Monday, October 24, 2011

Skyler swims (the video)

Sam made a video of Skyler's swims.  She has watched it just a few times :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Skyler's First Swim Meet

 I have a feeling today was the first of many, many days that will be watching Skyler swim in swim meets.  Sam's parents and my parents definitely logged many hours in the bleachers of very warm pools watching us swim, so I kind of feel like I joined that club today.  This is Skyler just after she spotted me up in the bleachers.  She was only a few minutes away from swimming her first event ever, and she was so nervous and excited.
 Ready to dive in for the 25 free.  Seriously adorable.

 There she goes!  She looked great.  Sam has been taking her to practice and I haven't actually seen her swim in a while.  I was so impressed with her little freestyle stroke.  What a big girl.
A blurry shot of a happy and relieved swimmer.

Next up was the 50 free.  Here she is coming back with Sam filming her and her bigger teammates yelling "Go Skyler!"  Again, just adorable.

When she came up to the stands, everyone wanted a photo with our little superstar.  First, Omom.

About seven hours later (slight exaggeration), she swam her last event, the 25 backstroke, which she swam beautifully.  It's a miracle that Reed didn't hurt himself climbing up and down the bleachers, steal any donuts from the concession stand, or that he didn't try to jump in the pool (he wanted to so badly).  We were all very proud.

Other things that happened today:
I carved big pumpkins on the patio by the fire with the kids, Skyler roller-skated and Reed rode his bike up down our street, and we ate a whole container of Suzanne's homemade applesauce.  About Suzanne's applesauce, Reed said "this is so amazing.  It tastes like strawberry shortcake."

I took Jackson for a trail run in City Forest like I often do, and after one mile, he totally disappeared.   I went to my turn-around point at about 2.2 miles and he was nowhere to be found. I was calling him and calling him and getting myself all worried.  I ran all the way back, almost to the parking lot before he came running toward me.  When I got to the parking lot, there were all these nice, worried dog people who saw us and said:  "Oh, PHEW!"  They apparently had been hanging out with him on the trail and waiting to see that he had an owner.  Jackson is usually the best trail running partner and stays right with me, so he must have smelled something especially tantalizing that steered him away from me.  But we had a cute little running embrace on the trail, and all's well that ends well.

Lastly,  file this one in "hilarious" or "miraculous":  On Reed's first report card from preschool, he received all 1s (highest score possible) in the category of "Self Awareness and Self Control." After I saw it, I laughed all the way home.  I mean, do you know Reed?  Self Control.  That is rich.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend.  It sure was beautiful weather here in Maine.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Lila and Joe, Sam's parents, were visiting the past two weekends.  The kids are always so happy to have them here.  See?  Look at Skyler's face.

On Saturday, Sam had the cool opportunity to go to a swim clinic in Bath offered by two olympic swimmers. So, while he was off doing that, Skyler and Reed wanted their grandparents to watch them roller skate. Lila and Joe just bought Skyler her own pair of roller skates for her birthday, and so she has been wheeling herself around anywhere with a smooth surface.

This place is so funny to me.  There are flashing lights and a DJ who plays 80s love ballads.  Which I guess is exactly what you want in a roller rink, right? 

Skyler, who was holding on to the wall for dear life the last 2 times we went, was showing off her new mad skills at the rink.  She was so super proud.
Reed, well, had some dramatic wipe outs. 

The girl gang:  Skyler, Hayley, Ella and Maya.  I love this photo because the girls look so tough, and because of Pattie, Ella and Maya's grandmother, proudly looking on from the side.

It was a beautiful weekend, so once we were done in the roller rink, we spent the rest of the day outside on the patio with a fire while Skyler colored and Reed got himself into trouble.

Unrelated bonus shot:  My brother Chris, the coolest person I know,  got home yesterday from a 10-day surf vacation in Panama.  I adore this photo. 

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Race Report: MDI Marathon Relay.

Oh, hi Mount Desert Island.  What a beautiful morning for a marathon.

I left home at 6 am and drove with Amy to the island, thankful that Sam, Lila and Joe would entertain the kids for the day while I was free to be out in the sunshine with my friends.  

Jen, Amy and I ran the 3-person relay and Susan ran the whole marathon.  As for our other Sole Sisters, Suzanne couldn't run due to a pesky and unfair leg injury, and Christine couldn't join us this year because she is on a Mediterranean cruise.   But they were both with us in spirit.

