Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Crave Wednesday:Garlic Thyme Burgers with Grilled Tomatoes

I'm tired you guys.  So very tired.  I mean, I'm usually tired around this time of year with birthday party prep, but it's compounded by middle of the night wakeups and early morning risings.  I spent all of yesterday thinking it was Wednesday.  Which it obviously wasn't.

On the plus side, we're getting lots of television time!  Are you watching the new premieres?  Because we are!  Lately television has been disappointing, and last year a lot of our favorites ended.  But so far there are some gems in the new fall shows.  I think.  Once I'm getting more than a couple hours of sleep a night I might re-evaluate.

I might also start being more adventurous with dinner.  Because right now I'm looking for the easiest cleanup I can find.  One pan meals.  I like that birgers are a quick weeknight meal, even moreso when I can use my grill pan.  Cooking light refers to this burger as having French flavors due to thyme and Dijon.  I didn't find it especially "french" but I did like the simplicity of adding some herbs into burgers for something a little fancier than "ordinary."  Which is perfect for a Wednesday night that feels like a Thursday that you wish were Saturday!

Garlic Thyme Burgers with Grilled Tomatoes (From Cooking Light)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
3/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground sirloin
4 slices beefsteak tomato
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
4 Kaiser rolls
4 baby romaine lettuce leaves

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2 inch thick patty.  Press thumb into center of patty, leaving a nickel sized indentation.  
  2. Add patties to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Remove patties from pan.
  3. Add tomato slices to pan; cook 1 minute on each side.
  4. Spread 3/4 tsp mustard over bottom half of each roll.
  5. Top each with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 patty, 1 tomato slice, and top half of roll.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mommy Mondays: Surving Staying At Home

Don't worry, I'm not about to start passing off advice on how to be a stay at home mom, because goodness knows, I am so far from the expert in that field!

This is less of a "how to" and more of an "how I."  I've been back at work for almost a month, but before that I was a stay at home mom for almost 3 months to these two guys.  I remember Thatboy being so nervous about going back to work and leaving me to handle a toddler and newborn on my own.  But I DID IT!  And this is how.

To begin with, I am a routine lover.  I find it makes things so much easier.  So I implemented one to help us through the day.

To begin, I woke up with Thatboy so I could get a shower in before the boys woke up, or at least before Thatboy left for work in case one of the boys did wake up.

Once they were up, it was breakfast, teeth brushing, and getting dressed.  And then we left the house.

This was the key to my routine, getting out of the house and doing something.  It helped keep Thatkid occupied, and tired him out a bit, and Thatbaby could sleep in the carrier.  This is when we went to museums, met up with friends, or even just headed to the library (which Thatkid loved). 

Then it was home for lunch and nap.  For all of us! 

Once we got up from nap, it was time for crafts.  I made SUCH use of Pinterest this summer!  Looking up activities to do and then putting them in action.  We made puffy sand, hanging suns, tye-died baby wipes, firework paintings,

Cotton ball sheep:

Shark hats:

And played games with balloons and pool noodles.

This was my dedicated Thatkid time.  Even though Thatbaby was usually with us, it was the time where I wasn't trying to do anything but spend time with him.   Which is important because after craft time, it was television time for Thatkid.  He got to watch a tv program while I put together dinner, and by that time Thatboy would be rolling in from work.  Another day survived!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Runday: The Rest of The Year

The last weeks of pregnancy, which felt like months, I got the race bug I always get before the fall rolls in.  There are so many San Diego races I love that come at the end of the year.  I started signing up for things right and left.  It's a sickness. 

October 24 - Surfing Madonna

October 24-November 1 - Zombies, Run! Virtual 5k

December 12 - Jingle Bell Run



Friday, September 25, 2015

A Homemade Life: Sliced Spring Salad with Avocado and Feta

If you do a google train search for "train birthday party" you'll notice a recurrent theme of "choo choo ____ is 2!"  Because for some reason, 1 year olds just love trains.  Well 3 year olds?  3 year olds love super heroes.   So it wasn't terribly surprising to receive a Superhero birthday party invitation from Super Toddler and Super Baby.  Since their birthdays are a month apart, and they're expecting another sibling in November, Super Mom decided a joint party was the thing to do.

