Monday, May 30, 2011

A Relay for Life Poem

Dedicated to all the awesome women of the Early Childhood PTA team: Emmie, Jenna, Chrissy, Jodee, Jill, Kim, Leslie, Heather, Shannon, Katy, Lisa, Jacqui, Emily (and I know I'm forgetting people, so I'm counting on others to fill in the blanks).

And it's also dedicated to everyone that showed up at our booth to support our fundraiser.

And it's especially dedicated to anyone who has fought against cancer.

I apologize for liberties of rhyme and meter.

'Twas the night of the Relay
and all 'round the scene,
Not a creature was stirring
except for our team.

The candles were lit
in their bags with great care,
In memory of loves ones
no longer there.

The other teams were nestled
all snug in their beds,
while visions of curly fries
danced in their heads.

But five of us moms,
in our sweatshirts and caps,
Had just settled in
for our overnight laps.

We couldn't believe
there was no noise or clatter,
And we searched the whole field
to see what was the matter.

Around the whole track
we searched high and low,
But couldn't help wonder,
"Where did they all go?"

Spotlights shone brightly
to light everyone's way,
But we were the only
team that had stayed.

And what to our wondering
eyes did appear?
But a long stretch of track
and five moms without beer.

Less rapid than eagles,
our laps stayed the same;
And we whistled and shouted
and called out our names.

On Emmie, on Jacqui
on Lisa, on Kim
Thanks to those walking
before it got dim.

And though only Lisa
was lively and quick,
We all did our part
through thin and through thick.

A buttload of junk food
we took out of our packs
That helped us get through
without any naps.

We spoke lots of words
as we went through the night,
And sometimes I wondered
if my shoes were too tight.

And just as Emmie and I
went to dose,
Katy showed up
and then the sun rose.

We sprang back to life
and our team gave a shout.
In the end, we were proud
that we had worked it out.

From all of the team
to our PTA peeps,
We hope you remember
"Cancer never sleeps!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Clean Cup, Move Down

I can taste the vegetables in V8's V-fusion Pomegranate Blueberry juice. Blechhh! Liars!


On-the-road punishment...does anyone make this work for their preschoolers? The other day, I had to run, on three separate occasions, to keep Zoe from running into three separate parking lots because she did not listen when I told her to "STOP!" Then I got to listen to her cry and whine that I forced her to hold my hand to the car.

Any punishment I dole out at this point has to wait until I'm home for enforcement (typically making her give me one of her babies or sit by herself on my bed without toys). But by the time we are home, she is being pleasant and legitimately angelic, so does she even realize what she's being punished for? I have a feeling I'm totally getting played here.


The DVD of Morgan's ballet recital is $FORTY-FIVE$DOLLARS$ plus $8 shipping. As I told the other moms, I could buy two Black Swan blu-rays for that amount. No way I'm paying $53 for 3 minutes of "Breezy Blossom" stage time. Everyone who isn't there will have to make do with the footage I shoot at dress rehearsal.

Thomas & Thomas is already making a butt load off of me, because I can't pass up a picture of the three blossoms all dressed up in blossomy sweetness together. And all I want is a 5x7! That's it.! I do not have the wall space for any more 8x10s, people!


We have a cat. I'm not sure how this happened. I blame it on Scott. Everyone already knows that I'm a sucker for lost pets. But he never even put up an inch of resistance. In fact, when he heard that the girls had named it, he offered to put a cat door in the shed and make it a bed in there. Huh?

So what's the name? It was a tough decision. It is not Mr. Fluffypants because it doesn't even look like Mr. Fluffypants, in case you were wondering (Phineas and Ferb are my heroes). Morgan gave us the unique options of Meow-Meow, Polkadots, or HoHo. Zoe and I unanimously voted for HoHo. There is no such thing as a sugar addiction, Melissa.

By an interesting turn of events, it is much easier to get Zoe dressed in the morning, because she is not allowed to go say "good morning" to HoHo until she has changed out of her pajamas. Winner: Mom.

