Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

First Field Trip, II

Interesting fact about me: when I volunteer to chaperone field trips I always get paired up with the slightly more difficult children. You know those ones. They run around, never stop talking, wander off, spill their lunch, eat their own boogers, try to ride the polar bear, require stitches.... or whatever. If it's a problem in the classroom, I will be required to follow it around a museum, a zoo, or the botanical gardens. Mark. My. Words.

During Mason's first learning adventure afield I acquired another badge of chaperoning glory. Amongst the children in my car and then chaperone group was a child who's name is difficult to pronounce and makes me uncomfortable to shout across crowds. In fact, the name starts with a D and rhymes with whoosh. And she was a runner. I wanted to stab myself in the eye.

That's when the teacher also realized that somewhere between the parking lot, the restrooms, and the pumpkin field she dropped the bag that had all the snacks, the first-aid kit, and all the emergency response permission slips. Here's what I know, the band-aids and latex gloves were not missed.

It's moments like these that I take a step back, look through the lens of my camera, and think, "I volunteered." I SO volunteered. I was like the first mom on the list. I always am. Why? It's not because I like stumbling over a name like, well, you know, the one that rhymes with cartouche. It's because I love watching my sons fit into their classes. I want to know what they think about the bees (a little nervous you'll see in the above photo). And all romance aside, I like to see teachers think on their feet.

This is Mason interacting with the little girl who has the hard to pronounce name. He calls her the bully. Can you tell by his face how he feels about her?

There is a fascinating field trip trend that I do not understand. The school (and this wasn't the only one) requires the children on the field trip to wear the same shirt and a bandana. But here's what I don't understand, when you are looking for a lost child, you look for unique attributes. If I'm helping you look and I don't know the child and you say, he's wearing a white shirt with an eagle on the front and all I see is a sea of white shirts I'm not a very effective searcher. Besides, Mason HATED the bandana.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Run My Life

I can't remember if it was a phone call or an e-mail from my brother Devin. But at some point last year I agreed to be in a Ragnar Relay with him. And there have been times during my training that I've wondered what I was doing. But I've had a great partner in crime encouraging me and here I am just a week out and I am ready. For real.

Here's what I have learned while running.

Running suits me. I can run for a long time. I can run by myself. I don't mind running every day.

I run my life. If I'm not on a trail running as fast as I can, I'm trying to fit as much into my day as I can. My husband says this is my life running me. That is fine. But it's just how I do things. So if I weren't running 45 miles a week I'd be doing something that rushes me around.

I have a high tolerance for pain. And a low tolerance for nausea.

I don't like running in the dark. Or the rain. Or snow. Loathe snow.

I think about a lot of weird stuff when I'm running. For instance when I'm getting really tired I almost always think about Kenyans who just wake up one day and think, "I'm going to invite my brother and his wife to dinner. I better go ask him." Then the little Kenyan runs 30 miles to the next village and invites said brother to dinner and turns around to run home. Yes, I'm that weird.

I believe in possibility, not reality. I know our team can't win the Ragnar. But I'm going to win. What I will win is yet to be determined, but I'm ready to accept it.

I cannot run faster than my 5-year-old after running 16 miles. He loved winning -- so maybe that means he'll follow in my track shoes.

PS -- If you live in or near Las Vegas and you would like to cheer us on... that would be incredible.

Monday, October 10, 2011

If You're Scared, Don't Show It

Do you remember who taught you how to ride a bike?

I do. I remember just about everything from that moment. Of course that first tingle in your belly when you realize you have lift off and you're doing it. Doing it all by yourself. But I also remember silly things like the street I was on, and that I basically wobbled straight down the very center of it. Most importantly I remember it was my Grandma Helen who chased after me, hootin' and hollerin' and saying, "She's doing it. She's doing it." She is a peach, that Grandma of mine.

I even remember telling her that I was scared and I didn't want to try riding a two-wheeler. She told me to climb up on that bike (my father's childhood banana-seated bike) and said, "Well, that's OK. Just don't tell anyone."

Our Coop has learned to ride his bike. It was a rocky road to success. This past summer he swam lots and lots of laps, but he didn't pull that bike out of the garage much. So when he started first grade his badge of pride was a couple of medals, a few ribbons, and a trophy tucked away in his bedroom. Most of his friends rode up on their pride -- two-wheelers sans training wheels. It was a blow to the ego.

On one particular afternoon he had decided he'd had enough and he begged for a lesson from mom and dad. We planned it carefully. We mapped a gravel path that is mostly down hill where he could coast along and get the feel for balancing. And then we let him fall pretty hard. With a, "It doesn't get any worse than that." we brushed off his knees and put him back on the bike.

As with all things, once you get it you can't believe you took so long to figure it out. Now he's a real pro -- riding up hill, out of the saddle, over speed bumps, sideways inclines onto the sidewalk, even a small single track trail through the weeds to his school.

Congrats Coop! As always, we're proud of you.

PS -- I've even taken him with me on runs. He on the bike, me running like crazy to catch up.

PHOTO NOTE: Black gloves?????? He's cautious. What can I say.