Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday--Chester

Chester has been with our family for about 6 years.  He was given to Boogie as a party favor when he attended a birthday party when he was about a year old. Little did we know that this party favor would be a beloved animal friend and best friend to our oldest. He sat unnoticed for almost a year before Boogie fell in love with him.  We think he's a Cheetah and when Boogs asked me his name I suggested Chester.

Chester has been Boogie's best animal friend. He has sparked an interest in anything that has to do with animals. Boogie wants to be a animal biologist or a zoologist when he grows up. He loves studying anything that has to do with animals, especially African cats.  He has become known as the "animal expert" with his classmates. I love that this simple little gift given as a party favor has inspired my son to read, explore, watch documentaries, and learn about animals. What a great gift for him.

Chester usually finds himself abandoned in various rooms in the house. There have been nights where he sleeps alone because Boogie has forgotten about him, but Chester always finds his way back to Boogie.  Just the other day I found Chester propped on the bannister waiting patiently for his buddy to come home from school. And tucked underneath Chester is Boogie's yellow blankie, the same blanket in which Boogie was swaddled when he was infant.  Chester and Yellow Blankie are reminders that even though my sweet Boogie is growing up, he is still my baby.

Chester and Yellow Blankie waiting patiently for Boogie to come home from school

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wedding Celebration for a Former Student

The Bride and I at her wedding reception
Last March I had the honor of attending the wedding ceremony for one of my former students. I first met her when she was in the fourth grade and it was so long ago, she knew me by my maiden name.  Thirteen years later, this young lady became a bride.

I reconnected with E. about four years ago via Facebook. I usually keep to a rule about not friending former students on Facebook until they are at least 18 years old.  But E. friend requested me and I was delighted to catch up with her.  She offered to babysit and she began babysitting for us. I found her reliable, dependable, hard working, and diligent. She was wonderful with my children and they loved having her over.  At one point she even became my mother's helper when I was put on modified bed rest when I was pregnant with Mr. Bananas. She was a life saver taking care of the children and helping me with the housework.  But all good things eventually come to an end and when E. became pregnant with her first baby I just could not ask her to keep taking care of my children as it was time for her to take care of herself and her little baby.
The Bride with her Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids

However, we stayed in touch. I attended her baby shower and I was able to visit her in the hospital after she had her baby. We stayed connected through text messages, Facebook, and phone calls.  I had watched her over the last four years to grow into the woman she is today.  She has juggled a job, a baby, and home life.

I was honored when she asked if we would not only attend her wedding but also include my big kids in the wedding party. I was happy to share in her excitement and be there for her. I have watched her grow from an elementary student to a young woman who attends college, takes excellent care of her young son, be a wife and create a family with her husband, plus work full-time. Not an easy task as all of us wives and mothers know!

My big kids and the Bride
E. has done an excellent job and it has been wonderful to be a part of her life. Just yesterday I was able to stop by and bring her a belated wedding gift.  I saw her beautiful home, saw her beautiful son, and we were able to catch up for a few minutes.  It has been a gift to be a part of her life. E. I am so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. It's not always easy, but always worth it. Love you!

The blanket I made for her and her husband.
Another view of the blanket

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bonking at the Half Marathon

Dad and I before the race
Last Sunday I ran in a half marathon with my dad. His first, my second.  I have been too frustrated and embarrassed by my performance I haven't written about it.  But of course I have to write. It's the only way I can let go of the frustration.

I will admit that it wasn't until the last month or so was I feeling it on my training runs. The first four weeks I think I was tired and I realize I hate running in hot and humid weather.  I was debating on whether or not to run the Parks Half Marathon. I was going to use it as a training run for another half in October. But when no one else was interested I decided to bag it until my dad showed interest. We decided to run it together and I put it back on my racing schedule. I was very excited to run with my dad.  I have always (and still do) looked for affirmation and approval from my parents. I was excited to be doing something that my dad enjoys doing. My dad enjoys running. Over the last 9 years I have asked him to run a race or two with me, 5Ks or 5 milers, and he kept saying how his knees hurt and wasn't up for it.  I kept running and I kept racing.  He ran with the wounded warriors at work and paced them through some 10 milers.  My dad is a life long runner and has never run in a half marathon. It's kind of crazy that I ran one before he did, but he was never interested until now.

