Sunday, February 27, 2011

some things about my daughter.

The other night Skyler was raving about the dinner I cooked and the cookies I made, and just to help her along, I said:  "I know! Who is the greatest mommy?!"  And she said:  "Suzanne and Sandi."


My little artist has been asking people to "sit for a portrait" lately.  She did this drawing of my mom, who, as you can tell, is looking fantastic.  The ironic thing is that the one thing my mom cannot do yet is lift her arms over her head from soreness from the surgery, and yet, that must have been the vibe she was giving off as she sat for this portrait.

Please notice the lamp and the light switch as well as my mom's sharp teeth.


This week, during our awesome vacation at home, there was a lot of this kind of play:



Reward charts!  We are big believers in reward systems for good behavior around here.  This is the one we've been using for months in Skyler's room for going to bed nicely.  When she has a good night and doesn't come out of her room at bedtime, we move the butterfly (a dressed-up binder clip) up the rainbow.  When it gets to the red, she gets a book or new crayons or something.  This has been the longest running effective behavior tool yet.


(best for last)

Tonight Skyler was asking me about why I don't need a nightlight or the lights on when I go to sleep.  I told her it was because I usually close my eyes right away and it's dark once I do that anyway.

Skyler:  "You mean you don't see anything when you close your eyes?"
Me:  "Nope.  Just dark.  Why, what do you see?"
Skyler:  "Rock walls."
Me:  "Really?  You see rock walls?"
Skyler:  "Yes, rock walls and other pretty things like trees and people swimming in lakes."
Me:  "Wow.  Tell me more!"
Skyler:  "Well, first there are fuzzy colors, like the Northern Lights. Then after a little while, the rock walls come.  And then the trees and the people swimming."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

week 7: check.

 On Thursday after we went tubing for 3 hours in the morning, I headed out for my 14 miles because we were expecting much snow and colder temps for the weekend so I wanted to get it done in the sunshine and on dry roads.

Amy and I teamed up for about 6 miles and ran the rest separately, Amy doing her extra miles before running by to pick me up at my house. 

We had a nice time catching up and chatting and reveling in the sunshine and warmer temps and chirping birds (it was upper 20s which is actually great running weather once you get moving).  We parted ways at my mile 6 and I put on my ipod and just got her done.

What was interesting is that my overall pace was the same as my miserable 12 miler, but this run could not have felt different.  I was running on pretty tired legs, so I took it easy so that I could enjoy myself, and I actually felt great, like my body was just kind of along for the ride.  I kept saying to myself:  long and strong, low and slow.  I chose a pretty hilly route and thought about running strong on the ups and riding the downs.  It kind of worked. 
After 14.2 miles, when I stopped to walk it off, I was really hurting.  But I took some advil, coffee, food and a hot shower and within an hour or so I was good to go.  Soon after, Sam and I left for our date night which included The King's Speech (so good!) and sushi and all evening I felt that warm, tingly hum of the long run in my whole body.  I love that.

The rest of my runs were treadmill runs this week and felt just okay, except for today's which for whatever reason felt soo good and easy.  It's so darn unpredictable from run to run. Anyway, 29 miles for the week, all done.

I've been thinking about hill training and once it's nice enough, replacing one of my mid-week runs with a hill workout to give me more confidence in my quads.

I know lots of you are training for spring races.  How's it going out there for you?!

Friday, February 25, 2011

winter blues: cured

Can you feel the vitamin D?

Thursday morning, I totally got over myself and my winter blues. All I needed was some fun in the snow and unlimited sunshine with friends. We met up with Christine, McKayla, and Kristian for 3 hours of tubing in the sunshine.  Turns out, I love the Maine winter. 

McKayla and Skyler stuck together and away from the parents. They were so cute and independent. As Sam said, they are only a few years away from: "can you drop me off a block away?" I actually loved watching them do their thing and not need us (but as a result there aren't many photos of them).

Below are Reed and Kristian, who are two of the most active kids you'll ever meet, especially when together.  Yesterday, they stayed in this position for the whole 3 hours.  They were so chill and calm and well behaved.  

