Friday, March 30, 2012

NYC Marathon (by Guest Blogger Daddy)

(Written by Daddy on 12/23/11)

Here it is, my first post.  It has taken me a while, as I never have any time- or frankly much interest to sit down for hours at the computer when I am home- but for Christmas this year, that is what I asked from Santa, 'some time'.  

Weird thing to put on a Christmas list, but that is really what I wanted.  So, as hard as it might be with the 2 champs under 3, Brooke gave me the gift I was needing, free time.  So..........I guess I will tell ya'll a little story. Grab your favorite drink, snuggle up with a loved one, and buckle up, you are about to board the Crazy Train with Daddy (when Mommy is not around).  (don't mind the blurry pictures, that's how I roll as I was still getting used to Brooke's camera...and that reality is blurry pictures might be the true essence of life, just a little too blurry- not enough time to get the perfect shot, but something that somewhat paints a familiar brush stroke of what you call life; a blur) Just take a moment to relish in the simplicity of real life while stepping aboard the Crazy Train with Daddy...(press play on the soundtrack and welcome aboard- the song does not compliment the blog so feel free to hit stop whenever your head starts ringing, HAH!)

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Hunter said, "Later Sis, I'm rolling to the City with Daddy on the Train.  We're gonna watch the NYC marathon!" On his way out the door he blurted, "Sis, HA, the cool thing is we're running from 125th st, down to 59th st along the East River.  Then we're taking the TRAM over the river to Roosevelt Island and checking the runners as they cross the 59th St bridge- AWESOME!  Then, check this out Sis, we're going downtown to Wall Street to see the Statue of Liberty- YES!!!!  So, have fun doodling with your crayons, PEACE!" (He didn't really say that but, in my mind that is what he told her)  See if you are not familiar, I am a runner, I love to run- even more I love to run with my kids in the jogger stroller so we can talk the whole way.  Yeah, crazy? or just smart?  Me, Emerson & Hunter finished a Half-Marathon, a 10 mile race, and many 12 mile journey's- Hunter and I have now logged in 3 Half-Marathons together alone.  he has become a bit of a celebrity in our local running community.  So we were going to run around NYC together!!!!  What better way to see everything?!?!?

Here we are getting ready to leave.  It was a little chilly, maybe 40-50ish but the sun was out and I was hoping running around the city pushing the stroller would warrant me wearing shorts...hmmm, we'll see if I regret that...
(The train is a comin' oh yeah, the train is a comin' oh yeah, the train is a comin' oh yeah) Recite that kid lullaby as you see this clip...


Hunter said, "WWWWHOA!!!!!"
Here we are reading Uncle Josh NYC Book that he LOVES in prep for our big day.

This picture below is a scene in the book he was just reading, so I thought it would be fitting to at least take a picture there.  It is page 15 or so and describes Park Avenue in Harlem.
Oh, and now we are obviously on the street.  125th st to be exact and our NYC journey is about to begin.
This is Hunt leading his way onto the TRAM with all the local folk.  See the TRAM is like a gondola in NYC.  It sails over the city and connects Rossevelt Island to the usual city traffic, over bridges, over buildings, well you'll see...

That green thing is the East River.  It is when I see these pictures when I say to myself, "Wait isn't water supposed to be be blue?"  I guess not in New York.
See the beauty behind the NYC marathon is they close the majority of the East Side streets and the whole city comes out and cheers on...kind of Mardi Gras style, and different than most any other marathon.  Honestly, how many times do you see a NYC street look this barren?

