A Scary Day

So today was Halloween. I spent the morning bouncing happily between the boys' preschool classrooms, helping with Halloween parties, taking pictures at the school costume parade and just basking in the joy that is watching your kids play and learn and interact in a setting in which you are just a visitor, free to observe. I love Halloween. It's the only holiday that's just fun- no family obligations, no pressure to travel, no spiritual component. Just candy and scary stories and costumes and epic Micheal Jackson songs. And I got to spend it with my sweet little boys. The drive home from preschool was one of those rare moments when you realize how lucky you really are.

And then I walked in the house and checked my messages. There was one saying that a close friend of ours was in the hospital- he'd been in a bicycle accident on his way to school. He was found unconscious and no one knew what had happened. I can't explain the feelings I've been swimming in all day- they range from fear and anger that the streets my own husband bikes to school each day are such a dangerous place for cyclists, to pride in the way that our group of friends rallied to help, to deep admiration for our friend and his wife, who take everything that comes their way with incredible determination and faith. We are so lucky to know them. He's home from the hospital now, and although he's pretty banged up, hopefully will not have any permanent injuries. At the end of this long, scary day, I'm so grateful for my family and friends, and that they're all, if not unscathed, safe and warm tonight.


Why'd you have to be so cute?

One year ago today the world welcomed Mustang. I don't think I've ever mentioned him on our blog before, which is strange, because he's such a huge part of our lives, but I just have to take a moment to marvel at the wonder that is our golden retriever.

Eric grew up with a golden retriever named Chip (how cute is that?), so when we decided to get a dog for Christmas last year, nothing would do but a golden. I knew there would be fur all over us, the house, and everything we owned, but I thought that would be balanced out by the fact that the dog would lick up all the edible debris on the floor, of which we generally have a lot. Somehow, we ended up with the world's only anorexic dog. He does not lick up crumbs. He sniffs them and walks away. He often takes an entire day to finish one bowl of dog food (and no, we're not over-feeding him).

Eric brought him home on Christmas Eve, after the boys were asleep, and we hid him in our room all night, bringing him out after all the other presents had been opened. I must say that most of my excitement up until that point had centered around seeing the looks on their faces when I carried him into the living room with a big red bow around his neck. That and not having any more crumbs on my floor....sigh. But basically, I thought I would tolerate a dog for the sake of my children's emotional and psychological development. So I was floored by the love I felt for him almost immediately. Is it bad to say that I never felt that way with the boys when they were born? I think I was so overwhelmed by the immense responsibilities and life changes that accompany an actual child's birth, that I was unable to just enjoy their cuteness and smallness and snuggliness. That and the fact that I felt like I'd just been hit by a bus.

But after we got Mustang, I was almost euphoric- he was so cute and soft and just plain adorable, and his life did not revolve around sucking on me! I got to hold him and play with him and cuddle with him, and not once did I ever have to wake up in the middle of the night. Yes, he peed all over the floor. Yes, he went through a stage where he would try to pee on my foot (and no, I don't want to know what that means he thinks of me). Yes, he's eaten toy cars, bottle caps, small stuffed animals, a cereal bowl and my favorite flip-flops. But I can honestly say that I would not trade him for anything. As I write this, he's lying on his back at my feet, hind legs spread wide to the world- loyal and trusting and comical, even in his sleep. I hope I get to end every day for the next fourteen years chuckling at his random sleeping positions and petting his soft head goodnight.


Tri, tri again....

"Live to swim tomorrow." That's what the race director said as she canceled the swim part of our triathlon last weekend. Pretty disappointing. But, to be honest, those waves were SCARY. We had all gone out on Friday to test out our wetsuits and practice getting through the surf, and the general consensus was, "Are you kidding me?!" What we were doing was not really called swimming, it was called trying not to die. Not worth the risk. And we did still get to do the run and bike. Eric won his age-group, and tied with our friend Paul for fifth place overall in the run. I ran and biked hard and showed the 'pedals of death' who's boss. All of our friends racing with us had a great race, even though it wasn't the race we had all trained for. And I was SO looking forward to posting pictures of me in a wetsuit:). Something tells me I'll get another shot though....as Eric and I were getting our transition spots all laid out in the pre-dawn darkness, I had one of those moments where you stop and look around and say, "Yes. This is me." It's the feeling I get when I listen to James Taylor, or eat blackberry pie, or cross over the marsh on the way to my Mom's. If at first you don't succeed...

After the race with the winner of the male 25-29 age group...

How much fun was it to walk around with my number and age written on me for three days? A LOT!

The kids wanted numbers on their arms too :)...

Big waves on race morning...

And, cruelly, this is what the ocean looked like the next day...


What do meringues, horses and bike pedals have in common?

