Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A weekend of RunDisney fun!

6am ready for the race

Our weekend complete, looking back it was even more exciting and rewarding than I imagined.  First of all, my little dude was amazing…and I am not talking about his 5K.  For all the parents out there, I was super worried about getting him up at 5:20 a.m. after getting in at midnight the night before.  I figured I would just play it by ear.  So at 5:19, I pulled his sheets back and he sat right up saying, “Is it 5K time!” He was smiling and ready to go, and that was all I needed to see.  He had about 30,000 questions about the race on our 10 minute ride to the start and was super stoked to see Mickey and Minnie themselves sending us off.  With a bottle of water in hand and carrying us thru, Spider Schlopy busted through the finish line of his first 5K just 41 minutes after the fireworks signaled the start, beaming! 

Spider running toward Epcot
The next morning it was my turn. Someone had asked me if I was worried about the humidity.  I think I said, “No, not really.  I mean, how humid can it be at 5:30 in the morning?”  Hmmm…I learned very quickly that it can be quite humid! 90% to be exact.  Not ideal, but still workable.  I felt it from the start and by mile 4, when my face felt like it had been struck by fire, I began to try to cool myself down with every water station by drinking one and pouring the other on my neck.  One volunteer even yelled, “Smart move!” to me.  I equated the feeling of running in 80 degree weather with 90% relative humidity to running in a sauna and cooling off in a hot tub.  But in the mix of every ounce of discomfort, I took it all in.  The start was electric, and I was beyond proud and honored to be amongst such awesome women and men.  Sean Astin was there and talked about how he was running it for his 3 girls and his wife!  I loved all of the characters along the way.  Every one of them was out on the course at 5:30 in the morning, smiling and open armed ready to take pictures. (I almost wanted to ask Jack Sparrow for a lift, but didn’t.)

Fellow princesses
As the sun began to brighten our route, I noticed the other side of the course, around mile 10. The other side of the highway was packed with my fellow runners cruising through mile 4, and they were cheering for us.  I appreciated it so much and tried my best to cheer them back.  It was so great to feel such support and it came at the perfect time.  The ironic part of the whole race was that when I really felt like it was getting hard, I only had to thing about one thing -- my little dude and how brave and tough he was the day before. I said to him, “You can do it, even if we have to walk, we will cross the finish line,” so I had to cross that finish line too.  After all, one of my quotes along the course read, “Leave CAN'T in the dust!”  I couldn’t just say it, I had to do!  So after a few stops at the lovely potties and two quick pictures with Disney charaters, it was just the spirit of the race, I stepped it up trying to be just like Spider at the finish.  And then I got to say those magical words! I DID IT! 

Thank you Run Disney for the amazing experience, and thank you to all who volunteered. And a BIG Thank You to the awesome 30,000 of you who ran with me!  Congrats! Who is still wearing their medal? Magical indeed.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The BIG Freeze & the Flu

You may have heard the news, or felt it, there’s a flu going around.  Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock all winter, I can image you’ve heard all about it. For most of us with kids, it is not a matter of if they will get it, but how many times it will work its way through the family.  If you are sick of it, just like me, take a look at these helpful tips to get the YUCK out of your house!

1.The Big Freeze.  I know it is awesome to feel all warm and cozy in your house when it is cold outside, but all those flu bugs and germs find it pretty cozy too. So take an afternoon and bundle up.  Turn your heat down as low as you can handle, or open up the doors and windows and leave them like that for 15 minutes.  BRRRR.  If you can’t prevent them from getting in, at least you can FREEZE them out! After those 15 minutes, button everything back up and gradually turn your heat back up.  No need to make it work over time.

2. Clean Air. When is the last time you changed your filters in your house? Yes, you need to change them! In fact, you should change them with every season around every three months. After the flu has ripped through your home, make that a priority.  Ahh, I can imagine the fresh air from here.

3. Wash Your Sheets! It seems as though every Friday I say to myself, where did the week go? As soon as I say that is when I grab my kids’ sheets and put them in the washer.  There are way too many germs cruising around at school, and although I am not overly obsessed with sanitizing them every second, I do think getting a fresh start where you lay your head can make a HUGE difference. Add towels, hand towels and wash cloths to that weekly wash list as well.

4. Make a habit of hand washing.  Make it easy and be consistent.  As soon as they walk through that door, get them to wash their hands.  After a week of reminding them, you will be surprised how quickly they begin to do it on their own…they may even remind you to do it!

Other great tips in the Infographic below.
Happy Flu prevention.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine’s Day, Every Day!

Thinking back, my husband and I have spent more than one Valentine’s Day apart over the past few years. With our busy schedules, we’ve gotten comfortable with the excuse, “Oh, it’s no big deal; we celebrate Valentine’s Day every day!”  But this year, we are making it a point to celebrate Valentine’s Day together.  Whatever we do, my husband knows we don’t have to do something extravagant. Heck, we won half the battle by inking the word “DATE” on the calendar and getting a sitter. 
Some of my favorite dates are the spontaneous and adventurous ones, like strolls to get ice cream or long bike rides together, just because. I remember in particular one date we went on before we got married. You know, dates during those carefree times were a lot easier. We went on a hike through the snow at night.  We both knew the trail really well; it was covered with well-packed snow and lined with aspen trees. I was a little scared – what with the potential of nocturnal animals and snow drifts – but my future husband, the snow expert, assured me we would be just fine. Well, that date turned out to be more than fine… it was amazing! The world around us was so wonderfully still and quiet, the sounds of our breath and footsteps were the only sounds that could be heard all around us. Until I slipped on a patch of ice and went down on my rear like nobody’s business!  We both started laughing so hard. It was the kind of laughter that leaves you sore the next day.  The whole experience was worth it for just that moment of laughter. Those crazy, unplanned moments make for the BEST dates, but you can’t try to force them, you can only enjoy every moment and hope for a few like them. 
So this Valentine’s Day, think outside the box. Do something that will set your date apart from the rest.  Who needs a five-course meal at a swanky restaurant where you are sandwiched so close to the next couple that your conversation-for-two turns into a shouting match? Grab a small meal and a bottle of whatever-makes-you-happy and set off on an adventure.  However you get there (by bike, by foot, by ski) and wherever you end up (in the middle of the woods or alone on the couch for the first time in months), just enjoy the time together. Make a little time this Valentine’s Day, you never know, it could be the one date you always remember, or at least the one you’re still giggling about 15 years later.  
We aren’t getting any younger, but we can sure act like it! smiley Happy Valentine’s Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wrestling is The Olympic Games

