Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christmas Lists and Shopping!!

The Annual Mathews' Family Christmas lists have been requested! Right on time too, we usually send them out the end of October. I put some things for the kids on the list for Aunt Sarah and Mike, Uncle Josh and Aunt Tracy and Grandpa and Grandma Mathews to pick from. And through the wonder of the internet and "wish lists" on various websites, I was able to pick out a few items on and too. Makes life so much easier.
I put a range of things on my list. Everything from a bike(!!) to running socks. Every year it seems people ask for things that are for their current interest. Harley Davidson was big a few years ago, Wii was popular last year. Sarah usually asks for climbing gear. This year I asked for several running items, stuff you don't really need but would be nice to have. And Josh asked for his shaving stuff and some work-out gear (he's becoming such a gym rat, it's awesome!). And I think Mom will ask for work-out gear as well. What a healthy family we're becoming!!
Now that the lists are coming it, time to get to shopping!!! Brett and I actually made a very smart decision this spring and put a chunk of money in a CD when we got our tax return. With the intention that it would be used as a Christmas fund. So most of our Christmas gifts will be paid in cash - what an un-American concept!
Kylie's Parent Teacher Conference

Brett and I met with Mrs. Moore, Kylie's teacher, this morning. She had nothing but wonderful things to say about Kylie. Her report card came out last week - all 3's, which is the highest grade. Mrs. M said that Kylie is very eager to help in class, is friendly with all the kids, picks concepts up quickly and is very sweet. She actually said that Kylie could probably teach the class one day and the kids would learn that same as when Mrs. Moore teaches!
I was pleased to also hear that her school does SST, which is where the kids are broken up into smaller groups based on their individual learning level. Kylie is in the top group. So several times a week, Kylie and the other kids in her level are taken to another station with the school counselor and works at learning more advanced concepts. Kylie's talked about SST but couldn't really explain it to me so I'm very pleased that her school does this. I was worried at the beginning of the year that Kylie would be getting bored quickly but she isn't.
Mrs. M also wants Kylie to start a response journal between the two of them. Mrs. M will write a few sentences and questions in the journal and Kylie can write back to her that evening. I think Kylie will REALLY find that fun.
So, basically, Kylie is doing a fantastic job in school!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eight years of happiness!

Happy anniversary Brett!! Eight years ago we became man and wife. What a wonderful life we have.
Brett the Multi-Marathoner!

Brett was so mad about how he did at the marathon in Akron that he wanted a do-over. He didn't want to throw away all the training that he put in over the last 6 months and settle for the time he got at Akron. We did some research and found a marathon 3 weeks later in Indianapolis. Seemed like perfect timing. He did lots of research on what could have caused his cramping (low sodium most likely which was aggrivated by his over-hydration) and adjusted his goals for this race.
Saturday morning was very cold so Brett headed to the start of the race by himself. My sparkpeople friend, John, who is also a great runner took the time to stop by the race and saw Brett at mile 4. He called me to say that Brett looked great. The kids and I found a good spot on the course that allowed us to see him at mile 17 and mile 21 because it looped around. It was still cold but I had chairs for the kids to sit on and we cheered on all the other runners. Soon Brett came around the corner and we cheered loud for him! He was feeling good so we gave him a banana and sent him on his way. The kids were really cold so we got blankets out of the car and snuggled up and waited for Brett again.
He came around the bend, 21 miles down, with a big smile and we knew that he would finish well under his last marathon time. A quick picture and good luck wave and he was off. I gave a few bananas away to guys who looked like they needed them. Then we piled everything back into the car and headed for the finish line. Which was far away and strange to think that Brett was running that whole way! We got there in time and watched him cross the finish line at 3:50, 55 minutes less then his time in Akron!!!! What a wonderful feeling for him because he got to see that he could do better and that he could overcome the obsticles he encountered during his last marathon. So proud of him!
First report card

