Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shred Me

Today, in my living room as the kids dreamt peacefully, I started THIS wicked little video:

I started at level2, and had to pause it in the middle to go get another towel to wipe up my drippage (the sweat, I mean... just to clarify...).

Anyways. I thought it was worth broadcasting to people who blog-love me. I'm excited to see how it goes, I've heard there are some pretty amazing results if you can stick to it.

Maybe tomorrow I'll actually put the pint of ice cream down and join in. HA!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

It is Written


That's right, folks. Dawson has met his summer goal of being able to spell AND write his first and last name before kindergarten.

This is a proud parenting moment, indeed. The kid is brilliant, I'm telling you. He simply made up his mind one day, and it took him less than 5 minutes to memorize the letters once he decided he could do it!

I sat and watched as he wrote them all out yesterday, and never said a peep. It was like he had done it a million times. The strangest feeling came over me, like we are entering a new chapter and this is tangible evidence. It stung a little!

The part that struck me most odd was as he wrote the lowercase letter 'e,' he looked at me and made a comment about how he might need some help... and the way he was holding his pencil at the bottom of the line where the letter should end I thought he was confused for a moment. But then, he went backwards and drew it from the bottom upwards, ending with the part that curves back around to the middle.

This is precisely how Tyson writes his lowercase letter 'e.'

Creepy, no?

How's THAT for genetics. I'm pretty positive Dawson has never actually watched Tyson write this way, and I've always thought it was a different way to go about the task. Maybe I am the unconventional lower case letter 'e' writer, ha. Either way, I could SWEAR their handwriting already bears similarity (although Tyson's is more than a little bit neater for the time being).

Anyway, enough about all that. MY LITTLE BOY IS OFF TO KINDERGARTEN in less than a month! I'm stocking up on Kleenex.

I promised him at the beginning of the summer that if he mastered his task of the first and last name perfectly before school started, I would take him to Target and get him ANY toy he wanted.

He chose this here Star Wars storm trooper gun:

He was so sweet in the store when he realized Anabelle wouldn't be getting a toy, he made her all kinds of promises about how he would share it and "I won't even tease you with it, Anabelle."

Of course he forgot almost immediately, but it was the thought that counted.

I think the best part was watching him SO excited to rush home and take it outside and round up all the neighborhood kids so they could play outside with it. It made me happy that he was so thrilled with a new toy, like it was something that really meant a lot to him because our kids NEVER get new toys between their birthdays and Christmas. So this was a definite reward, and a real treat. He was in heaven.

So am I, for that matter.

How did I get lucky enough to have the best and brightest kids ever?


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Whoops, I Did It Again.

That is, volunteered to subject myself to cruel and unusual torture methods just to say I could do it (I guess?).

Also... I like to make my friends happy. And Kari really really wanted to do this. How could I say no?

Last Saturday was my first official bike ride. Like, really getting out on the road to see what she could do. It was about 20 miles, took a little more than an hour, and was an absolute blast.

I did, however, discover that while I absolutely LOVE the bike I found in theory... it is unfortunately a smidge big for me. I haven't quite decided what the solution for this dilemma is... whether I am going to tearfully kiss her goodbye, re-craigslist her and try to find her smaller sister for the same price or better (miracles happen every day, people!), or else Tyson has expressed an interest in keeping it for himself, and just purchasing a new bike for me (again, miracle cash shows up ALL THE TIME!). In the mean time, she is still rideable. Its just a little awkward at times.

And so... and HERE'S where the crazy talk begins, next week I am starting a training regimen that looks a little something like this, so that in 12 weeks from now, I will be ready to do THIS.

That's right my friends. Don't get all googly-eyed about the 'wine and roses' catch phrase, that's just something shiny to lure you into a torturous 100 mile ride to the prize.

I'm scared.

Between now and then, I need to:

A. Find a bike that fits properly. (for free, or close to? ha).

B. Invest in 2 good quality pairs of padded bike shorts (the term saddle sores has been added to my recent vocab list of 'phrases that make me shudder'). Apparently 2 pairs are necessary, because of the sweating which leads to the chaffing...

