Friday, March 30, 2012

spring break 2012

not sure what happened.  i completely lost my blog post.
so here it is again.

we are staying home for spring break.
no trips or getaways.
but also no school, no homework, no meetings, no baseball.
man, do we need this.
10 1/2 days of possibilities.

sleep in.
go to the discovery science center for the star wars exhibit.
video games.
have play dates.
spring clean our closets.
buy clothes.
go the movies - to see hunger games.
finish a book report.
work on a whirlygig.
take a day trip somewhere.
play games.
wash every bit of clothing.
do some gardening.
clean up the backyard.
put every bit of clothing away.
go to the dentist.

realistically we can't do it all, but we're gonna try.
and honestly if we spend all week in our pajamas, eating cereal and watching tv, i don't think anyone will complain.

looking forward to a much needed break.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

tapas and basketball

not on the same day, but in the same week.
tuesday my friend jennifer and i took a tapas cooking class at chez cherie in la canada flintridge.  i've had a gift certificate to this place since my 40th birthday but it took me this long to finally getting around to signing up for something.

the tapas class has been sold out every time i checked their schedule.  but this time i was able to get a spot and jennifer did too.  it was great having company and someone with me who enjoys cooking as much as i do.

we broke up into groups and visited 3 stations making different types of tapas dishes.  for those of you that haven't had it, tapas come from spain and are small bites of food, like appetizers.  we made an amazing arugula and orange salad with serrano ham, and a bell pepper and eggplant montadito.
our second station was empanaditas with spanish chorizo, manchego and green olives.  i could have eaten the entire plate.  we learned different styles of folding them, that was fun.

and our last station was meatballs in saffron sauce.  i was in charge of cooking the breadcrumbs and almonds, to the point of being scared they would burn, that's exactly what the instructor said.  and i was scared.
these little meatballs were tasty and very easy to make.  i love that about european food.  simple ingredients but lots of flavor.
at the end we dished up our food and ate together.  it was such a fun thing to do.  i love that chez cherie uses a lot of ingredients that can be found at trader joe's.  i'm heading out today to pick up some of the things we used in class.  they even offer a trader joe's cooking class that we want to take.

thanks jennifer for being my partner.  let's do it again soon.

last night jordan went with some of his school friends to the staples center for the clipper's game.  kenyan martin's kids go to our school and he donated tickets as a fundraiser.
they got to sit courtside and watch them warm up.  kenyan autographed their t-shirts and gave them hats.  then they sat in their seats and were taken in by the energy of a professional basketball game.  they even showed our group on the big screens.  jordan's holding the camera in the middle.
the clippers beat phoenix 103-86.  a perfect way to end the night.  jordan came home and said it was one of the funnest things he's ever done.  i'm sure it was.  glad he got to go.

this was an exciting week for us.  looking forward to some calm as we head into spring break.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

the great race:: 10k

i ran my first 10k.
i ran it with a personal minute mile best.
i finished.
i felt amazing.

that would be it in a nutshell.
feel free to stop here and ignore the rest of this post.
i won't mind.

but there's more to the story.
there always is with me.

let me set it up.

friday i was in anaheim for a music festival with the 3rd and 4th grade chorus.
then we went to disneyland with the kids.
we rode roller coasters (some twice) and ate chocolate covered pretzels and laughed and had a blast.
but we got home at 10:30 pm, exhausted and hoping that i was not going to catch a cold.

i got up at 5 am on saturday to cold and mist.
i changed my outfit twice (and later regretted my choice).
i barely ate breakfast.
and off i went.

i carpooled with some of my training buddies which was nice.
we got there in plenty of time to pick up our bibs and get warmed up.
i was excited and ready to go.
before the race i noticed i was the only one not wearing compression pants.  they're supposed to offer more support on your legs.  runners around me were decked out with their watches, their hats, energy drinks.  i was just happy i got up in time.

the announcer told us that this is a challenging course with two hills in mile 4 & 5 so we should "leave something in the tank" for that.
the start was on a downhill and i tried to not let it get away from me.  but the first mile marker took forever.  i was on a good stride, i was listening to music and i was happy.  i may have teared up once or twice at the thought of doing this race.

