Tuesday, April 29, 2008

364 days to 40

Today is my 39th birthday. I've told many people it is the first of many. I am lucky to have many friends who've hit the big 4-0 ahead of me, including Gman (who wrote a lovely post to wish me happy birthday). As I look back at the last 9 years I am amazed at what I've done--got married, had two kids, bought two houses and sold one, make almost 3 times as much at work, mourned the deaths of three great-grandmothers and my best friend's mother, became an aunt times two and a stepmother to an adult! Not bad in the major life accomplishments categories for the first 9 years of my thirties.

This year, these last 364 days I am going to try to go out with a bang. At least two triathlons, an 8K, hopefully two kids in school full day, more time to take care of myself and to spend with Gman. Here's to the best 364 days of my thirties.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Three little letter, so much meaning M-O-M

In this week's blog blag Parent Bloggers Network is joining up with Microsoft to spread the word about Portrait's of Mom. I've spent a lot of time thinking about my Mom, my mother-in-law, my grandmother's and what it means to be a Mom.

I come from a long line of strong opinionated women who tend to live a long, long time. I am so fortunate not to just have relationships with my grandmothers (who are both alive and reasonably well at 80 & 81) but I was also privileged to know my great grandmothers (who lives to 96, 98 & 101) and even for a time to have had a great-great grandmother and pictures to prove it. Its now that I am a mother to understand what an amazing legacy it is to have known these women, not just known about them. I know where annoying habits and great recipes come from. I was there to hear the stories straight from their mouths and now its my chance to pass those stories down to my girls.

Being Moms has brought my sister and I closer together. We are 4 years apart and were never in school together, didn't have the same friends or interests. Now that we are both Moms our worlds are a whole lot more alike than ever before. She was always the urban hip one--now she lives on 3 acres in the middle of nowhere. I was the less worldly and now I live in the Baltimore/Washington suburbs. We both have 2 kids, two girls for me, two boys for her. We each had our first just before our 32nd birthdays and our second at 34. We've developed a deeper bond telling stories about our mother, exchanging sleeping tips, discussing breast feeding and pumping, and just generally sharing the trials and tribulations of motherhood. We share so much more now that we both have the title of mom. I hope that my girls can find that same closeness when they grow up and are Moms (they are both planning for that day already!).

My mother worked when many women didn't, certainly none of my friend's mom's did. I think that experience has made it easier for me to be a working Mom today. I know she understands how hard it is. I also remember that her job as a nurse didn't allow her to run out to my school for special events which sticks with me today. I know its one of those things that makes me obsessive about making it to school for every special day at both girl's schools. I don't want them to remember that I wasn't there for (insert day here). I am sure there will be plenty of other things that will come up as they progress through school and I'll have to make tough decisions, I feel very lucky to have had someone pave that path for me. Life is easier when you have examples that you can choose to follow--or not. One of the few things that stops me cold is the thought of her not being there. Two years ago my best friend's mother died. I'd known her since I was 6 and it was hard for me, I couldn't imagine what it was like for my friend. I spent a lot of time imagining what my life would be like without my mother and it incredibly hard to face.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Think Thin Thursday Update

Today was weigh-in #2 since I started Weight Watchers. Since I didn't believe the number much last week (9.6 for a reminder) I was sure I would hold steady this week. No huge number but a respectable 2.2 pounds. Yippee! It seems to be working.

This morning I made a more monumental change personally, I went to the pool in a swimsuit without long legs or a skirt. A plain old black Speedo. My thighs are my least favorite body part, I often describe them as the mutant cauliflower stuck to the sides of my legs--sad but true its a relatively accurate picture of color and texture.

I ran yesterday, swam today and tomorrow its probably another run unless I can find time to fit in a ride. Tomorrow night I am off to a retreat with the church ladies. Lets hope it is the relaxing, meditative, introspective time I need.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What a bunch of jocks

My parents came to visit this weekend to see the girls play soccer on Saturday.

