Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fall Break 2012 - week 1

The first of three weeks is in the books.  I am sad to see it go, this is when I wish I could slow time down, but we accomplished a lot and had a lot of fun!

Because I am me, I made a list of everything I wanted to do this week and checked each off as they were done.  It's funny that the only one I didn't do was the one that could have been done from home!

The girls and I had both quality and quantity time together this week!  I didn't take a lot of pictures of our activities because it's really hard now with them both running around.

A couple highlights:

  • we went to the zoo
  • we went to the children's museum
  • we went to storytime at the library
  • we went to story time at Mildred & Dildred
  • we rode the escalator at La Encantada
  • we visited with Grandma and Grandpa
  • Each morning we went for a walk in the stroller - the mornings are truly beautiful right now!
  • We had the Yagers over for dinner so Chelsea and I could run, individually
A few things I did for me:
  • I went to the dentist
  • I got a haircut and brow wax
  • I got a manicure and pedicure
  • I went shopping and to lunch with my mom
And a couple pics, of course:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Training for Vegas: Week 3

Last week's training was not a complete failure!  Yes!  Things are starting to look up!  I was supposed to do a total of 16 miles; I did 12.1.

My pace continues to be a steady 11:30 min/mile - no matter the distance.  I know I need to be doing some "speed-work" if I ever want that to improve, but for now I'm just happy to be out in the fresh air, on my feet, sweating!  Here's to another decent week!

Monday, September 24, 2012

P/T Conference

I've conducted nearly 600 parent/teacher conferences but last week I had my first one sitting on the other side of the table.  I have to admit, it was a little intimidating!  That's something that many parents tell us - but I never really "got" it.

As every good parent does, I brought a special treat for the teachers since I understand that conferences take a lot of extra time and energy.  I waited until the conference was over to give them their pumpkin cookies from Paradise Bakery, so it wouldn't look like a bribe!

Stevie and I were incredibly impressed by how professional the conference was and how much preparation had gone into it.

Shyla sat in the corner reading books while they showed us her portfolio and how she was doing on each early development standard.  For each one they had photographs and stories!

Here's what we took away: this girl is brilliant!

For each standard she is achieving at a 4 year old level (keep in mind she is only 3 years and 4 months) and she is even achieving at a 5 year old level when it comes to reciting songs, poems, and stories.

That is all fine and good - but I wasn't surprised.  She amazes us everyday with her knowledge and language development and, of course, motor development.

We know she is smart but that wasn't the part of the conference I was most interested in.

I worry much more about her socially than I probably every will academically.  As you know, the first few six weeks were a really tough transition.  Filled with tears and uncertainty.  But we have seen a switch and a drastic change in her over the past few weeks, so I was most interested to hear from them about that.  Turns out, they have seen it too!  She is socializing well and making good friends; but she is also comfortable reading or playing alone.  She is never crying when I drop her off anymore and always actively engaged in something by the time her classroom opens (I have to drop her off about 15 minutes before her side opens).  She is helpful at school and has picked up the procedures and routines really well.

We are proud!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bat Night

Funny story:  a few months ago we were out for our family walk when a mini-van with Indiana license plates pulled up and asked us for directions to the Broadway wash to watch the bats fly.  Stevie had no idea what they were talking about but I, very confidently, told them to head down Grant all the way to River and Campbell.  And we sent them on their way.

Fast-forward to this past week when we were notified that Shyla's preschool had been invited by the 1st graders to Bat Night.  To watch the bats fly.  From the Broadway wash.  Which is, you know, about 2.5 miles from our neighborhood.


Anyway, Shyla was super excited about it and talked about it all week.  She got even more excited as she and her friends made their Bat Night shirts with their hands and feet.

When we got there, she got even more excited that Zachary and Lilly were there.  We had decided if we saw the Indiana mini-van there, we would just keep driving, but thankfully no!

