Friday, November 30, 2007

37 posts in 30 days

I did it! I made it through NaBloPoMo, with posts to spare. I am so proud of myself for sticking with it.

And now for something completely different.

I spent an hour this morning at Ella's school helping the librarian and two other volunteers set up for the Scholastic Book Fair, and it brought back some wonderful memories of 3rd grade - actually, this is pretty much the only good memory from that year of school - when, for the first time, I went to a school that had a book fair.

We had just moved to Sarasota, Florida from Albany, New York, by way of Westfield, Massachussetts, where we lived for 18 months. I was a bit lost in my new school and missing my friends and family up north pretty badly. I didn't like the school I was in or the teacher I had. I had gone to a combination of private and Montessori-like schools up north, and I didn't deal well with the new public school I attended in Florida for one year before moving on to magical Pine View (Which at that time was a ramshackle collection of portable classrooms, with no cafeteria or gymnasium. We called it Camp Pine View.).

Anyway, fairly soon after I started there, the school had a book fair, and I just loved it. I love books, pure and simple, so getting to shop for books at school and put together a wish list for my parents was such a treat. I don't remember what books I picked out, but I do remember the one my mom bought for me - Strawberry Girl by Lois Lensky. It was an appropriate book for me because it was about a little girl living in the pine scrub area of Central Florida on her family's strawberry farm. Florida was such an alien place to me and reading about it helped me to adjust. The little girl played in palmetto bushes, just like we had behind our house. And she dug in the sandy soil just like I did when playing outside. That book made a new and scary place seem less scary.

Behold the power of literature!

So this morning I looked around at the books being set out and wondered which books Ella would pick. She's been banned from including anything related to Pokemon and High School Musical on her wish list. I would love for Ella to find that one book that reaches her the way Strawberry Girl did me. I'm going back in next week to volunteer. I'll take some time then to look more closely at the books to see if I can pick a magical book for her.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I should have waited 10 minutes

I did a meme as my last post because I didn't have anything to write about. It turns out I should have waited 10 minutes, because my darling daughters put on a little show that had me laughing before I confined them to separate bedrooms for time out.

To set the scene - Ella is in the living room taking off her tights and her turtleneck because she's hot. To do this, she also had to take off her dress.

Lily: I see London, I see France, I see Ella's underpants!
Ella: Lily, stop singing that. It's embarassing.
Lily: I see London, I see France, I see Ella's underpants!
Ella: Lily! I said STOP SINGING THAT!
Lily: I see London, I see France, I see Ella's underpants!
Ella: MOOOOOMMMM!! I've told Lily to stop singing that because she's embarassing me.
Me: Ella, if you don't want to be embarassed, you could always go in your bedroom to do that instead of the living room.
Ella: But I don't want to go in my room.
Me: Then deal with it.
Lily: I see London, I see Fr-owwwwww. Ella kicked me!
Me: Ella go in Campbell's room. Lily, go in your room. You're fighting too much, so you need to be apart from each other until dinner.
Ella and Lily (in harmony): But we'll be looonnneeellllyyy.

I heartlessly sent them on to separate quarters, where they both wailed about the injustice of the world.

I have an aunt who is a middle child, and she worries a great deal about Lily's being the middle child. Based on how quickly Lily can wind Ella up like this, I don't think I need to worry about her being lost in the shuffle.

Another tag

Again by Barb, sort of. But I've found myself for the second time this month - the penultimate day of NaBloPoMo - without something to write, and so I'm going to do a meme. I'm too tired and sick to think of something wildly original, although I did have lots of good posts floating around my brain when I was awake at 3 am wheezing.

My uncle once: finished an IronMan.
Never in my life: been to Eurpoe
When I was five: sucked my thumb
High School was: hard
I will never forget: the moment each of my children was born
I once met: ummmmm I don't think I've met anyone famous.
There’s this girl I know who: ?
Once, at a bar: I used the men's room because there was a long line for the women's room.
By noon, I’m usually: showered and dressed.
Last night: I went to bed at 8:30 because I felt sick.
If I only had: finished my master's degree.
Next time I go to church: it will be for either a wedding or a funeral.
Terry Schiavo: How dare Congress and the current occupent of the White House think they had the right to get involved in that?
What worries me most: That something will happen to my kids.
When I turn my head left, I see: into my bedroom, where there's a large pile of laundry that needs to be folded.
When I turn my head right, I see: out the front windows.
What I miss most about the eighties: The music - Duran Duran was the best!
If I was a character in Shakespeare, I’d be: I have no idea.
By this time next year: Able to have a little more time for myself.
A better name for me would be: Jennifer - whenever anyone gets my name wrong, they always call me Jennifer.
I have a hard time understanding: the appeal of Star Trek.
If I ever go back to school I’ll: study history instead of literature.
You know I like you if: I invite you up to the lake.
If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be: my husband.
Darwin, Mozart, Slim Pickens and Geraldine Ferraro: genius, genuis, who?, trailblazer
Take my advice, never: trust a four-year-old to watch her baby brother for five minutes while you empty the dishwasher.
My ideal breakfast is: pancakes.
A song I love, but do not own is: thanks to my iPod, I can't think of any.
If you visit my hometown, I suggest: Barton Spring, Mt. Bonnell, Gueros.
Tulips, character flaws, microchips and track stars: Wha?
Why won’t people: be more polite?
If you spend the night at my house: be prepared to wake up early.
I’d stop my wedding for: the imminent birth of my baby.
The world could do without: Little tiny blonde women driving Hummers.
I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: go skydiving.
My favorite blonde is: Campbell. who's kind of blonde.
Paper clips are more useful than: binder clips. I never have the right size binder clip.
If I do anything well, it’s: read a lot.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The best 15 minutes of my day

It's been a day for the books, that's for sure. Nothing big has gone particularly wrong, but little things have piled up on me, to the point that I've almost been in tears several times today.

Campbell is continuing his destructo-baby phase, and he is demolishing the house a piece at a time. His favorite thing is to play in our kitchen pantry, which doesn't have a door on it, so I have no way of closing it off to him. I came around the corner to see him in the process of throwing out every single thing on the bottom shelf of the pantry. He was so proud of himself. Later in the day he got his hands on a box of 200 zip-lock sandwich bags and shoved about 100 of them into the recycling bag. I'm finding it impossible to baby proof for him, because he does things I never in my wildest dreams think he would do.

As the day progressed, I started feeling worse and worse -bad enough that I took my temperature. At 5:00 it was 100.1, which is high for me. I almost never run a fever, not even the time I had mastitis and the time I had a sinus infection.

I still managed to put dinner on the table, and that's when I really lost it. B and I are big proponents of family dinner time. We really believe in the value of everyone gathering at the table to share stories of the day and visit. After tonight's dinner, however, I think I may be switching to an every-man-for-himself dinner plan.

Ella wasn't sitting properly in her chair, and just as I was about to ask her to sit correctly, she managed to flip her plate over and onto the floor, hitting her lap and her chair on the way down. Great hilarity among the kids ensued. B and I weren't as amused. Just as we got Ella focused on her task of cleaning up the mess, Lily knocked over her cup of milk, covering the table. She and Ella had another good laugh at the mess before Lily headed off to get a towel to wipe everything up.

