Monday, July 30, 2012

Hello, Joe!

I follow Women's Running Magazine on Facebook, and today they posted an item about coffee that made me smile. According to the Mayo Clinic, it has been determined that coffee (and other caffeinated beverages) do not actually dehydrate you as we've been told for however long. I personally stopped drinking coffee almost entirely when I started training for my half marathon because I was worried about dehydration. Running 6 days a week meant there was rarely a morning I could enjoy a cup of coffee thinking I'd be dehydrating myself before my run. So for those of you who need a coffee boost before your run, or if you're like me and have been avoiding it, the Mayo Clinic (while they don't recommend coffee as a source of hydration) says it's OK :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Sniffles

C-baby woke up this morning not feeling her best. She was sporting a runny nose and a dry cough. I was originally scheduled to do a photo shoot at 11, but it has been rainy all day so that got cancelled. She asked to watch a movie and chose Babe, so our day pretty much looked like this...

We're currently attempting nap time, but even with a humidifier she is restless. Poor baby. Luckily we have an unusually quiet weekend planned so hopefully she'll be able to rest up and bounce back quickly.

In other news... check out the excitement happening over on Planted & Blooming!!
We're so happy for them! :D

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Library Day

It was around 100 degrees today and C-baby was recovering from a 36-hour fever (no other symptoms)  so we decided to make it a library day. We picked up some new music to listen to and spent some time running around and reading lots of new books. I love free entertainment :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Because I'm a Hologram

Today I had to serve jury duty for the first time in my life. If you've never had that misfortune your own self, let me just say there's a reason why people dread it. Maybe actually being a juror could be interesting, but you have to go through the selection process first. Jury selection is the most inefficient process I've ever witnessed. I would liken it to spending the day at the MVA, with less comfortable seats. All I could think about all day was this 30 Rock episode...


Sadly I forgot my Playgirl magazines so I was unable to use Liz's awesome scheme to get myself sent home. As for real life jury duty, here is the shortest description I can offer...
- Fifty potential jurors enter the courtroom, roll is called.
- The judge explains the basics of the case.
- The judge asks questions such as, "do you have any connection to the people involved in the case," or "have you ever been a victim of, accused of, or witness to the crime in the case" to identify any partiality that jurors might have. Then when each question is asked, every person who has a response to the question goes up to the bench one at a time and explains their response to the judge. Only then can jurors actually be selected. 

I had to report at 8:30 am. We were in the courtroom by 9:45, and the selection process was finally complete just after noon. The case was a lady suing her former employer for wrongful termination. She felt that she had been fired from her job because she has Parkinson's disease. To give you an idea of the questioning process, one of the questions we were asked was, "Do you or does anyone in your family work in the medical profession?" Do I even have to tell you that 53 out of 50 people got up to answer that one? One. At. A. Time. Might I add that  we were seated on wooden pews for the duration of this 2+ hour process. For that case the attorneys selected the jurors and there were only 6 (I guess because it was a civil case?). Those of us who were not selected were so lucky that there was another case in the afternoon they needed us for so we couldn't just go home.

The second case was a criminal case, so that alone made it a little more interesting. The process was sadly the same. Long. Painful. The jury selection itself was a little different. They called jurors up 3 at a time and asked both sides if they approved each juror. The state had 5 options to excuse someone and the defense had 10. I was juror #49 out of 53 and thought for sure they would never get to me since they were only selecting 12 jurors and 2 alternates. Because they can excuse people after approving them, it wasn't simply the first 12 people they agreed on. In the end juror #47 ended up being seated as alternate #2. Close call.

My biggest complaint about serving jury duty is that we don't have child care. It's not just a matter of taking off work. J or someone else we know would have to take off work. J did take off today, but he has surgery scheduled in a few weeks and we really need to save up his leave time from work since he'll have to be out for 3 weeks. Luckily in the process of weeding out jurors on the basis of partiality, they also ask if you have any reason it would present you with a hardship to serve for the duration of the case. I happily explained that we don't have a child care provider and we needed my husband's paid leave for surgery in a few weeks. Whether that saved me or not, I neither know or care. All I know is that I'm home free for 3 more years! 


In some happier news, here are some cute photos from a first birthday party we attended on Saturday. The birthday girl's name is Scarlett and she's about the most beautiful Filipino-Caucasian-African American-Native American child (with blond hair and blue eyes!) you could ever find.

