Monday, June 19, 2017

Preschool Graduation

I really can't believe all of my kiddos are done with preschool...
I love preschool.
The crafts, the songs, the stories, the excitement about EVERYTHING!
The cute themed weeks.

Eliza was first...

 Then Olivia...

Such lovelies...
We had some special guests come to the graduation too...
Uncle Steve, Aunt Shell, and Jillian and Peter.
(omg...this was an impossible pic)
Grandpa Rob and Papa

Miss Lori and Mr. Chuck
(the week prior Eliza swore that Chuck could come but ONLY if he promised not to wear his old, sweaty lawn-mowing shirt.)  :)


their buddy Justin

Miss Becky, owner and amazing PS teacher of Best Beginnings
I love preschool.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cinci Zoo

I love the Cinci Zoo.   I really love all zoos...I love finding the animals that are new to my kids that we don't have here at the CLE zoo.  
We love the cheetah show at this zoo...they actually have a simulation which shows cheetahs running at their top speeds!  It's amazing...
We fed the giraffes too!

Sam saw the Komodo dragon which makes his day everytime...
They have poisonous saliva...just fyi
Thanks for zooing it up with us Kelly!

Columbus Stop!

Last weekend, on our way to visit Aunt Kelly, we spent the day in Columbus!
I took the girls to this mecca...

Where we may have paid for Addie's AG doll to get a serious hairmakeover (think twice before buying the AG dolls with curly hair..)

We also got her ears pierced and each little lady got to pick out something special from the store...

Olivia and Addie were in heaven and could not get enough.  Eliza enjoyed herself and had fun picking out a pet for her doll.  Liv picked out the "get well" kit which gave her doll casts, crutches and bandages...
Then we went to COSI!
The twinsies and I spent most of our time in the little kid section which had an animal show, rock wall, water table, and lots of fun play possibilities.

We lifted a car too!  Mike and the big kids enjoyed the ocean exhibit too!

They enjoyed the submersible too!
Great stop...COSI is fantastic.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

School's Out!

It's the magical time of year when bookbag hooks get replaced by pool bags...
exhausted, rushed mornings turn into slow, relaxed mornings
travel mugs convert to ceramic mugs and coffee refills and
Mom's in heaven...

I became a teacher because I adore kiddos and teaching.  I enjoy the creative, crafty part of primary school and helping kid grow and become so proud.
I didn't ever, honestly, really consider the gift that would be summer break, especially having kids.  It's a gift that I absolutely don't take for granted and try to soak up each and every year.
Looking forward to our weeks at home...
and deep breaths!


The girlies got their little eyes checked by one of my college roomie's Dad...
He's our favorite eye doctor.
The looks on their faces are a good indication of how the appointment went...
disgruntled and then relief it was over....

Sunday, May 21, 2017

2017 Cleveland Half Marathon Race Report

Whew, done.  Overall thought - ouch.  Just ouch.  I ran like a n00b today, no two ways about it.  To give myself a little bit of slack, I ran 1:29:50 in 2014 and then got massive plantar fasciatis.  After 18 painful months off, recovery has been slow and I am just really grateful to be able to run 13.1 at all.

But still, I ran like a n00b.  I had to relearn lesson #1 - respect the distance, and aim for negative splits.  DO NOT go out with the pack, unless you are in that kind of shape.

Also - thank the good Lord, the rain held off.  For the entire week beforehand, the forecast was awful, like 95% all day from 2am to 11pm.  We got no rain at all, although the full probably did in the last third (started around 9:45).

Race Start
The race started by Quicken Loans Arena.  It was awesome - it's always better when the start is around an arena or a stadium.  Practically, the bathroom situation is just way nicer.  If you get downtown around 6 am, that is enough time to wait in the line to get in the Q, find a deserted bathroom and do the necessities.  Parking was pretty easy too - we parked over on E9th by Progressive Field (still want to call it the Jake).  Easy peasy.

4 or 5 years ago, the Cle Marathon went to corralled starts, and it was a great choice.  It is just better for everyone - you start with people much closer to your pace so generally you aren't running people over or vice versa.

Early Race
The new course was pretty sweet in the early miles.  Good tour of Cle favorites - the Q, Playhouse Square, the science center, browns stadium - plus the band around mile 3 (an AC/DC cover band) just rocked.  I wish they were at mile 10!  I was running with the 7:26 pace group, and I noticed our splits were under that, significantly, averaging 7:12 ish.  I actually think this was an OK strategy generally (although not for me given my fitness level) because I think they were banking some time for THE HILL OF DOOM.

Mid Race
Lets talk about the newest feature of this race.  There is a really neat part that goes down into flats, on Columbus road.  You go over this cool bridge (tip:  get left if you can and run on the pavement, not the metal grating).  The problem with going down into the flats is.... well, you've got to come back up.  The hill around mile 5 is... well pretty brutal for Cleveland.  You go up about 100 feet in around a third of mile.  What is funny is that I had trained hills pretty hard for relay that I did in April (Seneca 7, check it out, it is awesome), but this hill still sucked.

Don't get me wrong, this years course has one of the lowest total elevation gains of any Cle Half I've run - Garmin clocked it at 365 feet.  That is actually very flat.  Doesn't change the fact that this hill sucked.  For reference: 2014 was 420 and 2013 was 460.  I'll say this - I think Id actually prefer more elevation overall, with more gradual hills than this years HILL OF DOOM.

Thanks to my cheer leading squad, showing up at mile 6.5.  You guys put a smile on my face, and helped me keep going.

Miles 4-7 feel very familiar to anyone who has done this race in the past.  It is a good route, with lots of spectators, and after the big hill the course is pretty much flat to the end.

Last third of Race
First: the course was pretty good.  I'd say this - I really liked the 2014 course that went out a bit more into lakewood, but the tradeoff there is that you finished on the shoreway which was completely bereft of spectators with cowbells.  Finishing on Detroit was a lot nicer.  So no complaints about the course whatsover.

Personally, the wheels came off for me around mile 9.  Even though I had run some really good distance runs in the 13-15 mile range, I just had nothing left in the tank.  There is where I paid the price, dearly, for those early fast miles.  My original intent was to put in mostly 7:30s in the beginning, and I just failed to do that.  Consequently, my times started dragging pretty bad at the end. I can actually say I've never considered quitting in a race before and the thought crossed my mind a couple of times.

People were passing me left and right that I had passed much earlier in the race, and rightly so.  They ran smart, going for negative splits.  So be it.  I managed to put one foot in front of the other, and picked up Steve, my bro in law, who was also struggling about 3/4 of mile out from the end.  We dragged our, *ahem*, butts over the finish line.

Still though, I had fun.  It was a well run event, and the course was pretty cool.  The race served the mandatory post-race beer, and to my happiness they had a selection of Great Lakes brews.  The line was long, but moved extremely fast, like 5 minutes.   The finish was in Public Square and I walked out with a banana, 3 granola bars, water, milk, and a bag of pretzels.  They certainly didn't skimp.

The band in the beer garden, Old School, was really fun.  The finish medal this year is awesome because it's the 40th anniversary.  Legit, it is huge, one of the biggest in my collection.


Side note: Every time I've run this event, my mileage has come out over 13.1.  I realize this is probably me not running the tangents, just a data point.

If you want the gruesome details:

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sam's Friend Party!

Sam had a great "friend" party too this year.  We alternate every other year and this was great fun!  We tried "Get Air" this year and everyone seemed to have fun!

Man, why didn't we think of this trampoline park idea 10 years ago?