The Sleep Whisperer

We have been fortunate that The Little Monkey has always been a pretty good sleeper. Since about eight months old he has settled down into a pattern of falling asleep at about 7pm, waking at 6:30am, naptime from 10:30-1:30 daily. Big Monkey and I have each had our different "specialties". BM is good at bathtime, diaper changes, playtime, and just about everything else, but my "specialty" is sleeptime. For some reason, I've always been able to get him to go to sleep.

Last night was an especially satisfying experience. LM awoke at 2:45 am screaming. BM offered to go in so, I told him just pat his back and say good night and walk out the room. Well, of course BM lingered, which made LM want to play and when BM finally did leave, there was much screaming and jumping to continue. So, I went in, tucked him in like a burrito (my special move), patted his back, turned on his music, and whispered "Beunos Noches", and it was complete quiet, and he fell asleep immediately until 7am!

How awesome am I! I was actually pretty proud of myself and my parenting skills. It made start thinking about those few and far between times when something goes just right and how great that makes you feel as a parent. Last weekend, LM was playing in a cardboard box, taking items out of it and putting them back in. He fell out of the box and, I could tell he hurt himself. He started to whimper a bit and looked at me as if to determine if he should start a full-on wail. I immediately said "You're ok... you're not hurt... put your things back in the box..." AND.... he did just that! No crying, no screaming, he just got up and put his things back in the box. Even my father remarked that I handled it well. That was a great moment in parenting!

It was such a nice feeling to have it go textbook. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen everyday so when it does, I totally savor the moment.


A day with Little Monkey at New Orleans City Park

When I was a little girl, I used to come to New Orleans often to visit my Grandparents. My favorite thing to do was go to the amusement park in City Park with my Grandpa. I remember being so scared of the teacups that one time the man even stopped the ride in the middle to let me off because I was screaming so loudly! But, my absolute favorite park of our trips was taking the train around the park. I loved watching all the families having picnics, the paddleboats on the water, and the oak trees sprawling across the grounds. Well, this weekend I finally took Little Monkey to the park and we had a wonderful time!

Big Monkey was stuck in bed sick all weekend, so LM and I had the whole three days to ourselves. Below is a pictorial of our adventures...(LM takes his first train ride!)(LM trippin on shrooms)(LM meets Mary's lamb)(LM second go on the carousel went a bit smoother)(LM finds a bench the is just his size)


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An agreeable driver

An awesome license plate we saw in Virginia when I was there...


I guess bobbing porcelain horses are a bit scary...

Little Monkey was treated to his first carousel ride last weekend at The Mall of Louisiana. He started off ok and I thought, "wow, we might make it through this without tears, screaming, and embarrassment", but then he saw my mom standing on the sidelines and he lost it. He cried the whole ride and acted as if the horse was going to buck him off at any moment.

The worst part was seeing the 9 month old girl who was also on the ride all smiles and giggles...


All Bento, all the time....

Over the last two years I have heard about Bento on my mommy chat board and largely ignored it as something that only moms with lots of time on their hands (i.e. not me) would even remotely be interested in. But, since I haven't been able to run, I have developed a need for a new hobby in my life (i.e. something to spend wasteful amounts of money on). So, since preschool is rapidly approaching, I started wondering what LM would bring in his lunches and stumbled upon my new favorite blog, Lunch In a Box. It is all about the ins and outs of bento-ing, and I, of course, have become obsessed.

After some (and by some, I mean hours) of research, I made the leap to check out the Ichiban Kan website and make some purchases. My package arrived Monday night and I now proudly give you my first bento box.... ta-da!I think it looks pretty good. I had it for lunch Tuesday and I made another one tonight for tomorrow. As they keep coming, I'll post more pictures of my creations.



Have y'all heard about this website? My sister introduced it to me while I was up in DC. Its called Scanwiches and the premise is that this guy buys a sandwich everyday and before eating it, he scans it and then posts the picture to the website.

Surprisingly, it is actually pretty interesting to look at some random guys lunch everyday. My first reaction though, was that he must go thru a lot of windex cleaning that scanner everyday!


You Can't Go Home Again...

As a kid, I moved around quite a bit, moving 6 times before college. For third through fifth grade, we lived in Alexandria, VA. So, since I was in Alexandria for my run, I decided to visit my old stomping ground for the first time since we moved away 23 years ago!

We lived in a condominium and I always thought that was pretty cool and that we were kind of like the Jeffersons (one of my favorite tv shows at the time) minus the wisecracking housekeeper, of course.

(See the corner balconies? Count ten up and that's were we lived)
Everything seemed so much smaller on this visit. I remember the walk being kind of far but, it was, in fact, just right next door. At both the school and the condo, I told people how I used to live there and they let us inside and were happy to have us and show us around.
(Me in front of the much refurbished rec center behind my elementary school)
My school was right down the street and I walked there every morning and home every evening. There was a great recreational center at the school that I would stay at for after-school activities. The school also had a wonderful gifted program and I remember learning a lot there.

It was really great to revisit a little piece of my childhood...


