Wednesday, April 30, 2008


...a drive-thru window at a convenience store where I can pick up a gallon of skim milk and a loaf of bread without parking the car, carrying two kids through the parking lot, finding a cart with a working seat belt, trekking them to the very back of the grocery store, deciding that yes, I do in fact need the sandals on the sale rack as I pass them by, and then giving in to Isaac's requests for a pack of bubble gum which will inevitably end up ground into the carpet or someone's hair. Even if the milk cost me an extra dollar a gallon, it would still end up being cheaper.

...and while we're constructing drive-thrus, I'd really like one at the library. I reserve all of my books online, and if I could just zip over and pick them up without unloading, getting out the stroller, and spending 20 minutes looking at the board books, I might actually have time to get home and clean my house.

...and since I'm making requests, I really need to get my hair cut. Eddie is on a really unpredictable rotation right now, so I can't make an evening appointment and expect him to be home. So, hairstylists everywhere, you've answered the call for good kids haircuts with those places where kids sit in airplanes (is it kiddie cuts or something?), I would be all over a mom's morning at the salon, where moms could get haircuts or pedicures, and the kids could vegetate in front of Veggie Tales in a corner. I'd pay big bucks for that.

...which brings me to my final request. I'd be guessing that in the big medical complexes there's a spare room hanging around somewhere. Anyone who has ever endured a pelvic exam with a child sitting on their lap knows what torture that can be. I'd love to see a drop-in babysitting service at the medical center. The grocery store by our house in Minnesota had something similar to what I'm envisioning, and although I never used it, it seemed like a brilliant idea. Then I could finally get my eyes examined (I'm about a month into my last pair of disposable contacts), could leave Maren behind when Isaac has physical therapy, and go to my gyn appointments without quite so much assistance.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Career Day

Annie came home from school today with a piece of paper which she handed to her dad the moment he walked through the door. "Can you come? Can you come?" The school was asking for parents to talk to students on career day. Eddie said, "Why don't you have Mom come instead?" "Mom does not have a career," was her quick response.

Hey baby, I might not have a career right now, but who wouldn't want to have my life? There's time for reading, writing, running, blogging, and when that gets boring, there are always babies to play with, toilets to clean, laundry to fold, and kids to tuck into bed. Speaking of which, I am being summoned to report to the management upstairs.

Book #32: The Appeal

Title: The Appeal
Author: John Grisham

A big nasty corporate raider pays to have a conservative, good-looking, stuffed shirt elected to the Mississippi Supreme Court to avoid paying damages for the people his company's pollution killed.

This book was so terrible, that I must have blanked out the fact that I did, in fact, finish it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A few pictures from the Country Music Marathon

My godmother, Annie, and her family live in Nashville, so we flew into town on Friday morning to spend the weekend with them. The plane was filled with runners, which was pretty exciting.

Here's my cheering section (Annie and Maren):

Me (in the blue) around mile 8. I ran with the girl directly in front of me and the girl in the blue hat until I lost them on a hill around mile 16. It was so helpful to have a support group. They were the best. All of the girls I ran with-- Jamie, Amanda, Dessi and Katrina, qualified for Boston, so maybe we'll see each other next spring!

Just after the finish line, with my mom (who walked the 1/2 marathon in a rocking 2:26) and my godsister, Beth, who also ran the half:

One more shot of the cutest baby cheerleader:

Last time the race was so hard that I really thought marathons might not be for me. This time I felt fantastic-- it didn't even start to feel like hard work until after mile 23. I wanted to build myself a good cushion, and when I started to get tired, I realized that even if I walked the rest of the way, I'd still qualify for Boston. I think I'm hooked on marathons-- they're such a rush!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Country Music Marathon-- the results are in!

I finished the race this morning! My official time was 3:27:38, which was 9th in my age group and 41st overall among women. I'll do a full report with pictures (if I can snag any from Tom's camera) when I get home tomorrow.

Yes, I am ecstatic! And yes, I'm already planning for a trip to Boston next April!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Book #31: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

Title: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food
Author: Jennifer 8. Lee

Jennifer 8. Lee seeks for the true lineage of the fortune cookie while exploring the history of Chinese food in America.

