Boston Marathon Recap Part I {Expo and the Night Before}

After a mere four hours of sleep, I was wide awake at 6:30 am, anxious to get to the expo so I could hold my bib. With hours to go until that was even a possibility, I got cleaned up, ate my toast and requested my Lyft to the convention center.

As our driver started getting closer to the convention center, I started seeing signs for the marathon, Boston Strong signs and hoards of runners walking around with their celebration jackets on.

bostonstrongsign

As we pulled up, I could see the finish line about a quarter mile in front of us. Walking into the convention center, I was on the verge of tears. Who had possessed me? I’m not one to get teary over packet pick-up.

We got in line with all the other eager runners and waited for the doors to open.

IMG_7094

Once we were moving, the line went quickly. Before I knew it, I had my bib in hand and a tear on the verge of falling. We snapped some pictures before heading into the actual expo.

I went into the morning thinking I was going to buy all.the.stuff, but the official merchandise area was a zoo. Not wanting to waste energy on fighting the crowds, I grabbed a tank top, beer glass, a couple of Spike stuffed animals for the kids and got out of there.

kidsunicorns

After paying for those, I hit the KT Tape booth to have them tape my shoulder. It was pretty achy but once the tape was applied, it actually felt normal-ish. I walked around a bit more and picked up one more t-shirt. I was getting overwhelmed. Suddenly I became fearful that I was going to have a bunch of Boston Marathon stuff and then DNF. What would I do with it all if that happened? I stopped looking for anything else to buy, which I’m a bit bummed about. I should have bought the water bottle I wanted (only available at the expo), the license plate cover and  key chain that I need for my new car keys.

Done with the expo, it was finish line time. There were yellow daffodils in blue foiled pots lining the windows of the businesses all down Boylston.

flowers

The closer we got to the finish line, the more anxious I got. Again I started worrying about having my first DNF. I really had no reason to think I wouldn’t successfully finish the race, but my nerves were getting the best of me.

finishline4

We crossed the street and there I was. Standing in front of the finish line I’d be crossing the next day. Of course we took a million pictures. And once again, I was all choked up. Who was this emotional basket case?

IMG_6835

Pictures taken and crowds getting bigger, I was ready to leave. It was nearing 86 degrees. Not wanting to get dehydrated, and getting hungry, we swung by Whole Foods to pick up my bland food to make for my dinner that night. When we got back to the apartment, I ate my safe lunch and took a nap while the rest of the family went to enjoy delicious looking pizza.

A short while later, our friends Ryan and Claire arrived from Providence. We met up with the family and headed for a stroller through Boston Commons and the Public Garden. We even took a ride on a swan boat before walking across the street to Cheers. While I drank more water, we all discussed spectating plans for the race.

Shortly thereafter, we went back to our apartment, I made my sweet potato and pork chop with a side of toast with almond butter and jam. Super exciting. I laid out all my race stuff and pinned my bib to my tank top before sending Josh to get me some melatonin so I could actually fall asleep. Of course the next morning I ended up changing my shirt and having to repin it all over again. I seemed to get it on properly without any trouble the second time around.

pining bib

By 10:30 pm I was out…for a few hours. Then I was waking up every two hours, just in case I overslept.

On Raising Good People

I made the decision a few years ago to stop blogging about my kids. While it was awesome blog fodder, I became more conscientious of sharing too much about them with the world, both for the sake of their privacy, but also safety. While I may share a story here and there, they are few and far between.

My decision was also because I frankly have no idea what I’m doing. I have days when I feel like I’m killing it and days when I feel like I’m an utter failure. Luckily most days I figure it I’m worrying about being a good mom, I’m probably doing just fine. I’m not an expert and I won’t really know if I’ve screwed up the kids for years to come. Today I’m just sharing a snippet because I think that compassion and empathy are lacking a bit lately.

Enough rambling and back to the point of this post, trying to raise good little humans. Behind the scenes at our house, we’ve had so much going on. The kids are growing and developing into quite their own little people. They have very different temperaments and personalities. I can see it in everything from how they wake up in the morning to how to play with each other and respond to trying situations, like sharing or having a kid take something away. What they do share, is love. A deep, unrelenting love, for each other and our family. They are quick with a hug or kiss and tell each other, and us, I love you at least 20 times/day. It brings me so much joy.