The highlight of the party for Thatkid was that his all time favorite superhero in the entire world stopped by to make an appearance.


Don't get me wrong, the kid loves all super heroes, and happens to own not one, but two Spiderman action figures (because apparently you need one that talks, and one that doesn' least that what he is currently trying to convince me in order to acquire another Thor)

But Ironman has been his favorite almost since he discovered what super heroes were.   Which strikes me as funny, because he's a little too young to see any super hero movies, so I'm not sure how he knows about them, but he does!

The kids took turns being on Ironman and Spiderman's teams in playing tug of war.  (I think due in part because when they asked "who wants to be on Ironman's team?" Thatkid was the only one raising his hand and jumping up and down)

Spiderman and Ironman also led them in a bean bag tossing game.

And signed autographs and posed for pictures.

Thatbaby is still a little young for this superhero business.  He's really too young for the swing too.  Either that or he's just totally too cool for both.  Neither held his interest in the slightest.

He was much happier shoving his fingers in his mouth.  Because apparently that's what 3 month olds are into.


 Thatkid is seriously the biggest camera punk.  He begs me to put on a mask and take a picture, then makes this face.  As though the whole thing wasn't his idea.  As though it pains him to take a picture. Or maybe he's just trying to hide his superhero identity.

The only problem with the party is that it was roughly one million degrees outside.  Poor Super Mom.  Super Baby was born the first week of September so she doesn't remember being this pregnant during the hottest part of September.  I reminded her that Super Toddler was born the first week of October, so she would have been even more pregnant that September, but neither of us think it was as hot as it's been lately.

We're having a real heat wave round these parts.  That fact, combined with the fact that we're about to lose all the best parts of summer - the produce, has be craving salad like a madwoman.  I want as much greens as I can get my hand on.  I shared this salad with the rest of the family, but I could have eaten the whole thing myself.  It has some of my favorite salad ingredients, namely avocado and feta.  The dressing is light and the "greens" (endive and radicchio) are crunchy instead of leafy, which brings a fresh crispness to the salad. While it's call a "spring salad" I much prefer to wait for the buttery avocado which presents itself in late summer.

Sliced Spring Salad with Avocado and Feta (From A Homemade Life)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar 
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp olive oil
8 radishes
1 medium radicchio
4 Belgian endive
handful of cilantro leaves
1 medium avocado
1/2 cup crumbled French feta
  1. In a small bowl combine the mustard, vinaigrette, and salt.  Whisk to blend well.
  2. Add the olive oil and whisk vigorously to emulsify. Taste and adjust as needed.
  3. Trim the radishes and slice them very thinly into translucent wafers.  Toss them into a large serving bowl.
  4. Quarter the radicchio from stem end to tip and peel away any raggedy outer leaves.  Working with one quarter at a time, slice it crosswise into ribbons roughly 1/4 inch thick. Toss the radicchio into the bowl.
  5. Next slice the endive crosswise into 1/4 inch thick strips, discarding the root end.  Add it to the bowl.
  6. Add the cilantro leaves and toss with vinaigrette to taste.
  7. Quarter the avocado from stem to base and discard the pit.  Cut each quarter crosswise into 1/4 inch thick strips.  Distribute them evenly over the salad.
  8. Top with feta.  Serve.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mommy Mondays: The Older Child (Part 3)

Okay, the easy part is over.  You've had the baby and made the first introduction.  Now comes the sticky part - the time when the older child realizes that attention stealing newer model isn't going away.

This is the time of tantrums, where you become quite familiar with the idea that "negative attention is still attention."

I had a bunch of friends who already had second children (including a mother who had two kids).  I take no credit for the advice below, but I will say I followed it with much success, so I'm sharing it.

The key to all of these is to make sure the older child doesn't feel neglected, or like the baby is more important.  Because then comes the resentment and the acting out.

* The baby is not precious.  This one was from my mom.  Too much "be careful" "don't touch the baby" or that ilk makes the older child feel like the parents care more about the new baby.  Like the new baby is more special, or deserves more protection.  Babies are really very durable, so we allowed touching, holding, hugging, and all that behavior without saying boo.  And when Thatkid did something that could potentially hurt, we didn't make it about the baby, but about life in general.  "Hey, don't poke him in the eye!  You wouldn't like to be poked in the eye, right?"