Did you know that there are nearly twice as many Chinese restaurants in the United States as McDonald's franchises? While Chinese takeout is in the rotation for our Saturday date nights (which take place on the couch, sometimes with a movie, but more often with whatever sporting event Eddie can't tear his attention from), I didn't realize that Chinese-American food is nearly as standardized as the food from the Golden Arches, even though most Chinese food establishments are of the mom & pop variety. This is a really interesting, fast read (I think I started it yesterday). My only criticism is that sometimes the jumps between the fortune cookie story and the rest of the book (more generally about Chinese food in America) were sometimes kind of jarring. I also thought Lee was summing up and ending her book about two chapters before it actually ended.

Book #30: Climbing the Mango Trees

Title: Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India
Author: Madhur Jaffrey

Actress and Indian cooking doyenne Madhur Jaffrey writes about her childhood in Delhi, as viewed through the lens of food.

Since finishing my MA, I've decided that if I ever went back to school, two of the things I'd love to study are Indian-American writings and books about food. Climbing the Mango Trees combines both of these interests, so it should come as no surprise that I was totally entranced by this memoir. I've read several of Jaffrey's cookbooks, and even cooked dinner from them a few times, and as I was reading the memoir, I felt like I could taste the food she described. Her stories made me wonder which foods I'd include in a memoir of my own childhood. I'd definitely have strawberry shortcakes, s'mores, weenie roasts and lobster boils on the beach, Christmas cookies, cheese souffles, banana omlets, and grilled cheese sandwiches from my friend Lucy's sandwich maker. Mmmm. I think I gained about five pounds just reading Climbing the Mango Trees and imagining all of the foods Jaffrey writes about.

Book #29: Everything Bad is Good for You

Title: Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter
Author: Steven Johnson

So watching television and playing video games make people smarter? People are smarter now than they were a generation ago because of interactions with technology? According to Steven Johnson, it's the truth.

This book is possibly the best argument for my addiction to The Sopranos that I've ever read. It also helped convince me that a little video gaming by my kids probably isn't the worst thing ever. Since we're discussing it with my book group in a couple of weeks, I don't want to get into everything that I liked and didn't like about the book, but overall, it was an eye-opening read and helped me look at issues from a different perspective?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Emotional lability and exercise

Today I really pushed myself in spinning class. During the cool-down, when I was feeling all sore and endorphin-y, this song came on. Apparently it's one of the most popular songs in America right now, but when it comes to country music, I've got my head in the sand like an ostrich, so this was the first time I heard it. Pretty soon, not only was I tired and happy, but I was also crying, openly, in front of the whole class.

On Saturday, out for my long run, I was listening to Lynne Rosetto Kasper talking about a trip she took to Italy's Emilia-Romagna region. She was there more than a decade ago, doing research for her book, The Splendid Table, and in this episode of her show, she returned to one of the places she had visited while working on the book. She asked the proprietor, an old woman, if she had heard of the book. The old lady brought out a framed copy of the pages referring to her establishment, which had Lynne crying, which had me sobbing, trying hard to catch my breath, as I ran down the sidewalk in the subdivision.

I'm not normally much of a crier. That's not to say that I never cry, but it doesn't happen all that often. I'm more likely to tear up when I'm pregnant, or as I've recently discovered, when I exercise. Now that I've traded techno for podcasts to accompany my long runs, I've found myself getting misty-eyed several times over the last few months.

Which makes me a little bit nervous for the race on Saturday. With all of the emotions surrounding a marathon, the intensity of running 26.2 miles, and the 20-something country music bands along the way, I am sure to be a blubbering mess by the time I reach the finish line. I'd better to remember to wear waterproof mascara and sunglasses.

Monday, April 21, 2008

White Sony Television

White Sony Television

White Sony Television, beloved companion and communicator of mass media, died this morning after suffering a fall from a great height. She was 13 years old.

Whitey came into our lives on Christmas morning 1994, in West Des Moines, Iowa. She spent most of her childhood in various student apartments in Provo, Utah. In her adulthood she found herself the focal point of rooms in homes owned by Ed and Shelah in St. Louis, MO, Rochester, MN, and Houston, TX.

Television never married, although she had productive long-term relationships with Gray Apex DVD Player and Black Dish DVR. She enjoyed all kinds of programming, but specialized in broadcasting morning news programs, educational shows for the under-eight set, anything on the Food Network, and SportsCenter. She served most recently as Ed and Shelah's private bedroom receiver, and those who came to the house could see her sitting prominently high atop Ed's dresser, a spot which she enjoyed, but which, unfortunately, also led to her sudden and unexpected death.

