Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Relay for Life (subtitle: Can you spare $10?)

Every year, there are thousands of Relay for Life events around the world. Teams of people camp out at tracks (at high schools, etc.) and for 12 hours, at least one team member must be on the track at all times. Team members raise funds, which go to the American Cancer Society. There's a LOT of money going toward cancer research thanks to these events!

I'll be participating in a Relay for Life event on May 13-14. I have a $200 fundraising goal. The minimum donation is only $10, and I would be so honored if you could spare that amount (or of course more if you'd like.)

The Engineer's father died of heart disease and cancer. My grandfather died of cancer. I have a friend currently fighting cancer. And another friend is a cancer-free survivor; she's joining the same relay team as I am. So--like many of us--I have plenty of people to walk in honor of and in memory of.

I can't post the link to my fundraising page here, because it has too much personal information on it. But if you'd like to donate, you can email me at, and I'll send you the link. Or comment here, making sure to include your email address if it's not linked to your Blogger profile, and I'll email you.

I really hope to meet my fundraising goal, so while I'm short of it, you can expect to hear more about this event. Whether you can donate or just give your encouragement, I appreciate it. Thanks for helping fight cancer!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

12 seconds of Zoodle

Zoodle is three years old today! To celebrate the funny, sweet little guy that he is, here's a little 12-second conversation I had with him yesterday:

And IS hard to be mad at him when he's being such a cutie patootie.

If you're in the mood to be touched in your heart instead of your funny bone, you can check out my post from one year ago today, when I shared a poem I wrote about Zoodle's birth. It's one of my favorite things I've written.

Zoodle, you gave Daddy and me a son; you gave Chickie a brother; and you give the world joy. Happy third birthday!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Race Report: 10K

Today was an exciting day. It was my first time running a race for the second time.

I think I confused myself with that sentence. What I mean is, last year I ran a 10K, and this year, I did the very same race. It's a good way to gauge my improvement as a runner since it was the same route, similar time of year, etc.

Last year it was the first time I'd ever run 6.2 miles. I was so thrilled to get a time of 1:07:45 (10:55/mile.) A brief blog post about that run is here.

In the 11 1/2 months since that race, I've trained a lot. I had this hope that I could do a 10K in under an hour, but I hadn't dared to make it an official goal. I really just didn't know if I was ready to go that fast.

But I pushed myself today, and when the finish line was fairly close, I saw 59 minutes on my watch. So I pushed harder, and my final time was...


I am so, so happy that I did it in under an hour!

After my last half marathon, I told myself I needed to stop looking at rankings. I've always been a slow runner. I'd feel great about my time in a race, and then realize I was ranked way below the median in my gender/age group. But today I felt like I might be happy with my rank, so I looked it up.

(Click to enlarge image. Or just read the next paragraph.)

In my age group (women, 30-34) I was 281/867. That's in the top 33%! Woo hoo!!!
I was in the top 30% of all women and the top 46% overall.

I honestly thought that my body was just wired to be slow. Well, there are certainly genetic components to speed, and I have no goal to run a 10K in 30 minutes. It ain't gonna happen. But I've realized that consistent training can take you further than you thought you could go. Being in the top third doesn't change my worth as a person or a runner; but it is a really sweet reward for the early mornings spent running.

The Engineer ran this year too, and he did awesome, because he rocks. He rarely even does 10K distances, but my former-high-school-cross-country-champ of a husband is one of those guys who is genetically wired to go fast. Plus, he's a triathlete, so while he doesn't run as often as I do, he keeps himself very fit. I'm so proud of him. His time was 47:55 (114/637 in his age group)!

Because we were both running, we didn't get pictures of each other. So instead of seeing a photo of me, imagine a 5'9" woman, slender yet voluptuous, with gorgeously-rippling leg muscles, running like a gazelle.

And then look behind her, at the skinny, 5'2" chick, happily doing her thing. That one's me.

Running is really, really fun.

You should try it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

One Bad Mother Runner

The Engineer and I are both doing a 10K tomorrow. (Notice I didn't say, "doing a 10K together." See, he'll finish about 15 minutes before I do, so even if we were in the same starting group--which we aren't--he'd leave me in the dust at the starting line!)

So anyway, we're both going to separately run 10 km (6.2 miles) in the morning, and today I stopped to pick up our race packets. There was also an expo, and I stopped at the One More Mile booth to check out their stuff. One More Mile sells really fun, affordable running gear.

