Sunday, July 31, 2011

weekend recap.

Don't look now, but today is the last day of July.

We are making serious headway on some of our summer projects around the house, but we also suddenly don't have a whole lot of time left to enjoy the summer.  We spent most of the weekend swimming somewhere in the sunshine, while taking turns painting the decks.  Sam hammered out the front and the side porches.  The kids "helped" for a few minutes out back, but I did the bulk of this one by myself.

When I took this photo, Reed was stuck inside in time out.  Can you see him?


No, no.  Go WITH the grain, bud.

This morning, Sam took Jackson and the kids hiking while I finished staining the back deck, while drinking a lot of good coffee, and listening to NPR.  It was awesome.  I truly found it to be so relaxing. 

We have a little more work to do before I can do "before" and "after" pics, but we are close.

Not much else to report.  I still feel great.  I got my referral to the allergist, but that will be a while.  I went on a fantastic bike ride tonight after it had totally cooled down and the light was all warm and glowy.  I am dealing with the fact that I washed my cell phone in the washing machine on Friday night.  It's, um, not working.

Lastly, here is a look back at my last race...

 3 tiny photos of the triathlon.









When overheard talking about my next race, next weekend's Beach to Beacon:

Skyler: "Mom, how long is the race?"
Me:  "6.2 miles"
Skyler:  "6 miles?  That's nothing for you, Mom.  That should take you no time at all."

That's the plan, kid!

Friday, July 29, 2011

What's for Dinner?

I don't mean to brag or anything, but I made up the best salad.  If there were A National Salad contest, I would enter this one.

We eat a lot of salads, so I kind of know what I'm talking about.   We get about 3 heads of lettuce plus a bag of mixed greens (plus spinach, sometimes) every week from our farm share, and we need to eat a whole pile of it every night in order to not waste.  I've experimented a lot this summer, but this is the magical combo. 

First, you have to make a batch of these spicy-candied pecans.  A handful of these babies makes every salad better.  They are so good you'll have to slap your husband's hand away from your stash.  I used to make these all the time, (and talk about them all the time) and then I kind of forgot about them for a while, and now they are back. 

Here is what you do: 

Spicy Pecans (slightly altered, but originally from Cooking Light)

Take 1/3 cup of pecan halves.   Rinse them off in a strainer (just to get them wet so all the dry stuff sticks to them).  Then toss them in a bowl with 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon).  Go ahead and triple the recipe... you might as well trust me on this one.

I have found that I can mess around with the spice mix... add some cumin, some pepper, eliminate anything you don't have.

Toss them all together, arrange on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, and then bake at 350 for 10 minutes. 

Learn from my mistake:  If you let them cool on the pan, you'll have to use a knife to unstick them later, so get them off the pan while they are hot.  Put them on some parchment paper, or onto a cutting board or something.  Let them cool.  Then either serve them whole or coursly chop them for salads. 

My Best Salad Ever:  Greens tossed with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette, topped with spicy pecans, roasted sweet potatoes (still warm!) and some dollops of goat cheese. 

This is, as you can see, a huge plate of salad and serves as a highly satisfying dinner.   

Make it!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

a little trim

Reed got a drastic change.  I absolutely love it.

My mom, who is out of town, was not pleased when I told her.  But Mom... how can you deny how cute he looks?


Before:

















After:


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

self-diagnosis

No drama to report from today!   I even went for a run with no need for medical attention.

Thanks again and again for all the emails and phone calls and comments about my little incident.

I feel totally fine today.  I was emailing back and forth today with my sister who had done some googling about my symptoms.  She found an article from Running Times that described the exercise allergy and it all seemed to fit what happened to me.  

