Friday, December 30

Pink Bicycle Tea Room

Uh... hi.

Merry Christmas and almost Happy New Year!  I have a really hard time blogging this time of year--sometimes there is so much going on I forget to pull out my camera to take pictures!  I did remember to being my camera on a very special tea outing with Sol's sisters and mama.  We went to the Pink Bicycle Tea Room in historic Occoquan for tea and scones.  It was cute.

We opted for the Classic Creme tea--we each got a pot of tea, a scone, berries and dessert.  And clotted cream to go with the scones, a favorite of my friend Courtney.  (Sidenote: Sol got me Lightroom for Christmas and I'm really having fun playing with my pictures... but if anyone has Lightroom tips, send them my way!)

I'm not much of a tea drinker (I'm a chocolate milk gal...) but we had a delicious assortment of teas.  Chocolate Strawberry, Chai Indienne, Jungle Party and Cappuchino Creme--I liked all of them!  How can you not like a drink you get to put a sugar cube in?

The tea room was decorated with lot of pink bicycles--and this big one was out front!  The garden area had lots of old, chipped teapots, cups and saucers in the yard.  And a dead bird (not pictured).  All in all it was a delightful afternoon.  I think the best part of sipping tea is that it's designed to let ladies chit chat.  And the only thing more fun than chit chatting is typing "chit chat".  You should try it!

Wednesday, December 21

And we met Santa

Even though the jury is still out on how we are actually going to handle Santa, we went ahead and took the boys to meet him this morning.  There was no line and better yet, no tears!  When I asked the lady working the line if she saw a lot of crying kids, she said the worst age was 8 months to 2 years--what a coincident!  I have an 8 month old and a 2 year old.

Finley's socks are cracking me up.  For some reason they just make him look really big.

I'm kicking myself a bit for not taking Finley the last two years.  As little as he would have understood, it would have been nice to have two years of history to compare this one to.  Braden pulled Santa's beard and yanked his hat off--and Finley was a little nervous when we first plopped him on Santa's lap.  He warmed up to him pretty quickly and told him that he wanted a thinking chair (from Blues Clues)... anyone know how we can get a thinking chair?  Or talk him out of it?

Monday, December 19

Boston Training Week 1

The blog is good for many a thing. Preserving memories. Staying in contact with friends. Forcing me to take more pictures.  But what I need the blog to be for the next few months is a pal who makes me train for  the Boston Marathon.  (And you've been warned--this first post is long, devoid of pictures and probably only stuff that three people care about.)

I've run six marathons (What? Who does that?!?!) but wouldn't say that I'm great at training for them.  I never stretch.  I don't cross train.  And sometimes I just miss runs--but not too often, I'm kind of a stickler for doing all the runs.  Except the Saturday ones--those are a little much.

In case you were wondering, here's my plan for training.  I use Hal Higdon's training schedules normally and kind of piecemeal together what I like.  This is my version of his Intermediate plans.

Sunday: 6-20 mile long run (I'm supposed to run 20 three times but am just going to do it twice)
Monday: Cross Training; either something at the gym, Jillian or P90X with Sol.
Tuesday: 3-5 mile run after boys wake up for naps if it's warm enough; at gym after Braden goes to bed; or cycle at gym before Sol goes to work. Or cross train.
Wednesday: 5-10 mile run at gym after Braden goes to bed.
Thursday: 3-5 mile run after boys wake up for naps if it's warm enough; at gym after Braden goes to bed; or cycle at gym before Sol goes to work. Or cross train.
Friday: Rest or make up a run I missed.
Saturday:  5-10 miles at marathon pace.

On the short runs... Do 4-6 hill repeats or fartleks... or don't.
After every run... Foam roll my stinking IT band, stretch and shower. Hee hee.
Twice a week... Do some sort of weightsy type stuff. Either Jillian or a class at the gym.
Every day... Stop eating junk. Physical therapy for weak hips.
Saturday... Blog about the previous week's training.

Anyways, my plan is to blog about the previous week's runs over the weekend (mostly for my benefit--I really like to look back at past run data!)

