Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mommy's Project 52:44 Sweet

Sweet is the smell of puppy breath.
Sweet is the smell of a newborn baby after their first bath.
Sweet is my son's face when he masters a task he's been practicing.
Sweet is my daughter's voice when she says she loves me at bed time.
Sweet is the taste of chocolate milk after a long, hard run.
Sweet is the card my husband gave me for Mother's Day.
Sweet is a good glass of white wine on a hot summer day.
Sweet is the way the cat looks at me when she snuggles with me in bed on Saturday morning.
Sweet is my husband doing the dishes every night after dinner so that I don't have to do them after we get the kids to bed.
Sweet is getting a top 3 finish in your age division in a race.
Sweet is anything made of chocolate.
Sweet is when my daughter goes the extra mile and cleans her room because she misses me when I'm not home.
Sweet is when my son is excited to show me that he just finished a puzzle he's been working on all morning.
Sweet is Almond Joy coffee creamer.  Trust me.  It's good.
Sweet is when my husband massages my back after I run.
Sweet is the kids asking me if my leg feels all better.

Sweet is this life I have, with this family, in this house.
Sweet is the feeling of knowing you are loved.
Sweet is loving what you have.
Sweet is having what you love.

Sweet is.....pretty sweet.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The (return to) Running Chronicles, May 2012

O running gear, how I've missed you so...
2012 has been a tough year for me as a runner.  I was really in the groove, looking forward to ramping up my mileage, getting faster with each run, and then BAM!  I got hurt.  I came to a screeching halt and was sidelined for months.  I went through the stages of grief as I mourned the loss of my running.  I missed my friend with whom I was starting to really click, and could only look at the shoes I'd bought just a week before I got hurt.  I packed my running things away and tried not to get overly sad about our separation.

Through about 11 weeks of physical therapy, a correct diagnosis, lots of stretching, manipulating (keep it clean!), and strengthening (hello, core, I'm glad I found you), I gradually got back on my feet both physically and mentally.  The hardest part was keeping my head in the game and focused on getting back to running.  Rather than wallow in self-pity, I had to remember that my hard work would pay off once I was able to lace up my shoes and return to the road.  This was easier said than done.  I stayed away from reading blogs or Facebook pages about running, and sort of detached myself from the thought of lacing up my shoes and getting back out.  The temptation was too great, and the disappointment of the reality that running wasn't in the cards was a bit much for my fragile mind.

I'm not the first person to get hurt.  Heck, I've hurt myself plenty of times before.  The one and only time I ever broke a bone was in high school when I busted my pinky finger (pretty good, too) the night before second semester finals.  Funny thing, I was leaving church when it happened.  Make that a lesson to you all, don't try to hurry out of church, you can break a finger when you trip on the rug in the doorway. Next lesson - it won't get you out of finals.  You'll get all Scantron tests (did that just date me, terribly?).

Anyway, I'm trying to say that I don't think this is some life lesson that was handed to me so I could pass on the gospel of The Injured Runner.  No, but this is my blog, and it is my hip that hurt like hell, and I can write about it if I want to.

After three unsuccessful weeks at a PT with the wrong diagnosis, I got a second opinion and correct diagnosis, and at my third visit, they had me on the Alter G (we're on a first name basis, I refer to it as 'the G').  I did four solid weeks with this PT, increasing my stretching and strength training and my workouts on the G.  From there, I did an additional three and a half weeks at once a week, while trying to get out and do some running on my own.  This was easier said than done, but, I got it done.  In the meantime, a wicked virus hit all four of us in the house, Hot Dad and I each had a long weekend with friends, I had to travel for work, and anyway, life just kind of happened.

Still, I did some running, kept up with my stretching and strengthening, and got back into the swing of things.  I was officially discharged from PT on the 8th of May, with a handy booklet of exercises to keep up with at home.  Now my biggest challenge is making the time (and floor space) to do these every day.  I am still taking the core class that I started in February.  I can feel the difference each week, and I believe that it has helped me with my recovery.

I haven't run a ton, but, have gotten myself out there a few times, and to date I've done four races.  So far:

Shamrock Shuffle 8K - March 25 - I did two miles, cut over to the 4th mile marker, and ran in with a friend
Egg Shell Shuffle 5K - April 7 - Did the full 5K, frustrated with endurance
Got2Run 8K - May 19 - Ran all the way 'til mile 4.6-ish so I could change the song on my iPod and finish to a strong beat
Soldier Field 10 Mile - May 26 - AWESOME!  Ran with a running buddy, which is what kept me at a steady pace the entire race.  Will have to blog about this one, it was a great time

So, I have more racing to do, and more miles to get under my feet.  I am really sore today (the hip is screaming), but I know that will get better.  What stinks is trying to tell myself that the pain is temporary and that I haven't mortally injured myself.  When something doesn't feel right, it's so easy to over think things and before you know it you're having a hip replacement, bionic knee installed, or brain tumor removed, when it was probably just gas in the first place. 

