Friday, February 25, 2011

8 years ago:


This little man came into our world 8 years ago yesterday. There is so much I want to say, but time keeps getting away. 


He unexpectedly arrived 3 weeks early on a cold February morning in New Haven, CT, getting his Daddy, then a 3rd year resident at Yale, out of an overnight call in the medical ICU at the VA hospital. He unexpectedly arrived with an extra 21st chromosome. He then proceeded to unexpectedly steal the hearts of every person he encountered for the next 8 years.


People have a habit of saying things like God only gives you what you can handle and you must be special people.  I don't think that's true at all. I think that God gives you what you need. I needed a child just like Thomas. He has taught me so very much in his short life.  It may sound contrite, but I feel so enormously blessed to be given the privilege of raising him. Is it easy? Of course not. It's not easy raising my other two either. 


He's taught me to slow down. He's taught me to see the joy in the little, tiny, overlooked things. He's taught me to see progress in terms of weeks and years, not always in days. He's taught me that people ARE inherently good, at least most of the time. He's taught me to be so very thankful for his good health and strong heart, knowing that is not always the case.


So while there are 10,000 other things I could say, what I am going to leave with is, Happy birthday my dear, sweet, lovable, challenging, wonderful, boy. I love you so much.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Munchie Monday: MORE cake...

So I started this Monday snack post as a way to share good, healthy snacks. Last week I featured my Valentine's day cake. And now a week has rolled around (ha ha, rolled, much like I will be doing after all the cake) and I want to talk about Mark's birthday, which of COURSE includes cake. A GIANT, 3 layer, cream cheese icing loaded CARROT CAKE.

mmmm. We love carrot cake. Top two layers of our wedding cake were carrot cake. I actually only had a small piece of this one, but it does keep whispering sweet nothings to me from the downstairs refrigerator where I've banished it. At least it gives me some beta carotene, right? And cream cheese- there's some protein and calcium in there? Yeah, I know... but 

Anyhow, it was a nice weekend- Mark's birthday was Friday, we celebrated at home with the kids when he got home from work. I made a super meat laden pasta dish for him, which he loves. I don't do the red meat thing, so although I do make him stuff with meat sometimes, never with 2 DIFFERENT kinds- sausage AND ground beef. I KNOW, fancy!  Then we had the aforementioned CAKE. 


Saturday night we had an ACTUAL babysitter, and with no work function or wedding or anything REQUIRED we just went out, just he and I, for dinner! I don't know if we've ever done that, I am sad to say (we go out with friends and stuff, and lots with the kids, just never solo- it was NICE!) We went to Toucan Cafe in Savannah I had actually won a gift card there over Christmas from Something Special magazine (a local AWESOME magazine for parents of kids with special needs), so we splurged on a nice bottle of wine and tipped our fabulous waiter, Greyson pretty well. We were seated in a cozy little corner of the cafe (got this photo from Google, but that was our table only it had 2 not 3 seats.  Note we are in the quiet, no kids part of the restaurant, how novel!)

I got the wasabi encrusted tuna- just barely pan seared, mmm was awesome. The mashed potatoes I could have done without but the snow pea/red pepper with balsamic reduction was great. I'm not a big mashed tater fan anyhow.
(photo stolen from their website)

Mark got the black and blue prime rib- was cooked perfectly (or so he said) and he licked his plate clean. We were too stuffed for dessert, so we finished our wine and left. Of course it was only like 8 pm, ha ha, so we decided to go to the beach to hang out for a bit- we had a sitter, there was no WAY I was going home RIGHT at bedtime, I've done bedtime the other 5,000 times in their lives.

We went to AJ's - we had heard they had live music, but it was crowded and not amenable to chat, so we just got a drink and soon left. We went down the the beach and looked at the beautiful HUGE moon that was out reflecting on the ocean for a bit, then headed home. 
It was a nice weekend! Sunday we had church and then took the kids on a walk out by the YMCA. Today Mark is back to work, the kids go back tomorrow.

And next Monday's installment of Monday's Munchies? No cake... Well, actually, Thomas' birthday is Thursday, so I likely WILL have more cake photos... I wonder why I can't lose weight despite all the working out...??

