Monday, December 5, 2016

Zilker Tree

It officially feels like winter in Austin! For the past week or so it's been overcast and rainy with temps in the 40's and 50's. While it's not ideal for somebody on a training schedule, I haven't let it stop my long runs or holiday fun. This weekend was the Trail of Lights Fun Run and Aurora was game to bundle up and enjoy the festivities, cold weather and all. We were part of the largest team (Team Cuerny) so we got hot cocoa, glow sticks, and cool t-shirts. We also got to hang out with just about everybody from our neighborhood. I have a few pictures of the Zilker Tree to share. The first is from a Photo Booth with a fake background. The second is a professional photo I grabbed on Facebook that shows the (wet, cold) crowd at the starting line, and the last is a very dark picture of Aurora and Presley just after we finished our 3-mile walk.


I took some other pictures as we went through the Trail of Lights, but they all came out a little blurry so we'll stick with these. Apparently it's the 50th year the Zilker Tree has lit up the Austin skyline so it's kind of a big deal. It was a late night and a long weekend, and unfortunately 'tis the season when the kids, their classmates and teachers are all getting sick. I'm trying so hard to stay healthy as my first (and hardest) half marathon is just under a week away and our vacation is 2-weeks from today (wahoo!), not to mention I'm super busy at work right now. But alas, there is only so much I can do. Wishing you all a holiday season that's warm and bright, with good health and happiness all around as we make our way to the end of another great year.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It's beginning...

These 5 days off have been so relaxing and fun. Last weekend I scheduled an exclusive mommy-daughter day and we had such a great time that we decided to do more of the same this weekend. Last weekend I took Aurora to an Intro to Aerials class at Sky Candy and lunch at the Blue Cat Cafe. Aurora asked to learn silks after seeing Charlotte's Web in the theatre.


This weekend we went to the theatre again and saw Annie the Musical! It was great. I'd say it was better on stage than the movie or even the books.


We went to Painting with a Twist and worked together to paint the Zilker Tree, which actually lights up! Next weekend we'll be posting pictures of the real Zilker Tree...


After easing our way into the holiday spirit, we all spent this morning putting up the tree, then the kids wrote their Christmas lists and we headed to the Hill Country Galleria to see SANTA!


Now that Thanksgiving is behind us it's beginning to look a LOT like Christmas around here. Just three more weeks until we have another nice block of time off (and a REAL VACATION) together. We are so excited!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful

I realize I missed posting last weekend but these past few weeks have been blending together. I've had work, school, training runs, memorial services to attend, and a LOT to be thankful for. Last week we had our Thanksgiving potluck at work and a friendship feast at Clark's school.


I wasn't sure I'd be able to go to Clark's lunch and when I told him I may not make it, he started crying! So I rearranged my schedule and sat next to him as he barely ate, but smiled like it was the best day of his life. Today we feasted again, but not before burning some calories at the Turkey Trot! This was my third Turkey Trot and Aurora's second time doing the kid's k fun run.


It was our fifth year going to a family friend's house for food, fun, and SWIMMING! Yes, it was warm enough for swimming in Texas. This year, Clark decided to join in and somehow he got it into his head that he wanted to go down the water slide. He put on a life jacket and did it, though I'm pretty sure he regretted it immediately! Everybody had a fun and active day, and once again I'm thankful for my sweet kids and family, all the opportunities we've been given here in Austin, my job and the great people I get to work with every day. I'm also thankful for this 5-day weekend to relax and enjoy some time off with my kiddos, who I don't get to see enough during a typical week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Headshots

We have a photographer come in at least once a year to take photos of our staff to ensure that we all have a current, professional headshot and update our employee wall. Some people treat it like a school photo and get one every year. I got mine taken the first time they were offered and never signed up again. I figured back in 2009 I was as youthful as I would ever be.


This year, for the first time in 7 years, I decided to update my own photo. It was SO MUCH MORE FUN than I expected it to be! If anything, I feel more confident now than I did back then.


