Summer Week 5

I’m way behind, y’all.  I gave up on daily chores for the kids after 6 days in, but I’m still not giving up on my pic-a-day idea.  So here’s what I can remember from the last week and a half!

Day 29 Homework

 

 

 

I spent the morning riding the trails at New London again.  It’s sort of refreshing to be so new at something that you experience noticeable growth every time you try again.  Most days I feel like I’m stuck at the same speed when I run, but it’s obvious that I’m getting faster on the bike.  I’m guessing most of that, though, is from the fear subsiding and not really from gaining much fitness.  I’ll take it anyways.

I spent the rest of the day working on homework.  I chose these pictures to remind myself that I really do enjoy the work that I’m doing.  Sure, a few more days at the pool with no deadlines would be great, but I know all of this will be worth it when I eventually step into a full-time role helping teachers teach math better.

Day 30 Carcassonne
After the morning teaching two year old Sunday School, the kids and I headed to Richmond for our yearly staycation at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Chica snapped this picture when we were teaching them how to play Carcassonne.  Bubba pouted through this first game because Grandpa stole his great big ol’ city, but he came back to beat us by one point in the rematch.

Day 31  Bike Riding
On Monday morning Grandma, Bubba, and I left the other two sleeping while we went to Rockwood Park.  They played Pokemon while I ran….and I also happened upon a bunch of RVA rocks.

Later we rode bikes around Grandma’s lake in order to check out the July 4th parade route.   I still pinch myself every time we go out on a bike ride now.  No baby seat, no buggy, no trailer, no training wheels, (almost) no fighting….it’s pretty great.

 

Day 32  Bowling

 

 

 

 

It was crazy hot in Richmond in the beginning of the week, so bowling was at the top of our list of indoor fun things to do.

I chose the second and third pictures here to remind me of Chica’s growth lately.  At one point she got upset during bowling thanks to a brief argument with Bubba and being pretty far behind in points.  She pouted for a short while and then articulated, “I don’t want you to cheer for me unless I look excited”.  In other words, our attempt to encourage her even when she had a mediocre turn was just annoying to her.  That seemed like reasonable request, so we honored it.  And guess what?  She recovered.  Almost instantly.  There was so much joy in the moment I snapped that second picture.  Can you see that Bubba was doing a celebration dance?  🙂  I’m so proud of her for figuring out what she needed and communicating that to us so clearly.  #progress

She nearly lost it again trying to spend her arcade tickets at the junk counter.  Mom-math-teacher was expecting her to do her own mental subtraction to see how much she had left, but she was feeling frantic and refused to think through it.  I tried really hard to stay calm and remind her there was no rush, and she eventually got there….without the phone or paper & pencil.  On another day her overly emotional response would have escalated to the point of me choosing to throw the tickets away and making her walk out without anything.  This time we recovered together, and it didn’t have to come to that.  *Mental note….we need to work on thinking about adding up for subtraction!

Day 33  Independence Day

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve decided it’s more fun to be in a parade than to watch one.  In preparation for my parents’ neighborhood parade, we went to the Dollar Tree and bought every tacky red-white-&-blue decoration imaginable for Jay’s Jeep.  I think the results were pretty awesome.  

I spent the afternoon trying to convince everyone that going to watch fireworks at the fairgrounds would be worth enduring the mobs of people, traffic, and heat.  I was right.  Also, I haven’t figured out any good way to photograph fireworks with an iPhone, but glow sticks look pretty cool!

Day 34 Rock Climbing

In case you missed it, a few months ago I wrote about the disaster that was rock climbing on Chica’s overnight field trip.  She has asked repeatedly since then if we could give it another try, and our RVA Stay-cay seemed like a good time to go.  As anticipated, she got a little weepy when both Bubba and I got higher than her, but she so held it together.  I’m proud of her for trying again!  Bubba actually got stuck at the top and had to be “rescued” on his last climb.  We had lunch at Bottom’s Up after climbing, and Grandma wowed the kids with stories about the time the restaurant was flooded.


Day 35  Bonus Beach Day

 

 

 

 

 

The plan was to go to Kings Dominion on Friday, but the weather forecast just stunk, so we postponed it one day.  Instead we visited Yorktown Beach, a place Grandma had taken them before, but I had never been.  Sand and water without the fear of kids getting swept away by the ocean current is my jam, as Chica would say.

