Friday, August 31

Instagram of August

Happy Instagram Dump!

1) Birthday treats for Sol at a weird (but awesome) Asian bakery.
2) Two boys on a slide.
3) Braden loves everything.
4) And I love his toesies.

1) Sassy boy.
2) Did you know I once was a synchronized swimmer? True story.
3) I let Sol cut Copper's hair again. Fail.
4) Finley is really in to spelling his name.

1) Carrie and I met up at a train museum with the boys. We shared a Capri Sun and some laughs. 
2) Finley fell asleep on the way home in his cool shades.

3) Sol at the kids table.
4) Finley was a rascal and covered himself in RV Parties stickers at naptime. RASCAL.

1) Cute boy at the opthamologist.
2) And he can almost write his name!
3) We went to see 78 year old Frankie Valli sing. It was awesome.
4) Braden likes to eat crayons.

1) I ran 20 miles and took an ice bath.
3) Braden finally likes the pool! HOORAY!
4) Michael Phelps and his mom.

I'm solandrachel--let's be pals!

Thursday, August 30

Patch Update

I spoke too soon.  Braden is actually fine with the eye patch. Pretty soon after I had two rough days of trying to get him to wear it, Sol put it on him. And immediately whisked him outside.  And he didn't touch it for two hours. OF COURSE. And since then he's been fine!

He's been wearing the patch (which we decided to call Bessie) after his nap to bedtime.  During that time he normally watches a show, sometimes we go for a run or play outside and we have dinner.  Then we lose the patch sometime after dinner.  I took a few days off from it because it was breaking the poor soft baby skin around his eye when we took it off.  In my googling, I read that you could put milk of magnesia on the skin first to help it not stick as much when you peel it off.  When I went to CVS to ask about it and make sure it was the right thing, they kind of laughed at me because apparently it's a laxative.  Is that a normal thing people know?  I didn't. Whoops.

The patch came off better tonight with the ole MOM underneath it--plus Sol tried to wet it down in the tub a bit during bath time.  I'm just so impressed with him and humbled by my lack of faith in that little guy.  Of course he's fine.  Sometimes he'll lift one finger up and tap it just to figure out what's going on, but when I tell him no he puts his little hand down.  He's so sweet.  Also, the irony is not lost on me that he was wearing his one eyed shirt during our little photoshoot.  That made me smile.

And also Finley. Sailing Bucky on the Never Sea. He really likes Jake and the Neverland Pirates at the moment.

Monday, August 27


Anyone remember this scene from "That Thing You Do"?  For some reason my friends and I liked to sing it in high school... probably because we were super cool and popular.

This was one of the first things that crossed my mind this weekend when I did something I've never done before-- I QUIT. A race. In the middle of it.  I stopped and walked off the course like I was Ryan Hall in the Olympics.

It started two weeks ago, 16 miles into a 19 mile run. I started having some pain in my Achilles tendon. Frustrated and concerned, I've been icing, cross training and googling like crazy.  Lots of laps in the pool, lots of books read on the Elliptical. I attempted my 20 mile run this Saturday and it went well.  I even bought a 16 pound bag of ice on the way home and tried to take an ice bath.  I say try because my water was accidentally too warm and melted the ice a little too fast--but at least it was cold.  And don't I look pretty after 20 miles?  It was probably the slowest 20 I've done, so I was actually feeling pretty good.  I ran conservatively to be kind to Mr. Achilles, and it worked.

  I had signed up for a 10k Sunday a while ago--and I didn't want to sit out.  As you may have expected, trying to run a 10k the day after you run 20 miles is probably not a great idea for a healthy person, not to mention a slightly injured person.  Here you can see my bulging biceps and the cool achilles brace I've been wearing. I also think that thing helps a lot.