C. Drain my Roth IRA or post a personal add on craigslist offering my services to come up with the extra change to acquire things like padded shorts, a storage bag, watter bottles that fit my holders, and possibly a used pair of cycling shoes.

and, oh, yah... last but not least...

D. Be conditioned enough to NOT DIE in the process of riding 100 miles.

Piece of cake, I say.

Mmmmmmm, cake.

Dear Lord, what have I done?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Snakes and Snails, and Puppy Dog... um... Nipples.

This morning was a gorgeous summer day in Apple Valley, and all the kids and moms were feeling especially social, so we all ended up mingling in the streets in the wee hours of the morning before it got too hot. I want to say there were probably a dozen kids out playing before 9am!

The boys were all playing (every mom's favorite game!...) 'guns.' Anabelle joined right in, and was THRILLED they would have her. Guess who their first hostage was (the one holding the camera!).

Anyhoot. The band of hooligans all ended up playing 'army' in the field next to our house. They were commando crawling thru the rain trenches, and looking for a helpless victim to snipe.

The neighbor dog who just had puppies came trotting up to Dawson with her momma dog nipples sloshing around everywhere and Dawson goes "Hey, MOM! Look! We are the army guys, and Sophie is our army DOG! She even got's squirt guns all over her belly!"

I could NOT stop laughing.

One of the neighbor mom's whipped up a makeshift lemonade stand to keep the troops hydrated.

Dawson was especially excited about writing his own name on the cup...

When it got too hot to stand around shooting nerf guns, we whipped out the sprinklers and all the kids cooled off.

Tyson and I are always saying what a shame it is our kids never have anyone to play with. :)
It was definitely a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Love Fool

Anabelle: (sunning herself like a mermaid and striking a dramatic pose on top of the picnic table)

"Hey, Mom? Do I look like an idiot?"

Me: "What...?"

Anabelle: (batting her eyelids and enunciating for her slow mother)

"I said... do I... look... like... an IDIOT?"

*flashes a huge, hopeful stage grin*

Me: "Why do you say that? And where did you hear that word?"

Anabelle: (obviously flattered)

"Oh, Dawson says I look like an idiot all the time! Do I...?"

Me: "Dawson is not allowed to call you idiot. And its NOT a nice thing."

Anabelle: (smile melts)

"Oh. Alright."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Super Troopers

After church yesterday, we decided to go on a little hike at Serra Alto campground.

Its been a year since we hiked it. Actually, Ty and I did it last March for my birthday without the kids (obviously), so it had been awhile.

We were trying to fit a bunch of activities into our only family day together, so the time it worked out that we could go was at 2pm.

The hottest part of the day.

The trail is pretty shaded... we were walking along having a great time, and its close enough to Morro Bay to get some of the lovely ocean breeze, so it wasn't as scorching as it could have been. But it was still pretty warm in the sun.

Since everyone was having such a blast, I had a brilliant idea!

I suggested to Tyson that we try to do the whole loop. In my mind, we were 'practically there anyways!' It was 'just around the corner and up one more hill until the part where you start heading back down to the campgrounds.'

...except then, it never really was just around the corner...

only by the time I realized I was delusional, we had gone so far, we had to just keep going...

The kids started whining about being hot, and 'getting too much exercise' (that would be Anabelle) about a mile and a half in.

This is mostly uphill, mind you.

We brought a couple water bottles, and I grabbed a couple granola bars as an afterthought on the way out the door.

They came in handy when all of a sudden the kids went from squeaky clean poster children for the YMCA...

...to THIS:

I felt SO.BAD.

Their poor little cheeks were burning red, and their bright blue eyes looked like they might just pop right out of their flushed little faces. There was some minimal complaining... but heaven KNOWS Tyson and I weren't about to throw our backs out carrying 45lb kids up a mountain.

We rested a lot. We said a LOT of 'we're almost there!'s not really knowing if we actually were almost there...

...there might have been a silent prayer or two...

But ultimately... they did it!

And they were proud of themselves when we got to the top!

It was 1.7 miles uphill to this sign, then another mile down the mountain, which wasn't bad since it was all downhill (but all in the sun).

