28 September 2008

I Was Saltier than a Sailor

Yesterday at 4:20 p.m., I finished my third leg (and the entire race) of my Ragnar Relay. The experience was awesome. Although I knew only one other runner (who wasn't even in my van), I had a great time. Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, it was the farthest I've ever run (18.6 miles) in the span of 17 hours, but I did it and am dang proud (see the picture to get an idea of just how proud). Even Chuck said that if I do it again he'd do it with me.

The easiest thing about it: The passing of time. Initially I thought there would be tons of down time and whatever would I do with it all?! But really, after you drop off your runner, get to the next exchange point, stretch, eat, change clothes, use the port-a-potty, whatever...it's almost time to run again. And even when your van isn't running, you're trying to sleep or you're talking to other runners. Fun times.

The hardest thing about it: Not sleeping. For someone who is pretty good about getting 7.5-8 hours of sleep a night (yes, even with a six-month old), that was really hard.

I learned some things about running and myself. I'd even do it again.

(You can read about the technical details and see the one good team picture here.)

22 September 2008

If This Doesn't Make You Laugh...

...then maybe the thought of me running 19 miles (over three runs, not all at once) on Saturday will. But please don't. It's really happening and I'm scared to death. And if neither the fear nor the race kills me, I'll report on Sunday how it went.

More Home Improvement Projects

1. Although it doesn't look that exciting, Chuck changed the side on which the hinges were placed on this cabinet door. Initially, the door opened to the window--not the most convenient. But one Saturday morning he surprised me by doing this!

2. My mom gave me this cute three-picture frame for my birthday. I love it. And after the surprisingly good results from our family pictures, I knew what would fill them. In the middle is a custom word cloud made from this site.

3. Rhett's bookcase was initially just plain brown wood. But then I painted it (and some of our brick backyard patio--oops) white!

4. I obtained some new, some old pictures of family and then made them black and white. I then had them printed and now they are sitting on the piano.

5. To match the curtains, I ordered one yard of this fabric and staple gunned it to artist canvas. I'm super pleased with the result!

Next on the list: painting the master bedroom. If I agree to Chipotle for Chuck's lunch for one week, then it will likely be a shade of purple!

20 September 2008

Little Girl Sundress

This sweet dress (I actually made three of them) comes from this tutorial (scroll down to the second one). It was fast, easy, and super rewarding at the end. We've had three nieces added to the family since Rhett was born, so each little niece is receiving one. (Well, the one in utero here in DC will have to wait 'til she's born, at which point, I'll hand deliver it.)

**Cousin Nicole---I was going to share this with you earlier because I thought you'd really like it for Molly, but I didn't want you to post the results before I did! Ha. I'm selfish like that. Maybe it's the Leo in me.

18 September 2008

Where Was Sarah 31 Years Ago?

Anyone else seen this? I won't wax politically, but the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator has changed my life. Who knew (other than Gov. Palin) that instead of Rhett, he should have been named Barrel McRaven?! Instead of being married to a Charles, I should be married to Copper Catfish? (Copper sounds so much sexier, doncha think?) And me, I have spent the last 31 years mis-named as well. I should have been Fork Decoy! It's like I don't even know who I am any more.

P.S. I really really want to make this. Although, I think I'd try it with a lemon cake and lemon yogurt (thanks to a genius idea from my sis-in-law). Does anyone want to come over and eat it with me?

P.P.S. Is it wrong to love your kids more when they're sleeping?

P.P.P.S. Is the third postscript "P.P.P.S." or "P.P.S.S." or something else entirely? Discuss.

15 September 2008

Helpful Household Tip # 3

I hate deciding what to have for dinner. But even more than that, I hate when Chuck gets home from work and asks, "What's for dinner?" because if it gets to that point, well, it'll be cereal for dinner. Cold, sugary cereal. Not good. (Or is it...?!?) Of course, if there are Skinny Cows in the house, they always make a good substitute for a real meal. There's this dinner as well. Gee, now I'm starting to doubt this desire to have real meals. Focus, erin, focus...

Some time ago, I started planning our meals two weeks in advance. But having to do this every every two weeks got to be too frequent for me, so now I plan for four weeks. I do this in Excel, for reasons to be explained later.

