Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Despite the fact that I am 100% NOT pregnant, I’m in a nesting mood. Yesterday I spent the afternoon rearranging my den. I think I moved my sofa four times before settling on a new location that works. I had it in my mind that after so much moving of furniture, NOTHING would end up back in its original spot. I like the new arrangement, and if I get around to getting my camera out, I might show you some pictures. The problem is that I still need to have a chair reupholstered, have new pillows made for the sofa, and window treatments, too. I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and consult a professional, because I don’t want to get it wrong. I just don’t trust my own taste enough. So, we’ll see what happens there. Merry Christmas to me, right?

Continuing in my domestic fury, I have spent the better part of today cooking. I managed to make Ina Garten’s (you know, The Barefoot Contessa) tomato basil soup, as well as a white bean and chicken chili. (Please note that if you decide to make this soup, make sure you use the proper amount of crushed red pepper, and don’t just dump like, a tablespoon of it in accidentally. I’m just going to mention that it will make your soup very spicy. Even if you try really hard to take out the excess pepper flakes.)

The soup is for my lunches the rest of the week,and the chili is for dinner tonight. For all of us, not just the grown ups. I have declared this a No Kid Food house, as of this week. I am just so over cooking dinner for the kids at 5:30 and then cooking for us at 8pm. So, now the kids are offered the same things we’re having. If they like it, great. If not, too bad. It seems like a tough approach, but honestly, I never got a separate dinner, and I'm happy to report that I’m a pretty adventurous eater. The best part of this new plan is that I’m forced to get our dinners prepared in the afternoons, when Davis is napping, so that hungry, tired kids can eat when they need to, and the adults can eat later. It’s a good system, freeing up some time for me in the evenings, which I like.

Okay, so. Soup and chili are made, kitchen is (mostly) clean. Now I just need to start decorating for Christmas. Last year, something really big and extraordinary happened. I did the unthinkable and bought a pre-lit Christmas tree. Oh, it was such a glorious day. I had fought the urge for years and years, and then finally, I just got fed up with strapping the tree to the top of the car, stringing up all the lights (well, okay, the Husband did these things, but still). We got an amazing deal on a 9’ faux Frazier Fir, and I love, love, love it. It is so nice to know that this year, all we have to do is haul Frazier down from the attic, assemble his 3 pieces, and add ornaments. It really is a huge relief.

One more thing. I somehow got suckered in to hosting appetizers for a neighboorhood progressive dinner this Friday night. I have a babysitter coming to the house to watch the kids while we entertain and then progress to the other houses. Now I just need to come up with a few good h’ours d’ourves, and maybe a festive holiday cocktail.  (Pomegranate Martinis?) For some reason, h’ours ‘dourves are my weak point in cooking, and I just don’t know what do have. There will be a main dish and a dessert and the later houses, so I don’t want to totally fill everyone up. I’m really thinking I’ll just go to Costco and see what already-prepared deliciousness I can pass off as my own. Any ideas from you guys?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Remembering what it’s all about

I posted something a few minutes ago, but it turned out to be the wrong video. So, if you subscribe to me via email, you may get back-to-back emails. sorry.


I usually try to keep it light over here at the Mean Mom Chronicles, but I saw this video last night, and I had to share it.

It’s from a group called Advent Conspiracy, and they want us to get back to the real meaning of Christmas.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Despite the fact that it’s still warm enough for me to run in shorts, and my kids rarely wear jackets or coats, it seems that Christmas is just around the corner. That means, if you want any hot toys for your kids, you better do your shopping yesterday.

I’m making a  concerted effort this year to cut back on the volume of gifts, and focus instead on quality. This morning I put away the horrible plastic toy vanity that Ava got when she was 3, and I cursed the makers of cheap, brightly colored plastic toys.(Little Tykes, I’m talking to you). I really don’t want any more junk coming into my house, and quite frankly, my kids don’t need anything. I am keenly aware of this point, and yet, I know that Christmas will turn into a bit more of an extravaganza than I am planning. Especially when the grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. all start their gifting.

