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!