Whitey suffered from a broken vcr and loose plugs in her old age, but her family never abandoned her for a sleeker, plasma model, instead nursing her through several lost remotes and an often-hazy connection to the satellite dish.

She is survived by Gray Sony Television of the family room and Black Television of the playroom, as well as countless electronic gadgets from all over the house. After services in her honor, White Sony Television will be laid to rest at the local recycling center.


In related news, White Sony Television's death has been labeled an accident, and all charges against Black Horizon Treadmill have been dropped. Treadmill issued this statement, "I am very sorry for any role I may have inadvertently played in Television's death. I will try to keep my vibrations to a minimum in the future." Charges against Shelah, who was operating both Treadmill and Television at the time of the incident, are still pending. Experts close to the case believe Shelah will be asked to pay for a replacement as part of her punishment. She was not able to be reached for comment.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Take it and Run Thursday-- Getting me out the door...

Last night Eddie walked in the door after a three-day trip to Chicago. I was happy to see him, but I noticed that he had a weird expression on his face as he looked me over. When I asked him what was up, he said, "You know, if you had to pick a hobby, I think there a lot of worse choices than hard-core running. You could have become a quilter."

So there you have it, folks. It's a lot about looking good after eleven years of marriage and four babies. Maybe it's not exactly inspiration, but it's some great motivation. With a sweet tooth like mine, a more sedentary obsession like quilting could have had disastrous results.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tell me it's easy to be green...

Eddie has been out of town this week, and last night I decided to distract the kids from not having Daddy home at dinnertime by taking them out for fast food. After they were done eating, I started to round up all of the garbage. By the time I was done tossing chicken boxes and styrofoam cups away, our previously empty can was half full. I've been making an attempt to be a little bit greener lately, and it was shocking to me that if we eat fast food twice a week (which isn't unheard of around here) we'd fill up an entire garbage bag with wrappers and packaging from those meals.

I've started realizing lately that with a big house and four kids, we could be doing a lot more to lessen our family's impact on the environment. I know that I often (self-deprecatingly, I hope) joke that I'm just the average minivan-driving American soccer mom, but I want to be a soccer mom with a social conscience.

Here are a few things we're currently doing to be environmentally-friendly:
* Recycling cans, paper and magazines
* Using canvas bags at the grocery store
* Packing the kids' lunches with reusable containers instead of plastic/paper bags
* Turning off the car while waiting in the carpool line
* Letting us sweat a little (turning the air conditioning up to 78 or 80)
* Washing laundry in cold water
* Replacing old-school cleaning products (as they run out) with greener alternatives
* Unplugging adapters that aren't in use
* Bugging the utilities department to find out when they'll finally give me a curbside recycling bin (they've been on backorder for a while around here)
* Bathing the kids in the same bathtub at the same time (wait, that's just laziness, right?)
* Handing down my kids' clothes
* Donating things we don't use any more
* Reminding the kids to turn off the d&^@ lights when they leave the room
* Replacing regular light bubs with those awful fluorescent ones (I'm doing it anyway)

Here are a few things I'm considering:
* Eating less meat (If I remember correctly, an average omnivore puts more dangerous gases into the environment through meat consumption than driving)
* Joining a CSA (although the $800 I'd have to pay up front seems prohibitive right now)
* Using dish towels instead of paper towels (does anyone know about the sanitation factor of dish towels?)
* Eating more whole and less processed foods (as Michael Pollan says, "if your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize it, it's not food."

A few more that I'd like to be able to incorporate in the future:
* Energy-star appliances
* Xeriscaping (which I think looks SO cool)
* Hybrid minivan (rumor has it that a hybrid Sienna might come out in '09)

A few I'm not ready to embrace (yet):
* Composting
* Cloth Diapering
* Growing my own anything except herbs
* Giving up the takeout habit (how do I reconcile my love for fatty food I didn't have to cook with all of the packaging?)

What else should be on my list? I feel like being environmentally responsible takes a lot of education, and I haven't hit the learning curve yet.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

How many toys is too many?

Here's a picture of my kids' playroom. The strange rectangles on the top are license plates, and they don't look that glow-y in real life, I promise. Anyway, most days, I think we have too many toys. Way too many toys. One of my nightly rituals is going upstairs and putting every darn toy back in its proper bin, with the kids' help if I'm not feeling too fried, and all by my freaking self if I'm afraid I might bite someone's head off if they accidentally put a piece of playmobil in the Little People bin.