A few hours later, my friend April sent me a link to a medical report, and check this out:


A distinct subset of exercise-induced anaphylaxis is food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA), in which anaphylaxis develops only if physical activity occurs within a few hours after eating a specific food. Neither food intake nor physical activity by itself produces anaphylaxis.[5]
The foods most commonly implicated in food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis are wheat, shellfish, tomatoes, peanuts, and corn.  (source)

So, I'm going to self diagnosis myself with this:
Allergic Reaction to Strenuous Exercise in Hot Weather Shortly Followed by Shrimp.


I will hereby return to my normal post-race ritual of either a burger and fries or pizza.


To confirm my self-diagnoses, I'm going to my doctor on Friday and will get an allergy workup as soon as possible.   In the meantime, no shellfish for me!  And yes, even my ER nurse pointed out the cruel irony of living in Maine and not being able to eat shellfish.  I am happy to give up shellfish over exercise.






In other news:  Lauren W, who won the LiveME t-shirt and Angela Toce Fascione who won the pint glass never contacted me.  Lauren and Angela!   You have until tomorrow to contact me, and if not, I'm going to give the prizes to someone else via facebook... stand by!

Monday, July 25, 2011

have I got a story for you.

I have two badges of courage from the day:  The finishers medal from my triathlon around my neck and a hospital bracelet around my wrist.  This is going to be a long story.  But just to be fair, I should let you know before reading that I am okay today, home safe and sound thanks to being rescued from Boston by my valiant husband.  Read on:


Susan, her sister Johanna, and I spent the night in Auburn, Mass on Saturday night and raced our triathlon on Sunday morning.  

 Our swimming waves started around 7:15 (Susan) and 7:35 (Johanna and me), and we were off.
finish line chute of the swim.

For me, the swim was my favorite part.  The water was warm (too warm, even), and I got to the front of my wave and took off like a bandit as soon as it was go time.  This is my strategy: to charge ahead of my wave so that I don't end up in a pile of flailing arms and legs.  It worked.  I was off with a few strong kicks and pulls and into clear water and swam strong the whole way without ever getting kicked.  In the previous 2 years that I did this course, the "1/2 mile" swim was actually just more than a 1/4 mile (my times were way too fast and it just looked way short).  This year it was definitely a full 1/2 mile.  I knew it as soon as I saw the buoys way out there, and it felt like I was swimming a long way before the final buoy and turned toward the shore.  My time was 13 minutes and change which is really good for me for an actual 1/2 mile in open water.

 I then hopped on the bike and hit the hills.  The course is 12 miles but all the (steep) uphills are in the first 5 miles.  It was hot and very humid so I did the best I could.  My time was about a minute slower (47 mins) than last time I did this race, but the bike course was also a little longer b/c they moved the whole transition area way down near the beach.  I enjoyed the bike, passed a lot of people,  and kept thinking that I would love to stay on my bike because the last thing I wanted to do in hot, humid weather and biking shorts, was go for a run.

Usually when I get off my bike and start to run, it's my legs that protest.  During this race my legs were okay, but I was sucking wind and I couldn't get my breathing to calm down because of the thick, humid air.  I even walked up a couple of hills. I kind of hated the run and just wanted it to end.    I felt like I was running through quick sand and at like a 12 minute pace.  So I was pleasantly surprised that my pace was actually 9:58.  Not the best I could have done, but fine.  I was very happy to make the final turn into the finish.

 
 Total time was 1:36.  I had set my time goal from the previous course of 2008, which I did in 1:30.  However, the swim was almost twice as long and the run was 3.1 instead of 2.8 like it used to be.  So, if I adjust for those changes, my time was on target.   I finished in 250th place out of 1000 participants overall, and 62nd place overall in the swim.  Susan had a very strong race.  Her sister Johanna kicked butt.  This was Johanna's first race ever, and she came in 29th overall.  She had a strong swim, very strong bike, and then ran 7 minute miles on the run.  Some people!!!


See the medical sign above my head?

Foreshadowing!

sisters!!!  I love this one.

