Saturday, December 29, 2012

Road Trip

Because it's not a proper road trip without stopping at a truck stop Hooters at 9PM.  And while I drink beer Currier is at the bar learning magic tricks and Rya is with the waitress learning how to hula hoop.  I'll take my mother of the year award now!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas was over in a blink.  The kids woke around 6AM and had all their gifts and stocking goodies torn open by 6:30AM.  It was a mass frenzy of pure awesomeness.  Rya got a bike, a baby doll and a highchair.  Currier got a medal detector and a cage for a bearded dragon.  Santa left a note saying that live animals aren't allowed on his sleigh so he left some money for Currier to go pick out his own bearded dragon after we all return from our trip to Disney.  With Disney being part of their Christmas gift, the holiday isn't over for us until January 14th.   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cookies & Books

I somehow got elected as "Party Mom" of Currier's class and you know I take this job seriously!  Today I helped the children decorate snowman sugar cookies.  

I also got to see the kids do their Christmas book exchange.  I'm happy to report that Currier's book was one of the cool ones and not one of the "Ugh, I already have that stupid book!"

Festival of Lights

We went and saw the Festival of Lights on James Island for the 4th year in a row.  It's become a little family tradition and each year it seems to get better and better.  The kids sat on the roof of the car while Trent kept a hold of their feet through the sun roof.  The kids thought that was so cool.    

We drove through the park twice while singing along to Christmas music in the car.  If this doesn't get you in the holiday spirit nothing will!  The bottle of wine helped us along too!    

We took at brief stop at the festival just long enough to ride the Merry-Go-Round, Climb the rock climbing wall and roast some marshmallows.  

Bedtime Stories

Sometimes Currier shows his softer side and offers to read Rya her bedtime story.  NOTE: The kid is getting pretty good at reading! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

No More Double Digits

This morning I ran 18 miles and that will be my last double digit training run before the marathon.  My physical therapist diagnosed me with IT band friction syndrome which is a common running injury caused by over training.  It stems from the hip but the pain is in the knees and it's sharp and angry!  I need to give my knees some time to heal before the big race.  It's getting close and admittedly I AM SO SICK OF RUNNING!  I saw this rainbow on my run and it couldn't have come at a better time.  I was ready to give up around mile 14 but this sight kept me going.  I just can't quit now.  I've come so far.    

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Traditions

Today we took the kids downtown Charleston to do some holiday window shopping and to check out the amazing train set displayed in the prestigious Hotel Charleston Place.   Window shopping turned into roars of laughter over a naked mannequin's butt in one window.  I'm learning that my children share my sense of humor in all things inappropriate.  We ended our fun little day at the Market Pavilion Rooftop bar drinking Shirley Temples because it was too warm for hot chocolate.  This is a tradition I'd love to repeat each year!    

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Flag Football Season Begins

Today was the first football game of the season.  This is Currier's fourth year playing flag football on Daniel Island and I gotta brag a little that he's getting really good! 

And this is Rya's first year playing flag football and I gotta admit she's pretty good at NOT listening and just fooling around! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Training Setback

This morning I was supposed to run four miles for my training and I couldn't even make it one mile.  My knee was KILLING me so I called my doctor from the gym parking lot crying and he squeezed me in for a cortisone shot to the knee cap.  I've been instructed to stay off my knee for four days and slowly resume training.  This is a pretty major setback when the marathon is less than a month away. 

While I was getting the shot I asked Rya to please sit quietly and watch my purse.  A few hours later I found this self portrait on my phone proving that she stole a piece of my gum out of my purse.  Little shit! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Without further adieu, I present the Balent family holiday photograph.  I know it's a bit disappointing that we're not wearing matching sweaters but the Balent budget did not allot for such silly luxuries this year.  You have to admit that this is still an impressive shot with all six of us actually looking at the camera (Even if Trent looks like he just smelled a fart!).  It only took a half hour of sweating, squirming, swearing and yelling—“Can we all just act like we love each other for five freakin’ seconds!?"—to get this winning shot!  * Photo taken by Laura Hudson and edited by Ella Gamba.    

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our wacky family to yours! 

