Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Snuck in a quick 3 miles this morning before heading off to work. I'm working 10 to 6 today, so I thought I'd have more time, but Sam woke up late (for her), and then in the car, she told me, "I'm still tired." Since she wasn't quite awake, she wasn't hungry, so I ended up holding her daycare for about 15 minutes while I cajoled her to at least finish her cereal bar. Somehow, all the time I had envisioned having this morning disappeared and the 27 minutes I was out running was even pushing it! Ah well. It was a lovely morning with a cool breeze, and lots of blackberries lining the route. Even a short run is better than none!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mid-day Run

Mid-day run in the hot, hot sun.
Either that or none.
Guess which one?
I sweated a ton.
Whee! Isn't this fun?!
Glad I got it done.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

BBU with Squirrel and Scout

For the first time in many months, I finally managed to make it to a Sunday morning TMR run at Bradbury! Hurray! Ian, Brenda, Linda D., Rick, Mindy, Val and I showed up. Everyone had their own ideas for their morning run, so it was just Mindy, Val and I who set off to run the mountain side of the BBU course. I wanted to get in 10 miles, and that portion of the course was perfect - my Garmin was reading 10.09 when we got back to the parking lot.

We had a great time chatting as we ran along. It was fun to catch up with them both on their VT experiences. The miles ticked on by. We ran a mellow pace, walking a lot of the big uphills, which was fine with me, as I was still feeling pretty stuffed up, although I thankfully was feeling a bit more energetic than I had been over the past few days. It was incredibly humid out, and I was soaked pretty quickly. I should have brought my Nathan pack so as to have the option of more fluids, but for some reason, had decided to just bring my handheld. Oh well. The deer flies were also terrible! Yuck. They were everywhere, and showed no mercy, swarming all around us. Isn't it time for them to be gone yet?! Other than that, it was a great run with friends. The BBU course is a fun one, but it is going to be tough! Good hill training though :-)

Ryan and Sam had come over to take a little walk and get in some playground time while we were out running, so they met us at the end of the run. After a quick change, we all headed to Edna & Lucy's for a yummy lunch. A good Sunday morning for sure! Thanks for a good run, guys!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Evening Fun

This is what we do for fun around here these days :-) Nothing like putting some paper on the floor and letting your toddler make a mess with paint! All I can say is thank goodness the washable claims are true!!!


Round and round

Super Sam! (Yes, I did that :-) )

Little feet

Saturday night fun

Friday, July 27, 2012

Heath Loop

I woke up again not feeling so great, stuffy and foggy, but on the other hand, I did manage to get 7+ straight hours of sleep, so that is a good thing! No wake-ups from Sam, and no tossing and turning and waking up and not going back to sleep for me either. Hurray!

When Sam woke up, she told me: "I moved to the floor to sleep (I had placed her comforter on the floor next to the bed after Wednesday night's incident of her falling off the bed) and then I got up and got back into bed, all by myself! I didn't come into your room. I stayed in my room, like I'm supposed to." I have no idea when she got out of bed and lay on the floor, whether it was when she was still in the process of falling asleep after bathtime or in the middle of the night, but whatever. I didn't have to deal with it, and she was smart enough to get back in bed herself. She also understood that she needed to stay in her room, so I'm not complaining!

After I dropped Sam off at daycare, I headed out to run around the Heath. I didn't have the energy for a longer run, so yet another change of plans. Oh well. The air was heavy, a light rain was falling, and the bog bridges were slick, but it was a nice run in the woods and good to get the blood flowing. Think I can run this cold out of me?!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Change of Plans

I should know better by now than to post what I am planning to do running-wise - it seems there is always some sort of change of plans, and I don't end up sticking to what I have laid out.

Sam currently has a little summer cold, just enough to make her sniffly and feel a bit run down. And I've got it too. Couple that with the fact that I am just not sleeping well right now, even though I know I need the rest, and yesterday morning, I woke up feeling fairly terrible. Despite the gorgeous weather - cool and crisp - I opted not to run, in the hopes that a bit of rest would help me kick the cold. Turns out, I didn't get much sleep again last night either, so I didn't wake up feeling much better this morning, but oh well. I couldn't delay the run any longer, so out I went at 7:00 to get in 5 miles on the Highland Green Road. It was overcast and a bit heavy out, but there were less deer flies harassing me than on Monday, which was nice. I spotted a little red eft on the dirt road, and wanted to stop to move him out of the way, but the deer flies were persistent enough that I knew I had better not stop!

Sam did pretty well in her big kid bed last night, although it took a while for her to actually settle down and go to sleep. And then, around 11:00, I heard her crying out, "my pillow, my pillow!" Thinking she had probably just shifted off it, I went in to check on her, and found her on the floor. She didn't even appear to be awake, so I quickly got her back into bed and cuddled up under the covers. I went downstairs to tell Ryan, and he said, "Oh, I heard a thump about an hour ago. I just assumed it was the cats wrestling!" Ha! :-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Big Kid Bed!

