Sunday, February 28, 2010

water babies

Saturday, February 27, 2010

week 5: check

Jen and I survived a very cold and soggy 10-miler at 7 this morning. We started off with our other friend Andrea, but at mile 3, we sent her and her 8-minute-mile self on her way, and Jen and I alternated between cruising and suffering along. Interesting thing about long runs: you never can predict when you're going to feel good, like the wind itself, or when you're going to feel like your legs are full of sand.

After I got home, Jen wrote me a note that said: "Thanks for pulling me along this morning," which is exactly how I was feeling about her throughout the whole run. That's the beauty of a training bud. We took turns pushing and pulling.

When we got home, we were soaked to the bone and very cold, but hot coffee and a hot shower amended that quickly.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Skyler's Room: before and after

This is Skyler in her room just before Sam started painting. (Doesn't she look so tall?) Her room, like our entire house, was painted with white primer when we bought it, and walls painted only with primer get very beat up very quickly. Especially with my kids.

For example, Reed decorated Skyler's walls with orange crayon a few months ago, and I've had to look at this ever since. Makes me crazy. Besides the crayon, you can see all the chips and dirt marks and the very old/ beat up fireplace. Do you remember that our house was built in the 1800s?

Sam is a meticulous (understatement) painter. He patches and sands every bump and blip and then re-patches, re-sands, re-primes, (repeat) until the color goes on. We chose a color called "avocado" but I think it looks like "green-tea-latte" and every time I go in there, I get a craving for a trip to Starbucks. Here it is!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let them eat KALE! (updated)

Watch this. It's my best parenting trick yet! (PLEASE don't pay attention to their messy hair. One thing at a time!)

p.s. I've made these with handfuls of spinach too. I swear, they love it! It tastes just like a fruit smoothie but with a little leafy-freshness. They have had one every day for the past week. It's a great way to ensure your kids are getting their 5-a-day!

Huge thanks to Kath at Kath Eats Real Food... she both inspired me to make green smoothies and she brought a bunch of blog readers to see the video of Skyler and Reed. I love the thought of more moms blending up greens for their kiddos.

ALSO, I've made a bunch more of these since we made the video, and I've found I can use about 2 or 3 times the greens and half the fruit juice. Our latest smoothies are BRIGHT green and they suck them on down. It's a GREEN SMOOTHIE REVOLUTION around here!

3 projects that made me proud

In Outdoor Lit, I assigned students to make books that included their favorite quotations from outdoor authors and illustrations to match them. They all came out great, but these three are pretty amazing. You can double click on the photos to see them better.

Zoe: (watercolor paintings)

Marlee: (her own photos)

And Sam, who made his book on iPhoto (with all his own photos, many taken out west). It's an 8 x 11 hardcover book and it would knock your socks off.

Speaking of Outdoor Literature, I just got word that the class is cut for next year. I was devastated. This class has been my brightest spot at school, full of smart, eager kids, fresh air and my very favorite texts. However, I have to be realistic and understand the constraints of the budget, and that I am needed elsewhere due to the fact that at least one position is being cut in my department. Some people are going to lose their job, so I can graciously give up this one class (temporarily, we hope). It makes me love and appreciate even more the kids I have gotten to take on the this journey for 2 years.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

just in case you thought I was exaggerating

(love how the lifeguard is not amused)

top ten signs that Reed's Jillian Michaels addiction has reached new heights

(This is for you, Caitlin)

10. Reed: "Knock knock!"
me: "who is there?"
Reed: "Jillian Michaels."
me: "Jillian Michaels who?"
Reed: (laughs hysterically)

9. The first thing Reed does when he gets home every day is run upstairs to change out of his clothes and into his bathing suit and "exercise shirt" (one of three acceptable t-shirts) so he can do the workout DVD.

8. He then says to one of us, at least 43 times, "Can you help me find my hand weights?" Because they are always missing. And I've forgotten that it is even weird that he has his own hand weights.

7. He's very interested in sports bras. "Look at Jillian Michaels' bra! I need a bra. Is this a big-boy bra?" (holding up one of his t-shirts). I've started calling his t-shirts "bras." God help me.

6. He regularly uses phrases like: "Let's get to work." "Okay, hit it." "Do you want results?" and "Ready? Let's begin."

5. He says to the grocery baggers and the librarian: "I have to tell you sumpin'! My old Jillian Michaels' DVD got scratched. But I got a new one!" He then stands there and does some cardio, usually some "backwards windmills."

4. The two "back-up girls" in the first JM DVD are named Natalie and Anita. So, Reed likes to play "I'll be Jillian Michaels, you be Natalie." Skyler has to be Anita. He gets really frustrated with me and says "NATALIE!!!" over and over until I say "Yes, Jillian Michaels?"

3. One night he asked me if we could call Natalie. "What would you say to Natalie if you got her on the phone?" He said: "I would say: 'are you doing your exercises?'" Naturally.