At that point I asked to be excused.

But I didn't get away without one more problem. As I was getting Campbell out of his seat to take him to bath time, he chucked his cup of water off the table, hitting Ella, who was lying on the floor still cleaning up her mess, square in the back. Campbell thought it was hysterical; Ella, not so much.

Campbell had a blast in the tub, as he usually does, and I called my mom so that she could listen to the racket he was making. It was fun and games until he leaned over to pick up a toy and donked his already bruised head on the side of the tub. Sigh.

Finally, after wrestling him into jammies, Campbell and I snuggled down on the sofa for his bedtime cup of milk. And that's when he did something he hasn't done since he stopped nursing - he just cuddled with me. When he was done with his milk, he handed me his cup, and I prepared for the usual wriggling that follows his evening drink. Instead, he just laid here, head on my shoulder. I scootched down on the sofa so that I was stretched out, and we just snuggled. It was the calmest 15 minutes I've had all day. I could have easily fallen asleep like that - feeling the rise and fall of his chest, smelling his wonderful baby hair. I think he might have drifted off if it hadn't been for his sisters, who picked that moment to come crashing into the living room to tell on each other.


I put Campbell in his crib and dangled over the rail for a minute just stroking his back as he drifted off. I wish every day could end so calmly. It made up for all the mess and noise of the day. Now if I could only find a way to not get sick.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's official

I'm a knitting addict. I'd suspected as much for a while now, but this morning confirmed it. It was my turn to be parent helper in Lily's class this morning, which is always fun, even if I do usually come home with a migraine as a result of being trapped in a room with 12 four-year-olds.

Anyway, there were plenty of moments when I was just sitting and watching the kids paint, or listening to the teacher lead circle time, or watching the drama teacher lead the kids in pretending to be underwater creaters, and all I could think during these moments was, "I could be knitting while doing this." I have a sock in progress that's been riding around in the car so that I have it with me when the opportunity to knit presents itself. I almost went out to the car several times this morning to fetch it, but I just couldn't bring myself to get it. To do so would have been to give in completely to the addiction. Plus, my mom told me that you're not allowed to knit when you're being paid to be attentive. While I don't technically get paid to be in Lily's class, I am supposed to be paying attention to the kids, not to my knitting.

So I was good and didn't knit this morning, even though I was just itching to. But as soon as I get the kids down for rest time, I'll be fishing the baby bootie I'm working on out of my knitting bag.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Poor choice, Ella

B and I are big believers in making the girls face the consequences of their actions. We are very upfront with them about what they can expect - if you do X, Q will happen. Most of the time the girls realize that we mean business and pay attention to our words.

Last night, not so much. At least not with Ella. She always sits in the chair right next to Campbell at the table. It used to be B's seat, but she made him move so she could be closer to her brother. Lily sits at the end of the table, still next to Campbell, but around the corner from him. As we were setting the table for dinner last night, Lily asked if she could sit in Ella's usual seat because she felt it was her turn. She asked very politely and reasonably, so I said yes and asked Ella to sit in Lily's chair. In the process, I explained to Ella that it was only fair that she and her sister take turns with the favorite chair. Ella wasn't interested in listening to me.

She crawled under the table until I told her that if she didn't get her bottom in her seat and sit politely at the table, she'd be sent to bed immediately without dinner. Ella sat in her new seat, but she pulled her jacket over her face and refused to show us her face. When B told her one more time to move her jacket, she said, "I just want to be alone!" We granted her wish and sent her off to her room.

After dinner was over, I went in to try and talk to Ella, but she refused to look at me and squiggled away when I sat in front of her. I told her she was allowed to be angry but she wasn't allowed to be rude and disrespectful to me, but she still wouldn't look at me. So I ordered her into bed and turned out the light.

I went in later, and she'd written a letter to her best friend about how she wished there was a secret world that only the two of them knew about where they could go and hide and no one would know where they were. When I told her it was time to stop writing letters and reading because she was in trouble, the waterworks started. She started crying about the unfairness of the situation, I reminded her that she had created it by being rude at the table and again to me later, that everything that had happened had been her choice. Then I walked out, leaving her to cry.

The tears lasted about 15 minutes before she passed out cold. I knew that much of her behavior was caused by sheer exhaustion. Ella and Lily had spent the night with their grandmother, and I know that they never get to bed early there. On top of that, Ella had had a busy holiday weekend with later than usual bedtimes, but still, being tired is no excuse for being rude to me.

Ella woke up at about 9:30 pm and staggered into the bathroom to pee. As she headed back to her room, I called her into the living room and gave her a big hug, telling her that I loved her no matter what. She gave me a big hug back and went to bed.

Maybe Ella learned a lesson last night, maybe she didn't. Either way, B and I will have had plenty of practice enforcing consequences by the time she turns into a teenager and the stakes are higher.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saved by Barb

Today, the 25th day of National Blog Posting Month, I found myself for the first time at a loss for what to write. Every other day I've had something ready go. On several days I even had two posts. But today, nothing. I have several knitting posts that I can't quite do because I don't have the "after" of the before and after pictures, or I haven't finished the second baby bootie, or I haven't finished the second sock. I have a lot of unfinished things lying around, mostly because I had to focus on my paying job of editing and my unpaying jobs of raising three kids, being a wife, and managing a house. So I was sitting here, pondering my limited options, when I remembered that Barb tagged me last week. Ta-dah! I have something to write!

1. What were you afraid of as a child? UFOs

2. When have you been most courageous? Hmmm. I guess I'd have to say both of the times I walked Ella to the operating room doors when she was small and had to have surgery on her leg. I was scared to death, but I had to put on a brave face for her.

3. What sound most disturbs you? This swishing noise B makes with his mouth. He never even realizes he's doing it until I elbow him in the ribs.

4. What is the greatest amount of physical pain you’ve been in? Aside from any of my blinding migraines that rank as an 11 on a scale of 1-10, I'd have to say it was the first time my left shoulder went out as a result of an old swimming injury. I couldn't move my arm without excruciating pain, and since I'm left handed, I accidentally moved it a lot as I reached for things, or brushed my hair, or put on my seatbelt. I ended up with my arm in a sling just so that I wouldn't use it. Even my knee surgery and c-section pain don't compare to that.

5. What’s your biggest fear for your children? (or children in general if you don’t have some of your own.) Goodness, there are so many. I guess my biggest fear is that something will happen to me and B and the kids will have to grow up without us there to guide them.

6. What is the hardest physical challenge you’ve achieved? Well, there were the two marathons I ran. But I think going through 18 hours of pitocin-induced labor with Ella before I broke down and got an epidural was harder.

7. Which do you prefer: Mountains or oceans/big water? Oceans and water, without a doubt. I spent most of my growing-up years on the gulf coast of Florida. We'd go by the beach every day on the school bus ride home. Being at the beach or near water in general calms me in a way that nothing else does.