Ryan set up Sam's "big kid" bed today while I was at work. I had already put up the "artwork" on the walls, so things were all set when we got home after daycare/work. Please excuse the poor light quality in the photos, but you get the idea - she loves it! :-) Now, as long as she sleeps well in it, I'll be happy too!

So happy!

"Read me a book, Mama!"

The new bed and decorations

Somebody else approves of the bed too :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Butterfly Run-In

I got run into by a butterfly this morning while I was running. The poor little thing flittered smack into my sweaty neck! Ha. I always thought butterflies were beautifully graceful creatures. I guess no one can be graceful all the time :-)

Got in a sweaty 6 miles along the powerlines this morning. Boy, was it humid out! I attempted to run the extended Homeplace loop, but the property owner whose land I needed to cross to get from the woods back to the powerlines had the property very aggressively roped off, so I chose to just turn around and retrace my steps instead. Still, not a bad out and back.

Planning to get another run in tomorrow, the first time I'll have run 3 days in a row in a long, long time, and then get out in the Cathance for 9 miles on Friday morning. That will get me up to 25 miles for the week, still not a lot, but oh well.  Somehow coming back from this injury seems to be taking a little while longer than I had anticipated, and perhaps I have been too cautious, but I'd rather be a bit undertrained and slow in the summer Bradbury series than be injured again. Hopefully over the next few weeks as I get my mileage up into the 30s, things will start to turn the corner and the speed and strength that I had in 2011 will begin to make themselves known again. I hope so, anyway :-)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hordes of Deer Flies = A Bit of Speed

Sam never took a nap yesterday, so after I finally gave up and got her out of bed, we headed out to run a few errands, and then over to Highland Green Road, where we walked in on the powerline trails a very short ways to pick some blackberries and blueberries for snack. It was hot in the sun, but there was a nice breeze, and Sam had fun picking the berries and even more fun eating them :-) This morning she told Ryan, "The blueberries were not as sweet as the blackberries." I'll let you guess which color was staining her face last night! :-) Then, after Ryan came home, we headed out for dinner at Frontier (Sam's choice, but a delicious one for sure!). With all the activity from yesterday, she slept in until 7:00 am, this morning which was a nice change!

However, as a result, I didn't get out the door for my run quite as early as I had anticipated, and was really pushing it to get up to work on time (Since I have taken a few extra days off this month, I'm covering up at the gallery today.). I decided to just run the Highland Green 5-mile road loop, in an attempt to get the most miles into the alloted time. It felt warmer than I had anticipated, but perhaps it was just the humidity. Despite that, I felt pretty good out there, which was a welcome surprise. The pace picked up once I was off the powerlines and onto the pavement as it usually does, but picked up even further once I hit the dirt road along the back of the loop. The deer flies were pretty bad, and when the sun was at my back, I could see the restless group of the flies circling my head.  I subconsciously began running faster and faster in the hopes of outrunning them. Didn't quite work, but it did allow me to get in a bit of a progression run in those middle three miles! Ha. Maybe I should incorporate this route into my training a bit more often during the hot months of summer - with all the deer flies, it could be my speed work! :-)

Luckily the flies abated a bit once I got back to the paved road and there was a steady breeze to keep the nasty buggers at bay. I backed off on the pace in the final mile, but was still happy to see the splits when I got the Garmin plugged in (9:02; 8:22; 8:18, 8:10, 8:37).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunny Sunday

Sam was up bright and early, so we arrived at Frosty's before the twists were sold out - hurray! Sam got a plain and a glazed - I think she took only a few bites of each before the plain fell to the floor, and the glazed got too sugary for her, so don't send the bad food police after me yet! :-) We then headed to Wolfe's Neck, arriving right as Tami was opening the gates. It was a beautiful morning. Clear and crisp, with a nice breeze blowing. Low tide was at 8:00am, so there were still plenty of mud flats left to explore as the tide rolled in. After getting muddy down by the water, we headed up to sit in one of the bigger tidal pools to have a snack, listen to the osprey calling from their nest and splash in the warm water. We watched the little crabs skitter back and forth, let the periwinkles attach to our feet (honest, one attached itself to mine!) and picked a few up and hummed to them. Sam is getting pretty good at that! There were also some little fish who darted out of the shadows a few times. I saw two crabs that were only as big as the diamond in my wedding ring - so cute! I love my ring, but it isn't the hugest thing on the planet :-), so honest, those were some small crabs! I picked up a slightly bigger one and had Sam hold out her hands so she could feel it flutter across her palms. She let out a good shriek! Ha! We hiked back through the woods a few hours later once the beach started to fill up with people. A good morning outing on a gorgeous Sunday to be sure!

And before the pictures, a huge congrats to my Trail Monster friends who raced some awesome races at VT 100 this weekend, and to all those friends who crewed, paced and no doubt helped make the weekend all the more special for everyone! Amazing! A huge hug goes out to Zak too, with lots of healing vibes headed your way. Hope you heal up quickly!

