Jan 27, 2011

I Never Win Anything!

I always pick the wrong line at the grocery store. I never even get upset anymore. I dig in my heels and read the trash magazines while I wait for the inevitable person in front of me to ask for a price check or start counting their pennies or goodness...who actually writes checks anymore?

But last week this all changed. I won a blog award. I started a blog initially as an online diary of sorts for my girls. Then I told family about it and writing the blog gave me a chance to connect with them and tell family stories so they could experience everyday life with us. Now I have discovered a whole new community of runners whose blogs teach me something everyday about running and balancing this passion of mine with life. I have had the best time meeting new people who love running as much as I do.

Amanda @ 5 Miles Past Empty is an inspiring athlete and a terrific cheerleader. I look forward to reading her blog each day and can't wait to meet her in May at the White Lake Triathlon. I'm doing the sprint and she is doing the Half Ironman. Thanks Amanda for making me feel super special with this award.

Here's the deal for accepting this award:

1. Make a post and link back to the person who tagged you with the award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Award to 7 great bloggers.

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won!

OK, here it goes....
My friends and family are likely to know all this stuff but here are some tidbits about me so all the new friends I've made can get to know me a little better.
1. I met my husband when I was 22 while working at Bed Bath & Beyond the summer before my first teaching job started. Now we have been married nearly 12 years and have 3 beautiful children...2 girls and a bouncing baby boy who joined us in July. Our family is now complete!

My mom and the whole family
2. I absolutely positively LOVE ice cream. My current favorite is Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar. I buy it each week just for me and try to make it last two nights. I think about it at least five nights during the day before I get to sit down and dive into that yummy goodness after the kids go to bed. I could live without any other food or drink but taking away ice cream would send me into a depression.
3. My happy place is the beach...Kitty Hawk, NC to be specific. My family has a cottage there and has for my entire life. I feel at home there unlike any other place. The smell of the ocean and grit of the sand between my toes makes my heart beat at its happiest pace. My memories there are the most vivid memories I have...the best milkshakes are there, one of biggest crushes happened there in middle school, need I go on. I ran the OBX half there and found it serene to run the streets I have driven my entire life.

4. I was named after a hurricane. Everyone always wonders how a girl from small town NC got the name Carmen. I was born with a head of black hair that my mom said did not fit the LeAnne she had picked out, so they went with Carmen instead which had "blown" through the Outer Banks that year.

5. My grandfather turns 89 next week! He is my family's ROCK and I love him bunches. I am so lucky to have experienced the love of all of my grandparents and my great grandmothers during my life. Roscoe or Granddaddy as I call him has always been my cheerleader, advisor, and the spunkiest ladies man I know.

6. I am a librarian. I have spent the last three years working part-time in a magnet high school. I love it but am enjoying my time at home soaking in the babyhood of D, my six month old, and being at home in the morning to see T and P start their days. I'll get back to it in a few years. A good book is as addicting to me as a good run but right now I feel like I have hit a dry spell for reading. I need a good book to sink my teeth into.

7. I love running. It makes me a better me. It challenges me and makes me feel strong physically and mentally. I have the most supportive family. My husband works late on Saturdays (he is in retail) so that I can do my long runs in the morning with my running buds. My girls have now each done races and always ask me how far I'm going rather than why I have to go. I am so thankful that they see how happy it makes me and don't see it as something that pulls me away from them.

T after finishing her first duathlon
 There you have it...a few things about me! I am going to open the door and tag anyone who reads my blog to share tidbits that make them the person they are today or the person they want to be. Thanks again Amanda!

Jan 25, 2011

Eat--Sleep--Be a Merry Mom/Runner

Did someone say eat?

The girls tracked out this week for their three week break. We aren't traveling anywhere this time so I tried to come up with some cool things for them to do. One of those things was letting them each pick something to make from scratch in the kitchen with minimal help from me. Today was P's day. She uses my iTouch all the time and likes to play cakedoodle where you "bake" and design a cake. She decided she wanted to bake a strawberry cake and use the recipe from cakedoodle. I was hesitant because I thought the recipe was fake and that the cake would be a bust but it did seem to have all the key ingredients. She did everything from using the mixer, cracking the eggs, cutting the strawberries (this was the only part that made me nervous). She iced it after dinner and I have to say it was really good. I always make birthday cakes for the girls and go to town decorating them to suit their fancy but this was the first time I have made a cake from scratch. I make a mean pound cake but I usually use good old Betty Crocker for birthday cakes. I guess I still haven't made one since P did all the work. It was fun, and she was so proud of herself.