Only downside - and it's actually funny to watch, but then I feel guilty - is that Potter cannot see her. So when she meows he runs toward the sound, only to bang into a chair or a car or a climbing rose arbor. I'm hoping at some point he is going to learn to just let it go. It's not worth the pain.

So if anybody out there reading this recently lost their cat...finders, keepers. (Just know where I live.)

Author's Note: There is also a possiblity that it is the "fence" neighbor's cat and it just likes us better.


On the way to my parents, the late-afternoon of the Marathon. Out of nowhere.

Morgan: Mommy, I think I'm going to throw up!
Mommy: What?! (Scramble for the plastic bag that is lying on the floor of the Edge, which happens to be the kind of bag the grocery store puts frozen foods into before they put it in a regular bag. Now what is that doing here?)

While she did make it through the car ride there and back, she ended up puking later. Then, of course, came the loose bowel movements. And guess what the only children's Imodium flavor is? Mint. Morgan detests mint. I do not know why other than it is "too spicy".

I tried to help her get enough of a dose down, but I couldn't handle watching her gag. Brought back memories of the banana flavored medicine they prescribed to me as a kid when I had bronchitis. To this day, I hate bananas.

She stayed home from school on Monday and Tuesday. Was able to get through the AM on Wednesday, but it pooped her out (pun intended). Wasn't up for the ballet lesson, but by dinner time had perked back up and was back to normal. So we made it through and nobody else had gotten sick, so that was an added bonus.

....except Scott stayed home from work today because he was nauseous and had a fever...

The cycle continues.

Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Cleveland Marathon

Borrowed from Scott's blog:

Scott / Anna

4:30 Alarm goes off. My head is not in the race. Ankle is still store with my first step out of bed. I tell myself to remember the mantra from my last blog. Oh, and I take two Advil. More to come later on that topic. Off to the Shower.

4:30 Definition of insanity. Since at some point in the wee hours Zoe has joined us, I switch to Scott’s side of the bed to get some breathing room. I find that he has already set the alarm for me. Where is the trust?

4:45 Out of the Shower. Body Glide time for all those special parts that may chafe. Running close on time and the great debate begins as it has gotten considerable colder since I went to bed. Long sleeves or Tri top?

5:00 Downstairs for breakfast. My traditional breakfast of banana babyfood, Cliff Bar, part of banana and some sports drink. Start doing a little stretching.

5:00 to 5:30 Many trips to the restroom to rid myself unnecessary weight.

5:30 PK comes to my house to go to the race together. It is seriously cool outside and there is some even more serious fog. Cut through the flats and we are in the parking lot in no time.

6:00 Long Sleeves or Tri Top and arm warmers? I get out of my car and am immediately cold, so I make the gut reaction to wear a long sleeve running top. First mistake.

6:15 PK and I walk down to Browns Stadium for the start. BTW, props to the Browns for opening the stadium for the use of the facilities and shelter from the weather. Nerves are starting to kick in looking around at the crowd and the fact my dang Achilles is still sore. One more stop in the bathroom and even with all the bathrooms open there are still lines. Much nicer than port-a-potties.

6:15 Alarm goes off. Ugh…if I have any plans of getting in the shower, I cannot hit snooze. If I have any plans of people standing next to me…I have to shower. Morgan wakes up just as I turn the water off so at least I get to skip that argument.

6:40 PK and I make our way to the start line. The corrals were a little tight, but worked out fine. We find the 3:20 pace leader who happened to be the same person (Jay) from last year, which I was psyched about. Great pace leader. I didn’t recognize his co-pace leader. More to come later on that topic, also. Stretching is in full force now.

6:55 National Anthem and “Cleveland Rocks” song – which Cleveland can let go at any time and find a replacement – n o disrespect to Drew Carey.

7:00 The gun goes off and the chaos of 19,000 people leaving the start line begins. PK and I are immediately separated. My good pace leader has disappeared and the great salmon swim begins to catch back up. This is also when I realize the course I said I was not a fan of was going to make itself known. I catch back up with the pace group by about Mile 1, after steadily climbing hills for a mile. I am beginning to settle down, but my Achilles is in major pain. Fitness-wise I am loaded with energy and now completely focused on running. That first mile was a sub 7 pace to catch back with the group.

