Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Trail Run Training

Many years ago, I was a 5k medal-mom.  Nothing fancy, the medals were mainly participatory, with some age-group stuff, and always second-fiddle to my super-fast training partner.  We had our fun, improved our PR's, and contributed to many good causes.

Coldest run of the '05 season.  Like the photo of a photo?  Skills!
 Several years in, I grew bored with it, had some over-training difficulties and wanted to branch out to longer, different types of races.  My partner felt that the 5K road race worked well for her, however, and I liked the philanthropic aspect of it, so we did some more.  Then, "life" got in the way:  I went back to teaching, had another baby, and my partner relocated to the West Coast.  Boo-hoo.

But, I had always wanted to do a trail run.  So, recently, when my tennis partner mentioned a local one, I mulled it over, found a training schedule and jumped right in.  So here I am, at week 6 of 10, and I suffered a groin pull during a tennis match on a dry, slippery clay court.  Fortunately, it was mild, and with immediate treatment - the first 24 hrs is key - I am staging my comeback three days later.

And - I am doing another 5K in October.  Ha!  My running life has come full circle.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Well, She Was Just 17..."

 August 6, 2013:  Happy Anniversary, hon'!  Look at us - we were just kids when we met.  Here's to many more adventures, like our weekend in Charlottesville:)

"Wow, who's getting champagne?  Oh wait, that's for us - yay!"

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pretty Amazing Vacation

I wasn’t quite ready for an amazing vacation.

Our family of five has such wildly varying ideas of what constitutes "fun" and "relaxation."  Plus, due to scheduling constraints - work (my dh is a small biz owner), camps,  and not being sure that we wanted to be in a confined space together for any longer than necessary - the longest we've been gone is four days in-a-row… in nineteen years!  But, reaching the beach each summer is non-negotiable.  So, when friends offered their new beach house for a week, we caved and we went.

Initially, we had planned to take two cars.  What if there was an emergency at work?  What if a child got sick and we didn't all want to leave?  Let’s just say that we've had some pretty rough family travel experiences, and that’s coming from a girl who grew up going on beach trips in an un-air-conditioned, pop-up camper with three brothers.  For example, how about the time my dh spent the entire two-flights trip to a foreign country in the airplane bathroom with my four-year old, who had gotten sick immediately after takeoff?  Or the time we went to Disney and the boys preferred the Peter Pan club so my husband and I went to the parks on our own? (Okay, we secretly loved that!) Or the weekend at the beach when my dh spent midnight walking on the boardwalk because one of the boys had drunk too much soda and had to "walk it off?!"  Or the time we had to leave a two night trip early because our two-year-old, after being at a water park all day, wanted to play all night, BOTH nights? Not relaxing, not fun.

Fortunately, none of those things happened, nor anything else truly bad.  The stars aligned and we found a week on the calendar that we could all go together, in one car, for the quintessential family vacation.  

And it was.  

Sure, there were some disappointments, like waiting outside in the heat for a dinner table for 45 min only to discover that the hostess had accidentally given it away, then waiting another 15 min for a new table…outside on the porch.  There were some disagreements, and there was some fighting, but there were also many moments of fun and relaxation:  boogie boarding until our muscles cramped, napping, passing by neon sunglasses with “YOLO” written across the lenses (could’ve really embarrassed my teens by wearing them around town), discovering how to make the best supreme nachos ever, and, realizing that even on vacation, the boys prefer my cooking to eating-out… and I really don’t mind doing it.  Did I mention that we all had our own rooms?  Yeah.  Nice.  

Maybe our beach trip was fairly simple.  Other families have been going on these trips forever.  But, I am still amazed that we made it happen, that it could EVER happen, especially before our oldest goes off to college in a few years.  Will we go back next year?  I’d like to. If the stars all align and we are prepared to be pretty amazed once more. This time, I’ll be ready.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mom on the Run

Fave pink/black combo for tennis

"A one hour workout is 4% of your day.  No excuses."

Funny, there are no photos of me actually running, playing tennis or lifting weights (or walking fast!).  Perhaps this could be me?:

Athleta model - one day, ha!

Busy days and nights!  I love having myriad things to do but honestly, my desk is not looking all too glamorous, sigh. Getting back into running has been difficult to say the least...I had the idea that I may try a half-marathon in the fall, which would mean beginning training this month.  However, there's also tennis:)  And reading!

I began Team of Rivals a couple of nights ago and I think that will require an hour of reading daily to finish in a decent amount  of time.  Where will I find this magical hour?  I'm starting with cutting down TV viewing for the whole family -shouldn't we be doing more embracing  of real life?  Running and dancing and singing and playing? And reading?  And laughing!  And finishing the gazillion little projects around the house that I've begun!

There is so much I want to do.  A little summertime scatter-brained-ness is okay, isn't it?  After all, there is always the beach to slow down and recharge.  Just a couple more weeks until la mer!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DC Weekend

While in the midst of a bunkbed room makeover, I thought I'd share some quirky photos from my weekend up in NW, D.C.  My dh and I both grew up in the shadows of the monuments, over in Alexandria, VA.  Like many Northern Virginians, we pretty much took the nation's capital for granted.  Since we moved away long ago, it was a treat to visit a corner of the area that we hadn't explored much before.  We loved getting asked for directions!