I ended up buying a magnet ($4) for my car. This is overdue considering I "earned" it over three and a half months ago!

13.1 mile sticker half marathon

I also got two new sweatbands ($7 each). Now, sweatbands have come a loooong way since the ugly terrycloth things people wore in the 1970s. Today's are made of lightweight, wicking fabric...and some of them even have really fun messages on them.

This is me wearing the first one, making my "tough face."One Bad Mother Runner sweatband headband

And me wearing the second headband, making my "crazy face." (I seriously didn't even know I could do this with my eyes. Weird.)
Running is cheaper than therapy sweatband headband

One More Mile has a lot of other funny slogans on their shirts, magnets, headbands, etc. Some other examples are...
  • Will Run For Chocolate (or Beer, Wine, Ice Cream, Coffee, Margaritas)
  • Running Is a Mental Sport and We Are All Insane
  • I'm Running My Mass Off
  • May the Course Be With You

I definitely recommend checking out One More Mile for witty running and walking clothes & accessories that won't break the bank.

(As cool as it would be to get a bunch of free stuff from One More Mile, they have no idea who I am, and this is not a sponsored post.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Big day...big girl

Yesterday was kindergarten registration day. I'm a little confused as to how my little, 7 pound 4 ounce baby girl is suddenly old enough for kindergarten. Imagine how I'll feel in August when it's time for school to start!

The Engineer came home early so we could all go together. We arrived at the school, where Chickie posed for a quick pic at the location where she'll spend lots of time...possibly for the next six years.


Inside, once I got to the front of the line, I was asked, "Do you have all your documents?" (I was required to bring Chickie's Social Security card, birth certificate, and immunization record; The Engineer's and my IDs; and a utility bill as proof of residence. With all the paperwork, I felt like I was enrolling her in the military, not kindergarten.)

I held out the folder I'd brought with everything, and they said, "Okay, we'll make copies."

"Oh, I already made copies," I told them.

Well, that simple statement made me the hero of the day. "I want to remember your face," one of the ladies said. "You're the organized one!" (Good thing she can't see the clutter in my house.) I sure hope everyone at the school is that easy to please!

While I filled out forms, Chickie and Zoodle colored. When I finished and got everything approved, Chickie didn't want to leave--she loves coloring.


Zoodle wanted to pose for a photo too....


Then we all headed to the Golden Arches to celebrate.


It still doesn't feel quite real since school doesn't start for five more months. But they gave us a handout with advice on how to help your child adjust on the first day of school. When I saw the part that says that if your child cries on the first day, you need to leave anyway, that made me get tears in my eyes. Funny thing is, I seriously doubt Chickie will cry. She's way too excited. But while Mama's really excited too, I'll be battling other emotions along the way!

One more step toward adulthood for Chickie. (Sigh.)

One more step toward the the freedom of an empty nest for Mommy and Daddy. (Score!)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's blogilicious blog by clicking the button below.

My words:

When did he get so big?

(My thoughts upon seeing the photo I posted of Zoodle yesterday. I think his legs have grown 10 inches in the last month. Nearly, anyway.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

5 years old, 5 kilometers (video)

A couple of months ago, Chickie and I went out for a 5 km (3.1 mile) run. I was pushing Zoodle in the double jogging stroller. Honestly, I pushed Chickie too hard. In the middle, she was exhausted and frustrated, so she rode in the stroller for about half a mile. And at the end, she said she never wanted to go that far again.

Fast forward to yesterday. Chickie informed me she wanted to try that long run again. See, challenging runs are kind of like natural childbirth. You may say it's the last time right after you finish, but then the pain memories fade, and the miracle remains, and you realize that not only was it worth it; you might want to experience it again. So apparently Chickie's pain amnesia had enough time to set in, and she was ready to try again!

This time, she completed the entire 3.1 miles! I am so proud of her! We utilized a 2 minute run/1 minute walk strategy (with some extra walking times thrown in here and there.) It was really challenging for her, but she stuck with it. (And while the pace was twice as slow as my usual 5K pace, I was pushing Zoodle in the jogging stroller, so I got a pretty good workout too.)

When we finished, a neighborhood kid looked at Chickie and commented, "She looks tired!" Well, she wasn't the only one....


Once Zoodle was settled in his room, I interviewed Chickie about her long run. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Money, money, money

Recently I've been realizing I haven't talked to my kids much about money. I want them to grow up realizing the connection between how hard we work, and how much we can spend, and how much we can give. I want them to see that we can't buy everything we want.

A couple of years ago I blogged about the Fox TV show Secret Millionaire. The show didn't last long, but it's now been picked up by ABC. There are some changes, but the premise is the same. A millionaire goes "undercover" in a poverty-stricken area and finds places to volunteer. After a week, he or she gives away a portion of his/her fortune to people and organizations that need it.

Today I was watching an episode, and Chickie joined me in watching the last few minutes of it. She had a lot of questions. And I realized, this show is fantastic for teaching kids about money. We were able to talk about several concepts, including these:
  • Some people don't have enough money to buy the things they need.
  • We are very blessed that God's given us enough money for the things we need and some of the things we want. The reason we have this money is because Daddy went to lots of school and works hard. (And Mommy brings in a little money too.)
  • We need to be careful not to spend more money than we have.
  • One of the good ways we can use our money is by giving it to those who need it.
When I originally blogged about the show, I wrote about it giving me "a good cry." It's still an emotional show for me to watch, and I love how touching it is. But now I'm realizing that it also gives me the opportunity to have great, educational conversations with my kids. I'd say it's a pretty awesome television show.

You can find Secret Millionaire episodes on Hulu.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Twitter Account

This post is specifically for you who are Twitter users.

For a long time, my old Twitter account has had a bug. My Tweets aren't included in searches, so if I use a hashtag and someone searches for that hashtag, my Tweet doesn't show up.

I've decided I'm tired of it, and from what I've read, the best solution is to create a new Twitter account.

So I'm transferring my Tweeting over to my new account, @CBethTweet. I'll be posting my Tweets on both accounts for awhile, but eventually I'll only be on the new account. Feel free to un-follow my original account (@cbethblog) when you follow the new one so that you don't get double Tweets.



Zoodle is almost three, and his vocabulary is great. His pronunciation is...improving. But there are still a lot of sounds he can't say. That leaves us with a kid who says a whole lot of things in a very cute way.

Without further ado, here is Mommy's translation of things Zoodle says:

What Zoodle says: Mommy, can I kit in yo wap?
Direct translation: Mommy, can I sit in your lap?
What he really means: Hey, mom, I need to poop but I don't really want to. Can I sit in your lap and squirm around a bunch to see if I can postpone the inevitable?

What Zoodle says: I'm weddy to take a nap. Can you cubbuh me up?
Direct translation: I'm ready to take a nap. Can you cover me up?
What he really means: I might take a nap. Or I might just want you to come to my room. And I might ask you to come up seven more times before I finally go to sleep. Or before I decide I don't really want to sleep after all.

What Zoodle says: Can I hab kum gokik wi' a top and a bow?
Direct translation: Can I have some Goldfish with a top and a bowl?
What he really means: I want Goldfish crackers in a bowl with a top on it--you know, one of those tops that has an opening so I can get the Goldfish out. And I might be perfectly happy with the bowl you choose. Or I might decide to keep you on your toes by yelling, "NOT THAT ONE!" Because sometimes, Mommy, you kinda stink at choosing bowls.

What Zoodle says: Mommy, I wike beank now.
Direct translation: Mommy, I like beans now.
What he really means: Mommy, I've always liked beans. But recently I decided I didn't want to eat them anymore because Chickie doesn't eat them. But then I realized, hey, beans are good! If you think my taste buds change quickly, Mom, rest assured--my opinions change even more quickly.

What Zoodle says: Can I hab kum kawwad?
Direct translation: Can I have some salad?
What he really means: Can I have some salad? (No, really. I couldn't believe it either when he started making this request last week. An example of Chickie's good influence on her brother!)

What Zoodle says: I wub oo too.
Direct translation: I love you too.
What he really means: We may have had a good day, and we may have had a bad day, but at the end of the day, you're my mommy. And I'm glad you're here.

The feeling's mutual, buddy.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's blog (jazz hands!) by clicking the button below.

My words:

Dinosaurs doing gymnastics on Chickie's wall.

Remember when I told Chickie I was going to paint dinosaurs on her wall? months ago?

Well, I suffer from undiagnosed decoration procrastination. But her wall is finally decorated with dinosaurs, and since Chickie is passionate about her gymnastics class, I chose that as the theme. (Chickie said the yellow dino is her, and she specifically asked that I paint her teacher as a brachiosaurus. And no, Blogger spell check, I do NOT mean "brontosaurus." Sigh.)



