Saturday, May 31, 2008

And Away We Go!

So I'm off. Yes, yes, I know I've been off for years. What I'm saying is I'm off to San Diego. Torrey and Cindy are coming to get me, and then we're driving down to San Diego.

We need to go to the expo to pick up our bibs (no, not a plastic thingy with Elmo on it to collect my drool and assorted crumbs, it's our race number we wear) and our timing chips, which we wear on our shoes. It keeps our "real" marathon time, as it takes awhile to actually cross the starting line.

The expo usually has some cool stuff to paw through, like shirts, gadgets and other running gear. Then we're going to watch Sex and the City, which my neighbor saw yesterday and loved. So I have high hopes. Even though I was just luke warm about the actual show.

We have a pasta dinner tonight. Then it's early to bed, because we have a wakeup call at some ungodly hour tomorrow. The race starts at 6:30 a.m.

We are, of course, hoping to have a good run. Still have the same goal we've had even before we signed up for this insanity: BEAT KATIE!


Oh! Cindy and Torrey are here! See you on the other side!!

For updates, check out Torrey's blog. Link is on the left side of this blog.

Friday, May 30, 2008

These Feet Were Made For Walking

Seriously. Not running, and certainly not running 26.2 miles. Then again, no one should be running that far. It's not natural. Or particularly smart, for that matter.

I have learned, through the six weeks or so of physical therapy, that not only aren't my feet good for running, but neither are my ankles or my back. Even though running seems like it's all legs and feet, it's really mostly hips. And if you're not stable there, you're completely screwed.

See, my feet are overly flexible. As are my ankles. So when I run, the rest of my body is trying to keep them under control. It hasn't been doing a very good job of it, hence the six hours a week I spend in physical therapy, during which I work on stabalizing and strengthening my hips.

But my back's been killing me, so I went in to get it evaluated. I learned of yet another side benefit of lugging young children around: the side you carry them on gets really strong. Great, right? Problem is, if you're not doing strength training, the other side gets really weak - to the point that I don't even stand straight. My right shoulder is rotated forward.

The left side is doing all the work, which is causing all sorts of problems on my right side, including the pain I've had in my back and is, probably, contributing to my foot issues.

It's amazing I'm even walking upright at this point.

My PT, who I love, does have this one trait that I don't enjoy so much: she's a torturer. She worked my hip flexors to the point that I said "I'm not going to cry, but I could!"

I don't even want to talk about the stretching. I'm just glad my kneecap didn't pop off and break a light in the ceiling. It was also a good reminder why I can't stand yoga.

I do wonder how much more efficient I would be if I didn't have these issues. Not that there's anything I can do about it at this point. I know it's going to hurt Sunday.

I just keep in mind that running is not for wussies.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Race Like No Other

You might think this is a shameless plug, and maybe it is, but I don't care. I'm just a-burstin' with pride.

My dear friend, Liz Robbins, has written her first book! (pause for applause and woots)

It is called A Race Like No Other and is about the New York Marathon. But not REALLY about the marathon, just as for many of us, running a marathon isn't really about running a marathon. It's about how far you can push yourself, whether it be to prove something to yourself or to someone else; to raise money or awareness for a cause (GO TEAM!); or, for some, to win.

Liz followed a bunch of people - elite runners, a mom who is a recovering alcoholic, a 22 year-old cancer survivor, to name a few - and learned about their lives and what brought them all to this one glorious day in November.

I was lucky enough to read the first couple chapters of the book and I can't wait to read more. And not just because I'm about to run a marathon. The writing is, of course, beautiful, and also humorous. But it's the individual stories that really suck you in.

It's available for a special price on pre-order at

Liz and I met back in 1995 when both of us were covering the NCAA womens' basketball tournament. You may be surprised to know that most of the women sportswriters I've met and become friends with are very bright and funny and are some of the most successful (Liz took a leave from the New York Times to write this) and fabulous people I know.

This is somewhat amazing because there aren't many women who do that particular job. Some of the men are pretty cool, too, of course, but the women kick ass. Seriously.

