Monday, May 26, 2014

Have running shoes, will travel

Tomorrow kicks off a crazy month of transient living until we get our house in South Carolina at the end of June.  We will check into a hotel and stay there for 10 days until Delaney's done with school.  After that it's St. Augustine for a week, Disney for a few days after that, another hotel, a beach house in SC for another week or so, and then hopefully we'll be moving into a new house right after that.

We realized long ago that a whole month of living in various hotels and resorts, and eating meals out all the time, would spell disaster for us both from a fitness standpoint.  I had kind of resigned myself to it, saying, "It's just a month.  We can go back to our good habits after that."  But then as it got closer Tim started saying, "We've got to come up with a plan."  I reluctantly agreed to maybe, just maybe, go along with whatever plan he came up with.

A couple days later he emailed me the link to the Runner's World Run Streak, with the question, "Are you in?"  The challenge is this: to run at least one mile each and every day, beginning Memorial Day and ending July 4.  That's 40 consecutive days of running -- eek!  I've been lucky if I can manage two runs per week these last few months.  I wasn't so sure about 40 days in a row.  It seemed like overdoing it, and I didn't want to end up hurt.  But I read the FAQs, and one of the questions was basically, isn't running every day bad for you?  The answer was that the only requirement to keep the streak going is one mile, as slow and easy as you want it.  One slow and easy mile never hurt anybody, so that's what we can do when we need a rest day.

I'm in!  But it's a little daunting.  There are always so many reasons why it's not a convenient time to go for a run, things like 'I need my blow-dry to last until tomorrow night', or 'it's too hot out right now', or 'it's too early and I haven't had enough coffee', or 'I know I should run, but I could really use a nap', and then, 'Oops, the day got away from me -- no more time for running.'  Then there are the kids with their many needs.  They need to be fed multiple times, bathed, put to bed, all that stuff.  It's going to require a lot of teamwork between me and Tim to make this work, and it's going to take me just doing it instead of making a million excuses as to why I can't.  I'm going to have to manage my time a lot more effectively, which is hard to do on any regular day, let alone on a vacation.  I might even have to become a morning runner (gulp!).  But every time I get worried about how I'm going to manage it (especially on the Disney days), I tell myself it's JUST 1 MILE.  If that's all I can do for seven days in a row, then that's enough.

We're both going to try to make the best choices we can at restaurants too.  I'll choose a salad or vegetables over fries whenever possible, and try to limit the breaded and fried seafood.

So I'm putting it out here because once it's on my blog it's official.  I also put myself on some kind of board with the other people who are taking part in this challenge, so that will help.  As another layer of accountability, I will try to check in with Laura on Fitness Mondays whenever I can.  Last, but certainly not least, I'll have my husband to answer to if I fail to do a run.  He is also imposing a schedule of push-ups, pull-ups and air squats on us both.  He even plans to bring his pull-up bar wherever we go, and set it up wherever we happen to be staying.  He might be a little cray-cray, as Delaney likes to say.

I started the streak with a 12-minute run after I got the kids to bed.  I assume it was over a mile.  I did a shorter, easier run because I just went running a few miles yesterday.  I'll try to be better about keeping track of my mileage, and I have an app on my phone for that.  I do not like to use the app because I think the voice sounds condescending, but I can get over that.

Here goes!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

20 questions answered by Annie on her 5th birthday

1. What is your favorite color? Purple.
2. What is your favorite toy? My baby doll.
3. What is your favorite stuffed animal? My lion.
4. What is your favorite thing to sleep with? Lion.
5. What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries.
6. What is your favorite cereal? Kix.
7. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Kix.
8. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Tomato soup.
9. What is your favorite dessert? Strawberry shortcake.
10. What is your favorite drink? Milk.
11. What do you want to eat for your birthday dinner? Spaghetti and meatballs.
12. What is your favorite animal? A tiger.
13. What is your favorite book? Ladybug Girl at the Beach.
14. What is your favorite song? Red (by Taylor Swift).
15. What is your favorite game? Sorry!
16. What is your favorite TV show? Sofia the 1st.
17. What is your favorite movie? Frozen.
18. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play on the swing.
19. Who is your best friend? Abigail.
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A princess.

One last North Carolina birthday: Annie turns 5

I've been telling myself, once Annie's birthday has come and gone, I will focus on moving stuff.  Now that time has come, so we'll see what I can start getting done between now and when the movers come right after Memorial Day weekend.  

Her birthday was fairly low key, but as always I was surprised at how much energy I used planning the details.  I always look forward to my kids' birthdays and I always want them to be special even though the parties are never huge and I'm not the Pinterest queen (so far from it!).  I don't bake cakes either.  So the details that I am left to fuss over are things like: the invitations look like junk mail; will they get lost in backpacks or thrown away on sight?  Will at least half of the kids I invited be able to come?  Should I get the helium tank and balloons or just a bunch of balloons from the grocery store on the day of? (The answer turned out to kind of be both. I got the helium tank and balloons for the house on the day of her actual birthday, and I picked up a giant Mylar balloon at Walmart the morning of the party.)  We ordered a cake from Walmart, but on the morning of the party we found out that the order had been lost, so Annie picked one of the ready-made ones.

