Sunday, May 31, 2009

Running: Chapter 2

This weekend officially commenced Chapter 2 of my running journey. I say “journey” and not “career” because, while running for me does embody the pursuit of various objectives (longer distances, faster pace, etc.), I do it more for the metamorphosis that takes place during each new pursuit, than I do for the actual achievement of a goal. I see this as a second chapter because my life has changed (in many ways) radically since I first began running. My body has changed from pregnancy, my fitness levels have certainly decreased, but most important, my time management skills are being put to the test like never before.

I signed up for the Freihofer’s Run for Women at the urging of my friend Linda. Now, I am not a big fan of the 5k; it’s over before it starts. It’s just too fast and short. I’ve never been fast, and don’t foresee that changing any time soon, so I’ve learned to settle in for the long haul and I’ve even discovered that I enjoy longer distances. Be that as it may, I haven't been doing much running of any length in the past year and a half, for obvious reasons. My more recent attempts at consistent running have been spotty, at best. I agreed to do the race, however, for the free box of cookies (Freihofer's is a bakery) and in hopes that it would inspire me to commit to a regular running schedule and find the thrill in training again.

Race mornings, I learned, are a little different with a one-year old than they were in “the old days”. For starters, I wasn’t fully rested since I was up with Jonas several times the previous the night. (He’s still getting over a bad cold.) 6:30 a.m. arrived too early, and the interval between then and the start of the race was a frenzy. It went something like this:

Stumble downstairs. Get coffee and bowl of granola into system. Think about getting dressed before Jonas gets up. Too late. He’s up and he’s unhappy. About everything. Try to feed Jonas. Pick up food that was thrown in every direction. Reminder 1 from Joe: time to go. Deal with the essentials—contacts, teeth, hair (well sort of), water. Slap on heart rate monitor watch which has been sitting bathroom cabinet collecting dust since Feb. 28, 2008. Reminder 2: time to go. Shit, will it ever be POSSIBLE to find two matching socks?? Nevermind. Ok, I think I’m almost ready. Joe’s got the kid and is headed out the door. Great. Reminder 3. “Do you have Jonas’ bag? What about snacks?” “No, and no.” Scramble for snacks, water, jacket, blanket. Resolve to never be this unprepared again. All things will be packed night before. Maybe even the kid, if I can figure out how to pull that one off.

Chaos aside, I actually had a great morning. Once I pinned my number and wandered through the throngs of people, an excitement stirred within. Plus, I was running with my dear friend, and my guys would be cheering me on. How much more could I ask for?

At breakfast, I had told Joe that I didn’t really care how I did, I was just going to run. All that changed as I disappeared into the energized crowd of 4,000+ women and girls, waiting for the start. Suddenly, I did care. It wasn’t about how fast I could do it; it was that I longed to push myself to my limit, to really give something my all. Hell, as far as I was concerned, it was a win that I even got myself there! Now, I just had to go out and do my very best!

I wore this necklace which was given to me by my sister for Jonas’ birth. I will wear this necklace at all my future races to remind me of the strength that I discovered within myself that day, and also of the love and support that guides me on my journey from my son and husband.

And just like that, the gun went off, my heart rate climbed to heights not experienced in quite some time, and then it was over. I didn’t set any records, but I did come away with a major success: the desire to stake out some more races and the will to put in the time. The next one will be a little longer, hopefully, hillier, woodsy-er, and challenging! Just how I like it.

Jonas and me before the race. No photos after the race--I knew it wouldn’t be a pretty picture. The hair here is bad enough (remember comment above?), but I included it anyway, because Jonas is so cute.

May 2009 photos - 14.5 months

We went to Syracuse on a whirlwind (less than 24 hr.) trip this month. Joe had a bike race there, and my friend Jonathan was visiting from England. He hadn't seen my in-laws since our wedding in 2003, so we thought it'd be nice for everyone to get together again, even if only for a short time. These photos were taken at Grandpa Toto's house.
Grandpa Toto's house is loads of fun for Jonas, because it's not quite fully baby-proofed. Here, Jonas is pulling on the antlers of a reindeer, just moments before it fell over. Fortunately, no one got hurt, not even the reindeer.And here we have Jonas trying to open the front door for a fast escape.
When that doesn't work, crawl away from the parents as quickly as possible. While Jonas is walking about 95% now, he'll resort to crawling when the get-away is important.Ooooh, more fun. Let's play with the dials on the stereo. I love listening to James Taylor at a 150 decibels. "I'm asserting myself, Mom. Look at this magical item in my hand.""OK, I'm just kidding. Let's be nice, again."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Under the weather

Between the daily exhaustion that befalls the newly walking one-year-old (every corner must be explored!) and the pollen saturated air this spring, Jonas has hit the first snag of Summer 2009. He’s been officially “under the weather” for five days, the last three being the worst. But, signs of the end are becoming clearer, although we’re not quite yet there.

His low-grade fever began at the outset of the Memorial Weekend holiday. By Monday it had climbed ever higher and even welcomed a raspy cough. Tuesday and Wednesday, we were in the thick of it: 102 degrees, then 103 degrees, runny nose, puffy raccoon eyes—the whole nine yards. Poor Jonas was miserable.

