Zoo Run Run

Well, this was a big weekend! I ran my first ever 10K race, and nailed it thankyouverymuch.

I look back over this past summer and almost can’t believe that I couldn’t run any distance without getting seriously winded back in April. I had goals all along the way:

Goal 1: Complete a Couch-to-5K running program (3.1 miles)

Goal 2: Be able to run the 4 mile loop in my neighborhood.

Goal 3: Run 10K (6.2 miles)

Check, check & check.

I’ve gotten so into running, in fact, this looming winter had Andy and I trying to figure out how to keep this fitness regimen from coming to a screeching halt for the season. I mean, I don’t mind dressing for cold weather, but unless you have running spikes, there is no way to run on ice and snow safely. And 5 months of unrelenting snow and ice is what we had last winter.

After much discussion, we decided to buy a treadmill. I actually found a like-new one on Craigslist this week, and we brought it home yesterday. While moving this [extremely heavy] piece of fitness equipment into the house, I tweaked my back. This usually means pain and complete muscle lockdown until I can get a chiropractor to look at it.

Yesterday was spent on my back, with ice, popping Advil and googling how to know whether or not you can compete in a race due to injury. And no, the irony is not lost on me that I almost botched a race I’ve been training for for 6 weeks because I was busy making sure that I could continue to run through the winter months.

Thankfully, I woke up less stiff this morning, and running – as it turned out – didn’t aggravate the injury at all. Huge thanks for tiny blessings.

So, this morning, this is what I was staring at at 8:55 a.m.


And after 1 hour, 4 minutes and 42 seconds, I looked sort of like this:


A little bit about the race itself:

It was incredibly difficult not to run too fast out of the gate. Usually I’m comfortable pacing at 10:30 min/mile to start with, but this time I felt like I was really putting on the brakes and my pace was right at 10:00 min/mile. So I went with it. Being Wisconsin, there were hills a-plenty, but I’m used to that, so it wasn’t a huge deal. After about 3 miles, the pack who was running my pace stabilized, and with a mile left I turned up the heat and left them all behind. :)

The boys cheered me on at the finish line. And maaaaybe 30 seconds after I finished, Graham was whining for a snack. Glory doesn’t last long when kids are in the mix.

Next up was the Roo Run Run, a race for the little guys. There was a 1-mile, 1/2-mile and 1/4-mile event. I signed Graham up for the 1/4 mile because he’s been fascinated with my running while I’ve been training. We had to wait around for quite a bit for his event to start, but we found ways to keep ourselves occupied.


Baby Reid has already begun his Rocky-style training for next year’s Roo Run Run.

We had a little hiccup with Graham’s race. The starting line was so congested with parents and kids that I sort of had to direct him through a crowd of parents to the crowd of kids at the starting line by shouting and pointing my finger. Not the best plan. I got him where he was supposed to be, and I took my place in front of the starting line to cheer him on except… all the kids ran by me and Graham didn’t!

My heart was in my throat. But after all the kids cleared out, I saw a race volunteer holding Graham’s hand. I ran up to him, and with red eyes he said, “I didn’t know where the starting line was!” Poor baby. BUT, he rallied really quickly and took off.


He ran the entire thing by himself, worked SO HARD the whole time and at the end, he got a medal with all the other kids.


He was jumping up and down and said, “I ran it all by myself!!!!!” It’s a solid 5 hours after the race concluded, and Graham is still wearing his medal and his race shirt.

So that’s our day! Two successful races. It consumed our morning, but we had so much fun!


Running Update and Our First Fall(ish) Weekend

It’s been a great weekend around here, per usual. Trying to soak up the last few weekends we have before we hibernate for our 5-month winter.

Andy has continued to be an amazing support for this running thing I’ve been after lately. My 10K training plan is completely relentless and has me running both mornings of my weekends now – about an hour each time. He keeps the kids entertained while I go completely obliterate my large muscle groups and other major organ systems.

This Saturday, I ran 6 miles – which, for those who don’t know, is a mere 0.3 miles shy of a 10K. Why didn’t I just go for broke and run the entire 10K? Because my training program didn’t tell me to, that’s why. ::shrug:: I put much faith in those who have done this before, so I’m rather rigid about doing what it tells me.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 2.22.27 PM

I actually felt amazing during the run. Never really out of sorts, but after I finished my run – I was in all kinds of GI distress. Totally disproportionate to how I felt during the run itself. Never winded or draggy. Sorry not to overshare or anything. I just felt cheated.

