Monday, May 21, 2012

Make a "T" and Shake It

It's been almost 2 weeks or so since I've blogged. I've got things ruminating but life has just been a bit busy.

We take the kids to Mass each week and, for the most part, they are really well behaved. Potty training has added a new layer to any outing, since Maya especially enjoys visiting EVERY bathroom in the world, but it's going well (again, adding the 'for the most part' caveat).  At Mass, the priest is about the start the Gospel when Maya announces she needs to go to the potty.  She says it and signs it (in case we (and the pews around us) are deaf), so I discretely take her to the bathroom in the Narthex.  So, we're all done and I'm walking towards the doors to reenter the church proper when I noticed my daughter isnt next to me.  No, she's pulling on the heavy glass doors that lead into the Shrine for the Holy Family.  I try to tell her that we are missing Mass and need to go back when she proceeds to tell me that she's going to pray and visit "Mama Mary, Papa Joseph, and Baby Jesus". Now, far be it from me (even though I'm irritated by this point because we are missing Mass and, since we sit in the front, I'm going to have to walk back THROUGH THE CENTER AISLE back to our seats in the middle of the homily) to tell my kid that she can't pray.  So, into the Shrine we go, where she proceeds to kneel on the altar, cross herself, close her eyes, fold her hands, and start praying (only the Holy Family knew what language she was speaking).   When she's done, we get up and go back to Mass.  Things are fine. Amen.

During the Eucharistic prayer, however, we arent so fine.  Bobby says, fairly low, "Stop." Now, this is what he says when we are out and he needs to go to the bathroom.  (It comes from the song we sing, "Stop and Go... Stop what you're doing, stop and go." Peter tells him we will go to the bathroom as soon as we stand up (you know... trying to be respectful of the priest praying, we're kneeling, we're praying, etc). He repeats "Stop" three more times, getting louder each time, to the point that Peter is practically knocking me over to get Bobby out to the bathroom.  (First, because who wants a kid yelling STOP in the middle of the Eucharistic prayer! and second, because I no longer bring a spare change of clothes out with my mostly, well trained potty-goers!)

We stand up and Maya, who asked me to hold her, is facing the congregation.  In a clear, authoritative voice, she says "Bobby has to go potty.  Make a "T"," she makes an ASL 'T" with her fingers, "and shake it!" 

There isnt a rock big enough, I tell you...  And it isnt better when the poor priest is doing his best not to laugh when you link eyes with him to somehow apologize.  At that point, all I wanted to do was laugh, too!

All in all, taking the kids is a good experience. They enjoy going and expect that our Saturday evenings will include a visit to "Jesus's house".  But last weekend, it was quite the experience!  (Of course, now everyone knows the sign for 'potty'!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Broad Street Low Down

Normally, I'd write some sort of post about this awesome race (more than what I have), but Brig did such a nice job here that I cant think of anything else to say!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
-Aldous Huxley

I'm a musician. I love music, actually. It courses through my veins much like my blood and I breathe it in as I do air. It brings me to a place of peace, a place of heartbreak, a place of joy, a place of sadness, but always a place. It can remind me of a moonlit night on a sunswept beach or of gardening in the sun... Of holding my children... Of the beating of my husband's heart.

Each of our children has their own song. I dont know that I ever thought it would work out that way or that there would be some song that reminded me of each of them. But, as the years have gone on, there are certain songs that just bring them to mind.

For Nicholas, it's You Are Mine. This is a religious song and, although we've sang it to each of the kids and it was played at Nicholas and Sophia's Memorial Mass, for me, it is his song. They may borrow it, but it's Nicholas's.

For Sophia, it's the Evanescence song, My Last Breath.  This is part of my running playlist and it never fails to give my heart a tug when I hear it.  The words... Chills just thinking about it.

Little Alexander lightens the mood (and takes us back a few decades) with the Beatles' Here Comes the Sun.  It was the first morning home after he was born and passed away, and we were listening to music.  For some reason, I had a Beatles CD in my computer.  This song came on.  The sun streamed in through the shades and I felt like I was going to survive.  It would be hard, but we'd make it.  It was as though he was telling us "It's going to be okay. You're going to get through this."  And we did.

Bobby...  Clearly, for me, it's Oh Bobby Boy, aka Oh Danny Boy, but with Bobby's name inserted.  (I sing Oh Maya Girl too, but Oh Bobby Boy was NICU favorite and, to this day, is the song they get put down to nap to).  Now, for Bobby, I think he'd  tell you it's Ode to Mabon, a song that I wrote to herald the fall equinox years ago.  For whatever reason, all I have to do is play the first few bars of the opening and he is spellbound. He will crawl into my lap at the piano or pull his chair over and just watch me sing it.  Loves that song.  It is guaranteed to bring him running from wherever he is.