While it’s seems fairly easy to show love, caring and compassion to your family members, it’s not as easy to help kids understand how to show this to others. How to show them what it means to be empathetic and compassionate. That is something Josh and I are working on and little by little I’m seeing evidence of them grasping it. For example, last week Ella had her 100th day of school. She proudly brought home a paper entitled “If I had $100, I would…” Her answer, she’d by stuff for kids who were poor. While maybe the wording wasn’t ideal, her heart, her big heart was in the right place. I was floored (and so proud!) that at five years old, given the opportunity to say what she would do with $100, she chose to do something for others. Others that are less fortunate than herself.

Anderson is still young to be grasping empathy and compassion, but he’s starting to get it. He can point out emotions and often when we read books, he will say they feel sad or lonely. When I ask him what he thinks could be done to help them feel better, he is full of suggestions from giving them a hug, to helping them find a new toy or friend. When one of us is feeling down, he wants to help make it better. I said the other day how lucky they were to have so many toys to play with and a nice house to live in, and he said yes, because not everyone gets the same as we do.

In a world of mine and theirs, us vs. them, the haves and the have-nots, I just want my kids to be good people. I want them to care for each other, care for others. I want them to treat everyone with respect, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, citizenship, political affiliation, etc. We are all different and that is what makes us beautiful and valuable. I want them to be generous with their time, money and give to those that need a helping hand when they can. You never know when you may be the one who needs help.

Here a few a things we’re doing to try to help them learn this:

  1. Read books, lots of books. We’re reading everything from the story of Ruby Bridges to books on how to be identify different emotions, and everything in between. If you’re lost for ideas, there are tons of websites out there with recommendations for any value you’re trying to teach.
  2. Volunteer. We’ve packed food at Feed My Starving Children, cleaned out toys to take to Goodwill, bought groceries for families in need, and of course, they see what we’re doing for Support the Girls.
  3. Talk about what it means to be kind, generous, compassionate and empathetic. Any situation can be a learning experience from Ella having trouble with a kid at school to why there is a person holding a sign asking for money by the exit ramp.

Now, I am not claiming to be an expert and my kids definitely have a naughty streak. They still fight with each other and talk back from time to time. I’m also far from a perfect parent, is their such a thing? Overall, I think my kids are pretty awesome and we just want to do what we can not to raise kids that think because it’s not happening to them, that it’s not happening at all.

Fall Friends and Family Fest

Spending time with old friends and family do wonders for the soul. We’ve been lucky enough to host and visit a slew of friends and family in the past month. We reminisced, laughed at how ‘old’ we’ve gotten and had fun just hanging around in sweats having a cocktail or two.

Our first guests of the fall were our friends Ryan and Claire. They’ve been friends of ours for about a decade now (what?!) and currently live in Rhode Island. Huge Colorado State fans, we planned their trip for a visit two years ago when the 2016 CSU football team announced a game at Minnesota. Needless to say we’d been looking forward to it for some time.

While not all of the fun things I had planned came to fruition thanks to crummy weather and most of us coming down with bad colds, we had a great time! Here are a few highlights.

 


A few days after they left, we drove to Omaha to celebrate my Great Uncle Dan’s 75th birthday. It was a mini-family reunion of sorts. Unfortunately my dad and stepmom were out of the country and my Walker siblings away at school, but it was so much fun having almost the entire family together. It was fun introducing my kids to extended family and just celebrating as we used to on holidays when I was growing up.

Once back home, we only had to wait a few more days for my sorority sister Kirsten and her husband Brandon to arrive. Kirsten rocked the Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Miler! It was definitely fun to be a spectator for once. Ella and I also ran the Family Mile. She finished it in 12 minutes which I’m pretty sure is faster than I ran my first mile!

img_5242

We had better luck with babysitters and were out and about all weekend.

Ah, it was a like a breathe of fresh air being with them. I definitely ate and drank too much and ran too little, but I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.

Just this past weekend we also were treated to a visit from Josh’s parents. We enjoyed a nice dinner, took in a show at the Guthrie Theater and went on a train ride with the entire family. It was another great weekend.

Next weekend, it’s off to Indianapolis for the Monumental Half. I’ll have to write a little update on how training has shaped up. It’s been quite a ride these past several weeks. Can’t wait for more visitors, even if it isn’t until we thaw in the spring!

