Sep 30, 2011

A Single Mom’s Life

With Cameron away in Wyoming hunting Antelope, I’ve gotten a glimpse into the life of a single mom. For the most part, it hasn’t been too bad. The security of not having Cameron there isn’t the same as when he is – but that’s why we have a house alarm and two dogs, one with a fierce bark (Tulley) and one who looks fierce (Melody). I also miss having Cameron around at night to chat with, but he’s made the effort to call every night so we can talk for a few minutes at least. I’d say I miss cuddling with him as I fall asleep (and I do) but I also have Tulley right there who is the main cuddle monster any way.

I’ve had a few middle of the night wakings from London, but that’s not totally unexpected – she does have three molars (maybe four – she doesn’t like me feeling around in there and I have been bitten when I do) and her fourth tooth in the front, on top, coming in. I have had to resort to giving her Advil a few grumpy nights as well as the binky when it was getting to the point that I was going to loose a considerable amount of sleep if I didn’t.

Around the house, I’ve been able to stay caught up on all my DVR’d TV programs and really gotten the place clean. Plus, the areas I’ve cleaned have stayed clean! Hmm, maybe I’m on to something…Joking. Rather have a mess and my man around than an empty, clean house. It would be nice if he makes an effort to help keep it clean when he does get home, but I’m almost positive the front room will be destroyed within 10 minutes of him returning Saturday night or Sunday morning. Oh well.

Tulley is suffering the most since she has to be crated all day while I’m at work. Thursday she even tried to hide when she saw London and I getting ready to head out the door. To add insult to injury, when I do coax her down and toward the crate, London smashes her head between the crate and crate door because she was trying to close it. The child likes closing everything even when you’re trying to get something or trying to get through. Poor Tulley. But as you will learn shortly, it was one of THOSE mornings after one of THOSE nights.

Wednesday night was the night I really missed Cameron and was thankful I wasn’t a full time single mom. I don’t know how they do it. It goes back to these teeth coming in. They are causing some diaper blowouts – I’ve been sent home with a child in different cloths or missing clothes from what I dropped her off in, along with a plastic bag with the soiled clothes to launder 3 of 4 days so far!

So back to Wednesday night. I’ve fed London and am just sitting down to feel myself an actual home made meal when I smell something. I know ifs London’s diaper but it can wait while I eat, right? Wrong. London gets up on the chair across from me at the table and is contemplating getting onto the table to try my dinner. I look through our glass table and notice something yellow that is not apart of the chair upholstery. Major diaper blowout! I abandon eating dinner and am running upstairs, dangling London by her arms yelling for Tulley to follow, as just as I picked up London, Tulley was smelling and literally about to lick up the mess! I did eventually eat my now cold dinner, with a very large glass on wine after cleaning up both my child and the chair. Thank goodness for Fabreeze – got the smell out, no problem. And this was after a second attempt at sitting down to eat, when London decided she needed to be whiny and unpleasant. With my patience running low, I whisked her off to bed without a second thought. Good thing she didn’t protest bed.

Not that having Cameron there would have allowed me to eat dinner in peace from the moment all this happened. I would have just had someone to share in the pain and help with the cleanup. Plus, when he’s home we share the time with London so there we each get a little bit on time to relax and unwind from work without having to wait for the moment until after she goes to bed.

You’d think a good night’s sleep would help. Nope. Thursday morning wasn’t any better. London woke up just as I was getting out of the shower and I could tell if wasn’t because she was ready. It was a bad dream-type wake up which meant she was still tired and whiny. I had no choice but to get ready with her whiny butt right next to me. When we finally make it downstairs to get my lunch thrown together, London ends up slamming my head between the door and fridge. Adding Tulley’s head slamming 10 minutes later, that girl was on a roll! London would whine all the way to daycare. Had Cameron been home, he’d probably have gotten up the second he heard me losing my patience with London and taken care of her to give me some time to get what I needed to get done. I’m happy to report we were both in better moods Thursday night and this morning.

Before Cameron left, my biggest had been whether I’d be able to get a few runs in early in the week, as I have my next half marathon on Sunday. This ended up not being an issue as Lynde wanted to get a few in too before she headed to San Diego on Thursday. She volunteered Matt to watch the little bug.

This would be interesting. Yes, it was only for 30 minutes or so each night (Monday & Tuesday), but you have to understand that Matt has never changed a diaper on this child, spent time alone with her and has probably only picked her up once.

None of these issues turned out to be a factor. For the diaper part, I made sure to change London before we headed over each evening as well as made sure she had a full belly. I also brought along her Gerber Crisps for a snack just in case.

Monday, we took Tulley over with us to romp around with Cody in the backyard. When we left, we heard London cry for a second and when we returned we found Matt and London looking out the backdoor watching Tulley and Cody be crazy.

Tuesday when we left, we took Tulley and Cody on the run with us. London tried to walk out the front door with us, but Matt was quick and pulled her back as we shut the door. We heard a little more crying as we headed out. This is what we walked in to find when we got back:

Apparently, after we left, she crawled under the coffee table to half cry/half whine, crying more when she’d bonk her head on the coffee table. Matt said he coaxed her out, at which time she cried until she fell asleep. Of course, this was a great little snooze for London that by the time we got back home, she was raring to go and stayed up a little later than normal.

Here’s another funny picture to share with you that happened this week. Last night, I started the shower before bed. I must have left the door open a little, as when I came back a few minutes later after letting it warm up some, I found this:

I don’t know if it’s Tulley being afraid of my leaving her too or her being overly protective that she needs to be in the shower with me, but all week she has tried to get in and has sat by the door when she’s been unsuccessful. Monday after the run, I was about to take a shower when London got in (she needed one any ways) which left the door open for Tulley. There I was with a toddler and a pooch in my shower. Tulley got kicked out shortly after I got in – it was a bit crowded and I didn’t want to deal with wet kid and wet dog upon getting out. But all in all, makes for a pretty cute picture.

Sep 29, 2011

London’s 15-month Stats

In anticipation of our first trip to Disneyland with London in November, I recently was playing around on their web site to see which attractions she’d be able to go on. Amazingly, there are many, as there are no height restrictions to most of Disneyland’s attractions – California Adventure is about 50/50. We will avoid some of the longer attractions unless London’s attention span increases to more than 5 minutes – which I hope it does as I think she would like the Enchanted Tiki Room.

However, I was surprised to learn from this research, that Autopia has a 32” height restriction. I was half thinking there would be none and half thinking it should be higher. Being that London was almost 31” at her 1-year check-up I wasn’t too worried that she wouldn’t be 32” in November. My worries were completely erased after her 15-month old check-up this past Monday. The girl is not slowing down at all – I swear I throw more and more clothes into the “Doesn’t Fit” pile every day.

Here are her latest stats:

Height: 33 ¼” (well into the 100th percentile as usual and cleared for Autopia! If she passes 35” by November, she could possibly go on Gadget’s Go-Coaster. Too bad we’ll have to measure her at home. Her next appointment isn’t until after Christmas!)

Weight: 22.3 lbs (35th Percentile. At least she’s consistent and its not like she doesn’t eat – the day care jokes that she puts more away then the other 3 combined!).