I was immediately dressed up when C discovered what was in her thank-you bag from the party. Amazingly she was way more interested in putting the jewelry on me than on herself. Later on she did examine the tiara a bit closer and told me it had "beautiful diamonds!" Haha :)

Happy Monday, all!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday Night Os Game

Oriole Park is practically a second home to our 2-year old. She recognizes it in pictures as well as when we pass it on the freeway. She knows the warehouse, the crab game, the "charge" music, and screams "Let's Go Os!" so loudly that it draws the attention and giggles of our entire section. All of this makes her daddy, a life-long diehard fan, very very proud :)

We bought cheap tickets and went to the game last night for Matt Wieters jersey night. Despite the nasty loss to Detroit, a night at Oriole Park never disappoints.

National Anthem


One of the best parts of summer :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Purses and Play-places

We ventured to the mall this morning to check out a children's show I had heard about recently. We were late (not unusual) but still arrived about 20 minutes before the show was scheduled to end. When we got there everything was being packed up. I didn't bother stopping to ask questions since C had spotted a nearby fountain and was really excited about that. Maybe we'll try again next week?

We walked over to the fountain and she started taking off her shoes telling me she wanted to go IN the water. Oops.

While we happened to be at the mall, I have been on the search for quite literally months trying to find a cross-body purse that isn't ugly. Anyone who has ever had to get a child in and out of a car seat on a regular basis, sometimes with bags of groceries and obnoxious parcels like a 12-pack of paper towels, understands the need for a purse that physically can't fall off your shoulder. I didn't think about it much when I still carried a diaper bag because it strapped across my body. When I decided to stop carrying that and switch back to a regular purse, I quickly realized the impracticality of any bag that didn't strap across my body. 

Thus, the search began. Have you ever looked for a cross-body purse? There are a handful of cute ones out there. Coach makes some really lovely ones. Sadly, neither my bank account nor my every day wardrobe is compatible with a $300+ purse. While there are some cute cross-body purses out there, most of them are very square, flat, and made of nylon. My desire to not look like a tourist or a 12-year old eliminated all of those options. It's times like these when being type-A really bites me in the butt. I end up fabricating the ideal purse in my head to meet my own specific personal needs and then frustrate myself on an endless quest to discover that such a bag doesn't exist. Alas, this morning I finally came across one that was reasonably close to what I had in mind. Neutral in color, spacious without being big, stylish shape (not square!), reasonably priced. Actually, here it is...
Satisfied with that purchase, we walked out of the store and into the mall. Inconveniently, just outside the store was the mall's play area (sponsored by the local hospital, ironically). I had long ago sworn that no child of mine would play in a mall or fast food play place. They just seem like germ heaven to me, and call me what you will but I just can't say I trust the mall custodial staff to clean the area up to my standards. We take health and cleanliness very seriously in our household. I'm quite proud of the fact that C is over 2 years old and has never been on antibiotics. Granted, she doesn't go to daycare, but we also don't sit in the house all day sanitizing things. We go to the playground, the library, play dates, stores, restaurants, etc. She touches things. She also sucks her thumb which means that much more stuff goes directly in her mouth. We're just really vigilant about hand-washing and general good hygiene. So ordinarily, I would have walked right by the play area without giving it a thought, but C had already told me this morning that she wanted to play at the playground (with her hands on my cheeks which makes it much harder to deny). I told myself that my fear was unfounded and I was just being over-protective. Tons of kids play in there all the time and look, their parents are sitting on benches reading books. Certainly there is nothing to fear. And we went in. 

This is where all of my fears were confirmed. My first horrifying realization was that all the children playing had their shoes off. Ugh. I missed that at the gate. But, I sucked it up and took off her sandals to let her play. My second horrifying realization was that it smelled like sweaty little-kid feet [shudder]. At first C was apprehensive. There were no fewer than half a dozen children who were very obviously beyond the height limit posted at the play area entry. I'd guess they were around 8-10 years old stomping around among children too young to walk. 

Eventually C got brave enough to try climbing on a little play ambulance (sponsored by the hospital, you recall). She was excited and thought it was great. As she climbed on and off other things and ran around on the squishy, bouncy floor, I stayed nearby to make sure she didn't get kicked or stepped on by some of the bigger kids who seemed totally unaware that they were playing on pre-school play equipment among toddlers and pre-schoolers.

In our wandering around I began to observe some other horrifying things like a child walking around with a band-aid hanging off her leg, several adults blowing their noses, non-walking babies clearly under the age of one with no adult anywhere near them. As I looked around the perimeter for an adult that could possibly be supervising this young baby, I saw parents holding and talking to even tinier babies, parents doing things on smart phones, parents reading books, and parents talking to each other. Not that unsupervised babies are a hazard to anyone, but they are in a little bit of danger themselves! Lastly, and perhaps most disturbing, I watched a mom explain to a little girl that she would be sitting on this bench if the little girl needed her... then another little girl 8 feet away said, "Mom, I'm over here." ACK! 