Running has played a huge part in keeping me fit at 40. I just got this cool finish line photo from last weekend's Run for the Water. For those of you who don't follow me on facebook, the latest installment of my blog series for the Austin Runners Club was just posted! You can read it here.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

If I Were President

I remember back in 1988 when half of my family voted for Bush and the other half voted Dukakis. I was 12 years old and I thought it was silly that their votes cancelled each other out. Back then, elections were run without 24 hour news channels and social media. We all watched the same news, and families could have opposing viewpoints without arguing or un-friending each other. I remember being a teenager the 90's when the Clinton's were in the White House. Chelsea isn't much younger than me, and Monica Lewinsky isn't much older. George W. Bush was president when Chuck was honorably discharged from the military due to his cancer diagnosis, right before America went to war in 2002. That was a scary time for so many reasons. At the end of the Bush era, in 2008, I was very pregnant with Aurora when we attended an Obama rally right here in Austin, TX. It's interesting how we remember and measure our lives by who was president. Now, we live in a blue city within a very red state, and both of our kids have only known an intelligent, kind, and hopeful president in their lifetimes. When Aurora thinks about the job of president, she associates it with helping and compassion.


I hadn't gotten Aurora too wrapped up in the election. It was an ugly campaign and while I was hoping she could stay up Tuesday night to witness our first female president give her acceptance speech, she wasn't all that interested in watching the numbers come in. Chuck knew right away that things weren't going the way we'd expected, but I watched into the night in awe and disbelief. Aurora asked about the outcome the next morning and got very upset when I told her the result. I assured her that everything would be okay, and I sincerely hope that it will be. I hope that our kids don't grow up with indelible memories of a Trump presidency. It's nearly impossible to explain issues like racism and sexism to an 8-year old, so instead I try to lead by example, treating others with kindness and talking through ideas of right and wrong. I told Aurora that you don't need to hold a position of power to make a difference in your community. I see young people making a positive impact each and every day, and when I listen to today's youth I know that our best days are still ahead of us.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

ONE BAD MOTHER RUNNER

Finally, a weekend with nearly nothing on the calendar. No kid's parties, no play dates, no pressing errands or road trips. It was actually a little rainy so the kids got to enjoy some downtime just playing (and bickering) at home. I did have one important event on the calendar: the second race in the Austin Distance Challenge Series, the Run for the Water! Yup, I ran 10-miles this morning. Thanks to the extra hour and early start time, the family hardly noticed I was gone.


Packets for Run for the Water included a pair of running socks, which is such a great idea. I wish more running events did that. I was super excited about them - but not as excited as I was to get these other awesome socks from a friend at work last week!!! I showed them to Aurora and she said "but you're not a bad mother."


I wanted to get some pre-race activity in yesterday and I figured a nice yoga class would be just the thing. I ended up at a hot yoga studio and it was one of the most challenging classes I've ever taken. Honestly, I've never sweated so much at any exercise class ever. It was amazing, but my whole body is tired and sore now. My shoulders, pecs and back are tender from yoga and my legs and hips are feeling that 10-mile run. So, I'm just going to lounge on the couch for the rest of the afternoon, feeling good about being so bad.

Monday, October 31, 2016

So many costumes!

This was the first year that our kids didn't want new costumes for Halloween. The dress-up bin is overflowing with previous year's costumes, dresses, and hand-me-downs. Clark got Elmo and Spiderman outfits from neighbors, we wore our Incredibles costumes from last year, and Aurora was Glenda the Good Witch (a dress-up she got from Presley YEARS ago). We had a sleepover, did crafts, went to too many parties, and had the best trick-or-treating experience I can remember since I was a kid.


We weren't the only Incredibles at the party, and Clark wasn't the only Spiderman trick-or-treating. He sang the classic "Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat. If you don't, I don't care, I'll pull down your underwear!" at the first house we went to.