The eating piece of running is hard to figure out. Since I am pretty thin to start with, I have to be careful about getting the right calories for energy sake and to maintain weight. Today I ran 5 after lunch, so I could beat the rain I thought was coming. I decided to eat my usual peanut butter english  muffin that I have before a morning run since I needed to eat and head out the door pretty quickly. In the morning it doesn't bother me, but today it felt blah in my belly the whole run. I did it, but it is so weird how a successful run is a big balancing game between eating, time, hydration, mindset. Since I have decided to do a marathon in March 2012 (is it silly to be excited with it so far away?), I want to spend some time learning more about balancing the nutritional aspects of running. I guess it is time for this librarian to hit the books and learn some stuff

Is sleep that important?

D turned six months last week. I cannot believe it! I took him for his check up today and he is 18 pounds 10 ounces. P and T were only 16+ pounds at a year old. He is a big baby for our bunch. Weight obviously does not translate to sleep for him. He does not nap much during the day but goes down nicely right at 8 each night. That would be OK, but he has been getting up around 4 almost every morning. It is killing us. We give him a bottle because we don't know what else to do, but he doesn't finish it. Luckily, it does put him back to sleep. You would think I would have this down pat by number 3, but I asked the doc for advice today. He said let him cry it out. Basically we are reinforcing his crying by coming to get him. He doesn't need to eat to make it through the night. I guess I just needed the go ahead that it was time to let him cry it out. We'll see how it goes tonight. At least the girls are tracked out if he wakes them up.

I know sleep is important, but I don't think I have experienced any ill effects from my lack of sleep. I guess when my nights are interruption free and I am able to run like the wind I'll realize how important sleep is to this sport. I have yet to have any sleep problems the night before a race. My upcoming race is a girls' weekend in Myrtle Beach. I'll have to see how I balance the fun with the race. Six of us are running the half so we should all be on the same page.

Be Merry!

S and I take turns having dates with the girls. It is my turn to go out with P. I am going to ask her tomorrow if we should paint pottery or see a movie. I love our time together. It is so fun to be with them alone. Without the other sister there to interrupt, each of them has a chance to really share tons of stuff that S and I share with each other afterwards.

I signed up for the White Lake Sprint Triathlon a few days ago. It is on May 15th! I am very excited to do another tri. I did one in June 2009 before getting prego. I have never felt as fit as I did after training for that tri. It is also the only race I have ever trained for alone. There is a lot to be said for motivating and accomplishing something solely for yourself. I look forward to facing the challenge again. My only fear is that the swim is a lot longer than the other sprint and this one is in open water rather than a pool. Yikes!

Jan 21, 2011

Freaky Friday

My six month thinks the vaccuum is alive....he smiles at it, talks to it, and wants to touch it whenever it is out. I cannot blame him really. It makes loud screeching noises and moves just like his sisters. He is making googley eyes at it right now. I think he wants to marry her.

Why do photographers talk real loud to kids and shake toys inches away from their face. Put yourself in the kid's place. People...kids can see just fine and hear too...they are not senior citizens. Thank goodness D humored this poor young girl and we now have six month pictures. I am determined not to fall into the trap of having the third child who doesn't have any pictures. Everyone tells me the third falls through the crack with no baby book or pictures. I have taken it as a challenge.

I got a runner's high today without running. I bought a new outfit for my half in February, shot bloks, a magnet and sticker for the car. Now can it only be in the 50s rather than the 20s tomorrow for my run....no such luck I bet.

The diaper I just changed could have been in the guiness book of world records if I had the right people here to document it. D is in new clothes. I sacraficed a onesie because there was no saving it and I just gave him a bath with almost an entire box of wipes. Should have just took him to the tub but I was scared about what might fall as we got there. Need I say more?

What is bound to happen next? I shudder to find out.

Jan 20, 2011

I'm so in love with my kids today!

I love them everyday, but you know how some days are more mushy and sappy than others. Today is one of those days.

Today is character day in P's kindergarten class. She had to pick a favorite book and be ready to talk about it in front of the class. She also got to dress up as the main character. Therefore, today she is Fancy Nancy. She has been a little anxious about it all week, so I was a little worried...until this morning. I get up at 6:30 and usually get the girls up at 6:45 for school. When I was coming down the hall this morning there was P in the bathroom brushing her teeth. She had already eaten breakfast (SCARY--she had poured her own milk for cereal successfully thank goodness), gotten dressed, brushed her hair and was now brushing teeth. I was surely staring at her in disbelief and she said, "Mommy, I've ready for you to curl by hair like Fancy Nancy and make it pink." She was so excited. I decided to go have lunch with her so I could see how it went, and she did great. The kids were so cute all dressed up. There were fairies, dogs, cats, Superman, but my Fancy Nancy was the cutest!

