Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Year in Posts.

I've never done this before, but I've been looking back over my year as chronicled on this blog, and I thought it would be fun to spotlight some of the bigger, more pivotal, and even funnier moments in 2011. Because nothing says posterity like a link-fest.

In January, Rohan got a big boy bed to convert his nursery to a big boy room. ::sniff:: The shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and several other people in Tucson hit me hard, but then the beauty of other humans touched me deeply. Luca and I learned how to meet in our dreams and she made my mama heart soar so high. We ended our long love affair with the Brawny Man (and are still going strong a year later!). And my Real Mom self met my Super Mom self in a dark alley.

In February, we lolled about in sunshine for hours on end. Luca drew her first family portrait.

In March, Luca gave me an anatomy lesson to remember and I reflected on how there is no such thing as a perfect mother. Luca continued the trend in potentially uncomfortable car conversations about adult topics by asking how a baby is born. My sunshine boy turned 2. Luca started ballet and reminded me once again how she is wise beyond her years.

In April, I waxed poetic about my mom coming into her own as Grandma. I soaked up some alone time with my kids. I discovered a secret rainbow and talked about Rohan, who is my little wallaby baby (strange enough, this was one of my most popular posts of the year...who knew wallabies were such a hot thing?), and then I bitched a bit about him being SO TWO.

In May I talked about fat thighs and the pressures of raising a girl. Luca turned 4, which still seems too old to be possible, and I showed off my cute carpool buddy. We built forts and took walks with Sleeping Beauty.

In June, I looked back on how much Luca had changed in a year and shared how Rohan potty-trained himself at just over 2 years old. We celebrated Father's Day and the world's most amazing dad. I struggled with whether I will ever be happy in my body (another hot post for the year).

In July, we made the biggest update yet to our house, putting in laminate floors. Luca reminded me that one of the best things a parent can do is not overthink it and then she made sure I told her about how babies are born without skipping any parts.

In August, we took a camping trip to celebrate Darrick's birthday before Luca started preschool (for the second year). I had a big moment at work and made my TV debut on a nighttime public interest show, but almost let it be overshadowed with shame over my appearance. We put making a decision about more kids on the back burner.

In September, I talked life and death and how kids perceive it. Luca and Rohan had their first sleepover with the grandparents. I talked about the sweet spot we're in with a 2 year old and 4 year old. I felt some visceral growing pains realizing that my kids won't need me forever like they need me now.

In October, we said goodbye to Ruby, our beloved dog of over 12 years. I spent my month with a focus on saying nice things. I chopped off about a foot of hair and Luca had her first dentist visit. My husband reminded me why I love him so and I got a nice response to my say nice things-inspired awkward Facebooking.

In November, we recapped Halloween and looked forward to the end of 2011. I started training for my first 5k and realized my ass claps in appreciation, and we showed our own appreciation (for ass clapping and all other things) with our Thankful Wall. I also finally unveiled our new french doors, which were installed in July but not completed until November. I marveled at my husband and his knack for teaching our kids the right lessons without even trying.

In December, I tried to learn how to just say thank you. We spent one weekend on the coast and the next in the snow. I did my first 20 minute training run for the 5k in January. We decked the halls and the giant ass tree for Christmas. I set out in writing some goals for 2012, and then kicked them off right by buying some organization tools and running for 25 minutes straight for the first time in my life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

2 Miles.

Today I broke with tradition and did a daytime run. It's about 70 degrees outside, and sunny as hell, and I felt every degree of that 70 and every drop of sunshine.

Week 6 is complete, and my 25 minute run took me 2 miles. Not exactly speedy, for sure (it was probably a 13 minute mile, since I walked for 5 minutes before I started to run. And 'run' is not exactly accurate, given that pace.

But you know what? I did it. I ran for 25 minutes without stopping. And I logged it on my new favorite website when I got home ( so I could see how far I went. And I am damn proud of myself.


I've been struggling for a few months now with trying to follow WW and still live my life. Some days I completely forget to track food. Honestly, having to go on to the WW website and log in meals drives me kind of nuts. It takes longer than I want it to, and I get bored and frustrated.

I'm hoping I found the solution this morning. First, I bought a monthly/weekly planner at Target. I need one anyhow, to keep on top of work meetings and deadlines and appointments. But this planner is also going to be a tool I use to track one of my 2012 goals, running 350 miles. But the planner doesn't have enough space to keep a food journal, so I also got a small 'PlanHer' at Target. It's essentially a small notebook with two columns and a header space up top. I'm using it as a food journal, and also a place where I can write down my runs before I log them officially into my planner for the year. Again, I'm nothing if not an optimist, so here's hoping these tools will help me keep on top of my goals this year.


Did I mention I ran 2 miles today???????

Optimism is a Gift.

Optimism is a gift, right? Hope springs eternal and there's a silver lining to every dark cloud and all that, yes?

Which explains why I'm facing 2012 and putting some resolutions and goals out there. In writing. Again. Even though 2011 laughed in the face of my attempts to make resolutions. If I'm being fair, we did start eating healthier foods and cooking more at home, and we rarely went out and spent money on new things, but I wouldn't say I achieved any of the 3 goals I had fully.

But that's not going to stop me from putting myself out there for the next year. I think a new year is a great time to refocus some energy on the things that are important and to remind myself that it's never too late to start over. So without any further ado, here are my goals for 2012:

1. Run my first 5k on my 33rd birthday.

2. Use the savings we're going to have from not having to pay for Rohan to be in daycare (he stays with my mom full time now since our provider moved 2 hours away) to build up our savings and pay down the last of the 2 credit cards we own.

3. Keep running. Or jogging, but whatever. In 2012, I'm making a small running goal I hope I can accomplish. My goal is to log 350 miles of running. It's not a high number of miles, but it's 350 more than I have ever done in any year prior.

4. Spend more time caring for myself. My health. My appearance. Making an effort to dress in clothes that flatter and do my hair so I feel pretty.

5. Spend more one-on-one time with each of my kids. We spend as much time as possible together when we ARE together, but I don't always get much quality time with just one of them. At least once a month, I want to try to do something special with each of them, alone.