8. What is the one thing you do for yourself that helps you keep everything together? Running. It's the one thing I do that is strictly for me.

9. Ever had a close relative or friend with cancer? Yes, lots.

10. What are the things your friends count on you for? I've never thought about this before, and I have no idea. I'm usually so amazed that people will actually be friends with me, that I never think about what I might bring to the equation.

11. What is the best part of being in a committed relationship? Getting to spend every day with someone who is absolutely my favorite person on the planet. There's no one else I'd rather hang out and do nothing with.

12. What is the hardest part of being in a committed relationship? Not holding a grudge when he's been a butt.

13. Summer or Winter? In Texas, winter. But if I lived up north, I'd have to pick fall. I love the cool crisp days and the light in the afternoons.

14. Have you ever been in a school-yard fight? Why and what happened? Nope.

15. Why blog? Because it makes me work on my writing, and since I'm sort of a writer/editor by trade, it's important that I have a non-work-related outlet for my writing.

16. Did you learn about sex, and/or sex safety from your parents? Yes, during an excruciating car ride to a swim meet with my dad. But he said something that stuck with me. He said that all teenage boys were after just one thing, and that if they said anything other than that they were lying. He then added something along the lines of knowing this to be true because he used to be a teenage boy.

17. How do you plan to talk to your kids about sex and/or sex safety? As openly and honestly as possible. And not in the car where they (or I) can't escape when it gets to be too much. I'll probably drink wine beforehand, too.

18. What are you most thankful for this year? I am of course grateful for my family and our friends. But I think I am most grateful for Campbell. He has just been such a wonderful addition to our family. I can't imagine life without him. I am also just having the best time watching him and his sisters together - they are a fun, if very noisy, little group.

I know I'm supposed to tag other people, but I prefer to let people tag themselves if they choose. It's what I've done in the past.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Count me out!

I will just never understand the need to swarm the malls on the day after Thanksgiving to shop. I did it one time - we were visiting my grandparents in Clearwater, and we went to the local mall, which had an ice skating rink. My sister skated, and mom, grandma and I shopped for a formal dress for me for a dance I had coming up. It was awful - enough to convince me that I never, ever needed to do it again.

This morning's paper had pictures of people who left their family Thanksgiving celebrations to sit outside stores in the cold and be first in line when the store opened at 4:00 am just so they could save $50 on a laptop or video game system. I'd rather stay home, shop later when it's not so crazy, and pay the extra money.

Fortunately, I really don't have that much shopping to do. We've never gone overboard with the kids for Christmas. Neither of them knows that they're supposed to get mountains of loot. They each get one big present and a few little ones from me and B, one present from their siblings, and two or three from Santa. Granted, the grandparents can go a little nuts, but at least my mom has gotten into the habit of running potential gifts by me - this year the girls are getting new backpacks with their initials on them. She'll give them a few other little things, but she knows better than to give things that need batteries or that come with lots of pieces.

B's dad is pretty good about giving them one big joint present. Last year he, at my suggestion, gave them a whirling see-saw for the back yard, which they all love. I've sent him another suggestion for an outdoor toy again this year.

There's just not much that I want or need for Christmas, except maybe some new yarn. I've asked my parents for a new bike rack for the back of my car, and I've asked B for a bike trailer so that I can take Campbell on bike rides with the girls. He's pretty good about paying attention to what I've asked for.

I had vowed not to go shopping at all this weekend, but I need some sort of special wash to use when I felt the purse I'm almost finished knitting. So darn, I'll need to go to the yarn store. Somehow I doubt there will be hordes of people trampling each other for bargains.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lazy day

Today has been so quiet and lazy, that it's hard to believe I went running at 6:00 this morning. It feels like a day ago.

When I got home from my run, everyone was up and going, except B, who went back to bed as soon as I walked in the door. I got breakfast taken care of, and then the girls and I watched the SpongeBob marathon on Nick while Campbell noodled around.

Campbell went down for a nap at 10:00, so I rousted B out of bed and took a nap too. I woke up 2 hours later to the smell of bacon and eggs. I love when B cooks brunch.

The girls spent the afternoon playing with one of their best buddies. All three spent hours in the backyard playing "space" despite the cold. They came in with pink noses and cheeks, got warmed up with hot chocolate and marshmallows, and headed back outside. Later they came in demanding food, so we made a huge bowl of popcorn and let them watch America's Funniest Home Videos.

I loved the day because there wasn't much to do other than vacuum and mop the kitchen floor, which was so disgusting that Campbell nearly stuck to it. But the kitchen is still clean from last night, and the house is still picked up from all our turkey day preparations. I spent much of the afternoon knitting and watching Campbell play. I also ignored the mountain of clean laundry in our room that needs to be folded. I decided it was my turn for a day off.

Now I'm off to bed to read for a while before conking out. It's been a very good day.

Scenes from Thanksgiving

Here's Campbell shortly after we got home from the ER. He was starving by the time we were finished, so he was thrilled with his food. His good mood quickly faded, though, and he turned pretty cranky. His poor little head had to have hurt. I ran this morning with a friend who is a surgeon, and she recommended keeping him on Tylenol for the rest of the day for the pain and swelling. I think I'll follow her advice. The bruise, however, isn't nearly as bad today as I thought it would be. The two other marks on his forehead are mosquito bites. His head is just a mess.

B loves to cook, but only when he can show off . I really don't care much about food - it's a means to an end for me. But B loves good food, and he still gets misty when he talks about a meal we had in Corpus 8 years ago. So he's in his element at Thanksgiving when he has an appreciative audience. This year he made Beef Wellington, which was a big hit. The dish involved his starting the process the night before, reducing 8 cups of beef stock to two cups and making something called duxcelles. B also made steamed veggies and bread-crumb stuffing (down here in Texas, people eat something called cornbread dressing, which just isn't the same). I made two pies, both of which were devoured.

After several questions, I'm adding this - we did have a turkey and all the traditional Thanksgiving casseroles and potatoes. There was so much food that everyone left with a plate of goodies to eat later.

Now I just need to finish cleaning up and putting the house back together again. And laundry - there's always laundry.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Today I'm thankful for

the ER at Austin Heart Hospital.

This morning at about 11:00, I was up front marshalling the girls into their Thanksgiving clothes when B came out of the back of the house holding a screaming baby. Campbell had fallen and hit his head on the corner of my dresser. There was a huge lump on his forehead with a thin red line of blood. I'm normally pretty calm about the kids' injuries, but this one really upset me. I got a boo-bunny from the freezer and tried to put it on Campbell's head, but he kept screaming and pushing my hand away. Meanwhile the lump continued to swell and the red line got wider and bloodier. My across-the-street neighbors were outside, and they, unfortunately, have had experience with a child's head injury, so I went out in tears, holding Campbell, who was still wailing. They both advised that I go to the hospital just to be on the safe side.

Ages ago, I read an article in the paper about the Heart Hospital's ER, which was practically begging for people to go there instead of the other hospitals. The article talked about how they have a level 4 trauma unit and can handle any emergency that might come through the door, with no waiting because no one ever goes there unless they're having a heart attack.

