Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Original Lorraine

Phoebe acquired her middle name, Lorraine, from Scott's grandma. The original Lorraine drove several hours to meet her great-granddaughter (and perhaps to see us too!). Pictured above are three generations: Grandma Raymond, Great-Grandpa Leavitt, and Phoebe. We met at Grandma Raymond's sister's house for food, horseback-riding, chicken-chasing, and family time!
Phoebe was a little grouchy and didn't last long with Great-Grandma Lorraine, but spent quite a bit of time with Great-Grandpa. He showed her the horses, walked her around the yard, and carried her probably more than he should. That's the Great-Grandma Lorraine on the left. She claimed that my camera would break if I took her picture. She was wrong about that, but she's right about most everything else. She's a woman who knows her priorities and keeps life simple. She knows what is important and is constantly improving herself and her family. She is a fantastic woman with a sunny personality. I remember the first time I met her was the day before Scott and I were married. She welcomed me into the family with a big, warm hug and has loved me ever since. If Phoebe Lorraine can emulate even a little of her great-grandma, we would be richly blessed.

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Raymond Reunion

Finally, we caught a break from our hectic daily grind; this is Scott's one week off until Christmas, so we headed to Utah for the Raymond Reunion. I have hundreds of pictures already (and we're on Day 3), but here's a sampling of what we did yesterday. We rented jet skis and headed to a lake with a beach for the kids to play on.
Bruce is getting some quality cousin time with Makenzie and Annie, among other cousins.
And Phoebe is having fun with Brooke, her cousin who was born two weeks before her (not pictured here, but lots more pictures to come when I have time to put them on the blog!).
I am enjoying having a few extra hands around and grandparents who are willing to bend over backwards to do whatever the kids want.
Like I said, more to come. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pets?

Bruce used to want a dog, but when I told him he had to pick up dog poop in the park if he had a dog, he didn't want one anymore. For now, he is happy to borrow one every once in awhile. This one frequents the park by our house and has as much energy as Bruce:



Phoebe loves this dog too. She loves getting licked and loves the slimy ball it keeps bringing back to her. I think by the time we are ready for a dog, the kids will be too old to appreciate it. Bruce informed me that he would like a guinea pig instead of a dog for now. Hmmmm, an animal that doesn't provide any function, show any attachment, and smells terrible. Maybe when Bruce is ready to clean a stinky cage by himself, I'll think about it...

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

NYC: the City that never sleeps

I went to New York City last weekend. The USATF Club Nationals for outdoor track was there, and I wanted to go break 18 minutes in the 5k. It had a lot of fast women in it, and I figured I could shadow their pace. There were some logistical complications to the weekend though.

Scott had his 8-hour-long Step II board exam on Saturday (which he aced, by the way), leaving me on kid duty. I decided to make a trip out of it and I booked bus tickets, contacted a friend to babysit while I ran, another friend to stay with, and made a short list of things we wanted to do in NYC.

We left on Friday night after Baby J went home. The bus was sold out, packed with college kids heading to NYC to party for the weekend. We sat in the back next to a group of students who were pretty nice; one switched seats so Bruce and I could sit next to each other, and another let Bruce play Angry Birds on her cell phone until the battery died. The trip was supposed to take 4 hours, but because of some nasty traffic near the city it took almost 6. Phoebe fell asleep for 2 hours on the bus and Bruce fell asleep just a few minutes before we arrived. I woke Bruce up because I couldn't carry him (I had a 40-pound backpack on me already and was pushing Phoebe in a stroller), and led him on a zombie march to the train and to my friend's house. Bruce crashed on the couch and Phoebe and I flopped onto an air mattress.

Phoebe woke up when we'd exited the bus. She perked up even more when she saw baby toys at Breanne's. It was a challenge to get her to sleep on an air mattress next to toys. She finally fell asleep around 2:30, and I got some sporadic sleep between her flopping around and eventually settling between my legs for the night. As always, Bruce and Phoebe woke up at 6 a.m. Ugh.

We took two buses to get to the stadium and then collapsed in the bleachers with sidewalk chalk, balls, and other items to keep the kiddos busy. Elisabeth came at 9:15 to watch the kids, so I dragged myself out for a warmup. I was absolutely exhausted anyway, but then I got a stomach cramp and stopped about every quarter mile to stretch and knead the knot out of my tummy. The heat and humidity didn't help. Oh no, I thought. I've never had to quit in a race before. But this could be the one.

I toed the starting line next to a bunch of fast ladies and the gun went off. I avoided looking at my watch, fearing what my lap splits would be. The first mile went by in 5:55 and my stomach cramp subsided. I still felt exhausted, but at this point I wanted to finish and I thought it'd be a bonus if I wasn't last. The second mile felt harder, but was slower in 6:04. I managed to pass a few people in the last mile and ran about 6:00. I ended up running 18:42 for 12th place, waaay off my goal pace.

I finished. I wasn't last.

But dragging the kids to NYC for an 18:42 wasn't exactly satisfying, so we had to have a lot of fun afterwards to make up for it.

