Posted by: Ingrid | October 24, 2014

Three Years of Charming

Dear Jonathan,  IMG_1117

You would never guess that you started out as the most unlikely looking tomato-ish baby.  And now you are such a ridiculous charmer.  You flash smiles at the camera that make it look like you’re trying to model cologne or underwear or something that calls for a certain “look”.  Helps, I am sure, that you got the eyelashes I always dreamed of.  Paired with your hair (that needs a cut), your blue eyes, your grin, and your skin that is still so soft that I can believe you were once a baby… heaven help us all!


You are sensitive and funny and so very much the middle child.  I was in Walmart a few weeks ago wandering the aisles and trying to figure out what to get you for your birthday.  It made me sad to not actually know what you like because you are the middle child on the heals of an intense and loud older brother.  I stood there, wanting to cry because you completely bypassed the Thomas the Train stage because Isaac had grown out of it.  You want to do what you brother does because he’s bigger but then you don’t because you aren’t interested.  It is safe to say that you like costumes, however.  And dogs.  Whenever we see dogs in the park I am pretty sure they think you are a long lost sibling!


You are also our clutz.  Maybe because you are still growing into your body or maybe because you run around while looking over your shoulder and run into walls.  Or refrigerators.  Or dishwashers.  You are the family clutz and daredevil all in one and I thankful we have not ended up at the ER for injuries yet.

You seem old for three.  Last year when Liliana was born you were still such a baby yourself; eating in a high chair, still in diapers.  And now you talk so much  and you potty trained almost on your own and you know so much that it seems like you should be older than you are.  With Isaac, I don’t think I knew what I could expect from a three year old.  You are showing me that I could have raised the bar substantially!  You have known your ABC’s and their sounds since you turned two and you can count to somewhere past 30.  Colors and shapes?  Check and check.


Maybe because you seem older, I was not prepared for you to be the most oral and hands on of our kids.  You are the only one to date who has smeared poop on walls.  You have flushed floss, a toothbrush, and a pair of underwear down the toilet.  I am not even going to speculate as to what you have ingested from the toilet.  It is enough to know that you like to eat your own boogers.


Right now you are really into things being “cozy” (your word, not mine).  We happened upon the perfect gift for you at Costco, a giant fluffy dog/giant pillow.  The only problem with this dog-sometimes-known-as-Clark is that you keep stripping off every stitch of clothing at night so that you can feel “So cozy, Mommy!”.  As a PSA, everyone else should refrain from getting cozy with Clark for obvious reasons.


You are a picky little eater.  You won’t eat any veggies, most fruits, cheese, noodles, rice, most cereals, or any type of meat except lunch meat and chicken nuggets.  Consequently you go hungry sometimes because, unlike with Isaac, I am not afraid you will starve.


You are my little cuddle bug.  You like hugs.  You like cuddling when you wake up in the morning.  And you are enormously ticklish.


You love the CD “Blue Moo” and you especially enjoy the “What Does the Fox Say” music video.  Sometimes you go around singing the bits you can remember except you still don’t say “fox” correctly.  I try to discourage singing it in public.


You have the cutest little raspy voice right now and such a great laugh.  I love when you ask for “neg nog” (egg nog) and when I ask you a question and you start with, “Hmmmm… actually Mommy…”


Despite the charm you can throw your share of tantrums and be quite disobedient when you want.  But you seem to know what people will find funny so you are the one army crawling out of the bedroom under a blanket when you have been asked to stay put, grinning impishly when caught.  You also, when asked to do something you don’t want to do, will answer; “No thanks!” Polite disobedience at it’s best.  Jonathan, go to your room.  “No fanks (thanks), Mommy!”  It is ridiculously hard to keep a straight face at times.  When you are upset or feel unheard your lip quivers and you look stricken.  Cuddling often remedies this.  Sometimes you will sob: “Mommy, you broke my heart!” because we all need a little manipulation once in a while.  When you’re really angry you glower and feed me the line: “You’re NOT the best mom.”

You are very big on your identity and will make it clear that you are JONATHAN.  Especially if you are feeling sensitive then you are NOT “honey” or “sweetie” or anything else.


Whenever anyone you love leaves (even if I am just going out for a run) you yell: “I need a hug and a kiss and a tickle!” And I always come back to give you one.

I can’t believe all the changes since your last birthday!  You acquired a little sister, moved to a new state, share a room with your brother, and have grown so much.

IMG_4066 IMG_1241



Posted by: Ingrid | October 14, 2014

I miss Autumn

The good news is that it is cooling off here on the Northeastern plains.  The bad news is that, while Colorado has lots of sky, the tree situation is lacking somewhat.  I remember stepping off the plane in Denver back in July and wondering where they put all the trees.  But that wasn’t really a concern until we hit Autumn: my most favorite season ever.  Now that we are in mid October I can just picture what the Michigan trees are doing and I miss it so much!

