>Hey, is this thing on?

>Yes, I’m really here … just not here.

Life is good. I went to Portland, OR last week for a Junior League conference. Portland was great. We were able to squeeze in an epicurean walking tour of the city. If you go to Portland, please try the Pearl Bakery’s fresh croissants and Hot Lip’s pizza. Both were wonderful, in my book. The tour didn’t take us there, but we did try VooDoo Doughnut. It’s definitely a hole in the wall, but not my favorite doughnut ever. It probably is worth a visit to check out their off color menu options.

Also while I was there, I took two very scary public speaking workshops. I know they are good for me, but I don’t know if they were good for my blood pressure.

So, I’m back from the trip and trying my hardest to get back on EST.

Lately, my life has been consumed with:

  • Junior League meetings
  • Work, and going through a merger
  • More Junior League work
  • Getting ready to walk 60! miles next weekend
  • Pulling out pumpkins, witches, and ghosts … oh my!
  • Fun and adventures with two 2 year olds. The latest, a meltdown on the playground today because the swing that Libby wanted wasn’t available. She had the choice to pick a new swing or go home, and when she practically threw herself on the ground, we decided to go home. I think I have officially become “that Mom” at preschool.
  • Slightly obsessing over a pair of Dansko boots.
  • A dead battery in my camera. I’ve heard it’s cheaper to replace the camera, so I may be shopping tomorrow.
  • A desperate need to buy shoes for my children.

That is all … I’m around and checking your blogs, just ignoring my own. I promise I’ll be back.

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>Disturbing

>On so many levels.This is a picture of a shoebox with 6 sets of “princess” shoes that someone gave Maddy and Libby when their daughter outgrew it, but with 4 of Maddy and Libby’s babies shoved into it. The princess shoes are disturbing enough, but the babies kind of creep me out … especially when their are groupings of them and I look over and they are all staring at me. I find them in sporadic places around the house … placed into plastic pitchers, sitting in the stroller, thrown down the steps, sitting in the high chair, shoved in shoes boxes, etc. You get the idea.

I always loved my dolls growing up, especially Xavier Roberts adoption dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids, but the amount of dolls that M&L have been given this year is getting a little out of hand. It almost reminds me from the scene in Sex and the City when Stanford is dating the guy with the crazy doll collection and they have to take them all off the bed and carefully place them around the room before getting down to business.

Just hoping that 10 dolls don’t turn into 100.

Oh, and yes, all of our dolls are twins. Keepin’ it real.

>Brain Dump

>I had a college professor who would assign free-writing assignments every week. You were to open your notebook and just write whatever was on your mind. It was a great way to just start writing or get over writer’s block. From all the gibberish, there were usually a couple of good topics to develop.

Some days, I feel like I need to do this, but I usually can’t even wrap my head around what I want to say.

This week would be a little like this …

  • A collective 18 miles (ran 6, walked 12) = longest distance I’ve ever done in one day.
  • Extra 5 pounds from all the crap I think I can eat when I move my body 18 miles in one day.
  • Dialing for dollars.
  • Overdue highlights.
  • Overdue pedicure.
  • Need to pack
  • I was “that” Mom carrying two screaming toddlers down the sidewalk at school. I really hate being that Mom. I will admit that I probably showed my ass by raising my voice, but it makes me crazy when I have no control over 2 little girls who are running into a parking lot. Not cool.
  • Dog hair.
  • Need clothes, but don’t want to shop.
  • Self control
  • Looking forward to movie night with the girls.
  • Mom’s radiation is over. Big hurray! Now, one more monthly medication/treatment until April to worry about.
  • My Meme’s house sold yesterday. This is where my Mom grew up and where some of my first memories are from. Sad that I wasn’t there to say goodbye.
  • Who knew that when your BlackBerry goes crazy, the Verizon guy will just tell you to take out the battery and reinsert.
  • Invisalign.
  • Money Trees.
  • I have to walk 60 miles in 3 weeks!
  • Pumpkins
  • Recipes, and Weight Watchers
  • Big girls forming cognitive thoughts ~ Libby, while pointing to her leg. “Boo-boo.” Me: “Yes, you do have a boo-boo.” Libby: “I fall down.”
  • Down pillows, down comforter, and a fan. Night, night.

