Monday, December 31, 2007

It's my birthday, it's my birthday

I'm still in my 30s, I'm still in my 30s...

Since it's the last year I can say that, I'm saying it LOUD and I'm saying it PROUD.

Thirty-nine.

39.

Does that sound old or what?

Thanks to my lovely head cold, 39 feels like the new 59.

I can't really complain, though. Thirty-eight was pretty good to me.

I ran my first 10ks, half-marathons and one Big Honkin' Marathon.

I got down to a size 6.

I didn't murder accidentally maim or otherwise injure either of my kids or dogs.

My husband still loves me. I think.

My snoring and recent affair with my box of Kleenex might send him over the edge.

I killed a ginormous mutant spider in my son's room. All by myself. Because David wasn't home, leaving me to fend for myself.

I made great new friends.

I said goodbye to my father.

I hosted my mother - twice - for five days. And survived.

I raised $5,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and delivered an SUV-full of baby stuff to a very needy family.

I bought into a business and hosted my first home workshop.

I got some freelance gigs.

I ran 12 - or was it 14? - miles with a severe sinus infection.

I listened to my "mommy gut" and got Sage speech therapy.

I got new boots. Today. Wanna see?


I took risks.

I did something for myself.

I'm 39.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Plague

Sage has this incredibly annoying habit of sticking her fingers in her mouth.

I have tried everything to stop her, but of course she thinks it's hilarious and will smirk at me as she's putting her Digits of Death into her mouth.

I am constantly pouring the hand sanitizer on her and washing her hands. But you can only do so much.

So it really wasn't that shocking that she got a runny nose and spiked a fever out of nowhere - especially when earlier in the day I watched her run her hands over EVERYTHING in the bathroom at the pool while I was getting Sawyer changed after swimming lessons.

WHY DON'T YOU JUST LICK THE TOILET AND GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY???

Luckily she's fine now, but not before giving her Superpower Germs to me. In all fairness, I can't give her all the blame. Sawyer was sneezing his head off for a couple days earlier this week, so it was probably just a Cocktail of Snot that did me in.

But why am I always sicker than the kids? I allegedly have an immune system, people! I spent last night with a box of Kleenex, shivering under my comforter despite wearing flannel pj bottoms, a long sleeve shirt AND a fleece - while moaning over my splitting headache.

Sage decided that she wanted to come in and snuggle at 2 a.m., but upon realizing Mommy was making some kind of funny snoring/snot gurgling noise, she quickly retreated to the safety of her crib.

If only I had a Quiet Place I could go.

A girl can dream...

Friday, December 28, 2007

FACIAL!

Remember when that was the cool thing to say? Like when someone got totally burned on something, you'd be all, "That was SUCH a FACIAL!" Like a noun version of "in your face!"

Or was that just something only said by someone attending a small high school in suburban Connecticut in the 80s?

Yeah, like you didn't have a mullet or wear legwarmers, either.

Anyway, today I had a facial with a small "f." My mother-in-law gave me a gift certificate to a local salon. I had originally had an appointment for today for a little thing I like to call Torture By Way of Hot Wax.

Instead, I decided to use the certificate for a facial. Running has not been kind to my skin. I have a small army of oil wells marching across my face, courtesy of rivers of sweat that have graced my face during and after every run.

And, in keeping with my tradition of excrutiating spa experiences - I LOVE me some deep tissue massage! - I made sure the facial was as painful as possible. I knew about the "extraction" but I was ever so over-the-moon when she put the flesh-eating mask on me!

Seriously. It was this pumpkin thingy that had some kind of dead-skin disolving enzymes that made it feel like tiny needles were pricking my skin. For about 10 minutes. I went to my Happy Place while she gave me a hand and foot massage, but I couldn't help snickering at how ridiculous I am.

RELAX! my inner voice shouted.

But no. Impossible.

So in essence, the Facial (capital 'F') was, in fact, on me!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

To three or not to three

I was late.

Eight days worth of late.

Three pregnancy tests peed on kind of late.

And guess what? I'm not pregnant!

I know this because, well, the gears starting creaking and things started, you know, flowing.

But not before David and I had to contemplate what it would mean if I had been pregnant.

We have two healthy, perfect kids (and when I say perfect, I mean in the "all their limbs and organs are functioning normally and they seem reasonably intelligent and well-adjusted" type of way). It is tough enough to manage Sawyer's peanut allergy. I can't imagine dealing with something that affects quality of life every moment.

I have one child out of diapers (the other one will NEVER be out, just to spite me). I removed high chairs, bouncers and other large baby things from my house. I don't worry about toys with small parts becoming lodged in a windpipe anymore.

I don't remember the last time I used a stroller.

Why rock the boat by adding a third?

I'm clutching on to my 30s with my fingernails. Who knows what my eggs are doing, especially after this past Cycle of Craziness. David is in his 40s. We're already old, in parenting terms. I met a woman today who is pregnant with her third - and she's only 28!

There's also the issue of being outnumbered, of not having enough hands to help everybody at once. More snot to wipe. The stomach flu times three. Diapers. Clothes. Toys. Cars. College.

A third would also be at least three years younger than Sage and five younger than Sawyer. Would s/he feel left out, with the first two being so close?

When we thought I might in fact be knocked up, David's attitude was "Bring it. We can have a third, no problem." He was totally up for it.

In a way, it would have been a relief to have an oops. It would take the decision making of should-we-or-shouldn't-we out of our hands. Meant to be, right?

Hmm..

Now we need to, like, make an intelligent, adult decision. Am I done? It seems so...final.

To me, having children is what makes living worthwhile. I can't think of anything more important than bringing a life into the world. Raising kids.

Two is cool. Two is manageable.

Three?

Three.

Stay tuned..

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Hangover

That must be it. What else could explain my mood, other than the downslope result of a massive two-day sugar high?

I tried to buy some screaming deals on Gymboree today. I put all this stuff in my basket, then got distracted. By the time I sat down to buy them, all the items were gone. I mean, GONE. Which would've have been so bad if I wasn't also buying my friend some stuff. Now both of us are getting nothing for our kids. Which is pretty much exactly what they need.

The only store around here I wanted to go to today was Pier One to pick up some Christmas ornaments. I got some cute ones. And a bread mix.

Then I sat in my car. And pondered. And listened. Amazingly, I couldn't hear the siren call of my favorite Bullseye of Love, my beloved Target. It was, literally, right across the street. Right there! How could this be? What is wrong with me that I had absolutely no desire to go?

Medic!

I instead bopped over to Starbuck's to get David and eggnog latte, then motored home.

Bleh.

I'm feeling as tired as our Christmas tree, which is dropping needles faster than Sawyer opened his gifts.

Christmas Eve, he was very eager to make sure we left cookies for Santa and oatmeal (?) for the reindeer. He was more interested Christmas morning in watching SuperWhy and his new favorite, Fireman Sam (oy is it bad!). In his defense, he does have a bad cold, but still. It's Christmas! Where is the greed magic?

He finally figured out that there were Gifts. He walked down the stairs, slowed, and, bent over with the sheer weight of amazement, yelled:

"SANTA! BROUGHT! ME! A! BIIIIIKE!"

Then he ripped through his gifts and started crying when he realized there were No More and his sister was still slowly opening hers (she was actually LOOKING at what she got).

We also forgot to take one still shot of them amid the rubble.

We'll have to get on that before our tree is naked.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

'Tis the season




My girl just does not like Santa. She had the same reaction last year. She was all for it this time - until we actually got there and she saw the Big Guy.

She then clutched me with a death grip and yelled "NO SANTA, MOMMY! NO SANTA!"

Even attempting to bribe her with a candy cane did nothing.

I'm not clear why she gets so upset, when all we're asking is that she sits on the lap of some stranger with an overabundance of facial hair and wearing more red than ANY man should in a lifetime.

It is kind of a sick thing we do, putting our kids in a situation where they're terrified just for the sake of a photo. Not that this has stopped me. I figure she'll just add it to the list of parenting blunders she'll discuss in therapy one day.

So now I will bring you some kinder, gentler pics of the post-Santa trauma, complete with her working on the candy cane.



Friday, December 21, 2007

Worst. Wrapper. Ever.

That's me, folks. I cannot wrap gifts. Unless they are perfectly rectangular. And small. Otherwise, I cut them off too short, so the sides are showing, which means I have to McGuyver it by taking a smaller piece and taping it over the part of the box that shows.

Today, while wrapping a Transformer, I literally had to crumple up paper on one side and then tape it down into submission. It looked like Sawyer had wrapped it himself. Come to think of it, he'd have done a MUCH better job.

The area under the Christmas tree should be considered a natural disaster.

What's really interesting is, with all the gifts piled up, my kids have not shown one bit of interest. This morning Sawyer did wake up and say "Is it Christmas today?" but he wasn't devastated to learn that it was not.

The other day we were in...wait for it...TARGET, and I tried to surreptiously purchase the Transformer he'd been asking for. He spied it under my arm and asked why I had it. When I told him it was a surprise, he was satisfied - and hasn't asked about it since.