Since it's the closest hospital to our house, I headed there with Campbell. We were taken back immediately, and we had three nurses tending to Campbell. Actually, it was one nurse doing the tending and two singing and dancing to make Campbell smile; I don't think they get a lot of kids in there. The doctor was in right after the nurses finished their routines. The verdict - no concussion and no stitches. The nurse put something similar to superglue on Campbell's cut to seal it closed and sent us on our way. We were home less than an hour after we left.

Campbell seems to have recovered. He was cranky for a few hours, but then he took a two-hour nap and woke up to be the life of the party. The bruise is going to look awful tomorrow, though. I'm sure it's going to turn lots of different colors.

The rest of the day was good. We hosted all of B's family, and everyone behaved themselves. We had old and new friends join us. There was lots of laughter and telling of stories and lots of good food - including B's Beef Wellington. It was too cold to sit outside, so we all crammed inside, but no one seemed to mind. It was a happy event - just what Thanksgiving should be.

Happy thanksgiving to everyone reading this.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving preparation

We're hosting B's whole family tomorrow for Thanksgiving, which means we'll have his mom and dad (newly divorced), his grandmother and her husband (he's cool because he brings the turkey and some casseroles), his brother and sister-in-law (they live in Louisiana and we don't get to see them often enough), and his aunt (the less said the better). Plus we're having some homeless orfing friends who don't have any other plans for the day. In all, we'll have at least 20 extra people in our 1500 square foot house. Usually we expand onto our big back deck and our nice front porch, but according to Mark Murray from KVUE, a cold front is supposed to blow in tonight. B is going to make an attempt at fixing our outdoor heater on the back porch, but we could end up with everyone in the house. We definitely don't have enough chairs.

Fortunately, B loves to cook on Thanksgiving. He's planning to make Beef Wellington, his piece de resistance. My job is to get the house ready for the cleaning lady, who is coming this afternoon, and to make two pies. I think I can handle that.

To prepare for the cleaning lady, I usually do a quick sweep of clutter and stuff and let her do the rest. She knows where most of our stuff goes. But today, I've been decluttering like a madwoman, putting away all the stuff that has drifted around the house for the past few weeks, throwing away things that aren't needed anymore, and tossing all of my already-read New Yorkers in the recycling bin. I've even straightening up and de-trashed my desk, mostly. The kitchen counter is cleared off - granted most of the stuff went in the junk drawers, but at least the counter is clean.

I even managed to throw out a garbage sack full of trash from the girls' room. I had sent them in to clean during Campbell's morning nap, but instead they pulled out their trundle filled with toys and made a bigger mess. As a result, I had to get involved, and I was merciless. If it was on the floor and made of paper, it went in the trash. I even cleaned off the top of their desk, which is no small task. Seeing their trundle open made me realize it's due for a big cleaning. I'll have to tackle that next week when they aren't here to witness it. It's time for all the un-played-with Barbies to go to a new home.

The trick will be keeping everything neat until tomorrow at 1:00 when guests arrive. I'm sure I'll be de-cluttering again tomorrow morning before everyone arrives.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lily the big girl

This is one of those posts that has been whirling around in my brain at 3:00 am and that I haven't been able to put down quite the way I want to. Right now, you're reading my third and final (fingers crossed) attempt.

Even though Lily is almost five, I still think of her as my baby girl. Ella, by virtue of being my first, has just always seemed so big to me. That and she was born older and wiser than her years. But Lily, she's been my baby girl from the begining. She still even looks a bit like her baby self - with big pink cheeks and chubby fingers, even though she's stretching out in height.

It ocurred to me about a month ago that she really will be heading off to kindergarten in the fall, and it just doesn't seem possible. She can't be old enough to go. I must have looked dumbfounded in the hall at school when one of the teachers asked if Lily would be starting school in the fall. My jaw literally dropped as the realization hit. This spring we'll be going through kindergarten round-up, and next fall she'll be off to school all day every day.

Realizing this made me a little weepy. Lily has always been my little buddy, my grocery store and errands pal. I spend more one-on-one time with her than I do Ella just because of her schedule. We have an hour after Ella goes to school in the morning and an hour before Ella gets home in the afternoon. That's my time with Lily, and in August it will be gone.

At the same time I'm being weepy, I'm also realizing that Lily really isn't a baby - she's quite the big girl now. She has her own little life away from me at school, and today she had her first after-school playdate at a friend's house. Granted, I had to pick her up early because she suddenly got very sad and missed me, but still, it was a big step for both of us.

So I need to let go of the baby and recognize the big girl who has replaced her. As soon as she wakes up from her nap.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"You're going to be like your mom if you're not careful."

That's what B said to me just a few minutes ago after he walked through the kitchen and saw four skeins of yarn on the counter. "But those are from my mom," I protested. Mom is having me knit some Christmas presents for her while she's injured, and she sent me the yarn this weekend. There are two more skeins from mom in a bag next to the front door that I'm supposed to use to knit my own present. She finished the first half - a beautiful scarf - before injury set in. She sent me the yarn and the pattern for the hat to match. I'll put those at the end of my project list for now.

It's a good thing B didn't see the three new skeins of sock yarn in our bedroom, and that he didn't see the receipt. Barb and I went to a new knitting store here in town, and I just couldn't help myself. The shop had this self-striping sock yarn in the most brilliant colors. I bought three skeins, even though I know I have a long list of projects to finish before I can start on socks again. I have a bunch of friends who are about to pop with babies - I think I may use some of the yarn to knit some funky baby booties, like the ones mom knit for Campbell before he was born. Maybe if I get really ambitious, I'll knit some baby hats, too.

But first, I get to figure out how to knit and felt a purse.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Camping report

I'm still not a fan of camping, but I'm glad I went. Granted, I could have done without the rain while we were cooking dinner, and the rain while we were eating dinner, Ella's 4:30am freak-out about wolves, and the 7:00 wake-up call from every kid in camp. But I still had fun.

RR had picked out a great spot for us out at Pace Bend. There were only a few campers scattered around the cove, and they were all quiet enough that I felt kind of bad that we were turning loose 12 kids. The kids had a blast running around without parents tagging right behind them. Freedom is a wonderful thing.

So much happened, and I am too tired to weave it all together into a cohesive narrative, so here are some highlights.

We had 12 kids there, ages 3 through 9, and they all played together wonderfully. The big kids played with the little kids; the boys played with the girls. Amazingly, everyone got along really well. There were a few minor skirmishes, but nothing that warranted any real parental involvement.

It started raining as we were getting dinner ready, so the kids all crowded under the big canopy the Ss brought, while the parents huddled under umbrellas next to the grill. FS and WS kept all the other kids entertained with stories, including the funniest version of Goldilocks I've ever heard.

The s'mores were a huge hit. LR got the kids all lined up and did eenie-meenie to decide who went first with the roasting sticks. EK introduced us all to something called Banana Boats that involved a banana, mini-marshmallows, and chocolate chips wrapped in tin foil and roasted on the fire. The kids who actually ate the banana boats loved them. FS licked her banana peel clean.

