Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monday was one of those magic days. It rained all day. We haven't had any real rain here since at least June, so it was fabulous to have a dreary, drizzly, rainy day to just stay inside and be cozy.
Sarah and Jason both wore their pjs all day, as we had nowhere to be & nothing to do other than putter around the house.
After the kids got home from school, we all had cups of tea, and plowed through a huge pile of baby carrots with dip. Sarah and Jason colored while Evie and William actually sat and did homework without complaining or dragging their feet.
I didn't mind being a mom so much on Monday - and I wonder if that was due to a shift in my attitude, or the fact that they were all being so pleasant? Can a person just decide to be happy and go from there?
The forecast for Thursday is more rain, we may get 2 to 4 inches by the time this front passes through. I'm betting that today won't be as pleasant as Monday though - as I type this at midnight on Wednesday, Evie is still awake, with a fever of 101 - she won't be in school, and I can only hope that the rest of them don't come down with whatever she has.
I guess that's the lot of a mother - you never know what the next day will bring so make the most of the one you have in front of you.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Boys are a different breed

As my boys get bigger, I'm realizing more and more that they are just different from girls. Even Evie, who is arguably a tomboy, would never do some of the things I catch the boys doing. For example, I've discovered this week that Jason has been using the wall next to his bed as a tissue. Lovely, no? Saturday morning, after sending William in to practice the piano, I came around the corner and discovered him STANDING on top of it. Apparently, this is how he's been turning on the light for the last year and a half. Go figure! Last year we had some friends over for dinner & I kept hearing this THUMPING noise coming from the playroom downstairs. William had taken the curtains I had hanging in front of the area under the stairs down there, tied them together, and was swinging on them. The thumping was his feet hitting the drywall on the underside of the stairs.

Not that this is all bad, mind you. William had his birthday party over the weekend - we had 6 boys for pizza and a movie, and then 3 stayed overnight - and I have to say, I think it went a lot smoother than it might have with girls. It seems like girls bicker more & have petty arguments whereas the boys just hang out and have fun! Kind of sounds like adults, now that I think about it :)


In honor of the overnight camp out, I served S'mores cupcakes to our party guests! Oh my gosh, these things were absolutely fabulous. I am POSITIVE that the boys did not fully appreciate them - but they were really, really amazing. At least in my opinion :) In fact, I am positive that I ate more than my fair share - Jason didn't really care for his, so I finished it for him. And there is a possibility that I finished Sarah's as well - in addition to the one I split with Matt when they came out of the oven, and the one I 'tested' once they had the toasted meringue on top :) YUM! Thankfully, they are all gone now, and I am back on the slow-carb wagon - damn you, Operation Lose 1olbs!

Anywho - if you have an occasion to serve S'mores cupcakes - fall festival, bonfire, what have you, I HIGHLY recommend these - they were not at all difficult, and turned out fantastic. Go to Homemade by Holman for the recipe! You won't regret it. I will add one note - the recipe states it makes 24 cupcakes, but you could probably do 48 with the cake batter and meringue parts of the recipe, as I had a lot left over - I ended up baking the leftover batter in an 8" pan and then dumping the extra meringue on it - Matt loves chocolate cake now and then :) - so keep that in mind, you may want to double the graham cracker/marshmallow/chocolate parts.

Happy baking! And Happy Fall! This is my favorite time of year :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life, or something like it

Another week is flying by. I swear - I don't know where the time is going. I keep thinking I'll get caught up, do some projects, sit down and visit the blogs I haven't been to in what seems like forever - I MISS reading them! But it seems as if all I can manage to do is get the kids fed, laundry and dishes done, and try to stay on top of the must-do's. Meanwhile everything else either goes unfinished or sits in a pile.
Sarah says this is a picture of me. I'm not so sure.

