The holiday season is in full swing, which means I have even less time to blog than I did before - and that's saying something, since I barely had any time to begin with.
Things are moving along at warp speed, and we are seriously counting down the days 'til Christmas - the boys are counting down because they can't wait to visit with their cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and eat yummy food - and then there's that whole present thing.....
I'm counting down because I don't know how much more of the anticipation and craziness I can handle!
Scott told me the other day that he thinks I shouldn't put the decorations out so early (except for the tree, I put all our decorations up the week after Thanksgiving). I'd be happy to wait another week or so to decorate next year, but I really don't think it would make a bit of difference, because these kids start getting bombarded with Christmas stuff before they've even made their final decisions on what they're going to be for Halloween.
I don't want to sound like a Grinch, though. I love Christmas, and I love having the house decorated, and to some extent, I even love the kids' insanity. I took Gabe and Dante shopping Saturday morning so they could each buy Carmine a present, and we had a really fun time. We also went out to lunch, and then to a local shop where they were each able to paint a mug to give Scott as his Christmas present.They enjoyed that, and I think he'll really like getting those as gifts.
My shopping is just about done. I did a lot online, and a lot at local stores, which worked out great. And the boys and I will be making some homemade notepads for their teachers, and I think I'll also buy some pens that they can decorate, and we'll include that little handmade gift with the gift cards I'm giving them. I know they appreciate the gift cards more than anything, but I always like to include something a litlte personal, too, and I think the boys will have fun putting the notepads together.
Carmine's getting into the spirit, too. He recognizes Santa now, and does a pretty good "ho, ho, ho." He loves the Nutcrackers we have, too - he likes to move the lever and say "mouth!" as he watches their mouths open and close.
He's been relatively tolerant of the shopping excursions I've taken him on, too. He gets crabby and antsy sometimes, but I'm usually able to find some kind of noisy toy that keeps him busy while he sits in the carriage, and luckily he's still young enough that I'm able to distract him and take it away and put it back on the shelf before we leave the store, so we don't actually have to purchase it - we just borrow it long enough for me to get my shopping done, and for him to annoy all the other customers in the store with whatever beeping/singing/vehicle noise-making plastic thing I grabbed for him.
We all went to the tree lighting and fireworks at the beach this past weekend, and I was a little concerned about how Carmine would react to the fireworks. When Dante was 2, we ended up having to leave with him because he got so scared. Carmine was a little nervous at first and buried his head in my shoulder, but after a few minutes, he turned around and looked, and then started yelling "Boom!" and really getting into it. He even yelled "More!" anytime there was a lull.
He loves all the decorations, too - especially the lights. I put lights on the stair railing, and when I turn them on, he comes running over saying "I see, I see!" and then walks up and gets his face right next to them and says "Whoooooaaaaaa."
He is a hilarious little character. He's been entertaining us with a lot of singing lately - and I use that term loosely. His songs usually involve him walking around the house for about 10 minutes yelling a single word over and over and over again, sometimes while carrying a toy guitar, sometimes while banging two toys together as loudly as he can. And sometimes the word is recognizable - as when he sang "Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy..." the other day. Other times it's gibberish - like yesterday, when he sang "bee yah, bee yah, bee yah......"
Dante thinks it's hysterical. Gabe thinks it interferes with him trying to watch Scooby-Doo.
Dante had his first karate class this afternoon, and I think he's already hooked. He was so into it, and I swear, it looked like he had already taken several weeks worth of classes - he kept right up with the other kids, and was so serious, and so excited to be there. I only signed him up for a month to start, but I will be shocked if he doesn't want to continue, so I suspect we'll be signing him up for a 6-month stint pretty soon.
It's one of the more expensive activities (far more than soccer or t-ball or basketball), and they encourage attending two classes a week, rather than just one, so it can get pretty time-consuming, too. But if it's something he really loves, and is really excited about, and is learning from, I'm willing to shell out the money and take the time to bring him.
Gabe's first basketball game is this Saturday, and he's really excited. They didn't have any games for two weekends in a row, so he's really itching to get back to it. I have no idea if he'll stick with basketball after this season, but if he doesn't, that's ok. We'll find something else to keep him busy!
I made pecan pie this weekend, and I didn't think the boys would be crazy about it, but I encouraged them to try it. They took a few bites, and Dante seemed to like it ok, but Gabe was making some funny faces. I asked him what he thought, and he replied - "Well, I kind of like it, if it weren't for all the pecans."
One day last week, completely out of the blue, he asked me "Do girls even fart." When I told him that yes, of course they do, he replied "No way! I don't believe you - you must be joking!"
These boys are such a constant source of entertainment. I only wish I had more time to write about them. But I guess I should be glad I have any time at all, because even though I've really slacked off in the past year or two, I've still managed to record a lot of really special, important, and funny moments in their lives.
Running is continuing to go well, too. I'm just a couple weeks away from starting up marathon training again, and I've really enjoyed running without a plan, and without any pressure. And the races I've done have been so great - I've raced, but at the same time, I've been sure to enjoy them, too, and not be so focused on a specific time goal.
Sunday's Jingle Bell 5K was no exception. This race is on the beach, on the sand, so it's a very different type of run. I always forget how much harder it is to run on the sand, but I was quickly reminded! It was a beautiful day for a run, though - more unseasonably warm temperatures - warm enough for a tank top!
I knew I didn't want to run all-out for this one. I wanted to have fun, and I wanted to enjoy that I was running on the beach on a December day that felt more like May : )
And as I've been doing lately, I ran without my iPod. I've been doing that quite a bit recently, and I'm finding myself really enjoying the quiet.
I even ran without my Garmin one time, and loved that, too. I won't go without the Garmin very often, but I have found myself looking at it far less often, and running more by feel. It's been really freeing, and really nice, to not be so tied to the little numbers on that screen. I'll be back to that soon enough....
But in the meantime, the only times I looked at my Garmin during the race were the times that I heard it beep for each mile split. I honestly didn't even want to know what pace I was running - I was running what I felt like running, and that would have to be good enough.
But, all that being said, I am, and will always be, a competitive runner, so I was keeping track of where I was in the pack. This is a very small race, with two turnarounds, and every other time I've run it, I've come very close to winning my age group, so I knew I at least had a shot at it this year. At the first turnaround, I was the 7th female overall. At the second turnaround, I was the 6th female overall. Another 1/4 mile down the beach, I was the 5th female overall, and that's where I stayed.
Finished in 24:18. I know I could have run faster, but I felt good about the effort I put in. I wasn't out for a leisurely jog, but I wasn't killing myself, either.
In the end, I did get my first-place age group award - a nice shiny medal to add to my collection : )
I don't remember what my splits are, and don't really much care. I was 13 out of 76 overall, and my pace was 7:50.
It was a fun race, and a fun win, and a great way to end my 'in-between marathons' down time.
Now I need to finalize my training plan and get myself ready to start executing it.
I'm going to miss running just for fun, but I'm also ready to get back to work!