Wednesday, January 31

A Whirlwind Weekend

As I briefly blogged previously, this past weekend was my grandmother's surprise 90th birthday party back in Miami (yes, pictures are posted! [photos courtesy of the Nana]). I figured, as a long as I was home, I might as well run the ING Miami Marathon. True, the marathon started at 6:10 a.m. and the party at 11:30 a.m. and my mother told me if I was even five minutes late, she'd have my butt, but hey, I thrive on a good challenge, right?

We fly down on Friday, and yes, the Pie does scream for pretty much the entire way. (On the way home we discovered the magic remedy for flying with a Pie: night-time Triaminic and chocolate.) We arrive and settle in and I head to the race expo.

At the expo, I spend a good 15 minutes at the Solutions desk trying to decide if I should switch to the half marathon or if indeed I can run the full marathon and still arrive on time. Some folks think I can do it; others are skeptical. I can trade my marathon entry for a half-marathon entry. The other option is to run the race, see how I'm doing, and veer off at the half-marathon if I don't think I have enough time. I opt for the latter option, knowing full well that once I'm wearing my marathon race number and I've picked up my included-with-registration marathon shirt instead of the half marathon shirt, that there's no way my ego can possibly take the half marathon.

After the expo, I eat a carb-loading meal with my folks and the Tweedle Twins. Get to bed... but not to sleep. Because with all of us in the same room, every time Doodles rustles in his Dora bed, the Pie wakes up. And because she can see me lying there, her milk-filled munchies just beckoning across the room, she won't go back to sleep. So we had a couple of hours of tussling getting her down. The next day, we head to David's for breakfast and some cafe con leches. Walk around Lincoln Road. Head back to the condo for resting. And then that evening get a surprise pick-up from my cousin Ollie and his lovely boat, the Triple Play. Most of my relatives were on it, so we go for a lovely sunset cruise, head back for dinner, and another night of no sleep.

I can't blame that no sleep on the kids, as I was in a different room than Doodles, Pie, and Adam in hopes of getting a solid night's sleep, but instead, I tossed and turned and checked my watch every half hour to make sure I hadn't overslept and the strain to see if I could hear Pie crying. I give in and get up at 4 a.m.--and yes, I do hear Pie crying, so I give her a quick feed--get dressed, grab some breakfast, and go. Traffic is worse than I had anticipated, so I'm feeling a little stressed, but I make it and I find a great parking start near the finish line. I head to the start, get in the Portapotty line, when the skies opened and a typical South Florida downpour hit--completely soaking all of us. It was one of those torrential rains that lasts for about a half hour, just making muck of everything.

The race finally begins. I feel good, strong, a lean, mean running machine. I chat for about ten miles with a woman who was wearing a Red Sox hat and just happens to live one town over from me. I see my cousin-in-law and her family at mile 8. My family is shortly after. My cousin-in-law and her daughter (my cousin) reappear at mile 10 and--bless them, because I really needed the encouragement then--at mile 24.

The marathon Web site really breaks down my stats and apparently I picked up my speed between the half and the 18 mile mark, which makes sense given that at about mile 20 I could start to feel the fade. My knee felt strong, my legs felt okay, but I just didn't have the steam. I was a consistent 5.8 mph for the first half and the last quarter, but that penultimate quarter I picked it up to 6 mph, which was a mistake. It was unintentional, too--I had thought I was maintaining pace (I track overall pace rather than pace of the moment on my Garmin, so it can be hard for me to tell where I am pacewise at a given time). I just felt really strong, so I suppose I unconsciously picked things up.

I'm pushing it toward the end, just taking it mile by mile, my legs screaming, trying to mentally push myself to the finish, all hopes of a new PR long gone. My only goal is to finish at this point in under 4:30.

At the end, I give it that last push, I put everything I had into it, and I force myself through the finish line in 4:29:38. I grab a chicken sandwich and a banana to go, and instead of partaking in the festivities or allowing my body the recovery it needs, I head immediately to my rental car, climb in, and then realize why you're supposed to walk for a good long time after a marathon: the muscle in my right calf starts pulsing and my left leg stiffens. Then my right foot--my driving foot--completely cramps up, but I quickly work it out and hit the road.