Digging in the mud flats

Taking in the view (Do you see the osprey? :-) )

In the tidal pool

Blue sky day

Look Mama, I can walk on the rocks all by myself

Friday, July 20, 2012

7 for 7

With Ryan headed off to Vermont this weekend to help at the VT 100 -- go Trail Monsters go!!! -- I knew I wasn't going to have a chance to get in a long run over the next few days. So I decided to let him have a little extra time with Sam this morning and have him drop her off at daycare. That way, I could get in a "long" run before work. Sam and I were up bright and early, so it was no trouble getting out the door at 7:00am for the run. It was bright and sunny, there was no humidity and best of all, the thermometer was reading 58 degrees when I left the house. Ahhh! Heavenly!! It felt wonderful!

My right ankle felt a little twingy (still working on that part of the puzzle, but am going back to see Dr. Jamie later in the month to have him work a little magic on the ankle tightness), so I took the cart path instead of the quarry out to the Heath, just to give things a little more time to warm up before hitting the singletrack. It seemed to work, as I didn't have any trouble as I headed down to the river. Wow, the river was low, lower than I can remember seeing it before, which meant less rapids, but more chances of seeing the neat rock formations along the edge of the riverbank. I found a big feather in one of the open areas down along the river. I don't know if it was from a hawk or an owl, but it was very pretty and had uniform, thin chocolate brown stripes all along it. Neat. As I got further down along the river, I heard a commotion behind me, and peeked back to see a little fawn and its mother bounding across a shallow area in the river. They quickly ducked into the undergrowth and up the hill on the other side, but what a sight! Beautiful!

Other than the deer sighting, I had the woods to myself. Since it was still early morning, there were lots of spider webs to run through :-) The only thing marring the run were the deer flies who hounded me as I stopped to pick a few raspberries in the open field, one of whom bit me! OW!

I got in 7 miles in 1:10 and felt good. What a beautiful morning to be out!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blueberries and Blackberries, oh my!

Snuck in a short 3 miler this morning before heading up to work. It was hot, but there was a breeze. I stopped to pick some delicious blueberries and sweet blackberries along the powerlines, and as I stood there enjoying them, it got me to thinking that, you know, I really should stop whining. Life is pretty sweet. I am healthy. I am loved. I have friends and family who care and worry about me. I have a daughter to give me kisses, and a husband to do the same. I can run. I can stop and pick fresh berries along my running route. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees, but life always offers us reminders to look up and see the big picture. And so, with that, time to snap out of the funk and get on with it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2012 Bradbury Scuffle Race Report: A Day Late, A Dollar Short

There were a lot of successes at this year's Bradbury Scuffle. The event had its largest crowd ever - 171 people finished the race! Awesome! Ian and Ryan, as always, put on a great race and there were a lot of Trail Monster volunteers helping out. A ton of Trail Monsters ran great races, including Emma, who ran a fast fast race against some speedy women and came in 3rd, and my friend Amy, who despite being fearful of racing, rose to the challenge and finished standing and with a big smile on her face. Way to go, girls!!! :-)

And in amongst the successes, I was not. It just wasn't my day. I tried, for a few hours at least, to not be disappointed with the results, but let's be honest here, I am. I wanted to run better, faster. And I didn't.

The first person I saw when I pulled up to the registration table was Val, who immediately and worriedly said, "Danielle, are you ok? You look so tired." And I was tired. It had been a bit of a stressful week, and I guess it was showing. I tried to get my head into the game by going for a 1 mile warm-up by myself, but I am not sure it did much.

The large group lined up at the start, and after a moving tribute from Ian about his friend Chris, we all finagled into place and were off. I got a bit carried away on the downhill, and was probably moving a bit too quickly in that first mile. I soon fell back into what seemed like a more reasonable pace, and realized pretty quickly that I was going to have a bit of a rough go out there - the slow climb up the snowmobile trail felt a bit too tough for only a mile or so into the race. Still, I plugged on as best I could. It was hot and muggy. I felt like my legs didn't have any power, any strength in them, which I suppose isn't surprising given that I have not been running much and am only recently getting back into things about my month layoff. Man, that month killed a lot more of my fitness than I would ever have imagined! Coupled with a month of very low mileage and no running at the Brad at all this spring, and well, the Scuffle was just a bit more work than I would have liked! :-)

I leapfrogged with a few people on and off as we wound our way through the singletrack. I even stopped at the 3 mile aid station, something I would normally never do, in part because it was just so frickin' hot and well, because, I was tired :-) I got a bit of a second wind after that, but it wasn't enough.

