Pillow Talk

The nighttime ritual in the Hodge household is fairly sacrosanct.  Dinner, bath time, super bear/monkey, pick socks, pick books, "you stay for a widdo bit",  and "don't shut door/turn off light".  Most of that is fairly self explanatory, "super bear/monkey" is a naked toddler running rampant through the house in his hoodie towel chanting "supah bare" or "supah monkeeee".  Then we pick out our jammies and without fail he always says "OH! Socks." like he forgets every night.  I then get the two fingers and directive "TWO books" and his little butt scampers off to the family library to select the night's selection while his father and I secretly pray for board books or at least something with less than 15 pages.  The newer part and (quite frankly my favorite part) of the ritual is "you stay here for a widdo bit."  As new parent suckers Brian and I were trained by Dex to stay with him until he fell asleep.  This was not a huge deal for the first year or so of his life, however as the bedtime creeped to a later and later hour this started to be an encumbrance to our ability to get ANYTHING accomplished in the evenings.  I finally drew a line in the sand that the child was going to have to figure out how to put himself to sleep.  To Dex's credit, it wasn't that big of a deal; the compromise that was reached is that we would leave his door open and the hallway light on until we he was good and out.  The tiny ritual I have snuck into the middle of all this is that after books, Dex and I lay face to face and he tells me about his day.  It's pretty much the most awesome thing ever.  However, last night mommy was tired and a little disoriented and forgot about that part of the ritual.  What resulted is decidedly a parenting highlight.

We finished the books (Dex sits in my lap) and he crawled to his pillows and laid down; I started to get up and he said "you stay here for a widdo bit"  Which I did, I laid down with my head in my hands and he said "no, you head go down, like me" and he pushed my head with his little hands.  So I giggled and laid down on the pillow; "like this?" I asked and he said "yes, you're a good boy"  Then for fun I didn't say anything and without missing a beat he stroked MY cheek and said "how was you day?"

Good god I love that child.

We then proceeded to have a conversation about how disgusting his "nee nee" is (his little blankie needs a b-a-t-h) in what states all his loved ones live, (Grandpa, Grandma, Jolie -floreeedah, Aunt Worie - Fornia, Mommy, daddy, Jackson, Stammy-Arizoooonuh)  He asked "where you used to wive?" I said "Massachusetts" He said "I don't wanna live there." Heh. His dad would agree. Finally, I told him it was time for bed, to which he replied "okay I ready if you don't turn off the light"

Of course, Dex.  Of course. 


The Toddler and the Food.

I'm probably not going for a run today;  I woke up feeling like hell.  My whole body has been sore lately which I have attributed to the running, however the tossing and turning last night and the sinus headache today beg to differ.  Since I'm not running today I thought I'd spend the day chipping away at the "to do" list; well, as much as my very tired body would allow.  So far I've cleaned the pantry and freezers, put away all the laundry, and baked Monkey Muffins for a friend's son.

 They are soooo good.  Here's the recipe;

  • /2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the bananas, peanut butter, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in chips.
  • Fill greased or paper-lined miniature muffin cups three-fourths full. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: 6 dozen
I used unbleached AP flour and doubled the vanilla and they came out great.  The only thing left on the "absolutely to do" list is finish my presentation for the conference and some personal spa day fun. 

As I type this the doodle bug is sleeping in the room next door; I took a giant leap of faith and put him into his nap without a diaper on.  We've been really successful with the potty training and he had a dry diaper yesterday, so I went for it.  He's getting better and better about going on his own, we still have accidents, but still for a 2.9 year old - he's pretty amazing. He is SO funny in the mornings, he usually gets up around 6, crawls into bed with us, we all sleep until about 7:30.  At about 8 I hear it; the soft "grunt, grunt, snort, grunt" as he struggles his way to the end of the bed, then the pad, pad, pad of little feet, the struggle to get the door open, and then SLAM - Dex has left the bedroom.  Seriously, the kid is incapable of closing a door without slamming it. 

Invariably, getting up and looking for him will reveal a different discovery every time.  Sometimes I find him rooting around in the kitchen for juice and snacks, sometimes he's half naked in his bedroom with this arms pinned to the side of his head as he attempts to put on a shirt, usually he's in the living room pushing every button on the remotes to get 'George' to come on.  This morning, he was curled up at the end of the couch with a "bankie" waiting patiently for me to come and snuggle with him to watch our beloved monkey "ona beeg t.v."

It's alternately funny and amazing to bear witness to his development. Every single day it feels like he's getting smarter and smarter.  He is also getting sillier and sillier and Brian and I have to remind ourselves to be patient with his antics.  He's very goofy and the goofy tends to make commonplace tasks take four times as long.  There are occasions where this can be somewhat mind numbing, but I have to step back and relax and enjoy the moment, because eventually the silly will be replaced by self awareness and I will miss it. 

