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I’ve been running. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I’m training for a half-marathon. I’m not so much cycling these days.

I’m outed. Half-marathon. There, do I sound smug yet?

Smug half marathon smugsmug smuggity running smuggypants!

I’m finding the break from thinking I should be cycling – the break from the GUILT of not cycling – quite freeing. Yes, I’m still on a team, and yes I’m technically a co-Captain on said team. But I’m not exactly on the podium side of the equation, if you know what I’m saying.

See, that 12 mile RT commute just doesn’t count. You might think it does. But it only makes me a bike commuter, which is entirely different than the idea that I am a “cyclist”.  I’ll spare you further homespun definitions of what is/is not cycling/bike commuter/biker because that is a ridiculous discussion, but you should just trust me.

But for those of you unawares, cycling as a means of achieving fitness and engaging in competitive athletics is very time consuming. Costs of the respective sports aside (I’m not convinced that one is cheaper than the other when you factor in the cost of replacing gear, race fees, etc.), let’s consider the issue of time.

Oh that little thing. Time. TIME. TIIIIMMMMMMMME. Yep, that thing that I don’t have a lot of these days. That thing that when I have by myself I consider it to be a luxury. That thing that is largely consumed by an active 17-month old sprite with opinions and ideas, what the hell.

So: Time. Cycling requires dressing in a lot of gear. A whole lot more gear in the winter. On your average not-too-chilly spring day, at best, it will take 20 minutes to get the bike/water bottles/food ready, 20 minutes to find your clothes and put them on. Add 10 minutes for removing all your clothes in order to pee one final time before you leave the house. 30 minutes of prep for a ride that lasts 2 hours. If you’re riding with the team, add a half hour. Total time elapsed: 3 hours. HOURS.

Running: Find phone (it’s on the table), add earphones and queue up podcast if you’re that kind of runner. Rummage around for acceptable sports bra. Put on shorts and shirt. Tie shoes. Tell the dog you’re sorry you’re not taking him running because he is too old. Total time elapsed: 10 minutes. Run for 45 minutes. Total time elapsed: 55 minutes. Results: Same or better level of fitness than your 3 hour cycling event.

Bottom line: all else being equal (and it’s not, I’ll admit that’s true), when weighed against the time factor, at a fitness level, running wins the battle of the mom-to-a-toddler.

So basically I’m subjecting myself to public scrutiny with this admission of RUNNING (see also: don’t know what the hell I’m doing). Combined with the blood sacrifice to the the half-marathon gods, this should work out well I think.

Angelfish

Lowe and I recently started going to a Saturday swim class at the local pool – the “Angelfish” class.   We knew she could use a little more structure and social interactions on our weekends (do not underestimate the case of the toddler boredoms!), and I wanted to get her comfortable in the water before summer.  Also – fun! Swimming!

Our second swim class, the camera memory card was not forgotten, and Daddy got some pictures of his girls in the pool:

On our first class we were pleasantly surprised to run into one of my knitting friends and her 15 month old – fun! Also the pool water is a quite pleasant bath water temperature – love love!

The Angelfishies  practice things like (with mama/daddy assists):

  • Laying on their backs and kicking their legs (mama/daddy manually kicking the legs)
  • Doing the hokey pokey (mama/daddy moving all body parts)
  • Sitting on the edge of the pool and singing Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall (getting lifted into the pool by mama/daddy)
  • Laying down on the foam lily pads and practicing kicking (mama/daddy walking lilypads around the kiddie pool)
  • Getting excited and trying to drown themselves (mama/daddy frantic to keep baby head above water)

Wow, don’t those babies do ANYTHING on their own? Geez.

Well, our little Lowe especially loves squirming around on her stomach and being lifted up! and down! in the water. You could power a lightbulb with all her giggles and smiles in the pool.

So, similar to toothbrushing, swimming with Lowe is another one of those activities where we’re like, why the heck did we wait so long to do this?*

*As in, oh yeah, she has a few teeth, we should think about that toothbrushing thing. Ace parents!

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For you other parents out there, what have been your go-to rainy day activities to ward off toddler boredom on the weekends?

This week, the little birdie turned 17 months old.

Seventeen. Months.

<exhaling breath of like, how the hell did that happen?>

We call her Lowe-bird. Lo-lo. Lowe-lu. Critter. Squeak. Squisher. Little One. She calls herself “Na Na” (finger to chest).