Sunday - 5.44 miles; 55:28 min; 10:11 min/mi
Monday - nothing, whoops!
Tuesday - 3.1 miles; 36:37 min; 11:50 min/mi (with boys in stroller)
Wednesday - 3.2 miles; 36:05 min; 11:20 min/mi (with boys in stroller)
Thursday - 5 miles on treadmill
Friday - rest
Saturday - 5 miles; 50:52 min; 10:10 min/mi (with Copper)

Total Miles: 21.5

I probably should be running a little faster, but I'm going to have to be ok with that for now.  My goal is always to run under 3:40 which is 8:23 min/mi... considerably faster than what I'm running now!

As I think I mentioned, due to me being about 36 seconds too slow, I'm running for a charity.  I'm raising $3500 for the Ally Foundations (ironically, about $100 for every second slow I was!)  More details about fundraising will be coming, but if you just can't WAIT to give me some money, please go here to donate.  The foundation does good work, and I'm glad that I get to support them!

And because no post is complete without a picture, here's an awkward timer picture of me and my hairy (not bald!)  running buddy.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 15

Oh Christmas Tree

I did the cool thing and took some pictures of the boys with the Christmas tree--in the dark.  I love this first picture--for some reason Finley is trying to share his apple with Braden and it feels very "Adam and Eve."  Stop leading my baby into temptation!

Since taking this photo Finley has broken enough ornaments that he is no longer allowed to touch the tree--and he's doing a pretty good job respecting that.  It's just so shiny!

The light of the Christmas tree does a lovely job highlighting Braden's unruly hair and the chapped little cheeks from sucking his thumb in the cold.  And it puts a sweet sweet sparkle in his eye.

It's been awhile since I linked up with Embrace the Camera--probably because the number of pictures of me WITH the boys has rapidly declined since Vic left.  But here's one of me and Braden.  Me doing my favorite thing--holding him.  And Braden doing his favorite thing--sucking his thumb.

Tuesday, December 13

Eight Months

Braden is eight months old.  That's 2/3rds of a year--or 66%.  He gets a D at being one year old!

We love that little drooly man to pieces.  Braden is only sometimes sleeping through the night. Boo.  I'm not sure if it's teething or his love for me, but he's waking up once to eat in the wee hours of the morning.  He sleeps until about 8:30 and takes two or three naps.  And he normally goes down around 7:45.  He's a good sitter and tends to only topple over when he means to.  Still no scooting or crawling--just wild rolling and sometimes wiggling backwards.  He does get up on his hands and knees and bounces a little--but that's it.  Yesterday he tried really hard to clap his hands and it was a-dor-able.

He's pretty good with his pincher grasp--maybe due to our baby led weaning?  He's doing great eating the chunks of food we've been serving him.  He likes pancakes, bananas, avocado, sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, french fries and noodles.  He's a little harder to spoon feed than Finley was--mostly because he's not used to someone feeding him.  Braden really loves Finley and is interested in what he's doing.  Finley can almost always make him giggle.  He started lifting his arms up when you go to pick him up and is becoming a little more helpful in getting his arms through his sleeves.  He makes some consonant noise and babbles a bit--and laughs a lot when you tickle him.

This is Finley's serious face.  Don't mess with him.  Seriously.  He'll cut you.  Finley is just more and more a hoot every day.  He's obsessed with Sol's coffee pot.  He runs to see Sol everytime when he opens the door and says, "Daddy! Like to play with me?"  He throws some wicked tantrums for reasons that we do not understand.  For example, today I said, "Finley, are those your spices?" and that threw him into a tailspin.  It was rough.  He's doing great with the potty training--last night he jumped out of the tub on his own, did his business and flushed it before we knew anything had happened.  He's very independent and becoming more articulate.  It cracks me up when he says, "Well, actually..."  Bedtime has become more and more complicated as he becomes sneakier and sneakier.  It's like a poker game where we don't know if he's actually bluffing about needing to poop...

Sol and I were looking over Finley's posts from 8 months on and it was crazy how fast they start growing--soon Braden's going to be pulling up and walking and taking Finley's toys. Oh boy.

BROTHERS! Best pals for life.

