Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - The Year That Was.

2010. Meh. Won't miss it. It will go down in history as generally Crappy Year. Maybe even Spectacularly Crappy. But it wasn't all bad. 2010 had its moments, and here they are:

Biggest Accomplishments of 2010:
Losing 20 pounds...again. Running several 5K's. Accidentally running a 5 mile 5K. Since then deciding that I might as well run 5 miles every time I go out since apparently I can do it. Spending a weekend away from the kids. Parenting 2 children while working full-time. Maintaining my professionalism and not going ghetto on my former boss/colleague even when I had ample reason to.

Biggest Pain in the Neck in 2010:
My hair. All year, unhappy with the hair. I'm inching towards cutting it off but I just don't think I have the bone structure in my face to rock really short hair.

Random Sort-of Celebrity Association of 2010:
Did you watch Project Runway this year. Did you love Mondo as much as me? Well, guess what...I know that guy. Kind of. We were in marching band together in high school. Okay maybe not exactly "together," we were both in the same all-city marching band in Denver at the same time. I remember him, albeit vaguely. I doubt he would remember me. But still...I know that guy!

2010 Song That I Wanted to Hate But Secretly Loved Anyway:
Train, "Soul Sister." I know. Annoying. But I love it anyway.

2010 Song That Apparently Everyone Else Loved But I Continue to Hate:
Katy Perry "Teenage Dream." Barf, enough with it already.

Favorite Movies of 2010:
Avatar - I know it's really a 2009 movie but I didn't see it until May. I've now watched it about 10 times.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
True Grit - I know, right? A western? It was really good, though.

2010 Movie That I Still Just Don't Get What the Big Deal Is:
Twilight: Whatever the Rest of the Title Is. God these books were horrid and I could barely sit through the first movie so there was no way I could watch the sequel. I don't get the fascination. That kid who plays Jacob is HOT though.

Dog Breeds That Bit Me This Year:
Miniature Schnauzer, Cocker Spaniel, American Eskimo, and for the 3rd year in a row the Number One Breed This Veterinarian Will NEVER Own -- the godforsaken Chihuahua.

Proudest Parenting Moments of 2010:
When J recited the Lord's Prayer from memory by himself. Still gives me chills thinking about it.
Taking care of the boys by myself for almost 3 weeks when Jr. was only 5 months old.
Watching J's reading skills blossom. Sharing books from my childhood with him, like Where the Sidewalk Ends.
Getting my kids hooked on "old" Michael Jackson music and Soul Train episodes.

Most Annoying Parenting Issue I Hoped Would Go Away in 2010 But Didn't:
Picky eating. If anything it's worse now that J can complain loudly and in detail the many reasons why he doesn't like something (too spicy, too crunchy, weird color, generally yucky, blah blah blah just eat it already!!!).

What I Learned in 2010 About Having Little Boys That I Wish I Hadn't:
They have no aim and pee on everything. I'm so sick of cleaning up pee around the base of the toilet. I grew up in a house full of girls so I never encountered this problem.

What Surprised Me Most in 2010 About Having Two Kids:
I love it. I had alot of people warning me about how hard it is to have 2 kids, and it just hasn't been that way for me. I really like having children, plural. Sure life is more hectic than ever before, but I've enjoyed this past year of having 2 kids immensely. I highly recommend it.

Best-Mom-of-the-Year Moment 2010:
The Halloween costumes. Hands down. 2 custom-made, full-body zebra costumes that looked like something you'd pay $60 for at a costume store. Totally made the new sewing maching worth it.

Worst-Mom-of-the-Year Moment 2010:
I won't go into detail. Let's just say that we learned the hard way about keeping that top-of-stair gate closed AT ALL TIMES and thankfully (and amazingly) we didn't have to go to the ER to learn the lesson.

Runner-up: When we did have to take J to the ER for the first time. He was jumping on a hotel bed when we were in Santa Barbara and fell off, and we were sure he broke his hand. He didn't. That did, however lead to this awesome picture:

Note the ER hospital bracelet that J refused to take off before his 1st Real School Picture the next day. Love it!

Peace out, 2010! Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reason #5,947 these kids better hope nothing ever happens to me.

Went running this morning. TH said he would get the kids dressed. Came back to the baby wearing this get-up. A busy patterned shirt with completely clashing camo pants. To go out in public. Well, to the private in-home daycare he goes to, but still, it's outside the house. Good grief.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The force is strong in this one.

A couple of months ago, before Halloween, TH came home with a package of glow-in-the-dark bracelets he'd picked up in the $1 bin at Target. He also had one large "glo-stick" that we intended to use for trick or treating on Halloween. The package of bracelets came in much handier than we'd planned once we realized that J would do just about anything to play with one before bed. They became the bribe du jour, the incentive to brush his teeth, put on his PJ's in a timely manner, or say his prayers without jumping all over the room. He was completely fascinated with turning the lights off and dancing around with them like a college freshman at his first rave.