7:05 We leave our house. On time. I have made a deal with Zoe that she can stay in her pajamas until we get to our first spectator spot. I have packed a thermal sack with water, Capri Suns and a Zero. I have packed a bag with Zoe’s clothes, children’s books, coloring paper, markers, How to Ditch Your Fairy, the Lady Gaga edition of Bazaar Magazine, bags of goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, granola bars, wipes, two large blue recycling bags and the camera. I throw two lawn chairs and the umbrella stroller in the trunk to join the blanket. I cannot even begin to tell you how impressive this is.

Mile 2 Concept of time of day has disappeared. I am feeling great (except for my Achilles) and feel like running a little faster than my pace group. I surge ahead and I am running at 7:10 per mile. PK catches up and is running lights out with me. Cruising into the Edgewater area. Love the crowds in this area of town

7:15 Pull out of McDonald’s with two McGriddles, a Bacon, Egg and Cheese bagel, three hashbrowns, two apple juice and one orange drink (their orange juice is too pulpy…blechhh).

10K I am still ahead of my pace group and running strong. PK has dropped off the pace. His knee will not hold out. Knowing I am in for the long haul on a bad wheel, I decide to cut back my pace and rejoin my pace group, which happens a little after mile 7.

7:30 Get off and West 25th and head to Scranton, pulling ahead of the aide station and race turn, so it is no longer between me and downtown (again, I’m surprising myself with impressive skillz). Park in front of a questionable house, but less than a block away from the police officer, so we’re able to eat our breakfast and get Zoe changed. Less the 10 minutes later the pros are heading our way (Jesus, that is fast.) Barely a light mist at this point. Morgan pushes Zoe’s stroller and I grab the chairs and bag to find our spot on the corner of Mile 9.

Mile 7-9 Running well with the group. However, the thought the Advil was doing nothing had crept in, and my adrenaline was working on other things. This is also when the bad pace guy takes over the flag carrying duties and the good pacer takes a port-a-pot stop. Almost immediately bad pacer jacks the pace up to 7:10 miles, which is 28 seconds faster then his designated pace and the group is being decimated. I am hanging but the added pressure is not helping and now I am getting pissed. In the back of my head, I think he going to slow down, so that his partner can catch up. No dice. Ten miles and we are now consistently running 7:10. My ankle is now throbbing and the thought of calling it a day at the half is going through my head. Note to the bad pace leader: the word pace is defined. You may want to look it up.

8:00-8:45 You don’t realize how fast people are actually running until you are trying to pick out faces. I knew no less than 10 people running the half marathon and was on the look out. I didn’t even realize it was Scott until he was practically in front of me, thus the picture from behind. I can confirm the bad pacer at this spot, because I noticed he was practically on top of the 3:10 group. We waited. Morgan’s best quote of the day. “It’s hard to look for Uncle Phil, because there are so many bald guys.” (I swear I didn’t teach her this, and I don’t think he’s bald.) As we finally give up to drive down town, I look up and catch Gregg rounding the turn, who despite allegations of being completely un-prepared, manages to call out hellos to the girls without any effort whatsoever.

Mile 13.1 I have made it here and laid down BQ half time. Maybe my best half time. Achilles is still killing, but the mantra from last blog kicks in and I keep running. Heck, I am halfway interested to see how things turn out. Then the head winds kick in and so does my grudge match with the marathon.

9:00 Me, queen of no sense of direction, gets the family downtown through the plight-dredged streets of Cleveland. The parking garage I had planned on was closed, but I easily made a correction. On the walk there, I force the girls to take a pee break at the Hyatt (I know a really nice public restroom in the basement there from my E&Y days). We casually make our way along the half-mile finish course where I finally spot another friend, or rather she spots me and waves (Go, Shannon!). The precipitation is getting a little heavier now and the temperature has dropped drastically. I should have worn a coat instead of sweatshirt, but the girls are actually dressed okay and we have the blanket. Nobody is even complaining about the walk.