So, today Kylie brought her very first report card home. What an exciting event. But lets start at the beginning.
Kylie had a Fall party at her school today. Being the room mom, I needed to be there to help out with a few other parents/grandparents. It was so interesting to see Kylie's class and teacher in action. I was impressed by Mrs. Moore, she kept 25 kids under control during a fun party. We made 2 crafts, one was a spider hat and one was a pumpkin. (pics posted later). I was in charge of Kylie's table and there were 4 other kids at her table. They were all pretty well behaved so that helped. They also got suckers, juice and cookies. It was a really fun party and I look forward to helping with more.
I went into work after the party and got home about 4:30. I was pretty anxious to see Kylie's report card since Mrs. Moore passed them out when I was in the classroom so I had been wondering what it said all afternoon! Kylie wanted to open it up before I got home but Sharon told her to wait until I got home to look at it.
It's much different then when I was young. First off, it's 6 pages long. You have to actually read the directions to know what it says. The main part of it had ratings 1-3, one meaning needs improvement, 2 is emerging, 3 is consistently demonstrates. Kylie got all 3's! But most of the skills weren't difficult for her - like recognizes and writes first name legibly - 3. Says rhyming words in response to an oral prompt - 3. Writes upper and lowercase letters correctly - 3 (that was a good one because she has been working on that a lot). One page was just blank, the teacher would mark things that the student had not mastered yet like recognizing numbers, shapes, letters.
Next page listed behaviors that promote learning, personal and social growth. Kylie's said "shows positive attitude toward learning; completes and returns homework, activites and other materials; works, plays and shares cooperatively with others; accepts and follows school rules.
Page 4 was where Mrs. Moore wrote specifically about Kylie "Kylie is a pleasure to have in class. She is a leader as well as a wonderful role model to the other students. She is always willing to help me in the classroom. I am proud of Kylie's work this nine weeks. Continue to practice high frequency words, writing sentences and stories, and reading at home. Keep up the hard work, Kylie!" :-)
Next page was a test page that listed probably 60 words that she has learned or is supposed to learn to read. High frequency words like can, we, the, and, little, she.... as well as color and number words. She did pretty good but missed 10. Some were words that she shouldn't have missed like cat, he and but. And she re-read the test this evening and only missed one word. So we talked about how important it is to take your time on a test and work hard to get each question right.
The last page was the most confusing. I won't get into it but it was another assessment that shows that Kylie is about 3 month ahead of schedule for the testing so we're happy about that.
This is long and drawn out but it's good to go over it and keep track of it. We're so pleased that Kylie is loving school. She has fall break the next 2 days but I know she'll be ready to go back to school on Monday. We love her so much!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yoda and Tinkerbell

We've had a fun week. Uncle Josh came to visit on Wednesday. We haven't seen him since Christmas so the kids had fun beating up on him. We played "Who ate my Fish", Battleship and Memory. Kylie does so well with Memory, its very difficult to beat her. Josh believes that his lack of princess knowledge contributed to his inability to make matches since he couldn't tell the difference between Jasmine and Pocahontas. Whatever!
Uncle Josh did entertain the kids with the ol' diet coke and mentos trick. Always a hit.

We did have Kylie's Maple Elementary Fall Family Fun night on Thursday. It wasn't Josh's scene but he humored us and came along. Hotdogs and chips in the cafeteria, games in the gym, hike in the outdoor learning center and a really good story-teller was in the cabin in the woods behind the school. It was cold but we had a nice time.

Josh left on Friday morning and Matthew and I headed to the gym. I set the treadmill for 40 mins and ended up going 4.3 miles. Not bad. I'd like to start adding in some sprints but it's probably too early in my rehab to do that. After I finished running, I got in line for a paper towel to clean off my machine and some guy started chatting with me about my running. He asked how long I've been running and thought I made it look effortless. Ha. So I got to fill him in a little about my injury and recovery. But it's nice to hear sometimes that others think you're doing really well even when you don't feel like you're doing that good.

