Wednesday, December 31, 2008

on to the next ...

So, I thought about a writing a long, drawn out recap of our year, but then decided against it. Instead, I give you this.

In 2008, things happened, more good than bad. We laughed, we cried. Doodle took her first steps. Dizzle started preschool. I ran my first marathon and my first triathlon. J ran his first 10K. We found out that I was pregnant with our third daughter. We formed great friendships. We sold our house and bought a new one. We evolved. All in all, it was a fantastic year.

And next year promises to be even more eventful. Our clan is about to embark on a year of change. Just within the next two months, J will start a new job, we will move into our new home and baby number three will arrive. Then, just when things look like they might settle down, I'm pretty sure that the reality of our new life will set in (giving me oodles to write about). It's scary and exciting and I can't wait for it all to get started.

Adios, 2008!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

and we've survived ... for now

After nearly two weeks of house guests and three Christmas mornings, we finally have our home back to ourselves. And it feels good.

Now don't get me wrong, I love our families and I really love how much the girls love having them all around. But I am never truly at ease when people are staying with us. I always feel like I need to be doing something. Entertaining, cooking, cleaning. It's always something. So, to not have that feeling hanging over my head is fantastic.

But, and this is a big but, this feeling is not going to last. In fact, I already feel it slipping away. Why, you ask? Because I realized this morning that Dilly is guaranteed to be here in less than a month (she's being evicted on the 29th if she doesn't try to arrive earlier) AND we are closing on our new house in 45 days. So, basically I have a zillion and one things to take care of (preferably before Dilly arrives) and I already feel like I have no time to do any of it.

OK, someone slap me. I know I am overreacting. It's all about taking baby steps, right? If I do a little each day (and purge half of our stuff) I will be done in no time. Easy peasy.

Am I totally kidding myself?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

did I really think she was going to be small?

For basically this entire pregnancy, I have been measuring small. In recent weeks, I have been measuring even smaller (personally, I think I dropped). Anyway, this change (or lack there of) in my stomach size caused my doctor to order an ultrasound to "make sure everything is OK."

This immediately freaked me out. Obviously, all this running I have been doing is keeping my kid from growing (even though the nearly 30 pounds I have gained proves that I am growing just fine). And although, I measured small when I was pregnant with Doodle as well, I just couldn't completely shake the feeling that maybe I should rethink the whole running thing.

Until this morning.

Because the ultrasound just proved what I have always suspected ... J and I make giant babies. I mean, come on, it's not everyday that a 6'7" man and 5'9" woman have a super tiny baby. Sure, it can happen. But, seriously, it's not that likely.

Anyway, despite the fact that I am still measuring small (it must be those six-pack abs I have ... or maybe it's just the long torso), Dilly's growth is just fine. In fact, she's pretty hefty. Her head is measuring two weeks ahead (thanks, J) and the rest of her is right on target. They are estimating her current weight at 5.5 pounds (at 34 weeks. I know of full term babies who were born that size.) Calculate that weight out to 40 weeks and we are looking at approximately an 8.5 pound baby. Not what I would call small. But really, should I even be slightly shocked? Didn't think so.

it's official ...

We have a move date. February 16, 2009. So, who's coming to the packing party?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas morning, take one

This year we are celebrating Christmas kind of like Hanukkah (you know, spreading it out over multiple days). Instead of one morning of presents, we are waking up to a room full of gifts on three separate occasions. First, with my mom and sisters. Then, just the four of us. And finally, with J's parents and brother.

This past Saturday was Christmas morning, take one. Rather than waking up at the crack of dawn to go out on my long run (which I did on Sunday, in the rain instead), I was awoken by two overly excited children who wanted nothing more than to open presents.

So, after making ourselves presentable for the camera (no blackmail photos here) we took the girls downstairs for nearly two hours of unwrapping. Dizzle loved everything, and how could she not? The girl was entirely spoiled by her Mimi and aunts. Her favorites? Probably the mountains of dress-up clothes, her Brain-Quest cards and the most annoying, singing Barbie doll on the planet.

Doodle, on the other hand, showed a little more discretion when opening her gifts. She had absolutely no interest in any clothing she received. Usually, opening the boxes, then abruptly closing them, saying, "Done." She, too, immediately fell in love with her own singing Barbie doll (the battery removal stage is upon us) and three identical baby dolls that we lovingly refer to as "the triplets."

We followed up our morning of consumerism with a huge brunch (thanks to J and his spatula). Then, that evening, we had yet another enormous meal, Italian this time and went on a Tacky Lights Tour. I had a blast, the girls had a blast, and I'm pretty sure that everyone else did too. And the best part is, we get to do it all over in two days ... and then over again two days after that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

just DON'T call me a slacker ...

So, I realized today that it might seem that I have been slacking big time on this blog this month. Which, in turn, means I may have been slacking on keeping any record of our crazy antics. But I promise, I have been super busy. Between selling our house, searching for a new one, teaching Stroller Strides, taking care of two kids, growing another kid, and prepping for two weeks of endless visitors, I've had pretty much zero time to sit down and recap our adventures. So here's the long and short of it.

We listed our house. And 22 days later, we sold our house. Thank you housing Gods.

That momentous event lead to a frantic search for a new house, because come mid-February we were going to be homeless. Sob stories aside, we've searched. Found one we love (and a back up just in case) and have put an offer in. Now, we just need to hear back.

Also, on the house front, ours will be chock full starting tomorrow. The only days in the next two weeks that it will just be the four of us are Christmas Eve and maybe part of Christmas Day.

J and I are keeping ourselves super busy with work/kids/house stuff. We've been a little more stressed than usual. Oh yeah, and there's that whole "we're having a baby in six weeks" thing too. And did I mention I'm still running? Boy, is that getting tiring.

The girls, on the other hand, are fantastic. Loud, but fantastic. And Doodle has picked up the cutest little habit of stripping down to her birthday suit every time I leave the room, leaving me to clean up the dirty diapers (poop included) which have been thrown across the room. Delicious!

See, I told you I've been busy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

and now I am prepared ...

Until yesterday, I really didn't have much prepared for Dilly's arrival. Sure, her bedroom is ready, but only because we staged the house for sale. And let's be honest, with seven weeks left and Dilly being baby girl number three, how much is there really for me to do at this point? Obviously, not much (unless she plans on making an early appearance).

Right now, the car seat is buried somewhere in the attic (J might know where. Personally, I don't go up there). But at least the base is strapped into the car. AND I've gone through our baby clothes. I haven't put anything away and the seasonally appropriate selection is looking scarce, but I have gone through it all.

But thanks to the miracle of the United States Postal Service, I am now fully prepared for Dilly's arrival. Because yesterday, Pampers sent me ONE newborn size diaper. That's right, ONE. Obviously, I can stop worrying that I haven't stocked up on diapers (or even purchased any at this point) because Pampers is coming through big time!

Seriously, what are you supposed to do with one diaper? That will last you approximately 20 minutes on a newborn, if you are lucky enough to put it on securely enough and a blowout doesn't ensue. And it's really not enough to determine whether or not you like a brand and would like to purchase more. I mean, with all the mark up on diapers (Pampers are like 36 a case, while Target brand is only 14 - how is that possible? they both suck up pee, right?), don't you think they could spare like 10? Maybe enough for a whole day!

But, all cheapness aside, I just wanted you all to know that when Dilly comes home, she will be diapered. For at least 20 minutes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

not my nose ...

On the way back from preschool yesterday, the girls were quietly sitting in the car watching a holiday episode of Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends (for the zillionth time, might I add.) Anyway, Dizzle suddenly threw this one at me.

Dizzle: (Screaming) "What if the new baby tries to touch my nose. I don't want her to touch my nose!!"