Day 36  Kings Dominion

 

 

 

 

 

Our annual trip to Kings Dominion is easily the most anticipated day of the summer.  However, this trip was super extra special because the kids got to spend the day with their cousin who we haven’t seen in a long time.  They picked up right where they left off and had all the fun.  We were there when the park opened and didn’t leave until it closed!

Day 37 Back to Reality

The transition back to Mom’s rules after a week of Grandma’s rules was a little hard for Bubba this time.  He was convinced I should let him eat the melty Peppermint Patty he found in my van at 10:00 am on the way home, but I was determined that was a no-go.  He preceded to moan and whine like he might die of starvation, even after having two other snacks.  So in desperation (and with quite a bit of sarcasm), I handed him an entire English cucumber that Grandma sent home with us.  “Here.  If you’re really starving, chew on this.”  And he did.  He ate the entire thing, and we’ve been laughing about it ever since.

That night we drove to Nana’s house for dinner with the top down.  Yep….I’m that person wearing a hoodie in the middle of the summer.

We had a great time in Richmond, but man, it was also good to be home!

 

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XTERRA Richmond 21K Trail Run 2015

About three months ago, on the eve of the Shamrock Half Marathon, I sat at the table of our rented beach house recording future training run distances on a calendar.  I should have been sleeping, but I instead needed to know what was going to come next.  I’ve set the far-off goal of completing the Richmond Marathon in November, but I needed a few shorter races in the meantime to keep me focused and motivated.  First up….XTERRA Richmond 21K Trail Run.  Today was the day!

My training leading up to the race went well.  I ran Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday most weeks, alternating between a hilly three mile loop in our neighborhood before school and the treadmill at the Y in the afternoons.  The highlight of each week was my long run on Saturday mornings.  As the weather warmed up and dried out, I tried to do as many of these runs on the trail as possible.  I twice logged miles on the Buttermilk Trail in Richmond.  My last two long runs were on Liberty Mountain (11 miles) and on the trails parallel to the Blackwater Creek Trail (12 miles)…two of my favorite spots in Lynchburg.  With school getting out this past week, I was also able to catch up on lost hours of sleep.  I was feeling ready!

Our family headed to Richmond Friday after lunch, and we stopped at REI before making our way to Grandma’s house.  We downed a great pre-race meal from Joe’s Inn and then took the kids for a quick swim before bedtime.  Grandma and the little people decided to sleep in the tent in the backyard, so I got to sleep fairly quickly.  I slept completely unencumbered by any pesky snugglers.  It was beautiful.

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We had decided that Jay would take me to the start, and the rest of the family would wait at the Reedy Creek Tunnel aid station.  From there they would be able to see me three times during the race.   Jay was kind enough to drop me off near the start so that I could pick up my packet while he went to park the car.

Bag checked.  Porta-Potty visited.  Bib pinned.  Husband hugged.  Before picture taken.  Let’s do this!

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The first mile and a half were ridiculously hot.  We started in the Brown’s Island/Tredegar area and ran past this cool spot, over a bridge, and across the Flood Wall.  I blew through the first aid station way too fast.  I grabbed only one cup of water and ended up pouring most of it on me.  I promised myself that at all other aid stations I was going to slow down and actually drink something.  I know that I should have expected the heat when signing up for a race in Richmond in June, but I’m not going to lie…it caught me off guard.  Even at 8am, the sun felt pretty brutal, but I kept trucking knowing that we would get to the trail soon.  I was so relieved when we finally dipped down into the shade.

I don’t remember much of the next section except for the steps that RVA-ers call the “Mayan Ruins.”   The runners in front of me had come to a slow crawl up these steep steps.  For half a second I was a bit annoyed.  Then I realized that I couldn’t have moved any faster than we were already going, and I quickly got over myself.  Two girls behind me decided they were taking the road less traveled and went up the steps that were around to the right.  I think they realized it wasn’t any faster, however, when they ended up right back behind me at the top.

The main thing that kept me going was knowing that my family was waiting for me at the Forest Hills Park aid station.  I could hear them cheering before I could see them.  Both kids wanted to give me a hug, and I gladly obliged.  I dumped a couple more cups of water on myself, downed a few, grabbed a gel, and kept going.  There were several switchbacks right above their watching spot, so I got to see (and hear) them a few more times.  By this first loop of the park, there were a handful of us that were all doing about the same pace together.  One guy behind me told me that it was his fourth time doing this race, and warned me to save my energy for the second loop.  Turns out I felt much better the second time around.  I think it had to do with the fact that I had at least a little bit of an idea how far I had left to go.  There were no mile markers, so the first time around I just kept wondering how close I was to seeing my family again.