Today D turns 6 months! Where in the world does the time go? Yesterday I took him on a run with me in the jogging stroller. He normally conks out immediately but he stayed wide awake the whole time. He is getting such personality. For the first mile he just looked at me like he was wondering who in the world this woman was with sunglasses, a ponytail, and ear buds in pushing him. It was funny! He struggled to sit up against the shoulder straps to see what was going on. I guess it is time to take off the infant bar and let him sit facing out so he can see where we are going. I really don't want to because then I can't stare at him. He makes me explode with love every time he smiles and makes a sound.

You know when you worry that you are doing the right things as a parent? Yesterday, I got that pat on the back that I must be doing OK. T came home from school and told me about a girl in her class who forgot her lunch money. The girl was crying and the teacher was consoling her. (Don't worry--they give the kids fruits and veggies for free so no kid starves.) When this has happened to T, she just borrows from P's account since they are siblings but this girl did not have a sibling there. T said, "Mom, I told Abbie I wanted to give her my lunch box and I could buy lunch since I had money." It was so sweet to see that she had empathy for her friend and wanted to help. I asked her why she didn't do that and she said she didn't know if it was OK. I told her that it would have been fine and a very nice thing to do so next time she should try to help if she could. It was like she needed permission to know it was OK to feel that way. I love that she cares so much.

So today they get extra kisses until they start stealing each others stuff and fighting over TV again!

Jan 15, 2011

It's Back!

This week I realized I have a problem! I'm addicted to my Garmin running watch. Last Saturday it went missing after my long run. FYI...I'm training for a half marathon in Myrtle Beach next month. On Sunday Scott asked me where the watch was because he was going out for a run. I was in the shower and told him it was where it always is...our office. He said it was wasn't and left. In my head he had obviously overlooked it because it could not be missing.

It was! I backtracked in my head...searched my car...searched every possible and impossible place in the house. It drove me bonkers! I ran on the treadmill Tuesday because of ice and then Thursday I ran with a friend in the neighborhood. I craved the beep it gives as the miles go by. I even went so far as to unconsciously tap my arm to stop the time when my run was over. I had a clear problem!

I grumbled to Scott...not blaming him but just disappointed that it was gone and picturing the lucky person at the Tobacco Trail who must have found it when it fell out of my car. That was the only thing I could think could have happened because I had looked everywhere. I even bribed the girls to look for me just for a fresh set of eyes.

Saturday rolled around again...no Garmin. I went to pick up Holly, so we could meet our other running friends for a 10 mile run this morning. I told her I still had not found it. She had told me to pray to Saint Anthony earlier in the week. We laughed because I decided it only worked for Catholics, not Methodists. I told her it had consumed me this week and I would have to break down and buy another one that afternoon just so I would stop looking. She bent down to get something in her purse and with eyes a blazing came up with two Garmins in her hand...hers and MINE! I was so so so EXCITED! Out of control excited. She kept apologizing but I could have cared less that she had it. The point was.....she had it!!! Last week she had been sitting in the back of my car. After our run I had put my belt, headband, gloves, and Garmin in the base of little D's car seat. I swore all week that I had not taken it off in the car but obviously I did. Darn memory! She grabbed it thinking it was hers and had been using it all week. Only when she put mine in her purse were the two watches ever together for her to notice.

Thank you Holly for finding it this morning rather than tomorrow. I would have had another one on the way.
And....I have definitely found out I can run without music but I need my Garmin.

Jan 4, 2011

Resolutions for 2011

I haven't always made resolutions, but over the last few years I have made mental notes of things I want to get done in the next year. They are usually silly rather than serious. I seem to go for getting curtains in the family room (didn't happen yet) and running a certain race (did happen). This year I talked with the girls about resolutions on our trip to Elizabeth City to celebrate the holidays. Tate wants to get another 4 on her report card and run a 5K. Paige wants to do another race and ride a zip line.

Last year we got together the week after New Year's with a group of friends, and I remember being startled when Dave asked everyone to go around the table and share our resolutions. Oh my goodness I thought. I am going to have to say my silly thoughts out loud. Then I realized that they weren't too bad. Last year my resolutions were centered around the family. Being newly pregnant then, I wanted to help the girls become more self sufficient (make their breakfast, wash hair, etc) so that the addition of a baby to our family would be a little easier. I knew my two hands would not be enough at all times to juggle the needs of all three kids, so getting the girls to be more independent would help. Our friends thought it was a great resolution and I remember taking the resolution more seriously after sharing it with them. I said it out loud and it made it much more real. We went out to dinner to celebrate the holidays with the same group of awesome friends and we took some time to recap our resolutions and talk about if we had accomplished them. It was fun and very rewarding to share in every one's successes!

So now 2011 is here and we are having the infamous dinner again on Friday, so I need to be ready! Oh my...I'm feeling the pressure...good pressure. This year I want to push myself with a fitness goal but I want to be reasonable too. I do have a 5 month old and two little ladies in elementary school. I will complete my third half marathon in February, but I've done that so even though it will be challenging since I have just gotten my running legs back post pregnancy it is not the challenge I am looking for. I want something different, unique, new. One for sure thing will be zip lining on a brand new course in Fayetteville. It is on my life list (my version of the bucket list but I'm too young to call it that I think or choose to think). I'm also looking into a relay marathon (I will have a full marathon as a resolution in 2012--Wrightsville Beach I think). I also want to do another triathlon maybe an olympic length on this time. My friend Jo just mentioned a Mud Run which sounds cool...an obstacle course the length of a 10K. I think I'll hold her to doing that. I'm full of items but need to finalize my plans by Friday so I can "own" them and start to plan. I'm excited and nervous. Other than fitness goals I also want to live in the moment more. Life has taken a big turn for me as a mother of three. It is so rewarding but busier than I expected. I want to take it all in more and not wish the days away. Christmas Eve was a crazy day this year and I was so happy when I took a moment in the crazy Walmart line to make myself reassess the day. I need to realize more that it is OK to change "the plan" in order to make the day, week, month more enjoyable for everyone.

In that Walmart line I realized I had not grabbed the candy I wanted to get Laura for her birthday. I tapped the guy in front of me and asked him if he would mind pulling my cart along so I could run and grab something close by. He smiled and said, " I will if you get me some roasted peanuts." That brought the biggest smile to my face. In the craziness of the day when people are so anxious and usually not too friendly, this guy and I were helping each other. That is how I want 2011 to be. I want to be helpful and allow more people to help me. I try to do it all myself and I think if I open that door a little I will be a better me in this crazy thing we call life.

Jan 3, 2011

Paige...surgery, sillies, our sanity

"Where is my mom?" The best words a mom can hear when her baby girl wakes up from surgery.

Paige had a pilomatrixoma (hair root tumor) removed today. This is her third skin issue since birth. At six months a hairy nevus popped up on the back of her head. It has stayed the same and makes her pig tails quite interesting with the darker hair that grows there. Next, at five years old three white spots appeared on Paige that ended up being vitiligo. This normally is linked to potential problems with the immune system or thyroid but so far Paige has shown no signs of problems in these areas. No new spots have appeared in over a year. Finally, a small bump appeared under her left eye right around her sixth birthday. It was not painful and moved around when you touched it. Her doctor referred us to the chief pediatric surgeon at WakeMed. He said a hair root had gone crazy and would continue to grow if we did not remove it. We wanted to do it as soon as possible to minimize the scar she would have.

Today we got up at four and were on our way. She was as calm and collected about the surgery. She is my shy little one who clams up with strangers and shows her nervousness by putting her hands in her hair....but she is so strong and fearless. She faces shots, doctors, etc. with a peacefulness I have never had. My stomach was turning and she was talking about the donut I had promised as we drove in the dark early morning. My anxiety heightened as the anesthesiologist discussed potential complications. Paige on the other hand was silly from the mild sedative they gave her. She kissed us goodbye and Scott and I waited in the waiting room for thirty minutes until Dr. P came and told us she did great and the bump was exactly what he expected.

The anesthesia made her plain crazy. Now at the end of the day I am describing her as a bipolar drunk. We left the hospital with a silly, wobbly girl who wanted to go to school. She could not walk but wanted to know what her classmates were doing at that moment and if she would be there by lunch. At home the seesaw began. One of us had to stay right with her because she kept getting up on her unstable legs. For such a small thing, she was hard to keep up with and balance as she would tilt and sway almost falling off the couch multiple times. She got upset when I started to take down the Christmas tree and would only lay on the side of her face when the incision was. Stubborn! Thank goodness after three hours, her nervous energy slowed down and she watched Annie and became herself again. I am so glad that is over and she is so excited that the letter of the week is G and she can take her gas mask she decorated to school for show and tell.

Children are supposed to be strong willed, adventurous and loud....today she was vulnerable and my little baby again.