With my Mapquest in hand, I book for the highway, off to the swanky hotel my grandmother's surprise 90th birthday party is being held out. I'm still wet from the earlier rain and sweat (the humidity didn't allow for any drying out), one eye is on the road, and the other eye is on the clock. It's 11:14 a.m., I'm on U.S. 1, and I've promised to be there by 11:30.

At exactly 11:26 I arrive at the hotel. Still wearing my sweaty clothes, my race bib, and (of course) my medal, I leave the car with the valet (a little embarrassed at the sweaty seat, but hey, that comes with the territory), hop out, run inside to ask what room I'm going to, dash upstairs (okay, I took the elevator--at this point I was all out of dash), and enter the party room at exactly 11:29.

My grandmother arrives, is dutifully surprised, and I sneak out to the fitness club where in a record ten minutes, I shower, dress, and semi-dry my hair and am back at the party. I manage to carry my upset son to the buffet, feed my daughter, perform in a family skit (that I wrote), and generally behave like a person who has not just run 26.2 miles.

At the end of the party, it's time to go. I need to return the rental and then head back to my parents' condo for a well-deserved nap. It's been a long trip and we need to pack to return the next day. My mom is to follow me when I drop off my car so she can take me back to the condo.

I mention to my mom, "I've got to stop and get gas first, so I'll leave now. Where's my valet ticket?"

My mom looks at me with horror. "You valeted your car?!? That's twelve dollars!!"

Yes. Yes, it is. Sigh.

Anyway, we made it home with minimal difficulties, although there's always a rough readjustment to home life. Doodles of course didn't want to go to school (his new procrastination method? When told it's time to leave, he declares, "I need to use the potty!"). The Pie is back to her nonsleeping habits. And I have work that I'm not doing so that I may blog for you. In other words, back to normal! Now, what marathon should I run next...?

Odd Moments over the Weekend

At the party, a wedding was going on. At one point Doodles was in the hall playing, when suddenly he gets up suddenly and runs back toward me at high speed. He begins to shout, in utter panic, as she does indeed walk toward the restroom, "There's a bride! There's a bride!" Nice. Not even three and a half and the boy is already a complete commitmentphobe.


We got to spend a little time with my friend Tina and her daughter Elfin Girl. Elfin Girl is a yummy-looking petite child and I was quite nervous when we spent time with her because every time we got together, I swear Pie looked at Elfin Girl and thought, "Mmmm, breakfast!"


When talking with his father about an upcoming business trip, Doodles asked his Adam: Where are you going?
Adam: To London.
Doodles: Can I come?
Adam: When we strike it rich, you can come too.
Doodles: Good. California and London are my favorite countries.


I lived in fear of somehow running into my grandmother with Doodles. Doodles is not known for his ability to keep a secret and I had told him about the party. Just the weekend before was my father-in-laws birthday celebration. Adam took Doodles with him to buy the birthday present. It was a whole bunch of Omaha Steaks. When my FIL came in, Doodles yelled: We got you steaks!
FIL: What?
Doodles: We got you steaks!

Luckily, my FIL has no idea what the boy is talking about, although everyone else is cracking up. Adam had put the steaks in a box that our computer paper had come in. When FIL opened up the paper, he said: Oh, what is this?

Adam: Maybe it's paper!
Doodles: Maybe it's steak!

Luckily for us, we didn't see my grandmother until the party so the secret was safe.


One of our little potty training tricks was to have Doodles's bear--Boy Bear--potty train, too. There were times Doodles didn't want to use the potty, but Boy Bear had to go, so Doodles would go, too. So of course when Doodles began wearing underwear, Boy Bear began wearing underwear, too.

One morning in Miami, I was sleeping in and Doodles, Pie, and Adam were playing in the living room. Occasionally Doodles wants to change his underwear for no apparent reason, which we allow. This was one of those times.

