Monthly Archives: June 2012

I ran.


I have never claimed to be athletic. Or even just an exerciser. Because I’m neither of those things. But this past Saturday I ran a 5K. AND LIVED.

Earlier this year my sister started running. I’ve always wanted to be a runner. I’ve always wanted to run a 5K. But you know how you say you’re going to start running Monday, and then you get a cold, and you decide to wait? And then you discover it’s not really a cold, it’s allergies? And then the baby’s so cranky you can’t sneak away? And then you’re so swamped with work you have zero time for yourself? And before you know it, six months have passed and you still don’t run? No? Just me? Fair enough.

A couple of months ago, my sister said something along the lines of “I’m going to come visit you and run a 5K, and you should run it with me.” Only I still didn’t run. But I had 9 weeks. I could turn myself into a runner in 9 weeks, right? There’s something about a deadline, because I started running the next day. And when I say “running” I mean I walked really fast and sometimes I ran a little. I was using a Couch to 5K app (I was the definition of couch), and I just tried to run every time the nice lady told me to run, and not stop until she said I could stop. I made progress. I started being able to run for longer periods of time. But I also realized that wasn’t going to be quite enough time for me to get into 5K shape. And a couple weeks before the race, I got a headache. For a week. When I had tried to run with a bit of a headache before, I got a migraine. So I didn’t risk it.

Long story short (too late! {name that movie!}), I still wasn’t ready to run a 5K when it rolled around. But, good news! It turns out it was a 5K run/WALK. I knew if nothing else, I could walk that far. My biggest concern was actually overheating. Because I have issues. Captain America says I can get overheated sitting next to a lamp, and it’s true. So true. As a matter of fact, during one of my “training runs” I got completely overheated. RUNNING ON AN INDOOR TRACK. WITH AIR CONDITIONING. Good news again! The forecast was for mid-60s at race time, and cloudy.

I got some good peptalks from former non-runner, Jersey. He was incredibly insistent that I hydrate-hydrate-hydrate the day before. And I did. So much hydrating. So much water. So much peeing. I thought there was no way I could overheat. Barely 70 degrees. No sun. Even a little rain. So much water in my system.

We arrived at the race in plenty of time. Had another potty break (so much water!). Got my tshirt! I ate some weird gummy thing that my sister told me to eat. Because I’m a little sister. “Eat this.” Ok! I got my ultimate 5K running playlist, courtesy of Captain America, all set to go. I told him I needed at least 45 minutes. But to give me an hour in case I had to walk a lot more. I mean, I still couldn’t run a mile straight through, so I knew it’d take me a while. It started to rain. And then it mostly stopped. And then the gun went off. My sister & nephew took off, and I started following a small child. I knew I shouldn’t burn myself out, so I walked after not too long. And watched the kid pull away. But that was fine, because I had a goal to finish. That’s it. And a super awesome playlist to listen to. I did what I could. I ran. I walked. People clapped (that was fun – I’m usually a clapper, not a runner). And then there was a hill. Like, a big one. Because we were running in the bluffs. I said to the lady at the top, “It’s all downhill from here, right?” And she said no. Somewhere around 2.5 miles, I started to get hot. Like, face on fire hot. The rest of me was plenty cool, but my face was HOT. (Because I don’t sweat. And I don’t mean “I glow.” I mean I don’t really sweat. Which means my poor body can’t cool itself off. You know those big sweaty armpit rings? I’ve never had them. Sweatbands? Don’t need ’em. Aside from a pink face, I looked the same at the end as the start. I guess if I’m going to be an exerciser, I’ll have to get that figured out.) So I walked a little more. Ran some. Walked a little more. Thought unkind thoughts about the people who’d already finished and were now running around because three miles just wasn’t enough. Eventually, I turned a corner and saw my little family, and my sister and my nephews. My fan club started cheering for me, and I thought, “Shoot, I’m supposed to be running.” So I ran. And I finished! I thought it would take 45 minutes if I was lucky, and I did it in 41:32. Yay me!

Sure, some kid finished it in 17 minutes. But you know what? I beat the lady carrying her sleeping baby. And a few other people. I eventually passed the kid who left me in the dust when we started. And I got the same tshirt as the kid who finished first. Good enough for me. Maybe I’ll even do it again. You know, when it’s cold out.


RTT: Summertime


Here’s a little random summer update.