mile 2 was a little tougher.  not because of the course but because i was regretting my clothing choice and my earphones kept falling out and i was doubting my ability.  my toe starting hurting and i had negative thoughts running through my mind - mainly that i was barely on mile two.  but what was interesting is that it was my best minute mile of the run.

mile 3 was beautiful.  the trail ran through neighborhoods with horses and beautiful scenery.  people were sitting outside their homes cheering us on.  it was then that i realized how perfect the weather was.  and i felt strong.  the course was hilly but nothing we hadn't already done in training.  i really wanted to stop and take a picture but i couldn't do it.

mile 4 was tough.  a nice hill, steep but not long.  i pushed through and ran it slowly, quads burning but they held up.  i am really going to do this.

mile 5 was the toughest.  i loved the guy who was blaring the chariots of fire theme from his house.  that made me smile.  but it had a very steep hill that i had to walk.  at this point i could see one of the ladies that i carpooled with.  i followed her pink sweatshirt up the hill  and crept closer and closer until i passed her.  we went on a dirt trail with a slight incline.  a lady was at the top of the hill saying, "just make it to the top and you will be able to see the finish line."

i did.  and then i had a surge of energy.  i ran past the crowds lining the streets.  past the cowbells and cheers.  i ran faster than i have ever run before.  and i crossed the finish line with energy to spare.  and i wished bobby and the kids were there.  but i was so happy.

i met up with the pink sweatshirt lady and we got our medals and congratulated each other.  then we found the rest of our group and got a picture.

it was an amazing experience.  my official time was 1:06:28.7.  my goal was 1:12, not bad.  but definitely room for improvement.  next time i'll get more rest and be better prepared.

another one to cross off the list.  next stop the 1/2 marathon.  but before that i have a lot more running to do.

Monday, March 26, 2012

weekly menu:: week 13

homemade tortillas at brunch on sunday.  the best.
quick post.
just got back from the dentist. (good checkup)
going to the store.

making this week:
tuesday: trader joe's orange chicken, rice, dumplings
wednesday: eat out - late baseball game
thursday: pasta with turkey sausage and vegetables
friday: garlic dijion herb salmon, roasted potatoes and vegetables
saturday: pizza
sunday: ???

baking this week:
we have a bake sale tomorrow for the kindergarten class.  i'm making a s'mores trail mix and these muffins.

have a great week.

Friday, March 23, 2012

happy list:: 06

the happy list

tomorrow i will participate in the agoura great race.  i am running the 10k and i am so excited.  i have been logging in the miles so i feel confident and strong.  looking forward to seeing the work pay off.  here's some running related things that are making me happy.

1.  spenco polysorb crosstrainer insoles
i am in need of new shoes but don't have the cash to spend right now.  my trainer suggested getting new insoles to get me through until i get new shoes.  i found them yesterday at big 5 and ran 6 miles with them.  they make a huge difference.  the support and cushion feels great.  looking forward to testing them out on the trail.
2. new music
lately my playlist has run out before my run has.  so i've added some new music to keep it fresh.  2 of my favorites: stronger by kelly clarkson and we are young by fun..  but when i hear pain by jimmy eat world it gives me such energy.  that one will stay on my list forever.
3.  run keeper
i love looking at this app and seeing how far i ran, how long i ran and what my average minute mile was.  if i tap it while i'm running it will give me my stats through my headphones.  that can be handy   i know there are a lot of good running apps out there.  if you use one you love let me know.

4. feeling calm
i know the excitement and the adrenaline of race day will get to me.  but compared to my first race, this time i feel calm and ready to go.  i have goals, secret goals.  not ones that i want to speak out loud for fear of disappointment.  i have a time goal and a run/walk goal.  the hardest part is not being familiar with the course.  having to pace myself because i don't know what could be around the corner.  but there is no pressure.

