Wednesday, December 29, 2010


We are about to embark on a long days journey to visit family under sunnier skies.  This trip will be out of the ordinary for our family who for the past eight months, have been very careful to keep most activities low key.  We have not been overly social or scheduled and have successfully created a nice 'cocoon' as a new household of four.  I like this term (common in adoption literature) because its description illustrates how I see the progression of our family.  A cocoon is in fact the antithesis of rest.  This is where the body of the caterpillar is transforming into a mature moth (I wish I could say butterfly (that would be a chrysalis), but the inner biologist is telling me to be accurate).  It is a stage where the antennae, amazingly complicated mouth parts, and wings will be fully formed.  After it emerges, the moth cannot fly and will wait until its wings are fully dry to take to the air. 

I imagine that most folks on the outside see us a bit crazed, our children are rarely out of sight and I have seen several raised eyebrows and comments all politely suggesting: overprotective.  What may seem to others as a somewhat isolating time has been everything to the contrary.  Our cocooning has been absolutely vital in transitioning and adjusting to one another.  We needed to get to know each other and find our new normal without the blur of outside distractions.  That brings me to this-I think we are almost ready.  December has been telling.  While deliberately keeping the holidays calm and simple we have done some branching out.  A few restaurants here and there, a very long day trip, a close friend's wedding...  And each time, we departed from normal bedtime and schedules, and things have been good.  We even survived the week of sleepless nights when Baby O was getting his molars in.  I can almost feel the wings forming and hope we can begin the new year by branching out more and more. 

My husband often laments that running long distances is all about recovery. When the subject comes up, he'll go on to say that anyone can run a marathon [but without proper preparation/training] you might have a tough time getting back on your feet for a few weeks (or longer).  I view the last overprotective months as training if you will for the the tougher times ahead.  With this strong family bond and understanding, we can hopefully overcome the hardships that come our way. 

It's time.  We are ready.  Family, here we come!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Earplugs Needed

Just a few snapshots from this past weekend.  Things couldn't have been merrier or louder.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Visions Of Sugarplums

After careful consideration, Boy O decided on seven cookies and a glass of milk for Santa and a bowl of carrots for his reindeer.  Now the children really are sleeping having been tucked in tight-and Mommy and Daddy O are rushing around making sure everything is just right.

No matter what you celebrate, have a wonderful holiday,

Family O

Sunday, December 19, 2010

As Usual

Rained last night as usual, is how Captain William Clark often began his daily journal entries during his stay at Fort Clatsop.  This is how I generally feel many mornings when I wake up this time of year.   The wet, grey weather makes me feel like buying one of those snuggie things, curling up with a cup of hot cocoa and reading a book or watching some horrible reality show marathon until the rain stops-the problem with that is  I would be curled up on the couch for the next seven to eight months.  Unlike Lewis and Clark's expedition, modern comforts abound in our household and there are times in years past when I have successfully avoided the elements for extended periods of time.  Nowadays, this reaction would be a recipe for disaster-two kids later and we all get cabin fever after about six hours.  Any inkling that the downpour might turn into a mere drizzle, I load up the jogging stroller with old towels and get the boys prepared and go out for a run/bike ride.  A playground is located near the halfway point of our regular route, so we unpack the towels, dry the swings and slides and are able to make the best of it. 

Lately, there have been some pretty hard rains and the promise of the park is not the only motivation for Boy O, who rides along side me.  Massive puddles have formed in the gravel paths along our normal trail making it somewhat difficult to traverse to the other side without getting our shins wet.  I've never been much of one for these types of experiences (translation: complete wimp), but my son is teaching me to appreciate new things and see the glass half full.  There really is nothing better than a large, muddy rain puddle.  I do wish I had pictures of the first day of the puddles, because they were much larger and deeper than these pictures. 

Yes, I created yet another load of laundry for myself and in my efforts to avoid the puddles, I managed to step in deep pockets of mud in the mucky swamp of a field surrounding us.  

The fresh air and laughter as I watched him ride through every kind of puddle was well worth getting wet and muddy.  I even amused Baby O by attempting to run through a few, resulting in some spectacular showers.  So if you are ever down in the dumps about the weather, consider putting on an old pair of shoes and enjoying a good splash in the aftermath of this liquid sunshine. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

O Tannenbaum!

How to cut and decorate your tree, Family O style:

STEP 1: Make sure it's raining.


STEP 2:  Wear a cowboy hat with its very own cowboy hat raincoat.

STEP 3:  On your way to purchase the tree, try to tell your children they can't pet the pygmy goats.

STEP 4: After much excitement, sit in Santa's lap and become tongue-tied (or in Baby O's case, just scream).

STEP 5: Have your five year old help you string the lights and hang up your collection of blown glass Christmas ornaments. I had prepared myself to lose a few, but much to my surprise they all survived the trip from box to branch. 

STEP 6:  Place your mobile toddler in a 'rectangle of neglect'.

STEP 7:  Admire the finished product.  Total time: 10 hours from start to finish including lunch, snacks and naps.

STEP 8:  Move onto bigger and better things like cardboard box cars.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Musings From A First Time Momma

Some of the more humorous things that have changed in our household since doubling our family:

Talking about poop has been banned from dinner conversation.  Most might think our five year old would be the likely culprit, but it's actually me.  This was brought to my attention by Boy O who said one day at dinner after Daddy O asked how my day went, Mommy, that's not appropriate dinner conversation. Some days, my life revolves around doo doo.  Based on when and how many diapers I change, I can easily predict how my day or night is going to play out.  There have been several times when asked how my day is going that my thoughts go directly to bowel regularity.  For example, this subject is most likely to be at the forefront of my mind if nothing substantial has happened in the diaper arena by 5 pm.  I could go on, but I'll spare you the details.

I have trouble sleeping at night because I consistently wake up thinking I hear crying, screaming or someone falling out of bed.  The boys' rooms are very close, so a baby monitor is not needed-but I STILL tiptoe or even rush to their door to make sure nothing is wrong at various times during the night.  I thought maybe I was just crazy, but when I mentioned this to Daddy O, he said he has had similar experiences.  So if I am indeed losing it, at least I am not alone.  Anyone else have this problem?

Another fun parenting phenomenon: I hear my own words repeated back to me.  Apparently, I use the word appropriate/inappropriate quite often (see Boy O's line directed at me in the first paragraph).  When correcting Boy O on table manners etc..., I am often reminded of the phrase People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, because I seem to eat my very own words-a lot.  I now say 'please' and 'thank you' all the time, try very hard not to talk with my mouth full, keep my elbow off the table while eating,  use a napkin and the truck driver that used to live in my mouth has taken up new residence elsewhere.  I have learned that if I tell my son to do something, I had better be on board and set the example (or my 5 year old will let me know).  I think he might have the makings to be a great hall monitor in a few years...

I used to be up to date on the most current of events.  Ask me my opinions on various political candidates, current national policies or who had been in the local police blotter, I could probably have given you in depth answers.  Flash forward to today:  I can tell you that I detest the movie Air Buddies, Space Buddies, and any other movie with the word 'buddies' in it (anything with talking animals and bad story lines-for some reason, these movies seem to have it all).  I would call myself somewhat of an expert at the lives and adventures of superheroes and I look forward to receiving Highlights and National Geographic Junior in the mailbox.