Three miles into the 10k my Achilles started to hurt.  I slowed down and kept telling myself to stop.  But the horrible competitive, slightly Type A person inside of me wouldn't let me stop.  I had to do the WHOLE race.  Running part of it wouldn't count.  I argued with myself and kept losing (and winning, since I was on both sides of the argument).  As I approached four miles the course went back by the starting line.  I tried to convince myself to stop again and couldn't.  And then, the Lord Himself opened the heavens, sent a downpour on me to convince me to stop. And I did. In the pouring rain.  I slunk back over to the finish line to watch people finish and kind of hid behind a truck until the people I had been running with showed up--then I went and got my muffin. I kept wanting to go back to the course and finish--I swear there is a sickness in my brain.  But I'm SO SO proud of myself for stopping and so glad I didn't push it and run two more slow miles and make the injury even worse.

Soooo I think I'll be trying to get an appointment for some physical therapy this week and continuing to keep my mileage low and do some cool stuff at the gym.  Because I want to run Chicago and I don't want to be limping across the finish line.

Wednesday, August 22

Eye Patch for my Baby

I had been avoiding this in hopes that would make it go away and it wouldn't be an issue--but that's not the case.  Braden and I bravely went to a pediatric opthamologist early Monday morning to have his peepers checked.  Sol and I had noticed one of his eyes intermittently turning out over the past few months and finally got in to see a doctor--they had a very long wait!  As we suspected, he does have a little lazy eye.  What that means is that the muscles for that eye are a little weaker and don't control the eye as well as he good eye.  As a result he has poorer vision in that eye too. The solution? An eye patch! ARGH!

I was impressed with their skills at working with babies--lots of cool tricks to make them look where they needed to.  They did dilate his eyes which he wasn't particularly fond of.  The picture above and on the left shows off his huge pupils.  I thought they were going to recommend a patch on him based on my extensive Googling (I'm pretty much an expert on any topic on the internet) and didn't think it would be a big deal. After all, we've dealt with correcting Finley's clubfoot for a long time--going through casts, surgery and braces.  This seemed like a painless and easy fix.  I was already dreaming up awesome pirate Halloween costumes for the boys...

Uh, wrong. Our goal is three hours of patch a day and the doctor sent us home with 6 patches until our shipment comes in.  We went through four patches in about 20 minutes.  Surprise--Braden doesn't like having his eye covered up!  And more surprises--sixteen month old knuckleheads are a little difficult to reason with! SHOCK!

My plan was to let him watch TV when the patch is on--although not a great activity for his brain, it's good exercise for his weak eye and keeps him distracted so he won't touch it.  Kind of.  Normally if the TV is on it's so I can clean/cook/Etsy--but he seriously has to be watched like a hawk or he'll tear it off. So TV is now time where I sit next to him and wait for him to move his hand to his eye and I tackle him.  Also did I mention I was only successful for 20 minutes and the goal is THREE HOURS???

Suggestions for how to occupy a 16 month old? In the pictures above he was watching TV, holding his favorite giraffe and playing with a remote. He still grabbed at the patch about every minute. I think I might try to get out special toys or safe kitchen things for him to hold so he'll be distracted. And he has a few books he's obsessed with that we can read.  It's just a much more hands-completely-on parenting style than I'm used to--I tend to be a little more laissez-faire in my approach.  You know, so I can make sure I get plenty of time laying on the couch and eating chips.

Also I got some patches with flames on them.  I didn't want you to worry.  If anything Braden is going to look super tough, right? When Finley was in his cast as a two month old I liked to say things like, "You should see the other baby!" or tell people he got hurt saving other babies from a burning building... although I don't think we'll actually leave the house with the patch on unless he turns into a super-chill kid.  Or forget how to use his hands--which would be a totally different problem.

Tuesday, August 21


Well, Braden decided to walk. It's about time--he's a week over 16 months old! And much like I expected, when he started walking he was pretty good at it.  Not quite as wobbly as Finley was when he started.  But just as cute.  He decided to start walking when we were at the train museum like it was no big deal.  He just let go of one train and walked over to another.  It almost made me mad rather than happy--because he'd been so stubborn for so long!