IMG_9063    IMG_2714  IMG_3935



Hopefully once Winter hits I will be able to remind myself that at least it isn’t April with the same snow from December still on the ground.  Because I don’t miss that at all!



Posted by: Ingrid | September 28, 2014

Eleven Months: You shall be my squishy

Dear Liliana,


No offense, but I am looking forward to your monthly updates ending next month.  But that means you will be a year!  A YEAR?!?  Hardly a baby anymore which is so sad to me.  I was organizing pictures the other day and I give you exactly a year ago.  Ha!  How much do I not miss that.


For now though, you are still very much my squishy baby.  So squishy!  You just have the best thighs.  I sort of use them as dual stress balls when I hold you and it works out well.


This past month held three road trips: Parker, Estes Park, and Fort Collins.


You are okay in the car for two hour stretches, which is nice.  You also sleep better at higher altitude (that or your schedule is so disrupted by the weekend trips that you are zonked by the end of the days we are on the road).  I think this means that we need to move to any of those three locations.  For the sleep, you know.


Other than that, you are still a pretty poor sleeper.  I need to enforce no nursing in the middle of the night and no swaddling and I keep meaning to when I get caught up on sleep but that just doesn’t seem to be happening.

You popped out a forth tooth right before my marathon, which was good timing.


Your latest tooth related exploits involve learning to grind your four teeth so loudly that I want to drop you.  Ugh!  Such a horrible sound and one that you take such delight in.  You like to cuddle against my shoulder and then sink your teeth in.  The more I tell you “NO!”  the funnier you think it is and the more you lean in for another bite.


You are making other noises now, little singing noises when you are tired, and I could almost swear you have tried to say “hi” and some form of “Daddy”.  You sometimes wave to yourself but rarely to other people.  You have also developed the worst case of stranger anxiety that any of my children have had.  So frustrating since you are perfectly willing to flirt with everyone, provided I hold you.


You are still chunky, weighing in at roughly 21 pounds.  I still wear you on occasion, in the Baby Bjorn, and your favorite activity in that position is doing baby jumping jacks.  Talk about throwing me off balance!  We were at Fort Fun a few days ago and you got to go down the giant slide in the Bjorn as well.  Me, you, Jonathan, and my purse.  Good thing Isaac was willing to go alone!


I stopped squishing you into 3-9 month clothes, combed through the garage, and finally found some 12 month girl clothing conveniently located in a box marked “History Books and Misc.”  I am so done living out of boxes.  I guess technically baby clothes fall under the “Misc” category though there were no history books to be found.  At least now you have some fall and winter clothes out!


You are branching out a little with food but it’s hard with barely four teeth.  You mostly get cheerios in your mouth, are willing to try most purees, and will gum some crackers on occasion.  Other than that, it’s all me.  When I give you something you aren’t interested in you promptly drop it off your tray.  I now have to sweep the floor nightly because you are so messy.  Maybe I should stop doing that since, you are willing to put anything found on the floor, food or not, into your mouth.  You also really like trying to feed me now – I am just not a fan of soggy already-been-gummed crackers and bread!


You have started moving.  Not crawling and not army crawling, please note.  You still hate to be on your stomach and you are even more helpless on your back – like a flipped turtle.  Your method of movement is more creative.  Half of it involves corkscrew locomotion; the idea that if you spin in circles enough times you will eventually move across the floor.  This works but is highly inefficient.  Your other method involves spreading your legs out into the splits and then pulling yourself forward or sideways using your arms.


It is the most bizarre and unconventional transportation method I’ve every seen, and, as someone who can barely touch my toes, it looks painful!  You are now at the point where you will scoot to me while laughing and it is so precious to see your joy as you get closer and closer to your goal.  You also like to do the splits when we swaddle you because you know that makes it harder to capture your legs in the blanket.


You are so cute and adorable and squishy, Liliana, with your long lashes and hair that is growing a bit more and a gap between your front teeth.  You are SUCH a cute baby.  I can’t believe that we will celebrate your one year birthday in a month and that I can make a pink cake if I want!  I asked your brothers what kind of cake I should make and they told me a lion, a monster, a dragon, and an alligator.  Pinterest tells me that I should do something like this:

Cake At Party

Also, I think you need a doll.  We were at a friend’s house and you were fussy and then you got your hands on a doll and you started babbling and touching the nose and eyes.  It was so sweet!  And we haven’t a doll in the house, so maybe that’s what you need for your first birthday.  That, or a sibling, and goodness knows, I don’t need one of those!




Posted by: Ingrid | September 24, 2014

And I’ve never been to Boston in the Fall

But I will be going this Spring because I just received this in my inbox.


I put the fate of my Spring (and my credit card number) in the hands of the good people at BAA and I am in.  I won’t lie, I was kind of hoping that I would get a nice rejection because as soon as I saw the acceptance email it opened the floodgate of questions.

How cheap can we do this trip?

How fast can I run Boston?