6. Spend more one-on-one time with my husband. This past year really screwed us financially. It started with getting a notice from the IRS that we didn't pay a tax on something back in 2009, and now had 30 days to pay it. And then there was the minivan repair that set us back over $1k. Two new tires for each car. Dental surgery. The list goes on and on. What does this have to do with spending time with my husband? Well, when you can't afford a date night, it has everything to do with it. But we both know we need to make a priority out of spending time together without the kids, so in 2012 that's my plan. More date nights. And date afternoons. Maybe even a night or two away without the kids.

So, 2011, see you later, asshole. I'm over you and your shitty luck, natural disasters, financial ruins, and more. I'm ready to welcome 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Week 6.

Week 6 started tonight on the C25K program, and I kicked it off with new running shoes and new ear buds. Not a shabby way to train, really. This week is 3 different routines like last week was, starting with tonight: warm up, 5 minute run/3 minute walk, 8 minute run/3 minute walk, 5 minute run, cool down. Day 2 will be two 10 minute runs with a 5 minute walk between, and Day 3 will be a 25 minute run. Tonight actually wasn't too difficult, which I'm taking as a good sign. I have about 5 weeks before my first 5k, and with just 3 weeks of training left I'm feeling confident I am actually going to be able to do this.

Seriously, 6 weeks ago I was barely running 60 seconds without feeling like I wanted to lay down and cry. And now I'm doing 5-8 minutes without thinking twice. I really cannot get over that.

The next month I'm going to be focused on completing the training and then maintaining the runs so I can get up to 3.2 miles before race day. My focus is also going to be shifting back to how I eat. I've given myself permission to eat whatever I want the past few months, and I know from experience that I won't lose any weight doing that. Even  with running 3 nights a week, the weight isn't melting away like I want it to. This is nothing new to me. My husband is forever trying to convince me that I can eat whatever I want if I just work out regulrarly, and I'll lose the weight. But he's wrong. I've tried that before, and for me it won't work. I know I need to get back on track with eating better along with the exercise. And not just so I can lose weight; so I can feel better and run better and be a healthier woman and wife and mom as well.

Forward Strides.

Christmas is over, and already I'm looking anxiously toward 2012's start. After the challenges of this year, I can't help but think that 2012 will be better. There just doesn't seem to be any other possibility, both for us personally and for the universe as a whole.

I'm thinking about new years and resoultions. I'm thinking how I fell flat this year, weighed down and buried under a world of challenges and struggles. And this year, I'm approaching things a little differently. This year is all about goals. we're working on setting them already, Darrick and I spending many cold, late nights after the kids are in bed talking on the back patio about where our family has been and where we're going next. Jobs. Money. Kids. Home. Health. I'm lucky to be married to someone who I can gaze lovingly at, but who more importantly is excited to face the future with me, both of us looking in the same direction.

I'm ready for 2012. I'm ready for goal setting and goal making and celebrating goals achieved.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011.

The stockings are stuffed. The presents have been delivered by Santa. Cookies were nibbled by the big guy himself, and the reindeer appreciated the apple slices as much as Santa appreciated the note dictated to mommy to leave with the treats.

We even managed two family pictures before tucking some very excited kids into bed tonight.

Before bed, I bathed the kids, put them in their special Christmas jammies (bonus to them being almost the same size is I buy one pack of 2 jammies and they both fit in a pair!), and read them The Night Before Christmas. We've been reading it for a few weeks now, a couple nights a week, and Luca has almost the whole thing memorized. Her favorite is yelling the reindeers' names out*. Mo's favorite part is the last page, which to him seems to say, "Good night good night good night to Merry Christmas all night!".

We tucked them into bed and they quickly fell to sleep, not doubt fatigued from a full day of crafts, junk food, home baked treats, movies, and Christmas excitement. I wrapped the presents and drank a warm drink with a splash or three of Kahlua. I hung the coffee filter snowflakes Luca and I made today all over the tree. Santa made sure to drink some milk and nibble the cookies left on a table by the recliner, and his reindeer no doubt loved the apple slices.

The world is quiet and peaceful right now. I should be in bed, but I'm soaking up the last little bit of pre-Christmas cheer to be had this year. This past week we've all been home together, and while we made an effort to get out of the house to visit family and shop and go out to eat, more often than not we bunkered down with blankets on the floor and Christmas music and movies playing on the TV. We baked cookies. We decorated them, then ate them by the fistful. We made so many crafty ornaments that the only ones hanging on our tree that were not made by the kids are a wedding ornament we received made of blown glass, a Santa ornament Darrick and I bought on our trip to Europe pre-babies, and one I bought at Michael's with 4 snowmen and a handpainted glitter glue script with our names and the year. We glued and glittered and cut and pasted. We made gifts for family. I read 3 books. We made a mess of the house each day and went on a cleaning binge, throwing out 3 bags of trash and donating 4 bags of old toys. We stayed up late and slept in past 6 a.m. This year may have sucked in so many ways, but this week alone more than made amends for all of 2011.

I'll head to bed soon, and before I know it two excited kids will run down the stairs and squeal with excitement to see Santa was here. They will giggle and run in circles, tearing wrapping paper with abandon and playing with new toys. We will eat. We will love on their cousins and spend time with family. It will feel like magic, and because of them, it will BE magic.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


On the topic of reindeer names, a conversation recently in the car:

Luca: "Mommy, which of the reindeer do you want to be?"
Me: "Hmm...maybe Prancer? Prancer sounds happy. What about you?"
Luca: "Vixen!"
Husband: "Not a chance."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Did It.

Tonight, I finished Week 5 of C25K with a 20 minute run. No breaks to walk. No slowing. No giving up or giving in to the voice telling me that my calves were burning and my lungs were tired and anyways no one would know if I really ran all 20 minutes, would they? I won't lie about it, to myself or anyone else who cares: it sucked. This week's podcast has all 3 days overlapped, so that you download one podcast for 3 completely different runs. At one point, I was almost to the end and all I could think was, "You are so close. Just keep running." And then, on the haedphones came that damn voice saying, "If you're on Day 3, keep going! You have about 4 minutes left." At that moment I was thankful I'd decided to finish the last of the runs at 10:30 at night rather than waiting for tomorrow to do it in the daylight. Because, in the daylight, I would have needed to look around to be sure there were no small children in earshot before exclaiming out loud, to the universe, "Fuck you!"

Oh yeah, I said "Fuck you!" to the podcast. To my legs, on fire and lead-heavy. To Robert Ullrey and running and the universe in general.