Half Marathon report continued...

So, as I told you in the last post, although the race was officially canceled, I decided I had NOT flown 1100 miles to NOT run 13.1 miles, so I just started where the starting line had been, set my Garmin, and headed off down the trail.

As usual, I started out way too fast and finished my first mile at about a 9:30 pace which is way too fast for me. I felt pretty good though and kept going between 9:30-10:45 for about the first three miles. Of course, then the hills came and I had to slow down considerably.I settled into a 10:15-10:45 pace and was feeling really good about it. As I hit each hill, I had to slow down to between 11-12 minute mile pace, but I was ok with that.

The water stations were placed well. I had decided not to take any GU with me and I'm still not sure if that was the right decision or not. I was definitely starting to get hungry about midway through and could have used a bit of a boost.

At the half-way mark, we turned around and headed back the way we came. I was still doing and feeling pretty well although my average pace had slowed to about 10:45.

Then I hit mile 8! The mile between 8 and 9 just really sucked. I definitely started feeling every hill and was just getting very tired in general. My legs started burning and I really started wanting this to be over. I just kept counting down the miles in my head and started thinking about anything else I could think to think about. Finally, I made it to mile 10 and things started looking up. Beyonce's "Single Ladies" came up on my Ipod and I even managed a "raise the roof" sign to my fellow runners.

Mile eleven started well enough and I even kicked it into high gear for a bit, but by 11 1/2, I pretty much lost all steam. My old friend, achilles tendinitis (which I haven't had for over a year) returned in my right foot. It was starting to get really painful and the next mile and a half was pretty miserable. I just kept thinking, "you are almost done and look what you will have accomplished!"

Finally I knew I was getting close to the end and saw some spectators ahead. I ran as fast as I could and finally saw LS standing at the finish line with camera ready. I was so glad to be done with that race!

Unfortunately, my achilles tendinits continued to get worse the rest of the trip and I wasn't really able to do any sightseeing due to that and the rain. I went to the doctor yesterday and got some medicine so I'm hoping it goes away fairly quickly.

Now, on to the next half-marathon in September. Hopefully that one will actually count!


Half-Marathon Race Report... Time 2:25:07

Running a half marathon... check (yep, that's me, checking that off my list)

The weekend started out great. My Little Sis (we'll call her LS) picked me up at the airport and we went to her house to call it a night and rest up. We awoke to rain and decided to scrap our plans of going into DC to, instead, hit the Pentagon City mall. After some shopping, we headed to Alexandria and the hotel where the race "expo" was to be and where we were staying the night. This is where the fun began.

It is no accident that I put the word "expo" in quotes. Although I am fairly new to running, I have seen my fair share of expos and, this, my friends, was no expo. This was essentially a grouping of three tables in a hotel restaurant with some running pamphlets on it. But, I knew it was a small race so I trekked on. Next, I picked up my bib, timing chip and t-shirt. Unfortunately, none of the volunteers could answer any of my questions about the shuttle to the race, the pasta dinner, or really anything else about the race at all.

I also noticed that only about 20 people had signed up for the pasta dinner, which was pretty disappointing since I was really looking forward to meeting other runners. When we got to the dinner, there were no introductions, and the race director was screaming loudly at the hotel staff to the point that we were embarrassed to be part of the group. The "inspirational speaker" ended up speaking on the topic of co-ops which I am still unsure of how that has anything to do with running. Let's just say, you know a dinner is bad, when we both left before they broke out the ice cream cake!

The morning of the race I woke early enough to take a shower and get to the start by 6am. They had a rolling start which meant you could start at any time before 7am. To me, this sort of defeats the purpose of a race since I get the most out of actually racing other people. When you don't have that initial shot of adrenalin at the gun going off, you lose a lot of momentum. I decided to wait until the "official" start of 7am in hopes it would be a bigger crowd at that time.

So, 7 am comes and goes and there starts a rumbling through the crowd. As I soon find out, the National Park Service has revoked the race director's permit because he got a permit for 300 people and signed up 1000. His excuse.... "they never stopped us in year's past!" What an idiot!

(Me hitting the stop button on my Garmin as I stepped over the finish line!)

At this point most of us, just said, Screw it and started running the race. Thank God for my Garmin. I kept my time myself and finished right in my projected time of 2:25:07! I was really happy with my time and I know if it hadn't been for the hills, I could have shaved off at least 2-3 minutes.

In hindsight, I think this was a race really just meant for locals, but LS and I did have a great weekend despite the idiot race director and the rain.

I'll give a more thorough report on the actual running tomorrow. Thanks for everyone's support!


Not feeling the love

I'm at the airport right now and am more than a bit annoyed at AirTran because I just had to pay $15 to check ONE bag. I've never had to pay to check one bag before! Is this a new thing or does AirTran just suck? The worst part is I totally could have brought my bag on the plane but I am also carrying a cooler full of meat for my sister which I will now have to use as my carry-on.

So, to my former vegan, meat-hating sister, you better not waste a bite of these stuffed porkchops!