Busy Fall!

We are in October, arguably my favorite month for inexplicable reasons, and enjoying every second. These past few days have been completely water-logged, but we are making the most of it. Evening cups of coffee… fires in the fireplace… I’ve got a good book going thanks to stumbling across a book sale at the library. (The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton – great read so far!)

We have been B-U-S-Y people the last few weeks!

It all started with my cousin, Betsy’s, wedding. We, of course, had an amazing time. Last time we were in Minneapolis was in July 2012. I was pregnant with Reid and Graham was 2.5 years old.

Here I am with my cousins Courtney and Stewart (a.k.a one of the Minnesota Twins). If you want a tearjerker, have the bride’s twin brother officiate the wedding. Betsy’s momma may have walked her down the aisle, but Stewart made it pretty apparent that there was more than one person giving her away that day. ::sniff::

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Always a happy time when we get to meet up with Mom and Dad. Graham was elated to not only go to a wedding (his *most* favorite event) but ALSO see Grandpa and Grandma. Combine this with being able to stay in a hotel and the excitement was pretty much at an 11 all weekend.

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I may not be able to select bows, tights and dresses for formalwear, but I like to think I’m pretty good at getting these boys as dapper as possible. Reid got to re-wear his button-down and tie combo but we added a sweater vest to complete the ensemble. Ended up being the perfect weight for Minnesota fall.

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Graham – who has decided he loves his sport coat – sported a new bowtie and, under that jacket, a pair of suspenders. What with the tendency to have his pants slip right off those narrow hips of his, he was completely stoked at the mere idea of suspenders. Totally functional. I think he’d wear these every day if I’d let him.

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The beautiful bride (a.k.a. the other half of the Minnesota Twins – haha, you thought I was talking about baseball earlier, didn’t you??) and her handsome groom. :) So excited for these two. :)))

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We danced well into the night. Yet again, the boys hung in there through the reception so they could get to the dancing. Graham not only danced with his Grandma & the bride, he also asked another little girl to dance 100% without prompting from any adult. She was too shy to take him up on it, and he was pretty disappointed about it. Eventually he recovered though. Clearly.

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During the day on the day of the wedding, Reid was sneezing a notable amount. I told Andy, “Great, he’s starting a cold.” ‘Tis the season right? Sure enough, a runny nose started the next day and so Reid caught a cold. No big deal.

Until it was a big deal. Reid went to bed on Tuesday night with his temperature running 1 degree above normal. (I know, I wrote it off too.) He woke up the next morning with some difficulty breathing. Off to the doctor.

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In general, his spirits were good, which was GREAT. But given his elevated temp 5 days into the cold and the fact that his doc heard wheezing all throughout his chest, we were given a breathing treatment in the doc’s office. Thankfully, his lung sounds improved after the treatment, so we didn’t have to march off to get a chest x-ray. We were debriefed on Enterovirus D68 and sent home with explicit instructions to call if anything changed.

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We spent the rest of the day snuggling and giving inhaler meds, and we got lucky: even though he’d gone to bed with whistling and wheezing lungs, he woke up with NO breathing struggles. Woohoo! Mark that as another virus down on the books.

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We’ve been thinking a lot about Halloween costumes around here. After much discussing what he and Reid could be for Halloween, Graham settled on Milk and Cookies. One day last week – after picking the kids up early from school – I carted the kids off to the fabric store so I could figure out how to make the boys look like a delicious snack.

I’ll paraphrase by saying: taking two mobile preschoolers to a FABRIC STORE after school is a terrible idea. After the 1000th request not to run/yell/pull things off shelves/beg me to buy something, Graham disappeared into a different aisle and yelled, “MOM!!!! I WANT TO BE CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!!!”

He had found the Marvel superheroes fabric. I don’t even know if Captain America is a Marvel hero (I can never remember Marvel vs. DC), but it had spurred an idea in Graham. I, completely over the idea of making the kids’ costumes this year, pressed Graham to commit that he reeeeeeeally wanted to do that. He was 110% sure. So, I said, “Then we’re going to Target.”

To Target, we went. And after a bit of costume-trying…

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We landed on a Captain America costume for Graham and a Spider-man costume for Reid. (“Reid, you want to be Spiderman for Halloween?” “YEAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”)

We tried on the costumes that night, and they are perfect. A little bit, I feel like we’ve wandered into what moms of girls have described to me as “Disney Princess Territory,” only for boys. But they love them. And I don’t have to slave over a sewing machine for hours over the next few weeks. Win-win.

