Tuesday, October 28

NYC Marathon Training Update

I'm in the final weeks of marathon training which means I stay up late every night googling things about the marathon. How steep are the bridges? If I start on the lower level of the bridge, will I really get peed on by the people on the top layer? Is it possible for Sol to see me more than twice? Do I really have to walk a mile and a half after the finish line just to exit the post race area? Thanks to the internet, you can have all these answers and more for the low low price of a few hours of sleep.


My parents are coming to watch the boys and Sol and I are escaping together ALONE to NYC. It's a toss up what I'm more excited about--a few days without kids or running a world class marathon.  I really do want to ENJOY the marathon and am trying not to put too much pressure on myself, which is basically impossible.  Here's what I currently think.

I'm going to run fast because I've been training hard in very hot temperatures--I'll just be able to fly in the cooler weather. I'm going to die because of ALL THE BRIDGES and then lack of any elevation change in Beaumont. I'm going to run really fast because I love my new training schedule I'm following. I pretty much totally stopped doing Barre and lost some flexibility and strength... so my bones will probably all break as a result.

The race is Sunday--I'll be starting at 9:40 and will finish... after that some time. You can go here to track me--there's a nifty mobile app or you can use the website. I'm number 17666. 

My goal for the race? I hesitate to even type it out since I famously try to BQ and barely miss it like its my job... but this year, I need to run 3:35 to qualify for Boston. The past two years, the runners have had to be about a minute and a half faster than their qualifying time to get in. So I would hope to run a 3:33. Based on how I've been training, I could be able to run a few minutes faster than that. I'd love it if I can keep all my miles under 8:00--but I'm not sure how my legs will handle the hills and how easy it will be to run quickly in the very dense crowds. I've PRed at all but two of my previous eight marathons--the two slow ones were the ones I ran months after having Finley and Braden. I'd love to PR and maybe BQ--but really, I just want to have fun.  I'm so excited to get to be a part of it and no matter what my time is, I am pretty sure I'll be thrilled to have run those streets.

Thursday, October 23

Soccer Shots

We put both the boys in soccer this year--and it way entertaining to say the least. The soccer complex is just a few minutes from our house which is crucial--I don't think we would have been able to make it if it were much further! The boys each have practice and a game every week--sometimes they are close in time and sometimes they are two separate outings.

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Braden wasn't too sure about soccer. About half the time he'd refuse to have anything to do with it and just wanted to sit in the car--and the other half of the time he'd kind of kick the ball around if we were holding his hand. And sometimes he'd kick by himself--but rarely.

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He loved two things about soccer: laying on the field and picking grass and running through the high five tunnel at the end. Maybe next year he'll be more into it... three year old soccer is pretty hilarious.

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Finley really enjoys soccer! The first few weeks were pretty hot, but now that it's cooled down a bit he's excited about going to practice and playing. His coach is fantastic--Finley's about a head shorter than most of the kids so his coach makes a solid effort to make sure he finds a way for Finley to get the ball and participate.

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The pictures below are some of my favorites--he has a really goofy run that he does when he's "trying" to run fast and is sometimes just in his little five year old mind instead of focusing on the game.

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My marathon training has conflicted a bit with getting to see all their games--but Sol has been amazing and getting them all there and excited about playing! I was glad I got a few shots to remember how cute they are running around the field as little guys.

Monday, October 20

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Well, no fall is complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch. Even when that pumpkin patch is in front of a church and thoroughly underwhelming. For some context--here are the last five years of pumpkin-ing.

20132012, also 201220112010 and 2009.

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Things you may notice. My boys' hair was OOC last year and they look much less like street urchins this year. Also, I kind of gave up with the whole dressing them cute for adorable pumpkin patch pictures... and let them wear character t-shirts. #thehorror

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That first picture of Finley sums up how he feels about being made to take pumpkin pictures. He has his OWN PLANS and doesn't need me suggesting cute things to do. Surefire way to get him to smile? Telling ridiculous jokes. They don't even need to make sense.

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And that's about right with Braden--he's snuggling his train Arthur whom he loves and adores and takes everywhere. He thinks Arthur is the Polar Express and pretty much has loved him the most for... a year? Longer than a year? It's been a long time.