We bribed Finley to walk to us with Sol's phone--but Braden is a little more motivated by food.  For some reason he has very little interest in our phones.

And now he bravely lets go of our fingers and walks on our own. For so long he would frantically grab for our fingers when he was walking--whenever we'd try to wiggle out and make him walk alone he'd keep his fingers tight around ours.  But he's big now, and he doesn't need us to help him get where he's going. Sob.

There's been a few moments when he's terrified me--I'll catch him walking out of the corner of my eye and it freaks me out for a minute! My baby's not supposed to walk!  Well, I'm really into posting really long videos with disclaimers lately... and this one is the same. Unlike the 11 second video of Finley walking, this one is much longer and less exciting. Watch at your own risk. And also please ignore Sol and I acting like weirdos. It's pretty normal for us actually.

And the end of this video is too cute--Braden saying "tickle tickle" and giggling.

Yay walking!

Monday, August 20

Trains with Edmund

On Friday, the boys and I headed north to Baltimore to visit the B&O Train Museum with little Edmund. And by little I mean that he is nine months younger than Finley, but taller.  We had a ton of fun at the museum--it was surprisingly kid friendly!  Forgive my lack of train vocabulary as I try to describe it...

The main room had a dozen engines around the the perimeter like wagon spokes and one of those spinny things in the middle that probably makes the trains switch tracks.  Finley and Edmund were kind of in awe--they couldn't stop looking around!  And it looks like Braden and Finley are happy to take a picture with me, but this is an illusion. They were both trying to escape and Braden's scream happens to look like a smile here!

There was also a GREAT kids area full of train toys.  I think all three of the boys could have played there for hours. And the three grown ups would have been happy to sit in the rocking chairs forever.

Outside there was a little train for the kiddos to ride around in. They made three laps around and were a little underwhelmed. Apparently trains don't have steering wheels--I think that took away a little of the fun.

And here's pregnant Carrie and I--growing a little boy who is going to be Braden's BFF and probably eventually outgrow him too.  You can't even see her bump here, but it's cute.

Edmund and Finley love each other--they are just too sweet.  Whenever Carrie asks Edmund what they should name his baby brother he says, "BRADY!" So sweet. I'd be ok with that. :)

Cute blond little friends!

Thursday, August 16


For a long long time, I've been meaning to interview Finley and ask him a series of questions that I can revisit every year to see how his answers change.  I've tried a few times--and he's really about impossible to get to sit still and pay attention to my questions.  After bribing him with a "treat" I sort of got him to participate.  This video is long and not that exciting, but it's an important one to have around for years to come. For Finley's true fans only...

And we couldn't leave Braden out... here's a smattering of his tricks.  His favorite one is obviously showing us his eye and saying, "AAAHH" for eye.  I think he just thinks it's funny that he blinks when he touches his eye.  So funny!  This one is shorter and slightly more entertaining.

Wednesday, August 15

Nothing Special

Sometimes I don't have anything profound to say--just some pictures I want to share.

Finley playing with his letter blocks--after picking out the letters and correctly spelling his name (!!!) he strung them all on a string and flipped them all up to make a fence.  Or something.  Big boy bed is going very very well at night, rather poorly at naptime.  He takes naps so rarely that he is getting kicked out most days anyways and sent to the pack and play in the office.  Torture!

Braden is looking slightly behind me because I put his giraffe on my head so he'd look at me. I just love everything about this crazy boy.  His blue eyes and wild hair--his stubborn refusal to walk and the way he'll still cuddle with me. Sweet boy.

Monday, August 13

Big Boy Bed

Well, we finally caved and put Finley in a big bed.  Braden's crib converts into a toddler bed, so we pulled a little switcheroo and put Finley in it.  This was not a great thing to do an hour before bed time. They. Were. Wired.  Video below is proof... warning: not an exciting video.