Do I have to buy compression socks if I run Boston, just to fit in?

How many days should we be there?

Do we take the baby?

Do I wean the baby (Liliana will be almost 18 months at the time of Boston)?

What if the winter is bad?

Where will we stay?

What plan should I follow?

What do we do with the kids when we don’t even have a babysitter who can put them to bed?

Whose great idea was this anyway?

So basically I traded the question: Will I be running the Boston Marathon in 2015? with about a zillion other questions.  And the answer is YES!




Okay, I didn’t throw out the entire taper for a loaf of bread, not really.  I have three small children, live in a new town, and my husband just started a new job.  Oh, and the Princess was teething all during taper week for tooth number 4.  Fewer miles and more sleep that last week?  Sign me up!  Taper crankiness didn’t really hit until the day before the marathon, which was a pleasant surprise.

I never actually figured out the eating plan I should be doing.  I was told (and this has been confirmed by a reliable source) that often in the week prior to a marathon you cut carbs for 3-4 days, feel nauseous and crappy because you are living on veggies, egg whites, and chicken, and then you eat lots of carbs the last few days for maximum glycogen retention.  Science, people, you gotta’ love it.  I like the idea of high protein lower carb eating until I actually try it and remember how bad I am at doing it.  Maybe it’s because I have little kids around and their food is in sight.  Maybe it’s just because I like the bread I make.  Which I made on the first day I was supposed to go low carb.  But I remembered that I am almost exclusively breastfeeding still and then low carb sounded like a dumb plan.  So it was going to be low-ish carb.  But then I made bread and ate it.  With butter.  It was awesome.

Low carb taper fail.

But I was quite diligent with the rest of my taper, a mixture of fear and ritual lest I make a mistake and mess up the end product.  This consisted of the following.

Sleep: I tried to get as much sleep as I could with my family’s sleep patterns being what they are right now.  Which is short for the fact that I felt like every night I was in a fight with my family to get decent sleep.  Husband, bless his heart, slept on a mattress in the living room so that his snoring and Liliana’s crying didn’t wake me up.  That is a good man for you!

Water: It was a cooler week and I didn’t exercise much, but I tried to get in 8-10 cups of water a day and even more the day we drove up to elevation.

Food: I tried to eat more naturally (like I should do always) and kept carbs to about 30-40% for the first three days of the week.  Then I upped the carbs to 65%.  When I committed to the marathon I also changed up my calorie allotment from “lose a pound a week” to “lose a half pound a week”.  Since I have followed the “lose a pound a week” number since Christmas and have lost roughly four pounds, that was no great hardship.  The last few days I ate at complete maintenance.

Exercise: The week consisted of 3 miles, 30 minute bike, 4 miles, rest day, 3 miles, rest day, marathon.  Two rest days in one week!  I was tired enough that it didn’t phase me (much).

Rehearsal: I tried to think through the day of so that I knew when I wanted to drink and eat and some options for breaking up the marathon into smaller portions.  Supposedly this is a good plan.  I thought it was helpful.

Does anyone else have marathon nightmares?  I had three the week before the race!  Weird dreams like running half of the race indoors or having to stop at stations along the way to listen to a sales pitch when you know you are on the clock and should be running or having the option of doing part of the marathon on the elliptical but then realizing I would still have to run the whole 26.2 to get to the end.  So weird!

Things to do before the next marathon

-Negotiate with baby so that I can sleep through the night.

-Keep making sleep a priority.

-Try to get below my pre-pregnancy weight in order to look more like a marathoner and less like a mother of small children.

-Weight train.  I need, Need, NEED to do this.

-Figure out what kind of eating works best in training and on long runs.  I think I am a slightly lower carb person, like around 40-45%.  I felt terrible and hungry all the time the last three days of my taper when I was getting 65% carbs.  I would like to experiment more with something other than the tried and true Gatorade and Gu approach.  At the same time, I discovered Salted Caramel Gu.  It’s like they were reading my Pinterest recipe page!

All in all, the dreaded taper wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated and now I have more recent data to go on rather than trying to remember what I did nine years ago.  Also, if you haven’t tried the Salted Caramel Gu (and you like Gu and aren’t refueling with chia seeds and raw honey), it is definitely worth buying!

Posted by: Ingrid | September 17, 2014

Impromtu 26.2: Inaugural Fall Classic Marathon


I am warning you that this will be long  since it has been nearly a decade in coming.  It has been almost exactly 8 years and 9 months since my last marathon (Honolulu) when I knew nothing about running and didn’t even own a watch!  I didn’t mean to have that big of a gap, but here I am, plus three children and nine years and minus 10-13 pounds.  Here my trusty Garmin is too, since I purchased it right after Honolulu for that marathon I knew I would be doing soon.  Yes, I run with dinosaur technology.