Here is the video. Just so you know, the kids had fun too. (If you click on "vimeo" you can watch it bigger)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Walnut-Herb Bread and Skyler swims!

Look, see?  It's spring in my kitchen. 

And go ahead and tie on your aprons.  Have I got a bread recipe for you! 

A few days after my mom came home from the hospital, her neighbor John brought over a loaf of this bread that was so delicious and I wanted the recipe right away.  He shared it with me the next day and I've been holding onto it until I had some time.  I made some slight adjustments to the recipe and am ready to share it here.  I so wish you could have smelled it baking today.

Walnut-Herb Bread

Ingredients:  This is for a single recipe but I always double bread recipes, because why not?

1 cup milk scalded (which I took to mean heated up in the microwave?)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 packages dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons each dried basil and tarragon and dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons chia meal or chia seeds (optional)
3 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Mix first three ingredients and cool slightly.

2. In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over water; stir
until dissolved. Blend in milk mixture, herbs, walnuts, and

3.  Knead the dough on the counter top for a few minutes.  Place in a bowl and cover with a towel.
 4.  Let rise for 45 minutes or longer until it doubles in size. 
 5.  Knead on the counter some more, form into a ball, give the top a criss-cross cut with a serrated knife.
 6.  Bake on a pizza stone or baking sheet, in preheated oven at 375 degrees, for 45 minutes.  Check for a hollow sound when tapping the bottom to be sure it's done. 
 7.  Serve with buttah.  It's so nutty and herby and hearty.  

 While I was baking, Skyler was getting ready for her first real swim practice for our local US Swim Team.  Sam works out with them sometimes and thought it was time for her to join the team.  She packed and repacked her swimming bag over and over.   
Here she is showing me how many laps of the pool she knows she can swim.
She has her cap from Daddy's swim team all ready to go.  
Oh my good gracious how much do I love this kid?
When she got home she was beaming with pride for swimming a whole hour with the team...swimming, drills, kick sets, and lots of giggling.  Sam was so proud that I had fun trying to make him talk about it without tearing up.  I've told you that Sam is a crier, right?  Especially when it comes to anything having to do with sports or our kids, he's very emotional.

I watched some old home videos this week at my mom's of my high school swim team, and footage of one of our state meets, and it made me realize that growing up swimming and the friendships I had with those girls was one of the best things from my youth.  I have a feeling that Skyler will continue to love it too and will be a lifelong swimmer.  It makes us so happy.

The other great thing about kids who swim is they come home so clean, starving and exhausted.  Skyler ate a huge dinner and then fell right to sleep. 

Okay, now go make that bread!  Enjoy!

One Mom in Oregon?

Sam and I had our annual let's-move-away-from-Maine conversation last night.  

If I could keep track of such things, I'd be interested to see how consistent our timing is on this from year to year.  I'd guess it is always within a few weeks of right now when both of us are tiring of the long winter. 

Here is how it usually starts:

I hate Maine.  It's so ugly right now.  The teacher pay is crap.  We could do so much better somewhere else.  Somewhere that had an earlier spring. 

I always add:  I want to live somewhere with more good restaurants.  And closer to a major airport.  And closer to my siblings.

Sam always adds:  We need to live somewhere where I can surf.  How about northern northern California?

We usually mention North Carolina, Colorado (no surfing), parts of California, and always end up talking about Oregon.  It seems like the place for us.  Surfing and mountains and trail running and cool cities.  But the rainy season?  I don't think we could do that.  Plus we don't know anyone in Oregon.  But we fantasize about how much better the teachers are paid there and how adventurous it sounds to just pack up and go.

We go around and around like this until one of us says something about the Maine summers.  And the island.  And the ocean.  And the hiking.  And the glorious fall!  And our friends.  And all the lakes to swim in.   And how happy our kids are here, and how much of a community we have built here, and how connected we are to the schools.  And our dear friends!

Then we get really nostalgic for the Maine we almost betrayed, and decide that we actually love it here, and all we really need is some more money to travel to Costa Rica for surfing vacations, and while we are talking crazy, a governor who isn't going to rob us of our meager salaries by using cuts in teacher take-home-pay as a way to help pay down the state's deficit. 