Head Circumference: 17 ¾” (25th percentile – we know she got her daddy’s small head.)

The poor little bug has at least three of her four 1-year molars coming in right now. There could be a fourth, but I just can’t tell. London doesn’t like us looking in there or feeling around (I’ve been bitten on several occasions). Plus, she’s got a fourth tooth coming in on top in the front.

I have to admit, she’s still in good spirits most days and Advil definitely helps her sleep at night. With Cameron gone this week, I’ve had to resort to giving her the pacifier a few times just to get some much needed sleep myself. But, this has been in the middle of the night, so she still has no problem falling asleep without it.

Now if we can just make the switch from the bottle to the sippy cup. This is still an all out battle of wills – one of these days I’ve gotta stop giving in! Maybe when Cameron is back.

Sep 28, 2011

Tough Mudder: Part 4 – The Adventure Continues…

Our Small Group After Tough Mudder

At the bottom of the rock slide, we met up with the Log Jammin obstacle. It was easy enough, as I was able to use the strength of my legs to help me climb up and over 3 or 4 logs. And I was small enough that I could get under the barbed wire wrapped logs pretty easily too. Tui decided to have some fun here and would roll through the dirt to get under a log.

We all were ready for a break at this point. Conveniently, a cement support at the end of a chair lift was nearby which also provided shade. The cool cement block felt good to sit on. Yes, we’d actually warmed up at this point.

We filled up on some Gels and Blocks for some much needed fuel and rested for 5 or 10minutes. Time was a blur to me by this point. I had no clue how long it had taken us to get here and none of us carried a watch with us.

After our little rest, we had another trek up hill – all the way up to the very tip top of Squaw Valley. On the way up, we were privileged to walk behind a team that had picked up a large pine log left over from creating Log Jammin. Why any one would opt to add in another obstacle, I don’t know, but they did. Maybe they thought it was one, since there were quite a few pieces left over, but there was no sign and no Marines overseeing it. At one point, they stopped and we all heard “Head on Left” several times before we watched as half the team attempted to toss the log over their heads on the left to the left and the other half tried to toss the log to the right. The giant log (about 12 feet long) scissored before taking three people out, running for their lives down the hill to the left of us. Luckily, no one was hurt but the team started arguing about which way they said they were going to throw it – all of us behind them yelled that we heard “Head on left”! Because of this, we’d been stopped in our tracks and piled up waiting to pass. Guess that’s why we all felt it necessary to clear up the disagreement.

Here’s what I found very silly about the whole situation – why would you put your head on the side that you were going to throw the log. So much easier to just roll the dam log off your left shoulder then in one fluid motion raise the log over your head to chuck it left. It didn’t make sense to toss the log to the right, because that was uphill and you’d risk having the log roll back onto you and possibly the whole team would have been running down the hill for their lives. Oh well, it wasn’t my team falling apart and with no one hurt, made for a good laugh. That reminds me, some one did catch that on their Go-pro. I wonder if it made it onto YouTube?

At the top of Squaw Valley was our next obstacle – Hold Your Wood. Cameron wanted me to sit this one out, but it looked harmless enough. Grab a piece of wood and navigate the circle that went down some rocky terrain and back up. He found me a nice small one and we started the loop. It was probably 100 yards in total. And, it really wasn’t too hard – slow and steady, like the rest of the day had and would be.

Since there was no more mountain for us to trek up, we headed downhill, staying to the right, being that we were of the slow and steady mindset. The faster traffic could pass us on the left. Why any one was running down this path, I haven’t a clue. There were loose rocks every where begging to take some ankles out. Low and behold, one girl came barreling past us, slipped on a rock and immediately stopped, raising her ankle like every one does when the roll it. Stopping that suddenly probably resulted in a pulled quad or two, as well. I'm sure she had a nice twisted ankle thanks to that move. She’s lucky it wasn’t broken or that she didn’t fall down the shear cliff that was on the left side of the trail.

We were almost back down to Squaw’s upper lodge when we encountered the first of the Berlin Walls. Jeff, Cameron and I all opted out, but Cameron made sure to help get Kelley and Tui over the first of the walls before walking around. Cameron had been limping down from the summit and finally told us about landing on his hip – his knee was now hurting because it was over compensating for it. We both felt any extra jarring to our bodies via jumping down from the top of the Berlin Walls could prevent us from finishing the course.

Not too far from the Berlin Walls were the Walk the Plank and Underwater Tunnels obstacles. Again, I opted out. I wasn’t ready for swimming 50 yards in cold, muddy water, or going under barbed wire-wrapped barrels. Jeff opted out too.

Cameron, Kelley and Tui braved the frigid water and swam. I’m not sure if Kelly did the underwater tunnels or not – Tui did and ran into issues with an overcrowding of people at the first barrels. Cameron decided to swim around the barrels and just get out.

Before heading up yet another mountain, we needed to pass the Boa Constrictor. The only one to participate in this obstacle would be Tui. She ended up in front of a very strong man literally up her a$# yelling “YOU CAN DO IT!” (I imagine him saying this the way Rob Schneider’s character in The Waterboy does in his bad Mexican accent). And he literally was that close to Tui - his hands were out of the tube before her feet were.

As we looked up at how high we were now expected to trek, again, we began to wonder what happened to 5-6 miles up, 5-6 miles down. Shouldn’t the rest of the course be downhill from here on out? But up we climbed. We watched as a first aid guy passed us by twice on an ATV to rescue a few people that had thrown up an X.

We’d end up walking the next few miles before the next obstacle, going up and down, up and down along the ridge of Squaw Valley. It was full of more dusty and rocky trails on the edges of cliffs. Finally, we came to the next obstacle, another set of Berlin walls. Cameron and I opted out again while Tui and Kelley completed it. Jeff made a beeline for the water station just past this obstacle. Had my back not been totally stiff at this point, I would have attempted this one. The walls weren’t as high as the previous, so with a little boost I could have gotten over. But with my back, I might not have survived the dismount.

Tui and I would take on the next obstacle a short while later – Bale Bonds. By this time so many people had been through them that small, narrow passageways had been made through the bales of hay, so it wasn’t too hard – slippery, but we breezed through. It would have sucked if we weren’t skinny women – we commented on what it must have been like to be a bulkier man trying to get over these.

We’d also begun our final descent down the mountain. We now had to follow a zip zaggy, dustry trail and from the top we could hear the music as well as see the finish area below and the last few obstacles. But the slope was steep and slow going (single file only here folks) and we had a good mile to go before the next obstacle.

Cameron was leading us, walking behind a man that we figured was in his 60s. The poor guy slipped at one point and took a pretty hard fall – but he kept going, limping and hunched over. We were all too close to drop out now. We could taste the beer promised to us at the finish line.

Up the wooden ladder we all went when we got to the bottom of the trail and arrived at the Turds Nest. Brett had mentioned that morning that he’d read it was best to roll through the cargo net versus trying to walk your way over it with hands and feet. This was pretty clear once we got to the top – almost every one was rolling through and sometimes over one another. At the other end, I did need to use my hands and feet to get to the platform, but I found it was pretty easy if I went sideways so that one foot and one hand led the other set across the net.