* Vocalize the same phrases to the baby that you do with the older child.  There will be times you can't get to the older child because you're involved with the baby.  But there will also be times when you can't get to the baby because you're involved with the older child.  Now, obviously the baby doesn't really understand anything you say, but the older child will.  So I will often say "One moment Thatbaby, I'm helping your brother right now."  or "Listen Thatbaby, you have to wait your turn, it's not all about you."  This helps the older child feel like they're not the only one being made to wait.  Lately I've had to tell Thatbaby "We don't pull hair" or "Don't hit your brother,"  even though at 3 months he can barely control his movements, let alone purposely try to harm Thatkid.

 * Babywear!  Okay, this one is mine.  Wearing Thatbaby meant that I could really cater to Thatkid.  Play in the backyard, go on field trips, tie shoes, and basically be accessible.  Because there is nothing more destructive than a bored toddler.

* It's never the baby's fault.  This is especially important when those tantrums and bad, attention seeking behavior surfaces.  Whenever you're chastising the older one, give it a reason other than the baby.  So no "be quiet the baby's sleeping"  just "hey let's use our inside voices."  That way the older kid doesn't feel like s/he keeps getting in trouble because of the baby.  If you have another adult handy, this is an excellent time to make use of them as a distraction.  That way you don't have to yell at the older kid, the distracting adult can just take them out to play, or grab a bunch of legos to "build together."  If you don't have a second adult handy, then set up your own distractions.  Put a big bin of blocks wherever you spend the most time (or in every room, if your kid is like mine you have plenty of legos/blocks/etc.). When s/he starts doing something undesirable, ask him/her to build you the tallest tower s/he can, which will keep him occupied. Or something similar that would work for your kid and what s/he likes to do.

* One on one time!  From the time Thatkid came home from the hospital, Thatboy was in charge of bath and bedtime.  I always use that time to get dinner ready for the next day.  Once Thatbaby came home, this became our special time.  Thatboy took over putting Thatbaby to bed, while Thatkid and I did dinner, bath, and bedtime together. Which means every night Thatkid and I had dedicated time together.  He also got lots of one-on-one time with Thatboy as they'd run errands together or go out and grab frozen yogurt.

* Help make your older child self-sufficient.  Because there are times you just can't be there for them.  For us, I let Thatkid know that I would always put his needs first EXCEPT when I was nursing.  So he knew that he could ask me for things any other time, but if I was nursing, he'd have to wait.  So before I would nurse, I would set him up with something to do. Coloring, beads, a puzzle, a snack - so he has something to do while I'm occupied. I bought a bunch of $1 crafts from Michaels that worked great for this.  My hospital also recommends nursing with one hand, while you use your other hand to read a story to your older child who can cuddle up next to you.  I also created a "snack bucket" for Thatkid which had individually portioned bags of raisins, graham crackers, crackers, applesauce, cereal bars, granola bars, etc.  And he knew that he could help himself to those whenever he wanted, without having to ask me.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday Runday: Santee Lap the Lakes 5k

After I posted on Facebook about my little racing companion last week I got a text from L&O.  Little LO wanted to run a race at Santee Lakes, and L&O thought maybe Thatkid would like to join him.

You guys know that runner's high you get following a race right?  When you start looking for you next race before you've even cooled down from your last one?  Well Thatkid had that last week and readily agreed to run a race with his buddy. 

When our alarm went off at 6am, Thatboy turned to me and said - "you realize, both boys are sleeping right now.  We could be sleeping, but instead we're getting up to drive to a race for a 3 year old?"

But by 6:30am, both boys were up anyway and shortly thereafter we were on our way.

We met up with Little LO who was ready to get his race on.

But first, there was some warming up to be done.

I couldn't figure out how long the kid's fun run was.  On some sites it said a mile, on others half a mile.  So I really wasn't sure what we were in for.   I also wasn't sure why Thatkid got down low for his starting position.  He surely didn't learn it from me!

 And they're off!

 We were at the back of the pack, being followed by a group of cheerleaders who ensured no man got left behind.  They unofficially adopted Thatkid and Little LO as their mascots.  They LOVED them.  The one in the picture below beside Thatkid introduced him to all her cheerleader friends who lined the course.  "This is my buddy.  His name's Thatkid."

