Weekend Recap (Late Edition)

Yes, I know it’s Friday. Am I the only one who has to play catch-up all week after a 3-day weekend? I’m not complaining at all. But damn, this week has gone by quickly. This past weekend was one of this tales of parenthood that makes you wonder how we survive it all. I like to call this one Traveling with a Sick Toddler in a Single-Bed Hotel Room. Or How Not to Do It.

I have to preface this recap of the weekend with the tale of the sick toddler. Last Wednesday I got the dreaded “daycare call” and was told that Madman had a low fever and had crawled onto his cot 45 minutes early then promptly passed out. He hadn’t eaten and had acted dazed all morning. I picked him up after nap and he was just a cuddly, tired lump all afternoon. On Thursday Mark and I tag-teamed staying at home with him and by that evening he had still not eaten and broken out in a rash. A trip to Urgent Care later and we had a raging double ear infection (yikes! that wasn’t even on our radar) and either strep or Hand, Foot & Mouth. The CNP who checked him didn’t bother to get a throat culture since she was going to prescribe antibiotics for his ears anyway so if it was strep we were covered. If it was Hand, Foot & Mouth that’s just a waiting game. As Friday progressed we were pretty sure it was Hand, Foot & Mouth and the poor boy was miserable and looked diseased.

So! Saturday was my cousin’s wedding in Columbus – an event my entire dad’s side of the family would be at, including my brother and nephew from Florida. So we headed down to the hotel with Sir Coxsackie and his sister, leaving at nap time in the hopes that someone would get at least 2 hours of sleep in the car. He fell sleep right on cue (with snacks in hnad, watching Clifford). All was going according to plan. That is until he woke up 20 minutes later. And never fell back asleep. Oh boy…


Too bad he didn’t stay like this

We arrived at our hotel which was full to the brim of sports teams – apparently there were both soccer and baseball tournaments in the area over the weekend. Yippee. We got the early check-in we asked for but we had single king room, not the double queen we wanted. Turns out ALL the double queen rooms had been booked by the sports teams. Fantastic. We get to the room and throw the girl in her swimsuit and I took her to the pool – we had been promising it the whole day. Mark stayed in the room with Madman, hoping that maybe he’d doze off. After a swim and visiting with some of the family we headed up to get wedding-ready only to find out that Madman had refused to sleep. Yikes.

We arrive at the church literally 2 minutes before the 4:00 PM wedding started … oops! … and I ended up hanging out in the vestibule with Madman who just wanted to run around. He was getting more and more clingy and whiny by the moment but he did have a chance to play with my cousin’s kid for a bit (I was told he wasn’t contagious anymore and I hope that was right). After the pretty and short ceremony we did family photos and more chatting before we headed to the reception. We drove the long way, once again going that Madman would close his eyes for just a few minutes with no luck. At the reception Madman wanted nothing to do with anyone but me. He wanted to be held at all times and was super cranky. In the meantime Matilda was super-excited to see all of her cousins. She was bouncing around like a pinball from one to another and back. She couldn’t wait to dance and see the bride again. Madman held out as long as he could but by 7 Mark took a very tired and cranky boy back to the hotel.

Matilda & her cousin B, my brother with Matilda,
Matilda’s reaction when the bride and groom entered the reception

Matilda and I stayed and she was thrilled that we were seated right where the wedding party came in. She was so attentive to every detail and tradition and LOVED to clink the glasses to get the bride and groom to kiss. Finally, around 8:30 the dancing started. Matilda shook her groove thing for about 3 songs until she declared herself DONE and wanted to go back to the hotel. Apparently the crash after her 1st Shirley Temple was a hard one.