My friend ran her first half and totally kicked my butt coming in 24 minutes ahead of me.
It's cool, I'll catch her next time ;)
I struggled through a lot of my training runs and was finally refitted with a new pair of shoes. The new shoes were amazing and I was able to run without knee, hip, and ankle pain.  As the date loomed closer the more excited I became. For the first time ever I ran 13 miles and then a week later 14.51 miles for training runs. They were slower than race pace, but everything I read said that was to be expected. I was just working on endurance.
Just happy to be coming in under my own volition
For this half marathon I added hill training and interval training. I participated in a run clinic to work on my form and I ran more than I ever have in my life.

The day of the race I was excited and nervous. I made sure I had everything ready. In trying to prepare for getting out of the house I realized I didn't have time to make my usual running breakfast of rice and beans in a tortilla and went with almonds and a bagel. I've eaten that before and thought it would sustain me. I also drank a small bottle of water and I was ready to go.

My dad, friend, and I made it to the race start. It was in the low 60s and cloudy when we started. It even started to drizzle just a tiny little bit just as we passed the race clock at the start of the race. It was still a little too warm for me, but manageable. I've been in races where it was 80 degrees and sunny at the start.

My dad could easily have come in an hour before we did.
He looked great the whole time.
Dad and I decided to start with the 2:40 pace group so that we would start slower in the beginning and go for a negative split.  We planned to pick up the pace around the halfway point.  I had the beginnings of plantar fasciitis and foolishly (?) took an Aleve before we left the house.  I usually stay away from aspirin and whatnot for long runs, but I knew that I would be running faster and I wanted to stave off any unwanted pain.  I spoke to the 2:40 pacer and she said she would keep a 12:12 mile. I thought that was more than doable and followed her when it was our turn to start. It was crowded at the start and it took some time to move beyond the crowd of people. When my Garmin went off at mile 1 I realized we were starting way too fast for what I thought would be a comfortable pace.  We hit the first mile in the low elevens and the next three miles we were in the high tens and low elevens. Now my dad naturally runs about 3 minutes faster per mile than I do.  He was more than comfortable with this pace. I was concerned that it was too fast. I even stopped to walk to fix my gait a few times. My gait was off because of the plantar fasciitis.  At mile 4 I decided to walk up the hill known as The Silencer. I was warned about it and decided with my nagging pain to take it at a fast walk versus a run. It was a good decision. We were up and over in no time. However, between mile 4 and 5 I looked up into the sky because I thought it was raining and when I rubbed my hand over my face I realized that I had small salt balls coming off my face. That's not a good sign.  I was a little concerned but we kept running. After an hour of running I refueled with sport beans and got a little pick up at mile 6 and I was feeling better. Dad estimated that we would finish well within our goal of 2:30 and 2:40. The pacer was still quite a ways ahead of us, but we were fine.  We saw my mom, my husband, and my kids around mile 8 and it was so nice to see them. Hubby even had some fresh orange slices ready to give to me. I thought it would help pick me up. But it didn't. It began to unravel for me at mile 8 when I felt the need to pee and couldn't when I got into the port-a-potty.  I tried again at mile 10 and was becoming really concerned that I couldn't go.  I had been drinking water at every station which were stationed just about 2 miles apart. I should have taken in some Gatorade, but it makes my stomach hurt so I just kept to drinking water and pouring it down my back.  My dad didn't seemed concerned about my inability to urinate so we kept running.  By this time the 2:45 pacer had passed us and I couldn't keep up. I kept falling further and further behind.  I just couldn't do it. We saw Mom, Hubby, and the kids just before mile 12 and that was nice. They cheered and gave us fist bumps and I loved them for that. They are the best!

