Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Remember that for the next 18 years

I was motivated as a child to do things simply because they were things I was told NOT to do. (There was the smoking, the sneaking out with friends when I was supposed to be at the movies. Also, there might still be visual evidence of the staple hole in my index finger from seeing what would happen if I pushed the stapler shut with my finger in it... twice. I guess that's not defiance so much as just stupidity). I also chose to not do certain things because I was told I should. I don't know if it's a second child syndrome (big bro always being more of a rule follower, having to carve out my own little rebel path), or just my contrary nature, or both. 

Thus, as a parent, I have the challenge of trying to get my kids to listen to everything I say, knowing I rarely did the same courtesy for my parents. Max, following in his first born uncle's footsteps, is very much a "good kid." He mostly follows the rules (except when he tried to steal from a store this last weekend... but that's a post I haven't quite mustered up the heart to dive into yet...), and feels bad when he doesn't. However, I frequently wonder if the 3 others will be more like me. There can be only one first born.

I try to keep this in mind when it comes to things that truly are important. Like wearing a helmet when you are on a bike. An an ER doctor, this is one that I REALLY need them to listen to. I have tried to not make a Big Deal of it, since lord knows those are the things we contrary people see as most tempting to disregard. I try to keep the "What a *complete* $&^$ing idiot that guy is!" comments to myself when we see a motorcyclist without one. I also try not to demonize motorcycles, because that is the quickest ticket guaranteeing one of my sons shows up to my house with one in 15 years. I try to keep it basic - You could hurt your brain, and that is really bad. It simply isn't a smart choice to not wear one. 

So, I was pretty happy yesterday when Calvin came to me with this report. 
Calvin: Mom! I feel off my bike! (said with great, happy enthusiasm)
Me: Are you ok, bud?
Calvin: Yeah! I had my helmet on! And I didn't even break my brain! (huge grin)

Let's hope it sticks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


For those of you who don't know her, this is Mary. She is the kook-head that got me into this whole triathlon business. She is the one that makes it look easy. When I show up to do the Sprint tri, she is there to do a half Ironman... and take 6th in her age group. She has been at my side for 4 of my 5 races, and God love her for inspiring me to get out there.

And get out there I did. Sunday was a glorious day, full of sunshine and minimal wind. I had no idea how well or poorly I had trained... I managed to chug through most of my scheduled workouts, and it had been 2 years since my last race. I had struggled with my registration as well... 

You may have heard of the Clydesdale divisions in races. It's the Big Boy category. It's the chance for guys not built like a whippet to feel competitive. It seemed slightly less insultingto me when my 6'4" brother considered registering for it, given he is practically 2 dimensional. 

For the ladies, it's the Athena division. Now, having spent much of this life trying to believe I am OK with my body after years of actively hating it, signing up for Athena - actively proclaiming I weigh more than 150lbs (and I don't mean by a smidge) - is a hard pill to swallow. However, given that I am not even close to 150lbs (and at 5'10" probably shouldn't be... please see brother comment above), I thought maybe it would allow me to be competitive SOMEWHERE. The 35-39yr old women's category is wicked fast and actually contained the eventual overall winner of the race. I ain't competitive with THAT chick.

Ok. So I did it. I signed up with the chubby girls. Why not. Give it a whirl. 

And damn it, if I didn't win first place! 

That's right. I WON! Number 1, BABY! Trophy. Award ceremony. The whole shooting match! I've never won anything in an individual sport. And I will tell you something right now... it feels pretty snappy. 
I am now ready for more! Sign this Athena UP! In fact, feel free to just call me Athena from now own. I am all for it. Leo shall know me not at Mama, but Athena. She is a goddess, after all. 

And, to make it all even nicer, I actually took 16th in my age group, out of 77. Who knows... With a little more work, I may take down the skinny chicks too.

Friday, July 24, 2009


The other day, Leo was doing one of those cute things babies do - he was standing on his fairly wobbly legs, holding onto a window frame. He then became excited by his feat, grinned and started shaking the window frame. Of course, window frames don't shake, so he was the one that went back and forth. Very cute.

I giggled out loud, and Max, who was standing next to me but didn't see it, wanted to know what was so funny. So, I imitated Leo, shaking my own 5 foot 10 inch frame vigorously. Max flashed his quickly-becoming-so-mature smile, and then put his arm around me and patted my back in a "Mom, you're great" kind of way, and leaned his little head against my side...

That kid can break my heart in all the right ways.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Open Water

Having completed 4 previous triathlons, I kinda thought I remembered it all pretty well. Everyone knows that swimming in a lake is different from swimming laps in a pool. Obviously. Even couch potatoes would figure that one out.

So, I thought dipping my toes in the lake ONE TIME before my big #5 race this weekend would be a smart idea. Some might say that more than once would be a good idea... but come on, I'VE DONE THIS BEFORE. I am a pro. Never mind that I race the shortest possible triathlons that are offered, and I haven't actually done one since before Leo was conceived... blah blah blah...

I actually contemplated just skipping the open water practice-run and winging it on race day. I mean, being in a lake by yourself seems just the other side of crazy, and I have managed to miss every group swim my tri buddies have done this summer. I thought about doing it in Oklahoma, but there was a picture on the front of the "newspaper" of a kid splashing around in the "lake" by my parents home. Even the "water" splashing in the air was so dense you couldn't see through the silt and muck. No thank you.

