Monday, March 28, 2011

Cool Breeze Triathlon

Yesterday Jonathan competed in his first triathlon, the Cool Breeze Triathlon up in Huntersville, NC, actually out of the same aquatic center as my triathlon last Fall.  The race was a 250yd swim, 20k bike, and 5k run.  Jonathan has been training for the past few months, improving his swim time week after week, challenging himself with some cycle classes, and working hard to get his run time back to that of his glory days of high school cross country (or at least close to that).  And, it all paid off because he killed it yesterday morning.  I get the feeling that the men who typically register for this race, being one of the first triathlons of the season and so aptly named ‘Cool Breeze’, are of the more hard-core type, so I think I’ll stick to comparing Jonathan to those only in his Novice category—he ranked 11th out of the novice men, 4th in swim time and 6th in the run.

So, what was a beautiful week full of sunny and 70- and 80-degree weather turned into a weekend of dreary, rainy weather hovering around the low 40’s, just in time for Jonathan’s tri.  Now, while the swim facility was all nice and cozy (although Jonathan said the water was a little brisk), at the end of his swim Jonathan had to get out of the pool and then run outside into the Wintry weather, wet.  After the swim, and a transition spent trying to get as dry as possible, Jonathan was off on his bike ride loop.  We saw him head out of the transition area and then, about 50 minutes later (50 minutes of the kids whining about how cold it was), saw him ride back in.  You could see red, chapped legs on about every cyclist as they came into the transition area.  Jonathan mentioned after the race that just about everything was frozen by the end of his ride and he literally couldn’t feel his feet when he started running.  Because of all of the rain of the previous day, the run course was changed from a nice loop to being a down-the-hill, up-the-hill, down-the-hill, up-the-hill, and then down to the finish line course all on the same road.  Definitely not an ideal race course, but the nice thing for us spectators is that we planted ourselves in one spot along the road and saw Jonathan coming and going 4 times before heading to the finish line to catch him there.  One hour and 25 minutes after starting, Jonathan crossed the finish line with a sense of accomplishment and relief, and looking a little frozen.  And since racers and spectators alike were cold and numb, we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to celebrate with Jonathan and some of his friends who had also participated at the after party.  We had to settle for a family celebration later that night at Big Daddy’s.

We’re so proud of Jonathan for taking on this new challenge and committing to it—he’s definitely an inspiration to the kids as Ella’s ready to try a kids’ tri this Summer.  And, cold or not, we loved cheering him on and seeing him cross that finish line.     

{btw, jonathan requested collages (his fave) over a movie.}               

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Heart Faces: A Slice of Life

Two Septembers ago, Jack’s first haircut at home by daddy.  We’ve been doing it this way ever since. :)

Check out all of the amazing entries documenting a slice of life this week at I Heart Faces!

I_Heart_Faces_Photography_125

Friday, March 25, 2011

Backyard Fun

We’re having on-again, off-again Spring weather around here—so, you really have to take advantage of those beautiful days when you get them.  We spent Thursday afternoon doing just that in our backyard.

{an inchworm on one of its threads seems to actually be more exciting entertainment than lego harry potter wii.  amazing.}

{one of our adorable neighbors came to play, too.}

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seven

I’ve been getting regular weekly emails on the current development stages of my kids from Babycenter.com for nearly 8 years now, well, since I was first pregnant with Ella and needed to know every week to what fruit I could currently compare her size.  For the past 5 years the emails have been more on the topics of teething, sharing, talking, and, more recently, tattle-tales, reading, and picky eaters.  All of the emails have seemed pretty matter-of-fact, touting both the challenges and wonders of each developmental stage.  On Ella’s birthday when I received this email, though, I kind of felt like I’d won the lottery, or become a member of some secret society that have always known the best was yet to come (like “hey, you thought the baby, toddler, and preschool years were amazing, well just you wait”).  I found this pretty amusing:

The lovable sevens
Congrats! You're entering one of the most rewarding phases of parenthood. Now your child requires less hands-on supervision and care, but he still looks up to you for guidance and support. His curiosity, excitement, and eagerness to learn make him a charming companion in the year ahead.

