Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Florida sunshine

I'm was catching up on posting my 365 pictures to Flickr and came across these beach photos taken on 11/19. Thought you might enjoy some Florida sunshine today.


This shot was right out of the camera and I just love it.

This one was processed with a Lightroom action named PH OldSchool Skintone.


Monday, November 29, 2010

A few scrapbook pages

I'm so behind in my scrapbooking. I'm working on pages for Feb & March 2010. But in an effort to get caught up, I'm also scrapping some more current stuff like Halloween and Thanksgiving. Click on the picture to see credits listed on Flickr. And thanks for looking!





Sunday, November 28, 2010

First movie- Tangled

Today we took Kylie to the movie theater for the first time. Together, we saw the Disney movie, Tangled. We went with our friend Sarah and her daughter Lily. Kylie adores Lily. Here are some pictures of the girls taken at the theater before the movie started.


Lily modeled great theater behavior. Kylie sat quietly during the movie, only getting up to either sit on my lap or Momma Karen's. And she only spoke to ask me who the bad guys were, to give all of us some of her popcorn and to tell Lily (toward the end of the movie) that "Everything is going to be ok, Lily. Just wait and see."


I really wanted her to have a great movie experience. It was just adorable to see her sitting on her little theater booster seat, eating popcorn and drinking her iced-cherry drink. I think today was a huge success and look forward to taking her to more movies.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving in Florida

I am very thankful of our home in Florida. I love that my mom got to visit the beach twice during her visit with us. I love that it was warm enough for swimsuits and for romps in the ocean and tidepools.




On Wednesday, Kylie was thankful to show her Granna the Jacksonville Zoo. We saw many of the exhibits. We fed the giraffe and parrots. We posed for cheesy photos.






And on Thursday we had a laid back lunch full of scrumptious food. It was a fantastic first Thanksgiving in Florida. I hope you had a great week too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Race

I did it! I ran 13.1 miles in the Women's Half Marathon in St. Petersburg.

My official time was 2:11:31. This puts my pace at 10:07 per mile. This pace is faster than any of my training runs. I'm thrilled. My place was 1186 in a field of 4746 runners and in my age group I was 209 in a field of 793 runners between 40-44.

Race morning started at 4:00am when I woke up and was too excited to go back to sleep. I got up at 5:15 and took a shower. I was so nervous I was nauseous but I made myself eat a powerbar.

I didn't want the hassle of trying to park at the race starting point and I didn't want to be separated from Karen while she parked, so we took a cab from our hotel to the race starting point.

We arrived at the starting point,Mahaffey Theater, at 6:30am while it was still dark.

I'm wearing the groovy running shirt I was given at the Runner's Expo. I had a mantra of "nothing new, nothing new" going into the race. I didn't want new socks or underwear or anything that hadn't been tested during my training runs. But I was so tickled with the shirt I decided to break my own rule and wear it. It worked out perfectly. The shirt didn't chafe my arms at all. And I really enjoyed being a part of the sea of pink shirts all around me.

There was a zoo of people at the race. There were 4,746 runners and their support people.

As the sun began to rise, we were able to enter our corrals. The two girls behind me kept saying to one another, "We can do this, right?" "Yea, we can do this" over and over. They got me laughing because I was thinking the exact same thing to myself.

Awhile ago, I saw on television the famous downhill skier Picabo Street preparing for her run at the Olympics. She was moments away from skiing the most important race of her life. The cameras cut to her when there were still a few people ahead of her getting in their runs. She stood off to the side, listening to music through her earpieces. She was dancing and singing at the top of her lungs. I thought she was ballsy (in a great way!) and awesome. So I told myself that prior to the race, instead of looking around, frozen like a deer in headlights, I would listen to my music and stare only at the starting gate.

When I registered for the race back in July before I had started training, I was asked "In what time do you expect to finish?" I marked "under three hours" on my form. As a result, I was back in corral number 5. There were 7 corrals with the faster runners in corrals 1,2,&3.

I never heard the starting bells; I had my music too loud to hear it. We simply went from standing still to walking to jogging. And at the beginning, we were jogging way to slow for me. We were packed like sardines. I ended up jumping into the grass to try to break away and get moving.

There was a girl in front of me who was doing the same and I stayed right with her for several miles. She was my first Runner's Rabbit. We stayed tightly packed for the first five miles and I remember thinking to myself, "Wendy, you are faster than this! Go! Go faster!"