Wrestling. There are few other sports that are as synonymous with The Olympic Games.  I would say, most track and field events and wrestling fall into that legacy.  Let’s be honest, when one of your categories is “Greco Roman," you know there is REAL history there.  It was a marquee event of the original Games and the re-establishing connection upon it's return 1500 years later. So how can the IOC up and erase it from the schedule? 

Heroes of USA Wrestling have touched the lives of many Americans, including this swimmer, who until the Olympics didn't know a thing about the sport. This goes beyond true textbook history and cuts straight to the emotional, motivational and moving Olympic moments in history.  I went to watching wrestling at my first Games, as a spectator in 1984, and I LOVED IT!  And that's when I realized wrestlers have captivated our hearts forever.  Remember Jeff Blatnick? He made the team in 1980 when we boycotted, but had the drive and passion to overcome cancer and come back and make the team again four years later at the 1984 Summer Olympics, where he won a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling! He moved us. And what about Bruce Baumgartner who was making four Olympic teams before it was fashionable.  Bruce hauled in two golds, a silver and a bronze from 84-96! Inspiration!

And the fella who accomplished the “impossible” or so people thought!  I am sure you remember that moment in 2000 at the Sydney Games when Rulon Gardner defeated Alexander Karelin of Russia, who had been undefeated for 13 years. We cried with him because we knew the weight of that moment…one of the greatest moments in Olympic History.

Back to the facts. The U.S. has the most wrestling medals of any country, but over 200 nations participate in the sport and a variety of nations medal each Games. This decision by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board. to recommend that wrestling not be included as a core sport at the 2020 Olympic Committee is not a final decision. The next step is for the IOC Executive Board to recommend a sport for the final spot in the 2020 Olympics, of which wrestling will be considered for the position along with seven other sports, which happens in May in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In the U.S., there are kids out there who show up at their high school, club, or college gym every day -- most twice a day -- with one thing on their minds: to be the next Jeff, Bruce or Rulan.  If you have been inspired by an Olympic wrestling moment, the IOC needs to hear it. Save wrestling and keep the dream alive!  Join “Keep Wrestling In the Olympics” Facebook page, which is can be found at Keep Wrestling in the Olympics Facebook Page and help support USA Wrestling and Olympic Wrestling.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lessons learned from hosting my son’s birthday party

As you may remember, we decided to throw our 5-year-old’s birthday party at home this year. We ended up with 13 kids, most of them 5-year-old boys, and a temperature of -5 degrees outside.  Hmmm, that posed a problem since our party plan was to start outside with a super cool obstacle course my husband put together that included some 4X4’s, a slide, a hoop, 5 ski poles, some tennis balls and a large bucket. Use your imagination!! I am fairly certain my husband was more excited about it than the kids. 

First lesson learned: You might be more excited than the kids about the activities planned and will have to role with the punches.

Since nobody wanted to go outside when they first arrived, we dove into pillow making…huge mistake.  The energy, which exploding upon arrival, was intense. Add to that a bunch of stuffing, and we ended up with one giant fuzzball of a living room.  Plus, the kids were so excited about the party that they couldn’t really focus on the project. YIKES!  In the end though, the pillows were completed and the kids LOVED them! I also used the pillow craft as our goodie bag, killing two birds with one stone by creating an activity that would produce their own goodie bag! Yay for no candy and lots of cuddling! The only hiccup was the project was done in about 15 minutes.  Hmmm, now what do we do??? 

Second lesson: Always do something to get the wiggles out before jumping into a calm activity…and always assume your house will be trashed J

Thank goodness for Papa!  This is when I called upon my dad.  The 72-year-old man saved the day at his 5-year-old grandson’s birthday party with magic tricks!  Yes, the same magic tricks he did for my brother and I at our parties.  And he had the kids sitting still, quiet and in complete awe!  They were even cheering for more!  He used the “have you ever seen me unscrew my finger before” trick and the “ I can rub this coin into my elbow and find it in your shoe” trick.  It was beautiful!

Third lesson learned: Always have grandpa at birthday parties!

After Papa’s magically moment, the kids seem to go their separate ways.  Some went outside to brave the cold and the obstacle course…to my husbands delight!  Others went upstairs to play with air hockey and Beyblades.  In the end, the kids played, ate cake and even opened presents without chaos.  With help from my 11-year-old niece Jordan, we handed out numbers to the gift givers, and when their number was called, they got to bring their gift up to Spider (who was sitting in a chair) and stand by him while he opened it. 

Fourth lesson: Your vacuum cleaner really can make any mess disappear!

Before we knew it, our two-hour extravaganza was over and the doorbell began to ring, to everyone’s joy!

Fifth lesson learned: It’s okay to celebrate when the last child is picked up.  Birthday parties are quite the festive feats!

Happy party hosting!