And piles - is your house like mine? There are piles of crap EVERYWHERE - not to mention the bits of stuff for me to repair on the kitchen counter, toys scattered here and there, and the batteries I'm finding all over the house as William takes it upon himself to change them if things don't work for some reason - I have no idea whether any of them are good or not at this point.

I was partly dreading the start of school because I knew the daily influx of paperwork was about to begin. Sure enough, I have papers for no less than THREE fundraisers sitting on my kitchen counter right now - and I already sent in William's last week. They shouldn't call it back to school, it should be 'open your wallet and give us every leftover penny'. I mean, really - half the people in our neighborhood have kids going to the same schools selling the same stuff, and our extended family is happily insulated from our begging by distance. I'm at the point where I'd like to just write a check to the various places rather than feel like I need to buy the crap I don't really want. Okay enough complaining about that :)

So we're infested with stink bugs here! It's a lovely thing. They aren't really harmful, just annoyingly bothersome in that they buzz around stupidly, make a lot of noise, swarm all over the outside of your house, and have no problem at all LANDING ON YOU. We're having a heat spell here and they apparently don't like it and are trying to keep cool on all my cool windows. At least that's our best guess. Here's hoping they go away before William's sleepover camp out Saturday night!!!Between the sudden resurgence of 90 degree weather, the fact that 75% of our lawn and a fair amount of the plants are dead, and my days seem to be sucked into a vortex of I don't know what - but I think may have something to do with these people-
- and I'm just not feeling the desire to do much of anything lately. Kind of a funk, I guess. It feels like we really are just trying to stay afloat here - doing what needs to be done, and hopefully paying attention to what's going on around us as the days race by. Fall is always a crazy time - it's back to school for everyone, but for us, 5 of the 6 of us have birthdays between late August and early November, and I become acutely aware of time passing. My baby is almost 3...
Jason wanted me to take a picture of his 'licker'

Sarah turns 4 in a week and a half...And these two - how is it possible that William is 7 and Evie almost 9? It's surreal.
I know before I can blink we will be ringing in the new year and looking forward to summer vacation but for right now I'm still trying to find my groove - staying up way too late, and letting things slide for another day that I'd rather not put off. Maybe I should get some B12 at the store on Friday :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

13.1

My children are the Devil's spawn. Well - of course I don't really believe that. They're just kids - but sometimes it seems like they are all out to drive us batty, each in their own special way. This weekend was my half-marathon, and I thought this would be a nice weekend away for the family. Because the race started so early, we needed a hotel for the night & I figured we'd drive over there, walk around a bit, have dinner, and then take off after the race.
Were any one of them particularly bad? No - Sarah and Jason behave like the 3 and 4 year olds that they are. The problem comes when you add in William's goofiness and Evie's pestering - we become a wandering spectacle of idiocy and bad parenting for all around us to observe.
Yes - I AM going to talk about the race - but first imagine if you will the 6 of us descending on this lovely shopping and dining resort on the water in Maryland - lots of nice restaurants and upscale stores and hotels - and here are my kids, using the sidewalk hand rails as gym bars, balancing on curb edging, and squabbling over who gets to push the button on the elevator or swipe the room key and open the door. Silly me, I thought it would be good to escape the room so they weren't all spinning around in the desk chair or ripping down the curtain rods, only to be tortured by them in public. Gah. One of the major disadvantages to living far from family is that there really isn't anyone to dump your kids with for the weekend so you can escape and regroup.
The Peep Store. A perfect place to torture a parent.

Ok! I'm done complaining :) Life is what you make it, right? How bad could it be with a view like this from your room?

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge is in the background, the centerpiece of the half-marathon.