And after nearly three miles of wilderness hiking, we all did a victory dance on the bridge leading back to the sweet sight of the air conditioned car.

I am SO proud of my little super troopers. That was quite a hike!

And how cool is it that now... we can head out on a Sunday afternoon with minimal packing requirements to have an enjoyable outing.

No diapers. No strollers. No bibs. No nap times to rush home for.

All we have to worry about now is making quality memories for our children to fill their childhood with.

Yesterday was a great start.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Trotting Along

Today I ran my second 10k.

This time I was even more nervous than the first one... this time, there was a standard to live up to! I thought I did pretty well for a beginner before, and I couldn't stand the thought of getting a higher time now. I've maintained my work out schedule pretty regularly, but I've been doing spinning, step class, and other cardio things... not as much running. So I was worried.

I got up at 5:30 so I would have an hour before I needed to leave to hydrate, coffee up, eat breakfast (which I don't usually do that early), pee a hundred times, and feel calm heading out.

Somewhere between the wake up call and the starting gunshot, I got siiiiick.

Maybe it was the nerves. Maybe the last supper was haunting me. Maybe the caffeine, maybe just carsickness... but I really, REALLY thought in my head it was going to be ugly.

I'll spare you the details (Lynn, it involves the 'd' word!!)... but lets just say, we ended up running late, parking a mile away, and I was on the toilet in the tasty beach bathrooms until the moment we needed to be on the beach.


This race was a lot lower budgeted. There weren't any professional photographers (so no pics, sorry). There wasn't a party at the end. There were no mile markers to moon walk across along the way. It was also dreadfully foggy, and I didn't wear a watch, so I had absolutely no idea how far along I was at any point. Last time, we could spot the pier about a mile away to know hope was in sight. This time... zilch.

Until all of a sudden... we were there!


The final times aren't posted yet, but according to Kari's expert timing techniques... we improved our time from last time by over 3 minutes.

Also... it hurt a lot less, we both agreed.

So. I think one day soon I just might be ready for a half marathon....?

Thanks for watchin the kids, Mom... and for getting up early and making an awesome running mix, Kari.

I ran my second 10K this morning, and MAN, it felt good!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ticket to Ride

I've been dying for a bike for several months.

My interest was sparked by my 'wife' Kari, who is a triathlon super stud. I thought to myself that someday I just might be crazy enough to enter one... but alas I don't own a bike!

So I started doing my homework a little bit...

I started spinning at the gym semi-regularly, and found I no longer felt like I was going to puke blood half way thru the class.

I asked around to people I knew or knew of who are cyclists.

I visited the local bike shop and asked as many questions as they had time to answer.

I 've been watching craigslist vigilantly to familiarize myself with 'good deals,' what is hard to come by, what is more expensive, whats reasonable to expect to pay for a decent second hand bike, and so on.

I had pretty much concluded I would settle for a decent mountain bike since they are less expensive all around and you can change out the tires for road biking... even though I really wanted a road bike, because that's what all the cool kids ride. ;)

Then, I saw this little beauty:

I pondered it for a few hours, couldn't get it out of my head, alerted my spouses (Tyson, Kari)...

I couldn't decide if I wanted to go thru with it. It retails between $600 and $700, and was listed for $199. I had hoped to talk him down, but in the end there were several other offers and it all came down to who could get there the fastest.

This is the part where I realized how much I wanted this bike, because when Tyson was stuck at work, and I was on my way to swim lessons in Paso with the kids I was soooo bummed out that there wasn't any way to get over there and even look at it before one of the other prospects swooped in.

Then my phone rang.

SuperKari to the rescue!

Whats this? You want a bike, wifey? You can't go get it? Well, why don't I just find a telephone booth real fast and put on my leotard and cape, fly right on over, heckle the man who says he might sell it out from under us until he begs and pleads for us to take it off his hands, spot you $200 in cash, and then deliver it to your doorstep?"

Tyson (possessing supernatural abilities of his own) was completely on board, and even came home with cash in hand to pay Kari back without my saying a word.

