Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Rocked!

At least that is what my finisher medal says.

I was a nervous wreck all week as I anticipated running the Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon. The memories of how difficult it'd been last year quite literally turned my stomach in knots. Still, I wanted to do it again and experience that sense of accomplishment that comes with crossing the finish line.

When we picked up our race packets on Thursday night, the excitement of the event started to balance my nerves. Kind of. We had fun stuffing our bags with all the free samples at the expo.

We also visited the fortune teller to receive our race fortune. My fortune, with its talk of my shuttering legs, heaving chest and quivering bowels did not do much to calm my anxieties.

Camille's fortune was similarly bleak. Stephanie, however, received the glowing report of a charmed runner. Camille and I even returned to see if by chance our fortunes could change on the second try but the outcome was no better. Thankfully, none of the dismal predictions occurred on race day.

Race day started at 5:00 am. We dressed in matching shirts in hopes that our "fans" would more easily spot us out on the course. We got lots of cheers for the "pink" team along the way.

Somewhere before the mile 12 marker, we saw our little fan club. It was such a boost to see them holding their signs and cheering us on.

I felt significantly stronger thoroughout the entire race this year. That final mile was still a killer, but I could actually feel my legs beneath me as I crossed the finish line this time.

I finished in 1:51:29, which was a full two minute improvement over last year's time. I averaged an 8:27 mile, finished 706th of all females, 135th in my division and 1802 overall. I guess that's not too bad considering there were 17,593 half marathon finishers.

I'm really lucky to have two running buddies to train and race with. We're so compatible pace-wise and their conversation makes the miles go quickly.

I'm also lucky to have such supportive fans.

Jon not only was there to cheer me on, he was also willing to chauffeur six runners to the starting line at 5:30 in the morning.

I still can't imagine ever doing a full marathon. Just 1/2 of it is really hard! My muscles are sore enough that I wouldn't even want to do that much again anytime soon. But give it a year and I'm quite sure I'll be ready to rock all over again. It's such a great experience!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer's Here!

I'm quite sure that our school district was the very last one on the planet to get out of school. But as of today, we're officially finished and ready for summer.

Natalie's last day was on Tuesday. She got to celebrate her preschool graduation at Super Jump with her teacher and classmates.

Here are Miss Cindy's morning and afternoon classes. Natalie is in the back row in the orange shirt.

The kids signed the alphabet and sang a couple of songs before being presented with their graduation certificates.

It's impossible to express just how much Natalie loved Miss Cindy.

What preschooler wouldn't love a teacher that's willing to do this with her students:

Alyssa was equally in love with her two teachers this year. She had job sharing teachers in a 2/3 split class. She was sad to have to say goodbye to them. One highlight was that she got to have her good friend, Abigail (a second grader), in class with her. The girls thought it was so exciting that their clothes matched on the last day of school.

Here they are posing with the yummy strawberry bouquets we gave their teachers as end-of-the-year gifts:
Alyssa finished the year with straight A's and was excited to receive an Academic Acheivement Award at the assembly. Here she is (peeking from behind her much taller classmates) standing to be recognized:

This morning was Caleb's last day, or last two hours, to be more specific. It's so silly that they go to school for two hours! He was home before Natalie woke up. He said that the bus driver celebrated their last ride together by driving "crazy." Evidently she was zig-zagging and slamming on the brakes causing the students to toss to and fro. Caleb thought she was being fun but based on past experience, I think she may have some demented plan to maim or injure the middle-schoolers that have tortured her all year long. How does this woman have a job?

As soon as Caleb got home, it was time for me to take Natalie to the school for her pre-kindergarten assessment. I didn't get much information other than the teacher who tested her said that she was very ready for kindergarten. I hate that she's this big already!

And now for a hexaduad composition from Caleb's poetry portfolio. It perfectly sums up how he feels about school.


I go to school all day
I don't even get to play

Instead teachers torture me
With boring homework, you see.

I'd rather ride my bike
Or do other things I like

Social studies or arithmetic
Always makes my brain feel sick

Homework is confusing work
It makes me want to go berserk.

Homework is such a bore
It makes me want to snore.

No more homework. Yea for Summer!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Caleb's Big Adventure

Caleb really wanted me to tell you about his big adventure. I guess it was a pretty big deal in the life of an eleven-year-old boy.

It wasn't just any father and son outing to the Mariner's game. It involved a solo train ride into the city and a double bobblehead that is sure to become a collector's item.

He wasn't at all nervous to board the train all by himself. But I was. We brought out the ol' stranger danger talk which I'm sure sounded like, "blah, blah, blah, blah" in his ears. I gave him my phone and Jon talked to him several times throughout the 35 minute ride.

Off he goes...

He, of course, made it just fine. Jon was waiting for him at the downtown station.

This is the face of contentment. What more could this avid sports fan want?

The Mariner's won, too!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Another Chip Off the Old Block

I'm frequently told how much the girls look alike. They're getting harder and harder to tell apart...

They say you're not a real gymnast until you've gotten a rip from the bars and a beam burn. Alyssa's had both. Looks like we're half way there with Nat...

Their size difference is rapidly diminshing. It might not take Nat much longer to catch up in gymnastics, either. I'm not sure I'm ready for this.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Crazy Hair Day

Doing my girls' hair has become a real hobby for me. I love doing it and they love getting all styled up.

Today is crazy hair day at school. Here's what we came up with:

The kids had fun giggling over each other's hair when they met up this morning. Hunter's hair was really something else with his initial shaved into the side and a mohawk to boot! Linsey had hangers in her braids to make them stick out. So fun!

Natalie has decided she wants to be a hair dresser when she grows up. She recently learned how to do ponytails so playing with my hair has become a daily activity. I have my own crazy hair day style today thanks to Natalie. I'm not posting pictures of it, though. You'll just have to imagine the three ponytails and cute flower barrette.

Happy crazy hair day!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fourteen Photos

Jon called it a staycation but I disagree. I call it a get-away, even if it was in our own backyard. Whatever you want to call it, it was a fabulous way to celebrate 14 incredible years!

Dinner at a historic steakhouse, relaxation in front of the crackling fire

Soft down pillow that could swallow you whole and the sound of the crashing falls outside the window.

Waking to the bright blue sky

Four courses for breakfast (with mini Tabasco bottles) atop the falls

Driving the scenic route

A bit of shopping, but not too much. That's really not our thing.

A walk in the sunshine with my sweetheart,
A chat on a bench underneath a famous landmark,

Finished off with five courses and three and half hours of amazing dinner entertainment.
Does it get better than this?
(Thanks, Mom and Dad for watching the kids)