The Drive

After our moving day, we had a restless night in a Sprinhill Suites. The children slept ok, but Matt and I had trouble shutting off our minds even though we were physically exhausted. We got up the next morning to begin the better part of our ten hour drive.

In the future, I will try not to begin a move halfway across the country on the morning of a winter storm which brings us through Pittsburgh the day of a post-season Steelers vs. Ravens game. Icy rain was our companion for a good part of the morning. I70 was closed due to trucks de-icing and spreading sand on the road. There was also a three car pile up. Seeing a minivan fully loaded with belongings, missing doors and hauled on a flatbed gave me pause. That could easily have been us.

Despite the poor driving conditions, the ice made for a pretty backdrop to our drive. The trees and grass were glistening and the freezing rain made the otherwise brown vegetation a pretty mauve color. The soundtrack of the 80’s helped keep me awake and alert as the highway passed me by.

We took our time and made it as far as Toldeo, OH (Maumee, really) on the second night. The traffic, weather, and loaded vehicles did not make for an easy drive. We checked in to another Marriott property and headed to the Outback just through the parking lot. It was the only restaurant that did not require driving. We waited for quite a while on “date night” but enjoyed our dinner.

We found a better position for Goldie on this leg of the trip. Buffered by a prized bottle of homemade smokey jalapeƱo sauce, the bowl didn’t leak at all. Goldie even got to see the inside of several rest areas due to the frigid temperatures in the parked car.

Back at the hotel after dinner, the kids swam with a bunch of other kids staying in town for a hockey tournament. The exercise was great after being cramped in the cars all day. I thought I would sleep better the second night, but my mind was still whirring. I ended up in the small roll away and got a few hours of sleep in the wee hours.

We were all excited to be on our way Sunday and made it to Michigan in good time. Unfortunately my GPS took us on the scenic narrow route to our rental home and my van and lapsed winter driving skills did not quite make it up the narrow winding hilly road. Thank goodness for a good friend with a Ram truck and a tow rope.

We finally and happily made it to our new temporary home. The setting on the lake is lovely and the house is cozy and warm. Even both of our cars have a space inside the garage. We are adjusting to cold and snowy weather, but are happy to be among old friends.

The moving truck is due tomorrow and because of the narrow road, adjustments were made for a shuttle truck rather than the semi. The boys begin school and all three will be in full-time Spanish Immersion. We have enjoyed “camping out” on air mattresses but are all excited to get furniture and belongings tomorrow. We will also get to reclaim out dog who has been living at friends since Thanksgiving.

Henry has plans to move back to Maryland soon and he surely speaks for us all when he says he misses our old life and house and friends. Change isn’t easy but we are all doing well with the challenge.

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Moving Day

This has been a particularly emotional week. We said goodbye to our home for the last twelve years. The first home my husband and I bought together, the home we brought our three babies home to, where we got our first dog, and made more memories than I can begin to count.

We are all excited for our new adventure in a new state and are looking forward to more family time, but the goodbye was hard. We are sad to say goodbye to great neighbors, wonderful friends and the community we have built around this brick, mortar and wood building.

Moving day came after Christmas, packing the 3000 plus square foot home, New Year’s and too many goodbyes to count. The kids have been stoic but slightly edgy and so have the parents. Many tears have been shed and even more pushed back.

I am grateful for all the hugs and the friends who won’t be forgotten. Michigan isn’t so far away and we will visit MD and the MidAtlantic again. DC is the birthplace of our children and America’s hometown. It truly is ours, but for now we are headed back to our Midwestern roots.

Today started out rocky when the moving truck didn’t quite clear a wire to our house. Luckily PEPCO quickly determined that it wasn’t electric or live but probably an abandoned (pre-FIOS) telephone wire. After problems with the heat this week at both our MD home and MI rental, this could have been the final straw, but we pushed on. The kids saw their good friends one last time today while the movers worked. We were on our way after about 8 hours of hard physical and emotional work.