....They can smell fear. It's true...my cousin Nan, who used to be a professional baker, told Eric one time, as he was baking a cake, that meringues are like horses, you must be fearless in handling them or you're done for. Add clipless pedals to that apt analogy. My mom was kind enough to buy me some nice bike shoes to go with my new road bike for Christmas last year. They stayed in their box in the garage until yesterday, because you need special pedals to go with them, and pedals, like all bike components (they're just little pieces of metal for heaven's sake!!) are ridiculously expensive. I finally got some low-end pedals this week, and Eric put them on my bike yesterday morning. For those who don't know, you clip your shoe into the pedal, so that you're effectively stuck to your bike, until you clip out (so why are they called clipless pedals? I don't know). Anyway, Eric warned me before I tried them out that I'd probably fall a few times. I bit it a few feet out of the driveway, skinning my knee (the boys were thrilled when I took them to school with blood running down my leg), somehow cutting my ankle and scraping the pedals, which means I can't return them which means I have to use them. AND USE THEM I WILL!!!! I fell two more times yesterday, but as I live, those pedals will not get the best of me! I will not let them smell my fear. I will conquer them, and they will make me faster. Or at least make me look a little less like a novice:). Why am I doing this triathlon again?


Tears stream...

Reading Cailean's blog today reminded me of a funny thing that happened a few weeks ago. We were in the car driving to the mountains, it was dark out, the boys were both asleep in the back seat. I had the ipod plugged into the car radio and was listening to my downer playlist. You know, the songs you listen to when you feel sad and you want to wallow in your sadness instead of trying to feel better. The song "Fix You" by Coldplay came on. Toward the end Eric noticed that Brigham was awake, and looked like he was trying really hard not to cry. We kept asking him what was wrong and he wouldn't tell us, but continued to do the mouth puckering, blinking back tears, voice cracking thing. I could tell his little heart was breaking, but I couldn't figure out why. Finally I asked him, Briggie, did the song make you cry? He nodded his head. I would never have guessed that a four-year-old could have such emotional depth....and, more importantly, such good taste in music:).


Tagged, and the return of cadet Habib

I've been tagged...

Jobs I've had:
1. Front desk person at a health club
2. Lifeguard
3. Waitress
4. Camp counselor
5. Mom

Places I've lived:
1. Durham, NC
2. North Potomac, MD
3. Seattle, WA (sniff, sniff)

Favorite Places I've traveled:
1. Egypt
2. France
3. Switzerland
4. Italy
5. Costa Rica
6. Venezuela

Places I want to visit:
1. Brazil
2. England
3. Italy and France again...can never have too much Gothic architecture or Renaissance painting.

Movies I could watch over and over again:
1. The one true movie...Pride and Prejudice:)
2. The Painted Veil
3. Dirty Dancing (can quote almost the entire movie)
4. Shag

Books I could read over and over again:
1. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
3. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
4. Fair and Tender Ladies (Lee Smith)

Favorite shows:
1. This American Life (radio...we don't have a TV right now)
2. The Office (my friends got me hooked)
3. My So-Called Life (my old favorite from high school)

Favorite websites:
1. itunes.com
3. washingtonpost.com
4. adamhabib.com (my brother's website...check it out...it's so cool!)
5. totalimmersion.net
6. www.usatf.org/routes (America's running routes)
7. goodreads.com

Places I'd rather be right now:
1. running on the Burke-Gilman trail
2. swimming in the Cowpasture river
3. getting a massage
4. picking blackberries in Magnusen park

Favorite Foods:
1. Henry Weinhard's rootbeer
2. cream (in any form...I'd even drink it straight!)
3. Indian food
4. Cosmic Cantina burritos
5. pretzels dipped in marshmallow cream

People I tag:
1. Eryn
2. Mercedes
3. Andrea

I have learned how to work the scanner! Which means I can post these two pictures:

The other day Eric and Brigham were playing with the boy next door. This kid thinks he's pretty cool. So when he came to the door and said that the boys had told him I used to be in the Army, implying that he didn't believe them, Eric dug these pictures out of the attic. Shhhh...don't tell him it was actually just R.O.T.C! Exhibit A is a picture of me and my M-16. It was the laughing stock of the end-of-year R.O.T.C. slide show, because, as you can see, it looks for all the world like I have a big hunk of chewing tobacco in my mouth. I have no explanation for that other than to say that I've never chewed tobacco! The second picture is of my friend Erin and me the very first time we ever put on our BDU's. I can still remember the two of us giggling at ourselves hysterically along with my roomate Kelly, who took the picture. R.O.T.C. was one of those things for me where you're doing something that is SO not even close to your norm, that you end up having the time of your life. I learned how to take apart, reassemble and fire an M-16, how to properly throw a grenade, how to construct a tent out of a poncho and 550 chord, how to get across a river using a rope and two trees, how to polish boots, and I even got to ride in a Blackhawk. Had I not met Eric my sophomore year, I think I might actually have gone on to make a pretty decent officer. I gained SO much respect for those who serve in the military. And hey- I've got two sons...maybe one day my grenade launching skills will come in handy:).