Adventures in Travel and Recovery

What a busy three weeks it’s been since the marathon. I’m exhausted and while I’m not finally home, things are not really slowing down all that much. Quick and hopefully, abbreviated review of the past several weeks. I was going to add a bunch of pictures but then I may never actually publish this:

Week One:

I walked, walked some more, foam rolled and slept a little more than usual. I was itching for a run and met my BRF for a few loops around Elm Creek. We ended up doing nine miles which felt like plenty to me. After that run my hamstring was incredibly sore. Like so sore it hurt to push on it and walk. Ugh, more rest.

Week Two:

Off on a cross-country trip with the kids. Yes, just me and the kids, by myself for 12 days. First stop, Denver for my brother Ted and my sister Audrey’s high school graduation. Crazy that I have siblings in high school right? What is crazy is that when I graduated and went off to college, they were not yet four years old, younger than Ella is now. It was almost surreal watching them graduate. They are off to SOKA University and the University of Colorado in the fall. I think my favorite part of their graduation week was the time I got to spend with them. I feel like I missed they’re entire childhood because I went to college, then got married, had kids and now live states away. I got to do a long walk with Audrey, tour the Botanic Gardens with Ted and stayed up until 2:30 am talking to both of them. It was worth being exhausted the next day.

We had a great trip filled with lots of family time. My grandparents flew in from San Diego which meant we had four generations together. We went on a cultural adventure around Denver which included the Museum of Nature and Science as well as the Denver Art Museum. On our last day in Denver we also spent hours playing in and walking around the Denver Botanic Gardens.

I also got to sneak in a Florence and the Machine concert with my BFF Rachael. Our night also had to include a stop at The Market for my favorite cake. I ran a few times, slow and not far, but between altitude and an irregular sleep schedule, it was all I felt like doing.

Week Three:

Onto Indiana! Who has three siblings that were all graduating this year? Me! Next up was my sister Emma’s high school graduation. We arrived in Indianapolis LATE. We got to my mom’s house around midnight and the kids weren’t in bed until 1 am. Luckily we were working on Mountain Time which mean it was only 11 pm technically. The kids were so far off their schedule by this point, it didn’t matter. Luckily they slept in pretty much every day.

My grandma and step-grandpa Max drove up from Missouri for the occasion and I got to watch my brother Riley work his pastry chef magic on some of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted. We spent my time there eating. We had a special girls only trip to The Cake Bake Shop to toast to Emma’s graduation and my birthday. This is the second time we’ve done this with four generations and I think it will be a new tradition. It’s a good thing I went to Orangetheory and ran a few times while I was in town. While we were doing the girls thing, Anderson was busy with Papa riding in the Jeep and visiting the tracker store.

Late in the week, I got to watch Emma graduate with honors. She just looked so happy and I was proud of how great she did not only in academics but also in how many close friends she’s made in the two years since they moved from California. It is not easy moving across the country, especially in high school. Her graduation party was the next day and boy did we have good food. It was a nice party aside from one of her classmates asking me if I was her mom. I mean really. She is off to Indiana University in the fall.

Week Four:

We finally headed home! It was a two short flights but one long layover in Chicago. I was so happy to be home when we landed.I met my friends Morgan and Ashley for an easy, unplanned 10 miles that Sunday evening to get myself back on track. While I’m not really training for Chicago, I at least need to keep my base.

That brings us to this week and I still feel like I’m recovering. I’m working on a huge project for my old company and all of our summer activities are starting up. I hand wrote two other posts on the plane, but I cannot find them at the moment. Oops.

 

 

My Babies

Happy Mother’s Day

IMG_3545

These two monkeys. They are the most beautiful, funny, sweet and challenging people I’ve ever known. Motherhood has been everything and nothing I expected. While the days can be long, the weeks, months and years fly by. There are days with tears, tantrums and time-outs (both for them and me). While these days are the most challenging, they are worth all the other days that are filled with laughter and cuddles.

I don’t know if I’m doing it right. Most days, I’m sure that I’m probably not. What I do know is that both Ella and Anderson know how much they are loved. They know that I will always be therefor them. They know that I am so proud of them and proud to be their mom.

13179465_10102781440986953_5267704502448225770_n