Sunday, March 29, 2009

A First for Everything

I've been dreaming about it for five years and it happened today. We have a child that can ride her bike while we run. Admittedly, it wasn't all smooth sailing. It was more like a parade. Tom was out front pushing Julia in the jogger and Ava was either on his heels or trying to close the gap. I was the rear patrol, sprinting or jogging in place to maintain my place in line. 

Our new biker has learned how to finesse the bumpy sidewalks and to stop at multiple road crossings. I'm sure that our parking-lot training sessions will seem boring soon, though littler sister needs them for some steering practice with the training wheels.

So, I didn't get a picture of this big occasion as we were on the run, of course. But we did come home and get right into another activity -- greenhouse gardening. It's our first attempt at starter plants from seeds. I didn't even have a chance to change out of my running clothes before the rest of the family "dug in" to the project. What you'll see is a bunch of peet cups that look to me like mini chocolate muffins. There is also a cover that forms the so-called greenhouse. Let's hope that little hands stay out of there and that something sprouts. Thumbs are only green around here when they've been into markers and paint!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Balancing Act

When the weekend rolls around, my family expects to get in some type of family exercise. But sometimes, a perfectly good day gets away from us. Take this past Saturday. The weather was gorgeous, the sun was out, the sap was flowing, and we were mattress shopping. A morning excursion turned into a full-day affair. We traveled around central Vermont going in and out of one furniture store after another. And when we (the parents) finally found the perfect mattress that put us into immediate nap mode, we began eyeing bed frames. 

The girls were fairly well behaved and were mesmerized by the large show rooms. But when Julia decided to bounce on one bed and caterpulted into the air, we knew it was time to call it quits. So we hit a newly built playground and let the girls go crazy on the twirly slides, climbing walls, and swings. I was pretty much a spectator but the fresh air pulled me out of my mattress slumber. As for Tom, he got a quick walk in to the nearby grocery store. 

And the next day, we took the girls out on their bikes even though we woke up to snow. We had made a promise, after all. And so it is in family life, balancing everyone's wants and needs. But, because of that long bed-shopping adventure, the girls think they need bunk beds!

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Season, New Sports

 In one week I've gone from watching a confident five-year-old snow plow down the ski trails to seeing that same kid wobble on her two-wheel bike and tip over into a mud patch. 'Tis the change of seasons here in Vermont. I'm not naive enough to think that winter is actually over, but I'm anxious to get my running legs back and to get my girls ready to bike without giving me a heart attack watching them swerve all over the road. 

Bring on 50 degree weather and dry roads and we're back to biking. Well, the girls are. Me, I'm just aching from bending over giving them a "starting push." The stress of watching the bike and rider careen along ahead of me is bad for the back and exacerbates the tightness. The sidewalks with all the slopes and cracks aren't exactly conducive to a new bike rider either.

We're probably going to need a few more parking lot training sessions like this one before I let Ava bike alongside me on a run.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2nd Annual Cabin Trek

In case the snow disappears this week, we squeezed in our second annual cabin trek on Saturday. The 5K uphill trek to the cabin takes a while with the family. The trip back down (5K again) takes no time if you can stay on your feet.

The weather was perfect for being outdoors with kids -- 4o degrees and sunny. But we did hit a challenge early on. Our pulk broke. The duct tape fix would last no longer. Luckily we hadn't hit the hills yet. Tom did the problem solving and headed back to the Nordic center to borrow a pulk available for rental. Ava and I forged on. Up and up and up. 

Ava did get a reprieve on one particularly steep section of trail thanks to a rope tow harness that Tom devised last year. Last year Ava used the tow quite a bit for the cabin trek, but this year, just for one section.

Aside from the cabin treats (banana bread for Ava, a brownie for Julia and supposedly me, and a sandwich for mom and dad), the best part was the descent. Ava has just learned to snowplow so my heart rate was much more tame seeing her controlled downhill technique. Julia got to ski between Daddy's legs and was happy for the attention. I was so warm that I could take pictures with my gloves off.

And now that we've wrapped up that notorious ski trek, I'm ready for spring!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Just The Two of Us

When you have more than one child, taking just one of them somewhere is a luxury. There's no opportunity for sibling squabbles and you get to experience  one-on-one parent/child interaction.

So it was that I went skiing yesterday with just Ava during Julia's nap time. We skied side by side in the tracks and talked about Pooh Bear, about friends and relatives, and how it would be a good idea if we went into the lodge after to warm up with hot cocoa by the fire. 

Ava showed off her snow plow on occasion, a skill that she is fortunately acquiring rather than screaming "track" on the downhills as she has in the past. And we did a nice loop without having to drag little sister along protesting in the pulk.

We topped the outing off by playing checkers in the lodge according to our own rules. Sometimes, I wish that I could be five again.