30 April 2012

April Round-Up

April was unusually busy. Normally, I'd be ready to bid it adieu. But it was so fun, I'm a little sad to see it go. Oh well, bring on May!

Early April seedlings. Nate will be ready to plant these on Mother's Day!
Lila's first baseball game.
Benny made it through six innings!
Wearing Daddy's shoes. So freaking cute!
The Gala, one more time for the cheap seats.
My mom drove to town to help out on Gala weekend. Such a great Nana!

28 April 2012

Breaking the Five-Mile Barrier

For nearly two years, I haven't been able to bring myself to run more than five miles. It was a mental barrier more than a physical one (although being out of shape didn't help). Well, I broke the barrier today and ran six miles for the first time since... well, I don't remember when. On to seven next week!

As I was walking to start my run, a neighbor said hello and then said, "Every time I see you, I can't believe you had two babies." It was a nice, albeit awkward, compliment. I'm assuming that he meant: "Way to go! You're staying active even with two kids at home!" Whatever, I'll take it.

I  broke another "barrier" this weekend. It was more of a self-imposed cardinal rule - also completely mental. I rarely visit Target alone. Either the kids are with me or Nate is with all of us and we're stocking up on supplies like diapers, cleaning supplies, tampons. You know, the stuff that makes you feel really attractive. I have had a rule that I will not shop for clothes at Target - and not because I don't like Target clothes. It's more of a slippery slope: Once you start, you can't stop. Somehow I found myself at Target ALONE on Friday afternoon. And I figured a quick trip through the women's section couldn't hurt. Three shirts and one cardigan later, I emerged. I'm only about $30 lighter, but that's not the point. I broke the rule. Will I be able to stay strong the next time I go to Target? I suppose it depends on whether or not tampons are on the list and kids are in tow.

So long as the clothes make me look like I haven't had two babies, I guess I'll keep it up...

26 April 2012

Hello, Love

After a five-year hiatus from riding a bike (FIVE YEARS!), I'm back.

I bought my first bike when I was a freshman in college: A blue Trek mountain bike. Of course I had bikes previous to that when I was growing up. But this was the first form of transportation that I actually purchased with my own money. Baby Blue and I had many, many good years together. I can remember riding her back and forth to class. And on Tuesday nights, when I had to stay on campus super late to edit the newspaper, she always got me home safely.

When I moved to Des Moines, I lived about three miles from work - the perfect bike commute. And bike I did. Nate and I have very fond memories of biking down to the farmers' market on Saturday mornings, picking up our greens for the week, and riding home for a nap. We rode in a pack of friends to see music downtown. It was a glorious two years with Baby Blue.

Moving to Austin cramped my biking style, but only briefly. When we first moved there, biking to campus was a bit challenging because of a massive hill. Since I had a flexible schedule and I like to walk, I usually just walked to campus. Baby Blue continued to wait for me. Then we moved to a different area of town, with fewer hills, and biking was BACK for nearly two years.

Then I got pregnant and was uncomfortable riding as my belly expanded. So, I stored my bike in our carport. I usually kept it locked, but sometimes forgot. One day I didn't lock it. Since I wasn't riding it regularly, I didn't check on it every day. Nate came home from work asked where my bike was. Baby Blue was missing. She was gone forever. I still miss her.

Then I had Benny, we moved to Denver and I was bike-less. I bought a BOB stroller and focused on running. Nate bought me a new bike for my birthday, but without a bike trailer for Benny, I rarely rode it. When I got a job, the bike got moved to the back of the garage and didn't see any light until Sunday.

We found an inexpensive used Burley earlier this spring. Benny is getting really good at riding his bike. On Sunday we decided he was ready for a longer ride on the road. We hooked the Burley up to my bike, strapped Lila in and off we went.

In less than a week, Benny and I have been on six bike rides together! On my 101 Things List, I had a goal to go on 10 bike rides with Benny by May. Looks like we'll reach that goal and then some!

Hello, bike. I think I'm in love.

25 April 2012

Parents' Night Out

As noted previously, I've been keeping busy this month. Life is busy enough with work and family and friends and exercising. But, I decided to help out with Benny's school's annual fundraiser. Although it was a lot of work and time, it was worth it now that it's over!

We had a great time! Nearly 200 people attended. The event was held at Maggiano's downtown in a gorgeous banquet room. I mostly worked on the silent auction, but also added a sponsorship component to this year's event. We raised over $1,000 in sponsorships, which isn't great, but it's a start. It was also fun to work with some of other parents I didn't know very well.

The event grossed nearly $20,000 (and netted about $16,000)! Not too shabby for an event organized by three volunteers in about two months (with the help of countless others and many donations by parents and local businesses). And everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. Nate's band even made an appearance - a great way to end the night!

One of the fearless leaders, Megan, at the Card Game table.
Sherri, the executive director at the Children's Center, on the right.
Two of Benny's teachers, Lacey and Staci.
Fearless Leaders.

SWEET CORN! Can you spot Nate's bass face?
Peter, Benny's teacher, in the middle.
Like a Prayer, performed by Kara.

Summer Scheduling

It's already happening... Although we wanted keep this summer relatively open in terms of scheduling, weekends are already getting filled. And I know it will get worse. We're already booked for four weekends in a row starting in mid-May. Then we get a bit of a break before we'll travel somewhere for the Fourth of July (western Colorado or Iowa). July may be our only month to camp and spend some time in the great outdoors. August is booked up now too. And with Benny starting school in late August, this schedule thing is only going to get hairier through the fall.