But then, there was the moment at the end, when I got to celebrate completing 20 minutes of running. When I walked the neighborhood listening to Mumford and Sons and felt my legs tingling and my heart pumping and my face, flush with sweat. When I said to myself, "Fuck YOU, and your doubting. You did it. YOU did it!"

Five weeks ago, I couldn't even run 90 seconds without feeling like I needed to go home and ice my shins and sleep for 14 hours. Five weeks ago I dreaded every run. Six weeks ago, I wasn't even trying. And now? I did it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Week 5.

Tonight I started C25K week 5, and as much as it pains me to write this, it wasn't as bad as I'd expected. And maybe...just maybe...I was hoping it would be bad enough to justify quitting? I'm not claiming it was easy by any stretch, but I walked out the door this evening expecting to want to quit, and that never happened.

My week 5 day 1 routine was a 5 minute warm up then 5 running/3 walking/5 running/3 walking/5 running, then a cool down. And while I ran two 5 minute stretches all 3 days last week, doing it 3 times tonight was quite a workout. But I did it, and I didn't struggle nearly as much with it this week as I did last week. I think I actually find the routines with less intervals but longer ones to be a bit easier to manage. Just like with walking, I get into a groove and am not anxiously counting down to when I get to stop or when I have to start again.

This week is unique in that each of the 3 run routines is different. Day 2 will be 8 minutes running and 5 minutes walking, twice. And day 3 is the scary monster at the end of the road with a 20 minute run with no breaks. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dreading those days, especially the last one. But at the same time I look at where I started, barely able to run more than 60 seconds straight without feeling totally winded and really sore, and I feel amazing and strong.

My coworker and I have talked quite a bit about the struggle to keep going, and the battling voices in our heads while training. The voice that says, "You are a fucking idiot and should just walk home right now, pour yourself some wine, and not get out of bed for the rest of the weekend." is just barely drowned out by the voice that says, "Bitch you are DOING this and you're amazing and you keep those feet RUNNING!" When it comes to motivation, I'm only mildly embarassed to admit that when I'm struggling to finish a run I've said to myself more than once, "You had a baby. In a plastic pool in your living room. If you can go through labor and deliver a human, you can do anything." And then, other times, I zone out on problems or issues I need to work out in my own head and have practice conversations with 'the enemy'. The only problem is that I'm not sure either of these tactics is going to work for 3.2 miles!

I should also note that I haven't weighed myself in 2 weeks. After 3 weeks of running I hadn't lost anything, so I sort of gave up on the scale. I'm giving myself permission to avoid the scale and focus on the non-scale victories until I hit the end of my training program. I'm about halfway through, and as long as I can maintain my routine through the holidays, I'm going to consider it a victory whether I lose weight or not.

But I can't lie: It would be nice if I stepped on the scale at the end of this and saw a loss.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From Surf to Turf in A Week's Time.

The first weekend of December, we celebrated like this:

A few things about these pictures, in no particular order:
~ The green green above is my Grandma's backyard, smack in the middle of not-so-nice LA. And oasis for great grandkids.
~ The beach is Santa Monica
~ It was cold, but during our beach outing the weather was perfect and beautiful
~ Yes, my husband and son went in the water. No, the rest of us did not.
~ Yes, my husband has a black eye. No it's not from me, but from coaching wrestling.
~ Funniest misunderstanding of the trip:  When my aunt asked Darrick about his injury and he said, "I make black guys look good, huh?" And it took all of us about 3 times making him repeat himself before we realized he wasn't being awkwardly racist. "Black EYES. EYES."
~ That matriarchal beauty with my kids is the woman of honor who we traveled to visit: My gramma!

This past weekend, we mixed things up a bit by heading in the other direction:

Notes on these pictures:
~ We cut our tree this yaer just south of Heber. There was about a foot of snow on the ground in most places from a storm during the week.
~ Snow angels are all the rage this year, you know.
~ Also: snowman, complete with charcoal eyes and carrot nose. She left the nose and 'buttons', but insisted we bring home the hat, smile, and eyes.
~ The tree is obscenely large and we love it.
~ We strung white lights and haven't touched the tree since. And we like it that way.

One good thing about Arizona is that we can do this. We can fly to LA one weekend and bask on the beach and love on my grandma, then head up north to tromp in the snow and get cold and drink hot chocolate in the back of my mom's pickup truck the next. I am loving it. I am loving my kids this year and how engaged and excited they are about Christmas.


Post-Script: We hung our stockings from the banister, though we later had to move them to acommodate the tree. Luca pulled out the stockings we had for our dogs and asked about them. I asked what she wanted to do, and she said, "I want to hang them up, mommy. We should try to remember them all the time. I think it's important." And then tonight I was out finishing my last run of C25K and a little mini pinscher dog came running up to me barking. Her elderly owner was waving frantically from the driveway, no doubt afraid I'd freak or get mad. Without thinking, I called out, "Don't worry! I have dogs!". But I don't, and I still miss them. Rest in peace, little loves.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review Time.

On the topic of avoiding false modesty, I had my review at work this week. I like reviews, in general, because I think they can provide really good feedback and insight into ways to improve, but also because they give me a chance to talk about what I like doing and where I want to go next.

What I don't love about reviews is the process we use for them. I had a pit in my stomach all day on Monday waiting for it to be review time. Reviews at my job are a shared process, with the boss and me both using the same form to evaluate objectives, goals, effectiveness, etc. I do the review first and submit it to my boss, who adds her feedback and scoring, then we meet to discuss.

This is where I confess that in the past I've scored myself modestly. I am not sure why, but even after 5 years with my boss, I struggle to talk myself up and stand up for my work when I have any doubt over how she feels about it. I've always approached reviews as my opportunity to get my boss's feedback on how she thinks I am doing on where she thinks I need to improve. But, in keeping with not feigning modesty when I know I'm kicking ass, I looked at the review as a chance to talk about the things I love and do really well, and also honestly approach the areas where I need to work.

It was scary. Scary as hell. I sat across from my boss in her office and all I could think was "Is she looking at my comments and scores and wondering just who the hell I think I am?"

