Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It snowed a lot and other stories: November

Where did we leave off?  Halloween! I give you my pirate girl and my Anakin Skywalker.  
What a quick and wild November it has been.  We have spent as much time shoveling snow as we have raking leaves.  I don't remember ever having a snow day in November before, and this past month, we got one.   

My mom and I took a quick weekend trip to NYC.  It was Reed's turn to see a Broadway show with my mom, and Skyler and I were invited to travel to the city along with them.

 We even got a few precious hours with my Marjorie.

 And we gave the kids a little taste of NYC.

 CENTRAL PARK:  One of my favorite places in the world, and both kids would now say the same thing. You can do anything there!

They will never skate indoors again.

Later, while Reed and my mom set off for their date to The Lion King, Skyler and I had some time to wander. We made our way to her much-anticipated destination:  The American Girl Doll Store.
She had spent the past 8 months saving her money and was ready to put down some cash for a new doll and some tiny outfits.  Success!  After the shopping trip, she was so happy to look through her loot.  I was so happy to get out of that store filled with over-priced dolls and lines and lines of girls. It was indeed a bit of a racket, but I was so proud of her for saving her money so dutifully, and she really was so excited, it was electric.

LUCKY BOY!  The Lion King with his grandmother AND a t-shirt.

We did the obligatory walk through Times Square  This photo perfectly captures how each kid felt about it. Skyler thought it was cool for ten minutes and then she wanted out of there (I'm with her). She looks like being in Times Square is a little painful, whereas Reed totally loved it.
Reed just looked from flashing sign to flashing sign and absorbed all of the lights and energy.  I stood there looking at him and realized:  Times Square is what it's like in his head.   Times Square is a representation of Reed's brain.
Reed in his zone.

Skyler now has TWO American Girl Dolls, which means TWO dolls who need to get dressed and have their hair done in the morning.  Good thing she is so darn responsible.
As long as I'm going to raise kids in the great state of Maine, I am also going to be sure they are exposed to cities and theatre and museums and diversity.  Seeing them taking in New York made me so happy.  And huge thank you to my mom for helping it happen.  

I'm not sure how it happened, but I had NOT ONE salt bagel while I was in New York, so I need to go back soon.  

Meanwhile, on the home front, Ellis has been killing it on the football field, and he helped to lead his team into new territory:  the NCAA playoffs. This has, in turn, led me into new territory:  SORT OF understanding football, and definitely enjoying it.  

You don't know anyone who has more love for a game than Ellis has for football.  Look at that smile.
Hillary took the mic from Tim for a post-victory interview.

This was a first for Husson University, and even though they lost in a heartbreaker to MIT last weekend (in overtime!), Ellis and his team have so much to be proud of.  We are all so lucky to have Ellis in our lives.

The next hoorah was a night in Portland where we met up with Meredith, Beckett and Roz and checked out the new trampoline park.

If you want to have a ton of fun while WEARING OUT your children, you must go.
Luckily, they still had enough energy for a road race the next day.  I have run in Brewer's Turkey Trot 3-mile race every year for about eight years, and this time the kids wanted to run the 1-mile.
 I am so excited to see them getting interested in running.  And racing!  Reed asked for his own running watch for Christmas and I said YOU BET.
 On your mark...
 I didn't catch Skyler at the start, but check out Reed.  That kid's got some grit.

Then, the kids cheered while we ran the 3-mile.  It was a perfect day for running:  40 degrees and sunny.  

 I'm still happily running in all this whacky weather.  Tim has been threatening to sign up for a spring marathon, which means, you know, that I will too?  We will see.

Our 8th Turkey Trek, our annual trail run and food drive in Bangor, is indeed ON, despite the chance of another snow storm.  Hope to see some of you there.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of you!  I wish you boisterous, happy gatherings of family and friends, extra sweet potatoes, and the next day, may you all enjoy leftover pie right out of the pan.

Parting Shot:  Skyler reading her beautiful story to Tim after dinner.  xo

Thursday, October 30, 2014

on fall splendor and hilly marathons

Maine in the fall: makes me blush.

Thank you all for the outpouring of support about the rough month I had in September.  We were all glad to have that behind us so we could get on with the business of enjoying beautiful fall in Maine.

Way back in September, the kids and I ran the Color Run in Bangor, which really was the "happiest 5K on the planet."  The Bangor waterfront was hopping at 7:00 am with music, dancing, and millions of bubbles floating above us.  It was hilarious.

And after, they were green from head to toe.  Reed especially required some major scrubbing to get that hair clean.  For some reason, he looks really sad about it in this picture.