IMG_1943 It all started with a particularly bad running week, our first week in Colorado two months ago.  I was tired, I didn’t know where to run, and I had not seen ANY runners.  None at all.  My long run was a pathetic 7 miles that Saturday and I pitifully thought: I will never run again.  But then I had the chance to run with two women a few days later and one of them mentioned that she was running a marathon in just over seven weeks.  High on endorphins and happy to know I was not the only runner in town, I told her that I wished I could do it.  “Oh, do it!  It will be beautiful!  It will be fun!”

Always find out a person’s idea of “fun”.  Always.

So I got home and joked about running a marathon and my dear husband told me I should do it.  It would be no problem.  The timing was perfect.  I had to sign up.  26.2 miles?  No worries at all.  Now my husband, I am pretty sure, thinks I can fly.  He is one of those people who believes I can do things that I am not sure about.  It would never do to have too many of his type in my life because I would end up on a bridge flapping my arms or something strange like that.  But one of him in my life is just about right for balancing out my sometimes-too-cautious nature.  And here’s the thing, I wouldn’t have signed up if somewhere deep down I didn’t think I could do it.  But I exercised caution, bumped my Saturday run to 14 miles, found a training plan, and decided that I would go for it.  Maybe.

I followed my training plan and it felt like it would be okay.  I  also was feeling the need to do something just a little crazy.  It was the same feeling I had when I moved to Michigan with a newborn and, 9 weeks after giving birth ran an inaugural half marathon nearby.  This was an inaugural marathon in Estes Park so it would give me the chance to run in the mountains (7500 feet) in beautiful scenery while giving our family to see part of our new state.  I checked out the elevation map and it didn’t look bad.  I could just roll down if I got tired of running, right?

marathon course

So I registered and trained and you would be amazed at how fast seven weeks of training goes!  In some ways, it was the perfect amount of time for me and it fit nicely with the start of husband’s semester.  I hit my peak training just as he began teaching.  I got to taper as our schedule got tighter and it really worked out well!

So Saturday we loaded up the van and drove to Loveland.  I had an entire suitcase devoted to running.  Two pairs of shoes, three shirts, four sports bras… you never know which piece of equipment is going to malfunction!


Having only done this taper thing once, I have to say that I am zero fun the day before a marathon.  I was careful of my eating, drank tons of water, didn’t want to do too much, tried to get lots of sleep, avoided too much caffeine.  We didn’t see a whole lot of Estes Park, though what we saw was breathtaking.  We were all asleep by 8:30 pm the night before.  Life with a marathoner and three small children is BORING when it comes to night life and interesting food.  My typical response to elevation has been headaches and slight dizziness so I did a preemptive strike with Tylenol.  I felt great!

I got my race pack down in Loveland and then we made the drive to Estes.  It was so lovely, except for the fact that I was seeing the course I would be running the next day and what the overall course map doesn’t show is that the last 6 miles are quite hilly.  By the time we got up the mountain I was quite discouraged and upset that I’d chosen this run and dragged our family on a road trip.  But we made it through the day and checked out the Stanley Hotel where the race began (not to be confused with checking into the hotel).

IMG_0919We got almost 8 hours of sleep.  Well, I did.  I got the fold out bed and Husband got the 2 boys who woke him up every hour and a king sized bed.  I woke up at 4:30 am and went through the preparations I’d planned. lied.  I was promised 46 degrees at the start but we actually got 35.  Brrrr!


Everyone was up and we were out the door at 5:22.  There were under 200 runners in the marathon so it was not big at all.  I mostly huddled in the van trying to stay warm until we moved towards the start.  It was pitch dark at 6:00 and the race director was kind enough to let us stay at the start with the van. It was so cold!  There was a lot of talking, none of which I caught, and we started late, probably after 6:10.  Down the hill we ran followed promptly by a longish climb.  I hit my first mile split in 8:29, a far cry from the 8:01 I was supposed to be keeping.  I didn’t know what to expect from the course, but tried to let the terrain guide my running.  And the terrain went down.  It was about a 2500 foot drop in elevation from the start to the finish and I found myself settling into a fairly comfortable 7:37-7:55 pace.  By the time I hit mile 20 I was about a minute under where I needed to be for a 3:30.  I tend to be pretty consistent in my pacing and this was no exception.


There were water and Heed tables every few miles on the course and some very kind volunteers.  There was no Gu passed out, which meant I had to figure out how to carry mine.  Generally I stuff a couple in between my sports bras but going up to elevation made the packs puff up and… well… awkward.  So I took a Gu at the beginning, one at mile 6, one at 12, and one at 18.  I had an additional Gu but it got lost on the course somewhere. :-(  Since we were running down the two lane road that takes you to Estes we were limited to the shoulder of the road.  They had marked it off with cones and the police did a great job of helping out as well.  Because there was no place for people there were hardly any spectators and not much cheering.  There were two women in particular who drove down the mountain, stopping periodically and cheering for whoever passed by.  They were awesome.  There was quite a bit more traffic than I anticipated, but the drivers were all very good.  This is Colorado, after all, so they are probably used to someone at all times skiing/running/biking/snowboarding down their mountains roads.