But first...
I had my tri training class-our first ride and run on the Iron Girl course. I gotta say, riding on the road with traffic scares the bejeezus out of me. It wasn't so bad when we started shortly after 7AM, on the way back to the park an hour later was a different story, there was the regular weekend morning crowd along with a walk for the Special Olympics, and the big local triathlon is coming up in three weeks so everyone was out trying to get in a practice ride. The camaraderie among riders was good, they'd pass and give a "keep going" or the "downhill is the fun part!" Gotta say the manners of the riders far outweighed some of the drivers. SUVs hugging the line when there is nowhere else to go is just damned scary. But I made it. I got up all the hills, not without feeling like my heart was going to pound out of my chest but I made it without falling over. After the ride was a 3 mile run around the lake. It wasn't too bad, my legs weren't nearly as spent as they have been in the past when it was time to run, I'll take that as a good sign!

I made it home and it was off to soccer. PDQ scored a goal! Unfortunately the folks, Boobah and I hadn't made it to the field yet and GMan was still unloading the camera. The other parents were happy to tell me all about it and the fact that it was a "real" goal, not one that she slipped by someone paying attention. We hurried from her game all the way back across town to Boobah's game. She spent most of her time picking her nose. My little multi-tasker. There was a little guy on the other team with sunglasses that matched his jersey, complete with headband. He was seriously out of control--at last count he scored 10 goals. I know because he was keeping track and showing it to his parents on his fingers.

Mom and I did our favorite sporting activity in the afternoon--sale shopping at Kohl's. It was great to see my parents. The girls adore them and Boobah was Pop's girl. She wanted nothing more than to spend time with my Dad. He eats up every minute of it. The girls are off to spend a week with my parents in June when schools out and I know they will all love it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Think Thin Thursday Report

Yesterday I had my first weigh-in at Weight Watchers. I am scale obsessed but wasn't sure how the scale at WW in the afternoon, fully dressed would compare to the one at home in the morning nekkid. Somehow I didn't manage to step on the scale at home last week before the initial weigh-in.

I went to the meeting, chatted in line and waited my turn. The woman who weighs people reminds me a lot of Grandma Yetta from The Nanny. I got on the scale and she looked at me and the scale and back at me. I was a bit worried. Great week she announces, 9.6 pounds! Woo-hoo! It was a bit like the Biggest Loser. Unfortunately no chance of winning $250,000 but definitely feeling like a million bucks. It was so frustrating thinking I was eating "okay" but not losing any weight given the huge increase in activity. It should be interesting in coming weeks to try and tweak it to the point where I can continue to lose at a healthy rate and still feel good to work out.

Strong week of training, two swims, two bikes and one run, tomorrow is training class since there is Clyde's 10K a really popular race in town on Sunday. We are doing a good part of the Iron Girl bike course and all of the run so 14m bike and 3.4m run.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Five for Five

I borrowed this one from Annie.

FIVE PICTURES - FIVE WORDS PER PICTURE.Any 5 pictures, any subject, and any 5 words to describe and/or explain each picture.

Looks fast--don't ya think?

No cotton candy for me?

Think I'll make the Olympics?

Now, where *was* the goal?

Can they go home yet??

Thanks to Gman for the fab photos.

Thank you! You're welcome?

I read something not too long ago, I can't for the life of me remember where, (if it was your blog, speak up and take credit!) about the responses to thank you. If I remember correctly the author was admonishing the use of responses like "sure" and "no problem" when saying thank you. S/he thought that it diminished the thank you as a no big deal kind of thing. It has had me thinking and I've come to realize that I use those two responses a lot! Once I realized it I've been thinking about whether it was okay.

Here are my thoughts, when I hold a door open for someone and they say thank you (or thanks) for some other small nicety I don't think a "you're welcome" is always necessary, a "sure" is fine. Why? Because its small and sometimes in passing there just isn't time for "you're welcome." Sometimes it isn't even a full thank you, its thanks. The informal act and giving of thanks seems to reuire an informal response. In more formal settings or when someone does something on a bigger scale "you're welcome" is the proper response.

