Monday, October 16, 2017

Meals on Wheels

We've been delivering Meals on Wheels for 5 months now. When I looked into volunteering, the website said a route would take about 1 hour. Once I was placed with a coordinator, she told me the route would take an hour and a half. Then when you add in getting the kids in and out of the car at every stop, our route takes us 2 hours. After our first delivery, I was a bit overwhelmed. 2 hours in the car is a long time for the kids! Getting them in and out of the car is exhausting and my back was sore! I filled in on routes where drivers weren't able to be there pretty frequently in the beginning and the kids got tired of doing it. I wasn't sure I'd chosen the best volunteering opportunity for myself and the kids. But I'm so glad I stuck it out and gave it a while longer to see how it worked out. I told my supervisor I couldn't fill in on extra routes anymore because it was too much for the kids and she was very understanding. Now we just deliver once every 3 weeks which is perfect. Carter gets excited to go and doesn't fuss about being in the car. 
Carter getting a meal out of the cooler.
I originally chose Meals on Wheels because Carter loves to talk to people and especially enjoys adults. I thought it would be good for the recipients to interact with a child. I figured they would adore the kids. Now after doing it for months I realize it is also such a great experience for the kids. I hadn't thought of how it would be good for them other than just seeing how important it is to love thy neighbor and be helpful and all that. I wanted to instill in them the attitude of serving others at a young age. But Meals on Wheels is such a great way for them to learn social skills and practice how to behave when meeting someone knew. It gives them the vocabulary and allows them to see through my example what to say. I love seeing how they've grown over time. They have their favorite friends they like to visit and we spend more time at those houses, chatting with our friends. There are some houses Carter will occasionally stay in the car for but others where he will always go with me.

When we get out of the car I tell the kids who we are visiting. It means so much to our friends to hear the kids call them by name. They comment on how special they feel that the kids remember them. Carter has always been very outgoing and will go right up to adults to chat but Elise was always more comfortable hanging behind Carter and letting him do the talking. Now she'll run up to the house and jocky with him for the best position. Then yell really loudly, "Hello, Dorothy (or whoever's house we are at)," in an attempt to be heard over Carter. It is so cute! I'm loving seeing her blossom and really improve her social skills through these interactions. As we leave, both kids will yell out, "Bye, have a good day!" It really is the sweetest thing! The bonus about delivering to older adults is they tend to be less self-conscious and don't mind when Carter asks questions that aren't exactly socially appropriate. Then when we're in the car, I'm able to have a little talk with him about what would be appropriate.  It's so cute to see the kids handing the meals to the adults. Once Elise was holding the meal up and the lady couldn't quite reach it so she started to bend over. I started to take the meal from Elise so the lady didn't have to bend over and she said, "No, let her do it! I can bend over for that sweet girl." She got so much joy out of getting the meal straight from Elise's hand. It warmed my heart and Elise sure felt like a big girl!

I've noticed my attitude impacts how our time delivering meals goes too. When we first started I would get stressed out that we were so behind schedule and people were going to get their meals late and my attitude made the experience less enjoyable for the kids. As time went on, I was able to relax and go in with the mindset of, people will be happy to get their meals and we are going to take time to talk to our friends if they want to chat with us. One of our friends told me we are usually the only people he gets to talk to during the day so we always make sure to turn the car off at his house and chat with him on the porch. Another lady tells us she loves us each time and says she sure gets a kick out of seeing the kids, that seeing them is the best part of her day. I love the friendships we've made through our route and am so glad we have been on the same route the whole time so we can get to know our recipients. The kids' favorites are either people who really like to talk to them or people who have dogs. Their favorite people to visit are Harry, Gordon, Dorothy, and Betty. I will always remember them and the sweet role they have played in my children's lives. I will miss seeing them when I go back to work full-time and won't be able to deliver meals anymore. But for now we have 17-20 friends we see every third Monday and we really enjoy that!  
Elise carrying a the bag with milk and a fruit, Carter carrying the meal.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Funny Stuff the Kids Say


To me while we were doing puzzles, "You aren't very good at this but I like how you keep trying. You're not giving up!"

Carter: Addison taught me if you really like someone you say, "Will you marry me?"
Carter: Elise, will you marry me?
Elise: No, I busy!

Me: Elise get in here right now!
Elise: One second!
Carter: She doesn't understand what one second means. She thinks it means just sometime later.

While watching the new Beauty and the Beast when Emma Watson comes on the screen, "She looks just like you, mommy!" Belle is my favorite princess!

