Monday, August 30, 2010


And so it begins....

Did I ever tell you how much I love shoes? Especially itty bitty teensy weensy ones? Yeah, get ready, because now that Skittles is walking and actually has a NEED for shoes, well let's just say this won't be the last shoe post.

And in my defense, Maija started the whole thing when she absolutely fell in love with a pair of red Converse (her size of course) and begged me to get them for her. So naturally, when I came across the same shoes for mini-sister I couldn't resist. It also didn't help matters any when after trying them on her pudgy feet she smiled as if her face might crack in half and then screamed her head off when I put them back in the box. Nothing like shopping with kids.

New School

Another first day of school over here. This time for Mr. Micah. He started at his new school this morning and I watched him wiggling and fidgeting his way through his first all school ceremony....

Not exactly the best shot, but it was full sun out there and I was trying to be discreet mom, you know the mom who doesn't make a scene with her camera and embarrass her kid in the process?

That's more like it...

His teacher seems sweet, and there are only 14 other kids in his class (they keep all the classrooms at 15 kids max.) so we are really excited for this new chapter in his education. But I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I'm a bit nervous and honestly a bit sad that we had to say goodbye to the elementary school we've been sharing "first" days with for many many years now. Still, 15 kids per 1.5 teachers? I mean, how great is that? Oh and would you just look at the time, Micah should be getting picked up by his dad right about now and available to take phone calls. I can't wait to hear all about his first day of second grade and what he thinks about his new school....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Boulevard Bash

If your child has dirty knees by dinner time, well, then you know they had a great day. And you know, the dirt, the messy, used to but I'm working on it because we had so much fun yesterday and what's a little bit of mess in the grand scheme of things?

Check out Ruari's masterpiece....

Yep, there was chalk....and lots of it.

Time once again for the Boulevard Bash, when we barricade the streets and throw a giant party right in our very own front yard (seriously, that tent is blocking my driveway). I didn't get enough pictures of all the craft booths and food vendors, oh and there was the greatest band of all time, complete with a tuba and trombone, playing in the yard next to ours and I am kicking myself for not getting a million shots of them. What can I say? It was hectic and I was busy patrolling the streets for reckless drivers.

I found one too...

And then another...

Remember how exciting it was when you were a kid, the idea of playing in the street? IN THE STREET? Yeah, well, our kids were over the moon.

Even Finn came out to play.

We had a blast dancing to the music, rolling out cars and big wheels, chasing wee ones up and down driveway aprons and enjoying the great company of neighbors, friends and family. Plus one of our favorite nearby restaurants was there dishing out sticky buns and spring rolls, and had a 50% off everything sale at around the same time that our family of too-many-people-to eat-out-all-that-often was beginning to get hungry. Perfect.

Of course, by the end of it all we had some incredibly exhausted children on our hands, but it was worth it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sneak Peek

Ok, ok, real quick, here's a sneak peek...

And I know that it goes without saying, but I am so incredibly lucky to be a part of THIS....

Welcome Home

We're back from our mini-honeymoon! And I know I should be raving about vacation and gushing about the wedding and so on, but honestly I am just too busy stretching out in the sunroom and readjusting to normal everyday life. And I am so glad to be home. I promise a slew of photos to follow, but right now, right this second, THIS is what has caught my eye. This is what is tugging at my heart strings...

Nuala received her first haircut this afternoon, courtesy of yours truly, right smack dab in the middle of the kitchen. She was not amused...

It needs a little cleaning up yet, and I left it a bit too long to allow myself a safety net, you know, room for error. But she looks super cute if I do say so myself.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Lifetime

Life has been so chaotic in these last few weeks leading up to the wedding, that I thought I should take a minute to remember what it is I am doing getting married in the first place. And why. I was never one of those girls who dreamed about her wedding since childhood or envisioned every last detail of the event. I am just so incredibly amazingly happy to have found my partner. My life partner. I can't tell you how lucky I feel and how grateful I am to love and to be loved in return by this man. And while I am excited about celebrating our life together and toasting to forever, our partnership, our marriage will be so much more than a wedding, so much more than flowers, table cloth colors, center pieces or veil lengths. Our marriage will be a lifetime.

A lifetime of joy and laughter and love. Yes, I know there will be hardship involved, and there will be plenty of tears along with many smiles, and there will be dark periods and low valleys to accompany the hills and blinding sunshine. There will be teenagers, and lots of them for years and years and years and there will be anxiety and fear, but there will also be loud family dinners and endless achievements to celebrate and new challenges to face, but they will be good challenges and we will all grow stronger because of them. And then someday there will be new loves to welcome into our family as our babies build their own partnerships and plan their own weddings. And then there will be grand kids, potentially lots and lots of them, and everything will shift, everything will be different once again. But through it all there will be this man and this woman who will work together like crazy to make sense of it all. This man and this woman, who will love each other along the way no matter what.

So, yes, I am excited for our wedding, but really I am ECSTATIC about our lifetime.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Screen Door

I just love this. These two little girls huddled close to one another, peering through the screen door, intent on watching the neighboorhood come to life in the morning.

Right now their age gap is still fairly obvious, especially to Nuala.

It is just so much fun to watch them when they get a quiet moment to themselves. I'm really looking forward to what these little sisters will get into further down the road.