She may look like a princess, but make no mistake - she's a good witch. We trick-or-treated with friends in the Bluffs, an area of our neighborhood just a mile or two away from our house. For years we've had no trick-or-treating action on our street. It turns out EVERYBODY goes to the Bluffs. Having Halloween fall on a Monday may have made for the longest Halloween weekend EVER, and thank goodness it's training season because WOW we have a lot of candy (and obviously the kids need help eating it!). Happy Halloween, y'all!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Group Photos

I was pretty sure last weekend was the most exhausting ever, but this weekend proved to be just as busy and tiring. Let's start with a picture from last weekend. This group photo was taken at the LIVESTRONG Staff Alumni party. It was so good to spend time with these people.


Last weekend started with a fundraising dinner and included a 20-mile bike ride. This weekend started with a Parent's Night Out and included a mud run obstacle course with my workout crew from Travis County. I'm not sure which was harder, but I think I prefer riding my bike... 


The kids have had a busy week as well. Friday was Valley View's annual sock hop and Aurora really wanted me to go so I tagged along for the fun. This week was also the book fair and parent conferences, so Chuck & I both spent a little more time at school than usual. 


Clark's class had a field trip to a pumpkin patch and while we couldn't go, one of the parents sent a few pics. This was his first time in a big school bus! Can you see our sweet tiny boy? Hint: he's near the middle, wearing a baseball cap.


Naturally, we had to take a family trip to the pumpkin patch as well! This afternoon the kids and I headed out to a new pumpkin patch at Proof & Cooper (a local restaurant).


They got their faces painted and made caramel apples, we carved our pumpkins (Bones Jones and Silly Billy) and toasted the seeds with cinnamon and sugar. I'm loving all these group photos and I enjoy blogging and reflecting on everything we did this weekend, but that wasn't even all of it and I am seriously worn out! Ready or not, another busy week is ahead. See you next weekend!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pink & Yellow

This week was all about supporting cancer fighters. On Thursday night we attended the wine walk at the Hill Country Galleria and it was a fundraiser for Komen. I have a friend going through breast cancer treatment right now and a past intern of mine volunteers for Komen, so I was happy to throw a little support their way during breast cancer awareness month.


We had such a nice evening walking, sipping, and eating ice cream with my parents. They'll be heading back to Florida next week and I knew we wouldn't get to spend much time together over the weekend as I would be busy celebrating cancer survivors and longtime supporters in yellow! It was our biggest weekend of the year with a fundraising appreciation dinner on Friday, packet pickup and a huge merchandise sale Saturday, a family-friendly staff alumni party Saturday night, and the LIVESTRONG Challenge bike ride on Sunday.


This was our 20th Annual LIVESTRONG Challenge and I've been participating for a decade - working, walking, running, and volunteering. This was my first year riding!


I decided that for my 10th Anniversary with the Foundation I'd buy a bike and register for the 20-mile ride. I love my adorable single-speed cruiser and had no problem getting through the hilly course, but it was a hard workout and I am feeling it!!! A huge shout out to everybody who supported my fundraising efforts, which help keep our programs going strong, year after year.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dogs

Today was an unstructured day off, thanks to Columbus. We had several errands to run and as I was listing them, Clark said he also wanted to go to the pet store and get a dog. I suppose he's not much older than Aurora was when she started asking for a baby so I should be glad he's just asking for a pet, but honestly, two kids is enough! We did get to see some dogs this weekend. Mom and dad came over with Finley and the kids made him a fort! I think he liked it. And today I took Clark to dog storytime at the library.


Chula is a golden retriever who comes to the library to read with kids every week. The kids give her treats and pet her after every book. At one point, she reached over and started biting herself and Clark yelled "AAAAGH! SHE'S BITING HER BOOTY!!!" He was sitting pretty close to the action. I grew up with pets and my parents have had a lot of sweet dogs over the years. I was going to save this picture for later (Aurora and I are going to a production of Annie over Thanksgiving weekend!) but perhaps now would be a good time to post this pic my folks found of me with Honey Boo, back in the early 80's when I liked to dress up as Annie:


While we're flashing back, here's another cute one of me (about a decade later) with Hillary! I'm pretty sure she was named for Hillary Clinton, but we'd better leave politics out of it... regardless, Clark's class has a fish tank and a hermit crab at school and he really wants a pet at home, but for now I think he'll have to settle for a big sister.