TAT CN Header

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Running...Out of Indoor Activities

Norah and Caleb are active kids, and to them, any day is best spent in motion.  Keeping two active kids busy and entertained through the summer is a tough task.  A tough task made even harder with rainy days.  Of which we've had a lot lately.  So...

...On Tuesday, we went to Monkey Joe's, an indoor play place with bounce houses and all kinds of madness where kids can run and bounce and be, well, monkies:

On Wednesday, I had planned to take them to a different indoor play place, only to discover once we got there, that it was closed.  As in, gone.  Poof!  So, we switched gears and went to the mall's indoor play area, where there's not a fast enough shutter speed to capture Caleb running around:

They played there and rode the mall's train, as well as made the requisite pit stop at the Disney Store (a place that is both a blessing and a curse: they love to go there and check out all the merchandise, but then trying to leave without buying anything usually means dealing with someone's meltdown).  Also on Wednesday, we had swimming lessons, and both did well, but Caleb especially did great:

His back floating, with ears submerged, was worlds better.  So, he gets to advance next week.

Today, then (rainy.  AGAIN.), we went to the Young at Art Museum.  I went there once, in their old location, when Norah was about 18 months, and I hadn't ever been back, but I took the kids today, and must say: The place kicks ass!  The kids played for 3 hours and would've stayed longer, but I was already pushing the limits of Caleb's naptime.

There's a million things to do there, all of them interactive, and below is just a smidge: They were building this giant fort/castle/maze out of these big foam blocks.  The place is filled with that kind of stuff.

Below, here they are outside; Norah is the wee one on the "L" and Caleb the dot by the "U."

Clearly, they needed to blow off a lot of energy.  While I was getting us checked in and filling out a membership form, my 2 were running around the lobby like wild animals.  Literally.
Caleb was, honest to God, crawling on the floor pretending to be a tiger, making chomping sounds and yelling, "Me tiger!  Bite!"  And Norah was running after him screaming, "Ahhh!  RUN!  The tiger's gonna get you!"
I filled every other mom in that lobby with smug happiness.
If anyone ever wonders why I run: THIS. IS. WHY.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Weekend Wrap Up

The 3 day weekend was a busy one, and here's the breakdown of all the awesome time:

Saturday was actually a pretty run-of-the-mill Saturday: Mostly chores and errands, and for me, running.  But, Saturday night, we had a sitter, so Jerry and I went out to dinner and to Star Trek.  We'd been waiting to see the movie, and thankfully, it lived up to our expectations.  For anyone familiar with Star Trek, I'd describe it as "Wrath of Khan: Remixed"; for anyone unfamiliar with Trek, then I'd just say, "It's awesome: go see it."

Sunday, Norah and I went to a birthday party in the afternoon, and Jerry and Caleb stayed home since Caleb needs to nap then.  Norah had fun at the party and swam or slid on the water slide for about 2 hours.  She was spent that night.


On Monday, we met some friends at a nearby water park, and the kids had fun swimming.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a hot enough day to really enjoy the side with all the spray stuff and water slides (that pool is freezing!), but Norah and Caleb didn't mind.  They love the zero-entry pool because it's so shallow that they can swim all over but have the comfort of being able to stand up in the majority of the pool.

During Caleb's nap, Norah and Jerry went to the cheap theater to see "The Croods" and I had a glooooorrrrrious nap!  (They reported that the movie was "okay."  Norah was mostly stoked about the snacks and the soda she got during the movie.)  After nap, we played some baseball in the back and Caleb did some "fishing."

We grilled, drank some beer, and then had a family movie night.
Then, that was that.  Now, I guess, it's officially summer!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

That Time of Year

After 8 years of running in South Florida, I have become accustomed, mostly, to summer's heat and humidity.  What I really despise about running in this season is the bugs, specifically these tiny black gnats that swarm in clouds and are impossible to avoid.