Monday, December 12

Pinterest Christmas

I have a mostly love, but sometimes hate relationship with Pinterest.  Mostly I love all the super creative, delicious, adorable ideas that come my way.  But sometimes it's a vehicle for making me feel lazy and not creative--I pin a lot of things that never see the light of day.  But man, have I got my Pinterest on for Christmas!  I've made quite a few Christmas crafts (mostly out of felt, strangely) that I'm excited to share.  Also, because I think HTML is so nifty sometimes, I think I may have created little buttons that make little unique pins for each craft, if you are so inclined to pin it.  Fancy, right?

Craft #1:  Scalloped Christmas Tree Skirt
This was so easy.  I bought 1.5 yards of gray wool felt with a 50% off coupon from Joanns's--making this project cost me about $6.  I followed Martha's directions and had the pieces cut out and sewn together in under an hour.  Hints: use a rotary cutter to cut the straight edges.  I'm in love with the contrasting white zig zig stitching holding the pieces together.  It's a bit smaller than I should have made it, but I still love it.

Craft #2:  Advent Calendar
Welllll... this one was not so easy.  It was time consuming.  And made my hands cramp up.  And still is not finished.  But I beyond love it.  I still need to make eight more ornaments, but I love love the ones I have so far.  I'm surprised I actually made it--from stitching all the number to cutting out the tree and making all the little ornaments--I don't think I would have made it if I realized how big of a project it would be.  But I'm glad I did.  Here's my inspiration. I'm a little depressed after I look back at how much awesomer hers is than mine. I kind of envision switching out a few ornaments every year as the boys get bigger and understand more about Christ's birth.  Now that I look at this picture, it's glaringly obvious that my white backing is not at all rectangular.  Yikes.  I'll do a better post on this once I'm actually done (which may be never.)

Craft #3:  Play Christmas Tree
This one took a grand total of about 30 minutes.  My pal Jenae posted about it on her fabulous kid's blog and I thought Finley would love it.  He kind of does--he loves taking the ornaments off, "wrapping" them and saying, "Here you go, Mama!"  But it's cute and will last us for awhile.  And hopefully it will encourage him to keep his paws off my tree.  And for those of you interested--it stayed up nicely using some 3m tape--the white sticky strips you'd use to hang up posters!

Thanks, Pinterest, for filling my house with Christmas cheer. And felt trees.

And one more note about Pinterest.  As much as I love it, I've occasionally wished that there was a way to post "private" pins--so when the guests arrive for Finley's mustache bash they haven't already seen all the decorations.  Or when I bake something for a friend they won't smile at me knowingly and say, "Pinterest, huh?"  The gig is up--all my followers officially know that I don't have many creative ideas all on my own.  And I'm ok with that.

Friday, December 9

The UPS Man vs Santa Claus

How do you explain Santa to a kid who is always excited about seeing the UPS truck and the mail truck and the boxes they bring?  (Seriously, he loves to point out FedEx and UPS and the USPS logos whenever he sees them.  Yep, I online shop juuuust a little bit.)

Upon getting all these packages today, Finley was ecstatic and kept saying,  "These are my boxes for my mail box."  He wouldn't let me open them--he just wanted to carry them to his "mail box" which is apparently the floor by his toy box.  I don't know.  Also, this saw is the perfect tool for not opening boxes!

It's a little hard to get excited about the Santa when you see a real person come to your house often bringing packages--a guy in a brown uniform with a UPS truck instead of a red suit with a sleigh. And then I'm torn because how excited do I actually want him to be about Santa?  I mean, I want him to know about Santa and get a few gifts on Christmas but I'd much rather him be excited about Jesus being born.  For every time we talk about Santa or the silly Elf on the Shelf (his name is Ginger) we really should be talking about the birth of our Savior twice as much.

I bought him this cute Fisher Price nativity set so we could talk about the Christmas story and maybe he would love and play with Jesus.  Instead he really likes to make the animals "drink milk" and insists that it's baby Moses and not baby Jesus.  Thanks, Sunday school for teaching my kid about Baby Moses in a basket right before Christmas.  We're having a hard time realizing there could be two different biblical babies in baskets.  I know, it's tough.  (And I needed one more picture for the post, I realize these have nothing to do with the text.  Just cute guys.)

I made a cute advent calendar (actually, I half made it so I'll post about that when it's actually finished... in 2013) that I also hoped would help us talk about Jesus, but that's not going too well either.  Apparently my felt ornaments are not too recognizable. Or finished. At the end of the day, he's two and a half.  He'll get Christmas better next year.  And until then, we'll keep rejoicing when we hear the rumble of the UPS truck coming up our street and trying to talk about baby Jesus NOT MOSES when we can.