2. At his 3-year birthday party, the "activity" that pleased him the most was doing his new JM workout DVD, but he would have rather just done it alone because his friends weren't as focused as he prefers.

1. He did the entire cardio sequence in the pediatrician's office at his 3-year well visit. Dr. Burch asked: "Does he get enough exercise?" and he hopped off the table, put his hands on his hips, and said: "Ready? Let's begin." She was thrilled by this. She said: "Do you know how nice this is to see after all the kids I see playing their hand-held video games and eating chips?" She then said: "Is he always like this?"

Um, she has no idea.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

olympic fever and back to work.

Well then, here we are. All the laundry is done, clothes ironed, lunches packed, house cleaned, snow pants and boots set by the door, lesson plans written, and coffee set to brew at 5:20 am.

We are at the end of our February vacation. It was a total blur. All I know is that I cooked a lot, watched a ton of Olympics, and the kids totally entertained me and wore me out. Somehow, I've found myself on the other end of it.

I took two photos this whole week. Here they are!

a late and leisurely breakfast, one of many this week.

Sam finished high school swim season after 2 long days at state meet, and then got right to work painting Skyler's room. It was a huge job, and I can't wait to show you the before and after shots... stay tuned.

I stayed up until after midnight every night during break watching Olympics. I can't get enough. I love all of it. I am a sucker for the "up close ad personal" bios that NBC does so well. As soon as I know anything about an athlete's life, family, background, injury, loss, or recovery, I'm hooked on his/her story. My favorite stories so far have been Lyndsey Vonn (skier), Evan Lisacek and Johnny Weir (skaters) and Canadian skier Alexandre Bilodeau. If the US doesn't win gold, I love it when it's Canada because that national anthem gets me everytime. I'm lukewarm for ice dancing and curling, but don't want to miss anything else. I won't be able to stay up this late anymore, so I'll have to read the highlights each morning. :(

We are entering into the looooooong end-of-winter season and the dreaded month of March, and I'm feeling pretty okay about it. I just finished week 4 of marathon training, and that is keeping me on the trajectory toward Spring.

This is really boring, isn't it. Good night!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reed's 3rd Birthday Party

We had Reedo's little party 10 days after his birthday. I worked very hard to come up with just the right theme, and decided on this: a Valentine's-Baseball-Dinosaur-Firetruck-Exercise Party! Perfect for our hyper, little man.

We made valentines,

posed with our friends,

sang Happy Birthday,

ate cake,

beat a firetruck pinata until it exploded, and the parents helped grab the loot,

opened presents, (wait......what is that in Reed's hands???)


at which point he immediately booked upstairs to change into his exercise pants, and we all got to work with Jillian Michaels.

Happy Birthday, Reed!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Skylerisms (high drama edition)

Skyler: "Mom? Is it okay if after I sweep the hallway, I mop it too?"
Me: "Yes!"
Skyler: "Mom... You are the best."

Skyler, on being thirsty.
"Mom! Please! My throat is as dry as Florida!"

Skyler, to Reed, who wasn't listening to her directions:
"Can't a woman get a break around here?"

Skyler's latest expression of frustration:
"Oh, I am so through with this!"

Skyler, seeing me wrap Sam's valentine's present:
"Aww, mom. You are just so good to him."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"healthy crunchy chicken" and an eating update

After I vowed to stop buying my kids frozen chicken, my friend Natalie sent me this recipe from Rachael Ray. Which we love! And so, there has been NO processed chicken in our house since Christmas, only this "healthy crunchy chicken." Instead of straight bread crumbs, I use whole wheat panko with the corn flakes for the crust.

On the first night I made it, I asked the kids for their review.
Reed: With his mouth stuffed, said: "IT'S RIRY YUMMY."
Skyler: Held up both hands and said "10 thumbs up!" (wow!)

I have made this chicken for the kids about every 2 weeks, and I get about 3 meals out of it. The first time I made it I hand dipped each piece and it took forever. Now I just put all the chicken in a bowl and coat it all with flour. Then I beat 2 eggs and toss the chicken in with it. Then I put all of the flour/egg covered chicken in a giant Tupperware with the panko/cornflake mix and shake it until it's all coated. It is pretty easy, and very worth the effort becuase it's their favorite food.

Sam is not home at dinner time during the week due to swimming, so we still aren't sitting down all together for dinner very often. I've done much better being present during the kids' meal time. Reed is still pretty wiggly, and he has a hard time staying at the table. On a good night, he gets up once or twice, I say "Back to the table!" and he comes back and keeps eating. On a bad night, he ends up in time-out 8 times and he cries and I feel desperately tired. But on we go.

I feel good about everything they are eating. I am replacing more and more of our normal products with all-natural and organic varieties. It still makes me sad/mad that buying healthy groceries has to be so much more expensive. It feels very unfair to me that not everyone can afford organic meats and produce, and that the most unhealthy, processed foods are the cheapest.

