Sunday, February 28

Dear Olympics

Dear Olympics,

I loved you a lot. You taught me about curling and made me feel like running 26.2 miles isn't all that impressive. You made me miss skiing and your stinking P&G commercials made me cry.

I really did have fun with you, but I am still happy to see you go.

I missed REAL TV.

And I can't wait to see my BFFFFF make her glorious comeback in Parenthood.

Welcome back, regularly scheduled programming.

Love, Rachel

Thursday, February 25

FEED ME

Victoria watched Finley during bible study last night, and when I got home I needed a snack. (Because I always need a snack.) Luckily, she had made some tasty S'mores brownies. I chatted with her for a few minutes then said, "I got to go get some milk and ice cream." Victoria replied, somewhat saddened, "But I made brownies!" To which I replied, "I KNOW. That's why I'm getting ice cream."

I heated up my brownie, put some ice cream on it, and as I was putting the milk away, something caught my eye. Cream cheese frosting. I scooped a dollop on top of my snack and 700 calories later, I was ready to eat.

(I work hard to be able to eat this much. Feeding Finley and marathon training burns somewhere around 7000 extra calories a week.)

Anyone else buy frosting with no intention of using it to ice a cake? Because that can was bought for for the sole purpose of snacking.

Sol and Victoria, I am sorry that you have to live with my voracious appetite. I hope you can experience the joy of eating with abandon through me.

And post-marathon and post-breastfeeding Rachel... you have to stop eating so much. You have a quadruple chin. And your people are telling Finley "Yo mama's so fat..." jokes. It's sad.

Wednesday, February 24

He Escaped... Into the Mountains...

Occasionally, Finley will sit on my lap and let me love him and act like a sweet little boy.


But most of the time, he has too much to do. He doesn't have time to sit and be doted on by me. He has dog food to eat and electrical outlets to discover and knives to crawl with. And so he escapes. Often.


Also, I don't know why I am making weird faces in these pictures. Most of the time if I am making a weird face, it is intentional. This time, it is not. I guess my face is just weird.

(Vic and Al, the title is for you. Name that Homestar Runner video.)

Tuesday, February 23

Just Like Dad


1. The beer was empty.
2. Hold on a second, I got to call all my baby friends.

Monday, February 22

Mondays with Mom... at my sister's blog

My sister, Laura, started a blog. It's really funny. And really pretty. I wonder who designed it? (It was me.)

But today, my mama has a post up over there. Go check it out!

Sunday, February 21

10 Months

Finley is 10 months old.

I took these silly pictures of him when he suddenly discovered the baby swing he used to swing in. I put him in it--and he looked ridiculous. He's just so much bigger now, he can reach the fishes on the mobile and sit up and look around. I can't believe how big he is.


Here's what Finley's been up to lately...
  • Eating: He weighs 19 lbs--2 ounces more than last month. His eating continues to improve; I think the snowcation helped get us on track. He's nursing in the morning, when I come home and before he goes to bed, which is a huge improvement. He eats 3 daily meals of big boy food (at least that's what I tell him) and is getting good at feeding himself food. He loves eating (and smashing) blueberries, avocado and yogurt. And he has 8 teeth. And they are sharp.
  • Sleep: He is sleeping so much better. He goes to bed around 8 and gets up around 8, and normally wakes up to eat around 6. (Except today, where he got up at 9:15. Thanks, baby!) He is a taking two naps, each for around an hour (except today where his morning nap was 2.5 hours, and his afternoon nap was an hour of babbling in his crib).
  • Milestones: He has graduated from scooting to crawling--kind of. I was shocked when I was cleaning the kitchen and all of the sudden he was crawling around like it was no big deal. He still prefers to scoot--but occasionally I'll hear him plunking around on his hands and knees. He is much faster at scooting, but it's easier for him to sit and stand from the "crawl" position. I keep telling him to crawl like a big boy, but he won't listen.
  • Finley-ism: Finley loves everybody. He loves his "mamamama" and "dadada", Victoria, Amy, Calvin and the doggies. He gets a little sad whenever anyone leaves the room. One of my favorite Finley-isms is his reaction when people come into the room. When Victoria comes upstairs, or Sol or I come home from work, Finley gets upset and acts like we have ruined his life. I think in his head he is saying, "You! I forgot about you! I love you so much and you left me and I didn't realize it until just now! Why did you leave meeee?" It's so sweet--I can't think of any other reason he would get upset when people come home.
I can't believe how close we are to one year! It will be here before we know it.