Wednesday, December 7

Videos of the boys

For some reason I find the thought of writing a blog post exhausting.  I really do have several things I need to post about... but in the meantime here are some videos.

My dad and Finley built a tower and somehow Finley managed to not knock it over until it was totally built.  Here is him knocking it down.  (Finley has watched this video like 100 times.  He loves it.)

Finley has loved "Baby Oh" for a long time.  And here's him singing some of it.  It's silly.

And Braden.  He chomps on big people food.  Baby led weaning is a pending post.  I'm just really too tired to write it.

Thursday, December 1

Probably my new favie blog...

There's not any content there yet... but I can pretty much promise that it's going to be awesome.

SURPRISE VICKI!  Happy Anniversary from your husband.  The best type of blog is the one you didn't know you had and that your friends and family are forcing you to write.  Can't wait to keep up with you and your family as you move to the other side of the globe.  Literally.

...and I guess I'm running the Boston Marathon.

No, I didn't qualify.  As you may recall, my last attempt was 36 seconds too slow to qualify (seriously!) and then the BAA changed the qualification standards so it isn't looking real good for me to qualify anytime soon.  Or more accurately--I think I can qualify, I just think the race will fill up with faster runners before it is my turn to register.  And then the standard is going to get faster, and then I probably won't be able to qualify.  Who even knows.

I really want to run Boston. It's the race for marathoners to run.  And we lived there for three years. And I just really want to run it.

So my dear friend Marie found a charity for us to run for. I don't have many details on that part yet--I just got confirmation today that they are taking me! Over the next few months I'll likely be hassling you for money.  So get ready for that. And get ready for more running related posts.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous.  It's a lot of money to raise.  And it's kind of a big race.

My pride is a little wounded--I really wanted to qualify on my own.  I don't necessarily like that I'm essentially buying my way in... but I'm pretty sure I'll qualify at some point.  And I'll mentally retroactively apply it to this race.

The race is April 16, 2012--four days after Braden turns ONE and five days before Finley turns THREE.  Happy birthday boys, your mama is going to run until she can't anymore!  But then I'll probably run some more.

Wednesday, November 30

Some Pictures`

My sister couldn't join us for Thanksgiving and made me promise to take lots of pictures.  I've failed. I've been absolutely swamped making plates (which I'm grateful for!) but that has left little energy for picture taking, editing or blogging.  So here's a few random ones I like.

Honestly, I want to cuddle with this boy whenever he'll let me.

These are from before we left. Finley really likes to rake and play in the leaves.  I think he would sit on the deck and crumble leaves all day if I'd let him.

I'd cuddle with this guy all day too.  (I think he's getting a haircut tomorrow.  FYI.)

And the best part of today was this... my dad and Finley making no bake cookies.  Mmm....

Back to watching TV and having my parents take care of me!

Friday, November 25

May You be Thankful for all the Great Sales Today.

I'm a little annoyed the Rebecca's Black song is stuck in my head today... and I'm sorry if it's stuck in yours too.  Really, I am.

I'm here to share two things with you.

One, my cute boys.

And two, a code to get you your very own plate at 25% off.  I'm so excited that I get to participate in the Black Friday insanity!  (Sidebar: does anyone else think it's strange that Thanksgiving is all about thankfulness and then we switch gears into being very needy crazy shoppers the next day?  Like seriously, the Amazon Lightning Deals make us lose our mind over here.)

Go use the code BLACK25 to get 25% off until the close of Cyber Monday.  Christmas orders need to be placed and approved by November 30th to arrive in time for Christmas!  I'm shocked at how many plates I've sold in the last two weeks, so go be a cool kid and buy a set.

Wednesday, November 23

Time to Buy Stuff!

Hey!  I don't think I've bothered you recently about the awesome Etsy shop.  

For example, we changed the name... to RV PARTIES!!!  Woohoo!  We'll come throw a party in any RV you want. Just kidding, we won't.  