5. training
i ran 7.2 miles on wednesday which is one mile further than a 10k. we've run up hills and down.  we ran when the wind nearly stopped us in our tacks.  i ran in the rain last saturday.  i feel so strong and dare i say unstoppable?  i think i just did.  looking forward to the challenge and the reward.

have an amazing weekend.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

currents: march 22

time: 8:34 am
place: home
eating: an english muffin with peanut butter and banana.
drinking: coffee with creme brulee creamer.
feeling: a bit nervous or excited - at this point i can't tell which - about my 10k on saturday.
reading: mockingjay - the third book in the hunger game series.
thinking: about seeing the movie this weekend.
creating: a mess.
hoping: to clean it all up today.
needing: to get insoles for my running shoes, hopefully before the race on saturday.
wishing: that the last hill will be easy.

having a rare morning off. bobby took the kids to school today and i skipped zumba to get one more run in.  tomorrow i head to disneyland with the 3rd and 4th grade chorus for a music festival.  that's always fun.  

thanks everyone for your thoughts and comments on my post about jordan.  he read it and was touched.  i think it's important to say that tics are very common, especially in boys.  and i have spoken to other moms who are watching their children go through some of the same things we did.  it's reassuring to hear that it gets better, and can eventually disappear.  and to be honest, the moment we accepted it and took the pressure and focus off of it, it did get better.  right now jordan is free of any motor tics, although the mere mention of it gives him the urge.

thanks to those that have sponsored me in my run.  i feel like i will be running with so much support.  i can take donations up until the race so you have time if you are interested.  don't worry some of you will be getting an email from me soon bugging you about it.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

running for a cause

when jordan was about five we mentioned to his pediatrician that he was making some repetitive motions.  sometimes clapping or jumping.  sometimes moving his head or blinking.  we thought it was strange.  we thought it was voluntary. we wanted him to stop. 

she said that tics are very common in boys especially around 6 or 7 years old.  it will come in waves.  but it should go away.

they stuck around. sometimes they were big and sometimes they were small.  we also started noticing some compulsive behavior sniffing things, wanting to touch things on the stove, doing things in a numbered fashion.  it was bothersome to have to see it over and over. and we would get frustrated not really knowing what was causing them.

i remember asking him if he noticed the tics.  he said, "yes, but it's something that my body wants to do."

every time we mentioned it to the dr.  she said they were common.  but if we noticed vocal tics that lasted more than six months we should let her know.  it would require more investigation.
over the years the tics changed sometimes having more than one at a time.  and then we started hearing the vocal tics; throat clearing, clicking his tongue, grunting.   we talked to his teachers who said that they noticed the vocal tics but his classmates were never bothered by them or asked him to stop. it was just part of who jordan was, and everyone was ok with that.  but we knew that the addition of the vocal tics meant something more serious.

after putting it off and hoping for the best it was time to see a psychiatrist for an official diagnosis and maybe some help.  the dr. talked to us about his symptoms, his behaviors and how he was doing in school.  he talked to jordan about his tics, his friendships and his feelings about what was happening.

in the end the dr. said there really wasn't anything we should do.  maybe some breathing exercises to calm his anxiety, watch his ocd and if we felt it was causing problems, which it wasn't, to bring him back.  there was no need for medication.
we all breathed a sigh of relief.
i remember saying, "oh wow, we thought it might be tourettes."
and the psychiatrist saying, "it is."
yes, he has tourettes, but it's mild and he's doing great and it will get better.

and that was that.  we left the office with an answer.  maybe not the one we were hoping for, but it actually didn't seem so bad.

we've already been through a lot with him.
jordan had amblyopia and had to patch his eye.
he had surgery to remove a bone in the roof of his mouth.
he has hashimoto's disease and has to take medication everyday.
he was almost born at 24 weeks.
but he made it through.

so, we didn't cry.
we didn't get angry.
we just moved on.

what else could we do?  he was in the best school where we knew he was cared for and they would intervene if any of the kids every teased him or made him feel bad.  jordan was aware of his tics and knew that it didn't make him weird.

he told me once that he wished he didn't have the tics.  so do i.  but if that's the worst of his problems, we'll take it.
jordan is a straight "a" student.  he plays sports, has lots of friends and is a very confident young man.  he can stand in front of a large group of people and participate in a spelling bee, a mock trial or sing in the school musical.  he plays the drums and has read more books than i have in my lifetime. he is compassionate and loving and kind.

and he has tourette syndrome.
but that doesn't change a thing about who he is.

on may 12 i am running the santa inez 1/2 marathon.  i am choosing to run to raise money for the tourette syndrome association.  you can read more about the organization here.  and you can sponsor me in my run here.
we are so lucky that we have been able to get through this without medication or other intervention.  it was "mild" enough that it hasn't affected his behavior, his academics or his self esteem. we feel like the worst is behind us and he will only get better from here. but there are many people, kids, parents, friends who are dealing with this issue.  and we want to help in any way we can.

thanks for letting me share our story.