This is the same kid who once asked for a "blue Hot Wheels with the silver fin" at Sears almost two months ago and, when asked a couple weeks ago what he wanted from Santa, yep, he asked for that specific car. Thing is, David went back to Sears and it was gone. We haven't been able to locate it. So I told him he wasn't going to be getting it.

Just yesterday he said, out of nowhere: "I guess I have to take the blue Hot Wheels with the silver fin off my list!"

So the fact he's not bugging me for the Transformer, that he shows only cursory interest in the growing mountain of gifts under the tree, is really quite amazing.

And disturbing. Maybe he didn't inherit the greed curiosity gene from me. I would ALWAYS find where my parents hid our Chanukah gifts. And I would always peel back the paper or look in the bags to see what I was getting.

Then there was the one year when I knew absolutely everything I was getting. So there were no surprises. And I was actually disappointed. That halted my pre-holiday explorations.

I found that I did enjoy being surprised. Even now, David has two gifts for me under the tree, and I'm not even tempted to feel them up or shake them.

Maybe this is the last Christmas where I can "hide" things for him in bags in the front hall closet, then feel confident about putting them under the tree. Maybe next year he'll be beside himself with wondering what he's getting, bugging me every other second.

I might even have to actually put the gifts somewhere where he can't look.

Or maybe he's a freak.

Either way, I'm looking forward to his face when he looks downstairs Christmas morning to see his new Big Boy bike.

I'm going to enjoy this day as I do every other. It will be full of surprises for all of us.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

They're so giving...

Sawyer? What do you think Sage would like for Christmas?

I think she'd like a toy spider.

Hmmm...that sounds like something YOU would like. Well, what do you think we should get for Daddy?

Nothing! Daddy doesn't need presents.

No presents for Daddy?

Umm..Maybe a big boy bike.

Sage? What should we get for Daddy?

A yellow horsie!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oops they did it again!



I'm sure by now you've all heard the wonderful news that yet another Baby Spears is going to enter the world, courtesy of 16 year-old Jamie Lynn.

"It was a shock for both of us, so unexpected," she said. "I was in complete and total shock and so was he."

Sorry, but she's Not. That. Innocent.

Okay, enough with the song references. But seriously, how sad is THIS? I'm not clear on the "shocked" part unless there was no sex involved, but the fact she took a home pregnancy test kinda shows she did Do the Deed and therefore knew what could happen.

A pregnant 16 year-old is never a good thing. JL is fortunate in that she has tons of money (aside from being the star of some show called Zoey 101, she happens to have a very famous sister. Perhaps you've heard of her?).

What she lacks is any sort of guidance. It is not a coincidence that Britney is wading through a Load of Crazy. I find it hard to believe that the senior Mommy Spears has nothing to do with the fact that her eldest daughter is so lost.

Shockingly, Lynne Spears' book on parenting - one Publishers' Weekly described as "Lynne Spears's personal story of raising high-profile children while coming from a low-profile Louisiana community" - has been put on hold. Indefinitely.

Yeah. A shame. It was exactly the how-to parenting tome I was looking for.

But maybe JL has learned from watching Britney go from a sweet, somewhat normal teenager to a head-shaving, chain-smoking, K-Fed marrying, baby-birthing, panty-less, non-carseat using, rehab-busting woman.

She wants to raise the baby at home, in Tennessee, not out in LA. Of course, "at home" means with her mother, but that's probably when her mom isn't out in LA taking care of Brit's kids.

Sixteen.

Remember 16? The most exciting thing that happened to me was I got my driver's license. Of course, I know some of my friends were doing the Spears, but not one of them was mature enough to raise a child. Luckily, none of them had to.

Having a baby bump has become the latest accessory of the stars. I just saw some website rank the "10 Sexiest Bumps." Halle Berry, Christina Aquilara, JLo, etc. I think it's great that being pregnant is no longer something to hide under a gingham frock with a peter pan collar.

JL is about to become hip. And hip-pier. Thing is, there's an acutal BABY growing under the bump. Those other stars are at least grownups. Chronologically, if nothing else.

This pregnancy, this child, will be scrutinized just like any celebrity's. But with this one comes enough baggage to fill LAX.

At 16.

JL is no ordinary 16 year-old, of course, even before this happened.

Now she's going to have to grow up overnight. Hopefully, there will be someone there to help her make the transition.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's 5:21. Do you know where your dinner is?

Because I sure as hell don't. My kids are currently sitting on the couch watching Word World. My husband is upstairs ironing his clothes for his business lunch tomorrow. My dogs are outside barking like jackals.

And here I sit.

With no idea what my darling family will be eating in approximately 40 minutes.

I should be in the kitchen, rummaging through the refrigerator - or, more likely, the freezer - looking for inspiration. But I can't. If I ignore this issue, maybe it will go away. Pretzels contain at least one food group, right? And they're WHOLE GRAIN!

I'm paralyzed by my inefficiency.

I want to be one of those moms who plans out their menu for the week. They go to the grocery store and spend an hour or two each Sunday chopping and mixing and getting things organized.

I sit on my ass and watch football.

Cooking in my house is always a challenge. I don't eat red meat. David doesn't eat fish. Sawyer will try most things, but if I try to serve him lasagne or any pasta with sauce on it, he asks me to please remove the "dip" from it. Sage eats nothing. Except mac and cheese from a box (it's ORGANIC, people, calm down!).

It sucks when you spend time creating something you're sure your kids will down like it'll explode if not consumed within 10 seconds, only to have the Princess shove it across the table like she's playing pool and my lap is the corner pocket.

I would be happy eating peanutbutter out of the jar with my fingers a spoon, but since that could send Sawyer into anaphalactic shock, we don't have any of that particular substance in our house.

At the moment, I'm thinking the kids will get chicken nuggets (no trans fat! less breading!), broccoli and...?

Really gets the tastebuds jumping!

If anyone has some good ideas to help me please advise. Unless I'm the only one mired in Dinner Dread.

Monday, December 17, 2007

This cracks me up

I'm not a big Walmart fan. For some reason I always feel like I need to shower immediately after visiting the three or so times my husband has dragged me in there. I realize this must make me a snob, but I own that label proudly as I carry my shopping bags from Target.

Anyway, my friend Kris sent me this today. It was allegedly made at Walmart (who knew they did cakes?)



Can you imagine the phone call that went with this? Let's see what you come up with - and if you "get" what happened!Post in my comments section, you crazy posters!

Okay, Leslie wants a hint, so here it is: Pretend you are the person ordering the cake, what you might have said to the person taking the order...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Who says romance is dead?

David and I had a rare and much-needed "date night" tonight. We went to our favorite Thai place, where I always order the chicken wokked with snow peas. It is SO YUMMY. The only problem is the food literally comes out before the waitress has even made it to the kitchen to give them the order. And I've been so hungry today (Torrey and I ran 10 miles in 41 degree weather, which is ass cold for us wimpy SoCal girls, regardless of the fact I grew up in New England) that I finished my dinner before the rice soaked up any of the sauce.

So what did we do next?

Pier One. TJ Maxx. Barnes & Noble. Got in the car. Went to Target. Got back in the car. Drove to Vons.

Came home at 9:05.

This is my life.

Maybe on our next night out we can get REALLY wild and go to...the MALL!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wait - I am creative after all!



This is the dirt cake I made for Sawyer's birthday, during which we had a visit from this woman who brings lizards, turtles, snakes and other assorted creepy-crawlies.

So we had a reptile party which was screaming for dirt cake. And yes - I ground the oreos MYSELF to make this cake! It actually came out yummy. The parents were all fascinated by what was really in it, and kids loved finding the gummy worms layered into it.

Check out the recipe below! It's from Martha Stewart, natch!

I did it!

A little too creepy...

As regular readers of this blog know, I talk about some personal stuff on here. Maybe it's my background in journalism, because I know what makes a good story. Or maybe it's because I'm kind of a what-you-see is what-you-get type of girl without much to hide.

I also think it's pretty common with people who write, or who are artists, that your work is an expression of you - even if it's about someone else's life. So you're used to having "you" out there for public consumption on a daily basis. It's natural.

But when it comes to my kids, I have to be more protective. I don't post a lot of pics of them on here because, well, you never know. I already regret using their names, but it's kind of too late to go back on that.

I honestly believe the best writing is honest writing. I try to do that here. Not so much for all of your kind words (though they mean the world to me), but to give me an outlet, and in turn, to hopefully give you something to think about as I put my own spin on Mommyhood.

Even though I no longer write for a living, this blog is a wonderful thing for me, and helps keep me in touch with my creative side (cause Lord knows I'm not creative in any other way, just ask every one of my friends, ask my kids, my reputation precedes me).

That's why it's disturbing when someone finds a personal post about my child and posts the link on a somewhat odd message board, and then all of a sudden I'm getting hits from, literally, all over the world from people who want to read about poop.

I wonder why. It's not a parenting site. I have no clue how they found it. Or why they think it's of interest.