Turns out, she wasn't. There were a few areas where she wasn't sure how to score me and we needed to talk them through. But it wasn't for a lack of effort or solid work on my part; it was due to the fact that a good portion of the work I do is fairly independent and she is hands-off with those projects. Really, she just needed to hear more about them to gauge how I was doing and what kind of score I deserved. I had to pep-talk myself quite a bit during the review, reminding myself not to undersell the work I do and not to apologize for things that didn't deserve apology. And, honestly? In turn I also found it much easier to talk honestly with her about the areas I know need improvement and what I need from her or others in order to make those improvements a reality.

And? I think she respected my approach more in the end. My boss is a no-bullshit kind of person, so being honest and upfront about the good AND the not-so-good was well received by her and helped us facilitate better conversation about where I am professionally.

The verdict of shaking off false modesty in this case? It was really difficult for me, but in the end I think it was important for me to approach my review as an opportunity to showcase my growth and the great work I do.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

First We Learn to Say Thank You. Then We Add Excuses.

When was the last time you paid a woman a compliment and she thanked you? When was the last time she thanked you without then excusing it away?

"You're adorable!" (to the gorgeous and thin pregnant woman)
"Oh gosh...thanks...but no, I'm HUGE! Look at these ankles!" (to me)

"Your son is so sweet to the other kids on the playground.  Kudos to you." (to mom of a 5 year old boy who, I can guess based on society's expectations of little boys, is not used to his behavior being complimented)
"Oh, thank you. Really, he's usually a total terror." (to me)

"I love those shoes!" (another mom at preschool to me)
"Thanks. I got them at Target on clearance for a steal. They are so worn out!" (me, to her)

What's the deal with this phenomenon? And why is it disproportionately women who do this? When's the last time you complimented a man and he responded by deflecting the compliment or excusing it away?

"You look hot." (me, to husband)
"I kind of do, don't I?" (husband, to me, as he checks himself out in the mirror)

Experience tells me that if I compliment another woman, she's going to find a way out of the compliment. It's the clothes that make her look fantastic (nevermind her 5 miles a day, 4 days a week running ritual and healthy eating). She looks good in that purple scarf, but only when she uses a lot of undereye concealor so the scarf doesn't play up the bags under her eyes (nevermind there are no bags and if there are, I wasn't looking for them anyhow). Her kids are only well behaved right now because they're going to Santa later (nevermind the fact that her 5 year old son stopped to make sure my 2 year old was ok when he ran by and accidently knocked my kid down). Cute shoes (but SO uncomfortable!). Love the new haircut (but it only looks like this because her stylist did it for her). She did great on the presentation (it's just too bad that she stuttered and forgot the figures on that one part no one else noticed).

Look, we're all guilty of this to some degree. I can't remember the last time someone said something nice to me and I didn't deflect it or excuse it away. I can't remember the last time someone told me I'm awesome at something and I replied, "Thanks, I really work hard on it." I can't remember the last time I said something nice to another woman and she accepted it graciously with a "Thank you" and then shut the fuck up.

It must stem from somewhere, and if I had to guess I would point my finger at social norms girls face growing up. I know it's not born in most of us, this desire to never ever accept a compliment graciously and freely. I know because I listen to my daughter when someone compliments her. Even at 4.5 years old, she sometimes has to be reminded to thank a person for a kind word, but that's not because she's too busy coming up with ways to pish-posh their kindness. It's because she is too busy agreeing with them.

"Your hair is so pretty." (woman at the store to my daughter)
"Yeah." (my daughter to her)

"Luca, you've been so nice to your brother today." (me, to her)
"Thank you, mommy." (her, to me)

"I just LOVE your artwork. It's so creative!" (grandma, to Lu)
"Thank you. I drew the best apple in class." (her, to grandma)

How do we get back there? How do we return to a time when society and our own insecurities don't hamper our ability to say thanks and just accept the damn compliment? How do we stop ourselves from making excuses for our achievements when what we really should say is, "Yeah, I kicked some ass, huh? Thanks!"

I remember a long time ago, when Darrick and I first got serious together, he chastised me (lovingly) for this very thing. "You say 'sorry' too much," he said. "You shouldn't say sorry all the time. You say it when you mess up, but you also say it when someone else messes up and inconveniences you." And it's true. When I went into a health food store 3 days after Luca was born in search of fenugreek and the woman asked me when I was due, I didn't laugh it off. I didn't give her the evil eye for asking. I didn't even ignore it and ask her to show me the way. What I DID do is look her in the eye and apologize to her for her fuck up. "Oh, I had the baby 3 days ago. Don't worry! I hear it's normal to look pregnant for a while after giving birth!" I said. "Oh, well...yeah..." she stumbled over her words. "Sorry," I replied, "I should have told you she was a newborn and I needed fenugreek to up my milk supply."

Sorry? I should have told you? It's my fault you lack basic social graces and don't know better than to ask a woman when she is due unless she says to you, "I am currently pregnant."?!?!

And the thing is, my daughter hears and remembers everything. I know she is watching me. I know she needs me to model for her what a woman is, and I know that I don't want her to be 'sorry' girl when she gets older. I don't want her to minimize her achievements to make other people feel more comfortable. To talk badly about herself because she thinks she should. Because when you do it for long enough, you start to believe it's true yourself. I look down the line, toward her future, and it crushes me a little. She is a bright light in the world, a wonderful and funny and kind and smart-as-hell girl, and the idea of her one day excusing those parts of herself away until...well...until they GO away? It scares me. I owe her better, and I am unapologetically capable of giving it to her.

So, false modesty? I'm sending you on vacation for a month. I'm going to try something new*: not allowing myself to apologize for someone else's faux pas, not excusing away genuine compliments, and not underselling myself for the sake of modesty.

This next month is Mission: No More False Modesty for me. I invite you to join me. I'll post more as the month goes on.

*No assholery will be accepted during this time. I'm not on a mission to become an egotistical asshole.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Week 4 Begins.

Week 3 finished a little belated thanks to travel and difficult schedules for my husband and me, but by the last run it was definitely feeling manageable. I was even feeling optimistic going into week 4.

And then I did the first run, tonight. It consists of a 5 minute walk to warm up followed by 2 circuits of a 3 minute run/90 second walk then 5 minute run/2.5 minute walk. And it was really, really difficult. I'm not sure if it was the jump from 3 minutes being the long run to 3 minutes being the short one, the shorter recovery walks, or the move from about 9 minutes of running total to 16 minutes. Whatever it was, though, I was definitely dragging and feeling the pain.