Secondly, the custom plates have been selling like hotcakes, I tell you.  And they really make awesome Christmas presents.  If you are interested just make sure to order by November 30th or they won't make it in time.  And.  Use the code SAVE10 to get 10% off.  It's a good idea.

And also-ly, Vic just listed some super cool enclosure cards that would also make darling gifts.

Come check out our wares on Etsy.

And please PLEASE like us on Facebook.  All we want is to be your friend.  And then for you to buy some stuff.

Monday, November 21

Three Fun Things

I did three fun things lately that I don't want to forget about--unfortunately I didn't take pictures, which makes this kind of a boring post.  I did go ahead and steal some images from the internet, so you are welcome for that.

Thing #1: Martha Stewart.
Dudes.  I went to go hear Martha Stewart speak at DAR Constitution Hall with my pal Vicki.  I wish I could say it was inspiring, but mostly it was a little depressing (and awesome).  She's such an incredible lady--she's just done so much and knows so much.  She cooks, she decorates, she throws lovely parties and she goes to prison!  I mean, talk about diverse interests! But seriously, it was pretty cool to listen to her talk about all her stuff and her life. And she also harbors some serious feelings about technology, she referred to tech stuff as the things that are "ruining our lives."  Now where's my iPad?

Thing #2: Jersey Boys.
Sol and I went with some friends to see Jersey Boys and it was lots-o-fun.  I obviously bought the soundtrack today so we could continue jamming to the sweet sounds of Frankie Valli. The sign outside the theatre warned of "authentic Jersey language" and I was a little surprised at the "coarseness" of the language.  But I guess that's Jersey?  We both loved it and had a great time getting out of the house and doing one of the things we loved to do before we had two little boys to wrangle.

I left the boys for both of those adventures--and learned that we need to work on Braden being able to go to bed without me... apparently he really loves me.  I would be lying if I said that the highlight of both evenings wasn't coming home and having the boys burst into tears when they saw me because they missed me so much.  Is that bad?  It's just so nice to be needed. :)

Thing #3: Twilight 3.1
My pal Amy and I snuck out after our kids went to bed to see Breaking Dawn Part 1.  I'm slightly annoyed they split up the movies and are going to suck $12 out of me twice, but it was fun to get out and go see it.  It made both of us miss our babies and also made us a little queasy--it was definitely the bloodiest of the movies. Gag.

We did get to see the HUNGER GAMES trailer!  We definitely can not wait for that one.  Team Peeta for life.

Now that I look over this post... I think the casual reader might think I'm crazy.  Those are three wildly different things.  Oh well.  I'm cultured?

Wednesday, November 16

Seven Months

Time just keeps ticking, doesn't it?

Braden turned seven months the day of the marathon.  Have I mentioned how sweet that boy is?  How he really just loves to snuggle?  And suck his thumb? And how he is just so pleased when you look at him?  Oh he's a doll.  More Braden, please.

Lil B-Town (that's his thug name) is successfully sleeping through the night--from about 7:45 to 8:45.  What a boy.  He takes two or three naps and goes down without protesting much.  We've started him on some solids... and I'm kind of trying a version of baby led weaning where you don't feed them purees... which is another post entirely.  Basically he shoves large pieces of banana and sweet potato and broccoli towards his mouth and sometimes swallows some.  It's funny.  And messy.  But requires much less work on my part.  I'll let you know in another week or so how it's going.

Braden's up to 18 pounds, so as expected he's starting to fall off his growth curve.  That's ok.  He's cute.  And he really is a great nurser so there's not much else we can do.

He's getting to be a steadier sitter, though I still don't trust him enough to leave him sit alone.  He likes to stand and does a pretty good job balancing and holding on to my arm.  No scooting or crawling yet--he's a little behind Finley but I'm a little grateful--there are lots of little toy cars laying around that he can't quite reach yet.  He almost got his second tooth. And he really likes to blow raspberries and be adorable and charming.

Finley just keeps getting a better and better vocabulary.  He says funny things like, "Well, sure!" Or "That's a great idea!"  I need to write down all his silly little sayings because they are delightful.  Sol took a seven minute long video of him singing "Baby Oh" (obviously) and it's delightful.  But I'll probably spare everyone from watching it... it might be the video only his parents love.  (Although I do appreciate all the people who said the watched the trick or treating video over and over!  It was precious.)  Also, Finley weighs about 26.5 pounds.

