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Showing posts from May, 2013

The nice thing about a drought...

Last year at this time, we'd had an amazingly warm, dry spring. Ok, so my half marathon in June was 90 degrees by 8am and everybody had nearly slowed to a walk by the finish. But you could do outdoor activities without looking at the forecast. So what if the crops died and Lake Michigan is so dry that it's at record low levels, right?

I remember the day of our local wine festival where we loaded the kids up in the stroller and wheeled them down our street from tent to tent sampling local vintages. It was gorgeous weather with a cheerful atmosphere. Fast forward to a year later and we've had one of the wettest springs ever with a week full of wave after wave of thunderstorms. Kelly and I are thankful that poor Kieran didn't have to suffer her severe weather panic and pacing on top of her illness. We made the right decision for her in more ways than one.

I'm tentatively agreeing to go along with a couple of Wisconsin-resident triathletes who live near my upcoming rac…

When the workout is the easy part...

After a long weekend of doing essentially no training, I was eager to get back on schedule. But it's like the weather gods were conspiring against me trying to keep me away from even my INDOOR workout. It was an adventure last night.

I made the mistake of going to the library first. I had a book due and should have probably just dropped it off. But I opted to park in the underground garage instead and take a look around the lobby instead. Our main branch does a great job of stacking the front area with a selection of new and interesting books. One display is kids. The next is nonfiction. And, not that I usually read it, there is a fiction display as well. Didn't find anything I was in love with reading (I used to read huge 800 page bios or natural histories before kids), but by the time I got back to the car and headed to the gym the rain had started.

I felt especially bad for the Tuesday group riders--I've skipped a couple weeks now--who had been thinking the rain would h…

An epic Memorial Day weekend

Kelly and I collapsed, exhausted, on the couch at around 8pm last night and each of us was more than happy to head to bed by 8:30. It's just been...tiring! Which is funny because there have been no epic runs or rides or swims. In fact, I've barely been keeping up with my training the last few days because of weather and the gym being closed for the holiday and a variety of things subverting my intentions. What we have had, however, is a series of outings and events going on...coupled with the kids turning into early risers with the sun (5:30am has become common).

Friday afternoon, Leda was still recovering from her 102 degree fever at the doctor's office for her "checkup." No call from the doctor means no strep on the test, I'm guessing. But both kids have been cranky and tired, we think, from fighting it off. Leda, especially, has been a mess of rolling around on the floor when she gets super sleepy. She cries and throws her milk and refuses to sit with you …

Ears wide open

Lately, Cole has turned into a sort of radar station meets bunny ears. Especially with the windows open for the nice weather, he is constantly vigilant about "noises." He hears everything. Even the quiet. He tilts his head towards it, cups his hand around his ear and says, "what's that noise?!"

We live near a hospital so ambulances are frequent. Firetrucks. School buses. The garbage truck in the back alley. Phone messages. Birds chirping is one of his favorite. Squirrels scrambling. He can tell the difference between an airplane and helicopter. Between a freight train and the L. He listens for rain. He listens for the mail carrier. He listens for his sister to wake up in the morning. He hates the air conditioners for being too loud. He also hates the blender despite it bringing forth one of his favorite treats--smoothie.

He's like a hypersensitive little parrot who repeats back everything you don't want him to and none of what you do. Random words come …

Even news junkies get the blues...

It's been a tough week to be a news junkie. I've never jumped on board the "media gets it wrong" bandwagon...until now. It's been a constant stream of Benghazi this, IRS that, the government is after the AP. Of course, the American public seems to largely not care about these "scandals" polls show. The President's approval rating was at 53% over the weekend...not exactly an indictment that he's being blamed for the news. Add to it the fact that all the "scandals" have underlying explanations that take them from terrible to mundane and it gets boring. Embassies were defunded under the very Republicans trying to blame the attack on the White House. The conservative groups being targeted for scrutiny by the IRS were all trying to hide their donor lists under nonprofit status instead of properly being political groups. And the AP reporter from Fox being "targeted" was part of a CIA leak investigation where a source was disclosing…

Tip of the iceberg

Kelly went for a swim for the first time in...ages...yesterday morning. So there's been a collection of swim caps from all her old triathlons sitting around the house. Our tradition is that I have the kids ready to go and we leave for the grocery immediately after she gets home from the gym Sunday mornings. Which meant my bike ride was pushed to the heat of the day. It reached 85 degrees here yesterday in Chicago and I definitely needed the second water bottle I put on my bike for this season. I did my usual/favorite ride via Salt Creek Trail and had a few sections where I pushed the pace into the low 20 mph range, but mostly I kept it moderately paced...the heat and humidity for one. And the abundance of casual weekend riders for another. Lots of riders, runners, skaters, dog walkers in each direction on the path.

