Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Adele Rule and a Plea for Help!

The intro of Adele's "Cold Shoulder" played through my phone and I cringed. I felt that all hope was lost, and I thought to myself, "Good lord, woman, must you always drive me into the ground?" You see, I have a love/hate relationship with Adele, which of course makes me sound like a lunatic. 99 percent of the time I am pleased when I hear her songs; that pesky other one percent is always when I am jogging and one of her songs (I only put in a couple of her fast ones) comes up on my random playlist. My stated, self-imposed rule is, "Thou must not stop running when Adele is singing." Of course, "Cold Shoulder" began when I was less than a block from my distance goal, so on I trudged well past the lamp-post. I reciprocated the lyrics back to her the whole time though: "You shower me with words made of knives..."

Adele, appearing as though she is in the same pain she puts on me

The Adele Rule is interesting to me because it proves to me that I am capable of some degree of mental fortitude when I am jogging. Typically I feel like a jogging weenie, giving up easily and whining incessantly it seems. When the Adele Rule comes into play though, somehow something kicks into gear and I talk myself into going the distance when I thought I surely couldn't only one minute before...including that one awful time that "Rumour Has It" pushed me beyond my goal and I finally believed I could stop...until "Rolling in the Deep" came on right after that. If you had asked me if I could have plugged on for another three minutes and 48 seconds, I would have flipped you the bird and said no. But the second of back-to-back Adele songs came on and I really did run another 3:48, despite what I thought possible.

My running partner Chanda is kind enough to abide by the Adele Rule too, even though her affinity for Adele's music stops well short of mine. (Chanda and I play the music aloud through my phone speaker so we can both hear, and also talk at the same time.) We have found over time that the Adele Rule pushes us to new heights even when it doesn't come into play. As we near the end of our route, we find ourselves pushing harder and running faster, doing all we can to finish before the next song comes on, lest it be hers. Just yesterday we finished our jog in an all-out sprint for the last hundred yards or so, touching the lamp-post with only two seconds left of Kanye's "Stronger"...only to hear that the next song would have been Florence and the Machine anyway.

This jog today was extremely hard for me. I am by no means a natural runner and I become easily discouraged. Today the problem was that I couldn't keep my left earphone secured in my ear; it requires a twisting motion that I can't manage with my robotic arm, so the earphone kept repeatedly popping out. The motion of it swinging about wildly as I jogged caused the right one to come out too, and I became so frustrated over this very small and simple setback. It was ridiculous! I finally snapped the earphones out and just listened to the music via my phone speaker like I do when I run with Chanda, but the damage was done and my mentality could just not recover. I trudged on, only going past my goal because Adele made me today. What is this about? Fellow runners, please share: how in the world do you instill a good attitude and overcome obstacles? I really need some help! I just ordered this book, which got really good reviews, and I am hoping it can help me. I would love to hear the experiences of friends here though!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hammer Time!

It's that time of year when I sign myself and four unwitting friends/family members up for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Relay. In case the italics isn't adequate enough to bring attention to the word 'relay,' I'll just go ahead and iterate it here with its own special statement: we are merely running the relay. I say this because each of the last two years some friend who reads this and obviously believes the best in me says in deep reverence, "Wow! You're running a marathon!" No, friends, no. I run marathons in my dreams; I run marathon relays in real life. Nevertheless, a relay can kick a person's bo-hiney into gear if she sets her goals high, and this year I have made a real doozy for myself: a 5K in 29:59 or less. Clearly either I also believe in myself, or else I hate myself. As Silas would say in his lovely, high-pitched two-year-old voice, "One or the other" (usually spoken with the air of a con artist as he gives me two equally preposterous options, i.e. "Mommy, should I eat Thomas candies for dinner, or should I skip dinner and just watch Kung Fu Panda? One or the other.").

This year the relay participants other than myself are BJ (as always), my beloved friend Chanda, her husband Landon, and BJ's brother Matthew. We have a really strong and fun team, and I'm excited. Matthew will take the first leg, which is a 10K and will be a good challenge for him. Matthew will hand off to me, running a 5K leg (in 29:59 or less, mind you), and then I will hand off to Landon, who is running the 12K leg. Surprise, Landon! I haven't told you that yet! Actually, Landon was a cross-country runner in high school, and even though he hasn't run a whole lot since then, this guy needs zero training and easily toasts us on race days. Then Landon hands off to Chanda, who is taking the fourth leg (also a 5K), and Chanda hands it off to BJ, who crosses the finish line for us after completing the last 10K. That's the plan!

My only demand as a team leader this year was that we had to have a cool name. I spent way too much time both trying to think of a great name and simultaneously pleading with my teammates to come up with something fabulous too. The end result was me thinking of nothing and my teammates forgetting to think of anything. So the weekend before last I sent an iron-fist text telling them all that if I hadn't received any cool ideas by Sunday night, I was officially naming us Hammer Time. And possibly creating a t-shirt with a silhouette of giant Hammer pants on it. (Okay, that last part I didn't tell them.) I intended for it all to be a legitimate threat; sadly, however, two of the four of them loved Hammer Time, and the other two were mortified but not enough to do anything about it. Hammer Time it is. At least I have my sight set on an incredible (for me) new running goal. Lucky for my teammates, I'm 2L2Q.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

To George


To my younger son, my beloved Georgie,

Happy birthday (last month!)! You're a toddler now, a whole year old and exploring everything on foot. I can scarcely believe it. You are a little man with a lively personality, and we all delight in you. You love your grandparents, bananas, music, dancing, bath time, pasta, your crib soother, dogs, being outside, and most especially playing with your bubby Silas. Sometimes all you want is snuggles with your daddy, and you have been that way from the start. You play lots of flirty games with strangers in restaurants, and you laugh out loud when tickled and chased. You refuse to be read to, much to your daddy's and my chagrin. You say words like mama, dada, bubba, nana (banana), and dog. You strongly shake your head "no" when that is your preference.  In your first year of life, you have visited Massachusetts twice, New Hampshire, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Your mommy and daddy have lots of travels planned for you, including another trip to Massachusetts with tickets already purchased. Still to come someday are California, Minnesota, Florida, and Europe, for starters. You are brave and adventurous, and you push your older brother to new heights. You really are a mama's boy.  I think you will have a personality that is lovely and challenges me because it is different from mine.