Doodles: I want new underwear on.
Adam: We don't have any extra underwear we'll have to wait until Mommy gets up.
Doodles, grabbing Boy Bear: Hello!? Extra underwear!

Boy Bear, I'm sure happily, is back to his natural bottomless state.

My Race Stats (for Anyone Who Cares)

See the graphical versions on the marathon web site.

I was:

1121st place with 1399 finishers behind. About 44% of finishers ahead.
268th place with 659 finishers behind. About 29% of finishers ahead.
49th place with 107 finishers behind. About 31% of finishers ahead.

Of the 2522 who finished, 37% were female and 63% were male.
For the record, you were ahead of about 46% of male finishers

You averaged 5.8 Miles per Hour - 9.4 Kilometers per Hour
Average Mile: 10 min. 17 sec.
Average Kilometer: 6 min. 23 sec.

Breakfast of Champions

Okay, cookie dough for breakfast really is disgusting. Please don't ask me how I know this. Just trust me on it.

Edited at 12:32 p.m.: Cookie dough for lunch is also pretty gross. For the record.

Wednesday, January 24

Potty Mouth

Even though this says it was posted by me (Jenny), I am hereby turning over the keyboard to Adam who is going to be my guest Blogger tonight:

Potty training is the talk of the house these days. The majority of the talk is a steady stream of reminders:
"Doodles, do you have to use the potty?"
"Doodles, it's time to use the potty."
"Doodles, stop pulling on the toilet paper."
"Doodles, get your hands out of your underwear."
"Doodles, stop pulling on that!"

But today, I took Doodles to preschool and it was pretty clear he needed to use the potty when we got there. So instead of dropping him off and heading straight to work, I shepherded him to the bathroom and settled in for the next half hour. Consider it one of the better schemes he's hatched to keep us from leaving him at school.

Here's a random sampling of the conversation between one very curious three year old and his late-for-work father:

D: Daddy, there's only one roll of toilet paper.
D: Is the other roll missing?
D: Is the toilet paper holder broken?
D: Why don't they fix it.

D: Daddy, are plumbers make believe?
A: Oh no, I've paid their bills. They're definitely real.

D: Daddy, where does poop come from?
A: When you eat food, you're tummy takes out all the energy and what's left is poop.
D: And then the poop comes out?
A: Right.
D: Does poop come out of your p*enis?
A: It shouldn't.

A: (checking email on his treo)
D: Why are you playing with your phone?
A: I'm checking my email while you use the potty.
D: We don't use the phone on the potty. That's crazy.

D: Daddy, why is there a drain in the floor?
A: So when they clean, the water can go down the drain.
D: Is there a shower in here?
A: No, no shower.
D: What's at the bottom of the drain?
A: Water
D: And tea?

Speed Blog

I'm having a completely and totally stressed-out week, so you guys are just getting bullet points today:

  • I missed a dentist appointment. I'm the most organized person around; I never miss appointments. But I was sitting here at my desk when the phone rang and the dentist said, "Where are you?" I forgot it. Plain and simple forgot it.
  • I've developed a full-blown addiction to Peppermint Patties. I go through like a pack a day. I start to shake when I can't get to them. It's getting a little out of control. I may need to find a support group.
  • The Pie has been sick. Missed Monday at day care and I probably shouldn't have sent her today but I have a freelance job due Friday. We're headed back home for my grandmother's surprise 90th birthday party, which means two flights in one weekend with the Screaming Pie. (Or maybe not! Did everyone see this story?) I have a skit to write for the party. And, oh, I just might run the Miami marathon for which I am really not 100% prepared (or I might run the 1/2 marathon for which I'm overprepared). The question: Can I run a marathon starting at 6:10 a.m. and still be on time for the party at 11:30 a.m.? I've decided to make a midrace decision (I'm pretty sure I can do that--just finish at the half instead of the full). A half marathon seems so, so, well, wussy! Do you think if I ask nicely they'd let me start the race an hour early?
  • Dare I speak it? Or write it, for that matter? Dare I utter these words? For over a week now, the Doodlebug has been in... underwear! It's involved way more conversation about poop than I could have imagined possible, but hey, if it works, it works!
  • Started ice skating lessons with the kids. Doodles loved it. Pretty sure he's the next Bobby Orr or Brian Boitano. Pie? Not so much. I'm pretty sure I've got the next Tonya Harding on my hands with that one.
  • How can I be out of Peppermint Patties? Oh, woe is me!!