I think Kelly is right about why I will have a fun time doing triathlon...it's a great sport for people who like to analyze. Really, all endurance sports are. This …

Saturday's alright for blogging

I don't normally blog on the weekends, but I missed so many days lately that I feel like I owe my blog an extra post or two. Cole is in the bathtub. Kelly is napping. Leda is sitting on the couch playing with my house keys while I watch hockey.

We spent the morning at Morton Arboretum and it's an absolutely gorgeous day in Chicago. Warm, sunny, flowers and trees in full bloom, birds chirping. We arrived just at opening and they now offer member's only hours for the Children's Garden before the general public on Saturdays. So we had the area nearly to ourselves. We saw tadpoles, turtles, a robin in her nest, ducks. Had a snack in the Visitor Center before heading out on a walk to see some of the giant bug carvings made of wood that are scattered around Meadow Lake. Think "3 foot long grasshopper." The kids had a blast, were soaking wet from playing in the fountains, and Cole was a very polite little man asking ever-so-nicely for both "special treat" …

Minnesota for Mothers Day: Part Two

Cole has been on a "pretend" kick lately, which is hilarious to see. Mostly because it's not a behavior he did much before but has really jumped into. And so far this morning, we've learned how helicopters work, watched wheat get harvested online, and yesterday watched the better part of last year's Indianapolis 500 after a request for "race cars."

His favorite is "fishing." Where he ties an old shoelace to an old egg carton and throws it over the baby gate. Kelly has even worked on catch-caught verb tense with him and he brings the two of us his haul to "eat." I'm working on asking what he's catching...tuna, salmon, trout? Which I find amazing for a nearly-3-year-old. It's like at some point overnight we lost a toddler and gained a little boy who is curious about absolutely everything. I'm sure "why" is next but "what's that" is his current favorite.

He also loves to "cook." This mor…

Minnesota for Mothers Day: Part One

Miss me? So much ground to cover since it's been over a week since I've blogged. I originally (before leaving on our trip) had intended to say a little something about the new Ironman Swim Start that ruffled so many feathers at the end of last week. I'm over it. Everybody seems to have had their say for and against. Plus, the two races I would consider doing (Wisconsin/Louisville) haven't had any changes...yet...and I have more immediate matters to handle with a triathlon to tackle next month.

On that note, it was a weird week for training. I went five full days with no workouts. But then I went out with the cycle club again on Tuesday night and managed to keep up with the fast group for 22 miles...I was so proud until I fell over while trying to clip back in at a red light. Humbling. Then yesterday it was gorgeous weather some more and I took the kids out in the bike trailer for a slow, casual "recovery" ride. I'm taking today off entirely. Lots of stres…

6 weeks to go...

This week marks about 6 weeks until my first triathlon. A little less when you consider packet pickup is the weekend before. On one hand, I'm feeling prepared. On the other, it's getting down to crunch time. I'm actually fairly confident with where my fitness is currently. Or, should I say, I'm not going to make huge gains over the next month and a half. At this point, it's more about staying healthy, avoiding injury, calming my nerves, being prepared. Going over the day in my head.

Kelly wants to bring the kids...which is awesome. But that will also be a long, long day considering I will want to be AT the transition area (that's the "homebase" where you rack your bike and lay out your gear for you non-tri folks) at 4:30am when it opens. Which means leaving the house by 3:30am or so. The race starts at 6:30am and you figure the kids won't be that interested in staring out into a lake to try to find the little swimming people--let alone me specific…

Coffee Con 2013

Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the second annual Coffee Con here in the Chicago area...one of the only coffee conventions around for consumers, not a trade show for those in the industry. I was there at the first-ever (free) version last year and enjoyed myself greatly. Even got a chance to hear the great Geoff Watts of Intelligentsia. (More about another coffee buyer shortly.) I debated in my head whether I wanted to go this year. It's about a 30 minute drive from our front door and there was a ticket price this time around. I got a lot of good info last year in brewing, grinding, and other seminars so I wasn't sure how much more I "need" to know. But, fortunately, I Tweeted my hesitation and received a free ticket code in my Direct Messages as persuasion. After all, I was in the market for a quality coffeemaker. What better opportunity?

I've been thinking a lot lately about being educated...in any field. I'm not talking "beyond expert" …

Catching up

So much to write about; so many things happening these days! And the last few posts have been getting some good hits so you all must be hanging on every word I say, right?

Cole is getting conversational finally and really engages in elaborate discussions with you now...frequently about trucks, truck color, where a truck may be, what a truck might be doing, when a truck may come back.

Leda has been talking as well. Not just baby talk, but expressing her wishes with "up" to get in chairs. Asking for a bath...all the time. The kid would take 3 a day if we let her. She's started copying her brother and, (Look, your baby sister does it! Why can't you?!)

The visit with my mom was wonderful and he was very sad to see her return home. We've been trying to ease the pain with promises of a trip to Kelly's mom in Minnesota for Mother's Day weekend. There will be sheep involved so "sheeps" are currently on the radar. Especially in light of Kelly bringing ho…