Susan, team of one.  Jen, Amy and Emilie, team Maine Sole Sisters.
Because "Sole Sisters" was already taken.  :(
At the starting line right before the gun went off.

Our plan was that our relay would also serve as support for Susan, and we'd each run our leg with her.  It worked out so well.  Jen and Susan set off at the start for the first 8.5 miles.  Amy and I went back to the car and made our way to the first relay exchange which was in Seal Harbor.
I debated about shorts vs. pants, long sleeve vs. short sleeve, and finally made a choice and I was ready to go. 

Right on time, Jen showed up to pass off to me with Susan right with her. 

Susan and I set out for the next section.  My leg of the relay was 10.2 miles.  I was happy to be there for Susan who has been such a good friend to me.  She was feeling great, but I knew she had a long way to go.  I reminded her when to drink water, when to stop talking on the uphills, and encouraged her along.  I also did what any good running friend does:  I told her when there was a race photographer up ahead so she should pick up the pace and smile. 

Once in a while, I'd say, "we're running 10-minute pace right now.. you sure you want to hold that fast?"  She did.  She was doing fine, running so strong even on the hills.

The 10 miles I ran with her were just so stunning.  There is no way for me to explain it.  We had long stretches of ocean views, dramatic cliffs, bright fall foliage, and beautiful ocean homes.

We played the "which house would you buy if you could have any one?" game.  I found several ocean front, cedar shake beauties that would do just nicely in Northeast Harbor.  The hills were definitely prevalent.  Lots of rollers, up and down, up and down.  So pretty.

Before I knew it, my leg was over.  Here we are getting to the last relay exhange.  Susan was getting tired but still running so strong. 

Susan jumped into line for the port-a-potty and Amy got ready to bring her home. 

Then, Amy and Susan headed off and we said we'd see them at the finish line.  I changed clothes on the side of the road and switched into biking gear, grabbed my bike (which I brought down in my car, switched to Jen's car and then to Susan's car and back to my car), and rode to the finish. 

I stopped at mile 20 (I think) to cheer for them as they ran past.  Looking good, girls!  
It was a pretty trafficky stretch so I didn't get to bike very fast, but it was fun to cruise alongside the marathon course and see everyone getting close to the end.   It was also pretty cold and a little bit windy, so I was ready to find Jen and some warmer clothes.
Near the finish line in Southwest Harbor, Jen and I got coffees and bagels at a coffee shop which tasted about as good as anything I have ever tasted.  We were both really cold and the coffee warmed us right up.

We calculated what time we thought Susan and Amy would show up, and were walking out to wait for them, when all of a sudden, there they were!  10 minutes ahead of what we thought. 

So, Jen and I jumped onto the course to run together across the line with our coffees in our hand.  The announcer made sure to make a joke about how amazing it was that we ran the whole marathon without spilling our coffee.  

Susan finished in 4:35, which was a personal best for her, which is freaking amazing on a course like MDI.  She surpassed her own hopes and totally impressed us all. Very graciously, she claims her secret weapon was having each of us to pace her for our leg of the relay.  It all worked out so smoothly. 

Another race medal, a cool green running jacket, and a beautiful day with my girls:  check.
What a fantastic day.  So proud of my friends.

Yesterday, before I left, I got my new shoes in the mail (I discovered ordering shoes from Ebay for a lower price). So, today's race was my last run in my old (left) Asics.  They are tired out with a total of 493 miles. 
 When I opened my new ones, I said:  "Hello, you." And Skyler said:  "Mom, do you realize that you are talking to a pair of shoes?"  Yes.  And I take photos of my shoes too, kid.
Only 2 more races in 2011.  And then it will be time to start talking about 2012 and some pretty cool ideas I have for where I'll go next.

Time for some pizza and a cold beer.  More pics of Lila and Joe's visit coming soon.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

i love this and i stole it from facebook.

Turkey Trek 2011

It's time to announce the 5th Annual Turkey Trek, a 4-mile trail run in City Forest in Bangor, ME on Thanksgiving morning, November 24th.  8:00 am start. Entry fee is any non-perishable food donation.  Read on.

My friend Susan and I, with support from our friend Christine, started the Turkey Trek 5 years ago because we wished there was a local run on Thanksgiving morning.  Because it was on Thanksgiving morning, we also decided to make it into a collection of donations for a local food pantry.  It started small and has grown each year and we are quite proud of it.  Last year, in 2010, we had well over 100 hundred runners and walkers on a very brisk, beautiful Thanksgiving morning.  We have donated many, many trunk-loads of food to Manna in Bangor.

We'd love to have you join us this year.

Please spread the word to friends and family.  Please know the event is not technically a race.  There are no bib numbers nor a timing system.  It is a gathering of people for a run or a walk through the woods, and it will make you feel good, and you will go home happy and ready to cook up your Thanksgiving feast. 

Even though it's not a real race, we do offer some incentive to run fast.  The first 3 runners to cross the "finish line" will receive a homemade pie for your Thanksgiving feast.  Susan and I bake the pies and our pies do not suck.

Most importantly, this event is a way for all of us to be thankful for our resources.  After four years of donating to one food pantry in Bangor, we decided to change this year's beneficiary.  This year's donations will go to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, a organization that services all 16 counties of Maine and provides food to more than 36,000 people per week.  Their website also provides information and education about hunger in Maine, as well as a great blog about the work they do.

The following is from their website:

Why are people hungry?
Basically, there's no good reason for people in Maine to go hungry. There's plenty of food. The problem has always been overcoming the economic and political obstacles that prevent food from reaching those who need it. Ending hunger means solving these more systemic problems while, at the same time, doing everything we can on a daily basis to feed hungry people.

Many people are hungry because they get sick or injured, a spouse or parent dies, or they lose their job or are unable to work. Unfortunately, these bad breaks happen all the time to people in all socio-economic conditions, forcing them to make painful choices like whether to buy food to eat or pay their rent or other living expenses.

We are honored to provide support and donations for The Good Shepherd Food Bank this year.  Please join us.

So, mark your calendars and spread the word.  Meet us for an 8 am start in the Tripp Road parking lot of City Forest in Bangor, rain or shine.  The run or walk is a 4-mile loop of trail.  Hope to see you there!

By the way, the company Build-A-Sign donated that banner in the photo.  They are awesome.  And despite Skyler's footwear in the photo, we don't recommend that you try to roller skate the Turkey Trek.

I'll post more reminders here and on facebook. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

 Tonight was the third of three nights of parent teacher conferences from 4:30 to 7:30.  It was quite a long week.  Tonight I decided Skyler was coming with me to work.  She stayed busy in the corner making a book of her drawings while I conferred with parents.  She was so good.  She filled my chalk board with her doodles and made a new drawing for my wall.  And she just acted like giggly, happy Skyler the whole evening.  I like take-my-daughter-to-work night.

I hadn't had time to run much this week, but today I was determined to sweat a little bit.   I made it home by 3 today, quickly set out in the pouring rain for 3 miles (it wasn't much, but it felt good), went back home and showered and got back to work in time for conferences. Wow am I tired right now.

Speaking of running in the rain, here is the one and only race photo from the Maine Half Marathon two weeks ago.  That is my "No, I'm not going to smile at you" race face.  Remember, I run because it makes me so happy, can't you tell?
Speaking of running in races,  this weekend is the MDI Marathon that I'm running as a relay.  Last year we had a most spectacular day, and it looks like we are going to have good weather again this year.  Here is the video I made last year of our relay and our gorgeous day.  Watching this makes me very excited for Sunday.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Skyler's Birthday on the farm.

 When I rescheduled Skyler's 7th birthday party after she was sick 2 weeks ago, I didn't realize that many of her friends would be out of town because of the long weekend.  Luckily, two of Skyler and Reed's favorite friends are sister-brother pair McKayla and Kristian, who were able to come along on our horseback riding adventure, and the four of them had a blast together.  It was also a totally beautiful, warm fall Maine day and I went a little crazy with the photos.  Four handsome kids on a horse farm and they were wearing cowboy hats?  There was no slowing me down with the camera.

Sam with his parents, Joe and Lila
 Skyler was a total natural on the horse, and we think we might send her here for horse camp this summer.
favorite shot of the day.  That is my boy.

McKayla's turn!  Also a total natural.

dudes eatin' pretzels out of their hats.

You try lighting 7 candles in the wind.

Happy happy birthday to my little cowgirl.