And here is part of what got me mad at Maine:  This week we got a bill in the mail for $700 for our 2009 Maine state taxes.  I'm not sure what happened or whose fault it is yet (I use TurboTax), but somehow our retirement contributions weren't added into our gross income last year and now we need to pay back taxes for them.   It made me so mad.  Nothing worse than an unexpected bill in the mail.  I just keep thinking (I honestly do) that someday Sam and I are going to get a letter in the mail from the state saying "You both work so hard and do so much for our youth, and we'd like to thank you and reward you with this check for a lot of money."

Just like we get fed up with the muddy snow season in late winter, we also sometimes get fed up with the unfairness of teacher pay and our inability to go on vacations.

You know what would help?  A warm day at our favorite local swimming spot.  This is all we really need, right?

I do love Maine and all its imperfect quirkiness.  Yesterday my friends and I started talking about some of the things we want to do this summer:  camping, climbing Katahdin, island trips, adventure races... just talking about it all made me so happy.    I think we'll stay put for now.

I've written before about the best thing about living in a place like Maine is that the seasons are all so distinct and intense that you really feel like you have earned the pleasure of warmer weather once you finally get there.  That's us right now:  earning the rewards we will soon reap.

p.s.  I promise I'm not going to complain my way through March.  Promise.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What's for Dinner?

The first recipe I tried this week was one my friend Suzanne found in Moosewood Cookbook and raved about.  I'm always looking for one-dish meals that aren't loaded with cream or cheese.  This one has super healthy ingredients and with the combination of spices and coconut milk and lime, your house will smell amazing while it's cooking.

Indian Sweet Potato Gratin:  (thank you Suzanne!)

2 gloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lime peel
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4-1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4-1/2 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups coconut milk (you can use light or 1/2 light and 1/2 regular)*
4 cups peeled, halved then thinly sliced sweet potato (1  1/2 lb)
1 cup cooked brown rice (remember to do this ahead of time!)
1 1/2 cup (15 oz can) black beans, drained
1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach (or stemmed and chopped leaf spinach)

*One batch would be a can and a half of coconut milk, but I was making two batches and used an even 3 cans.

3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Combine garlic, lime peel, lime juice, spices, salt and pepper with the coconut milk.

coconut milk plus lime zest and lime juice.  zesting the limes was the only real time consuming part of the recipe.
adding in all the pretty spices.
 Poor 1/3 of the coconut milk-spice mixture into baking pan.  Layer half of the sweet potatoes, topped by half the spinach, half the rice, then half the black beans.  Pour another 1/3 of the coconut milk mixture over that.  Repeat with the remaining sweet potatoes, spinach, rice and beans.  Pour the remaining coconut mixture over everything.

Combine the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle it over the gratin.  I baked this one in a cardboard pan because I was bringing dinner to a friend.

Bake for 90 minutes, covering the pan at 60 minutes if needed.  The sweet potatoes should be soft.  If they are not, bake until they are.  (mine took a little longer than 90 minutes for the top layer of sweet potatoes to get soft.

This tasted so good and had such a nice flavor.  The cornmeal topping adding a cool almost-crunchy element.  I think it will be one of those meals that tastes even better the second night when the flavors have a chance to hang out all day in the fridge.

As always, I love hearing from you when you try these recipes out and anything you learned or changed along the way.  Happy Cooking!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

week 6: check!

Sam was gone at his high school swimmers' state meet all day Saturday so I was not able to run with my girls. I was on my own, and I decided to try Sunday afternoon thinking that it would be a bit warmer than the early hour when I usually run, on account of the fact that I've decided that I'm done running in the cold. I'm ready for Spring. I'm just going to pretend that winter is sort of over and go on from here. I even wore a springy skirt yesterday with my high leather boots and my down coat and I know that makes no sense but I just went with it.