Maya... For me, it's Carrickfergus.  Another NICU hangover.  I always sang this to her and she'd lay her head down on me (and still does) to rest and relax.  If she had to pick, I think she'd say my simple version of Stones on piano.  Peter played this version of Stones, which has my voice mixed with GrottoDragon's beautiful score, to all of the kids but I'm not nearly as talented as GD, so my piano playing is a lot more simple and based on the original music.

So, as the sky continues to be overcast and I set my playlist for these songs, I can take a few moments to reflect on each of my precious little ones and the lasting marks they've left, written across my heart, like their own unique sheet music. 

Are there any songs that remind you of your child(ren)? Reasons why or just that the song hits 'that' spot in your heart?

Broad Street - PreRun Pics

L-R: me, Sarah, Brigid

L-R: Sarah, me

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sore or Sorry???

Yesterday, after waking up at 3:30am and grabbing a quick shower and bite to eat, I joined my BFF Sarah and her baby sister Brig (who is no longer a baby and, FYI, if you click on her blog entry about the race, be prepped for some language to those with sensitive ears) to run my first big race of the year.  Broad Street, in Sarah's words, is THE race to run if you are remotely from Philly (which those of us in the 'burbs sort of are).  :)  She ran it back in 2008 and we stalked registration in order to get three of those coveted spots.  Brigid took a 7 hour trip down in order to do it with us, and we were on the road by 5am in order to get a good parking spot and a place on the subway.  The run covers a 10 mile stretch of Broad Street; you pass by City Hall around the middle of the trek and end at the Navy Yard (which, I'm sad to say, isn't full of handsome young sailors, but oh well...)

I was hoping to run it in 1:40 or so, but I knew that would be pushing it.  My Half time was 2:14, which, if you divide that down to 10 miles,would put me at around 1:43.  My finish time?  1:37:29  Pretty darn cool!!  Brigid and I ran together and finished seconds apart (she beat me- she totally deserved it!  That chicka ran like she stole something that last quarter mile!! WOO HOO BRIG!!!); Sarah crossed the line 10 minutes later, in spite of an old injury paying her a visit and causing her to stop and stretch at one point.  YAY SARAH! AWESOME JOB!!!  I was the 18,843 of 33,982 finishers (over 40K actually ran the race!), and the 8509th woman (of 19018 women) to cross the finish line; in my age group, 3700 women ran and I was 1611th to cross the finish line. 

I'm pretty proud of myself.

Yesterday, I was shot.  Spent.  Totally wasted.  When I got home, I just crashed.  I showered and could barely stay awake (getting up at 3:30am and running a 10 miler, I guess, will do that to you).  I dozed on the couch and at the dinner table (after Peter lovingly prepared dinner).  He was on kid duty all weekend, since I had packet pickup on Saturday then spent the evening with Bobby and Maya's oldest godsister, shopping for her dance.  Sunday, I was gone before they woke and didnt get home until 4pm or so (thanks traffic... Who thought scheduling a playoff game for the afternoon instead of night was a good idea when THE biggest 10 miler in the country was being run????)  By the time the kids were in bed, I was sound asleep. 

But I woke up at 5:30am and debated going for a run, so I'm either crazy or okay. :)

As Brigid and I were chit-chatting on the course, we shared different motivational quotes that we found funny or actually inspiring.  Some of our favorites:

Run like you stole it...
Run now, wine later...
You may be slow, but you're lapping the people sitting on the couch...

Brig busted this treasure out: Tomorrow, you can be sore or you can be sorry.  And Peter, as I was in the shower telling him that I was slightly sore but nowhere close to sorry because I am PROUD of myself, tossed in his college motto of "Pain is temporary but pride is forever."

True that, folks.  True that.

I'm actually not that sore.  It's more of a pushed-yourself-to-muscle-failure type feeling; I'm still teaching yoga tonight so, obviously, I'm not that unhappy.  My legs know they worked hard but they could run today.  They just aren't.  (I'm not that crazy.)  I did struggle to get Bobby dressed today (he didnt want his pants on and man, that kid is STRONG), but I'm doing alright.  And mentally?  Cloud 9. 

I'm not sorry.  Sore?  A bit.  But sorry?  Not a chance.

Because, really, the pain that comes from running like you stole it (while lapping couch potatoes) is temporary but pride?  The pride of finishing (with a side of 'wine'/'whine' after...)... that's going to last forever.

Just like the medal. :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

RUNNING In His Shoes

This post is brought to you by the sentence "My husband is right."
(and, it's written for Brig, the little sister I didn't have (but Sarah did!) but love just as much, LOL!)

