100th post

I’ve had quite a few days in a row of posting here, which obviously isn’t the norm for me. I’m trying to decide if it is because I’ve had something to say, or because I’ve seen that I was creeping closer to 100 posts. In any case, here it is the 100th post. Now what?

I’ve decided that I would just recap some of my favorite posts. It seems that most of the posts that I really enjoy are not the posts with comments. For one reason or another, these posts clearly communicated something in a way that felt cathartic to me. They were/are posts that I go back and read periodically because they give me a warm glow, or perhaps I thought they were funny, witty, whatever. This is the part of the sitcom where they call it a new episode, but they really just have the characters sitting on a couch (I’m clearly envisioning episodes of The Cosby Show that have been in this vein, because I’ve seen every single episode of The Cosby Show at least twice...did you know that in the first episode The Cosby’s only had 4 children, the oldest, Saundra, did not exist yet?) reminiscing so they can show scenes from past episodes. Is that called recycling? I’m not going to rank my posts, but I will offer tidbits I feel are warranted along the way. Don’t worry, you don’t really have to go back and read the old posts if you don’t want to!

My first blog post makes the list because it was my first post of course. It attempted to capture the frantic pace of life I was feeling at the time. Two little kids at home, still breastfeeding and pumping for the youngest, working full time, just trying to juggle everything while staying relatively sane. Survival Mode.

How potty training a child can turn an otherwise reasonable adult into an incompetent fool also makes the list. At the time I was just so clearly fed up with the whole potty training process. It seems so foreign to me now that he is potty trained. I can see that I was wasting my time getting so worked up about it. It was never about me, it was about him, and when he was ready it just happened. Potty Training Drop Out.

I didn’t pick any of my other business travel rants because most of them are just very negative. Looking back I can see how unhealthy it was for me to constantly complain about travel. All it did was make me miserable. Must. Remember. That. The. Next. Time. I. Travel. For. Work. Still, this post makes the list because I still think it is incredibly funny that my colleague would chose to eat Slim Fast and Beef Jerky for dinner rather than to just go to a restaurant with me for 30 minutes! Slim Fast and Beef Jerky.

The post I wrote on The Boy’s last birthday makes the list because it just does. I felt like it captured many of the thoughts I was reflecting upon that day. We get so caught up in our kids’ accomplishments that we forget that we are learning and growing as they age as well. Every once in a while we need to pat ourselves on the back for the wonderful job we are doing just by taking care of our kids each and every day. It is no small feat, raising kids. Thank you for teaching me.

The gift bag post was selected because I feel it does a good job of challenging some of the backlash parents have towards the excesses of birthday parties today. Do I think birthday celebrations can be overblown? Yes. Do I think giving kids gift bags has to be a bad thing? No. We all need to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and just decide what is right for our own families. More importantly we need to stop judging other parents for what they do or don’t do in these contexts. What’s wrong with gift bags?

I so enjoy watching my kids play with Christmas ornaments. It isn’t that I am a Christmas freak, it isn’t that the toys are all that interesting, it just reminds me that I loved to play with the wooden ornaments when I was young. I thought it was extremely funny when The Boy proclaimed that “The snake ate the baby Jesus,” as he was playing with our ornaments last Christmas. Perhaps my story telling ability isn’t phenomenal, but in person this was hilarious! The snake ate the baby Jesus.

Turning off the television at our house in the morning, and ridding myself of my morning computer habit has made a profound impact on my life. It has been many months now, and my kids are watching far less television (A DVR’d episode of The Backyardigans some days after daycare, and an hour or so of whatever they choose each weekend morning), and the morning routine is much smoother than it ever used to be. I’m not going to say that mornings are hassle free, but there is no way we could go back to watching cartoons in the mornings now. The great no TV before daycare experiment.

As you might have picked up on from reading here I’ve been trying to be more positive since I read/watched The Secret. It really has had a profound impact on my life in more ways than one. I still find myself falling into the negative traps of my past, but I’m learning and growing. What do you want in your life?

The ode to my treadmill makes the list because my treadmill was my inspiration for my blog title. How can I not pay her homage? An Ode to my treadmill.