I remember a few other things from the park loop.  At one point we crossed a creek.  Both times over it I dipped down and splashed water on myself to try to cool off.  It helped for about 30 seconds.  🙂  Right before the aid station there was a really skinny cement bridge to cross.  I remember being a tad bit nervous that I would run right off the thing, but I was too embarrassed to slow down and walk.  The second time around there was an old man standing at the end with a big bouquet of sunflowers.  Somebody behind me joked, “Oh, how nice! You brought me flowers!”  He didn’t seem to get it…just confused why several sweaty people were running straight at him.

During this section I also remember contemplating some of the differences between road races and trail races.  This is only my second trail race, and there’s this whole new added element of passing people that you don’t really have to worry about on a wide road.  Several times I heard people right behind me that I thought wanted to pass, but it turns out they seemed to be fine with following my slow, slogging pace.  Other times I got right up behind somebody else and then had to really convince myself that I had enough juice to pass them and then stay in front.  More than once those people passed me again at the aid stations while I was busy dumping cups of cold water on my head.  I also got lapped in the park loop by three or four of the guys who went on to win the race.  Impressive.

After I passed my family for the third time, I headed into the Reedy Creek Tunnel where the race volunteer promised me air conditioning.  I admit I was so out of it at that point that I believed her for a half a second.  Ha.  The water crossing that I had heard about turned out to just be maybe three inches of running water.  No biggie.  My favorite part of the whole race, however, was the bouldering we had to do to cross the river.  I’m sure my tired self bounding crawling over the huge rocks was quite a site, but the race volunteers were quite encouraging at this point.  One guy said something like, “Just power yourself over to that big rock, climb this ladder, and then you’re in the shade!”  I joked to him, “I don’t think I’ll be powering anywhere at this point,” as I basically slid down the rock on my butt and then leaned forward to catch the next one with my hands.  I’m certain he was lying, but he said, “Looked pretty powerful to me,” as I climbed the ladder.  I’ll take it.

By the time I was winding my way through Belle Isle, I was alone.  No more leap frogging with runners around me.  At this point I was really thankful for the hundreds of signs put up by the trail organizers because I never worried that I was going to get lost.  As I came out of the wooded trails, I was relieved to see the suspended bridge because I knew we were almost done, but the section right before it was especially hot.  It was at this point that I realized that my goal of 12 minute miles was out of the picture.  I just kept trying to remind myself to finish and finish well.

On the road between the suspended bridge and the finish, I started leap frogging again with another tired runner.  He would walk, and I would jog slowly past him.  Then he got up enough speed to pass me, and I didn’t have it in me to power past him.  As we approached the finish line, cheered on by three especially great volunteers, I had passed him.  But at the very last stretch, he tried to pass me one final time.  I sprinted with everything I had left (which wasn’t much), and it appeared we crossed at exactly the same moment.  Turns out the official race results say I beat him by exactly one second.  Woot!  It’s the little victories, huh?  My final time was 2:36:13 which was a pace of 12:29 per mile.

I found Jay, drank a few more cups of water, and we sat in the shade a while to cool down.  We then went for a kid-free post race meal at Millie’s, a restaurant I read about in another runner’s blog.   I got the Huevos Rancheros, and it was absolutely amazing.  Go there!

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Jay asked me when I was done if I’d run this race again.  Definitely, yes.  Here’s my quick list of grows and glows to sum it up:

Grows:
Mile markers.  Maybe this is taboo in a trail race, but I really like knowing how far I have left to go.
Finish line.   The race course took a sharp turn at the very end, which meant you couldn’t see the finish to gauge how far you had left to go.  I’m always leery of starting to sprint too soon, and this time I waited too long.
Heat.  Maybe the race organizers could work on that for next year?  JK.  More like, maybe I need to do a few mid-day training runs so I’m not such a wimp.

Glows:
Course.  The race is called an “urban adventure,” and they aren’t joking.  I liked how varied the trail was, and the runners really got a few beautiful views of the city.
People.  The volunteers were helpful, and so were the runners.
Signage.  I never really had to worry about getting lost.
Family.  It was SO good to have them waiting for me at Reedy Creek.  I’m not sure what else would have kept me going!
I finished!  Though I didn’t make my goal of 12 min pace, I am choosing to be excited that I completed this tough course, with a smile, injury free.

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Now on to training for the next race!  Up next:  Percival’s Island 5 Miler.

