Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Bailey - A tribute

Bailey turns 9 years old today. I remember picking him out among his brothers and sisters with my friend Jennifer. And I remember bringing him home at 7 weeks of age with my friend Heather. He is a fabulous companion and was my best friend until we both made room for Jeff, Ian and Sam to enter our lives. I don't remember life before him and not sure I am ready to live life without him. I am still in a bit of shock over the news and since he continues to act like a puppy and have his usual amount of energy, I am in denial that the clock is ticking. My hope is the dr was wrong and Bailey pulls the wool over our eyes and lives for another 2 to 3 years. It would be my pleasure that I treat every day with him as it was his last. After all, that's the way we should treat everyone, right?

The biggest piece of advice I've received over the last week is to take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures to remember him by. Ha! For anyone who suggests this, doesn't know me that well. Here are a few of my favorites and I hope I bring a smile to your face. It is not my intention to make you cry, just realize how much he has been loved over the years and how much love he has brought to us. Happy Birthday Bailey!! A big doggy cake and frosty paws ice cream is in your future tonight.

When he was small enough to fit in your hands

Just a few months old

Got to love those classic German Shepherd puppy ears!

Bailey on his first birthday

Before Jeff - this was Bailey's side of the bed

Me and Bailey having some self-timer fun

Bailey as a puppy

A most patriotic pup!

Bailey and Jeff - the early years

Right after Jeff and I got engaged

All dressed up and ready for his big important role

Bailey was the ring bearer at our wedding

Annual family photo - 2006

Annual family photo 2007

You don't typically see a German Shepherd so relaxed that his ears are laid back.

I love the sweet expression on Sam's face looking up at Bailey

Annual family photo - 2008

Annual family photo - 2009

Over 3 feet of snow - 2010. Bailey had a blast playing in it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nothing wrong with planning early

The other day Ian was looking down at my toes and commenting on the color of my toenails. They are painted an electric blue. And why not? Where do I go that I need to look professional? Why not have a little fun?

Ian: Momma, you should paint your toenails that color when it is your birthday, because I want you to look pretty on your birthday.

Me: Aw thanks Ian, that is very sweet.

Ian: And I think you should have a Cinderella cake.

Me: A Cinderella cake would be nice. I am sure daddy will help you get one.

Ian: Oh no, we are going to make it. You are going to go downstairs and workout and daddy and me will be in the kitchen making the cake.

Me: Sounds like a great idea Ian.

Ian: How long does it take to bake a cake?

Me: About 15 minutes.

Ian: And how long do you work out for?

Me: 30 minutes.

Ian: Great, we will have 15 minutes left over.

OMG! I can't believe he did the math that fast and was correct. I was blown away, not only by his brilliance, but also by the sweet innocence that comes with wanting to do something nice and thinking that he'll actually have some time left over from attempting to bake a cake with daddy.

I should mention, my birthday is not until June...the very last day of June. :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Keeping up with the flow of traffic

Most of the time I am in the car I have a back seat driver. He is about to turn 5 years old at the end of next month and he finds it his duty to tell me the speed limit EVERY SINGLE TIME he sees a speed limit sign. He'll even be chattering endlessly about something or other and in mid-sentence say, "...we didn't go outside today because...speed limit is was so windy". It is actually impressive how he doesn't lose his train of thought and can interject what the current speed limit is on whatever road we are on, even those we drive on 5 or 6 times a day.

With all this help on what the speed limit is, you would think it be easier for me to stay within the limits. However, this story is about to make me look bad, really bad. I got pulled over for speeding on the way to take Ian to preschool one morning last week. The main road we use to get to his school is Burke Centre Parkway. It is basically one big speed trap and I know where the cops are hiding in each direction. However, this one particular morning, the police decided to mix things up and pick a brand new spot. Busted! In my defense I have to say it has been years since I've gotten a speeding ticket and I try very hard to control my speed when my kids are in the car. I am not perfect and this is just one of my vices.