Another new (to me) trail! Tybee Rails to Trails (aka McQueens Island Nature Trail)


Started this post 2 days ago, but Mark was home ALL weekend! And it was his BIRTHDAY! And so I didn't get back on the computer until just now. Anyhow, Friday I decided to run out towards Tybee Island on a rails to trails trail. I had known about this trail for years, just never checked it out- wasn't exactly sure where it was, etc. Well, turns out it's like 7 minutes from my house by car, ha ha! I parked at the midway point- 3 miles out to the left (Towards Ft. Pulaski and the ocean) and 3 miles out to the right (back towards Savannah). I chose the right and did 3 miles out and back for a total of 6.


It was a GORGEOUS day- low 70's, great breeze off the water- NO GNATS (if you live on the coast down here y'all know what a treat that is with those temps!). The trail was super straight- sort of like running on a treadmill in that you just point and shoot, but much better scenery. There was tons of little wooden bridges to go over. There were curiously very few others on the trail. The direction I went was wide enough for 2 bikes, which is nice, though I only saw 2 all morning. I ran in a running skirt and tee shirt- so nice to lose the tights and ear warmers!  I felt GREAT in terms of endurance, however my left side was still bothering me- ever since the race on Tybee a few weeks ago it's been weird- like it hurts when I lift my leg- I think it might be sciatic? It feels better when I press on the area. I may have aggravated it in my Iron Bodies class Thursday as we did an exercise that involved kind of a deadlift to the side with weights. I took spin yesterday and it felt good, but this morning is bad again... Will perservere!  During my run I did stop to stretch it out several times.

Next time I go out I'll go to the left- upon talking with some people I understand this is the more scenic route (though the way I took was pretty awesome!). I've heard of pods of dolphin and the occasional manatee swimming along as you run, how fabulous would THAT be!

Here is some more detailed information about the trail -From Sherpa Guides GA :

Old Savannah-Tybee Railroad (McQueens Island Nature Trail)

This is one of the best biking trails on the coast. A rails-to-trails conversion, the 5.8-mile trail follows the length of McQueens Island toward Savannah, following the Savannah-Tybee railroad bed. Accessed at the entrance of Fort Pulaski or at the trail's halfway point 3 miles west of the entrance on US 80, the trail consists of crushed oyster shell and limestone, which makes a nice surface for a mountain or beach bike. In 1887, Daniel G. Purse and John J. McDonough of the Savannah and Atlantic Railroad built the Savannah-Tybee Railroad, an important part of the area's history, which linked Savannah with downtown Tybrisa Pavilion. The Central of Georgia Railway purchased the railroad in 1890 and operated it until 1933, when it was put out of business by the automobile highway that linked the island with the coast.
The great egret (Casmerodius albus) is recognized by its yellow bill and black legs. In history books, the hour-long rail trip is recounted with no small amount of nostalgia, telling how vacation-bound travelers, excited to get to Tybee, were kept cool even in the middle of summer with fresh marsh breezes blowing in through the windows of the train. Train tickets cost 18 cents for adults, 10 cents for children.
Today, abandoned railroad ties, pushed off the banks into the adjacent marsh, lie ignored and forgotten. But hikers and bikers can't help but be impressed with the strenuous efforts that got them here in the first place or the beautiful railroad journey railroad passengers must have enjoyed in the Roaring Twenties.
McQueens Island is defined by the south channel of Lazaretto Creek to the north, and tidal rivers Lazaretto Creek, Oyster Creek, Bull River, and St. Augustine Creek to the south. Lined with cabbage palm trees, southern red cedar, and live oaks, a hiker or biker will be treated to views of salt marsh on one side and the Savannah River on the other. Plant communities include salt marsh, high marsh, salt pan, and mixed shrub and juniper. The dominant plant in the lower elevations of the Holocene marsh, much of it growing to 6 feet in height, is Spartina alterniflora. Wildlife is plentiful. As fiddler crabs scurry out of your way, look farther down the path and you may see the shy and elusive willet (Catoptrophorous semipalmatus) crossing the road into the marsh. Hundreds of willets nest in the area. Redwing blackbirds, great egrets, and great blue herons are commonly seen along the trail, as are Carolina diamondback terrapins, raccoons, bobcats, and an occasional Eastern diamondback rattlesnake.
Wide enough for two bikes to pass each other comfortably, the well-maintained pathway has exercise stations for joggers, picnic tables for families, and wooden platform overlooks for classes or photographers. Plaques along the way give distances and illustrate fauna commonly found in the salt marsh. At the western end of the trail, you find a beautiful live oak festooned with Spanish moss and more portable toilets. The halfway access point also has portable toilets and a paved path to a wooden deck that overlooks the marsh. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail.
  • Trail: The trail is 5.8 miles one-way. Access is gained at one end at the Fort Pulaski National Monument entrance, or the halfway point 3 miles west of the entrance on US 80 just past Bull River. Suitable for mountain bikes.
  • Directions: From Savannah, go approximately 13 miles east on US 80. Look for signs to Fort Pulaski after leaving Wilmington Island. The park's entrance station is on McQueens Island on the left before you reach Lazaretto Creek. The trail's entrance is on your left marked by a large sign. The halfway entrance is 3 miles west of here on US 80 past Bull River.
  • Activities: Nature hiking, biking, picnic areas.
  • Facilities: Bathrooms, hiking trails, picnic areas, exercise stations, handicapped accessible minitrail to overlook at midpoint, viewing platforms, educational signs, parking.
  • Dates: Open every day.
  • Fees: None.
  • Closest town: Tybee Island.
     Downside to the trail?  NO DOGS...  Also, it's pretty open to the sun, I imagine it gets pretty brutal in the summer, though I love me a good bake :)  
    You can also park at Ft. Pulaski (a National park) and go the whole 6 miles out and back for 12 miles- will keep this in mind for later in my 1/2 marathon training. Or I might just park in the middle and go out and back 6 and then the other way out and back 6- that way I can hydrate/refuel at 6 miles without carrying anything. I didn't carry water this time and I needed it at the end. I was thinking there'd be a fountain along the trail or at least at the end, but there is not. There ARE port o' potties at the midway part where you park - I did not need them so I cannot comment on their condition inside...