But there were a couple of issues.  First, my Garmin (and many other runners said this as well) was registering 0.2 more than each mile marker.  It is kind of hard knowing at mile 3 that you will not be done until 26.45 miles.  Secondly, we were in the canyon until about mile 20 which offered nice shade, but then we were in the direct sun just as the hills began.  And when I looked at the last 6.2 miles of the course (because by the end everyone, even the fast male runners, were complaining about how bad the hills were), here is what it looked like.  So basically you trash your legs running downhill and then get sun and hills at the end.

end of marathon

But it was so beautiful!  Not as amazing as I imagine trail running must be, but still, how often do you get the chance to run down a canyon in the Rocky Mountains beside the Big Thompson River?  Leaving Estes Park I saw a lone Elk standing placidly on the other side of the road just watching us.  And seeing the sun come up and the sky change from black to all shades of pastel over the tree lined mountains was just breathtaking.  I wish I could have taken pictures of what it looked like to be running down hill and to see runners spread out along the road ahead of me.  Clint got a picture of the sky outside the hotel.


Because of my disappointment after seeing the course the day before I was not quite sure how to run the race.  Eventually I decided I would just aim for my 3:30 and see what transpired.

I was doing okay on pace and breathing and felt decent until about mile 21.  Around that time there was a big hill and it was sunny and hot and I was feeling the results of running downhill.  The hill was big enough that I actually walked for about 30 seconds while thinking: I don’t know that I really want to do this anymore.  I made myself start running again, afraid that I might not want to if I kept walking.  I walked through two aid stations after that, as well as 20 seconds up part of another hill.  I just didn’t care.  Those hills were in a nasty place and I was just tired.  Mile 21 to the end was very much a mental game; I had to divide the miles into parts and then even smaller parts in order to finish.


And where was my Dear Husband during this time?  He had the three darling children who had been awake since 4:50 am.  They went back to the hotel, got dressed, ate, checked out of the hotel and headed down the mountain.  They caught up to me just past the half marathon point.  Clint would drive a bit, get out, cheer loudly, take pictures, hop back in the van and yell, I love you Babe! and repeat.  He did that for 13 miles.  It was so fun to see him show up and it was nice to have my own cheering squad.  He made sure to stop on the last hill (Loooooong hill) around mile 25 which meant that he missed the finish because he had to carry and escort three small children across the parking lot, but he definitely made the right call.


I hit the 26 mile marker with 26.2 on my Garmin and then had to keep running what seemed like forever.  I crossed the finish and then found that I did not want to move.  My poor legs.  I finished (gun time – there was no timing mat at the beginning) in 3:34.43, which qualified me for Boston and was way better than I thought I would do on that course.  I was the 45th finisher and 14th female.  I was 4th in my age group – let’s hear it for women in their 30’s!  The first woman won in 3:12.  This was not a course for breaking Colorado’s records at all!  We stayed at the after party long enough for husband to eat the free meal (I was feeling sick) and for me to drink the free beer (not sick enough to pass up a beer) and for me to attempt to feed Liliana in a crowded bathroom.  Fun family marathon times.

The marathon was put together to raise money for the flood victims from last year and I loved that they used so many local business (some of the food was local) and the medals were actually hand made by potters in the area.  Pretty cool!


For the minimal training I did I feel pretty happy to have gotten by with some sore toes, and sore quads/calves/shins.  Also, my right arm is killing me?  I need to get some sort of strength training going before my next marathon because I do not like having sore arms from running!  Speaking of the next marathon, I did not actually know that registration for Boston was opening the next day -that was completely a surprise!  Am I the only one who feels like committing to another marathon while my body is still sore is akin to giving birth and then promptly planning to get pregnant?

It will not be almost a decade before my next marathon, I promise that!

Posted by: Ingrid | September 15, 2014

Trust Your Training (belated posting)

So here I am, six days out from my first marathon in almost nine years.  I am scared to death and excited all at the same time.  I want to record how it feels now, and not try to recapture what I was thinking after the event is done, knowing that depending on how this all goes down I may pretend to develop amnesia.  Marathon?  What marathon?

This is one of those things that sort of fell into place.  And once the idea of running a marathon was simmering in my brain and I googled “can I run a marathon in 7 weeks” I realized that it is just not the sort of thing you process in public.  Mostly because the responses tend to be along the lines of “Why would you do something stupid like that?  Don’t you know you need 20 weeks?  Are you seriously asking that, dummy?”  Very encouraging.  And so this race, aside from the two friends I have in various parts of Colorado, 2 women runners whose blogs I follow, and the runners I run with in Sterling, oh, and my Dad, has been shared with almost no one.  I guess I feel like I can always shove it under the rug, so to speak, if it turns out to be a really REALLY bad idea.  (But then someone mentioned it on Facebook the day before and suddenly it wasn’t my clandestine marathon anymore.  Which was okay.)

