Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First Day of School 2013

Yesterday was the kids' first day of school.  I've got a Kindergartner, a second grader and one in fifth grade.  How is that even possible?  

Jack was totally excited for his day.  He got a new back pack even though he didn't need one and was excited it was camo.  I love that he clipped on his two little furry friends (Fetch and Root Beer).

Jack is in the half day program (they only have half day at our school) so I wasn't overly sad.  He's at school for just 2.5 hours and I knew he'd be totally fine.  

Jack was also very excited to ride the bus and when it came, he hopped right on and never looked back.  I'm so happy he's that type of kid.  I much rather that than him sobbing and reaching out to me as the bus drives away. 

When I went to pick him up, he was all smiles and reported a great day.

Then there's little miss diva, my second grader.  She was so happy to be getting back to school.  She just loves it.  

She had her outfit picked out and her new Vera Bradley back pack.  She elected for a sock bun for her hair.

Despite her air of confidence, she did seem a little nervous about finding her classroom.  She asked me the direction to make sure she knew which way to go.  

When she got off the bus, all her fears had been put to rest.  She found her classroom (and there were people there to help, just like I had said) and she had a great day meeting her teacher and new friends.

Then there's Nicholas.  Oh Nicholas.  He just does NOT like school.  He never has really.  It bores him.  It's kind of scary because I don't want to "lose" him at some point.  That's a story for another day, however.  Let's just say he is a much bigger fan of summer fun.

I thought he looked so adorable.   It's no accident this outfit is head to toe Nike.  Can't mix brands.  Ok he might occasionally, but he doesn't like to do it.  

As he was getting off the bus, he was telling all the kids, "Oh no they're taking pictures." 

He promptly covered his face.

He reported a good day as well, but would have jumped for joy if I said he didn't have to go back again today.

I'm sad that summer is over, but I'm enjoying getting back into somewhat of a routine.  I do better with a schedule, rather than just a free for all.  I tend to do a lot less of everything in the summer.  Time to crack down.

Here's to a GREAT school year.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Pedal Pittsburgh Race Recap

So I lost a bunch of pictures I took from the Pedal Pittsburgh ride.  You see I have the dual problem that both my phone and my laptop are at their full capacity.  I need to delete the pics from my phone, but want to put them in my photostream on my computer first, but I can't do that since my computer is full.  So I freed some space on my computer (so I thought) and hit to "delete" on my phone, only to find out there wasn't enough room on my computer to download them.  Thus, the pics are gone.  I know they're there somewhere, but I'm not technologically advanced and waiting for George to do it may take awhile.  So... I have a few pics that I uploaded to Facebook.  That's what you get.  Do you even care?  I didn't think so.

Anyway, Pedal Pittsburgh is just what it sounds like.  It's pedaling through the city of Pittsburgh... on a bike, in case you didn't figure that part out.  I did it with my bother (Tim) and George.  Tim live in Indiana and drove out for the ride.  He originally intended on doing the metric century (62 miles) with George, but I signed up for the 25 miler. 

I basically told Tim he was crazy to tackle the 62 miler.  Not because he can't handle the milage (he did 100 miles a few weeks back), but because the climbs seemed really tough and stop and go through the city didn't sound very conducive to 62 miles.  After MUCH coercion, I talked him into doing the 25 miles.  I was relieved because I really didn't want to do 25 miles all by my lonesome.

I really love the city of Pittsburgh.  It might not seem like much to people who aren't from here (and I get that), but to me it's a really cool city.  I love the bridges and the rivers.  I love that it's old and has older neighborhoods nestled throughout.  I love that my college alma mater is basically a metro area.  I just love Pittsburgh.  My bother feels the same way.

We started off in South Side works and rode through

  • Pittsburgh’s Historic South Side
  • Downtown
  • Northside
  • Strip District
  • Bloomfield
  • East Liberty
  • Highland Park
  • Larimer
  • Point Breeze
  • Squirrel Hill
  • Oakland
  • and Uptowon

I won't go through the course turn by turn, but here's the elevation.

The course was 100% doable.  The worst climbs were heading into Bloomfield and then again in Highland park, but I can't even say there was a hill I hated (and I HATE hills).

There was a lot of stop and go as you'd expect for a city ride, so if that's not your thing then skip it.  I think we averaged just under 14 MPH, but that was because of the traffic and stops, not due to the terrain.

I really loved this ride because I love seeing the city from a different point of view.  I especially enjoyed  doing it with George and my brother.  Tim must have said a million times how much he really loved the ride and that was pretty cool, seeing him so happy.

The support on this ride was good (there were 2 rest stops on the 25 mile course, but we only stopped at one).  There was plenty of food and drink and even free bike mechanics (who did a minor, much needed, repair on my bike).  

If you're thinking of a city ride, Pedal Pittsburgh is should definitely be on your list.  The 25 miler might just become one of my annual events.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Getting in your Exercise with your Kids

So the number one question that I get asked regarding health and fitness is, "How do you do it all with the kids."  I've kind of answered this question before and I'll remind you of a few things:  

  • I don't work outside the home that often and when I do I generally take the day off from working out.  So that does give me somewhat of an advantage in the time department.  
  • Because I have at least 2 hours of free time while the kids are at school, I use THAT time to workout.  (Summers are a free for all around here).  
  • I belong to a gym that has free childcare and use it often. 
  • I INVOLVE my kids IN my exercise.  

