Posts tagged duct tape

Family Fun ‘n’ Run

I had two goals this summer: take the PCAT and run a 5K. I signed up for the Torchlight 5K this spring to force myself back into running. I knew that I wouldn’t want to waste the $23 entrance fee, so I was going to run that sucker come hell or high water.

Once the PCAT was done, I had a month to get myself able to run three miles. I ran a little pre-PCAT, but come June, I felt the need to really focus on the exam. To get started, I used some podcasts based on the Couch-to-5K program, a regimen designed to take you from watching Law & Order with Fritos stuck to your bum to an elite runner. Or at least someone able to hack and stumble their way through 3.2 miles. The program is nine weeks. I wound up using the early weeks of podcasts, but once the race loomed closer, I switched to just running as much as I could, which was not as often as I should. If one were to have the full nine weeks, the program is pretty sweet. The music is electronic-y and changes tempo to tell you when to walk and when to run, taking willpower out of the equation. This is helpful for me, because my idea of a good interval involves forty-five seconds of running, followed by ten minutes of walking. DJ Steveboy (no, I don’t know if that is the name on his drivers’ license) keeps me honest.

I tend to only enjoy running only in perfect conditions: minimal sun, cool, no humidity, light to no wind, flat land or downhill the entire way. Running in South Saint Paul during July offers none of this. The whole run is torture and I want to die. Although I came close, I did not actually run a full 5K prior to the race. So I was a little nervous.

The Torchlight 5K takes place in downtown Minneapolis as part of the Aquatennial celebration. The Torchlight Parade follows the run. The atmosphere is festive, and there is a large crowd (mostly people staking their claim on prime parade-watching territory with those no-sew fringed polar fleece blankets that are ubiquitous over the holidays in the midwest – people were camping out hours before the parade with pizza and board games). Family Fun Night (read: glorified school carnival) was occurring in Loring Park, so we decided to bring the boys for a little pre-race “fun.”

Rex-Goliath, suspicious of the concept of Family Fun.

Rex-Goliath, not even really in the mood for Family Fun.

Rex-Goliath, participating in Family Fun despite serious reservations as Daddy bought $10 in tickets and we were going to have at least $4 worth of fun, dammit

Xavier is down with Family Fun.

Rex-Goliath, not so sure that fishing for ducks so sad that they are laying sideways in the pool is going to be good Family Fun. Carnie Dude in the background is not exactly enthusiastically promoting his booth.

Rex-Goliath was most impressed by the one attraction not requiring tickets.

Cute baby with a cute butterfly on his shoulder.

Ah, finally a bit of Family Fun.

Some of the runners take these races seriously. These are the weirdos running around before the race to warm up while I am wiping noses at Family Fun. Then there are people like me – I try to limit my walking prior to the race. Overexerting myself might bring my time up from the Granny category to the Invalid category. The race ends with drinking in the park, and I am pretty sure that some of my race cohorts had already partaken in a few beverages. There were girls in tutus and argyle kneesocks. There were the dudes in super-short jorts and trucker hats, one of whom had speakers duct taped to his shorts playing such hits as “Vogue” and “Dancing Queen.”

The large number of racers definitely helped my performance because the pack was huge, slow-moving, and took a good mile to thin out even a bit. We ran down Hennepin, around the Mill City Museum, and over the Stone Arch Bridge. I was able to run the entire way , which was my goal. I passed the finish line triumphantly, with plenty of people behind me. All week I had been having visions of being dead last, the float carrying Miss Aquatennial about to run me over, clowns pointing and laughing. 5K run? Check.

–Mrs. Wonderful


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Last Weekend of Vacation

I always have big plans for winter break. Study for the PCAT, organize the pictures on the computer, put all of that crap I’ve been meaning to sell on ebay. I always for get that the first portion of the break is eaten up by Christmas preparations. Then there is Christmas itself, which eats up several days of our time. After that is the weird few days between Christmas and New Year’s where you try to find places for all of the new crap you have. We live in a house strewn with gift boxes for that period of time. It feels as if time is standing still. Then you celebrate New Year’s. Finally, there is one week left before school starts, this one of which I spent dealing with Financial Aid, buying books ($782.43 so far, still a few course packets to buy), convincing Dan that we need to purchase a MyRide65 car seat for Xavier, and rearranging the furniture.

This last weekend before the craziness ensues, I decided to enjoy a little time with the kids. Dan was gone Friday night, so we spent a lovely evening at home, giving Xavier his first bath in the sink, among other activities.

Chloë and Rex-Goliath helped, showing him the best way to play with squirty toys.

Rex-Goliath loves playing with water, so the sink coupled with his baby brother splashing was beyond exciting. I sure am glad we forked over $20 for that baby bathtub that was useful for less than six months.

I couldn’t resist doing this picture, cheesy as it may be.

This may be the type of thing that only a parent finds endearing, but I am going to post about it anyway. For better or for worse, this blog has become the record of the kids’ childhoods, and these are the type of memories that make you smile years down the road when your children are different people, yet the same people. A few weeks ago, when going through pictures on the desktop computer, I came across one where Rex-Goliath had plugged in all manner of electric appliances to a stool from IKEA. I remember when he used to do that! He did that for a good year, there were always things plugged into his crib, or the stove. He was fascinated by fans and would turn them on and off, plug them in and unplug them. My mommy instinct was shrieking “No!” the entire time, but I held back. He was so meticulous about it, so careful. So fascinated.

As most of you know, small household appliances have given way to tank engines. Most boys that play with train sets do things like set up the tracks and run the trains along the tracks. Santa knew Rex-Goliath better than that, and conveniently left a roll of duct tape and a rubber band ball in his stocking. Because Rex-Goliath does things like this with trains:

To be completely accurate, Mama helped with this one. But Rex-Goliath directed the action. I have assisted in attaching many items to trains – trains that are not meant to be part of the train set, cars, baby toys, even a Playmobil carriage meant to be pulled by a plastic horse. Sometimes the carriage contains princesses, sometimes it contains Santa Percy.

On Saturday, we met Melissa and Willy at Edinborough Park, an beautiful indoor playground with a giant play structure, a bounce house, and a room full of scooters and bouncy balls. The “park” has a park feel to it – plenty of trees, pathways and a stream.

For those of you who do not have children – these things did not exist when we were kids. Or maybe my parents were ogres and hid them from my brother and I. I would have adored this sort of thing when I was little. They are so tall – like three McDonald’s Playlands stacked. I was wearing Xavier, so unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do much climbing around, but next time we’ll bring Dan so I can.

Rex-Goliath and Willy had a good ol’ time on the little trike/bike thingies.

Xavier spent some time chilling in his car seat while the moms drank coffee and chatted.

Chloë collected bouncy balls.

Rex-Goliath and Willy, contemplating the meaning of life.

Rex-Goliath, in the play structure.

Okay, fun’s over. Starting tomorrow, we’ll see what Mama Leah is made of. I wonder if my model train-rubber band skills will be useful?

–Mrs. Wonderful

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