Also while watching the new Beauty and the Beast, "Why did her dad go into a house when no one invited him." I was cracking up over this because I've been teaching him during Meals on Wheels that he can't just walk into other people's houses without being invited. I also thought it was funny that with all the strange things in the movie, such as a giant beast and objects that can talk, that was his biggest concern.

On a walk Elise walked through some kind of bush that had needles that got stuck all over her. Carter looked over at her and yelled, "Elise looks like a porcupine!"

I don't really have anything for Elise this time for some reason. I'm sure she's said some funny stuff and I just forgot to write it down. I do want to document that she calls monkeys "ooh ooh ahh ahh"s. She also calls trains chugga chugga choo choos and owls are whooo whooos. 

Elise has mastered spinning around in a full circle. She kept doing it and Carter thought it looked cool so he tried but he kept falling down. Elise would say, "Do it like this Carty," and then she'd model it for him. As she stood watching him try it she'd say, "Good try, Carty! You almost did it! That's it! Try again!" It was so absolutely adorable!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Matching penguin jammies.
Playing in the huge puddle in our backyard.
Elise drew a picture of a cat.
Carter also drew a picture of a cat.
Elise went to the library with me and had to wear a backpack with books just like mommy.
Carter wanted to spell volcano so I helped him listen to the sounds. He got pretty close.
Elise covering her baby up for a nap, not sure why it's blurry.
Playing in a giant sand box at the state fair.
Walking around the zoo after the race.
Hanging out with Uncie Taco.
Mom reading us a Shine a Light book to try it out after it arrived.

Elise wanted to take Harper on a walk with me.
The sun was going down and the clouds looked so pretty.

Elise trying to crack open her dinosaur egg during Fossil Day at the Children's Museum.
Digging for fossils.
Showing off their dinosaurs from their eggs.

Elise wanted to sit by Carter, Carter wanted to sit by Walter, and Walter wanted to sit by his mom. So they were all crowded on one seat and I had the rest of the table to myself.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Zoo Run 10k

This was the 5th year we've run the Zoo Run and the 2nd time I've done the 10k. I love the race, it is so much fun! The course is flat and finishes inside the zoo which is neat and the post-race food and activities are awesome. Last year I had such an awesome fall season and ran a 10k PR at this race, read about it here. I knew I wasn't going to be anywhere near my time of 41:49 from last year but hoped to still be able to run under 45 minutes. I hadn't done speed work in a few weeks because my legs were tired from my long runs but was feeling up to speed work the week of the Zoo Run. I ran 20 miles on Sunday so I didn't want to push my speed work up to Tuesday because I didn't feel like that would give me enough time to recover. Instead I went ahead and ran my speed work on Wednesday which went really well. Thursday and Friday's runs were tough and my legs felt fatigued so I was a little worried the 20 miler combined with the speed work would keep my legs from feeling fresh on Saturday for the race. Although my legs felt tired going into the race, they weren't too fatigued during it and I actually enjoyed the run quite a bit. I could definitely feel that my legs weren't fresh but they didn't feel too bad.
Carter with a giraffe after the race.

Mom and dad ran the 5k while Jeremy, Thomas, and I were all in the 10k. Thomas had decided late in the game to switch to the 10k when I told him what a flat course it was. It was his first time racing a 10k. He'd run a 10k leg in our marathon relay and that was his only experience with the distance. Ty wasn't able to run as he is dealing with an ankle injury so he sat the race out with the kids. Thomas and I took the kids over to a playground while we waited for the 5k to start and then cheered for mom and dad from there. Jeremy met us over there and then when Ty came over I took off for my warm-up. The 10k started 30 minutes after the 5k which gave me plenty of time to warm up and use the restroom before heading to the start area. I saw the lady I ran with at the race last year and knew she'd blow me out of the water this year but enjoyed seeing her anyway. We chatted a little bit after the race and she felt for me coming back from an injury and some time off.
Elise playing on the playground before the race.