Saturday, February 20

Sol LOVES the Olympics

Some Sol quotes from our Olympic viewing...
"I bet those hamsters are fat." (From the Kia Soul commercial.)
"Is Michael J Fox Canadian?" (From the commercial about how awesome Canada is.)
"Francois, that's a really Canadian name." (About any guy name Francois)
"That guy is freakin' ripped, man." (In reference to Ryan Reynolds.)
"Let's go USA!" (All the time.)
On what sport he would want to participate in... "Downhill. Gravity--everything else looks like it's so much work."


He is hypnotized by the games--he loves the "triumph of the human spirit." I love this picture of him sitting in front of the TV (watching FIGURE SKATING) like a 6 year old boy. He just can't tear himself away. And I can't really blame him--I get all choked up after watching any sport for more than a minute or two. I just love to watch people win--even when I have no idea who they are or the rules of their sport. Winning is just fun.

Wednesday, February 17

I LOVE the Garmin

I think I may have mentioned my love for data before. I really like numbers and looking at graphs. It's why I think Google Analytics is so cool. And why I teach math--I'm trying to inspire young minds to see beauty in mathematics.

My love for data dovetails so nicely with my favorite running accessory, the Garmin Forerunner 305. If you run semi-seriously, the Garmin is for you. I recommend the model I linked to above, the newer model is a sleeker and smaller--but also harder to read. Even though the 305 is like running with a computer strapped to your arm (I kid, it's not that big) it is really worth it. It's pretty cheap at Amazon, and if you tell them I sent you, they'll give you a discount! (Kidding again, they don't care.)

The Forerunner has tons of features I don't use, but here are my favorites:
  • When looking at the main display, it clearly displays your time, pace and miles run. And heart rate, in size 4 font.
  • If you get lost, it will show you directions how to get home.
  • You can set it to stop timing when you stop running--no pausing your watch to tie your shoe, it does it for you!
  • It beeps every mile. I pretend it's saying, "Great job Rach! You're pretty and I love you!"
  • You can set alerts to beep if you go too fast or slow, and if your heart rate is too high or low.
  • My favorite program, Sport Tracks, analyzes the data and shows you all sorts of cool stuff.
Here's what Sport Tracks will do.

It takes your run and shows you the graph of where you have been. This past Saturday, my pal Jenni and I went for a run in DC. It was the only place we could find where there were mildly shoveled sidewalks. Aside from the joy I get from being able to retrace my steps on the computer screen, it was a super fun run. We leaped over mountains of snow, ran a mile and a half through barely traveled snowy paths and each only fell down once. It was SO fun to get out and enjoy the snow.

Sport Tracks also will show you your mile splits. The mile we ran through high snow? Yeah, it was slow. The mile we ran on a road with the wind? Yep, it was fast.

You can also look at graphs of your speed vs. elevation, pace vs. heart rate or any other combination you can think of. So much fun to play with!

In short, I am a nerd and you should go buy a Forerunner if you like to run. If you have one or a similar device feel free to comment on it below--I really don't know anything about any other brand.

Monday, February 15

I LOVE Google Reader

It seems appropriate that to celebrate Valentine's Day I would post about something I love, and that is Google.

I'm still testing the waters on the whole Google Buzz thing, but I am head over heels for Google Reader and have been for awhile.

If you aren't using Google Reader, I will teach you about it real quick. And I will also teach you about an advanced Reader trick. (Because I am a teacher and today I am at school with no students... so I need to teach something. It's in my blood.)