My parents, married 45 years this fall, were one of the last 2 couples dancing during the anniversary dance,
Matilda and the drink of red dye and sugary doom,

Stephen (my cousin) and Sara – the happy couple

Now, remember we are all in a single-king room with a pack n’ play for Madman. Matilda and wade through the packs of 8-9 year old boys roaming the hotel halls with no parental supervision (OMG) and tip-toe into the room at about 10 PM to find the boys wide awake. Madman had not had a single moment of sleep since about 11 AM. Matilda crawled into bed and quickly fell asleep but Madman was running laps in his crib. At one point I saw him try and nearly succeed at climbing out. He FINALLY crashed around 11. Then for the rest of the night I had a 5 year old who thought she was a barnacle attached to my back. That is until she woke up at 2:30 crying about her ear hurting. I corralled her in the bathroom where she cried and screamed refused to take any medicine for a good 20 minutes. I finally got her to take some motrin and she quickly fell back asleep. Of course, even after all of this Madman was up at 7 AM so Matilda got another round of swimming in as Madman and I toured the halls of the hotel.

Sunday morning we spent at my aunt’s house in Columbus for breakfast and more family time before we hit the road back to Cleveland. This time Madman was asleep within minutes and actually slept most of the time, thank goodness. When we got home we did fun things like make a meal plan for the week and go grocery shopping. We did, however, check out Old Carolina BBQ for dinner and it was delicious.

Monday was spent installing our air conditioners to ward off the 95 degree heat, sprinklers and then Mark and Matilda went to a cook out with friends why Madman and I stayed home and watched way too much TV. Then, since Matilda got the sprinkler I pulled out all the sandbox buckets and a big plastic tub onto the drive way and let Madman go to town in the water. Of course, the night ended with 3 window AC units blasting in the bedrooms which meant we were in for a game of “electricity roulette”. If you don’t know the rules you’ve probably never lived in an old house. The game is where you ask yourself “If I turn this on, will it blow a fuse?” Turns out when the item in question is a tiny nightlight the answer is yes. Ahhh – I love old houses. Good thing we keep a stash of a few dozen fuses around. Once that was fixed we all fell into bed for the night.

Hope your holiday weekend was good to you and that your week has gone as fast as mine. TGIF – time to do it all again!


Five Year Old Fashion

Matilda has never been very interested in clothes. She likes playing dress up but has always been perfectly happy with me picking out her clothes. She actually preferred it as she couldn’t be bothered with taking time to pull her clothes out of the drawers. But lately she’s been exerting some control over what she wears and the results are no less than amazing. However, her preferences are mind-boggling and could make you pull your hair out. First of all, she has started declaring some clothes and some colors “too girly”.

For instance… the roll-top yoga pants on the left (Children’s Place) are perfectly acceptable and are, in fact, her favorite pants. However, the roll-top yoga capris on the right (Old Navy) were deemed too girly, too pink and she’ll “never ever ever wear them ever”. Ok then. Let’s move on to shirts….

The shirt she’s wearing (hand me down): “yay! pink heart shirt! I love it!”. The shirt she’s holding (Old Navy): “ewww, gross! I hate hearts! I won’t even try this ugly shirt on!”

Now that you know what I’m dealing with, let’s look at some OOTD photos, five year old-style. I call her spring and summer collection “Hobo Chic”. Please note that all of these outfits were of her own creation after deciding she “hates pink, it’s just way too girly”.

She calls this her “rock ‘n roll” outfit.
Corduroy blazer (thrifted)
Layered tule skirt (Old Navy, 2010)
sliver glitter tights (H&M)
motorcycle boots (Old Navy, purchased for her Halloween Costume).
Please note she’s in head to toe pink.

Pink (!) Wonder Woman shirt (Old Navy)
Black leggings (H&M)
Neon-striped socks (Target)

She picked out these items because they are both navy and white. Little did she know she’s part of the trendy “mixed print” craze.
V-neck shirt and checked rolled-cuff shorts (Land’s End clearance)

 Floral tee (Land’s End clearance)
Shorts (Old Navy, last year)
Socks (Children’s Place, purchased for her Halloween Costume)

Knee-high socks are a favorite. And according to Matilda, are perfect for spring because they “keep you legs warm in the morning, but you can push them down when you need to cool off in the afternoon!”