We only had 200 yards left to go before we could cross the finish line and collect the most well-earned beer I’d ever worked toward. We saw Kyle and Angie cheering us on, saying we only had 200 yards to go. Magic Carpet ride came on over the loud speakers and suddenly Cameron was off running, followed by Tui, Kelley and I. At this point I had no clue where Jeff was – I think he’d gone ahead.

Here’s the cruel joke I played on myself at this point – somehow I’d forgotten about the last two obstacles. I thought I was just running for the finish line. That was, until I rounded a corner and found Twinkle Toes. I stopped running and walked to the line. After a few minutes of waiting it was my turn – Cameron would go behind me. We lost Kelley and Tui here to the masses and wouldn’t see them until after the course.

I made it only a few steps onto the board before it got pretty wobbly. My legs and body didn’t have the strength to fight it and I figured it was the last of the water so why not? I was hot at this point. I jumped in and swam as quickly as I could to get to the ladder to pull myself out. I turned around just in time to see Cameron falling in. He’d made it pretty far - about two thirds of the way across. One more obstacle and we would be done.

But it was the one obstacle I was sure I wouldn’t do and was quite scared of – Electroshock Therapy. But the course was set up in such a way that I couldn’t get around it.

Guess what – Cameron and I both made it through without a single shock! We went slowly and found a nice path led by those before us. We both admitted later that the only way we would have been shocked would have been by flying wires kicked up by someone sprinting through it. We got lucky. Every one by this time was taking it slow and steady.

We’d done it – we’d completed the Toughest Event on the Planet! We were exhausted but exhilarated by our accomplishment, full of smiles. We were greeted with our prizes just after it too – an orange Tough Mudder head band, a t-shirt, and a cold Dos XX beer. We were sore, tired, hungry, thirsty and dying to get our shoes off. Kyle and Angie came over to congratulate us all. They, along with Brooke and John had completed the course almost two hours before us - it took them five hours to complete. It took us 6 hours and 40 minutes. Now we were all wondering about Brett, Trina, Kell and Lisa. Were they still out there?

Yes, we kissed right after the finish line too! If you look closely you can see mud on my cheek still

While we waited to find out, we headed for bag check. You’d think Cameron would say he had the best, most awesome wife in the world for even attempting Tough Mudder. Nope. Those words came when we picked up our bag from bag check and he discovered that I’d packed his sandals for after the race. He thought he was going to have to choose between walking in wet shoes back to the car or barefoot with exposed blisters, neither of which sounded good at all. Good thing I think ahead (most of the time).

We made our way back to the car to change out of our wet clothes and get some food to eat while we continued to wait for the last four. Soon we got a call from Kyle that there had been a Kell sighting. The last of our team was on the zig zag - Kell wasn't hard to see in his birght purple shirt. Did I ever mention our team name was the Purple Glitter Pooping Ninjas?

45 minutes after we had crossed the finish line, Brett, Trina, Kell and Lisa did the same. Our team of 13 beat the odds and we all finished. Best of all, the Tough Mudder NorCal event raised more money for the Wounded Warrior Project than any other event Tough Mudder has held so far.

By the time we had finished Tough Mudder on Sunday, Cameron and I had both agreed that we’d never attempt a Tough Mudder course again – we’d done it, we could check it off our bucket list and move on, right? We could barely move, we were so sore after the event. It would take until Wednesday to move without wincing in pain and the black boogers didn't go away until Tuesday. Why would we even think of doing this again? Enough people thought we were crazy enough to attempt it at all.

Still in the throws of pain and soreness, Monday night I asked Cameron if I was crazy. After all we’d said on Sunday about never, ever even thinking about doing Tough Mudder again. But here I was starting to think maybe we would. Cameron is with me on this too. Maybe it’s the competitive nature in us both, the former athletes we once were. This course had handed out a#*es to us in a silver cup after being blended into a fine puree. We now know what to expect and have a better idea of how to train for it. Now we want to complete a Tough Mudder and feel like we have conquered it, not the other way around. I did make Cameron promise to install a pull up bar for me. And I still may opt out of any Chernobyl Jacuzzi. We’ll see if and when the time comes.
Yes, I guess we are crazy.

Sep 27, 2011

Tough Mudder: Part 3 – The First Half of the Course

Now for the fun, play by play of our time on the Tough Mudder Course...

We were off, taking on the first two obstacles immediately as we past the start line. A reminder, the first was the Braveheart obstacle that found us running straight up a steep incline. Not much running actually took place. With all the people, and the steep incline, we mainly power hiked our way up, at one point through orange smoke that was set off near the starting line. Wasn't a huge fan having to walk within inches of the canister. Luckily, once past it, I could breathe in the beautiful, crisp, cool and clean air that Tahoe has to offer.

We quickly fell behind Kyle, Angie, Brooke and John. We wouldn’t see Brooke and John at all after that and Kyle and Angie when we had only 200 yards and two more obstacles to go. Just before the race, Tui said she would stay with the last person in our group and most of us agreed we’d do the same but we quickly found that this was going to be hard. It was the first split of two within our group of 13.

We quickly came upon the Ball breaker obstacle. None of the oversized exercise balance balls came near me as people taller than me did a good job at keeping them above my head. At the bottom of a rocky incline we came to a hault, then moved at a snail's pace up to the top with the mass of people. At the top was the Kiss of Mudd.

While the water was cold and muddy, I didn’t find it too hard. I used only my arms to move my body through the water, gliding and floating under the barbed wire to get to the other side. Some guys behind me would pass me, using their legs more. Problem was, that by using your legs at the end, your butt wound up out of the water and more than a few who passed me got caught up on a barb or two. Of course, I didn’t go unscratched either. The pit was full of fine gravel/pebbles/sand that tore up my elbows as I'd already taken my hot pink arm warmers off. I still carry miniscule scabs on my elbows from where I got cut up. It would be the first blood drawn, but not the last, for me.

Brett, Trina, Kel, Lisa and Tui would fall behind after this event, and soon Tui was told to catch up to Cameron, Kelley, Jeff and I. This is how the groups would stay the rest of the day.

At some point, as we powered our way up more and more inclines, I saw a sign for the Death March obstacle. It wasn’t any different from any other incline or hike we would take part in the rest of the day and the only way one could have opted out of this one was to throw up an X. Only 2 miles in, I don’t think any one did this unless they had twisted an ankle. It was disconcerting to see a gal running down the hill, past us, back toward the finish line, but we never saw any one that needed help as we continued our way up.

Eventually we came across the Mud Bath. We jumped right in and made our way under the board and across. I do have to admit this is when Cameron and I began to notice that I’m not fond of dark, cold water and going under an object, even for 2 inches.

Upward we continued to the Chernobyl Jacuzzi. While I jumped into the muddy, watery ice bath like everyone else on my team, I froze when it came to going under the 2-inch thick board. My heart was fluttering and I was scared of not coming up. Cameron was already on the other side as were all my teammates so they cheered me on as quickly as possible. Cameron says he grabbed my hand as soon as he saw it coming up on the other side, pulling me up and pushing me forward to get me out as quickly as possible. I remember the ice was harder to get through than expected - it had started to melt together into blocks, versus being small, cocktail-sized cubes.