Finally I am going to select a very recent post. After reading the post that immediately preceded it a few times I decided that I needed to shift my attitude. The Girl is still a baby in so many ways, and I need to let her be one, stop willing her to grow up faster than she already is. On being 23 months old.

I hope this wasn’t too boring for you to read. I have most of my posts saved as Word documents so I can peruse them at my leisure fairly easily, but I hadn’t in a while. It has been a fun trip for me so far, thanks for reading!

P.S. This was more work to write than a normal blog post, so I take back my comments about recycling!

P.P.S. Tell me what you think of my new masthead. I've been meaning to customize it for ages, but finally got around to it.


Random observation of the week: kids notice stuff

Monday evening the kids and I went for a walk. The Boy insisted that we go to the playground, but as it was already after 6:30 PM I knew the playground was a bad idea. He agreed that we could walk to the duck pond (his duck pond) instead. As we got closer to the pond (It is 0.3 miles from our house – sad bit of Garmin GPS running watch trivia I happen to have memorized) he started telling me that we would see “the eyeballs.” I had no idea what he was talking about. I just did my standard response when I don’t want to hurt his feelings or pry too deeply which was to say something along the lines of “okay.” Of course he kept persisting that we would see the eyeballs on the sign, and “have you seen that sign before Mommy?” I had no idea what he was talking about, so I had to start prodding for more information. “Where are the eyeballs honey?” I asked. “They are on the sign” he insisted. “What sign?” I continued. “The sign by the duck pond,” he said now clearly annoyed with me. Okay. Thankfully we got to the duck pond, and as we approached he kept saying “that sign there mommy!” I still had no idea what he was talking about. It wasn’t until we passed the sign (we could see just the blank back as we approached) that I figured out he had been talking about a neighborhood watch sign. Yes indeed, there is an eyeball on that sign. I’ve seen the sign a million times, but never really looked at it before.

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It is amazing the things in this world we take for granted. It is nice to have a child point them out to you every now and again. I’m sure that from now on I will notice that sign. In fact, just this morning I realized that we have another eyeball sign (er neighborhood watch sign) in the space between our driveway and our neighbor’s driveway…the neighbor being a neighborhood watch “block captain” and all.


On being 23 months old

This weekend The Girl passed a very important milestone in her life. It was not a milestone that anyone aside from me celebrated though. She turned 23 months old. It is significant because when her older brother turned 23 months old he got the gift of a sibling.
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The Girl already has the gift of a sibling, but she did not receive a younger sibling (and there are currently no plans in place to provide her with one). I look at her now and wonder how we could have possibly thought The Boy was sufficiently old enough to be a big brother at this tender age. She is becoming more and more a little girl with each passing day, but in my eyes she is still a baby.
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She isn’t a baby by the traditional sense of the word, she can speak in sentences, she feeds herself (and is quite proficient with utensils), she walks, she runs, she assists with dressing herself, can climb up into the minivan and get up into her car seat without help, etc. She does still wear diapers, and has that one last hold out bottle before bed. Of course the bottle is mostly my thing I’ll admit; it is sort of nice that she loves that last bit of cuddle time with me before sleep. I see the “babies” at daycare and think that they are all so tiny in comparison, but yet when I get The Girl home she goes right back to baby status in my eyes. I wonder if she will always seem like my baby. Her brother will always be older than her, but I suppose he won’t always be more advanced than she is.
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I have such a hard time dealing with the idea that these little kids of mine will become bigger kids, and then teenagers, and finally adults. It seems almost impossible that my kids will one day grow up and not live in the same house I do. They are like extensions of my heart, walking around in the world, and someday I am supposed to let them go out in the world all on their own? I’m sure I will blink and The Girl will be on the brink of 4, and then 14, and then 22. This is why I need to stop dwelling on the nighttime routine. I know that eventually The Girl won’t want me lying on her bedroom floor, and will in fact shut the door on me when I try to do so. For this moment I need to be grateful for the baby I have, and I need to remember to stop willing her to grow up faster than she already is. Besides, it is DH’s turn to put the kids to bed tonight! *wink*


Wrapped around her finger

Please tell me this is a phase. Lie to me if you have to, but I need to hear that I won’t be sleeping on the floor of The Girl’s bedroom for much longer than a week or two. We had a nice stretch in there of being able to simply plop The Girl in her crib, turn on her beloved Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium, say I love you, say goodnight, and walk away (this after reading books to her and The Boy). I’d love to blame the vacation for this newest turn of events, but truth be told it did start before then. I like to blame myself so I’m sure it was a direct result of my most recent business trip. Perhaps she missed me, perhaps she is getting the last of her teeth, the dreaded 2 year molars, or perhaps she is just testing us to see how much she can torture us. Who knows?

