November 27, 2015

Thankful for Walmart, Dyson, and Moscato

So our Thanksgiving morning started off super awesome with the discovery that Roscoe had fleas! Neither Miles or I have ever had a dog get fleas before so this made us feel really great and not at all white trash like. As gross as it was, I would like to point out that I stayed calm and just started doing what I could to address the problem. Miles definitely did the majority of tackling the issue, but was basically ready to burn the house down and was convinced this stuff only happens in trailer parks. A smidge dramatic, that one.

Nonetheless we were thankful that Walmart was open so we could get all the flea sprays and treatments for Roscoe and our house, we did approximately 80 loads of laundry, vacuumed the whole house (several times over after treating the carpets), cleaned couches, chairs, etc. Roscoe got two baths, spray treatments, and lots of comb throughs and the poor guy was confined to the garage for his Thanksgiving.

We had Thanksgiving dinner with several friends and cooked nothing, but brought all the booze. I'm really not painting a convincing picture here that we aren't white trash, but after speaking with several friends (clean and educated people!) it seems fleas are a huge problem in the South, Savannah in particular, and I'm almost surprised Roscoes has never had them before despite the fact that he was on a monthly topical treatment (though today we got some stronger stuff from the vet along with a pill that would kill any remaining little bastards that were clinging to him). The vet also said he can come back in the house and to just keep vacuuming for a few days as some dead fleas may fall off him. Gross. 

The only picture I took yesterday was of these cuties enjoying their Friendsgiving picnic. Mary was first in line to whine for food so was already stuffing her face in the high chair at this point.

Hoping you all had a less disgusting day of thanks! 

November 18, 2015

Race Recap

A little over a week ago I ran the Savannah Rock n Roll Marathon. As I mentioned in my last post my reason for doing so was because the only other marathon I have run was a decade ago this month. I wanted to prove to myself that 10 years and 3 babies later I could run another and that's really about the only goal I accomplished that day because it was a BRUTAL, miserable race.

We've had unseasonable warm weather, but that day in particular was especially bad. It was about 85 degrees with 98% humidity. The weather was so bad that early on the race officials, in conjunction with the city of Savannah, started making modifications to the course. They started re routing runners if they weren't at a certain point by a certain time, diverting some to the half, and just turning people around in some cases. But, I will say as much as it sucked to not have things go as planned, I was really impressed with the way the race handled things. Sadly two people died that day - one on the course and another as soon as he got home. There were six others hospitalized and numerous people who stopped at the medical tents that were set up along the way. I found there to be plenty of water stations with water, gatorade, and salt offered and even though I hated life, I did feel taken care of, especially by the amazing support crew of friends and family who showed up that day. I knew by the half way point that the race was going downhill fast (only not literally - somehow there were several inclines in our usually flat city!). By mile 15 I was wondering if I just dreamed I trained because my legs didn't feel like the had and by mile 18 I was cramping up in some muscles despite a decent amount of salt intake, plenty of water and gatorade, chews and Gu. 

My sister Kate flew in from California to run the half and my dear friend Brandy came out from Chicago with her family to cheer on her sister-in-law who was also running the full. Brandy not only watched my kids during the race, but was there to cheer me on during a couple much needed times. I don't know what it is about races that make me so damn emotional, but combined with the fact that it was so brutal out, I was such a train wreck. My friend Melanie ran with me for six miles and then I had another friend and my sister join in for my last mile. The group of ladies in Stroller Strong Moms has been such an inspiring and uplifting group and their support really helped leading up to the race and during. Running that long just takes so much out of you physically and emotionally and by mile 18 I was runner-drunk where you just feel sort of out of it. A friend of mine put it best when she said running a marathon is a lot like being in labor and you don't know what sort of emotions you'll experience - you may cry, you may swear, you may just be really quiet and in the zone. In my case I was all of those. 

Seeing this little nugget was seriously the highlight of the race for me. Brandy snapped these pictures and I'm forever grateful she had the kids out there cheering me on because it was a much needed morale boost.

My friend Allison took over kiddo duty so Brandy could cheer on her sister-in-law, she was such a good sport,
especially when Finn wanted to sit on her shoulders and take a rest!
The green sign is one Brandy made and I started crying when I saw it because
she included pictures of me with all the kids. I mean seriously, my emotions didn't stand a chance that day!