Things were fine and good and normal in a post-race sort of way.  We collected our gear, we walked down to the lake and went swimming, we checked our results and went back to the hotel to shower.  We had coffee and hung out.  Normal stuff.

Because I know you are going to wonder later, and because I was asked by a hundred medical personnel, I felt fine after the race, and I had plenty to drink to refuel myself. I didn't feel differently than I ever do after a race.  That is to say, I felt proud and exhilarated by the experience, and tired in a good way, and hungry.


A few hours later, Johanna left for home and Susan and I drove to Boston.  Because Susan had to stay in Boston overnight to pick up a relative at the airport the next day, I had purchased a ticket home on the 6:15 pm bus out of Boston's South Station and would arrive home around 10:30 Sunday night.  So, we had about 4 hours to kill in Boston, which was a lovely thing.  We parked in a lot near Quincy Market and walked around the shops.  We had lunch at a really delicious Asian noodle/ salad type place.  We debriefed the race and drank a ton of water.

Yum.

After lunch we browsed some shops for about an hour.  I went into Newbury Comics which is a quirky toy/comic store to try to find something to bring home to my kids.  At this point, it was like 3:30.  Susan was waiting for me outside.  I started to feel a little funny in the store, and my hands started to itch intensely.  This is where the day gets really interesting.

My hands were crazy itchy.  Not like a little bit, or in just an annoying way, but in a kind of instantly panicky way.  I was going out of my skull itching them.  Then the bottoms of my feet started itching.  Then my head and neck.  I walked outside and found Susan.  I said:  "Something is wrong with me." I described my itchiness.

She suggested we get up and walk but I was kind of freaking out and needed to be in a cold, quiet place.  I charged into Nine West shoes, right next to where we were sitting, and said that I was having an emergency and needed their bathroom.  Within the next 10 (or less) minutes, this is what happened, as best as I can remember it:

I felt really sweaty and faint.  I tried to sprinkle water on my face but I couldn't stand up.  I laid down on the bathroom floor because I was so hot I needed to feel the cold floor.  The manager of Nine West knocked on the door and asked me if I was okay.  I said I didn't know.  I was nauseous and so sweaty that my skin was wet to the touch.  The manager knocked on the door again.  I said I needed help.  She asked if she should call 911.  I said yes.  She asked me to unlock the door.  I reached up and opened it and she saw me on the floor and I heard her say:  "Oh my god she's passed out on the floor!"  I heard her call 911 and describe the situation.  She asked if I was alone.  I managed to say "Susan"  and "outside" so in a  minute Susan was there.  Susan took over answering questions for the 911 people on the phone, I think.  I could hear people talking about me, but I don't know who it was.

What seemed like 30 seconds later I could hear sirens.  In hindsight, I think it's amazing that I so quickly wanted and needed an ambulance.  You would think that I would have wanted to wait it out for at least a few minutes.  I just knew something was wrong with me.  And I wanted someone to just pick me up and give me some drugs and make this all over.  And I was SO hot. 

Next thing I knew I was looking at the shoes of the paramedics and hearing them talk about me.  I couldn't really answer their questions.   They took my vitals.  I was annoyed they were touching me.  Susan did most of the talking.  When she mentioned that we did a triathlon this morning, both paramedics and the store manager said:  "Oh!  Well that explains it!"  And I managed to say "uh-uh"  as in, no way.  This has nothing to do with the triathlon.

They wrapped me in a sheet and pulled me out of the bathroom and up onto the stretcher.  I remember being pissed that they were jostling me around so much.  Everything seemed so bumpy and jerky. Luckily, though I didn't care at the time, they took me out a back door and onto the ambulance in the alley, not through the jammed brick pedestrian walkway of Quincy Market.  That would have been a scene.

I was asking for some pain medicine.  They said  "not yet honey" and then I heard someone say to Susan:  "We're taking you to Mass General, and they will figure it out."  They asked me a lot of questions but I couldn't answer any of them.  Susan did a great job filling them in, and also she was so calm.  I could hear her very matter-of-fact tone and it was very comforting to me.