At the mile 12 aid station the medic saw me as I passed her and said, "Get water NOW!" I must have looked terrible. I didn't tell her my concerns because I only had a mile to go. It was the worst mile of my life. I kept thinking I run a mile at least once a day. I just have to keep going. But I couldn't. I was doing a lot more walking than running. I kept telling Dad to go on ahead because he was feeling fantastic and I just wanted to suffer alone. I remember looking at the path at mile 12.3 thinking I could just lie down right now and not get up. I could curl up and be content to not finish this race. Running sucks.  And then I remembered my friend m00se saying, just enjoy the run. I tried. I really, really tried. I had not only hit the wall, I had slammed into it and it knocked me on my butt. I had bonked.  I saw the minutes on my watch tick by and knew then I had blown my goal and I was not even going to come close to my first half marathon time.  I was beside myself. I knew my dad was frustrated. I was very frustrated and all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. I had never felt that way before.

In retrospect I had bonked. I looked it up later and all of the signs of wanting to just curl up and lie down and of not being able to move clearly indicated I had bonked. I spoke to my spin instructor who is also a distance runner. I told her what happened and she told me I had bonked. She said that salt balls coming off my face and my inability to use the bathroom showed that I was dehydrated. She also thinks that my kidneys were starting to shut down and that I should have gotten IV fluids after the race. My neighbor, a nurse, did not think it had gone that far, but that I was definitely dehydrated.  Come to find out, I was not only dehydrated I was also way under fueled. I found my mostly uneaten bagel in the car when we returned from the race. I had forgotten to eat. I guess I got caught up in the excitement of running with my dad and the thought of getting a PR, I had forgotten to finish my breakfast. I was running on a handful of almonds and a few bites of a bagel. I am the first to tell people to fuel up before a run and what to eat. I have run so often I know exactly what will carry me through each distance. And for this crucial race I did not follow my own advice and simply did not remember to eat. Ridiculous! Frustrating! Irritating! I could have done so much better.

Completing our first half together
I did finish the race by sheer determination. It took every ounce of strength and energy I had to cross that finish line running. My dad and I crossed at 2:51:47. It was not my best time and it was by far the worst running experience I have ever had. It took most of the day to recover. I cried when I got home. I cried for a few days after.  The worst part of the race was disappointing my dad. And I know I did. I could see it on his face and I could hear it in his voice. And it was pretty much confirmed when we had talked about doing another one in the future and after the race he's not really sure he wants to do another one. He was feeling good and looking forward to this race. And now, he doesn't really want to do another one.  It's a bummer. It should have been a good experience for him and it wasn't.

Dad and I post race
As I was finishing up that mile I kept thinking there is no way I can ever do another half marathon, much less a marathon. This run is killing me. But I have run 13+ miles before and never felt that way. But now I know what I did wrong. And now that I have come to my senses, of course I'll run another half marathon. I actually have my eye on another one next month and another one scheduled in April.  If the plantar fasciitis in my left foot can heal in the next few weeks I'll sign up for the one in October. If not, well, this certainly won't be my last half marathon.  I'll just keep running, because that's what I do. I just keep running.

I wish I had the following verse with me on the last five miles of the race:

Our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday--Fun Run

Lolo and Lola with the kids before the Fun Run
My son's school holds an annual 1.5 mile fun run. They've been doing it for about 6 years now. We participated last year. I pushed a stroller while running with Buggy and Bananas in it while Boogie ran the course.  Hubby was out of town for work that week and it was just me and the kiddos. This year, Hubby was unable to get home from work in time and my folks stepped in to run it with the big kids while I ran it with Mr. Bananas. I'm pretty sure he was the youngest participant.