On to the race! After a crappy night's sleep of looking at the clock and being kicked by Jason (the hotel was sold out & didn't have any adjoining rooms so Matt and I split up with the kids) my friend Michelle and I met at 5:30 am (o-dark early!) to catch the bus to the starting line at Mount Vernon!
I don't have any pictures of Mount Vernon, as all I had with me was my phone & I never bothered to walk over to the entrance gate, having been there before - but what a beautiful place to start the race! We waited in line with 4000 of the closest people we'd never met...
...and this nice lady let me take a picture of her tank! A group of them had these specially made - I LOVE THEM!!!
Promptly at 7:30, we were off, running from Mount Vernon down the George Washington Parkway, over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, to Oxon Hill Maryland - 13.1 miles of peace and quiet.
It was a beautiful, cool morning at the start - I made a rest stop around mile 4 and while waiting with a few other runners noticed we all had steam coming off of us, although it didn't feel chilly at all.
This guy ran the whole way carrying our flag. There are lots of interesting things at races - I'm particularly impressed at the runners pushing strollers because I know just how hard that is, I tried it once or twice & gave up. There were a couple of blind runners racing with partners at their side, people you swear are about to keel over from all the noise they're making, and those who may not appear all that fit on the outside but streak by you and finish long before you do. One grandmotherly type had on red lipstick at the start to match her red sun visor - LOVED that.

This is from about mile 7 or 8, the Wilson Bridge in the distance looking very far away.

I stopped near the top of the bridge to snap this one

Looking back at where I'd just come from

Mile 11 came shortly after crossing the bridge, and at that point the battery on my phone died - no more pictures and pace tracking - and my right knee started complaining. I really would have been happy to be finished at that point, but one must go on, right? The last 2 miles were pretty sucky - there was one final hill to get up - this one seemed even worse than the bridge - and it seems like the race organizers were struggling to make this 13.1 miles because the last mile was down a dirt path around the back of the resort before we came back down the street to the finish line.

Matt snapped this pic as I came around the corner of the building - I was so happy to see him standing there on the corner with the kids! It gave me that last little bit that I needed to get to the end.
And here we are, post-race, wearing our medals - everyone who finished got one, but my kids were impressed anyway :)
Me and Michelle - photo courtesy of her dad

So I'm pooped! And ready for a few days off. And hoping my knee doesn't give me too much trouble in the coming days. Will I ever do one again? Who knows - right now I don't feel the need to, but signing up for races is a good incentive to keep running. 13 is a long way to go though, and I overheard more than one person today saying they were feeling their age. Time will tell. It did make me feel like I'd earned the right to indulge a little bit though:

My dear sweet hubby went out of his way this evening to get me some coffee and chocolate cake, merely because I'd mentioned wanting it. He's a keeper :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fashionable Fall and Some Other Stuff

It's almost fall! Not that you can really feel it in the air here yet, although the nights are downright cool and leaves are falling from the trees - early here, as we are going through a horrific drought. I've stopped checking the weather - something I used to do SEVERAL times a day (I'm weird like that) - because it's always the same. Sunny! High of 82. Clear, low of 58. Ho hum. However - my thoughts are turning to Halloween (do you know what you're dressing up as yet? You ARE dressing up, right???), pumpkin pie, birthday parties for all my little peeps! and perhaps best of all cozy CLOTHES. Not that I need any - but I do love looking :)

Catalogs are arriving in the mail seems like every day, and one of my favorites happens to be Athleta. I know it's pricey, and not that I own anything from them, but I do love the casual/busy/athletic mix of what they sell - these are the clothes for the me I would be if I didn't have young kids! On the go, ready to roll, active and busy! They sent me an email today highlighting their sweater dresses, and well - hello, you just said my two favorite words, Sweater - cozy! comfy! and Dress - no real outfit matching required! Two that caught my eye are the Sochi Sweater Dress (click the pic!)

And the Sierra Sweater Dress - click the pic to check out the whole outfit!
Athleta also had all these fabulous boots to drool over (I think I have an issue with shoes....):


Granby Tall boot by Timberland

Clinton Boot by Off the Beaten Track

Skylair boot by Ugg

This afternoon I was trolling around Anthropologie's website and discovered this fabulous sweater:
Acres of Land Cardi

Isn't that pretty?? I love the striped top underneath it - and it's half price now!