Luckily it was close enough to lunch time that we only spent about 15 minutes there. We sanitized our hands as soon as we got back to the stroller and high-tailed it out. I was thrilled to have a new purse, and C was satisfied to have played with some kids for a little while. 

We washed our hands while singing the ABCs immediately when we got home. Also funny, but unrelated to our adventure at the mall, C asked to use the potty while I was getting our lunch ready. She ended up doing both #1 and #2 (yay!) so when she was finished I told her she could pick two stickers. I then walked into the kitchen to check on our lunch and when I came back she looked like this...

Seeming to have no problem, she went on to play and color like this until it was time to eat. 
That's my funny girl :)

I think we're headed to the library tomorrow morning, so we'll see what kind of fresh fun that provides!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In Training

I've had very little spare time over the past several weeks since I have been spending five days a week training. My friend Katherine and I decided to run the Baltimore Running Festival half marathon together in October. We've both been runners for a while but neither of us has been super serious trainers in terms of training for events and such. I joined a running group last fall and enjoyed that for the most part, but for whatever reason it just didn't get me on track the way I had hoped. I ran through the winter, but not as seriously as I should have, and then knew that I wanted to run a half marathon this year. I decided not to push it too hard and sign up for one in the spring (it got really hot really early this year so I'm glad I didn't do that), and that left me with all of spring and summer to get serious again and get ready for a half marathon in the fall. I started an actual training program 5 weeks ago and have been running 5 days a week ever since.

Training for me takes place on our treadmill while C is taking her nap. Most people I know who are runners love running outside and hate treadmills, but I am the opposite. The treadmill offers all kinds of flexibility when it comes to weather and time of day. I never have to run in the dark, or the cold, or the heat, or any precipitation. I don't need J to be home or for anyone else to watch C while I run because I don't have to leave the house. I can run while she sleeps so I don't have to sacrifice time spent with her in order to run. Most importantly, I can run safely without even the slightest worry that I could be mugged, assaulted, or worse while out running by myself. I know that many many people run outside alone every single day and only the tiniest percentage ever have any ill-fated experiences doing so. But since I have the option, and there are so many other advantages to running on the treadmill, that's where you'll find me... 5 days a week :)

I don't love running, and I'm not sure if I ever will, but I do really love the sense of accomplishment that comes with training. Every week I feel like the long run is an almost impossible goal, and yet every week I complete it. Interestingly, the more I run the more motivated I feel. I can't wait to reach the next milestone. My friend Katherine and I will finish our training plan well in advance of the actual event, so that will give us plenty of time to work on some other stuff to improve our speed and really get comfortable with the distance. Needless to say, we're both super excited about working towards such a cool accomplishment and being able to do it together.

Got any fun running or training stories? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Let Freedom Ring

This year we celebrated 236 years of freedom and independence. Two hundred thirty-six years since so many gave their lives in the name of limited government and limited taxation. Two hundred thirty-six years since our Founding Fathers signed the document that officially made the British Colonies into the United States of America. The birth of a nation is a pretty big deal. And even as we celebrate with family, friends, and fellow Americans 236 years after the fact, I can't help but reflect on just how blessed I feel to have been born here. I'm a strong adamant believer that the United States is the greatest nation to ever rise up on the face of this planet. The Founders had it right without a doubt. They were geniuses born of an oppressive, intrusive, over-controlling monarchy. Thank God they had the courage to do what they did. Thank God they put it on paper and made it official. Thank God that 236 years later we are still adhering (for the most part) to their genius ideas. Thank God that countless men and women over the past 236 years have believed those ideas are worth giving their lives to defend. And thank God that the rest of us simply get to enjoy the benefits of it all by living here in the United States.

That's how I feel about the 4th of July anyway. Here's how we celebrated...

Friends of ours got married on Tuesday night, so we kicked off the holiday at their wedding. C might have stolen the show a little by pairing her irresistible cuteness with some hot dance moves. We literally had to drag her off the dance floor at 11pm to go home.

On the 4th we cooked out at my mom's house with my sister and her kids. My brother, SIL, and their little one were away at the beach with friends. Usually we all head up to my sister's area (about 45 minutes north of us and a bit more country) to watch fireworks and let the kids run around and play together. The threat of storms and the long drive convinced us to head back home and try to catch fireworks near our house. Luckily although it was late, we did find a good spot on the roof of a parking garage at the mall. Fireworks were being set off across the street from the mall so we were a little distance away but still had a great view. C was a little tired by 9:30 when the show started, but she enjoyed them still. For me, 4th of July is just not complete without fireworks. It's like a birthday party with no cake or presents or singing.

I hope you also got to spend the 4th doing whatever it is you do to celebrate and reflect on how blessed we are to be here, safe and free, in this amazing country!