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Munchie Monday (or) I had better start running a LOT more


    Saw these in the store this weekend. PLEASE it's only Valentine's Day, how long can I be strong? What I need to do is actually read the ingredients, I bet that would go a long way in instilling willpower.

    That is all, sorry no healthy stuff this week, I was blinded by the cream eggs...

    Actually, one more, in keeping with the horribly bad for you food theme and in honor of Valentine's Day,  a picture of the lovely cake the kids and I made yesterday. That's homemade buttercream frosting, baby. And copious chocolate sprinkles.  Mmmmmmm.



    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    New Kids on the Trail: PART TWO

    (See part one here)Photobucket

    It was another AMAZING day today, so after a great morning at church and some lunch the kids, dog and I headed back to the new trail- this time we decided we'd go to the second part of it (that is not quite finished) since the kids wanted to check out the new bridge. Wore my Garmin, from the Y parking lot to the start of the bridge was exactly a mile, the whole walk was 2.4 miles... I am so proud of my kids - 5 miles this weekend!

    (not sure why I look so pained, I was loving EVERY minute of today!)

    The part of the trail we went on today while not paved, is definitely less "wild" than the one we were on yesterday- it's like rocks steam plowed into the dirt (ha ha, I am sure there is some much more technical term for that type of road)


    We finally made it to the bridge, it's fun running over it- it is just going over a shallow swampy marsh area, but necessary. I found out today that the ultimate plan is to join all the trails at the clearing in the middle, which I am excited about for running purposes- no more out and back and out and back (and out and back...) YAY!



    This is what's at the other end of the bridge right now, we turned around ;) 

    The GREAT thing about these trails is that they are really bringing the people of our island out! We ran into so many people (and dogs!) today! On foot, on bikes, in strollers- it was amazing. One of the people we ran into is one of our FAVORITE Marshpoint Elementary teachers and her dog Molly. Molly is a Goldendoodle just like Rocky. He was QUITE smitten


    My local friends, if you haven't, you MUST check this out, we've needed something like this around here for too long!!



    Hope everyone had a great weekend too!!