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This weekend, we signed up for a mini-session with a local photographer. It’s been a year-and-a-half since we’ve last had our pictures taken. My biggest goal is getting a capture of us as a family, but updated pics of the boys were needed. We’re still waiting on the proofs, but I snapped a couple while we were waiting on the photographer to finish with another family.

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We’ll summarize by saying: there’s a reason I hired this out. The boys are not only completely in-motion at every moment but also impatient at being told to do ridiculous things like a) “stand still” or b) “look this way” or c) “smile”. My iPhone pics are cute, but I have a lot of ‘cute’. I wanted more ‘framers.’

Outsourced.

Our photographer Erin Moore – a mom of 4 girls, I might add – was amazing. And based on the sneak peeks from our session, I think we’ve got a couple winners at least. :)

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Those are the big things. A couple of honorable mentions:

1. We think Reid might be a lefty. He’s got some serious fine-motor prowess with that left hand. If you give him that same marker in his right hand, he grips it in his fist and does huge broad strokes. Left hand? Pencil grip and tiny marks. (Also, I know he needs a haircut!)

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2. The boys’ daycare just moved into a brand new building this week. Absolutely phenomenal! The last building was sort of this dumpy old-looking house. Great program, less-than-desirable facility. Now they’re in a beautiful facility too. We are all loving the change!

So “that’s it.” That’s all we’ve been up to. Next up – the holidays and much travel to many places to see much family! Here we go!

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Do you see him? Of course you don’t.

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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!

Some Updates

We’ve been busy around here lately.

Andy transitioned to full time employee (from being a contractor) last Monday. This means lots of fun things like quarterly bonus eligibility and a company phone, but we are just excited that he’s now gainfully employed in a non-temporary way.

This job, when he took it, was contract-to-hire, so we had line of sight to this change but Andy still had to impress them well enough to keep the job. Way to go, dear!

In his spare time, Andy holes up in the garage and saws wood into pieces. Every so often he sands. When the stars align, he’s been known to glue a piece or two together. I have no idea what he’s doing out there except for the fact that he is doing and that makes him happy. Good enough for me!

Graham continues to keep us on our toes. He is making friends at his ‘new’ daycare, which we are all thrilled about. He played tee ball for six weeks this summer. He loved being on the team, but after Week 3, he pretty much devoted his time seeking out opportunities to stall the game and get laughs out of the other kids. Maybe next year.

Graham starts 4K in a couple of weeks. He is very excited and even has a new backpack to show for it. The 4K program is funded through our school district and hosted by local daycares – of which Graham’s current daycare is one. This means we will drop him off in the daycare class in the morning, he will play, eat, nap there and in the afternoon he will put on his backpack and walk to the 4K classroom to join other kids from the community. Really, it’s a lot of shuffling. But they make a big deal about the shuffling, and he’s excited to shuffle with other kids in his class. So we roll with it.

Reid is learning new words all the time and figuring out (FINALLY, thank you God!!) how to put some words to what he wants. This makes life better for everyone. He relies a lot on signs still and generally prefers moving around to speaking, but we’ve made progress in the verbal department.

Reid’s favorite show is Sesame Street. He loves Elmo and Big Bird.

There is also a distinct possibility that Reid is the reincarnation of Andre the Giant. His mission in life is to tackle someone. Mainly Graham, but Andy or I will do in a pinch. When the boys are watching a TV show, and Graham isn’t interested in rough-housing, you can tell it takes concerted energy and concentration on Reid’s part not to tackle his brother.

As for me, I continue to become adjusted to my new work environment. I work with some really great people and things are constantly evolving. It keeps me on my toes.

I’m still running. My regular run loop now is 4 miles, and I don’t get lost anymore! A few of the girls I work with signed up for a race in late September, and I signed up too. I was very excited to run a[n organized] 5K again, and I told them so. Immediate mock-shaming commenced because they had all signed up for the 10K loop. Uh.

I caved to peer pressure. I am now training for a 10K. Hold me.

In related news, I am trying to get ahead of some asthma issues. I’ve been having attacks since coming to Wisconsin for the first time in my life, so I’m trying to get to the bottom of it. Predominant theory is allergies. Getting asthma in your 30s is awesome.

That’s an update on us! Debbie, out!

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! 😉

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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.

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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!