The good thing is, we have a lot of people who love us. My parents, Eddie's parents, my godparents and grandparents all adore my children, and like to express that love with toys of all varieties. As you may be able to see in the picture, we have 16 sterilite bins in the playroom, all filled to the brim with trains and dress-up clothes and stuffed animals (oh, the stuffed animals!). I try my best to keep on top of the chaos. Two or three times a year I weed through the toys and give away the ones we don't play with. Our playroom sits at the top of our stairs, and is basically a glorified hallway, with the bedrooms leading off it, so every time I go to and from my room, I have to go confront the toys. Most of the time I feel like a lone foot soldier facing an entire army.

Today, I came home from church and went into my room to finish the horrible book I've been reading. Maren was napping, Eddie getting ready to go into work for a few hours. When I woke up an hour later, I didn't hear the tv, didn't hear any bickering, instead I heard giggling coming from the general direction of the playroom. I listened for a good ten minutes before opening my door, which I thought would break the spell. I found Bryce, Annie and Isaac all playing an involved game in which they took every stuffed animal in the bin, categorized it according to either its natural habitat or type (all "hooved mammals" were together, for example) and opened a pet store for business. They played happily for at least another hour, recruiting me to go shopping in their store, feeding the animals from the bin of pretend food, doctoring to them with our doctor kit, etc...

The sad thing is that stuff like that almost never happens. I wonder if the kids feel as overwhelmed by our toys as I do. But on days like today, when they play without screaming for more than two hours, it almost feels worth it to hold on to all eight stuffed monkeys, three stuffed orcas and at least two stuffed manatees.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Morbid thoughts on the Isaac saga...

Last year, when my sister Jilly got married, Isaac and Bryce were ring bearers. To be more exact, Bryce was a ring bearer, and Isaac spent the weekend charming all of Jilly's twentysomething friends. He was so proud of his little tuxedo and strutted around like a baby Don Juan. While we were waiting for Jilly and Carl to come out of the temple, Tom, one of the paparazzi, snapped this photo, which has become my favorite picture of my favorite three-year-old boy:

The picture now sits in my study, and yesterday, as I sat at my computer, looking across at this beautiful little boy and thinking about how much he has been through in the last six months (and yes, in two weeks, it will be six full months since he got sick), a totally morbid thought struck me. If we had waited just a day longer to take him to the doctor, if his infection had progressed just a little bit more, or struck him in the lungs instead of the leg, this picture would have undoubtedly been the one at the top of his obituary, the one at his funeral, the one we thought of when we remembered him.

Now that we're almost six months out and he's starting to get better, limping around everywhere like a tiny old man, it's finally hitting me how close we came to losing him. At the time, it was all we could do just to get through the day, put on our game faces for him, and keep things as normal as possible for the other kids, that I don't think either Eddie or I realized the enormity of what was happening. When, after two weeks in the hospital, two surgeries, six weeks of IV antibiotics, and learning to walk again, he landed himself flat on his back with a broken femur, the doctor walked in and said, "In a year or two, he'll be totally back to normal and you won't even be able to tell anything happened." I inwardly thought-- two years? Are you kidding me? My kid is going to kick this thing in two months.

Six months later, two years doesn't seem like to outlandish an estimate. He's starting physical therapy soon, which should help him limp less, but the bone is still majorly disfigured (they assure us it will straighten as it grows, if it grows, that is), he's still on long-term antibiotics, and I still don't go a single day without worrying about what might happen if the delicate swiss-cheese-like structure of his femur can't handle the roughhousing of a regular day of a three-year-old in a house with three siblings. We had to cancel his birthday party when he was in the hospital, and I kept all of the stuff, thinking we'd rent the bounce house again and throw him a big three-and-a-half party when he was all better, but there's no way he's ready for a bounce house yet.

We've been watching the John Adams miniseries on HBO for the last few weeks. John and Abigail, like too many Americans of their day and age, had a stillborn baby and lost a three-year-old daughter, although it isn't mentioned in the film. I guess that ten hours isn't enough time to touch on the death of a child, or else it wasn't considered important enough in the life of so illustrious a man, or else it was just so commonplace that it didn't attract merit, but I found it curious that they left out that detail. For so much of human history, disease and death were part of life. I'm feeling particularly grateful, six months out, that even though disease has been our companion over the last year, we still have Isaac's cheeky smile to light up our house.