Anyway, I am SOOO proud. Most of us writers and would-be writers can only dream of accomplishing what Liz has by getting a book published. So raise a glass (of Gatorade) and go buy the book!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Big Date

I must have a really hot date this weekend. You remember, the kind where you have to spend the entire week obsessing about it. And, of course, getting ready for it.

Today I went to the dentist for my six-month cleaning. My teeth are like marble. Maybe tomorrow I'll whiten them so I can blind everyone within a 50 mile radius.

Tonight it's off to the waxatician. Or waxigician. That wonderful woman who removes the part of my eyebrows that are multiplying faster than the Pitt-Jolies and are so far up my forehead they're encroaching on my hairline.

Don't even get me started on the upper lip. When I can twirl my mustache, it's time for it to go.

And yet, every time I go, I wonder why I'm putting myself through it. Cause it hurts. Just like if you ripped your hair out. Which is what you're doing, with the added bonus of boiling wax poured on first.

But really, it doesn't get much better than a smooth lip and a perfectly arched brow. So to the torture chamber it is!

Thursday I have a hair appointment. I thought my hair looked okay. Possibly because it's hidden under a hat most of the time. Or up in a ponytail. But it can no longer conceal the grey pubic-like strands that are poking up their ugly little heads.

Touch-up color. Bang trim.

Thankfully, I already have my outfit picked out.

By Sunday, I'll be smiling brightly under a hairless lip, my eyebrows in perfect shape, not a strand of grey marring my hair.

Unfortunately, no hot man awaits me (unless, of course, my husband decides to show up). Just 26.2 miles of hell.

At least I'll look good for the photo-ops.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Just What I Needed

We had our last long run before the marathon. It was only 10 miles, and I mean that sincerely. When you slog through runs of 18 and 20 miles in 95 degree heat, 10 is like a sprint (and, helping us a long was the temperature, which was 40 degrees cooler).

I've been feeling nervous and burned out and completely unprepared for the marathon. Totally different, in fact, then I felt before my first. Except for the nervous part.

My foot injury made it impossible to put in the weekly miles I needed. The physical therapy I've been in for the past month has been time-consuming (six hours a week) and somewhat stressful trying to fit it in.

But boy, has it paid off. My foot doesn't hurt anymore. This is monumental, considering I've been in pain for more than seven months, to the point I couldn't chase after my kids.

I'm really working on a lot of balance and stabilization excercises to compensate for my hypermobile feet, ankles and back.

Last week I ran mileage like I should have been doing every week. And yesterday I had the best long run I've had since before I ever ran a marathon.

I ran at the pace I used to run before I started distance training. It was the pace I ran the first 10 miles of my very first half marathon, over a year ago.

The muscles that I've been strengthening and working so hard on have started to making a difference in my stride. I'm finally powering with my largest muscles (yep, you know it, my glutes!) and my body isn't flying all over the place.

I felt fantastic.

For one run.

I really, really needed it.

The marathon is one week from today. I have no idea how it will go. Unfortunately I'm getting a little unwanted visitor this week, if you know what I'm saying, so who knows how my hormones/intestines will react.

I can't think about it. I'm just looking forward to finally running a marathon with Torrey and Cindy - in matching purple shorts, no less!

My goal? To feel good enough to run it - and finish it.

And then never run that far again.

Until the next one.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Laughing Matter

Because we are brilliant, my friend K and I decided it would be a fantastic idea to pack up our kids and their assorted bikes, trikes and scooters and take them to a park for an outside playdate.

Yeah. Did I mention it was raining? By the time I pulled up behind her at the park, I noticed another mom in a familiar minivan frantically loading her kids' gear into the back as the rain came down. It was my neighbor, who at least got a few minutes of play out of her kids before the heavens opened.

What to do? The mall, natch. They have this thingy that projects various screens onto the floor. When the kids jump on it, they can stomp virtual balls into baskets or make flowers explode into cellphones. Tons of fun. If you can keep four of them on it. Which we did. For about five minutes.

But the fountains proved a greater attraction. As did the fire engine carts. As was anything that sent each child in a different directions.

We decided to herd them over to the food court, which lucky for them, involved the thrill ride of the escalator. These particular pieces of machinery freak me out: I have vivid memories of my brother running up one in Sears and falling on his face, smashing out his two front teeth and spewing more blood than a small boy should have in his body.