When I pulled over to the side of the road, the officer came up to my window and the first question he asked was, "Do you know what the speed limit is?" Boy, did I! I told him I have a big helper in the car seat behind me and I get reminded what the speed limit is every time we see a sign. Ian, at this point, has rolled down his window so he could get a good look at what was going on and gave the officer a big smile and said, "It is 40 mph." I wish I could say that the officer was so charmed by Ian that he decided to let me go with a warning, but no such luck. He left with my license and returned with a speeding ticket and big foil stickers for Ian and Sam. The sticker was about the size of a playing card and in the shape of a shield. On the sticker was the wording 'Junior Police Officer, Fairfax County'. The officer thanked Ian for all his help and gave him the sticker. Ian LOVES stickers and immediately put it on his shorts. Of course it being in silver and foil made it stand out all the more and the dark background of Ian's shorts didn't help it blend in either.

I was hoping Ian would get tired of wearing the sticker by the time we made it to his school, but he was really taking a liking to it. He walked in to his class and a few of his friends instantly spot the sticker and asked him where he got it. Ian, very loudly replied back with "MY MOMMY GOT IT FOR ME WHEN SHE GOT STOPPED FOR SPEEDING." Lovely.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sad news

It is with a heavy heart I write this blog. Bailey's nose started bleeding again on Wednesday evening and I took him to the vet first thing on Thursday morning to be checked. The meds we had been given I thought had done the trick and we were able to successfully treat what I was told was a strain of Lupus that can affect dogs' noses.

However, since the bleeding came back, the dr did a chest x-ray and facial x-ray and said there is definitely something there that shouldn't be. She used the "C" word, cancer. Which by the way, can I tell you how much I hate that word? I think it is the worst word in the whole world. I've already lost my grandmother to it and now I am about to lose my Bailey.

The dr said that due to his age (he'll be 9 next week) and the fact that most German Shepherds live until 9 or 10, the best we could do for him is keep him comfortable. Apparently he has been in a lot of pain and never showed it. She called Bailey "stoic' and said due to his breed, these dogs will not show pain and just endure it quietly.

It all makes sense now. When I went for that run a few weeks ago and Bailey could barely keep up? I thought it was because he was getting to be an old man. In actuality, the Vet said it was probably due to him not being able to breathe properly. He has a lot going on in his chest.

The best case scenario is that we have at best 6 weeks left. The dr. said in almost all the cases, it goes much, much quicker. I can expect a few different scenarios to happen - either the nose bleeds will become much more frequent and more severe and progress toward a full-on hemorrhaging, or his face will start to cave in (because there is a tumor eating away at his bone structure) and he will not be able to continue eating. Or lastly, his overall state of health declines so much he no longer has a good quality of life.

Bailey went from not taking any medication daily to now being on 12 pills a day. We are going to do our best to keep him from any further pain. The dr says we will know when it is time to take that next dreaded step. It won't be a wishy-washy confusing time of should we or shouldn't we put him to sleep.

Until then, Bailey will become the most spoiled, loved, hugged and kissed living thing on this planet. The hard part was telling family and friends. He has meant so much to so many people and brought much joy and happiness to everyone who has met him. They say 'a dog is man's best friend'. When you get to experience the unconditional love they give you and ask for nothing in return, it makes it a better world when you have one near your side.

This is a picture of Bailey and Sam in the drs office, waiting for the results of the x-rays.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


For years now I've wanted to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition and put on the appropriate medication. Each year I go to the dr, I ask for my thyroid to be checked. Each year the dr indulges me even though she says, "you know, there is nothing wrong with you that diet and exercise can't fix." I've even had the dr track me down in FL one year visiting family to give me the depressing news that everything came back fine. The closest I've ever gotten to having a thyroid condition is right after I had Ian and went to the OB/GYN for my 6 week post-partum check-up. Dr. G said (with some extra enthusiasm in her voice), "now we need to check your thyroid because having a baby may have thrown it out of whack." One could only dream this would be the case, but alas, I passed with flying colors.

I do think having a thyroid condition would solve all my problems. I've been eating well, running my ass off, weight training, sleeping well and still can not lose these last 20 pounds to save my life. Truth be told, it is actually like 24 lbs now that need to come off. And believe me, I am not looking to be rail thin; just in the normal, healthy range for my height - and at the high end at that.

