I've started this blog to document my journey running while balancing motherhood, and eventually if I'm lucky enough, my next pregnancy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Heard the Universe Today

I think the universe was trying to tell me something today. Twice today I somehow ended up on the Happiness Project blog (and I ignored it). Maybe I'm behind the times, but I had never heard of it. And somehow at just the right time tonight, I was magically taken to this minute long short. I have no idea how I got there. You HAVE TO WATCH IT, especially if you are a parent.

I have off this week and have been spending all my time with Pickle. Sometimes my sweet little guy can be a bit of a handful, as he was tonight while I cooked dinner. After dinner, Pickle wanted to watch WALL-E (for the 400th time!) and rested his little head on my lap. He fell asleep about 10 minutes in to WALL-E, and I could hear his little snore. I figured I'd sit and chill for a few minutes before moving him to bed and risking him waking up for another hour.

And that's when I saw The Years Are Short.

It was a great reminder that soon enough, Pickle won't want to cuddle with me.

Soon enough, counting lemons, apples, potatoes, and bananas and playing I Spy at the grocery store won't be fun for Pickle anymore.

I needed that little minute reminder to cherish every moment with Pickle, even the most challenging of moments (or days).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What Should I Buy??

My local running store rewards its customers with $25 gift certificates each time $250 is spent. Over the past year, I have earned 3 (and am $30 away from a 4th $25 GC). I think it's safe to say that running is not a cheap sport (especially if you run outdoors during all seasons), despite what all the fitness magazines say.

I currently have one $25 GC I need to use, and my husband's grandmother gave me $50 for Christmas. So now I need to decide what to buy. I already have 2 pairs of running tights, several running skirts, plenty of tops for all weather, socks, compression socks, jackets, a half zip, a vest, a running hat, and two pairs of running gloves. My running shoes have about 140 miles on them.

So what should I get? Regardless of what I decide to do with the $50, I will still have a $25 GC to spend at the running store. Should I just put the GC and the $50 towards a new pair of shoes that I know I'll eventually need?

Or should I just spend the $25 GC on something little at the running store and use the $50 to buy clothes I can actually wear to places other than the gym and races. I used to buy tons of cute clothes before I started running. Now everything I buy is for running (but hey, at least I look cute when I run).

Or should I use the $50 towards a massage-- this will of course require I spend more money because a massage where I go is at least $60, but not only do I get the massage, I get to spend 90 minutes in the Tranquility Room, which has a pool, a sauna, a eucalyptus steam room, and a swiss shower.

All of this sounds good to me. As my hubby knows, I'm no good at making decisions when I have too many options. I get a little overwhelmed (which is why it takes me FOREVER to order at restaurants with many paged menus). So help me decide.

What do you vote I do with my GC and $50?

Monday, December 27, 2010

What I Learned This X-Mas

1. It's not all about the present. Every time I asked Pickle what he wanted, he'd tell me he wanted a pair of slippers and to go to Santa's house. Well, the slippers were doable, but Santa's house? I wasn't sure how to create an imaginary home in the North Pole filled with happy elves and a jolly, fat, red man. Needless to say, Pickle didn't get what he really wanted for Christmas. But he did get a few things he really loved-- a doctor's kit and a music playing song book. Below is a picture of Pickle as Dr. Ellis (his pediatrician-- he doesn't want to go by his name. He wants to be like Dr. Ellis) Looking at him reminds me that any holiday is about what's most important, family and love.

2. Morning chores are much easier to do with a large Irish coffee (or several. Again, don't judge me). My husband and I were so busy in the weeks leading up to Christmas that we weren't able to keep up with cleaning (and let's face it; with a toddler, once a room is clean, it is inevitably going to get messy as soon as he blows through). We absolutely HAD to clean on Christmas morning because all my family was coming over for Christmas dinner. While cleaning the pantry a few days prior to Christmas, I noticed we had an obscene amount of Bailey's Irish Cream left from our former pre-Pickle life. And thus, the best new Christmas tradition was born. Cleaning has never been more fun. We jammed out to some good tunes, talked while we shared cleaning the kitchen and living room (yikes... they were scary), and felt warm and toasty. Don't worry. We aren't bad parents. Pickle was with the babysitter WALL-E (I'm kidding... we don't use TV as a babysitter, but he was remarkably chill and enjoying watching his DVD). Don't believe me? Here's proof. And for those of you who know Pickle and are familiar with his activity level, we didn't dose him. Swear. He just happens to be this cool when we really need it.

3. Being with family is what is most important. Christmas Eve is a little stressful. We hop between two places which sometimes causes me to get a little on edge, especially when I haven't had time to run all week. Let's just say it's a miracle I didn't start spitting pea soup at everyone while my head was spinning around. I don't do well when I can't run. But once I had a mimosa and relaxed a little, I had a blast. (I swear I'm not an alcoholic...) Being with the people who I know love me and know me best is the greatest gift I could receive.