The good news is this: I completed the whole thing tonight. The 3 minute runs honestly came pretty easily and I didn't even feel apprehensive about them like I was feeling last week. I might even call them easy. And while in the past I've found the cardio aspect to be the biggest challenge on the runs, this time my cardio felt great. However, my legs were like lead by the end of the first 5 minutes and by the end of the second 5 minute run I was dragging big time.

I'm finding myself alternating between being really proud about my ability to complete each night of training and the dread of what the coming weeks of training will bring. At this point, I can't even imagine running for more than 30 minutes to complete the 5k in January, but on the other hand I couldn't imagine running for 5 straight minutes a month ago either.

I'm not going to give up. I am so happy I have a goal in mind, and thankful to have people in my life who support me and even a few who are putting up with my crazy goal and training right along with me. I just can't wait for this to get easier.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Conversation with a 4 Year Old.

Me: Do you know how much I love you, Luca?Luca: This much! (stretching arms above her head)
Me: Yeah, sweets. That much and so much more. So much I can't stretch my arms that far. I love you enough to fill the universe with love.
Luca: Mommy, do you know how much I love you?
Me: How much?
Luca: More than all the buildings that were ever built and all the babies that were ever in a pregnant mommy's belly.
Me: Wow, that sounds like a lot!
Luca: Yeah.

I get up to leave her in bed, and she calls me back.

Luca: Mommy, how did that happen? How did the oldest first babies get borned? I mean, if there were no other babies yet, where did the first ones come from?
Me: That is an excellent question. And, uh, I'm not sure how to answer. But I bet if I talk to your daddy we can see if together we maybe know the answer.
Luca: Ok. But momma? I bet I know. I bet the dinosaurs laid a bunch of eggs and they had magic in them, and every time a new egg hatched, it was less like a dinosaur and more like a person baby.
Me: ::silence::

Monday, November 28, 2011

What We Teach Our Kids.

We met my family for 'brunch' on Sunday at a cute little restaurant in Gilbert. Over delicious food, we wished my oldest brother a happy birthday and talked about the upcoming holidays. Driving home, I skipped the freeway in favor of streets that take us by big houses and huge green yards dotted with horses and herding dogs.

Soon enough, the suburban splendor gives way to a pocket of town between the meal and home where you're more likely to see big families pushing a stroller and dragging 3 little ones down the road, each of them clutching a few bags from the grocery store. Doing their part to get the food home without a car. People hanging around outside convenience stores in a way that's completely benign but instills a small flutter of caution in my belly if the store they are haunting is one where I need to stop for gas.

We sat at a red light talking about our plans for the rest of the day, when suddenly my husband asked why I thought that big white car was stopped at such a funny angle, halfway in the center lane used for left turns, one turn signal appearing to blink but showing them turning the opposite direction from that which the car's nose was pointed. My gut kicked in and I answered, "Who knows." and looked up at the red light, waiting for it to change.

"I think they need help," my husband answered. And so, as the light turned I flipped on my blinker to get over to the right lane and turn onto the road behind the car, but someone was in my way. Instead I decided at the last minute to go straight and make a right into the convenience store's parking lot. My husband was compelled to go see why the car was stopped where it was, hastily blocking half a lane of traffic. I'm not as good a citizen as he is and would have driven on, but the truth of my husband is this: you never doubt that you're safe when he's around. It's not just the fact he's bigger than most other men. It's not even his street smarts from growing up in one of the worst parts of the Valley. It's just that I always assume that his knack for talking to people and making them feel instantly safe with him around will transfer to strangers. Even strangers in dodgy cars in dodgy neighborhoods.

Just as I parked the car, a big guy - bigger than my husband - stepped out of its driver side door and went around back to begin leaning his body against the rear fender. Not thinking twice, my husband had his door open before our car was in park and was darting across 2 empty lanes to help. I watched him as he leaned into the trunk as well and his whole lower body hunkered down to move the car forward slowly on sleepy wheels. Within a few seconds, they were crossing the road and the big man was jumping in the front seat to steer the car into the lot where we were parked.

"What's daddy doin', mama?" asked Rohan in back.
"Don't worry, buddy," Luca answered before I could, "he's helping that man with the big car. It's the right thing to do, you know."

A lump sat in my throat as I smiled and caught her eyes in my rearview mirror. I nodded in agreement.

Seconds later, Darrick was pulling open the passenger door. "He ran out of gas," he told me. "Oh," I stupidly answered. My brain wasn't connecting what he was saying, so he did the work for me. "Right over there, on that corner...that station has gas and this one doesn't."

We turned out and made our way to the convenience store across the street. He grabbed a fistful of dollar bills and went inside. I watched him in my car's side mirror as he disappeared through sliding doors and reappeared with a gallon jug of water. Stopping by some plants, he emptied the whole thing and then came to the pump. Three dollars later, the gallon jug was nearly full and we left the parking lot to go back over to the man with the big white car.

I pulled intot he spot right next to him, all 4 of our windows down because the kids were curious and wanted to hear what was happening. "You came back." said the man, astonished and grateful.

I reached behind my seat and pulled out an empty water bottle. With a pocket knife, the man cut out the base of the bottle and used it as a funnel to pour a gallon of gas into his car. Darrick talked to him as he did so, in a voice I couldn't really hear. And anyhow, even if I'd been able to properly listen in, The Grinch was on the radio and the kids were demanding that I turn up the volume.

Getting back into the car, Darrick told me the man had thanked him. He worked just down the street at a restaurant as a chef and had worked an unusual early morning shift to make some extra holiday cash. He thought he had enough gas to make it the three miles home, but obviously he'd been wrong. He turned toward the convenience store to get gas, forgetting that it was the one across the street that had gas pumps. He had offered Darrick money as a thank you. Darrick turned it down. He offered us a free dinner the next night at his restaurant, and Darrick said we'd try to make it.

He thanked us profusely. I put my hand on my husband's arm as we drove away, told him he did a good thing.