We were risking hypothermia by this point. I hardly remember much as my mind stopped processing anything until I realized more people were in and behind me needing to get out. Cameron and Jeff stalled after getting out to help those people out while Tui, Kelly and I moved around in the after area to get warm quick. We would still be cold when we arrived at Everest. Thankfully, Tough Mudder provides what looks like Mylar sheets to help warm people up if needed. We'd see these scattered about the course the rest of the day and see oethers use them as supermen capes. We joked that Kelley looked like a baked potato or potato chip bag whenever she had hers on. She was the only one that would use one from our group.

On we climbed until we got to Everst. There was a pile of people waiting for a turn to get up and over so we had to stand around for probably 20 minutes. People who had already made it to the top stayed up there to help pull a few more and this continued in waves. Finally, we it was our turn. Cameron laid on the bottom of the curve with his feet up against a small lip to brace his body. Jeff climbed up to stand on Cameron’s shoulders while laying against the last of the curve. I used Jeff’s knee to climb onto his shoulders and reach for a hand from above. It took a moment to get someone’s attention from above and I was still too short to be able to comfortably grab his hand. He and another guy said to wait for a shirt that was being used to hoist another person up. As I waited I could feel us slipping down more. Finally we got the shirt and I wrapped a hand around it. I was going up, I could almost reach the top or someone's hand when…

The shirt snapped. I fell. Hard. I didn’t slide down like Everest is designed to allow. I went straight down and hit the curved portion with my lower back. I instinctively curled into a ball as I fell knowing Cameron and Jeff were below me. I luckily didn’t hit them, I don’t think. Tui was right there asking if I was alright. I knew my back was hurt – I’d hit it twice like this before falling down the stairs of our house in Fremont. I got up and walked to the side of the crowd to grab my breath and then quickly decided to opt out, walking around the event to wait for my team on the other side. First Kelley, then Tui came over. Tui would ask again if I was ok. According to her I’d taken a pretty knarly fall. I said it hurt, but not enough for me to stop. I knew the next day would be worse and would tell Cameron shortly after this event that I wouldn't be working the next day. He didn't question me - he could see I was in more pain than I was letting on.

Finally, Jeff came over. Cameron would end up falling twice before making it over. The second time he fell, he fell hard like me and would hurt his hip. This would cause him to compensate for the injury by overusing his knee on the other side through the rest of our adventure. But he made it over. In hindsight, Cameron thinks he should have had me try to get over using one of the sides where some two by fours were nailed to the wall to aid in climbing up to the outstretched hands. I look back and think I needed more upper body strength training that involved me being capable of performing many pull ups.

We walked slowly to the Funky Monkey to allow me to get comfortable again. Cameron wouldn’t tell us about the hip injury until later. At this point I was determined to finish the course, but maybe not attempt even one more obstacle.

Kelley and I both opted to walk around the Funky Monkey. She didn’t want any more water and I didn’t want to fall and risk jarring my back more. I think Jeff made it the farthest on this obstacle. Cameron made it almost half way up to the peak and Tui only made it one rung.

Our mystery obstacle was only yards away. And so much for me not doing any more obstacles. I'd now decided that I would evaluate each obstacle as we got up to them to determine if I would do it or not. I'd avoid anything that risked jarring my back but I'd also come up her to not just walk 13 miles, but participate and test myself of the obstacles.

We all made it up the ropes to the platform thanks to some help from each other and other participants. Cameron and Jeff stayed a little longer to help another team get started.

On we trekked to almost the very top of Squaw, to the Devil’s Beard obstacle. It may have been September, but at this elevation, there were still patches of snow and the people that had laid out the course decided it would be a good idea to lay down the cargo net for Devil’s beard in one of these icy patches. There was already a trail of people going through which made entering Devil’s beard easy, but as I watched, some people lost their Tough Mudder bib numbers on their backs trying to slide through. I didn’t put my bid number on my person – we already had the number written on our foreheads and one arm or leg (I had one of each). I found Devil’s Beard hard to navigate if I tried to walk with my head and hands up. On the other hand, if I raised my butt up and lowered my head, using my hands to walk across the snow, the cargo net slid right over me. With a few stops here and there because of other people slowing in front, we got through rather quickly and I stayed a moment to help hold the net up while others got through.

After trekking to almost the top, it was time to head down a not so rocky rock slide obstacle path. Don’t get me wrong, it was difficult. It was mainly dusty, slippery dirt and steep! My way down was slow and steady while others passed me running by, almost uncontrolably. The rest of my teammates definitely went the slow and steady pace as well.

Tune in tomorrow to here about the other half of our adventure and how it turned out. Will we ever do this again?

Sep 26, 2011

Tough Mudder: Part 2 – Before the Race

Sorry for the delay in this post - it took longer than expected to get the photos loaded and we were busy getting Cameron ready for Wyoming at the end of last week after recovering from Tough Mudder earlier in the week. Next few posts should come back to back.

Cameron & I after being branded with our Race Numbers. The hot pink sleeves were for warmth. It was about 45 degrees that morning.

Our Team

We headed up to Tahoe Friday evening after passing London along to spend the weekend with her Grammi and Poppy. Our team captain, Tui, was kind enough to secure a cabin for all of us interested in coming up to acclimate to the elevation. We arrived just in time for a nice pasta-filled dinner. With all the energy we would be expending Sunday, we needed to carb-load to some degree. The cabin was also fitted with a hot tub on a balcony overlooking the drive way. Many of us spent some time in the hot tub catching up or getting to know each other, as besides Cameron, Jeff and Tui, I didn't know a sole. Luckily, all my teammmates were friends of Tui's via skydiving, which tends to mean they were a friendly bunch in general.

Saturday morning, Cameron and I headed over to Reno to meet with his hunting buddy Gilles and pick up some supplies for Cameron’s Antelope hunting trip to Wyoming which is taking place this week. On our way back we stopped in to visit with Cameron’s grandparents for a couple of hours. That pretty much killed the day for us. By the time we got back to the cabin, it was 5 PM. Tui and Jeff were out shopping for ski boots, while Kyle and Angie were off getting supplies for the race - a fanny pack to carry fuel and gloves to help with some of the events. Kell and Lisa were the only ones at the cabin. Kyle and Angie would get back next and we all decided to start dinner, as we were aiming to head to early. It was another fun night, chatting and getting to know people as the last of the overnighters arrived (John & Brooke) but alas, it didn't last long given we all needed to get up at 5:30 AM. I was the first to head to bed at about 9:30 and I think everyone was in bed by 10. 5:30 AM still came too quickly.

Wrangling 10 people that early in the morning, with only two bathrooms, made for quite a feat, but we did get out the door just after 6:30 AM, which was 10 minutes past our planned departure time. While we were literally 10 minutes from Squaw Valley and our start time wasn't until 9 AM, ToughMudder recommends arriving two hours before your start time to compensate for traffic, transportation shuttles and lines at registration. So we technically needed to be there by 7 AM and not knowing how traffic would be to get in and up to Squaw Valley, we wanted to leave early just in case.