When we reached five miles, the pack lengthened out and there was more breathing room. At mile five, I looked at my watch and I was under 50 minutes. At mile 5, I also had my first water break. I've drunk from water bottles while running before. But drinking from a dixie cup of water is very different. I didn't get choked but I did splash water up my nose and in my eye and on my shirt and shorts. I had read that drinking from the race was messy and hard. After I tossed my cup down, I laughed a bit and said to myself, "Yep! That was different! I hope a photographer didn't get a picture of that!"

About mile 7, I found another pair of rabbits. It was a guy who was running with his girlfriend/wife. They had on matching blue shirts that read "Medal Heads". They were running just a bit faster than me and I ran to stay with them.

I have to say that the pull of the runners ahead of me was awesome. I simply wanted to catch up with them. So I ended up running faster than I had before.

There were fans at the start of the race and lots of fans at the end. Having people yell and cheer for you is invigorating. I knew I wanted a larger race for just this reason. We passed a retirement home and there were older folks sitting on chairs by the road, waving signs that said "Run Girls" and "Go for it". When anyone would cheer for us, I would smile. And with the smile, I would get a burst of happiness and running seemed so much easier.

At ten miles, I was so proud that I had made it that far running as fast as I was. I was listening to the song, "Firework" by Katy Perry. I heard the lyrics,
You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gunna leave 'em fallin' down-own-own
Tears started streaming down my cheeks and I met the eyes of a support fan. She must have seen the emotion on my face because she looked right at me and shouted, "You are almost there!" I beamed a smile at her and kept on kicking.

Then we entered Tropicana Field where the Tampa Bay Rays play baseball. We ran a complete loop on the turf and it was amazing. I seemed like a goofball as I looked all around me while I ran. I wanted to soak it all in; this view that only professional athletes get to see. I pulled back one of my earphones to hear a recording of a baseball game they were playing over the loudspeakers. And when I did, I heard a guy who was running in front of me with his girlfriend/wife. He was saying, "This is it! We are down to it. The last few miles. You've got to give it all you've got!" That was just what I needed to hear. It was like he was saying it for her, for me, for all of us.

At mile 11, I believe I slowed down just a bit. My legs were feeling pretty numb except for my calves which were screaming. And at mile 11, the other runners around me really kicked it in. Up until now, I had the sensation of passing others rather than being passed. But now lots of runners were streaming by. I checked my pace on my Forerunner watch several times. I was right on pace. I didn't have it in me to say to myself, "Run Faster!" So instead I told myself, "You are doing great! Just stay on pace now!"

The last mile was incredibly long. It seemed like forever before I saw the finish line. And then I was through it. I kept walking after touching the finish line but inside I felt like I was floating. I teared up as a volunteer looped my medal over my head. And gasped with relief when another volunteer handed me a bottle of water.

There were several photographers for the race. The only one I saw was at Tropicana Field. I waved and smiled at him. But I guess he didn't get a photo of me. A photographer did capture me at the Pier which was at mile 7-8.

And another one took a photo right at the finish line (looking into the sun here and you can see the exhaustion).

It took a while for Karen and I to find one another at the end of the race. But when she found me, this is what she saw.

I'm so dang happy and proud! I want to thank all of you for your words of support. They mean the world to me.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Me...a year ago

This was me one year ago.

This photo was taken at my Nanny's house at Thanksgiving last year.

My weight was 185 pounds. I wore a size 18 in jeans and an extra large shirt.

I came home from that trip and seeing those pictures was shocking.

I called my Nanny and told her that I was going to lose some weight. She told me that was good because she was worried that I'd become diabetic. My Nanny was diagnosed with mild diabetes late in her life. From the moment she heard this, she never ate anything with sugar again. Never. She had amazing will power.

This was my last visit and last photo with Nanny. We exchanged letters and a phone calls. By the time she passed away in February, I had lost over twenty pounds and she was proud of me.

In the beginning, I exercised with my Wii gaming system. I did the Biggest Loser, EA Sports and Jillian Michaels workouts. I woke up at 5am, crawled down to the basement and did my workout as silently as possible as to not wake up Kylie. On some days, I would work out again at night. But I made it a point to get five workouts in per week.

I recorded everything I ate in the LoseIt app on my iPhone. I was determined to eat "normal" foods. I added more fruit, vegetables and grains to our weekly menus. I went through all of our favorite dinner recipes and calculated the calories and nutrition of each. That way, I knew the calories in our favorite chicken enchilada casserole dish or my usual pot of chili. I could calculate the appropriate portion based on the calories and plan for those calories in what I ate for breakfast and lunch.