This week was a good training week. I got all my miles in, and more importantly, I had a good long run. Granted it was only nine miles (it's a step back week), but I was sort of losing my confidence about outside runs after last week's sad 12 miler. I have just been struggling on the long runs in a way I don't think I should be at this point, so I had a little talk with myself today about staying positive.  I was running alone so I loaded up my ipod and set out; it was 25 degrees and sunny.  Aside from some tricky wind conditions that left me messing with my hat and neck warmer a lot (and eventually putting my neck warmer on my head, see?), and getting really hot so having to strip down on the side of the road to eliminate a layer, I had a great run.  It was even hilly and I still did just fine.  It renewed my faith in myself.  Much better! 

While running today, I was asking myself if, because this is my third time working through a marathon program, it is getting easier.  My answer is:  nope.  Most runs still feel hard to me.

But then on more careful consideration, I realized there are two ways that this round of training is easier:
1.  I still feel like I'm working so hard, but my times are a little bit faster less slow, so I guess if I was running at my old pace, it would feel easier.
2.  I recover more quickly.  I am only a tiny bit sore after long runs, not even sore, really, just tight.  I also don't feel wiped out or sick for the rest of the day like I used to. 

We are one third of the way there, and we now start getting into the bigger runs.  Dare I say I'm a little bit excited for next weekend's 14 miler? 

Friday, February 18, 2011

sweet, sweet friday.

It's the Friday before vacation, a day that holds so much promise for a week of rest, relaxation, time to cook, bake, watch movies in bed, run when I want to, and have actual conversations with Sam.  I might even go nuts and read a magazine.I wish we were going somewhere warm, but then again, I'm just excited to not have to pack a backpack or a lunchbox for a whole week. 

Frankly, January and the first half of February have seemed so long and overwrought with heaviness that I couldn't be more ready for a week at home.  I love pretending I'm a stay-at-home mom for a week and doing projects with the kids, taking them to the library, to the indoor play hours at the rec center, hanging out with other moms during daylight hours.  It's not a trip to the Caribbean, no, but I'm looking at the upcoming week as a much needed reset button.

I've accidentally started to get excited for spring and summer a little too early this year.  It's only mid-February and in Maine, that means we are still months away from warmth.  But there are those little teases, those early morning birds singing, the occasional smell of spring thaw (mmmm, mud) and a slight shift in the light.  Yesterday it was 47 degrees, and before you scoff at that -- you other people who live in warmer places-- it was just enough of a lift to put me in a very good mood.  The air smelled so good and I actually had a minute of feeling sun warming my face while walking outside yesterday. 

I feel so good today, so much lighter than I have since the holidays, so hopeful and happy.  This may or may not have to do with the fact that Sam will be finished with his swim coaching season in 3 days.  Sing it!

Have a great weekend... stay tuned for many recipes including a new herb yeast bread I've been waiting a month to try.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

these are a few of Reed's favorite things

 Hey, Mr. 4 year old.

We planned Reed's birthday party a week after his birthday which ended up only fueling Reed's  notion that his birthday is a whole month long. "Is it still my birthday, mom?"  Well, kind of!

For a perfect birthday party for Reedo, he needed his best friends, a swimming pool, pizza, and spider-man decorations.  We aim to please, and so...

We signed Reed up for a party where we swam for one hour and then ate pizza and cake and opened presents and acted silly for the second hour.
 I can't tell you how much pleasure Reed got out of these Spiderman plates.  He carried the packages of plates around for hours before the party

No, I did not make this cake.  I thought Reed would love a professional Spiderman cake, but the bakery could not do a Spiderman cake due to copyright issues, and it turns out, I totally could have pulled off a Spiderweb cake.  Live and learn.
Reed + Kristian = much love and much trouble

The whole crew: Reed's very favorite kids.

He covers his ears when he gets really excited.

waiting for his fork.

This expression says:  I might die of happiness.
a dino pillow pet is a beautiful thing.

Killian and his very serious hero.

Happy Birthday (again) to Reed.  And though Reed doesn't know it yet, that really was the end of his birthday until next year.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

february festivities

Some photo highlights from the past two weeks:

Sam took Skyler for her very first ski day!  She did great and totally loved it.  There are no photos on the mountain, but here she is after arriving home.  Wiped!