Being as sore as I am in the hip today, I am doing my best not to be down on myself.  I believe that I pushed myself a bit by going 10 miles in one shot, and doing so in a race.  I've done a few runs of about 5 miles, and in PT was doing 4 miles on the G, but to do 10 miles in one shot is a lot when you're coming off an injury.  I don't believe I've reinjured myself, and can't afford to have, so I'm trying to take it easy and make time (and floor space) for my exercises.

It is a great feeling to reunite with my shoes, my Garmin, my running friends, and the road.  I can already feel the difference in my endurance, my waistline (I think that one's all in my head, but I'm OK with that), and in my overall attitude about things.  I am back to obsessing over times, shoes, new gear, and my Garmin.  I'm excited about doing track workouts.  I'm excited to get my gut kicked at core class.  And I feel like I have more balance in my life, in general. 

Funny how getting back to running has settled so many things.

I'll add snippets about my injury, therapy, and recovery as I document my progress from this point forward.  Marathon training starts in the next week or two.  Road to Chicago 2012, here I come!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mommy's Project 52:43 Speaking

If there is one thing that I can think of which I would change about myself, it's the sound of my voice.  Honestly, I can't stand to hear myself speak.  Do you like the sound of your own voice?  Ugh, it's one thing that drives me batty, and I don't know how others can stand to listen to me!

My daughter, Ethel, has always been quite verbal.  I remember being so excited when she started to babble, then make word sounds, then say words, then sentences, and the whole progression until she was full-out talking.  It wasn't long, though, before I was thinking, "If only there was a pause or mute feature on kids".  Seriously, once they start they just don't seem to stop.  Until you ask them, "Who dumped that plant in the living room?" or "Why did you throw your dirty diaper in the laundry basket?".  Suddenly, they seem to be silent and you can't get a sound out of them. 

If only they could be silent when you want them to be.

When my son, Fred, was little, everyone around us kept saying, "Oh, I bet you can't wait until he can talk!", to which I replied, "Oh, yes I can!".  Having been through that once we knew just what we were in for, and we knew we were in no real hurry to have two motor mouths barking at us all the time.  We were in no hurry, of course, but it was pretty clear early on that Fred wasn't following in his sister's foot steps when it came to meeting milestones.  Hm, perhaps we should be more anxious for him to start talking.  And crawling.  And walking.  Hm.

Fred had chronic, severe ear infections for a good bit of his first two years.  Finally, after consulting with an ENT, we decided it was time Fred got tubes.  In December, before his 2nd birthday (in March), we took Fred in for the outpatient procedure which would change his ever growing world and open up a whole new one for him.  It wasn't long after the new year began that he began to say words which we could understand, and I heard, "Mommy" clearly in his little voice and it brought tears to my eyes.

Still, if only they could be silent when you want them to be.

Now, our dinners are filled with conversations, anecdotes, new facts learned at school, and stories about who played with whom on the playground, and who had to take their nap next to the teacher.  Often, Hot Dad and I have to play ref and regulate who gets to talk and when because otherwise, Ethel and Fred are both yelling trying to get their story heard first. 

Still, the most beautiful sound is the sound of a child's voice when they say, "I love you, Mommy".
{As long as they say it quietly.}

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

7 Year Itch

I e-mailed the day care director yesterday to let her know that Ethel wouldn't be coming back for summer. :( *I* am emotional about it. Yesterday, we took home all that was in the basket in Ethel's cubby (mostly just crap pictures and misc. stuff like that), and found a birthday party invite from December. Yep. Never knew it was in there. Great!

Anyway, this morning, all that was left in there was her camp bag and a pair of undies. Took those out and now, there is nothing left in there. Ethel's time in the day care is soon ending, and this was the most obvious sign. After 7 years of having clothes, toys, comfort items, pictures, personal things in her cubby (moved from room to room), she no longer has anything personal in that building to attach her to it. Emotionally, she detached from that place ages ago, but, physically, her name has been on a cubby for 7 whole years. Now, all that is left there is her name on the cubby where she hangs her school back pack. She is only there a few hours a day at most. And soon, never again.

Pre-K graduation (2010).  A foreshadowing?
This is not major, but it is. Many kids today have a life outside of home well before they head off into the world of elementary school. Ethel has a history.  She has made friends.  She has an established place to call home away from home. And from now on, it will be a temporary locker at the park district where she stashes her daily things and takes them home at night. Wow.

Fred, on the other hand, still has three changes of clothes (which I need to go through and resize and get appropriate to the season), his cot cover, and pull-ups in his cubby. He has a folder that we check and take home his creations from, and he is a full presence there.  He is learning every day, practicing skills he'll use in the fall when he starts kindergarten (at least, that's the idea, right?). Still, we're not as invested there with him as we have been in years past.

It's so strange to know that this place, which we once relied on so heavily for every drop of info about the kids' days, is now becoming a holding place for a few hours, and the kids can now convey more about their day than the little sheets of paper that used to.

Their cubbies used to hold precious little outfits, diapers, bottles, stuffed animals, and artwork created by their hands, with the help of their teachers. We had to be sure, each day, that there was enough in that little cubby to make it through the next day or week. Not any more.