We quickly found out there wasn't a huge need. Parking and traffic weren’t an issue at all. Cameron and I breezed through registration, but some of our teammates did have to deal with some pretty long lines. The people-watching was amazing. ToughMudder encourages outrageousness – there’s a costume contest and a Mullet & Mohawk contest. There's even a tent where people can get Mohawks shaved right then and there. We saw people dressed up in everything from Harry Potter to a banana to a bride and groom on up to guys wearing nothing more than a speedo or loin cloth. I saw a lot of bare bottoms along the course thanks to those loin cloths, some of which looked raw thanks to the side effects of many of the obstacles.

Cameron spray painted his hair and bear white to be silly.

The next two hours seemed to drag on. There was a lot of waiting around before we finally headed toward the start line. Some of the waiting involved the fact that we didn't want to give up our bags until the last possible second. More of the waiting involved the registration process taking different amounts of time for each of our teammates and people running to bathrooms or cars. And yet still, on our way to the start line, many of us made beelines for the porta-potties one last time. This would be our last "bathroom" until we ended the course. Not that that didn't stop any one from making their own bathroom when it was needed.

We'd been joined by the last three of our teammates at registration - Kelley, Brett & Trina. The 13 of us were together, stretching and jumping around before the start gun. Before the gun, the announcer provided us with some words of encouragement and reminders for safety. Mainly, we needed to know that we could opt out of any obstacle – all we had to do to qualify as a finisher was to cross the finish line. If, at any point in time, we wanted to stop and get off the course without finishing, we just needed to throw up our arms in an X above our head.

After a quick reminder that Tough Mudder events are not races but tests of endurance, strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie, the National Anthem was played and then we were off. I think there was a gun but I really don’t remember.

Stay tuned for my next post about my experience with the first half of the course.

A Silly Group Shot Before the Event

Sep 20, 2011

Tough Mudder: Part 1 – About the Course and Obstacles

This past weekend Cameron and I participated in an event called Tough Mudder. Before the event I described it as a 10-plus mile obstacle course that was designed by the British Special Forces.
Here’s how the event is described on the web site,

“Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet…Tough Mudder is not your average lame-ass mud run or spirit-crushing ‘endurance’ road race. Our 10-12 mile obstacle courses are designed by British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Forget finish times. Simply completing a Tough Mudder is a badge of honor. Tough Mudder has raised over one million dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project…WARNING: Tough Mudder is 3-4 times longer and MUCH TOUGHER than a typical mud run such as Warrior Dash. On average, only 78% of participants finish the event. Only those in reasonably strong physical condition should enter.”

Our friend Tui (one of Cameron’s skydiving friends) was the one that asked if we wanted to participate and without hesitation, Cameron and I both said yes, even after reading the above statement.

We participated in the Nor Cal Event at Squaw Valley in Tahoe on Sunday, September 18. Here’s what was written about our event on Tough Mudder’s web site:

“Tough Mudder NorCal is rumored to be the steepest Mudder yet!”

Tough Mudder Norcal ended up being 13.2 miles long (that’s just over a half marathon distance) and included 22 obstacles. We would start at the base of Squaw, which is at an elevation of 6,200 feet. We would ascend to the very tip top of the summit, which is at an elevation of 9,050 feet (all this according to Wikipedia and verified by Squaw Valley’s own web site).

I’m saving my thoughts on how my experience with the course was for my next few posts. Today, I thought I would focus on describing what each obstacle was so you have any understanding of what we were up against.

Obstacle 1: The Braveheart Charge
The name describes it well. The idea is to begin the race with a run – straight up a steep incline.

Obstacle 2: Ball Breaker
Still running up a slightly less steep incline we now have large, balance-type exercise balls being thrown/hit at us.

Obstacle 3: Kiss of Mudd
The first of many obstacles that involved water. We had to crawl through cold, muddy water under barbed wire that was 8 inches above the water line. The water was probably a foot to a foot and a half deep. It was deeper at the beginning than at the end. I’d say we had to go about 25 feet under the wire.

Obstacle 4: Death March
Basically another hike up a steep incline.

Obstacle 5: Mud Bath
Here we had to climb into a large box full of cold, muddy water. I’d say the box was 5 ½ feet deep with water at 4 ½ feet. Half way through the box is a board blocking you from getting to the end without going under water. Barbed wire is above the board. The board dips into the water about 4-6 inches and is probably only 1-2 inches thick. Once on the other side, there is a small step to help you get out of the water and box. The box is about 12 feet in length by 6 feet wide.

Obstacle 6: Chernobyl Jacuzzi
Imagine the Mud bath described above but add in a layer of ice – 6 inches deep!

Obstacle 7: Everest
Imagine a skater’s half pipe and take away half so you’re left with a tall, sloped wall. This one was about 15 feet tall. Now get yourself over it.

Obstacle 8: Funky Monkey
This is your traditional play yard monkey bars on crack. First, they peak in the middle. Second, some bars turn. Third, some bars are greased. Fourth, if you slip and fall, you fall into cold, muddy water. Sensing a theme?

Obstacle 9: Mystery Obstacle
This turned out to be a Rope Climb. Basically you had to get yourself up 8-9 feet onto a platform and then climb down a wood ladder.

Obstacle 10: Devil’s Beard
This is a cargo net that’s been nailed to the ground on the sides. You have to navigate under it from one side to the next to get through the “tunnel” it creates.

Obstacle 11: Rock Slide
This one requires you to navigate down a rocky terrain which is slippery thanks to the small rocks.

Obstacle 12: Log Jammin
On the outside this obstacle looks like someone started to build a bad log cabin. Upon closer inspection there are logs in rows on the inside. This obstacle requires participants to climb up a row of logs and then crawl under a log wrapped with barbed wire. You start climbing up and you end climbing up, going up four times and under three.

Obstacle 13: Hold Your Wood
This one requires you to walk a length of the course with a piece of wood you’d normally spilt to use for firewood (this portion of the course a circle so that the wood logs were recycled for the next users).Some logs were large and long enough that two people would have to work together to get it moved.

Obstacle 14: Berlin Wall #1
This obstacle involves two solid wooden walls, 12-13 feet tall that you have to get up and over, one after another.

Obstacle 15: Walk the Plank
This one requires you to climb up a wooden ladder 15 feet and then jump into the cold, muddy lake on the otherside of the platform.

Obstacle 16: Underwater Tunnels
Once in the lake, swim fifty yards and navigate under three rows of barrels that have been wrapped with barbed wire.

Obstacle 17: Boa Constrictor
This involved two black, ribbed tubes that dip down, making a V, into muddy water. The object is to army crawl down one, cross through the water under barbed wire and army crawl back up the second.

Obstacle 18: Berlin Walls #2
This is another set of solid, wooden walls, one after another that you must get up and over. These walls were probably 10 feet tall.

Obstacle 19: Bale Bonds
Here large rounded hay bales are stacked on top of each other and you must navigate over them. The tallest point of each was probably 8-10 feet and there were three rows of these hay bales.

Obstacle 20: Turds Nest
This is another cargo net, again in a horizontal position, but raised above the ground. Basically the idea is to climb up to the cargo net via a wooden ladder, navigate across the net and back down another wooden ladder.

Obstacle 21: Twinkle Toes
Cross over the top pf a 20-foot long pond of cold, muddy water via a 2-inch wide board that wobbles more and more as you get to the middle. Fail and fall into the pond.

