Monday, June 27, 2016

Overchlorinated Large Footed Husks

So within an hour of publishing the last post, it was clear from the commentariat that I needed to go get fitted for running shoes. So, since I was working from home, I took my lunch break at Luke's Locker down by West 7th, walking in with complete confidence that I had no idea what to do in a running store and accepting help from the first salesperson who asked if I needed it. "YES!" I exclaimed, probably frightening him, "I NEED RUNNING SHOES! ... Real ones. That fit. I don't know what I'm doing here REALLY...I'm a swimmer...Or I was a long time ago...Now I run...A little...Not a lot...I'm not like a real runner...I run like maybe 6-10 miles a week...

. . .

I NEED RUNNING SHOES!"

His calm and competent facial expression never changed during this unusually spastic monologue. "Okay, let's head over here and get started." The process was fast- he watched me walk, asked about my running style, and then measured my feet and declared me a size 12. Wait, whaaaaa?


"Is that even a thing?!" I immediately asked. "Sure," he calmly and competently replied. "But I'm wearing a 10 right now!" and at that, I finally got a reaction- genuine, deep, heartrending concern, maybe even horror. "Oh no, you definitely need a larger running shoe! Your toes cannot spread out in a 10! They are cramped and holding your shoe in place when they are supposed to extend with every step!" I'm pretty sure I gave him nightmares.

He brought me out a pair that fit perfectly (SIZE 12!!) and I was surprised to find they were only $100! (Obviously, I'm using "only" loosely, but I was definitely expecting to spend much more than that just based on the general prices at Academy.) So I have new shoes and I have been promised I'll be able to run much farther now that my toes aren't distracted by folding themselves in half. I wore them to Orangetheory this morning and feel like they really added something to the all-outs.


After my shoe buying victory I went back to work for a few hours before James and I went to pick up the big kids from zoo camp. In the category of "it seemed like a good idea on Tuesday," we'd promised the kids we'd pick up Cora early from school and then go get them from their last day of zoo camp and spend an hour at the zoo together. Except by Friday, James had been in the blazing hot sun for five days and it was 115 degrees outside (ish) and walking around the zoo at one of the hottest times of the day sounded terrible. But we did, because of the children. The kids loved it of course, and we got to see the gorillas get their dinner which was fun. It was also really, really hot.


On Saturday we were at the pool bright and crazy early (yet somehow ALREADY HOT) for a swim meet. A swim meet that lasted a million hours and was a million degrees.


But as always, the kids swam great, including my biggest kid, and my littlest kid was a trooper who helped me time, cheered on everyone, and just accepted her 8 hours in 105 degree weather with good natured third babyness.


7:30 a.m. Totally delighted by a book she'd already "read" 15 times

After the meet the kids wanted to swim in our pool, obviously, so we invited some friends over at 3:30. They brought frozen margaritas in a ziploc bag (brilliant!) that we crunched up and poured in cups and then swam and played until we decided to order pizza to eat in our backyard. Cora swam NON-STOP, absolutely refusing the steps and any toys, and instead insisting on jumping in, swimming to me, and then swimming to the stairs over and over and OVER again. But even with 100 "ready, set, jumps!", it was a perfect evening. The kids play so well together and I love anyone who can elevate my margarita game.


On Sunday I went to hot yoga, which I honestly couldn't have felt less like doing but I had a pass that expired on that date, and then James took the kids out to his pool to check the chemicals and let them go off the high dive. It had been a whole 10 hours without chlorine for them, so I'm sure they were glad to be reunited. While we waited for them to return, I asked Cora if she wanted to go the store with me. "Ummmmm, yes!" she replied (her serious "ummms" kill me). There was a short delay, and then she marched through the living room, "Okay, I ready!!"


And so she was.