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    New Kids on the Trail


    Today was a BEAUTIFUL day (albeit still too cold for my tastes- got up to about 65 I think). Thomas had his horseback riding therapy out at Faith Equestrian per our usual Saturday morning routine, he did well- he's had a new horse who takes less of his silliness, and Thomas has been responding really well to this and reining much better! 

    After lunch I had promised the kids a walk around the Y (they LOVE to do this!) but when we got there I decided that's I'd take them out on the new trail I've been running- lots of trees and leaves and sticks and critters and mud and ALL the stuff they love :) 

    The first part is not so fun- you have to go out by a kind of busy road (Johnny Mercer Blvd.- named for the lyricist of "Moon River" fame who was born and raised in Savannah).

    Once we got past this part (which is only about 3-400 yards or so) and the threat of a child breaking free and run over (hey, I'm a mom of 3, I can be neurotic), we entered the paved area of the trail that was completed last year- it extends east out to Bryan Woods road which is about 1/2 mile from the Y.

    Thomas showing his running skills (he turns 8 this year- Special Olympics eligible, baby!!)

    Then we finally turned into the new trail- there are actually 2 new ones- one is a little further down so we didn't go to that one, but it's cool , has a little wooden bridge over the marshy areas. When I run I go down both. The one we did not go down is actually not yet finished- it abruptly ends after the bridge. Will try to get a picture on my next run...

    I love the way it feels kind of secluded and enclosed with the Spanish moss hanging down, yet the sun still shines though- I am hoping in the HOT Georgia summer this will be a great place to run.

    Was taking photos with Matthew's ipod touch (I have a Rebel, didn't want to bring that big bulky thing with me) and its battery ran out at this point. We reached the clearing at the end of this path and found an AWESOME rope swing and spent a good time playing around on that, then walked back to the Y and played on the playground. 
    (old picture at the playground) 
    Overall we did about 2.5 miles which I was THRILLED the little ones did so well with! Treated them to a slushie at Sonic afterward (got out of the car and sat in the little outdoor spot, ha ha. Rocky was sniffing like a crazy dog, so much beef fat so close by. We don't ever EAT at Sonic, but we are frequent partakers of the "happy hour" 1/2 price drinks.  I am addicted to their coke zeros with vanilla. Yeah, healthy, I know...
    We later met Daddy at Hiranos for some quick teriyaki before he had to head back to the hospital.  
    It's been a really nice day for an on call weekend!


    (for part 2 of this story click here)

    Friday, February 11, 2011


    Start off by embarrassing myself with a couple more race photo's from Saturday's 5k (I'm in the black pants/burgundy shirt)
    This is near the end- can't remember if this was the bar, but one of them at the end had a tray with the little water/gatorade cups filled with beer, lol, awesome- totally the laid back feel of Tybee there!(did not partake- wonder if anyone did?) I'd been chasing the guy in the red hat the last mile- starting to overtake him here.
    Crossing the finish line! The guy whose head is obscured by the Tybee Run sign is red hat guy :D

    Friday's my usual day to run my "long" run- usually 5 miles or so. I cross train most other days with low mileage (2miles or so) added in. I run outside, it's a nice segway to the weekend when I don't have any time to myself. So last night I checked the weather and it said 42 and rainy at 9am (my usual run time after getting kiddos off to school/preschool). Ugh. Brain starts my excuse wheel going, so by this morning, when it actually is NOT raining, I am pretty sure I am going to bag the run. I'm tired, my nose is running, my knee is still sore, my glutes are screaming from my iron bodies class yesterday, blah blah blah.  Somehow catching up on laundry and e-mails sounds SOOO productive.  Take kids to their various schools. By this time the SUN is up. So I swing back by the house and get my ear warmers and head to the trail. I tell myself I'll do a couple miles, even though I do NOT WANT TO!! I say I'll walk the first mile, see how I feel.
    Couch Potato Pictures, Images and Photos
    Walked the first mile. Felt pretty good. Thinking about how LUCKY I am to be able to have this time to run. To have (other that the extra weight I carry) no medical problems to stop me. To live in a place that, while not warm, does not have snow or ice to stop me. I should be thrilled to be out there. And I decided I WAS. I am so blessed in my life, I decided to celebrate by instead of going home, attempting to run the furthest I ever have (longest so far was 6 miles)- I decided I'd do a 10k (6.2m). As I ran on, I also formulated a plan that I would not only do the 10k, but in under  1 hour 15 min. (remember I had walked the first mile in entirety).