>Mad Men

>Are you watching?

I am and I will admit that it is all over the place this season, but when Henry rammed his car into Don’s boxes that had been left in the garage, I thought about what an unclassy thing it was to do, but how good it must have felt.

But, Don still had the last laugh as he put the unopened boxes straight into the dumpster.

I fell asleep before the last 5 minutes were finished, so I need to go back and find out if Don’s 2nd date ended as surprising as his 1st.

>Where were you?

>I know for most Americans, including myself, 9-11 is still such a negative number. I think I will always remember where I was, what I did, and how I felt on that day. I can only liken it to the Space Shuttle disaster that happened when I was young, or how my parents must have felt when JFK was shot.

I was the Marketing Director for a shopping center and was sitting at my desk checking email. Since we actually worked in the mall, we had Muzak piped into our offices, but I always turned on my radio so I could listen to music, news, or CD’s.

The DJ’s came back on and started reporting this horrible news that didn’t even sound real. A plane crashed into one of the Twin Towers?! What? I ran into our conference room where we had a TV and told our Secretary to come in. We told everyone in our office to come watch what was happening, and while we were watching the news, everything just started unfolding around us. 2 more planes, and a slew of footage that is still haunting to me.

I called my then boyfriend at the time and asked if he had checked on a friend who lived in DC, and luckily everything was fine. His friend worked near the Pentagon, and ex boyfriend had just moved from DC, so it was more than a little surreal.

Malls are notorious for never closing because they don’t want to lose the sales, but we quickly heard from our home office that they would be closing all of their shopping centers across the country.

I just remember driving home thinking that something else was going to happen and wondering what would be next. I had serious doubts that any of us on US soil would wake up the next day and I don’t think I’ve ever felt fear like that before.

Thank you to the men and women who fight to protect our country every day, and to the men and women who lost their lives that day, we will never forget.

>Preschool!

>There are some days that I still can’t believe that I am the mother of two 2-year-olds. Seriously, someone tell me how this happened.

Ok, ok, I know how it happened, but someone please tell me where the time has gone.

Maddy and Libby started their 2 year old preschool class on Tuesday. I really love their teachers … no nonsense, laid back, loving, fun, and kind. Since they are on the ease in schedule, on a couple of days, we’ve been able to go to the playground for an hour after school and play until it’s time for lunch.

There is so much more structure than their last class and I really think it’s good for them. Libby was already showing me where they line up to go outside and promptly hopped on the circle. Today, she was bringer of snack and got to stand on the star, so I’m sure she was thrilled over that.

I thought they grew up and learned so much last year, so I can only imagine what this year will hold.
Sigh. My babies are growing up.

>Half #3 by the numbers

>Hours it took to drive to Virginia Beach … almost 5.

Hours it took before we actually got on the road to leave … almost 4.

Trips to the Doctor before we got on the road … 1.

Trips to Rite-Aid once we made it to Virginia Beach … 2.

Trips to the half marathon Expo … 2.

Number of running t-shirts purchased … 2.

Meals that consisted of carbs … too many to count!

Race Day wake up time … 4:15am.

Pots of coffee on race day for our group … only 1.

Number of runners who were ready to get out of our cars and yell at the nice policeman who almost wouldn’t let us out of the neighborhood to drive to the start because our road was supposed to be closed for traffic at 4:30 am … 15!

Number of policeman who decided he didn’t want to deal with 15 women … 1.

Porta pottie trips pre-race … 2.

Number of Elvis’ seen at the race … 3.

Number of pace bands worn for the race … 2.

Number of times on the pace bands that I actually hit … 0.

Number of miles that I felt good … 4. (Miles 1-4)

Number of miles that I had leg cramps … 4. (Miles 9-13)

Finishing time of the day … 2:21.

Number of minutes faster than last year … 6.

Number of minutes slower than my typical training runs this summer … 6.