Here’s the thing, when I decided that it might be worth jumping aboard this marathon seven weeks and one long run out, I had just come across an intermediate marathon injury prevention plan in Runner’s World.  For all intents and purposes it was not at all what I wanted to train with since I felt like it screamed: marathoning for the underachiever. It maxed out at 47 miles (which I bumped to 50 for the sole purpose of making me feel better) and only included one 20 mile run.  The “for fun” running I was doing allowed me, almost seamlessly, to jump into the plan thirteen weeks in.  Even so, there comes that point during the taper where you’re supposed to rest, hydrate, and “trust your training”.  Psychologically I am hitting the panic moment of wondering what training I am supposed to trust if I haven’t trained like a “real” marathoner.  Will trusting a third of my training get me through?

On the other hand.  I feel good, am injury free, have not managed to get myself pregnant which has happened all the times I started “real” training, and don’t feel burned out from 20 weeks of following a plan with small children and their erratic sleep getting in the way of the running I am supposed to be doing.  So my body feels good but my mind, which wants to be all hakuna matata about the whole experience but which, deep down, wants a 3:30 and to qualify for Boston is all over the map.

My biggest question, having done this only once before, is this: having done one of my 18 milers and my 20 around an 8:45-8:50 pace, can I really run faster on race day and hold an 8:01 for 26.2 miles? That is where I would like to have a little more training to trust.  A few more long runs where I run at race pace and feel good.  Oh yeah, never mind that the course runs down hill and is several thousand feet higher than where I’ve done my training.  Details!

But you can’t have it all, I guess.  I am happy to be feeling good, I am glad I signed up to run regardless of the result (hakuna matata!), and in six days I will have all of my questions answered!

Posted by: Ingrid | September 6, 2014

In a galaxy far far away

That pretty much sums up how far away California feels right now.  I am not sure how we managed to move across the country and yet we are STILL an 18 hour drive from family in California.  This is one big country!

My initial thought was that, with my fantastic grandparents pushing 91 this coming year and my sister and a dear friend both having babies in December that a Christmas trip was in order.  But then you look at the logistics and it goes something like this.

I really need to get out and see family!  New babies!  Grandparents getting older!  Almost all our family is there!  Oh, the guilt of being so far away!

Wait… no one has bothered to come this direction in 5 years except for my dad and my good friend, Sara.

Oh, but the guilt!!!

But it’s so exhausting to travel with small children and it’s so freaking expensive!  I have no desire to pay money for the “opportunity” to herd small children onto an airplane and schlep them up and down the state in a car.

But everyone wants to see the adorable children!

Right.  They want to see them for a 2 hour maximum while they have a glass of wine and eat dinner and I run around like a crazy person trying to sound commanding: “Don’t break the knick-knacks!  You need to eat a real dinner!  Don’t fall in the pool!”

But surely I can make this work.  I am a smart woman.  All I have to do is:

Buy plane tickets ($300 x 4)

Rent a car that will hold all of us, plus 3 car seats, plus baggage so that we can drive from Northern California all the way to San Diego ($700 + gas)

Find places to stay in northern California, Fresno, southern California, and San Diego that don’t cost money and that provide at least 2 bedrooms (but boy, 3 would be much more conducive to sleep).

Pack enough stuff for five people for at least a 2 week trip.

Deal with children who are off their nap and sleep schedule for 2-3 weeks.

Deal with managing small people and equipment and never really get the chance to adequately catch up with anyone.

Spend an entire 2-3 weeks in California never going anywhere interesting like the beach or the mountains or doing any of the fascinating things there are to do because we are managing, feeding, and diapering small children and seeing all the people who need to be seen, separately, in two hour increments, with at least a 2-3 hour round trip drive in between.

Spend all the time in between seeing people trying to feed our small children who are too excited to eat when food is actually available.

Pack, unpack, pack, unpack, pack, unpack, pack, unpack, fly home.

Am I the only one who has this dilemma?  Surely there must be a way of doing this that does not end in bankruptcy or insanity.

Groupon is telling me that for under the cost of a “fun” let’s-run-ourselves-ragged-seeing-everyone-who-thinks-my-kids-are-cute-on-Facebook California trip my husband and I could run off to Ireland together for eight days with airfare and a rental car included.

And yet California happens to be where almost all our family and many friends are.  I don’t want to plant my feet and deem family travel impractical but I have been trying to figure this out for the past two months without success!  It is maddening, like a jigsaw puzzle that’s missing pieces.  What do you do when family is far away and you have small children and don’t own a private jet?  Is there an elegant solution to this problem?

I am truly curious if anyone has any solutions to share!


Posted by: Ingrid | August 28, 2014

Ten Months: Adventures in Solids

Dear Lily,


Or Princess, as I often call you.  Because you are.