    I headed out to the new trail by the Y- it's still not entirely finished, but I LOVE it! It's def. better on my knees with the pine needles/dirt. I alternated fast walks with fast runs (for me :) )  I was really enjoying myself doing this- need to re-address the Galloway plan- and was keeping my splits under 12min (what can I say, I'm slow)

    Summary    01:16:48    6.31    12:09
    1    00:13:53    1.00    13:53
    2    00:11:59    1.00    11:59
    3    00:11:34    1.00    11:34
    4    00:11:35    1.00    11:35
    5    00:11:55    1.00    11:55
    6    00:12:04    1.00    12:04
    7    00:03:45    0.31    11:56
    I did 6 miles in 1:13 and was about out of gas for the final .2, but I pushed and would you believe that my Garmin flipped to 6.2 miles at exactly 1:14:58!! 2 seconds to spare!! Walked the rest of the way back to my car, stretched, and drove home. I am icing my knee and recounting this. I am so happy I decided to push on!!

    It's my right knee but photobooth flips stuff ;)

    What have you done today to CELEBRATE your life?

    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    Tuneful Tuesday...on Wednesday

    I never claimed procrastination wasn't my strong suit ;)  This is definitely an OLDIE, but has an amazing beat for running. I hadn't thought about this song in a long time until I was reviewing Matthew's itunes downloads (I like to make sure it's all nice and clean...he's 12) and saw it there, ha ha! If nothing else, the wii and Rock Band have introduced a new generation to a whole lot of great songs from MY generation!


    Speaking of living on a prayer, I think I was definitely saying some at this point in Saturday's race (this was actually not to far from the start judging by the lighthouse- prob. about 1km or so in?)

     I'm bib #2827 in the burgundy shirt

    Today I am spinning and doing some treadmill running as warmup/cooldown. Then Leah and I have a million errands to run. Cleaned my oven yesterday, so I am still riding a wave of feeling productive, ha ha.

    Monday, February 07, 2011

    The Hungry Runner Girl (giveaway)

    I've said before I am loving all the runner blogs out there, totally motivate and inspire me, as well as teach me SO much!! One of my very favorites is Janae at the Hungry Runner Girl, she is an amazing runner, yet so humble and down to Earth. She is going places! Anyway, she's doing a giveaway of all her favorite stuff -read some of her posts, enjoy, and good luck!!

    GIVEAWAY  includes, as Janae says, "2 bottles of delicious lotion and lip gloss from Bath and Body Works, Swedish Fish, a reusable plastic hot chocolate thingee (I use mine 14 times a day, obsessed),  sunglasses (I have a twinner pair), CHOCOLATES, and a signed picture of Billy and I!"

    Munchie Monday: Loud Food!

    Happy Monday! I planned to run and spin this morning, but procrastination on calling for a spot in class yesterday cost me a slot, and as Leah Kate cried real tears about going to the child watch today, we ran errands instead. When (if...) the rain lets up I am going to dust off the baby jogger and take her for a run.

    Today's snack may be an old standby for most, but it was a recent discovery for me, so thought I'd throw it out there: Raw sugar snap peas! Now I've had them cooked and stir fried and all that, but never raw. Wow- super crunchy, sweet, pull them out of a bag like chips size! Fiber filled, green little strips of goodness! I've been getting them from my food co-op so they are really fresh from a local farm, but they also sell them at the grocery store of course. Some of them are stringy, but keep going, most are perfect!
    While I'm talking snacks, this weekend at Sam's I bought some Sunchips, it being Superbowl weekend and all (and my kids luuuuuuuuv them). Well, have you seen the new packaging??
    I think is AWESOME that it's 100% compostable, very cool(hmmm, compostable is not in the blogger spellcheck dictionary? Get with the times ; )), however, this bag is the LOUDEST  thing ever!! Seriously, no sneaking these bad boys, ha ha! Leah went in the pantry, and from across the next room I ninja mom told her, NO CHIPS! Instead I used her for child labor to demonstrate the sheer volume of this bag for you:

    Oh, and a final photo - kind of on theme- this was on Thomas' popsicle stick last night, ha ha: