Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sometimes it's good

As much as I have complained, whined, fantasized etc. about not being an at-home mom, I know that there are really some good points about it. On Thursday morning I took the morning off from work to watch Hot Wheels at soccer and basketball camp. We arrived, Superman in tow, and almost immediately SuperDad was on duty keeping Superman occupied while I watched Hot Wheels take the court for the first of the camp games. It's a program from 3 and 4 year-olds, so the coaches exercise A LOT of patience and spend most of their time corralling all these kids onto the soccer field or basketball court and try to impart listening skills as much as any athletic skills. I looked around and noticed that most of the moms had parked themselves on a small hill off to the side, younger siblings safely secured in strollers, and spent most of the time talking amongst themselves. I spent the hour and a half taking pictures, reminding Hot Wheels to listen to his coaches, encouraging, cheering and being a distraction. I'm sure that for the moms that are home full time, something like this camp is a chance to get out and socialize with other moms. By day 4, they've already seem their kids kick the ball or shoot a basket and I know it's just not all that exciting. I don't fault them at all, but as someone that doesn't get to see these things every day, I couldn't imagine not being glued to the sidelines, watching what's going on. It's probably better for the kids when they're more on their own. Hot Wheels didn't need me standing there distracting him, he needs to learn to do these things on his own, under the direction of his coaches. So, in a way, the fact that I wasn't there every day was a good thing. He told me how happy he was that I came to see him, not many of the working fathers took a morning off to come watch their kids. I readily admit, I'm not completely enthralled with everything they do all the time. As I type this I'm listening to "mom, look at what I made" about 50 times as Hot Wheels and Superman play with Lincoln Logs. I do look and tell them, "that's nice" or an equivalent response, but I admit I'm not giving them my undivided attention, and that's fine. I do really enjoy watching them learn new things, new skills and new ways to interact with the world around them. I loved every minute of watching "Red Light, Green Light" while dribbling a soccer ball, watching the kids all play "What Time is it Mr. Fox?" as they tried to count the biggest steps they could take across the basketball court. Would I love it as much if it was something I saw every morning for a week? Maybe, maybe not. While I will always fantasize about being home with my kids all the time, maybe not being at home makes me appreciate the time I do have a little bit more.

After the whinier start to my week, or maybe it was a mid-week whine, things ended on a great note. I got a couple decent workouts at the gym, the weather broke and became sunny without all the heat and humidity, I finished up my last week at my old job and I'm ready to start my new job on Monday. We've got a great weekend ahead, nothing too exciting, a lot of work around the house and maybe some pool time this afternoon and some beach time tomorrow. Whatever we do, it will be an enjoyable family weekend. They're all pretty precious right now as we'll likely have a big adjustment phase in only about six weeks. A wonderful change, for sure, but still an adjustment.

Pregnancy status: 43 days to go!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I made it to sunset, pass the cheese

Last night sunset was at 8:25pm. I crawled into bed and turned off the light at 8:34pm, I was probably asleep by 8:37p. I was just wiped.

Yes, I'd like to cheese to go with this whine...

I don't really like to whine. I find it to be a waste of time and energy, especially when whining about something I can't do anything about, but here goes anyway. Yesterday I had a dr's appt that takes an hour out of my day between travel and appointment time. The total activity of that appointment is to pee in a cup, get weighed, have my belly measured and hear Critter's heartbeat. If this weren't my third completely normal, average pregnancy or maybe I wasn't being kicked by this kid many many times an hour all day, those things might seem more necessary to me, but they just seem like a waste of time. And, I had to bring the 2 sheets of paper that need a doctor's signature to verify my maternity leave status for work and to have them fill out that paperwork, which will take the doctor less than five minutes of work- I have to give them $25 cash! I didn't ask them to write a novel for me, it's 2 pieces of paper- TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS. Ridiculous. I don't really want to think about the weighing part- I hit 30 pounds. Ugghh, that's five more than I was hoping for the whole pregnancy, and I've still got 6+ weeks to go, I could easily gain another 5. Which brings me to my next whiny subject, I feel huge. With temperatures in the upper 80's with high humidity yesterday and today I just want to wilt outside. We took the kids and dogs for a walk last night, not even a mile, and I was drenched and miserable. I'm tired, hot, fat and lazy. They've closed our pool for the whole summer for roof repairs, so I won't even have that while I'm on maternity leave, which is something I was looking forward to. I truly don't want this baby to come any earlier than it's supposed to- for baby's health and for the fact that I lose maternity leave time if he or she is early. But, it's looking like a long 46 days ahead.

On a happy note I'm taking tomorrow morning off from work to see Hot Wheels at soccer and basketball camp. It's just a one week program, for an hour and a half- god bless the coaches of these 3 and 4 year olds that they're trying to corral together and maybe teach something about soccer and basketball. He has enjoyed telling me all about "red light, green light" and he tells us that dribbling a soccer ball is with your feet and dribbling a basketball is with your hands. I'd call that a successful week. I'm looking forward to watching him tomorrow. Just another reminder of why I'd love to be the at-home parent, but that's life. I'll take pictures, too.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Last week marked five years since my trip to Alaska for my first marathon. It was through Team In Training and I so clearly remember that sign-up meeting in January where people talked about how they went from complete non-athletes to marathon finishers in the course of one season. I was a little naive in how literally I took those testimonials and thought that I would actually run the marathon. Well, a whole five weeks into the training or so I got shin splints. I was an idiot and tried to run through it for a while, on cement sidewalks, until I could barely walk around through the day without wincing because my shins were killing me. I switched to the walking program, had to take a couple weeks off for the shin splints to heal a little and then proceeded with the training. It was a great experience, although I never want to walk another marathon, it's too long. Some day I will run/walk one, or maybe even run the whole thing, we'll see. Anyway, here's the original race report I wrote five years ago. It's amazing to think of how much in my life has changed since then. I was pregnant a month after the race and now we're plus almost three kids. Wow.

The Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon, Saturday June 21, 2002.
The race: Saturday morning I was up about 5:30am. With the time change that was 9:30am back here, but our bodies adapted pretty quickly, so it sort of felt like 5:30am. I was glad to have gotten any sleep because I kept hearing from people that no one ever sleeps the night before their first marathon, but I got about 6 hours of sleep and I was way too excited to be sleepy. The buses picked us up from the hotel at 6:30am, and we were off to the starting line at a local high school. We got there just about 7am, and the race start was 8am so we hung out in the parking lot. My grandmother had sent me an article about a man from Bayonne, NJ that was going to be there. His name is Ken and he was running in memory of his wife. Well, we get to this parking lot and with the thousands of people walking around, who ends up standing about 15 feet away? Ken!! So I told him who I was, and that I had read about him, we had our picture taken and that was kind of funny. Then I got in the Rent-A-Can line. You've never seen so many people lined up to use toilets! As I was told to do, I got through the line, used the bathroom and then got back at the end of the line. When I reached the front of the line about 20 minutes later, I did have to go again. Nerves and water I guess. The gun went off exactly at 8am. There were over 2000 of us at the start, and being in the walker pack we were a ways back. (Of the 2000+ that started, 1550 of us were with TNT, so there was a big purple blob of movement) I started with Joanne and Linda- 2 women that were from the Detroit area Michigan Chapter. Sally also started out with us but moved ahead quickly. We were pretty packed in for the first mile or so, and then the walkers started to spread out a bit. The first 4 miles were along the highway. That was kind of fun because there were people waving at us and honking their horns as they passed all of us. My first mile was relatively slow because we had such a packed start, about 18 minutes. After that I settled into a pretty comfortable 15 minute mile pace. I was with Joanne and Linda for about 2 miles, and then I went off on my own. There were plenty of people to meet and say hi to, but I stayed by myself for most of the next 7 miles. We had some GORGEOUS scenery and the weather was perfect- mid 60's and sunny with a slight breeze to make it very comfortable. Miles 5-9 were on a couple different roads and trails. We passed a golf course with the most beautiful views of the mountains, and some nice little creeks and streams off to the sides of the course. We had an aid station every 2 miles with water, orange slices, sports drink and sometimes pretzels (salt intake is important). The aid station at mile 6 was a M.A.S.H. station- the people there were dressed in fatigues and there was a whole military theme to it. Once we reached mile 9 it was the Tank Trail- 7 miles of backwoods trails that had some pretty decent size hills on it. I met up with Amy from the Arizona team on the trail and we stuck together for about 6 miles or so. It was nice to have some company and it made those hills a little easier. We hit the peak height of the race at mile 14, after a pretty long hill. There was a nice view of Anchorage from there. The ground was pretty uneven and rocky, lots of people really hated the tank trail. I thought it was pretty nice. Mile 16 brought us back on the road, and there was the "muscle beach" water stop. There were some guys that were dressed in miniskirts and dresses, they actually looked very attractive. I did need to stop at the Rent-A-Can line at mile 18, the line was short, though, so it was less than a 5 minute stop. Then I hit the road again. Miles 18 and 19 were uneventful, and only mildly painful. I knew I had blisters at that point, but I was just trying to hit the 20 mile mark. Then I finally got there! Mile 20 was very exciting because I realized that I was going to finish a marathon. However, at about mile 20 my legs also realized that we had not gone that far before and decided to tell me that this was really a pretty dumb idea I had. The excitement lasted until about mile 22 when I realized that there were still 4.2 miles left- over an hour of walking. I think my blisters had babies somewhere around 22 and my knee joined in with complaints of its own. Miles 22-25 were in some local parks- part on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus, and some were just public parks. So there were more people along the route at this point which did help a little. Fortunately, at about mile 22, along came Brian and Janette from the Las Vegas chapter. We had passed each other back and forth since about 18, and now they caught up and took me with them. If they weren't there, I don't know when I would have made it to the finish, but it was easier with some company. We did get to see a moose and her baby somewhere around mile 22 1/2 which was exciting. And then there was a woman at mile 23- she had a sign that said "thank you from a leukemia survivor". She thanked EVERY TNT person as we went by, and that really was such a lift to keep us going. Let me give you a little hint here, in case you ever have the occasion to be a spectator at a marathon. DO NOT tell people that they are "almost there". You may think you're helping, but your idea of almost there, and the concept of almost there for someone that has already run or walked 20-something miles are completely different. Also, don't say "it's all down hill from here", or the next mile marker is "just around the corner". These are not helpful phrases, they just make us swear about you when we reach the next corner and there's no mile marker there, or we see another hill coming. The hill at mile 25 that we had all heard about wasn't as hard as I had expected. Brian and Janette got a bit ahead of me then, and I saw my coach just before we reached 26. She took the water pack I had been carrying so I could run in the finish. My pack weighed about 12 pounds, so it was really nice to take it off. And when I saw that finish line I felt like I could run forever! (thank goodness it was only about 100 yards, though) I crossed the finish at 6:58:01. My personal time was actually 6:56:31, since they electronically subtract the time that it took us to get to the starting line at the beginning of the race. Crossing that finish line was the most amazing experience I have ever had in my life. In the last 200 yards I thought about Clayton, Michael, Pop-Pop, Nanny, George, and all the other people that had inspired me to do this. I'm sure they were all there in spirit to help me finish, and I couldn't have done it without them, either. Linda and Sarai (pronounced Saree), were both at the finish already and they cheered for me as I came in, which was nice. I thought I might cry for a moment when I reached the end, but I didn't. I think I was too tired. I got my medal and t-shirt and then we stayed to see Joanne finish. After that we walked to the bus stop to get back to the hotel, and I think the 1/2 mile walk took almost half an hour. The pain set in and stayed for the rest of the day, but it was a little better after I popped a few blisters. All in all, the most amazing, wonderful experience of my life. You should give it a try!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Early end to a season

Hot Wheels decided that two kids races was enough for his first season, this morning we were to head off to race #3 when he changed his mind. SuperDad had initially planned to do the 5K and I was going to do the 2-mile fitness walk. When we both decided we weren't interested in our events, we were thinking an hour drive for a 3 minute kids race was excessive, but Hot Wheels seemed so excited we were planning to go. When he woke up this morning he asked if we could go to the aquarium instead and we went right along with that plan. He mentioned that he didn't want to go because he thought he wouldn't win. We reassured him that it wouldn't have mattered if he won or not, but we're not going to force him into any race at 4 years old, it's all just for fun. There don't seem to be any local kids events for the rest of the year, but I'll keep looking out for another opportunity. We had a great time at the aquarium and then we filled the new kiddie pool and hung out in there for a while, now we're winding down a bit inside. Or that was the plan anyway, as I sit here typing, Hot Wheels and Superman are racing each other doing laps across the basement. At least they should sleep well tonight.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What makes you run?

Yesterday afternoon I had some strawberries to clean and wash- about 6 pounds left from what we picked over the weekend. I was standing in the kitchen for a while. As is expected, the boys followed me into the kitchen and then wandered around a bit lost because there aren't any toys in the kitchen because, it's the kitchen, not the family room where I left them surrounded by toys. After their baby-bird imitations to get some strawberries I remembered that the Boston Pops CD was in the kitchen player, the best of John Williams movie soundtracks- so I turned on Darth Vader's theme- you remember it- dun, dun, dun-n, duh-da-duh-n-n, duh-da-dun-n-n, I just wanted it to be stuck in your head, too. Anyway, as soon as I turned it on, the running began. All of a sudden our kitchen was a starship and Hot Wheels and Superman were being chased by Darth Vader. Superman got bored relatively quickly and moved onto stacking some containers from a cabinet. Hot Wheels, however, ran and ran- around our kitchen island. The island's 2'x4', so that's a 12 foot perimeter and he probably ran about a half foot to a foot or so outside that so let's say it's 3' x5', a 15 foot path. Well, being that I've got some OCD tendencies, I started counting after a while how many laps he was doing and I counted 57 laps. I don't think he had done all that many before I started counting, so let's estimate he did 70 laps at 15 feet per lap, that's 1,050 feet and there are 5,280 feet in a mile, so he covered 0.199 miles- in the kitchen! Just for fun. I guess being chased by Darth Vader would motivate me, too.

Last week we went to Hot Wheels pot luck supper to celebrate the end of his first year of preschool. A whole year done already? I remember going to our "goal setting conference" back in October. The teacher asked us what we'd like him to accomplish, in his first year of preschool?! We said we'd like for him to have fun, learn to interact with kids his own age and maybe run around a bit. Well, he did all those things, we think it's been a great success. It really makes me laugh, though, that some parents are so competitive. I've been asked whether he can write his name yet, does he know all his letters and numbers, is he working towards reading? Some yes, some no. Are my kids going to be brilliant, probably not. Are they brainless lumps? Probably not. They'll likely be somewhere around average. It wouldn't be called average if that wasn't where most kids are. People just need to calm down and let kids be kids, it's preschool, run around, paint, play with cars, make some friends and have fun. Everything else will come with time. He's looking forward to going back next fall, so that's good enough for us.

Over the weekend we went strawberry picking, the boys had a blast. Superman was very focused, he only likes the biggest red strawberries and he did almost fill his own basket before he started eating them. Hot Wheels, on the other hand, had an empty basket and a full tummy. Well, it was strawberries, not Hershey kisses, so I didn't really care. The people running the stand joke with all the kids that they should weigh them on the way in and again when they leave. Judging by the number of red-stained shirts in that field, most kids did quite a bit of sampling.

It's been a good couple weeks at the gym. Last week was 4 mornings 30-45 minutes on either the bike or eilliptical trainer. This morning was 35 minutes on the elliptical, I hope to make it another 4 day week after I skipped yesterday. I'm at the great point of pregnancy where I'm really tired and I've got insomnia- what fun. I looked at the clock yesterday at 5am, but I'd been up for a couple hours and decided I'd try to get a few more minutes of sleep. Turned out to be a nice hour rest, these days that beats the gym, hands down. I've had a few dreams lately where Critter shows up early, I hope they mean nothing, I've got a lot of stuff to get done before the arrival. Critter's also been a girl in a few of the dreams- is it a sign? Then again, my neutered male cat also gave birth to a litter of kittens in my hospital room in one of the dreams, so I'm not putting too much stock in a link to reality there. We'll find out, in around 54 days.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Not so bad after all

Sunday morning at 8am I thought for a few moments, with a little sadness, that they were starting the triathlon I had intended to swim as a team member. Then, I thought about how chilly the water was Friday afternoon at the beach, the temperature's about 62 degrees I've read, and decided maybe it wasn't so bad that my team mate decided to take on the tri by herself. Next year I should be able to fit into my wetsuit if I decide to go for the June triathlon, or I'll wait for July or August as there are 2 others in the area then. We'll see. I'm not really thinking about next season until next season, or until things have settled down after Critter's arrival. Sunday afternoon the boys and I went with grandma to her town beach and had a blast. At low tide the sandbars seem to go out forever, the swim buoys actually lay on the beach it's so low and the small areas where water is trapped between the sandbars is full of lovely warm water and some great little hermit crabs and creatures to explore. We played and relaxed for about 3 hours and that night we were all exhausted, a fun day.

Pregnancy moment: I do wonder sometimes what it is about the whole pregnancy thing that makes people think you want their opinion on any number of topics. TriSaraTops recently posted about comments you shouldn't make to pregnant women about how they look, other than "you look great". Third time around now I think I've heard them all so most things don't really get more than a fleeting acknowledgment in my mind, but I am amazed at how pregnancy almost makes you not really a person anymore, as if you have no feelings or brain- people think they need to tell you everything they assume you don't know.

On having our third child I've gotten comments ranging from "you must be crazy, now you'll be outnumbered", to "your kids are cute, you should have more". Neither of those reasons seem to me to be valid reasons to have, or not have, more children, but apparently they're good enough for other people. There have also been numerous responses of "but you only have two hands", as if I'm raising my boys to be completely unable to stand near me or walk with me without fearing that they will, for some reason, take off into traffic. I admit that's a concern with Superman at times, but Hot Wheels is well aware of appropriate actions when walking in parking lots, near the road, etc.

This time around I've also been going to the gym which has evoked comments from "good for you for sticking with it" to "if you exercise too much your child with be too small and sick". Wow, it's a good thing they told me, I never would have thought about what my actions could do to the child growing inside of me, what would I do without that comment convincing me I should just sit on my butt for the remainder of the pregnancy so I don't endanger the baby by stunting his or her growth?

It's been fun in a different way this time around. I was not very excited throughout my first pregnancy, as I think I've mentioned because I anticipated that having an infant would be no fun. The second time around I felt a lot of guilt that I would be ruining Hot Wheels life when his brother joined the family before he was even 2 years old. This time around, I've been-there-done-that with many of the issues so I've got no reason to worry. It's a nice feeling. I'm not someone that loves being pregnant, but it's an effective means to an end, and the kid part is totally worth any of this and tons more. I do have the "joy" of Braxton Hicks contractions this time around, which I didn't have with the first 2. Those are the "relatively painless" false labor contractions, and I quote relatively painless because they are not. There is some pain involved. Not significant, but mentionable, especially if it occurs while on the elliptical trainer or recumbent bike or while doing anything other than sitting on the couch. Even on the couch it hurts, but oh well.

Only 61 days to go. Two months from today I could be holding Critter, the family complete, with a new little one to play with. I certainly hope that he or she does not decide to arrive early, but again, these things are beyond our control and we'll go with whatever happens. Hot Wheels has an end-of-the-school-year pot luck dinner tomorrow night and Thursday is the last day of school, I can't believe he's finished his first year of preschool already, time just flies. It's going to be a great summer.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Numbers and a mommentary

Some random numbers and their current meaning in my life, some I'm trying to just get over.

65- Days until Critter's due to join the family (I'm hoping he or she is late, but it's obviously not up to me). Not that I'm not looking forward to meeting him or her, I get more time off the later the arrival.

26- pounds that I have gained.
18- pounds I had hoped to have gained at this point. (one of the things I'm trying to get over)
44- total number of pounds, as of today, I'd have to lose to get back to my goal weight, which I hadn't even reached at the point that I got pregnant. (I try not to think about this one because the number's going to get bigger before it gets smaller)
2- batches of brownies I have made in the past 2 weeks, contributing to the above numbers.

75- degrees at which my non-pregnant self is comfortable during the summer.
80, 81- average temperatures in our area in July and August which will reduce me to a big, sweaty, whiny baby.
2.5- miles from our house to the beach- where we will be spending much of our time while I'm on maternity leave, I'm sure.

3- number of days a week I'm currently making it to the gym.
4-5- number of days I would prefer to be making it to the gym.
1.5-2- number of hours of sleep I've been able to add by skipping the gym those other 2 mornings. (these days those are worth the slug-like feeling of missing workouts)

200- approximate number of calories I burn in a 30 minute elliptical trainer session these days or
150- approximate number of calories burned if the 30 minutes is on the recumbent bike.

30- approximate number of minutes between trips to the bathroom because I have to pee.
1/3- the likelihood that I will actually have to pee once I get there.
1-2- number of times I get up over night to pee, not usually a false alarm.
3- number of times I have sneezed, coughed or laughed and slightly peed.
4- number of things about peeing you never needed to know about me but now you do.

3- number of bedrooms in our house that will soon accommodate 2 adults, 3 children, 2 dogs and 3 cats.

1- number of bathrooms in our that will have to do the same.

4- number of children I would like to have.

3- number of children we will have. I have been over-ruled by the primary at-home caregiver, SuperDad.

4 years, 4 months- how old Hot Wheels will be when Critter is due.

2 years, 7 months- how old Superman will be when Critter is due.

That's all the numbers I've got for now. The mommentary moment is from Superman last night. I heard him call Hot Wheels a knucklehead from the family room while I was in the kitchen. I walked into the family room and said "Superman, did you just call Hot Wheels a knucklehead?" Superman replied "yeah". I asked "Where did you hear that?" and without missing a beat he answered "It came from my mouth". That was the inspiration for the information you never needed about me nearly peeing my pants from laughing.

It's moments like that when I don't care about any number in the world, because anything is worth seeing these boys grow up and become such interesting people.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Happy birthday, SuperDad

Today is my husband's birthday. I don't think it's taboo to post men's ages, so I can share that he is 39. I will be 34 in December and that 5 1/2 years doesn't seem like anything now. However, when we started dating we were much younger, younger to the point where my parents forbid me to see him because I was only 16 and he was "older". Ironically, today is the day we met, 17 years ago, when I started working at McDonalds where he worked part time while putting himself through school. He hated that job, but I loved it and that's only one of the many differences between us. I'm a relative chatterbox, he's reserved- bordering on shy. Sometimes I truly marvel at all that he has put with from me over the past 17 years and I'll forever be grateful that for some reason I was fortunate enough to meet such a wonderful man who stayed through so much crap.

I fully believe that he's one of the best fathers in the entire world. We were both laid off when HotWheels was 4 weeks old, I was able to transfer to another job but we wouldn't have been able to afford daycare on what his salary would likely bring home. We knew we wanted to have at least one more child so the most feasible option was that he stay at home with the kids. For many women this is a well-accepted course of action, but not so often for men. He's taken to it extremely well and I am so happy to know that our boys probably have a closer relationship with their dad than just about any other kids I know (well, except maybe the 3 other families I know with at-home-dad). Sometimes I get too wrapped up in being jealous that he's home and I'm not. But it's my issue and I try to get through it. I don't always have quite enough sympathy when he's had a rough day, and I know the days can be rough. The phone call last Friday to tell me that Superman broke the laptop computer was just one illustration of some of his daily frustrations. Fortunately that example was more expensive than most, but he's got his hands full at times. And still, he cooks dinner, does the dishes, too, takes care of the laundry, most cleaning and he mows the lawn. I've promised that after this summer off from mowing while pregnant, I'll switch off on that chore with him. I'm not the most helpful around the house, I admit, my contribution is to try and make sure he gets some time to himself on a regular basis while I take the boys out. I can get a little testy when I feel like he doesn't appreciate my efforts, but again, it's my issue.

He's a great husband, father and person in general. Even though I don't think he knows this blog exists and will likely never read it, I hope he knows how much we all think of him. I try to remember to tell him sometimes, but I'm sure it's not often enough. Happy Birthday!

On the only fitness related note of this entry, I was able to get back on the elliptical trainer this morning, at least it required a little more effort than that recumbent bike last week. Thirty minutes was all I had in me, but it felt good.

Pregnancy status: 69 days to go.