Anyway. Did I mention we were going to eat?

Sawyer and G took off running, with H and Sage in hot pursuit. This is where I'm thinking shock collars would come in handy. If they get too far, we just press a remote and ZAP. But I digress.

I have to be careful when eating out with Sawyer because of his peanut allergy. K and her kids went to the Japanese place, so we went with the old standby. McDonalds. And for all of you who are horrified that I feed my kids that, well, that's nothing compared to when I get out the Fry Daddy at home and we deep fry chocolate frosting to slather onto our twinkies.

The wait at McD's took forever and the kids were antsy. Finally, their food was ready and I took my two and K's two and we found a seat. The kids were trying their best to scale a giant pineapple sculpture. K soon arrived, and I wandered over to Panda Express.

I just wanted me some orange chicken, but it costs more to get one item than it does for two, so onto the plate was dumped some chicken with green beans. And chow mein noodles.

The thing is, the plate weighed as much as a large housecat. Every time I get PE, I think "There's no possible way I can eat this tub 'o grease" and then five minutes later, I've managed to shovel most of it in.

When I returned to the table, K was chatting with an older woman, who I assumed she knew. Turned out, she didn't. It was the woman's birthday.

"Seeing how well-behaved all your kids are really warms my heart," she said.

Wha? What kids?

I immediately looked around for those nice people in the white coats. Because surely this woman was INSANE!

I tried to gently explain that their mouths were full of food so they were momentarily quiet.

Then she said: "It goes by so fast. My kids are all grown and I miss this. It's hard to see it when you're in the middle of it, but laugh a lot. Don't spend too much time being mad."

And you know what? She's right.

Soon Sage won't acknowledge me and Sawyer will spend more time holed up in his room than breathing fresh air.

Some days it's easier to soak it all in than others. A little reminder was definitely needed - and appreciated.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

David Cook Wins Idol! I Laugh at Husband!

I heart American Idol. I really, really do.

I know! But there's just something about watching people just put themselves out there that either 1) I admire or 2) I get to do my favorite thing, which is to be completely judgemental over people I don't know.

I have been known on occasion to shout at the TV, letting loose with such gems as "YOU SUCK!" or "SHUT UP ALREADY, PAULA!" Or I'll just tivo my way past some of the more horrendous performers.

Like that Overmyer girl with that awful raspy-but-in-a-drunken-kinda-weird-way voice. Or Kristy Lee Cook. This girl had a body to die for, but she totally killed me when she warbled I'm Proud to be an American. I mean, come on! It might just be the worst song ever written (if you ever cover as much major league baseball as I have and hear this song EVERY NIGHT, perhaps only then will you understand the true blechiness of it).

No one, however, was more annoying than David Archuleta. I am beyond grateful to whoever told him to STOP LICKING HIS LIPS when he sang. And those ballads...I wanted to kill myself, but not as violently as I did when he sang that Chris Brown song about someone being his "boo."

To be fair, Archuleta does have a lovely voice. It was just the rest of him that drove me nuts.

My husband, on the other hand, liked him.

"He's only 17, give him a break!" he'd yell at me as I went on and on and on about how irritating his old-man walk is, or how he got teary whenever the judges fawned over him.

"He looks like he should be singing in his high school play!"

"Well he IS in high school. He's 17!!"

Then there was the whole Dad thing. First, the guy shows up in a grungy baseball cap. Possibly someone snatched it off his head and beat him with it to get him away from his son, because he later wore a Britney-esque paperboy cap.

FYI: No one likes a Stage Dad.

David Cook, on the other hand, was my fave. Love his voice. Love his music. ALMOST downloaded his version of Hello. He was unique on a stage of singers trying to sound like everyone else.

He does, however, have an enormous head. I mean, have you seen him stand next to Ryan? Yegads it's like an eclipse!

But he seems genuine. His tears seem real. His surprise - when he won - didn't look fake at all.

Kinda like the look on my husband's face. He was blathering on and on about how Archie's his boy and he called it from the first time he saw it. So imagine his surprise when Ryan said it was David...Cook!"