Spring Mememberies

Chica doesn’t talk about her Memembery Book anymore, but I still think that I need one.  Here’s the spring 2015 edition…

1.  In March, I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.  My time was right under  two hours, and I couldn’t have been more pleased.  Two of my favorite mememberies from that weekend include biking to the start in the dark with Jay and seeing my sweet family on the course twice.  While I was there, I mapped out my racing and training plan for the next six months or so.  I’ve got 4 races on the calendar:  XTERRA Richmond in June, Percival’s Island Five Miler in July, Virginia 10 Miler in September, and the Richmond Marathon in November.  I am SO enjoying the training right now.
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2.  Each year our fourth graders go on an overnight field trip to an outdoor education camp.  This year we tried out a new location, W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center, and we loved it!  We went canoeing, fishing, tried out archery, held snakes, made s’mores by the campfire, practiced using a compass, and learned how to start a fire without matches.  I have three favorite mememberies from our time there….an early morning run with two mommas, playing adults vs. kids soccer, and a hilarious dinner conversation about the birds and the bees chickens and puppies.  Ask me sometime about the unfortunate consequences of having an OB-GYN doc for a mom.  🙂

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3.  Thanks to a too-good-to-pass-up Groupon deal, our family of four took a quick Spring Break trip to DC.  We stayed in Tyson’s Corner and took the Metro into the city two different days.  On our first day there we went to the new air & space museum and visited a friend’s church for his Saturday evening service.  On Sunday we toured the zoo, ate at Hard Rock Cafe, and checked out the Building Museum.  Monday was monument day, and we made quite the trek:  Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial.  We ate a very tired lunch at McDonald’s across from the White House then headed home.  A few of my favorite mememberies were watching Chica learn how to read the Metro map, a paper airplane contest in the air & space museum, and the gift from Jay of a free hour to sip sangria and read in the hotel restaurant.

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4.  For her birthday, grandma gifted Chica with a weekend at Mom & Me at Eagle Eyrie.  We met my friend Stephanie and her daughter Gracie there.  Chica had a fabulous time, and I had fun watching her have fun.  I’m not sure what she would offer as her favorite part, but I enjoyed packing shoeboxes, eating ice cream, visiting with Stephanie, and just having a chance to focus on one kid.

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5.  We spent Mother’s Day in Richmond with my mom.  It was delightful.  Saturday morning I got to go on a long trail run on the Buttermilk Trail.  After my run I took several laps around the South of the James Farmer’s Market in Forest Hill Park.  The rest of the time we mostly rested and cooked.  I used this weekend as an excuse to try out two new recipes:  stuffed shells and spinach salad.  They were keepers, and I have repeated both once since that weekend.  A few more mememberies from that weekend include an early morning walk with my mom, fishing with the kids and Grandma on the dock, and a brief photo shoot with Jay. He wanted me to try to capture a new head shot he could use for work and school:

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6.  The other major event for that weekend was applying for college.  What the what!?!  I know….as if two kids, a job, a husband, a house, and marathon training were not enough, I’ve decided to start working on my masters.  Woohoo!  I’m going to working on a M.A. in Mathematics Education (K-6) from Western Governors University.  If all goes well with my admissions interview this week, I start July 1.  I can’t wait, actually.  Here’s my excited-but-whattheheckhaveigotteninto face:
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7.  The very next weekend brought a long awaited visit from my college friend, Sarah-Anne.  She arrived the day of my final SOL, so I was able to take off the next day to spend with her and three other college friends in Richmond.  Perhaps my favorite part of her visit is that life just continued to happen ’round here, and she got to be a part of it.  Doing dishes, packing lunches, going for weekend long runs, hanging out with my momma….it was fun to do all of those things together.  I felt blessed to be able to do Friday kid-free so that I could soak in the sweetness of my friends’ kids instead of worrying about mine.   Also, Saturday morning SAL and I returned to the same farmer’s market from the weekend before.  My mom gave us each $20 to spend, and we eeked every cent out of it…goat cheese, quinoa bowl, ripe strawberries, fresh juice, crepe, homemade granola bar, and snap peas.  Yum.

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8.  We were double blessed with cross country guests that weekend.  Uncle Justin and Aunt Rachel came in from California, and we were able to celebrate the upcoming birth of the latest baby Proffitt.  At some point during the weekend Bubba caught wind of the fact that there was a baby growing in Rachel’s belly and asked, “Can I pet it?”  I think that story is going to get a lot of miles!  Chica and I thoroughly enjoyed the baby shower together.  We so can’t wait to meet Baby Proffitt!

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9.  My kids really rocked their SOL tests.  I am so proud of them.  As promised, they were rewarded with extra recess, popsicles, and the privilege of pieing me.  Here’s the video of me getting pied for your viewing pleasure….

 

10.  And finally, this past week Jay and I treated four fun fourth graders to an afternoon of Science & S’mores.  This was a silent auction idea that we dreamed up for our spring carnival.  We microwaved ivory soap, made everyone’s favorite non-Newtonian fluid, played with snap circuits, attempted a popsicle stick chain reaction, and…best of all…played with dry ice to our hearts’ content.

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Since we never really got the popsicle thing to work at school, we of course had to try it again at home:

 

11.  I was going to stop at 10 mememberies, but I found this picture in my phone as I was looking at others.  It was too good to pass up.  Bubba insisted on wearing his bowtie to school twice this week.  He would have worn it a third day, but he ran out of clean polo shirts.  He’s convinced that button down shirts need neckties, not bowties.  I’m certain he won’t stop asking about it until he gets one.  Funny guy.

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How about you, friends?  What’s your favorite spring memembery?  I hope you’ll leave me a comment and share!

 

 

One Thing….Or Ten

So I’ve sat here for entirely too long trying to make this post about one thing.  Here’s what it’s about so I can just get on with it:

We have two more weeks of school, the last two weeks have been crazy, and it’s time to just jot down the stuff worth remembering.  

That’s enough of a “one thing”, right?  Ok, good.

  • Yesterday I called Jay at work to tell him that he must dress his son before leaving for school or else I might break Bubba’s arm.  I wasn’t even kidding.  The ten minute wrestling/screaming match on the bedroom floor in order to put on a clean outfit just wasn’t the best way I could think to start my day.  Or his.  Today Daddy dressed Bubba, Chica put on his shoes, and we got to school early.  Thankful.
  • We finished By the Shores of Silver Lake last night.  I thought for sure they weren’t going to ever get the homestead for the winter storms and the unwanted overnight guests, but they finally made it, just in time for the more storms, it appears.  There’s just something not quite right about starting a book called The Long Winter when it’s finally getting hot outside.
  • Cicadas are my most recent fascination.  I watched one for maybe 20 minutes the other night as it emerged from its exoskeleton.  Earlier this week we pointed out the shells to Chica, and she (no surprise) proceeded to make up a Cicada Hunt song.  “We’re going on a cicada hunt.  Might be dead ones, might be live ones, might be real ones, might be shell ones.  We’re doing on a cicada h-u-u-u-nt!”
  • I admit my other recent fascination is The Voice.   Ridiculous, I know.  But because I can only watch about 10 minutes max before falling asleep each night, I’ll probably still be watching it in August.  Don’t tell me who wins, mkay?
  • One night Chica comes in her room and says in a worried tone, “Mom!  There’s something on the potty, and it won’t go away.  It won’t go away when I flush it!”  “Yes, Chica, that’s what happens when your mommy goes on a housework strike for one too many weeks in a row.  That’s why most mommies clean the potty every week.  I’ll get to it soon, I promise.”
  • On Saturday Bubba fed a giraffe from his hand and Jay fist bumped a turkey.  The Metro Richmond Zoo is a neat place.
  • Last week I did something pretty cool, and then I waited by the e-mail for the praise to roll in.  And it didn’t.  I know I have something to learn in this, but I think I forgot it when I finally got an e-mail about the something cool today.
  • Now that tests are over, there’s such a sense of freedom in my little brain as I teach.  Today we followed the rabbit trails for ever so long through decimal division and decimal multiplication and if numbers get bigger or smaller (or both) when you multiply.  Then how multiplication and division are related and two ways to think about division. And finally we made our way back around to pictures and stories to go with the decimal division problem we had in the first place.  And there were lots of Oooooooohhhhh’s and I-get-it’s.  Math is so cool.  My kids are pretty darn cool too.
  • Speaking of rabbit trails, while reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham and the part about a raccoon drowning a dog, I had to tell my raccoon story.  I just will never forget the image of Jay jumping out of his truck and chasing a raccoon down with a pocket knife in order to rescue his desperate wife.  That’s definitely one of my favorite CrossRoads memories ever.

Ok.  That’s enough for now.  Off to fall asleep to my 10 minutes of The Voice and continue my strike a little longer.  Summer, come soon.