I need to stop regurgitating the contents of my head onto random scraps of paper that I am sure I will remember later.  I am fairly certain I jotted down a whole list of things I wanted to remember about you this month.  On a grocery list, most likely.  And now I can’t find it.  But I don’t even feel like writing this letter today, which means I will feel even less like writing it tomorrow, once my “deadline” has past.  So I am sorry in advance for all the minutiae that I am not going to remember.

Grandpa and Kora came to visit for an overnight.  You liked them both.  I could stand to have them around more often as well!


In other news, we started cloth diapering about 3 weeks ago.  Not even 24 hours in and you had the worst diaper rash ever which meant we had to return to regular diapers in order to use Desitin.  If this happens again I am feeling pretty done, even with our handy dandy clothes line in the back yard.  Except now that your daddy is teaching environmental ethics I don’t think I can be done.

At your 9 month appointment (2 days shy of 10 months) you weighed 20 pounds 12 ounces and were nearly 30 inches long.  You continue to be delectably large with chunky arms and thighs and neck and cheeks.  You are a solid baby and the rare time I take you out in the Baby Bjorn my back protests loudly.


Entering this month your sleep was pathetic (and some days it still is).  Then we started solids (and I use “started” loosely) and we have finally eked out a few 7 hour stretches and a couple of 5 and 6’ers.  You were initially reluctant to allow a spoon in your mouth, but finally applesauce got your attention.  You will have nothing to do with any type of baby cereal and baby purees are hit and miss.  I am constantly giving things like mashed up mango or avocado off my plate, or a little carrot soup, or some plain yogurt.  Just trying to hit you with all sorts of flavors in hopes that you will be a better eater than your brothers.  You are adamant in your dislike of bananas but seem to tolerate sweet potatoes mixed with zucchini okay.   If you end up with a tablespoon of food inside of you throughout the entire day I think it’s been a good day.


The spoon goes in… and then the food dribbles out.  We also pulled out the cheerios a week ago and that, my dear, has been a treat.  The first time you realized that they were supposed to go in your mouth you pursed your lips and delicately plucked a piece in your pincer grip, slowly drawing the cheerio to your mouth.  Then you accidentally turned your hand so that you ended up with a mouthful of fist.  So funny!  But quickly you learned and now they hit the target with increasing success.  Also, we have cheerios all. over. the. floor.


We got another chair and you love sitting with us at the table, interacting and feeling like a part of things.  Your brothers fight over who gets to sit next to you, except for when you are eating cheerios and then Isaac keeps his distance.  One of your most epic temper tantrum moments (and yes, you have a temper and are not afraid to show it!) occurred at the table.  You squawked your baby disapproval and then tried to gnaw on the table.  I laughed so hard!

Your favorite games seem to be grabbing (things or people), emptying bins, and dropping things when seated at the table.  Sometimes I just wanted to say: It’s called gravity and yes, it works!  Stop.  Dropping.  Toys.


You are sort of wearing the same few outfits in rotation, partly because the cloth diapers rule out many options, partly because it’s been so hot, and partly because I still have 3-9 month outfits out.  I really hope that I have more clothing for you but I haven’t a clue where it might be!  No way is your cloth diapered behind fitting into 3 month jean shorts.  On Isaac’s birthday we went to the nearby pool and I let you wear a bikini you were given, just because it made me laugh.  This is pretty much the only age I will allow that!


We are still swaddling you to sleep, even though you break out of it once you wake up.  We swaddled Isaac until 18 months (helped him fall asleep) and Jonathan until about 7.  You seem to need your arms constrained and your legs covered by something in order to sleep.  I have tried to wean you off at nap times with no success (and no naps). You have so far decimated 3 of our expensive muslin swaddling cloths, ripping holes right through, prompting me to think maybe you are the last baby because you now owe us $120 and I don’t know that I want to be this tired for this much longer.  I solved part of the problem by doing your first swaddle around your legs so you couldn’t immediately rip it off.  Kind of like swaddle pants.


Then the real swaddle goes on top.  Double swaddling a fussing baby in the dark in the middle of the night should be some sort of sport, it really should.


You aren’t rolling much but you are happier on your stomach than you used to be.  You don’t crawl but you swivel, both sitting up and lying down.  You have discovered that there are things to grab.  You have also discovered that everything can go in your mouth.  You can also scoot backward, unintentionally, which is so SO funny to me because it’s always in the context of you wanting something and then you watch the object get farther and farther away.  You just look so mad that I have to laugh.  You are incredibly flexible, doing the splits and laying your stomach flat on the floor while seated and then chewing on your foot just for fun.


We do not have a bath in the house and so far we have learned that you do not like showers and you are really too big to bathe in the sink (I tried!).  So maybe you will just be kind of dirty for a while, especially these days where you lose cheerios in your neck rolls.


You slept terribly for a few days and then popped out your third tooth (top right) sometime mid-August.  Now you like to try your teeth on me and we have these conversations, like today when you leaned your face against my arm and then bit me, just for kicks.