I really do think it's pretty awesome having a 5-year-old who loves pink and dinosaurs. I think I'll keep her.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Story lines

These lines tell a story...


...of smiles outnumbering frowns.
...of excitement outpacing anxiety.
...of joy overpowering despair.

As they grow deeper, may they say the same things,
Only louder.
My unique, beautiful story lines.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A day with no kids

Friday The Engineer took off work, and I had all day to myself. I started by going to Toastmasters, a public speaking club I used to attend before I had kids. It was nice to visit my old friends there. Then I shopped for a baby shower, picked up real estate supplies I needed, stopped at the house I have listed, had a work-related meeting, picked up much-needed touch-up paint for our house, had lunch at Pei Wei by myself, and went grocery shopping. By that time it was late afternoon. The Engineer had taken the kids to a friend's house, so when I went home I had more time to myself there.

It was truly a treat to be able to do so many things--necessary things and fun things--without the responsibility of two small kids. But a couple of hours into the day, I found myself trying to figure out why I felt a little sad.

And I realized...I missed my kids.

As much as they (quite frankly) annoy me sometimes (okay, often), with their demands and their bickering and their age-appropriate-yet-ridiculous tantrums, when they're around they keep me on my toes. They keep my mind active. They keep me company. Alongside the annoying stuff, they also make me think and smile and giggle. They make my heart swell with pride. They bring me joy.

When they're not around, it's quiet. A little too quiet. As I drove around town, my mind was in a bit of a fog. And I remembered, I often felt that way before I had kids. I was a full-time real estate agent for three years, working from home, and while I loved my career, I was often lonely...just like I was Friday.

I appreciated my day without kids. I enjoyed it. But it wasn't quite as perfect as I thought it would be.

On the other hand, spending that much time away from my kids reminded me just how wonderful they are. It reminded me that they're pretty great company. It reminded me just how blessed I am to get to spend so much time with them. And those reminders are great antidotes to mommy burn-out.

Hmm...maybe it was a perfect day after all.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

A question about toffee

The other day I came across a recipe for Chocolate Covered Coffee Toffee. Zoe, who posted the recipe, is the same Zoe Francois who co-wrote Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

With a name like "Chocolate Covered Coffee Toffee," I didn't really have a choice but to bookmark the recipe and try it out, did I?!

So Tuesday I gathered my ingredients and got to work. I'm not normally a candy-maker, but Zoe's recipe, full of detailed instructions and photos, gave me confidence. I was thrilled with the results!


I proudly shared the delicacy with The Engineer that night. As he sat eating it, he said, "I just have one question about this."

Uh oh, I thought. What does he think is wrong with it?

"Why," he continued, "did it take you so many years to make this? It's scary how good it is."

I smiled, and knew all the stirring and dipping had been worth it!

I'm not going to post the recipe here--you're much better off with Zoe's excellent tutorial at her blog. This recipe is very doable. It takes awhile, but it's not technically difficult. Here are a few things I learned:
  • At the store you will probably find the molasses with the maple syrup, in the breakfast foods aisle. Don't be like me, looking repeatedly in the honey section and the baking aisle before finally seeing the syrups, checking there, sighing because it's not there, finally seeing it stuck behind the corn syrup on the very top row, and having to ask for help to reach a jar. Sigh. (But even if you do have to go through all those steps, the final product is worth it!)
  • I followed the microwave instructions for the chocolate instead of using a double boiler. It worked great. (If you do want to use a double boiler but don't have one, you can set a metal bowl in the opening of a pot. Put water in the pot first.)
  • When you're done cooking the toffee and it's spread out and scored, just fill your pot with water, and throw the wisk in there too. Let it soak while you dip the toffee in chocolate. The water will loosen up the leftover toffee, making clean up easy.
  • Correct temperature is really important in making the toffee. I tried to find a candy thermometer at our Super Wal-Mart and they didn't seem to have one. So I used my meat thermometer. It's the type with a long metal probe that connects to the digital unit. Here's a reenaction of how I got the thermometer probe to stay in the hot toffee without falling in completely or touching the bottom of the pot:


    I'm pretty proud of my thermometer/pasta server setup! But I'm planning on buying a candy thermometer that clips to the side of the pot; it'll be much simpler.

If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out! I'd like to try making half of it with milk chocolate next time.

Bon appetit!