After we got to the hospital, they put me in a different bed, I kept my eyes closed.  Over the course of the next half hour, I started to get really cold and started to shake.  Still very itchy and now blotchy around my ears (so I could hear people saying).

And then slowly I started to feel like I could talk again.  Very gradually I started to feel a little better.  I sat up a little.  I opened my eyes.  I could speak some sentences to Susan.  Mostly, I kept saying:  "I can't believe that just happened."

There was a lot of waiting to see the doctors.  By the time the doctor came in, I had talked to Sam and farmed out the kids to our dear friend Kimmie for a sleep over, and Sam was preparing to drive to Boston.  I was able to fully explain what happened to the doctors.  I was even making jokes at this point, so she and Susan were confident I was okay.  The doctor was quite impressed with our triathloning, and enjoyed telling us about a trail run she just did. 

The doctors thought I had clearly had some kind of allergic reaction, but didn't know to what.  I did eat shrimp for lunch about an hour before this happened, so that was definitely discussed (though I've never had a food allergy and I've eaten shrimp before, not often, but a few times a year).  If it had been bad shrimp or some kind of food poisoning, they said, I would have vomited.  Their best guess at what it could be?  Exercise-induced urticaria:  an allergic reaction to strenuous exercise. 

So, I'm allergic to exercise?  Everyone wanted to blame the triathlon.  I said over and over:  "People.  I'm in good shape.  I do a lot of these kinds of things!  I've run 3 marathons!  I'm not allergic to exercise!"  I mean really, I trained more than adequately for this race.  I think the triathlon may be a culprit if I had been under-trained, but wouldn't I have felt sick right after the race?  And yes, I had plenty of water.  And Gatorade.  And coconut water.  And then like 4 glasses of water with lunch.  And yes it was hot at the race, but nothing I haven't dealt with before. And I'd had a good race!

I had to tell all of the nurses and doctors throughout the evening: " I do this kind of race a lot.  And I've never had this happen before."  And each one of them would say:  "Huh" and scratch their heads.

Very comforting, right?

They moved me to a treatment area, gave me a bag of fluids, took a ton of blood samples, and gave me an EKG.  Why, I'm not sure.  Just to rule everything out.

Sam was on his way, I felt comfortable, I made Susan go to her cousin's where she was spending the night and promised to call her.   
 Then I just sat there and laughed and sighed at the irony of the situation: I still had #719 written in marker on my arm and just below it, an IV needle taped to my skin.  Twelve hours earlier, I had crossed the finish line of a triathlon.  Now I was getting an EKG.  Craziness.

The end of my story is that my labs were all normal.  My EKG was normal.  I sat up and started to read my book.  I even started to feel hungry.

Sam drove 4 hours to Boston, got lost in the city trying to find Mass General, parked and found me (I had been discharged about an hour earlier) in the waiting room at 11 pm, and we turned right around and drove back to Maine.  I kept thanking him and thanking him and asking if he was okay to keep driving.  He just kept drinking coffee and saying he was fine.  He also said that I was the only person for whom he would drive the 8 hours in and out of Boston.  And that's not even true, but it was a nice thought.  We got home at 3 am and I went straight to bed.

I will follow up with my doctor here in Maine, I will avoid shrimp until I see an allergist.  I will not, however, avoid exercising.  Just ridiculous.  I hope to have some more answers soon, and hope to not  get intimate with a bathroom floor anytime soon.

I owe enormous thanks to Susan for taking care of me, to Sam for rescuing me, to the nurses and docs at Mass General for being so nice, and to the really nice manager at the Quincy Market Nine West store (I have to call her). 

Maybe we should all go out and buy some Nine West shoes to celebrate the happy ending to this saga.
How is that for a race report!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I love you, Moosehead Lake.

