Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Eggs!

To celebrate Easter, Heather and I hid exotically colored hard-boiled eggs around the front yard and then unleashed the kids to find them. Do you have visions of toddlers squealing in excitement, running around the yard, madly searching for the next egg? So did we.

In reality, it was more like...

"Hey, kids! There's an egg!"

"You don't see it?"

"It's right THERE, a foot from the end of my finger tip!"

"You still don't see it? You're touching it with your toe!"

...etc, etc.

But it was still a lot of fun. Both of them got a basket with a little present--Rowan got a little stuffed Easter Bunny and Abby got a kick ball (I just couldn't in my right mind justify buying her another stuffed animal). Abby quickly picked up that we wanted her to collect the eggs in the basket. So after she had scavenged all the eggs off the ground, she proceeded to steal Rowan's eggs. Rowan didn't mind--he seemed unconvinced that collecting eggs was a cool thing to do (I'm sure being sick had something to do with it). Once Abby had all the eggs, she sorted through them. When she found one with a broken shell (either because Rowan had chucked it down the sidewalk or because she had squeezed it to death) she would exclaim "broken!" and carefully take it and place it back in its original hiding place.

The first egg.

Collecting them in her basket.

"Why am I doing this again?

The ball.

"Are we done yet?"

Maybe next year it will be more like we imagined...

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Rest of the Trip

I've already told you about the race, which, though the reason for our trip to Boston, was only 3 and a half hours of an entire weekend vacation! So here's the rest of the trip.

We left Ann Arbor on Friday afternoon and drove to Buffalo, where we had booked a room in a luxuriant Motel 6 (yes, I'm exaggerating). We arrive just in time to get a bite to eat at a Dibella's sub shop and get to bed. It was tricky, sleeping in the same room as Abby. She was ready for bed at 8:30, but Alex and I were not. We tried for a while to get her to sleep while we watched TV, but she (as expected) was stubborn. Finally we shut the lights off and told her we were going to bed too. She was unconvinced, and spent about 30 minutes standing in the pack and play calling out "Mama! Mama! Mom! Mama Sus!" When I stopped responding she quieted for a while. Then she started carrying on conversations with me: "Mama, Buffalo!" etc. etc. She eventually went to sleep.

We drove the rest of the way to Boston on Saturday. Aside from heavy traffic in downtown Boston (probably due to the 27,000 people coming to town for the race) the trip went pretty smoothly. We arrived at Chad and Jardayna's around 4:00, just in time to relax a bit before ordering some takeout Thai food for dinner. When Violet woke up from her nap we introduced her to Abby. Abby was so cute with her. She kept gently stroking her face, and gave her several hugs and kisses. (By the way, Violet is a beautiful, happy baby. See photo evidence below.)

On Sunday, I met up with Heather and family in the morning and we headed to downtown Boston to pick up our "race packets," which included our bib numbers. The subway was insanely crowded. Being crowd-a-phobic, Heather and I decided to skip the second subway leg and walked instead. There were so many people everywhere! While I was gone, Alex, Abby, Chad, and Violet went to a park near their house. Somewhat out of the blue, there were a couple of ladies at the park with a donkey that Abby got to pet and feed. She was apparently extremely excited, but sadly, since I wasn't there, the only documentation we have is on Alex's phone. Sunday afternoon we went to another nearby park before dinner. Abby was in heaven--and so was Violet! After dinner at a nearby restaurant, we spent the evening hanging out, ogling babies, reading books to Abby, and chatting.

Saturday morning was, well, race day, and I've already told you how that went. After the race, we went to Boston Common to sit for a while. Then we headed back home, where there were ribs cooking in the oven. I took a hot bath with Abby while Jardayna and Chad worked on dinner--ribs, coleslaw, potatoes, and corn on the cob! Even in their sleep deprived state, Chad and Jardayna (and Violet) are amazing hosts. After dinner I cracked open the "marathon celebration beer" that Alex picked out for me, then headed to bed early.

Tuesday was unfortunately spent entirely on the road. 14 hours! I'm surprised we all kept our sanity (or did we?).

Park photos.
Chateau Laurent photos.
Race day photos.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Boston 2011

I ran the 2011 Boston Marathon on Monday!

My time was 3:34:11. That amounts to approximately 24 minutes slower than my ideal race time, 12 minutes slower than my last marathon, and 9 minutes slower than the pace of my last 23 mile training run. AND, despite the slow pace, it was possibly the most difficult running I have ever done in my life. (Considering how some of my other runs have gone, that's saying something!)