After a thrilling return at Old Navy that really didn't do justice to her ensemble, we returned home to two big kids who were super excited about going to a water park we'd also stupidly mentioned earlier in the week, back when it sounded like a good idea and we hadn't spent 100% of Saturday in a haze of chlorine and sun. But they were sooooo excited and we didn't really have a good reason not to go, so we packed up and headed to Arlington. Because what could sound better than more water, more sun, and more chlorine at 1 p.m.?


Absolutely nothing. Except also anything, plus a margarita in a ziploc bag.


The big kids LOVED it.


Cora LOVED it.


And while she braved some pretty fast slides, she also insisted on swimming the WHOLE time. Since the water was about 12" deep, this is how she went about it.


The WHOLE time.


After a few hours we dragged everyone back home and the first thing we heard as we pulled into the driveway: "Mommy can we go swimming?!".

James and I were done. My insomnia has been the absolute worst it has ever been- I haven't slept more than 2 hours in a row in a few weeks, and I was just spent. So we sent the big kids outside and bribed Cora with a Mickey Mouse show- the first time we have EVER used TV during the day (oh baby 3) because neither of us could bear going out with her to do "ready, set, jump!" another 100 more times. Our children had broken us. 

The big kids swam until dinner (I made jambalaya! it was delicious) and then, after we told them they couldn't swim again (I mean, my god), we settled in to watch the US Olympic Trials for swimming.


Now I don't care even the tiniest bit about professional sports. I care about college sports to the extent that I think it's nice they exist and if I hear UT is playing something I might ask if they're winning. James cares only a little more than I do. We never watch sports on TV- we don't even have a TV in the main area of our house, so our kids have 0 experience with us watching sports with them. But every 4 years, swimming gets televised. And when swimming gets televised, we watch it. Intently. Silently. We are THERE for the swimming on the TV.

And so we started to watch NBC's swimming telecast. And Landon immediately had 6,000 questions, 10% of which related to what we were watching. Claire had 4,000 questions, 20% of which related to what we were watching. And Cora screamed out, "Kick kicks! BIG kick kicks!" every 3 seconds. I think that if James was not by now an overchlorinated husk of himself, he would have exploded. Instead, I paused the TV, explained to everyone that this was Daddy's ONE HOUR of TV time and it won't happen again until 2020 (I'll be THIRTEEN!" yelled Landon) and we all needed to be respectful of it.


They were not respectful. Everyone was banished to their rooms to read so the grown-ups could watch TV in peace. As I closed each of their doors, ensuring we wouldn't hear anything over the swimming commentators, I told them each to remember that we took them to a water park today and then I went back to my wine.

Because seriously, if you enjoy watching swimming at the Olympics, you should watch the Trials. The US has such a deep talent pool, our Trials are often quite a bit faster than the Olympics and the racing is just incredible.

Now me and my giant feet are off to bed where we won't sleep, but at least my toes will be nicely splayed out.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mermaid Pants and Planking for Pizza

I remain on my Spring fitness kick. Or maybe it's not so much of a kick as a reinvigoration. It's been more than 3 years since I found and fell in love with barre, so I guess I am a regular working out person now, but I went 10 years without doing much of anything at all so it still feels fragile and temporary.

But since I rarely go a day without, and feel genuinely bereft when I do, I guess that's who I am now. A person who works out a lot. It's still weird.

I've settled into a new routine of barre 2x per week (teaching at least one of those), Orangetheory 2x per week, and yoga 3x per week. It's perfect for me right now and is just the right amount of new stuff (OTF!) and first loves (barre), with cardio (OTF!), stretching (barre and yoga!), and toning (ALL THREE!). It's fun, I'm genuinely excited about every workout, and I'm seeing such changes and improvements in my body, my strength, and my endurance. 

And of course, new workouts mean new workout clothes! All kidding aside, I have found new workout clothes to be an excellent and appropriate motivator and having good gear really makes a difference. Lululemon's speed shorts make me like running. They're so comfortable and cool and absolutely perfect for runs. I love Gap's sports bras (particularly this one) and my favorite tanks for OTF are one from the Express fitness line (now sold out, which is the world's loss), Lulu's cool racerback, and these new tanks I got from Wicked Custom Apparel online (great quality, especially for the price!).