Reedo turned 4!  Here he is opening some of his presents at 6:00 am.
Sam and Reed cheered for the Steelers in the Superbowl.  Reed got a new jersey from the Manharts (all Steelers fans) for his birthday.   
My friends gave me cool running stuff for my birthday that makes me weep for warm weather, but not so warm that I can't wear my tough Asics arm warmers.  I also got (not pictured) these amazing down slippers that I wanted from Sam and more running accessories.  See below. 
We worked on Valentines for Monday's parties at school.
Skyler dressed Jacksy in a red vest.
I ran 12 miles in 10 degrees and had 0 fun.  Susan and Suzanne ran with me, but hopped into their cars (it was hypothermia weather) before we could take a photos together, all wearing the same jacket).  We all thought it was a really hard run.  It was hilly and my legs never warmed up.  I had a bad attitude from the beginning, so I shouldn't be surprised that it sucked, but it did.  At least Sam got me these cool running gloves, and  I DID get all my miles in last week, so week 5: check!
Happy Valentine's Day!

skyler's valentine's dance

Saturday was the Valentine's Family Dance at Skyler's school.  I expected the kids to just run around all silly and get sugar-crazy on sweets, but that isn't what happened at all.  The school provided only fruit trays, veggie trays, and trail mix AND Skyler actually danced for the whole 2 hours.  Reed, who was having a very over-tired, over-dramatic kind of day, just stayed by my side or in my arms until the very end.  But Skyler was quite a sight to watch.

As you will see in the video, at first she just did lots of spinning around while holding hands with her girl friends.  Next she very persistently started asking a boy from her class to dance with her.  He was being shy and hanging with his mom, but Skyler wasn't going to take no for an answer.

When the boy was at first too shy to join her,  she'd stand by him and show him how she danced and say:  "It's okay, it's easy!  Watch me!"    Her dance style, which I just witnessed for the first time last night, was very unique, kind of jerky like Elaine from Seinfeld, and involved lots of footwork.  I loved watching her, and as you will see when she successfully got  her (boy)friend out on the floor, (in the dim light!) she taught him everything she knows. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

help me./ don't help me.

What is the rudest question you can ask a woman?  A friend sent me a great article from The New Yorker "Confessions of a Juggler" by Tina Fey about the dilemmas of being a working mom. In it, she writes about rude questions, and claims it is not  "How old are you?'" or  "How much do you weigh?".  Tina Fey argues the rudest question you can ask a woman is:  "How do you juggle it all?"  In her article, she claims that when someone asks a woman this, they are actually implying:  "You are screwing it all up, aren't you?"

The article is hilarious, smart, and witty, and I agreed with and related to most of what she said.  However, and maybe I'm naive, but I feel like when people ask the question, "how do you do it all?" they aren't being critical, or suggesting you are screwing everything up, instead, they are genuinely curious and searching for a way to compare themselves.  Aren't all of us (women, mothers) curious about the lives, households, schedules, routines of other women and mothers?  I know I am.  We think that everyone else is doing it all, and doing a much better job than we are.  We think other mothers' houses are cleaner, meals are healthier, bodies are more toned, tones of voice more calm and sweet.  The fact that I feel this way about all the other mothers makes me surprised when people sometimes ask me, based on what they see on the blog, I guess:  "how do you do it all?"

And my answer is usually:  "ummmm..."  but internally, it is some version of:  "Me?  I don't!  Don't kid yourself!  You know better!  Nobody does!"  I don't find the question rude, but it does stress me out, a lot.  Because I'm left thinking to myself:  "Oh shoot.  I've left you thinking that I can juggle it all, so therefore, I need to juggle it all!"  I have a bit of a complex about this.  I want to do it all, I really do.

This dichotomy of self-presentation, as a woman and as a blogger, is a common theme in my mind:

See, I don't want to give you the false impression that we have it all together over here, that we sit down in marital bliss for nice meals every night in a clean house and that our children are always witty and obedient.  Most of our meals are not good or pretty enough to photograph.  We sometimes eat cereal at 9:00 because we realize we have nothing else for dinner.  But you knew that, didn't you?