"Nah. He needed help. We've all been there. It's the right thing to do, you know," he replied, as Luca caught my eye in the mirror and smiled.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I started week 3 of C25k tonight. This week is a 5 minute walk, 90 seconds each of walking and running, 3 minutes each of walking and running, repeat both intervals, then cool down. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 90-second  runs were not hard at all. Last week I struggled quite a bit with those runs and with pain in my shins and calves after they were done. I expected tonight to be much worse since the 90-second runs were now the short ones, not the long ones. But it really was not as difficult as I'd feared. The 3 minute runs were pretty manageable too, though they did seem to take forever! I couldn't believe how much ground I covered in 3 minutes, which made it feel like I had run much longer.

I know this is a tough time of year to start this kind of program because I keep hoping the running 3-4 nights a week will make some weight start to melt off me, and it's just not happening yet. I know I need to try to look on the bright side, which is that I didn't gain anything over 4 days off work and Thanksgiving food galore. But it's hard not to get discouraged that the scale it not yet moving. I'm trying to be optimistic and believe that in the next week or two it will happen. I can already feel some difference in my legs - most specifically my calves - so I'm believing it will show everywhere soon.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Finishing.

After my last post, about the Thankful Wall, the unfinished interior trim on our french door was really driving me nuts. So when my mother-in-law came by to say hi and asked about it, I immediately took her up on her offer to help us finish the interior and exterior.

When we installed the door over the summer, we measured the interior dimensions of the door opening and the exterior and counted our lucky stars that the doors sold at Home Depot were the same size. We had installed french doors in our old house, so we figured we had this down. Home Depot offers installation, but the doors were $400 and so was installation, and we just couldn't justify spending the same to have someone install the doors as we did to buy them in the first place.

We'll call that our second mistake. The first was one we wouldn't uncover until we were a few hours into demolition of the old doors and installation of the new ones.

Anyhow, we had my mom help us haul the doors home on the bed of her pickup truck, and when we were ready we first had to remove the old sliders. They had been installed when the home was built, and while popping out the doors themselves was easy and pulling down the vertical blinds on the inside was amazingly gratifying, the metal frame itself was a whole other issue. This is where we started to suspect maybe we'd made our first mistake: measuring. Because as we pulled the frame away from the wall with a crowbar, we discovered that the door had apparently been installed before the exterior wall had been completely finished, and while we could pull the frame out of the wall there was a piece of drywall overlapping the opening. So when we had finally prepped ourselves to pop the doors into place (shims at the ready, door caulking prepped, window and door seal glue spread out and ready to grip to the kickplate), we were disappointed to discover that the french doors wouldn't fit. They were sized for the same width as the sliders, but the drywall and stucco edge was blocking the door from sliding into place.

About an hour later, after using various tools to cut away at the drywall and stucco (which, p.s., had a layer of chicken wire between them), we finally had enough space to get the doors into place. But we were left with a very messy exterior and a gap between the top of the frame and the doorway. That gap was easily filled with a piece of wood cut to size and foam used to fill in the gaps, but by then we'd lost steam and figured we'd fix the finishing issues later.

That was in July.

So last night, we hit Home Depot again for some trim and door caulking. The interior was the easy part, with just a trim piece that is 1 5/8" nailed in with finishing nails and some caulk to fill in the gaps between the top of that board and the doorframe. The exterior was a little trickier, however. At the time we put in the door, we'd chosen to limit our sawing to one side of the door rather than going from left to right and back again. As a result, the gaps and exposed drywall/stucco edges were uneven from the left side to the right. We started with the top, filling the top edge out until it was flush with the door by nailing in 3 small boards (1" x 3/4"), then adding a piece identical to the trim piece we'd used on the inside. The sides required some quarter rounds placed flush against the door and caulking to fill them out. Then my mother-in-law did a light coat of paint over all of it. We'll have to go back on the exterior with colors that match the house's colors, but it's already so much better!

Interior. We added the curtain rod too, so now we just need to agree on curtains.

 Close up. Needs some touch-ups still, but much better already.

The exterior. MUCH improved.

Close up of the exterior. This is actually MUCh improved from how it was before but still in need of some finessing. Where the trim piece is above was all exposed wood, and where the quarter round is on the side was exposed drywall, stucco, and chicken wire. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Wall.

Last year, we had the Thankful Tree. This year, I wanted to do something like that again, but different. And what better place to do it than surrounding the new french doors we installed this summer?

Nevermind this totally highlights the fact we need to finish the interior door frames. I am loving having fall all over that wall.

Also, while you're excusing my door frames, pleae also ignore the mess. I DO live with 2 little kids and a husband.

The process is simple. I free-form cut leaves out of red, orange, yellow, and brown construction paper and try to get at least one member of the household to tell me what they are thankful for each day. It gets written down, attributed, dated, and taped to the wall. Some of my favorites include Luca's proclamation that she is thankful for her 'buttocks' and 'Santa' and Rohan's proclamation of thanks for 'pretty awesome'. I can only assume he's being thankful for his own astounding level of awesome with that one. It's sometimes a challenge to get a 'thankful' from the kids each day. Luca sort of gets it, partly because she remembers doing this last year and partly because they do 'thankful' activities all of November in preschool. Mo, on the other hand, stares at you like you just spouted a second nose if you ask him to tell you what he is thankful for. Instead, I ask him what makes him happy or what/who he loves.

But my favorite leaf, hands-down? This little red guy who lost his stem and won Luca's favor. I asked what she was thankful for, and she grabbed the leaf and said she'd write it herself thankyouverymuch. She even added her name (though I cheated and did the date for her, since dates are still a very abstract concept for her):

And just because I am in love with how this looks, another angle on the whole wall of thanks:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weak, Too.

Tonight I started Week 2 of training for January's 5K. Technically, I was supposed to start last night, but my husband wanted to take me to see Breaking Dawn. And when one's husband offers to take one to see a decidedly teenie-bopper chick flick when one and her husband are decidedly NOT teenagers, one must agree. So i skipped night 1 of training last night and did it tonight instead.

Week 1 was a 5 minute walk, then 8 intervals of 60 seconds of jogging followed by 90 seconds of running, then 5 more minutes of walking. By the end of the week, I was definitely comfortable witht hat routine and in no rush to change it up at all. So I was not looking forward to this week, which shifted my routine to 5 minutes of walking, 6 intervals of 90 seconds running and 2 minutes walking, and another 5 minutes of walking.

It wasn't fast. It wasn't easy. It sure as hell was NOT graceful. But I did it.

I think, however, I may be the only poor soul in the world who could GAIN 3 pounds after a week of cooking healthy meals at home and starting a running routine.