Number of ice cream cones eaten post race … 1. (Best hot day, post run treat ever!)

Number of naps taken over the weekend … 3. (Two short ones by the pool, one decent one inside with the fan.)

So, all in all, it was an OK race. I did beat last year’s time, but the leg cramps? Who knows!? All I know is when the 2:15 pacing group passed me and I could only stay with them for a few minutes, I knew I was in trouble. I think it mentally defeated me and I slowed down. I tried to speed up towards the end, but just didn’t feel like I had it in me and I couldn’t seem to get rid of the cramps … I ate, I drank, I stopped and stretched on a curb, but nothing helped until I stopped running.

I also think that any of the Rock & Roll races are well done. This is my 3rd that I’ve participated in and you can always count on a good course with lots of support, a big expo with lots of great vendors, bands and entertainment, and good after race supplies (Va. Beach has icy towels, popsicles, water, and Cytomax at the finish, along with bananas, a food bag, and of course your medal.

About half of our group had PR’s and the other half wasn’t overly excited about our times, but we did it and that’s the important thing.

Now to really figure what races will be numbers 4 and 5 this year!

>Run, run, fun

>We leave tomorrow for our big race. It’s really hard to believe that we’ve been training for 16 weeks … 334 training miles that included a 13 miler and 15 miler, plus a lot of miles in between, with the majority of those miles starting at 5:30 am. Lots of those miles included some great conversations, some good songs on the iPod, a few blisters, one not so fun run with a surprise porta pottie visit (Thank, God.), some brutal hills, some familiar trails, a love of running that has grown, and even a few sub 10 minute miles.

The heat and humidity has been brutal all summer, so hopefully it will pay off when we’re running at the beach. We’ve been keeping an eye on Hurricane Earl, decided to delay our departure by a day, and hopefully we will arrive to sunny skies and nice ocean breezes.

Here’s to my 3rd half marathon of 2010 and not worrying about #4 and #5 for at least a couple of days!

>Cubbies, stars, and weather bears … oh my!

>Maddy and Libby are starting in the 2 year old preschool class next week and last night was the parent orientation.

Wow, what a big difference from their last room. We have cubbies, colors and shapes of the month, leaders of the day (with a star to stand on and the weather bear to dress!), Dixie cups to drink out of, a potty!, and no high chairs to be found.

I’ve heard great things about their teachers, and they seemed great. Full of energy, but also with a laid back attitude – probably perfect for 2’s. I can’t wait to see how much Maddy and Libby will learn and grow this year. We were sad to see that their last class was separated with many of the kids going to the Older Toddlers because they hadn’t yet turned 2. We do have 2 little girls that they knew last year, and a set of boy/girl twins that will also be in the class.

Today, is the orientation for the children, so I’m hopeful that they will be as excited as I am!

>Stubborn

>So, in March, I put this goal out to the internet of running 5 half marathons this year. So far, I’ve run two and my third is this weekend.

It’s the 4th and 5th that are wreaking havoc on my life and turning me into an obsessed woman.

I’ve been planning on running a local half marathon in October, but the clincher is that it’s the weekend after the Susan G. Komen 3-day walk. When I talked to my running coach about it, she said absolutely no way should I run it.

I have found two other half’s that are nearby, they are both Sept. 18, and both look pretty hard. (One goes up a mountain, and the other is in the mountains/foothills of NC ~ described as “mainly flat, but remember that we are in the mountains.”) Also, I’m debating if should I really run another one that close to the Virginia Beach half. Or, I can look at it that I’ll still be in half marathon shape, and should just go for it!

Of course, I have no idea how I’ll feel after the Komen walk, or what kind of blisters I could have, so I’m tempted to go with one of the September races so I can get #4 out of the way, but I like the idea of having a little more time in between races. I have found 2 choices in December that will work with my schedule, so hopefully that should take care of #5. What to do, what to do?

Anyone walked a 60 mile/3 day event before, then run a half marathon the next weekend? I don’t want to get injured or do something stupid, but I’ve also realized that I’m more stubborn than I thought and really want to make this goal a reality this year.