Monday, November 28, 2011


This morning - cyber Monday - on the way to preschool we passed this. A house littered with Santa Clauses. It was/is obnoxious.

The scene brought a smile to K's face.

The whole situation - the obnoxious number of Santas and K's amusement - really got me thinking. With the craziness of Christmastime - Black Friday, Cyber Monday, sales, shopping, gifts, and the constant questioning "what do you want Santa to bring you?" - how do I keep the true spirit of the season? And more importantly how do I teach my three year old to embrace the true spirit of the season? Especially with scenes like this along our daily drive to school?

I don't know that I have the answer to this question, but I do have some ideas...

First, I am spending some time studying the true meaning of Christmas. I've signed up to do a 25 day Advent devotional. I figure keeping my focus on the true meaning of the season is a good place to start. Hopefully I can impart some of my learning on K - sharing stories and insights with her.

We also plan to act out the Christmas story with our Little People Nativity Set over and over and over again!

Second, I am trying to take the focus off of getting gifts by giving them... K and I made a list of people we'd like to get gifts for and people we'd like to take Christmas cookies to. We are going to spend our time during the coming weeks thinking about others, making cookies for them, and making homemade gifts.

We are also going to have a cookie decorating party at our house. This will be a time celebrate the gift of friendship.

Finally, we plan to stay as far away from Target and other department stores - avoiding temptation.

Any other suggestions to help keep Christ the focus of Christmas?

Saturday, November 26, 2011


According to the online dictionary, conquered is defined as:

1. Overcome and take control of (a place or people) by use of military force
2. Successfully overcome (a problem or weakness).

Today I conquered the BIG hill on my regular running route. This is a huge success for me. This hill is a killer - always has been - and making it to the top without walking on my fifth run since having a baby is a big deal for me. Making to the top of the hill means I am back. Sure, I am not back in marathon running form; or half marathon form for that matter. But I am back - I am back to running; I am back to being physically fit; I am back in the game.

That hill is mine; as is a couple of sub-2 hour half marathons this spring, a sub-4 hour full in the fall, and a lot of great runs, workouts, and exercising.

When I reached the top of the hill, this is what my Garmin showed

I was so excited!

That is nearly three miles of non-stop running (no walking!!) -- including running the hill -- at a 9:44/mile pace. Yes, I have a l-o-n-g way to go before my first race in March and my attempt to BQ in the fall of 2013. But these are some great first, second, third, and so on steps.


We spent our Thanksgiving holiday enjoying some quality time with my parents here in DC. Our day of thanks began with some yummy pumpkin cinnamon rolls. We decided to make them festive with ORANGE icing (leftovers yesterday morning had green icing). K enjoyed mixing the icing and drizzling it onto the rolls.

After we indulged in our tasty breakfast, we loaded up into two cars and went down to the Mall to enjoy the day. Thanksgiving Day was unseasonably warm. We parked in East Potomac Park and walked all around the Mall. Our first stop was at the new MLK Jr. Memorial. It has been open for months, but we haven't had the time to visit it. It was much bigger than I expected it to be. It was a lot to take in - more than 12 quotes are engraved on the monument - and I am glad we were able to see it. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures while we were there.

Next we moved on to see the WWII Memorial. With the weather so warm, all of the fountains were on at the memorial. We had a wonderful time there - enjoying the water, people-watching, and taking in the other sights of DC -- Mr. Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson can all be seen from the WWII spot.

We then walked back to our car passing the FDR Memorial and some of East Potomac Park along the way. Baby C slept during the entire outing and K fell asleep in the Ergo on the walk back to the car.

After our little outing, we came home. The kids napped while the rest of us worked in the kitchen. We had a traditional non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner of gingered shrimp with eggplant, cornmeal stuffing, green beans with almonds, roasted eggplant, roast sweet potatoes with red onions, arugula salad with pumpkin dressing, and turkey (for the meat eaters among us). For dessert we enjoyed apple crisp with ice-cream.

It was a wonderful day. We have much to be thankful for...

Monday, November 21, 2011


One would think taking a Christmas card picture would be easy and fun -- the whole family together, enjoying some special place in the city/neighborhood, and a wonderful selection of snacks (read: bribes) prepared by mom. We even had my mom on hand to provide entertainment and encouragement during this year's photo shoot. I assumed we'd get a great picture the first time around and would be done with it. Instead it took us two trips over two weekends to two different locations to get a half decent shot of us.


Our first attempt at getting a picture started out wonderfully with our three year old angel being ever so cooperative and adorable.

But then she got an attitude.

And then she made her way into the bushes only to get covered in little hitchhikers.
We took about 100 pictures after this. None of which are worth sharing. 

After we were all tired and grumpy. And one of us (a stubborn not-to-be-named three year old) had to use the bathroom, but refused. We ended our first attempt at getting a Christmas card picture with some fun daddy-daughter time. 

And, sadly, made plans to go out the following weekend to get a family picture - this time at a different location at a different time of day. 

Thankfully we were successful in getting a decent family shot the second time around. Specifically, we were able to get a shot where C's eyes are open, K is not crying, and D and I look half-way normal and not completely sleep deprived.