But, neither do I want to give you the false impression that we don't have it all together, that we have a stressful, chaotic household in which we argue and don't have time to sit down or cook because we're too busy, and our kids talk back and don't listen.

Because the truth, as it always does, lies somewhere in the middle.

My attempt to do it all  has definitely been hindered so far this year.  During the week that my mom had surgery, I was in a high state of stress.  I have a bad habit of clenching my jaw when I'm stressed out, and that week, let's just say my jaw was sore.  I wanted and needed to be with my mom as much as possible, and I was also grading midterms, planning my next teaching units, trying to keep things normal for the kids and keep the household running, training for a friggin' marathon, and taking a friggin' graduate class.  Honestly, woman.  No wonder I was teeth-clenching.  Not to mention that I was super worried about my mom, so it wasn't just that my body was tired, my mind was tired too.  And my fingers were tired from googling things like:  "possible complications to watch for after double mastectomy."

In the midst of that week, a very well-meaning friend said to me:  "You are doing a great job keeping it all together.  Because you have to keep it all together."  Yikes.  This gave me an immediate adrenaline rush and scared the hell out of me.  Must do it all.  Must keep it together.  Must not show weakness.

After an especially stressful Monday morning that involved a copy machine breakdown and some tears I tried to quickly wipe away before anyone noticed, I got an email from my running friends (those sole sisters!) that announced they were going to cover my dinners for the next week, and it included a schedule of who was dropping off dinner on which evening.

I can laugh now about my initial reaction when I read that email.  My first thought was:  "No, no!  You guys!   I'm fine!  I don't need dinners!"  But of course, I totally needed help with dinners.  Sam had been working triple time to keep everything going smoothly and was superdad throughout all of it, but he was also teaching and coaching, and yes, having someone else cook for us would be, I hated to admit, very very helpful.  But why was it so hard to accept their dinners without guilt?  Because I wasn't the one with cancer!  Because I know that my friends are all busy moms trying to juggle it all too!  And because I wanted to hold on to the myth that I could indeed do it all. 

A few days later, after I had accidentally been vocal at work about how chaotic my house felt because there was laundry everywhere, Susan and another colleague/friend gave me a card that said:  "We have arranged to have your house professionally cleaned on Tuesday."  And again, my first thought was:  "You guys!  No!  I can clean my house!"  I had this image of myself on all fours on the kitchen floor with a bucket, sweating, scrubbing away, and saying to everyone:  "No no.  I can do this!  I'm fine!"  What is this all about?  I find the qualities of the martyring mother to be very annoying, and yet I find it strangely hard to just accept the help.

But when I thought more about the concept of coming home to my house (on my birthday, no less) to find everything clean, all at once, as if a cleaning fairy came in and waved a wand, I embraced the help.  I was so excited.  And so, on my birthday this year, I got to walk into a sparkly clean and tidy house that smelled like Pine Sol (my favorite!).  I feel the need (of course I do) to tell you here that my house is usually very clean, but in this case every single room was clean at the same time, every corner clean, and even the inside of my microwave sparkled and smelled like lemons.   AND, thanks to my amazing friends,  dinner was sitting on my doorstep.  Ah, the sweet, sweet serenity of being taken care of. 

I have learned that there are times in our lives when it is just not possible to do it all.  Okay fine.   It's never possible to do it all--at least not as well as we all think we need to--nor should we try, and it's not an attractive quality to think that you should never accept help lest you show some weakness. We should all give ourselves a break. We should all have friends like mine, who instead of saying:  "let me know if you need any help," say:  "I'm doing this thing for you, and here is what time it will happen, and there is nothing you can do to stop me."  It feels good to get help.  In fact, maybe I shouldn't be so afraid to ask for it sometimes, unless of course, that would be seen as rude.
note:  the link to the New Yorker article is just the abstract.  You'll have to find it in print (Feb 14) in order to read the whole thing.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

is it spring yet?