So, it's a ton of work to take kids tent camping.  There is so much stuff to bring.  Logistically, it's kind of a nightmare.  Luckily, Sam deals with all of the gear and sets up and breaks down camp, and I deal with all of the food and cooking.  We eat really well even in the woods, so we packed a full cooler plus 4 big bags of groceries.  And everything gets so dirty so quickly, so we joke a lot about whether it's worth it to work this hard for a few days of fun, but clearly, as I sit here and think about it,  it is worth it.  The kids are blissfully unaware that there is any work to this camping life. It's just good fun.

When we arrived, we jumped right in the lake.  I forgot how beautiful this lake is.  It is vast and wide, clean and fresh, and this year, the perfect temperature.  So refreshing.
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When we got to the camp site and Skyler scoped it all out, she said:  "If I'm dreaming, I hope I don't wake up."  She had been counting down the days to our camping trip all summer, and I could tell it looked like it was going to be even better than she could have imagined.  She said:  "Mom?  Did you pack marshmallows?"  Oh yes, honey.  Oh yes.

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Moosehead has so much character, and she looks different at all times of day. Look:
Early morning, calm and sweet:
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Late afternoon while a storm blows through, wild and choppy:
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Sunset calm:
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Camping right next to this lake, and being able to hear the waves lapping on the shore all night was awesome.  Sharing the experience with these friends was perfect.  The Carvers are the kind of friends where the parenting of our 4 kids all overlaps itself.  Every parent helps and looks after every kid, and sometimes that means having a stern talk with a kid that isn't "yours."  But they are all ours.   It's kind of seamless the way we all hang out together.  So much love.
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We even got all 8 of us out on the water together for some paddling and island exploring.
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And most of the rest of the time, we were swimming.
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  Or sitting around the fire.  Or roasting something.
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Or sitting in time out at the time-out tree:
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The big girls, Skyler and Ella, spent hours (and suffered countless mosquito bites) in the woods behind our camp site making fairy houses.  And if that isn't adorable enough, they added a fairy clothesline and fairy clothes.  And to the left of that fairy shirt are some fairy skinny jeans.
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Our Nurse Sandi seemed to be on non-stop wound patrol.  In two days she fixed up:  lots of bug bites on Ella, scrapes and bruises on Maya, a blister on Skyler, a bee sting on Reed, an itchy rash on Suzanne, a foot laceration on Sam.  And I got a migraine on Wednesday night, and even though that just meant that I had a wicked headache, I took great comfort knowing Sandi was there in case I got any scary or weird symptoms.  Everyone needs a Sandi.

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I had triathlon on the brain for some of the trip, so I worked out my nerves (mostly excitement, actually) in the water.  The lake is so clean and clear that even when I was way way over my head, I could still see the sandy bottom. 
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And now we are home and it's 100 degrees.  And if it's 100 degrees up here in Maine, I can't imagine how you folks who are south of us are surviving.  But it's sultry and sweaty here tonight, and all I can think about is this lake.  It's calling me back for a late-night swim.

We had such a nice time, full of so many sweet moments, and that steady, cooling, fresh-water breeze.  I could almost point to the moments as they were happening that my kids are going to remember. I've already forgotten the packing and the unpacking.  I'd go back tomorrow.

Except that I'm going the other direction.   7:00 on Sunday morning, I'll be swimming in a lake again.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

dog days

This is a picture of Jackson that, to all of us, represents a successful day.  If we do a solid hike, and/or some lake or ocean swimming, we can achieve this level of exhaustion and satisfaction. 

A cool rest on the kitchen floor on a hot day.

Jackson has just started to mellow with age, has stopped chewing all of our stuff, and can even be trusted to hang out untethered in the yard.  And he's the best hiking companion ever; he runs ahead but stops to check on everyone before moving on. 
smiling for his close-up.

We just dropped him off to spend the next few days with his favorite dog-sitter, our friend Stephani, because he's not welcome in the beach and swimming areas at our campground.  :(

Instead, he'll go hiking all day with Steph and snuggle all night.  It's a tough life.

