Thursday, April 28, 2011

To Run or Not to Run ...

Last week I decided that it was time to start running. Because here I am, 35, watching friends and friends of friends on Twitter do the Couch to 5K and I suddenly thought that this is something I could do. Me, the girl that loves yoga and having her feet firmly planted on the ground unless they are firmly fitted to bike pedals. Me, the girl with a generous ass and thighs that go right along with it. Me, that gasps for breath after a sprint to catch the boys before they do something really bad. Yes, me. I decided I too can run.

The C25K program is a good one, a gentle one that lets you transition from never ever running to possibly completing a 5K. Last week was week 1 and I felt great; three runs with Tim, each one a little easier than the last. But then Sunday I woke up and my knees were aching something awful so I skipped yoga and decided to try a day of rest. Then came Monday afternoon and we headed out for the 30 minute session with plans to repeat the first week because I am not sure I am ready to move on yet. And oh my god, my knees, a fire-like piercing pain in the right one which gradually started in on the left by the end of the ‘run’. It was hellacious. But I stretched and did my yoga class and figured I would take it from there.

365 :: 117

Yesterday was the second session for the week and it did not happen.. At all. I barely limped home and collapsed on the floor and resigned myself to being that girl that cannot run. It was quite disappointing and really painful.

This morning I was doing paperwork and a light bulb hit. I am a PT. I am the person that people go to when they cannot run because they are in pain. Well, I am not that PT, my specialty has never been orthopedic injuries. I am the brain injury/CVA wunderkind but never been one for the old ‘it hurts when I run’ treatment routine.

I spent 20 minutes in self diagnosis this morning, zeroing in on the problem. Now, I know my body well, yoga keeps one fairly linked in, I would like to think. But apparently not as well as I thought. I started at the patella (knee cap in laymen speak) to measure my tracking and Q angle. First thought on my R knee was “Holy sh*t!!! When did my knee start to look like that?” Because my Q angle is not looking so good. The greater your Q angle, the worse your tracking, the more you risk scraping your poor little patella out of the femoral groove leading to even more pain. So I did a little squashing and pushing and pulling and taping and it began to track a bit better and I began to feel a whole lot better.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because this morning I was reminded of something. Well, a few things. That I am a PT for real and I know a lot of things about the human body, its failings and its healing and something I can do about both. It also reminded me of the fact that I am getting older. My knees are getting older and tracking in ways that I never thought I would see on me. My heart is getting older which I why I wanted it to pump more so it can be trained like my knees. My bones, my flesh are starting to change, not fall into some deep spiraling decent but just age. Moving towards that inevitable place we all end up.

It was also a reminder that I may never be a runner despite my will/wish/want. I can still do yoga and hike five miles a week with my feet touching the ground the whole time (I might have to hike a little faster and harder to get that cardio effect though). So, I may just fail at this Couch to 5K thing. Which I think is okay despite the fact that I hate to fail.

Ah, to be a person that is aging. I am not sure I feel comfortable wearing that role quite yet. But I know from my work that it happens to us all. And I know that staying on the move is the best way to welcome it, this aging thing. Now off to something I know I can do …

And then ...

Monday, April 25, 2011

They turned 4. They turned four and they care so much about good guys and bad guys. They want to defend and rebuild and shoot something. They want to make things and do things and ignore requests and sometimes dance, and sometimes fight and almost never eat.
Easter Eggs

Mason laughs like me. He also yells like me, with these immediate sharp excalmations of purpose that make everyone jump and run to see if everything is okay. His laugh, his giggle, it is like a silly sunshine that makes your stomach hurt it is so cute. He cannot pronounce 'L' so it comes out like a "y". He wants to be every superhero there is which includes spiderman, batman, green goblin (he is easy on the superhero definition). Also light saber man, trashman and stripeman (his favorite pair of pajamas).

Owen is a force. Of will, of good, of purpose. He can literally disassemble a picnic bence without direction. He can shift a mood from good, to insane, back to good. Because he wants pizza. He understands that people can be good and bad at the same time and he already understands that about me. He cannot stand watching someone be hurt. He also has no compunction about doing the hurting when he is pissed. Which is a lot like me.

They did it. They went and became people despite the fact that we were not sure that we could make people. Well, ones that we like, anyway.

They are lovely and funny and like to pretend that they can save anyone and like to wear three shirts at the same time (especially if those three shirts layer int his order :: batman shirt, spiderman shirt, dinosaur shirt). Mace likes bok choy and told me it makes him strong enough to carry the laundry basket. Owen hates bok choy (or anything green or meat) but will eat the hell out of a peanut(almond)(sunflower) butter and boysenberry sandwich three times a day.

Something somewhere decided that Tim and I should be given two souls at the same time. Two souls encapsulated in the small oddly shaped little people that arrived 4 years ago. Two boys that chose to come with each other because that is what they and we needed. I remember my first reaction was not exactly joy. I think I was kinda' pissed. Something along the lines of 'shit, did not sign up for this'.