Setting up Reader
1. You need a Google account--it will make you cool and will make your life easier.

2. When you are in Gmail (or any Google ap) click READER.

3. To add all your favorite blogs, click ADD A SUBSCRIPTION.

4. Every time you check your email, just click reader to view all your fabulous blogs. Your life will never be the same. I've converted many to Google Reader, and everyone has been sad that they were missing it so long.

And now for you Advanced Google Reader-ers. Here's my new fancy trick that I love... the NEXT button. As a blog design aficionado, it's a little sad to just see the text of a blog and miss out on the pretty designs. And you can't leave a comment through reader which also makes me sad. So here's your quick way to get to visit all updated blogs at their actual sites...

The Next Button
1. In Google Reader, click SETTINGS then READER SETTINGS.

2. Click GOODIES.

3. Drag that NEXT button to your toolbar.

4. At any moment in your internet-ing, click on the next button that is now in your toolbar, and it will take you to your first unread blog. Then when you click it again, it will go to the next unread site. And when there are no more unread sites, there is a funny surprise. I'm not going to tell you, because its kinda fun.

**Note: I can't be held responsible for things I write after having a large Dunkin Donuts iced coffee. I feel like screaming like "David After Dentist". And then throwing up.***

Sunday, February 14

My Valentine

Sol and I met at Kansas State University--and we like to joke that I met Sol about a year and a half before he met me. You see, Sol was kind of a cool kid on campus and I had a sort of obsessive weird crush on him. And he didn't know I existed. I saw him in my calculus class, leading the leadership class, at Christian Challenge and involved in all sorts of campus-y things. I liked to talk about him and pretend like I knew him, even though I was pronouncing his name wrong for awhile.

The second semester of my sophomore year, Sol needed a very specific date (short, doesn't drink, Christian) to his fraternity formal. A mutual friend asked me if I'd like to go with him... and I said no. I'm not a great dancer, so going to a dance would be a punishment for my date. And then she told me who my date would be... and I said yes.

I tricked him into loving me and marrying me and having a baby with me... and I draw him into my web of trickery a little more every day. I'm so lucky to have him as my husband and Finley's daddy.

I love you, Solbert.

Join me for a visual walk down memory lane...

Thursday, February 11

Stay at Home Mom

Because of this...


I have been a stay at home mom for a week. Literally. I have STAYED AT HOME. I've escaped a couple times to run, but it's about to drive me crazy. I can't go take a walk. I can't let the dog out for long. I couldn't even leave to get decent pictures. It's hard to take a picture to represent the massive amount of snow--there's just so much. Every picture I take is just white.

And I've enjoyed being home with Finley. (Especially because he's adjusted his sleeping schedule... he got up at 9:50 today! Hooray for sleeping in!) We're playing a lot and practicing walking, but I do not know how real stay at home moms do it. I'm about to go nuts. I haven't actually gotten dressed in real clothes in a week, and am eating like I am on vacation. I need some sort of plan to replace the current one: check my email and reader, feed myself, feed Finley, have a snack, play with Finley, eat Goldfish, nap... repeat. And repeat. Again.

I would love to be able stay home all the time, but we can't financially make that work at this point. Hopefully, when Finley gets a little sister we will be able to. But right now? Staying at home is driving me craaazy. However, I'm assuming its a quite a bit more tolerable when you don't actually have to stay at home.


I think I have taken a million pictures since last Thursday. Poor kid.

Tuesday, February 9

There's Snow End in Sight

I don't know if we're ever going back to school. We're home today and tomorrow and we're just waiting on the next storm... probably at least another foot of snow. Our neighborhood still isn't cleared... I don't think I have ever seen this much snow. We'll be in school until the 4th of July at this rate.

