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Month: October 2015

oliver knows what he likes

oliver knows what he likes

It started with our hike up to Elephant Rock when we were in Utah last summer. I think we may have noticed pillbugs before then, but it was during the hike that Oliver decided that pillbugs were his thing. He picked up so so many, and counted as many as he could. (His efforts were somewhat thwarted by the enormous colony we found near a fallen tree at a bend in the trail.)

And while it’s not like he’s constantly talking about pillbugs, they’ve clearly been on his mind. I know this because 1. He requested a bug theme for his birthday this year. 2. (SPOILER ALERT!) He requested a pillbug costume for an upcoming holiday. 3. He requested rainbow pillbugs on top of his cake, along with crushed up cookies to look like dirt. He had a very clear vision here. I even asked if he’d like a roll-cake, to look like a log, but that was a no-go. It must be a two-layer round cake.

The birthday child’s wish is my command, of course, so I spent a bit of time on Wednesday cutting up starburst and rolling them into rainbow colored pillbugs. I crushed up some joe-joes in a bag (Simon later reminded me that it looks a lot more like dirt if you put them in the blender . . . .) and we made ourselves a dirt-and-pillbug covered birthday cake. Delish.

I don’t always/ever know what goes on in that kid’s head, but it’s fun to get a glimpse every now and then.

Oh, and another fun fact about dear sweet Oliver: he likes girls. And only girls. When I asked who he wanted to invite to his birthday party, he gave me a list of names that I was pretty sure were all girls. So I asked him, and he confirmed my suspicion. No boys. And when I asked if he wanted to invite any boys, he didn’t even have to think about it: NO. In fact, he has, on more than one occasion let me know that he doesn’t really care to play with boys. And that is how we ended up with nearly a dozen little girls at our bug birthday party. (Even the siblings of the girls who were invited were all girls—except for the 2-week-old newborn boy.)

Note about the party: several parents stuck around for the festivities and having a party at home seemed to be a bit of a revelation to them. They were impressed by how fun the party games were (some of which we made up on the spot—actually, Simon took charge and made up a game when the original plan suddenly seemed like a very bad idea) and by how “homey” it all felt. We take great pains to resist the urge to keep up with the Joneses here in NYC, and it was nice to hear that our efforts have some redeeming qualities.

rock’n’roll’n’run’n’stuff

rock’n’roll’n’run’n’stuff

It’s always fun to have a race to run and to have an excuse to not try very hard. At the very least, it means I don’t stress so much about the result. Sure, I put in the training, but I’m actually not too concerned about my performance.* That doesn’t happen to me very often, but it did happen this past weekend, when Micah and I ran the Rock and Roll Half Marathon.

The start line was just a few blocks from our house, and because we didn’t need to stress about travel or anything, we may have been a little cavalier in our approach to the half marathon. After all, it was mostly through our home turf. Nothing new to be discovered. I’m not sure we would have been so relaxed if we’d realized how long the line to get through security would be . . . but we made it through, and made it to the start line just as the race was scheduled to begin . . . and then stood and waited nearly half an hour before the race actually did begin.

But it did start, and we were off. I was fully intending to take it easy, not push myself too hard, blah blah blah, but Micah decided to run with me. He claimed he would let me set the pace, but I was mostly trying to keep up with him the whole race. (His defense: “Well, you kept staying up with me.”) But I felt good. Better than I had felt during most of my training runs. So I let it be. We kept a pretty brisk pace up until mile 9, which is when I spoke a bit more firmly to Micah and suggested we take it down a notch.

Now, I’m not sure we actually intended to do that, but here’s the thing: we ran nearly the whole race next to a Macho Man impersonator. Cowboy hat, star glasses, short shorts, gruff voice, demanding a Slim Jim at all the aid stations . . . the whole bit. And we enjoyed every step of it. So I’m not sure we really intentionally slowed down, or if at that point we were just trying to match Macho Man’s pace. We finished just behind him and thanked him profusely for making the race much more enjoyable than it could have been (especially considering THERE WERE NO BANDS along the course—which I thought was the Rock and Roll franchises thing?).

We came in at 1:43. This is several minutes off our best half. But it was not as slow as the half we ran in 20 degree weather back in January 2014. It was quicker than I intended, and yet not so quick that I felt that I was being stupid. So I guess we could say that it was a win all around. At least for me. I can’t speak for Micah who seemed to have plenty left in the tank at the end and who is lucky I didn’t clock him on the walk home as he was talking about what a short course that seemed like for 13.1 miles, and didn’t it go by fast . . . ? (I’m certainly glad he pulled me along, as he always does, but I would like to see what he can do without me trying to keep up.)

 

*my excuse for not trying too hard is that I am pregnant. I’m currently about 4 months or 18 weeks along—and still feeling sick and tired most of the time.

growing some runners

growing some runners

A couple of days before this year’s Miles for Midwives 5K, Oliver suggested that maybe he run home from school the next day. You know, to practice for the race. He and Simon had committed to running it a few weeks earlier and it is true that although we signed them up, we did nothing else to prepare them to run the race.

But they did it anyway. Simon decided that this year (his 2nd year running the race), he wanted to run the whole thing. No walk breaks. And Oliver just wanted to finish. Micah and I went back and forth on who would actually compete this year, and who would push the stroller, but in the end we decided to focus on the boys. Micah paced Simon to the finish, and I ran with Oliver and Elsa (who cheered us on from the stroller).

It was a cold morning, but we were very grateful that it wasn’t raining like it was last year. We dressed the kids as warmly as we dared and let Elsa take half her stuffed animal collection to appease her for not getting to run with everyone else.

Simon and Micah ran a very steady, conversational pace and managed to achieve the goal of running the whole thing. Simon also cut a several minutes off his previous 5K time and PR’ed at about 40 minutes. Oliver had some highlights too. He was more comfortable with the run/walk approach, and did really well with it for the first half of the race. He even ran the entire way up Devastation Pass. But soon after he made it to the top, he said one of his legs was hurting. He was limping a bit, and hardly able to walk, so I put him in the stroller. After about 3/4 of a mile, I kicked him out and he ran the last 1/2 mile or so on his own two legs. So mission accomplished on that front, too.

We’re obviously very proud of our little crew. And while I don’t think I’ll be letting Oliver run home from school any time soon (it’s 5 miles), I do think it may be worth making sure the boys have a chance to “practice” before next year’s race.