We have a newly acquired slice of heaven on Phillips Lake and we have been spending time there as much as possible.  Reed didn't care that it was only 60 degrees on this fall day, and spent most of the day in the water.

This happy crew got together at the Carvers to cook up an Indian feast for Ange's birthday.

 And every weekend in the fall featured soccer games for both kids.

 This is Skyler after she scored her first goal ever.  That smile says it all.

And after soccer games, we gear up in Husson colors to cheer for Ellis who is killing it on the football team.

 The kids love finding Ellis out on the field, and they equally love buying M&Ms from the concession stand during half time.

Skyler turned TEN and had an art-museum birthday party.

 The fabulous Ms. Eva at the UMaine Museum of Art led the kids through a gallery activity and then an abstract painting activity.

 On her actual birthday, the family joined together for Hibachi and singing to Skyler.  Look at my grown-up girl.

She got her first cell phone, a little flip phone, and now I get texts like these from her.  This is a birthday gift that is actually a gift for me.

Next up, my cousins from Germany came to visit.

Hubertus, his wife Ute, and their boys Henrik and Paul came for a week.  Tim and Hubertus became fast friends, no surprise at all.  

 And the kids didn't notice the language barrier at all.

During that weekend, Skyler broke her arm after falling on roller blades.  Her soccer season was over, and she was stuck in a sling and then a cast.

She was a trooper.  It was a pretty bad break and she handled it like a pro.

Hubertus, who reminds me SO much of my dad, is the salt of the earth.  I wish we got to see each other more often.  
There is so much to catch up on when you haven't seen each other in 15 years.  

Early October, we went to Bates to visit Hillary for parents weekend.  The campus is gorgeous, especially in the fall.  Hillary is a SENIOR this year, and is clearly so loved and so at home at Bates.  We ate lunch in the sun-drenched commons there where the food  (I ate curried veggie salads and sweet potatoes from the vegan bar) is in a different league from dorm food that I experienced. I can see why our girl loves it there so much.


And all of the sudden it was almost time for the MDI Marathon.  I haven't written about the training this time around, but I did get in all of my long runs except one around the time of my surgery.  I was able to mostly stay on track and I felt strong and ready, but realistic, about running the full marathon on one of the hilliest courses around.  Hillary and I ran our last training run on the treadmill a few nights before the race.

Marathoners, ready to go.  

 I have very few photos from the race, and my race report is short and sweet:  It was beautiful and hard.  The hills kept the run interesting because you were always going up or down. The scenery is some of the best in the country, ocean views and foliage in full color.  I felt fantastic until mile 8 when my legs were tired and the wind was making me unable to fully warm up.

I met up with Susan at mile 8 who ran with me to mile 18, which was a total blessing.  She kept me company through the hardest part of the race (mentally hard, and very windy).  At mile 18, I saw my mom, Tim's mom, and Skyler and Reed which was a huge pick-me-up.  After mile 19, I started walking more up the hardest hills.   Holy mother of hills.  I knew I could finish, but my legs were just exhausted from the long stretches of climbing. Oddly enough, the miles seemed to tick off in a fairly satisfying pace.  Every time I looked at my Garmin to check where I was, I was a .2 away from the next mile.  I looked at my Garmin (I swear) at 18.8, 19.8, 20.8, 21.8, and so on.  I was making slow progress, but I was making progress. Was I having fun?  Sort of yes, sort of no.

At mile 23, I found Susan standing on the side of the road;  she had decided to run the last few miles with me, God bless her.  I needed some cheering up. The hills continue until the very end.  At mile 26.1 Skyler and Reed ran out to join me for the end.

I finished in 5:13 which was just fine by me.  It was my best time and my fifth marathon, and (GET THIS), I didn't even cry at the finish line.  I just hugged Tim and Hillary and then sat on the curb and drank the most delicious chocolate milk.  Someday I will join the under-5 hour club, but I have to find a flat marathon I guess. 

Tim and Hillary (first time marathon for her!) did amazingly and both met their time goals.
We all enjoyed cheeseburgers and fries with the kids and our moms after the race.  Another marathon in the books, and yes indeed I am thinking about the next one.  There is nothing like getting your body from point 0 to 26.2.  I feel so lucky to be a part of the marathon world.  

Fall is entering its mature stage, and the leaves are mostly down.  I love this time of year.  It feels like the whole world is settling in and quieting down.  

It's not over yet, though.  What remains still has so much color.

This week, we found an extra-good sunrise before school,  just one of the million things to be thankful for.

Next up:  Halloween festivities and just maybe, our first snow storm.  Thanks for checking in.  xo