Wednesday, January 17


A little random stream-of-consciousness posting tonight because I'm too tired to really post. Haven't been getting a lot of sleep lately--going to bed too late (my fault), waking up too early (kids' fault)--and tonight I went out for a belated birthday dinner with my friend Hannah (happy quarter century, Hannah!), so I'm really not in the mood to come up with anything clever, entertaining, or witty. So here's unpolished me.

Let's see, went to a La Leche meeting last night. Incredibly nice group of women. I felt odd--my very first La Leche meeting and I showed up because I don't want to breastfeed anymore. They were very cool about it. After hearing my woes of weaning, they suggested some techniques, told me to hang in there, and then after I told even more Pie stories, a number of them asked me if I've read the book Raising Your Spirited Child. I fear this is indeed the direction we're heading. I probably should just go ahead and order this now, except that I've had a self-imposed ban on child-rearing books (they just make my eyes glaze over after a while) and I really don't feel ready to dive back in.

Doodles keeps asking the tough questions. Last week he asked me, "When were people built?" I explained that people have been around for a long, long time. To which he asked the logical question, "Why?" No one ever told me I'd need an advanced philosophy/theology degree to raise a preschooler. The poor kid is going to think he's deaf for all the times I mumble incoherently, "I have no idea why." But then he gets cute, and it's so sweet like when we were walking to music class, and I asked, "Who's ready to dance?" and he called out, "Me!" then after thinking for just a moment said, "Mommy, the wind is dancing with my hair!" He's become this very sweet, very sensitive little person. A little person, I should add, who has a newfound love for underwear but no desire to do what's necessary to keep it on.

I should go to sleep because I'm not even doing a real stream of conscious. Not that you'd really want one. The things that go on in this brain of mine are alternately frightening and mind-numbingly boring. I've been thinking about taking a hiatus from this blog so I could focus more on my novel--time spent here is time not spent working on my writing--but I keep wussing out. After all, other than Adam, this blog is the only thing in my life with which I've had such a long-term relationship (over five years now). Here, this and this is what I was doing five years ago today, back when I was wedding planning and Adam was merely an MBA-wannabe. I can barely even remember those days now that I'm knee deep in Bob the Builder underwear and "Winkle Winkle Ittle Ssssss" (which is pretty much a direct transliteration of what Pie calls it).

All right, enough! Over and out.

Wednesday, January 10

Dress Up Time

A good friend had her baby early (a little too early, but everything looks fine), so we took her son for the day yesterday. I'll call him Murdoch, in honor of the train he and Doodles fought over. Both kids actually did pretty well, given that Murdoch hadn't had his mom home in a bit and that Doodles had eight hours of another child in his space. There were a few battles over toys. And food. And nothing. For the most part though, it was great, but I was a little worn out. Normally Pie naps; Doodles doesn't. But when Pie goes to sleep, I tell Doodles that it's my quiet time and he has to entertain himself. It works moderately well--I can generally get a half hour or forty-five minutes to decompress. But with two non-nappers in the house, there was no quiet time for me. I was a wee bit frazzled, just from trying to satisfy the demands of the three of them.

For small part of the time, Murdoch and Pie were playing downstairs in our playroom. Doodles was upstairs by himself, which is not a problem. Doodles came down at one point with a T-shirt on over his sweater.

Doodles: Look, Mommy! I put on a shirt all by myself!
Me: Yes, you did!
Doodles: Can you take my shirts off so I can put on something else?
Me: Sure.