We are loaded down with belongings in two cars and the kids are complaining of overcrowding. The betta fish is sloshing in his bowl but we will push on tomorrow. Tonight we are barely 1 1/2 hours away in a hotel for the night, but we are on our way, together moving to his next step. Tomorrow we move forward. Thanks to all of you who have been with us so far and who will continue to be in our hearts and lives.

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Week Nine – Intervals Beat Injuries

Day 1 – My dog and I walked for an hour or so in the neighborhood and did about four miles. I love walking especially in the Fall. The air is brisk and the foliage is amazing. I wish I had time to walk for hours.

Day 2 – I do not love running. I thought I would be further in my conditioning than I am. I still can not run continuously for a mile and I was feeling discouraged today. I focused on form and breathing and used the poles as markers. I am still running/walking 2.25 miles in just under 30 minutes. The cool air goes right to my lungs but I am still out there. I will keep running.

Day 3 – Today was my big volunteer day but I got some stretching in. Any activity helps.

Day 4 – Another running day, groan. I got out there even though I just wanted to hibernate and eat. I made myself productive by doing laundry and stretching while watching a little tv. Then I got out and did my 2.25 miles. I ran a little better/faster than Tuesday. I felt good getting out especially since I really did not want too.

Day 5 – Jack and I went out for a good hike in the woods near our house. I am still on the alert for squirrels especially since My kids tease me that squirrels hate me. The other day I got hit on the head with some acorns and they said it was squirrels throwing them at me.

Day 6 – We were gone all day at my nephew’s confirmation so I did not get any exercise in. We had a nice day with family and good food grilled by my brother.

Day 7 – We ended up with a rare Sunday at home so I got my run in. I pushed myself and ran several lengths to every one walked but at various points had to take long walks. I know from my treadmill run last week that I am doing a good job at hitting my target heart rate for my age. I still felt somewhat discouraged by my progress until I read an article and had a conversation with a friend. The friend, thanks Shawna, pointed out that I am not as young as I once was and it is better to do the interval training than to get hurt. I am out there trying, which is more than some 45 year olds. The premise of the article was that it takes longer to form exercise habits than previously thought. Exercising three times a week may take as long as six month to form the habit! So my new mantra is “Intervals beat injuries” and I am still getting out there. I have been running three times a week for nine solid weeks and walking or doing other exercise as much as possible besides the running.

It isn’t easy getting out and running and I don’t know if I will ever love it, but I am going to give myself a year to create what I hope will be a lifelong habit of interval training at MY pace.

Week Seven and the Running Tramp

Day One – I got up this morning and put on my running clothes. I want to run Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week because my friend is visiting for the weekend and we want to walk or bike. I went to wake up the kids only to hear the familiar barking/honking sound of croup. My middle son would not be going to school. I fed everyone and got the other two off to school and took Will to the doctor. His lungs were clear but he had an ear infection.

While we wandered around Target waiting for his prescriptions, I saw a mini exercise trampoline. I had been thinking it might be good to get one to “jog” indoors without the cost of a treadmill. I could run and watch tv! I could also get workouts in during bad weather.

After dinner and getting the two youngest in bed, I decided to open up the box and put together my trampoline so I could still get my Monday run in. Luckily my ten year old has mad skills after putting together dozens or maybe hundreds of Lego creations so he helped me decipher the directions and figure out how to use the “spring tool”. His way worked much better than mine.

Then he went to bed and I jogged on my trampoline while watching last weeks’s Grey’s Anatomy episode. I ran this way for 40 minutes which is about ten minutes longer than my outdoor runs. I don’t think I was as hot and sweaty but I felt muscles ache (especially in the gluts) that I haven’t for awhile. It was definitely different than running outside, but I think I got a good workout in.

Day Two – I went for a walk today with Jack. We walked in the neighborhood for about 70 minutes. I stretched those sore gluts.

Day Three – I ran outside but it was hard today. I am not sure of my actual pace, but I did my usual 2.25 miles. I had to walk more than I did my last run. I don’t know if I am tired from the walk yesterday or just a little sore from my trampoline run.