Kylie and Matthew had a Halloween Party at her dance studio Friday night. Kylie decided to be Tinkerbell a few weeks ago so I got her a costume. Matthew wanted to be Yoda. I didn't want to pay for a costume and mask that he wouldn't wear so I borrowed a brown monk robe from a friend, bought some green make-up, ear tips and hairspray. Matthew was very patient while I did his make-up. And I think he turned out pretty good!
Kylie got the Tinkerbell 'tude down pretty well!
I took Kylie and Matthew to the party and guess who won first prize for the best costume? Our little Yoda!
"Do or do not, there is no try" "Judge me by my size, do you"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Race for the Taste 2009

What a weekend! History – Brett surprised me with a trip to Orlando back in June for my b-day. He also got me tickets to see U2, my all-time favorite band, in Tampa for the same weekend. Holy Cow, what an amazing gift. Plus, while reading my Runner’s World magazine this summer, I notice an ad for Disney World’s Race for the Taste 10K, which was the same weekend we were going to be down there. Seems perfect, right? So I checked with my sports doctor who said I should have no problem running a 10K in October. After his green light, I registered Brett and I for it. One of the main selling points for us was that it celebrates the annual International Food and Wine fest, which Brett and I have grown to really enjoy. This would actually be our 3rd trip to Disney during this fest so we knew what to expect and were excited to add in a race to our weekend.

Fast forward to Thursday. We leave the kids with Grandpa and Grandma Nabb and head to the airport. Easy flight down. We get the rental car and notice that it is so hot outside, sweating-just-standing-still-hot outside. Yuck. Hoping it cools down a little, especially for our race. Turns out the temp was 94 that afternoon, which broke the previous high temp record of 92. Like I said, hot.

We check into our hotel, which we got at a really good discount because we were going to a sales pitch the next morning. Since it was so hot, we decided to take a short run just to see how we did with the heat. Ugh, not good. We ran down the street and I was melting within ½ mile, walking by 1.5 miles. I would walk 50 feet, then jog ¼ mile, walk again, jog again. All the way back to the hotel. We ending up only going 2.75 miles but that was enough. So we hit the fitness center and finished up our work-out there. I seriously don’t know how people run in that heat, I guess they just run when it’s dark.

Thursday night we headed over to Downtown Disney, which is the big shopping area and a place that I hadn’t been before. They have the world’s largest Disney store there and it was huge. We picked up a few gifts for the kids then walked over to Raglan Road, an Irish pub for a late dinner. Not too impressed, over priced and crowded. Back to the hotel for bed.

Friday we were up early for the sales pitch. We had decided we weren’t buying already. It didn’t start off well because the property they told us to go to in our confirmation letter wasn’t the correct one. Thank goodness for GPS. Tammy, our sales lady, showed us the rooms, gave us her shpel and if it wasn’t for us already owning an RCI timeshare, we might have done it. There was tons of flexibility and other perks. And like all presentations, we had to say “No”, many, many times but we finally got out of there after 2 hours.

Next we hit the pool for some sun. It wasn’t unbearably hot yet so we stayed for a few hours. Then we had lunch, went to Disney’s Wild World of Sports to pick up our race packets and drove to Tampa for the U2 concert. Woo-hoo!

The concert was at the Raymond James Stadium, where the Bucs play. Traffic was terrible but we found cheap parking and a gas station to grab a quick bite to eat for dinner (no way were we paying $6 for a hotdog at the concert!). Our seats were in the upper level but we could still see really good. The “stage” was more of a circular spaceship, which makes sense considering the name of the tour: U2’s 360 degrees. It allowed the entire stadium, 70,000+ people to see really well. The opening band was called Muse, not familiar and wasn’t too impressed. U2 started about 8:30. They played 2 songs right off the bat from their new album. Then played “Mysterious Ways”. Let me stop here to tell you about the crowd around us. Two rows in front were 4 Latin American’s who were beyond excited to be there. And as per their culture (I’m saying this because there were numerous flags being waved, all from Latin American countries), they brought their country’s flag to wave and hold above their heads. Now, this was ok when no one was playing but did not work during the concert because we’re short and couldn’t see over or through the flag as he was holding it over his head. Thankfully, Brett ran into the main guy in the bathroom and asked him to be considerate in regards to the flag. The couple directly in front of us consisted of two 60 year olds who had too much to drink. We didn’t think this would be too much of a problem until the lady started giving her date a lapdance during “Mysterious Ways”. It was such a train wreck, the other people near us were just staring, shocked. And it just got better from there. They continued to drink, stand in the aisle and by the end of the night, he was holding her boobs from behind, like the Janet Jackson Rolling Stone cover. Sigh….

