Monday, June 28, 2010

Going the distance

I've always hated running. HATED. LOATHED. I will even admit to feeling twinges of distaste for people who actually enjoyed running.

When I was in grade school, we'd have to run the 1/2 mile monthly and then the dreaded mile run once a year as part of the fitness test. I never ran them. Either of them. On 1/2 mile days I'd just call it a leisurely walk and take my time. On the big day of the annual mile, I can vividly remember begging my mom to let me stay home. She never did. I always had to go. And again, I never ran it. But damn did it take a while for me to walk that mo fo! But really, why rush? To get to the pull-up test? No thanks. Looking back I'm sure my PE teacher found this a maddening hurdle to his scheduling. If that terd hadn't kept me from the coveted "first honors" by gifting me with a C+ every quarter, I might even feel bad.

I also never played any sports. Why? Because they all required running (well, other than softball throughout grade school, which for some reason was the only sport that didn't require runs during practice). I'm still slightly irritated by that. I mean, really, if you can run enough to play the sport, why do you need to just run for runnings sake? But anyway...

And then all my friends started running. All. My. Friends. My friends from childhood, high school, college, mommyhood. All of them. Now, I'm going to admit something that just might shock you. I'm kind of competitive. Ok, wildly competitive. And it started to slowly drive me nuts that everyone was doing this thing that I just did not believe I could even begin to be able to do. Then last November a bunch of my mama buds did the half marathon. I had just had Kell (so at least I had a really good excuse!) so I didn't even consider it, but in the back of my head, I thought, someday...

A few months ago I noticed that a bunch of my previously non-running friends were doing this thing called the C25K. What? Google to the rescue! Couch to 5K. Perfect. I can do the couch, so if we're starting there, I can totally play. Well I did it! And now I'm running a few days a week and have a great friend who joins me (nothing like a running partner to push you). Last weekend her husband was making fun of our 5mi goal distance. A challenge had been issued. I loves me a good challenge...
Next time he should say that he doesn't believe we can make it that far and still be able to WALK afterward. But we did it. And this week we're shooting for 6! And that half marathon this November? You better believe I'll be there.

Almost makes me want to call that grade school gym teacher and ask for a report card amendment. Hehe.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


How do you say Happy Father's Day to the man who made you a mother?
First night out - first spark of interest ;)

I was immediately attracted to you, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would find myself 10 (almost 11!)years later, mother of your three beautiful boys and still just as madly in love...

One year anniversary of meeting - and celebrating both of our birthdays

You are a kind father, a loving dad. Even Kell wants nothing more than to be around you as much as possible. Ok, and for you to be holding him and lavishing all of your attention on him too. I've never seen a baby who loved his father as much as he does. His happiest moments of the day are when you go get him in the morning and when he sees you return at night so he can coo "Dada" at you...

Just Married - honeymoon self-portrait

You are a patient father, a good listener. When I'm mad at him, or yell at him, Dash will often tell me that he's going to tell you. "I'm telling MY DADDY!" Righter of wrongs, soother of hurts. While I get bored trying to go over the colors once, you have the patience to sit with him and do it repeatedly. You are the "take your time" to my "hurry up". And when Dash spouts off 10 minutes of unintelligible ranting, you get on his level and give it your best effort to understand him. Some days he forgets that you're at work and wakes up from his nap crying for you. I understand the impulse...

First time father (abysmal mother photographer :)

You are an involved father, a great teacher. When you had the opportunity this year to coach Fin's t-ball team, you stepped up. You knew that it would be a significant time commitment and that it would be a challenge to make all of those Friday afternoon practices, but you did it. And your son has benefited more than we know. When asked about t-ball, he will proudly gush that his daddy is his coach. And he's not the only one on the team who feels that way. Your gentleness and humor make all the kids your fans. When people see Fin play video games, they're blown away. How could he not play well with all of the coaching he's gotten from you there! And the list goes on and on, helping him sound out words, write his name, try new foods...

My 10 year high school reunion - I had a hot date!

You are an encouraging partner, an easy husband. What I mean by easy is that I find being with you effortless. Sure we argue and you are NOT a morning person, but I crave being near you. Coming home after our last two week Topsail adventure has been awful - we've all missed you so much! You are the first person I want to share good news with, the only one I want to tell my secrets to, and my favorite person to just "be" with...

And then there were three!

As we have grown up these past ten years, so has our relationship. And in this incarnation of us, I think the thing I appreciate the most is your encouragement. You consistently blow me away with your ability to cheer me in my successes and not judge me for my failures. You never make me feel like less for my culinary bombs or any of the other things I mess up. When I tell you I need to get out with the girls for a night, you never remind me how scarcely you do the same. You tell me to go and have a good time. When I tell you my wildest pipe dreams for the future, you never tell me how impossible they sound. When I told you I wanted to run the half marathon this year, you told me I could do anything I put my mind to. When I fell in love with photography, you upgraded my camera beyond what I even hoped for and told me to run with it...
And one more!

When I have one of those days where I feel like I'm just not doing anything well, that I don't have enough time to help Kell learn to crawl, to teach Dash his alphabet, to work on reading with Fin, or to iron your're there to remind me that I am enough. That I do enough. That our children are happy, healthy, well-mannered. That our home is warm and clean. And that you don't mind going to the dry cleaners. I appreciate that beyond measure...

A Family Complete

I love you. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for choosing to be my husband. Thank you for making me a mother. Thank you for giving me the three greatest sons on the planet.

Happy Fathers Day Woob!

All my love,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To My Daddy

Growing up, I was never what I'd consider a "Daddy's Girl."

The Early Days

Don't get me wrong, my father and I mostly got along, aside from the usual "I'm a teenager and I know better than you" stuffs. He didn't appreciate many of my clothing decisions, nor some of my dating choices, but I don't remember us having any arguments that were outside of the norm. We just didn't seem to find a way connect. He didn't want to shop or paint his nails or discuss makeup with me, and I didn't want to golf or hunt with him. Actually I did want to hunt with him. Until he made it clear that the bus left before 5am. And that to board said bus you had to don long underwear (which for some reason I have always HATED! He'd have had better luck trying to get me to wear pantyhose).

When I was in high school, we went on a college trip together. I think that was the first time I felt like we really had a common ground to stand on. Not that it was all smooth sailing - I can remember refusing to get out of the car at one of the 10,000 colleges in Pennsylvania because he wouldn't let me eat before our tour and I was so damn hungry I just started screaming about how ugly the college was and how I'd never go there. But we had some good laughs too. We saw a college that was built up on a hill and the tour guide made a point about how you could tell the difference between the Freshman and the Seniors by the size of their calves. Seeing my horrified response to this layout, he reminded me that I hardly needed larger calves (which is only funny because I owe those giant monsters to his gene pool). And there was the hotel clerk who asked if it was one bed or two - I think if I hadn't laughed my father might have decked the guy who then mumbled something about truckers. And of course there was his penchant for immediately gravitating to the football fields and athletic facilities at every visit. I think Bucknell was his favorite - they had their name in flowers outside the stadium and everything. All I could focus on was the girl in the sailor dress emerging from one of the 25 immaculate houses on sorority row. (Note: I apologize to Bucknell peeps that I let one person ruin my opinion of you. But a sailor dress? Really? And alllll those sorority houses....twitch, twitch). In the end, I walked onto Kenyon's campus and said, this is it. I'm sure it didn't hurt that it was a beautiful fall day and that the campus was empty aside from our very normal looking tour guide. But I figured that I could find friends anywhere and that it would be hard to have a bad time somewhere that pretty. I was quickly reminded that while tuition was covered, airfare home from Ohio was not. This, combined with the fact that I was told I would probably be rejected, sealed the deal. I'm difficult like that.

Drop-off Day at Kenyon

Doesn't he look to happy? I like to think it was pride ;) And besides, I had my mom behind the camera crying about how this was where you dropped off your kids to have them tattooed and pierced. I guess she was half right. So off to college I went. And I think a little space does every parent-child relationship some good. Aside from some home-time spats about curfew (but Dad, I'm in COLLEGE, I shouldn't have a curfew!), things were pretty normal...

Ahh, Solomans Vacation

And then I met Brooks, and moved out to CA. And somewhere in there I became an adult. And I thought about how I had spent many years thinking I was so much like my mother. I think the fact that I was constantly being told how much I looked like her was partially to blame. Instead I realized that my personality is much more like my fathers. We're the one's with the plans, the one's with the schedules, the one's who are asking what's for lunch with the last bite of breakfast still in our mouths...

Getting rid of me again, see how happy he is?

And Dad, you're the one I want Brooks to call when he asks me why I'm so bossy. Having this epiphany makes me love you better. And by better, I mean that it helps me to back off when we butt heads and to remind myself when I'm frustrated with you, it's probably our similarities that are causing the problem. And then I look at Fin and hope he has the same realization about me someday.

I once heard that the best thing a father can do for his children is to show them how much he loves their mother. And that makes sense since there are enough statistics and studies showing how much influence the father-daughter relationship has on womens' future relationships. Well thank you Dad. I don't think I've ever met a man who loves his wife more, or shows it more, than you do. Thank you for showing me what a loving marriage looks like, for giving me an always stable home. Thank you for giving me something to aspire to. And I guess I should say thank you too for loving me enough to care who I dated, that I not go out looking like a hooker, that I not keep the hours of a hooker, and that I get an education. You know, so I didn't have to be a hooker (heh). Thank you for being a wonderful father, a terrific grandfather and now a good friend.

Wish you lived closer, Margaritas would be on me. Instead you get the longest Father's day card ever (but it's probably better than that lame computer one that Mom and I gave you every year for like 10 years right? She would just erase my name and have me rewrite it every year. You know, because your handwriting is much better at like 15 then it is at 5!). I love you Daddy!

I Heart Faces: All About Babies

This week's challenge for I Heart Faces is "All About Babies". How serendipitous! One of my bestest had a little boy a few weeks ago and I was finally able to get some pictures of him just yesterday. I was a little worried since he's already 4 weeks old - which in newborn photography is an old man :) But he was a preemie so he is also a wee little thing. And I learned that preemies are known for not wanting to curl up or bend their legs which made for some good laughs from me and mama! He was just the cutest little thing and I swear it made my girlie parts cry a little bit when he had to go home...

Here's my favorite shot of little Tommy at 29 days old.

Don't forget to click over to I Heart Faces for some more great pictures!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Is This Nuts?

I cannot recall having a single friend with a nut allergy as a child. I don't remember knowing anyone who couldn't be near peanut butter. I had never heard the phrase "peanut dust." But recently a good friend's son was diagnosed with a serious nut allergy and I thought to myself, where the heck did all these nut allergies come from?!? I have zero medical training or scientific proof, but I have to wonder, are we anti-bactierializing, anti-bioticing, and generally over-cautioning ourselves into these things?

And just as I was thinking on all this, I read this. So now I can't have nuts on planes? Like at all? I understand that there are some kids who are no-joke desperately allergic, for them I'd do anything. My beef is where the "uncomfortable" mention comes in. Really? Uncomfortable on a plane? Aren't we all? What about the person who overflows into your seat? Or the person who is oh-my-gawd-sick right next to you? Or that person on every flight who hasn't seen the inside of a shower stall in lord knows how long?

But let's focus on the allergy thing. Someone in the article makes the comparison between this and an allergy to dogs. Unless I missed something, dogs can still fly in cabins on planes. There were plenty of dogs on our recent flights. I know more people who are allergic to cats, which this article didn't mention at all. In fact, my better half is allergic to cats. About two years ago we were on a flight with a crazy cat lady. Yes, I called her a crazy cat lady because not only did she give her cat sedatives before a cross- country flight, it appeared that she had snagged some for herself as well.

And I have to stop for a second and say here that I've seen plenty of people fly with pets so well behaved I didn't even realize they were on the plane. But much like children, I now look at the pet-person with trepidation knowing it could go either way. We presume bad behavior until we see otherwise.

So back to crazy cat lady. We'd barely achieved liftoff when this lady pulls her cat out of it's carrier. Wait, let me explain that better. We'd barely achieved liftoff when this heavy-lidded, word-slurring lady dragged her drooling, mewing, head-bobbing cat out of it's carrier. Then she proceeds to "comfort" this totally oblivious cat. I'm sure if the thing could have spoken, it would have yelled to be put back and left alone. Anyway, you could see the fur start to float through the air. Que sniffling. For the next six hours. And that's saying little about the noise factor.

While I'm lucky not to share my better-half's cat allergy, I am extremely sensitive to perfumes. I have always been bothered by strong smells (the incense at church always sends me running), but since having kids it's gotten awful. You know how when you're pregnant you get crazy nose? Like you can smell what people are cooking a zip code away? Yeah well mine never went away. In fact, I think it got worse with each kid. So that leaves me with a terrible headache if the person next to me has done any more than dab the pressure points. I've been to conferences that are "fragrance free", will airlines follow suit?

Makes you wonder what flights - and life in general - will be like when our children become adults...

**Sorry for the stream of consciousness rant, just been that kind of week!**

Monday, June 07, 2010

I Heart Faces: Play

This weeks' I Heart Faces challenge is "Play". I had TONS of pics I could have used for this one, but I just had to go with this one. I guess you could call it "play gone wrong." I wonder who won...

Don't forget to head over to I Heart Faces to see some of the other great entries!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Great Return

Our vacation is over.


Really, is there anything more depressing than coming home from vacation and knowing that you will have to wait a whole year to again achieve that level of relaxation? Ok, sure there are things that are bigger bummers. But still, it stinks. And while I think that late May/Early June is just the best time to be at the beach, it's ROUGH to know that summer hasn't even really started and already we're out of vacation. We're going to try and plan some long weekends just to have something to look forward to, but I can't believe we have to wait a whole year for our return to the beach.

I never would have considered myself a "beach person". I'm not a huge fan of sand, no longer relish sitting in the sun and hate, HATE, putting on a bathing suit. But when we go to NC with my family, the hose is never far away, Daddy always sets up two giant tarps and no one cares if you run into the ocean in shorts and a tee. The boys love playing in the ocean with Chief, looking for shells with Nanny, setting off fireworks with their Uncles, and building castles and forts with Daddy. It really is a kid's paradise. And all that makes it a parent's paradise.

This year found Finley totally over his distaste for the sand. He was all about digging and building. And the swimming lessons the boys took before we left seemed to make them frighteningly confident in the ocean - they both wanted to run full steam ahead into the waves! Dash enjoyed staying closer in to shore and kicking the waves while Fin preferred to head out as far as Chief would take him - even body surfing in once! They both impressed their uncles with their video-gaming ability, spending hours playing and building boards in Little Big Planet. Chief was up fishing just about every morning and I was quick to usher out anyone awake to watch. Dash got lucky and watched Chief catch a small shark. Poor Fin slept in that day and was greeted with "I got to touch a shark and you didn't!!" Sigh.

Kell loved the ocean too - but only when strapped to daddy. The Bodyglove carrier and the Ergo were our life savers this trip! He also learned some new tricks - waving and saying "hi" in the cutest voice you can imagine. And while we have no crawling yet, he is becoming a master at pulling himself up on things and rolling anywhere he wants to get. He's even able to go from rolling to sitting back upright. I don't remember if the other boys learned that before crawling but I don't think they did. Then again, I know for sure that they've ruined my memory...

Woob and I had a great time too. I think he started to relax as soon as the plane landed and I know his relaxation was complete when he had his first drink in hand. Not having to drive ANYWHERE for two weeks is bliss. I managed to take 1000 pictures - yikes! Which thankfully I was able to download in shifts on Woob's computer which he brought with us. And I swear next year I will remember that I need only ONE decent outfit and more crappy shirts and lax shorts. For me and the kids. I will not overpack. Yes, I am aware I say this every year. Also, we will never fly the Delta connection through Atlanta again. Ever. And I mean that. I feel as though I could have stayed at least another week before feeling the pull of home. Maybe someday.

Now it's back to the grind, the end of school this week and the continuation of the never-ending thousand degree t-ball season, countless pool trips and summer camp are on the horizon. Oh, and endless days of sun screening 4 people who may not even go anywhere.

Which reminds me, It's barely June and we've killed two bottles of sunscreen. Seriously? Why doesn't my insurance provide sunscreen?!? And should I invest in one of those giant tanning caves for easier group application...