I was actually thankful Thatkid had a running partner since he took off ahead of Little LO and I.  She even crossed the finish line with him!  The race probably ended up being closer to half a mile, as we did one lap around one of the smaller Santee lakes.    It was flat and easy - perfect for the little guys.

 One of the things I really loved about the race was that they had medals for the kids.  I think my views on medals has been beaten to death, and neither L&O nor I thought they'd have them for the kids.  But for kid runners, the medals mean a lot.  It's a real sign of accomplishment.  And I know Thatkid was so proud of his.

(Disclaimer - Thatkid had the black eye before the race.  It's because he doesn't see so well with a spider man hood over his face and he ran into a pole at school.)

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Homemade Life: Fennel Salad with Asian Pear and Parmesan

Have you noticed how often bloggers talk about quick and easy meals?  It's totally a thing.  And you know why it's a thing?  Because no one has hours to spend in the kitchen on a week night.  Whether you have kids or not, most of us are worn out after a day of work. 

This is especially true in Thathouse lately.  I'm back at work. And due to Thatbaby's daycare, my hours are a little different than before, which means I get up super de dooper early in the morning and we all are out the door without any downtime in the morning.  When we get home, it's all hands on deck eating and getting the boys ready for bed. 

Most of the time I'm back to making dinner after the boys go to bed, but even that has to be quick so I can get to bed early.  So I'm really loving dinners that can be thrown together in 10 minutes or less.  There aren't a lot of dinners like that.  Salads definitely fall in that boat, and I'm lucky that both of my guys think salad for dinner is a normal thing. 

This is a quick and crunchy salad, and I highly recommend a mandoline to make cutting the slices faster and easier.  The super simple dressing of oil, lemon juice, and salt doesn't even need whisking!  Load up on the cheese and you won't even miss a more complex protein source.

Fennel Salad with Asian Pear and Parmesan (From A Homemade Life)
1 medium fennel bulb
1 small Asian pear
olive oil
crunchy salt, such as Madon or fleur de sel
Wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
fresh ground black pepper
  1. Cut the stalks and fronds from the fennel and discard them.  Using a vegetable peeler or small knife trim away any bruises or brown spots on the bulb's outermost layers of skin.  Cut it in half from root to stalk and trim the root end.  Using a sharp knife or a mandoline and working with one-half of the bulb at a time, slice the fennel very thinly.
  2. Using an apple corer, remove and discard the core of the pear.  Cut the pear in half from top to bottom.  Using a sharp knife or mandolin, slice it very thinly, just like the fennel.
  3. Assemble the salad in layers on a large platter.  First make a wide layer of fennel slices.
  4. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  5. Then place a layer of Asian pear on top of the fennel.
  6. Drizzle lightly with lemon juice.
  7. Season with salt.
  8. Using a vegetable peeler, shave thin ribbons of cheese on top of the pear.
  9. Add another layer of the fennel, followed by a light drizzle of oil, and then another layer of pear, lemon juice, salt and cheese.
  10. Repeat until you run out of ingredients and finish with a good drizzle of lemon juice and a hearty splash of oil.  
  11. Garnish with a few shavings of cheese, salt and pepper.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Homemade Life: Channa Masala

The last time we went to the Museum of Making Music, Thatkid had just turned one.  So to say it's been a while would be an understatement.  When I saw a Groupon for the museum I decided it was time for us to visit again.

I have to say, there are various pros and cons to visiting the museum at both ages.  At one, we were able to get more out of the museum, reading the informational placards, listening to the music, and enjoying playing with the instruments ourselves. 

At 3, we raced through the museum as he declared "I'm done with this" 2.5 seconds after looking at each exhibit/instrument.

But at 1, Thatkid didn't get as much out fo the museum since he couldn't reach pedals and didn't really know what he was doing.  There was a lot of lap sitting, and even napping.

At 3, he was able to really play the instruments.  Although he still can't reach the pedals, he knows how to strum a guitar, and the earphones fit on his head.

Even Thatbaby got into his first visit to a museum.

It's fascinating that you can have different experiences with the same thing as you get older.  Like me and chickpeas.  I've always been a fan of chickpeas.  I could eat them by the handful when I was a kid.  But as I've gotten older, I like my chickpeas a little more complex. 