So back to the concert. They played a good mix of music, most off their new album and a few older ones. Being Bono, he had some politics thrown in to boot, mainly talking about Iran, the Burmese president who has been under house arrest for 19 years and his ONE campaign. And at one point, he pulled a 12 year old boy from the audience, had him run with him around the entire 200 yard circle stage and gave him his signature sunglasses. How cool.

After the concert and with a lot of roadblocks and detours, we finally got back on the road and to the hotel about 1:30. Thank goodness we could sleep in!

Saturday was our day to spend in Epcot. One of the perks of race registration was a ticket to either Epcot, Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. So we took the noon hotel shuttle to Epcot and spent the afternoon there. This was our first time without kids so we wanted to hit some of the rides that we haven’t been on before. We rode Soarin’, which is a movie ride where you feel like you’re in a hang glider over California. SO COOL! You got so close to the water that you wanted to pull your feet up, you could smell oranges when you flew over the orange grove, felt like you were skiing down a mountain. We waited an hour for this ride (FASTPASS it if you can, we couldn’t since we held a FASTPASS to Mission Space already) and it was worth it. Next we road Mission Space. They had two levels of this ride, the green which was tame and the orange which was intense. We chose Green, mainly because I didn’t want to mess up my neck and suffer from a headache all day and Brett isn’t a huge spinning fan and we heard spinning was a big part of it. It was pretty tame but decent. Wouldn’t want to wait more then 30 minutes for it though.

Next we grabbed a FASTPASS for Test Track and headed over to World Showcase for food and booze. We were both pretty hungry at this point and knew we needed to eat smart to be ready for our race the next day. We quickly realized that we’d spend tons of money if we tried to fill up on the sample sized items they were selling. So we decided to spend our money on booze instead and get some real dinner off property. We grabbed a pretzel in Germany, I had some frozen drinks (super hot again) and Brett had beers from all over. We caught the “O’ Canada” movie, which was pretty good (air conditioned as well). There were plenty of street entertainers and characters out. We saw Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Mary Poppins while we were in England. Aladdin and Jasmine were hanging out in Morocco. Snow White and her Prince were in Germany. And we saw Mulan in China (it was the first time seeing her in all our visits so I got my picture taken with her and an autograph for Kylie). After finishing our tour of the World, we headed back to Test Track to ride that. That wasn’t bad either, you were “driving” a car through a simulated test track. Wouldn’t want to wait too long for it though, FASTPASS is the way to go. On our way out, we rode Spaceship Earth, which is the ride inside the big “golf ball.” That was a very fast line and was a fun ride. The kids would have liked it.

After we got back to the hotel, we drove to the grocery store and found some Chinese noodles to nuke for dinner. Gotta have those carbs! Watched some football and went to bed.

Sunday morning the alarm goes off at 5:00am. We get up, get dressed and head out the door for Epcot. We get there at 5:45 and the parking lot we’re supposed to be in is filling up fast. So we get parked (some of their parking lot attendants use Segways now!) and get on a shuttle to the start line at World Wide Sports. We spend an hour warming up and standing around there. The DJ was spinning some decent tunes and getting the crowd excited. It’s still pitch black outside but cooler then it had been, thank goodness. The race starts at 7:00, they even set off fireworks at the start line! We head down a major road, turn and go to the main entrance of the park. Then another turn, down some back road to the entrance of Hollywood Studios. This is the park that has Pixar characters, Indiana Jones and some stunt show. There is a water station here, just past mile 1. I walked through the water station so I could catch my breath and get plenty of water. We were running about a 9:10 min mile (slow compared to my pre-injury pace of 8:30 or so), which I was fine with, I wasn’t worried about our finishing time, just wanted to make it past 4 miles before I needed to walk. We wind around through the “cast member area” – read back door/trash can area – or as my dad would say “the cook’s tour”. Then we come out the side entrance for the stunt show and see ourselves on the jumbo screen!! That was fun to wave at ourselves. Then we run down a street designed to look like New York City and San Francisco. Then we ran around the famous Mickey Fantasia hat and had a fellow runner take our picture here.We exit the park through the front gate and turn down a walking path that ran to the Boardwalk resort. By this time, the sun was up and it was getting warmer. Another water stop at about mile 4, which I walked through again. We were still at about a 9 min pace, but our time wasn’t reflecting that since we had stopped for a few pictures along the way. The resort we ran through was nice, hadn’t ever been there before. It was a good part of the race, about a mile. I was feeling fine, leg-wise and cardio-wise so I decided to keep running, past my 4 mile plan. I did take a “Cliff-shot” before the water stop and was hoping it would kick in when I needed it at mile 5. Before I know it, we turn a corner, hit another water station and turn into England!! We were in the World Showcase inside Epcot, the last leg of the race. Woo-hoo!