Our house has changed.  We chose the 'desert camel gold' color for our walls six years ago in hopes of creating a warm, welcoming, homey atmosphere. Being greeted by the 15 foot metal gate upon entry into our house might give visitors a different idea altogether and although the baby gates coordinate well with the outlet covers and cabinet locks, it tends to clash with the toy bins that have been rammed and lodged against minute points of entry and areas where a 15 month old is not welcome.  Furniture is now arranged not for aesthetics or to highlight architectural features, but to cut off access to baby magnets, such as power cords and various cables scattered around the house etc...  Closets of course no longer serve the purpose they were originally designed for (dumping all your junk) since both children have discovered not only how to open them but push the doors completely off the tracks.  Items such as vacuums, brooms, jackets, lock boxes have all been evicted and have found new homes in odd high places around our household.

Despite my obsession with number two, lack of sleep, and practicing what I preach among other things, I wouldn't trade it for one night of our previous life.  These days are fleeting and before I know it this house will revert back to the quieter, cleaner version it once was.  My kids keep me in the moment and remind me to enjoy the little things in life and not dwell on the fact that we have to pull out an extension ladder to reach the mop that has been secured safely near the ceiling.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Traditions

Creating new family traditions has been simply joyful this weekend.  It began with writing a letter to Santa himself on Friday morning-even Baby O got into it and drew a few scribbles for  old Saint Nick before sampling the red and green crayons (thank goodness they are non-toxic and a call to poison control was not necessary). 

I thought you might enjoy the finished product.

A letter to Santa Claus from Boy O as told to Mommy O:

Dear Mr. Claus,

Thank you for making toys.  We will have candy left over from Halloween, pumpkin bread and milk for you to drink.  What kind of cookies do you want?  Pumpkin?

I would like a gun that makes noise that is big.  I would like a watch that makes noise.  I would like a car that makes noise (preferably with Spiderman on it). I would also like a Buzz Lightyear doll that makes noise when you push the button.  I would like shoes that make me faster and an Iron Man helmet. 

Santa, do you have a telephone?  Can I have your phone number?  I would like to call and talk to you.  Do you know Spiderman?  What are you making for him?

Boy O

We sealed the letter in a handmade blue envelope and delivered it to the special North Pole mailbox at the post office on Saturday morning.  Have I mentioned that Boy O is obsessed with buttons and things that make noise?

I did not envision spending most of Sunday morning preparing and drawing up plans for a homemade gingerbread house.  If you plan on making one, be sure to make your measurements and drawings ahead of time-totally worth all the trouble, but it took forever.  Another helpful tip: wait until the sides of the house are COMPLETELY dry before applying the roof.  I tend to rush things and am then surprised and disappointed when the whole contraption collapses.  Luckily the rest of Family O was at the playground when this scenario and my subsequent 'gingerbread meltdown' took place.  Leftover Halloween candy and M & M's came in handy, but don't worry Santa, we still have plenty if you have a sugar craving! 

New traditions and good times all around.  Stay weekend we go to the tree farm to pick out our tree.  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset And Other Tidbits

Where have my babies gone?

A recent check-up at the doctor confirmed that both boys are growing like weeds.  When we first met our sons, I was actually able to hold both of them in each arm.  My arms got a great workout and I was looking pretty buff over the summer-now my back is getting just as much of a workout or more and I can only hold one at a time (and not for much longer if they keep growing...).  My posture kind of permanently tilts to the side and I try to position them over my hip so my arms aren't as tired. 

Since arriving home on 5/10/10, Boy O has grown 3 inches (2 of them in the last month alone) and gained 8 lbs. He has gone up two shoe sizes and no longer fits into most of the clothes that were so large on him when we met him in Ethiopia.  Growing taller has its advantages-new clothes and shoes of course, but he can also jump higher and is happy that he is getting closer to Spiderman's height.  The disadvantages are that the fun race car carts are no longer possible, as I can no longer lift him out of the 'driver's seat' and flying like superman in my arms doesn't last as long.  I feel lucky that we had these last six months to be able to lift and carry him around as much as possible.

