The word, I believe, is thriving. The first two weeks may have been rough, but the kid has not had a bad word to say about school since then.
Too much homework? He wrote an entire 5-paragraph essay about why homework is better than no homework.
Too tired? He bounds out of the school wants to spend more time on the monkey bars, climbs the walls at home, and stays up late trying to perfect his snap.
At parent-teacher conferences this week, after the teacher spent the first several minutes telling us what a good worker he is and how well he sits and listens and how she couldn’t stop herself from giving him high marks even though she hates doing that so early in the year, she asked if we felt this was the right school for him.
Um . . . yes. I mean, YES!
That extra year at home, all that stress and worry and wonder about whether we were doing the right thing (not that we felt that we had another choice), the frustration and the tantrums and . . . all of it? Totally worth it. Totally worth it to see him so excited to get up in the morning and so happy when he comes home in the afternoon.
I’m not sure if it was more cute or more annoying when Elsa was running down the aisle at church and going straight into the roll. At least she didn’t have her dress over her head like she does in the video.
She’s a cute kid and I love her to pieces and I have no idea how to handle her boundless energy and precocious physical feats.
Does it seem to anyone else that Oliver has been 3 for, like, his whole life? I just can’t really remember a time when he wasn’t 3. Until today. Because today, he is 4!
There’s something really wonderful about putting together a special day for someone who has such simple expectations and gets so excited about the smallest things. When he woke up this morning he was so excited simply because it was October 21st.
He wanted to go for a run, so we did that. He wanted to help make the cake, so we did that. (I made the applesauce that went in the cake as well, from apples from the yet-to-be-documented/blogged apple picking excursion from last week and he got to finish off the applesauce I didn’t need, too.) He got to go to a friend’s house for a playdate/birthday party while I picked up Simon. And we had nachos for dinner. Could his day get any better?!
Yes. It could. Because he was also serenaded and he blew out birthday candles. He opened a couple of birthday gifts – one of which was VIOLET from The Incredibles to play on the Wii U. I could have died and gone to heaven just then, he was so happy, but there was still cake to eat. And then he got to play the Wii with his new character for a bit.
Lucky lucky boy.
I must say, it is supremely satisfying to be able to spend a day doing exactly what will make someone happy in that moment. But tomorrow is October 22nd, which is nothing special to anyone in this house and so our lives will go back to normal. (At least until Saturday, when Oliver’s real birthday party is going down – stay tuned for more on that!)
Micah turned 35 yesterday. And although it was a momentous occasion, he told me I was not allowed to stress about it. So I didn’t. Instead, I took a solid month planning and executing his party, bit by bit. It went something like this:
First, putting together the invite list.
Second, ordering invitations.
Third, handwriting and mailing those invitations.
Fourth, waiting impatiently for people to respond.
Fifth, pestering people to respond.
Sixth, negotiating a better start time.
Seventh, finding someone to take our children from us for the evening.
Eighth, planning the menu.
Ninth, spending half a week preparing the food after the kids were in bed.
Tenth, get the boys to the babysitter and the girl in her crib before the guests arrive.
Eleventh . . . PARTY!
All in all, I thought it turned out quite well. It was, I believe, just what Micah wanted. And the stress was spread so thin over so many days and weeks that I could hardly feel it at all. Not that I would have minded stressing a bit. After all, I like Micah. He’s worth trying to get things right.
I spent a lot of time last week trying not to do anything. I wanted to rest my legs as much as possible so that they would be refreshed for our 5K last Saturday. So I tried to give us extra time to get to Simon’s school for pickup. I tried to get at least 7 hours of sleep. And I didn’t run after Tuesday morning.
But my best efforts to not have sore legs were thwarted. On Friday we got out the door late to go to pickup, and I ended up giving it all I had to get over the bridge on time. And then that night Micah and I decided to “take it easy” by watching a movie until . . . late. So I was a little apprehensive about the race. I wanted, as always, to do well. I thought I was in good shape, and my legs are for sure stronger than they’ve ever been. The question was: Does strength beat tiredness?
As I weaved my way to the front of the starting line, I wasn’t at all sure. I could feel the soreness in my legs from so many miles on the bike and on my legs. I could feel the tiredness in the rest of my body from not enough sleep. But when the race started, off we went, Micah and I together. He knew I wanted to do well. I was hoping for maybe a sub-20:00, but would be happy with a PR. A win would be nice, too, but I wasn’t counting on it since I had no idea who the competition was.