Mile 16 My pace has dropped off a little. The dehydration of taking 6-8 Advil a day for the last two weeks has also started and now I’m fighting cotton mouth and some muscle issues. The good pace leader and I have rejoined forces around mile 15 and were still cruising a little ahead of the 3:20 pace. (Editor’s note: Scott is being modest here, because he told me later that he and his fancy watch helped out a big group of people and he became the un-official pace setter and cheer leader for a big gaggle of them for quite sometime before coming back upon the official guy.)

9:15ish Closing in on the Rock Hall and see Coach Patty (Morgan’s soccer coach) who has finished the half and walking back to her car. Grab a spot to sit for a while and wrap the blanket around the girls, but know for certain we cannot stay here for an entire hour (if he is actually keeping pace, which I believe is next to impossible with that ankle). It is too cold and the wind to brutal. Yet if we walk toward the stadium, it is a mad house and by the time we get settled there, we’ll have to come back if we want a chance to see him. Decisions, decisions.

Mile 19 This is where my race began…or shall I say…fell a part. I was starting to hit the wall. My Achilles was not going to let me stay with the 3:20 guys much longer, and I am starting to cramp from dehydration. Thank science for gels, because they were a lifesaver at times on this run. By mile 20 I had hit the wall on many fronts of cramping and pain, but I had still managed to get there in about 2 hours 33 minutes. My new goal based on my grudge match was just coming in under 3:30.

9:45 Find shelter (and a bench) up against the Rock Hall. In fact, it completely cuts off the wind and the now-steady drizzle. The girls are in great spirits and take out the coloring supplies. A half-er in shorts and a tank top makes her way to the shelter, waiting for her ride and I offer our blanket, because her shivering is making me cold. (Again …definition of insanity.) I enjoy some pop and fruit snacks and read a very small amount of my book.

Mile 22 Life is sucking. I have had to walk for about 30 feet and mentally I was fighting on every level. Back to the mantra and a new one which was “just keep running.” Just keep looking for the city and just keep running.

Mile 24 Fighting my way over the wall. Had some periodic walking, but still was managing under 8:00 minute miles when I was running. The grudge match goal was in reach.

10:15 Head down to the curb. The drizzle is back to mist and the girls pull out the garbage bags to sit on, letting me wrap myself in a blanket. Morgan and Zoe start up the chant, “Go, Daddy, Go!” for about ten minutes, which must have made the people wonder exactly how many daddies they had.

Mile 25 The realization that I had pushed my way to the finish had begun to set in, and I was happy about that. Plus, I knew I was going to see my girls soon, and that would make whatever portion of the race was left much easier.

Mile 26 I see Anna, Morgan and Zoe cheering at the Rock Hall. I run over and give them all high fives and cheer for them, since they have sucked it up in the rain and wind for hours now and cruise into the finish. I stop my watch at 3:28 and change, but closer to 3:29. I am satisfied with the time considering the conditions, my Achilles and all the other factors. After that stuff, I was only about six minutes slower then my pace last year.

10:30ish I think Scott shocked the girls by coming over for high fives, which made them very giddy. Well worth the wait. Started to walk towards the finish line and probably kept going a little longer than I should have before turning around. There was just too much madness to be able to try to find him and now it is legitimately raining and I sense a breaking point for the girl’s patience. Zoe is looking soaked at this point. So when we get back to the car, I let her change back into her pajamas and she is ecstatic.

11:00 I am so cold I am now shivering uncontrollably and can not find the girls in the rain and wind. I decide to call it quits and hope they do the same. I head to the med tent for a foil blanket and walk to the car. Call Anna and she has done the same.

11:30 I am heading home to let the stiffness set it in and EAT.

11:30 Heading home along the path of the race course and talking to Scott on the phone to get the scoop on the ankle situation (I know. Shame on me). There are literally hundreds of shirts littering the road after being discarded by the racers. Scott had a good suggestion that some organization should follow along after the race and pick them up to sell or give to clothes banks.

Overall: Another good race put on by Rite Aid and the sponsors. Huge props to Anna and the kids for supporting Dad through the journey. Props to the volunteers and all the spectators who braved the weather. This was a mental battle with the marathon and I got through it.