There might have been a dance or two with fingers pointed in my husband's face. Possibly a neeneer neener or two.

It's okay, dear husband. There's always next year.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

All A Twitter

It's always fascinating to see what those Krazy Kids are up to these days. Their long hair. Their rock 'n roll music.

Anyway, I got sucked into Facebook, only to find that hardly anyone I know (except for my lovely message board friends and some of my mommy friends) is on it. I think I'm too old. Social networking has passed me by (to think what damage I could've done had it been around 20 years ago boggles the mind).

Next up? Twitter.

As my friend Jen says, it's like Blogger's ADHD little brother. It's a (warning: buzz words coming!) "social networking site" that gives you minute-to-minute what all your friends who subscribe are doing. Because, you know, that's vital info. You can also of course keep them abreast of all your movements.

You can get the feed on your computer or even your cell phone. I mean, that's the rumor, anyway. I, personally, don't get it. I don't get how to read other people's twitters. I don't get how to send them. Mostly, I don't get why I'd want to.

I'm more twit than twitter when it comes to this stuff.

There is also a thing where you can follow people, which would be like cyberstalking accept I think you usually know who's following you. Or maybe not. What do I know? I'm lucky I figured out how to set up a blog (and THAT wasn't without tech trauma either!).

I wonder if it would make me seek a more exciting life. Cause currently, my twitter - if I can ever figure it out - would be something like this:

I'm up!
I'm pooping!
I'm eating breakfast!
I'm pooping again!
I'm going for a run!
I'm back from my run!
I'm making my kids breakfast!
My son is pooping!
I'm yelling at him to hurry up!
I'm wiping his butt!
I'm yelling at him to get dressed!
I'm yelling at him to get in the car!
We're driving to preschool!

And so on. There really is a thing as TMI.

The people you'd REALLY want to know about (like, you know, La Lohan, I'm always curious what people like her actually DO all day)probably don't twitter. They're too busy throwing back a couple quarts of vodka tonics whiel injecting botox into their dogs or something.

Still. The fact that I can't figure it out makes me wildly attracted to it, kinda like that dangerous looking guy with the scruff and jean jacket who sat in the back of your 10th grade geometry class.

I will make another attempt or two to set mine up. Then I'll have to move on.

I eventually did end up with a nice guy after all, you know?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Big Ambition

"Sawyer! Look at the surfers! Do you think you'd like to learn when you're a little bigger?"

"No thanks. I just want to marry Natalie."

Don't worry. You're not the only one confused by this coversation.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

All Poops are Not Created Equal

Poor Sawyer. Even though the kid remembers everything, including what the inside of my uterus looks like, he seems to have forgotten what happens after a child poops in the potty for the Very First Time.

Granted, it was a year and a half ago for him, but still. Where does he think half the airplanes and matchbox cars came from? Rewards! Pee! Poop! Pee! Poop!

I never did charts, so he didn't get a sticker each time he went so he could earn a toy. He just got 'em.

This explains why he was in tears late this afternoon.

Cause he got nothing. But his sister...

We were watching the Yankees-Mets game upstairs when Sage said she wanted to wear her big-girl underwear, presumably because she saw a pair on my floor that was waiting to be put away.

I said okay, but she never put them on, just ran downstairs with her little naked butt on display.

A few minutes later, she was whining because she peed on her band aid (it ran down her leg and onto the band aid she has on her knee). I was a little stern about how we don't pee on the floor.

Sawyer, meanwhile, squeezed out a tiny poop and asked David to wipe his bottom. At some point, Sawyer came out and apparently Sage went in. Because, while I was busy playing Scramble, I heard "Mommy! I peed!"

Now, she's said this before when she's done nothing. But there was a certain urgency to her voice. So, despite still having a minute left on my game with Leslie, I ran into the bathroom.

And looked.

There was a poop. Sawyer ran in and confirmed that it was not HIS poop. David came in, looked, and said it was his. But Sawyer is a boy who Knows Poop.

I wiped her butt. Clearly, it was hers!

Sage, who has been sitting on the potty for the past six months or so but had yet to produce a single drop of pee, pushed out a nice poop. By herself. On the big toilet.