4. I know this contradicts what I said earlier, but sometimes it is all about the present. My dad, bro, and hubby all got this hilarious and weird fish from my uncle. It is by far the strangest present any of them has ever received, but it is hilarious. We all couldn't stop laughing at it. Not sure what we're going to do with it though...
5. And... if you do get a bad gift (I know... it's the thought that counts), it could come in handy. I won a Run Like a Mother book from Kelly over at Secrets of a Running Mom for receiving one of the worst and oddest presents ever on a consistent basis. Check out her blog if you are one of the few not already reading it. She is hilarious. Thank you SO much, Kelly!

Friday, December 17, 2010

You're It.

Well, this is the first time I've been tagged in a meme (I had to look that word up. I thought everyone was mistyping memo... haha), so thanks Liz. Obviously she's great... I mean, just look at the name! I needed this because I really haven't had the motivation to write this week. Preparing for the holidays has been wiping me out! And by the way, thanks for all the lovely comments about our family photos. I'm so happy to show off my guys. :) Before I answer the questions Liz sent me, I have a few questions for all you readers and a few people to tag.

Erin at Making of a Runner ,Teresa at Jog Blogger, and Dawn at Running: The Dawn
And I would really love for all readers to feel free to pick a question or two and answer in the comment section. It's going to be a long week for us teachers-- if you have children, you know how off the hook nuts they get before break and Christmas-- and I could use a little pick me up.
And here are your questions (I guess I'm supposed to write 7, but I like the number 5 better):

1. What is your most embarrassing moment (or your funniest story)?
2. What is your all time favorite running song (or workout song)?
3. If you could chose your last meal, what would it be (my husband and I had a LONG conversation this weekend about this. I know it's kind of morbid, but you learn a lot about a person based on this answer)?
4. What is your greatest guilty pleasure?
5. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

And now for the questions Liz asked:
1. If you could go back and talk to your 16 year old self, what advice would you give?
I would tell myself to not take everything so seriously. I was constantly worrying about how I looked physically and what people thought of me. And really, who cares now? I did laugh a lot as a teenager, though. And I would tell myself to laugh and enjoy life even more.

2. When you see yourself having reached your goal, what do you see?
Hmmm... I'm not sure here. I guess my next goal is my 3rd half marathon, the National Half Marathon, on my 33rd birthday. I know I'm going to reach this goal (barring any injuries) and will cross the finish line at my goal time of 2:30. And I know my husband will be there cheering for me as he always is (and this always give me the extra energy I need to cross the finish line. There's nothing like hearing him scream my name and smile at me as I pass by him). I ran 5 miles of this same race last year for the Relay, and I couldn't help but get teared-up as I ran past all the monuments and famous buildings. Our capital is so beautiful; I guess I see myself tearing up again. What can I say? I'm a history dork and a sap.

3. What is your favorite book?
I'm an English teacher, so this is a tough one. My students make fun of me because each time I introduce a book, I tell them it's my favorite. Really, I have a lot of favorites for different reasons, and they're like children to me-- I can't choose between them. These are just a few of my faves.
Frankenstein- Mary Shelley is brilliant. Every time I read it, I'm amazed that she was only 17 when she wrote it.
Siddhartha- When I was in college, I read this book several times in a row. And I read the first page over and over. Ah... simply beautiful.
The Art of Happiness- I want to be more like the Dalai Lama. I need to learn to accept my life as it is-- a blessing-- and to not wish for something greater because my life is perfect just the way it is.
Dante's Inferno- I absolutely love teaching Inferno. And I'll be honest. Reading these horrific punishments reminds me to be a tad bit nicer.
Glamour magazine: Okay, I realize this isn't a book, but I have to read it every month. Flipping through the pages reminds me to dress up so I can feel like a woman. As a mom of a toddler and a runner, I spend a lot of my weekend in running clothes or stretchy pants, and really need a little motivation to look hot sometimes.

4. What is your best organizing tip?
Haha. That's a funny one. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not organized. If you take organization tips from me, you just might end up lost in a pile of papers or clothes never to be seen by the light of day again. I have spurts of being organized but then I end up falling apart. One thing that's working out well for me and my family lately is a family workout schedule. We share a calendar on Gmail; I mark how many miles I need to run each day, and my hubby marks what days he wants to go to the gym. We also mark what we're going to eat for dinner. It has made our lives a little easier (when we remember to do it...).

5. What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I love being close to three amazing cities-- Annapolis, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. There's always something to do. I'm surrounded by our nation's history in Annapolis and DC. And Baltimore is a lovely little city. Between the three cities, there's always something to do, and if it's in DC, it's free. I certainly don't take advantage of this as much as I should, but I really love my cities.

6. What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?
Skiing. I chaperoned a high school ski trip once. Long story short, it was a disaster. I ended up spending the evening with ski patrol (albeit a very hot ski patrol medic-- sorry, honey. This was before I even met you) and had a concussion. It was even more a disaster that I was supposed to be chaperoning 45 kids and no one really knew where I was. I can only imagine what they were up to while I was MIA. I got a nice little get well note from the medic. And since I've always been terrified of broken bones, losing a tooth, or really just getting hurt at all, I've never tried skiing again.
7. What would your theme song be?
I really have spent too much time trying to figure this one out. I really have no idea. I'm just going to go with Carole King's "Natural Woman". I'm really diggin' my hubby lately. He's pretty freaking awesome.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Family Photo Time

Last weekend, we got our family portrait done with a wonderful photographer, Lisa Marie. If you live in the Baltimore Metro area, I highly recommend her. She was great with Pickle. He took her hand and was talking away with her for the first 30 minutes or so. And I should tell you, it's virtually impossible to get photos of my kid. He makes a weird face before each click. Or he runs from the camera at lightning speed. And then on this occasion, Pickle had some serious melt downs towards the end of the shoot, but she somehow still got breathtaking photos.