And then there was this one, in darker colors and with a bit of a ruffle for fall - not on sale, of course:
Navona Cardi

So that's what I did today, in the 30 free minutes I had. I swear the days are a big blur of business, surrounded by good sized portions of nothing and inanity. Just a little something to distract me from my kids, and the fact that this is what William chooses to do during church on Sunday morning before the kids are dismissed to the classrooms part-way through:

Yes, my darling boy drew nipples on one of the extra offering envelopes. And labeled them, just in case you didn't know what they were. And drew a face with a tongue sticking out. And let's just say, when you ask a class of first graders to write a sentence with 'nose' in it, don't be surprised when you get back "I pick my nose". Boys. Let go and let God, right Celeste? Thanks for that one :)
********************************************************************
My half-marathon is Sunday morning! I cannot - CAN NOT- wait for it to be over! Woo hoo! I'm going to finish it, slap a 13.1 sticker on the back of my van, and never run that far ever again :) My feet are calloused, my legs ache, and I'm just DONE. I do like running, but I think on any given day 5 miles is enough for me, and I think my race max might be a 10 miler. Because signing up for races is a good reason to keep running :) So - think of me Sunday morning while you sip your coffee because my neighbor Michelle and I will be on a bus from our hotel to Mt. Vernon, where the race starts, at 5:30 am. Hopefully I'll be done by 9:30, and having a free post-race massage shortly thereafter :) I think I'm going to skip the beer tent though - I haven't had a beer that early in the morning since Senior Day in college.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bigger is better! Except when it's your butt.

Guess what I discovered over the weekend! Running doesn't burn FAT! Exsqueeze me? Of course, it's a lot more complicated than that, but in a nutshell - the harder you're working, the less aerobic your run is, the less fat/more carbs you are burning. Unless of course you're running for more than 90 minutes, in which case you are then training your body to use those fat reserves up. I guess I have my answer as to why, 18 months later, I'm pretty toned but still carrying fat around with me. Hmm. So either I need to keep running LOOONNNNGGGGG runs - which I really don't want to do - or I add some walking in here and ratchet back on the running. Sounds good to me! Of course, I'm back to really counting calories, and I do want to mention - I cut out bread last week as I mentioned in my last post, and can I just tell you I haven't been hungry AT ALL? Other than the obvious meal-time 'it's time to eat' hungry. So that's a good thing. There's actually a pan of brownies in the kitchen RIGHT NOW that I haven't touched all day. Even when Matt ate one. Right in front of me. Shoot - now I have brownies on my brain :(

Anywho - it's soccer season here! Back to (hopefully) cool fall Saturday mornings at the soccer field! E&W both moved up this year, Evie is now U10 and William is U8 - can I just say how much easier this is now? The U10 field is RIGHT NEXT TO the little playground at our park. And Matt's not coaching U10, he's sticking with U8 - we were actually able to have a conversation, watch Evie play, AND keep an eye on the other three while they played on the jungle gym. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter every day!


After soccer on Saturday we ran some errands related to a new project (details coming soon!), which of course caused Jason to doze off in the car and then not want to nap. After Sarah woke up they were pretty grouchy so I broke out the pack of Play-Doh that we were given at BlogHer last month. You'd think they'd never seen Play-Doh before! Er, wait, maybe they haven't. Have I mentioned that I hate Play-Doh? The colors get all mixed up, then it gets all dried out and stuck to the table and - well you know what I mean. Hate it. Anyway. We had one enormous set for a while that Evie had received as a gift one year and once that was all dried up I never bought any more.

THEY LOVED IT! And really - aside from the smell, there's nothing like a fresh can of bright Play-Doh. Neither of them were really sure what to do with it, but they both caught on quick. Jason rolled out lots of flat pieces & then cut them out, and Sarah made me a tiny (of course!) green 'box of chocolates'. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree :)


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