We are not yet at the "feed them what we are eating" stage. I know many of you have opinions about this, but it makes my evenings easier, actually, to get them fed and settled in pjs, or even in bed, before Sam and I eat.

Right now, they are apt to have bland pasta, a veggie burger, or chicken with sides of fruits and veggies, and we are apt to have something spicy, or kale and pesto pasta with smoked salmon, which they won't eat. I know, some of your kids eat smoked salmon and kale. Ours don't, but we'll get there. Forward progress! I am slowly adding in new foods for them and assuming they will get more adventurous in food choices and easier to keep at the table with age.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

it wasn't so much the cold, but the hills and the frozen snot

Cape Elizabeth 10-mile Mid-Winter Classic!

With Stephani, about to line up for the start:

I noticed during the pre-race hang-out that everyone there was one of those ultra running people. This isn't an event that brings out very many casual racers. You can just tell by looking around at all the long legs and all the running gear. When I lined up with the other 800 runners, it was cold with a whipping wind.

In a last-ditch attempt to intimidate my competition, I said out loud:

"I'm cold and I want to go home now."

I'm in there somewhere.

At this point I was thinking: "Only 9.9 miles to go!"

I had run this 10 mile loop before, on a 60 degree misty day in the summer and my memory had completely tricked me into thinking there were like 3 hills. There were not 3 hills. There were 103 hills. Every time I crested a hill, I was rewarded with the view of the next hill. It was up-and-over, up-and-over the whole frickin' way.

I will say that I was actually dressed well. After a mile and half, let's say, I was comfy and warm (sweaty) and was pleased with my carefully crafted 5 layer system and a windproof hat that had a funny chin strap/draw string thing. I needed it to keep my hat from blowing off.

My one wardrobe malfunction is that I put toe warmers in the bottom of my shoes and it made the balls of my feet feel like they were resting on a frying pan. Never do that.

I was holding a 10-minute/mile pace for the first half. At mile 5 I was feeling great and passed a lot of people over the next 2 miles. Mile 7 was a continual climb, and when I got to 8, I was DONE. I was TOAST. I had waited too long to re-fuel and I really hit the wall. I had nothing left. I never walked, so I'm proud of myself for that, but man. I wanted to walk so badly. It sucked. When I saw the mile 9 mile marker, I just bore down and got it done, but I was pretty miserable. I mean, I don't know why that would have been hard on a girl who has spent the last 3 months running on a flat treadmill in a warm gym.

I finished in 1:45 (10:30 avg. pace) which, considering those hills, I'm pretty darn happy with.

I thanked God for the finish line, and that this race wasn't a half marathon, and I cried a little bit for the hills, my burning feet, and my drippy, frozen nose (which didn't help matters) and got myself inside for some bagels and water. Pat, pat on my back.

Then Meredith and I changed gears and got right to the good stuff... drove up to the Mediterranean Grill in Freeport where we shared some stuffed grape leaves,

many, many cups of hot tea,

and each had these yummy chicken kebab sandwhiches. On homemade Turkish bread with lots of their yummy garlicky yogurt sauce. And roasted potatoes.

And then we coffeed up, and I hit paydirt at the Horny Toad 50% off sale. In this picture I feel like a million bucks whereas at mile 8 of the race I did not feel like a million bucks.

In conclusion, I had a fantastic day. And I have to go to bed now because tomorrow I'll be 36.

Friday, February 5, 2010

watch Reed indulge

Kimmie has birthday parties for her daycare kids at her house, and she sent me a really funny video of Reed and the other 2 kiddos having their cupcakes yesterday. Lucy trying to blow out her candle is the best. And all this while I was at work. :(

I wish you could see Reed watching himself stuff his face on this video. He laughs so hard that he folds in two. Click here to watch it!

FIrst race of 2010

Here is where I'm headed this weekend, with Meredith and Steph:

Cape Elizabeth (south, on the coast) for 10 miles of running in the cold and wind, and then some Mediterranean food and some birthday shopping to make a day of it. My expectations are low for the run, because I have a wicked deep bruise on my calf from a soccer injury that is making me limp and I've been doing much much more running on the treadmill than out in the cold, so I don't know how 10 miles will feel in the cold, but whatever!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reed turns three!!!

Happy third birthday, to our crazy, beautiful, blonde little man.
Whatever did we do without you?

2 hours after birth, blonde and sleepy.

2 months old and cheeky at Aunt Liesel's

5 months old at mommy's first race, the Danskin Triathlon in Massachusetts

10 months old, crawling around in our old house.

1 year old!

2 years old at home.

3 years old! wearing the same shirt he was wearing at the Danskin Triathlon when he was 5 months old. He likes how it accentuates his muscles.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy.