Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Accident Prone Runner

I've never considered myself clumsy, but apparently running has really done it to me. Over the last six months since joining the gym, I've spent quite a few hours and miles on the treadmill (and then on the streets for more miles). Running is something I've always been able to do with decent endurance and the treadmill is a pretty easy machine to figure out.

I've ran so much lately that lots of my old pants no longer fit and some I wore 10 years ago, including a pair of my running shorts, finally look great! It's not really a loss of weight, because I maintain the same weight now as I did before my kids and between each of them as well. It's my sweet spot, but the rest of my body is looking healthier. It's sort of exciting. Hardly noticeable from the outsider, but my husband and mom have commented. Cool, but not the reason I have been running. But heck yes, I'll take it! I am even starting to get a smidge of ab definition!

But, I'm not 20 anymore and it's obviously showing. A few months after starting regularly running again, I had this random bump appear on the back of my leg that is more of a soft protrusion that really doesn't bother me. I only noticed because I was shaving my legs and felt a bulge. I had an ultrasound on it to rule out a DVT and forgetting the proper diagnosis now, it was a benign issue.

And then my other foot randomly for a few days began to get hot flashes. I loosened the shoelaces up a tad and it hasn't happened since. I think that one was a nerve issue.

And then last Wednesday. My mom was home with the kids and they were distracted, so I figured I'd clock a few miles outside since I had the luxury of a babysitter and didn't have to push the dreaded double stroller of 100 pound resistance around. The kids only remained distracted for a few minutes before realizing I was gone and went #codefreakingred on my mom. And knowing this might occur, I was trying to be speedy and grabbed an old pair of running shoes (big mistake) and laced them up. I was running paths I didn't typically run through the neighborhood and taking some sharp turns. And then I felt it. A kind of burning pull in the groin. The pain has fluctuated between 1 and 4, but never more. It flairs when I run, so I've been taking a break.

Except that 10k on Sunday I signed up for because, DUH. I had to earn that $35 beer at the finish. And I couldn't exactly wear the shirt if I didn't complete the race. Thanks to an awesome PT and a ton of stretching beforehand, I felt almost totally pain free at the start and up to mile 5. I would've upped my speed, but didn't want to stretch things further, so I stayed at a healthy 8:30 pace. But I did it. And I can't wait for another race. But I can actually. Because I want this to heal.

So I'm cooling my jets and taking some time off running, which is super hard. I've kind of turned it into my "me time" outlet. As much as I adore my little chickens, they can wear on me and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I've been dabbling at the weights but feel like a total idiot in a weight room. And there's just something about finishing a cardio workout that has me so refreshed.

I dusted off my yoga mat for an intermediate/advanced class with my neighbor friend this morning. Well friends, it was quite evident I've taken quite a few years off since my last yoga class! I was wobbling every which way, but was fairly proud with myself when the instructor commented that I was "in that crane pose like a boss."

Which is good, because I can't touch my toes and I simply don't know how I'll ever get my torso to come that close to the floor. Like ever. And the class was way less zen and way more chatterbox than I would've liked.

This groin thing better figure itself out pretty soon, because while I do enjoy looking like a total idiot in yoga positions (and planning to take another class next week), I really want to clock some more miles on foot.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Just Monday Stuff

It's funny how weather really can affect your mood. The last three days have been nothing short of incredible here in the Midwest. The bugs are (mildy) suddenly back, but the kids are playing on the deck, in the dirt, at the parks. They are eating lunch outside (can I get a HECK YEAH for not having to sweep?) and exploring and painting rocks with cornstarch + water + food coloring paint.


Tomorrow will be cooler and rainy, but the last few days have been praiseworthy.


I'm kinda pulling a Tiger Mom approach to this whole handwriting situation. I typically spend about 20 minutes each day working with Benjamin solo on handwriting just after Claire goes down for her nap. He's required to write his name alone a couple times anywhere he chooses and we usually do another fine motor workbook page or something. He usually picks and in order to keep him cooperating, I let my Type-A slide when he wants to do 5% of each page and move on to other pages. But he's practicing writing and I have to let that go. He was eager to use sidewalk chalk yesterday and so I had him write his name. He is a whiz at the short name but the whole name is trickier. He can spell it, but the A and M have him a little perplexed. With a little help, he managed both his name and Claire's name.

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And how about a little talk of the littlest? She's fighting naptime. She dropped her morning nap at 9 months and never looked back. Now the afternoon nap? And really, she's totally unphased if she misses it and rallies to bedtime like a champ. It terrifies me! She's 27 months and I highly doubt she will be napping at 3. And yet, I know friends whose 4.5 or 5yo kids are napping. How come I am getting slighted here? She sat chatting in her crib the entire naptime today and I threw up the white flag.

Meanwhile, Benjamin is back on his obsessive kick with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that he watches during naps and tells me regularly that he wants to go to the chocolate park with Aunt Mansa. You know, Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. Just a hop, skip and jump. He thinks it's equivalent to like a neighborhood park or something and it's just not getting through. I told him today it would be a lot of money for airfare and then admission, to which he told me he had a Disney card to pay for it all (of which he discovered in our mail pile as a fake paper credit card he quickly confiscated which was sent by the kind people at Disney to incentivize me to apply for a real one).

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I bought a running watch. I think I mentioned that before, but Amazon took their sweet time sending it to me since I don't have Prime. Am I the only one in America? Maybe. For awhile, I never justified it because I was always spending $35+ anyway with the free shipping. And now they raised it to $50 which has me a little annoyed. It shipped from the warehouse 1 hour and 15 minutes away in Kenosha, Wisconsin and yet it took 7 whole days to arrive at my doorstep. I'm certain they delay shipping for non-prime simply to get more people on the subscription model. And oddly, it arrived on a Sunday. So naturally, while the husband was heating the kids up some chicken nuggets for dinner, I took the new watch out for a quick loop in our neighborhood to test it out. And then the husband took it for another few miles that evening for more fun. I'm totally geeking out over the numbers. It's fun, fun, fun. Kinda like how I can barely remember how we survived without smart phones, I doubt I'll ever be able to run outside again without a running watch.

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Our local grocery store is having this Monopoly promotion. When you buy certain products, you earn tickets, given to you at checkout. You open the tickets and put the stupid little pieces on a game board and cross your fingers hoping you win something. Four years back, we won $2. We play because we wouldn't be able to bear having the winning piece for something greater and not knowing, but it's annoying. They also have INSTANT WINNER tickets for random grocery products you can redeem and often, I get INSTANT WINNER tickets for... wait for it ... more tickets. I received my very first (maybe ever?) instant win today.


We don't have a dog. You know what would've been cooler to win? Anything else. #irony

Monday, April 11, 2016

Day in Pictures: Monday, April 11

6:00 Claire is up awfully early today, which is even worse when I couldn't get to sleep last night. Go in and tuck her again, hoping she's back to sleep soon.

6:45 She's up for good. Snuggle in bed, get gym clothes on and get Claire dressed for the day.

7:15 Benjamin's curtain is open, as I can see light under the door. Walk in, snuggles with him. Dress him while distracted with tickles because otherwise he would wear his Mickey superhero shirt or his creepy shirt and I would really like him to have a little variety so it looks like I actually buy him clothes.

7:25 Downstairs and Claire's crying over something. Get cinnamon toast started while B makes a "creation" out of the Hi-Ho-Cherry-O (butter + Vietnamese cinnamon I bought at a spice shop in Lincoln Park). Make smoothie (spinach, ice, apple, almond milk, banana). I hated the combo. Drank a cup despite hating it because I hate wasting food. Kids manage to eat at some point.

8:00 Teeth brushed, shoes on, jackets, on. Buckled in the car and off to the dropoff line at the Early Childhood Center B attends.
(I know about the jacket. It's SO rare, I promise. Not that it's an acceptable excuse, but we live .6 miles from school.)
8:15 Drive over to the YMCA and drop Claire in the kidcare. Run a quick treadmill 4 miles up tempo, practicing speedwork with inclines. Just bought a running watch to start running outside more since we're canceling our gym membership next month to save cash and because warmer weather means outdoor pool and outdoor running! Awkwardly avoid eye contact with one of Benjamin's former preschool classmate's mom as I walk by to grab the cleaner to wipe off my treadmill. She's nice, but she was running hard and I was in a hurry. And also, they go to different preschools now, so it's basically like the bloods and crips.

 9:15 Shower, blowdry my hair, apply makeup and make myself presentable. Listen to the senior women talk about how the maintenance workers aren't mopping properly and "sloshing" the lockers with the cleaner. They told the front desk people about the negligence, don't worry. I was worried.
Try to calm down about how much you love my gym "shower" shoes.
10:30 I was the Mystery Reader for B's class this morning. I brought 4 options and ended up reading In My Heart and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. B thinks that book is hilarious. Sister was stoked to come sit with brother in his class. The feeling was mutual.


Signing in (with official sticker with my face and labeled, "mystery reader" even.) You can tell she is thrilled.

She knows the way. It's the very last classroom in the school and she hasn't forgotten. #stoked
11:00 Finally leave B's school with two kids who wanted to sit and play in the lobby forever. Head to a store to buy something they were out of and let the kids walk through the toy aisle for a few minutes. Ended up buying a roll of washi tape and also lost my children for a solid three minutes. I guess at least they were together. Found them near the fresh flowers where there was a woman keeping them captive. (They would be in a cart but they fight over who gets to sit in the top part, so we had to walk.)


12:00 Home for lunch. They had PB/cream cheese sandwiches and for dessert, Lucky Charms marshmallow treat we made yesterday (because leftover cereal from St. Patty's and surplus of marshmallows).


The moment you realize your husband stole the last of the takeout pizza from last night.
"Mom, it's warm outside. Let's go lay out there and eat our lunch."

1
2:50 Brush Claire's teeth and upstairs to sing "How I Wonder What You Are" and kisses before nap. Kids kiss through railing. 

1:00 Claire is yelling about being cold because she intentionally removes her blankets so I have to come in there and cover her back up. Sly. Cover her back up and head downstairs where B is yelling my name because there's a big mess Claire created that he doesn't want to clean up. He writes his name twice on the whiteboard easel for me entirely unassisted (requirement) and then selects The Cat in the Hat old school DVD from the library to watch. We love us some Dr. Seuss.

1:15 I do the dishes, remove stinking gym clothes from bag and realize I left my makeup bag at the YMCA. Call YMCA and have them hold at the front desk for me. Also, jot down a quick meal plan for the week on a piece of mail form the Art Institute. Because not a gym day, tomorrow's look for storytime: hobo.

2:45 Hear Claire kicking the crib rails, signaling all free time is up and nap is officially over. She woke cranky. Super. I set up some puzzles for them to run and grab mixed pieces and place. It worked well until Benjamin started shoving. And then tears. Eventually the puzzles were completed.
3:30 Outside to pull some weeds, tend to a smidge of yard work and chalk art with the kiddos. Still in jackets and not quite park all afternoon sort of weather at upper 40s.

She reaches the pedals fully now. When did that happen? 
 5:00 Back inside and reading Highlights High Five Magazines and then time to think about dinner because Claire has already grabbed a string cheese and opened it at this point. Kids have PB & cream cheese sandwiches (same as lunch, their choice) and string cheese. B finishes quick (rare) and chooses an ice cream bar for dessert (I bought for myself and hate. Anyone else love pawning off crappy treats on their kids instead?). Claire never finishes but manages to eat some of my dinner later.

5:30 Call my mom while prepping dinner and kids are eating. Used mandoline to make french fries and whipped up a quick chili on the stove. Chili fries for dinner.
7:00 Upstairs for bath. B flips out because he has a real fear now that all his bath toys will get sucked down the drain. His face is almost in tears every night as we try to explain that the plug prevents them from going down, and that they are all too big anyway. Still emotional.

7:30 Pajamas on and requesting rocketships from Dad and then a book in B's bed.

7:45 Prayers and kisses and bedtime for Benjamin as Claire hops in my bed. I close/lock his door first and then take Claire in her bed, as they both insist Mom does the final goodnight. Bedtime for the littlest immediately follows and finally... rest.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Monday Musings

Our gym is remodeling the men and women's locker rooms. They gave the project a 3-day deadline. It's been 10. People are asked to use the family locker room instead, which is located in the dungeon basement and is carpeted (gag), has two changing areas, about 30 small lockers, one toilet and a communal shower.

I use this locker room a lot with the kids after swimming, but cramming about 20 senior women into this thing who are all complaining about their large carry-on luggage (seriously) not fitting into the lockers is totally entertaining. I honestly wanted to pull up a chair and listen to them ranting about the locker room travesty.

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Saturday morning, we took the kids swimming (see above for description of the super fancy dinosaur-aged locker rooms) followed by a Costco run. The kids ate things like ham sandwiches (they were giving out generous samples) and other things they never ever eat willingly at home while commenting how delicious they were. Those Costco sample people are magicians.

Then we came home and I went for a 3-mile run. I ran three loops around our neighborhood and as I started each loop, the skies were blue, the sun was shining and it was a perfect spring day. A half mile later, it began to snow and wind picked up to blowing it straight in my eyes. It was a horizontal blizzard. But then, I started another lap and it was bright and cheery again with no snow in sight. Rinse, repeat. It was the weirdest day and also, did you know snowflakes that shoot straight at your eyes with strong winds feel like small daggers? Well now you know.

We had friends over for dinner Saturday night and I made BBQ chicken pizza and a cheese pizza, salad and oversized cookies with dark chocolate gelato, whipped cream and sprinkles to top. Everyone loves sprinkles.

Sunday, we woke to 28 degrees, grabbed a pizza after church (because who doesn't want pizza for every meal?) at a local joint, and were at the park with barefoot kids in the afternoon. We flew kites in perfect 70-degree weather that the kids got in Easter baskets. Benjamin's Cinderella kite was a point of serious discussion as he expressed great concern for Cinderella flying so high in the air that she might be injured and then again when she took a dive into a neighbor's yard that housed three dogs. Shoot, I was even concerned for poor Cinderella's wellbeing at that point. Benjamin also actually rode his bike for probably a distance of close to a mile for the first time ever. Each other time he simply entertained the idea with marginal effort. I give him a B effort which is saying a lot, because #lazylion. By bedtime, it was in the 40's again. Spring is crazy.

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Benjamin's school just sent home the emergency card and packet for next year. We have another set of friends moving out of state. People are dropping like flies around here, and I was actually questioning who to put on the emergency contact card!

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I'm running a 10k later this month (which reminds me, I should actually sign up!). It's my first "official" 10k race, but I run that distance often. I ran 5.5 miles at the gym this morning and average about 10-15 a week, running about 3x. It's not something I think I'll ever aspire to compete hard at, but I've always been able to run a decent distance without much effort. I'm trying to pick up the speed and maintain endurance and hope for a race in under an hour. I'm fairly certain I'll be able to manage that well with minutes to spare, but the terrain is rather challenging. Regardless, I love the feeling of a runner's high and have been really enjoying my runs lately.

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Benjamin's behavior last week was rough. It reminded me of those dark days between 2.5-4 when he would have out-of-body tantrums and be impossible to please. I took them to a bounce house place Friday because I was feeling guilty for not indulging more during spring break (but really, he's FOUR so what does spring break even mean when the only change is not going to fun preschool for 2.5 hours a day like usual?). After, he pushed Claire out of the way of the hand sanitizer and insisted he be first (the battle of the firsts is raging lately). I wouldn't help him reach, so he lost his mind because I wouldn't entertain his crap behavior. Instead of dinner out, we had to have dinner in. I hate when punishing them means punishing myself!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter Recap + Barbie Reaction

Didn't want to leave you all hanging with that Barbie post. My iPhone conveniently shot me that "sorry you idiot, but pictures are full and sucks to be you because now you can't take pictures of your cute kids doing hilarious things" right as I was about to snap the Barbie reaction. But have no fear, backup camera to the rescue.

Grandparents were in town, so that meant we got a real date night in during the Easter weekend. On a whim, we drove to Oak Park and toured Frank Lloyd Wright's first home. We walked through the neighborhood and checked out more of his designs, hit up a few thrift stores (for more Easter basket fillers the kids didn't need) and booked an Open Table for our favorite restaurant.


In addition to Easter service on Sunday, we decorated eggs, searched for baskets, enjoyed countless treats and fun with grandparents, made cupcakes, two pies, ate tons of delicious food, tried a new restaurant together, went out for donuts (because, more sugar obvi), played at the park, visited the children's museum, pool time, had a fun spa treatment with my MIL and had a great time.

It's always serious detox when grandparents come and leave. The few days after are hard on everyone, but the days with everyone together is oh-so-sweet.

Now the baskets. I probably filled the baskets too much. But I have this gift closet I hoard gifts the kids aren't developmentally ready for (that they received as gifts), I got for crazy cheap, or got for free somehow. I stuck a few of those in there along with thrift store book scores for $.25-$.59 each, a $3 and $5 Barbie (one for each), lacrosse sticks I got for $3.50 on clearance and some chocolate from their Aunt Mansa. It totals less than $20/per kid. Next year, they're just getting books. Or maybe a pat on the back and a high five. #spoiled

whose is whose?
Before church, the kids opened a gift from the Easter Bunny (Mickey Mouse waffle maker for breakfast). I could've stopped there, because at 2 and 4, they still haven't connected that Easter also means baskets. But since they are entitled, spoiled little chickens, they got more. Not to mention the variety of gifts brought by grandparents, box sent from their Aunt Mansa and box sent from their other set of grandparents. Really, no shortage of love here. Or candy.
Baskets, spotted!

Barbie time. Here's that reaction...
That used $.35 copy of Cinderella was actually the biggest hit. We have the movie, but he never watches it. But the book, new fave. He's also a huge fan of that Harold and the Purple Crayon book, another $.59 thrift purchase that looks brand new! I love used books for the price and the green purchase (reduce, reuse!). And the book is so age appropriate.
And naturally, the hair on the Barbie doll is all ratty now (didn't last 24 hours) and they are infrequently played with. But that was a given, right? Surprisingly, Claire is the one who requests hers to sleep with, but she's nurturing and says the same for her other babies.

Other things to note: Professor Wiseman in Curious George was a male back in Curious George and the Rocket and in more recent books, Professor Wiseman is a female. Fun fact. Also, in the Barbie, I Can Be President book, Barbie does indeed become class president (spoiler alert! HAH!) and she meets the President of the United States who is a female!