The big kids did really well and ran most of it with very little walking. I never saw them once they passed us.  I stayed with Bananas the whole time and he did really well. He is the most excited about running and may very well be my running buddy when he is older.  He ran most of the course and walked very little. He never asked to be carried. He did ask for his shirt to be taken off halfway through. He had his own cheering section any time we passed a group of people. At the halfway point we passed the table of volunteers who were recording times and they cheered him on.  Throughout the run he kept saying, "Go Big Boy! Go Big Boy! Go Mommy! Go Yem, Go Yen! Go Big Boy! Go Yo-Yo, Go Yo-Ya!" He cheered on each of us as he ran along, even if no one else was near enough to hear him.

Me with the next generation of runners
It was fun evening followed by DJ and dancing on the school grounds.

Mr. Bananas on the first loop of the Fun Run

Second loop of the Fun Run

Hey You! You should be running!

Dancing at the After Party

Big Kids Dancing Together

Playing in the dirt after their run

Friday, September 6, 2013

My First Half Marathon

Packing for the race
I am two days away from running my second half marathon and for some reason I have avoided writing about my first half marathon. There is no reason for it. I finished faster than I had hoped, it was a great run, my kids and husband were there to cheer me on, my friend A. ran the 5K portion of the race, and my friend S. ran the half-marathon and cheered me on to the finish. It was an awesome day and an awesome race for a first time half marathon.  It was also a women's only half marathon and for my first, I liked that idea. I had read on various blogs and reviews that a women's only race is different from the co-ed races. The women tended to be more encouraging while running.

I was really lucky that my first half marathon was just a few miles away from my best friend's house.  My family and I attended Saturday evening mass at a church that was at the halfway point between our house and her house. We met her after for dinner for some yummy mexican food and then I loaded my stuff into her car, said my goodbyes to my kids and husband, and spent the night at my friend's house.  I was nervous and fidgety.  The night before the race I prepared everything I thought I would need for the race.  I had a horrible time trying to fall asleep because of nerves. Hubby texted me around 10pm and told me to get some sleep. I finally fell asleep and slept well and then woke up trying to figure out where I was.

Buggy getting a high five from a runner with Mr. Bananas watching from the side.
A. and I gathered our stuff, ate our breakfast and made our way to the race. The weather was so, so cold. It was in the 50s. I didn't want to wear too many clothes and be too hot, so I did my best to keep moving. Since A's race didn't start until after mine she graciously took my stuff when I went to the corral to get ready. I was so nervous and thought I would puke before I even started.  I ran into another woman while waiting in line for the bathroom. She looked equally nervous and asked me if this was my first half marathon. I could tell by her nervous demeanor, the fact that she wore her race shirt, and the new hydration belt we got in our goody bag that she might be a new runner. As a note, most veteran runners won't wear anything new on race day.  They like to run with what they already know...running outfit, hydration system, etc.  No one likes surprise chafe on a long race.  We chatted with each other and wished each other luck.

A., me, and S. after the race.
When I got to the corral I decided to follow one of the pace groups. After one last trip out to the port-a-potty and the national anthem we were off. And then I moved to the side and out of the way and stopped. My running app on my phone was not starting and I really, really wanted to keep track of my time since I don't wear a Garmin. I wanted to analyze my running splits after the race.  After about a quarter mile or so I finally got it to work.  And I was off, but much further behind the pace group than I would have liked.  The weather was perfect and I ran. After the first 3 miles I told myself that the next 10 were nothing but a training run and I could do that.  My brother-in-law later pointed out that my "training run" was after I had run 3 miles.  Yeah, yeah.  By mile three I could feel a large blister forming on the bottom of my foot and all I could think was I can't stop, I have 10 more miles to run. I powered through and tried to ignore the incessant rubbing on my foot.

The kiddos at the race and my cheering section.
The course was hilly with lots of ups and downs. I don't think I did enough hill training to prepare for them.  I remember powering up a hill fist pumping as I listened to P!nk raise her glass. One of the older ladies warned me to slow it down, but I was fired up and feeling good.  We ran through several neighborhoods.  After the motivating crowds and spectators at a recent running festival, the lack of spectators was kind of disappointing.  Thank goodness for good music.  I did manage to find my pace group and kept up with them for a while and then I passed them.

