Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kick-in-the-ass motivation

I'm not sure where this came from, but it sums up how I feel today. 18 days and counting until my half marathon. I love running, but I'm looking forward to 19 days from now when I can answer no to the question and decide that that's ok.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Our summer bucket list

The kids and I definitely had a busy (as you can see) but fun summer together.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

T minus five weeks until my half-marathon

A few weeks ago, when I was visiting with my American cousin and his wife, our conversation veered towards running. She is a half-marathoner – having run three races over the last several years. When I expressed some fears over the distance, she scoffed at me and said ‘Run it in miles, it’s sooooo much shorter!’.

Of course, in reality, it’s not. 21 KILOMETRES is a half-marathon, which means 13 MILES is a half-marathon. It’s the same distance, you just don’t have to count as high.

But what she was likely getting at with me is distance is mind over matter. And as I approach the long distances in my training runs, I really understand the concept of mind over matter.

I’m less than five weeks away from my date with 21 kilometres and although I’m nervous, I know I can do it. In my training, I’m currently up to 19 kilometres. And honestly, once you’ve run that far, what’s two more?

The challenge is when I actually stop and think about how far 19 kilometres is. At that distance, when I head out for a Sunday morning run, I could technically run all the way from my house, to my friend’s house in The Beach and almost all the way home. That’s when I get nervous. When I put a perspective on just how far I need to run.

So, mind over matter – I have five weeks left to train. That’s five weeks to build up two more kilometres. That’s five weeks to work on increasing my speed. That’s five weeks of running three times a week (but not for 19 kilometres each time).  That’s five weeks of having lots of time to myself to think.

That’s five weeks until this crazy idea of running a half marathon becomes reality.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Making it through the first few days of Kindergarten

Yesterday (Thursday) was Alex's first day of Junior Kindergarten. I blogged about that a few days ago and about how I wasn't ready for this. So here's what our last two days of been like.

Alex is super-excited to go off to school. Daddy stays home for the morning so that we can all take her to her first day of school. First, we drop Austin off at his school and then the three of us drive over to Alex's school.

At first she's doing ok in the schoolyard, but I think the mass chaos and sheer number of people started to intimidate her (Did I mention that there are 90+ students in Kindergarten at her school this year? Oh and did I mention that there is only three classes? You do the math on class size.) By the time it was time to go in she was hanging back and clinging to me.

Since it was her first day, we were allowed to go in with her and help her find her cubby. We did. We hung up her backpack and then she started crying and clinging to my neck. It took everything I had to not start crying myself.

After a few minutes of this, her teacher (who I know already and is wonderful) came over, took her by the hand and led her into the class. She was fine. I walked out of the school and was not.

I picked her up for lunch to give her a break on her first day and she was hesitant to go back after lunch but did so without tears. At the end of the day, her teacher said she had a good day.

The first words out of Alex's mouth when she woke up this morning were 'I don't want to go to school today'. Uh oh, bad sign.

So, being a good mom, I pumped up how much fun she was going to have. She reluctantly agreed to go and off we went -- first to Austin's school and then to hers.

As we arrived at her school, I reminded her that she now had to go in by herself -- it wasn't the first day so I couldn't go in with her. As soon as we got to the Kindergarten doors, the clinginess started. The mass chaos of parents and students intimidated her and by the time it was time to go in she was in tears, even though a little girl she knows offered to hold her hand as they walked in

I had to go into the lobby area with her (only because we were blocking the doorway) and she cried and cried and cried. She refused to walk through the second set of doors. She cried harder and clung longer than she had the first day. I kept telling her I couldn't go in and that she could do this, I knew she could. She kept crying. And then she broke my heart by saying to me 'mommy I'm trying to be brave but I just can't do it'.

After about five minutes, her teacher came and found her and took her by the hand. She reluctantly went over to her classroom. And I made a quick exit and was given hugs by two moms I know who waited for me and watched the ordeal.

I'm sure when I pick her up today, I'll be told she had a good day. She always gets anxiety when she has to walk into something new but gets better once she's there. And sometimes something is new many times before it's familiar. Which means on Monday, we'll likely be back at square one.