Pink  bermuda shorts (Old Navy)
Pink, pocketed tee (Land’s End clearance)
Pink Salty Dog sweatshirt (at least 3 years old)

This is the outfit she picked after throwing a fit because I suggested she wear the pink yoga capris pictured above. Yep, you sure can tell she hates pink.

I may chuckle at her outfits and roll my eyes at her preferences but I love my little fashionista so much.


Race Weekend Recap

Week 3 of the weekend recap and my most consistent posting schedule ever. Huh.

How do I wrap up this busy, emotional weekend? I’m not sure, but I’ll try.

This was to be the big Cleveland Marathon Weekend. The one Mark set as his goal when he downloaded the couch to 5k app nearly 2 years ago. The one to commemorate his 40th birthday, which he celebrated a few weeks back. In the last 2 years he has inspired me. He has run consistently, logging mile after mile on the streets of the eastern suburbs. His training went so well he actually ran his 1st marathon last year. The kids and I have become professional race cheerers; getting our practice in at several 10ks and half marathons. But it was all just the preparation for this past weekend. A party was planned, emails were secretly sent asking for support, big plans were made.

Of course, after 2 years of running 4 times a week without fail, he got his first injury. One week after his 20 mile training run he called me during a 12-miler and asked me to pick him up mid-run. His ankle was feeling weird. By Wednesday he was limping and made an appointment to see a doctor. The verdict: nothing broken or torn, but major soft tissue damage in his ankle – a repetitive-use injury, caused by tightness in the calf. The doc said to stay away from running for 2-3 weeks. He may or may not be able to run on May 20th. Over these last 2 weeks, Mark has faithfully iced, rested, foam rolled, stretched and hoped for the best.


On Saturday we headed down to Browns Stadium where Matilda was to run the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Red Nose Children’s Run (seriously, that was the official name). She was so excited and even requested a “runner shirt” (tech shirt) like her daddy’s. She picked out neon yellow so she’d be easy to find in the crowd. Apparently she has learned a few things while cheering at all of Mark’s races. The event was somewhat poorly organized and a bit confusing. They started with a speech about war veterans losing limbs from IEDs… not really the kind of thing that’s easy to explain to a curious 5 year old while sitting in a football stadium. There were a few more speeches I didn’t catch because I was busy trying to calm Matilda down after a clown siting. The kids run was sponsored by Barnum & Bailey so of course there was a clown there. The problem is that Matilda is TERRIFIED of clowns. Like, almost to the point of hyperventilating when she sees one. We had warned her, but she wanted to run the race no matter what.

On the Rapid, heading to her race

Anyway, after all the long speeches were done they finally let the littlest kids down on the field. After so much time, all the kids in the stadium were antsy to run and get their medal. Finally, Matilda’s age group was called down. Since the clown was the starter we positioned her as far away as possible towards the sideline.

Just shut up and let my sister run so I can get home for my nap, please. 

He group was running 100 yards – end zone to end zone. She ran super-fast and never stopped. But she also got a late start because she was “hiding behind some kids so [she] didn’t have to see the clown.” She was so excited to get her medal at the end and was happy to pose for pictures.

A running medal, just like daddy

 Mark did a quick test run that afternoon and was still worried about his ankle. Saturday evening I had to work, but my parents arrived for the weekend and took the kids out. After work Mark and I headed down the street for a carb-loading pasta dinner with some neighbors who were running. I then stayed up way too late trying to get party-ready. We were expecting about 30 people on Sunday.

Marathon day started early with Mark getting up around 4 and taking the train downtown for the 7 AM start. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do: try to run the full, drop down to the half or 10k, not run all? I was planning to get up at 6 and wake Matilda up so we could go cheer. The car was loaded with signs, cowbells and pompoms along with snacks and course maps (I told you we’re professionals). Then I got the text at 5:40. His ankle was throbbing, he wasn’t going to run anything.