You were warned. I was pretty sure the video wouldn't be entertaining to many people, but I really wanted to save it here because it has so many of my favorite things about the boys at this point.  The way Braden says, "Tickle tickle tickle!" and dive bombs into his giraffe when he has it--and then sweetly sucks his thumb when he's laying with the giraffe.  And how Finley keeps calling his bed a boat and saying, "Pixie dust away!" to make all his animals fly back into bed because that's what they do on Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  This is just a good video of how silly they are these days.

They both thought the bed was the coolest thing ever--Braden kept climbing in and out and Finley kept organizing his animals or driving a race car around the top rail. They also periodically wrestled and giggled.  Oh too much fun.

Although as it turns out, Braden was a little confused and was pretty sure he got to keep his new bed.  The boy who normally goes down without a peep cried and cried that he had to sleep in Finley's old crib. It was a little heartbreaking.

We kept reviewing with Finley what to do in bed--and here's Finley's little explanation of how to behave in the bed... he left out my favorite part, which is holding on to the rail while he sleeps so he won't fall out.  He also mentions a clock--we got him a clock that turns green when it's time to wake up and I'm praying it buys me a little more time in the mornings.

Here's Finley in the "safe" sleeping position and Braden pretending to sleep.

Any guesses for how well the first night went?  As of writing this at midnight, Finley took about an hour to fall asleep and dropped two things out of his bed he needed to get.  He tried to get the first one before we stopped him, and called us in to help for the second one.  Better than I expected... I'll be back with an update in the next few days.  The part I'm most terrified about is the waking up in the morning.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STAY IN UNTIL AT LEAST EIGHT PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.


I'll likely be back in a few days begging for advice, so be ready for that.

Wednesday, August 8

A Wedding in Pittsburgh

I have so many special memories of holidays and family vacations spent with my cousins. There are nineteen of us and I was lucky to have many of them so close in age to me. I'm always a little sad the boys don't have any cousins yet--but I'm super grateful that my high school friends are providing a back up team of cousins for them. My cousins are slowly getting married and we've gotten to travel to places like LA, Austin, DC and now Pittsburgh for the weddings (I also missed one in Texas and Colorado due to babies). We were in Pittsburgh two years ago for my marathon and I was excited to go back--it's a great city.  I was kind a lame photographer--I did take a few pictures of the happy couple but they aren't great... but I'm posting them anyways.  Joey and Jessica are AMAZING musicians--they had an orchestra at the ceremony--seriously amazing. Joey is apparently the youngest paid professional bassoon player in the country... or something. They weren't terrible dancers either.

I had never met Jessica, and when I went over to met her, she confessed to being a blog stalker. So... HI JESSICA! I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING FUN IN BERMUDA!

My WHOLE immediate family made it too--it was a little ridiculous how short we were all there!  Laura and Dan were in town for about 22 hours and my parents made a 16 hour drive to be there for about a day and a half.  Crazy!

The boys were SO GOOD.  We put them through the wringer--so many family members wanted to chat with them and love them and we made them sleep in all sorts of weird places.  We stayed at my Aunt Kathy's house late both nights and put the boys down and relocated them.  The first night Braden stayed asleep when I picked him up.  I wanted to live in that moment forever.

And my brothers. My big big, little brothers. Dan is going to be a sophomore at OU (Oklahoma) and Ben is going to be a freshman at IIT in Chicago.  I seriously sometimes refer to Finley and Braden as "Dan and Ben" because they are the pair of little boys in my life.

I like to give them a hard time about being PC gamers for life and being huge nerds and for pretty much being raised by different parents than I was.  But they are pretty awesome kids.

Sol also taught Braden how to say "CHEESE." We're all real excited about this development. Also he's still not walking. #lazy He is completely in love with Lightning McQueen though.

It was a lovely weekend--but we're excited to be done traveling for a bit.  We're not leaving again until the end of September and we are ready for the down time.