Baby O has gained 6 lbs (he is now a whopping 25 lbs!) and grown 5 inches. He seems to be hitting all his milestone moments on schedule.  He can't seem to figure out the door knobs yet, but he can reach them and is able to force his way through the child safety locks on the cabinets in the kitchen.  He can open the oven door as well.  It wasn't that long ago when I remember browsing the aisles with Daddy O, chuckling to myself and saying, What would a person ever need that for? (that being oven door locks, refrigerator locks, cabinet locks, toilet seat locks etc....)  My Mom didn't need them for me! Why don't parents just WATCH their children? Karma is awesome isn't it?

Daddy O noticed that I wasn't in my usual obsessive Thanksgiving preparation mode and on the Sunday before he ever so tactfully asked me whether I knew that Thanksgiving was the following Thursday.  WHAT?!!!  I honestly thought I had another week.  I was an entire week behind.  Despite my lack of preparation, I finally took the Halloween decorations down and the meal went off without a hitch - I was grateful that Daddy O was able to stay home and watch the boys while I cooked the turkey and all the fixin's.  Last year at this time we were still just hoping we would one day be parents. It seemed very far away. There is and has been so much to be thankful for this year. 

I might have been behind with Thanksgiving, but it certainly put my bee-hind in gear for Christmas-so as soon as Halloween was tucked away in the closet, out came Christmas.   It was so much fun to pull all those boxes out and see the look on Boy O's face.  He was absolutely speechless at all the glittery lights and holiday what-nots coming out of the box and was more than happy to touch everything, ask what it was and put it in its rightful place. To see the wonder and joy in his face as he sees everything for the first time is just plain fun.  He brought the 'merry' back in decorating-usually it is such a chore.

Much to Boy O's excitement, Daddy O got the ladder out once the rain subsided and proceeded to apply Christmas lights on the roof.  I don't know if he enjoyed the extra attention or not-it is usually just me out there turning the lights on and off at various moments.  This year, we all gathered outside, watched and cheered him on from the driveway.  Baby O had to endure the exersaucer (or the 'circle of neglect' as we now fondly refer to it) while I took pictures, but the sight of Daddy O high up on the roof seemed to entertain him plenty.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The past six months have brought forth many firsts.  This week's first rivaled some of the best.  Snow. 

We have read books about snow, seen movies about snow, and discussed snow in great detail.  Where does it come from?  How does it feel?  Has spiderman seen snow? Will Santa still come if it doesn't snow?  It's hard to really get the message across with frost and ice cubes from the freezer. 

All questions came to a halt when we looked outside this weekend and saw the snowflakes.  Big, wet snowflakes.  The result was pure joy and happiness.  Boy O ran outside, Daddy O rushed after him with his jacket and hat.  I followed close behind with the camera.

If you look closely, you can see my wonder woman cape peeking out of Boy O's coat.  He has taken to wearing a cape everywhere.  He also feels very strongly about Baby O wearing a cape as well and secures a red dish towel around his brother's neck at every opportunity.  Sometimes I too take to wearing a cape fashioned out of a dish towel.  You should try it-it gives me a little extra something when I'm feeling tired.

The next day was even better and took us at least a half hour to get to this point:

There isn't that much snow, in terms of snow, but they don't know the difference!

The snowman fell over soon after this picture was taken.  It was a disappointing moment for all but we soon recovered with a  massive snowball fight.

Yes, you are seeing correctly-Baby O now has socks on his hands because the red mittens were soaked after about 3 minutes.  We now have snowpants, boots, and waterproof mittens to add to our collection of outerwear they will soon outgrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Excuses Aside, Motivation Found

Two months pre marathon, I entertained thoughts of life post marathon. Life would just be more peaceful and comfortable we didn't spend so much time running.  I found myself whining about the schedule, spending every Saturday morning running 16-20 miles, dragging the kids along with us, running 8 miles before dinner and feeling like I didn't have the energy to do other things like laundry or mow the lawn.

Post marathon, I still manage to drag my feet when it comes to laundry, lawn-mowing, fill in the blank, etc... and believe it or not, I miss my running regimen.  There is no pressure in getting a certain number of miles in and am therefore finding it much harder to get out there and run every day. 

The excuses are superfluous but a couple stand out over others.  We no longer run as a family (Boy O officially retired from the jogging stroller in the hours after the marathon due to recent growth spurts), so we have to make sure one or the other is home to watch the boys.  In addition and in true Pacific Northwest fashion, the weather has turned excessively moist and gray which hasn't inspired me to throw on my running gear even when I do find the time.  This 'perfect storm' (if you will) does make running (for me) more challenging and at times like these, I need inspiration to find motivation.

As fortune would have it, I don't have to look very far.  Saturday morning I woke up early to call my Dad to wish him luck.  I still didn't wake up early enough, but at 4:30 am when I left a message on his phone (7:30 am his time), my Dad was probably 3-4 miles into running his second half-marathon.  He called me afterward to proudly inform me that he felt great, finishing in less than 2 hours and even won his age group (60-64).   Hearing him recall each mile in detail made me teary with pride and hanker for a good long run.  The next morning, I found myself running before the sun rose and listened to my feet plod along the wet pavement as I thought about my dad, wishing I could have been running next to him. 

Congratulations on your race, Dad. I am so incredibly proud of you and brag about you all the time. Not everyone has a Dad that runs the miles you do. You inspire me to put one foot in front of the other on a rainy day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Comments, Questions, and Responses

This subject has surfaced once again-most times I can see it coming.  I usually have an idea of what kind of comment it will be, based on previous experience.  Are they yours?  Are they adopted?  Are they brothers?  Are they biological?  These are by far the most common questions I get.  Is it appropriate?  Or maybe I should be more to the point: Is it essential or even relevant information for a complete stranger to know the answer?  At times I feel as if I am in the minority when I say absolutely not.

Let me be clear, I understand the curiosity and am more than willing to talk about our adoption experience.  When were completing our dossier and waiting for a referral, I loved to browse adoption blogs for more information, or just simply to see what life was like after all the hoopla was over.  Was it possible for us to lead a normal life again?  Were families happy or unhappy?  I found myself looking at other multi-racial families and wondering what their story was.  I get it.

What I don't get is a person's lack of sensitivity around my children and the setting in which they choose to approach me us. 

Are they yours? (Usually a grocery store comment)

I am most likely too wrapped up in trying to keep Boy O from man-handling the hot wheels at the check out line and Baby O from grabbing anything (and I mean anything) in his grasp and promptly throwing it on the ground.  Any parent can attest to how hard this is given how narrow the space is.  And yes, of course they are mine.  I don't think I would 'borrow' someone else's children just for the experience.

So, uh, is he, like, adopted? (Usually a question in where both Daddy O and are both present.  Interestingly-they do not approach Daddy O, but me-that's a whole other interesting social issue in itself)

I don't want to have this conversation at my son's soccer game when I am trying to cheer him on and/or  trying my best to mollify a baby who doesn't feel like being stationary.  Again, I don't understand what a person gains from knowing this, it would seem to me that this might be somewhat obvious.  It just isn't the time or place.

Are they brothers?  Are they biological?  (This is the most common question we get-it used to happen more often when I responded to the previous question with a simple yes)

I like Daddy O's response, but was never able to master the blank look of disbelief when he replied with Well, of course-their names are Boy O_____ and Baby O______!  And then seemlessly without a further glance or thought, would keep on walking.
This question perplexes me, because most people see nothing wrong with it, but how comfortable would they feel if someone asked them the same question about their children that were in the grocery cart?  I have a feeling it might not go over so well.

How much do you charge? (Okay, I just got this one last week at the library and had to share it-but wow-did it catch me off guard)

No, I am not a nanny, I am in fact their mother and my services would probably be too expensive anyway.  This one seemed to come out of nowhere and took my breath away-I actually had to think about what she might be referring to.  I recovered pretty quickly, but I think my initial response was a sputtered HUH? I will say for her part that she was properly horrified in realizing her error and at least I can rest easy in the fact that if I need a job, child care services might be a lucrative option.  Wink.

In conversations with many adoptive parents, I have found that each person usually has a unique way of responding to questions and comments they feel comfortable with and I think I have found mine.  I always, whether the person is well-meaning or not, reply by saying, This is my son or These are my son's.  Sometimes this is not adequate for the inquisitor, who will then follow up with another comment (as if I didn't understand the first question) and I simply repeat it over and over until the questions stop.  So far I have not had to repeat it more than three times.  Eventually, even though they may not understand they have crossed a boundary with me or it is just not the right time or place, they understand that they aren't going to get another answer.  It works for me.

Any stories you would be willing to share? What works for you?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Greatest Is Coming

If you have the time this Sunday, November 7th 2010, please tune in to watch the NYC marathon (click here for a broadcast schedule in your area).  This should be good as there are many elite and worthy racers out there running for the title.  Among them is Family O's favorite, Haile Gebrselassie, one of the world's best runners who happens to be from Ethiopia.  We will most certainly be watching and cheering him on from the comfort of our family room!  To give you an idea of where he is on the scale of importance to Boy O, his poster is right up there next to Spiderman.

Here is a recent clip from Runner's World if you are interested in learning more about him:

'I Have a Responsibility' to Ethiopia, Affirms Haile Gebrselassie

The marathon world recordholder (2:03:59), who'll do his first ING New York City Marathon on November 7, notes that after 27 world records and all the riches those have brought him, "I can lead a nice life anywhere around the world." But he considers it essential to provide an example to other athletes by remaining in Ethiopia and help lead the nation out of "hunger, drought, poverty …. We are on the right track, but we cannot eradicate poverty this morning," Gebrselassie stresses. In the Flotrack video at "More," he can be glimpsed at some of his vast construction projects, and you again get to see one of his excruciatingly close Olympic victories over Paul Tergat.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Fantastic Four

Okay, so maybe not the real Fantastic Four, but you get the idea.  Halloween was awesome, I finally lived out a childhood fantasy of being Linda Carter and we all went to bed with too much sugar in our system.  Boy O is already up this morning creating new superheroes by dressing as a combination of all costumes worn last night, asking if candy can be had for breakfast. 

We are a family of four and fantastic....

Up, up, and away....

What is that in the window?

Silly string serves as the perfect web!

Spider...ine?  Wolverman?

We had to nudge Boy O up to this house!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I was reading a book to Boy O the other day about a fireman named Frank.  We got a good look at the inside of a fire department, how a fire truck works, and even how firemen from different areas work together to fight large forest fires.  One fireman stuck out to Boy O however; and he asked me, "Mommy, why does that man have a different color coat on?"  I told him that it must be the fire chief.  "What does fire chief mean?"  Well, he tells all the other firemen what to do. He's the boss. Seemingly satisfied, Boy O said, "Oh, just like Mommy."

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Deadlift

 We hit the pumpkin patch this past weekend with the boys and although I took at least a hundred pictures, this one made me laugh out loud.  I think Baby O has a good future in the deadlift-perfect technique at just 13 months.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours

In the early hours before the marathon began, I found myself having spare time to think about how to title this blog.  Here are a few that didn't make the cut, but provided my foggy mind some needed humor to weather the moment:  A Series of Unfortunate Events, Grin and Bear ItRain Rain Go Away, Hindsight is 20/20, and my favorite:  What was I thinking?.

Nerves started to get the best of me on Saturday and things seemed hectic.  Trying to make sure we had everything we needed for the packet pick-up, hotel, breakfast, snacks, and the race took longer than I had anticipated.   The jogging strollers were bulky even without the wheels,  so fitting in all our gear proved to be a difficult task.  Packing, unpacking, and repacking.

The car was filled with excitement as we drove out of town; Boy O had just managed to score 12 goals (I know I'm not supposed to count, but when the score is 12-0, it's hard not to)  in his soccer game and we were off the the big city to have a great adventure.  We had planned on eating a late lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant but found it closed upon our arrival.  All was not lost however; the Ethiopian market was just across the street and we were able to load up on injera, pea flour, cardamom and some kolo (a popped barley that Boy O loves to snack on). Disappointed but still in good spirits, we decided to snack on things we had in the car and headed on over to check into the hotel. 

The hotel was fun and as always on this weekend, filled with other marathoners.  Boy O seemed to fully enjoy the hotel experience-from rides in the elevator to the flat screen television on the wall in front of the bed.  So many new buttons and gadgets to see and touch-pure heaven for this five year old.  Both boys had a great time playing hide-and-seek and chase around the beds while Daddy O undertook shuffling all of our stuff from the parking garage to the tenth floor.

Finally situated, we walked to the sports and fitness expo to browse all things running as well as to pick up our race packet.  With around 13,000 participants this year, the expo seemed crowded and chaotic, so we didn't dawdle for too long and walked back to the hotel.  By this time we were all getting pretty hungry so we took off in search of food.  The restaurant was nice, the food was good, and then as fate would have it,  my 'dinnertime diva' (aka Baby O) decided to make an appearance.  Baby O is and has always been a great eater, but has decided as of late that he only wants to eat what is on someone else's plate.  This is fine if it can be shared but most times what he wants is something that I don't think his tummy can handle just yet.  The dinnertime diva was also exacerbated by the fact we had skipped his afternoon nap (now I know-if you skip a nap, don't go out to dinner-and if you do, pick a more casual, family-friendly restaurant).  Daddy O didn't think anything was amiss and maybe it was just extra nerves on my part, but when I finished my meal, I decided to leave the restaurant early with Baby O and let the other tables finish their meals in peace.

Sleeping comfortably in one hotel room as a family was something that had been a concern but I felt confident things would go well with 2 double beds and a pac-n-play.  We wanted both boys to be well rested for the 5 am wake-up call and figured that a couple extra hours for us wouldn't hurt either so their normal bedtime of 7:30 was agreed upon.  At 7:33 pm, everything went smoothly.  A little too smoothly....

Once the television was turned off, songs were sung, kisses were given,  and the kids were snoring I thought we were in the clear.  Then at 11:30, Baby O woke up and started crying-this was remedied within 5 minutes-nothing a little rocking and singing couldn't fix. Whew.  At 12:30, Boy O woke up and didn't know where he was and cried out for us-I crawled in bed with him until he fell asleep and I thought that the worst was over.  Then at 2:30 Baby O woke up crying and wouldn't stop.  Nothing would console him.  After what seemed like ages but in reality was 10 minutes of screaming, I went to go make him a bottle and I heard a loud knock at the door.  The man staying next door was very angry (his wife was running the marathon as well) and told us that if we didn't stop the crying, he was going to call security and have us thrown out.  I was horrified-I certainly didn't want to ruin someone else's marathon experience, but what was I supposed to do? Exhausted, I took Baby O-who really was very tired-just out of sorts and out of his comfort zone, down to the lobby and entertained him until 6 am.

I don't think I have ever had a good night's sleep before any marathon, but this one took the cake. Baby O was fabulous in the lobby-there were endless new things to see and do for him.  He made friends with the entire night crew, right down to the janitor and door men.  The front desk even asked me at when 5 o'clock came around, "Mrs. O, do you still need the 5 am wake up call that you requested last night?"  I can laugh now, but at the time, all I could think was,  "How am I going to run 26.2 miles while pushing a stroller in a couple of hours?".  Meanwhile, with all the excitement, Daddy and Boy O could not get back to sleep either.  You would think this would be miserable for a 5 year old, but in their frequent visits to the lobby, Boy O exclaimed to me, "Mommy, Mommy, Tom and Jerry's on!".  Oh, how his viewpoint lifted my spirits in the wee hours of Sunday morning. 