Day Four and Five – It is raining cats and dogs so I did not get outside to exercise. I could not get myself to exercise inside either. I feel very tired. I am also upset about some extended family issues as well as continued mold in my kids’ school. I helped Matt and Nate pack for their camping trip.

Day Six and Seven – My good friend Claire is visiting and we walked both days in the drizzly weather. Saturday we walked four miles per hour for one hour and Sunday we walked a little longer at a slower pace. We had the dog and Claire was wearing Fit Flops because she had some gnarly heel blisters. Claire also got me to log my food into MyFitnessPal. We did quite well over the weekend with our food and drink choices. Gone are our days of squirt cheese product and Ben and Jerry’s pints. It helps to have friends to encourage and motivate me on the path to fitness.

Book Club

The past few days have been very busy. Part of the reason for that is because I hosted my book club yesterday afternoon and attended by son’s book club on Friday night.

My book club consists mostly of women that I met over ten years ago during graduate school at the University of Maryland when we were all in the Library Science program. Currently there are nine regular members in the group and all but one of us attended grad school at UMCP. Since the book club began, members have come and gone as circumstances and lives have changed. We have one former member who has moved to Alaska and she often reads the same book and even gives us book suggestions. She has yet to be able to Skype in for a meeting but would like to some day. I was not one of the original members and after the birth of my second child my attendance to book club was sporadic. After the third child, I decided I needed this group more than ever, so until he could crawl, Henry attended book club with me regularly. One of his earliest foods was a delicious Moroccan chicken that my friend’s husband made for book club. I now make that dish regularly at home and we all love it. When he was big enough, Henry stayed home for boys’ nights too. When it’s my turn to host, their boys’ nights go outside the house.

The ages of our members ranges from 30 something to 60 something. There are married women with young children and adult children, divorced women with young children and adult children and grandmothers. It is a wonderful dynamic and I look forward each month to meeting with this great group. I don’t care too much what book we are reading but I love getting together and discussing our families and our lives. These friends have watched my boys grow from babies to little boys to bigger boys. I have watched and marked their milestones with them as well.

Each time we meet we eat delicious food and drink wine and talk a little bit about the book and a lot about our lives. Our book club is not overly structured and sometimes the book barley gets discussed. Other times we get into animated discussions. Finishing each book is optional although with a group full of librarians the choices are amazing, so we usually do finish unless life gets in the way. At the end of the meeting, we consult our calendars and throw out suggestions for the next book. Both the date and the book are chosen by consensus. We don’t keep a formal record of who hosted last, but we all know generally and offer to host when the time works for us and when we believe it is our turn. The book club spans three states, not counting Alaska so we carpool when we have longer drives. We go to Delaware and Virginia once or twice a year and the rest of the time we stay in Maryland.

My son’s book club is run very similarly as mine, but is much more local. It was started last year when he was in second grade and was just becoming a strong reader. The women who put the group together had an older daughter who had been in a book club since she was in 2nd grade as well. We started out with six second grade boys and when the founder moved out of state, we decided to keep the group at five. Each boy has at least one friend they would like to include but with five boys, five mothers and five regular siblings, any extra would be a bit much. The boy who moved to Washington state had Skyped in and often reads the same book.

The boys choose their books a little differently because we do try to keep track of whose turn it is to host and when it is their turn, they get to choose the book. We still gather, eat delicious food, drink some wine, juice or soda and spend some time discussing the book. Usually the host and his mother come up with questions or a project because eight and nine year old boys need a little more structure for book discussions than adult women.

In both cases, my son and I have learned to appreciate books that we might not have otherwise picked up. We read classics, typical book club books, popular fiction and nonfiction and in the boys’ case they have even read a comic or two and one dual language book since they are all speak and read Spanish.

If you like to read, I highly recommend a book club. It is social and stretches your mind at the same time. Some of my favorite books have been ones that I never wanted to read, but did just because of book club. In a future posting, I will try to list books that both clubs have read.