In the meantime, here's what I have done:
  • Run 3 times--3 miles on packed snow, 10 and then 7 miles on the treadmill with my best friend, the Kindle.
  • Eaten 30 cookies (in about a day and a half), countless Hershey kisses, a bag of Blazin' Buffalo Ranch Doritos and had at least 20 Diet Cokes.
  • Designed my pal Marie's blog
  • Sewed new velcro on 3 of Finley's diapers
  • Maintained a decent level of tidiness in the house
  • Started using Gmail's contacts to store all of my addresses (Thanks, VIC! Google never ceases to impress me.)
  • Watched Temple Grandin (Loved it! So inspiring.)
  • Began designing a printed version of the BLOG with Blurb... because I'll want to look back years from now and read all about the little details of the years.
  • Tried to take pictures of Finley making his fishy face. But it's tough--it's an elusive little face.

Here's what I have NOT done:
  • Changed out of my pajamas--except to put on running clothes. Then the pjs go back on.
  • Done my hair. It looks awesome. (I have showered, I'm proud to report.)
  • Watched much tv... unfortunately, I'm just about caught up.
  • Taught Finley to walk or solve linear equations.
Suggestions on other things I can do to pass the time? I'm about to go craaaazy... or I may already be there. Yep. I'm already there.

Monday, February 8

Introducing... Mondays with Mom

My sister recently started a blog, and she and I decided that we should have my mom periodically pop over to share her wisdom with the blogging world. She doesn't have the time to keep up a blog of her own, so the second Monday of the month you can find her here! Take it away, mom...


Thanks to Rachel and Laura for inviting me to be a guest blogger on their awesome blogs. It has taken me a week to decide on a topic. I came up with four possible topics…..
  • A tribute to our feet (and the need for regular pedicures)
  • The 8 minute and 22 second rule (which is the length of time that the average person can wait patiently)
  • The joy of doing first time stuff when you are 49 years old
  • The art of compromise in a 28.75 year old marriage
And the decision is… the joy of doing first time stuff when you are 49 years old.
Nothing makes you feel more alive than trying something new. You absolutely can teach an old dog new tricks.

Cases in point…

July – I jumped fully clothed (in dressy work clothes) into a swimming pool with a friend. It successfully erased the drama of a bad day at work. For the briefest of moments, when I was airborne with Amy at my side, I considered the insanity of my choice and was delighted to be doing something insane. Afterwards, I went to the grocery store (dripping wet) and smiled confidently at the folks that stared. The jump in the pool and the subsequent drippy trip to the grocery store, were both firsts for me.

August – I took off on a solo adventure to experience the world’s longest yard sale. It started in Gadsden, Alabama and stretches 650 miles ending in Ohio. I covered about 50 miles of the yard sale before succumbing to the draw of a Robert Trent Jones Golf Course nearby. The highlight was finding the KISS statue pictured below…

November - Rachel and Laura convinced me to purchase my first pair of pajama pants. For $2, I acquired hot pink pajama pants from Old Navy (with white skulls and orange hearts). I love them so much that I wore them to the grocery store last week. Within 5 minutes of arriving home from work, I am in my PJ pants. Oh, the joy that I missed by waiting so late in life to embrace pajama pants.



So… cheers to all those brave souls never stop taking on new adventures – I am a proud member of the club.

Footnote… it goes without saying that the BEST first was having my first grandchild (the ever darling Finley) but since I was only 48 when he was born, it can’t technically be included in this post.

Sunday, February 7

Stuck


I don't think we're going anywhere. School is canceled for tomorrow, and I don't see how we would are going to be able to get out of the house Tuesday either. And there is another storm coming. We'll be going to school until July. And I think our cars look like hippos. Sol decided to walk to the 7-11 to get provisions for the Superbowl since we can't drive yet. The jury is still out on whether that was a good idea.

Being snowed in has its perks, but I NEEEED to go run. And shower. Or at least change out of the pajamas I put on a couple days ago. Please don't judge me.


The upside of being snowed in?


This guy. (Courtney, this was the best smile I could get for you. He's just real busy.)

Saturday, February 6

Snowtorious BIG

My favorite part of the storm so far has been the names people are calling it on twitter... snowpocalypse, kaiser snowze, snowmg, snowmageddon... people are creative and twitter is ridiculous.

I tried to take series of photos to show the snow accumulation. Problems: changing lighting and 9 months old who bumps the tripod. Here is my best effort. (It gets better at about 15 seconds.)

video

And it's still snowing. Stay tuned for more riveting posts from inside my house: we're not going anywhere.

...last chance to enter the giveaway at RV Designs. We have had an amazing turnout--so make sure you enter all three times for the best chance of winning. Finley will be picking a winner tomorrow!

Friday, February 5

TV Time

Time to talk about my favie... TV!!! And consider yourself warned, again, that I am about to humiliate myself by disclosing how much TV I actually watch. But in my defense, I watch a lot of it while I am at work (um, maybe that's not a good admission either) and sometimes while I run (which is slightly dangerous).

LOST. How I missed you. You truly are the best show in the world, and that means something because I watch a lot of shows. It had been so long that I was confused (I mean, more confused than LOST already makes me, which is A LOT) about what was going on. And my heart BROKE that they killed Juliet twice. Poor, poor Sawyer. I will name my next child Sawyer to make up for it. Or Sayid. Or Desmond.

The Office. Last week, NOT OK to do a clip show. Not ok at all. This week, David Wallace is cracking me up.

Big Love. I love the new credits and I love Ben and Margene--cradle robbing is more accepting than polygamy in my book. But Bill Henrickson, you need stop being so terrible.

Community. Joel McHale is my favorite person on twitter and I think he is HI-larious. And, please I want to be friends with Abed and Troy. And the Jack Black episode was so so good.

Modern Family. For several weeks in a row, Modern Family has made me laugh so hard that I worried I was going to fall off my treadmill. It's dangerously funny. Also, Phil=Sol.

Brothers and Sisters. Such a good show. Always so full of drama, it makes my life seem so simple.

American Idol. I have only been watching lightly thus far, but enough for me to come to the startling realization that rather than audition for Idol to get close to Ryan Seacrest, I need someone else to audition so I can stand outside and talk to Ryan. It's my only hope.

The Mentalist. I love Simon Baker's floppy hair and sneaky smile. He's so great. And the show is smart and always very tricky. Love it.

Psych. The other crime-y show I watch. So silly and sometimes make fun of The Mentalist. Like.

HIMYM. The Suit Song was the highlight of the season. I bought it on iTunes and sing it almost as much as the tiger song from The Hangover.

30 Rock. I love Liz and Jack. I want to go to there.

Grey's Anatomy.
I'm getting lukewarm about this show... it's been going on for what feels like forever. But I just can't dump it. And I think Cristina and Owen are awesome.

Ugly Betty. RIP, my friend. I'm glad they will have time to wrap up the show, it's been entertaining and deserves a proper farewell.

Big Bang Theory. I just started watching this because my geeky brothers told me to. And I'm glad they did. BAZINGA!

Chuck. I also just started watching this, because I am trying to watch as many geek shows as possible. But Chuck is just too cute--like a geeky Jim Halpert.

Parenthood. I haven't actually seen this show, but I like the commercials and I looooooooove Lauren Graham.

Missing: Gossip Girl, Glee, SYTYCD. Hurry back, friends.

Yep, that's a lot of tv. I'm super efficient. And ashamed.

Wednesday, February 3

SPOILER ALERT

Caution: If you are unaware of how babies are fed, and would like to stay in the dark about this particular phenomenon, then you should stop reading.

I'm serious. I'm going to talk about lactation. Breastfeeding. This your chance to jump ship.

Don't say I didn't warn you... (Seriously, if you would like to remain ignorant of the finer points of baby feeding, go spend a few minutes here. And then come back tomorrow when I talk about something else. Probably poop.)