I know he was disappointed. He had been building up to this for TWO YEARS. People were in from out of town to cheer him on. People had been sending him cards and notes of encouragement. He was, understandably, pretty emotional.

However, something you need to know about my husband…about 3 months ago he quietly decided that his milestone race didn’t need to be about him. He decided to make it bigger and better by raising money in honor of our friend’s son, Aidan, who has Cystic Fibrosis. This birthday, this race, was bigger than “just a race”. We’ve been friends with Aidan’s parents for a dozen years and they have become fierce advocates for the funding and support of CF research. Mark wanted to help. Through the generosity of family and friends – some old, some new, some only known on Twitter – Mark was able to leverage his support network to raise $1300 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

In my book, without even stepping a foot on the marathon course, he won the day yesterday.

Thank you to everyone who donated. Best gift ever. Seriously.

The party was fantastic. Thanks in large part to my parents, the house and backyard were ready for our family and friends to come celebrate. It really was an amazing day. Since our house isn’t finished, with very visual renovations (think bare-plaster walls) in progress, we don’t entertain very often. So it was so incredibly nice to be surrounded by family and friends. There were friends we met back when we were still dating, and friends we have just met this year. The yard was filled with shouts and giggles from a dozen kids throughout the day.

In fact, it was so fabulous to sit and enjoy everyone’s company that I didn’t snap a single photo until the end of the day. But trust me: we shared stories and laughter throughout the day. We celebrated Mark’s running accomplishments past and yet to come. We caught up with old friends and chatted with new ones. And, most importantly we celebrated $1300 raised for CF research.

Dirty, sticky, tired, happy kids. Proof of a perfect day.

Mark, I’m so incredibly proud of you. For how far you’ve come with your running. For teaching our daughter to love running. For using your birthday to support CF and our friend’s cause. I love you. Happy (belated) 40th birthday.

Weekend Recap

I had so much fun doing last week’s weekend recap, I thought I’d do it again. This weekend was much more tame as we stayed closer to home.

Sunday morning we were up bright and early, as usual, and headed to the Farmer’s Market. Arriving at 8:15 didn’t mean we beat the crowds – the place was, happily, packed. We loaded up our bags with chicken and eggs from New Creation Farms (jumbo eggs, because by 8:30 EVERYONE was out of regular – wow), asparagus, tomatoes, bread from Zoss and a Gray House Pie. We stopped to get some breakfast – a breakfast slider from NCF (I highly recommend) and a strawberry crepe.

Then it was back to the house where Madman helped Mark mow and Matilda ran around like a madwoman. Then, while Madman napped, Matilda and I tackled the weedy front beds. Well, she made mud pies while I worked. I have no idea what the plant below is, but I’ve declared it my nemesis. They always been in the gardens and lawn since we moved in and they grow so fast. I declared war on them and spent a few hours digging up every last one, trying to make sure I got all the roots.

After nap we headed over to one of our favorite spots for an afternoon – the Cleveland Botanical Gardens – where we romped around the Children’s Garden, checked out the new kitchen garden and ran over the paths and bridges. We have a family membership there and we get more than our money’s worth, year round.

Later in the evening we had an impromptu meet up with the Classy Chaos crew at out South Chagrin Reservation. What a wonderful evening. We hiked through the river and played in a clearing. They had been there all day, which is something we need to do soon. We are frequent river waders there in the summer, but a day in the park and a picnic dinner sounds like a perfect early summer activity. Cleveland is incredibly lucky to have our incredible Metroparks – they are just beautiful.