DH copes by bringing his laptop with him, and just working, surfing the internet, or playing solitaire while he waits for her to fall asleep. Providing reassurance along the way that he is still in the room by answering her continued questions of “where you going Daddy?” with “I’m here, go to sleep baby,” until she finally gives up. I take the less practical and more self defeating approach of just lying on the floor and then trying to inch my way out of the room so she doesn’t notice I’ve left. Her floor is creaky though, so inevitably I am caught and have to say “shhhh” a few times before The Girl trusts that I’m not trying to sneak away. I lay there thinking that surely this will be the last medley of Aquarium tunes, and that at the end of this set, she will be fast asleep so I can make my way out of the room. Inevitably the tunes end, she reaches up and presses the button yet again so we can hear that fabulous water bubbling noise combined with the light show and the melodies that will be forever ingrained in my head. The entire time I lie there calculating if it is better to sneak out before the aquarium shuts off or after, which risks a creak in the floor waking her up. It is painful. Back when this was the norm, I did bring my laptop into the room because it was far better than the lying on the floor waiting game, but I am digging in my heels now. Surely, this will be a short-lived phase.

Oh, I know many of you are thinking that we are horrible parents, who haven’t established rigid stable routines for our kids to follow, and perhaps you are right. I mean if your kids go to sleep easily I’ll be the first to admit my jealousy. Of course, The Boy does go to sleep easily, and always has. I remember patting ourselves on the back because we did everything right with him, putting him in his crib while he was still awake from very early on. Yes, there were paci replacement trips at night, but mostly he was a good sleeper from day one. Yes, while on vacation or otherwise away from his normal routines things get messed up for him in the sleep department, but he bounces back quickly. We do have a routine, that is very stable, and we aren’t hyping the kids up right before bed. The Girl just likes to know that she isn’t alone, and until she gets back to the place where she knows when we walk out of her room we will still come back when she needs us, she isn’t going to be there.

Yes, I realize we are caving into temper tantrums. We tried to let her CIO (cry it out) last week, and after an hour of listening to her scream I caved. I got into her room, and could smell that the poor thing had pooped. I changed her, put her back in her crib after some cuddles, patted her back, and she was asleep in minutes. Others will say that we just needed to wait longer (though obviously we had to change that diaper), just suck it up for the 3 hours it takes. I guess we’ve decided that the lying in her room routine is preferable to listing to her scream though. My little girl knows what she wants, when she wants it, and from whom it should be provided. Her parents know that sometimes it is just too painful to do what is right. Why does this have to be so hard?


Thankfully the trail is not well traveled

I went out for a run this morning, and on the way to my favorite trail I was reminiscing about the beautiful things I've seen outside recently. A few weeks back I was running up the major street that is closest to my house. There is the hint of a bike path along one side of the road so I keep it in my running rotation. The street is very busy, but one side borders a wet land area. As I was running I glanced down into the swamp water immediately to my left I saw a beaver swimming. He/she quickly hightailed it away from my view, but I still got goosebumps thinking about how incredibly cool it is that I can be right next to a major road and still see wild animals going about their lives.

The beaver was a somewhat rare sighting for me. I mean I routinely see rabbits, mostly at our house since they seem to have formed a colony underneath our multi-level deck. Good thing we don't garden! I also see squirrels and chipmunks or gophers, whatever it is they actually are. Of course there are also the geese, and the ducks, the ducks who decided our driveway was a fine place to land a while back. Lest you think we live in the boonies, I'll say we are right smack in the middle of suburbia, albeit a suburb that does have a big chunk of undeveloped wetlands in the middle. Wednesday I saw a blue heron on the banks of a tiny pond as I ran past. It really has been a fabulous few weeks in the nature watching department.