This, of course, sent us into a screaming, wiggling rendition of the Poopy in the Pot-ee! Poopy in the Pot-ee! song.

Sage mostly looked confused. Proud, too. The best part was when she got her Special Gift, a princess camera.

Sawyer immediately burst into tears. Because he wanted his gift, too.

But not all poops get dances and gifts.

The first one? That one gets bells and whistles, too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Four: It's the New Two

You know, the Terrible Twos really didn't live up to the hype. Sure, Sawyer had his moments, but overall, it was more like the Tolerable Twos. Everybody said 3 was worse. And in many ways, it was.

Sawyer became more independent. More feisty. But we worked on different discipline techniques (for me, that is) and really, it wasn't awful. Okay, at times I contemplated selling him on eBay, in EUC, but I didn't want to mess up our perfect feedback.

No one ever said anything about four. Because if they had, we would've just skipped over it entirely and moved right on to five.

I ran into two moms friends today in Target (you have no idea how unusual this is, as I really don't know many people in the area other than my neighbors. Most of my mom friends don't live all that close, and usually I can get away with wearing tall Uggs with Nike capri running pants because I'm in my cone of anonymity).

The first woman has twin boys who take swimming lessons the same time as Sawyer. They're a week older than him. After chatting for a bit, I decided I had to find out if my child was possessed or if by some wild chance her chldren were similarily afflicted. So I asked her whether her boys answered every request or command with "WHY?!?!"

"YES!!" she practically shrieked.

We commiserated through the checkout: Go wash your hands. Why? Stop kicking me. Why? Take your head out of the oven. Why? And so on. This is not the "why?" of curiousity. It's the "why?" of, "Look, Lady, you can go F yourself, because I DON'T SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH JUMPING OFF THE TABLE ONTO MY SISTER WHEN I HAVE SCISSORS IN MY HAND!"

We said our goodbyes, and off I went to the parking lot, where I ran into my friend K. Her son is also a week older than Sawyer. And guess what? He's got a bad case of the Ferocious Fours, too!

My brain was simultaneously doing the Happy Dance and slowly oozing out of my ears.

Because my kid is normal! But it's not an enjoyable normal, like when they sit up on their own in the accepted timeframe. This particular phase might end with Sawyer's butt making a permantant indentation mark on the floor where he does his timeouts.

David actually uttered these words last night: "Sawyer, when Mommy's head starts spinning around like that, you need to run as fast as you can."

Ha. Wait til it pops off my neck and starts chasing him around the room.

I am hoping that this is just a phase. A short-lived one.

Or else we might be heading for the Felonious Fives.

Then there's Sage, who is clearly advanced for her age of 2 1/2. Just today we drove by a McDonalds on the way to get Sawyer from preschool, where, for three hours, he's someone's else's problem.

"Mommy! I want Chicken Nuggets."

"Not today."


Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

There is nothing that says Mother's Day like a handmade gift from your child. I was thrilled to receive Sawyer's present that he made in preschool. I feel he really got me spot on:

I did not get out of bed until 10:30 yesterday morning. Yes - 10:30!!! Not that I was sleeping. The kids came in about 7:30, and then David presented me with "my" gift - a Wii. He did give me a turn. Eventually.

I was so exhausted by all the excitement, I then proceeded to take a three-hour nap. Woohoo!

Anyway, each year I try to take a picture of me and the kids on Mother's Day. This was right before bed, out on our front porch.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

My Mommy's Smarter Than Your Mommy!

A recent study came out that found babies who are exclusively and extendedly breastfed are smarter than those who aren't.

About 14,000 babies were followed for 6 1/2 years, and were found to have IQs that were 5 percent higher and did better academically.

But wait. There's more.

Seems there's some discussion on whether it's the actual breast milk that makes the kids smarter, or if it's that smarter women choose to breastfeed - oh, and are also more likely to read to their children and spend quality time with them.

And I quote:

"Mothers who breast-feed or those who breast-feed longer or most exclusively are different from the mothers who don't," Dr. Michael Kramer of McGill University in Montreal and the Montreal Children's Hospital said in a telephone interview.