Two weeks in review: March 31-April 12

Monday: 1 mi warmup, 10x400 with 400RI
Tuesday: abs and spinning
Wednesday: 8 miles at mid-tempo pace
Thursday: abs and spinning
Friday: 22 1/2 miles (12 1/2 in the neighborhood between 5-6:30, the rest at the gym after dropping the big kids off at school
Saturday: 1 mi warmup, 3.5 miles at 3.5% incline (8.3mph)

Monday: 1 mi warmup, 8x800 with 400 RI
Tuesday: abs and spinning
Wednesday: 6 miles with the jogger
Thursday: abs and spinning
Friday: 1 mi warmup, 4 miles at 4% incline (8.3mph)
Saturday: 13 miles-- seven in Silverlake neighborhood, 6 miles at Tom Bass park to do hills, 1:35:30.

The marathon is two weeks from today. I'm nervous-- but starting to feel ready!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Take It and Run Thursday-- The best-laid plans...

I've trained for two marathons and used two different plans. For my first marathon, I used my own modification of Hal Higdon's intermediate training plan. I don't know what gave me the idea that I was had the kind of knowledge necessary to allow myself to modify his plan, but I did it anyway. I mainly changed the order of the workouts within a single week (moving the long runs to Saturday, for example), and substituted a second day of cross-training for one of the runs. Once my 3yo got put in a body cast and I wasn't able to get to the gym anymore, I also ended up doing shorter versions of the mid-week longer run. I got through the marathon, but came in about 20 minutes past my goal time, but I was also running sick, so I don't want to knock Hal and blame him for my sub-par performance.

This time around I've been using the FIRST to the Finish program by the Furman Institute. There are only three runs per week, which I really like, but they're hard runs. The speedwork is especially killer. I thought I might keel over this Monday when I had 8x800s at a 10mph pace on the schedule. Since pacing has always been an issue for me, I like that the FIRST program focuses on paces for each run. I know exactly how fast to set my treadmill for a middle-distance tempo run, for example. My main worry with this program is how it will translate to running outside, since I tend to do a lot of my runs on the treadmill at the gym, where I can send my kids to the child watch. I've also opted to do a "hill" run on one of the designated rest days. I run at sea level, where it's flat as a pancake, and the Country Music Marathon has a reputation for being somewhat hilly. I'm tapering now, but hoping to find a place nearby where I can do one of my last two long runs where there are natural hills, instead of the artifical ones my treadmill creates for me. I'll let you all know how I like this plan in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Book #28: Three Cups of Tea

Title: Three Cups of Tea
Author: Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin

Greg Mortensen stumbled (literally) into his life's mission-- building schools (especially for girls) in the remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Reading Three Cups of Tea made me want to write a check and send it off to the Central Asia Institute (Mortensen's NPO). It made me want to support microloans. It made me want to drop everything and teach English in a foreign country. It made me want to be sure that after my kids get a little bit bigger, I do something meaningful with my life, instead of just becoming one of the "ladies who lunch." Of course, I haven't done any of those things yet, but now they're on my radar. My only complaint, since we discussed this for our book group last week, is that we were so uniformly positive in our reaction to what we read-- I like a little bit of contention, myself. But I guess that it's good to be united behind such a great cause.

Book #27: The Scandal of the Season

Title: The Scandal of the Season
Author: Sophie Gee

A fictionalized version of the story behind Alexander Pope's famous epic poem "The Rape of the Lock."

If I think way back on my English Literature classes, I vaguely remember "The Rape of the Lock" and the thing I remember most about it is the way Pope juxtaposed the high and the low, and wrote in a light, mocking tone. The Scandal of the Season does a good job of capturing the fashions and mores of the day, and Gee develops interesting characters, based on the lives of Arabella (Belinda, in the poem) and Robert. So yeah, I liked the book. In the way I like the Shopaholic books. It's light and a fun read, and even though you might think you're getting a weighty novel from the subject matter, it's pretty fluffy. The only thing that really got my dander up was the way married women seemed to give up their economic rights (if they had any in the first place) in order to have sexual freedom. Unmarried women, on the other hand, were prized for their virginity and their potential dowries more than for any personal characteristics.

Monday, April 7, 2008

And I thought he was the one with the problem....