It was so cool to run through the countries that I had just been walking around the afternoon before. The mile 5 marker was in front of France. At this point, I figure – ok, only 1 mile left and I’m still feeling ok so I’m going to do this, run the whole way, something I hadn’t even really considered being able to do at all! So we’re running past Japan and the Outback. I start to feel pretty tired but tell myself “Just make it to Germany”. So we pass Italy, then Germany. Then I decide, “Ok, you did it. Now make it to Mexico.” We past China, Norway and then Mexico and I’m still running! Sweet. We make the turn to the straightaway that shows the Epcot ball in front of us. What a beautiful sight!! I’m hurting but was not going to stop with only 5 minutes left. I do stop long enough for Brett to get my picture though. We run past the fountain as other guests were entering Epcot, staring at us probably thinking “Why are you doing this to yourself? And you’re dripping in sweat.” (Not an understatement, everyone was soaked in sweat. )

We round the last turn and I see the mile 6 marker. I start telling myself, out-loud “I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this” while getting teary-eyed. A few more turns and we see the finish-line. Brett wants to finish strong so we start picking up the pace. Then it hits me – the urge to puke. This happens a lot in the last few 1/10th’s of a mile in my races, don’t know why. Maybe because I try to sprint to the finish or maybe because I sometimes get emotional towards the end? Regardless, the crowds are on both sides and Brett is encouraging me to keep going. But I find a opening in the grass and “give back” my Cliff Shot. Whew, felt so much better. I take off again, see Mickey and Minnie at the finish line and raise my hands as I finish!! I did it!! I finished a 10K, 6.2 miles! Last time I ran that far was the Mini when I broke my hip and pelvis. I run right for Mickey, with a big smile on my face and go to hug him but reconsider after realizing how sweaty and nasty I was. I shook his hand instead and thanked him for being there. Brett crossed a few seconds after me and we got our medals. They are nice, brushed silver, shaped like a dinner plate with a spoon, fork and knife hanging down from it. Says “Race for the Taste 10k”. Nice purple ribbon with it too. Our finishing time wasn’t great, 58:09. But we were under an hour, which was another goal of mine.

After a banana, Powerade and a few minutes to catch our breath, we go over to have our pictures taken with Pluto. Goofy was there later so I got my picture with him as well. Chip and Dale were at the finish line, taking Mickey and Minnie’s spot. Boy, I would have been pissed if Chip or Dale greeted me at the finish line instead of Mickey and Minnie!!

They had a post-race picnic so we grabbed some food and then headed back to the hotel. We were in the car by 9:00, just over 3 hours from when we parked it. Back to the room for a well deserved shower and cool-off period. Then we packed up and checked out at noon. Thank goodness we could shower, we were both dripping in sweat, would have felt bad for the whole plane if we hadn’t showered!

Thoughts –

Race Stats: 10k, 6.2 miles. Finished in 58:09, overall place 708/4013, gender place 245/2447, age division 41/445.

Epcot is so fun and we got to do several new things too. There is so much to see, it really takes multiple visits to see/do everything and there were still things that we didn't have time to do.

Disney does things right. The race was well supported, not much crowd support since spectators aren’t allowed on the route but most of the cast members who were around were clapping and encouraging.

U2 is the best rock band in the world, hands down.

I love my husband and thank him so much for giving me such a wonderful weekend!