Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Last quarter of 2013

What were your New Year's resolutions? How are you doing on them? I've met some of them but not others.

1) Go to California- DONE (October)
2) Go to Denver- DONE (May)
3) Run an 8k- DONE (August)
4) Run two 5ks- DONE (April, October)
5) Dress better/feel better about my body image- Hmm, hard to measure that one
6) Build community- NOPE
7) MOVE houses- Nope, on hold until 2014!

That leaves with 3 months to 'build community'. I know I can do it. It just requires MAKING the time, offering up my imperfect life and my imperfect family and inviting others to JOIN in.


Tonight Wyeth was in rare form.
Why is everyone called 'Ms'? Like Ms. Gale. Ms. Robin. Ms. Lisa? Why is everyone's first name "Ms"?

Well, it is a title.

No it is not! NO! People are NOT books.

I don't really like toy stores because I always have a fit. It never goes well for myself.

I'm going to like whatever it is Dad likes because I'm on Dad's team.
[enjoy it while it lasts, Dad!]

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Overscheduled Family?

For a while now, I feel as if I have been reading opinions or editorials on the disservice parents do to their kids when they over schedule them. While well intentioned, kids feel stressed out by all of the things they need to 'do'.  I read an article about the value of boredom. And I have to say that I'm partial to these articles. I'm partial to the idea that families are important and that spending time with our children is really important.  And that kids shouldn't have to be entertained all of the time. I want my children to know how to entertain themselves. To sit around and come up with an invention. To draw. To sing songs. And to do it on their own accord. As my kids age, particularly in the last six months, I've been surprised that my role as the entertainer is slowly waning. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'm "needed" less. And part of me feels that is a measure of success, right? That is what we are tasked to do as parents: to teach them the skills and independence they need to grow up and make their own decisions.

And while teaching decision making skills and independence is a life long exercise and critical to success, some small part of the path to confident young folk, at least in my opinion,  is learning to just BE. To just be themselves. To figure out how to spend an hour when you are in your room and you need to entertain yourself. What do you decide to do?

Seren is excellent at this; she has more practice. That girl creates a ton of things: coasters to hold cold drinks, stories about her guinea pig, adventures in her mind that only she knows about. Wyeth is less strong at this as his time alone in his room has only just begun now that he is dropping his nap.

This is all a roundabout way of saying: how much extra-curricular is too much? How much is too little? We all want to provide our kids with all that we can and provide them with exposure to as many activities as we can. And we want to foster social friendships. Esp when there isn't an organic 'neighborhood' block. But there is a limit, right? Starting a new school has meant new opportunities for us. Afterschool clubs like Chess, and cooking and book writing. And Girl Scouts. And of course, we had her in piano. I feel like my radar is more sensitive and/or my tolerance is lower for the number of activities we need in our lives. And really, the only time I realize that we have overextended ourselves is when we have. And it is too late. And I'm bitter and the kids are exhausted. Our family can't "do" that many activities during a week. We just crumble and fall apart. Between school, work, homework, Girls Scouts, Piano, Soccer on Saturday and now an afterschool "American Girl Doll" club, I feel we are WAY done. And there is paperwork attached to everything! Patches to be sewn, snacks to be purchased, forms to be signed. I'm glad that our commitment to soccer as well as the Doll club are only 6 weeks. We can re-evaluate at that time.

Of course I'm not really asking this question in the hopes of an answer. My kids and my family really know the answer. But it is one of those elements of parenthood that I didn't really think about. "Family time", it feels to me, is really threatened. There is no day during the week that isn't full. My friends and I talk about birthday party invites, soccer games, T-ball, Girl Scouts, school obligations, fundraisers, Cub Scouts, playdate, Bounce parties, etc., etc. My friend Umy used to have what they called Family Day which was Sunday. They typically said no to invites during that day. I don't know if they still do this. But I like the idea of just doing things as a family all day, every day.

And while I'm certainly thinking about it a lot lately, this isn't really an issue for us in that we still do spend plenty of time together as a young family. But is one of those things. We need to be intentional about it. We need to be conscious of it. "How much will this activity cost us- not just financially- but as a family? Does this fit into our vision of we spend our precious time with each other?" If yes, we go for it. If not, we should politely decline.

