking about it :)

A weekend of birthday cake, good food, a celebratory breakfast post-race and lots of wine and relaxing didn't do much for the numbers on my scale, but they did do a world of good for our harried family - we all had a really, really nice weekend and a wonderful visit with my dad. Sometimes it's fabulous not to have a big agenda full of 'stuff' to get done and just relax and visit with the people who matter to us the most.

Stay tuned for my story about where I've lost my mind...

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