Obstacle 22: Electroshock Therapy
I think this one ends every Tough Mudder event. Simply navigate through a field of hanging live wires that carry a shock of 10,000 volts.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post. It will focus on what we did up until the gun to start our group sounded.

Sep 16, 2011

Who Does London Love the Most?

There hasn’t been much debate in the house about who London appears to love more – Cameron says she makes it clear that she loves her mama and that Daddy is chopped liver. Of course, she loves her daddy but does have those days that daddy just won’t do – she needs Mama.

She was in one of these moods Wednesday night. London was having a tough time falling asleep and got herself so upset that she couldn’t calm herself down. She has four teeth, including three molars, coming in and she hadn’t finished her dinner that night, so these factors weren’t helping her drift off. After she’d been rescued and put back to bed by me, she continued her crying. Cameron went up to see if rocking her would help. Soon he was back downstairs with London and as soon as she saw me, she wanted me. She’d only wanted me earlier when I’d gone upstairs to try and rock her and ended up back downstairs with her when she was so upset that her lower lip was quivering and she kept catching her breath. Cameron had tried at that time to hold and comfort her but she’d turn away to stay in my arms.

I always feel bad for Cameron in these situations because all he wants to do is comfort his little girl and make London feel safe, to be a strong Daddy for his daughter. I think its more about her age then anything. I’m sure there will come a day soon when I’ll be the chopped liver.

But we didn’t realize there was someone else in our household that she loves even more than Mama these days. That is until I picked her up from daycare yesterday. Its family week for the Froggy group and Miss Alicia had asked us to bring in some family photos on Monnday for some projects. I’d selected a photo of London and me, one of Cameron and London and a couple of London with each of her grandparents. For fun, I threw one in of Tulley and London.

Well yesterday the kids were finger painting trees to act as a frame for one of the pictures. Since there wasn’t a picture of Cameron, London and I together, Miss Alicia thought she’d let London pick which picture to put on the tree. Of all the pictures, London chose the picture of Tulley and her. Miss Alicia said she got real excited when she saw it.

So there you have it – London loves Tulley the most. And who can blame her – who doesn’t love Tulley. She’s a smart pup and does her best to make you feel better when you’re upset or not feeling well. And she’s always on high alert when things aren’t right.

Last night she saw me packing for Tahoe and packing up food for her and Melody. She knows what all this means and so she slept cuddled up next to me more than usual, with her head on top of me, just to ensure I didn’t leave without her. I blame Cameron for this complex of her. Ever since he snuck out in the middle of the night and came home with dead birds without her she tends to stay close by when any type of packing or prepping goes on. The night after that incident she slept on his feet so he was literally pinned down all night. He couldn’t move without her knowing!

And when I think about it, when London had worked herself into such a fit Wednesday night, it was seeing and cuddling with Tulley that truly calmed her down, not me.

Things are going great with the daycare and Miss Alicia by the way. London rarely cries as I leave when I drop her off. We have a calendar on our fridge of all the plans Miss Alicia has for them each day, with a theme for each week, as well as a color, letter, number and words of the month. This month the color is green, the letter is A and the number is 2. Words are Help, Up, Down, No and Please.

Last week was grandparents week along with finger tracings. We were asked to bring in two pictures of London. At the end of the week, we brought home a framed picture of London with stickers on it, a grandparents poem and a finger painting. We also had heart-shaped cards with her hand tracings cut out and attached to act like the front of the card. This was a great reminder that grandparents day was last Sunday. And each of her grandparents have received their gifts.

Plus, at the end of each day we get a report card of sorts that let’s us know what kind of mood London was in, how many dirty diapers she had, what she ate and what activities she did with her classmates that day. For example, yesterday she danced, finger painted, played fireman (this is also fire preparedness week) and played with the sensory box. This is also where we find out if she needs more diapers or if we need to bring something in or dress her in a certain color the next day – last Friday was wear green day and bring in your favorite toy day. It may be expensive but it is well worth the money in Cameron and my eyes more and more.

Sep 15, 2011

Girls Weekend in Tahoe

As I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, I recently went up to Tahoe for a Girls Weekend with a wonderful group of girls.

The weekend was coordinated by my ultimate childhood friend, Emily Moffett. I’ve literally known this amazing woman since I was born and have spent almost every Christmas Eve celebrating at her parents’ home in Chico. Her parents, Bonnie and Gene are a large reason why my parents moved us there when I was 15 months old, and why I got to grow up in such an amazing town. My dad made the decision to move us there sitting on a bench eating an ice cream cone outside Shubert’s in downtown Chico after biking there while we were all on a visit to see the Moffetts.

Any how, Emily had made arrangements for who ever wanted to come to spend a weekend at her parents’ cabin in Tahoe Donner. I jumped at the opportunity the second Emily started to plan the weekend, as my girlfriends had all just passed up the opportunity to go to Vegas and knowing Cameron would be taking a week to go hunting in Wyoming, I knew for my sanity I needed some time away from home and the chores that pile up there.

I’d met the other four girls attending this weekend through various activities leading up to Emily’s wedding last September and they are all a delight and fun to be around.

I was the last to arrive, thanks to a late start that Friday morning and the morons I had to deal with at the Natomas Safeway trying to get the makings for Saturday night’s dinner. Seriously, who still writes a check out where there is the ability to use debit cards any more? It had been decided via email that we would eat out Friday night and each of us would make a dish to eat in on Saturday.

We all ended up talking and catching up well past 8 PM before we finally headed out to dinner. And after we arrived I think we were all questioning our decision to go out – the hostess of the restaurant decided it would be a good idea to sit us next to a table of 6 or 7 ladies who were quite a few glasses of chardonnay in and most likely single, as they were flirting up a storm with the guys at the table across the aisle. The worst part was that our table and theirs were in a cove, so the noise they were making just bounced off the walls back into us. I could hardly hear myself think, much less try to hear what any one else at my table might be saying. Finally we were able to get our waiter’s attention (guess where his attention was!) and requested a change in seating. He obliged and we were reseated in a cozy corner across the restaurant. Overall the food was delicious and once we were able to hear each other we began to enjoy the dinner.

Saturday I was able to sleep in before heading out on a run with one of the girls, Katherine. The goal was to do 5 miles, but after 1.5 miles, I headed back to the cabin. The altitude and hills were definitely getting to me but I also run at a slow pace and was worried I was holding Katherine back. Hardly any body was up yet so I took advantage and jumped in the shower.

Once everyone was up and breakfast snacking had finished, we packed up lunch snacks, beverages, towels, chairs and put on our swimsuits to head for Donner Lake. We spent much of the afternoon sun bathing, talking and reading magazines before heading into downtown Truckee for a little shopping, where no one really purchased anything and just wandered around.

It was time for more relaxing back at the cabin and time for cooking! Boy did we eat like Queens that night. The first course consisted of assorted cheeses, grapes and crackers along with artichoke spinach dip, salsa and chips. The artichoke spinach dip was my first taste of a Skinny Taste restaurant and it was delicious!