But it's forced me to delete the post. I just wasn't comfortable. I know that I can't control who reads my blog unless I make it private, but then I think that you just never know who might happen upon this blog and find something to make them smile, or laugh, or relate to - someone I don't know, but might like to.

I am a regular reader of a blog or three where I don't know the person, but I love the writing. So I lurk. And think. And laugh. Sometimes cry.

That is why we write, and why I will continue to do so, but perhaps with a more careful view.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How did THIS happen?



Last night, before you went to bed, I told you that when you woke up this morning, you would be 4.

This was a thrilling thought for you. I watched it take hold, the very IDEA that you could go to sleep as one thing and wake up something completely different.
And maybe you won't want to give me hugs anymore, since you won't be 3, I told him.

Don't worry, Mommy, I will still give you hugs when I'm 4. But no kisses.

I'll take what I can get.

I don't know why I'm having such a hard time with this particular birthday. Maybe it's because when you turned 1, I was just so relieved we'd survived the first year. When you turned 2, we already had Sage, so I didn't have much energy to think about it. Then last year, we were so DONE with you being 2, I couldn't wait for 3.

But now, suddenly, you're 4. FOUR! I remember being four. I remember parts of being three, too, but definitely four. There are things that will happen this year that will stay with you the rest of your life.

I hope I don't mess up too badly.

There have already been signs that things are changing.

It started a couple weeks ago at swimming lessons, when you figured out how to flip over on your back and breath, and how to keep you head in the water while on your stomach so you don't sink. It was like something just clicked, and you went from being scared and unsure to supremely confident, like you knew how to do it all along but just wanted to stress out your Mom a bit first.

It continued with you finally showing interest in reading and knowing your letters, instead of refusing to try because it was Too Hard.

But the other day, when we went to the bike shop after swimming lessons, is when it really, truly sunk in that you are no longer my baby.

You jumped on a tricycle to tear around the store while I was busy talking to a sales person. Then, I saw a flash of orange go by, and heard you yell "MOMMY! LOOK!" and there you were, zipping around on a big-boy bike.

By yourself.

On a bike.

And the look on your face was like you'd just had your first taste of sugar and knew it would change your life forever.

We continue to marvel over you. Your preschool teacher said you have "feelings," something she doesn't see much in boys your age. You have a bouyant spirit and are, generally, easy-going.

You aim to please. Most of the time, it's a good thing. But we are waiting for you to come into your own as an independent thinker. You are a fabulous kid with a limitless imagination (what other kid can make "robots" and "airplanes" out of half of a paper plate?) and you can entertain yourself - and us - for hours.

That being said, you enjoy testing limits. You don't want to hold my hand in the parking lot anymore because you are a Big Boy. You don't even use a booster chair at a restaurant.

You're sassy. My heart cracked just a bit when you said "You're a Bad Mommy" until, after you emerged from your stint in time out, you threw your arms around me with an urgent "I love you, Mommy!"

I love you too, Buns. You are my light. Happy Birthday, big boy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

For dog or nature lovers

This site is absolutely amazing, and visiting it always lifts my mood.

A woman lives in a one-room cabin in Wyoming with her cat and a coyote orphan she rescued when he was 10 days old.

She is an INCREDIBLE photographer and has captured Charlie, the coyote, in breathtaking ways.

But as I look at the pictures, which are four months behind - she didn't start the blog til September when Charlie was four months old, so the blog is not in "real time" - I worry about what will happen to Charlie.

Is it possible to keep a coyote as a pet and not have it eat your cat? At the moment, the cat rules the roost, but...

She does have a calendar with recent pics of Charlie, and you can subscribe to a daily real-time picture of him, so I know she still has him.

What a life experience for this woman, who rode a Vespa from San Francisco to New York, then basically turned around and moved to Wyoming where she'd previously spent just one day.

Check it out!

Daily Coyote

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

FREE AT LAST!

That is what my husband said when he called me after dropping off my mother - bless her heart - at the airport this morning after her five-day visit.

We had flown her in for Sawyer's fourth birthday party, which we had Saturday. Now that my father is gone, I think it's important for her not to be alone too much. My brother and his family live relatively close to her, but she doesn't get along well with my SIL and she doesn't see them a lot.

The party was first-thing Saturday morning, so we ran errands on Friday and things seemed to be going okay. She was helpful in getting stuff ready, including making this ginormous dirt cake which required us doubling a recipe. That contained fractions. Tricky ones, like 4 3/4. Let's just say my mother had her calculator out and we STILL couldn't figure it out.

We are the stupidest people on the planet.

Somehow, it came out fabulously and the party was great. She enjoyed talking to my friends. She even helped clean up.

Then it was all downhill, people. DOWN. HILL.

We know the ground-rules going in. She doesn't sit on the floor with the kids. She hates our couch, because, you know, it's like, squishy, so she parks herself on the dining room chair. And knits socks. Or plays Suduko. Or eats.

Notice there is nothing in there about playing with the kids? There's a reason for this. It's because she doesn't.

Sawyer started off the visit by wanting to sit in her lap and saying "I love you Grandma" many times. Let's just say that when she left this morning, he gave her a hug and ran off. I asked him later if he had fun with her, and he was basically like "meh."

Why? Because most of her interactions with him involved her repeating my discipline "Mommy just told you NOT to do that so you need to STOP IT!" while poor Sawyer's face fell.

He got a new train set and excitedly yelled "Grandma! Grandma! Come see!" after he'd set it up in the garage. She would answer "After I finish.." lunch, the paper, watching me do the dishes - anything but going in and celebrating with him.

It didn't stop with him, though.

She wanted to buy me a Chanukah gift, so off we went to the mall. For 2 1/2 hours. And I found nothing that either fit or wasn't too expensive, which completely pissed her off because I'm "impossible to buy for." On the way home, I could see some snow-covered mountains, which is always a thrilling sight when you live in SoCal.

Her response? "I have mountains all around me at home. Snowcovered mountains do not impress me." Ooooookay....

The funniest part of that was she used the same line on David this morning when they were driving to the airport.

Apparently, our parenting skills also did not impress her. And because she has raised THREE CHILDREN and is the VOICE OF EXPERIENCE, she felt it necessary to impart her myriad parenting tips on us.

And boy, there were some gems.

My favorite one came last night. After dinner, the kids were playing with the light switches in the dining area. We were sitting at the table and had a clear view of them, as they were about three feet away from us.

My mother actually stood up - I know! - and went over and told them to stop and physically moved Sage's hand away from the switch.

When we told her to knock it off, her reply was "When it COMES to SAFETY, I HAVE to step IN" as if David and I are a bunch of crackheads who're letting our kids practice lighting the pipe. Not on HER watch. Nosiree.

I mean, if they were sticking a fork in the outlet and we just sat there, that's one thing, but a light switch? Dangerous?

Maybe she still sees me as a kid. She's letting me play Mommy, but only until I've chopped my doll's hair off or put my stuffed puppy in the oven.

I was not sorry when she left. And judging from how fast she ran out of the house, she wasn't sorry to leave. I asked Sage to give her a hug, and Sage, being 2, said "No. No hug!"

My mother's response?

"If you're not going to hug me, then I'm not going to hug YOU. I'll just say "bye-bye."

Well, she learned HER.

And off she went. No thank-you, no nothing. No hug for me either.

I know you'll be shocked to hear me say that I know my mother is not the warm-and-fuzzy type. But it's unfortunate that she can't relax and just enjoy the energy and exuberant happiness and even the tears that little kids are made of.

At one point she told me that she knows that this time, with active little kids, must seem really long to me, but that it really goes by quickly.

And I had to disagree. I love this age, Sawyer at a few days short of 4 and Sage a few months past 2. Sure, there are frustrations (like when someone pooped on the floor today) and stress and exhaustion, but it is more than made up for by how much they make us laugh and learning that you can, in fact, love them even more than you did yesterday.

I wonder if she missed that when she was a mother. I know she's missing it as a grandmother.

And that's just sad.

Monday, December 10, 2007

To run, or not to run..

I have been feeling less than motivated lately when it comes to training for my next marathon. It might have started the two weekends I had to do my long runs by myself. Even though I had my iPod cranking, it just wasn't as enjoyable as when I'm slogging along with my Running Girls. Misery loves company, after all.

Sunday I was to run about 2.5 miles by myself, then meet up with Cindy and Torrey. They were going to run 10, and I was hoping to do 16.

I knew I was in trouble when, the night before, I'd had an anxiety dream: I'd started on the run, but forgot my hydration belt. I panicked because I knew I couldn't run 16 miles without water. And then I woke up to my alarm clock.

So I was about a mile into my run Sunday when I realized that although I did in fact have my water, I hadn't packed any Gu. It was still in my car. When I met Cindy and Torrey, I informed them they'd have to run the 2.5 miles back to my car, then run 2.5 miles back to their starting point, then another five after that.

All was working according to plan until, after I'd run just over 5, I felt a horrible jolting pain going from my big toe up to my ankle. It was bad enough that I had to sit down on the sidewalk, take off my shoe and rub my foot.