I was joking with some friends this past Friday that I believe I have an undetected thyroid condition. The very next day, Bailey's dr calls the house to follow-up on a visit he had earlier in the week. Bailey had been getting nose bleeds (who even knew a dog could get nose bleeds!?!?!?), and I immediately took him to the vet to have him checked. The dr took blood and a urine sample to rule out a bunch of things and was calling with the results. Turns out that Bailey has a thyroid problem and he would like to try him on the meds for the next 30 days to see how he responds. Are you kidding me!?!?! Bailey has a thyroid problem and we weren't even looking for one; while I am DYING for a thyroid condition and can't get one.

This just doesn't seem fair. When I brought Bailey back in to the dr on Monday for a follow-up and was handed his new thyroid medication, I asked the dr what would happen if I started taking it. I, of course, made sure that Bailey's correction was the kind I wanted and not the other way around. She looked at me a little strangely and said I would probably have an increase of energy, not be able to sleep and would start barking. Ok, I am kidding about that last part. :) But she did speak those three little magic words "you'd lose weight".

I am so tempted. If I start to grow some fur, develop a taste for dog food and quickly lose 10 lbs, you'll know why.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Heard and Observed IX

Ian watching a Monster Jam Rally on the Speed channel:
"That is the most beautiful turn I've ever seen."


Ian: Momma, you should try a new hairstyle.
Me: Really? Ian, what kind should I do?
Ian: You should do a 'bump it'. You know what that is, right? It takes this hair that hangs down and puts it up way high. I think that would look good. Have you seen that commercial?


Sam waking up from a nap and is very angry:
Ian: That didn't work out like it was supposed to.


Ian and I discussing how long Sam has been asleep for her afternoon nap.
Ian: Sam waking up at 4:30pm would be good. Sam waking up at 5:00pm would be great.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

A trip through Neverland

After running 10 miles, passing out, throwing-up multiple times, taking a shower and recovering this past Sunday, I had plans to take Ian to a production of Peter Pan in the afternoon. It was being produced by the Mount Vernon Community Children's Theatre. Due to my earlier shakiness in the day, Jeff offered to take Ian, but I know Jeff wanted to watch The Masters on TV. So it was an easy decision to leave Sam with Jeff and allow me to have a special outing with Ian. I don't get the chance much anymore to spend time outside the house with only Ian and I was looking forward to it.

I love going to the theatre. There is something magical about seeing a play or musical live right in front of your eyes. It gets you excited to be a part of the action. I've been waiting for the right opportunity to come along for me to introduce Ian to the theatre. This children's theatre company was perfect. It was 2 hours long and included a 15 minute intermission. Ian was enraptured from the very beginning to the curtain coming down at the end. The entire play was done by kids which made it more relatable for Ian. The musical numbers were lively and the actors made the play interactive by coming off the stage, dancing and running through the aisles.

I loved seeing Ian enjoy this. I hope I can take him to other plays in the future and slowly build up to the Rolls Royce of theatre and get tickets for something on Broadway. I have such fond memories of my mom taking my sister and I to see Cats and A Chorus Line in NYC when we were little. If there is such a thing as a theatre gene, I hope Ian and Sam have inherited it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Run, Robyn, Run - the conflicted version

It has now been a few days since the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and I am feeling great. I was most pleased that my legs never felt sore and during the run I didn't suffer from shin splints, blisters or ankle/knee pain. Even waking up the next morning, I had no problems getting on my feet and making my way around the house. Once I was fully hydrated again by Sunday afternoon, I felt 100%. So this has me thinking...

My big motivation for running comes from telling myself that you don't know what your body is capable of doing until you push it to its limit. I had yet to find out what this limit is and would challenge myself with new goals all the time. It is the best feeling ever when you accomplish something you never thought you'd be able to do. So how can you not keep going and challenge yourself with more? I was pretty certain on Sunday that I found out just how much my body could handle and didn't need to keep pushing it anymore. Be happy with all that I've been able to do and call it a day. At least I didn't end up in the hospital or make a big fool of myself by passing out during the race itself.

I never, ever read my horoscope. But on Sunday evening as I was laying in bed and finally getting to The Washington Post, I decided to see what was in the stars for me that day. From The Washington Post, Sunday, April 11th, Cancer:

"It would be nice if you could make your goal in the first or second shot. It probably won't go that way today, but never stop trying. That's the way winners do it, and you definitely fall into that category."