Why else would you do it?

I wore my new planking shirt to my 7 a.m. OTF class on Wednesday. It is peak performance week; every day has a different challenge and you write down your results to compare to the next quarter. Wednesday was "longest plank challenge" day, so my shirt was a hit.


my fave coach

I won the challenge for my time block (3 mins 30 seconds), but to be fair, the winner of the earlier class kicked my butt. In barre when we do planks we're always moving our legs or arms- mountain climbers, elevators, jumping feet in and out, etc. Just holding the forearm plank without moving absolutely killed my lower back while my core didn't seem bothered at all. I think I need to do some more back strengthening exercises. Still it was a fun class- I'm really enjoying the treadmill portions which will never stop shocking and thrilling me in equal measure. I do think I need new running shoes since I've had mine for over a year and actually used them regularly for running. To the runners out there- does it really make a difference which running shoes you wear? Beyond just whatever is on sale at Academy and designated for running? I'm contemplating going to a real running store and getting fitted, but wondering if it will really make much of a difference. I'd love your thoughts.


But my real passion for the past two weeks has been yoga. I'm loving yoga. Every time I get back into it I fall in love all over again, and the beautiful thing about yoga is even if you let it fall away for a while, it's always waiting there for you to come back. And there is ALWAYS room to grow and improve, in small microscopic steps, every single class. I really, really love it. Last Wednesday I had a new teacher in my vinyasa flow class and she was so fun and challenging, while also keeping the flows fairly simple so you could start to feel confident as you went through them again and again. I did crow for the first time, then side crow, then a headstand to side crow! I have never done any of these things!! I came home and did headstands for the next hour. It's an amazing feeling to find something you didn't know you could do.

In celebration, I treated myself to these gorgeous Mermaid leggings on my way out the door of my yoga studio. How could I possibly resist them? Particularly while on a headstand high?


Obviously, I could not.

Since Wednesday's class I've been doing more yoga at home and tonight, while I was cooking dinner, I saw Cora very industriously working to lay out the two cheap yoga mats I keep around for the kids to use when they decide to join me in my yoga or barre class practicing. After many MANY minutes, she announced "All ready Mama! All ready!". I looked over and she announced, "Rah-rah's mat. Mama's mat. We do doga!" Unable to resist a setup like that, doga is precisely what we did.


She stuck with it for a while- we lifted legs in down dog, flowed through a chaturanga, and wagged our tails and did some cat/cows in tabletop. I had to recreate a tiny part when James and the kids got home just so I could get a picture. Cora is such a ball of industrious earnestness right now and I need little mementos to ever come close to remembering the joyful intensity of it all in the years to come.


cat/cows didn't work quite so well on round 2

And then, since I take videos of everyone else swimming, I figured I could get one of me yoga-ing. It's not my smoothest round and I felt like I couldn't hold it long- dinner was on the table and James was starving and actually holding his plate in his other hand while he took this video, and then I went to barre after everyone ate so I didn't get a redo. But, headstand! It's a whole new world view.


I'm missing a lot of my Saturday barre classes for the kids' swim meets and I'm missing my teaching very much. My yoga and OTF joy helps, but a big part of my heart will always be waiting for me at the barre. It's what made me fall in love with exercise after a decade-long absence. It helped me find a new lean and strong body after 3 babies. It was a very powerful thing for me and I will always be a barrevangelist.