The race started on the hill this year, which I wasn’t totally thrilled about. It was nice to get it out of the way, but then it also would be nice to not start with burning legs. Once we rounded the top, I kept hoping that it would get easier for me. I knew I was the first woman and I wanted to hold onto that, but I didn’t know where the 2nd woman was, so I kept pushing and hoping she wouldn’t pass me.
As we went down the hill on the opposite side of the park, around mile 2, I got a side-stitch. And we also came up beside the guy in 4th place. He saw that we were racing and put on some speed. I told Micah I was struggling but we kept pushing it. It’s funny how far 1 mile can feel when you are running it at a 6:30ish pace. I kept worrying that there was another woman right behind me, ready to blow past me the second I slowed down. So it wasn’t until we crossed the line that we let up. It felt so good to stop. The clock said 20:13 as we crossed the line.
Right after we finished, we had to go pick up our kids from some fields where a friend was watching them. (Sidenote: Oliver has a bit of a crush on this friend of ours. It is adorable and hilarious.) Because we had to go get our kids, we missed Abby coming across the line in record 5K time for her. Bummer.
We stuck around afterward for the awards ceremony where Micah was awarded 1st place in his age group (he came in 4th overall) and they almost didn’t award the top women finishers at all, which was a laughable mistake on their part. I mean, really. Not recognizing the top female finishers at an event that celebrates women? Come now.
And that is that. I was really nervous about this race. You know, because there are expectations of me and all. And because I know that I can win it (if no really good runners happen to enter). So it was a relief to do it and find out that I’m actually getting faster. And not to be disappointed in my performance. (Though, to be honest, I was a bit disappointed in the race organizers this year. No goodie bags? No prizes for the winners? Just a little tiny medal?) Next time I want to see if I can beat 20 minutes.
I didn’t push myself as hard in this race as I did in the 5K the week before. Which is not to say I didn’t run hard, I just didn’t run quite as hard. Which was fine. Good, even. The last (and only) time I’ve run a 10K before was when I was 7 months pregnant with Elsa. I finished in 50 minutes, and I was sure I could beat that. Automatic PR! Other than that, I didn’t really know what to expect of myself. I thought that maybe, if I pushed myself as hard as I did in the 5K, I could be in the 42 minute range. I for sure wanted to run a sub-7:00 average. But still, I didn’t really know what to expect.
Sidenote: On my way down to the race, a lady (who was very flustered) asked me where packet pick-up was. I told her I thought it was in the other direction – there would be no way she would make it there and back down to the start line in time. She was a little upset, but said she’d run it anyway. Turns out, she had been a contestant on The Biggest Loser and was doing this race as part of a 50 races in 50 states kind of goal. She only had a handful of races after this one.
The race started going up the hill, then went back down, then back up at mile 5. There were a few girls I was trying to stay with, and I eventually did pass them. When I hit the 3 mile mark, someone said I was among the top 10 women, which was totally unexpected and which I only partly believed. But it was motivation enough for me to keep pushing it and to not let any other women pass me.
That goal was nearly thwarted as I neared the top of the hill. Micah and the kids were there waiting to cheer me on. Oliver had his hand out for a high-5, and as I ran by, I missed his hand. I could hear that he was sad about it, so I turned around and we tried again – successfully. It was really only a couple of steps, and I don’t think anyone passed me, but I did lose a few seconds (which I don’t regret at all).
Micah rode with the kids to the other side of the park and caught me again about half way through the last mile. I’m pretty sure he went just fast enough to encourage me to keep my pace. And I think it worked. I felt like I finished strong, even though it was really hard by the end. I finished in 43:08, was 5th in my age group and the 12th woman overall. (I think the person who told me I was in the top 10 might have missed the pack of 6 elite women who finished nearly 10 minutes ahead of me.)
It was a good race. I’m glad I did it because now I have a real baseline for the 10K. Next time I hope to crack into the 42 minute range, and I hope, one day, to get down to 40. Although I might need Micah to pace me if I’m ever going to do that.
Wasn’t it just a few months ago that Oliver was like, “I’m not ready to ride a pedal bike?”
And then earlier this week he was like, “Hey, let’s practice riding the pedal bike.”
So I put Elsa down for a nap, took the boy outside, and within just a few minutes, this is what happened:
He can totally pedal. And steer. And stop. And laugh. All at the same time. Even with the pressure of the camera.
Atta kid. I like him.