The only comfort he sought was snuggling up close to Mom or Dad, and all the better if our foreheads were touching, with Jonas billowing his hot, government biological weapons-grade, virus-laden breath in our faces. Something as minor as turning our faces away just 25 degrees would send him into a fit. Ok, ok. Breathe on me, please. Whatever will make you happy. I just want to see our happy little guy return.

Tonight at dinner we saw our Jonas “resurface”. While he was somewhat uncharacteristically picky about eating—he would only eat peaches—he jumped around in his seat enthusiastically in response to Ginger and eagerly reached for anything he could get his sticky little hands on. There is still an audible wheezing in his breathing; he sounds like a simmering tea kettle, but hopefully that will abate soon, as well. He’ll be right as rain, just in time for June.

It’s so nice to have him back.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tricks with toast

This is Jonas at breakfast yesterday. He's always a happy chappy when it comes to eating, not unlike one of his parents, no names mentioned here. I had served up toast with strawberry jam, cut it in four pieces and gave it to him.

As I sipped my coffee and stared off into space, I became aware that he was doing something with his toast, other than eating it. In my peripheral vision I noted that the toast was in front of his face for awhile, but the size of the toast hadn't gotten smaller.

I looked over to see what he was doing. There were three pieces of toast still on the plate, each with a few bites removed. And Jonas' face was covered in jam! I laughed so hard when I realized that what he was doing was licking the jam off each of the toast pieces, putting them back on the plate, and then once he was done with the jam, then he'd eat the toast.

"Hee hee hee. Look at me, Mommy. This is really tasty!!

Jonas, you're a clever little boy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

What a wonderful Mother's Day this year. I received a beautiful card from Jonas that he made at daycare. It had his painted handprints on the cover and a sweet message on the inside. I'll probably end up keeping this forever.

We were treated to Joe's waffles first thing, then we all hung out for awhile until it warmed up a bit. We threw Jonas in the backpack (not literally) and headed off for our beloved Central Park, where we hit the trails for an hour. Joe introduced me to an entire new network of trails that have been recently cut. Aside from the relaxation factor, it was also a sort of "recon mission". I wanted to scope out the new trails and get myself psyched up for lots of trail running this summer and fall. It only took a minute and suddenly, I was *itching* to run!

Joe's present to me was the other thing that made this Mother's Day this so wondeful. Now, I'm not really all about the presents. In fact, this is so much more about the distance Joe went to find a find a nice gift, in spite of my mulish behavior and recent surly disposition. Jonas' obsession with pressing all the buttons on my phone, resulted in the "blue screen of death". Since then, Joe and I have been in search of a new phone for me. Ever the pragmatist, Joe tried to convince me to retire my pda and get a combo cell phone/pda (i.e. smart phone). I wasn't completely opposed to this idea, but it had to meet my many criteria:

1) I like my stylus and I'm not giving it up,
2) I'd like a pull out keyboard,
3) I'd like some tactile feedback on the screen, but it's not a pre-requisite,
4) A touch screen is cool, but I don't want to be limited to ONLY touch methods of data entry
5) It had to be relatively inexpensive (we're in the midst of a kitchen renovation and refinancing our home),
6) And the data package couldn't exceed my current phone rate by more than $1.00

Joe accompanied me to each of the cell phone carriers and very patiently explained every option, highlighting the benefits of the newest models of smart phones. He humbly, and patiently, listened to me vent (with a smile) to each salesperson about my disappointment that they seem to be phasing out the stylus and that I can't possibly type notes on such RIDICULOUSLY small keyboards! "Liz, why can't you just compromise a few of your criteria? I swear, you are the ONLY person who actually WANTS outdated technology!" Nonsense. I know what I want, and until I find it, I'm not getting anything. By mid-week last week, I had resolved that I was going to stick to my cell phone and my Palm. I have coped for this long just fine. What's another few years? Little did I know that as I was reporting all of this back to him, he was covertly talking with two of my friends who are big iPhone enthuasiasts, making trips to the AT&T store on his lunch break, researching all the pros and cons of the iPhone, and making plans to try to surprise me with a gift that was supposed to make my life easier. When I removed the gift wrap and saw the Apple logo, I looked up with a crooked grin. Joe...? I had ruled out the iPhone, too expensive, no credit with Verizon, and he knew this. What is going on here? Is this some kind of trap? But I shut up right away, when I saw that Joe had taped his coaching business's business card to the box, indicating that Think Fast Multisport had paid for this and not our family account. I was suddenly reminded why I love him so much. Joe knows the way to my heart is through the checkbook. (ha ha). And to know that he had gone to such trouble all week, despite my rants, just melted my heart. What a guy. And to think, Father's Day isn't for a whole month! So, I can't reciprocate for awhile. Well, I guess I'll just revel in Mother's Day for now. What's that? Joe is going upstairs to change another diaper? Ahhh, I could get used to this. :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

To all the mothers who make the world a brighter and better place, I thank you. You are often the unsung heroes.