Mommy needs a little time to be emotional about this.  And some wine.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mommy's Project 52:42 Sharing

I have started this entry a gazillion times (OK, so four or five).  The obvious topic for a subject like sharing would be my kids sharing their things.  Once I go there, however, my head is filled with their protests and arguments when one of them isn't 'sharing'. 

In the 'adult world', there's the coworker who over-shares, filling you in on her horrible morning dealing with an attack of IBS.  Thanks for sharing, honey, but, maybe you should get the clue that your body just doesn't like Mexican food as much as you would like it to.

Who can forget the lovely people you encounter when you're out and your kids are not minding their P's and Q's, and all the lovely advice, direction, and judgement they love to share with you.  Because what better time for a stranger to tell you "how it should be done" than when your four year old is flailing on the floor like a fish out of water because you asked her to hold your hand in the store.

Naturally, we share germs by sneezing, breathing, touching, and generally existing. 

My favorite kind of sharing, however, is when I can sit with my seven year old, Ethel, and she tells me about something she did at school, or a conversation she had with a friend.  Sometimes she has something more serious to tell me, sometimes it's about the kid in class who farted in art.  Whatever she has to tell me at these times, I sit in amazement that I'm actually having a conversation with my first born.  I can tell her stories about my day or things that happened to me when I was her age.  Sometimes we talk about my parents, her grandparents, or I share memories with her about times, people, and events in my past.

It's not sharing a toy, a hair bow, or my favorite sweater.  To me, memories and stories are some of the most important things to share.  And I love to share those with my kids.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mommy's Project 52:41 Entertaining

For Mother's Day, Ethel's class put on an afternoon performance of three short plays, and two pieces of 'choral speaking'.  In each of the three stories, including The Ugly Duckling, there was a narrator or two, and several kids acted out the plays.  It was adorable!  Ethel was Narrator 1 in The Ugly Duckling.  I have to admit, I got a little choked up seeing all the kids acting before all the parents.  It was exciting to watch, as the performance had two purposes; A) to celebrate Mother's Day; B) as exhibition of the progress all the kids have made in their reading during first grade.  

It is so meaningful that K's teacher arranged for this performance, as we got first-hand evidence of the work the kids have been putting in all year.  The reading we do each night, the work they do during class, and the practice they put in to do these plays was right there before us.

Some of the kids really got into it, exaggerating their lines or their actions, bringing well deserved laughter from the audience.  Others focused and read their lines, their concentration written all over their face.   Ethel was a good narrator, demanding silence from the audience with her muted voice   {um, where the hell is that mute at home?}

Here are some pictures from this very entertaining performance.  You have to settle for pictures, as I didn't get any video.

"There once was....", that's my narrator!
Paying attention to the performance

Introducing the cast, one by one!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mommy's Project 52:40 Natural

I'm a week late!  Ack!  Forgive me!

The kids and I planted seeds for all kinds of things a couple years ago and we were quite successful.  I compost, so we used some compost with our potting soil and we had some great things grow.

This year, after a year hiatus, we planted seeds again.  We did so rather late in the seed planting season, but, today we have some great seedlings! 

We planted the following:
Wild flowers, sun flowers, morning glory, zinnia, basil, rosemary, chives, tomato, watermelon, and pumpkin.

We didn't get any pics of the planting session, but, barely a week later, here's what we had!

The wild flowers went wild first

Who needs fancy labels?

I haven't been a good composter this year, I admit.  With this mild winter, I put lots more food scraps in the composter than in past years, but it was cold enough that I wasn't out there turning it throughout the winter.  Thus, we don't have the healthiest pile, but, it is teeming with bugs and good decomposers, so I am sure that by the end of the summer, after I've spent more time tending the compost, we'll have lots more 'black gold' in there.

That said, we didn't use any of our compost this year for our seeds.  We did, though, use regular potting soil and paper egg cartons to sow our seeds.  If I recall correctly, the watermelon and tomato were the last to appear.  The wild flowers were the first, and the pumpkin are the biggest!

The egg cartons are a great way to start seeds.  They're the perfect size, they drain well, and best of all, they can be planted directly in the dirt when you transplant your seedlings to a larger pot or or outside.  It's a completely natural way to start your seeds without unnecessary waste!

It's been only three weeks and our seedlings got so big, it was definitely time to transplant them into some larger containers.  It's too early to put them outside still, so I just found some larger pots to plant them in. 

Add caption

I am really looking forward to spending time one  weekend later this month creating space in our yard and in our outdoor pots for all these wonderful plants. 

Finally, getting back to "normal"

What a crazy time it's been the last few weeks.  The whole family got hit with a terrible virus for about three weeks.  It couldn't hit us all at once and be done, no.  First was Ethel, then Hot Dad, then Fred, then me.  Oh, and of course it couldn't hit us all when we had little to nothing to do, no.  It hit Hot Dad just days before a trip to Vegas with friends, and hit me while he was gone, which was just days before I left for my annual trip to the Kentucky Derby.

So, between virus and travel, my time online has been very limited.  I promise to catch up with everyone and update my entries before the weekend is over!

Oh, and I am done with physical therapy and once my schedule loosens up, I can run all I like!  Yeah!!