Jeremy, Thomas, and I started together. I had no trouble with my Garmin picking up satellites since I'd already had it connected for my warm-up. Jeremy and Thomas both had trouble and neither of them were connected to satellites when the race started. My plan was to just go out and see what I could do. I was hoping to be somewhere in the 7:00-7:15 pace range. I really was hoping I'd be closer to 7:00 minute pace but it was apparent early on in the race that wasn't going to happen. I could definitely feel the 20 miles/Wednesday speed work in my legs. I wasn't struggling aerobically, I was struggling with my legs. Between the 1k and 2k marks there were a couple of huge puddles that covered the entire race path and were about an inch deep. I chuckled a little in my head that I hadn't wanted to walk in the grass to get to the playground as I didn't want to get my shoes wet and here I was running through a giant puddle during the race. So much for dry shoes! My first mile split was 7:03. I was running a little bit back from a girl so I kept my sights on her and tried to reel her in. I went through the 2nd mile in 7:08. The course is 2 loops that aren't exactly the same. The first loop is a 5k loop and then the 2nd loop you turn early since you then go into the zoo for the last mile. I passed the girl I'd been going for a little before going through the 3rd mile in 7:12. When I came through the 5k mark I looked and saw I had run the 5k in 22:10 so I figured I'd finish around 44:30 since I'd looked right at 3.1 on my watch and my watch typically isn't right on with course splits.
Me, Jeremy, and Thomas at the start of the race.
I still felt pretty good during the 4th mile and kept telling myself, only 2 miles to go after this one. I held a steady pace with a 7:10 mile and told myself to keep it at 7:10 or under for the last 2 miles. I went through mile 5 also in 7:10 and decided to shoot for under 7:10 for the last mile. I couldn't help but think that I had run 7:10 pace for the Aquarium Run Half-Marathon which I'd considered a bad race at the time. I was a bit disappointed that 7:10 pace was all I had but I couldn't expect much more on the training I've had either. We were heading into the zoo and I could see a couple of guys a ways ahead of me but they had enough of a lead there wasn't much chance I could pass them. It was almost the exact same situation I found myself in last year during this race. We hit the first hill and that's when I realized I wasn't going to be able to hit under 7:10 for the last mile. My legs were pretty dead and I was just trying to hold on. The rest of the race through the zoo was tough and I just kept trying to keep pushing through on dead legs. At one point you go out and back and I saw 3 women ahead of me but also knew there was at least one ahead of them who I couldn't see so I figured I was 5th or 6th overall female. My last mile was 7:15 and I got down to 6:49 pace for my finishing kick. My goal for the race was to break 45 minutes and after the half way point I was pretty confident I had that wrapped up since I hadn't slowed too much at the end but as I approached the finish line I saw 44:5X on the clock and took off sprinting because I knew it would be close. I don't think I did a very good job of running the tangents because my Garmin showed 6.29 for the race. I finished in 44:57 and my Garmin showed 7:09 pace. So it was in my goal range but I still didn't feel satisfied. I guess mostly because I know I'm capable of so much faster!
Me finishing the 10k, no man's land, haha!

I saw Jeremy finish right behind me and then we went over to watch for Thomas. We were super impressed when he rounded the corner just flying and passed the 2 guys who had been right in front of him. Ty got a really great picture where it looks like the other guy is about to cry as Thomas is passing him. It was pretty awesome. He had such a fast finish that other people around us were commenting on his kick. He kept saying how much more fun racing is when you actually train. He was pretty pumped and I'd say he enjoyed his first 10k! I did my cool down through the zoo and then out into the parking lot. I ran by the tiger exhibit as the tiger walked back and forth in front of the glass roaring which was pretty cool. I always love doing my cool down in the zoo while seeing all the animals. The kids played on the inflatables while I ran my cool down and then we headed to show mom and dad the new exhibit. Carter really wanted them to see the binturong aka bear cat which is an animal we didn't know existed until the zoo added it to the new exhibit.
Jeremy finishing the race.
Thomas blowing past people at the finish.
Dad ran the 5k but had to run a little slower than usual due to having double hernia surgery a month ago. He was excited he still placed in his age group, getting 2nd out of 13. He was also 73rd out of 1,046 overall with a time of 25:12. It was only the 2nd time he's placed in his age group at this race which he found funny since he was just coming back after surgery! Mom also placed in her age group finishing in 34:32 which put her 2nd out of 23 in her age group and 352nd overall. In the 10k my time of 44:57 put me 27th out of 404 overall, 6th out of 215 females, and 3rd out of 36 in my age group. Jeremy finished in 45:20 which put him 4th out of 18 in his age group and 31st overall. Thomas finished in 46:56 which put him 7th out of 22 in his age group and 45th overall. Last year I was 2nd overall female and just got a medal. This year they gave gift card to the top 3 overall finishers. The only times they've given out awards to the top 3 overall were years I wasn't in the top 3, go figure!
Me, Thomas, and Jeremy after the race.
Dad and mom with the kids after the race.