Our little Lowe runs. She holds our hand to go up and down stairs, and she’s an expert at sliding down stairs on her belly.  Any device with buttons are a big hit. The doorbell. The wall light switches.  Your phone.  Eyes.  She knows where her nose, eyes, ear, hair are.  Lowe loves the Lowe-Pokey song when she’s getting dressed (‘you put your right arm in’…) and knows when to clap at the end.  She giggles mightily at the “Eye-winker” game (Eye-winker, Tom-tinker, Nose-smeller, Mouth-eater, Chin-chopper…)

She is absolutely, undeniably my child – she loves reading books (“booh”) – both on her own, sitting on the floor of her room, and with us.  Lowe and I read 3 stories before bed every night, her little body resting against mine, her fuzzy head right under my chin.   Her favorite story right now is “My World” by Margaret Wise Brown.

Lowe says Dada, but hasn’t said Mama in awhile. She signs for “please” unprompted (belly rub with hands), and at the right time.  She says “tchoo tchoo” (train); peece (please); mo (more); da (doggie); ba (ball); ba ba (bubble). She loves bathtime especially when Mama plays too (she washes my back). She knows her pictures of PopPop (Matt’s dad) and say “Pah-pah”. She says “up pup pup” when she wants to be held, and points “dow” when she wants to get down or go play in the basement. When she’s hungry she walks up to her highchair and points to get up. She has the cutest “uh-oh” this side of the planet.

Lowe is not a picky eater but she does know what she WANTS. Every so often the stars align and the earth’s rotation pleases her and she’ll try something new.  I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I gave her a Burgerville cheeseburger the other night. Matt was out of town, and I wanted a milkshake. Lowe ate the WHOLE freaking cheeseburger. Let it be known that my toddler will eat anything if it is cut into 5 millimeter square chunks and has ketchup on it. (Although it’s true that Burgerville IS awesome).

Lowe is absolutely starting to have opinions about what she wants (dat; signing for please; big chin-to-chest nods of “yes”, cries of eh-eh-eh), and what she doesn’t want (emphatic head shakings of no; face-contorting whines; foot stomps). (Seriously, the foot stomp! The whining! Funny/cute/annoying, all wrapped up into a pint-sized screeching package.)

She understands more than we can possibly know, although she can only express herself through a handful of words and gestures. She’s picking up on things so fast though, it’s only a matter of time before she’s all like, woman, I need me some mo’ freaking cheeseburger! Pass the ketchup!

We love her so much. Happy 17 month birthday, sweet baby girl!

You actually have to go looking for the old RV on the farm.  Which is probably a good thing and which I think most of the family is thankful for.  The RV is mostly obscured by the big red shed and the dog run.   (Also why-o-why didn’t I get pictures of the sweet farm dogs with the best names ever? Spirit (a husky) and Ranger (a purebred black lab).)

I guess the RV was already defunct back in <need to ask GG for the right date> the early 1980’s when GG and Matt’s dad bought the farm.

And speaking of vehicles that just-don’t-go-anymore, I didn’t check it out this visit, but if I recall correctly, there is also an old school bus hidden in the Virginia pines of the back forty. If I also recall correctly, the school bus may or may not have been where some high school making out took place (ahem).

Anyway, I have an affinity for the old RV. I just like it.

*If you didn’t automatically think Christmas Vacation, then hoo-boy, you have some serious catching up to do

Let me preface this post by mentioning that over Christmas, we flew from PDX to Virginia to spend some QT with Matt’s family.

Let’s please ignore the fact that it has been a surprising, and unacceptable, almost two years since we last visited.

::

Matty’s mom (we call her GG) and stepdad live on a 40-acre farm just outside of Fredericksburg.  It’s where Matty grew up. The farm is a working hobby farm – Matt’s stepdad operates a John Deere tractor and keeps a few head of cattle (including a calf that was recently purchased “for Lowe”!) and few horses to keep the pastures just bucolic-feeling enough.

Key farm features include:

  • Big red shed for serious tinkering activities; an old Model A
  • Smaller shed holding all the kids’ old discarded crap from kindergarten-through-college that GG is constantly trying to get rid of*
  • A busted down old RV that apparently “came with” the farm
  • Other various and sundry working and rusty farm implements and machines

*College crap that includes awesome, mortifying old love letters from Matt’s H.S. girlfriend

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So during our visit in December, I ventured out in the cold to capture some of the farm on ‘film’. And now, finally having acquired some decent (enough) digital processing software, well… here we go.

Disclaimer: I am a 100% amateur photographer with artistic inclinations and incidental ownership of a quite-nice Nikon D90. This year I plan to practice, futz, bluff, experiment, learn, and make a lot of mistakes with my camera and Photoshop.

Without further ado, one of my favorite farm scenes is the very hard-working clothesline.

Welcome!

I began blogging back in 2006. What once was mostly craft, turned into cycling, turned into kid….. And now it’s time for something new. So welcome to my new blog.