But I'm a pretty enthusiastic proponent of my new HIIT and yoga workouts too, so let me know if you have any questions about those! In my dream of dreams I'd get my yoga teaching certification- there's so much depth to mine there, the student in me is dying to start digging in. But it's a 200 hour cert and I absolutely don't have the money or time right now. And a big part of the reason I can make barre teaching work is because I get to do the workout while I teach, so I can count it as exercise time too (double exercise time really; I never burn as many calories on my heart rate monitor as when I teach barre; yelling over music while pulsing and planking will really get your heart pumping!). Yoga teaching is more verbal and hands-on instructional than actively flowing with the class. Maybe in retirement? I also told James that I'd join our summer league swim team once Cora was old enough to be on the team, so who knows, in the meantime I may find my way back to the pool instead.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Weekending, Father's Day and Fike Swim Bag edition

This was the longest regular two day weekend ever. I mean that in a good way, it was super fun and even lazy in parts, I'm just pretty sure it was 4 or 5 days long.


pregaming

It started on Friday afternoon when my parents drove into town and we all went to the kids' swim me in Burleson, about 20 minutes away. It was CRAZY hot- about 115 with the heat index, so they pushed the meet back an hour to begin at 6:30. My kids all go to bed by 8 p.m., and we planned to go out to dinner after the meet was over, so the delay was obviously great news. And they canceled all the adult events so James couldn't swim, which was a bummer, though it was also nice to have him stay dry and watch the meet with me.


The big kids swam really well, and even though it was one MILLION degrees and there were no bleachers to sit, my parents appeared to have fun. They love a swim meet. The kids were obviously thrilled to have them there, and not just because they packed each kid a super thoughtful goodie bag filled with our favorite childhood swim meet card games and candies. Because back in the day, the concession stand sold donuts and candy and you ate all of it to fuel up between your handful of 30-second swims.


They gave Cora some sparkly purple shoes she adored until they broke (we discuss the broken shoe daily; #neverforget) and pom poms and a megaphone to cheer on her big siblings. Cora found the pom poms suspicious, but the card games were a HUGE hit with all the swimmers and it made my heart happy to see them playing games just like we used to do in the olden days before personal electronics.


I had the great idea to sign Landon up for the 100 IM because I thought he needed the challenge (he swam against the 11-14 year olds), but turns out that's the last event, so challenges are overrated. He finished (first!) at 9:30 p.m. and I quickly yelped a nearby restaurant with frozen margaritas that promised to serve food as well. We raced over, hoping they wouldn't be closing up, and found an adorable Main Street bustling with people and a boisterous half-full restaurant that didn't even roll its eyes when we walked in with children at 9:40 p.m.


Cora judges us

The kids were perfect, the margaritas tart and freezing, and the food very delicious (the number one is the best quesadilla I've ever had; I didn't even order it, but I ate half of James's and will get it next time). Should you find yourself in Burleson, I highly recommend Fresco's. We got home around 11 and tucked all the kids in the girls' room as fast as possible. And then tucked ourselves in too. The sun saps my life force.


My parents, looking much fresher than I felt on hour 3.

On Saturday my parents left early to head to Colorado, so we had friends over to swim. We were having so much fun I almost missed my own barre class- the one I was teaching- and had to tear out of the driveway a few minutes before. It was great to be back at the barre and all the extra Saturday time made the Friday swim meet extra worth it. That afternoon friends had us over for bbq and yard games, including watermelon margaritas and four square. James played games for 4 straight hours and had the best time ever. There was an unusually large contingent of former college athletes, so competitive game players were in abundance. I played the bean bag game and enjoyed a watermelon margarita. I stick to my strengths. But I did wear clothing that does not wick sweat and was not sold at Lululemon even though it was crazy hot, so I think I get extra party points for that.


The evening ended with water balloons, a concept our kids were entirely unfamiliar with. Cora hugged hers like a baby, Claire was shocked to find herself wet when one broke by her foot, and Landon thought they were made of magic. Also, after much internal debate and playing hard-to-get, Cora fell in love with a trampoline. But only if she could be in it alone.


On Sunday morning the kids got up early - despite our two late and crazy nights - to decorate the table for James, as is their holiday tradition.


Landon made him a tiny Brick out of clay and it made my heart squeeze a little every time I see it.