In spite of all the upheaval, I will say that it did give us ample time to pack up the car again and prepare the strollers for the run.  I was happy when it was finally 6 o'clock and like magic, Baby O fell asleep instantly when placed in his stroller.  He stayed that way for hours.  When we walked to the start in the pouring down rain, he was asleep, when total strangers came and knocked on the rain cover to the stroller, he was asleep, and for at least the first 10 miles, he remained asleep.  In fact everyone commented on what a wonderful baby he was.  And a little part of me hoped Daddy O and I passed the lady that was sleeping next door.

The beginning of the run was hard-there were a lot of people and it was difficult to maneuver through the crowd, but despite the number of elbows at every turn, Daddy O and I were determined to remain side by side and together with the strollers we became quite a force to be reckoned with.  The support from the crowd was incredibly positive and even better from fellow runners.  I found myself smiling all the time and having fun acknowledging all the words of encouragement.  We did have one rough spot around mile 6, the front wheel of Boy O's stroller got caught in a railroad rut and did a complete 360 flip with Boy O strapped in. The rain was coming down hard, the puddles were pretty deep in some places and it was hard to see the ruts in the road.  It certainly gave us and everyone around us a jolt-we were immediately surrounded by other runners, trying to help us make sure everything and everyone was okay (Boy O was, thank goodness)and to get back on track.  Given the situation,  we recovered fairly quickly.

Every mile brought some sort of entertainment-from jazz bands to cheerleaders, and even belly dancers.  At one point I looked at Boy O in his stroller and he was dancing away to all the music surrounding us.  Around mile 20, I noticed my legs and knees tightening up, but was more concerned with just getting it over with and kept going (it rained steadily the entire morning).  At mile 26 as we made the turn and could see the finish line ahead, my emotions got the best of me and I started to cry.  It had been a long 24 hours, but it made the finish that much sweeter.  We now know that not only can we run a marathon pushing strollers, but we can do it on no sleep.  It makes some things in my life seem very simple in comparison-which I guess is why I like running marathons-I may leave tired and sore, but I leave thinking that I can do just about anything.

Our pace was slower than previous marathons, but we were very happy with our 4 hour and 7 minute finish time-with two potty breaks, one stroller accident and two bottle breaks-I'm actually surprised it didn't take longer. It was still raining at the finish, we were all wet and tired and the kids had been amazing troopers not only during the race but for the last 5 months of training, so we decided to get back home as soon as possible.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures during or after the race just yet, but I did manage to take some on the trip home. They pretty much say it all.

Fun Fact:  Boy and Baby O came in 17th and 18th in the under 20 age group!  Pretty good for their first marathon, don't you think?

Even though staying in a hotel at this stage in the game was probably a little premature and naive on our part and I had almost reached my breaking point early Sunday morning,  it was completely worth all the work and fuss.  Not just the marathon, but all of it.  Even the lobby episode.  It was the first time I had ever heard Baby O assert my name over and over. Ma Ma! Ma Ma! Ma Ma!  He wanted me and only me! 

I confess that sometimes I feel lost in the mix with Daddy O and Boy O-he says Da Da and Bubba all the time, even when they are not around.  I admit to feeling envious of the special bond they have with one another.  I also admit to thinking from time to time that perhaps Baby O isn't very attached to me at all.  But for whatever reason, at 2:30 am-Ma Ma was the only one he wanted and it filled my heart to the brim that I was able to provide the comfort he needed (even if it was in the lobby at 3 am). 

Many people have asked if we will do this again.  It was a great experience, but I don't think either of us wants to push a stroller anytime soon. It's nice not to have to worry about getting a certain amount of miles in during the week and being able to sleep in on a Saturday morning.  I'm looking forward to it!