I hope it was a great day for you.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New shoes

The time has come (actually it arrived a few weeks ago) to buy a pair of hard soled shoes for Jonas. He has worn Robeez since he was about 3 or 4 months old. He used a sweet little borrowed pair of Robeez with turtles (thanks, Owen) for just a couple of months, then graduated to a fire-engine red pair of Robeez with a bright yellow backhow, a gift from my sister's dear in-laws. Those, he donned at 6 months, and he has worn them for next eight. I'm sure you've seen these little shoes. They're in very photo, because they're practically the only shoes he owns!

Well, now that he's walking, a firmer sole is imperative. We struck out last weekend finding shoes. My plan was to go to Stride Rite, but we ran out of time. So, I hit another store and came up with snake eyes. I picked him up from daycare yesterday and I thought, he cannot go another day on the playground without hard-soled shoes, so off we headed to yet another shoe store. Let me just say this, going shoe shopping with a 14 mo. old, who has been at daycare ALL day, at 5:30 p.m. = MADNESS!!

We made a bee-line for the toddler shoes, conveniently located at the back of the store. Nice, people. Once again, I found an entire aisle lined with girls' shoes, a splash of pink on every single shoe!, and less than half that quantity in boys shoes. Sigh. "Ok, pick the best, from the worst," I told myself. "Your mission is to find a wear-able pair of shoes for this kid. You can find him the 'perfect shoes' some other time." All of a sudden I heard a thud and tumbling cardboard boxes. "WAHHHHHHH!" Jonas wailed. I walked away from the skateboarder type shoes that I had just been eyeing with disapproval. "Bwa bwa bwaaa," Jonas sobbed. I picked him up and returned to the Hobbit sized shoes with Sponge Bob, a host of Disney characters, and, I think, a cartoon version of the dude from Orange County Choppers. Are you (expletive deleted) kidding me?? What happened to simple shoes for a BABY?! Jonas doesn't know Sponge Bob from his elbow. All I want are some cute, simple shoes for a baby, not an older child.

I finally spied some Buster Brown's with a couple of stripes and laces. Ok, let's give these a dance. Seriously--getting tightly laced shoes on Jonas' feet at that hour was absolutely ridiculous. In between each new shoe and new foot, I had to chase him down the aisle and return him to the mounting pile of shoe box debris. Size 5 = too small. Size 6 = appears to fit. Hard to tell. Ok, good enough? Can we get out of here? I looked at the seams. Wrinkled up my nose. Nope. I don't like the construction. Put 'em back. Ok, now I was panicking. If Joe were there, he would have been yelling, "Just pick a pair of (once again, expletive deleted) shoes, Liz!!!" I paced up and down the aisle, sighing, discontent with the options. Executive decision--we're going to sneakers. AHA! I found a pair of sneakers, and bonus, they had velcro! Only a size 6 in stock. I crossed my fingers... Yes! Time to get out of here, right?

Well... (another sigh) with eyes wincing, I wondered to myself, "but Liz, we know how you feel about these kinds of shoes and sweatshops and child labor and..." Yes. And, ALL of those concerns are big concerns that I have. But. at that moment in time, I had to act. No more of Liz's typical paralysis by analysis. I mean, my son, was practically scaling all of the shoe boxes to the top of the display and he needed shoes! As in, like, two weeks ago! I had to put off exercising my "be a thoughtful consumer" muscle for some other time. I grabbed the box, then the kid, and headed for the counter.

It was a tough decision, but a good one in the end. I still feel a twinge of regret, but it will make more all the more motivated to be better prepared next time. And as much as I want to be a good role model for my child, teaching him about consumerism and buying with conscientiousness, there's also a lesson to be learned there about letting go of perfectionism. You can't save the world every day.

So, here he is sporting his new shoes and playing with his favorite "toy", Daddy's bike.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Oh no

We've crossed a new threshold in our parent-child relationship: Jonas has learned to express "no". It's all downhill from here, isn't it?

When I was at home with him on Friday, I realized that when I asked him a few different questions, "Do you want this?", "Do you want more?", "Do you want down?", he was shaking his head no. He's become increasingly demonstrative since he turned one, but I never noticed that his waving, shaking, nodding, etc. was a direct response to a question. Friday, it hit me. He is saying No! And, the more I watched, the more I realized his no response is pretty accurate (about 75%).

My first thought was, Cool! He's actually communicating with us on a new level. I can't believe we're already at that stage in development--time flies!--but it's great because this will curb some of the 50 Questions games to guess what's wrong or what he wants. Then, I realized, Ahhhh, but this comes with a price, doesn't it? "Jonas, it's time for bed." "No." "Jonas, you need a diaper change." Violent head shake. "Jonas, drink your juice". "Uh-uh." Well, we take the good with the bad, right? Besides, I have a theory about this kind of stuff. For every positive development or occurrence there is an equal downside to it. Of course, none of it is really inherently "good" or "bad", right? That's just the value we attribute to it. So, I choose to just cope with the "bad" and appreciate the "good" all the more.

For now, even though he shakes his head (it's almost more of a full body shake), it does make me laugh. And, it's infinitely easier to get to the bottom of his wordless requests.