Dr. Google tells me it’s a phenomenon that happens to almost half of the long distance running population. Blood supply is directed to the extremities, away from the gut. Turns out that makes for an extremely unhappy tummy. Who knew?

Today I took it easy on my 4 mile run and no issues whatsoever. Next week, I’ll be ready for my longest run ever: 6.5 miles. Dun-dun-DUN! (I will also plan to not have events, such as Andy’s company picnic, following my long run like I did this week. “Hi! My name is Debbie, I’m Andy’s wife, willyouexcusemejustaminute??!“)

I would also like to note that the above route is the actual route (again, save for 0.3 miles) of my 10K race. I’m not sure about how Andy felt about me running my longest run ever in a new place fairly far from home – what with my propensity for getting lost. But I have Andy’s Garmin to thank.


While not the most user-friendly device ever, I was able to load the 10K course into the watch ahead of time, and it directed me where to turn to stay on track. I am happy to report that I made it right back to my car. No problems!

As for other goings-on around here. It’s a pretty typical weekend in Wisconsin-land. We had Andy’s company picnic in the morning yesterday and a visit to the park yesterday afternoon. In the evening we built a fire in the fire pit.


This one was notable because we needed jackets when the sun went down, and I ultimately had to get a blanket to throw over my legs by the end of the night.

Today, Graham, Reid and I went for a walk in the woods nearby while Andy cut the lawn. There, Graham found a caterpillar that he just had to bring home to put in his bug house.


Do you see him? Of course you don’t.


Because I think Graham found the TINIEST caterpillar in all of the upper Midwest. 😉 His name is Simon.

As for Baby Reid, he has been big on addressing people this weekend. As in, instead of, “Hi,” it’s, “Hi, Mommy!” and, instead of, “All done!” it’s, “All done, Daddy!” He also has learned the word, “Meatball,” which is hilarious because I’ve called him that a time or two. I’ll say, “Hey, silly meatball!” and he’ll parrot back, “Hi, meatball!” (Guess I deserve that!)

That’s about all from here – hope you all had wonderful weekends too!

Just a Little Bit

Hey – do you think I can write a post every day for awhile? They may be short (I can hear the “hallelujah”s already), they may be pointless (probably), but they will be here. Are you with me? Let’s go!

We had an amazing visit with Brian and Michelle last weekend, and we’ve just about turned the guest room over again because we have Andy’s parents due to arrive tomorrow. Visits, ahoy! How come it took until June for people to start visiting?!

Oh right, Wisconsin. Fair enough, people. Fair enough!

We are so happy to have people up to our house. So happy, in fact, that Andy bought 6 tiki torches at the Menards on Sunday. That means that, on the tiki torch scale of hosting excitement, we are at a 6.

We have also been busy in between. Take last night for instance: After cooking, serving & cleaning up after dinner, Andy installed a ceiling fan in Baby Reid’s room and mowed the lawn, and I bathed both boys, tucked them into bed and then made a pan of enchiladas.

Tonight, Graham has his third t-ball practice. I’ll be honest, I think I succumbed to Millennial parenting peer pressure and signed him up for team sports too early. I admit it. The first week he was nervous about it. Last week was so much better because his cousin Charlie played on his team. This week, he’s pretty excited to put on his green shirt and hat. But the whole ‘organized sports’ thing? He could live without it. Only 3 more weeks after this, though, so we’ll ride this wave to shore.

That’s all for now. I’ll post some snapshots of our visit soon enough. Just probably not before this weekend. :)


Fire Starters

Andy’s installing an underground dog fence today, so that left the boys and I looking for something to do. Today also happens to be our neighborhood garage sale day, so the two and I set out to see if we could find any awesome deals. We fared okay. (Actually, I did score a cast iron skillet, so I was pretty stoked.)

One of the things I found was a pack of cheapie crayons, all barely used. So, after we got home and put Reid down for a morning nap, Graham and I set up at the kitchen counter and made some fire starters.

No, I’m not talking about her.


Or him.


I’m talking about the myriad of little things you can use as pre-made kindling to get your campfire started easily.

There are ridiculous numbers of ideas out there on Pinterest, but we just finished a carton of eggs today, so Graham and I decided to try our hand at one in particular that has had rave reviews.

First, you start with some crayons – take the paper off.



Then we started some water boiling in a pot to make a double boiler. I mean… I have an actual double boiler, but nothing I plan on melting crayons in anytime this century.