They grew on me.

In every way possible.

They have made me. Not better, not mama, not parent. Just made me. Because all that I was before is still here. But all that I am because of them is so much more.

I love you boys, so very very much.

The party was fun and consisted of kids, sugar filled eggs and Legos (and a sweet bebe to squeeze and pass and a Costco sheet cake because of a failed cake experiment at 10 p.m. the night before that included whipping egg whites until stiff and the resulting 3/4 inch tall cake).
Party Take IV

I love the way it seems like they are looking at each other in these photos even though the photos are a bit crappy ...

their day

Until next year ... signing off the birthday posts now (with a little sentimental swipe at the eyes).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Precursor

They had their birthday party today. They requested waffles and pajamas. So that is what we did. Well, some of us did it. My boys? The ones that have worn their super pajamas for the last three months regardless of time of day or temperature? Today they chose to wear real people clothing (they didn't even layer the pajamas under their real clothes which is bizarre).
Bday Party :: take IV

I think I am now sold on a 10 a.m. waffle party because they cake was cut and everyone went home after hours of play and it was barely 2 p.m. And we had time to do our run and get some beer and then we sat down with the boys to assemble the latest in their Lego (life) acquisitions. (Everyone needs beer after a morning of 10 or so littles doing what 10 or so littles do).
Bday Party :: take IV
Bday Party :: take IV
Bday Party :: take IV

Ask me tomorrow on their real birthday how I feel about having four year old boys. Right now I feel awfully melancholy and gut-punched as I listen to my little people figure through their new Lego stuff.

Happy birthday (in approximately 24 hours) little guys. Love you so much,


Thursday, April 21, 2011


Things have been really busy around here for the last few months. The beginning of the year generated the idea that we might like to leave this place someday and that brought the realization that leaving here would likely mean selling this home. Which then lit a proverbial fire under our asses to get to work on all the half-finished, undone projects. I say proverbial fire under ass because things have been coming along but at a bit of a snail's pace. Home DIY moves at a diffrent rate once two little people and their daily needs are factored in.

The interior walls desperately needed painting to cover the years of marks and bangs and scratches, the doors needed painting and new door trim, the baseboards had to come out to accomodate the new wider trim, the walls needed patching and sanding ... etc etc. Every home project seems to spawn another portal to more projects which spin about and cause lots of interesting piles of stuff that small children probably should not be touching but they do anyway.

Side note :: Tim has always exposed the boys to his work because his shop is here at home. They are pretty confortable with the whole 'we make things' but yesterday took the cake. Owen took Tim's full size drill and disassembled his small IKEA picnic table. He told me it was because the table was 'rude' (I think he meant dirty). Man, that kid. It now needs to be sanded and reassembled. Think we should let him try the orbital sander? I jest.

So, as of today, the walls/trim/base/wine cabinet/boy's new storage and two walls in our bedroom are finished. It took awhile.

Home work

The thing is, we lived with the undone for years; a hole in the drywall here or a gap where trim should have hidden door frame there. It became the norm. And now that it is done, all those parts of the sum ... well, I can barely see it. Which I think is the point. One sees the flaws easier than the completion. I know what we have done, the sweat equity put in. But when friends gather on Saturday for the boys' bday I am pretty sure they will glance about and maybe comment but not keel over from the changes. They do not come here for the way our Home appears. They come because of the food. Oh, and because they love us.

Home Work

Don't get me wrong ... I love that we have done what we can up to this point. I love my vibrant red wall, the crisp clean white trim, the walls free of toddler scribble and funk. It feels fresh and Spring-like.

There is so much more to do, most of which falls on Tim's very capable shoulders. There are trestle legs for the solid wood table top, mantle and benches, front door refurbishing. And that does not even touch on the exterior. But it is only April, 4 months out of our newest resolution and I think we are making change. It may be at a slower pace than pre-children. It may not result in leaving this house because I fall more in love with it as we fix it up bit by bit. Whatever it is, it sure feels good.

365 :: 107

I promise a backyard garden shoot at some point this Spring. The backyard is where it is AT right now. man, I love growing things. Now, off to finish cleaning paint drips off wood floors prior to Saturday's party.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baby {Making}

A few years ago I had no idea what babies needed. I did not have any babies. I had ideas about what they needed but these were far from concrete. Now, 4 years out I feel that I have a better grasp. Babies need diapers (lots), something to eat (breast/other as long as they are fed) and lots and lots of your time. Not much else really. Well, they usually get lots of other things but don't you think it really comes down to the essentials most of the time?

That does not mean we do not like to give them lots of other things and I am no exception. This month is the month of baby for me; my boys were born in April and now I have a new niece who has recently just come into her own and two small people forming up in two lovely sisters. Lots and lots of baby.

Couple all the baby with my new love of quilting and there have been many projects making their way to the sewing table (which is really just our huge long wooden dining table).
(Sewing space has been dismantled in favor of painting the wall a deep juicy red). (Man, painting just keeps going and going around here).

