Friday, September 30, 2011

The search for precious medals

Lately, a lot of our weekend hours have been spent in pursuit of one thing. It's round, shiny and hangs around your neck. Nope, it's not a diamond necklace. (Though, I wouldn't turn up my nose at a sparkly bauble should someone offer me one.)

I've been spending many hours these past few weekends running in races around the city, and I'll let you in on this dirty little secret of mine.

I like to win medals.

I know, I know. I should say I run for the sense of accomplishment I gain from all the hard work. And, that I run in races to raise money for worthy charities. And, that I run for the camaraderie of the running community. And, all of that is true. I do love crossing the finish line, even if I don't place. And, I even enjoy the training. Most of the time. But, I've gotta tell you the truth: I really like to get medals, too.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What's in a neighborhood?

Tonight, our driveway was covered in chairs, tables, people, food, and children laughing and running. Tonight, we played host to the neighborhood block party.

When we first moved into our house 8 years ago, we had no idea what we were getting in to. And, I mean that in the best possible way. We were young, had been married less than a year, and had had only lived in apartments. We went house hunting with the concrete knowledge that we would only live in our starter house for 5 years. Tops. Ha! I laugh at our silly younger selves. Because we weren't planning to stay that long, we didn't really look into the schools that much. We didn't care that the house was on a cul-de-sac. And, we definitely didn't consider what kind of neighbors we were getting. Man, did we luck out.

In good weather, people are almost always outside. Kids run up and down the street. Molly and Charlotte have lots of other children to play with. We've gone to block parties, Christmas parties, pumpkin carving parties, Easter Egg Hunts, and wine tastings. My running partner lives right across the street from me. It's been 8 years, and frankly, we are scared to move. I can't imagine moving to another neighborhood. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Circus Ringleader

I've written before about how the boys in our neighborhood can be mean to Molly. She is a really tender-hearted girl, so it kills me when I see her try desperately to be included, only to be shut out. I know, I know, I'm going to die when she gets into school. But, this week, it happened again. We were playing outside, enjoying the beautiful weather, and she really, really wanted to play with some neighborhood kids. When the boys next door finally came home, she was ecstatic. She ran over to them and asked them to play with her. They were incredibly uninterested, as they were busy playing Ben 10. (I have no idea what Ben 10 is. Remember, I have two girls. Apparently it is some cartoon TV show about a boy who fights aliens or something.)

Anyway, Molly tried to play along, but wasn't really getting it. So, she kept asking if they would play camp-out, which is what we were playing on our driveway. We had sticks and were roasting pretend marshmallows over my amazing chalk-drawn campfire, and we were pretending to sleep under the stars. She really wanted to have some other kids play with her. The boys were not having it and just kept ignoring her. She finally gave up, came over to me, sat in my lap in front of our "campfire" and cried. And, then I wanted to cry.

But, have no fear. This isn't a poor-me blog post about my daughter getting left out of the boys' games. Because although Molly wasn't allowed to play with those little boys, she does have an amazing knack of getting adult boys to do what she wants. Enter into the story: a friendly barbecue at our friends Emily and Ryan's house. Now, among the group of people there, Cory and I, well, we have a little more life experience than the others. Or, as Cory says, we are the old-farts they allow to hang out with them. I personally prefer my terminology. Potato - Potahto.

Friday, September 2, 2011


So, my precious, adorable, beautiful darling daughter has been giving me quite the headaches lately. See, I had this crazy idea that I wanted to have some professional pictures taken of my two girls together. I know. Completely bonkers, right? And, I wanted the pictures to be taken outside. I am a lunatic. Certifiable. Lock me up now.

We tried first, about a week and a half ago. I got up early, ran in the gorgeous clear weather, got the girls ready. Did their hair, put on their cute dresses. Made sure they were cleaned and pressed. I even had checked the weather that morning. I got Charlotte down for her morning nap early, and she woke just in time for us to leave. Problem? By the time we drove the 10 minutes to the shoot, it had started raining. And, not just sprinkles. Massive, torrential rain, thunder and lightning. Well, that day was out.

We tried again a couple days later. Only this time, Charlotte refused to go down for her morning nap. So, when we showed up, she was tired, cranky and clingy. And, I don't mean your garden-variety clingy. The girl, literally would not let go of my neck. I tried to run around with her or get her to chase Molly, and all we got were giant, gulping-for-air screams of terror. After an hour, we decided to try again another day.

Cut to Monday morning. We decided to go super early, before her morning nap. We even had Cory bring the girls so Charlotte wouldn't cling to me. We packed bubbles, balls, bats. Whatever we could think of to get her to be comfortable. As soon as Cory turned into the parking lot, Charlotte started crying. She didn't stop crying and clinging until they gave up and drove home again.

So, lesson: Charlotte will have no 18-month professional pictures. Luckily, we got some good ones of just Molly. Check out those here. I really have to hand it to Kelly, our photographer, for trying over and over and over again. I will blame Charlotte when she comes asking why she doesn't have any pictures of herself from this time in her life. Little stinker knows how to push her momma's buttons.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ranting about "diet" book and "pretty" shirt

Rant #1

So I posted a link on Facebook to a book that I'd heard about recently. It's a children's book, aimed at children aged 4 to 8 according to Amazon. The book's title is "Maggie Goes on a Diet." Molly is 4.

No, I am not making this up. And, no, I am not the first blogger to voice her outrage at this. I got several comments after my posting on Facebook, and I could not get it out of my mind. The whole concept was bothering me so much all day, I actually missed three turns while driving. So, instead of typing a huge, long response on FB, I decided to rant on this here ol' blog. Lucky readers, huh?

The gist of the story is that a 14-year-old girl is overweight. She gets teased and made fun of. Quote from the book: "She was called fatty and chubby and other names that were very cruel." Then, she decides to go on a diet, eat healthier foods and exercise. She loses weight, joins the soccer team, and "More and more people were beginning to know Maggie by name. Playing soccer gave her popularity and fame."

Lots of the comments were about how parents have to be proactive in making sure their kids eat healthy and get exercise, etc. Of course, I agree with that. I've written many a post about that very thing.

My main issue with isn't about all the being healthy stuff. My huge problem with this book is that it is saying that it is ok to judge or be judged on your appearance. I know girls have a hard enough time with body image. Experts are saying they are seeing 5 and 6-year-olds diagnosed with anorexia. Why, oh, why would anyone read a book to a child that says it's ok for kids to tease other kids based on their looks, and you can only have friends if you are skinny and good at sports?