The breastfeeding journey that you and I have shared was nothing if not dramatic and fun, and I must say that it ultimately was one of the most rewarding journeys I have ever embarked upon. It all began the moment you were first handed to me, and you proceeded to easily latch on and nurse for 50 solid minutes. I finally had to pull you off because your daddy wanted to hold you for the first time too! I remember two and a half months later trying a dairy-free diet in an attempt to ease your obvious suffering, and my surprise when it actually seemed to begin working five days later! I remember the look on Dr. Harmon's face and the tone of her voice when she looked me in the eye and told me that your chances of not being allergic to dairy (AKA delicious) foods forever was greatly improved if I would choose to keep nursing you and just cut dairy out of my own diet; I remember the half-second it took me to agree to that because I am your mother, and I would give up ice cream and pizza for eight months if it meant that you had a better chance of getting to eat it someday with me. And then we were off, you and me; dairy-free buddies, bonded for life. :)

I remember my hardest day of motherhood quite well; I even blogged about it.  You just absolutely weren't having it that day, and you screamed for hours on end. That was the day that I began loving Adele, as I blasted her album during dinner preparations in the house while you were outside with your daddy and bubby shooting hoops. Now that I have some distance from it, I look back on that day fondly. I discovered the next week that you love Adele too, coincidentally, and I think it's fun that we have that in common. Your reactions to her music have ranged from peaceful trance (with the most adorable cocked head and still posture) to all-out dance fest (which I can't decide is better in your car seat or the living room floor), all of which have brought chuckles to your dad and me.

 Georgie, I love you with all of my might. I love your soft, kissable cheeks.  Your daddy and I are crazy about your snuggles, even as they are becoming fewer and further between.  I love the sight of you walking around the corner with that giant doggie pacifier hanging out of your mouth.  I love and already miss the memories of feeding you in the middle of the night by the fire in the living room, and resting with you in the middle of the day on the couch in our bedroom, with "Friends" and  "Everybody Loves Raymond" reruns on as we dozed.  I love taking you and Silas to the zoo, the library, and even the McDonald's play place; seeing you learn and interact makes my heart swell. Georgie, you must know that your daddy, your brother, and I are absolutely crazy about you. We are so glad you are part of our family. Happy birthday once again.

 Some pictures of you lately:

   Tight places can get ugly fast...

 Oh, the poses you strike!

 Living it up on one of your many trips to Elk City!

 The moment before you turned around and shut your brother into the dryer.  Silas still hasn't let us hear the end of that one!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Diaper Changes...

My friend Keri, the lovely gal who donated breast milk with me, is a delightful friend and fellow mom.  I have enjoyed getting to know her better in the last couple of months, and I am also happy for Keri that she is beginning her own business as a massage therapist. She has chosen to advertise herself as a massage therapist for mommies, which I think is totally fun. You can find the Facebook page for her business, Mama Kneads Massage, here!

One of the reasons that I mention this is because a couple of weekends ago Keri provided massage services for a gathering at Green Bambino, which is one of two cloth diapering stores in Oklahoma City.  I had spent a long week with a flu-sick child, an out-of-town husband, and a broken hand that prevented me from putting children into their car seats, so we had been stuck at home for a LONG time. I was chomping at the bit to get out of the house, so I went and checked out her booth and said hi.  I was amazed with all that Green Bambino had to offer, and I found myself asking question after question to Keri, who chooses to cloth diaper her baby.  All of this I mulled around in my mind for a week or so, and then Keri told me that there is a cloth diapering store quite near my home called The Changing Table. She described the owner Kristina as quite friendly, and encouraged me to give the place a visit.

Cuteness abounds in these precious little diapers!

I went and met with Kristina on Monday, and she introduced me to an offer that The Changing Table makes, which is a one month trial for cloth diapering that costs $15.  The trial includes 12 diapers of Kristina's choosing, all different brands and types, with the idea that the customer can peruse different options and get a feel for if cloth diapering will work for them and their baby before they spend beau coup money on it. At the end of the month if you don't like it then you give it all back. If you do like it, then you can buy whichever diapers you want at a discounted rate. This seems like the perfect situation to me!  Kristina was so friendly and helpful; she spent probably an hour with me on Monday explaining different diapering systems, and then told me to come back on Thursday to pick up my trial. When I went back today, she probably spent another half hour with me, all the while allowing my children to run amok in her kid-friendly store and play in the play place.  Here is what I ended up with for the month:

I am really hoping that we get the hang of this and that this all works out. In the long run, I envision the investment of cloth diapers as saving us quite a bit of money (and waste), as we have approximately another year of George in diapers and then a hopeful third child who could use them as well.  Many of the diapers are a one-size-fits-all purchase, accommodating children from 8 pounds all the way up to 35 pounds.  I truly have no idea how I got BJ on board with this.  He has always been awesome at allowing me to make seemingly-insane decisions, having faith in me that it will all go as I envision it will. Usually it does; sometimes it doesn't.  I will keep you updated on the process!