The saving grace is that many of the weekends are filled with visitors to our house, which makes things a whole lot easier. So although things will be busy, I know that we'll be able to enjoy a few mojitos and other appropriate summer drinks in the new (new sod!) backyard. Can.not.wait!

24 April 2012

The Bob

Photo 1 - The bob.
Lila was born with a relatively full head of hair and never really lost it. I cut off a mullet at three months. She had amazing gravity defying hair from three months to five months (it stood STRAIGHT up and there was nothing we could do about it). It was short and adorable from six to about 14, but then became a long, tangled, stringy mess. I wasn't really prepared to cut it so early, but I didn't really see any option.

Wispy newborn hair.
Gravity-defying hair at about four months.
The perfect, manageable length at around one year.
The infamous "Bad Hair Day."

So, I made an appointment at the local kids' hair salon (we have one in our neighborhood - it's overpriced, but it's within walking distance). Benny was away for the week, which I figured would make managing a squirmy toddler getting her hair cut much easier.

Turns out that Lila was a pro. It didn't hurt that the whole experience was over in less than 15 minutes. I decided on a bob cut, which is perfect. Lila still has issues with her hair getting caught in her snot, but it's limited now! She's officially ready for summer. Just look at how adorable she is with a new haircut and a sun dress in Photo 1!

23 April 2012

Green Means Good: Happy Earth Day!

Although Green Means Good has been spotty lately, I feel compelled to write something, anything for Earth Day. We didn't do anything yesterday to mark the occasion. We were all too tired from the past month (report out on the Children's Center Gala coming soon!).

However, somewhat serendipitously, we dug my bike out of the garage, along with the new, used Burley bike trailer and went for our first family bike ride (minus Nate). About two blocks into the ride, Benny said, "This is SO much fun!" He had an enormous smile on his face.

I used to ride my bike quite often. I forgot how pleasant it can be to just ride down the street, no worries or hurries. Couple that with riding with your kids and the enjoyment factor increases exponentially.

It seems fitting that we took our first family bike ride on Earth Day. Nate and I are both committed to riding more and driving less. It just took Benny to start riding to spur us into action!

22 April 2012

Prolonged Easter

Easter's not much of a holiday for us around these parts. It's a good excuse to smoke a ham and hide plastic eggs. This year we decided to celebrate a week early with some friends since we other friends would be visiting on Easter. We made a nice brunch and the kids hunted for eggs. Benny and Lila even wore their Easter outfits from Nana and Papa. End of story, or so we thought.

Benny woke up on Easter morning and asked if the Easter Bunny had come. We found ourselves creating an elaborate scenario about how he'd come the week before and that maybe he'd come back in a couple of weeks when Nana was in town. He wasn't quite buying it. And then we took our friends to Red Rocks for a mini-hike. The Easter Bunny was in the visitor's center handing out candy. That was enough for Benny.

My mom was in town this weekend and brought all sorts of loot that the Easter Bunny had "accidentally" dropped off at her house. That was sufficient for Benny. He got to hunt for eggs all over again and even got a new kite. Lila was just happy to have more eggs to break open. She LOVES candy. All in all, I think Easter lasted for about four weeks around here. A pretty prolonged holiday for one we don't celebrate!

20 April 2012

Missing My Little Man

We are so lucky. One week a year (and sometimes every six months), Nate's dad and stepmom take Benny for a week. My parents do the same. For Benny, it's a real treat: A whole week of spoiling and being the only child again. For us, it's a treat too. We got to focus all of our attention on Benny for three years. Obviously as a second child, Lila has not enjoyed the same type of attention. Mornings are much easier. I can wake up and be out of the house in 45 minutes - as opposed to an hour and 15 minutes. Dropping off at daycare is much faster because I only have one stop. Dinner time is smoother because we aren't fighting with a stubborn little boy who won't eat his dinner. Mommy and Daddy alone time is much longer since Lila goes to bed at 7:30.

That being said, it's been busy week, so we haven't been able to dote on Lila as much as we'd like. And, having Benny gone for more than two or three nights makes me miss him terribly. He'll be back tomorrow and I'm counting down the hours (about 24).

The house has been quieter, but I miss his constant questions, his humming, his observations, his laugh. I miss his hugs and kisses. I miss tucking him in at night. I'm ready for my little man to come home!

10 April 2012

Can't. Catch. Up...

Neglected. Do you feel it? I feel it. I've been neglecting all sorts of stuff in my life: my hair (the bangs are just a long nuisance now and I desperately need a hair cut all around), my bathroom (the toilet is not anywhere near sparkling white), my yard (helloooooo dandelions), my diet (can you say CARB OVERLOAD?). And obviously, this blog. Boy oh boy. I am a mess!

I don't have a good reason, other than I'm grossly-over committed. And by grossly, I mean that I can't keep up with anything besides the kids, work, and class. And I guess that's all that really counts. But, geez. I'm even skipping the book for book club this month. Not by choice, of course. By necessity. I'll probably still go for the discussion and wine though :). Don't worry, I do make time for socializing. It's the only thing that keeps me sane. That, and running. And I've managed to keep up with running - albeit only 3-4 miles at a time. Oh, and shaving my legs. Somehow I can fit that task in every few days. And thank goodness: bad hair and hairy legs - that's just about more than I can handle right now.

But, I do hope to post some fun photos and videos soon. Not until the end of the month though. We have three straight weekends of guests, plus helping with Benny's school's gala, plus reading for class, plus the daily grind. Promises are about the only thing I can give now.

The really bright spot for this week? Nate arranged for a babysitter on Friday so we can go see The Hunger Games. Who has two thumbs and is SUPER excited? That's right, this guy.