No matter how bad I've been about cooking during the week, there's something about Sunday that always makes me bake and cook up a storm.  I'm sure there's some old school Norwegian homemaker embedded in my DNA somewhere.  Tonight, I am roasting a whole chicken with vegetables and potatoes; I haven't done this in a long time and I found a gorgeous, reasonably priced, organic bird at Safeway yesterday. Cleaning out the freezers and pantry have reinserted the bug up my butt to be better about cooking.  We have kind of a silly amount of food laying around and there is no reason not to use it.  There are an unlimited number of quick prepare meals online, I just have to be better about forethought. 

Doh...the beast is awakening.  Time to go see if my experiment was successful.  Wish me luck.


Going cold turkey...

I have to confess, I use a performance enhancing drug.  Before every run, I pop two Ibuprofen to avoid the inevitable pain that I typically associate with the giant metal rod in my right leg.  However, invariably the anti inflammatory wears off and I'm left with some less than enjoyable pain in my leg and by less than enjoyable I mean - holy hell that hurts. I haven't seen my super cute Orthopedist in awhile so I thought I'd check in with him just to get an opinion (knowing almost full well what his opinions might be) Dr. K was not a fan of the running on IB plan, understandably. He did his usual poking, prodding, trying to convince me to take up bike riding...etc.  It's our little routine, we've had it for 5 years now.  Once we got past the "No, I'm not riding a bike. No, I'm not interested in taking up swimming"  He came to the conclusion, based on the points of pain (which I cleverly marked with a Sharpie last night after my run) that I am experiencing advanced posterior tibial tendonitis in my right leg and the onset of it in my left.  It was then I dove straight in for full disclosure and shared my new found passion for my minimalist shoes.  He promised me that he is not "anti minimalism" but that it doesn't necessarily "work for everyone".  He explained that tendonitis can go away, but that I probably need to consider different shoes and that I should not be running "under the influence"

I actually really like Dr. K and I respect that he respects that I'm pretty single threaded.  I agreed to kick the IB and consider new shoes.  I then came back to work and given the option between working on my employee evaluations or researching the effect of minimalist shoes on tendonitis; I can tell you that I learned that minimalist shoes have actually been known to help PTT.  The key is (cue the" I told you so's") taking it easy, stretching, and listening to your body.  I understand the listening to my body part is difficult if I'm muffling it with drugs and the taking it easy part is difficult because I am insane.  I made the decision that while I would not rule out a new pair of shoes, I would go ahead and hold out for awhile.  Instead, I ordered a foam roller and looked up some stretches for PTT.

When I got home tonight I resolved to do a quick run, I do really want to try and get as close to 30 miles a week as possible and since Bri was gone all week, I'm a little behind on my running.  I knew it was going to be a tough run because I am tired and a little hungover from my hot husband date the night before and I was resolved to do the run IB free.   I did not set out with a mileage in mind;  I honestly thought about turning around halfway up my block.  It was a tough run, it felt like I was running pretty slow, and my brain and body were rebelling.  About halfway through the run, I found my mind wandering to Dex and his laughter and how much I love being his mother and I realized I had hit the running sweet spot (i.e. where you aren't thinking about running.)  Because I felt great in that moment, I considered doing the full 8 mile run; I'm pleased to report that common sense prevailed and I kept it to four miles.  Turns out, I wasn't running that slow - I still did the four miles with an average 9:15.  Getting faster has its disadvantages; I may have run 4 miles but I only worked out for 37 minutes and I'm WAY too tired to supplement with treadmill.  Oh well...long run tomorrow, it will be fine.

I think I'm going to celebrate the inherent coziness of having Bri home by curling up in bed with my Kindle and getting a full night's sleep.  I'm actually glad I don't have a race or any major plans this weekend.  I may accomplish a lot I may accomplish nothing; I'm pleased to have both options available to me.


Slow your roll.

This is what Dex was doing while I was doing my miles. 
So, tonight my awesome friend Brett and his even more awesome son, Isaac watched Dex while I ran a couple laps around Reid Park.  I was able to get 7 miles in during a time when I normally would have not been able to run (with Bri out of town) and Dex got to have the TIME of his life.  Paper airplanes were flown, soccer balls were kicked, ladders were climbed, and miles and miles were logged on tiny little toddler legs.  I love the Bendickson family; they are cool, generous, and loving friends.  I'm particularly fond of my friendship with Brett; he is the tech lead i.e. the smart equivalent to my role at my job.  Brett and I manage to have that Unicorn likelihood of a professional/personal balance, wherein the fact that we care so much about each other actually allows us to be more honest with each other professionally without compromising the personal relationship. Very rare and very important to me.