"They tend to be smarter. They tend to be more invested in their babies. They tend to interact with them more closely. They may be the kind of mothers who read to their kids more, who spend more time with their kids, who play with them more," added Kramer, who led the study published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry."

I'm sure adoptive parents just love this. And those who wanted to breastfeed but couldn't (let's see, does that ring any bells, like maybe...ME?!?!). Or those who simply chose not to.

See, women are already divisive enough about this issue and plenty of others (work? daycare? homeschool?). We apparently like to compete to see who's the better Mommy, because it's a contest and just doing the best you can to get through each day is just NOT ENOUGH!

So I'm really appreciative to this man for pointing out that clearly only morons don't breastfeed. I mean, I see nothing wrong with how I take care of my kids. What? Is it a problem they are now watching their seventh consecutive hour of TV while chugging Kool Aid and eating twinkies dipped in mayo? Sheesh! At least they're not stabbing the dogs with scissors!

At least, that's what I think they're doing. I'm down the street blogging from my local tavern while doing body shots off some guy in a cowboy hat and spurs.

But I digress. To extrapolate that breastfeeding is a mark of being an attentive, interactive parent is, frankly, astonishing. It also means that women in many third world countries, where forumla is too expensive and water too contaminated, leading to exclusive and extending nursing - there's a reason why many children there are nursing til they're 4, or even 7 - are brilliant, amazing parents.

Of course some of them are. But I'm guessing a lot aren't. Because the study didn't appear to take into consideration the socio-economic standing of the mother. More money often means more education. And more access to prenatal care. And more chances to read stuff and be continously blasted, through the magic of marketing, with the message that BREAST IS BEST!!!

Yeah. We know. We're not disputing that. But for those of us who couldn't or didn't breastfeed, believe me, we already have enough guilt. We don't need to hear from yet another study that we're not good mothers because of it.

Read the entire story here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my father's birthday. He would've been 76.

This past week I've been trying to think of something to do that my dad would've enjoyed. I considered taking the family to a baseball game, but the timing didn't work out.

So I didn't have anything special planned for today - which was good, because it was non-stop from the moment the alarm went off at 5 a.m. That's not entirely true. When the alarm went off, it took me three minutes to decide to actually get out of bed.

Then I was off to the gym, then right to physical therapy, then home to get the kids ready. I dropped Sawyer off a preschool, took Sage to Target and then to her gymnastics class, then raced back home so David could go pick up Sawyer. Meanwhile, I got lunch ready.

After Sage went down for her nap, Sawyer demanded I play with all the new bubble blowers I got him, even though it was chilly and damp out.

Soon it was mid-afternoon. We headed up the street to play with the twins and there was a table set up in their driveway for a cinco de mayo party. The neighbors started wandering by and the twins' grandparents arrived.

The grandfather, D, is almost 70. He's very active and, of course, loves playing with his very active grandsons. He ran after baseballs that rolled down the street. He crawled halfway under a pickup truck to retrieve another one.

He helped one of the twins with his fielding skills.

He sat the younger brother on his knee.

He, simply, was being a grandpa.

Something my dad never had the chance to do.

It makes me tremendously sad. And envious, too. What a time my father is missing out on, the kind of joy that comes only from the laugh of a child. A grandchild.

Happy birthday, Dad.

I miss you. We miss you.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Cobles Had Their Triplets!

The day, I'm sure, was bittersweet. Celebrating the miracle that is birth while mourning those that came before.

Lori and Chris Coble - the local family who lost all three of their young children in a horrific car accident last year - are now the parents of triplets. Ashley, Ellie and Jake were born April 30th.

The babies arrived exactly four days before the one year anniversary of the deaths of their older brother, Kyle, who was 5, and sisters Emma (4) and Katie (2).

The Cobles were left as parents without children. They were still young, though, in their early 30s. They decided to start - again - a family. They opted for in vitro, and three eggs were implanted.

One boy. Two girls.


I wonder if they can love their three beautiful new babies as unreservedly as they did their first three, before they learned that life can be snatched away before there's time to brake.

Or, just maybe, lessons learned will help them love even more.

Congratulations, Coble Family, on your three blessings.
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