(P.S. Love this picture)

The actual flying of the bats was cool.  We had to wait nearly an hour for it to happen, though, amidst lots and lots of people and steep dropoffs down into the wash with children hanging and climbing everywhere.

But it was wonderful to see Shyla in a social environment like that.  She was hugging her friends and waving to them!  She was hugging her teachers and wanting to go see them and talk to them.  She was truly happy and excited.

I am amazed by my girl each and everyday.  I just cannot believe how big and mature she's getting - it's fun to watch and we are so proud of her!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Training for Vegas: Week 2

Week 2 is in the books - and it was almost as bad as week 1.  However, things are looking up I think.

Week 2 included two days of P/T Conferences which are both time-consuming and exhausting.  I was going to get a good run in yesterday, but had a really bad stomach ache all day.

So here's how week 2 went:

I did get a short run in this morning, and it actually felt great!  I also have a plan for the week ahead, which will be assisted by the fact that Stevie doesn't have a basketball game this week and my sister has offered to come over another evening to take care of the girls.

So, in conclusion, it was not a good week but things are looking up.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

375th Post!

This is my 375th post.  It's not really that interesting or even much of a milestone, but I couldn't think of a title for it anyway!

Things have been awfully busy around here (but about the slow down in about a week, eeekk!).  Even though we haven't done much out-of-the-ordinary lately, I've still been taking plenty of pictures of my beautiful girls.  Please enjoy!

 I love both girls' expressions in the picture above and I love that when I showed it to Shyla she said, "Awwww, I love that one!"

 Since Harper was born, potty activity has been a big deal around here.  So it's no surprise that she loves to sit on the little potty and clap for herself!

When we get home from school we love to play outside.  I'm not sure why but Harper always gravitates to the door and screams to go outside.  She found these glasses and loves to wear them for about 2 seconds.

Shyla is becoming quite the tricycle rider, until she gets stuck in a hole in the pavers and exclaims, "Daddy did not do a good job on the backyard!"

 This morning we went to the zoo and had a great time!

We also got to have breakfast at The Good Egg with Grandpa Steve.  Weekends are the best!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Training for Vegas: Week 1: Epic Fail

With our Vegas race being 12 weeks away, and the weather supposedly starting to "cool off," this past week was supposed to start my training.

Be prepared for lots of excuses.

I had actually planned on starting the weekend before while we were in the cool temperatures of the White Mountains, but my breathing (or lack thereof) prevented that from happening.

I thought I would blog about my weekly training - for the accountability.  Week 1, as you can read from the title, was an epic fail.  Check it out, the second row indicated what I was supposed to do (according to Hal Higdon) and the third row, very honestly, states what I did.

So what happened?  In a word: life.  In another word: work.  I blame the kids who don't turn in their homework actually.

I remembered on Tuesday afternoon at 2:55PM that I had after-school PRIDE duty (that's our cool way of saying "detention") which pushes my leaving back from 3:31PM to 4:45PM.  Then of course it's straight home for dinner, bath, and bedtime.  That lasts all week long (except Friday) and that is my main excuse for this week.

My second excuse is that Stevie was out of town from Friday through today which means it is all me - the cooking, cleaning, wiping (and there's been a lot of that these days), soothing, back-petting, etc.  I love every single one of my mom-duties (even the excessive wiping) but it doesn't leave a lot of time (or energy) for much else.

I really should be doing my running in the morning.  But .... (ready for another excuse?) I already wake up at 4:45AM everyday.  If my calculations are correct, in order to get a 3 mile run in before a school-day, I would need to wake up at 4:05AM, run from 4:15-4:45AM, then get myself ready.

Ready for the best part?  This upcoming week really isn't much better!  I have an after-school meeting on Wednesday, then parent-teacher conferences on Thursday and Friday, which are both long and exhausting.  And of course each week of training gets progressively more time-consuming.

Before I sign-off from this depressing post, I'd like to share a conversation between me and Stevie that occurred a few weeks ago:

ME:  "By the way, I printed your training plan.  I printed you the Intermediate and me the Novice II"
STEVIE:  "What?!?  You just took away the one part of training that I am successful with: printing the plan.  Why would you take that away from me?"
ME:  "Because I'm a ninja."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oh Harpey! You are too much!