Gingerbread Village

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Gingerbread houses will turn your kids into cracked out assholes.  But oh what fun!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

16 Miles

This morning I ran 16 miles.  I have definitly entered the masochism part of marathon training.  I'd be a liar if I said it wasn't brutal.  The run left me with bloody toenails and nipples (yes, my boobs chafed!), blisters between most of my toes and a very sore right knee.  However, the sunrise over the Isle of Palms makes these long, early runs so worth it. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Santa 2012

We took the kids to Towne Center last night to see Santa.  Currier asked for a bearded dragon (YES, the live kind—We steered him away from his original wish for an iPod Touch and now this is what he wants!  Ugh.) and a medal detector and Rya asked for a pink bike with a horn and a baby doll in a high chair. I asked for extra refills on my xanax and D batteries in bulk.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Favorites—New-to-Me Kitchen Island

My friend, Jen, delivered this beautiful kitchen island to my house on Thanksgiving Day because she had no where to put it in her new house and she thought it would look great in my kitchen.  She was right.  Not only is she extremely generous but she is also kind and the the second funniest person I know.  I'm the first.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Trot 2012

Today I ran my 3rd Turkey Trot in Charleston.  For the past three years we've celebrated Thanksgiving the day before so that I can run the 5K downtown and return to leftovers and then relaxing and Christmas decorating. 

I'm so thankful for a family that is willing to trade the traditional Thanksgiving to support me while I run.  Happy Thanksgiving.   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Zebra Turkey

I fought her on the zebra body, "Turkeys are brown, Rya." and she insisted this is how she wanted her turkey.  Gotta say I'm pretty impressed at her creativity here.  Happy Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Come On Barbie, Let's Go Party

 We had a Barbie themed party to celebrate Rya's 4th birthday. 
I handmade all the decorations and food myself because I'm kind of awesome like that and Pintrest makes me feel like I can do all sorts of crafty shit. 
I stole the idea off Pintrest to make a life size Barbie box for Rya and her friends to pose in and it was a huge hit. 
The girls divided their time between playing Barbies upstairs in Rya's room and doing crafts in the living room.  Meanwhile the mommies chugged beers sipped cocktails in the kitchen. 
If Rya's wishes were anything like her mother's, she just wished that someday she'll see a live unicorn!
Rya received a ridiculous amount of presents including a ceramic doll that my grandmother gave me when I was a little girl.   
Later in the day, some clothes came off and things got a little wild which is the International sign of a kick ass party!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dear Four-Year-Old Rya D.,

This year I quit my job as an editor to stay home with you. Although I really enjoyed working for Arcadia, especially sitting in a quiet office all day and fooling around all day working with some of the best co-workers I've ever had, I enjoy spending my day with you WAY more. I doubt I'll ever regret my decision to spend more time with you. By the time you wake each morning, Currier is off to school and Daddy is on his way to work. You yell from the top of the stairs as I sip my coffee, "Mom, is Currier and Daddy gone?" I yell back, "Yes, they're gone!" You beam, "Just us girls!" Oh Rya, I can't tell you enough how much I love our girl time! We usually eat a quick breakfast and then rush to the gym to get to my class on time (or a few minutes late—we are Balents after all!) You never complain though. I think you love the gym just as much as I do—it’s a routine and an opportunity to socialize. After the gym we usually run an errand or two and it's effortless to have you tag along.  After lunch it’s quiet time (I snooze for 30 minutes or so while you watch Power Rangers—thank you so much for letting me nap!  Currier NEVER let me do this.  I owe you big time—and here it is in writing!) and then we usually do a craft or paint our nails before Currier gets off the bus.  Our days together are simple and in the moment never appear to be anything special but as I sit here writing about them I hope you look back on these times with as much adoration as I do. 
Next week you’re being tested by the State of South Carolina for a special needs program.  Two years ago you were recommended for the program by your pediatrician and the State funded your speech therapy because you were diagnosed developmentally delayed (that’s just a fancy way of saying late talker) and you were released from the program last year.  Well, unfortunately since I took you out of daycare to stay home with me you’ve relapsed quite a bit (Okay, a lot!  No one can understand anything you say except for me!), so now it’s me that is recommending you for the program because as much as it kills me I know it is what is best for you.  Being a mother is the most rewarding and most heart breaking experience of my life.  I hope one day you get to experience EXACTLY what I’m talking about because it is beautiful and it is consuming and will make you lose sleep with worry and it will make you feel love explode inside your chest.  I recommend this experience to everyone.   
This has been a tough year for our family.  It started off with our dog, Paolo, breaking his back followed by both of our cars dying within weeks of each other and then things just kept unraveling after that—how do you say financial shitshow politely?  There is no nice way of saying this year sucked and yet I look back at how you handled all the stress, crying, arguing and heartbreak in our house and it makes me proud how adaptable and positive you are in crappy situations.  It’s a good disposition, my friend, because these times come and go throughout life and learning to cope through laughter is key.  Trust me—just keep laughing. 
The years are slipping by and that is why I’m so happy I was able to slow down and just be with you.  Sure, most days aren’t very exciting and they’re just spent idly at home but truthfully I don’t have ANY memories of my mother outside the home and I am forever comforted by those impressions.  I lost my mother when I was a little girl and I can only hope I am giving you half of the love that my mother gave me.  If that is so, you will be just fine, my sweet, darling, quirky, beautiful, smart four-year-old! 
All my love,