We stopped off and grabbed a couple slices of pizza on 54th St (notice what the other "normal" people are wearing and just wonder how I was feeling in my shorts and T now)
Hey who is watching that kid- Hah that is me...
Another beauty about NYC is the size of a "slice" of Pizza.  I mean, come on--look at that--it is bigger than Hunt's whole arm.  Funny side story, I remember when my family moved from NJ to Ga, the first day we were there, unpacking the moving truck and my sis and I were getting hungry and both agreed to run out and get a "slice".  First stop, Pizza Hut, they never heard of anyone just buying a slice.  Leslie and I looked at ourselves like they were crazy.  Next Pizza joint, "Sorry ya'll we don't sell by the slice down in these parts".  So we went for fast food burgers and went home and asked our parents what kind of crazy place they were moving us to that doesn't sell pizza by the slice!
After our slices, we headed to the subways to make a fast move to see the Statue of Liberty which was at the bottom of the island.  It was kind of hard with the stroller in the subway with all the escalators, but Hunt is a super trooper and we made it.
We took the 4-5-6 downtown from 59th street.
And here we are- the statue of liberty!!!  (A move any mom would probably murder me for- standing on the fence post)
Look at this shot of Hunt below, come on- P.E.R.F.E.C.T
From here we called my buddy Matt who was in with his son Owen, doing a relatively similar thing- riding the Crazy Train.  We both had jogger strollers and decided to run up from The Statue to the 59th st finish.  That is about 5 or 6 miles (on top of the other 4 we already ran).  See normally this would be a passable feat, but this guy is a machine, he runs around 6 minute miles....forever!  The guy is as fast as all can be, and we were running up hill to 59th st.  Fortunately, we found a playground a couple miles into the run- gave me a second to catch my breath.
Done with the playground, back to the road of running.  Those 2 little things in the picture are me and Hunt.  That is standing in front of the Imperial Battleship- HUGE!
Right about now, we are logging in at about mile 10, hour 7...aka, breakdown time!

We made it to the train and grabbed our seat of 4, hoping no one would dare risk sitting next to a crazy man in shorts and a sub-3 year old who is obviously on the verge of breaking down...
But someone was that crazy and boxed us in.  Its cool, we met more people...obviously crazy too.
The whole trip was very hard, but great fun!!!
When I tell the story it seems like a schedule of pointed facts, but the truth is it was the best thing I have done...ever.  I bonded with my son, and actually saw how cool he is...but even weirder than that, how cool he thought I was.  He had a blast, I had a blast, and all I can think of now......will I ever have that time again?  Hunt, I don't want to lose you,  I understand you will grow up and forget about me, but don't, be different, don't worry about trying to fit in, don't get peer pressured by anyone, draw your own path and don't draw the line too far ahead and always be ready for setbacks.  Go out and have fun, but honestly have your own fun, find your heart and let that lead the way- don't rush, I am in my mid-thirties and I am just realizing this.  Learn, read, understand who made the mistakes before you and let them pay for it- history teaches you more than you will realize.  Believe me, even the great wonders of the world fall down more times than you think, don't worry so much about failure- I love you Champ!  

Always remember, "Twenty Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, then the things you did do- so throw off the bow lines, let the trade winds catch your sails, explore, dream, discover" Mark Twain

(OK, now hit stop on the music before Mommy gets upset!)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dr. Seuss Play Date & Life Lessons

"Today is your day
Your mountain is waiting, so...get on your way!" 
Dr. Seuss

What do you think of when you hear the name Dr. Seuss?

For me, it immediately brings me back to my childhood, laying on my Gamma and Papa's shag green carpeted attic floor nestled under a loudly humming boxed air conditioner. My brother, Josh, and I would lay next to each other alternating reading our favorites, "Hop on Pop", "Green Eggs and Ham" or "Are You My Mother?" 

After Hunter was born Dave began a Dr. Seuss library for him and our future kids. I had almost forgotten the sweet memories of Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dills and Yertles until I overheard him reading the silly words and rhyming phrases to our newborn baby. 

I believe that Hunter's love for books and words began with those early reading days of the strangely fascinating tales as only Mr. Geisel could write.

But, as an adult, I have learned that there is much more to those imaginative characters and signature use of trisyllabic meter---there are life lessons weaved throughout.

After recently discovering that Dr. Seuss' birthday took place in early March, we decided to celebrate in a special way. 

We invited our play group over for a Seussical Play Date to enjoy activities, snacks and play inspired by the Master Storyteller himself.

We did some pre-nap planning; such as, making blue Jell-O for the first time 
"Its better to know how to learn than to know." -Dr. Seuss
and colored rice for our I Spy Dr. Seuss bottle.
(Place dry rice in Ziploc freezer bag, a few squires of Purell and the food coloring
of your choice. Shake and mead well. Pour into a pan to dry out for about 30 minutes. I typed up the names of all of the Dr. Seuss books and characters we love in Word and printed onto heavy card stock. I then cut out the words and placed them in the bottle with the rice along with some fun glitter poms.)

We gathered our favorite Dr. Seuss books and cards to share with our friends and set everything up outside since Mother Nature decided to deliver yet another unseasonably warm afternoon. 
"The more that you read, the more things you know. 
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go!" - Dr. Seuss
Our red Ikea Parsons table provided the ideal spot for our I Spy Dr. Seuss bottle and our "Cat in the Hat" activity. 
(I found this fun idea here and here. I cut out all of the necessary pieces 
beforehand and put them in a large mixing bowl with glue sticks.)
Right after nap time our friends arrived. As we were walking outside I pointed out Alex and his Mommy walking down the driveway to which Hunter loudly proclaimed, "I looooove Alex!"
"Teeth are always in style!" -Dr. Seuss
Alex also brought his adorable younger brother, Austin, who constantly followed all of the big kids around and loved the taste of our I Spy bottle. 
"Oh the things you can find if you don't stay behind." -Dr. Seuss

Seeing baby Austin made me realize that Baby Emerson and Baby Lucy aren't really babies any more.

"A person's a person no matter how small." -Dr. Seuss

The activities kept the kids quietly busy at first. I loved watching Alex carefully concentrate as he gently glued on his colored construction paper pieces. 
"Step with care and great tact. 
And remember that life's a great balancing act." -Dr. Seuss

Instead of creating their own hats, my kids preferred riding their "new" Christmas toys that had been resting in the garage due to the colder temperatures. 
"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes. 
You can steer yourself any direction you choose." -Dr. Seuss
I love days like this when we get the kids outside. They are these tiny little packages that are bustling with energy that just needs to be released outdoors. They always come back inside refreshed, relaxed and usually with smiles on their faces.
"It's opener, out there, in the wide, open air!" -Dr. Seuss

While searching online for Dr. Seuss-themed activities, I came across this idea from Renee at Adventures at Home with Mum and thought it was the COOLEST one I came across!

I knew there was only one kid in our group who could pull it off. 
"If you never did, you should. 
These things are fun, and fun is good!" -Dr. Seuss
After seeing Alex try it, Sissy wanted in on the fun. 
"You'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut." -Dr. Seuss
After the photo ops, it was time for snack. 

"One fish, two fish, red fish blue fish" was the overall theme. I saw this fun idea from Sheryl here for rice cakes, blue-tinted cream cheese and goldfish crackers.
"From there to here, from here to there,
funny things are everywhere!" -Dr. Seuss
Alex and Austin had to leave early but Hunter made sure they left with their own to-go dish of Jell-O. Alex told his mom that he needed a spoon and it warmed my heart when, after hearing this, Hunter ran inside and got him a plastic spoon for the road without being prompted. 

Hunter then brought out another dish of Jell-O because he was eager to try was Sissy. I asked him to share and this is what I got. 
Watching this for the next few minutes made my being a Mommy all worth it.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, 
nothing is going to get better, it's not." -Dr. Seuss

After fueling up on our green eggs, ham, fruit and other snacks
we capped off our exciting day with lots of silly playing that we knew the Dr. would approve of. 
"Think and wonder, wonder and think." -Dr. Seuss
"Sometimes the questions are complicated, 
but the answers are simple." -Dr. Seuss
"You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And you are the one who'll decide where to go." -Dr. Seuss
"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?!" -Dr. Seuss
"Today I will behave as if this is the day that I will be remembered." -Dr. Seuss

The kids ended the day exhausted and we agreed that it was a good time. 

I hope that my kids too will have great memories of a master storyteller and the legacy of life lessons that he left behind.
"Today was good, Today was fun.
Tomorrow is another one." -Dr. Seuss

C'mone, make today matter!