The boys are starting to interact a little more.  Finley will sometimes bring Braden a toy if he thinks he's sad.  And also sometimes he takes his toys if he's being ornery.  They sit beside each other in their high chairs and giggle at each other... I'm just so excited for them to be BFFs.

Monday, November 14

Richmond Marathon

Marathon 6, done.  It ended up being my slowest time--4:10--but I ran 2:05 for both halves which makes me very happy.  It was a great race.  Perfect weather, a really nice course and an outstanding downhill finish.  Like outstanding.  I felt really good the whole way--except some knee pain starting around mile 18.  It got better and is still bothering me a bit today.  I think I could have run a good deal faster if I wanted to, but I was so happy just to get out there and run and not try to kill myself.

It was billed as the friendliest marathon in America and I think it was--I've never had so many people cheer for me by name.  There were a lot of spectators the whole way and most of them were cheering--rather than waiting for the one person they knew to come by.  The race also gave out wet washcloths and junk food.  Washcloths are my new favorite race item--I felt like a new lady after I wiped off my salty face!  One of my favorite things about races is the signs--here are some of my favorites:

  • Chuck Norris never ran a marathon. (I saw about 5 of these, but one of the girls was telling everyone "I googled it!" which made it funnier.)
  • May the odds be ever in your favor. (Hunger Games!!!)
  • Worst Parade Ever.
  • And my favorite person was a cute old man who was asking everyone how many marathons they'd run.  Cute.

Sol trucked the boys to seven (SEVEN!) different spots to see me and only missed me twice.  I'm super fast.  I was so so grateful that he took care of them for so long and kept them so happy.  That was the longest I'd spent away from Braden!  And he didn't even want to eat while I was gone.  Finley told me the best part of his day was "seeing Mama run" even though his day included Chipotle, Chick-fil-a and watching Cars 2.  I was pretty thrilled to be the highlight.  And it's pretty cute to here his sweet little voice say, "Mama run a marafon."  Swoon.

It's super hard to photograph while you are trying to take care of two boys, so here's the best picture of me running.  I think Sol did a great job.

I was going to have Sol take a picture of me with the boys after the marathon, but I laughed out loud when I saw myself in the mirror.  My hair did not hold up well and I looked ridiculous.  I'd rather not share that with the whole internet.

And because I have a hard time running if I'm not training for something, Sol and I BOTH registered for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in DC on March 17.  Anyone want to come run it with us?  Or watch our kids while we run?

Tuesday, November 8

I'm Running a Marathon Saturday

I keep forgetting that.  It's in Richmond.  It's 26.2 miles long, just like the rest of them.  It will be my sixth one.

My goal is just to beat my slowest time--4:07.  I'm not sure if I'll do that--it's been tough training with two little ones.  And my long runs were slower than the long runs at this point last time around.  I'm struggling with being competitive with myself and how fast I think I should run.  I need to relax and just go have fun.  (And the non-marathoners laugh and say, I'm pretty sure that's impossible.)

I guess my goal should be to run the race with the same determination my non-mobile child went after that awesome toy.  And to be half as cute doing it.

Friday, November 4

La Biblioteca de Clinton

Basically this post is for Victoria, who loves Presidential Libraries.

The Clinton one is lovely.  It's a cool building (although less cool than the JFK one) even if it has been compared to a mobile home sticking out over the Arkansas River.  I'll let it slide.  I mean that figuratively--I don't actually want it to slide into the river.

The coolest part was a replica of the Oval Office.  I mean, I live near DC so I guess I could maybe somehow go on a tour and see it... but that sounds like a lot of work.  And security clearance.  So here's a replica--complete with the Presidential seal on the ceiling.

The security guard who took our picture said, "Who knows, one day one of these boys might be President!"  Which made me think a little because I guess they could.  I mean currently I was thinking Finley would probably go on to be a professional button pusher and Braden would be a world class drooler... but I guess I shouldn't count being President out yet.

My dad used to talk about using our "White House manners" for when he was President... I guess I shouldn't quite count him out yet either.  I don't think there's an upper age limit on the Presidency, dad.

I'll leave you with this picture, especially taken for Vic.

How many of our presidents/lady on the right can you identify?
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