SLAM fam

Sister Kate. One of my most favorite people on the planet.
Had the race gone according to plan (ha) I would have liked to have been able to say I met my goal (sub 4 hours) and will never run another. Buuuut, I'm a glutton for punishment and am looking at some races in January or February. But I sure do look forward to the day I can "retire" from marathons :)

November 6, 2015

Why I Run

Several weeks ago a friend posted something about why she runs. It got me thinking about why I run and that very day Finn ran upstairs to get his long sock to mimic the compression socks I was wearing from my run. He has wanted to race and the couple times he's participated in them he's loved them. So I really think that why I run does have a lot to do with the example I want to set for my kids, and it helps to keep me running, but it's definitely not how I started running. 

I ran cross country in high school, but on the JV team, and never was very good, nor did I care about being very good. I did it just to be involved in something. Then I went to West Point where you have to run and I was average, but not great and, again never really cared to run much. I liked doing the occasional race, but wasn't at all passionate about it. While I was a cadet, my close friend Dana and I decided we wanted to run a marathon. It was a bucket list thing for both of us and we figured we would do it, cross it off the list, and never do one again. So we sort of half assed trained and then very, very slowly we ran the Philadelphia Marathon in November of 2005. And I swore I would never run another marathon.

Dana and I ran the whole thing together, only stopping at water stations.
Our then boyfriends, now husbands, also ran - far, far ahead of us.
And yet tomorrow morning, ten years later, I'm running another one. And it's not because I really LOVE running. There are things I like about it, but for me the satisfaction of running comes from the appreciation it's giving me for my body. I'm so grateful and lucky to be in good health to even run and running definitely has taught me a lot about myself. As much as I hate to admit it, I do feel groggy and crabbier if I don't exercise and I love that running gives me an excuse to eat ice cream all day every day. And even though I'm not crazy about running itself, I do love races. Oddly I'm not super competitive - it's more the environment I love and I love seeing people of all shapes and backgrounds complete events they maybe never thought possible. I love seeing people overcome huge obstacles - I think that's what I love most about running; the confidence it gives someone. I really believe anyone can be a runner and I like something that is so inclusive and has such a variety of goals. Anyway, I decided I would run another marathon because I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. I wanted to prove that after ten years and three babies I could still put myself through something that I didn't adequately train for in my early twenties. And baring any unforeseen circumstances I really am confident I will do far better than I did when I was a young college student. 

This has been a pretty big running year from me with the Run Across Georgia and a half marathon earlier in the year, some 5 and 10k's and the Army Ten Miler last month. And yet I still wouldn't claim that I love running. But something about it keeps bringing me back. And tomorrow I hope that I end the race proud of how I did, regardless of if I meet my goal or not (though I really, really hope to meet my goal).

If you are new to running and don't know where to start - google the couch to 5k program and sign up for a race. I think that signing up for something is such a great motivator to really force you to get out there and train. I'm signed up for three races in 2016 and hopefully another Run Across Georgia. I don't think I'll add any more marathons to my list, but I also thought that ten years ago I was done, so who knows.

What about you, why do you run?


October 31, 2015

Halloween, Hallo-Whine, Hello Wine

Mercy, this Halloween felt like it would never end! Our Halloween festivities started on Wednesday when Stroller Strong Moms had our Halloween class. Finn goes to school on Wednesdays and his school also allows two and unders to come that day so instead of bringing my kids to the Halloween class, I sent them both to school and then left after class to get a massage! I felt a smidge guilty when all the little kiddos were enjoying the stroller treating and potluck, but that guilt was short lived. Besides, they got more than their fill of Halloween. Yesterday we also had another themed class in one of our other locations we offer Stroller Strong Moms and Mary was with me for that while Finn was at his Halloween parade at school. I was Mary's sidekick for that:

Finn at school with buddy Peter Pan
Then after naps yesterday we went to Trunk-or-Treating hosted by Miles' unit. Even though Miles is away right now, many other Soldiers are not and the event really is for the families anyway. Because I wore the Robin get-up earlier I decided to wear it again and decorate my car as the Bat mobile for trunk-or-treating. Because of this, Finn didn't want to be a fireman anymore - that we was last year and that he's been saying ALL YEAR he was going to be again, but no, now he wanted to be Batman. Thankfully we have a shirt with a cape that Nana had sent him several weeks prior. But he wore his fireman attire for a quick pick with real fireman. They gave him a radio to hold and he was so quiet and kinda star struck. It was pretty cute.

After trunk-or-treating Mary just plopped herself down
and went to town on her candy.
Today we went to the Halloween party in my neighborhood before heading out for trick-or-treating.