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Keaton was mildly impressed with the pumpkins. Barely.

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I also wasn't even willing to pretend it was fall and dress in fall clothes. I inwardly chuckle at the people who insist on wearing boots and jeans and jackets because it was in the 60s like once. It is still consistently in the 80s--if I'm going to live in the heat, I'm going to keep dressing for the weather I'm in, not the weather I want. Because I'm stubborn and ridiculous. And finally... decent family picture!!!

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Thursday, October 9

Boston Friends in Texas

We spent the first three years of our marriage living in Boston and we loved it. I look back on those years so fondly--we lived in an amazing city and had amazing friends. Most of our friends slowly moved away and started families in other states--and it's been so much fun to introduce our kids to each other and catch up at this new stage in our life.

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Heather and Micah are real Texans--born and raised here. And coincidentally--born and raised in the same town my parents grew up in. Micah's dad and my grandpa are hunting buddies! It was really crazy to meet them in Boston and realize that our parents (and grandparents!) knew each other. And now our kids know each other! We got to see them a few months ago when they were passing through Beaumont--and again last weekend when we all met at the Houston Children's Museum.

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Our kids are all very close in age--Tal and Finley had a lot of fun playing together and showing off their two missing teeth. Tal has the same curse as Sol--the older brother to a bunch of girls. And having a three letter name, if that could be considered a curse. It's probably not.

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We're looking forward to meeting their fourth little kiddo in the next few months and having many more Texas adventures. Other Boston friends: consider this your formal invitation to join the fun. Let's hang out. There's a critical mass down here now!

Tuesday, September 30

The Most Epic Party I'll Ever be a Part Of

Vic and I are both weirdly slow about posting about her shower from a few weeks ago--so I thought I'd go ahead and start the sharing. I'll eventually put up more detail shots on the RV blog--but for now, here are a few of my favorites!

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The theme of the shower was black and white stripes and rainbow confetti and GOLD--or basically, things we like. We held it in the Anecdotally Yours studio and it was perfect. Erica and Jeff are angels sent from heaven and were so accommodating. I made the guest of honor iron my skirt, as is the bridal shower tradition, which means I was wearing running clothes when she arrived...whoops! Erica teased me as she was shooting our details--I made her stop so I could move a pitcher a fraction of an inch, which didn't seem ridiculous until she pointed it out.

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Vic's dress was amazing and if something happens to her wedding dress, I'm pretty sure she could rewear this one and look just about as fabulous. I loved it. As you can see, the theme was kind of just AWESOME THINGS. I tried to reassure guests that really, this is the pinnacle of the party planning mountain for me. Never will I have another excuse to plan such a ridiculous party. Well, I guess until Vic's baby shower... which will have to be epic-er. Vic has thrown more parties than you'd believe--so her friends are all chomping at the bit to give back and celebrate her!

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I didn't do a very good job of taking pictures of the actual shower festivities--which is probably a good thing. It means we were all busy having fun. Or in my case, trying to eat as much cheese as I could fit in my mouth. I was so glad Kat got to drive in and bring her cute baby boy for the party! And Abbey and Tara were my amazing co-hostesses, who totally let me run amok and reserved (most!) of their judgment regarding some of my more crazy ideas.

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I can't even begin to express how excited I am for #kiptoria and how much I'm looking forward to celebrating with them on November 29th. I'm so blessed to be along for the ride!

Friday, September 26

Chalk

I'm caught in a spiral of not blogging, and therefore forgetting to take pictures of anything, and then not having anything to blog... so I'm going to go ahead and put of some pictures of the kids playing outside. They aren't particularly nicely composed. They don't have a great story. But that's kind of what life is like right now.

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We don't have big flashy things happening all the time. We spend lots of time driving around taking kids to and from things. We're busy with life and having lots of fun. I don't necessarily have the energy to write exciting things or think of thoughtful anecdotes... but I still want to remember drawing in the driveway with chalk. (Even though it's hot and there are ants. And mosquitos.)

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I want to remember the solar system Finley made--and the way he likes to draw "Doctor Who World" with TARDISes and Daleks and the Doctor, saving everyone. And how Keaton LOVES to crawl on the driveway and gets all chalky and messy.