I just adore this little lean

Friday, August 6, 2010

Even Though...

As summer vacation winds down, I have to admit that we are running out of fresh ideas. Luckily, the Domes are free to county residents every Monday.

And even though the trains are not on display this time of year...

And even though it only kept us occupied for about an hour...

A change of scenery...

Always brightens your day!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Imposter

We had a nice road trip to New Glarus and got there with enough time to explore a little bit. The town is beyond charming. The surrounding countryside is beyond beautiful. If I could move there tomorrow, I would. We found the town hall and I registered for the race. The transition area was right next to the pool along with a nice playground area which was great for the kids. After pizza and a hotel swim we called it a night, and I tried to get some sleep. I did. I really tried. But I tell you, those jitters they like to keep you awake!

Luckily I still felt great before the race.

If not a tad bit nervous. Seeing everyone with their fancy logos and sponsored jerseys, with their glitzy gear and fancy tri tools, well it's intimidating and it made me wonder what the heck I was even doing there! Made me wonder if I was perhaps an imposter.

Things went great though! I was surprised to learn that I much preferred the open water swim of the Trek to the New Glarus pool swim. Wave one went in at 8:15 and my wave didn't make it in until nearly 10. That's a whole lot of waiting around if you ask me! They kept it at 4 to a lane and tried to group people together according to speed, but you just never know how fast you'll actually go during a race. I had some congestion issues in my lane and definitely lapped 2 people but it was clumsy and time consuming. I opted to not use my flip turns and so the wall ate up a lot of time as well. Still, I felt amazing coming out of the swim. The kids were yelling and cheering, Brendan was whistling (he's got an impressive whistle!) and Ruari even ran me all the way down to the transition area.

One of my main goals was to get my transition times down. At the Trek my T1 was over 3 minutes and my T2 was over 4 minutes (thanks to the bib snafu), so I was really concentrating on getting out of there quickly. I didn't even bother with my towel, just slid my shoes on, snapped my helmet, grabbed my sunglasses, a handful of energy snacks and took off with my bike.

Let me just remind you that the bike is without a doubt my weakest event. Not only is it my weakest, but I also haven't trained it since the Trek, like not even once. Add to that the fact that the New Glarus bike route was about 15 times hillier than the Trek route and also 4 miles longer, and get the idea. It was NOT pretty. At one point I actually had to get off my bike and run it up the rest of a monstrously steep incline. It was like a cartoon, I was pedaling and pedaling and slowly coming to a stop despite the fact that I was still trying to pedal. Yeah, not good. One of the hills was, I kid you not, an entire mile long. Have you ever had to stand up on your pedals while in second gear? It was a first for me too. I never had a moment where the bike and I were one and the bike was working harder than I was. Nope, didn't happen this time, but I did do a lot of yelling. Like, out loud, only the cows could hear me yelling. The bike was lonely. Since I was in the second to last wave of swimmers and was bringing up the rear end of the race, there weren't many people out there on those country roads. I passed one biker and got passed by two others (who would have made excellent pacers had I actually been able to keep up with them) but mainly it was quiet out there. Quiet and extremely hilly!

I was so glad to get back for the run, but I have to admit, I was wiped out by then. It was after 11 and the sun was beating down. The last thing I wanted to do was run for 3 miles, or for any distance really, but I racked my bike and got out of T2 in 47 seconds, which is a major improvement from last time! The run was pretty quiet too, although some of the racers who had already finished were lining the streets and volunteers were yelling out encouragements. I just can't get over how far a few simple words can take you. I kept wanting to say "thank you" but my mouth wasn't really functioning properly at that point and I needed it for breathing so all I could do was nod and smile and keep trudging along. I probably should have driven the route ahead of time, or even walked it, but I didn't and so I had no idea where I was on the way out. Luckily it was an out and back and so once I reached the turn around I felt better, but boy was I unprepared. I think for my next race I'll at least scout the run route ahead of time, just to get an idea. Maybe not the bike route though, I think if I had seen those hills ahead of time I may have very well backed out of the race entirely!

As I came into the last homestretch, the girls were waiting on the sidelines and they ran me in. This alone is what made it possible for me to sprint to the finish line.

I kept hearing the words "finish strong" in my head.

Strong and tired.

It was a great race. I finished 6th in my age group (to be fair, there were only 15 women in my age group, but still). I was only 30 seconds behind 5th and a minute behind 4th, so I'm on the right track. And I am thrilled to have completed my second triathlon sprint. Even more thrilled to find that I want to
continue doing them! Turns out, I'm not an imposter, I'm a triathlete.

Well, OK, a mother who moonlights as a triathlete....

Plus, I feel I should mention that they had the BEST post race snacks ever. The Trek had dry bagels and squishy apples, but these guys in New Glarus know how to put together a spread. There was fudge, cookies, fresh peaches, cheese and more fudge. OH.MY.FUDGE, it was sooooo good. Mmmmm. Plus free beer at a cute little beer garden in town. Totally worth the hills!

And, yes, I did wear my medal during the car ride home, because I am in fact a giant dork. The sun was shining, the clouds were dancing and I was singing along to the radio feeling like a total rock star. It was a beautiful end to a beautiful day.