Just wanted to get that out there first, seeing as Peter isn't going to let me live this down for a while...

As I mentioned yesterday, I succumbed to Peter's "encouragement" and got a pair of Vibrams.  I thought I might trail run in them but mainly got them to wear around the house since I like being barefoot (save the 'in the kitchen' jokes since that's actually true in our house!).  I have sworn up and down (and sideways and... you get the picture) that I wouldnt run in them outside of the ocassional trail.  I've even been known to make fun of runners in them... I know, I'm pretty awful.

For some reason today (perhaps it was Brigid asking if I've run in them, but really, who knows), I decided to go for a short run around the neighborhood.  I've been training with only 2-3 runs a week and have missed my daily 2-3 miles since I had dropped my dailies over the winter (dont know why... I missed them and yet couldnt get my butt out of bed in the early a.m. to go). As I put on my running clothes, I decided to forgo my sneakers (it's been raining and they are new... but really that's just an excuse I think) and keep the Vibrams (which I've worn all morning to clean in).

2.05 miles... 5 songs on my phone... 18 minutes.  Yeah.  9 minute miles.  (I'm a 10 minute mile kind of girl).  I felt like I was flying and, get this, there was no added stress to me.  I wanted to do my 'race pace' which is about a 10 minute mile, but something happened. I was running with the output that I planned but realized as my playlist went by that I was way ahead of where I thought I should/would be. 

So...Peter was right.  These shoes are a bit more amazing than I thought. I can't believe I PR'd my 2 mile standard on my first run out...

(Of course...We'll see how my feet are going to feel later this day but, for right now, they feel pretty darn fine!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Walking In His Shoes

Last fall, Peter broke the mold and bought a pair of Vibrams. He actually wore them for Robert's Run as part of the 2011 Alex's Lemonade Stand Lemon Run.

Since then, he's been on me to try them.  I love being barefoot and, 12 months of the year, sport my Almost Bare Foot Croc flip flops.  I loathe socks and love the feel of my feet being feet. (Excluding when I'm running when I love my running shoes and fave socks like nothing else.)  But, he keeps telling me to go for it.

And so... I have.  No pics of me in them yet (although I'm wearing them now!) but I'm a Vibram wearer too now...  Since Saturday, I've been sporting a pair of KomodoSport in black/grey/pink.
 Due to a pricing error at the store, I got them for cheap and decided to give Peter's advice a chance.

I wore them on Sunday afternoon and HATED them.  As I lamented "my feet hurt", Peter noticed that I had them as tight as humanly possible.  Yeah... Not a good thing.  So, yesterday, I tried them again (sans socks that time) and they werent so bad.  Today, again, without socks, and I'm sort of digging them.  So... We'll see!

Will they replace my flips?  Never!  But for actually wearing a 'shoe', I think I could get used to this...

The Eyes Have It

Today, we took Bobby and Maya for their annual ophthalmology visit.  Last year, we moved to a new doctor, where the kids had a meltdown for their appointment. (I mean, in their defense, I dont like drops in my eyes or having them held open with metal clamps either). At their visit last year, Dr. C. prepared us for the likely possibility that Maya especially, but possibly both kids, will need glasses in childhood. 
Amazingly enough, the kids scored exactly the same this year, with Maya at a "0" and Bobby normal for age (which I'm assuming is still around a "2").  The kids handled the dilation okay (they weren't happy but the nurse let them pick out a sucker afterwards, which helped that). Bobby sat (and squirmed) with Peter for his appointment, but Dr. C. was able to see what she needed to.  Maya sat with me even though she didnt want to and she cooperated well.

Dr. C. anticipates that, although Maya doesnt have severe nearsidedness (which premature babies are at a statistically higher risk of), since she is at "0" right now, statistically she will probably need glasses by the time she's kindergarten age.  Bobby may need them, but right now his eye shape is more farsided  (as it should be for a young child) although she saw the shadow of a stigmatism. So, they will both continue to be followed annually (and Maya will have her annual retinology appointment in the fall, as well).

I keep telling myself that I was a preemie who should, statistically, have poorer vision, and I'm still 20/15. So, will they need glasses? Possibly, likely. But, will their eyes develop with them? Only time will tell.

I'm in a better place about this that I was last year, perhaps because last year happened. It still hurts to think that had I been able to carry them longer, they'd be better off.  But thinking about the what if's... It doesnt seem worth it. They are here. Safe. Healthy. Whatever hurdles we jump through, we do it together.  This is a small thing in the grand scheme of things.

So, kudos to the kiddos for rocking their appointment and behaving so well!!