Me: "Babies don't move that much when they are little. She's not going to be able to touch your nose."

Dizzle: "Oh, OK."

And that was that. Total freak out to complete calm in 2.3 seconds flat. Now if I could only figure out why she's afraid of someone touching her nose ...

Monday, December 8, 2008

start of the season ...

When I was growing up, the holiday season started (at the latest) on Thanksgiving. My mom ALWAYS had the tree up that day and on several occasions I remember it staying up until mid-January, if not February. In addition to the tree, we had Christmas lights everywhere and probably 20 light up and mechanical figures spread throughout the living room. Plus, Christmas movies (and music) hit on Black Friday and NEVER ENDED. You could pretty much say that it was Christmas overload at our house.

And while I may have enjoyed it as a young child, as I got older, my feelings about it changed. I became a holiday minimalist, you might say. A tree in the living room and a strand or two of white (yes, they must be white) lights around the doorway is the extent of my Christmas decorating. Sure, I think light displays are nice to look at, but I don't want to deal with actually put one up.

Oh, and the music. Can we just take one second to talk about how annoying it all is? Don't get me wrong, Christmas music is fine. On Christmas, Christmas Eve and maybe a day or two before that. But does it really need to be played from mid-November to New Year's? (I could, however, handle Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but then again, that's not really traditional Christmas music).

My point is that for me, the whole "Christmas season", should be about two weeks long. At most. (I know you're thinking, "Scrooge.")

But, now that the girls are old enough to get the whole Christmas thing, I think I may have to change my tune (even if it's not willingly). You see, this past weekend we started getting into the holiday spirit (a week earlier than I had hoped, but I didn't want to feel rushed before family started visiting). Anyway, the looks on Dizzle and Doodle's faces when they saw our Christmas tree (even undecorated) was enough to make your heart melt. They are beyond excited. Dizzle is constantly asking when we get to go to Christmas (I'm not sure if she realizes it's a holiday and not a place) and Doodle screams with joy every time she sees Christmas lights.

So, instead of fighting it, I've given in. J bought a CD of Christmas songs and as a family we danced and laughed and decorated the tree. The girls loved it. And so did I. Then the following day, we headed to Williamsburg for the Grand Illumination. And despite being so cold that we ended up watching the fireworks from the car, we had a blast.

And with that I concede, because as much as I may try to fight it, it's glaringly clear that the holiday season has begun in our home.

Friday, December 5, 2008

torture device ...

In the past, I have gone on and on about how I love my BOB Stroller. How it is a Godsend and I could never run with any other stroller. EVER. Obviously, if my stroller failed me it would be the end of the world (I know that would never happen though, because they truly are amazing pieces of metal and canvas, plus BOB's customer service is spot on).

Anyway, I did have a point here. And that is, as much as I LOVE MY STROLLER (or strollers, because we do own the single and the double versions), I now know that it is a torture device in disguise.

You see, my replacement seat came this morning. Thinking that all I needed to do was remove a couple of screws, take off the old seat and replace it with the new one, I utilized nap time to repair my stroller. BAD IDEA.

Obviously, it wasn't going to be that simple. Of course, there were like 9,873,759,903 screws to remove, 4,389,050 straps to undo and 1 folding mechanism to unhinge. Oh, wait. Did I mention that some of the screws were slightly larger than others, so I actually need to pay attention to what came off of where? (let's just say I didn't exactly notice the different sizes until I had completely removed the seat.)

Needless to say, it was a frustrating task.

But it gets better. Once I got the old seat off, I realized that a nut was missing from the sunshade, making it hang all droopy to one side (and increasing the difficulty of reassembly). So, I had to call my best friends over at BOB and ask them to send me yet another piece. Completely fed up, I used one of the nuts from the hanging basket underneath to secure the sunshade (fortunately, they are the same size). Then, I attempted to stretch the canvas to fit the frame while I held the screws and screwdriver in my other hand. Eventually (an hour and a half later), the seat was reinstalled.

Yeah!!! Victory for me!!!

But, not really. Because when I went to fold up the stroller, I realized that I had improperly threaded the folding mechanism, which only lead to more work. Oh yeah, and being 31 weeks pregnant while doing all of this, SO NOT FUN.

See what I mean by torture?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

playtime epiphany ...

I'm not quite sure what nap time is like at your house. But over here it's usually a little something like this. Doodle goes to sleep without issue for approximately two hours. Dizzle does not sleep. Not ever. Not since she was 18 months old. (Yeah! We've already gotten two bonus months with Doodle.)

So, long ago, I decided to give up trying to make Dizzle nap. It's just easier for us both. Instead, Dizzle plays with:

A) all of the toys that either are not safe or practical for Doodle (i.e. she might destroy them)


B) all of the toys that lead to fighting when both children are present.

Then, when the two hours or so are up, Dizzle and I put everything away and a mini-tantrum ensues once Dizzle realizes her "alone" time is over. (I seem to recall her yelling, "Don't get Doodle" over and over again on most days.)

But today, a more mature Dizzle appeared. When I heard Doodle's cries, I asked Dizzle if she wanted to leave out the village we had built or put it all away before we went to go get her sister (who was bound to knock it over in two seconds flat). And rather than her traditional whiny response, Dizzle said, "I would be happy to have her play with us." (note: she also had what sounded like a slight British accent.)

Um, excuse me? Did I hear you right, Dizzle? You don't think your sister is evil and out to destroy you? You actually want to play with her?


Thursday, November 27, 2008

i'm thankful for ...

my family, my friends, my health and my running shoes.

Sure, there are more things that I am thankful for, but I was granted with reasons to be grateful for each of those things today (and most days, if we're being honest here). And here they are ...

1. My Family: I was told twice this week (by people who know me quite well), that if they were asked to guess 10 years ago what I would be like now, their answer would have been 100 percent wrong. They both thought I would have had some high paying career and children would not even be in the picture. But somehow, I've never had a high paying career or even a mid-range paying career and in less than 9 weeks, baby number three is due to make her appearance. And honestly, I could not be happier or more thankful for this.

Although, they were completely right (I would have answered the same way 10 years ago), I can no longer imagine being happy with that life. Sitting around the table, eating Thanksgiving dinner with my loving husband and my two adorable daughters was one of the most perfect moments I have had this year (even if we had the worst server ever!!) And I am entirely grateful for them. And knowing that we are so close to adding to our family makes me ecstatic and entirely optimistic for the future.

2. My Friends: Whether near or far, my friends kick a**. I know that regardless of what happens, they always have my back (even if having my back means telling me I'm completely nuts and need to snap back to reality). I've known some of these women over 20 years and others less than two, but I love them all and appreciate them more than I let them know. They are like my second family and I look forward to growing old with all of them.

3. My Health and My Running Shoes: OK, so these two probably need to be grouped together because without my running shoes, my health (both physical and mental) wouldn't be as good as it is. Today (with the help of several of my friends), I was able to realize that my body is an amazing machine. At 30 weeks pregnant (and 25 lbs heavier than my racing weight), I ran a very hilly 10K. And even though all of my friends finished before me, they helped me understand (finally) how impressive just finishing was. Seriously, it's not everyday that you meet someone who runs a 10K on Thanksgiving (or any day for that matter). Then, try finding someone who runs it while growing another person. It won't be easy. But I was able to thanks to all the things I'm thankful for. (The support of) my family and friends, my health and my running shoes ...

So what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

oh how I love BOB ...

Strollers, that is.

Can we just talk about how incredible BOB's customer service is? In the past, I have called them for this and that. Nothing major, a missing screw, a lost bolt. And they have always sent replacement pieces, no questions asked.

Well, for the last six months or so, I have had a tear in the seat of my Revolution Duallie, figuring that the warranty on the stroller would be expired, I didn't even bother trying to get them to replace it. I was fully prepared to either live with the hole or to pay to have the seat replaced. So, when A told me the other day that she just had her seat replaced by BOB for the same reason, I figured, "What the heck? It's worth a shot."

So, I called this morning and the customer rep that answered simply asked what was wrong, took my name and address, and sent me a replacement seat. How freakin' awesome is that? Oh, and they are shipping it today to make sure that it's arrival isn't delayed by the holiday.

Yet again, another thing to be thankful for ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving cuteness ...

Earlier today, Dizzle's preschool held their Thanksgiving Feast, with an abundance of food provided potluck-style by the families of the co-op. I got my fill of turkey and cranberry sandwiches and two slices of pumpkin pie (one was for J, but I "forgot" he doesn't eat it). It was fantastic, and after eating it, I lost all guilt about having our non-traditional Thanksgiving at Maggiano's.

But the best moment of the celebration came when Dizzle and her classmates marched into the room and performed two Thanksgiving songs. It was beyond cute. And the second they opened their little mouths, I started tearing up. How is it that my little baby is old enough to sing her heart out on stage?

Seriously, I always used to think my mom was crazy for getting all choked up when we did what to us seemed ordinary. But, now I realize that once you're a mom, you can't fight it. It's the overwhelming sense of pride in your child that kicks your tear ducts into overdrive. It's pointless to fight it. And for that I'm thankful ...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

you know you're obsessed when ...

the prospect of having a third child in less than 10 weeks is not totally freaking you out, but rather the thought of taking a break from running is keeping you up at night.

Am I completely sick in the head?

OK, don't answer that? I know I am.

You see, I've done the whole kid thing before. I know what's coming. Sure, the adjustment will be rough, but at least I'm fully aware of what to expect. But I've never (in the whole year and a half I've been running) taken more than six days off. And that was immediately after the marathon. In fact, since the marathon, there has only been one week where I didn't run at least four days..

I'm addicted, and I'm pretty sure that taking time off is going to put me into withdrawal.

And I'm not even sure which part is scarier for me. The whole taking time off and having to slowly come back or the "running itch" I'm bound to develop, which will probably lead to a too early return. I don't really like either scenario. Seriously, sometimes I just wish I was lazy. Then I wouldn't have these problems ...

Monday, November 17, 2008

what I learned by having no voice ...

and I'm not talking in the "I'm not empowered, so I have no voice" kind of way. I literally mean I HAVE NO VOICE. I can only talk in whispers and it's really more effective to just write down what I want to say. Annoying? Yes. But at least it's taught me a lesson or two ...

1. Having no voice, yet attempting to talk (even if it only comes out as a whisper) takes as much energy as yelling.

This is so true. In fact, on several occasions, I have gotten lightheaded if I tried to carry on a conversation. Maybe it's because I'm pregnant or maybe it's just that when I do try to talk, I feel like I'm getting a serious abdominal workout and screaming at the top of my lungs. I'm not quite sure, but either way it's not a lot of fun.

2. You can tell a three-year old anything and they will believe it.

I told Dizzle that I had lost my voice, so she asked where it went. "On vacation" was my immediate response and ever since then she has been asking me "When is your voice going to get back from vacation?" and "Why did it go on vacation without you?"

3. I yell (I mean raise my voice) at my children far more often that I had realized.

Sometimes it's to get their attention. Sometimes it's because I'm in the other room. Sometimes to save them from injury. Sometimes it's because they are acting like lunatics and it needs to stop immediately. But whatever the reason, I do it a lot. And it's very frustrating not to be able to do it.

4. But most importantly, I now realize that I don't need to yell at my children to discipline them.

Amazing, right? But in the last three days, I have not been able to yell once and yet, they have listened to me completely. Perhaps, because I am whispering they have to listen better. Or maybe they don't feel like I'm trying to control them. But whatever the reason, it is now my personal goal to keep the yelling to a minimum. And maybe, just maybe I will have two very cooperative children ...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

4.97 miles ...

So, J and I ran in the NTelos 8K this morning. We had planned to run together, but that didn't so much happen.

This is how it really went down.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

a crappy job ...

Upon returning from school today, Dizzle was in a foul mood. She cried over everything. She threw tantrum after tantrum. And just when I was about to hit my breaking point (rushing out the door to Stroller Strides), she said the funniest thing.

Dizzle had been whining and complaining about something that I asked her to do. She told me, "I'm trying to ..." and I snapped back, "Well, it's pretty crappy." To which she yelled back, "I don't do crappy jobs!!"

And I burst into laughter. Sure, the statement itself wasn't anything remarkable, but the combination of her face and a three-year old using the word "crappy" was enough to make me forget why I was so worked up in the first place.

more cheese, please ...

Today at school Dizzle got a time-out. Did she fail to listen? Did she hit someone? Did she have a total meltdown and go ape on her classmates? No. No. And no. So, what did she do? She ate too much cheese.

Yes, that's right. She ate too much cheese.

You see, apparently each child in her class was allotted one cheese stick and three carrot sticks. Dizzle, however, chose to disregard the limit (and her teacher's wishes that she not eat another cheese stick) and somehow devoured three cheese sticks in a matter of minutes.

And since I was the parent in the classroom today, I was made aware of the situation immediately. Dizzle's teacher came up to me and said, "Your girl has to go to time-out. She ate three cheese sticks. Then when I asked her why she ate them she said, "Because I'm a pig."

And I started laughing. Mostly due to the absurdity of the charge, but a little bit because Dizzle admitted to being a pig. Hey, if nothing else, at least she's honest.

Monday, November 10, 2008

a quiet week ...

It's been a quiet week around the house. No major catastrophes. No hyped-up drama. Not even a funny comment or two. But quiet doesn't necessarily mean uneventful. In fact, the past few days have been quite interesting around here.

Oh, where to start? After I recovered from my "bad mommy" moment, I decided to let the stress go out the window. Really, I had no reason to be so worked up and after a few venting sessions with my sisters and friends, I had my equilibrium back. Which has made everyone is our home much happier.

On Thursday, J and I pretty much decided that Virginia is the place we want to be (at least for the next few years). And although we never intended to be here more than a year or two, we've grown comfortable. We have a place here and honestly, the prospect of leaving (at least for me) is a lot scarier than it's ever been before. I don't want to uproot our family. It's like they say, "If it ain't broken, don't fix it."

But staying here (in Virginia) and staying here (in this house), aren't the same thing. We don't want to do the latter. So, if everything goes as planned, our house will be on the market by the end of the week. Know anyone who wants a great starter home?

A big reason for our impeding move is the addition of baby number three, who thanks to a 3D ultrasound on Saturday has fully declared herself as our third girl (Natalie Marcelle, in case you were wondering). A scary, scary prospect for the future. Poor J is really going to have to prepare himself for what's in store.

Speaking of the ultrasound, not only did it solidly confirm our third XX baby, it also provided the cutest moment of our week. During our session, Doodle sat glued to the screen and with finger pointing, she repeatedly yelled out, "Baby, baby!" It was rather heartwarming. Plus, apparently, she gets it. Maybe not the whole "a new baby is coming to live with us FOREVER" thing, but at least the whole "Mommy has a baby in her belly" thing. I see it as progress. And it probably explains the extra-clinginess she has been displaying ever since.

Anyway, not much else to report. Like I said, it's been a quiet week ...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

a complement. almost.

Completely unaffected by my verbal bashing yesterday, Dizzle presented me with the sweetest complement this evening. While taking a bath, she told her father ...

"And Mommy made one (a friendship bracelet) for me. She's so wonderful."

Aw, how nice. I obviously have taught her well. Or so I thought, because she followed it up with this zinger.

(Turning to me) "But you poop a lot."

Really? Do I Dizzle? Thank you for tracking my digestive system for me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

a bad mom moment ...

Ever have one of those days where stress gets the best of you? No? Then you're either extremely lucky or completely lying (my guess is the lying). I am having that day right now (and for the past week if we are going to be honest here). But I didn't realize how stressed I really am until about a hour ago. When I totally freaked out on Dizzle. FOR. NO. APPARENT. REASON.

Seriously, it was bad. Not only did I feel horrible (as I was doing it - apparently not bad enough to stop though), there were witnesses. Witnesses who I will have to face again. Probably tomorrow.

Anyway, after lunch this afternoon, the girls and I were making our way to the car when Dizzle let go of my hand in the parking lot and started walking backwards into the travel lane. And although there wasn't a car nearby I totally acted like she was centimeters away from being crushed. I grabbed her arm, dragged her and proceeded to yell nonsense at her. It was so bad. I hated it in the moment and I hate it even more now. I feel like such a bad mom. I can't believe I'm taking out my stress on my babies. AHHHHH ........

Saturday, November 1, 2008

this bag is too heavy ...

So, yesterday was Halloween. And I should have taken the easy route and posted some super cute pictures of the girls in their costumes and been done with it. But then the mommy guilt set in and I realized that one day when the girls are grown and they ask about the Halloweens of their childhood at least I would have this post to look back on. So, this is our Halloween recap.

Halloween, much like every holiday in our house, was not a one day event. Dizzle and Doodle wore their costumes for three consecutive days and need to be bribed to get out of them. Add that to the incessant asking of, "Can we go trick-or-treating yet?" and I was pretty much done with Halloween on Wednesday.
But alas, we made it through and the girls had a blast. We started of our morning at gymnastics, where they both preferred to run around a hot gym in costumes that covered every inch of skin rather than their bathing suit like leotards. The result: two extremely sweaty and dehydrated children.
So, it was off to lunch. Pizza. Yum. And then home for naps and four hours of asking if we could leave for C's house yet. This is when the earplugs came in handy. At 4:45, we finally left to trick-or-treat. After dinner with some Stroller Strides friends, our gang of 20 plus people took over the streets of Cedar Lea. Dizzle ran around like crazy, always asking, "Where's the next house?" and Doodle was constantly reaching into the candy bowls and saying, "More?" as she exited with a handful of chocolate. After an hour and a half of walking and Dizzle stating that, "This bag is too heavy," we took it as a sign to leave.
Once we made it home, the girls surrendered their candy and headed to bed. Then J and I waited for our onslaught of candy-hungry children. But it never came. At all. Not a single person. So now we have all of the candy we bought and all of the stuff the girls brought home. FANTASTIC ...
I'm pretty sure that whole "gain one pound per week of your pregnancy" thing is out the window ...
Just a side note: J and I woke up this morning to run a 5K. I, of course, pushed the stroller and finished in 29:35. Basically, I'm psyched. It was hilly and I didn't walk, even with 100 plus pounds fighting me with every step. J crossed the finish line in 30:45. He wanted to break 30 minutes, so he was a little disappointed, but really, I think he was just mad that I beat him. Maybe next time ...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

self confidence, anyone?

Earlier, the girls and I (and our inner divas) busted out the musical instruments. We banged on drums, shook the maracas and danced the afternoon away. At one point, Dizzle and I were singing our own renditions of "Sally the Camel" and "The Farmer in the Dell" when she suddenly grabbed the microphone and said, "It's my turn to sing."

Thinking I was about to get an all-star performance of the ABC's, I sat back and patiently waited. Suddenly, my little rocker started head-banging and dancing around. All while singing, "I rock. I rock. I rock." Over and over again.

When she finally ended her performance, I said, "You rock because you are a rock star, right?" To which she replied, "No. I rock because I am awesome."

Apparently, we aren't lacking in self confidence in this household.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dizzle for President!

Last night, J and Dizzle were having a conversation about preschool when J asked, "So, do you like preschool Dizzle?" To which she replied,

"Yes, I like preschool. But America comes first!"

What?!?! Are you kidding me? Who says that?

Obviously, my three-year-old has taken a special interest in the election or something. In fact, I'm pretty sure that J is making her watch political commercials when I'm not around. I mean how else do you explain her sudden love for our country? (Honestly, I'm not even sure she knows we live in America. Virginia? Maybe. But America? Not to sure about that one.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

that so-called free sport ...

Last year when I decided to start running, much of my decision was based on my cheapness. I thought, "What could be better? Running is free. You don't need anything other than sneakers (which I already owned)."

Seems easy (and logical) enough. But I was so entirely wrong.

In an attempt to budget better and to understand where we are spending our money, J and I took a look at our extracurriculars (for me running, for him golf). Obviously, golf was going to have to be cut. It's super expensive. No, absurdly expensive. But running, so cheap ...

But then I crunched the numbers and this so-called free sport, isn't so free after all. In 2008 alone, I spent $496 on just race fees. And those sneakers, I already owned? Well, they had to be replaced three times (at around $80 a pair, might I mention). Add to that the food and travel costs for non-Richmond races (about $250) and the clothing ($400ish - dang, running gear is expensive), and I'm racking up quite a tab.

Oh, and I forgot about those two triathlons I did. Not only did they have race fees, but I needed swim and bike gear (including a road bike) as well. Bringing my grand total somewhere in the ballpark of $1900.

$1900 FREAKIN' DOLLARS!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That is the complete opposite of free. That's about a thousand dollars more than I will pay for Dizzle's preschool this year! Suddenly, golf isn't looking so expensive anymore.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

where the heck is the plan ...

In case you haven't realized it yet, I am a planner. I like to think that my organization skills are one of my strongest and most valuable traits. I make lists for lists. I pack weeks in advance. My family lives and dies by a schedule. Structure is good. Spontaneity, not so much. Sure I would love to be one of those, "fly by the seat of your pants" kind of people, but that's just not me.

To be honest, I can't remember a time when I wasn't that way. Growing up, I was the kid who did their homework first thing on Friday afternoon. All of my projects and reports were finished, and often turned in, early. What can I say, I'm disciplined. I see the big picture and the many steps needed to get there. That's probably why I always won playing checkers, but hated charades (too much creativity for me).

But right now. At this very moment. I'm asking myself (and J for that matter), "What's going to happen next?" It's making me very uneasy. I think I am getting an ulcer. (OK, maybe I'm being a little bit dramatic.)

Either way, I just have a lot of questions and no real answers. My head is all jumbled.

Here take a peek:

Is this house big enough for three kids? Is our car? Can I handle three kids? How the heck am I ever going to run pushing a triple stroller? If we stay here, are the schools good enough? Can we afford to go private? Can we afford to move? Does it make sense to move? How much can I pile on my plate before I topple over? Am I running enough? Could I be overdoing it? Are the kids at school corrupting Dizzle? Will I ever get Dizzle off the playground without a fight? Should we change our health care coverage? Would a flexible spending account be good for us? Why haven't I registered for a post-baby race? Should I invest in a good pair of earplugs to drown out my kids?

So, obviously some of these questions are a little less important than others. But right now, it's like they are all yelling at each other in my head. I really need to shut them off. Any ideas on how to do that?

Oh and since I'm sure you were concerned - let me just add, this isn't a cry for help. I'm not stressed out. I am just a little off my equilibrium.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

pumpkin patch from hell ...

Today was Dizzle's first school trip. And being the overbearing parent that I am, there was no way that I was going to let someone else (especially someone who I barely know) drive her from her preschool to the pumpkin patch. No way, no chance, no how. So, I was left with one option. Join in on the fun (read: torture).

We (Dizzle, Doodle and I. Oh, did I fail to mention that my going on the trip meant that Doodle had to go to? Right. So should have gotten a babysitter.)

Where was I? We arrived at Ashland Berry Farm with the rest of Dizzle's class promptly at 10 am and at that very moment, I realized I was in trouble. The entire place is one big dirt road and you can't really maneuver a stroller onto the hayride so well. Oh, and did I mention that my monstrosity of a stomach now makes it nearly impossible to carry Doodle on my back? So I had to let Doodle walk, through the dirt, through the mud and through my own personal hell, the pumpkin patch.

Anyway, once we got on the hayride, I reconsidered the situation and thought, "This might not be too bad after all." But I was wrong. As soon as we stepped off the hayride, Doodle was gone. There was no waiting for "Farmer Jimmy" to explain how pumpkins grow. There was no waiting for the rest of the group. There was just screaming. Ear-piercing screaming of a toddler who wanted to run free.

Once Farmer Jimmy was done with his pumpkin lecture, we began our great pumpkin search. Which took all of five minutes. Then we had to wait 20 minutes for the stupid hayride to come pick us up. Again, Doodle was not a fan. She wanted to run around, sit in the dirt, throw pumpkins and cause an all-around ruckus. And did I mention that every time I tried to stop her out came the ear-piercing screams? It was FANTASTIC! And every other mom in the group either looked at me with that, "I've been there too" look or said, "Aren't you happy you're going to have a third?" (Nice thing to say to a distraught pregnant woman.)

Long story short, we eventually made it back to the car. At which point I cleaned up the kids, drove back to the preschool and vowed to NEVER take Doodle on another one of Dizzle's school trips again. Seriously, when will I learn?


On a lighter note, Dizzle said something that nearly made me pee my pants today. She had been singing, "I'm squashing up my baby bumblebee..." when she asked to go to the bathroom. Once she finished and was washing her hands, she turned to me and said, "Mom, I can't get all the bumblebee off. It's stuck." Talk about taking something literally ...

Monday, October 13, 2008

whoa ...

So, let me just begin this by saying that what I'm about to write probably isn't blog worthy (especially if you're not in that whole baby stage like I am.) But instead, a moment that I want to remember. And what better way is there to remember something than to put it in writing.

After my run this afternoon, Dizzle and I were snuggling on the couch while Doodle was napping. Noticing that Dilly (yes, we already have a code name) was moving around like crazy, I asked Dizzle if she wanted to feel the baby kick. With bright eyes and a smile, Dizzle put her hand on my stomach. I told her to hold still and wait (real easy for a three-year old, right?) And before we knew it, Dilly gave me (and Dizzle's hand) a wallop of a kick. Dizzle jumped back and yelled, "Whoa ..." After regaining her composure, she turned to me and said, "Can I kick you too?"

Um, I think not.

Friday, October 10, 2008

bathroom breakdown ...

Although it is a rarely happens that I have to take both girls into a public restroom at the same time, there are those days when it's inevitable. And today was one of those days.

Scene: TGI Friday's, W. Broad St., Richmond
Time: Lunchtime, 10/10/08
Players: Me, Dizzle and Doodle (J sat clueless at our table)

Even though I had changed her a mere hour and a half before, Doodle somehow managed to soak through her diaper AND her entire outfit. So, with diaper, wipes and new outfit in hand, I headed off to the bathroom. When suddenly, Dizzle blurted out, "I have to go pod too!"

J instantly asked if I would be OK with both of them. I answered, "Sure, no problem." (read: there is no way in Hell that this is going to go well). And off we went.

Now, I'm not sure if all Friday's bathrooms are like this, but the one we visited had the tiniest stalls EVER! In fact, the changing table cuts across the front of the toilet, leaving about two inches of maneuverability on either side. (Again, I should have seen that and left ... but I didn't).

Anyway, I put Doodle down on the changing table (which she hates) and she instantaneously started to scream. Dizzle, meanwhile was standing next to the toilet basically making out with the flusher. So, like any mother would, I yelled at her. And not a "we're in public" kind of yell, but a full on "the nearest neighbors are half a mile away" kind of yell. So now both of my kids are crying. But still I trek on. I manage to strip Doodle down and am closing her diaper when ... RIP. The damn tab on the diaper ripped off. So now I have a half-diapered, half-dressed, totally hysterical child in one hand and a preschooler who is trying to rip her clothes off because she has to pee so bad.

At this point I have two options, try to hold a squirming Doodle against my baby bump AND strip Dizzle down at the same time (yes, she had to get totally naked. She had a sundress over her gymnastics leotard. Not the best combination) or put Doodle down and hope she doesn't try to lick the toilet.

So, I put her down. (another bad choice.) She somehow managed to drop the toy I gave her as a distraction and then picked it up and tried to eat it! Fantastic! So I asked Dizzle to hold herself up and I turned and yelled at Doodle. (Again, not with the "we're in public" yell) She instantly started crying, I picked her up (wanting to cry too) and pulled Dizzle off the toilet. After she got her twelve layers of clothes back on, we headed out (no hand washing. Gross, but I was too afraid of how that might go wrong) and I vowed NEVER to take them to the bathroom alone again! Seriously, how am I ever going to be able to handle three?

Just a note: I did Purel their hands once we left the restaurant. Just in case you were thinking I was totally disgusting.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

where are you?

Up until now, most of my child-related ramblings have centered around Dizzle. And for obvious reason. She's the one that can talk, so by default, she provides most of my laughs during the day. Sure, Doodle is cute and most of the time I can understand the point she is trying to get across, but conversations with her often lack humor and words, for that matter. That is, until today.

For the very first time, something Doodle really made me laugh. Not because it was overly thoughtful or awe-inspiring, but rather, because it was unexpected.

When getting Doodle from her nap, I peeked in first, only to see her hiding (very poorly, might I add) under the comforter on her bed. Knowing that she loves to play hide and seek, I took the opportunity to act like I couldn't find her, asking, "Where is my Doodle?"

And instead of silence (or even a snicker), Doodle blurted out, "Hiding!" Totally blowing her cover. Obviously, my child does not understand how to play. But at least she's beginning to grasp comedic timing (which is really much more practical).

Monday, October 6, 2008

toddler bump ...

I swear that in the last 24 hours, my "baby bump" has blown up to a full on "toddler bump." There is no way that my doctor is dating this pregnancy correctly. I have to be further along than she thinks. I mean, come on, how else do you explain the sudden stomach explosion?

Don't really believe that I'm that much bigger than I was last week? Well, I've got plenty of evidence ...

1. On my last run (Saturday), my shirt, while too short, managed to stay over my stomach for the entire six mile run. Yes, had I not been wearing a maternity skirt a good three inches of my stomach would have been showing. But at least the shirt stayed in place. Today was a different story. About 300 meters into my run, my shirt (the same one might I add) was up over my belly button. At a half mile, the bottom of my shirt was sitting at my breastbone. And people were staring. I just pray that the slack jaws were in awe of my pregnancy fitness and not in complete shock that the chubby girl couldn't find a shirt that fit.

2. I have lost both my belly button and my toes. When standing up straight, I no longer have a belly button and I in no way can see my toes. Again, I swear that yesterday I had an indent on my stomach and a clear line of vision to my piggly wigglies.

3. For the first time, my stomach got in my way. While lifting my stroller back into the truck, I didn't have enough clearance to get it around my belly. Instead, I slammed the front wheel into my gut, hitting what I am pretty sure was the baby's head. FANTASTIC!

Go ahead, laugh. I'm sure I'd be laughing to, if it was happening to someone else.

Friday, October 3, 2008

like a duck ...

When I woke up this morning, I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, "You know, for 22 weeks pregnant, you don't look half bad. Maybe all those people who keep telling you, 'You're all baby bump' are right. Maybe you don't look like a whale. Maybe you can be that pregnant woman other pregnant women are jealous of. (You know those super cute women who looks so good when knocked up that you want to slap them. Except that wouldn't be very motherly, would it?)."

But, then I was told that I was beginning to "waddle." Yes, waddle. Like a duck. Like a woman with many more weeks of pregnancy under her belt. Fan-Freakin'-Tastic!

That one, honest observation started to make me think ... What else have people (read: my ever-so-sweet friends) been lying to me about? Is everyone trying to protect my ego (and my rather emotional state) by telling me that, "It's all baby," "No, your a** doesn't look any bigger," "Trust me, you can't even tell in your face."

Right, I believe you. Seriously, I do. It's just that strangers are WAY more honest.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

WWE at home

I'm not quite sure what my children do when I'm not around, but I am convinced that J is allowing them to watch WWE when I am out on my long runs on Saturday mornings. What gives me this suspicion you ask? Well, the obvious of course.

Both Dizzle and Doodle have recently become OBSESSED with wrestling. It's like a never-ending competition to see who can crush the other one's skull first. It usually starts off tame. One girl hugs or kisses the other and then ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE! Doodle usually finds a way to swing her leg around Dizzle's waist, pinning her on the floor in a head lock. Next thing I know, limbs are flying everywhere and someone is screaming that they can't breathe. FANTASTIC!

I'm sure it won't be long now before toddler chairs get thrown into the mix. In fact, I'm pretty sure I saw Doodle climbing on the table today in an attempt to get a better angle at which to body slam Dizzle. (Yes, I stopped her.)

The problem that I am facing is that I can't stop them. Not only do they think it's a riot, so do J and I. It's hard to tell your kids to stop something when you can't keep a straight face. So, I am pretty sure that I am left with two options. Either let them keep at it until someone breaks an arm (I'm pretty sure I could keep a straight face then) or remove everything from their playroom and pad the walls. Anyone know which option would be cheaper?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

infestation ...

of FLEAS ...

That's how we started our vacation. With a phone call from my aunt and uncle saying they had arrived at the house we had rented for the week and it was infested with fleas. Not exactly how I envisioned our week of relaxation. J and I instantly went into parent mode. Planned our attack on the rental company (who were trying to convince us to stay in that house with the promise of free dinner) and were ready to fight for a new rental (and a more expensive house, obviously).

I mean, come on. Who in their right mind would (knowingly) let their children crawl around on floors and furniture covered in fleas? Or after the fumigation with all those toxic chemicals everywhere? Not us. And thankfully the exterminator agreed and the rental company was essentially forced to move us. (And yes, it was to a more expensive property.)

(Just a note: the rental company SWEARS that the "pet-free" house we rented had not been visited by a four-legged friend, but rather fleas are indigenous to the area. They also opened the door and let themselves in.)

After we got settled into our new house, things calmed down. And became pretty typical of our everyday life, just at the beach. You know how it went. Dizzle freaked out when asked to leave the playground (even though she witnessed Doodle coming millimeters away from a concussion), Doodle made a never-ending plead for more food (wide-open mouth and everything) and I ran. J got to play golf, which kept me busier with the girls than I would have liked, but he more than made up for it on the days weather kept him off the course.

Somehow, we made it through the week without any major drama. And honestly, I'm a little surprised (seriously, we're never that chill.) And aside from the obvious (fleas, the endless 30 mph winds from the Nor'easter, and Doodle's few near misses of serious injury), I did get the peaceful week I so longed for (and I survived no email and no phone - shocking).

Friday, September 19, 2008

a well deserved break ...

Although the our week of ups and downs seems to have ended on a high note (more on that in the coming weeks), we all could use a break. And that's exactly what we are getting.

Tomorrow morning (after my 6 am long run, of course), we are off to the Outer Banks for a week. No work. No preschool. Hopefully, no drama. Just peace. Which means that you will be left with a week of no B Clan antics (although, I'm sure I'll have lots to report upon returning). How ever will you cope?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

because I know you care ...

Since my last overly dramatic post, we have had improvements on the preschool front. After many discussions about behavior over the last two days, Dizzle made the departure from school this afternoon much less dramatic. She even walked out of the gate without any kicking or screaming. Amazing, right?

Unfortunately, we (read: J) resorted to bribery to accomplish a peaceful exit. The verdict is still out on whether or not that was a smart idea. Today's success could mean that we'll be paying out the a** for the remainder of the school year. Fantastic ...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

at the end of my rope ...

Today has been one of those days that makes me question how exactly I got here. And I don't mean in the "big scheme of things" kind of way, but rather, "how exactly did I get to the point that a three-year old could make me cry?"

Yes, you read that right. A three-year old made me cry. An event that has pretty much tested my last nerve.

So, remember how I mentioned that Dizzle LOVES preschool so much that she wants to live there? Well, I learned today that she wasn't kidding. After a quiet, yet rather exciting morning (thanks to Stroller Strides' mom, JT, who in an amazing gesture of generosity, gave me the ultrasound package she won at Fall into Fitness), I went to pick up Dizzle from school. Knowing that I would be greeted with a hug and then I fight, I went in prepared. Or so I thought.

Within two seconds of telling Dizzle it was time to go, she started shouting, "I don't like you. I don't love you. I'm not going with you. I'm staying here." At that point I was just praying that the other kids were being loud enough to drown out her cries. Anyway, after dragging her off to the car (literally, she wouldn't walk), she continued the "mom-bashing" in the car. For 15 minutes, I heard, "You're a mean mommy. I don't love you. I'm not going anywhere with you." OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!

And that was all it took, I broke down into tears. In fact, just rereading it has got me crying again. OK, so I know I'm super-charged emotional pregnant lady right now. And I know she didn't really mean it. She was just angry. But that's not much of a consolation at this moment. She may not have meant it, but I KNOW she knew what she was saying. Last time I checked, Dizzle was well aware that there is a difference between, "I love you" and "I don't love you." She's a smart girl.

Once we got home, I gave Dizzle the ultimate punishment. A nap. The first one since she was 18 months old. And you really would have thought that I chopped her arm off. (she's quiet. not sleeping.)

So, now I'm sitting here questioning whether or not I'm ever taking Dizzle back to school. I know she loves it. And Doodle and I enjoy our "alone time." But the fights (which occur if we are the first, or last people to leave) are more than I can handle and honestly, are not worth it to me. I really can't imagine being seven, eight, nine months pregnant trying to manhandle Dizzle off of school property with Doodle in the other hand. It's just not going to work.

Any bright ideas of how I'm going to make this preschool thing happen? Oh ... and don't tell me, "she'll grow out of it." It's been over two year that I've been having the same battle when we try to leave the playground ...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

why i should never mow the lawn ...

J and I have owned our own home for about four-and-a-half years (not the same home, but we have owned nonetheless). And do you know how many times I have mowed the lawn? Four. Twice in Erie. And twice here.

And how many times will I mow it in the future? Zero. Because somehow (with my vast wealth of lawn care knowledge), I managed to kill the lawnmower. DEAD. KAPUT.

I thought I was being nice. I thought I was helping out. But no. Instead of allowing J to spend the afternoon watching the Patriots (and out of the heat, might I add), I cost us a few hundred dollars. FANTASTIC!

Let's just say I won't be offering up my green thumb any time soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

week one down ...

So, Dizzle started preschool this week and although I tend to be slightly overbearing with my children, it really didn't phase me. Or her for that matter. In fact, like I had imagined, I had to pry her away, kicking and screaming. Shocker, right?

On Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to be the working parent in the classroom (she attends a co-op), which meant that Doodle and I spend the whole day with 15 three and four-year olds, trying not to disrupt them (oh, yeah, did I mention it's Montessori based? So, basically the working parents are really there to keep the kids from hurting anyone and to clean up afterwards).

Anyway, Doodle and I were in the classroom and Dizzle barely noticed. Except at lunch time, since we had to sit with her on ungodly small chairs and at miniature tables. (Would it really be that hard to have one adult table?) Then, when the day was over and I had finished my clean-up duties, the kicking and screaming ensued. Basically, Dizzle told me to go home without her because she was going to live at school. Oh, how loved I felt!

Today was slightly better. (Except that Doodle cried as I pulled her out of the line to enter the classroom. Apparently, she wanted to stay too. So, I officially have no children who need me. Well, maybe that one I'm gestating. But I'm sure that will change shortly after birth.)

Back to my point, today was better. I dropped her off, she told me she'd miss me and when I picked her up the tantrum was a tad shorter. (She still wants to live there, though.) And with that week one is in the books.

Oh yeah and isn't she just too cute?

Monday, September 8, 2008

all grown up ...

Me: "Dizzle, you are my baby. You'll always be my baby."

Dizzle: "Mommy, your baby is going to be four."

Well, excuse me ...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

rain, racing and chipotle ...

I would just like to start by saying a BIG thank you to Tropical Storm Hanna for providing me with the conditions (read: few competitors) to walk away with hardware from my first race ever (and probably last).

So, in case you haven't heard, yesterday's 5K was pretty awesome (even if we were drenched).

It was an all-around family affair, one that I hope to continue to repeat for years to come. Dizzle took part in her first "race" (if you want to call the Kid's Run, a race), completing three laps of the gym before announcing that she was, "too tired to run." It was so cute and it really made me excited for the first time we can run side by side during a race (plus pushing her in the stroller is getting kind of old. And the thought of pushing three is really scary.)

J ran in his first race since May. And although he wasn't happy with his time or the fact that his "moisture-wicking" shirt weighed about 10 lbs by the end of the race (despite ringing it out while running), he had fun. And really, how could you not? The fact that we actually rain during a tropical storm was kind of funny in itself.

So, I'm sure you figured it out by now that if J ran, I had to push both kids in the stroller. Luckily, I somehow convinced K and G that racing with me would be a good idea. And since they are such amazing friends, they both offered to push for me (not that I'd actually let them.)

Anyway, long story short, it was wet. K and I ran the whole race together. G dropped back about two miles in and J came in shortly after her. And somehow (again, thank you Hanna), I finished second in the stroller division and K and I went one-two in our age group!! Woo-hoo!!

Plus, by coming in second I got an awesome prize. A silver medal AND dinner for four at Chipotle (burritos, chips, guac and drinks). So awesome, right? What pregnant woman doesn't love 1500 calorie burritos? I know I do.

Friday, September 5, 2008

a year of racing ...

Tomorrow morning, I will be participating in a very soggy (thanks Hurricane Hanna) Annabelle's Angels 5K. An event that marks my one year anniversary of road racing (and really distance running for that matter). Prior to last September, I had never run three miles at any one time. In fact, I had been so opposed to running that I never completed the "mile run" in high school P.E. and as a Division 1 Track and Field athlete, I almost always found a way to get out of any "running" that lasted longer than a lap or two around the track. (Great work ethic, huh?)

But last year (while still pregnant with Doodle), something changed. I wanted to drop the baby weight, get healthy and most importantly, set a good example for my kids. So I decided to change my "anti-runner" ways (a PERMANENT lifestyle change, might I add), and vowed to run a 10K by the end of the year.

So that's what I did. When a group of Stroller Strides moms signed up to run the 2007 Annabelle's Angels 5K, I did too. I trained on my own (mostly to protect my own ego), following a program I saw in a magazine. It was slow going in those first weeks, a walk/run program that helped me build my endurance. But I muscled through and finished the 5K in 31:00 (while pushing Dizzle and Doodle). I felt accomplished and was hooked. Over the next two months, I ran three more races, including that 10K (which was very painful) that I had resolved to complete.

Then on November 26th, just over two months after my first race EVER, I started training for a marathon. Apparently, when I get going, I go big. It was an amazing experience, both mentally and physically. And I recommend that everyone try it, at least once (it will change you forever).

And how have I changed? Well, here's a short list of how my first year of running has affected me:

In my first year of running, I have become healthier than I have ever been.

In my first year of running, I have gained mental strength and self discipline.

In my first year of running, I have learned how to take time for myself and be a role model to my children.

In my first year of running, I have pushed myself farther than I thought I could, faster than I thought I could and harder than I thought I could.

In my first year of running, I met my 10K goal and went beyond it, completing 12 races (three 5K's, two 8K's, three 10K's, a half marathon, a marathon and two sprint triathlons).

In my first year of running, I ran 898 miles. If I averaged 10 minute miles, that equals 6.25 days of running or 150 hours.

In my first year of running, I have formed a bond with a group of amazing women thanks to the countless hours we have spent running together.

Kinda makes you want to lace up your sneakers and start pounding the pavement, doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

i am so not her favorite ...

Yes, she loves me. Yes, she would miss me if I was gone. But I have long known that I am not Dizzle's favorite. That is a spot she reserves for her father. She always has and probably always will.

This fact became ever more apparent to me this morning when Dizzle screamed on the top of her lungs, "DAD! DAD! DAD!" as she awoke (much like she does every morning). But today was different. Today, I went to go get her, an event that Dizzle was very upset about.

It all started with Dizzle using her own body to barricade the door. Obviously, I was not wanted. Then, once I ever-so-gently shoved her out of the way, she turned to me and yelled, "I don't want you! I want Daddy!" To which I responded, "Why Daddy? Why don't you come with me?" And here's the kicker ...

"Because I don't like you."

At times, I swear she's demon-spawn. I knew she didn't mean it, but that didn't make it hurt any less. (However, the excess of cuddles and kisses today did help.)

And let me tell you, this is not a one time event. The same scenario played itself out yesterday too (and a zillion times before). We were at Dizzle's preschool's open house. Everything was going well (which makes me even more confident that she is COMPLETELY ready for school). So, like I said, all was well ... until we tried to leave. Dizzle went into complete meltdown mode. Kicking and screaming. And what was she yelling? You guessed it.


Shocker, right?

Eventually I got her to calm down. And do you know how I did it? With the promise of seeing her most favorite person in the world ... Daddy. I swear he put some kind of magic spell over her. Seriously, because without fail, every time the prospect of seeing her dad comes into play, the bad behavior goes right out the window. Shouldn't she want to be with me that much?

I really can not wait for her to realize that without me, she wouldn't be here. Sure, dear old Dad gave her half her DNA, but really, had I not given up my body for nine months, there would be no Dizzle.

But at least I have Doodle. She worships the ground I walk on. Well, at least she does for now. I'm pretty sure once I'm done cooking the current bun in the oven, she's going to be less than thrilled with me too.

Monday, September 1, 2008

that sure felt like more than 13.1 ...

So we're back and I'm recovered (mostly). To sum it up briefly, the race was HARD. So hard, that I honestly feel that had I not run a marathon before it, I would probably never have tried one. (seriously, my legs were more sore after finishing than they were after the entire 26.2 - how is that even possible?) Oh, and did I mention it was hot? No? Well, more on that in a minute.

But even though the race wasn't ideal ... it was super fun. This whole "weekend with the girls" racing thing was awesome. Every second of it. Even the ones when I was praying that a race official with a golf cart would feel bad for the pregnant woman and drive me to the finish.

Anyway, we left on Saturday afternoon, giving us ample time to pick up our race packets and check out the expo (without children - oh how I wish every expo could be like that.) Then after a group picture in front of a race banner (corny? maybe. important? most definitely.), we headed out to dinner. And although my meal was tasty, where we ate will be left nameless since several aspects of the meal kind of sucked (i.e. the 12 hour wait for our food, F's fly in her iced tea, K's weed-marinated chicken) and I would hate it if you went there on my recommendation.

After the meal we headed back to G's dad's to attempt to sleep (I'm not sure any of us really slept all that well - too much excitement, fear, and a deflated air mattress.) Then bright and early (OK, not bright, but early) the next morning, we got up for the race and the next thing I knew it was 6:30 a.m. and we were standing in a line about a zillion people deep waiting to use the bathroom (E liked the wait so much, she hopped back in line for a second go-round).

Once the bladders were empty, we headed off to the start line, confident and excited. Our corral was released and we (K, F and I - everyone else was scattered) were off. We were running comfortable and we looked good. Seriously, our "run like a mother" shirts got about half a million comments. We were a bunch of hot mamas ... and then about half a mile into the race we were literally a bunch of hot mamas. Remember that heat I mentioned, well it hit full force that quickly. Before we even hit the first mile marker, we were wiping the sweat out of our eyes. It was SUPER HUMID and not at all breezy.

We ran as a group until mile 8.75 where K turned to me (thanks to the obvious discomfort on my face) and said something to the effect of "if you're uncomfortable, you need to take it easy" and thank God she said that. Although I was doing my best to keep hydrated (with water stops and my hydration pack), I was struggling, but my ego was taking control. I didn't want to stop. But K's comment gave me permission to do what my body was telling me to. Something I really needed.

So it was at that point we separated. (F fell back from K less than a mile later.) The last 4 miles of my race consisted of a 4/1 walk run strategy and two more bathroom breaks (we had already taken one). It wasn't the prettiest race ever, but oddly enough I was really happy with the outcome. Sure it was slower than I would have liked (2:37:59). Yes, I had to walk some. But, I listened to my body and didn't over do it (like the couple dozen people I saw puking or collapsed on the side of the road.) And I finished. At 17.5 weeks pregnant. That's probably more than most people can say. (Aren't you shocked at my zen? Who would have thought that I could drop the competitive thing? Even for just one day.)


Just an FYI - after the race, I learned that there were other crazy pregnant runners out there too. (Which made me feel a lot less crazy for doing the race). Anyway, a woman asked us about our shirts and then mentioned that her friend (another competitor) was 19 weeks pregnant (even though she didn't look it). The pregnant friend then said that while they were running there was a woman (pregnant with twins) who had a shirt that said, "Running with six legs is better than two." How freakin' awesome is that? I felt inspired and validated in my decision to continue to run.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

i want to race, not just run ...

Not quite sure how it happened, but suddenly the half marathon is only THREE days away. This summer (and the 16 weeks of training) has gone by way too fast. It seems like I just signed up to do this, when actually I registered for this race long before I got pregnant. Before we even decided to give it a go.

But really, who chooses to run 13.1 miles on August 31st in Virginia? It's not exactly going to be cool outside. And now I have to do it 17 weeks pregnant. Right ... I'm obviously a brain surgeon.

OK, maybe I'm being dramatic. I really am excited. Plus, I've raced while pregnant. I know what it's like. To be honest, what I'm getting all worked up about is the fact that it hit me today that I am not "racing" this half marathon, but simply "running" it. Sure it sounds like the same thing, but for anyone who has even the slightest bit of competitiveness within them, they know it's not. And we all know I am ultra-competitive.

Ahhh ... it's so frustrating. I want to get on the start line and race. I want to go out too fast like I always do. I want to push through the pain, record a great time, and finish feeling accomplished.

But, since I'm really trying to be sensible, most of that isn't going to happen. Instead, I'll get on the start line, gradually pick up the pace until I hit cruise control (somewhere between 10:30 and 11 min miles), chat it up with my girls, make 2, 3 or 20 pee breaks, and finish the race. And hopefully I'll finish with the same sense of accomplishment. (Yes, I realize that finishing is an accomplishment in itself - stop trying to make me feel better.)

Seriously, sometimes I wish I didn't expect so much from myself. Damn Type A personality ...

Monday, August 25, 2008

anatomy 101

Where: the upstairs bathroom of our house
When: just before bedtime
Professor: Daddy

Dizzle: "Daddy, you have boobies too?"

J: "Yes, but boys call it a chest."

Dizzle: "Boobies, boobies, boobies. Daddy, are those your boobies?"

J: "Yes, it's called a chest. They are pecs."

Dizzle: "Boobies, boobies, boobies."

Minutes later, Doodle and I are peacefully getting ready for bed, when Dizzle busts in yelling ...

"Mommy, G has fake boobies!"

Nice job, J! Great thing to teach a three-year old.

Ok, so it was a little funny ...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

i now know why they stop ...

Running that is. More specifically, running while pregnant. I had heard from so many runners that they made it to about 16 or 17 weeks and then couldn't run any longer. I, being superwoman, would be a different story, of course. I was going to breeze through this pregnancy, running 3-4 days a week (albeit, slowly) and then miraculously return to my pre-pregnancy size approximately 48 hours after childbirth. (I can dream, right?)

But I'm not too sure that is going to be the case anymore. It all started early this week while I was doing three miles on the treadmill. I noticed that my upper abdominals started to feel like they were really pulling (I'm not sure why, my stomach isn't that huge). So I took it slow and decided to go get a pregnancy support belt (which I haven't used yet ... yes, I realize my stupidity).

Anyway, when I woke up for the last of our long training runs before the half (only 7 days away! Can you believe it?), again my upper abs were in distress. If I took a really deep breath in, they felt like I had done about a zillion too many crunches after a really long hiatus from core work. (Do you know that feeling?) But I decided to run anyway ... probably not the best idea.

By the time we finished, not only were my abs sore (surprisingly, not where my baby bump is, though) but my hips and butt were on FIRE!! And now I'm having a hard time moving around. I'm walking at the same speed (with waddle and everything) as a woman whose about to deliver. Oh, the agony.

Thanks to all this pain I can suddenly understand why so many runners do not continue to run throughout their pregnancies. It's really uncomfortable.

But do you think that's going to stop me?

No, you know me better than that. It would probably take an amputated leg for me to stop. And even then, I'm not convinced my running days would be over. But I am going to take it SUPER easy this week leading up to the race (where I will also be shuffling more than running). After that, we'll see. I'm hoping that a slower pace and less mileage will allow me to continue for the next 23 weeks. That and that maternity belt that's lying around here somewhere ...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

is it plump or bump?

Right now, I hate my pregnant body. Seriously. If I could just stay trapped in my house for the next few weeks, just so that no one would see me, I would do it.

I'm currently smack dab in the middle of that "is she pregnant or just gaining weight?" stage. AND. I. HATE. IT. I hate the looks from people who aren't sure whether to say, "congratulations," or to offer up some weight loss tips (and I have evidence that people are thinking that. Want to know what it is, just ask). I hate that none of my clothes (maternity or otherwise) fit. Or look good for that matter. I hate that I feel the incessant need to wear a sign that says, "Pregnant. Not Plump." (Luckily, Dizzle LOVES to announce to anyone who will listen that, "Mommy has a baby in her belly." Oh, how I love you Dizzle!)

But, really. Why is it that an already emotionally unstable time in your life has to be compounded by body image issues? It's just not fair.

Generally, I am someone who relishes her pregnant body. I love what it does for my hair and nails. I love having a big pregnant belly to show off. I love that for once I don't have the chest of a 12 year-old boy. I love that in a few weeks it will be glaringly obvious to everyone that I am creating another human being.

But right now, I'm not feeling it.