Monday, March 19, 2012

weekly menu:: week 12

banana egg rolls with coconut ice cream from pf changs
i have to admit that i put about 5 minutes of thought into what i am making this week.  it's been a very long week, and an even longer weekend.

the kids had their alice in wonderland jr. performances yesterday, with rehearsals all day saturday and after school on friday.  they were amazing.  everyone involved in the production doing costumes, make up, singing, did an outstanding job.
andrew played the mini white rabbit and one of the royal cardsmen.  he was nervous that morning but when he got on stage he really turned it on.
jordan worked in the lighting booth along with his friend ryan and did the spot lights for the show.  they were spot on - literally.

i worked backstage for the first show and then got to enjoy the second show in my seat.  this morning everyone was tired.  but we had to move on with the day, and our week.

i expect my menu will change as the week goes on.

making this week:
monday: turkey albonigas soup
wednesday: chicken and rice
thursday: hummus and avocado wraps, kettle chips
friday: we will be all over the place so no plans for dinner
saturday: dinner and birthday parties
sunday: eat out

baking this week:
no thoughts yet.  let's see how the week goes.

wishing you a great week as we enter into spring.  i'll be singing "a very merry unbirthday" all day long.

Friday, March 16, 2012

i choose happiness

it's friday. my favorite day of the week.  for obvious reasons.  but also because friday has become my "day off".  no working out so my body can rest for the torture endurance of saturday morning training.

it's also the day i dedicate to doing something fun.  being creative, finding an adventure, hanging out with people that make me happy.

today, is going to be a mix of adventure, creativity and work.

the morning started off rough.  a flat tire, bad moods, lots of planning and business to take care of.  the time change has us all trying to readjust.  it's hard.  and we're tired.

i am working on costumes for the school musical.  21 royal cardsmen costumes for the chorus. thanks to marisol getting all of the shapes cut for me i am almost done.

i also have a blog post on the school's blog to finish.  and a bake sale to plan for.

bobby is working on a new video to show at the musical on sunday.  it came out so cool.  one of the parents at our school does voice over for a living and he did all of the lines for the video.  it sounds very theatrical and powerful.

andrew has a baseball game today after school and those can be a  bit stressful.  then he and jordan will be at rehearsal until 10pm.

tonight i am having dinner with my girlfriends who i haven't seen in a long time.  we worked together years ago and life has taken us in different directions.  i am so excited to spend the evening catching up and reconnecting with them.

the weekend will be all about alice in wonderland.  all day rehearsals, costume fittings, and then the show itself on sunday.  andrew is a bit cranky that his entire weekend will be spent away from home. but seeing him on stage will be exciting.

we will be pulled in different directions and we will have moods to deal with, but this is our life.  we work through, help each other out and get on with it.  with a little bit of yelling and crying mixed in. 

see you on the other side.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

a birthday, a donut and a dead car battery

i'm not one to make a big deal about my birthday.
or am i?
i did the 40th thing, but still kept it quiet and intimate.
i'm not into the attention.
don't even think about throwing a surprise party.
that would drive me crazy.
not worth the hassle for sure.

but it's still fun to celebrate and a great excuse to eat good food.

mom, sister and i went to brunch at coral tree cafe in encino.  a healthy and organic spot on ventura boulevard. oh man, it was good.  everything was delicious.
i ordered the egg scramble with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes on olive bread.
my sister ordered the egg white pannini and home style potatoes.
but the best thing we had that morning was the stuffed french toast with cream cheese and strawberry preserves.  i mean really?!  these were the best.

the rest of the day was pretty normal. pick up the kids from school, afternoon snack, a nap.  nothing special.

but here's where the day gets interesting.
one of my favorite sushi places is in encino.  i chose this place because, well, they have great sushi.  it was a risk to choose this with no reservations on a friday night, 6:30 pm, everyone is hungry and looking forward to a good meal. do you see where this is going?

at the last minute we called to see if we could get a table and they were all booked.  we took our chances and drove 20 minutes to the restaurant hoping that someone wouldn't show for their reservation.  we get there and put our name on the list.