We went out for a local brunch buffet because the only thing James loves more than brunch is endless amounts of it and then took everyone to see Finding Dory because James loves a movie. He usually prefers to watch new releases on our couch with less 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, paper thin plots, and lots of running from people with guns and also explosions (Saturday night's selection was London is Falling and you guys it was SO bad, yet I find it oddly endearing that he's always giving the rotten ones an enthusiastic chance), but he found Dory to be entertaining. The kids loved it and Dory is Cora's new best friend.


Our day continued with a nap for Cora, workout time for James, card game time for me and the kids (they are now obsessed with the classics of Spoons and Crazy Eights) and swim time for all.


I also made dark chocolate cake but forgot to flour the pan, so I was forced to frost one layer still in its pan and then eat the other layer with a fork over the sink so no one would know there was supposed to be two. It was delicious.


Last year I found a card that said simply, "The only thing better than having you as my husband, is our kids having you as their dad." and it remains the best, most true, most perfect Father's Day card ever. Because James is an amazing, supportive, affectionate, funny, and hot as hell partner, but the kids might be even luckier than I am.


I love him and our chaos.


And speaking of James's babies- he has a new one! After many prototypes, ENDLESS obsessing, and nearly having his factory fire him because of the millimeter adjustments he kept making to each of the pockets, multiple times, his swim backpack is done!!


It's beautiful and so well made, with more pockets (including inner pockets! why do swim bags never have those?), big sturdy zippers, and lots of thoughtful extras from someone who has swum a million hours over the last many years. Along with the bag, he also made a commercial!


I'm super proud of him- this is a really great product, and one of hopefully many more! Assuming we can find him another pool to keep the swim school funding his prototypes.


t-shirts coming soon

But that's a problem for another day. I hope you all had wonderful weekends, that you maybe need a swim backpack in your life, and that all the dads out there had a great Father's Day!

Friday, June 17, 2016

I should be at barre right now, but I'm on my second glass of wine instead

Hellooooo! We have much to catch up on. Unfortunately Orphan Black is about to start, so I will probably not type a single word for the next hour so I can properly sit in awe of Tatiana Maslany and her INSANE talent and attempt to understand what is happening in the plot of this show. Also, I'm in pre-mourning over the fact this is the season finale. Orphan Black is to me as Game of Thrones is to James. I love it more than anything else on TV, except maybe Better Call Saul and that's on hiatus now too. It's just going to be me and the Food Network until Fall.

~ ~ ~

And it's now 2 hours later and I accomplished even less than I thought, though I did properly indulge my Tatiana girl crush. Until next year, TM, until next year.


I feel your pain Cora, just not about dinner

The kids have their 2nd swim meet tomorrow, so it seems appropriate we should go back and discuss the first one. It was last Saturday at the crack of dawn a million miles away.

Cora, as always, was up to the task.


It may have been 6:45 a.m. and we may have been far from the cozy confines of Fort Worth, but we were ready to DO THIS. Chairs, cooler, and all.


And honestly, it was the most fun morning.


I love swim meets. The chlorine, the cheers, the racing, the fabulous happy memories. The kids swam so well- I say this with the critical eye of a former swimmer and the totally biased pride of their mother (and the wife of their amazing coach)- they have the most beautiful strokes, particularly for their ages, and they're so fun to watch. Here is Landon's 50 free.


Landon 50 Free from Lag Liv on Vimeo.


Claire also swam up an age group to do the 25 fly and won! I didn't get a great video, but I promise one next time. James swam too, so quickly that my video of him has an empty frame for the first lap because I didn't realize he was way ahead of my camera. Oops.


James 50 Fly from Lag Liv on Vimeo.


Cora was a total trooper. She wore her (empty) Frozen backpack the entire meet, clapped and cheered for everyone, and just generally had a marvelous third-baby-kind of time.


Go Rockets!


James swam the very last event. Claire changed into her street clothes, with full accessories of course, and they filled the now empty bleachers and cheered on their dad.


And then Cora walked out, owning her shit and ready to move on and conquer the rest of the day.


It was only 10:45 a.m., but that did not stop us from stopping for watermelon margaritas in Colleyville on the way home. Peace Burger- we remembered you and your french fry stuffed steak burrito smothered in queso from last year and we made sure to meet again.

The rest of our now endless Saturday consisted of swim lessons (because who can ever get enough of that? Besides James. James can.), errands, and me going to yoga since I was the only person who hadn't swam or done much of anything except drink margaritas and eat queso smothered french fry stuffed burritos.


On Sunday, Cora was DELIGHTED to wear the tutu I picked up from her at Costco on my Saturday errands. I'm not sure how it founds its way among my organic canned tomato products, black beans, chicken breasts, and granola bars, but there it was. She cleaned the house in gratitude.


I taught my barre class and then we went on a walk, dominating the street as always.


On Monday night, Claire cried over pasta- her favorite food- because her ear hurt. And because she didn't eat any of the pasta, we knew to go straight to urgent care where she was diagnosed with her very first outer ear infection! And while it sucks for her, particularly to be kept out of the water, and I felt terribly that she was in pain, I really couldn't complain about the diagnosis. With all the swimming my three do, we're just lucky none of them had had one before. I feel like we have a lot of Swimmer's Ear in our future.


at the swim team dinner Wednesday night; not swimming

On Tuesday Landon was up for a trip to urgent care after dinner because a swarm of ant bites looked like it had become infected on his foot. Luckily, they were not actually infected, just extremely inflamed and we now have some powerful topical drugs and a "sedative" dose of benadryl to give him at night to help calm down the reaction and also render him too unconscious to scratch until the wee hours. His foot no longer looks like the top has been chewed on, so I'd say the combo is working.


not yet on the benadryl,
but (finally!) looking awfully sedated on hour 13 of swimming on Sat

Yesterday I had lunch and then dinner with different alums from my old firm, which was an accidental and fun (and delicious!) coincidence. I also ran my fastest mile ever at Orangetheory in the morning, which was good because I ate everything for the rest of the day.


"Hands! ... Hands!" Cora exclaims as soon as we exit the car in a parking lot

And then today was the Fort Worth Regional Office SEC Family Fun Day! And this year, it was at the zoo a few miles from my house! This week is Tara Camp (our school year nanny; ohmygod having her just show up at the house in the morning and do everything with the kids for the whole day, including driving to/from swim practice and picking up Cora has already made this the best week of summer. I love her.), so it worked out perfectly to have her take the morning off and me take the kiddos out for some family fun!


My coworker friend met us early so we could go to the zoo's new splash park first thing and it was SO FUN. The big kids were all over it, of course (Claire with bright orange ear plug in place), but Cora was surprisingly adventurous as well. As long as her Nanat or Yaya were with her, she went down every slide and screamed in joy the whole way.


And Landon and Claire are so good about doing everything with her. It was awesome.


After our splashy fun, we did a very short loop into the zoo. Cora, of course, requested a ride.


And had on another zebra shirt- this one was identified by a blog reader who linked to it in the comments on a past post. I purchased it immediately. Blogging for the good of zebra-lovers everywhere!


After the zoo we went to lunch with my friend and her toddler and then back to our house so the kids could play. I'm taking off tomorrow, because after today I'm pretty sure my weekend has already begun, and my parents are coming in town in the afternoon to watch the kids' (and James's!) swim meet tomorrow night before driving on to Colorado to visit my sister on Saturday. I will do yoga to penance for my lack of barre and plethora of margaritas (I maybe had one today post-100-degree-zoo; it felt necessary at the time).


And now it's midnight so I'm off to bed. Apologies for the pure staccato update post, but it's been a busy week. James also has exciting company news and maybe (MAYBE; I/we can't get too excited yet, but maybe!!!) found a pool he can work out of after summer, so I'll update on that as well. Tomorrow. Or, since it's after midnight, perhaps later today.