All of the recent animal sightings had me in a glow of wonder and amazement. I decided to run down to my favorite creekside trail so I could enjoy the creek rather than staring at houses. The trail is a nice little treat. I started running because of this trail. We used to live much closer to the trail, so it was my daily running path, but now I only get over there a few times per month. I'd run a little over a mile on the trail when it happened. I saw a dead snake on the trail. I briefly freaked out, but since it didn't move at all I just gave it some space and kept on my way. Perhaps 40 feet later I saw another snake, and this one wasn't dead. I screamed. I stopped in my tracks, and I waited for the little baby garter snake to get out of my way. Shit. I hate snakes. All of my thoughts about how much I enjoy nature just vanished as I could feel my heart racing faster than the running pace I was keeping could cause. I'm sure I sounded like an idiot, but thankfully the trail is not well traveled. I doubt anybody heard my little girly scream. Stupid snake, now I'll have to avoid the trail for a few months before I feel like it is safe again.


What have we gotten ourselves into?

I've mentioned our great remdeling plans before, but I haven't offered too many details. We have now ordered cabinets for the new kitchen, picked out plumbing fixtures, and will be choosing granite soon. It seems as though we have reached the point of no return, so I thought it was fair to show you some pictures of what we are planning. I'm sure I will complain much over the next few months as our house undergoes the chaos that is remodeling. Please bear with me.

Kitchen now (roughly, this photo was from the MLS listing, we have a new refrigerator since then, and a new dishwasher):
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The newly designed kitchen from the eating area not visible in the previous photo:
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The dining room now (again with the MLS listing, that is not our table):
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The soon to be non-existant dining room:
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And another view for good measure:
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What have we gotten ourselves into?


Village Idiots

I apologize for being scarce around here. We got back from our wonderful vacation on Sunday, but it has been a flurry of activity since then. Work has been crazy, and our big house remodel project has been kicked into high gear (we haven’t started yet, but we did order the kitchen cabinets today). Forget about the mundane day-to-day stuff though, in this post I am going to let you in on my vacation learnings:

1. I blogged about the great ash in the hot tub incident already, so I don’t need to go there
2. Crayola Color Wonder markers are fabulous, except when used to draw on stained wood closet doors. No, no, they don’t leave any colored marks on the doors, but they do leave a streak that can’t be easily removed (at least not without sanding and re-staining the doors). Even the fabulous Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is of no use.
3. A nearly 2 year old can be lightning quick when she thinks it is funny to run out into the street
4. Blond girl children need to wear hats or have sunscreen applied to their hair part lines in order to avoid sunburned heads
5. Non-blond Treadmillista’s also need to wear hats or put sunscreen in their hair part lines in order to avoid sunburned heads – OUCH!
6. The Boy really enjoys talking about toots, his, hers, made up toots, it doesn’t really matter, all are extraordinarily funny
7. It is difficult to get the kids to sleep at night while on vacation – understatement
8. Dirt is fun to play with – pouring it on Mommy’s head is absolutely thrilling
9. My laptop battery can’t even last through one viewing of Toy Story 2 anymore
10. The Girl needs her own seat on an airplane
11. When you check your car seats they don’t always arrive on the same flight you did
12. Having your child refer to a grandparent by the name of the state she lives in becomes confusing when you arrive in that state – are we going to name of state now?

I’m sure there are more. Perhaps the most profound learning for me was that when you have an extra set or two of adults around “watching” your children you all become a little less guarded than normal. I’m convinced that items 1 through 3 above would not have occurred had it been just DH and I on duty. This makes me question the whole “it takes a village” approach to raising kids. I mean, we all felt like someone else was watching the children, so none of us were watching them as closely as we should have been. Or perhaps it just shows that DH and I become the village idiots when we have back-ups around. In any case, my deepest apologies for any damage we may have done to your house Mom. We had a great time!

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You got ash in my hot tub - or vacation at Mom's

When those of us from the frozen tundra venture to warmer climates for spring vacations we have this subtle need to have it be wicked cold back home while we are gone. It isn't that we don't want spring to come to our home town, it is just that if we are escaping for a while it better not be warmer at home while we are gone! Thankfully the weather gods have come through this year. The treadmilling around family is visiting my Mom in her warmer climate home, while they are getting snow back home. Yipee!!! Sorry, I can't help that it makes me happy.