While the water was boiling, I pulled out our tinder boxes. One we keep in the laundry room, collecting lint. (Literally.) The other we keep in Andy’s shop in the garage, where he collects sawdust and wood shavings.

I had Graham stuff lint in each egg carton well.


Then I had him sprinkle sawdust and wood shavings on top of the lint.


This also would have been a great place to include the paper from the crayons too. Or even the cardboard from the crayon box, come to think of it. I didn’t think of it until later. Not like we were short any amount of wood shavings, though – as you can plainly see.

Finally, with our egg compartments filled, we had boiling water to melt our wax.



… going…IMG_0685

… gone.IMG_0687

Ultimately, this only filled about half the egg cartons (this was 16 crayons). I ended up taking some sagging candle tapers [that we, for some reason, moved all the way from Texas] out of the closet and melted those down too.

But yes, after the wax is all melted down, you pour it on top of all the lint/sawdust/shavings/paper in the egg wells. Pour until you fill up the well and voila! 12 fire starters! Just tear or cut one apart from the pack, light the egg carton on fire, and that little thing will burn until your kindling catches. Very handy!


We decided to make some super easy fire starters we had all our stuff out. We took some paper towel rolls (we had two that had been recycled lately), cut them in half, layered lint-sawdust-lint-sawdust-lint and so forth in a sort of tinder parfait, then we laid a sheet of wax paper over a sheet of newsprint, rolled up the lint/dust tube up and then twisted & tucked in the ends.

These paper towel starters are super quick and easy to make, but are better suited for a fire pit – where the wood is drier to start with – because they burn a bit faster. The egg fire starters are lauded for burning long enough to get a damp morning campfire started. Game on – because that is a tough gig!

Wish us luck – maybe we’ll try one of these bad boys out for some s’mores tonight. :)

Put Me In, Coach

Graham had his first tee ball practice tonight. (And for once and for all is it TEE ball? Or T-ball? Because I always thought that, since you were basically hitting off a giant tee, that you spelled out the tee. Someone enlighten me, please!)

This has been something Graham has been looking forward to, with gusto. Last night, we laid out his outfit so he’d have the perfect thing to wear. He had an Illinois shirt and athletic shorts (thanks, Uncle Michael!) at the ready. We hit a little snag when Graham made the somber realization that he did not have any special baseball underwear. After quick deliberation, Graham declared that his solution would be to wear no underwear to practice. (I guess better no underwear than be caught in the wrong underwear, right? Makes sort of sense to me…) I was having no success talking him into undershorts of any kind, so – thinking quickly – he and I placed a call right then and there to his Grandpa Craig, who helpfully corroborated my story that baseball players just wear underwear. Plain old underwear – but that, yes, they did wear underwear, so something was probably in order.

(Thanks, Craig! Crisis – and chafing – averted!!)

Today was the big day. To use a baseball analogy, practice was both a hit and a miss.

Today was all about baseball drills. They paired off at the beginning and played catch with other kids their age. Graham paired off with our neighbor, Connor. The boys actually did really well with this, I thought. Graham even caught a ball once! 😉


Then the group split in two: half went to the outfield and half went to bat. Graham was in the batting group.

Graham loved this part. It was his favorite. He had two at-bats total. Loved running the bases. I would cheer him on and give him thumbs up when he’d get on base and look my way. Every time he saw my thumbs up, he’d yell, “THANKS, MOMMY!!” Gotta love that kid.

First at-bat:

Second at-bat:

More hustle and just a lit-tle more style that second time! 😉

Graham was a good little baseball player… until we tried to get him to play in the field. He decided he was pretty much done at that point. We got him out there a couple of times, but he just kept coming back to the fence. He was thirsty, he was hungry, his tummy hurt. The works.

Even so, Graham exceeded my expectations. I thought he did super!

Baby Reid did all his baby duties well.

He hung out with us, climbed on the bench, watched big brother from the fence, tossed his own ball into the field, tried to make a break for the ball diamond it a couple of times and sort of fussed that he couldn’t play until something distracted him.



Graham’s got a couple of kids he knows playing too. Connor, from across the street, is on his team, and so is Sam – a little boy his age from his preschool. They were so excited to see each other. Sam was in the field when Graham was batting, and he yelled to his parents: “I’m going to catch GRAHAM’S ball!!!”

These kids were babies, like, yesterday, you guys. I’m not really sure where these last four years have gone, if we’re being honest. Yet, here we are, playing baseball with the other boys and having just so much fun with it!