The kids all sat around the fire telling stories before heading into various tents for card games and more stories. This calmed everyone down that bedtime, at least in our tent after two chapters of Ella's book, went really smoothly.

Ella woke me up at 4:30, convinced she heard wolves. It must have been a witching hour, because I heard several other parents quieting down their kids. Lily never even stirred. Our tent was on a slight decline, and by morning she and her sleeping bag had slid down into the bottom corner into a ball. All I could see was her hair sticking out.

It struck me as the kids were all waking up and I heard their fathers talking to them (LR and I were the only moms there), how great all these dads are. You could tell from the way that they were dealing with their kids that this wasn't a one-time thing. They are involved in the care and feeding of their kids on a daily basis - they aren't just "weekend" dads. These kids, all 12 of them, are so lucky to have two parents involved in their lives.

I took notes on what food to bring the next time I go camping, in like five years. TJ brought macaroni and cheese, which the kids loved. And KS fed pretty much everyone this morning with his pancakes. By the time B got his eggs and bacon going, everyone was stuffed - so he ate all the bacon on his own.

The kids were desperate to go on a hike. One of the kids, either MK or WS, handed EK a note that said: Hiking is good/ hiking is great/ we might see a cow/ take us camping now.

After packing up the campsite and loading the car, we did take the kids on a short hike. As we started walking along, Lily asked B when we were going hiking. When he told her that's what we were already doing, she rolled her eyes and said, "Daddy, hiking is more than just walking around." B and I both nearly fell over laughing.

So we're home. We're clean. And we're tired. B and I have both taken naps, and all the kids are tucked in. Campbell was worn out from his busy night with grandaddy. I think it's time for me to go back to bed. Tomorrow I'll have to unpack and start on the laundry.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A camping we will go

In a few hours we'll be heading out to Pace Bend Park to camp for the night. We're going with a bunch of neighbors and friends. Only one other mom is going; all the rest of the grownups will be dads. I've tried my hardest to get out of it, but no such luck. B is insisting that I go - "It just won't be any fun without you!" he says. We'll see about how much fun it is with me.

It's not that I'm anti-camping, I just don't like sleeping in a tent on the ground in a sleeping bag. I like hanging out with friends at the camp site. I like taking hikes. I like relaxing without laundry and dishes and dirty floors starting at me. I like roasting marshmallows over the fire and making s'mores. I'd be perfectly happy to do all of that stuff and then go home to sleep in my own bed. I'd even volunteer to show up in the morning with hot coffee and doughnuts for all. But no, I'll be sleeping in a tent with the girls. Campbell is staying at his grandfather's house.

The last time we went camping, I climbed out of the tent, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, and asked my friend H how she slept. "Great!" was her answer. Then she added, "Of course, I took a sleeping pill." I wanted to sock her for holding out on me and not sharing the wealth. I've learned from her example, though, and I'm taking along a half xanax, which should conk me out for the night.

I'm also taking a book and my knitting. I'll let B deal with the girls and all the tent setting and fire building, and I'll sit and knit and read. And hope for rain so we can go home.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Five miles before dawn

I made it down to the trail to run with the chicks this morning at 5:30 despite having been woken up at 4:30 by Campbell. That is just an awful time to be woken up on a running morning. There's no point in my going back to sleep, but the paper isn't here yet, so what's a girl to do? I ended up dozing in bed, with the alarm still set, listening to Campbell jabber in the crib.

I am so glad I got up to run, though. It was just the perfect morning for running - clear and crisp and no wind to speak of. L said she was feeling frisky due to the weather, and I have to admit that I was too.

We did a route that's new to me, and I loved. We started out on the north side of the lake and then turned onto Congress, heading toward the Capitol. I love running up Congress Avenue with the Capitol looming in front of us. Since it was still dark, the Capitol was in full-lit glory - it's one of my favorite Austin views.

L, J and I turned around at 8th Street and headed back to the lake, for a total of five miles. I tried to keep up with L in the final half mile, but she was feeling frisky and just took off. I gave chase for about 100 yards and then fell behind, still managing to hold a pretty brisk pace.

When we finished the sun was just coming up, and the sky was turning all these beautiful oranges and pinks. The temperature had dropped from when we started, but we were all good and warm from the run, so it didn't matter much.

This was the first run I've had in almost two years where I felt good the whole way; the first run where I didn't feel like I was getting back into shape. I finally felt like I was in running shape. It's been a long time coming, and it was such an amazing way to start the day. I've been cheerful all morning, despite the early wake-up call and the looming migraine.

Tomorrow I'm meeting another running chick and accompanying her for five miles of her ten-mile route. I hope it's as successful a run as today's was.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Project Runway overload

Wheee! The new season of Project Runway started last night. Now we can watch Tim Gunn in his proper setting instead of his dreadful makeover show, which is just painful. I'm not sure what to think of the new cast yet. It's too soon to pick favorites. But I can tell that the young guy with the strange haircut is going to get on my nerves, big-time.

I have been watching Project Runway Canada, and I have to admit, I like that show better. Iman is a far better host, and I like the two judges, especially Shawn Hewson, whose line is called Bustle. Iman seems to have a sense of humor and doesn't take herself quite as seriously as La Klum. And when Iman wishes outgoing contestants good luck, it seems like she really means it.

Another thing I like about the show is that the contestants really seem to be there for the design and competition, not to be divas. My friend O'Pine said it seemed like the Canadian contestants hadn't seen the US show, and I agree with him.

So far my favorite challenge has been the dress for the opera star. But my favorite dress didn't win; I loved the one with the huge bustle on the back.

So if any of you watch these shows, let me know. I'd love to dish about them!

Adult ADD

Is it any wonder that I can't get my kids to focus on their chores? I can't even manage to focus on mine.

This morning I went out and moved the wet clothes from the washer to the dryer and got them started. Then I added soap and a few dish towels to the washer and turned it. I went inside to round up more clothes to add to the load.

But then my mom called about knitting stuff, so I talked to her for a while. Then I cleaned up most of the kitchen and got the dishwasher going. As I walked past my office, I noticed there were e-mails waiting, so I responded to two work-related messages and one from a friend about running plans. Then I made my bed and cleaned up the bathroom.

THEN I gathered dirty clothes from the hamper and headed out to the garage to put everything in the washer, which was just finishing the final spin cycle with its load of three very sudsy dishtowels.


The truly sad thing is that this is not an anomoly. This is how I function most days. There is just so much going on here that I can't focus on finishing any one thing at one time. The load of laundry that I finally put in the washer is still in there, waiting to be moved to the dryer. But every time I head for the garage, something else comes up and I get distracted.

With any luck I'll get the laundry to the dryer before I have to wash it again because it's gotten musty while waiting for me to remember that it's there.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

At least as smart as the dog

My dad was asking me all sorts of questions about Campbell the other day - like does he say any words, how much is he walking, what does he do, etc. I told dad that Campbell knows who everyone in the house is, gives kisses on command, and knows what "no" means. But when I told dad that Campbell bolts for the front door anytime anyone says the word "outside," dad's response was, "Well, he's at least as smart as the dog." I was offended until I realized dad was right.