Monday, November 12, 2012

1st Grade

I just attended a parent/teacher conference and Currier received a lot of praise from his 1st grade teacher, Ms. Foster.  She said, "He is kind, smart, funny and makes friends easily."  If she had to say something negative about Currier it would be that he takes a little longer than his classmates to complete assignments.  She went on to say that's not necessarily a bad thing.  "He takes longer because he's so meticulous about this work and won't turn it in unless it's just right."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Training Continued

Yesterday I ran for the first time since the half marathon.  It was just six miles and it's very strange to me that I'm at the point in my training that six miles is an "easy, short run".  It wasn't too long ago that six miles was a long, scary run to me.  I've got two months left of training for the full marathon and now the long, scary runs are really starting.  Next week I'm up to 14 miles and it only gets scarier from there.  Thank God the sunrises are so pretty!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Savannah Rock n Roll Half Marathon

I ran my first half marathon over the weekend.  On Friday Trent, the kids and I drove two hours to Savannah and picked up my race packet from the convention center and then checked into the Holiday Inn at the airport (at $175.00 a night it was the cheapest hotel I could find for race weekend!).  The hotel had an indoor pool and jacuzzi so that made the kids happy and it had a Cracker Barrel across the street so that made me happy (Hello carb loading pancakes!).  After swimming and eating, we settled in our beds for an evening of rest and TV.  In the middle of watching Sponge Bob Squarepants, Currier stands up on the bed, pulls his pajama bottoms down, waves his hand in front of his penis as if presenting a five course meal and says, "Hey Everyone, feast your eyes on this!"  Trying not to burst out laughing I said, "Currier, that's inappropriate where did you learn that?"  He said he just saw it earlier in a movie preview except the kid bent over and pointed to his butt. "I thought it would be way funnier to pull my pants down and do it to my pee pee!" he said.  He was right!  The next morning Trent and the kids slept in while I got up at 5AM, ate a high protein breakfast and took a shuttle with twenty strangers to the start line.  Hardly a word was spoken on that dark and early ride into the city but the van reeked of Biofreeze, nerves, adrenaline and fear.  Once I got to the start line I met some members of the Tri Sports run club for one last pep talk from our trainers, Shelley and Peggy, and my nerves seemed to calm a bit.  "Just have fun", they said.  "You trained four months for this race.  The hard part is over.  Now just have fun!"   

And that I did!  Who would have thought running 13.1 miles could be so much fun!?  There was a live band at every mile and the spectators were an absolute riot!  Some held signs that read, “Don’t stop—that’s what she said!” & “This is the worst parade ever!” & "If running were easy they would call it your mom!" & " Go complete stranger Go!"  Since this was a marathon to benefit the American Cancer Society, many of the runners ran in honor of or in memory of loved ones and many cancer survivors themselves ran—the motivation and inspiration was too awesome and emotional to describe.  I ran this one for my mom who battled a brain tumor for five years before it took her life at the age of 43.   