I was able to half-run, half-hobble back to our starting spot, which just happens to be a coffee shop. Since Cindy's knees were barking and Torrey was recovering from a hideous infection, sitting down and having a coffee sounded a lot more appealing. That, and Cindy offered to treat.

We spent a fabulous hour chatting away. It was by far the best part of our "run." And really, that's what's been missing this past month or so. The fun.

Not that running long distances can ever really be labeled as fun for those of us who aren't exactly naturally gifted runners (David has pointed out on various occasions that perhaps I should try something else, since my talent must surely reside elsewhere).

But it's always been less horrible because of the conversations we've shared - which are, I've discovered, MUCH more enjoyable when my ass is firmly planted on a chair (wow - didn't think I'd ever use "my ass" and "firm" in the same sentence) instead of bouncing along some mind-numbingly boring path.

Today I called my podiatrist, who said I either have a stress fracture (NO!!!) or some irritation in the small bones in the ball of my foot (MUCH BETTER!!). I'm supposed to test it out tomorrow and then let her know. I'm doing a spin class, so we'll see.

The real issue, however, is that I'm starting to think my bones need a break. I'm tired. Not just the kind of tired a good night's sleep would take care of. Not that I know what that is, but I'm just sayin'.

I need rest. To not get up and run before most normal (sane) people are awake.

I know this, but I'm not ready. I'm too scared. I've been training for a marathon for eight months. Almost long enough to have a baby. And since I feel like I didn't really run a marathon, it's always hanging over my head like that kid in high school who reminded you that you weren't quite good enough to hang with the in crowd.

If I stop running now, I don't know if I'll ever do a "real" marathon. I know I'll regret it.

That's not all, though. I like being in shape. I like fitting into my jeans. I'm worried I'll balloon and not move off the couch. Like, ever.

My foot might make the decision for me.

We'll see.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Just who is the Biggest Loser?

Is it so WRONG to eat a huge vat small bowl of Peppermint Stick ice cream while watching a group of overweight people work out?

There they are, sweating it out on the treadmill as Jillian shouts obscenities at them, and I'm sitting there with my butt on the couch, dipping into my dish o' fat.

I did feel guilty. Not guilty enough to stop spooning it in, mind you, but I did have a pang or two.

I imagine what I'd look like on that regimen. Nothing to do but work out four hours a day, with a great trainer who is clearly really good at what she does (and Bob looks awesome, too). And the nutrition. That's my big issue (clearly).

The working out part isn't where I struggle.

Hello. My name is Cheryl. And I'm a sugar addict.

I. Love. It.

I can't go through a day without something sweet. And since I don't really like fruit (it has to be just so or I won't eat it, like no bruise on the banana, the orange has to be sweet and juicy, the grapes firm, etc) this means I'm eating the processed white stuff, otherwise known as Satan's Spell.

I'm under it. All the way.

What I need is a Jillian to stand in my kitchen and when I'm reaching into the back of the cupboard for those tootsie rolls, she could scream "WHAT are you DOING? COME ON! DROP AND GIVE ME TWENTY!"



Or something like that. I'm pretty sure she could kick my ass in about 9 seconds, so I'd have to listen.

Because sometimes I feel like, if I don't watch it, you're going to see my butt not on the couch, but on TV. As a contestant.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Thank goodness I'M so perfect..

Who'd have thought there'd be this much chatter over a little bit of cottage cheese.

It is quite sad. Pathetic, really.

For those of you who actually have a life and don't spend every waking moment a minute perusing the latest Hollywood gossip, here's the deal.

I happened upon a picture on TMZ of someone's not-so-toned butt in a black bikini. Since I was already on the site, I figured I MAY as WELL see who the butt belonged to.

It was Jennifer Love Hewitt, who I first saw on one of my favorite shows back in the day, Party of Five.

You would think she just shot Bailey (played by short but cute Scott Wolf, although I always liked Charlie better, who of course is now Jack on Lost) the way the nastiness is flying.

The blogbloids talk about her "waddling around Hawaii" and how the pictures make them "ill" and then there's my personal fave, this delightful missive from some clearly intellectual website called The Superficial: "What the hell are those ghosts whispering to her? That cake fights cancer?"

She decided to respond via her blog (she's SO 2007!) to say stuff such as "Like all women out there should, I love my body." And "A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be. And being a size 0 doesn't make you beautiful." And "I'm not upset for me, but for all of the girls out there that are struggling with their body image." And "To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini – put it on and stay strong."

SHE HAD TO DEFEND HER ASS - am I'm not just talking like the kids do. She literally had to stand up to say that she's fine with how she looks (and with HER boobs, who wouldn't be?). And jeez, she was on vacation celebrating her engagement, so that made her vacation shots that much more "special."

The thing is, she looks like most women in America. Hell, she looks BETTER than most women in America.

And, like most women in America, she's not perfect. Which must make some men people feel uncomfortable. Angry, even. Like how DARE she have a flaw? She's gorgeous, has amazing knockers, her own TV show, doesn't drink (or drive)like LiLo or party like Paris.

She doesn't have questionable parenting skills like Britney and hasn't spent a moment in prison.

But she does have CELLULITE! Oh, the humanity!

Get off her ass. Seriously.

I think I'd much rather have my daughter see the picture of JLH's butt than that of say, Paris Hilton, so I could say "This is what a REAL woman looks like, and she's beautiful and happy and successful."

Then I'd order her off the computer and out into the world. No matter what might jiggle along the way.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Ugly Face

Children, even as infants, love to model their parents. It starts as cooing contests back and forth. Then it moves to copying sounds, mamama, dadada, and then, eventually, words.

Then they REALLY learn to talk and you might have your 2 year-old yell "SHIT!" in exactly the appropriate situation - just like Mommy.

Sawyer has recently started saying "Soooo...what are we doing today?" or "Sooo.....where are you going?" etc. I couldn't figure out where he was getting that "Soooo" from. Until I realized it was me. No clue I did it (for those of you who might have noticed this problem, stop snickering).

They are constantly watching, processing, reacting. This is mostly a good thing. You try to model not only good language, but good behavior. You say "please" and "thank you." You try to eat healthy food (at least in front of them, the Ben & Jerry's is for after they're in bed) and exercise.

You try to be kind and friendly to others. You look both ways before crossing the street.

This is why what I saw the other day made me so upset. Sawyer has been rather "challenging" lately. He is getting quite sassy and will not stop obnoxious behaviors - such as smacking his sister or using his "outside" voice in the car -unless I yell. And after the fifth time of asking him to stop nicely, that is what it comes to: me snapping at him.

And there, in the rear view mirror, I saw what my kids see: I saw my Ugly Face.

Eyes squinted. Mouth twisted.

Ugly.

Ugly.

Ugly.

And not the "I'm feeling fat/pimply/frizzy-haired" kind of ugly.

We're talking Scary Ugly.

I did not like what I saw. Not at all. I'm sure they don't like it much either.

I don't want to be that kind of Mom. I don't want my children to think it's okay to be that angry over simple rebellion. And I sure as hell don't want them to be scared of me.

I feel like Other Moms don't have this face. Well, maybe Joan Crawford or someone like that, but not normal, non beating-my-child-with-a-iron type mothers. I have no idea where mine comes from, but I'm working on banishing it to the dark place where it must have grown.

I want my kids to remember their childhood as happy, with a mom who was firm but fun. Not scary. Not angry.

And definitely, definitely not Ugly.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Rain, rain, DON'T go away..

Despite the overpowering aroma of wet ashtray that is permeating this area, I have thoroughly enjoyed our Day of Rain. Living in Southern California has made me long for a change - ANY change - in the weather. So when Sawyer arrived on my pillow at precisely 6:17 this morning, I could hear the rain above the monster roaring noises he likes to make.

The house got a little chilly while the kids were napping this afternoon, and it almost made me get up and bake something, just to have a warm, yummy smell in the house. Note, I said ALMOST.

It sounded like a good idea but I just didn't feel like cleaning the kitchen, then messing it up, then having to clean it again. By the time I calculated how much work I would have to do around the actual baking, it lost its attraction.

So instead I helped myself to some mini tootsie rolls left over from Halloween. Not exactly the same allure as a hunk of homemade chocolate chip pumpkin bread, but at least I could dispose of the wrappers easily.

The fog rolled in about an hour ago, and now it's dark. Really dark, because half of our "holiday" lights did not go on in the front yard. No animated reindeer. No snowman. No penguin. Just dark.

I went to the side of the house where the timer is supposed to be operating said creatures. I had to navigate through mud and a large puddle to get there. The rain-drop covered timer didn't look like it was alive. I called David.

He said I had to unplug it, then plug it in again.

Hmm.. Dark vs. Electrocution.

Sorry, Mr. Snowman!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

This is hilarious!

I watched this twice and laughed so hard I cried! Make sure you play it with the sound on! Totally makes me wish we had done something like this...

I'm CRYING!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Our new camera



David's first day with his new camera. He particularly likes this shot of his little mini-me.