I knew my family would be at mile 6 and I kept running. I wanted to see them. When I did, I sprinted towards them.  My husband waited until the elite runners had gone by before allowing the kids to stand and put their hands out for high fives from the runners.  My kids loved it!  They loved the attention and later throughout the race several women told me they loved seeing my kids at the half way point.  It was there that I decided to make my first pit stop and that was a mistake. The good part was that I got to talk to my family for 15-20 minutes while I waited in line for the lone port-a-potty and mile 6. The bad news was that I had to wait 15-20 minutes to use a port-a-potty and it slowed down my pace by a lot. I saw my pace group run by and I never caught up with them again.  I could have kicked myself later. Not half a mile down the road was a set of 3 port-a-potties without a line. I had scoured the website to find info on the facilities. I remember reading it on one email and never found it again.  So I didn't know that  I could have run a few more minutes and then been on my way. Oh, well. It was a learning experience.

After mile 6 I tackled the steepest hill I had ever run.  I knew it was coming and gritted my teeth for it.  On the hill there were some spectators and there was a sign that said, "Make this hill your b*tch." And I did. I ran it and I conquered it only to be faced with a longer, not as steep hill right after.  The cop helping out at the top of the first hill was really encouraging as we all faced that monster.  But I have to admit, by mile 10, I think I was done.  I kept running, walking some, running some more.  At one point, a woman wearing her Boston 2013 jacket called me by name and shouted out encouragement (our names were printed on our bibs). This was just a few weeks after the Boston bombing and I teared up thinking, wow, she just ran Boston and she's cheering me on? Inspirational!  She cheered for each of us as we ran by her.

After mile 10, I ran next to a woman and played cat and mouse for a while. I'd catch up to her when she started walking and tell her to keep going and that she was doing great. I'd pass her, run for a while, lose steam, and start to walk. She would run up to me and give me some encouragement to run again. We did this until I lost her around mile 11 or 12.  There was another woman I used as my pacer and tried to catch up with her. We ended up running the last 2 miles together. We hit another hill at mile 12 and decided to walk up it. We were spent.  At the top of the hill we started running together and talked and encouraged each other as we ran.  We talked about how we started to hate those that shouted that we were close to the finish line, knowing darn well we were still more than a mile way from our destination. It was the longest mile I ever ran.

As we entered the chute to finish the race Hubby and the kids were at the beginning. Buggy and Boogie jumped in to run to the finish with me. Unfortunately, Buggy bit it after a few strides in and everyone told Boogie to go back and help her. I waffled about running back to her or to keep going. Hubby told me to keep going and he would take care of it. Boogie was disappointed to be told to go back to his sister. I think that's my biggest regret in the race. I should have grabbed Buggy and carried her into the finish with me and I should have let Boogie finish the race with me.

We finished! Sporting our medals :)
My racing buddy and I sprinted to the finish and she beat me by several seconds. I heard my friend S. screaming from the sidelines and that gave me more motivation to keep going. I sprinted in and finished the race.  I was given my finisher's medal and someone walked me to the side and took off my racing chip for me. Thank goodness for that, I didn't have the energy to bend down and do it myself.  I met my family and my friends at the finish line, happy, proud, sore, and exhausted.  I finished 45 minutes faster than I dared hope. I finished in 2:44:20.  Not the best time, but I'm still proud, because I trained, I made it to the start line, and I finished.

I found the two women I had been running with for the last part of the race. I told Joy it was a joy to run with her and I thanked for pushing me the last two miles. The other woman Hadley told me that I pushed her to run faster and thanked me and I thanked her for her encouragement along the road. I never found the new runner Deborah whom I had met earlier in the morning. But I saw that she finished with the pace group with whom I couldn't keep up, darn single port-a-potty line. But awesome for her for keeping up!