We wandered through Central Park and played at a splash park and playground. Bruce picked a place for lunch - the Rancho Cafe. New York is not known for its excellent Mexican cuisine, but maybe it should be. Despite the sketchy name, our food was really yummy. Bruce got a scrambled egg/bacon/cheese burrito, Phoebe got rice and beans, and I'm not exactly sure what I ate but it involved a lot of tortillas and perhaps even more lime juice. Awesome.

After lunch, we went swimming with our hosts, Breanne and Jeremiah. The pool was just the right depth for Bruce and he enjoyed playing tag with Breanne. We picked up Thai food on the way home and ate it on their rooftop, which has a great view and was the highlight of the trip for Bruce. He loved the rooftop water towers because they reminded him of this book.

Phoebe put up a fight Saturday night. Bruce fell right asleep, but Phoebe rebelled. It took 2 hours, but 3 bites and a few scratches later she was asleep. Ahhhh. Breanne and I headed to the rooftop for some much-needed relaxation. We chatted until much too late, then headed to bed for a few hours.

We went to church on Sunday morning. Bruce was worried he wouldn't have any friends there, but I walked him to his class and asked the boy sitting next to him if he liked Star Wars and Legos. The kid's eyes lit up. He and Bruce got along just fine. I dropped Phoebe off at the church's nursery and gave some lady who I thought was the leader the rundown - Phoebe's name, where I would be in the building, no allergies, etc. When I picked up Phoebe at the end of church, the lady I'd talked to wasn't there and another leader said they didn't know her name but she was very pleasant the whole time. Poor nameless Phoebe. I'm glad she was good.

After lunch and goodbyes, we headed back to Boston on the bus. The bus ride was longer than expected (only a half-hour late this time), but not as terrible as the ride down. Scott picked us up from the bus station and after listening to our horror stories, had this to say: "I told you so."

I won't be hauling two kids on a bus trip ever again. Perhaps next time they can go help Scott on his test.

p.s. I took a bunch of photos on this trip and accidentally deleted all of them on the bus-ride home. I definitely needed more sleep!

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Bubbles!

videoThis is Phoebe blowing bubbles at the park. One of her favorite words is "bubbles!"

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Summer school

Bruce certainly misses the busy-ness and structure of school, so we've been having our own "school" at home. We do things he's familiar with from kindergarten - choice time, writer's workshop, math workshop, art class - but we've been having lots of field trips and special events too. Pictured above is our trip to the Children's Museum this week.
We also headed to the pool so Bruce could show us his new skills he learned at the YMCA. I'm glad he learned to swim because I had my hands full with Baby J and Phoebe, who was taking every opportunity to try and jump in the pool. She has absolutely no fear. I have enough for the both of us.
We went to the Museum of Fine Arts on Friday. The MFA is huge and the kids have a short attention span, so we saw about 10% of it on this trip. We did get to see a special exhibit of glass-blown art (shown above). Most people had to wait in line for 20 minutes to get into the gallery, but since my kids were so whiny, a museum docent escorted us around the long line. That was awesome - but that was the only advantage of having whiny kids. We sat in an immaculate room of Renaissance art where there were colored pencils and paper for kids to sketch on; Bruce was inspired to draw some Angry Birds. I'm glad we got our cultural experience. On Saturday, we drove to a campground in New Hampshire for our church's youth group "trek." The youth pulled handcarts over 17 miles in three days, sleeping on the ground at night and cooking their own meals. The experience simulates what Mormon pioneers did for months and months to travel west to Utah during the 1840s/50s/60s. I didn't pull a handcart, but I showed up to celebrate the end of their journey, eat a big feast, and swim in a lake at the campground (that's Phoebe thoroughly enjoying throwing sand). After all the hullabaloo, this is what the kids looked like.

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Racing to the race


Last night I raced a 5-miler. The start was at 6:45 p.m. and it was a miracle that I got there on time. When Baby J was picked up at 5:30, I had a friend come to watch the kids until 6:30 when Scott would get home. I ran out the door (literally) and ran to the train station. I caught a train (after giving a shout out to Ellen across the tracks) and put my hair into its traditional 'do while elbowing other people in the face. I arrived at the train station closest to the race at 6:17. I warmed up by running from the station to the race start, which was about 2.5 miles away. I made it there at 6:35. With 10 minutes to go, I grabbed my bib number, visited the ladies room, and pulled my racing flats on. I made it to the start and off we went. The crowd thinned out quickly and soon I was chasing boys, picking them off one by one. I wound up fifth overall and first for women in 31:32. I grabbed a few water bottles, took a few pictures of the Boston skyline (above is the view from the finish line), and skipped the post-race party of beer and hot dogs (what is a vegetarian who doesn't drink alcohol to do?!) for a cooldown back to the train station. Here's today's event coverage and a big picture of my noggin at the Patriot-Ledger. I'm glad I got to race, and can't wait to do it again next weekend - although at a much quicker pace and with less stress in getting to the start line.
(that's my reflection, taking a picture of Boston while going over the Charles River on the train post-race - this is my favorite section of the T, between MGH and Kendall Square)

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