We had the party on Saturday morning at the paint-your-own-pottery place downtown.  It was on the smaller side and ladies-only -- partly because that's what Annie wanted but even more importantly, because space was limited.  It ended up working out so well, and being one of the easiest parties I've ever thrown for one of the kids.  For one thing, the place was already decorated and I didn't need to worry about any of that.  Once all the little girls were settled in, the hostess took over and managed the painting portion which took the first hour.  I was free to just chat with the other moms, and not have to worry about anything.  Annie had lots of fun painting her little cupcake, surrounded by her sister and six other little girls we know from bible study, preschool or the Y.  It was a great way for all of us to get to spend time with friends before we have to say goodbye.
I tried not to take it personally that she didn't want to be in this picture with me.  The only reason she's in the frame is because I threatened to take her presents away.
On her actual birthday, which was yesterday, she got to be the birthday girl at school and later on, we Skyped with Grandma and Grandpa while doing cake and presents here at home.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A perfect May weekend

I told Tim the other day that lately I'm just living for weekends, and he said, "Isn't that what everybody does?"  Yeah, but it's May, and we're so close to being done with school for the year, done with being up at 5:45 every weekday morning .. I never get used to it.  I drag myself out of the bed, and sleepwalk through the first hour of the day, and somehow go through all the necessary steps to get everyone going.  Then there's every afternoon with the "Hi Delaney, how was your day?" followed by nag, nag, nag to get an oppressive load of homework completed while her siblings run around outside.  Then there's the old witching hour every afternoon, with kids hovering around the kitchen glowering at me (Annie!) or whining or fighting amongst themselves.  There's the making of dinner, which is going much better since I have a good system in place, but still gets old.  I know that none of these things are out of the ordinary in the life of any mom, and I know that I have it a lot better than most.  I am just so ready for a change of scenery, and knowing we are this close makes all the little frustrations seem bigger.  I am always so relieved when I can say another week is done.  And on weekends, the witching hour does not exist.  And I get to sleep in. Weekends are magical.

I especially couldn't wait for this weekend.  Since this was our first Saturday in several weeks that we haven't had soccer games, I was giddy with anticipation of finally going to the beach.  So giddy that I attempted this horrible sketch of what's supposed to be a happy person with sunglasses on.  Once I put something on the whiteboard, it is a sure thing.  I just hoped the weather would cooperate.  When I checked the forecast first thing Saturday morning, it said clouds all day and high in the 80s, and I was OK with that as long as it didn't rain.
We got there at 20 of 9, and there was exactly one other family arriving at the same time as we were.  It was kind of overcast and just a slight chill in the air, but it warmed up quickly.  As the morning went on, more and more people came.  The water was way too cold for Tim and me, but the girls jumped right in.  Timmy played at the edge.  They were all so happy.  Timmy must have told me about five different times, "I love the beach and I love the water."  Me too, Buddy!

I could have stayed there all day, but eventually we started to run low on water and we could tell the kids were getting tired even though they wanted to keep playing.  We left around 12:30.
Wearing my new Bruno Mars hat as an extra layer of sun protection.  Too little too late, says the big wrinkle between my eyes, but I still like it.
I may have slept in but Tim did not, so we had this delicious lunch, and not just the leftover pizza I would have thrown into the cooler.
Timmy doing his own version of sun salutations.  I don't know where he gets it from -- I've never done any of this stuff at home.  Maybe I should.  He seems to be a natural.
At some point later in the day, Tim sneaked them out to get my Mother's Day gift.  I wondered later why Tim would buy me live flowers when we're moving in two weeks.  But then I remembered that a) I asked him to never buy me another expensive bouquet of dead flowers again; and b) he knows I won't keep them alive for very long anyway.:)  They are so pretty, aren't they?
The next day we went to Mass, and for whatever reason -- we just felt like it, I guess -- the girls and I dressed up a little more than we usually do.  We wore our Easter stuff.  Now from what I've observed, in the south people always dress up for church.  At first that made me uncomfortable -- probably because I was wearing jeans --  but then I got a few dresses and I actually like it now and appreciate it.  Still, I immediately noticed that everybody else looked extra nice today and there were lots of new faces besides, just like on Easter Sunday.  When we got inside, we saw all the little First Communicants waiting in the back and I was like, 'So that's why!'  We dressed up for them without meaning to.  When I saw those kids, including a little boy who lives down the street, filing down the aisle with their hands folded prayerfully, I was surprised to find myself getting choked up.  I can't believe that's going to be Delaney next year!  She was just a baby.  They were all just babies!  It goes so fast.  

When we got home I asked Tim to take this picture of us.  Annie refused to smile.  Ornery Annie, we love you so.
As I look at this picture I couldn't be happier or prouder to be their Mama.  This is what I was born to do.  They are some incredible little people and each one of them has brought us so much joy.  I love my family so much, and this fun weekend with them was such a gift -- the perfect reward after a long week.