We're off!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

packing up and heading out.

First of all, I haven't heard from everyone who won a prize in the LiveME giveaway, so be sure to email me if you haven't yet.

Secondly, if it's too hot where you live to run outside (I draw the line above 80 degrees), and you need to run indoors on a treadmill, here is a progression workout I did today that will make your run go by in a flash.

3 miles total:  1/2 mile at 10:30 pace, 1/2 mile at 10:00 pace, 1/2 mile at 9:30 pace, 1/2 mile at 9:00 mace, 1/2 mile at 8:45 pace, 1/2 mile at 8:15 pace.  By the end my legs felt fast and fresh.  I liked it.

Little blonde Skyler



I'm off to the Maine woods with the family for a few days to camp upon the shores of Moosehead Lake, and all internet devices are staying home.  I'll have plenty of stories when we return.

These two photos were taken on our first camping trip to Moosehead in July 2007, and I put them on the very first blog post that I ever wrote.  Apparently it was pretty cold that weekend?  The forecast this year calls for heat and sunshine.  I plan to do two open water swims while I'm there.

Suzanne holding baby Reed.

The day after I get back from camping, I turn around and drive to Massachusetts with Susan for the Danskin Triathlon.  That means I have a few items to pack, and some deep breathing to do. 

Check out all of the crap I have to remember for one little race:

bathing suit, cap, goggles, flip flops, towel, watch, bike, bike pump, extra tube, helmet, biking gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, sports bra, bike shorts, bike socks, bike shoes, bike computer, running shoes, hat, gels, gatorade, water bottle, and a positive attitude.

Triathletes:  Am I forgetting anything?

It's hard to set a specific time goal for a sprint triathlon because all of the distances vary slightly.  I've done this course 2 times before, but I think the swim course was quite shorter one year.  Hmmm.

Here is my best job at goal setting assuming the distances are accurate:

Swim (1/2 mile):  12 minutes or less.
Bike (12 miles):  46 minutes or less.
Run (3 miles):  28 minutes or less.

Add in some transition times, and I'm looking to get in under 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, July 18, 2011

best days ever.

We are stuck in a sweet, hot, sunny weather pattern and I'm loving it, except it's kind of too hot for running.  And we had to buy a few new fans for the kids to help them sleep.  But for getting out and enjoying all the swimming spots around Maine, it's perfect.

We've gotten our summer formula down to a science.  We make plans with some friends at a beach somewhere around here, sometimes the ocean, sometimes a lake.  From where we live, most day trips to the best swimming and beaching are about an hour in all directions, so we make a whole day of it.

We put on bathing suits, and while the kids run around and make messes around the house or get into some kind of trouble outside, I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pack water and juices in a cooler, fill tupperwares with cut-up fruit, toss something sweet and something crunchy into the bag.

Sunscreen, towels, changes of clothes, sand toys, and off we go.




Then we drive.   Then we find a spot settle in.  And the kids usually go right in the water while I chat or sit or (oh my god I actually read a book at Swan Lake) just enjoy the view and wonder if my kids know how good they have it, this Maine life.
the view of MDI from our chairs.
collecting crab claws on the beach.

The above photos were from a beautiful beach spot in Surry where I sat with my friend Erica (that bundle is baby Willow).   











And then the next day, we spent the afternoon at Swan Lake State park:


We go all day until we have had too much sun or too much water or we are just plain tired.  We pack all of our stuff, now full of sand, back into the bags and get ourselves back in the car.  We drive the pretty drive, much more quiet on the way home.   Sometimes there is a Sox game on the radio.  Less often now the kids fall asleep.

When we get home, the doors fly open, and the car spills out sand and buckets of seashells and sandy towels.  We start dinner, unpack, and run a bath for the kids.  My secret wish, that almost always comes true lately, is that one of the kids shouts out:  "best day ever!!" as we review the highlights of the day.