Not only did she do an amazing job, she's fast. We just got our pictures done last Saturday, and she sent me the proofs yesterday! And for such a skilled photographer, she really is a steal. Check out here site to see her pricing info and her gallery HERE. If you're getting married, she even has a deal for that-- an unheard of deal... $800 for the whole wedding (she's trying to build her wedding portfolio).

I thought I'd post some of Lisa's photos of my little family. Having these photos will always remind me how happy my two guys make me and will remind me how truly blessed I am to have both Pickle and D in my life.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Three Things Thursday...


1. Last Saturday, I missed my long run with my lady running buddies at the NCR trail. I decided to instead do my run on Sunday, at the trail, and at our usual time early in the morning. And here's what I realized: I do not do well running on trails alone, and not for the reason you might think. I do fine motivating myself and keeping myself occupied. In fact, I love running alone. But I have decided I am far too paranoid to run on the NCR trail alone in the morning. I had no problems when male or female runners, walkers, or bikers were near me, but for the most part, the trail was deserted, with the exception of two seemingly creepy men walking the trail at 8 a.m. wearing jean, hoodies, and scarves covering their faces (I'm sure they are very nice men and were totally innocent). While I was running, all I could think was that they were up to no good. I mean who walks on a trail MILES from their car in jeans? I know, I'm sure lots of people do. In fact, I could see my father-in-law just deciding to go for a stroll the same way, and he's the nicest man on the planet (there's a reason my hubby is such a good egg), but in the moment I got myself all freaked out. The problem is that I watch far too much Law and Order: SVU and Dexter (especially this season-- wow), and unfortunately I have an overly active imagination that seems to imagine all possible scenarios involving me being dragged off into the woods. So lesson learned: No more running alone on trails. The insane and unjustified paranoia totally takes away the calming effect of running. And I feel really guilty for thinking horrible things about strangers who I'm sure are just nature lovers bundled up to keep warm.

2. I need to plan my races better. I have the Jingle Bell All the Way 10K in DC this weekend. I was really excited for it, until I saw the weather. It's going to be raining/snowing/sleeting in the morning and about 30-35 degrees when the race starts at 7:30. There's no where to park near the start (according to the race site) and the Metro doesn't open until 7, which makes it impossible for me to take mass transit. Packet pick up tomorrow is during my work hours, and packet pick up on Saturday is in Virginia, which is hours away for me. And Saturday my running buddies are doing a trail run, and I haven't seen them for a while... So is it bad that I feel like backing out of this race (and I'd instead get the miles + some extra in on Saturday with the ladies)? Has anyone out there ever done the same?

3. My little Pickle is staying with my parents all this weekend. My wonderful dad picked him up tonight. Pickle was ecstatic and couldn't stop talking about MiMi and Papi (and Lucky the dog, of course) all day. My parents are taking him to his first movie at the theater, to learn about Bald Eagles at a nature center near their house, to a train museum, and to walk the dog at the playground. Pickle is going to come home thinking we are the most boring parents ever. I know he is having and is going to continue having a great time. I am so thankful my parents are close enough to give Pickle this experience. But I already miss him SO much. I need to keep reminding myself that him being away makes me a better Mommy and certainly makes both D and me better spouses to each other.

Well, happy trails, all.

And here's to tomorrow's HIGH FIVE FRIDAY! Give someone a little high five. I'm telling you; it feels great and instantly makes everyone happy. I think I am very much in need of my high five tomorrow. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

High Five Friday

Today I needed a wake up call. I got in a tizzy of a bad mood after waking up cold and tired, getting stuck in traffic, and getting told off by a teenager, all by 7:20 a.m. By the time lunch rolled around, I was in a mood, a really foul, negative, and angry mood.

Until one of my students came into the English office for his weekly High Five Friday. Every week, this kid runs all over the building giving anyone he sees-- teacher, maintenance worker, student, friend or foe-- a high five. It brings a smile to everyone's face, including mine. And as soon as I got my High Five, I was reminded of something this student told me after a really bad day for him (his dream girl rejected him and wouldn't got to the Homecoming dance with him after he wooed her all day... he had this sweet plan that took him days to create and was almost Say Anything great). After I told him I was sorry about his bad day, his response was, "No worries. Even a bad Friday is a good Friday, Mrs. J".

How true it that? Thankfully I have this kid to remind me to be thankful for my day, even a bad day (and my day really wasn't that bad in hindsight), because any day is a good day when you wake up and get to see the world, the people you love, and a job that reminds you to love life.

Happy High Five Friday, all!