Fun Run

Hey, guess what? You were right! I was sick! Hooray! I’ve never been so happy to have a cold! Especially because I’m already starting to feel better.

This is especially fortunate because I am running a 10K this weekend and I would rather not run every race I’m registered for this year whilst in the throes of the ague. I haven’t had much of a chance to run this week, what with my heavy time commitments in the areas of whining and complaining, so I decided to try to get a short run in this afternoon while Sam was at soccer practice.

Photo of Sam running backwards on a soccer field.

Sam. At soccer practice.

The only flaw in my plan was that I was in charge of Jack and Quinn as well. They were extremely happy on the swings that overlook the soccer field, so I tried to run back and forth on the path that snaked between them that allowed me to still watch my smaller munchkins and make sure they weren’t departing for more interesting pastures.

Sadly, it only took me a few minutes to realize that I would have to run something like 38 tiny laps to get any decent mileage.

I did not want to run 38 tiny laps.

Happily, when I said to Jack and Quinn, “Come on, guys; run with me!” they did! We departed down the path, leaving the soccer field behind us.

Photo of a paved trail through trees. Quinn and Jack are on the trail ahead of me, running away from the camera.

Jack and Quinn. Running.

It was, by far, the least productive run I’ve been on in a long time, but oh dear lord was it fun.

They actually did a really good job too. We would run for a little bit and then we would walk and if we saw a dog, we would stop to pet it. I kept track of our running (not the walking parts) on my Garmin and they ran for a little over a mile.

Like rock stars.

I think it might have been when my kids were marveling over the group of seven deer that we happened upon, followed by much excitement over a robin pecking around nearby that I realized how much fun running with my kids is.

Quinn would run up ahead and then jump out from behind a tree to ambush Jack and I and we would laugh. Jack and I would run really fast to catch up to Quinn and then he would scream and cry when we ambushed him. Both kiddos made serious but ultimately unsuccessful efforts to pet deer. We watched a creek. We had a heart-stopping lesson in remembering to stop at roads. Jack politely informed a smoker that he should quit for his health. Quinn hid from a peloton of bikers on a nearby road by crouching behind a bank of daffodils. Jack quite literally stopped to smell the flowers.

Jack walking throgh trees on a paved path while inspecting something he is holding in his hand.

Then Jack picked said flowers, told me he wanted me to help him make a dye out of them, and very carefully inspected them for suitability. It slowed us down considerably.

The whole damn thing was delightful as hell.

We got back in plenty of time for Jack to find more flowers and for Quinn to play on the swings and run into a friend from his class at school.

Photo of Quinn swinging.

Quinn has recently made great strides in his swinging ability. He gets JOY from swinging now. It’s awesome.

I run for a lot of reasons. I run to be healthy, to be fitter, to be faster, to train for races, to feel strong. Today I ran for fun. Just for fun. It was wonderful. I’ll have to remember to do that more often. And I need to remember to invite my new little running buddies to do it with me.

And then soccer practice ended and Quinn called Sam stupid and Sam threw a shoe that hit Quinn in the face and there was no more happy for anyone ever again. So, there’s that.

Wait. There actually is a little more happy. But just a little.

Photograph of a plant. Due to the position of its purple flowers and the shape of it's green leaves and the coloring of the purplish leaves at the very top, this plant looks just like a very silly bird.

“Hello! I’m a bird! I bring happy back!”

And the Fun Keeps Rolling Along

You guys, thank you. Thank you all for your therapist recommendations and thank you for your assurances that I’m not alone and thank you for your kind words. They all matter so much to me. Thank you. I’m feeling a lot better this weekend than last week, so yay! Also, now I have some good ideas of places to look for therapists instead of just opening the phone book and picking someone because their name makes them seem like someone I’d like. That hasn’t always worked out so well for me in the past.

*****

There is, however, more sad news. After Gerbil died, I cleaned out the mouse cage and put Squeaky back in there with a paper towel for her to shred to keep her busy. She spent the next two days just kinda sitting on top of the paper towel and not inside her little hut, which was unusual. Squeaky and Gerbil used to curl up together inside their house all day long. It was strange to see Squeaky out of her house so much. Today, we woke up to blood on the paper towel. Evidently her skin condition was not controlled as well as I had thought.

We decided that it was her time and that to keep her alive with skin that probably really hurt was cruel.

Naturally, I’d recently bought four pounds of mouse food.

I took one last trip down to the vet office. Squeaky, you will be missed. We loved you.

Tenacious Squeaky in her less gruesome days.

After I brought her little body home, Alex buried her next to Gerbil. Instead of using a spoon this time, he pulled out a pick ax. That Alex is (a) strange, and (b) has evidently never seen a shovel.

So now, instead of five little friends running around in their cage next to my desk, they are buried under our butterfly bush. Even Algernon had to pay his respects.

There but for the grace of God go I, he reportedly said.

Goodbye, mice. You were good pets and fun to have. I just wish you lived longer.

*****

Things have been a little grim here of late, so I’m going to give you this palate cleanser from Sam’s last soccer game of the season. I don’t have any actual photos of the game, but I do have this photo of Sam after he got his year-end trophy.

He works really hard at soccer for not a lot of glory.
I’m really proud of him.

Sorry for the weird crop on that photo. I had to eliminate the kid standing behind him and opening Photoshop to do so seemed far too onerous.

 I do also have this photo that I took a few weeks ago when Sam was goofing around on the sidelines. It pleases me for many reasons.

Sam had some weird objections to the photo. Something about “yoga”
and “levitation.” Some days I don’t get him.

*****

In other news, here is what I am facing down over the next few months:

Brilliance from Lizbeth over at Four Sea Stars.