Campbell knows who we all are and he responds to certain words - like outside, milk, yucky, no, ball, and down - just like our dog.

Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have the common sense that our dog does. If she does something and gets hurt, she doesn't do it again. I can't say the same for Campbell. Today, Campbell stood up facing backwards on one of the chairs in Lily's classroom. As the teacher and another mother reached for him in slow motion, the chair and Campbell fell over, leaving him with a large bump on his forehead. I held him and apoligized for not paying more attention and cried a little bit until he stopped screaming and started wiggling to get down. What did he do as soon as I put him down? He headed right back to the chair and climbed up in it. I grabbed him, kissed Lily good-bye and headed out the door. I didn't need a repeat of the tumble.

I guess I should be happy that Campbell is at least as smart as Mollie-dog; she's a pretty smart dog. I just hope he doesn't turn out to be selectively obedient, which is what she is.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eating my words

So over on my book blog, Plenty More Books Inside, I wrote about one of the Yarn Harlot's books and said that I would never understand her level of obsession with knitting and yarn. I said that I couldn't picture myself ever having a stash. MadMad commented that I'd soon be nutty about yarn, and it turns out she's right.

I now have a stash, even if it is just one ball of yarn.

I've already finished one sock in the orange yarn. I love the pattern in the sock; it's the right blend of detail work and mindless knitting for me to not get bored, like I did with endless rounds of K2P2 in the two pairs I've finished. I think this will be my favorite recipe for the time being.

And I'm already planning a field trip to a new yarn store in town. I'm sure I'll come home with some gorgeous yarn even though I don't have any plans to knit any more socks right now. I have to finish some projects for my mom, who is injured and can't knit.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Living in the moment

Last spring, one of my best friends forgot to take her camera to parent watching day at ballet. Her daughter's response to the news was something like, "That's OK mom, you can just watch me instead." My friend said it was a very good reminder from her daughter that sometimes she just needs to enjoy the moments instead of worrying so much about documenting them. It was a real "out of the mouths of babes" moment.

After ruining Ella's day off from school by allowing Lily to stay home too, I took all the kids down to the new Town Lake Park for some fun in the fountains. I left my camera at home on purpose. I decided that I would just sit back and enjoy watching the kids playing in the water, and I'm so glad I made that decision. I laughed myself silly watching Campbell trying to figure out how to get the water to come out of the ground, only to get hit in the face by water when it finally popped out. And I probably would have missed the look on his face when he was running through all of the fountains, laughing and screeching, when they all shut off at the same time. He was totally perplexed by what had just happened, and he toddled over to me with his hands out in a "where did it go" sort of gesture.

I loved watching the girls racing around, chasing each other and the water and then trying to lure Campbell into a fountain that was about to go off. They ran and laughed and played the whole time we were there, and I did nothing but watch and laugh and cheer. It's been a rough couple of days around here, and sitting and enjoying my kids was just what my soul needed.

Dental woes

I went to the dentist this morning for the first time in more than a year. I am terrified of going ot the dentist. Once I'm there, I'm fine. It's making the appointment and getting in the car that I have problems with. I should state for the record that I love my dentist. She's very kind, very gentle and patient with me, and very funny. I just don't want to go there. B can attest that I was a wreck last night in anticipation of this morning's appointment.

Part of the problem is that my teeth are essentially disintigrating, which has my dentist stumped. Two summers ago, for three months I spent one morning a week at the dentist's office. I had to have a bunch of old fillings drilled out and replaced because there was decay behind them. I had three root canals and crowns done because the decay behind old fillings was too severe. The procedures themselves don't phase me in the least. I put on my iPod and tune out what's going on around me. As long as the novocaine is working, I'm fine.

But I was terrified to go back today because I was sure the dentist was going to find more problems and we'd have to start over on repairs. And I can't afford another $18,000 worth of dental work again. So of course the obvious option was to just not go to the dentist. Ha.

She found decay behind three of the fillings she put in two years ago and under one of the crowns she installed. So she's fixing those problems free - I saw it's about time I earn some sort of bonus on the money I've paid her. But there are two teeth that have more decay, and she won't know the extent until she gets in there and digs around. She can't tell from the x-ray what's going on.

Just great.

I have my dentist so stumped that she took pictures of my teeth and is making copies of my chart to take to her dental study group. She told me she's never seen this happen before, that she's treated patients whose teeth were covered in plaque but they didn't have any decay. My teeth are clean but they're falling apart before her eyes. I'm just ever so thrilled that I get to be a study subject.

In addition to the problems with me teeth, my jaw is acting up. It hurts on one side when I open and close my mouth to yawn - or to hold it open for the dentist. It's hurt for a few months, but of course I didn't do anything about it. My dentist is going to talk to her study group about that, too.

My dentist wouldn't let me leave without scheduling an appointment for the first round of work and my three-month cleaning. So I have to go in the Monday after Thanksgiving for fillings, which gives me two weeks to have panic attacks about it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ah, this stage

I had forgotten about this stage of toddlerhood. It's gotten so that I can't take my eyes off Campbell for a minute. He's in constant motion and is into everything. He disassembles the bottom shelf of the pantry daily; he pulls everything he can out of the cupboards that aren't locked; he fills the laundry hamper with his sisters' checkers pieces.

And now he's in the climbing phase. Ella was the climbingest of my babies, but Campbell's now giving her a run for her money. He's decided that he needs to walk down the front steps instead of scootching down on his belly - the other day he fell off our neighbors' porch steps twice while walking down them. Last night he almost managed to climb out of the bathtub, and I've found him attempting to sling a leg over the side of his crib.

This morning was the scariest, though. I had plopped him in his high chair at the table, forgetting that I now need to buckle him in. B was in the kitchen making brunch, and I was around the corner working/watching Project Runway Canada. I heard B gasp in dismay and went around the corner to see what was going on. By the time I got there, B was holding Campbell, but he said that when he turned around Campbell was standing on the kitchen table pulling on the chandelier. Double gasp.

On a slightly different note, we have a friend visiting this weekend. His kids are high school/college age, and he's forgotten what it's like to be in a house with little ones. The girls have been talking his ears off since he got up this morning, and now they've dragged him into the back yard to show off their tumbling skills on the trampoline. He's going to need a nap when he gets home to recover from our normal, everyday chaos.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This is why I run at 5:30

People, usually non-runners, often ask why I run at 5:30 in the morning. This morning is a perfect example of why I haul my rear out of bed at an ungodly hour to run.

Today my plan was to head down to the Trail to run 3 miles at 6:30 and then hook up with the running chicks, who were starting at 7:00. I was going to tack on a few more miles with them before heading home to get the day started.

Instead, Campbell woke up at 5:00, drank his morning milk and didn't go back to sleep like he usually does. He stayed in his crib jabbering and singing before losing patience and screaming at 6:00. I got up with him and decided that I'd wait for it to get light out, and then I'd load him into the jogger and go for a run in the neighborhood. A run pushing the jogger is better than no run at all.