From there we had chicken satay with several peanut sauces and then my noodle, cabbage and chicken salad. The main course included sliders made from grain-fed beef with blue cheese crumbles mixed into the meat, and sautéed onion and cheese on top, barbecued corn on the cob, macaroni au gratin and fresh heirloom tomatoes from Emily’s mother-in-law’s garden. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something as well. Did I mention we had the main course outside on the patio as the weather up in Tahoe that weekend was incredible, or that it took us 5 hours to eat it all (there were definitely leftovers that I brought home and Cameron indulged in).

When it was dark and a tad on the colder side temperature-wise, Emily got a fire started and for dessert we indulged in smores! We all went to bed after gabbing by the fire late into the night with full and indulged tummies! I'm definitely looking forward to the next trip, as we all agreed we should do this at least twice a year - once in the summer and once in the winter.

Sep 13, 2011

2011 New Year’s Resolutions Status Check

As I was flipping through my non-technical, paper calendar/notebook/organizational life, I happened upon my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions. My first thought was that I really need to move this document to the front of my calendar. It’s useless where it is – I don’t look at them often enough to remember all that I wrote down. Then I wondered how I was doing.

Resolution 1: Catching up on ALL of my Magazines
I’m almost caught up! I just need to get through my stack of September issues, which I started to tackled last Tuesday, and then I just have one extra October issue besides the normal number of magazines I get monthly. I’ve been most successful at this resolution thanks to my ½ hour lunches at work and by reading for 15-30 minutes before turning the lights out and falling asleep. I have found I sleep better on nights that I read a magazine, versus a novel like Harry Potter. The month I read Harry Potter 7 (just before the Part 2 movie came out) I had some outrageous dreams and sometimes read well past my bedtime.

Resolution 2: Eating Healthier Options, and adding Breakfast to the line up and establish a Consistent Workout Routine
I’m happy to report that I’m on track here, too. I’m better when I’m at work, as I have to make my lunch or spend my whole lunch driving into Natomas to pick something up. I pack breakfast with my lunch so this important meal doesn’t get forgotten either. But on weekends I tend to get distracted and forget the breakfast part of this resolution. I’ve also just started Weight Watchers in hopes of shedding some pounds, which has made me very cognizant of my eating choices and how much I eat. After one day on the program I very quickly realized why I wasn’t losing weight before.

Getting my thyroid medicine adjusted has probably helped as well – getting food poisoning over Labor Day weekend did not. I ended up taking a week off from Weight Watchers while my stomach went back to normal. I did lose about 3 pounds the first two weeks of the program, and that included a weekend I did not keep track of as I was with a bunch of wonderful women who all love food. Luckily, they turned me on to a new web site chock full of recipes that include the Weight Watchers Point value! Check it out:

Getting back on a program for weight loss should hopefully get Cameron and me back into planning our meals on a weekly basis as well. We were doing well with this until I started working full time as I am no longer able to get to the grocery store two days a week like I had been doing when I was only part time.

Running and training for half marathons have helped me achieve the workout routine resolution. My next half marathon is October 2. Before that, Cameron and I will be participating in the NorCal Tough Mudder, a 10-mile obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces. This is taking place Sunday up at Squaw Valley. I’m sure a lengthy blog post will be coming as a result, once my arms are functioning again. The course calls for a lot of upper body strength that I possess little of.

Resolution 3: Decorating
My goals in decorating are not on track. Originally, I’d wanted to complete the family room, powder room and both bathrooms. Some of the reason why this resolution is not on track has to do with London – she’s just too mobile now and I just can’t trust myself to keep an eye on her while I work on such projects. Also, Cameron and my priorities in decorating have shifted.

The family room is almost complete. We added an entertainment center recently so all we need to do is add some throw pillows and do some paint touch ups. The throw pillows likely will come once HomeGoods opens in Folsom in October. Or maybe I’ll get around to making some.

The Powder room has been painted, though it is in need of some touch-ups. Cameron’s even cut a frame for the mirror which I finished painting a few weekends ago, so now we just need to get it up. After that, all that would be left to do is find a piece of art (or make something) for the wall the door opens into. That’s not a huge priority currently. If we can get the mirror frame up, and do the paint touch-ups, I’ll check this one off my list.

The other two bathrooms are probably going to have to wait until 2012. Maybe some paint will get up, as we do have paint swatches all over and I have decided on a color, but there are some major changes I want to make that I know we just can’t get done this year. In both bathrooms I want to take down the large wall mirrors over the sinks and replace with smaller, individual mirrors over each sink. That requires paying for some labor to take the mirrors down and possibly having some drywall fixed afterward, depending on how easily the mirrors come down. Not to mention the texture we would need added to the where the mirrors are to match the rest of the walls. I’d prefer to do the painting after these mirrors have been removed and the walls have been texturized. In London’s bathroom I also want to add some wainscoting which takes more money and time then I am ready to invest in it right now. With the holidays fast approaching more time will be devoted to crafts than household projects.

We also turned our painting projects back toward the arched walkways in our house and the walls that support them. When we moved into the house we painted the one that separates the kitchen and family room a beautiful olive green and have since decided to paint every arch-wall this color, minus the one in our bedroom. That left 2 walls to paint – one of which we completed before London’s birthday and after we painted the power room the same olive green. All that is left is the largest wall in our house – behind it is our bedroom, closet and laundry room. With football season beginning I think Sundays will be good days to set aside for my craft projects and this painting project. I can leave Cameron to play with London downstairs with football on while I get things done upstairs. We’ll see how well this plan pans out by the end of the year.

Sep 12, 2011

Hunting & Football Season is Back!

Today neither Tulley nor Cameron are moving too quickly or easily thanks to the weekend’s activities. For Cameron, Saturday involved Skydiving for the first time since the annual boogie at the end of June. Matt’s dad, Monty, was in town and the drop zone was holding a scramble, a type of fun competition where groups of four try to turn as many points while free-falling before needing to deploy their canopy. The team with the most points completed at the end of the day wins. The team Cameron was on lost by one point.

Meanwhile, back at home London played and napped while I cleaned and crafted with a quick outing with Lynde to Michael’s for some supplies. London was kind enough to take a 2-hour nap, sans binky so I was able to dig in and clean our bathroom. This pleased me as our bathroom often gets neglected for the more high-traffic areas of our house (aka Downstairs and the kitchen). I was also able to work on London’s Christmas stocking during this nap and after she went to bed Saturday night. I didn’t finish it in time for Christmas last year and didn’t pick it up again until July. The design is complete, just some outlining to finish up and then filling in the blank spaces with a midnight blue before it’s ready to be sewn into an actual stocking. I’m 75 percent confident this will be completed before Christmas this year.

Sunday was scheduled to be a busy day, but since Cameron had been skydiving Saturday, I’d requested some time Sunday morning to get a 4-mile run in. Changing the day of my run was the best thing I could have done. Saturday was hot and muggy – Sunday cool and breezy. Perfect running weather. Had we not had time-specific plans I probably would have extended it to a 6-mile run.