Channa Masala is an ideal way to eat chickpeas.  I love masala, which is really like Indian tomato sauce.  And while chicken tikka will always hold my heart, you can't deny that sometimes vegetarian is the way to go.  And when you seek vegetarian, then we're right back at chickpeas! 

This recipe can't be easier.  I've made masala before, and this is by far the most accessible recipe.  It also is nice and mild, which is good when you're feeding both adults and children.

Channa Masala (From A Homemade Life)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garam masala
3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed under the side of a knife
1 tsp salt
28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
pinch of cayenne or red pepper
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup plain yogurt
few lemon wedges
  1. Pour the olive oil in a Dutch oven and warm it over medium heat.  Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, ujntil it is deeply caramelized.
  2. Reduce heat to low.  Add the garlic, cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, caradmom pods, and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add 1/4 cup water and stir to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cook until the water has evaporated completely.
  4. Pour in the juice from the tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves, using your hands to break them apart as you add them.
  5. Raise the heat to medium, and bring the pot to a gentle boil.  Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, add the cilantro and cayenne, and continue to cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces a bit and begins to thicken, abotu 5 minutes.
  6. Add chickpeas, stirring well , and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Add 2 Tbsp water and cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. Add another 2 tbsp water and cook until it is absorbed, a few minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
  9. Stir in the yogurt, if you like or serve with a lemon wedge on the side.  Either way, sprinkle it with a pinch or two of garam masala and some chipped cilantro.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots

There was a time when burgers seemed to be exclusively fast food or diner fare.  Relatively inexpensive to make, it was a staple of family restaurants.

Somewhere along the lines, things changed.  And now almost every upscale restaurant has their version of this classic American dish.  But it is no longer the inexpensive meat patty, buried between two dull buns.  Every aspect of the burger is elevated, Kobe beef takes the place of ground round.  Instead of American cheese, a cheeseburger is dressed in aged cheddar.  Heirloom tomatoes and mixed baby greens replace tasteless tomatoes and iceberg lettuce.  And instead of rings of sliced onions, the onions themselves are cooked over a low heat and caramelized.  Even the bun gets a makeover, turning into a brioche or pretzel incarnation.

This cheeseburger is one of the upscale burgers you can make at home.  It's a far cry from Jimmy Buffett's Cheeseburger in Paradise, which was not too particular, not too precise.  This one takes a little more time and skill than merely throwing a hunk of meat on the grill, but hey - you're worth it!

Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots (From Cooking Light)
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cups thinly sliced shallots
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup arugula
4 hamburger buns, toasted
3 Tbsp light mayo
  1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.  Add 2 tsp oil, swirling to coat.  Add shallots and 1/4 tsp salt.  Cook 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in vinegar, cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat; keep warm.
  3. Gently combine garlic and beef.  Divided meat mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2 inch thick patty.  Press thumb in center of each patty, leaving a nickel-sized indentation.  
  4. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 tsp salt.
  5. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tsp oil to pan, swirling to coat.  Add patties, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. 
  6. Top each patty with 2 Tbsp cheese, cover and cook 1 minute or until cheese melts.
  7. Place 1/4 cup arugula on bottom half of each bun; top with one patty and one-fourth of shallot mixture.
  8. Spread about 2 tsps mayonnaise on cut side of top half of each bun.  Place on top of burgers.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 3 Months

Weight (carried over from 2 month appointment): 11lbs, 14 oz (+3lbs, 10 oz)

 Height (carried over from 2 month appointment): 24.25 inches (+2.75 inches)
 Head (carried over from 2 month appointment): 15.75 inches

Sleep:  The good is that he's giving me a little longer stretch in the morning, consistently waking between 2 and 4, instead of 12 and 4.  Then back to sleep until I wake him at 6:30 for one last feed before daycare.  The bad is that since he started rolling two days before he hit 3 months, so we're working on stopping swaddling.  This didn't happen ever for Thatkid, so it's brand new territory for me and I'll take any advice you can throw my way!  It was so bad last Monday night that we went back to the swaddle so we could all get some rest before a workday.