As luck would have it, we completely forgot about the big glo-stick on Halloween, and didn't need it anyway because someone gave J a jack-o-lantern shaped flashlight that quickly replaced the glo-bracelets as The Next Big Thing. Until TH randomly found the big glo-stick in the junk drawer a few weeks ago and in a truly inspired moment showed it to J, then whisked it away and told him he had to do Something Really Special to get that glo-stick. For awhile now we've been teaching J the Lord's Prayer, reciting it together before bed. TH told J that if he memorized the Lord's Prayer and was able to say it completely by himself, he could have the glo-stick. This was one month ago. Every night since then, when we kneel down for prayers, we've asked J if he wants to try to say it by himself, and every night he says no, he wants us all to say it together. And every night we remind him that there's a glo-stick in the cabinet downstairs with his name on it.


Today, I officially lost my job. The full-time one. The Grinch pretty much stole Christmas. Here's how it went down:

Grinch: I need to talk to you about the new contract I promised to give you once I bought the practice.

Me: Great, let's get to it.

Grinch: Well, see, here's the thing. I talked to my accountant, and...the numbers just don't add up. Once the practice is officially mine it will be a one-doctor practice, and the one doctor will be me.

Me: uh....what? When is this all supposed to go down, again? February? March? (This is what I was told last week).

Grinch: Well, see, here's the thing. Everything got kind of expedited so...I'm taking over Christmas Eve. So that will be your last day.

Me: Christmas Eve?? Like, next Friday Christmas Eve?

Grinch: Yep. As of the 24th I won't be able to pay you. I mean, maybe you could work one day a week as an hourly employee or something...I'm really sorry to do this to you a week before Christmas. You're an excellent doctor, the clients love you, I feel terrible about it, blah blah blah, b.s. b.s b.s, blah blah... I'll understand if you don't want to come in next week.


So I sadly cleaned 4 years of detritus from my desk, and left early to pick the boys up and spend some time with them. J could tell I was a little off all afternoon, and when he asked me about it I decided to be honest and explain as much as I could. "Remember when I told you how Mommy and Daddy work so we can have enough money to take care of the family and buy things?
Remember the blue pawprint building where Mommy works with the sick animals? Well, I can't work there anymore. They don't have enough money to pay me. So I'll have to work someplace else and it's making me sad." J looked sad, too. He's come to visit me at work dozens of times, I started at this practice when he was 5 months old. Every time we drive past the clinic he shouts, "Mommy! There's your work! Let's go in there and see Waffle!" (Waffle is a cat that lives there.)

He didn't say much about it after that. At bedtime, it was my turn with him (we take turns each night one of us with each kid), and after a couple of books we settled down for bedtime prayers. I kind of wearily asked if he wanted to try the Lord's Prayer. He didn't answer me. He just knelt next to his bed, put his hands together...and did it. The whole thing. From start to finish, without messing up or stumbling over the words once. It seemed like it just poured out of him effortlessly. My FOUR YEAR OLD. It gave me chills listening to him, he sounded so peaceful and grown-up. I can only compare it to that scene at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas when Linus quotes the Bible passage about the first Christmas. It was like the woe-is-me haze lifted and I could see our future right in front of me, in our little boy. I started crying.

"You are the best thing that ever happened to me," I told him.

And you better believe he got that glo-stick.

Pretending to be a Jedi.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Show Me the Mommy - 16

I bought this dress at Kohl's maybe 3 months ago. When I was not comfortably in a 16. Today was the first time I actually wore it outside the house. I like the retro-ish "Mad Men" vibe of it, which is more flattering for us curvy girls than more modern stuff. I'm not loving how busty I look with this neckline and the busy pattern but overall I'll take it.

I know alot of women who would rather cut off their own arm than be a size 16 but it's a milestone size for me. 16 is the cutoff for alot of stores before going into plus-size territory. Therefore I have now lost enough weight to size myself back IN to the regular store which makes me very happy. No more Lane Bryant, yaaaaay!!!

(Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The 5 Mile 5K

*Disclaimer: Loaded up the camera w/batteries and a new memory card, then promptly forgot it on the counter at home. Therefore sadly I have no pictures to accompany this post.

Saturday I took part in the 2010 Las Vegas Great Santa Run, a 5K race that features thousands of runners dressed as Santa Claus in a combined effort to raise money for a local charity and beat the Guiness Book Record for "most Santa Clauses in one place." This is the second time I've run this race -- the first time was 3 years ago, and it was also the first time I'd ever run in a real race. The last time I was in the Santa Run it took place on Fremont Street in "Old Vegas," which was a perfect location. No major hills, a nice wide street to run on, a good gathering place at the beginning/end for those not running and for the live music and activities that accompany the event. It was alot of fun and a great experience for my first 5K.