It's simple concepts really.  You either make the time away from the kids because it's important to you, or you involve your kids.  Generally my kids don't mind going to child care at the gym THAT much.  They've been going there since they were REALLY young (Jack was just 4 months old when he started). Truth be told, if they can get out of going to the gym, they'd prefer it.  

My kids are at a great age because if they ride their bikes I can jog right beside them.  In fact, Ella and Nicholas are faster than I am and usually have to wait up.  

So today I set out to run the 4 miles on my training plan and loaded all the bikes in the car.

Everyone was so excited to go and I was glad to be working out, AND spending time with my kids, AND they're getting exercise too.

About .4 miles into the ride Jack took a spill.  He was going down a "hill" and was feeling a little too confident and totally wiped out.  The crash happened right in front of me, but I was helpless.  I bolted toward him and thankfully it looked much worse than it was.  The bike took the brunt of the fall.  

  Sidebar:  I totally paused my Garmin as I was running up to Jack.  I don't know why, but it was a total instinct.  When I did it I had a conscious thought that it was really wrong.  I swear it was an instinct rather than a conscious decision, but it still made me feel badly and snicker a little too.  Runners!?!?!?!

Jack had a few scrapes on his knuckles, but for the most part was no worse for the wear.  His psyche, however, had taken a huge beating.  He was whimpering and crying despite being totally fine physically.  He was just scared.  We had over 3 and a half miles to go.  I could have been a softy and turned around and headed back to the car, but I played the tough love card and told Jack to suck it up.  After all, he really was COMPLETELY fine to ride.  

He kept crying and complaining so I went to the bribery technique.  I told him if he sucked it up and didn't cry or complain I'd buy him a small "prize".  That was enough for Jack to get through the ride.  He still pouted and wasn't exactly happy about it, but he did it and I got in my run.

I was really bummed that the crash happened because Jack was so happy when the ride started and it got ruined by a few scrapes.  Now don't get me wrong, I understand why he was upset, but I had to make him get back up "on the horse".  

So if you ask me, how do I get it all in with the kids.  I'll tell you, anyway I can.  Bribery and all!  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nicholas Tubing Party

Friday was Nicholas' birthday "party".  You see he didn't really have a party per se.  He decided to invite 4 friends to go out tubing on our boat (that's all our boat could handle).  As it turned out, only 2 could go the day we chose so it was just Nicholas, Owen, Luke, Jack, George and Myself.  (Ella went to Luke's house to spend the day with his sister).  

We started off the day by having a picnic lunch lakeside.  

Owen, Nicholas and Luke 
And then we got ready to put the boat in the water.  

It was a beautiful day outside.  The sun was shining, but it was rather cool (low 70s).  

The boys really didn't seem to mind though, they weren't cool like I was. 

The added bonus with the cool weather was that we pretty much had the lake to ourselves.  

Nicholas and Luke got right to tubing.  They were brave and wanted to go fast.  

It wasn't long before Luke fell off doing 5 barrel rolls and I almost had a heart attack.  We had been there less than half and hour and I figured our fun was over.  Luke would be crying and I'd have to call his mom.  

Nope!  He was all smiles in the water and ready to go again!  Thank goodness!  

Owen was a little more apprehensive and after seeing Luke's crash I think he was doubly scared of going tubing.  He REALLY did NOT want to go. 

George and I being the "tough love" kind of parents that we are MADE Owen go.  I knew he would have fun if he just tried it, but he was just not willing to give in.  So George lifted him on to the tube and sent him on his way. 

We went slow at first and he was totally fine with that, but called it quits pretty quickly.  We decided to take a break for the tubing and just do a little swimming.  Owen was happy to just sit on the tube.

Luke and Nicholas had fun jumping off the boat.

Everyone was having a great time.

We had to make small stop on the island to let Sidney have a potty break.  Oh yes, Miss Sidney was there and cuter than ever.

During the potty break, the boys had an impromptu dance shesh.  So cute! 

After all the "business" was taken care of, Owen said he wanted to try tubing again and this time we could tell he was feeling brave.

As time went on, George started going faster.

And doing more turns.

And acting crazy.

The boys LOVED it!

Even when things got a little crazy, they were laughing and screaming the whole way.

I swear we tubed for almost an hour straight with only a few times that someone fell off (Nicholas).  I just couldn't believe they weren't exhausted.

Once we did finally stop, Owen decided he was going to be brave and jump off the tube.  Up until this point he hadn't been IN the water.

I was so proud of him when he jumped.

And he wound up jumping off the boat too! 

Next up we decided we would wake board. I decided to go first to show the boys "how it's done".  Ha!

I was so cold, I quickly called it quits.  I didn't want to fall and get my hair wet and be soaked and freezing the rest of the day.  I let go of the rope and waited for my crew to come get me.  

Ok the truth was, Nicholas was going to show his friends how it's done, and that he did.

Luke decided he would give it a try.

And he did really well for a first timer.  He just couldn't get control of the board once he was up.

Looking back at the pictures (now).  I can see all he really had to do was stand up, but when it's happening it's happening so quickly you don't know what's going "wrong".

I was proud of Luke for trying and for how well he did for a first timer.

After spending more than 5 hours on the lake, the party on the lake was over.  We headed back to our house for pizza, cake and a sleepover.

I think everyone had a GREAT day and I couldn't have asked for 2 nicer kids for Nicholas to spend the day with.  It was pretty much a perfect day, for me and hopefully for Nicholas.