I think my confidence has grown with the quilting after successfully feeding two queen size quilts through my little machine and finding such happiness with the result. The first was for the boys, the second for our bed. The summer scrappy quilt is done!
Quilt lines
400 plus 3.5 inch squares joined, sandwiched, quilted and only waiting for binding. Full pictures of that one to come.

Right now there are two quilts in progress. The first was inspired by JulieFrick who is a quilting machine lately. She is cranking out beautiful projects and I was inspired by her plus sign quilt. I had a stack of boy fabric that I purchased at Purl in Soho.
Lil' Guy QuiltIt sat without
a plan until the plus. But now it has found a place to be, sewn into this quilt top for baby S due this summer. The design is simple enough, I approached it with some chain piecing and it came together quickly.
Quilt for a Little
I have the backing cut and ready to be sewn and then it is the simple matter of quilting which seems like a breeze after the giant-ness that was queen quilting. Yippee.

The second is for Rose, my niece to be. I found a link from Liesl at Disdressed about the quilt art show in NYC that featured Red & White Quilts. I drooled a bit over pictures, wishing with all of my heart that I could be there. Impossible but it did inspire me to try my own red and white combination.
Rose Red quilt fabrics
I have all the fabrics chosen and washed and ironed and today I cut up strips with plans for 9 patch prettiness.
Another yippee.

Both little ones are due in summer but the baby showers are in a few weeks. I thought I might make the deadline but I know now that will not happen. Instead of applying that pressure that makes the making of things less fun, I thought I would just enjoy the process and aim to get the quilts done by the babies' arrival(s). So onward from here because babies may not need quilts, but I know that they need LOVE and to me this is a great way to send it to my far North family.

The only problem with quilting is that it addictively pulls you in and there are only so many hours in the day.

Want to see a Tim project? Yippee for wine cabinets that hold lots of wine and cute little boys.
He made it from scrap wood and all from hand. That man. He sure can make.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

To Boyhood

We went for a hike yesterday afternoon. It was a lovely day, a well known trail. Top of the aptly named Mountain Avenue, long fire road that can take you for miles and miles if that is what you want.

Yesterday we went up with our boys, no stroller. We have done it before and had to turn around after the first big hill. This time was different. Slow, yes. Water stops for Mace every 15 seconds or so (he seems to love sucking on the Camelbak tube, reminders of bottle days?). There were a few complaints and carrying for a minute or two. But it was a hike.

Mace asked if we could climb the 'yoop' trail so we did, up a steeper single track to a singular view of our valley. Blue blue, green green, dusty rocky brown trail. And the boys were such boys. They were talking and laughing and pulling out some sass. They were watching stink beetles and sticky spiky caterpillars and making the occasional poop and pee remark. And all of a sudden it struck me hard how much they are going, growing, going.

This month they turn 4 ... a few weeks away. I don't know why but I feel like I am losing that last bit of baby, watching them turn total boy on me. I know that they have not been babies for a long long time but now it feels solid, irrevocable. Boys. They can walk the trail without a stroller, handle dressing and potty time and navigating via their makeshift maps.

I don't talk about them much here anymore, certainly not in the ways of past. Not weekly, monthly, hourly even though they are all things to me that they have been. I do not take pictures of their school art often, throw away a good portion of it. I wonder sometimes if I will regret that piece of paper I tossed that they carefully (and not so carefully) painted/glued/scribbled/cut. I do still marvel as their abilities add up, it is just harder to find the time to write it down.

So back to the turning 4. It is freaking me out. It is like a repeat of my freaking out when I turned 35 last year. So I think I just have to let it go. Cuddle them, listen seriously to them, do increasingly more difficult puzzles with them, correct them as we read books and they hit or miss guess at some of the letters, then cuddle them again if they let me.
365 ::88alternate

I don't want to be that mom that mourns the loss of her babies over and over. I want to be present and a mom to the little people that they are becoming. But I will admit to that twinge in my belly, that little bit of sadness I felt as I watched and listened and observed them yesterday on the trail. And coming to the realization that this is parenting ... learning to let go in little and big ways. I may have realized this before in the last almost 4 years but I have a feeling that it will feel new every time it comes ...
365 :: 87

I was wondering why I still come to this place to blog. Sometimes it feels as if I toss bits of dribble and dross here and hope for the best. But then there is this feeling and I am glad I have a place to put it.

Today? I put them in the stroller and we walked to the market and taco 'store' and I pushed them both and listened to their chatter and felt better because they are still mine, boys, yes, but most importantly mine.

Your mama loves you, boys. So very very much.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Last Friday

This Friday

Cannot say I am looking forward to the Summer, the 95 degree spike made that evident. Back to some cooler weather and time at the sewing machine ... hope I have a few minutes this week to show what I have been up to. Until then, stay warm/cool/dry/happy? Who knows anymore.