For most of our marriage, we didn't really buy soda. Sometimes, if there was a great sale, I'd pick up a 12-pack and it would last for a long time. We have so few other vices (no alcohol, no coffee, no drugs, etc...) that a diet soda in the afternoon felt like a relatively harmless treat. Over the years, we started buying (and drinking, obviously) more and more. Then, a few months ago, I realized that we were going through an average of 3-4 12-packs of soda each week. Eddie will readily admit that he drank the lion's share-- starting with Mountain Dew mixed with his orange juice at breakfast, and often slugged down 10 cans of Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper while watching college football on Saturdays. I rationed myself, and drank a single soda each day, ice cold, with a magazine, just after I put Maren down for a nap (one less person to share with).

After our air conditioner broke last week and we were left with a huge bill, Eddie suggested that we could tighten our belts by dropping out the soda habit. I was thrilled-- I've been wanting to break him of this vice of his for months. We ran out of soda on Friday, and when I went shopping on Saturday, I didn't buy any more. We've now been soda-free for four days. He's fine-- going merrily about his days drinking water and Crystal Light. I, on the other hand, am a mess. I've been substituting chocolate cake for Diet Coke, which is never a good idea, and really miss my early afternoon break from reality. Guess that just goes to show who the real addict is.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A favorite tradition bites the dust...

About six months ago, I posted about my favorite Sunday pants. Gray, soft, stretchy-- perfect for lounging and napping. Anne, my fairy godmother in all ways, surprised me at Christmas with an exact replica of the original pants, which had been worn out with much Sunday afternoon slumber. Unfortunately, after four months of wear, the new pants are still in nearly pristine condition, since my Sunday naps seem to be a thing of the past. We've had some busy Sundays around here lately. I thought I'd be able to sneak in a little catnap between conference sessions this afternoon (letting the three older kids roam freely throughout the house while Eddie's at the hospital), but Maren, who cannot roam unsupervised, woke up from her own too-short rest just as MoTab stood up to sing its final song. Foiled again. The new pants, although cozy, seem to carry some bad napping juju. In fact, I think they're mocking me right now.

If you're reading this, it means you're not napping either. I just wrote my first guest post at Feminist Mormon Housewives. Go read it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Take it and Run Thursday-- Feeling a little bit thirsty...

Like so many things as a runner, staying hydrated is just one of those things I sort of guess at. I know that I'm supposed to drink after a while, but when and what and how much?

When I was starting out, I'd put a big glass of water next to my treadmill, and jump off for a water break whenever I couldn't stand it anymore. As a beginner, I'd sometimes down a 24oz water bottle during a 2 mile run, and I know it was more so I could catch my breath than because I actually needed the water.

As the years have gone by, I find that the water by the treadmill is a good standby for things like intervals (after every 4x400, I'll allow myself a swig), but drinking gets a little bit more complicated when I move to longer runs and outside runs.

I've tried a little bit of everything-- water bottle in the bushes, amphipod, gatorade, accelerade, nuun, propel-- you name it. I've run races with my amphipod and run others where I stopped at the water stations. I've read just enough about hyponatremia to scare myself, but not enough to actually educate myself. I've also suffered (big time) from leg and bowel cramps at the end of long runs and long races. Obviously, I haven't found the perfect solution.

I know a lot about what I don't like. I don't like the way a fuel belt feels around my waist, or the way it starts to slide around as the bottles get empty. I don't like stopping my runs for a drink. I don't like wondering if a dog peed on my bottle as it sat propped up against the stop sign at the end of my street. I don't like brightly-colored drinks.

I do like Accelerade. At least, I like the Peach Mango and Grapefruit flavors. But they're expensive ($2/bottle at our local Target). About a month ago, I decided to order a huge tub of the stuff from Nashbar, and although the more gourmet flavors were less than they cost in the grocery store, they were still twice as much as the Lemon-Lime. Now I know why-- the Lemon-Lime tastes like watered-down milk with a little bit of citrus thrown in. Blech. Tomorrow morning, I'm planning to experiment with the Lemon-Lime and some lemonade Crystal Light. I'm really hoping that it makes it palatable enough. Otherwise, anyone want a huge tub of Lemon-Lime Accelerade?

It was so much easier when I just grabbed a swig of water whenever I couldn't take it anymore.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Just a normal day...