I could give you a laundry list of excuses. And I will. I was sick for three weeks prior to the race. I got dehydrated, had heart palpitations and cramping muscles (I decided that for THIS race I didn't need my camelback or endurolytes). And I probably should have started the race at a more moderate pace and worked up from there.

But let's be honest, there were 27,000 other people in the race, and I bet they have the same excuses if not better ones.

So, excuses aside, given that things DIDN'T work out as planned, that I WAS in agony and pretty darn miserable for over half the race, an interesting question is WHY ON EARTH DID I KEEP RUNNING? Well....

1) I thought about my baby girl and husband who were EXPECTING me to come to the finish line before 1:30.

2) I thought about Heather, who had also been sick, and who was also somewhere ahead of me. My inspiration!

3) I thought about my dad, and what he would think of me if I dropped out.

3) I heard my mother telling me "Just put one foot in front of the other" as she used to on long hikes when I was small.

4) I thought about my sister who doesn't run, and yet has the highest endurance of anyone I've ever met, and who would NEVER quit.

5) I thought about Rachel and our many discussions about how often the difficulty of running is just mental. I kept telling myself "It's just mental!"

6) I thought of Tory and how much easier running is than labor.

7) I thought of all my friends tracking my progress on line, willing me to finish.

There it is. I wouldn't have finished without all my family and friends. You didn't know I depended on you so much, did you?

I don't want to bore you with details of my agony, but I do feel compelled to share three incidents from the last half of the race.

The first happened around mile 15. I was hurting. I hadn't even hit the hills and I was having trouble keeping an 8:30 pace. I was despairing. 11 miles still to go! I stopped for a big drink of water. A guy on the side said "How is it going?" I replied "It's hard" and continued to stand and drink. Finally, when after a minute I was still standing there drinking, he said "Are you going to finish?" I glared daggers in his direction and indignantly replied "Yes" as I headed out.

The second was in the middle of the Newton hills. I was trudging up a hill and momentarily lost my desire to continue (this happened quite a few times). I stopped and walked. A guy was squatting at the top of the hill and he started yelling at me. And I mean YELLING. "Come on 8841! Don't stop!" He repeated it like 5 times at the top of his lungs! I had to start running again just to get him to shut up! Good move, guy, good move.

The third was about 500 yards from the finish line when Heather came out of nowhere and started running with me. At that time my left quad was up in the rotation of cramping leg muscles. And I was pinching my right side where a rebellious and obscure torso muscle was cramping. Despite it all, I think I actually smiled and felt happy for a moment!

Then I finished and felt like never moving again.

P.S. My overall finishing place is 8,861. That's only 40 spots down from where I started!
P.P.S. I got burned to a crisp in the sun.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What Abby Does When Gramma Visits

She gets lots of kisses:

She gets pushes on the swing:

She gets to help cook:

She gets to wear her glasses:

She gets LOTS of stories read to her:

Need I tell you that she misses her now that she's gone?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


It's been a while. Rest assured, Abby is still cute (see above). And everyday she surprises me with something new (see below).

We went for a walk around the block after dinner tonight to get a little fresh air. We were looking at the lichen on the trees and watching some crows fly over head. Then I spotted a Robin, poking around in the yard next to us. I pointed him out to Abby and told her it was a Robin. She stared at it for a long minute and finally said "Christopher Robin!" She's constantly making connections that don't even occur to me.

On the same walk we saw a green subaru outback drive by and Abby pointed at it and said "Heather's car!" Wow. My child knows her car makes and models better than I do!

When we got back, we were sitting at my computer using AlphaBaby (an awesome little Application for Macs if you have a kid that just can't wait to get her hands on the computer). She was typing letters and for each one I was trying to recite from Dr. Seuss' ABC's. For example, when she typed A I would say "Auntie Annie's Alligator." She typed in B and I said "Barber, Baby, Bubbles, aaaaaannnnnndddd ..." I was trying to remember the last B-word, but before I had a chance to think of anything Abby pipes up with "Bumblebee!" What a smartie-pants.

Also, for the record, the last four nights in a row at 8 or 8:15 she has out of the blue said to us "Abby go bed." Whaaaa??? Maybe she's my daughter after all. According to my mom I used to ask to go to bed when I was little too.