So, what do you think is "you're welcome" always necessary or is "sure" or "no problem" okay with you?

Saturday, April 12, 2008


It has been cool and rainy around these parts the last several weeks. The kind of weather that makes you wonder if it will ever warm up and dry out. Thursday and Friday were pretty nice, it got up into the low 70s. The forecast for the weekend was rain and cooler-it was supposed to start raining last night. Other than a few showers we were spared.

With the lack of rain we spent the day at the school carnival outside and at the soccer fields. The forecast and the dark days made me forget about the sun and what it does to my lilly white skin. Really I should know better. My grandfather died from melanoma and my younger sister has already had a skin cancer removed. If you are interested in sponsoring me to help with the fight against melanoma you can visit my Tri-to-Win fundraising page and give me some love. Here is what I looked like after the second soccer game today. Guess its time to find the sun screen and start using it!

The bruise you ask? Yeah, ran into the lever on the paper towel dispenser in the bathroom at work trying to get out of someone's way. Can you say OUCH!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weight Watching

I did it. I signed up for Weight Watchers at Work. I have been frustrated with not losing weight as much as I've been working out. I didn't think I was eating that poorly but I guess we will see. I've been burning between 5200-6000 calories a week working out (according to my heart rate monitor). I know there is debate about the accuracy of the calorie burn but estimates I've seen say to discount by 10-20%, that still puts me around the 5000 calorie mark. I've heard all the muscle weighs more than fat talk I can stand. I know my body shape is changing but its still frustrating not to see it on the scale that has always been the measure of success.

I am hoping that the return to WW will give me the focus on what I am eating that I've had on exercise for the past few months. In the past I've always done it in the opposite order, started with food and then added in exercise.

Dropping pounds isn't just to look better. My blood pressure is down from the exercise alone. I definitely feel better too. I know that I could be faster if I were lighter. I know that I'd hear a lot less complaining from my knees, hips and back if I were lighter. So now, lets see if I can be a little lighter. Watch for Thursday or Friday updates on progress.

I rode 10.5 miles this morning near the office. It was nice to be outside on the bike. Going fast downhill still scares the crap out of me, I really need to get over it! The lowlight was dropping my water bottle and running over it. I am surprised that my little skinny tires took the bump without me ending up in the road. The spray across the road from the water bottle was quite impressive if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I won! I won!

Jenni my PIM-friend over at Chaos Among Us had a contest to celebrate the upcoming opening of her Etsy shop and I won a collection of the cool crafty stuff she is going to sell-blog candy! Do me a favor and check her stuff out when she gets things opened up.

Thanks Jenni!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

You did what in the rain?

I got up this morning for my triathlon training class--2 hours of biking and running--and ran to the computer to see if there was a note from the coaches. Nope, nothing. I climbed back in bed for an 8 minute snooze. Got back up, checked again, still nothing. I steeled myself to the idea that we were actually going to bike and run this morning in the 46 degrees and raining weather. Running in the rain I could handle, biking in the rain worried me. Especially on my thin road tires that actually scare me a bit going down hill when its dry. Face it, all of my mass, balanced on those thin, slick tires in the rain. Those aren't odds that I like.

I got to the assigned meeting place 5 minutes before the class is supposed to start. Normally people would be lining the roads and warming up. I got out my Blackberry and sure enough, now there was a note from the coach. Dress warm, come out and learn to ride in the rain! Ugh. So I waited, finally there were two more minivans joining me. I decided I'd give it until 7:05 and then I was out of there. I was up, I was going to use my time. The minute the clock turned to 7:05 I started up my van, it was raining harder, it was dark and all I could think about was ending up on the ground.

I pulled out at 7:06. I thought about going home and putting my bike on the trainer but I really prefer to ride outside. Maybe it will clear up later today. If not, there is always tomorrow. So I drove to the gym and parked. I decided I'd get my run in, what is a little rain when you are running? There is a 5K loop from the gym around the lake and back. I'd never run the whole thing and decided it was my "punishment" for not riding this morning. Off I went.