We really don’t buy a lot for our kids during the year. Sure, they get a few things here and there, but they aren’t TOTALLY spoiled with toys. (I know my mother would disagree here, but she should see what other kids have. Mine are downright deprived in comparison.)

So, now that you’re on the edge of your seat, here’s a sampling of what the kids are getting this year:

Ava wants an American Girl doll. In particular, Emily:


Apparently, she also wants some outfits for Emily, and has requested that she and Emily get matching outfits. It’s a shame I can’t sew. American Girl likes to charge a pretty penny for those outfits. She really hasn’t asked for anything else, though, so I think it will be an American Girl Christmas.

She also wants books, and is currently in love with Junie B. Jones. I am not in love with Junie B. She uses words that are banned in my house (like the very risque “stupid”) and speaks with so many grammatical errors it makes my head spin. I am never one to discourage a good reading habit, though, so Junie B. it is. I also picked up the latest Fancy Nancy book at Costco:

fancy nancy

I’m sure I’ll come up with a few more small items for Ava. It’s hard to really know what she’s into these days. She likes games, crafts, books, but actual toys aren’t so popular. Oh, I almost forgot. I think she’s getting a new scooter. In pink, of course:


On to Davis. We already picked up a train table for him at Costco. It was a good deal, and it will probably be just as popular with Ava as it will Davis. It’s this one, or at least a simlar one:


I am also getting him somthing called Stinky the Garbage Truck. Again, this may be more popular with Ava. It does some kind of crude things, like eat matchbox cars and expel them out his back end, but for some reason, I find him kind of endearing.


I may also get him Chuck the Truck:



He’ll get some books, too. And maybe some toy tools. Because he’s a boy. I’ve spent the last 5 years buying princesses, and I’m actually kind of excited to get some boy gear up in here. Don’t worry, though. I’m sure Santa will bring Ava something from Disney’s newest princess, Tangled.

I always struggle with what to buy The Husband. He hardly ever buys stuff for himself, and I just want to get him something fun, that he wouldn’t buy for himself. I’m debating a Wii (because we live in the dark ages and don’t have one), because  I think Ava is old enough for it, too, and I think the 2 of them would enjoy playing it together. Since he doesn’t read my blog, I trust you all to keep this potential purchase a secret. Shhhhhh….

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Battleship Half Marathon, part II

Sorry to leave you on the edge of your seat before. It was time to pick up Ava from school.

Where were we? Oh, yes. Scared to death. I carbed up Saturday night, because that is apparently what you are supposed to do when you are going to run a long race. I had pasta and bread. And lots of water. I spent the evening making a new playlist, then getting everything ready for the next morning. We were lucky to be getting an extra hour of sleep since it was time to fall back, but I was too anxious to get great sleep. I think I did manage about 7 hours, though, so that was good.

I got up and had a light breakfast of toast with peanut butter and banana, along with a small cup of coffee. (You’ll forgive me if I don’t elaborate on why I didn’t want to have my usual 2 cups of coffee.) We headed out at 7am, got parked, took some pictures, and headed for the trolley line. The race started and finished at the North Carolina Battleship Memorial, and parking there is limited. So, they had water taxis and trolleys. Due to the sub-40-degree temps, we opted for the trolley.

Here we are waiting – that’s me on the left, Katie, and her friend (and now mine) Pam – in the Hilton lobby:


So, we get over to the Battleship, and there isn’t much time to kill before we start, which I think is a good thing. There were about 1500 runners, along with some walkers who had started an hour earlier than us.

We line up, and bam, it’s time to run. Immediately, my nerves dissipated, and I felt ready to run. We started out very slowly, because in a group of nearly 1500, it takes a little while for the crowd to disperse and spread out.

Immediately upon exiting the Battleship area, we turned onto the highway (421 maybe?) and headed up a long and hilly bridge. It was the first of 3. I took it slow and still felt strong. My playlist started out with “Like a G6”, which is just a great race day song. The good tunes kept coming. Like I said, the playlist was new, and it was great not to know which songs were coming up. I had 3 hours of music at the ready, and I was feeling good.

