Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Starting Line Looms (a running update)

I haven't been blogging about it lately, but we have been running!

Alan has been doing very well.  He did 7.5 miles in an hour and a half a couple days ago and lived to tell the tale.  He's also been tracking all his stats on an extensive Excel spreadsheet and driving around clocking the miles of various routes.  He recently determined that a Half Marathon is equal to running from our house to Cascade Park in Bangor and back.  I wish he hadn't told me that.

Meanwhile, I have been hiting the Rec Center 3 days a week, adding laps a little at a time.  So almost every run is a new first for me. Today I ran 2.6 miles!  I, too, track all my stats in an elaborate Excel spreadsheet, except mine is set up like a calendar and it also counts down the weeks til MDI and adds up how many times I go to the gym (I'll get a discount on my next renewal if I go often enough) and is generally more aesthetically pleasing than Alan's.

But the big news is that we have chosen our road race debut and it's only 20 DAYS AWAY!!

We're registered for the Healthy High 5K sponsored by the Alcohol and Drug Education Program at the University.  It takes place at 4:20 on 4/20 (a reference to cannibus culture). (No, I didn't know that, I had to look it up). Conveniently the race starts and ends at the Rec Center (which is across the street from my office).  The route circles campus, passing our house and my parents' house before returning to campus via the (uphill) entrance by Alfond Arena.  Did I mention that my office is in a building called "Hilltop"? Yikes!  Also, did I mention that I have yet to run outdoors??  I'm hoping to try that for the first time next week.

So, I'm a little freaked out about our first race coming up so soon, but I'm also excited to really begin my running life.  Anyone want to join us?? I'd also really love it if people came and cheered us on.  It's just a little race in our own backyard, but it's a very big deal to me.

Welcome the New Addition


Out With the Old, In With the Previously Owned

All went well with our weekend long test drive and (more importantly) the financing for our sudden acquisition of a new used vehicle.  On Monday evening we dropped the kids at Music Man rehearsal and went to sign the paper work and finalize our trade-in. 

James wrote a note to the old Windstar:

And we said "Hello Sienna"!

In case you're wondering, although the kids requested such colors as purple or RED! (not red, but RED!), we apparently had a choice of silver, silver, or possibly silver.  Naturally, we defied all trends and opted to replace our silver minivan with a silver minivan. 

We're so wild. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I Had a Dream...

...that one day--on a day or our choosing--we would trade in our minivan for a newer, cleaner, nicer, more modern minivan.

...that one day--on a day of our choosing--we would do consumer investigating as to the make, model and year of minivan we would want and might be able to afford.

...that one day--on a day of our choosing--we would get a babysitter and go test drive minivans of the makes and models we had researched and probably laughingly call it "date night".

...that one day--on a day of our choosing--we would fork over hard-earned savings set aside for the down payment for our new minivan....

And then I woke up to the reality of a radiator leak.

As Alan puts it, "the button popped out on the turkey to let us know that it's DONE".  And so our weekend turned into emergency vehicle shopping.  This time, we could at least drive the vehicle we wished to trade (which was NOT the case the last time around), although we did enjoy the lovely aroma of burning anti-freeze all afternoon. 

We DID manage to farm the kids out to three separate adult-supervised locations on Saturday and spent several hours test-driving two vans, talking with sales people, getting CarFax reports, and making logistical telephone calls regarding said vehicles and child care arrangements (mostly the latter). 
Also, I had done a bunch of research a few months back so we did have some ideas about what we did and didn't want.  However, we really wanted to test drive a Honda Odyssey but apparently--due to the recent recall--you CAN'T test drive them, and won't be able to for a month or so, so I guess we didn't want one of those anyway! 

In the end we managed to commandeer a strong contender--a 2006 Toyota Sienna--for a weekend long test drive.  Margo is one smart sales lady: she might as well have put a kitten in our hands and dared us not to fall in love.  Despite Toyota's recent "media activity", we've heard many good things about the company and the Sienna in particular, so we're feeling pretty good about this.

Meanwhile, our smelly old Windstar (which served us well until the end) is sitting at Linnehan's in Brewer with nothing in it except two gallons of water, a jug of anti-freeze and hardly any gas in the tank. 

On Monday we'll see what they came up with for financing (we're hoping for something good since Alan's old college buddy works in the loan department!).  Most likely the "kitten" will have found a home.

My new dream?
Of a minivan that remains free of french fries and cheerio's and melted crayons and trash...

Alan says that's pretty ambitious.



1. The fine art of accomplishing minor achievements while putting off doing other (more important or pressing) tasks.

Example:  Nancy, shamelessly procrastaccomplishing, caught up on her blog, although she herself had proclaimed a family-wide cleaning day.

Madeline's 10th Birthday--The Jungle Party

Started this post weeks ago and am only just now getting around to adding the photos [which for some reason is an extremely frustrating process involving windows shutting down on me every 10 seconds while I'm trying to upload photos.  AAAAAaaahhhHG!]...

We decorated the family room with jungle vines, leaves, tropical flowers and every jungle-dwelling stuffed animal in the house.  The tablecloth had vines drawn all over it.  The cake was covered in fondant leaves, and  James, Nancy and "Aunt" Stacy transformed all the kids into jungle creatures using face paints.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jeremy's 6th Birthday--the WALL*E Party

I'm finally catching up, so here's a post about the fabulous WALL*E themed party.

[If you haven't seen the movie, you should.  I don't care who you are or how old or how young or where you should see this movie.  It's adorable and charming and quirky and cute and manages to let you feel hopeful even while leaving you more than a little uncomfortable about how much garbage you put by the curb last Friday. Also it helps to be in on all the little details.  One family came to the party and later told us "We rented WALL*E last night and the kids really 'get' the party now."]

The Cake in early stages of construction (note the nutty bar "treads"):

The Cake finished. Note that Nancy braved fondant.  Also the eyes are binoculars, the neck and arms are carboard covered with fondant.  Everything else is (was) edible (and therefore eaten):

The Cake WALL*E in all his glory surrounded by cuttings the kids planted in boots [not only does the precious little bean plant get carted around in a boot for the whole movie, but this also furthers the recycling theme since our boots came from the Good Will and the plant cuttings were from a friend at the office whose ivies needed trimming]:

We made craft foam collages:

We played "Pin the Cockroaches on WALL*E"  (Hi Sonia!):

The Marks children decorated a tablecloth with all the characters from the movie (here are some of my personal favorites):

Here is Jeremy opening presents with some of his entourage looking on:

Also featured at the party: smoothies in Buy N Large cups, favor boxes that looked like little lunch coolers with rubber duckies in them, and Twinkies (which our kids had never before experienced)!

It was a fun party and it was great to have several parents plus Aunt Tacy, Nana Mary and Sara & Ed Ferguson on hand to enjoy the festivities and help with the activities.

Finally, a special gift was a new quilt from Nana Mary.  It matches last year's CARS theme which is still very much a Jeremy favorite (as you can see from the coordinating outfit).   The smile is fake, but the joy is genuine! 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jury Room

Please come see my play!
It's part comedy, part drama, and very entertaining.

Opening weekend went really well--a few fumbles but the whole ensemble worked through it together so the audience hardly knew. 

What an amazing bunch of cast-mates!  They are all so professional and a ton of fun to hang out with.

This weekend is going to be incredible!!

And don't you like the poster I made?