As I headed down the snowmobile trail in the final 1 1/2 miles, I saw a familiar figure ahead. I finally caught up to Ryan right when my Garmin beeped 5 miles. I had picked up the pace to catch him, and wanted to try to keep up the momentum. I told him to come along. Together we grumbled and ran, and well, I don't know about him, but I certainly suffered up that final little climb. Somewhere along the way, Susan passed us, and then Bob caught us right at the end. Sigh. Oh well, they deserved it today! Definitely not my best effort. Ryan and I crossed the line together, in 53:57. Compared to last year that is slow as molasses, but it was fun to have a chance to run a bit with Ryan, and I think we were at least both smiling at the end. Suffering is better with a friend after all! :-)

So, not the best Scuffle in the books for me, but it does leave me with a bit of a fire in my belly to get out there and get in some more miles and gain back a bit more strength in my legs. Whether I'll have gotten up to speed by the Breaker remains to be seen, but I sure will be out there trying!

Lost in the Rabbit Hole

I've gotten a few concerned messages from people wondering if everything was OK, I hadn't posted in a few days. I am frazzled but fine. It just seems I have no time! I feel a bit lost in a whirlwind. Starting with Sam's surgery last Wednesday, I feel like I haven't had a chance to breathe. We saw old friends for dinner, had Zak and Lenka over for VT 100 planning, I crazily baked banana breads for the Scuffle, packed to be away Sunday night, raced Sunday morning, got home, threw things in the car and we headed south to Ryan's parents after a quick shower and lunch. Monday morning was a memorial service for Ryan's Great-Uncle Charlie, who was very close to the family and always spent holidays with us, took Ryan and Meghan to the symphony and to eat great food as kids, and always thoughtfully gave Sam books and gifts he thought she would love. We'll miss you Uncle Charlie!

After the memorial service, we all had lunch and then Ryan and his dad headed off for a round of golf. Irene and I tried to put Sam down for a nap, but failed, so there was no resting there :-) I did manage to sneak out for a run, leaving Irene with a rather cranky Sam. Thanks Grammie! I ran the 5 mile Weldon Farm loop. It was 2:30 pm and hot and muggy. I wasn't totally prepared for the run. I forgot to bring my Garmin, and didn't have a running hat or my sunglasses. I could have used my handheld with water, but oh well. In the shade, it wasn't terrible, but in the direct sun, whew! I sure felt the heat! Felt a bit 'meh' while running, but managed to finish off the loop in 43:00, so it wasn't great but it wasn't terrible. We didn't get home last night until 8:00, put Sam right to bed, and then tried to tidy up and get organized for today. This morning, I had an appointment before work, and work has been nuts. I'm taking a little afternoon snack break and thought I had better get something up on the blog before I went crazy just thinking about how behind I am :-)

Planning to get the Scuffle report written and up online tonight. Here's hoping that the rest of the week will be a bit calmer! :-)

Friday, July 13, 2012


Sam woke up yesterday cheery and basically back to her normal self but still pretty tired. I guess that is totally understandable - I'd probably be tired after a day like Wednesday too! In fact, I was tired, I just hadn't gone through the surgery myself :-) We sent her into daycare like normal and it sounded like she did fine, just a little wiped out. But the good news is that we sent her in wearing big kid pants and although she had two small accidents, she managed to poop on the potty there, which in the potty training world is VERY exciting!

Unfortunately, despite how tired she was, we didn't get to bed early and I think she was just so overtired that she didn't sleep great, and so we were up bright and early this morning, and neither of us were very cheery about it. Oh well. Hopefully she'll nap at daycare today and then tomorrow when she's home with Ryan she can get in a marathon nap, which should right things a bit.

I needed to start baking Scuffle prizes and get in a run too, amongst other things, so I got Ryan up and went out for my run before dropping Sam off at daycare. I had planned on a long run this morning, but I just didn't have the energy, so 3.5 miles to round out the week at 20.0 it was :-) I ran the regular Highland Green loop and added a loop of Ryan's Mt. Ararat snowshoe course. It was hot and muggy even at 7:15am. Seems like it just going to be one of those summers!

Won't have time to get a run in tomorrow, and then the Scuffle is on Sunday! Can't say I think I'll be a top contender but it is always fun to have a chance to run at Bradbury with friends!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Not Fun

This morning, Sam had tubes put in her ears and her adnoids taken out. The surgery itself was short - only about 15 minutes - and Sam did great not being able to eat or drink before we got to the hospital or while we were waiting to get into the operating room. However, the recovery from the surgery was much much worse than we would have imagined. Yes, the nurses told us she would come out from the anesthesia befuddled and would likely cry for a while. But it sounded like she would snap out of it quickly. Well, I don't know if we were just looking on the bright side, if the nurses downplayed how bad it can be, or if Sam had an adverse reaction to the general anesthesia, but it was pretty awful. She was unconsolable and beligerant, just the opposite of her normally happy, loving self. It took us forever to get out of the hospital because she refused to drink anything for quite some time. Finally, we were able to get some tylenol into her and then she drank a bit and had some popsicle and a few handfuls of cheerios, and we were set free. We managed to get a little bit of food into her once we were home, but she was still really out of it, almost like she was hung-over or stoned or something, and her face was all puffy. It was very bizarre and upsetting.

Naptime came quickly but not without more crying, and Ryan and I settled in downstairs, feeling pretty awful that we had made the decision to put her through this surgery. Hopefully it will keep her healthy and prevent any serious issues with her ears, but honestly, we both second-guessing ourselves all afternoon. I had planned to get in a nice 7 mile run in the Cathance during her nap, but I didn't have the energy. I felt wiped out, and didn't want to be gone too long in case something happened. Ryan pushed me out the door anyway, knowing it would probably help clear my head to get in a run. I ended up running the Heath loop with a slight variation, getting in 4.25. The sun was warm, but there was a nice breeze. I picked some delicious raspberries and blueberries along the way, but I never felt great while I was out there. I arrived home to find Ryan practically beside himself - Sam had woken up and it wasn't pretty; he had finally gotten her back to sleep but was afraid she wasn't going to snap out of the state she was in. We both felt pretty horrible.

Luckily, though, she slept a good long time and when she woke up, while she wasn't completely back to her normal self, she was definitely on the upswing. She wanted popsicles, so Ryan went out to get some. He came back with a full assortment of novelties :-) Sam sampled all five flavors of the mini popsicles he got, and had a few bites of ice cream sandwich too. Who doesn't like desert?!

She had a good dinner - no wonder, she must have been starved! - but refused to use her left hand or arm for anything. We had forgotten to tell the nurses that she was left-handed, and they put the IV into her left arm. It might not have mattered anyway, because they had trouble getting the IV in - the bandaid in the above picture marked the final spot for the IV after four other tries! AIE! Poor kid! Luckily, she was already under the anesthesia when they did the IV, but still. Yet another reason to feel badly about this whole thing... 

With a full belly, things were looking up and we went outside to feed the birds, water the plants and do bubbles for a bit before bathtime. It may have been too much, because she really was just totally exhausted by the time we got upstairs, but it was nice to see glimpses of her regular self. She was not enthused about the ear drops or the ear plugs we had to use to keep the water out of her ears, but went to bed relatively happy. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day and she is 100% back to her normal self! I know we will certainly feel better if she is!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Milestones - Sam at 33 months

Sam is now closer to the age of 3 than 2 1/2 - how did that happen?! She is getting to be such a big girl, bright and funny, with a crazy awesome giggle, and when she isn't being an overly dramatic toddler, she sure is a cutie!

Silly Sammy :-)

Since I haven't done a Sam update in a while, here are a few of the things that stand out to me as markers of just how big she is getting:

- She can unscrew the top on a regular water bottle and take a drink without spilling. She can also drink easily out of a regular cup, and sometimes Ryan and I just look at each other with raised eyebrows at how nonchalantly she will hold a cup with one hand while taking a drink, as if it is nothing :-)

- You can really have a conversation with her now! Not to mention, she has a pretty good sense of the English language already. She uses words like "too," "anymore," "all of us" and "either" in the correct context. She still gets a bit befuddled with the tenses of words like fall/fell/fallen and break/broke/broken, but she uses the pronouns me, I, you, she and he correctly 90% of the time, and can put together complex sentences. Sometimes I will be talking to her and get distracted and not quite finish my sentence, and she will finish it for me! She's one smart little cookie :-)

- She may be a good communicator, but still has a bit of trouble deciding exactly what she is feeling and being able to express it correctly. The other night, when I had gotten home after a long day at the gallery just in time for the end of bath time and putting her to bed, she gave me a hug and said to all of us (Ryan, Mom and Dad), "I like Mama best." I know she was just missing me, and no one was really offended, but it was kind of funny :-)

- Similar to the above, she is starting to discover logic and use it, although admittedly, hers is sometimes a bit flawed, in an adorable way :-) Examples: 1) Ronnie is a big cat and he doesn't bat at me, but Gigi is a "little" cat and she bats at me, therefore, all big cats are nice and all little cats are naughty. Or 2) Ronnie is a black cat and he is noisy. Our neighbor's cat, Stormy, is also black and noisy. But Gigi and Gary, our neighbor's other cat, neither of whom are all black, are not noisy. Therefore, black cats are noisy and other cats are not. Well, not quite sweetie, but good try!

- She is getting a sense of humor and is trying to be funny. Yesterday, when we asked her what she wanted to do after her nap, she said, "let's go to Cook's!," knowing full well that she had been there the other night with Neenie and Pippi. Then she quickly said, "I'm just kidding," and laughed into her hand, which is just the most adorable thing ever :-)

- She has finally turned a corner in the sleep department and been regularly sleeping through the night. HURRAY! Maybe I can finally catch up on some of the sleep I lost over the past few years! She's been staying up a bit later too, but is still usually asleep by 8:00 pm. Honestly, that is fine with me because it means I have an hour and a half to two hours to get things done before I go to bed myself! However, despite a later bedtime, she appears to only need around 9 to 9 1/2 hours of sleep a night, which means she is almost always up between 5:00 and 5:30 am. I don't mind it too much, as I have been sleeping better myself and it means I get some extra time with her each morning, but it does mean I usually need an additional cup of coffee every day!