Either way. I'm moving forward.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The reason I am training using Couch to 5k? The Color Run! Not much could get me off my ass faster than the idea of being pelted by soft powder in rainbow hues. That's pretty much my dream come true. And to do it on my birthday, joined by friends? Perfection.

With week 1 of training over, however, I've realized I have really far to go. The good news is I'm able to complete the training using this podcast. it's a 5 minute brisk walk for warm-up, then alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of brisk walking 8 times, then 5 more minutes of walking to cool down. I love that I just hit play and the music starts while someone orders me around and tells me when to do what. It's so mindless, which is exactly what I need. If I had to use a stopwatch or a pedometer or any other tool, I'd be a lost cause.

My body, however, hurts. It's mainly my feet, which could probably use some new shoes fitted to my particular needs. But other than the pain, I am really finding myself looking forward to moving on to the next week. The first week definitely challenged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone, so I expect the second week is going to majorly suck ass. But I'm ready!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


2011. I knew from the start it was going to be a pisser. Shooting in Tucson. Vomiting up everything but my pancreas on my birthday. An IRS letter telling us we owed over $500 in unpaid taxes we didn't know we'd missed paying to kick off summer break. Not to mention hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis worldwide. I think 2011 had it in not just for me, but for people all over the world.

But 2012? I predict a banner year. Already, the tide has started to shift for not only my little family, but several people I know and love. And I couldn't be MORE excited to usher in a new year very, very soon.

To kick it off right, I'm going to celebrate my birthday next year by completing my first 5k. Now, please not, I DO NOT run. As in, hate it. As in, would rather do pretty much ANY other type of exercise. As in...guuuuh. But I've always wanted to be the kind of girl who DOES run, so in honor of that dream I agreed to joining a team when my friend invited me. She promised I didn't HAVE to run it, but could walk part or all if I wanted, but I'm always up for a challenge. So run it I will. I began my training this week, and I'm optimistic and also scared entirely shitless about the prospect of completing the training and getting my big old butt out there on my birthday to run. But what has really inspired me, more than the idea of finally getting myself motivated to run a 5k and more than getting older and wanting to accomplish this one little thing to ring in a new year of life, is how the people around me have rallied. My friend invited me to join her team. And when I told some co-workers about it, they decided to run it too. When I told them I'm doing Couch to 5K for training, they agreed to do it at the same time, so we could compare notes and commiserate. My husband is cheering me on and encouraging me to train.

And then, there was the first night of training. We got to the park with the plan being I would run to the podcast while my husband took the kids to the playground, then we'd meet and eat our picnic dinner. As I settled in to my warm-up walk, I realized that (a) I'd somehow deleted the podcast AND all the music except one album and (b) the battery on the iPod was almost dead. Not willing to give up, I put the one album (thankfully one I enjoy) on shuffle and used the iPod stopwatch to time my walking and running intervals. And then my iPod battery died, just as I was about to run past 2 teenaged girls. In the sudden silence, I heard my labored breathing and my loud foot falls as I jogged past them. And I also heard them. I couldn't pick up exactly what they said, but I can only imagine it was something in the vein of "Hope that fat chick doesn't die before she gets back to her car." Or perhaps, "Look at her big old ass jiggling while she tries to run." Or even,  - - -

But then I decided to change my outlook. My ass isn't bouncing, it's clapping in appreciation of my efforts. This body made two beautiful children and sustained them well beyond the womb. It's not perfect at all, but in 10 or 15 years those cute teenage girls will probably look in the mirror and see a reflection more like mine than like the one they see today.

I finished that night's training and moved on to day two. I have one day left and then :poof: like that I am on to week 2. And before I know it, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then the new year, our anniversary...and then the run. And I am excited to start 2012 in that way.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Guess It Makes Sense?

The weather has taken a turn for the colder, and this weekend in particular was pretty cool for Arizona. We decided to meet my mom at the train park near our house for dinner tonight. Midway through eating, Mo announced he needed to pee, and Luca wanted to go too. We walked toward the bathroom, and on the side closest us was the men's room door.

"Are we going into the men's room?" Luca asked.
"No way! I'm not a man. We're going into the women's!" I replied.
"Oh, why? Because the boys' bathroom is stinky?"
"I suppose it might be."
"Right. Because there are a lot of penises and toots in there, right?"

I love this kid so much.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

We Tricked. We Treated. And Now, It's A Downhill Run To Thankful.

Halloween this year could easily be put into the 'extra fun' category. We had just the right mix of excitement over the festivities and simple joy that comes with kids so little that EVERYthing about the holidays is SO MUCH FUN!

As far as I know, Rohan has never watched Super Man cartoons, so imagine my surprise when I asked what he wanted to be for Halloween and his answer was an emphatic "Supeeer Man!". Fortunately, after looking at pictures online, Luca became excited about the idea of being Super Girl, and my mom offered to make their costumes.

Other than the shirts, which were purchased at the store for less than it would have cost her to make something similar, she made their entire costumes, down to the fake boots. In a word? Awesome.

They were a hit in the neighborhood and got SO MUCH candy it's almost criminal. Already I squirreled some away to work and have plans to make even more of it disappear.

But before Trick or Treating, there was a preschool party for a certain honey bee:

Yeah, that's Luca again. Nothing says 'diva 4 year old' like a wardrobe change between the party and the outing. We were worried she'd mess up her Super Girl costume, so we took her to Goodwill to get her a witch costume (her request), but instead she fell in LOVE with this bee hoodie. For under $8, we got her that and the black and gold tutu, and she was set. I had plans to get a yellow shirt and put black stripes on it because a hoodie? in Arizona? on Halloween? Not weather appropriate. It was a high of 91 yesterday afternoon. But life got in the way, and I didn't get her the shirt. Luckily, the teachers at her school have all the kids put on 'normal' clothes after they trick or treat on campus, so we didn't have to worry after all. And Daddy dressed as the Grim Reaper (I really need to improve my Halloween make-up skills...he looks sad, not scary!) which was pretty awesome as well.

All in all, Halloween was great, and the kids already can't wait for next year! Tonight as I was getting him ready for bed, Rohan said, "You just wead da book and den we go walk and say "TRICK OR TREAT!" and den bed?" Optimistic little dude. Love him.