*****

Now I’m going to go stare at my television set for a few hours, because I’m pretty sure that doing that helps with the dysthymia ennui. That and eating my feelings. I might do both.

A Surprisingly Long Post About How I Have Nothing to Write About

Sometimes I don’t know what to write about here, even though I really want to write. I actually have a couple really great posts coming up (“No, Stimey!” you say, “They are ALL really great posts!”) but they’re longer and I haven’t had time to write them. Then there are a couple kinda angsty posts I want to write, but I just don’t have it in me to get that out right now.

It’s gotten to the point where I was so excited to get an invitation to help my friend cut her guinea pigs’ toenails because that meant that I would have something to write about. Look for that post next week.

And, yes, I realize that the previous paragraph says a lot about me as both a person and a writer. I’m okay with that.

Then I wanted to show you this picture that Jack drew, that also featured his handwritten caption “look back at the text if you are confused.”

Mostly I love the student’s little hands.

I do know that I wanted to write to thank my friend BetteJo and my internet soul sister, Jen, for donating to the Cheetahs. The team is 40% of the way to their fundraising goal. How awesome is that? For anyone that wants to attend the actual Cheetah-Thon, you can register at the Cheetahs website. You can also see Jack in a photo with his coach and some of his teammates there on the night his super awesome coach received a community hero award.

Would it make you feel bad if I told you that even with all these things I want to write about here, that I actually DID write somewhere else? Because I did. I’m sorry. You can read all Ten Commandments of Being a Soccer Mom over at White Knuckle Parenting. The thing I didn’t include there is that after the game, in which Sam did a really great job, he was all, “I surprised myself! I didn’t know I could play that well!” It was really cool. Sam has some confidence issues on the field, so it was so awesome to hear him say that.

With that, I’m off. I hope to return tomorrow with a most entertaining post about either the zoo or a shed. I haven’t yet decided which. (I’m trying to maintain some mystery.)

He’s My Star

To commemorate Sam’s last soccer game of the fall season, I present to you this awesome photo I took much earlier this fall, back when you didn’t have to jump up and down on the sidelines to keep yourself from freezing solid.

He’s kind of a badass here, huh?

I’m not going to miss our evening soccer practices that ended in the full dark, but I will miss watching Sam like to play so much. He definitely liked practices more than games (less pressure), but he worked so hard at being on that team. Way to go, Sam!

* That photo up there? He stopped that goal. Of course, five minutes earlier, he and his buddy were jumping up and down doing chest bumps while the rest of the team was playing down at the other end of the field. Nine is such an “in between” kind of age, isn’t it?

Officially a Hockey/Soccer Mom

Evidently my kids suck at sports, but, holy hell, they are so cute doing them.

And, really, it’s not fair to say they suck. They’re just new to these particular sports. For instance, Sam had his first soccer game of his life on Saturday after only three practices.

I wasn’t at the soccer game because I had to take Jack to his social skills group, but by all reports (i.e. Alex’s synopsis), those three soccer practices haven’t yet paid off. But he does look very handsome in his uniform. This was the closest I could get to making Sam smile for a photo. According to him, soccer players don’t smile.

There’s no smiling in soccer.

I say give him a couple of weeks to get his confidence up and he’ll be great. Or if he’s not, he’ll keep having fun and that’s all good. Sam loves sports and I am so proud of him for all the good effort he puts into them.

*****

I was on hand to see Jack’s first hockey practice. Mostly because no one else in the family was willing to wake up at 6 a.m. to drag his ass to an 8 a.m. ice time.

I was weirdly nervous to take him. There is a lot of equipment and gear associated with hockey and I was concerned that I was going to do something wrong. I’m not sure what my mind imagined the consequence of a hockey gear fuck up would be, but it was enough to cause me considerable stress.

Turns out we got everything pretty much right, or at least faked it well enough. Jack looked like a real hockey player.

There IS smiling in hockey.

The really great thing is that the hockey program Jack is doing is specifically for kids with developmental disabilities. It’s a fantastic organization. I can’t quite believe that his interest in hockey and the existence of this team coincided like they did.

Almost all of the gear he is wearing came from a storage locker full of donated equipment that the players get to borrow at no charge. Not only that, but high schoolers volunteer to mentor each player one-on-one every week.

Jack’s mentor had his work cut out for him. Jack has only been ice skating once and on Saturday,  managed to fall down even before he got out on the ice.

Then he proceeded to fall down on the ice. Over and over.

At some point he even stopped trying to stand up and just started scooting around on his knees. His mentor, whose name happened to be Sam, stuck with him the whole time. I could see him talking to Jack and encouraging him even from my spot across the rink.

Dude must be cold in those thin sweatpants.

I was a little worried that Jack’s first few practices might involve, you know, learning to skate, but the thing Jack has been telling me over and over is that he wants to learn to hit the puck with his hockey stick. So I was really happy to see Mentor Sam let Jack hit a puck back and forth with him.

Look! Jack is standing up!

I’m so proud of Jack. Skating can be a tough thing to learn, but he hung in there for the whole hour. It’s a good thing I was able to find hockey socks to cover his legs though (and good luck finding hockey gear in my area, by the way) because he ended up covered in copious amounts of snow.

 The socks fell down after repeated knee scooting though.

Jack was rendered pretty speechless by the end of the practice hour. I think he was exhausted. As he walked into the locker room, Mentor Sam stopped where I was hugging my tiny hockey player. “You did a great job today, Jack!” he told him. Then, when one of the dads asked him if he was coming back next week, Jack gave him a big thumbs up.

Then we watched Zamboni patterns.

When I asked Jack later that afternoon what part of our busy day had been his favorite, he said, “Hockey. When I was with Sam.”

I’m really excited about things to come.