OH MY GAWD!! Is this talking directly to me or what!?!?! Yes, I did finish the 10 Miler and managed to shave 2 1/2 minutes off from my time from 3 years prior, but I left the race feeling discouraged about my overall running time. I really wanted to do it in 1hr 40 minutes, or 1hr 45 minutes tops. And then to throw in getting sick on the way home, did nothing for my morale and made me feel even more I should throw in the towel and only stick to races under 10 miles in distance.

I am convinced that my passing out and throwing-up was a result of severe dehydration. If I only had consumed more water or kept hydrated with Gatorade during the run, then I am sure I wouldn't have had any problems.

While I am not going to change the 1/4 marathon into a 1/2 on the May 9th race, I am going to keep the training going and be ready for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in 2011. I refuse to give up and believe I can really do this race up to the level of expectations I set for myself.

Now I just need to hope I get in when the lottery opens next year. And if I don't get in, will that be another sign it was not supposed to be? Oy! A person can drive themselves crazy looking for so many signs.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Soccer Superstar!

The Spring soccer season has started. This is technically Ian's third session of being signed up for soccer, but it is still hit or miss whether he really likes it and wants to do it. The first season he played was in the Spring of 2009. Ian barely made it through the first practice and walked off throwing a fit that he didn't want to play anymore. He refused to wear the soccer socks and shin guards. I tried hard to teach the lesson that we don't quit and even if he didn't want to participate, we would still have to show up. That lasted one more Saturday and then we were done. I was pretty certain that the sport wouldn't see Ian ever again, but lo & behold, by the time Fall 2009 started, Ian said he wanted to play. I thought it was a good idea to try a new league and registered him with Burke Athletic Club. I got special permission to hold him back to the U4 division and try the beginner, introductory level again. We made a small amount of progress this time around and Ian was willing to show up for the practices. Whether he wanted to do all the drills and exercises being led by the coach was a whole another story, but at least there was a willingness on his part to try.

Fast forward to Spring of 2010, and my mommy friends and I figured we may as well get the boys in their age appropriate division (U5) and see if they are up to the new requirements -- a practice session every Thursday and a game every Saturday. Plus, you HAVE TO wear shin guards, soccer socks and cleats. This is the big-time!

We just had our first practice and our first game. It was incredibly exciting and you could tell by the video camera and digital camera, that we were most definitely first-time parents with a child playing his first ever organized sport. They don't keep score at this level and at first the players (on both teams) weren't sure which direction to kick the ball to make a goal. It was all wonderful just the same!

Ian was ready to play from the moment he stepped on to the field at that first soccer practice. Everyone was sitting on the ground in a circle and the coach was introducing himself. He asked the kids if anyone has ever played soccer before. Almost all of the kids raised their hands. But Ian took it a step further and he exclaimed the following "I've played before. My name is Ian Samuel Toppall and I am a professional! Let me show you how fast I can run." At this point Ian started running around the circle of the coach and kids over and over again. Oh my!

Ian had a blast and his enthusiasm for the sport has skyrocketed to new levels. He was focused, high-energy, passed the ball to his teammate, and incredibly fast. And, while there was no official score keeping, Ian kept count on his own. He declared his team won 10 to 8. Let me put this in the context that it was 2 vs 2 and there were 6 fields playing. In the picture on the left, Ian is the one in blue. He just got done kicking the ball and now the boys are all trying to run and keep up with the ball. Go Ian!

I think I've now officially become a soccer mom. :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Run, Robyn, Run - The official recap!

Ha! Much to my dismay, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler did take a turn for the good, the bad, and the ugly. The morning started off great and I was super excited that race day finally arrived. It was a beautiful morning and the temperature was in the 50's. It felt great. The first 4 miles went swimmingly and my time by the 5 mile mark was impressive for me. At 5 miles, it all started to go downhill. I hit "a wall" and couldn't recover for the rest of the race. It took all my mental power to keep running and not start walking.

At mile 7, I had the good fortune of my best friends Wendy and Ivy joining me for the last 3 miles of the race. It was like a breath of fresh air seeing them waiting for me. Unfortunately I was even in worse shape at this point and kept having to walk some, run some until the end. The heat was getting to me and I don't do so well when I get overheated. I finished the race in 1 hr, 57 minutes and managed to shave 2 1/2 minutes from my time 3 years ago. However, if I kept on track with how well I did the first 5 miles, I would've easily been crossing the finish line at 1 hr, 45 minutes.

Once I got back in my friend's car to head home, I started feeling very nauseous. We stopped for bagels at a place in Arlington, and at this point, I was really down for the count. The others in my group looked at me and commented how pale I was. I felt like I was going to throw-up and headed straight for the bathroom. Instead, as I was kneeling by the toilet, I passed out. I must've hit my head and that helped wake me up. I went back in the restaurant and decided to get some Gatorade to drink. I hadn't had anything all morning other than 3 packs of GU and very, very little water. I figured my nauseousness was occurring because of heat and dehydration. I got to sit in the front seat of the minivan for the remainder of the trip back to my friend's house, where my car was parked. I live only 1/2 mile away from her and was feeling much better by the time we pulled into her driveway. However, once I got in my car and started driving down the road, I pulled over and threw-up 4 times. Not fun. Not fun at all. The only good thing is, I felt much better afterwards.

When I reviewed my times for each of the miles, I saw that mile 4 was done in 8:39 seconds. This is crazy fast for me. I usually average 10/10:20 minute miles and not sure why I pushed myself so hard in this one particular mile. I think this is what contributed to me hitting the wall at mile 5. Plus, throw in heat and dehydration and you don't have a happy runner on your hands.

I am very happy I was able to finish the race and find this to be a big accomplishment in my life. I was going to turn my upcoming 1/4 marathon (6.55 miles) into a 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) on the Mother's day race I am running, but I think I am better off leaving the registration where it is. I've pushed my body beyond its comfort zone and it is rebelling big time!

The shirt I wore said, "If found on ground, drag body across the finish line." Who knew this would be so ironic?
Here is a picture of my best friends, Wendy and Ivy. Got to love girlfriends who support you like they do!

Run, Robyn, Run!

This space will be used later for a recap of the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. Stay tuned for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hopefully, there will be very little of the bad and the ugly.

I feel great going into this race and hope that my training has paid off. I am as ready as I'll ever be. Picking up my packet info yesterday morning with all the other participants got me really excited. I believe I've become addicted to this sport and crave the runner's high I get from having a good run.

I will update the blog with my results, experiences and a photo or two once I am able to physically move again upon entering my home. A big thank you to everyone who supported me. I must also thank my wonderful husband and kids who not only did great without me during my long runs on the weekends, but also were my biggest cheerleaders in helping me get to the finish line.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What are the odds?

Ian received as part of his Hanukkah presents from his Nana and Papa a remote controlled airplane. All through Winter, Ian has been begging us to let him fly it. We kept saying we will go when the snow has melted, the ground is dry and the sun is shinning. Also, we have to wait until there is nothing on the calendar that requires us to be doing something else. And, on Easter Sunday, there was literally "nothing" on the calendar. Jeff made sure of that and wrote it in weeks ago. So off to Popes Head Park we went to ride bikes, have a picnic, play on the playground and of course, take Ian's remote controlled plane for its inaugural ride.

It was a gorgeous day and the conditions were perfect to fly the plane. Unfortunately the plane was a piece of crap (sorry Dad & Rita if you are reading this, but it was) and even though it said it had a 100 foot range, in reality, it was more like 10 feet. The plane was made from this lightweight foam and any kind of gentle breeze would take the plane out of the range and make it sail on its own. Flying the plane became more like a game of fetch and Ian got a great workout running after it over and over again.

Jeff and Ian made sure to fly the plane in only big open spaces, but 3 times the plane flew into trees. It was quite humorous trying to get the plane out of the tree limbs. I came up with the idea of throwing sticks and rocks trying to shake the plane loose. Most of the sticks we threw at the tree ended up getting stuck in the limbs too. The first 2 times it finally came free and the plane fell to the ground. It was the third time when the plane flew into dense bushes/trees that neither Jeff or I could find it. It just disappeared. Completely. We must've looked for it for about 10 minutes and it was nowhere to be found. The plane was red in color and you would think it would stick out, even a little bit against the green (with leaves) or brown (without leaves) background. How strange.

Fortunately Jeff and I had already decided we would be buying Ian another remote controlled plane for his upcoming birthday. He was having so much fun with it and we can only imagine how much better the experience would be if the plane was better quality.

Losing the plane happened towards the end of visit to Popes Head. It always amazes me how fantastic this park is and how little it seems to be used by other Fairfax County residents. The park is a little off the beaten path and not readily visible from the street. My mommy friends and I love going to this park, because you don't have to worry about cars and there are wide open spaces for the kids to play, a fabulous playground and a great trail to ride bikes. Even on the weekends the park is hardly ever crowded and at the most maybe one or two other families will be using it.

We were there for approx. an hour before anyone else showed up. This family had the same idea as us and brought a picnic to enjoy this gorgeous Sunday. Turns out the husband's name was Jeff and the wife's name was Robin. I kid you not. And, they had a little boy and a younger girl. Pretty wild. What are the odds that the only other family at the park with us would have the same exact names as Jeff and I? Oh, and they had as much luck as getting their kite off the ground as we did with the plane staying in the air.

I definitely believe the spooky same name coincidence means other forces are at play and this is a sign of some sort. Just not sure what.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Working up a sweat

A few weeks ago I heard Ian tell one of his friends that his mother works out every day so that she can be strong. I love that Ian thinks this. If I am not able to make it to the gym, I'll wake up (fingers crossed it is before the kids do) and do one of the wii exercise discs that I own. I have two "My Fitness Coach" and "EA Active" and I like them both for different reasons. Depending on what kind of work-out I am looking to get, will pick one of the discs over the other.

If Ian wakes up while I am in mid work-out, he'll jump right in and join me in doing the exercises. He has his own personal preference on which exercises he likes to do and will decide he needs a break if one comes on that he doesn't like. Ian has started to learn the names of the various exercises and was excited to show his friend how he can do 'jumping lunges' and 'plank'. It is very cute and Ian will even talk to me trying to get my mind off of the more difficult, challenging ones like a holding squat position for 60 seconds. Although when I told Ian he needed to entertain me for a minute, his idea was to countdown for me the entire minute. Which, as you can imagine, was not helpful and more so, made it all the more painful hearing I still had 40 seconds left, then 30, etc. Oy!

The other morning, I got lucky (said sarcastically) and both kids were wide awake when I put on EA Active. Not only did I have Ian joining me, but Sam got in the act too. She decided this looked like fun and the next thing you know three of us were making our way through a 30 minute work-out. I am sure it was a pretty funny site. I'd like to think that I was doing the exercise in perfect form. Then you have Ian who was probably 75% of the way there in accomplishing it correctly. And last, but not least, Sam was attempting it with approx. 20% accuracy.

When it came time to do jumping squats (yikes, this gets a sweat going quickly!), Ian looked very frog like and had the biggest smile on his face at the height he was getting. Sam, on the hand, still hasn't mastered the art of being able to jump, and would squat very low and on the way up would take a leg with her in the air. The rest of her stayed put on the ground. Then she would squat low again and this time on the way up, bring the other leg up in the air. It was so incredibly cute.

I am glad that I can be a positive role model showing the kids that exercise is an important part of our lives, but I felt like Jane Fonda leading a toddler class. Leg warmers, anyone?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pucker up!

I love being in love. I love the idea of love. I love it when I hear others are in love. I am a romantic and love happy endings. I love love. I recently went to a bridal shower for a friend who looked for love for a very long time and kissed a lot of frogs in the meantime waiting for her prince to arrive. The guy she is marrying is perfect for her and it was worth the wait. Going to bridal showers (and baby showers for that matter too) are much easier for me to endure and enjoy knowing that I've found my prince too and my life has gotten on a great track moving forward in the right direction. This particular bridal shower I went to was nothing like anyone has ever seen before. The theme was Mad Hatter and the bride's sister's house, where the party was held, was transformed into a flawless, over-the-top Wonderland from "Alice in Wonderland". The amount of work, creativity and time planning and executing this bridal shower was nothing short of amazing. I can't even begin to do it justice describing all the little and big touches seen throughout the party.

Overall, the bridal shower was very nontraditional and not one toilet-paper-wedding-gown or gift bingo game could be found. However, upon entering the house, the host did have us write down two things on separate cards -- advice for the bride and jot down one of our favorite memories of Karen (the bride). All the cards were collected and Joanne made opening the presents a much more livelier event by reading aloud the advice and memories while Karen opened gifts.

There was one piece of advice offered by one of the guests that I am putting into action at home. It was to give your partner A 10 SECOND KISS EVERY DAY. There is something that I find so appealing about this idea. Amidst all the craziness and chaos, taking a few seconds (10 to be exact) and stopping what you are doing to have more than a quick peck on the lips is fabulous. Downright scrumptious. I love this reconnecting. It doesn't cost anything and it is a special moment with the one you love. Apparently this idea originally stemmed from an Oprah show. I can't believe that one slipped by. I highly recommend every one reading this to put this idea into action too. And, please give it the full 10 seconds the kiss deserves. It doesn't need to be scheduled in advance and the kiss probably 99.9% of the time won't lead anywhere. For me, it makes me fall head-over-heels in love with Jeff all over again.

Even if you hate going to bridal showers or didn't even have a reason to be there because you didn't know the bride, seeing the Mad Hatter theme executed made it worth it alone. What an experience it was and Joanne could have a wildly successful career in event planning if she ever wanted it. But I do enjoy bridal showers because it is showering the bride-to-be in good wishes and presents for the upcoming wedding, which is celebrating two people getting together who are in love. And I love love.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Senior Citizen

Is there an AARP for dogs? 63 years old. That is how old Bailey will be in human years when he celebrates his 9th birthday at the end of the month. He has always had the energy of a puppy and eager to go for a long walk or run whenever the opportunity presents itself. In fact, Jeff and I have to spell it out if we are discussing the idea of taking him. Before we can even finish the sentence, he is whimpering and whining, pleading his case to go.

About two weeks ago I was able to do a training run outdoors and since it was relatively low mileage, I decided to throw Bailey a bone and bring him along. Due to the Winter weather, he hadn't been outside for a run for a few months and therefore, hadn't started out with the 1 mile, 2 mile runs before building to 3 mile stretches. However, it had never been a problem before and with his high energy level (do I have kids any other way?!?!), I figured he would be fine. Boy, was I wrong. Not only was Bailey an entire leash length behind, but my arm was extended back the whole way too trying to get him to keep up with me. At first I thought that maybe he needed to warm up and eventually would pick up the speed. Unfortunately that was not the case. Needless to say, for the rest of the day, he was a lump on the floor and barely moved.

The next day we dropped Bailey off at a friend's house. Mike was in need of a playdate and it had been awhile since Bailey had been over for a visit. The timing was perfect as we were headed out of town that weekend for NJ. We supposed to pick Bailey up on Monday, but Mike texted me and asked if he could stay until Thursday evening. He was really enjoying the visit. I love it when Bailey stays at Mike's. He gets all this one-on-one attention and doesn't have to share Mike's love and affection with anyone else. Mike commented to me that Bailey is starting to slow down and is not as flexible as he used to be. He said that he noticed he had trouble getting in his car.

It didn't occur to me that Bailey was getting old. Jeff and I joke all the time how many years we think we have left with him, but it is another matter entirely when the reality sets in. I am now starting to notice the little things too. I guess that gray hair under his mouth was the first sign I quickly overlooked. And his days of running with me are probably behind us. Bailey is a great dog and I hope he gets to rest and enjoy his golden days. He has earned it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Heard and Observed VIII

Ian and his cousin Max, who is only 6 weeks younger:

Ian: Max, we're going to race. When we are done, don't say "Hooray", it will hurt my feelings.
Max (one second later): Hooray
Ian: I said, don't say Hooray.
Max (one second later): Hooray


Ian at preschool one day last week:

Ian: Wow Eli, that watch looks really good on you.


Samantha, my little caretaker:

At my Aunt and Uncle's house in Cherry Hill, NJ, Jeff and I are hanging out in this cozy little tv room located off the kitchen. Sam comes over to me and takes each of my legs and puts them up on the coffee table. Then she goes over to Jeff and starts feeding him grapes.