Now we are facing down the barrel of a LOT of holiday prep work and fun. We made a decision to pay off 2 credit lines we have open before year's end, as both have interest-free payments until January 1 (they were for major dental work I needed and insurance barely covered), which means money will be tight for presents this year. We're ok with that. We have SO MUCH already, and I am planning on making a few gifts and keeping it simple for the kids. And I confess I am very much looking forward to kissing 2011 goodbye! We've had a hard run of it in many ways, and January is shaping up in such a way that I think a lot of the things we've been stressed over will be resolved. In addition to paying off 2 credit lines, we had one of those life events that knocks the wind out of you when it happens but ends up being for the best recently. Our beloved day care provider, who watched Luca for 3 years and has watched Mo since he was 4 months old is moving a few hours north of us in mid-November. We were sad and stressed and just anxious when we found out, until my mom insisted we let her take over Mo duties through May when Darrick starts his summer break. This is perfect, because it means we don't have to search for a new provider for the next 6-ish months and after summer break he'll move to preschool and Luca will be in kindergarten. It's also perfect because it's going to mean several hundred more dollars in our pockets every month. Add that to getting rid of 2 credit payments a month, and we're finally going to be seeing a change in our financial situation for the positive.

With all this optimism abounding, I am VERY MUCH looking forward to taking some time off around the holidays to be with my family and to keeping things simple and spending this holiday season witha  focus on building traditions rather than building piles of stuff.

Last year, when November came and it was time to pack away the Halloween in favor of pretending it's winter, we created a Thankful Tree. I think we'll do something similar this year and I'm excited to involve both kids.

Welcome sweet November!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Astronaut Resume.

(A conversation with the 4 year old, courtesy of her daddy)

Luca: "I think maybe when I grow up I want to be an astronaut."
Daddy: "That sounds like a good idea."
L: "I can go to the moon."
D: "Well, first you have to go to school and learn a LOT of things. It takes a lot of book work and studying to be an astronaut."
L: "Mickey and Minnie are astronauts. They go to the moon."
D: "Mickey and Minnie aren't astro physicists, though, sweetie. That's what you would need to be to become an astronaut."
L: "They don't need to be asro missifizz, daddy. They know how to do the hot dog dance."

Well, there you go.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Just Love.

Say Nice Things: Awkward Facebooking, Part 2.

Katie, Thank you for the kind words. I'm still teaching at Name Of School (this is my 27th year) and am also teaching an English 102 class at Name of  College. I encourage you to write your book--it takes work and dedication, but it's definitely a journey worth taking. I see you're a mom--I'm now a grandpa, with a grandson named Z who turns 5 in a couple of weeks. Time flies! Again, thanks for the contact, and I wish you blessings and peace. Sincerely, Mr. W.

(See: This.)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Halloween Craft: Paint By Letters.

We decorated the house for Halloween this week, and when we were finished putting up all our decor, Luca commented we needed more things to hang on the walls. I agreed.

So off we went to the craft store, where I bought some washable paints and two 8" x 10" canvasses.

The next day, we set out to paint, but she wasn't sure where to start. She asked me to draw a picture of a family of pumpkins for her, and said she'd color them in. I took some chalk to the canvas, drawing a 'big daddy' pumpkin, a 'mama' pumpkin, and 2 'kid' pumpkins (Luca and Rohan, didn't you know?). We decided on some gras below them and a night sky with a full moon and clouds above them.

When it came to colors, we didn't want the 4 pumpkins to look like 1 big orange blob, so Daddy Pumpkin was orange, Mommy Pumpkin was red-orange, Luca Pumpkin was pink-orange, and Rohan Pumpkin was yellow-orange. To signify which colors went where, we used the first letters: O, R+O, P+O, and Y+O. Then we put a G in the grass, a B in the sky, and a W in the clouds and moon.

I outlined the first one for her before she started, just so she could get the hang of it. And that she did! I was actually impressed with her ability to stay pretty much in the lines and match the colors properly.

Rohan woke during the process and joined us to create his own 'art', though it was less Halloween themed and more abstract, if you will. Also, messy.

I confess: one of the things I MOST looked forward to about having kids was things like this. I couldn't wait to do art projects and holiday crafts and spend hours painting and making a huge mess and soaping up messy kids in a warm bath when it was all done. And it's truly all I'd built it up to be in my head.

And this? This togetherness they exhibit and the sharing and helping and co-conspiring? Makes it all the sweeter.

When all was said and done, Luca's Halloween artwork was quite the lovely piece to add to our collection.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reasons I Love My Husband.

We went to the mall today with the sole mission of spending a gift card I have on some new work clothes. Our mission was partially successful, and after we were done the kids were hungry and thirsty. They wanted pretzels and cheese, so we obliged, and in an odd turn of events we got 1 for free.

We went to sit on some couches to eat, and spied a woman by herself. Her clothes were a touch wacky and she was rocking back and forth on the couch opposite us. I smiled at her, but she didn't seem to see me.

My husband followed me over and saw the woman. Without a second thought, he said to her, "Hey, would you like a pretzel? We have an extra." To my surprise, she said yes.

When we left the mall, I told him I thought that was nice of him, offering this woman all alone a pretzel. And I told him I was surprised she said yes. Though she was clearly dancing to music only she could hear, she had a pile of bags beside her, so I assumed she had money.

"Those were Wal-Mart bags, honey. I just saw her and figured maybe she deserved to have someone give her something without her begging for it or having to work her butt off to get it."

"That was awesome of you, babe. That's why I married you."

"Well, thanks. But I didn't do it for the recognition. I just thought she might need someone to be nice to her."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Clean Bill.

Luca had her first dentist appointment today. I realize the ADA now recommends you start bringing them in as soon as they start growing teeth outside the gums, but I think that is insane. Which is part of the reason we waited so long. The other parts are:

1) She wasn't on our insurance until August and we're cheap
2) I was scared her teeth might be weak like mine and didn't want to face the 'treatment plans'

I need not have worried. She did AMAZING at the dentist, which was no surprise, actually. It's not that she's a perfect kid or anything, it's just that little pleases Luca as much as impressing adults and making them tell her repeatedly how well behaved and awesome she is. They did a set of x-rays, a cleaning, and an exam, and she sat patiently through the whole thing AND got a clean bill of health! So proud of my girl and the teeth she clearly inherited from her daddy!


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