Parenthood is so complicated!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CRIM 2013

Over a month ago, we all participated in the second annual (to us) CRIM races! We had a total and utter blast this year as well. It is becoming one of my most favorite annual traditions. This year, in stead of arriving from a 12 hour road trip the day before the race, we spent a week relaxing, swimming, eating and just vegging. Then we ran the races.  This year they also had the professional mile on Friday night as opposed to on Saturday.  The professionals were amazing! Elite professionals from all over the country (and other countries) come to run this fast road race. Wow. Seeing their amazing bodies was inspiring for all of us.

The community organizations in Flint also hosted a pasta dinner which was a good idea. But not very well attended. It ended up being a bit of a waste of money but the intention was good.

After the professional mile, the not so professional milers lined up! This was Wyeth's race. Sam ran with him, hand in hand. Seren, Grandma, Grandad and I cheered. He was very excited!

He did his first mile in 12.26. The night was cool and we were all so excited for him!


The next morning, Sam woke up and left with Grandma for the BIG event! The ten mile race. People come from ALL over to run in this thing! There were 8,371 runners in the ten mile. He was in the second heat. We were all sound asleep while he made his way over there. He wanted to be rested and in good stretching before the race. We didn't see him off but he was out of there by about 8:00AM.

Meanwhile, back at home, I was nervously getting breakfast into all of us.  I woke up early and actually ate my normal two egg breakfast and had some coffee. Last year, during my race, I was so hungry that I felt awful! This year, I fueled up.  We grabbed our running shoes, did some stretches and were off in time to get our races on.

I was so excited and nervous! We had trained for 8 weeks as a family of four. Most of our runs (the parents' runs) were on our own but we had the kids at the local track. Around and around we would all go. We all followed a different program. My main goal was simply to be FASTER this year. I didn't follow my training as I should. I was faster and stronger than a novice but not an intermediate runner. So I kinda did a hybrid. I pretty much ran 3 miles three times a week for an 8k (five mile) race. Not quite enough cross training or weight lifting. But I ran during both family vacations. A good showing.

Anyway, at 9 am, I was off.

Sam was still running somewhere in Flint. He had to finish his ten miles in at least 1 hour and 30 minutes if he was to meet Seren at the start of HER first 5K! The plan was that she would start the race, even if he wasn't there, and keep on running to the right. Dad would find her. I was nervous about this decision. This isn't a small race and we run THROUGH Flint. But Sam knew he'd be back.

Seren cried a few tears as she stood waiting next to Grandma. But she did it. As she said during her training runs, "Mom. I'm not a quitter. I am really strong." And she is!

Sam finished super strong at 1 hour and 23 minutes- plenty of time to smile for the camera, grab a banana and find his daughter in 7 minutes so that he could run with her! 

I came in next, just a few minutes after they headed off. I was really pleased with my race. This year, there was no humidity and I had really trained. I shaved off 2 minutes off my previous race time. And instead of feeling faint and nauseated, I sprinted in and smiled!  I couldn't see my family as I finished; eyes on the prize. I heard my mother in law's strong voice but I couldn't identify them in the crowd. But I did it!

I was around to see Seren and Sam finish strong! She was ALL business coming through the finishline!

I'm proud of all of us. I'm proud of myself for doing it. As my best friend Andy said 'wow, you guys took this thing seriously'. We really did. But it feels so good! Next year, I hope to run with music on and with a watch! Running is mostly a mental sport. I had no idea of my pace. And since the race course literally has three races on it going at once, the clocks don't help. At one point, I thought I was way behind where I wanted to be and nearly just started to walk. Then I heard a fellow runner, right next to me, tell me the time and I thought to myself 'DAMN! I Got this! Go!" That was all I needed to kick it in.

Oh, running. You are so good to me!


Our stats:
Wyeth's first mile: 12.26 age 4

Seren's first 5k: 37.33, age 7. Pace: 11.44. She finished 407 out of 1379 'women'. And placed 784 out of 2107 5k runners!

Mom's time: second 8k: 46.27, age 36. Pace: 9.21. I finished 38 out of 930 women, 124 out of 1325 runners and 5th out of 107 in my age group!

Sam's time: fifth of sixth 10 miles: 1 hour 23 min and 5 seconds, age 39. Pace: 8:19 mile. He was 1083 out of 4025 and 1370 out of 8,371 runners!

New Knowledge

Seren's verbatim comment to me tonight:

"Mom! Did you know that some authors don't always follow the rules? It is called poetic license. They do it for effect".

Yay for school!