Still, filling the 28 nights was a chore. I could never really remember the things that we both really liked and often similar things ended up next to each other. My first AHA! moment came to me in the form of "theme nights." Every Monday was Mexican night; every Friday night was breakfast-for-dinner night, etc. This helped tremendously in filling the nights, and made it so that spaghetti was never eaten the night before stovetop lasagne.

The next AHA! moment was inspired by my sister-in-law, Linda. How we work it is as follows: pick dinners that we would like to have (or at least don't mind having) every four weeks. (This turned out to be 22 for us.) These 22 dinners are marked with asterisks in my meal calendar (why Excel works so well--I don't have to retype them every month); they are permanent and not to be changed, altered, or adapted in any way (ooooh, scary!). The other six nights are therefore alternates. Maybe the alternate is a new recipe I've been dying to try from that fabulous site, The Foodees. Or maybe it's a recipe from a cookbook I've won from the Washington Post food chats. Or maybe it's just an old recipe that we like, but don't want to have every four weeks. Having the same 22 dinners allows me to better stock the pantry and freezer as I know the basic supplies we need for these meals, but having alternates inspires me to try new things.

One little tweak to this are the alternating permanent nights. (Permanent alternates??? My head hurts.) If you look at the picture below (clicking on it will make it larger), the Wednesday at the bottom of the picture shows us having alfredo pasta or spaghetti with meatballs. These are dinners that we alternate. So these meals will be eaten once every two months. Confusing? Sorry.

Of course, we're still flexible. If I really really want cereal for dinner, well, we're having cereal...with Skinny Cows and Starburst jelly beans for dessert.

12 September 2008

More Posts Than You Wanted, I'm Sure

I don't know how my plethora of readers actually read my blog. Do you do it by an RSS? Google blog reader? Or just type in the URL? It really doesn't matter since I'm not sure how each of the different ways would address what I just did. What did I just do? I moved all of my sewing projects from my "Made by e" blog to here. I kept the same dates of original publication and labeled them all "crafting." I just thought that since making things is a big part of my life, it should be with the rest of me. So if you want to see my (re)creations, then scroll down a bit and click on the "crafting" label on the right side. Otherwise, stay tuned for what I'll crank out next!

11 September 2008

Too Bad I Don't Know How to Can

Do you ever have one of those days that you wish you could replay over and over? Not in a "Groundhog Day"-Bill-Murray sort of way, but rather because it was perfect? I had that day yesterday. I wish I could bottle the day and reopen it again and again and again.

Although it didn't start ideally (Rhett woke us up at about 4:45 a.m. and then permanently at 5:15 a.m.), I got up and checked email, began reading the newspaper, and started a load of laundry all before Rhett was brought out of his room at 6:00 a.m. Achieving this meant that his morning wake time could be spent one-on-one with him. We went outside and felt the beauty of the cool, crisp air. We played inside and I helped him get oh-so-closer to crawling (even though I have to ask myself why?!). We even took fun pictures to send to Chuck at work. When it was nap time, he went down beautifully.

During his nap time, I was able to get more laundry done and myself taken care of. I also opened the house as the weather was simply awesome. I could feel the fresh air in my toes. As soon as Rhett awoke, I strapped him into the car seat to run errands. When we got back, we played a little more and then he went down (beautifully again) for nap two. He stayed asleep long enough for me to get the house back to order (the shopping trip required much to be done), and for me to start working on a sewing project (pictures to follow in a couple of days). When he woke up, we took Bruno to the park near our house and enjoyed the beautiful weather again.

Soon Chuck came home and I went to the gym. My run was good and I came home to an almost-done dinner, complete with pasta, this totally yummy alfredo sauce, and leftover bread. We followed dinner by our usual walk with baby and dog and on return, it was time to put Rhett to bed. (We are LOVING this new early bedtime!)

Once the baby was in bed, we straightened the house, got things ready for today, and then retired to the basement to unwind. I continued to work on some sewing while Chuck comforted our healing dog. Physical dessert was a skinny cow; mental dessert was watching Project Runway.

I just loved everything about this day. I loved feeling productive. I loved spending time with my little boy. I loved being outside with temperatures in the 70s and low humidity. I loved running errands and shopping at Target. I loved sewing. I loved Project Runway. I loved being a mom (this might be the first time I've ever said this.) And I loved the quiet time with Chuck at the end of it all. Again again please!