And so, it may be awhile still until she can work up the courage to be brave enough to walk through those doors by herself. And until then, I have to be brave enough to encourage her to keep going.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

How does your garden grow?

Well, another vegetable garden growing season is slowly coming to an end. I say slowly because it's still so hot out that my tomatoes don't seem to know that they're supposed to be calling it quits soon.

So, how did my garden do this year? Well, first of all I can say that although at the beginning of the season, it appeared as if I was going to grow another jungle, the fact that all my cucumber plants and my zucchini plant died off early meant the jungle was kept at bay.

Yup, unfortunately, I lost my four cucumber plants first, followed soon thereafter by my zucchini plant. In each case, a plant would look healthy in the morning and would be completely dead by night. I assume that they attracted some sort of pest and not as a result of poor planting or lack of watering because they were planted right next to my tomatoes. And I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with.

Anyway, as for the dead plants, four cucumber plants only produced 2 cukes before dying. The zucchini plant produced 3 before keeling over. In other words, to make salsa I had to buy zucchini and I still haven't made relish because I haven't gotten around to buying cucumbers.

On to the tomatoes. As I said, I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. I planted 5 large tomato plants and 2 grape tomato plants. To date, I've made a batch of tomato sauce and a batch of salsa and I have enough tomatoes chopped up and in the freezer to make another batch of salsa. And they keep growing. We eat tomatoes with lunch and we eat tomatoes with dinner. And they keep growing. Pretty soon my neighbours are going to be getting tomatoes left on their doorstep.

But the funniest part of all is that not only are they growing, but they're reproducing. When we returned home from the cottage 4 weeks ago, a small tomato plant had sprouted between the patio stones, next to the barbecue about 20 feet away from the nearest tomato plant. Rather than pulling it out, I left it as I was curious to see if it would actually produce tomatoes.

It has (notice how I had to tie it to the downspout on the side of the house because I couldn't exactly drive a stake through the patio stones). It appears to be grape tomatoes.
The newest vegetable we planted this year was lettuce -- and that was the best thing I've ever done. For the entire month of June and some of July, whenever we wanted a salad, we would simply walk into the backyard, pick a few leaves and walk back in. It was fantastic and I'll definitely plant it again.

Now you may be wondering how did I fit all of that (oh yeah, and a raspberry bush, a jalapeno plant and a strawberry plant that only produces enough strawberries for the squirrels to eat) fit in my little garden. Well, it didn't, I cut out a section of grass on the other side of the yard where I planted the lettuce, the strawberries, the jalapeno and one tomato plant.

It was that one tomato plant that did way better than any other plant. It produces monster-sized tomatoes (seriously, one of them weighed 1.2 pounds!) and is still producing.

So, that, in a nutshell was this year's garden. Anyone want a tomato or five?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I'm so not ready for this

My youngest starts Kindergarten tomorrow morning. I should be excited for her -- I was for my oldest when he started two years ago. (Even though, yes, I did cry a little after he walked through the doors for the first time without looking back). And I am, I'm excited that she's stepping out into the great big world. But I'm so not ready for this.

Not only is she four years old and heading off to Junior Kindergarten, but she's four years old and heading off to the new all-day Kindergarten program. So unlike when Austin was in Kindergarten just for a few hours a day (and spent the afternoons with me), as of tomorrow she'll be in school from 8:30 until 3.

Now, part of me is doing the little happy dance. That part of me is saying 'Finally, after four and a half years of towing children pretty much wherever I go, I can breathe just a little bit. I can have just a little bit of me time. (I can work during daylight hours!)"

The other part of me is screaming 'how can she be old enough to be in school for more than 6 hours a day?! I'll be honest, part of the screaming me is my own resistance to change -- Austin didn't go to all day school until Grade 1 (which started yesterday), so why should Alex have to? But that's the part of me who also chose to stay home with my kids full-time for the last four years and therefore doesn't want to have to part with them. I may be proud of both of them and how well they're growing up, but that doesn't mean that I'm not sad to see them go.

You see, the part of me that's doing the happy dance is looking forward to a little peace and quiet. But the other part of me is asking 'but who is going to eat lunch with me every day?'.