  • We’re into our third full week of no school. The older two spent the last two weeks at Lunch Bunch at the library every day. They go do crafts and listen to a chapter or two of a story while they eat lunch. I push Zoey around the library and load the stroller up with books no one reads. Although I did somehow get Ella to read a biography on Buffalo Bill in preparation for our Big Trip. It was nice to have a couple weeks of an activity, and it’s nice that it’s over. It really pushed Zoey’s nap back every day.
  • At the end of last week, my sister came down with two of my nephews. We had the chance to do a little geocaching, and my sister has the leg scratches to prove it. We ate some pizza. The cousins played. My sister, nephew and I ran a 5K. More about that later.
  • This week we have no plans. I mean, there are things going on, but we’re not signed up for any activities. I’ve been making the older girls a to-do list every day. It includes awful things like homework sheets their teachers sent home. Things like reading. Things like vacuuming.
  • Ella has just been begging Natalie to clean their room. “I just really want to get it organized,” she said. If she had her way, she’d have her own room. And I’ll bet it would be spotless. Natalie would not be able to find her bed. And once she found it, there would be nowhere to sleep. On Natalie’s list every day I have “Find 5 things in your room to throw/give away.” I get it. I’m a packrat. But I’ve been hit with a sudden “must purge” feeling. I took a load to Goodwill yesterday, and I’ve already started gathering another load. There’s such an age gap between Natalie and Zoey, I don’t want to hang on to things til Zoey can use them. I don’t want to have a bike in our garage for three more years before Zoey gets on it.
  • One of the things Natalie has wanted to do this summer is “homeschool” Zoey. Have at it, young teacher. So far, my less than two year old can recognize and say almost all of her letters. What’s strange is she knew most of them before they started. In the interest of transparency, I think it’s from watching Super Why.
  • We have a couple neighbor children who come by to play. They stare in the windows first. Like, for a long time. They peek in the front window. Then they peek in the door window. Eventually, they ring the bell. I probably wouldn’t notice, but I work by the front window. I’m often mid project and get scared out of my mind by a shadow to my right. Oh. It’s just a neighbor kid. And then it will be a minute or two before they actually ring the bell. I suppose I should say something. But I really, really dislike telling other people’s children how to behave.
  • In case you were wondering about the hermit crabs, Pebbles is doing well after her molting. I say “her,” but we really have no clue if it’s a girl. The only trouble is, she seems to have forgotten she’s nocturnal. I’m not sure she ever sleeps anymore. And she’s started eating the drinking sponge. Sometimes she drags it around the tank. Zoom Zoom on the other hand, just buries himself all the time and doesn’t come out. Perhaps we’re gearing up for another round of molting. Who needs a sweet, fuzzy, tiny gray kitten? Not me. But if I adopted her, I’d want her little black kitten friend, too. And I’d name them Pippa and Lottie. Captain America’s standing veto was supposedly based on lack of room in our upstairs to put a litter box. I cleaned out a closet and put a large boot box in as a visual aid for where the litter box could go. No luck. Not that I’ve been thinking about it.

And that’s what I’ve got for this week. More random at Stacy’s.

RTT: Happiness


Here’s a few random things that make me all kinds of happy:

  • Driving 3 hours one way to celebrate the 15th anniversary of good friends, and then driving home. Let me tell you something, when your pre-teen goddaughter calls to invite you to a surprise party for her parents, you just say yes. Captain America is running the soundboard at our church until Jesus returns, so he wasn’t able to come with us. But I’ll be darned if I didn’t load up 3 rock star travelers and have a great day. Sure, we had to stop 3 times on the way home, but we weren’t in a hurry. Sure, the baby missed her nap until we were 30 minutes from home, but she did remarkably well. I mean, for a toddler, she did fantastic. It was such a fun day, and gave me hope that we can travel and do things again.
  • One of the best parts about leaving town is coming home. There’s a several mile descent through the river bluffs into town, with a view of the Mississippi (and several rivers that join it here). The sun was just starting to lower behind us, giving everything a yellowy glow, and it was gorgeous. Then we cross the bridge over all those rivers from Minnesota to Wisconsin. You know something crazy? I have always had an amazing drive home. My hometown of Lake Wobegon has a beautiful downhill drive in, overlooking Minnesota’s 13th largest lake. I lived in Duluth, which has a similar downhill drive into town, overlooking Lake Superior, the canal, and the lift bridge. I don’t think I could live in a town that you just drive into. It needs to be sort of majestic. A feeling of arrival and welcome. That’s what feels like “home” to me.
  • My little readers. I can’t tell you how many times I start hunting around the house for Zoey, only to find her sitting in the rocking chair in her room with a book in her lap. The older two love the library, and always want to bring home stacks of books.
  • Coffee. I recently discovered that it’s espresso that makes me feel sick, not any coffee. So some days I’ve been having a cup of plain old coffee with a yummy chocolate caramel creamer. I make it in a sad little coffee pot I found in my mom’s garage. I feel like a college student. But it tastes good, and I don’t feel bad.
  • Libraries. This summer is all about the library, and it does not hurt my feelings one bit to wander around looking at all the books and wishing I had no job. I like to look at the cookbooks. The travel books. New novels. I like to just see what book’s spine jumps out at me. I like to load up on books for the girls that they will never agree to read, and think about what I can hold over their heads to MAKE them read them.
  • Friends. I have great friends. People I love spending time with, and who make me laugh. New friends who I have so much fun getting to know. Old friends with millions of memories, who always know what I mean. Friends who I may never see anymore, but always seem to know just when it’s time to send me a note. I’ve been incredibly blessed in the friend department.

Now I feel all happy just having written about it. If you’re looking for more random, head over to Stacy’s.

Summer Break. Week 1.


