Archives for June 2009

Ready. Set. Hope. The Avon Two Day Walk in Chicago

This weekend, as most of you probably know, I ventured down to Chicago to walk with a new friend (via Twitter, no less!) to join her team for the Avon Two Day Walk for Breast Cancer. Two days, 39.3 miles. That’s a marathon and a half. THAT? It’s A LOT.
The walk is set up for a marathon (26.2) the first day and a half (13.1 miles) the second. It may be walking – but it’s still extremely hard work.
Throughout the months leading up to this event, my concern had always been for the fundraising portion. Each participant was required to raise $1800 minimum for the walk, and I was concered about whether or not I’d be able to reach that goal. Once I signed up, if I didn’t reach the goal, it’d all have to come out of my pocket. While it’s an amazing cause, I sure didn’t have the extra funds to meet a couple hundred dollars to my goal if that’s the way it turned out. It never really even occured to me to panic about walking nearly 40 miles (Honestly, that part should have occured to me far sooner than it did).
With the help of awesome family, friends and assorted peeps who donated to the cause, I easily met my goal and was able to head off to Chicago for the walk.
It was an amazing experience. It truly was. I adore Chicago anyway – being there always makes me happy (Except when I pull a rookie mistake like I did on Friday — Arriving into town at FIVE P.M. On a Friday, no less. Genius). The hotel was nice enough – even though they gave me the keys to the WRONG ROOM when I arrived, which left me standing in the hallway waiting for someone to come let me in so I wouldn’t have to haul all my gear back downstairs.
Saturday morning, the walk started at Soldier Field. There, I met my team for the first time. I was invited to join the team by someone I met on Twitter – so this was truly the first time I MET everyone. Amazing people – so welcoming. Our team was led by a survivor who was walking her ELEVENTH walk for breast cancer – definitely inspiring.
The walk was hard – but it’s amazing how well it’s put together and how amazing the people are. With staff located at every major intersection to help us get across safely and cheering stations located along the way, it was kind of exhilirating seeing everyone out there – and getting cheered on along the way (I’m already going thru applause withdrawal – need to get my kids going on that). By the end of day one, my right hip flexor was not loving me at all and I had three lovely blisters which were made more huge and ugly thanks to the rain the last two miles of the marathon. Blech.
Everyone had told me Sunday would feel like a cakewalk after Saturday. Wish that had been true. Though I started out feeling alright, after several miles (and lots of rain), I knew that one of the blisters on my left foot had gotten worse, and I was hobbling along. It was starting to feel like the people who set up the mile markers had somehow measured wrong (one mile felt like three), and that we’d never cross the finish line at Solider Field. But we did. We were met with people cheering, lots of music and bottles of ice cold water. And this awesome feeling like we’d just done something pretty amazing. Because we did.

Thursday Ten: I Forgot It Was Thursday Edition

1. Not having guitar lesson really does a number on my having those anchors in my week so I know what day it is. I was just thinking to myself, “Self, you don’t have anything that you can talk about in length for a blog post.” Then I told myself that it was Thursday so I could be random. Me and my self were enthused. And, yes, dorktastic.

2. Today was Pumpkin’s last day of school until fall. I have been busting my booty all week trying to get her doctor’s office to fill out the medical form to enroll her for next year (they lost it – fun times). I turned it in today only to be told, “Since she’s due for so many immunizations in July, just get a new form. We’re not required to turn these in until September.” Then WHY DID YOU SAY I HAD TO HAVE IT IN NOW?!?! (Also, poor kid – turns four and is due for five immunizations… And I don’t want to have the immunization debate. I immunize and that is my choice for my fam).

3. The Princess’s last day of school is tomorrow. Since Pumpkin was at school today, I took The Princess out to lunch (They had a half day so the staff could have a potluck for someone who is retiring – which I thought was lame – because though it was easy for ME to shift my schedule to accomodate a last minute half day, I imagine it was significantly harder for other families). She chose McDonalds. Most of y’all know, I won’t eat MickeyD’s. Every parent must have had the same idea – the line for the drive through went ALL THE WAY AROUND the “restaurant”. But she insisted that’s what she wanted… so I waited. Next time, I’ll have to PICK the place so that we can actually sit down and eat the nice lunch I’d envisioned rather than her chowing on a cheeseburger in the back seat and me eating gumdrops for lunch at home.

4. With summer starting, our mother’s helper will be returning. The girls are THRILLED that she’ll be back, and I’ll be thrilled to have that time to get things done.

5. I signed up for NHL texts for the playoffs and it doesn’t work. They are supposed to text after every goal and at the end of each period. With a score of 2 – 1 (Detroit) in the second period, I should have received four texts by now. Nothing. FAIL.

6. I need a surefire way to get these kids to stay in bed at bedtime. Tucked in Pumpkin 90 minutes ago, and The Princess nearly an hour ago. They’ve both come up with 104 reasons to come downstairs. Repeatedly. Gah!

7. Feels so weird to have had a week with no cake-baking after my serial birthday treat baking bonanza last week.

8. I’m reading Nora Ephron’s “I Feel Bad About My Neck” and dreading getting older and getting the crepey old-lady turkey gobble neck.

9. The Princess came home from school the other day to tell me she had some special testing done for reading. She’s about thirty levels higher than the level the kids should have reached by the end of the school year. I haven’t received any information from the school (which is always charming), but I hope they find ways to challenge her in second grade with regards to her reading.

10. Have you voted in the BlogLuxe awards yet? My lovely Rachel (Monkeys & Princesses: A Southern Fairytale) is nominated for Tastiest Blog – and her MouthWatering Mondays are AMAZING. You can vote once per day for awhile (I think the end date is in July). Also there are several other categories… Guilty Pleasure Blog, Blog You Learn the Most From, and Eye Candy (photography). Check it out!

Huh. So That’s What the Flower Is For.

About a month ago, I was reading PARENTS magazine. I had gotten a free one-year subscription with a paint set we’d bought Pumpkin for Christmas, and since I love magazines, I figured WHY NOT?

I’ll tell you Why Not.

At this point, my kids aren’t babies. Sure, some of their articles are geared towards older kids – but… not enough. Each month when my issue comes, I flip through it and see if there are any easy recipes or random something to read before chucking it in my recycling bin.


The last issue I read had an article about how to take pictures of your kids. That article explained some cool camera settings and how to achieve certain photographic looks. Sure, I could probably read a photography magazine and learn some awesome techniques, but make no mistake, I’m not really at that point. I’m just a point-and-shoot kind of photographer who wants to take pictures that aren’t horrible.

The article introduced me to the Macro setting. The Macro setting is often identified on your camera with the little flower icon. This enables you to take pictures close up without your flash blowing out everything with massive amounts of light. This is the look I’d (to that point) only been able to replicate using the soft focus photo editing feature, and even that wasn’t QUITE right.

The Macro? It lets me take extreme closeups of a water bottle. For no apparent reason. Because I’m all giddy over finally knowing what that stinking flower is for.