The view down our hall at the Hotel Monaco.  Any minute those creepy kids from The Shining will appear -  "Redrum, redrum!"

The bust on the armoire made us laugh.

Artwork at the super-yummy, Spanish tapas resaurant, Jaleo.

The Spy Museum:

Though I'm quite small, don't I look tall?  - National Gallery of Art, West Building.  Ok, well, yes, I've been to THAT museum a billion times already but I just love those Doric columns, don't you?  And the French impressionists and the underground walkway connecting the West and East buildings? 
C'mon, gimme some love for the East Building, Alexander Calder-style!  Now that's a mobile we could all live with.

Who knew that  President James Buchanan could look so flirtatious?!  "Ladies!"   - National Portrait Gallery

View from NoPa restaurant:  custom Gucci Fiat.
And I leave you with a preview of new, beachy-blue (Ben Moore Bluefish) walls in the bunkbed room:

Sigh, back to reality:)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Letting Boys Go/Grow...This is Now

It was time for a big boy bed.  My middle child is now a teen in need of sprawling-room and my Kindergartner first grader is old enough for us to take the second twin bed and add it to his, making a bunk bed.  I was happy to do first.  But it required some moving around of bookcases and sheets and things on the wall.  It required some thoughtfulness of the future, the recognition that one room was badly in need of paint and patching, and new bedding, to repair the wear-and-tear of a growing boy.  I wanted to create an environment that would serve him well through the next stages of a young life.  That's when it got to me, that end-of-the-year feeling that I always got as a classroom teacher, wondering if I had done enough - whether the students would be "okay" as they went on with life.

I suppose it all started last week, when we finished reading Little House in the Big Woods, a long book that six-year-old T had been listening to me and his dad read to him, off-and-on, for the last couple of months.  The last page took me by surprise.  When I had first read it, so many years ago, I hadn't grasped the poignancy of Laura's observation, that as she  
     "...lay awake a little while, listening to Pa's fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods - She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard...She looked at Ma gently rocking and knitting.  
     She thought to herself, 'This is now.'
     She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now.  They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now.  It can never be a long time ago."

Cleaning up and ordering these two rooms made me wonder whether I had done things right by them, my sons, as I had praised my neighbor for doing, whose husband recently died from ALS after she cared for him at home for three years.  Then it hit me:  she was there, with him.  Though re-reading that Laura Ingalls Wilder passage can make my heart ache all over again, I can feel reassured, that one of the best things a parent can do for a child - besides stridently loving and protecting them - is to be there for them and with them.  And I have been, with them, since way-back-when.  Tomorrow, with all its worries is yet to come.  But this is now.  This is now.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Master Closet Update - Memorial Day Weekend

Ah, well, this long, cold Spring has made me rethink how I want my closet.  Get ready for the long, hot, update!  I originally wanted to achieve the New York style closet that I saw in Pottery Barn:

 But, like most people, I own more clothes than that! I certainly have more shoes:)  And with shoes, especially, I like to see, grab and go.  So I reviewed my closet inspiration board on Pinterest and went with a couple of ideas, especially the flip-flop organizer from A Bowl Full of Lemons and rainbow of shoes from  Happy closet!  But, it doesn't overwhelm, like some celebrity closets (is closet curator a job?  Smelly!).  So I tried my own version (far below - still don't know how to get these pictures arranged without deleting!).).  Despite loving the idea of a chandelier in my closet, I got over it when I spied some cool, sleek track lighting at my local Costco.  It really adds a boutique-y feel and is a definite improvement over the previous fluorescent lighting.  Patching-up from the old light fixture is on the Honey-do list!

Some of my shoes
 I am going to add another Cubecal or two (Tar-zhay) for some out-of-season shoes that are stored in boxes up above...okay, and yes, for some colorful new finds. 
Cool track lighting - will fix holes!
 Since I'm vertically challenged, the bags that look so pretty on the top shelf are not practically placed, so I'll need another solution.  I have used S-hooks from the hardware store in the past but I may just spray paint some pegboard white and hang them from the floor up, like this, from A Bowl Full of Lemons (she's got great organizing solutions!).  I just wonder if that is too much stress on the handles over time...

I actually don't have many flip flops so I filled in with some flat thong sandals.  
I hope to add some pink and dark blue Jack Rogers like the ones from Wishing on Winnapaug. Actually, I wouldn't mind adding ALL those pieces to my closet!  Such fun style!

I have always been a matching hanger snob.  I started out with all white plastic, but things kept sliding off and the clips would break.  Then I began adding light brown, maple wood hangers.  But it was a slow process since they can be expensive, and the light brown was difficult to match at different stores.  Currently, I have mainly those skinny, velvet hangers that are stackable, because:  nothing slides off, I have more room in-between clothes, and it is easy to see my tennis outfits - unwrinkled - at-a-glance.  But, I think I can achieve that with all cherry/mahogany wood hangers like in my husband's closet and the closet of Nina Garcia (she's so cool!).

So, that's it for this closet update.  Enjoy this Memorial Day weekend!  Sun, and no rain, finally, here in Virginia:)