Eating: Thatbaby is doing great with the bottle at daycare, but he's eating more than he would at home, similar to Thatkid when he started daycare.  Right now he's eating 4 bottles consistently, plus an extra couple ounces.  We had to up his bottles from 3 to 3.5 ounces.  I've been a bit behind his intake since I started work.  I consistently pump 13 oz every day.  He consistently eats 14-16 oz every day.  Luckily I have a bit of a freezer stash from when I was off work, but I'm definitely going to have to add a pumping session or two in on the weekends to supplement during the week.  I also picked up some fenugreek and lacation tea to see if I can up what I produce during the week.

Best Moment: When I picked Thatbaby up from his first day of daycare he gave me the HUGEST smile when he saw me.  Which made me feel like a million bucks.  And that maybe he was going to be okay after all.

Monthly Wisdom: It's hard leaving your kid in the hands of someone else.  Especially when it's not quite at your comfort level.  But kids are amazingly resilient.  And daycare can be a fantastic opportunity for them because it usually means someone is giving them attention instead of trying to be there for them AND make dinner AND put away the laundry.

Goals for the Upcoming Month:
- Break the swaddle!
- Get out of the 1% BMI zone
- Make it through the high holiday services with a baby and a toddler!

Things Thatbaby is doing:
- "Chatting"  (babbling)
- Rolling
- Swatting at toys on his playmat
- Grabbing hanging objects above him
- Switching objects between hands
- Sitting and standing with assistance
- Chewing on his hands

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Runday: Grape Day 5k

If I had written this post in advance, it would have been about my return to racing, and how I crushed my expectations by finishing faster than I expected to after not running for weeks and weeks.

Good thing I don't write my race reviews in advance!

I had planned on the Grape Day 5k to be my first race after giving birth.  Small, easy to get to, and where I got a PR last year.  And since I haven't been putting in the miles, a 5k seemed like a good start before jumping into half marathons.

Yesterday morning we all got up, got dressed, and got out of the house.  We cut it a little close to the start, but had enough time grab a couple of thundersticks and head over to where people were just starting to line up.  My cheering squad took their place on the sidewalk.

Now, take a look at Thatkid's face.  Doesn't look like much of a cheerleader, right?  In fact, he looked downright sad.  When I asked what was wrong, he started crying.  "I wanted to run the race with you," he sobbed. 

And there went my plans of really racing this 5k.  Because I want to encourage him, and I definitely love the fact he wants to do something active.  And so I let my 3 year old bandit his first race. 

Now, to be fair, I wasn't really expecting him to do the 5k.  So it was more like him being a support runner  - like marathon runners have! 

And I was right in my estimation.  He made it almost a mile before he looked up at me and said he wanted daddy.  So we moved over to the side and I called Thatboy to meet up with us.  And I continued the race on my own.

I was a little relieved he didn't want to race the whole thing, because it's not exactly a flat and easy course!

The first mile runs down Grand Ave and back, turning onto Broadway.  That part is nice, flat, and fast.  Of course, once you turn onto 7th Ave., all bets are off for that second mile.  It's one hill after another on 7th and 5th ave.  The last mile takes you back out to Broadway/Grand which is a welcome relief after the hills.

Around mile 2.5, I got a phone call from Thatboy, Thatkid was crying again.  He really wanted to finish the race with me.  So we planned on a meetup point about a quarter mile from the finish.  When he saw me, Thatkid came running up to me, and together we raced toward the finish.   I was planning on giving him my medal, but they insisted on giving him a medal of his own -nevermind that he didn't run the whole thing, or even register for the race. 

Thatkid was beaming after the finish, informing Thatboy that he was a winner as we walked to breakfast.  When we got there, Thatbaby woke up and Thatkid showed off his medal and then let his little brother wear it for a while.

One of my favorite aspects of the race is the beer garden at Vinz after.  Since the boys couldn't come, I went to go drink my beer by myself, but found myself at a table with another solo runner.  There's something so nice about the camaraderie of runners.  He and I drank and talked about our experience that morning, our running histories, and other things that no one in their right mind wants to talk about except other runners. 

I know I've said before how much I love small, local, races, but I'll say it again.  The field was much larger this year than last year, but so far the race hasn't lost its community feel, which makes it one I want to run again and again.  Despite slow times, steep hills, and unbearably sticky weather!