Me:  No biting, Liliana! No!  Do not bite mommy.

Jonathan:  Lee-nana bit you?  I don’t bite you mommy.

Me:  No you don’t.  Thank you Jonathan.

Jonathan:  If I don’t bite you do I get Skittles?


Probably my favorite thing this month is how you respond to me when I walk through the door after being gone on a long run or grocery shopping.  You giggle and bounce and smile and every little thing about you tells me that you are beyond delighted to see me.  And usually, by that time, I am delighted to see you as well.





Posted by: Ingrid | August 20, 2014

Five Years Old (a little late)

Dear Isaac,


You have been counting down your birthday, day by day, for at least 160 days and then suddenly you turned five.  Hard to believe that we have been parents for that many years.  Having a five year old somehow seems to up the stakes.  I remember being five.  You are watching us all the time, putting together how the world works and how to function in it.  Not that you weren’t before but it all seems so concrete now.   Your appearance five years ago completely changed our life in so many different ways!


Your excitement, creativity, and energy never cease to amaze (and exhaust) me.  Now that you are entering your sixth year:

-You love numbers and counting and can do basic addition.

-You are really into fairness and justice.  This means that you can stick up for your brother and sister (even when they don’t need it sometimes) and are also totally into telling on your brother, even if you set him up.

-You want to know everything in minutes and hours.  How many hours to California?  How many minutes to the park?  How many minutes to Michigan?

-You are a much less picky eater than you used to be.  Thank heavens.

-You can be so sweet with Jonathan and Liliana until suddenly you stop.

-You are VERY possessive of anything you are playing with or working on.  Trying to work on sharing.

-You love dressing up, which is fun. :-)


-At the same time you don’t like: nuts, crunchy peanut butter, blueberries, rice, noodles, cheese, potatoes, most veggies, dried fruit, and many cereals.

-You are scared of Cheerios.  I’m not kidding.  It is so weird.

-You have an excellent memory, whether it is used for Bible verses or remembering that I promised you that I would do something with you.  It is especially sharp when you have been promised candy.

-You are incredibly creative with your Legos!  While you and your dad build the things on the boxes, the real fun comes when you start creating all sorts of things; planes, oceans, gardens, wagons, from your imagination.  We have all sorts of Lego things floating around the house and it’s fun to see what you think of next.


-You get excited over everything.  This can be lots of fun.  It can also be very loud.  It can also work against you when you get over excited and scare people off.

-You seem to have two levels: loud and louder.  I have realized that sometimes people can’t understand your words because you are yelling instead of talking.  And this is after years of “inside voice”.

-You like to jump, swing, and you want to climb things but are still figuring it out.  You are less impetuous than your brother when it comes to flinging yourself off of things, more calculating in where you put your body.

-You are very emotional but you also like to tease.  This translates into endless teasing of people around you with zero tolerance for being teased yourself.  It also means that EVERYTHING that goes wrong (falling down, Legos breaking, frustrations of any kind) is the end of the world.  This can be a little nerve wracking for the rest of us.

-You see the incongruities of the world and are trying to figure out what is funny and not funny.  Trial and error.

-You can be very sweet and helpful, particularly when we are one on one.  Problem being that we are usually one on three.

-We finally pulled out your bike and you learned to ride it with training wheels.  You were so proud of yourself!

-If given markers you prefer to turn them into “people” or “soldiers” and make up a story rather than use them to color or draw, though you are starting to get more into coloring.  And you can color in the lines too!

-So far your “bad word” vocabulary consists of things like calling your brother a “Jelly bean poop butt fart”.  *Cue Jonathan dissolving into tears*.  If you ever heard me decorating birthday cakes you would know that it gets way worse than that.  Sometimes you get creative and will say “stupe” instead of stupid and “shut” instead of shut up.  As if abbreviating could keep you out of trouble!

-You can tell us all about making good choices but often feel like the pleasure of the bad choice outweighs what you know

-You love being read to and love to tell stories before bed.

-You know your ABC’s and sounds but I have yet to officially launch you into literacy.

-You say most things correctly, but you still talking about The “lizard” of Oz, which I think is so funny.  You also will run around with our hangers, proclaiming they are your “bod and arrows” (bow and arrows).

-You want to commandeer my laptop to play computer games during nap time now, which I don’t love.

-You seem to gravitate towards blond girls between the ages of 7 and 18.

-You are sometimes lost in your own world and usually you provide your own sound track music.  And I wonder why it feels like I never get quiet time anymore!

-Your current bedtime prayers sound something like:  Dear God, that you for lions and tigers and bears and wolves-es and foxes and fire and steam and smoke and volcanoes.  Thank you that mom loves me and dad loves me and Liliana loves me and Jonathan loves me and I love me.  And thank you for chocolate and God and Jesus and pizza.  Amen.

Can’t wait to see what this next year brings as we settle into our new home.




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