But Monday was a beautiful, warm day. Doing laps back and forth in the somewhat populated swim area of Cedar Lake seemed like a sane enough way to get this under my belt before the race. I packed up the bag, and headed out, and was actually hot on my way over there.

Have I mentioned that water is a very good insulator? And this Minnesota summer has been stupid-cold leading up to this day? I had goosebumps by the time I was in to my knees. But since there were children frolicking around in the water, I thought I should stop being a big baby and just toss it in. 

Once I got started it took 5-6 minutes to not feel like I was drowning. I can take waves in my face. No biggy. But there is this silly little physiologic response I have no control over - the Diver's Reflex. You know how they talk about kids that survived 2 hours underwater in the winter. Yeah, the body interprets cold water to the face as moronic. The only reason you would have your face in cold water is by foolish mistake - some arctic bafoon that has plunged through the ice. It slows your heart rate thinking you are going to need to conserve all energy possible since clearly you are drowning. Not surprisingly, it's a bit hard to exercise while my pulse is dropping to 40.

This is how I voluntarily spend my free time....

By minute 15, I actually felt pretty decent. I was able to get back to my normal stroke/breath ratio, and thought this was going to be do-able. The great irony, of course, is that 15 minutes is about how long I'll be in the water on Sunday. Just about the time I will feel like I'm not going to die, it will be time to get out.

I think I just might win this thing...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Max steps out

Tonight, Max isn't sleeping in his bed. He isn't sleeping in our house. He isn't even sleeping in a grandparents' home.

No, my kiddo is officially puttin on his big-boy PJ pants, and is having his first overnight at camp. Now, of course, his camp is one hedge's distance from our house, but I digress...

And he really didn't seem anything other than excited. No fear, no apprehension, no last-minute "mom, I don't know if I am up to it" second-thoughts. Off he went, a quick wave to me, obviously forgetting that I was standing there ~2.4 seconds after my goodbye hug. 

I actually had to swing back to the camp to drop off a new sleeping bag (the 3 old ones being among the many thing that seem to have disappeared in our still-not-completed move... I am sure Max was relieved to see that I, in fact, did not bring him the worn out and apparently not-at-all-cool-anymore Nemo bag he so feared, but instead opted for a new good-old-generic orange Coleman bag from Target. I can now also rest assured that he won't be shot by deer hunters while he is away tonight). As I heaved it into the pile of 6-year-old overnight goodies, my kid was way too busy taking a turn at the slip-and-slide to give much more than a "Hey, thanks for dropping that off, lady" hand wave. 

Once home with the twins and Leo, Spence resumed his usual behavior of trying to climb into my body... and I took a second to enjoy it. All too soon, they will all be too big to want to be in mom's lap. 

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cabin Fever

And I mean that in a good way... It has begun. The boys (minus Leo) are officially old enough to strap on the life vests and get pulled behind the speed boat. We found a "tube" that is actually more like a little race car the kids sit in 2 at a time, front and back. There was very little risk of anyone actually flying into the lake, much to Max's disappointment. They could go fast and without a parent with them. Lots of bumping and splashing, lots of laughing and squeeling.

The cabin just became an even more charmed place in their minds... as it should be.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some favorites

Here are a few of the 400+ pictures snapped by my dad during our time in OKC...

All the grandkids

Spence and my Uncle Mark

Heading out to dinner (yes, those are crutches... Pam broke her foot half way through the trip. Total bummer).

Leo and my baby daddy

Dinner by the pool

Leo's first haircut (and lollipop)

Spencer plunge

Boys and guns... what else is there to say...

Cannonball comin!

At the Oklahoma Redhawks AAA game

Friday, July 3, 2009

Back in Minny

The annual journey to Oklahoma is done for yet another year. Like any good vacation, it seems to take an infinite amount of time to start, then it's gone in the blink of an eye. 

And since life has a sense of humor, the re-entry has been... entertaining? Or horrifying... you be the judge.

What are the chances 3 of 4 kids are pooping at the same time? Well, it has taken 9 months of Leo's life to do it, but I am proud to announce we can now strive for 4 of 4. Thankfully this was not a combo travel-horror-story. I was safely ensconced in the house (with Omar back at work) before this round of fun. I was dealing with Leo's little package of love (without any wipes other than the emergency 3 that live in a baggie in the back of the drawer, and those were pretty much dry) when I hear Calvin yelping "I went poopy in the pottttttttty!" I yelp back that he will just have to cool his jets for a minute until I can get to him.

As I am completing the 2nd half of this little foray to poopy-land, I make a comment to Cal that it was weird that he and his brother were doing this little trick at the same time. Then Spence, who is standing next to me in the bathroom, says "Me too!"

Now, since he is standing there fully clothed, it makes one scratch her chin. 

"Really? Where did you go?" "In YOUR bathroom mommy! Come look!!" Since flushing is completely optional in the bathroom routine of my sons, the evidence remained. The evidence also remained in the need for a new pair of skivvies for one Spencer-roo. Wouldn't some wipes be nice in a situation like that...

Now, this alone was blog-able. But life is much more entertaining than that. About 15 minutes later, as I am yelling the proper rules of engagement for water fighting out the window to the banshees who are now in the yard, I realize Leo has escaped me. Where could he be...?

Yeah... Calvin hadn't flushed either...

I am fairly sure my tombstone will read: "And then it all spun out of control..."