Sorry, I missed everyone else. Way to go Colleen, Kim, Beth, Lindsey, Meghan and John. I honestly don’t know how you do it. My legs cramp up when I take the stairs to the cafeteria.

Tri season next and maybe a trip to the doctor.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5th Annual Kentucky Derby Party

Another Kentucky Derby has come and gone. If anyone thinks weeks and hours of preparation for an event that takes a little over two minutes is crazy, you are not alone. There may have been a few moments last week when the words "Is it too late to cancel this thing?" were definitely uttered.

Not sure why this year seemed so difficult for us, but I have a feeling it all leads back to the crappy weather we've been having and dreading that we were going to have seventy people jammed into our house (not counting crying infants).

Up until two hours before people started showing up we actually were going to go purchase a patio heater to go with the one we were borrowing from Scott's parents. Then changed our minds because it had been so pleasant. Then kicked ourselves because it started to cool off again.

In the end, when it comes together and everyone is having a good time, it is all worth it.

Oh and there was the small confusion of me thinking I had it starting at 4:30 and the Evite actually said 4:00. Woops. Don't think too many people noticed that Scott was still in the shower when they showed up. Sorry, Altens.

Speaking of them, shout out to Paul for all the trouble he went to to get extra hats for the party and then I never forced anyone to put them on. Note for next year. If you show up without a hat, you are wearing one of his fancy thrift store finds. Don't say I didn't warn you! It's no longer going to be optional....I'm not kidding. You may think that I'm kidding...but I'm not.

For the past couple of years I have wanted to do sack races for the kids, but we kept having such wet springs that the back yard is never dry enough. Enter the spring of eternal rain, crushing our hopes again, until we thought...hey, we have a front yard. We spend so much time in the back, we always forget we have a nice front yard that doesn't reduce to a bog at this time of year.

So the races were on, and (I think) a success.

Colts and Fillies, 4-5 Years - Winner: Nick of Time from Mitchell Run

Colts and Fillies, 6 Years and Up - Winner: Marlo Brandon from Mitchell Run

(Yes, there has been an inquiry into performance enhancers at Mitchell Run)

Colts and Fillies, 2-3 Years - Winner: Avatar from DeMooy Country Club

(although there's been a lot of contesting due to the fact she wasn't actually jumping, but somehow managing to run while wearing a pillow case.)

So here it is by the numbers:

5 hours to come up with Sack Race program (never on company time, of course)

1 vacation day

15 minutes to fix the back fence that the neighbors have been complaining about

2 of their rugs still lying out back by their pool

101 times ask ourselves where we will put everybody if it downpours or is only 40 degrees outside

1 day before party our new roof is completed

49 adults

20 children

3 infants

1 dog locked in our bedroom that peed on our rug

30 pounds of pork shoulder (dry rubbed and shredded)

1 full sheet of Fragapan's cheese pizza

4 cases of beer

5 bottles of wine

1 economy size bottle of Maker's Mark + 6 bottles of water + 3 bunches of crushed mint = my cool new dispenser full of Mint Juleps

1 person that actually likes Mint Juleps

1 bite of summer sausage rolled in cracked pepper = 2 glasses of wine to wash it down

1 and 1/2 hour late, enter Joe Koval

1 sundress + 1 pair of ear muffs = Morgan's amazing fashion statement

19 horses = 38 popsicle sticks = 2 draws of Animal Kingdom = both drawn by the hosts = first time we have EVER won ANYTHING at our own party (sorry)

3 cubic feet of sand outside of the sandbox

4 items left at our house by the Kerbers

1 garbage and 1 recycle can pushed to maximum capacity (pretty sure both have garbage AND recyclables)

2 hour nap on Sunday afternoon

To whoever made the garlic dipping sauce for the yummy bread...I love you....Scott does not.

To whoever made the other dipping sauce (also 50% consumed by yours truly) for the equally yummy bread...I have your bowl.

To those of you with which I never got a chance to hold an actual conversation...there's always next year.