As for the run, it was pretty great.  My original approach was fairly cocky; "I've been out for two days, I'm going to blow the lid off this park" that faded pretty quickly.  I'm still not fully recovered and I was creaky and sore almost instantly.  More importantly, I started having arch pain in my left foot - giant red flags.  I decided to slow down and really, really think about my form.  I made a point to mid foot strike (by visually marching in my head) That's what I love about minimal shoes, being able to make those sorts of minute adjustments.  By really, really focusing I found that I was able to ditch the pain pretty easily, however the minute I started to get cocky it came back to remind me.

On the second lap (3.25 miles/lap) I felt way better.  I was warmed up and I was able to actually start flying.  I ended the run with an average 9:05 pace, I am definitely not complaining about that.  The only bad part is that sitting at home, my arches are hurting again.  I may start alternating running shoes between my old ones and my minimals for my longish runs or at the very least my pavement runs.

There were SO many people running at the park tonight.  I love that, such good energy.  Also, a really nice reminder...I find myself gaining in confidence as a runner, but it only takes one busy night at Reid Park to remind me how far I have to go.  There was this one woman of fairly average build, built a lot like me actually, but she was FLYING effortlessly - such an inspiration and a reminder that no matter how awesome I'm feeling, there's always someone to remind me that I still have places to go.  I've also decided to ease up on my "2 hour halfie" aspirations - I think I need to focus on finishing healthy, strong, and ready for the next race; rather than concerning myself what the giant digital numbers have to say at the end.  I think if I approach my training with this mentality, I will reduce the amount of recovery time between runs.

I do have an appointment with my Ortho on Friday.  I suspect I know all the things he'll have to say to me and probably won't like many of them, however we shall see.

K, need to tidy up, my Brian comes home tomorrow and we have a hot date.  Ready to have that man HOME!


"Happy Tines Day"

After Sunday's bad decisions I decided to completely take a couple days off from movement.  I gotta say this is what positive reinforcement is all about; despite my consuming sleep deprivation I actually feel pretty good.  This is a huge considering I felt like I'd run 100 miles with the flu yesterday. So rumor has it that slacking isn't always a terrible thing.  Who knew?

Happy Valentine's Day!  Generally speaking, it's not a huge deal around our house, however I'm always open to nationally endorsed child snuggling events. As previously mentioned we are Brianless this week, which means schedules are all wonkified. I respect how silly it is that I simply cannot sleep without Brian around; although it is interesting to note that I realized tonight that my "Brian years" now outweigh my "non Brian" years. If that isn't a lovely Valentines Day thought I don't know what is.

Dex and I celebrated the day by hitting up the store and getting a frozen pizza, some "ightening a keen" juiceboxes, and some chocolates.  We came home and watched his Nick Jr. Valentines Day compilation and spent some solid snuggle time on the couch. Mommy is now enjoying her own "juicebox" and I have high hopes for at least a few hours of sleep tonight.  More importantly, I get to go for a run tomorrow.  I have a sneaking suspicion it's going to be awesome.


Hello wall, nice to meet you.

Good lord I am tired.  I overbooked myself this weekend with my "to do" list.  But it's all done...mostly. I had a race this morning, it was supposed to be four miles but it actually worked out to more like 3 1/2.  My only goal for this race was to break my 9 minute mile and I did it!  8.75 in fact.  There was this woman running just in front of me the entire race, we actually kept trading places, I actually thanked her at the end for being a great pace person. That's definitely one way I've changed; I'm way more vocal with strangers than I used to be.  I kind of have a firm policy of telling people when they have a nice dress or when they're doing something really well. I don't know when it happened, but I just decided at some point that it's way more fun to open yourself up, take risks, say what you're thinking (when it's nice...mostly) I find those moments of honesty with strangers are like mini adventures.

Back to that weekend; Raytheon, being the hopeless romantic corporation that it is, is sending Brian to Georgia for the week. So we decided to do our Valentines family dinner tonight.  On top of the Linzer cookies and shredded chicken for the potluck at work tomorrow, I also wanted to make meat pies for dinner. Brian thinks it was a special treat for him, but really I just wanted to test out my new pie press.  While waiting for the cookies to get cold enough to roll I decided to supplement the morning's run with a quick run around the neighborhood.  I was definitely a little tired, but I really wanted to hit at least 30 miles this week.  Good lord, that was kind of a terrible idea.  I accidentally ended up running five miles and while it was a pretty nice run it was the thing that did me in.  My body is tired.  My dear friend Sarah has done me a solid by calling in sick to work tomorrow so now I don't have to go to Meet Me at Maynards tomorrow night.  I will not be running tomorrow...momma needs a break. I did manage to finish the cookies and dinner and clean the kitchen and complete all the slides in my PowerPoint for the conference....so I'll put today in the "win" category.