Later, I added in some running. Even running in the rain and snow in that horrible winter in DC. And then I joined Gold's Gym and started running on their treadmill in the evenings and on the weekends.

My goal was to lose 45 pounds by Kylie's birthday (between November and April). And I achieved that goal be weighing in at 140 on April 17th.

In May, when we moved to Florida, I immediately found a gym and kept up with my running on treadmills. But in July, I started to feel stagnant. I had maintained my weight at 140 for four months but I felt like I could so very easily slip back into old eating patterns and gain back the weight. So I decided to take on the challenge of running 13.1 miles.

The intensity of these training runs was exactly what I needed. I never ever thought I would run a race much less one with 13 miles. But training for my first half-marathon has been a blast. And I dropped eight more pounds.

I now weigh 132 pounds. I wear a size 8 in jeans and a medium in tshirts.


I'm already looking ahead to what is next for me. I started lap swimming in the pool this week. And after the race, I plan to do add upper body weight lifting when I'm at the gym and join a fun cardio class as well as keep up with my runs.

Thanks to you my dear readers for all of your support. My big half marathon race is on Sunday! I'll let you know how I did!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In my belly

Wow! I want to thank everyone who commented on the Bad Food post. Your comments gave me a lot to think about and Karen and I have had some lively conversations debating the various points.

I still think that, outside of parents, there is no one so powerful in a child's life than her teachers. I think the messages a child gets from her teachers go in "deep". This can be a great thing or a worrisome thing.

In a snap of my fingers, I could get really angry all over again. I could do another whole round of blogging about the thoughts that are still whirling around over this. But instead I'll sigh and say a simple word, "Accept."

Let me explain. It is helpful for me, when my emotions are brewing and sometimes spewing all over, to try to distill the essence of what I'm experiencing down to a single word. With this food issue, my word was accept.

I accept that Kylie is going to hear things that I really wish she wouldn't. I accept that I will disagree with a teacher's point of view. Probably several teachers and lots of points of view over Kylie's education. I accept that even though I have a heart of a rebel and an activist, I'm not going to step up this time to change "the system". I accept that I need to pick my battles carefully. And more.

But mostly, I just wanted to thank you my dear readers. You help me feel heard and understood. You remind me that I'm not alone. Thank you.

Now, on to Kylie's New Nightmare:

Kylie has been having nightmares about things growing in her belly. I pray, pray, pray that this is just a normal preschooler nightmare and has absolutely nothing to do with any of ther teachers.

Kylie and I have daily conversations about the nightmare. They go like this:
Kylie: I know you told me there is nothing growing in my belly but I had another nightmare about it and I want to talk about it.
Me: Talking about your nightmares helps, right?
Kylie: Yes.
Me: Can you tell me about your dream?
Kylie: mmmmmmm
Me: Were the things in your belly hot or cold or squirmy?
Kylie: Scary
Me: Just a scary feeling in your belly
Kylie: Right. Something is growing there.
Me: Kylie,
Kylie interrupts: I know. Nothing is growing in there but I still want to talk about it.
Me: OK
Kylie: (silent)
Me: Well you know that you are growing. You will get taller; you'll be as tall as me. Your hands and feet and growing. They will probably be like mine. (And I'll hold up my hand so she can compare her hand to mine). So growing is a good thing.
Kylie: Yea! But I still have that nightmare.
Me: Do you feel like when you eat something like some pasta or something that there is a burning feeling in your belly?
Kylie: No I don't dream that.
Me: Can you tell me what you dream?
Kylie: That something is growing in my belly and its scary.
Me: Can you tell me anything more about it? Anything at all?
Kylie: (Silent. L-o-n-g silence).
Me: Nightmare are scary aren't they.
Kylie: Yes.
Me: And you know you can always get me and I'll help ease you back to sleep.
Kylie: I know.
Me: And you know that they fairy dust we spray at bedtime helps you to sleep and to have good dreams.
Kylie: I know. I love fairy dust. (Sigh). I'll probably have this nightmare a lot more times.
Me: I wish you had sweet dreams my darling. I wish I could make the nightmares go away.
Kylie: I'm glad we talked about it. We can go play now.

What strikes me every time we have this conversation (and we have had it a LOT lately) is that she's so verbal and aware and yet so little. Just a little three year old. I wish so much that I could make it better.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bad food

Last week, Laurie left a comment asking,
"Do Kylie's teachers ever comment on how beautiful her lunches are? I would be excited to see what she brought in each day!"