The 2010 event was a little different. It was held at a big shopping/entertainment complex on the south end of Vegas Boulevard (i.e. The Strip), for reasons that are a bit unclear to me. When I heard where they were having the race this year my first thought was that there is no way this complex is 3+ miles around, and I wondered how exactly they would set up a course through a shopping center. I was right about the distance - shortaly after the race started it became apparent that the route would basically be 3 laps around the circumference of the shopping center. Or so I thought. I made a goal several months ago to run this race with Jr. in the jogger, and after the first lap I thought it was going to be a pretty easy race - there were a few mild inclines but no hills, and once we got past the initial bottleneck at the start (I'm not exaggerating at all when I say there are about 8,000 runners in this thing) the course seemed pretty wide open. I got into a good pace right away, and set an internal goal to finish in under 30 minutes. Totally doable.

The second lap, I noticed that there seemed to be alot of people milling about in Santa costumes who weren't actually in the race - they were jogging/walking through the parking lots and up and down the sidewalks of the shopping center, so they had to be volunteers or something, right? But...they had numbers on their chests/backs. I couldn't figure out what they were doing. Then I realized Organizational Mistake #1 - there was a "1-mile Fun Run/Walk," and those people were on a similar but slightly different course. Instead of having some space between the two races, the 1-Mile part began immediately after the 5K, with no demarcation in the huge column of people of who was in which race. Which was fine except for Organizational Mistake #2 - the only way to know which course was which when the two overlapped as to follow people standing at various corners with small colored arrows pointing out the way - red arrows were for the 5K, green arrows were the 1 mile. I think, I never was exactly sure what color I was supposed to follow. There was no other identification of the route. But after the second lap I still felt pretty good, so I just went with the crowd.

As soon as the third lap started, I realized that there was a problem. Instead of following the circumference as before, suddenly all of the 5K runners kept going straight along the back road instead of turning into the shopping center. Straight...towards a construction site. I'm not sure if the folks in the lead took a wrong turn, or got mixed up by the arrows, or just weren't paying attention, but I could see everyone kind of looking around with confused looks on their faces. The arrow-holders were nowhere to be seen. So we all just kept running. As you can imagine, if you've got a couple thousand people running, it's going to take alot for the tide to turn; at that point we were pretty much like lemmings. Eventually someone must have realized that we were waaaaay of course because I started seeing people cutting across a random lot, headed back toward the shopping center. So...that's what everyone did. Cut across a dirt lot. But at that point we were far enough away that we couldn't actually see the finish line, and weren't sure how to get there because all of the 1-milers were done and had started to wander around the shopping center, eating and shopping and socializing. We were running towards a big mass of people all dressed like Santa, half of them in the street/course, with no one exactly sure where we were supposed to end up.

Which brings us to Organizational Mistake #3: There were TWO FINISH LINES. One for the 1-milers, one for the 5K. And neither finish line was where we started, on the outskirts of the shopping center. Both were in the middle of the complex where there's a little park/bandstand thing, about a block apart from each other. The 1-milers were all hanging out in the park between the 2 finish lines, spilling into the street, and the remaining 5K runners didn't know which finish line we were headed towards because I guess the arrow people had given up or forgotten about the longer race and called it a day. I don't know. Thankfully Jr. pretty much slept the entire time, but my shoulders and neck were starting to get sore from pushing the jogger, and although I was still running just fine, I was more than ready to be done. Finally, someone made an executive decision and picked one of the balloon arches marking the finish lines, and we all made our way through it. But it was the wrong one. Which was disappointing because TH and J had been waiting the whole time at the correct side to watch me come across the finish line and they totally missed me finishing. It was a bit ridiculous to say the least.'s the cool part, at least for me. Although I knew the race was taking a bit longer than I had trained for (I must have played my "Power Song"* 4 times at the end because I'd run out of music on my "5K Playlist"), for some reason I never checked my time or distance until the whole thing was over. You guys, I ran 4.97 miles! I have never run more than 4 miles before. And I didn't stop to walk one single time. 52 minutes of running, a little over 10 minutes/mile, which is pretty good for me. With Jr. in the jogger, which I've also never done for more than about 2 miles before. Despite my general frustration with the idiotic way the race was set up, I have to say I was fairly proud of myself. I never signed on for the "500 in 2010" thing because 2010 began with me breastfeeding a 3 month old infant and I knew it was kind of unrealistic. I didn't even start running again until about 5 months ago, after a whopping 18 months of almost no real exercise. But I checked my Nike+ thing this morning and in those few months I've logged 207 miles. I totally think that by the time a year is up I will have surpassed 500 miles. I am officially In Much Better Shape Than I Was Five Years Ago. At 33. After breastfeeding 2 children. (It would be a lie, however to say that my boobs are in better shape than they were 5 years ago after BFing 2 children. Another post for another day.)

I don't surprise myself often, but this time I really didn't know I had it in me. And who knows, next year...half marathon, maybe?

*Run This Town - Jay-Z feat. Rhianna. Awesome running song, especially at the end of a race.