He's the Barf Man

Poop on me. Bleed on me. Bloody poop on me.

But Do. Not. Barf. On. Me.

Seriously.

David is the Barf Man in our house. He has been known on several occasions to catch the projectiled mass in his hands as skillfully as Torii Hunter makes a diving basket catch out in center field. He's saved the carpet, the couch, etc.

I, on the other hand, race out of the room at any sign of regurgitation, leaving my poor child to barf on Daddy.

Today, my little girl spiked a 103 degree fever. Her face was really flushed and she kept crying and saying that her head hurt. I called the phone nurse, who suggested we bring her to KidsDoc when they opened at 5 since our regular pediatrician's office was completely booked.

I "planned" to take her, but secretly was hoping David would volunteer.

Why?

Because I'm a terrible Mommy who has a severe aversion to vomit. And I just knew it was coming. That, and Sage is in a Daddy phase now anyway and totally prefers him. Maybe it's because she knows I run from puke and would leave her there like a plate of yesterday's brussel sprouts.

Anyway, he offered. I accepted. He luckily was first in line, when they finally deigned to take a patient half an hour after they were supposed to open. They then tested for strep.

You know where this is heading. Ever had a strep test, where they stick a ginormous swab down your throat? Sage didn't like it so much. So she gagged and barfed. All over Daddy! But hey - he made a nice catch before it hit the floor!

Meanwhile, I was snuggled on the couch at home, nice and dry, watching Meet the Robinsons with Sawyer.

Hey - I DID take off her pukey clothes when she got home and put them in the wash!

And, in my defense, I have been spit up on by both kids when they were babies several times a day for months, including the awesome yurks that splat on the floor behind you, but not before leaving a trail of delight down your back, legs and socks.

The good news is the strep test was negative, and after David OD'd her on Motrin, she was acting almost normal (she tried to hit Sawyer over the head with one of those popper toys that you push around by the handle)
and was nice and cool.

(While I'm thinking of it, what is up with pediatricians and their diagnosis of "virus"? Why don't they just say "We have no effing clue what's wrong with your child" and spare us this catchall thing that tells us nothing.)

Here's hoping for an uneventful night's sleep for all - and that my next post will be about something other than bodily functions!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blaaaaahg

So, like, where have I been, you ask?

I wish I had all kinds of thrilling tales of wild adventures, but clearly that's not possible. I don't even have mundane stories about ordinary places.

I guess I've just been overwhelmed lately with mommyhood stuff. Like screeching at the head of Sawyer's preschool about why it's necessary to serve honey nut cheerios in his classroom when he's allergic to nuts, forcing him to be segregated to another table. Or checking out another preschool that is nut-free, but is a 20-minute schlep away.

And, might I add, Sage produced a poop of such immense proportions that it not only came out the top of her diaper and partway up her back, but it came out the bottom, too. We're talking a blowout not usually seen from a child who is not under 3 months old. This was as we were getting into the car in the parking lot of the new preschool so we could hustle to swimming lessons. I tried to carefully remove her shirt so as not to get any poop in her hair - which I succeeded in, but instead the poop smeared up to her neck and on her arm. But at least her hair was clean! Ten minutes and about 47 wipes later, as she stood in the back of our SUV, I finally got her (mostly) cleaned up. We went to the pool, so I was able to soap her down in the sink while Sawyer had his lesson. This is when I noticed the big blob of poop on the arm of my shirt.

Ick.

Perhaps you'd all rather that I just didn't post?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fear Factor

Sawyer has always been a cautious child (First-child syndrome of an overparenting mom. Discuss.). But now that he has a huge imagination and the words to describe everything in minute detail, he has become terrified of some very specific things.

Examples, you say? Fine. Here we go. Hopefully I haven't posted this before, but I'm too lazy to search my blog. Skip this one if you must!

Months ago, during a trip to the mall, Sawyer spotted a poster that featured a frightening-looking woman on it. I can't remember if it was an ad for a movie or what. I don't even think I glanced at it for more than a millisecond.

Sawyer, however, used it as a launching pad for an incredible scenario that is still going strong.

He named her the "Dragon Lady."

She lives in the Black Forest.

When our dogs bark, he asks if they're waking up the Dragon Ladies.

He makes David drive him to this canyon, er, I mean, Black Forest, near our house, where David parks, rolls down the window, and they scream at the top of their lungs before high-tailing it out of there with the Dragon Ladies in hot pursuit.

THANKfully, the DLs cannot keep up with the car. So Sawyer is safe.

After the recent fires burned the trees in the canyon, we told Sawyer the DLs had to leave. They went so far away they had to take a plane and a boat to get there - there, being the Green Forest.

"I want to take a plane and a boat!"

Sorry. You can't.

So pretty much every night, Sawyer asks about the Dragon Ladies. And the Green Forest.

But wait. There's more.

The doors to David's office must be closed once the sun goes down. He will cry until one of us shuts them. He's even got Sage in on the act. She'll put her hands over her eyes and shriek "Daddy's office! Door!"

Any tiny little noise sets him off. The wind. One of the dogs knocking over something. Last night it was "Mommy, what's that sound of someone walking up the stairs?" Since we were all upstairs, it was likely the footsteps of my sanity - which was actually fleeing down the stairs, searching for a more reputable host.

We try to explain to him that he's always safe in the house, especially since we have two large dogs who will bark like there's a gazelle on the front porch if, say, something as threatening as a neighborhood child walks past our house - on the other side of the street.

Sawyer's not buying it. He eyes those dogs with suspicion, as if they're in cahoots with the Bad Guys. Or the DLs, as the case may be.

He was interested, though, when I told him that when I was Little Girl Mommy I also used to be afraid of scary things like the dark. Unlike when he is a teenager and I will not POSSIBLY be able to relate to ANYTHING that he might experience because I am SO OLD, he took a little comfort from hearing that Mommies can also be scared.

And I was scared, but not at his age, as he is clearly more precocious than I ever was. I think I was probably 10. We lived in a house with a long staircase that led to the upstairs bedrooms. There was a hallway at the top and my room was at the far end. I remember standing at the bottom and being afraid to go up because the light was on in the hallway, and since I didn't turn it on, it was probably those crazy murderers who like to SEE what they're doing before the kill.

As an adult, the fears are different. I'm the one who locks the doors when David is away, as he's been for much of the past two weeks. I don't start at every little noise (remember my dogs?). Instead, I worry about whether I wasn't patient enough with Sawyer, or if Sage's recent bout of hives spell a dairy problem.

When I lie in bed, in the dark, I can fill my head with a vertible Momapalooza of horrifying images of someone snatching one of my children, or of them getting a deadly illness, or of losing my husband in an accident, until the tears flow.

Then there's the dread that gets my heart sinking into my stomach. My own mortality. The unthinkable fear that I might not be there to watch my children grow.

Grown-up fears that I'd trade in an instant for the pure childhood fear of the dark.

And the Dragon Ladies.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ever have a day like this?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Free things aren't necessarily the best things in life

Sawyer has been going to swimming lessons twice a week since this summer. He loves the water and has no fear of it, so we wanted him to be safe. We take him to a small indoor pool that has a pirate theme.

We figured it would be less intimidating than the place he went the summer before last. It was an Olympic-sized pool with a big tent over it. He did okay the first lesson, but at the second, the other child decided he didn't want to share the teacher and he went ape shit. He was so hysterical that he set Sawyer off.

The next time we tried going to a lesson, Sawyer cried so hard in the car in the parking lot he almost threw up. He then refused to get in the pool. So we decided to wait another year.

It's made a huge difference. He was doing really, really well and advancing pretty quickly. Until last month. Suddenly he started telling the teacher that he was scared. He didn't want to roll over from his back to his front. It got to the point that we decided to go once a week for the month of November, and then take a few months off.

I was actually looking forward to no more trips to the pool.

His lesson is on Thursday, so we went today. His regular teacher is away for a few weeks. His new instructor is the director of several programs and is supposed to be fantastic. I asked a guy standing at the front, who I through was another director, what the new instructor's name was.

We got into a conversation about how Sawyer is regressing, how he just fools around now and that we went to once a week because it was, frankly, a waste of money.

The guys says, "Oh, no, if they regress, you have to go twice a week. I'm the owner. I'll give you a free second day for this month and see how he does."

Then he looks at Sage, who is standing next to me. He asks when she's getting in the pool. I told him I'm waiting til the summer, when she's close to 3.

"Oh, no, the sooner you start the better. If you can get her to learn to hold her breath, and Sawyer to be safe in the pool, then you can just take the summer off from lessons."

He proceeded to give me free twice-weekly lessons for Sage for the rest of the month.

So I go from one lesson a week to four in the span of about 10 minutes.

Why is it so tough to turn down free stuff?

I think Sage is going to HATE being in the pool (thankfully it is NOT a mommy-and-me type deal where I would actually have to get into a suit and into the water with her). Plus it's a bit of a PITA to do the whole swim diaper thing.

Sawyer has been saying that he wants to stop swimming lessons and try something else. He has no clue he's back to twice a week, poor guy.

