Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas in Ohio

We've had a very busy and fun week. We went to Ohio for Christmas. A few highlights from the trip include...

1. Running every day on really muddy trails with Dave, Janis, Will, and former high school xc teammates.

2. Having a playgroup with Keller (one of those former xc teammates) and her two adorable blond-haired kids. Kathy and Shanna came too, and we had a pancake breakfast.

3. Sleeping in a bed every night! This may sound trivial, but when there are about 45 people sleeping in one house, this is a big deal. We were lucky.

4. Grandma and Grandpa having a "Pump-it-Up Party." They rented out some party center full of inflatables and let the many cousins run wild (and there are 20+ of Bruce's cousins). Bruce had a blast.

5. Grilling Chris about his ex-girlfriend, questioning Marissa on her current boyfriend, and lecturing Ben about the many reasons young men should avoid facial hair and the military.

6. Baking zillions of batches of Russian tea cakes and caramel corn with Great Grandma - in her two kitchens.

7. Bruce loved feeding the ducks in the front yard every day. He would beg at 5:30 in the morning and several times during the day. Grandpa took him out at least once a day, and Scott took him out a couple times too.

Since we've been home, I've been working like crazy! Some of the content from my work web site is being syndicated, so I've been posting more and more. Also, the enormous Consumer Electronics Show is coming up; that's where all the new digital cameras are released. That equates to sheer madness and no sleep for me and my coworkers. Hooray.

Besides work, I've been doing some running. I ran in a small and very low-key BU indoor track meet yesterday. I ran a 3k in 10:04, which is better than what I thought I'd do. That's always a nice surprise. My next race will probably be the BU Terrier Classic or Valentine Invite. I really want to break 17 in the 5k - on my way to an awesome marathon of course.

With the new year comes a tougher training regime. Back to marathon training for me: 90-mile weeks, constant hunger even after three bowls of granola, several-hours-long runs on Saturdays, and a delicate balance of parenting/working/running/eating/sleeping/etc. I'll be racing the Boston Marathon in April. I'm stoked. But it's a lot of hard work too, so I'm taking the last deep breath before all the training really starts - tomorrow.

Scott and Bruce have had a nasty cold. Bruce's nose is constantly occupied by a slug of snot and sometimes a really gooey booger. Today Scott noticed a booger caked on Bruce's sock. "How'd that get there?" he asked. I laughed. I had wiped it there after excavating it from his nostril and not finding any tissues within arm's reach. I'll wash his socks anyways. Might as well get some mileage out of them.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
I tried putting our family Christmas card together and couldn't come up with anything I liked, so we may just have to send out a New Year's card. So in case you're feeling left out and haven't received your card from us, that's why. Expect it around February sometime.

A few recent pictures...
1. Bruce loves helping with the laundry. He sits in the basket and hands out clothes to Scott or me for folding.
2. The orchid is from Scott for my birthday. Now I have to keep Bruce from eating it and me from killing it.
3. We went to a holiday party and Bruce played around with the chess set.

Since it'll be awhile until you receive the Christmas/New Year's card, we will say it now...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Raymonds!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

USATF Club XC Nationals 2006

We had a very busy weekend. Scott went to Munich for a research conference on molecular imaging and Bruce and I went to San Francisco for the USATF XC Club Nationals.

Scott had a great time in Germany. He gave a 15-minute talk, rubbed elbows with a bunch of scientists, and bought me some wicked good dark chocolate.

Bruce did pretty well over the weekend considering all the traveling and change. He was good on the flight there. He played peek-a-boo with one of my teammates and I was thrilled to get a new snack about every 20 minutes (we flew Jet Blue). We stayed with former teammates that had moved to California; they were excited to have a baby in the house and didn't seem to mind that Bruce redecorated the bottom of their Christmas tree.

We flew in Friday night. Bruce was still on Eastern Standard Time because he woke up at 3:45 a.m. and was ready to party. I couldn't get him back to sleep, and he even wandered out of bed and jumped on one of my teammates before I realized what was going on and got up with him.

Saturday was a long day, but very good. After getting up super early, we headed over to Golden Gate Park where the course was. It was raining off and on, so we took cover in a tent by the start line. Bruce was passed along all day. Brad (GBTC guy) watched him for my warmup, Kristen (former BYU teammate) had a playgroup with her kids during the race, and Sloan (GBTC girl) chased Bruce during my cooldown.

The race went very well. To sum it up, I stared at the ground until the last half-mile or so for fear I'd trip and totally eat it. The course covered a lot of terrain: grassy fields with pot holes, skinny dirt trails with huge mud puddles, short steep hills with roots sticking out everywhere, and a gravel horse track also covered in puddles. It was a 6k course and I finished in 21:58.

Here are a few more running pictures...

After the race we went to Chinatown for the most amazing food I've ever eaten, then Bruce and I went to bed. Whew. We took a red-eye home; luckily, Bruce slept almost the entire time. I had a hard time sleeping with Bruce on my lap squirming every few minutes, the guy next to me snoring, and the movie "Flight Plan" on my mind. I have since gotten a few hours of sleep and even a few miles run.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

He Still Fits in the Sink

Last weekend, I let Bruce play in a bucket of flour. He loves digging his fingers into stuff like that. He loves eating flour plain, too, which is a bit weird.

After his flour mess, I took off his onesie and wiped off his face. His legs were a bit floured, but he was pretty clean otherwise. I set him up by the sink and began rinsing his legs off. He kept squirming, and eventually plopped right in the sink diaper and all. So I gave in and took his diaper off and let him take a bath right there with the dishes.

Bruce hasn't had a bath in the sink for awhile now. It reminded me of the first time we gave him a bath (pictured, from the archives of our dusty computer). He was 3 lb 10 oz when we gave him that bath, and he didn't enjoy it nearly as much as he does now.


Bruce got a 10 ft boa for Christmas - already. My running buddy, who also babysits Bruce every once in awhile, bought this for him in Chicago.

Neighborhood Christmas Lighting Competition

Here are a few pictures of our out-of-control neighborhood. Bruce and I took a walk a few nights ago to snap these pictures, and one of my neighbors was unloading several more boxes of lights from his trunk (his house is pictured with the brick porch). He said, "This is nothing! In years past, I used to decorate all sides of the house."

Yesterday morning it snowed for the first time. Bruce and I celebrated by putting on his marshmallow suit and puffy boots, which he loves and wears around the house anyway.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Random Raymond Update

Happy December! Bruce loves everything about the holidays so far: lights, food, wreaths, decorations, parties, etc. I love Christmas too. I've already been to a wreath-making party, a holiday party, and a tree decorating party.

Our neighborhood is inhabited mainly by Italians who pride themselves in having the most extravagant Christmas yard displays. There seems to be some sort of competition among the neighbors as to who has the most electronic nodding deer, blow-up Santa Clauses, fake snowmen, snow globes, and icicle lights. I snapped a shot of Bruce in front of the Holiday Express in the neighbor's yard.

As for Raymond family news, Scott has a paper due on Tuesday and is giving a talk at a conference later this week. And I am gearing up for Saturday's USATF Club cross country nationals! I did 10 x 200s on Friday to sharpen up and then ran some hills and trails yesterday. By the end of this week, I'll be ready to bust out a good 6k.