Things you can do outside in the spring when you live outside of the frozen tundra:
1. Run outside in shorts and a tank top and get too hot
2. Get a sunburn on your arms
3. Relax in a lawn chair outside in shorts and a t-shirt while reading a trashy book
4. Let your kids play outside all day long while wearing shorts, t-shirts, and sandals
5. Not wear a coat
6. Not wear mittens or hats
7. Have I mentioned shorts and t-shirts?
8. Feel too warm in the hot tub outside (before your oldest child decided that dumping a can of cigarette butts into the hot tub was a good idea)
9. Help try to clean out the hot tub with sieves
10. Help drain, clean, and refill the hot tub because you just can't get all of that nasty ash out of the water any other way

I'm sure I'll be scarce for the rest of the week, and hopefully the hot tub is back in commission in a couple of days. In case you were wondering, The Boy and The Girl were standing over the edge of the hot tub, using it as their own private water table, while DH and I watched from inside the house (kids clearly visible at all times). We had given them buckets, plastic ducks, and various other toys, and we just didn't realize that the old coffee can filled with cigarette butts would be so appealing to them. I saw him with the can and had an oh shit moment, and it was already too late. Secretly I think The Boy planned this, as the hot tub is normally far too hot for him to set foot in...now it will be cold for a few days and I'm sure he will get to try it out. Or maybe I'm giving him more credit than he deserves, he's used to drainable sinks and bathtubs afterall.


Stroller intervention

The treadmilling around family consists of two parents, two kids, two plants, and four strollers. How do I explain the four strollers you ask? Well, we have the Graco Metrolite stroller that was handy for snapping infant carrier carseats into when the kidlets were tiny, then there is the Kool Stride by Kool Stop jogging stroller for when I need to run but have a kidlet in my care (we don't have a double jogger because well I'd mostly rather run on the treadmill than push two kids in a jogging stroller, but that is just me). We also have a Combi Twin Savvy double side-by-side stroller, which was handy in the days when The Boy would still sit in a stroller. Our forth stroller is a Koolcraft cheapie $20 green umbrella stroller. So which stroller do you think we use the most often? Truth be told our most loved stroller is the Graco stroller. However, we haven't spent much time cleaning it, and since it has gotten so much love it is pretty disgusting now. Yes, we could clean it out, give it a little stroller tune up so it performs optimally, but instead I've decided we need a new umbrella type stroller. We need one with a storage basket underneath you see. Now I just need to sell this idea to my DH. Do you think he will be excited about adding a 5th stroller to our family? I'm leaning towards no, but when it just shows up at our house for use on our upcoming vacation I figure he will just adjust.

It is a good thing I don't have a shoe habit, because with soon to be 5 strollers, and the at least 7 diaper bags that have passed through my possession I have another problem. I have a baby gear addiction. Do you think there is hope for me? I suppose the habit will just naturally end since my youngest child is nearly two years old now. I don't think I need an intervention.


No, but I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night

I'm not ignoring my blog, just traveling for work again. I don't even have the energy to complain about it. Come to think of it, why in the hell am I still up at 10:30 PM when a full night of non nearly-two-year-old-sleep-disruption is on tap? I always seem to stay up later when I travel. The 9 PM cutoff time doesn't apply when I travel, and neither does the no morning internet policy. I mean I have no trouble getting to the client site on time when I only have to dress and feed myself, and don't have to drop off children at daycare. I can even manage to blow dry my hair when I stay in a hotel, crazy but true.

Speaking of hotels though, I do have one gripe. We are staying at a hotel that was carefully selected by our client. I'm assuming the $69 per night rate was the main draw, since this client is paying directly for our travel costs. I suppose it could just be a random selection though, we should really investigate. The hotel is kind of dumpy, there are ants in my room, the hotel screams "I was built in the 70's so live with it," and well it is a Holiday Inn (not a Holiday Inn Express, because clearly if I had stayed there I'd be able to perform miraculous feats). The most horrible thing about the hotel though is the lack of Comedy Central. Seriously do you think they get a big discount for providing just a smattering of basic cable channels, with HBO thrown in for good measure? Last time I checked Comedy Central was a mainstay of basic cable. What am I supposed to do without my John Stewart fix each night? We really need to look into that slingbox thing so I can watch our DVR'd stuff remotely...