I could have turned it down. But that would've been, like, un-American or something. Four lessons for the price of one is a fabulous deal. If I found a bargain like that at, say, Nordstrom's shoe department, you can bet your Prada pumps I'd be all over it!

I figure it's only for a few weeks. Then I can gracefully slither off into the land of "December is SUCH a busy month!"

Unless, of course, there's more free lessons!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The best news

I was in Target the other day (I know, as if there's a day when I'm NOT in Target) because when your kids are snotty and playdates/preschool are out, where else is there to go than the wonderland that is Target?

We were looking at all the "holiday" decorations (although props to Target, they're carrying Chanukah stuff this year), and for some reason I thought about the Coble Family.

They were the local couple whose three kids, all under the age of 5, were killed when their minivan was rear-ended by a semi.



Today I got an email from my friend Maria. And this is what it said:

The Ladera Times has learned that Chris and Lori Coble, of Ladera Ranch, who tragically lost their three children last May in a horrific accident on the I-5 near the OSO Exit, are having triplets.

"Yes, it is true. I am six weeks along and they expect me to deliver in early to mid-May," Lori told the Ladera Times. "We had to do it by�in vitro fertilization and it worked the first month. They extracted 14 eggs from me and out of all of those after all sorts of genetics testing, three eggs were good, two girls and one boy. We took that as a sign and we put all three in."

The odds of all three eggs attaching were only 10 percent, according to Lori who added, "It turned out, we are one of the lucky 10 percent."

Although the Coble family is very excited about the pending birth, Lori said it is a bittersweet blessing. "These children will never take the place of Kyle, Emma and Katie, but it does give us some hope for happier times in the future."


Goosebumps.

I have thought of this family often over the past six months, wondering how they were holding up, trying to imagine... but I'm sure nothing I could conjure would even come close to the horror of losing not just one, but all of your children.

I've pondered whether they smile, or if they do, are the overcome with guilt? When does the grief become slightly less smothering?

As over-the-top thrilled for them as I am for their news, I'm also nervous. Triplets are high-risk. If heaven forbid something happened, could they cope? Pregnancy in general is such a crazy time, with so much worry even under the best of circumstances. I remember when I was over 22 weeks and hadn't felt Sawyer kick yet. I became convinced that he was being strangled by his umbilical cord. He was, of course, fine.

That they are having a boy and two girls, is, from someone who is not religious, surely more than just coincidence. I don't have the answer to why, anymore than I had an answer to why the unthinkable happened in the first place.

Then I think about the "new" Cobles, who I'm sure will know from birth about their brother and sisters in heaven. Quite a legacy to live up to. They will know they exist solely because their siblings no longer do.

Will they be labeled? This one laughs like Emma, that one smiles like Kyle, and she's a daredevil just like Katie.

How will Lori Coble ever feel safe about strapping them into their carseats in the back of a minivan, something thousands of moms do every day without a second thought? Will they ever feel good about letting these babies out of their sight?

I have no doubt how much the Cobles will love them. They know better than most the sacredness of life. I can't see them taking for granted that they'll hear their children's voices again.

They learned first-hand the lessons the death of Kyle, Emma and Katie taught us.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

BEAT KATIE



Yes, I have stolen this picture from my friend Torrey's blog. Why? Because Torrey has made a very astute observation about Katie Holmes Cruise, everyone's favorite Celebrebot.

Yo! Can't you afford a SPORTS BRA?!?! They, like, sell them. In stores. I'm sure your nanny or anyone of your herd of servants could have picked one up for you. Because running in a camisole is really not okay.

How can anyone run with their saggy baggies hanging around? I, for one, would have to tuck mine into my hydration belt. That is, if I didn't wear a SPORTS BRA!

Maybe there's something in Scientology that says The Girls must breathe? I'm just hoping she Glided them up, because the chafing - oh my!

But I digress. Not really, as this entire blog is one big digression, but let's move on.

So KHC did the New York City Marathon in a time of 5:29:58. Clearly faster than me, but then again, she didn't walk half of it. More irritating is that her time was better than my girl Torrey's.

And, seriously, I can't believe how crazy the media (Yes, that just came out of my mouth. How the mighty have fallen!) is over KHC wearing heels a few hours after the marathon. BFD! It's not like she cured cancer. People! That's not that big of an accomplishment! First of all, according to Torrey's blog, she's 17. Second, I'm sure Tom simply turned the key on her back, winded (wound?)her up and she just starting walking. No biggie!

Yes, she had a baby just over 18 months ago. So? My friend Randi ran a 4:05 marathon at Nike - and her SECOND child is 9 months old! And Randi is still nursing her baby! Now THAT is amazing. As is, of course, NYC Marathon winner and my hero Paula Radcliffe, who busted out a 2:23 (um, yeah, one minute slower than my best 1/2 marathon), has a nine-month old and KICKED ASS!

I am impressed by anyone who finishes a marathon. Seriously. Just spare me the wide-eyed amazement that KHC's accomplishment somehow means more than, for example, that of my friends Alida and Leticia, who are both over 40 and who finished together in 5:31.

Maybe it's good to have another little thing spurring us on. Torrey is running Carlsbad in part because she wants me to have a "good" marathon. My contribution? To motivate us to Beat Katie.

If I don't have a knife in my side, and Torrey doesn't have to stop at every portapotty, then this is a VERY doable goal.

Beat Katie.

Two little words.

BEAT KATIE!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ketchup is a vegetable, too..

This morning I went running - yes, running! - with my friends Torrey and Maria. We are officially training for the Carlsbad marathon. I say "we" because Maria was on the fence, but now she's in. YIPPEE!!

We ran eight miles and though I had a little stitch in my side for a bit, it was different than my Marathon Knife of Death and actually went away. The final mile or so felt great, actually. It was such a relief to run pain-free!

I arrived home at about 8:30 a.m. I had called David on the way and he told me that Sawyer and Sage had pancakes for breakfast. When I opened the door, I found two very happy kids each holding a little fun-size bag of kissables, which are like M&Ms.

I stifled by immediate response, which was to question Dear Husband why the kids were eating chocolate before noon. (Yes, it's like alchohol. None before noon! They will get completely high. Every mom knows that! But apparently not the dads, to whom it must always be noon somewhere.)

Then I got closer.

That's when I noticed a suspicious looking orange crust clinging to the area surrounding Sage's mouth.

"David? What is that on Sage's face?"

"Oh, she had some Sun Chips with her pancakes."

"WHAT?!?!"

"Yeah, it's like having hash browns."

At least they weren't washing it all down with a Slurpee!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

From the Signs You are a Bad Mommy files..

Is it bad that I'm counting the minutes (66) until my kids go to bed so I can eat their chocolate without having to duck down behind the kitchen counter?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How 'bout a nice Hawaiian Punch?

Mommy? Can I have some cookies?

No.

Why not?

Because you're not being a good listener.

Mommy? Can I have some cookies?

How'd you like a nice punch in the nose?

And then I can have some cookies?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What am I, inSANE?!?!


Possibly.

In just 12 weeks, I will be doing another marathon.

Let me rephrase that. I will be RUNNING another marathon. Fingers crossed.

The whole thing with Team in Training is, in the end, it really wasn't about the race. Yes, I spent the majority of my time running, either during the week or with the group for our Saturday long runs.

But really, it was about raising money. And awareness. Whether or not I ran a sub-5:00 marathon wouldn't really matter to anyone but me. In the grand scheme of things, who cares? The amazing thing is I was part of something bigger. I contributed to possibly saving someone's life by raising the money. I would say that's a tad more important than any personal physical achievement.

That being said, I still do not feel like a marathoner. In theory I am. I did complete 26.2 miles, more than many people run in an entire year.

I didn't run it like I know I can, though - that is, if I don't feel like someone's knifing me in the side the entire way.

Unfinished business, you might say.

I hear great things about the Carlsbad race in January. I put the word out to my girls. Maria was lukewarm at best. Torrey, however, might need a 12-step program as she has partaken of the so-called marathon crack pipe. She's addicted.

I think it must be because she didn't run the Hills of Hell at Nike. Word is Carlsbad not only has hills, but headwind.

At least it'll be interesting.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bye-bye Guy-ah


Guy-ah. One word that meant so much. Really, everything.

At least, that is, to Sage. It was the word which she used for all that she saw, all that she wanted to say.

Bye-bye? The word that most babies say fairly early? Guy-ah.

Fish? Guy-ah.

Any word that we said, "Can you say" and asked her to repeat something, more than likely, she'd say Guy-ah.

The first breakthrough came early in speech therapy, which she started in July. A few weeks in, our little girl said "bye-bye" for the first time.

Soon, she started repeating words we'd ask her with a sound that, amazingly, actually sounded like the word. This was tremendous progress.

The months have gone on. And the words kept coming. She went from saying maybe 15 intelligible words in July to now well over 100.

She says all her colors, although she still doesn't always acurately pick them out. She can count to five. When I start counting to give Sawyer a chance to stop whatever particuarly obnoxious thing he's doing, I just say "One" and Sage adds the two and three.

She says "I love you Mommy." Okay, it's only after we say it, and it sounds like "IwubooMommy" but I'll take it.

Her sentences are still largely unintelligble to anyone except me, and even I struggle sometimes. She is trying, though. She is shy around anyone but family. I guess she's not confident enough to attempt her words out in public yet.

She even has started saying names. Like of our dogs. And even some of our friends.

There was just one hold-out. Her brother was still Guy-ah.

Until last week.

Sage, can you say Ssssssawyer?


She looked at me. Opened her mouth.

"Sawyer."

And what's your name?

"Saaaaage."

Firsts are still so special.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One more fire picture


This was taken by my friend's sister's friend Tuesday night. This is at a lake that is about a mile and a half from my house; in fact, the view would include my house.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

FIRE!

We spent a beautiful day in Monterey on Monday and Tuesday. We drove home Tuesday afternoon, and stopped for about an hour in Santa Barbara, which was also gorgeous.

We got home at about 8:30 p.m. This is the view from the exit ramp, about half a mile from our house.



We could see that view (much worse in person) from the top of our street. From our bedroom window, we could see the San Diego fires.

This is the view that greeted me this morning in our back yard.



David took these from across the street a little while later from across the street. He also has video of the helicopters sucking water out of the reservoir down the street to spray on the fires.




Sawyer's preschool was cancelled today because of smoke. It's only 4 p.m. here and it looks like dusk. The dogs came back inside with ash all over their fur. Breathing the air is like sticking your head into an ashtray and inhaling.

We are safe from the fires at the moment. But it is truly horrendous and I am furious at the morons who started the fires closest to us.

I'm a marathoner!

Okay party people, I'm back. I was too tired and too freaked out by all the flames visible from the front and back of my house to post last night (our house is safe, but the smoke is thick and it's pretty bad out here).

For those of you who just want the Reader's Digest version, it is this: I was injured, so I had to walk a lot of it, but I finished.

Now, for the rest of you who want to every last excrutiating detail...fasten your seatbelts! And get a drink and something to eat, too. This is going to take awhile.

THE WEEKEND

I flew up Friday with a lot of TNT people, including my friend and training partner, Maria, and her mom. The person I sat next to I will refer to as Grumpy Woman. I had the aisle seat. She came down to my row and said she was in the middle. I joked "how lucky" and she said, poker-faced, "Not really."

Then, later, a lot of people were cheering, and I asked her if she was with TNT.

"Yes."

Ooookay then. How can someone be THAT grumpy when leaving for San Francisco to do a charity event? I saw her at different times throughout the weekend (apparently, it WOULD kill her to smile). Poor girl!

After arriving at our hotel, Maria and I picked up our marathon bibs at the Expo and then did a little shopping at NikeTown.

Later, I was treated to dinner by my friend Melissa. We had a fabulous time and needed about 10 more hours to finish half the conversations we had!

I was really looking forward to a peaceful night of sleep, with no husband to fight for space in the bed and no kids waking me in the morning. I was asleep before 11. Then I had an unpleasant wakeup call at 5:30 a.m. when my left calf cramped. I was able to fall back to sleep before my right calf cramped at 7. Not a good sign.

So what to do to make me feel better? After grabbing some Starbucks with Maria and her mom, I went over to the Expo and got a free manicure. Then I did some more shopping at NikeTown. The entire outside wall on Stockton Street had the names of everyone who'd registered for the race. It was so cool to see my name up there!




I took a short nap in the afternoon. Then David and the kids arrived. We walked the block or so to the Moscone Center for the Pasta Party. The place is ginormous, which made what happened when we arrived all the more amazing. I don't think any description can do it justice.

We opened the door and there, lining the entire entry, down the escalator and on the main floor near the banquet room, were hundreds of TNT mentors and coaches. And they all were cheering and banging noisemakers. It was, in a word, overwhelming. Because they were all cheering for me. ME! And, of course, all the TNT participants there that evening.

Mentors from our chapter later told me the expression on my face was priceless. I was so overcome it was all I could do not to burst into tears. The noise was like what a rock star (or Oprah!) must feel like every time they take the stage.

We were so stunned we didn't take any video or pictures, unfortunately...

The kids didn't want to eat anything and got agitated fairly quickly, so David took them back to the room after an hour. I stayed behind to listen to the speakers.

There was John "the Penguin" Bingham, who writes a column for Runners World. He talked all about what a first-time marathoner needs to know. That is where I learned about the Bite Me mile. This is the time, usually in the late miles, where you want to tell anyone who speaks - or even LOOKS at you - to Fuck Off (he didn't actually use those words, but that was the drift). You don't want to hear that you're "doing great," that you're "almost there" or, really, anything at all.

You are in pain. It's all you can do to take one more step. You haven't yet had the next epiphany: the moment you realize you are, in fact, going to cross the finish line.

At that point, you need to take a moment and relish the feeling. Because you're going to be very busy soon thinking about how you want to look when you cross the finish line.

The #1 mistake? Stopping your Garmin as you cross the line! Bingham said he actually ran with a woman who whipped out a lipstick from her shorts so she could look good crossing the line!

The next speaker also had some good advice. And why not? She was the first woman Olympic marathoner. She's the reason so many thousands of women have taken up the challenge of running 26.2 miles. She broke the barrier. She showed the world that women were strong enough to go the distance (for cripe's sake, we have CHILDBIRTH, of COURSE we can do a marathon!).

The final speaker was the most inspirational. Her name is Amy. She raised $5,000 and ran her first marathon with TNT a few years ago.

Then, this spring, she was diagnosed with Stage III cancer. She spoke of her journey. Of the night she and 100 friend packed a local bar for her head-shaving party. Of the chemo. Of the fear. And of the tremendous support she got from TNT and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

She thanked everyone for raising the money - $18.5 MILLION nationwide for this event. Because if not for all the research, she wouldn't be standing there.

"And now, I can say, I'm a survivor," she said, through her tears.

It was an amazing ending to a fabulous night.

RACE DAY

I got the bed all to myself Saturday night as the kids bunked with David. I fell asleep fairly quickly, but woke late with a start, sure I had overslept. It was 11 p.m. I was up a bit off an on, then finally got up at 4:25 a.m., five minutes before my alarm was to go off.

I had set out my clothes and other stuff the night before. So I was dressed and ready to go pretty quickly. I wrote with a purple Sharpie "Better than chemo" on one arm and "Mind over Miles" on the other.

I went down to the lobby at 5:15 and quickly found Maria. I completed my outfit with a TNT tatoo on my cheek.

A half hour later, we were ready to walk to the starting line in Union Square, about three blocks away. Maria and I wore very fashionable garbage bags. It was a little chilly with a little breeze, but you could tell it was going to be a nice day.

Finally, finally, it was time to line up. The gun went off. We didn't move. More than 15 minutes later, we rounded the corner and could see the start line.

THE RACE

I took my first step.

I felt the stitch in my right side.

I knew this was trouble.

This was not a stitch because of breathing. This was something different, something I get at a certain time of the month, if you know what I'm saying. It does not go away with stretching, changing my breathing pattern, or pushing on it. It only goes away when I stop moving, although I am usually sore in the area the next day.

I started running. The views were spectactular. Golden Gate Bridge in particular was amazing. I ran a bit with some of the women who were doing the half. But mostly, I ran alone.

I turned on my iPod. The first song? Beautiful Day, by U2.

Then the hills began. I was under the (MISTAKEN) impression that there would be only a couple hills. WRONG! Mile six was entirely uphill. By then, I decided to walk the hills and save energy. I knew I could make up the pace downhill. However, two things happened. First, my iPod died. Second, I realized the impact of running downhill made the stitch in my side much, much worse.

So now I was kind of doing a walk/run thing. I kept this up for awhile. Then just after mile 12, there was the diversion: those who were running the half went right, those of us doing the full went left.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted by the thought that it could be over in 15 minutes. But I stayed left and kept moving.

I called David to let him know I was passing 13. He and the kids weren't far, waiting to cheer me on. And then I saw them. Sawyer saw me and raced out onto the course to grab me.



Then as I ran away, they screamed "Go Mommy go!"

MY GUARDIAN ANGEL

By mile 15, I was hurting. I was limping because it felt like something was pinching me between my toes on the ball of my right foot (the one in which I had a cortisone shot). I now had stitches throughout my entire midsection. I could not eat my shot blocks because the thought of it was nauseating.

And that's when Chris came up to me. My friend Torrey told me last week that I would not run the race alone, that I'd find someone along the way. She was right. I was incredibly lucky that that person was Chris. He was a coach from the Southern New Jersey chapter (fitting, as some of you know I was born there).

He asked me how I was doing, and fortunately, I didn't burst into tears. He started walking with me. One of my coaches found us at 16 and told me I could divert (there was another shortcut to the finish line).

There was no way that was happening. I was going to finish all 26.2 miles, even if it took me all day. Chris was right with me. The course now ran along the beach. Chris told me that, since I knew I was not going to finish within my goal time, that I should just enjoy the beautiful day.