As I begin to rest for my race on Sunday, I'm a little nervous. I feel the beginnings of plantar fasciitis in left heel.  I desperately want to go for a run kind of like a last minute cram session before a big final. But I've trained hard and I've trained moderately well. My training times haven't been great, but if I rest my foot for the next two days and give my tired legs a rest I should be fine. I'm also running with my dad and he is a great pacer. I look forward to running with him. We decided to run sans music and headphones. Just him and me and 2,000 other runners.  It should be a good race. I have to finish within 2:45 before they shut down the course. Even though my training times have been lousy, I have faith that I'll make it in at least 2:44:20.  Happy Running!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

5K PR and Kentlands 5K Race Report

Last Saturday I ran in a local 5K.  I have been training for the last few months with my friend. This was her first 5K since high school. I ran this 5K exactly a year ago and 10 pounds heavier.  I have been running faster and working on my speed and endurance. Since last year's 5K I have run in 1 marathon relay (7.1 miles), 1 5K, 2 10Ks, and a half marathon.

The day was hot and by the 8am start time the temperature was a sunny 70 degrees and it was just going to get hotter. This year I wore a hat and a tank top and shorts. Last year I wore a short sleeve shirt and capris and felt I was going to pass out at the end. I thought I was going to pass out again this year. It must be the heat and humidity.  Last year I started way at the back of the pack and was a line of people before the stroller group.  This year I started with the 10-12 minute group.  I thought I might be a little overly ambitious as my training runs have been 13+ minutes per mile. But I noticed that for my racing times I am averaging a 10+ minute per mile. I was right to go with the 10-12 minute wave group and after dodging a few people at the start it was fine. There was a moment when my life flashed before my eyes when a 9 year old girl darted out in front of me and I quickly moved out of the way. She was trying to move and didn't look and all I thought was "Oh, wow, I'm going to fall and break my legs."

The Kentlands 5K is a road race around a neighborhood. There are moderate hills and it's a fairly easy and wide course.  The start was crowded and it took some weaving in and out to pass the slower runners. There were quite a few middle schoolers running the race who would start fast, slow to a walk in the middle of the course 4 or 5 abreast, and then begin running again. It was a little aggravating and it took me some time to finally get away from them. They have local bands play at various points on the course and there are 2 water stops. I always walk through the water stops and I think the last water stop was a mistake for me. I should not have taken a drink. It made me feel ill. It was the high humidity and I felt the water sloshing around until I finished my race.  There were employees from the local running store holding signs of encouragement. One of them happened to be the sales clerk who sold my new Mizuno's to me. Her sign? "Walking? You ain't got time for that!" I did happen to be walking at that time because I had just run up a hill and I was tired, however her sign gave me motivation to keep running. I needed that.

As we were coming up to the last hill, the band at the bottom of the hill was being encouraging telling us it wasn't that big and that it wasn't that hard. I kinda wanted to punch him in the nose at that point. I was hot, the water was sloshing in my belly, and I remembered that hill from last year and it's not fun. I also knew that it was all down hill after that. So I put my aggression into climbing the hill, which didn't feel as high or as long as it did last year, thank you hill repeats!  I so badly wanted to walk the last tenth of a mile as my gait felt off. I walked a few steps to even out my stride and ran my way in. As I came to the finish I saw the race clock at 35 minutes. Up until then, my fastest 5K was a 36:56. As I saw the seconds tick up I grimaced and sprinted to the end, completing forgetting that the race clock would be different from my chip time because we started in waves and my time didn't start until I crossed the mat at the start. As I came across the finish I heard the announcer say, "She's coming in strong." He must have seen the look in my eye, because I crossed the mat he said, "I think you got it." It being a PR, and he was right.  I ran that race at 33:32 knocking more than 3 minutes off my fastest 5K time and it was also a course PR.  I also felt like barfing at the end of the finish line making me believe that I had run my hardest and I did at the end. I was still 10 seconds off my fastest pace per mile, but I still PR'd and I'll take it.  And for the first time ever in a race I was in the top half of my age group.