All I can do is put my head down, close my mouth and nostrils, and cross my fingers they won't fly in my eyes.  They do, of course.  Even with sunglasses on, they swoop in and peg me in the eyeballs, and even with the above mentioned combat measures, I still end up swallowing a bunch and having several shoot up my nose.
But the worst is how they stick to the rivers of sweat, so that when I wipe my face as I run, I always have little bug bodies on my finger tips.
I know.  I should write FL travel brochures, shouldn't I?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Swim Lessons

Last year, we'd had Norah take swim lessons via the city, and they were okay, but not great.  Norah didn't like going, and often cried beforehand about having to go, and at the end of the 10 week session, we didn't feel her swim skill had advanced much.  So, we didn't continue the lessons, and since it was then late fall, there wouldn't be much swimming over the course of the winter anyway.
This summer, then, I was on the fence about having both kids do lessons again: Were they really worth the money?  Could I teach them what they needed to know?  So, we began our summer of swimming with arm floaters and that was fine, but I knew they needed more in order to be competent swimmers -- sooner rather than later.  I knew the city lessons weren't great, so I searched for private swim schools and found the US Swim Academy, a place we'd briefly checked out before since it was close to a movie theater Jerry and I often go to for our date nights.
I toured it, and I knew right away it would be WORLDS better than the lessons we'd done last summer, so I signed them up.  Their first lessons were yesterday, and I can't say enough good things about the place and their methods.  It's indoors, heated pool, and they have a plethora of inventive toys and equipment, and the teaching philosophy is all about making every skill a game or task.  Plus, the classes are super small: 3 kids to 1 teacher.
Pic's not great, but here's Norah going down one of these floaty slides into the water in her class:

Unlike the lessons Norah did last year, she was beaming through her entire lesson yesterday, and when she got done, she was excited about returning for next week's class.

That is worth every penny of the extra cost.

Not only does the place make the lessons not feel like lessons, but immediately, there's a noticeable improvement in both kids' swimming.  Today, at home in our community pool, Norah abandoned the arm floaters and was swimming back and forth from the stairs to me, and she kept wanting me to go farther and farther away (I'm terrible at judging distance, but I'd say she was going about 10-12 feet at a stretch).

Caleb too wanted to follow Norah's example and swim out to me without his floaters, but he could only go about 2 feet or so, and he was still flailing like I was stabbing him with hot pokers when I tried to get him to practice his back floating; still, he too had improved and he had also liked his class (the only problem, by his estimation, with his class was that Norah wasn't in it with him).

Caleb's teacher said he needed one more week in the class he started in, and then he could probably advance; Norah immediately advanced, and for her advancement, she earned a medal.

She was SO proud of her medal, and when she got home, she knew, right away, where to put it:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's Been a Spell

So, I've been AWOL for a bit. 
No one thing, just an accumulation of things.  End of the semester, a trip to Disney, and now summer SAHMing have all kept me away from blogging the past few weeks.  Maybe I'll be a more regular blogger this summer; we'll see.
We're still settling into a summer routine, and we have some activities planned, but most don't begin until the end of this week and beginning of next: Kids are gonna do gymnastics and swimming lessons, and I have been scouting the library story time classes, as well as the community ed classes for tots (maybe a crafty art class or something, we'll see).  In the meantime, what we mostly plan to do this summer is go to parks and swim in the pool.  We've already gotten plenty of pool time in:
On the running front, I continue to streak, and as of yesterday's run, I'm at Day #135.  In those days, I've run 478 miles.  Nothing epic, but I'm kinda working up to epic this summer.  Summer heat isn't really conducive to epic mileage, but my time is.  So I'm probably gonna sweat myself silly in the next few months, but I'd do that anyway.
Lastly, I got myself a new pair of shoes.
For those who are friends with me on Facebook, you already know that these shoes were 3 weeks from order to arrival, and their journey from an Amazon warehouse to my front door was fraught with mishaps; for those who aren't on FB with me, know that it was a GIANT pain to get these -- apparently, some packages just go to Opa Locka, FL and stay there.
Anyhoo...these are Saucony's Virratas, which are touted as a hybrid between minimalist and stability shoe.  As you know, I've toyed with various minimalist shoes, but haven't ever found a satisfying pair.  I don't know if these will be either.  I've given them 2 runs so far, and I don't yet have a feel for them.  Like any new pair of shoes, they take a bit of adjusting, but because they are also a "bit minimalist," they take quite a bit of adjusting (considering I ran the previous 471 miles of the year in my trusty Brooks Adrenalines, which are just getting to feel really broken in and perfect).
Once I've given these Virrata's some significant mileage, I'll let you know my thoughts; for now, we're just getting to know each other.
Lastly, this summer, I've decided to give both push ups and sit ups a "go."  I downloaded these apps on my phone that take me through 3 days a week plans to get me to do a bazillion of each.  I'm modifying both: With the sit ups, I'm just doing crunches; and with the push ups, I'm doing them "girly style."  But, dang those push ups slay me.  Yesterday, I did 5 sets of varying reps for a total of 57!  My arms were like useless slabs of meat afterward.
And, I'm on week 2.
On this path, I should be The Hulk by August.