08 September 2008

Saddest Puggie (and Puggie Parents) Ever

Chuck's birthday weekend pretty much sucked. On Saturday, Tropical Storm Hanna paid us a visit and dropped about five inches of rain. Although the rain got Chuck out of class early, we still sat at home and did nothing as it was simply too wet to go outside with a baby with a cold. (Fortunately, though, we got his birthday dinner taken care of Friday night since we knew Hanna was on her way.) We also got in one Scrabble game, but his dear wife is too proud to throw games, especially a game that she is going to win.

Sunday started a little better with a visit to Pug Group. Bruno always has such a great time playing with other puggies and we enjoy the hilarity of it all. Even little Rhett seemed to enjoy watching all the dogs.

But then it got worse. Bruno was showing evidence of some sort of eye problem and by the time I got home from church (the boys all stayed home given Rhett's cold), Bruno looked miserable. He wouldn't come out of his crate when we called (not even when Chuck called--WHOA) and looked like he wanted to die. His left eye was swollen shut and he looked incredibly pained. I took him to the emergency vet and turns out he has a corneal ulcer. For some reason, pugs just can't seem to heal these things properly. He was given some meds (which thankfully included a pain med) and I was told to take him to his regular vet today. The best outcome is that the meds heal the ulcer and he's fine. The worst outcome is that the ulcer ruptures and requires expensive surgery to remove the eye. The thought of this makes me cry (as if looking at the poor dog doesn't do this already).

We love Bruno; he's a part of our family and we want him to get better NOW.

Update: After spending four hours with two vets, one of which was a veterinarian ophthalmologist, we have good news: Bruno will continue to have TWO eyes! Can you imagine if he had lost it? Only one eye and the longest tongue you've ever seen? I think that would have been too much character, even for Bruno.

05 September 2008

Helpful Household Tip # 2

One fear I have is my house burning down/flooding/being destroyed by falling airplane parts...you get the picture. I know we're not supposed to be materialistic. But I'll admit it: I really like my stuff.

This is where the insurance companies say, "Well that's why you have us!" Thankfully, yes, we have homeowners' insurance, but that would do me no good after the trauma of one of the above events. There's no way that I would be able to accurately document my entire household contents during the upheaval that a disaster would cause. Nor do I have time to go around and create a list of everything in the house now. So what to do?

Take a picture! Take lots of pictures! Instead of listing on paper every DVD you own, just snap a picture of the DVD shelf and voila! You'll be able to tell the insurance company that they must replace that prized copy of "Cabin Boy." (Thanks, Angie, for that treasure.) In this age of digital cameras, cataloging your house is now totally possible and, even better, undaunting.

The final, but really really important part, is then to email these pictures to yourself. Or put them on a CD and mail them to family or friends. But do not just keep them on your computer in case of fires/floods/falling toilets. (Uhh..what?! I wrote this a couple of days ago and have no idea why I wrote "falling toilets." But thought I'd leave it in anyways.)

Given the forecast for the East Coast this weekend (Hurricane Hanna), I'll have plenty of inside time to do this. And good reason.

02 September 2008

Rag Quilt for Rhett's Soon-to-arrive-Cousin

Our Toothbrushes are Seeing More Action

Remember when Rhett was born and I nearly cried writing about how great Chuck was and how much more I loved him because of that experience? Yeah, so do I. But only barely.

Don't worry. Chuck's still the same awesome helper and I'm still extremely lucky and happy to have him. But lately, so much of our love and our focus is on little Rhett that I feel like we're forgetting about our love for each other. It's as if we're more roommates instead of lovers. And I hate it, almost as much as I hate the word "lovers." Ha.

But I'm not sure what to do about it. When Rhett's sleeping, we're busy doing household stuff (this may or may not include things like just eating dinner). And when he's awake, we're either both playing with him, or one is playing with him while the other is busy doing the remaining household stuff.

We tried implementing a new rule that says, "At 9:30 p.m., drop whatever household stuff you're doing so that we can spend at least 30 minutes a day together." But 30 minutes?! That's not enough. Especially since most of the time we want to use that 30 minutes for additional sleep. And even now that Rhett is asleep by 8 p.m. and we have two hours together, it still doesn't seem like enough.

So what do you do? How do you not let kids take over your relationship with your spouse?