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And Braden, with a mind of his own. He loves for us to trace his shadow and lay down and trace him. And he loves to run around and march to his own drum.

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This picture doesn't fit anywhere--but I love it. I love his silly popped collar and the fact that he can't walk yet. But he loves to sit on that car and push it around. Life with these boys is busy and fun and a liiiittle bit exhausting.


Wednesday, September 24

Texas Pecan Festival

With Sol out of town, my mom and I decided to join some new Beaumont friends at the Texas Pecan Festival--which was, as my mother would probably say, a hoot. It was hot (as Texas seems to always be) and a bit muddy, but we had fun anyways.

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We ate some delicious carnival food--boudain balls for my mom, and shrimp balls for me. And Keaton got really excited about a corn dog, a baby after my own heart. Our first ride was a kind of terrifying ferris wheel--it seemed a little too easy to get out at any point. Braden was adorably scared for the first few rounds--insisting I hold on to him tight. But both boys loved it and Finley kept trying to get higher to look out and almost gave me a heart attack.

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On the left you can see me taking a selfie with the boys--and when I showed Finley the picture on the right he said, "WHOA! How did you take that with your phone!" He's awesome.

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Braden rode this awesome pink car with his new pal Bennett. Bennett is smitten with Finley and its adorable. The big boys all loved the slide--even though Bennett looks a bit terrified!

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The highlight for Finley was probably the bumper cars--which were surprisingly fun, even though I look terrified.

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The low point of the outing was when my mom stepped in a fire ant hill and got eaten by ants. Fire ants are the worst, in case you've never met them. They seriously make me never want to go outside in this place--between that and the heat, I'm pretty happy enjoying life indoors!

Thursday, September 18

Running Update

It's been quite the adjustment running in the Texas heat--but I'm surviving. I'm starting to get unreasonably anxious about the marathon (NYC on Nov 2) and just have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head about it.

I ran the Plaza 10k in KC this past weekend (although I added 20k more to get me 18 miles) and it was glorious. I ran a 44:46 which was faster than I'd hoped. I was thrilled to finish so quick since I restrained myself a bit, knowing that I was still going to run 9 more miles after the race. The pictures below kind of crack me up... I ran the course twice--first as a race, then again just to get more miles in. Any guess which ones were the race and which were the extra fun miles?

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I also really love these pictures too--me finishing my first lap and then my second lap when I caught up with Vic and Abbey! Love that the race let you download the photos for FREEE!

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Back to the marathon--I've switched up my training schedule for the first time--all eight of my previous marathons have been done using the trusty Hal Higdon method (5-6 days of running) but this time I'm using the FIRST method, which is three VERY HARD runs every week. One track workout, one tempo run, one long run, two days of cross training. I've been doing the two shorter runs on the treadmill while the boys are in preschool and swimming two mornings a week. I try to squeeze in some Barre, but I struggle to make myself do it.

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We (or maybe just me) were feeling exceptionally silly after running 18 miles and having a few adult beverages... Also--look at the sweet medal!

The long run is still a challenge--I can't leave early enough for it to be cool so I just struggle and sweat in the heat. So much sweat that I KILLED my iPhone and had to get a new one. Sad face. It doesn't show any sign of cooling down soon, so I'm taking the heat as a valuable training tool and hoping it means I'll be super quick running in the cool fall weather in NYC.

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We've been friends a long time. 

I am not sure what I'm hoping will happen in NYC. First, I'm just excited to GO. Sol and I are going without the boys--so it will be a delight no matter what. I've wanted to run NYC for a long time and will probably never get the chance again, so I'm thrilled just to be there. I'm a little nervous about the hills--there's literally 3 feet of elevation change on my long run route, so I need to find a hill somewhere to get some practice on. Basically, I'm excited. I can't even guess if I'll qualify for Boston this time... it's still a 3:35 for me to qualify, and they let you in based on how much you beat your time by--so who knows how fast I'd actually have to run. All I know is I don't want to stress about it--I want to enjoy a trip to New York with Sol and I want to enjoy running in that amazing city! If I run fast--even better.
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