Except that Ella woke up 15 minutes later, and Lily was up 15 minutes after that. Thus started the demands for breakfast and entertainment. I needed coffee to deal with it all, and once I've had coffee, I can't run. I have friends who can run after drinking coffee, but I just can't.

You may be wondering where B was through all of this and why he wasn't watching the kids while I went for a run - he was asleep. He's useless before 7:00, and we have an agreement that if he gets to sleep in a little on Saturday, I get to take a nap while Campbell takes his morning snooze. Once I knew the run was out of the question, I decided to let B sleep so that I could have a nap later.

So that's why I run at 5:30 on weekdays. I meet up with friends, who are all moms and who have the same issues with kids as I do, and we knock out four or five miles and get back home as the kids are waking up. Most of them like to run later on Saturday, but that just doesn't work for me. So tomorrow, I'll be out there, before dawn, pepper spray in hand, running through the neighborhood.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Notes to my neighbors

So here is the text of a note I need to leave TWO different neighbors -

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you so much for coming to our Halloween potluck dinner. I'm glad that your family was able to join us in what I hope will be an annual tradition. The brownies/salad you brought were delicious. Please send me the recipe.

I loved seeing all the kids together in their costumes. B and I feel very blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful neighbors who are also such good friends.

I am very sorry it has taken be so long to return your baking dish/casserole. I meant to do it yesterday; I loaded Campbell into his stroller and carefully stacked all of the dishes I was returning to friends in the basket under Campbell's seat. Unfortunately, I didn't do a good job of balancing everything, and your dish fell out. You know how Pyrex isn't supposed to break in extreme temperatures? It turns out it's no match for gravity and a concrete driveway. I discovered that a Pyrex dish, dropped from a height of six inches will EXPLODE if it hits the driveway just right.

So here is your new baking dish/casserole with my apologies for the delay. I'll probably see you out in my front yard, as I continue picking shards of glass out of the landscaping.


Good job, Campbell

I had a hair appointment this morning, and I had to take Campbell with me. I have a sitter every Tuesday morning, but I use those precious hours to do fun things like go to meetings for work and volunteer at Lily's school. OK, volunteering at Lily's school is fun, but not as fun as something like a morning at the spa.

This morning I went to the hairdresser's armed with Campbell's stroller, a cup of milk, lots of graham crackers, and some fun toys. Bless his little heart, he behaved perfectly the whole time. He flirted with everyone there. He played with my cell phone, and he ate his crackers. Campbell didn't lose patience until Pam was almost finished blowing dry my hair. I set him free for a few minutes as I was paying, and he was just so thrilled.

Even better than his sitting still through my hair appointment is that Campbell took a nap when we got home, despite having fallen asleep for five minutes in the car. A snooze in the car usually guarantees that Campbell won't take a real nap at home.

So it's been a successful morning - I got a hair cut AND I've had an hour to get work done. Whee.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Poor, poor mom

My mom loves to knit. As soon as Ella was born, my mom started the tradition of making Christmas sweaters for her. Last year she knit three sweaters, one for each kid. She goes to knitting nights at a local yarn shop, and she went to hear Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, speak. She's the one who turned me on to knitting socks, basically dragging me to the local yarn store to buy sock wool and needles. She gave me one of Pearl-McPhee's books to inspire me. Because of mom, I'm in the process of knitting my third pair of socks.

But now she can't knit. Last week her hand and wrist started to hurt while she was knitting. So she took a few days off and organized her stash and took pictures of her yarn and her projects and posted them all to Flikr. She posted a question about pain while knitting on a yahoo group she's a member of and got lots of responses telling her to rest for another week or so. After a week she gave up and went to the hand doctor. The diagnosis: arthritis. The prescription: six weeks of rest. If that doesn't work, she'll have a cortisone shot into the joint. And if that doesn't work, surgery.

She's devastated at the thought of not being able to knit for the next six weeks. Mom is sending me several Christmas presents she had in progress so that I can finish them for her. One of the projects is my own present from her. The other is for my sister, and since I know she doesn't read my blog I'm safe mentioning it.

So all you knitters out there who read the blog, please send my mom healing vibes. She needs the help!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hi everybody!

I have a hidden widget on my blog tht counts the number of hits the page gets every day. Most days I get about 15 visitors, and I know who three of them are. But then I joined the National Blog Posting Month, and my blog got listed in something called a randomizer, and I got 80 hits that day. Eighty hits! I know that's small change compared to the Yarn Harlot and the Pioneer Woman, but it's more than I've ever gotten; more than the day I finally announced to family and friends that I was keeping a blog and they all checked it out once.

Some of the people who stopped by left nice comments, and I got to visit their blogs and read some fun stuff. So to all my readers, new and old, welcome. Stop by again soon.

My guilty pleasure

So I'm well educated, and I read a lot. I've never gotten in to watching the Bachelor or Survivor or Temptation Island or Joe Millionaire. But . . . I love The Real Housewives of Orange County. I can't help myself.

My friend Jen and I were discussing the show, and she hit on what I think is the reason I like the show. She said that even though these people are wealthy beyond measure, they have the same problems we have, but with better jewelry and bigger houses. They have problems with their kids and their husbands and their jobs. Or at least Vicki and Jeana have normal problems. Slade and Jo are just weird.

Last night the new, and relatively unexpected, season begain, and boy oh boy is it going to be good. There's a new housewife who has declared herself the "hottest housewife in the OC," and I think I take exception to that statement. George and Lauri should be entertaining as they plan their over-the-top wedding.

I'm setting up the DVR to record the shows since I never watch TV at night. It should be an intereting few months.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Marathon dreams

When I was in my early 20s and getting into running after successful knee surgery, I set myself the goal of running a marthon by the time I was 30. I ended up running two marathons and training for a third all before my 30th birthday. I didn't run the third because six days before the race, I found out I was pregnant with Ella. My doctor told me it would be ok if I ran the race easy since my body was in shape for marathoning, but I decided not to take the risk, much to the relief of my husband and our families.

And while I would never, ever trade Ella for getting to run a marathon, I still feel the need to do one more marathon. That last running season I ran better than I ever had in my life. I'd been training with a running group and a coach and putting up mile splits on the track that I had never dreamed I'd be able to run. I ran a half marathon the week before I found out I was pregnant and ran a 12-minute personal best even though I was using it as a training run. If I could have held that same pace in the marathon, I would have qualified for Boston with room to spare.

But it wasn't to be.

This Saturday, during our run, one of my friends asked if I ever planned to do another marathon, and I told her that I just didn't see it happening while the kids are still young. The training itself just takes so much time. Then there's the recovery from the long Saturday runs - I used to come home from those runs and sleep for two hours. I don't have the time to go on a four-hour run and then take a two-hour nap.