The part of these days that has surprised me the most?  The conversations in the car on our drives.  I'll admit that sometimes the kids drive me crazy in the car.  There are lots of unwanted pokes and touches and the grabbing of books and markers.  This is when I hear myself saying things like:  "Don't make me turn this car around!"  I really did say that once.

But this week, there has been less sibling rivalry and more conversation, mostly steered by Skyler, but Reed chimes in for sure.   I have been asked all of the following questions during our last few trips to the beach.   (FYI:  The kids call my dad "Opop.")

--Mom, why did Opop get cancer?
--If you eat all of your vegetables, you won't get cancer, right?
--Why didn't the medicine work for Opop's cancer?  Why does it work on some people and not on others?
--What was it like when Opop actually died?
--How long do you think Opop would have lived if he never got cancer?
--How funny was Opop, Mommy?
--What happens to us when we die?
--What would happen if you got run over by a car in the parking lot?  What would happen to us?
--But how would they find Daddy?  And would we ride with you to the ambulance?
--If I died, what would you do?
--Do kids ever get cancer?  What if they are allergic to the cancer medicine?
--Do you and dad put the presents under the tree, or is there really a Santa Claus?
--Is it even possible to do what Santa Claus does?  Can reindeer really fly?
--If someone breaks both of their legs and their arms, how would they operate the wheel chair?
--Have you ever had cancer?  Has Dad?
--Do you think that I will be alive when you die?
--Do you have to be married in order to have babies? (yes, you do).
--Everyone has a mom, right?  Well, then, where did the first person come from?

I know that this all sounds terribly morbid, but actually the conversations have been matter-of-fact and really sweet.  They are fueled by pure curiosity, and when there is a long pause after I answer, I look in the rear-view mirror and see them looking out the window, absorbing some new piece of information.

For me, being a mom in the summer means that there are endless coolers to pack, sand to wash from bathing suits and towels, fruit to chop, sun-block to administer, seashells to display, tupperware to pack and then rinse, and enough time on the long, curving roads home to talk about the big stuff and to let it all sink in.

By the way, my answer to the Santa Claus questions:  "Wow.  What a beautiful day we are having today, right guys?"

Sunday, July 17, 2011

help me choose.

We spent another fine day swimming and picnicking by a beautiful body of water.   In fact, we're doing the same again tomorrow.   We are right in the thick of the best parts of our Maine summer.

I have a load of photos, musings and some good recipes coming your way, but first, I've wanted to get a good shot of Reed to make into a canvas like the one I have of Skyler. I will put the two side by side on a wall somewhere in our house.  I like these four but can't decide which one to order. Would you weigh in on this decision? Do you have a favorite?

Thanks for your help!

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{A little silliness from the girls}:

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Friday, July 15, 2011

LiveME giveaway winners...

Thanks for all of your comments!  Clearly, you love LiveME stuff, so if you didn't win today, head over to their website.  OR, go to the Maine Maven in Orono.  I was just there today and they have a good stock.

Okay, the winners!

First prize, a t-shirt of your choice, goes to








Second prize, the camp mug goes to:


















And Third prize, the BeerME pint glass goes to:












This one goes to Angela Toce Fascione, who left her comment on FB.

The following 10 people also get a sticker of their choice:  (I used Random.org for these too, but it's too much work to post all of the numbers!) 
Casey Monnier
Emily Smith McGee
Bailey Massey
Emily Anne Piccard
Brittany Sisco
Jill R
The Finicky Farmer
Maureen Gauthier
Catherine McDonald
Willow

Okay... Winners!  Please email me at emiliemanhart (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll hook up you with the goods.  If you are getting a sticker, please provide me your mailing address and which sticker you would like.  They are on the website.

Everyone else, sorry I can't give one to all of you!  There are more giveaways in the works, so stick with me.  Have a great weekend!