the time is 6:50.  i stay in the car with the kids.  bobby waits in the restaurant and we text back and forth.

sofia is hungry and starts getting restless.  we turn the radio on, have the lights on in the car so kids can see and i have my iphone plugged into the car to charge.  at 7:30 bobby texts me that all the tables are taken, we'll have to wait until someone finishes eating.  now everyone in the car has lost it.  sofia is yelling out that she's starving, jordan is frustrated with her crying, andrew is crawling in the back of the truck stepping all over bags and other things that moms carry in their car from day to day.  and we haven't figured out that the fact that the dimmed lights in the car is not a good sign.

we decide to forget sushi and go to casa vega for a bean and cheese burrito and some chips and salsa.  sounds like a great plan b, right?

when bobby gets to the car i tell him that i think the battery is dead.  he just about loses it right there.  to make matters worse, how can they get worse you ask?, we are parked in a spot that would make it very difficult for another car to get to us with regular jumper cables.  so...we call aaa for assistance.

i stay calm and tell bobby that i will go in and wait for our table, how much longer can it be?  he tells me that since we were leaving he took our name off the list.

i stay calm and go to talk to the hostess and plead my case, it's my birthday, we've been sitting in the car for over an hour, my daughter can't breathe she's so hungry, please put us back on the list!!  i've worked up the courage and step up to the hostess.  she looks at the list and there we are.  not crossed off the list, in fact we are first on the list.  hah, so there.  we are eating sushi tonight.
i stay calm and wait another 15 minutes outside the restaurant with the kids while bobby waits for the tow truck.  when we are seated i order edamame, miso soup for everyone and treat the kids to ramune, a japanese soda, they deserve it.
this soda is so cool.  you pop the marble into the class and that releases the fizz.  whatever it takes to keep them happy.  i also order chicken teriyaki for the kids and 3 sushi rolls for us.  this place has the biggest rolls i have ever seen and their service is speedy.  food is on the table within 10 minutes of sitting down.

and i love the spicy sauce on the armenian roll (not on the menu by the way).

sitting at the table with bobby and the kids and a table full of food i was both frustrated and grateful.  i don't like making a big deal about my birthday but i do like feeling special on this day.  really all i needed was some good food and my family to help me feel this way. circumstances just made the day more memorable.
it was awesome how quickly the mood changed after getting some food in us.  things got instantly better.  and we spent the rest of the evening giggling and enjoying the time.
for dessert, and in my attempt to make everyone feel better about the situation, i agreed to celebrating the new year of life with a donut. a fresh donut.
even if it was 10 o'clock at night.  it was fresh and tasty and a perfect end to a not so perfect night.

thanks to everyone for sending their wishes my way.  the facebook posts, the cards, the phone calls, the texts.  i do appreciate the love.  thanks for making me feel special!

Monday, March 12, 2012

weekly menu:: week 11

in the last few days i have eaten more of the things that i love than in the last year.  that's what birthdays are about right?  over indulging?  ok, maybe not.  but getting to try some of my favorite things was so fun.  sushi, licorice, tostada pizza from cpk, girl scout cookies, mexican food, even a donut.  i have a lot of calorie burning to do this week.  but it was worth every bite.

it's a new week and i'm back on track.

making this week:
tuesday: chicken milanesa, salad
wednesday: pork chops, green beans and sweet potatoes tots
thursday: spaghetti and turkey meatballs
friday: pizza
saturday: dinner with friends
sunday: leftovers

baking this week:
a friend emailed me a recipe for a healthy blueberry muffin.  i thought i would give that a try this week.

have a sweet week.

Friday, March 9, 2012

a very good year

another year has come and gone.
a year i will never forget.
a year full of wonderful memories.
a year of amazing moments...

i read a book i will never forget.

i challenged myself and pushed through the pain.
i realized a dream.
i focused.

my love for him grew stronger.

and for them grew deeper.

i had an unforgettable meal, or 2, or 30.

and experienced so much love.

i gave a speech from my heart.

we spent a few days in paradise.

ate many bowls of yumminess.

i let my heart go.

i made a commitment.

and stuck with it.

and changed.

i won.

i taught myself something new.

and i enjoyed every moment.

thank you for the past 365 +1 days.

i get the feeling this year will be even better.
and that makes me so very happy!