This weekend I watched the men's Olympic Marathon Trials and the NYC Marathon coverage, and I regained some of my running inspiration. My first memories of watching a running event are of the NYC Marathon. I specifically remember watching the year that Greta Waitz turned into Central Park, threw off her gloves and dropped the hammer on the second place runner, leaving her in the dust. I stood up and cheered. And then there was watching Joan Benoit Samuelson win the first-ever Women's Olympic Marathon, in LA, and grabbing the American flag and running around the track as the rest of the runners finished. This year's NYC finish in the women's race was pretty exciting too. After staying shoulder to shoulder through the whole race, Paula Radcliffe, who had a baby 8 months ago, outkicked Geta Wami in the last 200 yards for a blistering finish.

So here's my new goal - I want to run the NYC Marathon by the time I'm 45. I'd go for 40, but that's only 2 1/2 years away, and I don't think it's possible, so I'm spotting myself a few extra years to get it done. It has to be the NYC Marathon. I love New York City, and if I'm going to travel to run a race, that's where it's going to be. Chicago and Boston just don't hold the same allure for me.

So there it is, I've said it publicly - the New York City Marathon by 2015. I'd better get running.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Third post of the day

I've signed up for something called National Blog Posting Month. Basically, I've agreed to post an entry every day for the month of November. This really shouldn't be a problem for me considering that most days I stop myself from posting more than one entry because I don't want to bother people. That's right, I don't want to bug people who have to chose to visit my blog to read it. It's not like I'm sending them four million e-mails, which I do tend to do because I hate talking on the phone, but then I worry that I've sent too many e-mails and bugged my friends that way. The worry gnomes in my head make a lot of noise some days.

Anyway, I signed up for this challenge even though I didn't post anything yesterday. I figured that my two, now three, posts today made up the gap.

NaBloPoMo, here I come.

Trampoline video

OK, I can't get the video to import to the blog, so here's a link. Make sure you have the volume turned up.

Poor Lily

Lily just doesn't get it sometimes. Saturday we put Campbell on the trampoline for the first time. The girls and I sat around the edges and kept Campbell from walking off the side. He ran from me to Ella and back again over and over, laughing and screeching every time he plopped down on his bottom. I have video of him doing it with B and the girls, and if I can figure out how to load it I will.

Anyway, when I was on the trampoline with them, Lily got very upset because Campbell was only running to me and to Ella. Lily desperately wanted him to run to her. So instead of just sitting back and waiting for him to come to her, Lily would grab at him and tackle him. Of course, Campbell would protest, pushing her away and crying, which hurt her feelings more.

When I got Campbell off the trampoline, and while Ella was having her turn bouncing, I tried to explain to Lily that perhaps Campbell doesn't run up and hug her as often as he does Ella because every time he does, she flattens him with a tackle. Lily just loves, loves, loves Campbell, and that's the problem - she is very aggressive in her affections. She just can't leave him alone. If he walks too close to Lily, she grabs him. She picks him up and totes him around, even though he inevitably screams and yells and goes limp.

And it's just heartbreaking to see. She will come to me in tears saying, "I want to hold Campbell, but he won't let me." Or, "I want to carry Campbell, but he keeps walking away." B and I have explained to her so many times that Campbell isn't a baby anymore and that he has his own little mind now and knows what he likes and doesn't like, but it just doesn't work. She insists on lugging him around or tackling him to give Campbell hugs. As a result, he tends to run the other way when she comes near him.

Anyone have any suggestions? Or should we just ride this out and hope that Lily eventually figures out what she needs to do?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A great way to start the day

Earlier this summer I made a not-so-successful attempt to run one of my favorite routes - the Windsor loop. I had set out a goal of being able to run the route comfortably by the end of the summer, but I wasn't able to manage that. Plantar fasciitis and illness and bad summer running in general did me in. Every year I forget that I just don't run well in the summer, and it was even worse this year.

But this morning was so different. The weather was clear and cool - perfect for running. I met up with four of the running chicks and off we went. I'm still not used to not being able to stop at the water fountain at the boat landing, but I toughed it out and kept going into the hills. I fell way behind the group on the first big hill, but I managed to keep running. The chicks were waiting at the top of the hill, and we headed on to Windsor with its rolling hills. Again, I fell behind, but not as far as before. I caught back up at the gas station, our first water stop.

I always view the turn onto Exposition as the home stretch - it's about a mile long, with rolling hills, most of them downhill. We stopped at a Gazelle's water stop and then made the turn back on to Lake Austin, headed to the start. I was able to hang with the group the whole way back to the finish, even though everyone picked up the pace on LAB.

For the first time in longer than I can remember, I felt good after the run - like I had really accomplished something. The route is only five miles, a far cry from my days of running 10+ on Saturdays on a regular basis, but it was still a victory for me. I've had so many false starts with my post-Campbell running comeback. This run felt like this comeback just might be The One.

I may just have to buy new running shoes to celebrate.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Laughing in his sleep

The last thing I do every night before I go to bed is check on the kids in their beds. Ella is always sprawled across hers, all arms and legs. One arm or one leg is usually dangling over the rail of her bunk. Lily is a bundle in her bed. Often all I see is her hair poking out from under her comforter. Both have so many stuffed animals and dolls in their beds that it's hard to believe there is room for them.

I never know what I'll find when I check on Campbell. Sometimes he's rolled into a ball, with his butt in the air; sometimes he's stretched out, arm spread across the crib. Last night when I went in, he sat up in his crib without waking up. I patted his back and tipped him over on to his side, covering him up with his blanket. He promptly rolled onto his back and started chuckling. I draped myself over the side of the crib and listened to him, my heart breaking with love. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, Campbell opened his eyes and held out his arms to me, saying "mummumumum." I nearly swooned with joy. Then I tip-toed out, afraid he wouldn't go back to sleep, but he did.

Moments like those, watching my children sleep, hearing them laughing in their sleep, make all the nonsense and trouble and stress worth it. Those are the moments I need to remember forever.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Vampire tales

Last week I wrote about Ella's fear of vampires, and I'd love to report that things have gotten better, but they haven't. B and I have both tried to calm her down when she's been sitting in bed sobbing, but nothing we've said has helped.

One night I gave her my old teddy bear, which also used to be my mother's, and told her it was a magic bear to protect her. She added him to the collection of animals crowding her bed, but I don't think she bought my line. In the end, she fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.

Tuesday night Ella had another freak out. She was crying great big gasping sobs, and I just didn't know what to say to make things better. I went back to my office and pondered solutions. Then I had a brain storm. I ransacked the refrigerator, but I couldn't find any garlic, so I settled on a jar of garlic powder.

I took it in to Ella and explained that in movies, because vampires aren't real, but in movies they believe that vampires don't like the smell of garlic. I told her that I didn't have a clove of garlic, but that the garlic powder smelled just the same. She clutched the jar to her chest and put her head down. I went back in later to discover that she had spread the garlic powder all over her comforter, which made the room reek to high heaven. But at least she went to sleep without any more sobbing.

So yesterday at the grocery store I picked up some fresh garlic for her. She now has a head of garlic on the corner of her bed post. Ella went to sleep without incident, but that could have been because she was wiped out from the excitement of Halloween.

In any event, I figure that the smell of garlic in the girls' room is a small price to pay for Ella's peace of mind.