- She has really started to do pretend play, telling us her duckie in the bath asked for some more "rub rub" (ie soap), making us coffee in her little kitchen, or cooking us up soup or ice cream in the sink or tub. So cute! The other night, it was ham ice cream soup :-) Oh, delish!

- Her coloring skills have gotten much better, but while she loves to tell me what she is drawing, be it a cow, a bunny, a fish, etc, it almost always ends up being some sort of scribble. Ha! She can make a straight line, a good circle, and every once and a while, even make a triangle, though, with her crayons or markers. She doesn't quite have the whole 'coloring in the lines' thing going yet, but hey, I say she's just being creative :-)

- She still loves to read, and it just cracks me up when she says, "this one is my favorite!" to a certain book. Of course, that favorite changes daily, or at least weekly :-)

- She is finally starting to show an interest in potty training! Over the past three or four days, she has been stopping in the middle of playing to tell us she needs to go potty, and lo and behold, 85% of the time she gets on the potty after that, she does indeed have to pee. Hurray! Perhaps our days in daytime diapers are numbered!!

- She is still sleeping in her crib, but we are thinking seriously about getting her a toddler bed. I sort of hate to interrupt the decent sleep thing we have going, but I know she needs to move at some point soon. Hard to believe we're really even contemplating this! How did she get so old?

- We actually left her overnight this past weekend with my parents - a huge step for us, and for her! And she did fine. In fact, more than fine. She was great for them, and seemed hardly to miss us at all. And I swear, she had gotten even more grown up in the 48 hours we were gone :-)

[Possible TMI alert... Depending on your point of view, and whether a fairly recent TIME Magazine cover made you cringe, you might want to skip the following point.]

- And, for me, perhaps the biggest indicator that she is getting big is that she is no longer nursing. Yes, I know. She is a toddler, a walking/talking little kid, and up until last month, we were still nursing at bedtime and in the morning when she woke up. I never ever would have imagined I would have been one of "those" moms; in fact, I was sure I wouldn't nurse past six months. But it ended up being what was right for us and it simply seemed natural to continue nursing her as she got older.  In any event, recently she had been showing less interest, and so we took advantage of that, talking to her about how big girls don't nurse, only babies, etc etc. And surprisingly after setting a deadline and talking to her about it frequently, we were able to stop nursing without much distress. Honestly, after a few days, she seemed to have completely forgotten all about it! And as for me, well, we nursed for so long, I really wasn't sad about stopping either. But it is another chapter completed, and it does just make her seem like such a big girl!

So, there you have it. Almost three years old, and such a happy, bright, energetic little girl. We are proud of her, and amazed by her, every day. Life with an almost 3 year old is tiring for sure, but we wouldn't want it any other way! We love you kiddo!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Home Sweet Home (and a lot of photos)

First of all, a big congrats to the newlyweds, Jamie and Kate Anderson! Everybody had a great time at the wedding last night, and it was so much fun to see how happy Jamie and Kate looked together :-) Not to mention, we were surrounded by friends, it was a gorgeous day, the wedding was in a gorgeous spot, and there was much talking, laughing, drinking and dancing done last night. It doesn't get any better!

Here are just a few photos from the wedding (courtesy of Christine via Facebook):
The happy couple

Trail Monsters!

Goofy us :-)

Although I really enjoyed the evening, I was definitely ready to come home this morning, whether Ryan in his hungover state was ready to be up bright and early or not :-) I know Sam had a great time with my parents, but I missed her! However, I am so thankful that she was good for them while we were away, and that they were good enough to watch her all weekend-long so we could go to the wedding. We are very lucky! Thanks Mom and Dad!

Here are some photos of Sam from the past few days with Neenie and Pippi (looks like she didn't have any fun, right?! ;-) ):

Cousins at Kettle Cove

Getting a ride with Pippi at Crystal Spring Farms


Low tide walk at Wolfe's Neck

At Cook's Lobster House

Outside Cook's

"Skipping" rocks

We got home in time for lunch and to catch up with Mom and Dad before they took off. Then Sam took a nap, Ryan caught up on some work and I headed out for my run. By that time, it was 1:15 and I was feeling the effects of a late night last night, too little food the past few days (the big omelette at Dysart's aside) and too little water. I honestly didn't drink anything other than the one cocktail Peter bought me last night (thanks, Peter!), so that wasn't it. All of that, plus the heat and a bit of stress from thoughts of this week's upcoming events (ear tube operation for Sam on Wednesday, Scuffling, Ryan's great uncle's memorial service and the travel and logistics involved, etc), made for a bit of a sluggish 4.25 miles, but hey, I got it in. 