I mean, I guess I see it.  She’s relatively independent taking care of herself (except, of course, cleaning her new ear piercings 3 times a day….for 6 weeks…), she can read (can’t even tell you how much I love that), and she’s really starting to show us the person she intends to be (her likes and dislikes and general style).  We get all that from her plus she still kisses us goodbye at the bus stop and wants to hang out with us on the weekends!  Gotta’ love that—definitely appreciating 7….but, I’m still really loving 5 1/2, too. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Birthday

Yesterday Ella turned 7.  We had big plans for her birthday, and actually the day before her birthday (Sunday), including me coming in to her class to be mystery reader and Jonathan meeting her for lunch with donuts for her and her friends.  A little stomach bug, however, got in the way of all of that.  On Sunday, Ella couldn’t keep a bit of food or drink down, ran a low-grade fever, and was very sleepy.  You know the girl feels bad when she asks to take a break from watching a Harry Potter movie she’d never seen before.  On Monday, her birthday, the stomach bug was all but gone, but she felt “tired” even after 17 hours of straight sleep.  It broke our hearts to think she wouldn’t enjoy her 7th birthday and Ella was very disappointed that she wouldn’t get to wear the birthday crown at school.  After coming to terms that she’d have to miss school that day, her first request in the morning was to open her presents in bed and of course we were going to indulge our sweet and puny birthday girl.

{btw, ella’s not a huge fan of sleeping in her pajamas.}

{jack was all ready for school, but was happy to watch ella open her presents before leaving.}

{ella’s very excited about the diary with a lock that she got from nonni and papa.  she’s already written an entry in it.}

{among a few other things, we gave her a book for playing with her american girl doll that comes highly recommended and some roller blades for her doll, with helmet, knee pads, and wrist guards.}

{the surprise gift from us was that we were going to let ella get her ears pierced.  she has been asking for nearly a year and, after mulling it over for a long while and going back and forth on what we had decided, jonathan and i finally decided to show ella that we think she’s a responsible girl who can make some big choices for herself.  here she’s looking at two pairs of enameled flower stud earrings we gave her—and, for the foreseeable future it’s studs and studs only in those sweet little ears. }

After lots of Gatorade and water, and just a little food (whatever she could stomach), Ella started feeling more like herself and was even up for her swim lessons at 4:30 yesterday afternoon.  Since she was feeling so much better we decided to try to salvage her birthday and make a good effort at giving her a fun, memorable 7th birthday night.  After swim lessons, Ella got all fixed up so we could head over to Claire’s at Stonecrest to do the deed.  Ella didn’t hesitate a bit, she picked out 14k gold earrings with her birthstone for the piercing (plus 3 additional pairs for later) and sat right down in the chair.  They drew where the holes would go with a marker on her tiny earlobes and it actually took several iterations of that to feel like they were lined up just right.  Ella was very brave when, even after the first one really hurt, she sat perfectly still and waited for the second piercing to be done.  There were definitely tears (by Ella, Jonathan, and me, I think) but they didn’t last long and once she got a good look in a mirror she was all smiles. 

{getting her ears marked.}

{the real deal, holding daddy’s hand.  this is seconds before they shot through her earlobe.  the smile disappeared when that happened.}

{the tears.  brief, yet heartbreaking all the same.}

{about a minute later.}

{her ears are still a little pink here because this is within 5 minutes of having them pierced.  by now she said they just hurt a little.}

{worth it she says. }

Next, we were off to the restaurant of choice for a birthday dinner.  Ella insisted on Panera, although the rest of us were lobbying for something a little nicer and kept making friendly suggestions.  Ella stuck to her guns, though, because she was craving one of Panera’s whole grain bagels with cream cheese on it (something we wouldn’t normally allow for dinner, but, considering it was her birthday and we were just glad after the previous day that she was eating at all, we figured we’d let this one slide).