With just a half day left today, I thought I’d give a little update on the summer. I don’t really count the weekends, because that’s not me trying to survive 3 children (including 1 toddler and 2 pre-pre-teens) while working my little freelance business and keeping the house from crumbling around me all by myself.

After a half day for the last day of school on Tuesday, Summer Break began. We celebrated the last day with our traditional ice cream run. Only this year it was courtesy of the drive through, so we could get Zoey home to sleep. On our way home, a friend of Natalie’s called and Natalie ended up heading to the pool with her. We didn’t see her again until 8:30 pm, much to Ella’s dismay and boredom.

Wednesday I think there was movie watching, park playing, and then a friend of Ella’s came by a couple of times. There was some sprinkler running, and a spontaneous neighborhood water fight.

Thursday we went geocaching. Let me pause for a moment, to say how stinkin’ fun the geocaching was. We had 4 moms and 9 kids. Two were experienced geocachers, and two of us were newbies. Finally an activity that is equally fun for grownups & kids. I highly recommend checking it out – You can get a fancy GPS (the kind for your car don’t work), or you can get a phone app for $9.99. There’s also a free intro app if you just want to test its funness first. We spent about 2 hours out on a bike/walking trail, and found 3 caches. It wouldn’t take so long, but we had quite a few little ones and had to stop for things like moving worms to safety. I was glad to go out with people who knew what they were doing, because I would have given up on two of those geocaches mighty early. I have a feeling we will be enjoying this quite a bit this summer. Bonus: All 3 girls were totally starving and wiped out when we got home. Drawback: It was a lot harder to convince the girls to do some chores in the afternoon, because they were still worn out.

Today is another sprinkler day. You know what’s crazy? One of my most despised school year duties is lunch packing. I think next year they’ll be on their own. What’s the #1 lunch request in the summer? “Will you pack me a lunch like for school?” They are currently eating al fresco while taking breaks for more sprinkler running. Ella had me come out to watch her do pushups over the sprinkler. Natalie was watching in a lawn chair. “She cracks me up with this stuff,” Natalie said. I’m hoping that leads to an afternoon of quiet, worn out children.

Because do you know what I HAVEN’T done this week? WORKED.

On tap for next week: Library summer program. It’s an hour long over lunch. More lunch packing! Yippee! And I’m thinking a little geocaching will be in order. Because as my friend Opal would say, I’m completed adorkted to it.

End of school year gratitude


Today is the last full day of school. While I’m excited to stay in our jammies longer in the mornings, I’m sure I’ll be needing more grateful lists once the bickering starts. Which will probably be tomorrow afternoon.

So today I am thankful for:

  • John Mayer’s new Born & Raised album. LOVE.
  • A new freezer in my basement, which means the old one can move out of my garage so that all of the bikes and strollers actually fit WITH ROOM FOR THE CARS.
  • Another year of really great teachers, at a school we love. We have been ridiculously blessed in the teacher department every year so far. It was sweet to hear what my girls wanted to get them to say thank you. Ella thought her teacher should get a PetSmart gift card, and some bottled Starbucks Frappuccinos. “She drinks one every day!” “With a PetSmart card, she could get some treats for her dog, Joy!” Natalie thought her teacher should get a Target card. Well. Who can argue with that? I mean, who WOULDN’T want a Target gift card? For a strange coincidence, both of the girls’ teachers are retiring this year. Which means they’ve spent the last month or so sending random things from their rooms home with the kids. While I haven’t been too pleased about some of it (more stuff to litter the bedroom floor), they’ve also come home with stacks of books. Books I hope they read.
  • A molting hermit crab. The alternative is that she was dead. Instead, she molted. Hermit crabs don’t molt like snakes. It’s not a thin, clear skin where you say, “Ah, it molted.” No, it loses its entire exoskeleton. So it looks like the hermit crab died. Only there’s still a tiny pink crab inside the shell. After a hermit crab molts, it eats the old exoskeleton to get enough calcium to make the new skin. I think Captain America is rethinking his stance on a dog.
  • Sunshine.
  • Summer reading program at the library. I like the actual program well enough, but my favorite thing is the book log. Fill it up with books you’ve read all summer long, and get little prizes every week. At the end of the summer, use your tickets to buy a bigger prize. It’s all it takes to keep my kids reading. And this year, it will force Ella to read more challenging books, which I’ve been trying to accomplish for years. They have different logs for different reading levels. This year I got her the one where the books need to be at least 100 pages. She’s been reading chapter books, but they’re pretty easy. She’ll sometimes read a couple a day. So I’m excited that it will be a tiny bit more challenging.
  • Zoey’s improved shopping skills. Instead of screaming bloody murder the whole time getting groceries today, she kept giving me hugs and greeting everyone we saw. “Hi! How’re you?!” “Bye!” It was fantastic, until she got bored at the end and started taking things out of the cart, asking, “Called?” and then throwing them back in the cart. I had to make a pit stop to move all the bread to underneath the cart, so it wouldn’t be squished. She was a little enthusiastic in her toss back.
  • Only one lunch left to pack. Special thanks to the fine people at Smuckers for making Uncrustables. Without them, I would have lost my mind spreading PB&J at 8:05 every morning.