After Sam woke up, I really wanted us to go outside and do something fun, so we decided on a short walk down to the shore at the Skofield Shores Preserve in Harpswell. The sun was warm, but there was a nice breeze and we had the small beach to ourselves. It was a quick trip but a lot of fun!

Walking along the dirt road at the Skofield Shores Preserve, Harpswell

Sam and I

Blue skies, marsh grasses and ocean

Picking seaweed :-)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bangor City Forest Run

Well, I survived leaving Sam yesterday morning :-) We went out for donuts in the morning - perhaps our new Saturday tradition :-) - and Mom and Dad met up with us so that they could take Sam up to the farmer's market and we could hit the road to get to the Inn for the 1:00 rehearsal. I think if we had thought things through a little bit more, and done a bit more coordinating with everyone, we would have likely just sent Ryan up with Ian yesterday, and I would have stayed home with Sam. Then I could have come up today and stayed for the wedding and overnight. But oh well, we didn't, so we are away for two nights. Which isn't bad, it just has ended up being a fair amount of downtime, and I probably would have felt better about things if I had been away for just one night. That being said, Sam is having a GREAT time with Neenie and Pippi, sleeping and eating well and sounding so happy when we have talked to her on the phone, so there really isn't a problem there at all! It is just my guilt talking :-) and I am probably missing her more than she is missing me!

Anyway, we spent yesterday afternoon at Fort Knox, chatting and eating and exploring a bit before settling into the shade to escape the heat and humidity. It was a pretty neat place and good to catch up with everyone who was there. A few of us came back to the Inn for drinks, and then Ian, Ryan and I drove into Bangor for a late dinner at the SeaDog down along the river. We had fun talking and didn't get back to our room until about 9:45. Our room is right above the dining room, and loud, and rather horrible, music from the Saturday night wedding was blaring down below. Sigh. Luckily, it stopped a little after 10:00 and then we only had to contend with the slightly softer, but still horrible, music emanating from the bar :-) We cranked up the A/C and fan to drown it out and finally fell asleep.

This morning, we met up with Jamie, his brother Chris, Ian, Blaine, Stephen, Jim and Shauna at Bangor City Forest for a run. Wow, what a neat resource for the city! It was a pretty large park, with lots of nice, wide, packed gravel trails, and singletrack too. Plus, an awesome 1/2 mile long bog bridge that looped out into the middle of a huge peat moss bog. Jamie led us out on a 4-mile loop that ringed the forest; he, Ian, Blaine and Stephen turned off to get in some more miles a few miles in, and the four of us (Jim was walking the dog) continued on the loop. At the bog bridge, Ryan and I turned off to explore.

Bog Bridge (photo take from the Bangor City Forest website)

It was so neat, we ended up doing the bog bridge loop twice! There was a nice breeze blowing, the sky was blue, the moon hung low in the sky, and all around us was this neat bog, full of red and green peat moss, pitcher plants, lots of little "grass pink" orchids, white fringed orchids, yellow bladderwort, bunchberry, skunk cabbage, bog laurel, a few blooming swamp iris, cotton sedge, bog rosemary, small pine trees and more. There were also a number of birds flitting about, and I spotted one yellow warbler (maybe a common yellowthroat?) and we heard lots of white throated sparrows singing their "Sam Peabody Peabody" song.

When we got back to the parking lot, Ryan was happy to call it a day at an injury-free 5.5 miles, and was OK with hanging out while I ran a few more miles. I headed back out to do another loop, but ended up wanting to explore just a little bit. So, after looking at the map, I decided to take the Grouse Trail, one of the singletrack trails, and managed to do a little lollypop, adding on another 2.5 miles to finish up with an even 8 miles in 1:17:xx. After the run, we capped off the morning with a stop at Dysart's Truck Stop for a good hearty breakfast. Perfect!

Friday, July 6, 2012

R is for...

...red cardinal seen in the bushes.
...red eft rescued along the roadside. (Yes, Jeff, I know you're going to say he is poisonous and I shouldn't have picked him up, but I couldn't help myself! I promise I didn't lick my hands after holding him :-) )
...raspy sounding cough after swallowing a bug. Ugh!
...ran 3 miles at 8:30 pace - fastest I've run in a long while!
...rackin' up the miles! Ha! Managed 20.25 miles this week - most miles run since the week of TARC back in April. Ouch!
...rattled (just ever so slightly) at the thought of leaving Sam for the first time overnight but nonetheless...
...really looking forward to a fun weekend with friends at Jamie & Kate's wedding!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th!

This is a busy week at work, hanging our big summer show yesterday with our reception tomorrow night, so it was nice to have an extra day off in the middle of things to hang out with the family. My parents are in town to watch Sam the next few days while daycare is closed and to stay with her over the weekend while we are at Jamie and Kate's wedding, so they were around today too, which was fun!