Crossing that marathon finish line was an incredible feeling.  My time as 2:46 which I know isn't a record breaker but not bad for a first timer with a knee injury.  I followed the trainers' advice and took my time at a 12 minute mile pace, hydrated at every single water stop and even stopped and waited in line and peed at mile five. 
The kids thought I won the race since I got a medal (I'm okay with letting them think that) and Trent couldn't stop telling me how proud he was of me (I'm also okay with that!).  After a few race beers at the finish line, we headed back home to Charleston.  On the way home, I was talking on the phone with my friend Stacey and telling her all about the funny signs that spectators were holding and Currier was obviously listening and taking in every word because after I hung up the phone he said, "If running were easy they would call it my mom!"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tante Auguri Bruco

Bruco turned 9 years old today and we threw him a surprise party.  We've been planning this party all week and you have no idea how hard it was to keep this a secret from Bruco.  It all paid off though because I really think Bruco was genuinely surprised.  Look at him!  Doesn't it look like he had no idea it was his birthday?  Buon compleanno my pain-in-the-ass-neurotic-Italian-Greyhound. We love you and couldn't imagine our family without you, you naughty naughty dog. 

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat was another success this year.  The kids came home with over flowing buckets proclaiming, "We are rich!"  Those riches have turned them into giant cracked out assholes today.  And it's turned me into a powerless PMSing bloated mess.  Yay for Halloween! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Seizures

On Saturday Currier had two seizures.  He complained of having an upset stomach and went into the bathroom and a few minutes later Trent and I heard a loud crash.  I found Currier on the floor with his head propped against the wall and his eyes rolled back into his head.   He woke as soon as I lifted him and then he turned pale and clammy.  As I was wetting a cold cloth and Trent was getting a thermometer, Currier face planted into the bathroom door and passed out cold again.  He didn’t lose control of his bowels and he didn’t have convulsions this go around.  So although still scary it wasn’t the full blown seizures like he’s had in the past so we felt comfortable caring for him at home and not taking him to the ER.

Today I got a call from the school nurse saying that Currier wasn’t communicating normally and he complained that his brain hurt so Trent rushed to pick him up and we all met at doctor’s office.  After an exam, blood test and urinalysis, Dr. Davis still thinks these are febrile seizures and not epilepsy.   Currier should grow out of these episodes just as I did as a child.  So permission granted to carry on and TRICK or TREAT!   
*At the doctor's office, Currier was obviously getting a lot of attention so Rya interuppted Dr. Davis and said, "Hey when everyone is done talking about Currier can we all talk about me?"  She is her mother's daughter.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Calling Penny

While Hurricane Sandy was pounding the Northeast, Rya was concerned for Penny's safety.  She had Paolo call on the Barbie phone and thank goodness Penny was safe and sound in Beverly, Massachusetts. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Festivities 2012

We kicked off Halloween season by making carmel and candy apples and carving pumpkins.  This is always way more frustrating than fun but a holiday staple that needs to be done. 

Then Ariel and the Grim Reaper attended our Planter's Pointe community Halloween party and gave their costumes a little trial run before the upcoming trick or treat. 
And Lizzy Tish did her best Ariel impression over and over and over again! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rock You Like a Hurricane

This morning was our last group run before the Savannah Half Marathon.  We met at 6AM in the dark, cold, rain of Hurricane Sandy and ran 6 miles of pure HELL.  One week till marathon! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Viva la Paolo

Yesterday Paolo was yelping whenever he stood and then this morning Paolo was unable to walk and refused food (Paolo NEVER refuses a meal!).  I thought the worst and brought him to the emergency vet.  It was a sad ride to the ER as I prepared myself and Paolo of the possibility of having to put him down if his back was broken again.  It turned out to be a pulled or torn muscle in his shoulder since he over compensates in his front legs.  He was prescribed an anti-inflammatory and a McDonald's cheeseburger and referred to a doggie acupuncturist.  It worked because Paolo is walking again and already back to his happy self! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Aunt Carrie

Aunt Carrie came for a weekend visit so she and I could go through some photographs and brainstorm for Mimi and Papi's upcoming 50th wedding anniversary in January.  As always the kids adored having her here.