After I take off his shirt (they were on too tightly for him to get off himself), he disappeared back upstairs. A few minutes later he comes back with no pants and his pajama top on. He goes back upstairs. Returns with all of his pajamas on but the top unbuttoned. I hear him playing with his trains, and about twenty minutes later, he comes back with a blue turtleneck and jeans on. Goes back up. Comes back with sweats on, still the blue turtleneck. A bit later, a T-shirt on over the turtleneck. I can just envision the mess he's made of his dresser, but he's entertained, so what do I care?

Doodles: I'm going to go put something else on so I'm warm.
Me: Okay.

Doodles heads upstairs. He comes back.

Doodles: I'm going to put something else on.
Me: Okay.

It's not till the fourth time he does this that I realize he still has on the T-shirt, turtleneck, and sweats.

Doodles: I'm going to go put something else on.
Me: Doodles, what are you putting on?

Doodles hesitates for a moment.

Doodles: Grown-up stuff.

I look more closely. Doodles is... shiny?

Me: What kind of grown-up stuff?

I begin to follow him up the stairs.

Doodles: Lotion.

He scampers into his room. I call after him: What kind of lotion?
I enter his room, and before he replies, the answer is obvious. There's a shiny handprint on the dresser. On the top of a drawer. I open the drawer and see a little train of shine.

Doodles: The kind you dip your hand into it.

And there it is. In the back of his pajama drawer. A jar of Vaseline. And it's covered in goo.

I wanted to say, "We don't do this." I wanted to say, "Let's clean up this mess together." But all that came out was laughter, which was perfect for a day with three kids. Just when I'm ready to throw in the towel, they go and smear Vaseline everywhere and make it all worthwhile.

A Brief Interruption

We interupt this blog for a special message. There seems to be some confusion among even my most loyal readers, so I'd like to remind everyone:

--Doodles is not potty trained.
--Pie is not weaned.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog.


I... must... have... an... iPhone! Arg! When is it being released? Can't wait that long! Maybe I'll make it my potty reward if/when I get that boy trained.

Potty Talk

On that note, we had the following conversation last week:

Me: Time to use the potty, Doodles!
Doodles: I don't have to go.
Me: Are you sure? You haven't gone at all today.
Doodles: No potty.
Me: Did you know that right now this very second in California, T. Rex is using the potty?
Doodles: Why?
Me: Because it's potty time!
Doodles: What day is it?
Me: Um, Thursday.
Doodles: Oh. I don't use the potty on Thursdays.

Wednesday, January 3

Permanent Vacation

We're back. We survived. I have a sore throat and the everyday life is starting to creep back in; Pie is sleeping the sleep of, well, okay, she's not sleeping; Doodles is oversugared, overexhausted, and overwhelmed; and Adam is already immersed back in work.

Everytime we go back to Miami Beach, I think, "Why don't we live here?" Our yearly New Year's trip, complete with baby-friendly New Year's Eve party at my cousins' house, is always the worst because back home is dreary and gray. A Miami Beach? Miami Beach is naked children. Ice cream. Playground weather in winter. Family babysitters. Cousins and friends who like to drink. Captains that will boat us around the bay. Stone crabs.

But then reality sets in. We can't afford the kind of house I grew up in and we'd end up living in a tiny hovel in a great school district or a lovely spacious house in a school district I couldn't send my kids to. Ice cream is fattening. Naked children get sunburns. Stone crabs can make me sick if I eat too many of them.

And, of course, most of our fun we is with my buddies. My high school friend Rachel (all though that's misleading--we were definitely not what one could call "friends" in high school, but she is currently a very good friend and I originally knew her in high school. Makes complete sense, right?) and her two kids who are each almost exactly six months younger than Doodles and Pie respectively (let's call them T. Rex and Pad here). My buddy Tina has a wee little nine-month-old daughter (Elfin Girl) who is no longer at an office job and available for fun. My cousin-in-law is a hoot and can always be counted on to be the punch line of a joke. But Rachel now lives all the way over in "Frinsisisco" (which is sort of how T. Rex would say it) and Tina lives just far enough north that last-minute visits to the park would be unlikely and Jennifer (the CIL) has two nearly grown children with busy schedules and apparently she has to appease their whims before she appeases mine.