But Cameron’s step-sister, Dhawn, and our niece, Amanda, are visiting Vicki and Joe and there was a family BBQ scheduled for the afternoon. After my run, I could hear Cameron cheering on one of the football games downstairs while I got ready. I think he actually scared London at one point with his enthusiasm – I know he caught me off guard upstairs. I love this time of year when the weather is crisp and cool in the mornings and evenings and as many Sundays as we can manage are spent being lazy watching football. We kicked the season off Thursday night with a tri tip & barbeque rib dinner at Matt & Lynde’s. London even got to stay up past her 7:30 PM bedtime as we couldn’t leave in the middle of the game. She wasn’t too cranky the next day so we’ll see if she can handle it more often than not.

Because I had slept in Sunday before my run, we didn’t make it up to Vicki’s until noon – but I also needed the sleep. Luckily everyone else was at Vicki & Joe’s when we arrived. Cameron and his brother Alan settled into barbequing the pork ribs and chicken quickly. It was a nice family get-together with the cousins playing up a storm outside and the adults hanging out on the back porch or around the kitchen table catching up. Cameron had plans to go dove hunting with Dave later, so he’d brought some clay targets along for some shooting practice. Mostly he and Alan were out there, but I did fire one round and am proud to report that I hit my target – a clay that was stood up on the dirt. Cameron showed off his aim by hitting the clays as they were intended – flying through the air.

And then it was off to Chico. Dave was all loaded up and ready for Cameron and Tulley when we arrived. Poor Suzie, Dave’s dog and our surrogate dog before we got Mel and Tulley, is almost 10 years old now and couldn’t go with the boys – it was just too hot. Both shot their limit in dove and Tulley showed off her new retrieving talents. No more barking at the birds, though Cameron says she still needs some confidence in going out and finding the birds without Cameron walking her near the place the bird landed.

Back at Dave’s, London played with Dave’s boys Nathan and Nick while I chatted with Dave’s mom Nancy before Jen got back from Taste of Chico. London sat like a big girl at the table with the boys and ate 3 chicken nuggets and all her applesauce without my assistance. Luckily, I’d packed her PJs and was able to give her a bath at the Carlson’s while Cameron and Dave were out so she was ready for bed when they got back around 8 PM. We finally made it home around 10 PM with a little girl very ready for bed – she’d only slept part of the way. This morning she was a tad bit cranky, but not bad.

And we survived the weekend without a binky to help London sleep. I figured this would be an easy transition since she doesn’t sleep with one at daycare, but we weren’t too sure. Now to just get her off the bottle and into a sippy cup full time. This may be the bigger battle – she does fine with sippy cups at daycare and other people’s houses, but at home she will forgo a glass of milk if it isn’t in a bottle. Water in a sippy cup is no problem. It’s definitely a battle of wills and could be quite entertaining to an outsider watching London and I stand-off in the kitchen as she throws herself down in a tantrum as I just stand there, one hand on a hip, holding the sippy cup with milk in it in the other and stare her down. This battle began Friday as well – she has not had one glass of milk from a bottle except right before bed. This is a routine I’m not ready to break until she’s on the sippy cup at all other times without hesitation. It’s a calming & soothing for her and being without a binky at bedtime is enough for now. The rest of the battle rages on.

Between the heat and the fact that she hadn’t been hunting in a while, Tulley was pretty sore and slow this morning. After breakfast she went back up to bed to cuddle with Cameron – something she rarely does. Usually Tulley is right by my side the second I leave the bedroom in the morning next to me as I get London up and ready, right down to the moment London and I leave. Cameron was also moving gingerly by the time he crawled in bed last night. Between skydiving for the first time in months and all the rounds he fired yesterday, he stiff and sore as well.

And now begins our Fall and Winter, even is Fall is still technically 9 days away. I do love the changes in seasons and am ready for some cooler weather and the warm meals and snuggle opportunities it brings. with London getting more into cuddling in general, it should pan out to be an extra special Fall and Winter.

Sep 7, 2011

A Weekend Lost

We didn’t have any grand plans for the Labor Day weekend, but we did have plans. I wanted to get a handle on the house – as of late, housework has gone by the wayside. I also had a 12-mile run scheduled for Saturday morning with SacFit. Cameron had his Fantasy Football draft Sunday afternoon and then planned on heading up to the Chico for the evening to hang out with his old roommate Dave and go dove hunting on Labor Day. I figured while he was gone on Monday I’d take London to the new Children’s Museum down the road from us. We’d round out the weekend with a BBQ with Matt & Lynde that evening. That’s not EXACTLY how the weekend played out.

Unexpectedly, our weekend would end up starting Thursday night. Both Cameron and I came down with either the stomach bug that was floating around London’s daycare or food poisoning from our tuna Salad dinner Thursday night. I suspect the latter with the mayo as the main culprit. Cameron would spend the night back and forth between the bed and the toilet, singing to the porcelain gods each visit. While I wasn’t singing, there were some close calls with me running in to stare at the toilet water until the queasiness passed. It reminded me of the worst of my morning sickness days when I was pregnant with London.

London would wake up in the middle of the night leaking from the other end. At some point I know I had a husband half dead on the bathroom floor and a child running around in a clean diaper while I changed crib sheets. All the while Tulley was going nuts with all the activity. Gotta hand it to her, she knew something was wrong and she was determined to make sure we felt better by having her right next to us. Unfortunately, her bouncing on and off the bed checking on which ever one of us was up at the moment often aided to increasing the queasiness of the other one of us trying to get a few moments of shut eye before the next round hit.

By morning we were all exhausted and still sick, though Cameron finally stopped singing. Friday was a complete fog. London was the only one with an appetite that day and I remember it being quite difficult to rummage up the energy to make her something to eat each time. I also vaguely remember leaning over the sink trying to clean some dishes and bottles while an empty bowl used to make the tuna salad from the night before lay soaking next to me. Not an easy task. On the bright side, London was willing to take two long naps that day, which we joined in on.

Saturday brought some relief. Cameron even managed to mow the yard, though slowly thanks to the light headiness he experienced from a lack of sustenance. We still weren’t eating. I definitely did not run 12 miles.

Sunday was better – I got all the dishes done and cleaned the family room, plus we were able to eat some, though after about three bites of anything we’d start to feel sick again. Cameron made it to his fantasy football draft and I was happy to zone out in front of the TV after London went to bed. Unfortunately, she was still having issues in the rear-end region, and there would be a point of sheet changing again.

Plus, Dave had decided he was going to stay in Sac that night after the draft was over and would be staying with us or Matt & Lynde. In the off chance he’d be staying with us, I rushed around trying to pick up a little more. He ended up staying over at Matt & Lynde’s, probably because it was a child- and sick-free zone, but he did come over Monday morning so I was thankful I’d made some effort to get the house organized.

And while Cameron didn’t go dove hunting, we did have a BBQ with Matt & Lynde that evening. Jeremy and Alyssa were able to make it too, so at least we ended the weekend, and the summer, on a high note, even if it felt like we lost three days of our life to a blurry queasiness. And we’re almost back to normal. Cameron and I both still have our moment, but we were able to enjoy the BBQ food and have been eating normally since. The house amazingly, did get picked up and downstairs almost completely clean thanks to the BBQ and energy I had Monday afternoon. Plus, we’ve re-implemented a 30-minute nightly clean-up to help get the housework back under control so I don’t spend an entire weekend cleaning. With the inside looking decent I spent my 30-minutes dead-heading my roses, which were in desperate need while Cameron worked on his office.