The first few minutes were miserable. My hamstring a little tight, my legs a little sluggish. As I ran I got into a rhythm, it wasn't so bad. It struck me that running in the drizzle was far better than slogging away on the treadmill. The lake is pretty, things are starting to bloom everywhere. The geese and ducks are fun to watch as they do the spring time mating rituals. Just watch out for the geese on the path, they don't particularly like company! I found myself ENJOYING running in the drizzle, once I was warmed up it kept me just the right temperature. There were few other people out, mostly just dog walkers a couple of guys running but that was about it. I took advantage of the lack of people to sing out loud along to my tunes when I felt like it. If someone had told me six months ago I'd be running 3+ miles in the rain and enjoy it I'd have laughed out loud. The kind of laugh that makes milk come out your nose.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Return of the Morning People

This morning I drug myself out of bed at 4:45 AM to get to the pool for my 5:15 swim. It would be nice if the lifeguard could get his &^$#*&^ butt out of bed in time to get there as well. For the second week in a row we couldn't get into the pool until after 5:35 because there was no lifeguard. People who are nuts enough to be at the pool at 5AM are also probably nuts enough to be do bad things to you when you don't do your job. Just sayin'...

We did drills for our time in the pool. My hips are sore from the kamikaze cycling class I took yesterday at noon. Kicking in the pool felt like serious work. So far this week I've gotten in a "fast" short run, core workout, cycling class and swim drills. I need to get in another run, core workout and finish up my swim workout from this morning between now and Saturday.

I get home from my swim feeling tired and grumpy. I futz around the kitchen a bit and pull out some chicken to thaw for dinner when I hear noises. The first one not such a big deal but then more noises. I head upstairs and what do I find? Both of my children. Awake. Getting ready for school. Without any prompting. I almost had to go outside and check that it was the right house. I have no idea what has gotten into them (but I am *not* complaining) but the last two mornings one got up on her own and then woke up the other--which went over like a lead balloon. Then this morning they BOTH got up. It was amazing how much easier the morning went with everyone awake and happy, not being rushed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Maven Says: Hugs for Hip Hop Harry

First I just have to set the stage, I am a white girl from the rural Midwest, Hip Hop dancing is outside of my usual music tastes that run more to country line dancing. After watching Hip Hop Harry with my girls, my musical tastes haven't changed but my appreciation for the moves certainly has. As soon as the DVD arrived in the mail from Parent Bloggers Network my 4 & 7 year olds were begging to watch Harry.
If you haven't yet had the Hip Hop Harry experience the main character is a large stuffed bear with a big grin dressed in baggy shorts, a hat that sits slightly askew on his head and a big piece of "bling." Harry, with the help of two older kids teaches his classes hip hip dance moves along with life lessons. Sprinkled in is a good dose of amazing dancing by his troupe of dancers. The diverse group of boys and girls put on an amazing show of dancing and acrobatics that makes you want to get up and dance.
As I have gotten more into sports and fitness I look for every opportunity to get my kids up and moving. A DVD that allows them to watch the TV that they want and get off the couch like I want is a definite winner.
The lessons ranged from the importance of drinking water to take care of your body to being conflicted over whether its okay to want to win if that means your sister loses. I appreciated the breadth of subjects tackled in the episodes we watched as well as the fun way the lessons were approached. At the end Harry reviews the lessons learned reinforcing the important points in a fun way.
If I have one complaint it comes from the granola crunchy side of me. In the lesson on the importance of drinking water the kids all have multiple containers of bottled water and Harry raps about bottled water in his song. The water message is great, the encouragement to buy it in bottles and not fill up your water bottle over and over made me cringe just a bit. Again, a minor nit from my granola crunchy self.

Overall I thought Hip Hop Harry was a hit. Good messages delivered in a fun way with reinforcement throughout. The added bonus is that the music makes it almost impossible to just sit and watch, you WANT to get up and move. PDQ said to me this morning that she couldn't quite get how to "lock." Thanks again to Parent Bloggers for letting us pop & lock with Hip Hop Harry!