Before I knew it, I looked down and we had been running 25 minutes. I was nearly 3 miles in. At this point, we were running on cobblestone, which was a bit uncomfortable, but it didn’t last long. I was wearing long sleeves, with a tank top underneath, and by mile 4, I was hot. I somehow managed to unpin my race number, re-pin it to my tank top, remove my iPod arm band, take off my long sleeved shirt, tie it around my waist, and re-secure my iPod, all while still running. Sadly, while doing this, I somehow paused the timer on my Garmin (GPS running watch), and I didn’t notice it for about 1/2 mile. So, from 5 mile point on, my watch was about 1/2 mile and 5 minutes behind. Better behind than ahead, though.

We trekked on, and I just kept feeling so good. So strong. I couldn’t believe I was running a half marathon. There were several points in the race where I almost started crying, not because I was sad, or because it was hard, but because it was just that emotional. Or cathartic, maybe. Whatever it was, the whole thing was a pretty big deal to me.

Between miles 5 and 7, my feet were hurting. Especially my right foot. It had given me a few problems during my 10- mile run, and I learned on that run that stopping makes it worse. So, I powered through. After a little while, my foot either went totally numb, or the pain just went away. Thank goodness.

Before long, I passed the sign indicating that we had finished 7 miles. The second I saw that sign, “99 Problems” by Jay-Z came on my iPod, and I just took off. I could see from my time that I was on track not only to make my goal time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, but maybe even to beat it.

Miles 9-11 were the hardest, physically and mentally. My legs were tired, and I kept seeing people around me walking. And then, around mile 12, we had two big hills. BIG. But the end was in sight, and I was not about to slow down. “Empire State of Mind” was playing, and I was thinking about all those NYC Marathoners, the Chilean miner who was running, and I knew I couldn’t stop until I crossed the finish line. So, after 2:07:54, I finished. I was shocked that I had beat my goal time. And I beat it by almost 8 minutes! Aside from the 2 children I birthed, I don’t know that I have ever felt prouder of myself than I did after that race. It was truly exhilerating. And I loved it.

Here are a few post-race shots. Please note that in addition to our nice medals, we were also awarded beer.



While I can promise you that I will not do a full marathon, I will definitely do another half-marathon sometime. Which means that I’ll keep running. But I still don’t think of myself as a runner. Isn’t that silly?

Battleship Half Marathon, part 1

So sorry for my absence of late. Lots and lots going on around here, I guess. Of course, none of it is all that exciting. None, that is, except for this little 13.1 mile run I did on Sunday.

Now, for some of you more athletic types, this may not seem like such a big deal. But for me, it was quite a feat. I have never been a runner. I have always capital-letters LOATHED running. I could never understand why running just seemed to come so easily for some, but was such a challenge for me. I could always go and work hard in some gym class for an hour, but run a mile? No, thanks.

But after Davis was born, I wasn't able to get to the gym a whole lot. I knew I needed to get the baby weight off, and my dear friend Katie had recently taken up running. She and I had always shared a mutual hatred of the sport, and I think we have similar fitness levels, so I started feeling kind of motivated to give it a try. Plus, despite how much I hated it, I really wanted to find out if I could learn to like running a little. Or at least not feel as though I was going to die 2 minutes in.

I guess it was last fall that I really started running regularly. I didn’t have a plan. I just ran, then walked when I needed to. Next thing I knew, I was regularly running 3 miles. Then 4. And even 5. I think it was back in May that I did 6 for the first time, and that was huge for me. It never really got easy. Just easiER.

At the end of the summer, Katie told me she wanted to do the Battleship Half Marathon in Wilmington. I knew I wanted to try that distance, so I decided I’d sign up and train. Katie already had one half marathon under her belt, and she was a huge motivator for me.

So, twelve weeks of training later, the big day arrived. We decided a while back to make a girls’ weekend of it, and it was so nice to get away. We shopped, we dined out, we just did what we wanted. But by Saturday afternoon when we went to pick up our race packets, I was so nervous. I didn’t think I would make it. The weather was cold, my last long run had not really gone well, and I just didn’t think I was prepared.

Here we are after picking up our packets and getting our numbers. Note nervous smile. And wind. Lots of wind.


To be continued…..