Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hot confident kid video

Afraid that Ethel has gotten a taste of the fever. Bieber Fever. Send reinforcements. Send real music. I must help my little girl. Then send wine. I need to live through this stage.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hot home remodel

As sad as it is for me, we are now finally making the room which was the nursery for both kids into a real guest room/home office.  It's been over a year since we moved Fred into his 'big boy' room, and this room has needed an identity for quite some time.  It's the room my mom stays in when she visits, and the room where we keep our computer and files.  With my mom arriving in a few weeks, it was time to make this room a real guest room and home office.
The proverbial 'before' picture

Last weekend we went to The Container Store and chose a suitable Elfa system to house the computer, bills, a small TV, and files.  I chose a new bed to replace the day bed, which I've had since junior high school.  We'll get new trim for the closet, window, and door, and actually get closet doors, which the room has always lacked.  The room is finally going to grow up!

It is bittersweet for me.  This was Ethel and Fred's first room.  This is where they each spent their first couple of years, and we worked really hard to make it the nursery.  My grandmother made the little curtains and valance which have always since hung on the window.  I wish she could be here to help make new ones, but that's a project my mom and I will work on when she arrives next month, and they'll be just as special.

The walls are painted, now we need to complete the trim work, paint the baseboards, and move on to window and door trim.  This week we'll start installing our shelving.  I can't wait for the room to be finished!

Who better to help prime than the kids?!

Walls primed, let's get to the color!

We're getting closer!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother's Day run

I just had my Mother's Day run.

6.47 miles
I discovered that I am an 8:30/mile runner. Even toward the end, the last leg, with my IT band flaring, I was doing at least 8:45. How the hell do I do that?

I set out to do at least 5 miles, knowing the last route I'd taken would get me that far. I added to it, doing part of the route I did with my friend Katie* the first time we ran together (and the first time I did 5 miles). Combining the two routes seemed a good path to follow.

I checked my pace at the beginning, hoping to keep at about 9/mile so that I wouldn't tire too quickly. I was shocked to see the park when I did, and when I looked at my Garmin, it read 2.64 miles at barely over 23 minutes, showing a pace of about 8:24. Dude! I was so pleased, I threw my arms into the air and started walking in celebration. An odd celebration, yes, but, I was so pleased to not be gasping for air, thinking my legs would fall off, and wishing the whole thing would be over soon - it was such a great feeling!  Do you know what 8:30/mile feels like? Power.  That was the recurring thought in my mind as I ran this morning.

I set out to run and just be gone for a while this morning. I figured I wanted to enjoy this sunny, warm-ish (read: not snowing, raining, freezing, and above 50 degrees) morning and see where my feet took me. With my play list adjusted slightly, I took off from the house, with a gentle breeze blowing and the sun trying to warm my skin. It was really a great start.

I checked my pace a couple times in the first mile, and was able to keep at about 8:45/9. I tried to keep it there and think I did so most of that first mile. I wasn't concerned with a great time this morning, thus the desire to slow it down a bit. I was more interested in the distance and not having to walk half of it.

I did my first mile to the walking path (1 mile), then rounded the path (3/4 mile) and headed east. There's a slight incline on this route but you wouldn't have known it the way I was feeling. My plan was to turn around when I reached the park, and when I got there and saw how fast I was going, I was so darn excited! So much for slow, right? I didn't realize I was keeping such a pace after I finished the walking path. I didn't think about it, I didn't try to slow down or speed up, I just ran. It was an amazing feeling. I celebrated by letting myself walk a bit. Instead of just turning around, I saw the way around the park and picked it up again and ran the perimeter of the park, and headed back west.

By this point, I was really just in this for distance, regardless of how I reached it. I ran all the way back to the walking path and didn't want to head home. So I headed west a bit through some more neighborhood streets. Before I knew it, I was virtually flying. Once I hit mile 4, I felt like I had wings on my feet and the Black Eyed Peas helped me push myself through my fastest mile of the morning. At one point I looked at the Garmin and the number in the pace block started with a 7 and I felt that high, that excitement, that awesome feeling of achievement. It was the best part of the whole run.

I tried to get to the 8K distance beating my PR of 44:24 from the Shamrock Shuffle. I tried. Here's where this whole running thing gets mental, though. After seeing how far I'd gone, how fast I'd gone, and looking at what was before me (a 3/4 mile path dotted with goose poop and Sunday walkers), my brain started to talk to me. I set milestones. "Just get to that garbage can", "make it to that large crack in the pavement", "you can get to the bend up ahead". Then I'd look at the Garmin. 4.54.....4.63......4.72.....4.80.....4.85.....just...a....little.....bit...farther......

Honestly, when I know how fast I'm going, how much farther 'til my goal, and how much I've got behind me, it messes with my head. Big time. I can't stand that. I finally walked at 4.87-ish and completed an 8K distance some time after 45 minutes. By then, I didn't care what the damn watch said. I know I can do it. I can go that far. I can run that fast. I can get there when I damn well please.

With the 3/4 path before me, and another mile or so to get back home, I knew I'd go as *far* as I set out to, and it didn't matter how long it took me. So I ran some more. Just some. After that mile 4, I'd kind of done more than I'd expected of myself. Then it happened. The IT bands made themselves known. Aw crap!

I hobbled bits of the walking path, trying not to look like Frankenstein dragging one leg behind me. This was craptastic.

I finished the path and ran to the busy intersection, and then stopped at some green utility thing sticking out of the ground and stretched the leg. I gave it some time, rather than rushing through, and it did seem to feel better.

That last mile home, bands screaming, wasn't my best. It was worlds away from the 4th mile. That didn't matter. After walking about 1/4 of it, I decided to just suck it up and do my best to jog/run slow/do anything but walk the rest of the way home. And that's just what I did. At about 8:45/mile. Dude. Really.

I normally turn the corner to my street and sprint past the three driveways to mine before throwing my arms in the air and (hopefully) remembering to stop the Garmin. Not this morning. I just ran. It felt good. It felt powerful.

I passed my driveway and remembered to stop the Garmin. The time said 1:07:16. The distance was 6.47 miles. I had officially run longer than ever before, feeling better than ever before, and feeling proud of myself for it. After being in a total funk this week, only getting one run in during the week, I really didn't set out this morning thinking I'd get that far. But I did. And it felt great.

I got inside and was greeted by Ethel's toothless smile, eyes beaming, telling me, "Come look at the dining room table, Mommy!". She had put all the Mother's Day cards she and Fred made me, as well as the potted marigold she planted for me, on the dining room table. She included three beautiful pictures she'd drawn for me while I was out.

I love you

You are best
You are pritty

I didn't think I could smile bigger than I did after this morning's run. But I did. I love that little girl.

*Names have been changed because that's what you do when you talk about people on the internet.

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the Hot Mamas out there.
These are my kids

You aer my mommy
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Grass stains don't matter

Somehow, the laughter and smiles make all the grass stains totally worth it.

Thank goodness for spring weather.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kicking, screaming, pouting, folding my arms, and stomping my feet. Why am I an adult?

I'm not going to Derby this year. That's the long and short of it.

Churchill Downs 2010
I've gone to Derby every year (except three) since '95. It's my time with girlfriends, my time away from the kids, the house, work, etc. I love going. I love being able to drink as much or as little as I like without having to drive, wake up early, or woken because someone is scared. I like eating when I want, what I want, and not cutting anyone else's food, serving anyone else, or being expected to cook.

The obvious reply is, "Well then get the hell out of town, girl!". Yes, that's the voice that's screaming at me right now. Literally. Some call it tinnitus, I call it 'the voice'. Ugh.

Thing is, it's Hot Dad's birthday this weekend (Sunday), as well as Mother's Day, so I had to do some real thinking. He has had Mother's Day to share with his birthday all his life. Then he met me and added Derby to the list of events which fall on/around his birthday. He's gone with me a couple times, but since we had kids, it's been tough to make it a weekend for the two of us, and I normally go by myself.  For me, Mother's Day and Derby happening the same weekend is a most awesome event.  For Hot Dad, not so much.

This year, Ethel is all about making cards for people on their special days. She's already presented Hot Dad with birthday pictures. When I told her we have to make cards to send my mom for Mother's Day, she said, "And Mother's Day cards for you!". I told her to talk to Hot Dad about that, but, I'd gladly help her make cards for whomever.

Anyway, when weighing the pros and cons of going vs, staying, I noted the following:

Time away, great weather, mint juleps (ie: gasoline with mint), girlfriends, road trip, being carefree, sleep, coffee, sleep...

$4.59/gallon (and rising), 400 gallon tank (OK, not really), 2 tanks of gas, we have TONS of work to get done at home, we have to clean the garage, we have to fix up the yard, we have decided to redo my mom's room (formerly the nursery) before she arrives (count four weeks), our weekends fill up fast, trying to get the kids to/from day care while I'm gone, plus the cost of the two additional days they'd have to go to day care...

What pisses me off is that I feel like an adult. That makes me mad. This weekend is about NOT being an adult, rather it's about letting it all go. Pretending that there is nothing, that it's all fine, that I'm not responsible for anything but my own survival. It's a rare chance, but one I treasure. I don't like feeling like an adult, and try my best not to act like one except at work. I wear pigtails with Ethel, I run my arse off, and I put responsibility out of my mind at every corner. Being an adult really blows.  Can I tell you how many people said, "That's so not like you, Hot Mama!" when I have told them I'm not going?  No, I cannot, because I lost count.

I made the decision, Hot Dad did not entice me, try to convince me, make me feel guilty about it either way, or try to talk me out of going. I decided this on my own.  More or less.

The other part of my decision was what I mentioned before about Ethel. She gets it. She realizes that special days are just that, special. If I were to bail on Mother's Day, I feel as if I'd be disappointing her and taking away her opportunity to give me attitude, draw me a picture, and refuse to eat for me on Mother's Day. If I weren't home, she wouldn't have those chances to celebrate in her own special way. And I'd miss out on those joys, too.

I know that after this year, the calendar will be in my favour and I'll have at least 5 years of uninterrupted Derby weekends.

The compromise that I offered was that if I am staying home, I'm running a Mother's Day 5K. No questions asked. And the fam will come watch (if it's not raining or snowing or flooding or something). Hot Dad agreed.  And, I'll order my case of Derby glasses to add to my already overwhelming collection because that's what I do, I get lots of Derby glasses every year.

So, this Derby weekend, I'll be at home. I won't get to stop for a nice dinner at my friend's house on the way, call my other girlfriend on my way through her town, or be surrounded by 100,000+ people as we all flood the infield at Churchill Downs. I'm going to stay home and pretend to be an adult. I'd say I'd do it all with a Julep in my hand, but - A) they are nasty and only taste "right" {term used loosely} at the Downs, and B) if I have a race the next day, I'll have to take it a little easy on Saturday.

This whole being an adult totally blows.  I still love you, Louisville.  I do.

Thanks for listening.

p.s.  Have you seen this year's Derby glass?  Not one of the better ones, in my own personal opinion, but I'll still get me a case. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ally McBeagle

Once upon a time, there was an adorable little Beagle puppy.  She found a home filled with love and companionship, and soon she even gained a Beagle brother.  Ally grew up to be a beautiful girl who loved tissues in trash cans, walks with her brother, and "hugging".  Most of all, she was the best pal of a good pal of mine.  Ethel and Fred spent long weekends with Ally, and Ethel enjoyed dressing her up from time to time.  Yesterday, Ally's heart overflowed with the love she received all these years, and found her way to Doggy Heaven.

For my friend, Jen Garry*, I am remembering Ally McBeagle, her floppy ears, her kisses, her "hugs", and the happiness she brought to my friend.

April 2010 - adorned by Ethel

*Name changed because that's what you do when you talk about people on the internet.