Plan B>Type A

One of the numerous traits gifted to me by my little one is flexibility.  I'm fairly type A, I'll own that, however toddlers laugh in the face of plans and perfection so I have to learn to relinquish some control of my expectations.

For example, I love to cook and even more I love  to cook for others.  Our dear friends had a daughter about a month ago and her 'welcome to the world' party is tomorrow.  Because I know these wonderful people are dedicating all of their time between a 2 1/2 year old boy and a 4 week old girl, I volunteered to make cupcakes for the party.  Plus, cupcakes are just fun. I am incapable of buying a box of cake mix and a can of frosting, and an occasion such as this calls for no ordinary cupcake....they have to be gorgeous and deserving of the beautiful baby.

So I did the thing where I research the crap out of recipes, find the perfect one, and go after it.  Like usual, it came to pass fairly quickly that my cupcakes were not going to end up looking like the ones on the computer screen.  Not so long ago this would have been a one way to ticket to a tizzy.  These days,...it's an opportunity for creativity.  The cupcakes still aren't done; but regardless how they turn out, I suspect they will be exactly what my friends were hoping for.

So I've got a race on Sunday and I really want to get below a 9m mile on it if possible.  The only way to do that is to not go into the race tired.  I ran 12 miles on Tuesday night and took yesterday off which means the only option for getting another decent run in this week would be to go today.  I did not sleep at all last night and (TMI) have been battling fatigue and cramps all day today.  There was a secret little part of me that was hoping Brian would be home from work too late for me to get out there.  No dice - he was all polite and stuff and made it home in time.  Ug...okay. I made a deal with  myself - I've got this really great little 6 mile loop with many opportunities to ditch - I was allowed to run as slow as I wanted and bail out at any point.  More importantly, even though I didn't want to accept it, I knew the best resolution for "tired w/cramps" was a run.  I resigned myself to my fate, changed, plugged in, and started at a really comfy pace, almost leisurely.  About two miles deep I forgot I was tired, about 3 miles deep I forgot I was running. I ended up doing the whole 6 miles at a 9:30 pace.  Not my fastest, but still kind of hilarious that, that is now my leisurely pace.

I remember when I first started running I couldn't even get around the half mile track.  I just wanted to get to the point that I could comfortably run 3 miles.  Five miles was going to be a huge victory.  In November, I ran a race with my friend Jeff - I did the 3.7 and he did the 8 mile.  I remember thinking there was no way I was ever going to be able to run 8 miles. And then weirdly it just happened....at some point I became a runner.  Four miles became my base run, then five, and now 6.   Even just in the last week...it used to be that the 6 mile run would still wear me out, but tonight, not at all.  I feel like the 12 mile run on Tuesday "broke the seal" on some level.  I think the most gratifying part of all this is that I started running because I wanted to lose weight. That whole Type A thing dictated that if I could just get "really good" at running I could be the size I was convinced I needed to be.  Now, my central focus is breaking my 9 minute mile.  And honestly, I just run for the way it makes me feel, for the good works it extends into the other aspects of my life,  and because it's really fun (even when I think I'm not in the mood.) Oddly enough along the way ...I also stopped caring what I looked like. HOLY HELL - I have cared what my body looks like for 25 years.  And now...I just don't.

I'm still definitely Type A.  I'm just a Type A with a Plan B.


Was someone chasing you?

Ahh...yes.  The famous question.  Why would you run?  Who was chasing you? I will initiate this blog with a brief treatise on why I started running.  There are two reasons, really.

1. To be the person I've always wanted to be
2. To be the person I want my son to think I am

The first is grounded in an acute self awareness.  I'm a grump.  I'm impatient.  I'm short tempered.  I'm a heady blend of dorky optimist and fearful cynic.  This is not who I want to be.  I want to be one of those calm, grounded people.  The person that doesn't let others get to them, that can have fun in a traffic jam, that doesn't spend more time wondering why "things/people/etc" aren't the "way they should be". Running helps me get to this goal - I'm not always exactly that person, but after a good run I feel like that person.  I find a really good run can actually carry me a couple of days.  Those who love and know me can tell when I haven't been able to run in awhile.  My husband will actually look at me and say "I'll watch Dex, you go for a run".  He doesn't have to tell me twice - I'm usually out the door with my shoes on by the end of "I'll watch Dex".

Speaking of the boy...that's the other reason I run.  I love the idea of him thinking of mommy as a runner. I CANNOT wait for him to start running with me.  He's already ran two races - kids dashes - and loved every minute of it.  More than once he's looked up at me and yelled "YAY RUNNING!"  Even if it doesn't translate into running, I want Dex to grow up thinking that exercise is just a normal part of a daily/weekly routine. He doesn't have to run...he just has to move.

My love of running goes even deeper, I ruminate on it every time my feet hit the pavement.  I'll leave it with that for now and allow the love affair to reveal itself over time.

Keep moving!