He was right. There was bright sunshine, you could smell the salt kicking up from the waves, and there was thousands of women out there kicking butt.

I asked Chris, who it turns out has done FIFTY-TWO marathons, what brought him to TNT. He said he's done events for them, and had been involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for years. At one event, he met a woman. They started dating, fell in love, and got engaged.

Then she was diagnosed with Leukemia. She died a year later, at age 30.

He is now dating someone else who is training for her first event. I spoke with her on his phone. She sounded great. I was very happy for him.

At mile 18.5, Chris left to go run in some of his marathoners who were starting to finish. I thanked him. He hopped the median to the other side. I continued up the hill and around Lake Merced.

FOR YOU, DAD

This was, by far, the worst part of the race. There wasn't much in the way of scenery, and it was mostly uphill. A couple times someone ran by me, tapped me on the shoulder and said "Go Dad." I was wearing a picture of my father with the words "This one's for you" on the back of my jersey.

My cousin Wendy's name was also printed on the back of all our chapter's jerseys. My neighbor hot glued crystals around her name with an arrow pointing to where I painted it.



RUMPSHAKER AND A FASHION DON'T

As I made my way around the lake, I saw a rather chubby woman walking/running along. The back of her shirt read "Rumpshaker." It was not my most encouraging moment when I realized I would probably be finishing behind Rumpshaker.

I also was not pleased that a woman wearing a green bra - not a sports bra, just a regular bra, judging from the straps, would also be crossing that finish line before me.

HEY! I'M TRYING TO RUN A RACE OVER HERE!

My phone rang off the freakin' hook. Seriously. Mostly it was David, trying to find my location so they could get situated to cheer me on. But I also got calls from friends wondering how it was going and, more frequently, my friends who'd already finished and wanted to run me on.

It was kind of funny to be chatting away. Of course, I wished I was running too hard to answer, or that my music was too loud to hear it, but that wasn't the case.

THE HOME STRETCH

I came upon our walk team coach. She told me chin up, shoulders back, and pump my arms up the hill. She later told me that I was a very good walker. I didn't have much choice at that point!

Finally, I could see the ocean again. I was at mile 24. Waiting not far up ahead was my family. The kids were having a blast running around in the sand. But once they knew I was coming, it was all GO MOMMY GO time!





Then I passed the Mile 25 marker. There, at the water station, were five of my TNT teammates: Maria, who KICKED ASS and ran a 4:15 marathon; my mentor, Cari; another mentor, Alida; and Leticia and Mary. Their job? To run (walk) me in.

I can't tell you what it meant to see these women. They were there just for me, to make sure I crossed that finish line, no matter what.

They all had their Tiffany necklaces already.

TNT people on the sidelines cheered as we went by, our little purple posse.

Then, Chris saw us and joined in, high-fiving me for making it.

Maria says "See the finish line? By those tents? Do you see it?"

I didn't.

Then I did.

It was a huge brown banner with white letters.

FINISH LINE

I started to sprint. My calf tightened for a second, but then it let go. My body realized that I wasn't listening to it anymore.

I ran. And ran. My girls (and Chris!) ran with me.

I crossed the finish line.

I grabbed my little blue box.

I became a marathoner.

Most of the purple posse
Maria and me!

Some post-race stretching
David's so glad it's over

NEXT?

I thought I would bawl once I finished. But it was bittersweet. I felt great that I've raised close to $5,000. I know that I could have given up during the race, but I kept going. It should've been my proudest moment.

Instead, I kept thinking about how let down I was that I trained so long and so hard, only to not be able to run it like I wanted to. I felt like I let everyone down who supported me along the way.

So, of course, I have to run another one.

PARTING THOUGHTS

My bff Laura and I had been playing phone tag all weekend. She finally got through Monday morning, while we were getting ready to leave.

"I'm in the hospital," she said.

"Why? What's wrong?"

"Oh, I have my PET scan. I have one every six months. To make sure the cancer isn't coming back."

We chatted while she choked down the barium.

I guess having to walk instead of run really isn't such a big deal after all.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm off

I leave for San Francisco first thing in the morning. I am already a nervous wreck.

Next time I post, I will officially be a marathoner. Sounds crazy, no?

So have a great weekend, all, and I'll post when I return. Thanks to everyone who has supported me on this unbelievable journey - see you on the other side of the finish line!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hurts so good

This morning, after dropping Sawyer off at preschool, Sage and I went to see my podiatrist. I was to receive a cortisone shot in my foot. We sat on the chair in the examing room. Sage got a good look at the ginormous needle the doctor was preparing.

"No me!" Sage said eloquently.

We assured her it was not for her, it was for Mommy. There was an audible sigh of relief.

First Dr. A sprayed by foot with some artic air. That's what it felt like. Think of sticking your foot in ice water, and then drop the temperature by about 100 degrees. You might now have some idea of how cold it was.

I did feel the shot, which was slightly uncomfortable but not awful. Unfortunately, she had to keep the needle in for awhile because I had so much inflamation in there that it was tough to get all the fluid in.

Then the cortisone hit the nerve, and my second and third toes went SPROING! Totally straightened and went out to the side. I look like my toes are saying "Nanu Nanu" like Mork. If you thought my toes were freaky before, you should see them now! (again, no pictures, sorry, that's why you have an imagination).

Now it's just tingly. I'm hoping it'll be fully in affect by Sunday. She said I could be completely pain-free, which would be awesome. So while they rest of me is dying during the race, at least my foot will ready to rock 'n roll.

Hmm...now if I could just get one of them shots for my brain...

Mind over Miles

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pour some sugar on meeeee

I would like to give a huge shout-out (isn't that what the kids are saying these days?) and an even bigger CONGRATS to my friends and training partners, Torrey and Cindy. They both ran in their first marathon Sunday and kicked some Long Beach ass! I am so proud of them.

And I was secretly hoping that the post-race report would include sentiments such as "Twenty-six miles? It felt like two!" and "Wall? What wall?" and maybe even "Nowhere near as tough as you think!"

Instead, I received this email from Torrey:

It was VERY hard. VERY. VERY. HARD. I'm your friend so I can't try to sugar coat anything for you. Hard, but great. In a hard way.

Then this voicemail from Cindy:

I have to walk backwards down the stairs and I feel like I've just ridden a horse - for four weeks straight!

Okay then. Is it time to panic? I haven't spoken to either one of them directly yet to get the step-by-step details. But maybe that's a good thing. No sugar-coating? I want to be covered in the sweet stuff like a Krispy Creme Original. Maybe I don't REALLY want to know how awful this is really going to be.

I actually enjoy living in that cozy little world called Denial (perhaps you've visited there yourself once or twice?). The thought of how I might feel at mile 14 or 18 or 21 is somewhere I really don't want to go.

I think Tuesday might be a little early to be psyching myself out. Friday, when I'm in San Francisco and holding my race bib in my hands, maybe then.

Sunday, I have no choice but to cross the starting line. I'll have the words of my friend John, a seven-year survivor, to keep me going when I'm sure that I can't possibly take even one more step. I'm planning to write these words with a sharpie on my arm before the race.

"Better than Chemo."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Small blessings

There is a little boy named Demetrius who is one of our honored teammates. He turned three I think in June. His mother is due in a few weeks with another son. At some point this summer, they had to foreclose on their house and move into a tiny place in a not-so-great area. The father works a lot and is not around much.

Demetrius, who has leukemia, is on such a high dose of chemo that he throws up constantly - and he's going to be going through chemo until December of 2009.

He has a 50-50 chance of making it.

His mother gave away a lot of his baby stuff after he was done with it because she was told she probably couldn't have another child. But here she is. I told her about all the stuff I had left over from the garage sale. I had a high chair, bouncers, bedding sets, breast pumps - tons of things she could use for the new baby.

I also told Sawyer about the sick little boy and how nice it would be if he could pick a toy or two to give him. I gave him a ziplock quart-size bag, and he filled it with carefully selected items from his vast collection of planes and cars. He kept adding more and was really excited about it.

"Mommy! I'm going to give him these toys and he's going to be all better!" Sawyer said.

If only it were that easy. But on some level, I think Sawyer did actually get that he was doing something really important.

Anyway, today we loaded up the car and the kids and headed to their new place. Demetrius was so excited, he literally threw up.

They don't leave the house much because he throws up constantly. He even says he doesn't like to go to bed at night because he knows he's going to be sick.

This is his life. This is the family's life, choosing which bills to delay so they can keep paying their insurance premiums. It is the hugely pregnant mother fighting with the pharmacist to get Zofran for her son's nausea because the generic just doesn't work. It is worry and tears and watching a dark-eyed, shyly smiling child suffer every day.

Team in Training passed a glass jar around at a couple Saturday runs and raised $1,900 to help the family pay to bank the cord blood of their new baby, which they can use for a transplant for Demetrius.

"We're naming him Cristos," the mother said of the their new son. "My husband asked why and I said, you know, like Christ. Because maybe he will save our other baby."

Small blessings.
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