Just a couple of my recent favorites!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pretty Toes!

As part of my new "I'm worth it!" campaign, I am getting fairly regular manicures.  The other day I really needed to get it done and I was able to leave work 30 minutes early so I jumped at the chance.  Securing my nomination for Mom-of-the-Year I bought Shyla a giant bag of cheetos for her to eat while I got my nailed done.  The lady offered to do her toes for $5, so of course I took it and this is the result:

totally cute toes on totally cute feet with a tint of pink left on her left pinky toe from birth.

Pinetop Trip! Whoop! Whoop!

We just got back from spending the long weekend with my family at the cabin in Pinetop!  So, so many good memories here - and we are all relishing in the new ones being made by the kids.

In all honesty, it was a weekend of ups and downs.  It is possible that the downs may have outweighed the ups.  However, when you are with family you hardly notice the downs.  And even a bad day with family in the mountains, is better than a great day without them.

Everyone else went up on Thursday, but we went Friday after work.  We hit the road right at 4:30PM, promising Shyla McDonalds in Globe (the halfway point).  Unfortunately, we learned upon arrival, McDonalds has been leveled to make room for an identically sized one located about 15 yards to the left.  Anyway .... never fear - we grabbed some lunchables and milk and got back on the road, arriving around 9:30PM.  

On Saturday we went to Hawley Lake.  No one caught any fish but the big kids all got to ride in Grandpa's boat, Pancake tried to kill a squirrel and a dog that was supposed to spend the night with us, Shyla learned to go "farmer girl."  She also fell in cow poop within 5 minutes of getting out of the car and we ended up driving 25 minutes away with Mike's keys in my camera bag.  Chelsea burned her face, and it literally seemed to get more red by the minute and Harper got mad at anyone who foiled her plan of walking directly into the lake.  It was an awesome day!  Seriously.  It was.  The kids all had a great time and that is truly all that matters.

Back at the cabin, there was lots of fun to be had!  We also spent a few hours at the rec center - which is really cool now and will be a great resource in the years to come.  Here are a few of my favorite pics from the weekend:

Mike brought uber-delicious designer cupcakes that may have derailed my weight-loss.  Smores cupcake?  Come on!

We got all 4 babies in the tub together!  And managed to take a few pictures before the screaming started!  (BTW - this bath was after the day at the lake and the water was DISGUSTING by the end!)

The big kids watched The Lorax together.  Their giggles were a beautiful sound.

This little one started wearing a ponytail for the first time!  It's so nice to be able to see her beautiful face!  Harper - not surprisingly - was the best traveler and the best sleeper.  We rarely heard a peep out of her in the car and she slept well both at nighttime and at nap-time.

We had some races before the car ride home!

And some big smilies on the porch!

Zac's face cracks me up in this one!  I wonder what Shyla just said/did to him...

And then there's my Shyla, asleep in the car.  She is only 3 and I need to keep reminding myself of that fact.  She had a tough weekend, behaviorally.  There was a lot of crying, tantrums, and generally "out-of-sortness" with her.  I'm not sure what's going on or what I can do about it.

Pancake had a great weekend.  Here she is in the car - standing - just like she did the whole trip!  Thankfully she got along with Baxter just fine, but Claire's dog was another story.  I am still convinced that she doesn't like female dogs and she doesn't like big dogs.  Claire's is both - Baxter is neither.  But in any event she got a lot of love and a lot of walks this weekend (her two favorite things).  She also got to explore at and in a lake, and ride on a boat.  We are glad to be able to give her a good life!

This last picture got out of order - it should be at the top with the lake pictures.  I love Shyla's face in this one - both of my girls just adore Lilly!

We are already checking our calendars for another long weekend to spend in Pinetop.  It is probably one of my most favorite places in the world.