I bet you cannot wait to get our card this year...

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Today I went out for my second run since having a baby. It ended up being a run/walk, and it was not pretty. The proof is in the picture.

It wasn't pretty and I know I looked terrible out there - bad form, old pants that did not fit properly, a shirt that wouldn't stay in place, and one U-G-L-Y camouflage hat. But it felt so good. I was so excited to be out there RUNNING. After 1.5 miles I knew I needed a walk break and again I walked when I came to the big hill on my route. If I've learned anything from marathon training it is that seconds at the beginning can cost you minutes at the end (or trying to get back into shape too fast too soon could result in an injury or complication that could result in not being able to run). I want to get back into shape - and the quicker the better - but pushing myself too much now could result in an injury or some sort of complication (ripping my insides open). So I am taking it slow and being responsible. And that means 11 minute miles at this point in time.

As I was finishing my run (and completely enjoying my new running mix!!), I started to think about my goals and why I run. I started to think about races I want to run and places I would like to visit. What I concluded is this... I really enjoy running and I really like feeling physically fit and fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I also need some reach goals to get me off of my butt and back into shape (and then into better shape than I have ever been in). As I said yesterday, D and I are planning to run two half marathons this spring. I would like to complete both of them in under two hours. And in the fall, I want to run a marathon in under 4 hours.

There... I said it. I want to reach for the stars.

More than likely, D and I will not both get a spot in the 2012 NYC Marathon through the lottery. This means we will have to wait until 2013 to run the race together (which we SO want to do). My long term reach goal will be to qualify for the Boston Marathon in NYC in November 2013 (qualifying time for my age group is 3:40).

To do so would be EPIC.

With all of this in mind, I need to train well and remain injury-free. I also need to lose my remaining pregnancy weight and strengthen my core. None of this is going to happen over night, but I am confident that with time I can accomplish all of my goals.

Here's to a BQ in November 2013...

And in the meanwhile, here's to getting back into shape, loosing some weight, and enjoying every minute of if...!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Last night I went for my first run since forever. Seriously, I haven't run since March. And then it was not with much consistency. I was too tired, sick, and busy during my pregnancy with C to exercise much. I have missed my run. I didn't realize how much until I laced up my shoes last night.

I have been planning my running comeback for months now --- planning to run the DC Rock 'N Roll 1/2 Marathon and the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon in the spring and then a full in the fall (either NYC or Richmond). Getting back into shape is going to be no small task. My core is shot, my legs are weak, and I have little endurance. I am going to take my comeback one step at a time -- literally.

Last night's run was broken into two sessions. I ran to K's school for a meeting and then home again. Both runs were slow - even the second run, which was all down hill, was s-l-o-w (proof below). But I have my first run under my belt. My comeback has begun... I have run 2.51 miles.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Baby Colin ---

It is hard to believe that you are one month old. You have seamlessly fit into our lives and family. It is hard to remember life without you. You are content to just go with the flow --- we interrupt your sleep and meals to pick your big sister up at school or to make a trip to the park before the sun sets. You are constantly loved on by your big sister, who loves to give you hugs and kisses.

In the past month, you have grown 0.5 inches and gained 2.4 pounds (from your birth weight). At your one month doctor's appointment you weighed 11.9 pounds and were 22.0 inches long. This put you in the 95th percentile for both height and weight. You are still wearing your 0-3 month clothes, but I do not anticipate them fitting in the coming weeks. You started wearing your reusable diapers this past week and they fit well (and your blue and green diapers arrived just yesterday - so we can reserve K's old pink ones for emergency situations only). Unfortunately, you were diagnosed with a yeast infection on your legs (in the creases where your diaper rubs) yesterday. We now have to put medicated cream on you four times a day and this means you really shouldn't be wearing the reusables. Hopefully you'll be healthy and back in your diapers in the coming weeks...

You are a wonderful eater and sleeper. We do not have any sort of routine yet - you pretty much just eat, sleep, and lay around making funny noises. Your squeals and squeaks are a constant source of joy in our house. You are such a delight!

I am finally healed after your long delivery (at least I feel like I am). And am proud to be back wearing most of my pre-pregnancy clothes. This Saturday I am going to start running again. I'm hoping that exercise will make me feel better and get me back to my pregnancy weight. Your father and I are planning to run a couple of half marathons this spring a a full in the fall. Running and exercise are a way of life in our family --- get used to it. Even your big sister has taken to lots of running and is known for her sprints from the alley at the far end of our street to our house. I am looking forward to the day when the two of you race down the sidewalk together.

It has truly been a great month with you. I look forward to the days, weeks, and months ahead.

Love, Mama-bear

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


My boys... love that there is a little bit of K in the picture (note: the yellow barrette in D's hair).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


With a new baby in our house, I spend a lot of time feeding, changing, and rocking. This has forced K to change her every day routines. We've had to come up with quiet activities for K to keep the noise level to a minimum and her entertained while Baby C is getting my attention.

This is what a typical post-toddler nap afternoon looks like...

The iPhone Doodle Buddy app is a god-send.