Monday, August 6

Olympic Fever

Who doesn't have Olympics fever these days?  It's going strong at our house--Finley's favorite is definitely swimming.  Here's a pretty special clip of him doing his thing--listen all the way to the end for his post-race interview.

And the transcript...

MP: Michael Phelps is ONE!  Ryan Lochte is one.

Sol: MP, how did you do it?

MP: Good. I just swim. A lot.

Sol: What were you thinking out there?

MP: Um... I got really wet.

Sol: What else were you thinking?

MP: Hmm, hm hm.

Sol: Are you going to be able to put it together in the 200 IM?

MP: Yeah.

Sol: Anything to say to the folks at home?


Friday, August 3

Marathon Training Update

Time for a marathon training update!  I don't have any pictures of me running, but I have these two cool CHARTS that I thought I'd share!  The data is far from perfect--like really far.  It's all collected from my Garmin watch--it was dead for a few months this Spring and sometimes I just don't wear it, but it's a decent rough picture of what the last four years of my running has looked like.

So this first graph shows miles per month over the past four years... although their are quite a few months missing.  My favorite realization here--the pink bar, April 2008, was when I was living in Boston alone (Sol had moved to DC ahead of me) and I just RAN all the time.  One of my highest months of running and if you look at the second chart it was also my fastest month.  90+ miles at a 8:30 pace.  Insane.  And as you can see, I was seriously injured because of it and barely ran after.  Then I got pregnant... ran two marathons... got pregnant again... ran three marathons... and just finished my second highest month of mileage ever. (The green stars are marathons. I was having a lot of fun decorating this chart. NERD!)

And then this chart is my pace per mile.  For a point of reference, I need to run about an 8:15 mile to qualify for Boston--although I train at a MUCH slower pace.  This one is a little more interesting to look at--you can see how pregnancy gradually slows me down (13:00 min mile!!!), and then I slowly get back in shape.  Pace is also harder to measure because I run about an 11-12 min/mile when I'm pushing the stroller, do my long runs at about a 9:15 min/mile and do some speedwork even faster.  But it's a nice rough picture of what is going on with my ole legs.

So um, thanks for indulging me. I'm a math teacher.  I like to make charts.

As I've mentioned, I'm currently training for the Chicago Marathon and have almost decided to sign up for the Philadelphia Marathon as well.  It's six weeks after Chicago and one I've always wanted to run. It's supposed to be pretty flat and fast--and it's driving distance away.  So I might as well squeeze another in while I'm in shape, right?

Training has been going pretty well--I've running six days a week and have missed very few workouts. I try to switch out some of the smaller runs for cross training or weight lifting, but I really don't like to because I'm a punk.  I did my first track workout in a VERY long time yesterday and it was awesome--six 800s ranging between 3:14 and 3:29. I was aiming for under 3:35, so I was really excited with that. All in all it's going well.  Who knows how it will go on race day, but I'm enjoying myself and hopeful that I can PR at the very least.

It's still challenging finding time to run, between the boys and the heat, but I'm managing to make it work.

And really, what's more inspiring than the Olympics to make you feel like training a little harder?  I mean, I feel like a lazy slob about 100% of the time watching those people do their thing.  GO USA!

Wednesday, August 1

Three Cute Kids

Do you love these serious kids?  I do.  No smiling allowed.  We were lucky to get to spend a day with little Gwen (who'll you'll remember from last October--I took her pictures when she was a few hours old and only 4 pounds big!).  Her family was passing through DC on their way to Serbia and we loved hanging out for a bit.  It's never enough time, but it was so lovely to get to chat with her mama Vicki and see how big Gwen is getting!

We're hoping we can talk Vicki into a Wizard of Oz first birthday party--how cute would that be? So fun for a little girl.  Yellow brick road, emerald city, blue gingham, ruby slippers, Toto in a basket... it would be too sweet.

And Finley totally photobombed this picture with his serious face.  He wasn't actually invited but for some reason insisted on standing beside me.  In his sunglasses. Miss you already Vicki!
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