How spoiled am I to have people looking out for me and being so supportive and *sob* I am just so freaking excited and feel blessed to have gotten some new wings.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Celebrating Independence

We spent this 3 day holiday weekend celebrating our independence on a number of levels... starting with a trip to the beach with some fabulous friends on Friday (which I took off... but Ty had to work).

This is the woman Dawson INSISTS he WILL marry. It creeps me out, he is SO adamant about it. Kailee is so sweet to him, I am so thankful for their friendship. She is the girl next door in every sense of the word, its the sweetest thing for a mom to watch.

Anabelle (and her other half) Addie took turns burying Kailee, the kids dug holes, splashed in the sludge, snacked, climbed rocks (well, Dawson), and just laughed and played for 2 hours that flew by. The 4 kids were PERFECT angels while Kari and I lounged on a blanket like lizards and talked about nothing. The whole day was a touch of heaven.
Saturday morning we headed out for our annual Apple Valley 4th of July neighborhood parade.

Grammie surprised the kids with a patriotic lollipop, which Anabelle took upon herself to share with the entire block.

...alright, maybe not the whole block. Just her favorites.

For the evening festivities we headed up to our neighbor's vineyard for a BBQ and a fantastic view of the Meridian firework show.

There were at least 20 kids there, and we all had an absolute blast. Even Anabelle getting sick (from ??too much junk food and motion sickness from flying down the hill on the back of this here golf cart hangin on for dear life??) didn't come close to dampering a brilliant holiday for a brilliant country we are blessed to be a part of.
As thankful as I am for our many freedoms that we have as American citizens that other parts of the world only dream of, I also found myself suddenly appreciating new freedoms in parenthood as well. Between all the festivities... the beach trip, the parade, and then the firework show... Tyson and I actually managed to get in some quality grown up mingling time while the kids entertained themselves peacefully with minimal adult interference. Its almost like we have an identity of our own again!
I am both amazed at how fast it goes and how accomplished I feel at knowing that the toddler chapter is officially closed, and we are now on to the best days of our lives enjoying our second childhood vicariously thru our beautiful blue eyed babies.
I'm so in love with you, Independence Day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Floating Stinker Bugs

Dawson and Anabelle had their very first ever swim lessons on Monday at Paso Robles Swim and Tennis Club. There are only 3 kids in the class... Julie is the third! Perfect excuse to get together and have some girl time by the pool while the munchkins swim for dear life at the mercy of someone besides their mother.

They pretty much hate it, as you can tell...

I was actually a little bit surprised to see the uncertainty of the whole "dear LORD, the stranger I JUST MET wants me to TRUST her, and put my FACE in the water and SWIM?!?!??" realization as it occurred to my generally eager and outgoing kids.
But our darling Julie... who is a full year younger than Anabelle... was so cool as a cucumber, so loving the attention, and so willing to be dunked, motor boated, and flipped any direction the instructor saw fit that she actually ended up peer pressuring my older monsters into trying just about everything they were asked to do in the end.

Atta girl, Julie. I can't wait until they all get to school, and Julie can show them that 'all the cool kids listen to their teachers and do all their homework before their parents even ask them to...'
Also, on a side note... the Lions Club sponsors the swimming pool up the street so the kids can swim free all summer long. We've already spent a few afternoons there, and on Sunday our whole family went so that Tyson could take Dawson in the big pool (they usually just stay in the separate wading pool area where most of the younger kids play).
Anyways, Dawson had a blast jumping off the edge of the pool to daddy and getting piggy back rides everywhere his little heart desired... but he was NOT about to get his head under water. I couldn't stand for it. After several minutes of unsuccessful attempts to verbally persuade him... I did what every desperate mother does when all else fails: I whipped out a big fat juicy bribe.
Me: "Dawson, I want you to try something new, I wouldn't ask you to do it if it were dangerous or bad for you, but I can see you're a little scared. So I'll make you a deal. If you put your WHOLE HEAD under the water... when we leave the park, we will go to the store, and I will buy you ANY candy bar you want."
Dawson: (...giggles... contemplates... shivers with excitement...)... "Ok, I'll try it. But Mom...? Whats a candy bar?"
I told you I don't do it that often.