6:21am- A cry rings out throughout the house. It's Annie. She thinks it's 8:00 and she's late for school (despite the fact that it's dark outside). The power went off during the night and we decided not to reset the clock in her room.

6:30am- I unstick myself from my sheets (whenever the upstairs air conditioner kicks on, it shuts off the circuit breaker, so we finally got smart and turned it off). I curse the fact that although it's still dark and barely April, it's already hot enough in Texas to necessitate artifically cooled air.

7:40am- Kids dressed and fed and loaded in the van. We're off to school.

8:12am- Pull into YMCA parking lot. Carry both kids, gym bag, diaper bag and the walker across the parking lot. Figure that was enough of a workout, get back in the car, drive home. (ok, not really)

9:45am- Call the air conditioning guy. He sounds interested and eager. I have a feeling this is going to be expensive.

9:48am- Arrive at the drive-thru of the donut shop. Resist the urge to lick all of the chocolate frosting off of Isaac's donut before handing it to him.

10:05am- Park the car at Target. Use three wipes to get all of the chocolate off of Isaac's hands, face and shirt.

10:20, 10:35am- Run into two people from the ward while wearing my slightly skanky gym clothes.

10:38am- Submit to peer pressure and buy a Pikachu stuffed toy for Isaac (I promise, I'm working on breaking the toy habit, just not today).

10:50am- Leave Target.

11:00am- Realize I forgot to buy batteries and shampoo.

11:17am- Pooptastrophe. Maren has removed her diaper and there are nuggets on the family room rug and floor. It's an eight-wipe cleanup job.

11:45am- Repairman on his way. Decide I should change out of the aforementioned gym clothes before he arrives.

12:00-1:15pm- Clean the downstairs, focusing on the family room floor, while waiting for the repairman (wasn't he on his way?)

1:53pm- Pooptastrophe #2. Isaac decides that playing outside while watching the repairman is so diverting that he can't come in to use the facilities. It's at least a 15-wipe cleanup job, and when I'm done, the underpants are in the garbage and the grass needs to be hosed down.

2:21pm- With brownies in the oven, the circuit breaker goes again. This is getting really old.

2:40pm- The repairman delivers the news of doom. We need a completely new air conditioning unit for the upstairs. Which he has to order. It's 87 degrees and more than 80% humidity.

2:43pm- It starts to pour. I no longer need to hose down the grass. That's the first good news all day.

2:57pm- Perform my fast and illegal maneuver to pick up the big kids at school. Neither Isaac nor Maren is wearing any pants, although Maren is still wearing her diaper. It's a good thing I don't get pulled over.

3:42pm- Start making dinner for my friend who just had a baby. Get interrupted by yelps from the living room. Annie went in to practice the piano to find Maren, no longer wearing her diaper, feet happily squishing poop into the white carpet. It's pooptastrophe #3 and it takes about 20 wipes to clean it up. I want to go to bed.

3:52pm- Wash hands thoroughly before resuming the meal.

4:20pm- Annie tattles on Bryce (he's kicking Isaac)

4:25pm- Annie tattles on Bryce (he's licking her)

4:30pm- Annie tattles on Bryce (he's throwing the pillows from my bed to the floor)

4:33pm- I move a pan of chicken from the oven to the broiler, to turn the potato chip coating golden brown.

4:35pm- Annie tattles on Bryce (he called Maren a "poopoo head")

4:35:30pm- I summon Bryce downstairs and yell at him for a few minutes. Until I smell smoke.

4:38pm- The potato chips now resemble charcoal briquettes.

4:48pm- I've salvaged enough of the dinner to deliver it. Isaac comes along with, although instead of just missing his pants this time, he's also short a pair of underpants, which are sitting up on my bathroom floor in a puddle of pee.

5:24pm- Eddie's on his way home. We eat the more burned part of the dinner while we wait for him.

6:15pm- Annie, sitting on the couch after eating a piece of her easter candy, picks up something brown, turns to me, and says, "is this chocolate or poo?" Today, I don't think I could tell you. To show you how desensitizied I've become, I stick my nose right up next to it before determining that it's just chocolate (phew).

8:08pm- Three kids in bed, one at scouts. I'm about to spend some time preparing for our book group discussion tomorrow night, take a cold shower, and get into my lonely bed. Eddie is at work, again, which is a good thing considering the cost of the new air conditioner. At least it's cool at the hospital, right?