Batman scaling up the side of the bouncy slide
Mary wanted nothing to do with her costume, but I forced her to be spirited anyway:

But seriously, Mary was supposed to be a cute Little Lamb, but instead had a little cow and this is the best picture I have of her in her costume:

No joke, because the only other picture I bothered to take was this:

Didn't even attempt the cute hooves that came with it.

Anyway, Mary was "Boo-tiful" because the "Bat Shit Crazy" onesies are hard to find and Finn was back to being a Fireman.

I left a bowl of candy on our porch with a note asking people to be kind and only take one or two pieces (and was pleasantly surprised when I came home to some remaining candy), and set out with the kids and the dog for some trick or treating. 

I thought I should bring Roscoe because he freaks out every time the doorbell rings and I didn't want to leave him home alone. BIG MISTAKE. He was overwhelmed and kinda a pain while out walking, Mary eventually started to whine and didn't want to walk, but Lord help me if I attempted to put her IN the stroller. I forgot to bring a binkie and couldn't keep her happy with a lollipop (probably because the girl has had at least half a dozen in the last 24 hours), she wanted to trick-or-treat with brother who was not in the mood to wait for her, etc. We went to one house that had a puppy and I usually was fine parking the stroller and Roscoe at the sidewalk and walking up to the house with the kids, well Roscoe saw the puppy and took off, tipping the (empty) stroller in the process causing the people nearby to sprint over thinking there were kids inside. I appreciated their concern and quickly yelled, "there are no kids in it!" then went to smack Roscoe and hustle my kids out of there, one who was back to melting down. Mary agreed to sit on the front of the stroller and was fine for awhile until she fell off, cue more meltdowns at which point I called it a night and we headed home. I should have just drugged Roscoe and left him in the bathroom. Lesson learned.

Made it home, gave the kids baths, now Roscoe is passed out from exhaustion and I'm grateful we made it to enough houses my kids have decent stashes of candy for sift through. Though can we just agree that this nonsense has no business being passed out on Halloween:

When I'm raiding my kids' candy I don't want this crap!

Hope you all have had a happy (and slightly more enjoyable) Halloween! 


October 24, 2015

Army Ten Miler

Two weekends ago I went up to Washington D.C. to run the Army Ten Miler which was seriously the most enjoyable ten miles I've ever run! I highly recommend this race to anyone who is ever in the DC area or who is able to pawn their children off on a really awesome Nana and fly up to DC without kids!

My mom had her fall break and graciously offered to come out to watch the kids. I was planning to drive up to DC, but due to the recent flooding in South Carolina there were some major detours making the long drive even longer and more miserable to do solo so I jumped on a last minute deal with Southwest and am SO glad I flew - not only was it relaxing (I almost finished an entire book!) but it gave me more time to spend in DC with my West Point roommate who lives there now while she attends grad school. 

Katie took me around the monuments after I got in which was really nice - I hadn't toured them since a middle school trip in 1998 so have never seen some like the World War II memorial or the MLK monument. 

The race itself also went near some of the monuments, but that was only part of what made it special. There were SO many runners - over 30,000 (the race literally sells out within hours of registration opening up each year), and so many spectators, the Army band, a really awesome support crew, tons of water stations, etc. The entire time I was running I was surrounded by lots of other runners which really helps keep you motivated and moving! After the race I got to link up with a lot of friends - some of whom I haven't seen in far too long.

Picture on the Right are of the stars along one of the walls of the WWII monument. EACH star represents 100 American lives lost in the war. There are over 4,000 stars. Middle right picture is with a WWII Vet who was on an Honor Flight from Wisconsin.  

Fellow Stroller Strong Moms. Lots of these ladies are from Stroller Strong Moms DC, but a few of us made the trip up from Savannah and one Columbus Mom came up as well. The SLAM Fam is pretty tight. The top and bottom left pictures are with the first two female graduates of Ranger School. Since then, a third woman has graduated - a 37 year old mother!

Top Left: With my friend Dan who was a groomsmen at our wedding. At the start of the race I ditched an extra shirt I was wearing to stay warm - I threw it to the side and my friend Dana said, "that's probably going to hit someone" and sure enough it lands on a guy who catches it and throws it off to the side for me. The guy who caught it was Dan! Over 30,000 runners and I accidentally throw my shirt on a friend who I was hoping to see at some point anyway! Small world!
Top Middle: With my good friend Dana who was my high school classmate and also attended West Point
Top Right: With a friend and West Point classmate, Julia who is running the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend - she also is attending grad school prior to going to teach at West Point and a mother of two little ones. So basically a Superhero.
Bottom: With some of my dear friends from the parachute team.