Reed's preschool sends out a monthly newsletter, and in it are the answers to each teacher's monthly question.  I think even the kids have had enough of this incredibly snowy winter.  The question asked:  "When will all the snow go away?"  These kids are ages 2-4 and I changed all the names except Reed and Maya.

Reed:  too many days
Nathan:  by summer when I bring my sandals
Julianna:  in 8 years
Sierra:  in 15 years
Anna:  I think it's always going to be a winter wonderland
Olivia:  I don't know... too long
Sophie:  um... long.... winter
Maya:  a long, long time

Sierra:  I feel your pain!  and poor Sophie! She's delirious with winter!

(hey, look!  I got my 3 mid-week runs in just like that.  bam bam bam.  Now, to figure out a safe route to run 12 miles on the snowy roads this weekend, and guess what?  more snow is coming.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

week 4: check?

We are one month into training for our May marathon.  Remind me never to let my training schedule overlap so much with Sam's coaching season.  It has been really tough, but I will say this:  without having that training plan motivating me to make time for my runs, I would probably not be exercising at all because our schedule is just so tight.  Because I have been so determined (stubbornly) to stay on plan, I have pretty much succeeded to carve out the time.  Oh, have I ever wished for a treadmill of my own, or some nice spring weather and clear roads, this week!  Three more weeks of swim season and then I might get to hang out with my husband again.  I remember him so fondly.

As I said, thanks to the snow day I was able to squeeze in two mid-week runs in, but I did miss my third.

On Sunday, Jen's birthday, all 6 of us running girls planned to spend the day in southern Maine running in the Maine Mid-Winter Classic 10-mile race which was canceled on Friday night due to unsafe road conditions (the snowbanks are too high, and there was more snow coming on Saturday night).  We had been planning this day for a while, and it included shopping, lunch out, and a fun race. Bummer.

Instead, I did my scheduled 11 miles on a treadmill at the gym, the longest I've ever run on a treadmill, because we were supposed to get more snow and ice and the roads were not going to be safe (unless you are Susan who did her long run as planned on the slushy streets).  It really wasn't that bad, actually, but it did feel like cheating to not be out in the elements and on the hills.

Then, to celebrate our birthdays (Jen's and mine are 2 days apart) and make up for our missed day away, we did something we never do:  we got together just to eat!  Jen cooked (yes, on HER birthday) and made an incredible brunch for us.

 It was so civilized and nice.  Rather than our typical running group photos, we posed for awkward family photos instead.  We think we are hilarious.

Week 4:  supposed to run 23 miles in 4 runs, ran 20 miles in 3 runs and no cross training.  I'm trying not to be such a psycho about the training program, so that will have to do.  Now, what do to about this next week that looks equally busy?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

waffles for breakfast

We have a weekend morning tradition of waffles or pancakes or french toast that we have carried over from my childhood.  My dad was the master pancake maker, and my kids tell me that my mom's french toast tastes way better than mine, so, that leaves me with waffles to try to make my own.  I've experimented with many recipes and I think we have a keeper that is both healthy-ish and delicious. 

Skyler rinses fruit and makes a fruit salad while Reed and I mix the batter. This weekend, Reed's new remote-control police car was weaving around my feet and Jackson was chasing it and there was a lot of squealing. 

In my imagination, weekend breakfasts are always calm and relaxing.

Here is the waffle recipe that is really working for us:

Ingredients (Alton Brown's recipe)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature 
  • (and I add a tablespoon of chia meal too).* 
  • Vegetable spray, for waffle iron

I have a big container of chia meal (ground chia seeds) that I've been using ever since I read Born to Run.  Chia seeds are full of nutritional and medicinal things, most notably, an amazing source of Omega-3.  I put a scoop in just about everything I bake, and always in pancakes or waffles.  It tastes like nothing, really, but adds a nutritional punch.
    The kids love to sit at the table and watch for the light to turn on indicating that the waffles are done.  Look at these golden beauties, hot off the griddle.

    All together now, pictured with the beautiful homemade napkins that my friend Sarah made for me.