After dinner we had another surprise up our sleeves—we took her to Baskin Robbins to pick out an ice cream cake for her birthday (something she had mentioned wanting a while ago).  She chose a half-round cake frosted to look like grass and a fence with a butterfly on it, made of chocolate cake and oreo ice cream (one of Jonathan’s favorite cakes, actually).  From there we went home so Ella could hear ‘Happy Birthday’ sung to her, blow out her 7 candles, and make a birthday wish.  And, although she couldn’t bring herself to really eat any of the cake, she appreciated it all in her sweet and loving way.  A happy birthday accomplished. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Birthday Celebration: Part 2

After a special afternoon on Friday with Baden and Ilse, Ella did still want some “girl time” to help celebrate her birthday.  So, we had our good friends the Miners, and their fun and sweet girls Grace and Cate, over for dinner and some jumpy-house fun.  Grace and Cate even made Ella some special chocolate dirt cupcakes, complete with gummy worms—they were so yummy, Jack asked for a second one literally like 12 times.  Unfortunately, I was so busy trying to cook up a meal fit for guests that I never really picked up my camera—not while they were jumping and playing outside, not while they all were in pirate get-ups searching for treasure in the backyard, and only for about 30 seconds to make a movie when they put on a little dinnertime show for us (and even then I had my ridiculous long lens on that couldn’t even fit all of the kids in the same frame…oh well, you still get a hint of how cute they are together and what fun they had from this short clip).

Ella’s Birthday Wish

Over a month ago I broached the subject with Ella regarding how she wanted to celebrate her birthday.  She actually hasn’t had a big party with friends since she turned 4 (two years ago she wanted to go to Florida to visit her grandparents and last year she wanted to go to the American Girl store in Atlanta with Aunt Tracy) so I put it out there that this year we’d love to throw her a big party with all of her friends.  I came prepared with a few options for party locations and theme ideas, but after carefully mulling it over Ella decided that: 1) if she did have a birthday party she would want it to involve a very girly art or sewing project; and, 2) if she had said party, Baden would not really enjoy himself at it.  So, to Ella, the best option was to have a smaller get-together with some of her favorite people (Baden, Ilse, and their mom), all the while doing one of her favorite activities (roller skating).  On the Friday before Ella’s birthday the kids didn’t have school, so it was the perfect opportunity to fulfill Ella’s special birthday request of going on this roller skating “date” with Baden.  I can’t say much for the cleanliness of the roller rink, but Ella loved every minute of it.

{baden had to get his wheels tightened as they were clearly spinning all over the place.  ella, of course, was eager to help and oversee it all.}

{sweet ilse really wanted to hold ella’s hand around the rink.  and check out jack’s move—certainly not on purpose, yet still quite impressive.}

{baden saved some of his own money to, as he told his mom, “play some games with ella”.  so sweet.  baden and his family are just such incredibly thoughtful people.}

{it was jack’s weekend to bring home tacky the penguin, his class pet, from school and he was supposed to bring tacky on all of his adventures.  i thought tacky might be a burden out in the rink with jack trying to get his center of gravity, but he was actually a blessing in disguise because, as you’ll see in the video, tacky served as a pretty good pillow for falls.  poor tacky needs a good bath, though. :) }

{baden got much more comfortable on his wheels as the afternoon went on.  i thought it was really special that ella was more focused on spending time with baden than skating faster.}

{ilse was happy to be out of her skates and walking steady in her shoes by the end of the afternoon.  she joined ella and baden on the roller rink for a last lap before a “ref” told her she couldn’t walk out there—you’ll see their lap together in the video.}

{thanks again, baden and ilse (and ivy!), for helping ella have such special afternoon!}