So moving back to the Beach really isn't feasible. But sitting here now, with bags to unpack, a dreaded 4 a.m. wake-up call ahead of us, and absolutely no plans for a dreary day tomorrow, I just want to go back.

Beach Highlights

So what did we do on our vacation? Sigh:

    Doodles and T. Rex
  • Captain Stoney piloted us around Biscayne Bay aboard the Triple Play and I in my foolish hurry forgot to bring a bathing suit, forcing me to don the two-piece swimsuit of my twelve-year-old cousin. Pad was supposed to nap... so Pie drifted off within minutes of, um, lift off? and stayed asleep until I picked her up and carried her off the boat over two hours later, thereby averting her normal naptime, enabling her to fall asleep an hour and a half early that night, and starting the 4 a.m. wake up call. Pad, bless her little heart, stayed determinedly awake, completely skipping her nap.

  • T. Rex inspired my son--my toilet-fearing son--to use the potty! Ever since Doodles got a glimpse of T. Rex's monkey underwear, he's had true motivation to do the potty deed. My fervent hope is that it progresses without the constant presence of T. Rex and his undies.

  • Doodles wanted to go bowling like we did last trip. So we headed to the alley with Rachel and gang. Rachel, her husband, and T. Rex played against me, Adam, and Doodles. Pad and Pie scooted around, with the nonwalking Pad mostly just tentatively heading out and then returning to munch on fries while Pie took full advantage of parental desire to do something other than bodily corral her and tried to wreak as much havoc as possible including a run down the lane that had me chasing her upon an oiled surface, causing me to fall, skid down the lane, topple her, in what could very well have been a Simpsonsesque slide into the pins (but wasn't).

  • Cafe con leches. Cafe con leches. Cafe con leches. Can you say, "WIRED!"

  • Doodles joined the polar bear club and he dragged me, kicking and screaming, with him. What is it with those under the age of four that they don't seem to notice that while they are being carried, with toes barely dipping into the frigid water, that the adults doing that carrying are turning blue.

  • I did a twenty-mile long run. Hung over. And now the taste of Gatorade makes me slightly nauseous. And I lost a toe nail.

There's more to tell, of course--there's always more to tell--but I like the idea of ending on my toe nail, so there you have it.

Doodle Speak

Preschooler conversation #1:
T. Rex: Hi.
Doodles: Hi.
T. Rex [holding up a purple matchbox car]: This is my car.
Doodles: Um, um, I have a truck! At home! It's purple. And has yellow on it. It's a truck. At home.
T. Rex: This is my car.

Preschooler conversation #2:
Doodles [pointing outside]: Do you know what this is called?
T. Rex: What?
Doodles: Do you know what this is called?
T. Rex: No.
Doodles: It's called balcony.
T. Rex: Bacony?
Doodles: No, balcony.
T. Rex: Bacony?
Doodles: No, balcony.

After a three-hour plane ride with much turbulence back home, we all made beelines for the bathrooms. Doodles, still feeling inspired by T. Rex, declares his need to go, so Adam takes him in with him. Doodles does manage to do his business and then had to wait for his father. I wasn't there, obviously, for the conversation, but it was reported back to me that Doodles had many questions, including: Why does your p*enis have so much pee in it? Daddy, why is this taking so long? Daddy, why are you still peeing?

Doodles: Can I go play at T. Rex's house?
Me: I wish you could. But T. Rex lives far, far away. It would take six hours just to fly there.
Doodles: Oh. Can I go to T. Rex's birthday party?
Me: Still six hours away. So no.

Back home, during a pizza dinner, apropos of absolutely nothing:
Doodles: I'm growing slowly!
Me: What?
Doodles: I'm growing slowly!
Adam: Yes, growing does take a long time.
Doodles: I'm growing too slowly!
Me: Sweetie, you're growing at just the right speed. It takes a long time to grow.
Doodles: No, I'm growing too slowly! Look at my body! [He points to his belly.]
Me: It's a lovely body.
Doodles: I'm growing down!