Today I slept in for Mother’s Day today and woke up to 2 snuggly kids along with french toast, bacon and local(!) strawberries. The rest of the day was somewhat lazy with t-ball in the yard, nap time snuggles, more weeding, meal planning for the week and solo grocery shopping. I know, it sounds lame, but I actually like grocery shopping and going by myself is something I enjoy. More time outside, more weeding and a delicious dinner using our farmer’s market buys: roast chicken, roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes with strawberry-rhurbarb pie for dessert. Overall, a great day.

How was your weekend?

Festivals and Tribe Games and Carousels, oh my!

Like other CLE bloggers I thought I’d do a weekend wrap-up. It has a lot less brunching and drinking, but it was busy and fun just the same. Here’s my weekend recap, parent-style.

Friday night, as soon as Matilda got home from school, I whisked her downtown to Playhouse Square for a performance at the International Children’s Festival. I’m so in awe of our theater district. It was humming with activity on Friday and Matilda was just SO! EXCITED! to go into the buildings with the lit-up marquees over them. We saw World of Rhythm in the glorious State Theater. She LOVED the show and was dancing in the aisle by the end. She’s been talking about it non-stop and drumming on everything in sight. After the show, we walked around the theater and she posed “like a princess” on one of the grand staircases. Then we walked down to Noodlecat, her favorite CLE restaurant, for some ramen and steam buns. The kid loves her ramen.

Our date continued with a long walk back to the car as we admired the buildings (as-seen in The Avengers), laughed at our matching silver shoes and imagined that a bank was actually a giant robot.

Saturday had us at a friend’s First Communion where Matilda peppered me with questions throughout the Mass. She asked everything from why the girls were in veils and the priests were in robes to asking me if they were talking about zombies after John 6:53 was read. Oy, I think it’s time to start looking for a church. She has so many questions. After the ceremony we headed to the party where there was photo booth – BEST IDEA EVER. We had a great time hamming it up for the camera.

Saturday night the Indians had invited us to check out their new Kids Clubhouse. Since it was an evening game, I stayed home with the Madman while Mark took Matilda and her buddy and his dad to to check it out. Mark was floored with how well the Clubhouse was done and of all the amenities they thought of. Biggest bonus points goes to the wealth of family bathrooms available in the space. Matilda is just starting to use the public bathrooms on her own and I was worried about her in the often crowed and chaotic restrooms at the ballpark. Problem solved. They also have cheaper food options (think Uncrustables and organic milk) and, hooray! nice, private, clean nursing rooms for moms of infants. Mark even took a snapshot of the nursing room to text me, knowing how grateful I was when I found nursing rooms when I was still breastfeeding. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a quiet place to nurse and I want to give the Indians a big high-five for thinking of that. Both kids (ages 5 & 6) love the outing – the Kids Clubhouse is perfect for little kids who just can’t sit through 9 innings. Parents can watch the game while the kids play. Kudos to the Indians for adding this area, they really did their homework. Matilda has already asked when she can go to another game.

Playing in the new space, private nursing room,
view of the filed, Mark and Matilda after the game

On Sunday we had our traditional breakfast of buttermilk pancakes. We take our pancakes seriously around here and I’ve perfected the perfect fluffy pancake using this recipe (my tips: beat the egg whites to almost soft peaks. Then fold everything very gently, don’t over mix).

That afternoon I took both kids with me to Mansfield (my hometown) to meet up with my parents for the afternoon. They have been “snow birding” in South Carolina for 4 months and we haven’t seen them since Christmas. We meet them at Kingwood Center, a beautiful garden estate, were the kids could run around and feed the ducks. Then we went over to the Mansfield Carousel for a few spins. It was the Madman’s first time on a merry-go-round and he seemed suspicious of the whole endeavor. Later rides on a bench were enjoyed a bit more. Matilda, the girl who rides actual horses, assumed a stance of holding on for dear life as she rode. My kids are weird.

We got home just in time for bedtime. While we were gone Mark mowed the yard, did ALL the laundry, did dishes and went grocery shopping. Color me impressed.

This week is busy with work stuff and planning for next weekend. How was your weekend?