So I had a baby. Finley. If you been here a while, you may have seen a picture or a zillion of him. Before he was born, lots of people asked me if I was going to breastfeed. And I said, "yes" because I didn't realize that it was a big decision to make. Breastfeeding has had its ups and downs, but on the whole I am SO glad I decided to go with it. I could wax on about why I think it is so great--but it boils down to two things for me.
  1. Everyday of breastfeeding = running about 5 or 6 miles. Breastfeeding and marathoning has brought me down to a weight that I haven't seen since high school. And I eat a TON. I am not a fun person to eat with because I eat EVERYTHING. I realize that eventually this has to change or I will get real fat, real fast. But I sure am enjoying it now. (WHERE ARE MY COOKIES VICTORIA???)
  2. It's best for Finley and me. Not only does it keep him healthy and strong, its a special time for us. No matter what is going on or where we are, I get to take a break and have some time that is just him and me. And he touches my face and plays with my hair while he eats; it melts my heart of stone.
But here is the real reason I am writing about breastfeeding.


Yesterday, I FedExed roughly 600 ounces of breastmilk to the WakeMed Mother's Milk Bank. A few months back I realized that I lactate like a superhero and my child eats like... the opposite of a superhero, or something. I would pump between 10 and 15 ounces at work, and he would eat about 3. My deep freeze filled up rapidly and it needed to go because there was no room for ice cream. I couldn't stand to throw it out, so I began researching where I could donate it. My first couple of choices weren't accepting more milk, only money. Unfortunately, my body has not figured out how to produce cash, so I kept looking. I stumbled upon WakeMed--they use the milk for preemies and sick babies--and after filling out lots of forms and having some blood taken (the pain!!!) I finally got to ship away most of the precious milk. It feels so great to know that I am doing something to help little sick babies. Kind of like when I donated my hair--maybe I'll donate my kidneys next!

I am amazed at how there was this whole field of knowledge of about breastfeeding that I had NO idea about until Finley came along. I didn't even know enough before Finley to know that I knew nothing. It's been a wonderful adventure so far--and I'd be happy to talk to anyone who wants to chat about it! Breastfeeding can be tricky and it works best when there are other women to talk to about it. (Thanks to all of the friends who answered questions for me when I needed help!)

That is it. I apologize if I offended anyone. But I warned you. :)

Tuesday, February 2

Best Friends

Finley really loves Calvin.

I mean, he REALLY loves Calvin.

He loves to pat Calvin's head. He loves to touch Calvin's face. He loves to rock Calvin in his carseat. He loves to poke Calvin's eyes.


Sometimes Finley's love hurts. We're working on being gentle.

Finley gets real sad when Calvin leaves every day (which makes me sad because... well... Mommy's home. He's supposed to be happy!) It's so cute to watch him interact with Calvin. We're excited for the day when Calvin figures out how his arms work and can fend off Finley.

***Regarding the giveaway on RV Designs... there was some confusion on how to enter. You can leave up to three comments to enter up to three times. (Math Alert: more comments = better chance of winning.) Comment #1 is just to say hi, comment #2 is for being a follower, and comment #3 is for spreading the word via facebook, twitter or a blog post. Winners will be randomly selected Sunday (by Finley). Thanks for your support as we try to take the blogging world by storm.***

***LOOOOOOOOST!!!!!!!***

Monday, February 1

RV Designs Kick-Off!

Today is the big day!

We're officially kicking things off over at RV Designs! Over the past few months, our friends have been kind enough to allow us to hone our photoshop and html skills on their blogs. We've gotten pretty good and are ready to take our show on the road (... like an RV... get it?)

To kick off our debut, we are giving away prizes! Prizes are the best way to trick people into coming to your blog and participating in the madness. Here's what you can win:
  • A signed Pioneer Woman Cookbook (signed by the Pioneer Woman... not us, but we can sign if you like!)
  • A darling coin purse and bag from Knitty Bitties (our new fave etsy shop)
  • A $15 Shutterfly coupon (because the best kinds of pictures are the ones in your hands)
All the details are over at RV Designs, as well as your daily picture of my child. Head on over there and enter for your chance to win some free goodies.
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