I've had one teacher say that it is "interesting to see what's in Kylie's lunch" and another teacher comment, "You must have a lot of free time". Both fairly innocuous statements. And I really don't expect people to understand the whole bento lunch thing and how it amuses me to make Kylie's lunches look pretty.

But I was shocked to hear Kylie say, "Teacher said I had to eat my good food before my bad food and I ran out of time before lunch was over so I only ate my good food".


So I calmly asked Kylie, "What did teacher say the bad food was?"
Kylie, "My pirate booty and my fruit leather".
Me, "She said those were bad foods".
Kylie, "Yes."


This isn't the first time we've heard something like this. One night after dinner, we ate cupcakes. Kylie loves cupcakes and we don't eat them often. She was excited about it and told the folks at school about having them. The following day Kylie told me that she didn't want a cupcake for dessert because teacher said they were "junk food and didn't nourish her body."

Now we are stuck with this school until the end of May. And for a myriad of other reasons which I won't get into on this post, we won't be returning to this school next year. So it does me absolutely no good to address this issue with the teachers. Other than some therapeutic blog ranting, I'm letting it go.

But the pissed-off part of me wants to say:

"How dare you qualify food as either good or bad to my daughter! We Americans have enough screwed up notions about food as it is. Food is neither good nor bad. It is food. It is nourishment. Cupcakes aren't junk food; they are desserts. And there is nothing wrong with desserts. Pirate booty and other chips, along with fruit leather, aren't top of the nutritional food chain but neither are they at the bottom. They provide variety in my daughter's nutrient-rich daily menu.

What's more, if I want to put a Hershey bar or Cheetos in my daughter's lunch, you better damn well let her have it and keep your mouth shut about it. Because you know what? It's your job to TEACH not to PARENT.

End rant.

Here's a picture of Kylie's bento lunch. With her "good" go-gurt, clementines, craisins and turkey and her "bad" pirate booty and fruit leather.

Friday, November 12, 2010

{this moment} 11/12/10

{this moment} - a Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Kylie got some stretchy plastic lizards and they were her favorite toy this week. She particularly liked tossing them and lining them in rows.


{this moment} posts are inspired by SouleMama's Friday posts

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ah, the sweet bed

Look at all those stuffed animals on her bed!

One good thing that came from Kylie's head cold was that she started napping again. She naps about every other day for about an hour. I simply love nap time!

At night, our bedtime routine has evolved to prayer, then the "I Love You" song as Karen and I both stand and hold Kylie in a hug (otherwise known as the family hug). Then Kylie lays down on the bed and says, "Big Hug, Big Kiss, Little Hug, Little Kiss, Eskimo kisses" as first I and then Karen give her the hugs and kisses she wants. Then we spray "fairy dust" into room and then stroke her arms and legs and face with the fairy dust. Then we say our I love you's and good-nights one last time. Fortunately, this bedtime routine moves along pretty quickly. But it's interesting how Kylie has slipped in little bits to make it longer than it was a year ago.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Fall Festival

Kylie's school had a Fall Festival. It was held on to ball field of her school. Kylie got to do lots and lots of crafts. She colored a picture of a turkey and made it into a button, she made two necklaces, a paper leaf crown, a small twig wreath, and a painted pinecone. There was a small band playing music. The school families brought a bags of foods for the food drive and there was a book sale. It was a good day.





Monday, November 08, 2010

Scrapbook pages

There was about a month where I didn't scrapbook at all. Which is a bit shocking because I usually complete around a page a week for over three years. But recently, I got back into the swing of things and have done a few pages. These are all pictures and stories from Jan. & Feb. 2010.

Maybe it was memories of all that snow that I wanted to avoid.

buggy sweetness


back to swim class.jpg




not joyous memories.jpg

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Run baby run

I'm 14 days from the Women's Half Marathon in St. Petersburg, FL.

And today I completed a 13.1 mile run in my neighborhood. I did it in 2 hours, 28 minutes.

I'm getting both excited and nervous about the race. But I'm tickled that I actually ran 13 miles here at home. I think it will help me mentally on race day.

I've been steadily increasing my mileage 1/2 mile each week for my long run. I started training for the race the last week on July with 6 miles as the longest I've ever run. Since then I've logged 301.35 miles.

Today, Karen and Kylie drove my route and found me at mile 3, again at mile 6 and then at mile 10 & 11. Karen handed me water bottles and both my girls gave me huge boosts of energy with their cheers.


Four days ago I turned 40.