We started out the door over at Wolfe's Neck Farm, visiting with the animals, although Sam wasn't nearly as enthused about it as she was during the Team Burphy event last week. After a snack under the tent and a walk through the garden, we headed out back to walk on the farm trails. They have created a decent loop that wanders out through the woods and down along the salt water marshes. Sam walked her longest hiked yet - probably a mile - on the twisty, turny, rolling singletrack and did great! Towards the end, she had to be spurred on with drinks of cold water from Neenie's water bottle and cheddar bunnies, but hey, I like drinks and snacks during my endurance events too :-)

After our long walk, we were all ready for lunch so we hit Broadway Deli on the way home. Pancakes are always a good refueling food! While Sam napped, I headed out for my run, doing the Homeplace loop at 1:30pm. Yup, it was hot and the air was super heavy, but there was a nice breeze that kept the bugs at bay. I stopped a few times to snack on the low bush blueberries, and enjoyed the heady scent of the ferns and milkweed in the air. There were lots of butterflies flitting about, the towhee and cardinals were singing, and along the old dirt road that makes up part of the Mt. Ararat loop portion of this loop, I saw what I think was likely an Indigo Bunting. It was perched atop the highest tree around, singing brightly and although the light was at a bad angle, it just looked blue, and the song seemed right. Can't be sure though, but it seems likely. Also picked up a very cool hawk feather while I was stopped for blueberries on the return along the powerlines.

When I got back home, Kristen and Morgan had already arrived for an afternoon visit and early dinner. The girls had fun playing, and we enjoyed a good summer meal of sausages on the grill, quinoa black bean salad, potato salad and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Yum! The perfect holiday!

Monday, July 2, 2012

More Cathance

Yana asked me yesterday while we were running along the Cathance river if Ryan and I ran there all the time - it was so beautiful, she commented, and so close! I answered her that sadly, no, we didn't run there all the time. I love that we are so close, and certainly don't take it for granted. But sometimes, I just need a quick run, or don't have time to run the twisty turny trails out in the preserve. So, today, when I did have time, I decided I would get out and enjoy those beautiful trails again!

Because I didn't want to run too many miles today, I drove over to the ecology center parking lot and started my run from there. I started on the same route as yesterday, running down to and along the river.  It was a bit warmer, or maybe just more humid, than yesterday, and there wasn't a breeze. Maybe because of those things, or because I didn't have any other people running with me, but the deer flies were brutal! And they were all mine :-) Oh hurray. When I had climbed up from the river and got to the  field of raspberry bushes, I decided to run the Ravine Loop. As I was running and attempting to dodge the deer flies, I figured I would take the short spur down to the stream, which the Cathance group ran through last November with Ryan, when the water was up to their knees. Today, it was barely a trickle in comparison, and I just couldn't help myself. I decided a tromp through a cold stream sounded delightful and made the spur of the moment decision to run the trails on the other side of the stream. These are "future" trails, but they are really already in place, and even blazed! I've only run them once, a year or so ago with Ryan, but remembered the general gist of them. After meandering through the woods on the tight singletrack, I got to the old woods road and turned right, fighting off deer flies left and right, before making the lollypop back to the singletrack trails in the woods. I recrossed the stream and stopping to splash water on my head, and then took the shortest way back to my car. I ended up with 4.75 miles, and enjoyed the nice breeze out in the open as I cooled down next to the car. Another fun Cathance day!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cathance & Pancakes

This morning we hosted our quasi-semi-annual Cathance & Pancakes gathering. With Ryan not doing much running due to his achilles these past few weeks, it fell to me to lead the group on the run part of the gathering. We alerted everyone that this time around there would be more of an emphasis on pancakes than running, but no one seemed to mind :-) A great group of us headed out to run the 7 mile loop in the Cathance. It was hot out, but down along the river, there was a breeze and we were in the shade, which was pretty nice. Along the dirt road sections, it was a little toastier and the deer flies were out, but nothing terrible. We mosied along, enjoying the sights and chatting away. It was really nice to have a chance to run with friends again, and extra nice to be hitting the Cathance trails after a long time away. The majority of the group ended up with 7.5 miles in 1:25, with a few people doing the 4-mile Heath loop, and Jeff and David running a few extra miles. Ian joined us for pancakes after a crazy 28 mile run to get here - wow!

It was too hot and sunny to sit outside, so we all crammed inside, talking, drinking, eating the huge pile of pancakes that Ryan and Lenka whipped up while we were gone, snacking on watermelon and donuts and other goodies, and just generally having a good time. Sam had fun with everyone, and even Ronnie was sociable! What a great group of friends we have! Thanks for joining us today, guys, it was a lot of fun, and the perfect way to kick off July!

[P.S. I almost forgot to mention, but the foot felt fine today and no issues at all with my leg. We kept the pace mellow enough that I felt good and there was no suffering during the run, the longest I've done in a while! Hurray. Onward we go!]