I was at the finish line waiting to cheer on my friend. I missed her completely, but I am so proud of her. She worked incredibly hard in training and had to train the last two months by herself because our summer schedules did not align.  Today we met up again and we started working on hills and we're looking for another race to run together.

It was a good race. I like that it's local and that I can get there, run, and be home within a couple of hours. The race was well organized and many of my friends and acquaintances run the race so it's nice to be able to recognize someone and run alongside someone even if it's for a short time.  I appreciated the water stops and the cheering families who sat on their porch steps or on street corners cheering us on.  A big bonus was that there weren't long lines for the port-a-potties and they were the cleanest I have ever come across in a race. Priorities, priorities :) Overall, a pretty good run day :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Reminder, She is Still Little

Buggy started school this week.  Today she went to her last first day of preschool.  She has been so nervous. Last year she screamed all the way down the hall to her preschool classroom. I was hoping we would not have a repeat this year. She was especially nervous because she was attending a new school and would have to make new friends and meet new teachers.  Even though I knew that this was God's providence is providing the right school for us this year, I am human and every now and again doubted my decision.  Especially when she got a post card from the new teacher at her old school.  We loved Mrs. T., but I also knew that the old school was no longer a good fit for us for a variety of reasons.

"Painting" a brick at the Preschool play date.
However, God is God and knows that we have doubts. So when we showed up for the preschool play date and ran into 4 or 5 families we knew, I knew it was the right choice. When she skipped to her classroom and barely glanced back after she entered the doorway, I knew it was the right choice.  Seeing her happy face at the end of the day, I knew it was the right choice.

My Buggy is a tall girl and takes on a lot of responsibility, especially with her baby brother.  She mothers him and loves on him and is my right hand. Sometimes I do forget that she is only 4 years old.  She acts and carries herself like an older child, most of the time. And then I see the anxiety on her face when we talk about starting at a new school and I see that she is still little.  I see her skip from destination to destination, and I realize she is still little. When she cuddles up with her favorite blanket and puts her thumb in her mouth, I realize she is still little.

Anxious about meeting her new teacher, attending the preschool open house, and exchanging her beautiful light up shoes for shoes that don't hurt her feet made her one tired lady who fell asleep in the van before noon.
Yesterday, we went to an open house for the preschool. She was nervous about meeting her new teacher. Anytime someone spoke to her she would face me, slump her shoulders, and sort of whimper. It was really sad.  Bananas, on the other hand, had no trouble asserting himself and went to play with the big kids and the preschool toys.  After going to the open house we had to go to the mall and return her light-up shoes for shoes that wouldn't hurt her feet. It was not on my list of things to do yesterday, but after complaining that her feet hurt on the way to take Boogie to school and then hanging out in the stroller for the walk back, I realized we had to return the shoes.  She wore them for about 10 minutes total. She now has her first pair of "tie" shoes. Oh, boy!

Between meeting her new teacher, attending the preschool open house, and getting new shoes. My poor girl fell asleep in the van on the way home. She was so exhausted she fell asleep before noon. Another reminder, she is still little.

This morning I went to the gym before the house woke up.  When I came home, I heard murmured voices upstairs. I realized that one of the children had woken up. It was Buggy. And I could hear her tiny four year old lispy voice talking to her daddy. And I was reminded, she is still little. I could not hear their conversation, but it was sweet to come home and hear their voices together in conversation.

Today, I dropped off my big little girl to her last first day of preschool. As she skipped to her classroom in her new purple shoes with laces, and her hair swinging side to side, I saw she was still little. And I am grateful.

Posing for the camera

She wanted to wear her sunglasses in her "first day" pictures.

Someone is definitely ready for school!

And this sweet face is how I always think of her.
A reminder, she is still little.