Thursday, January 31, 2013

january in an instant

January was a lot of things. But mostly it was cold. Really, really cold. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Andrea is such a good wife

One of Ryan's great friends here at Tuck is doing a dual-degree program with the Kennedy School at Harvard. Because of this, he spent the last semester traveling back and forth between Hanover and Boston. He was always gone Tuesday-Thursday and often again on the weekends or longer for various events. His darling wife Andrea is one of my best friends here. She plugged along last semester without a complaint. Honestly, I never heard her utter a word of annoyance! She missed girls nights, movie nights, Tuck activities, church activities and more because her husband was away and she was taking care of their son. 

When the semester ended, Brent wanted to do something nice for Andrea to show her how much he appreciated her willingness to drop everything on her agenda just for him. So, he organized a small overnighter to Boston for Andrea and a few of her friends. With scheduling conflicts, it ended up being just four of us and a quick 24 hours, but it was a blast. 
 {Catherine, Andrea, Michelle, Maren}

We stayed in Cat's brother's apartment in Cambridge. We had an adventure trying to find the T that night, but eventually made it to the North End an Italian dinner before we trudged home in the snow. The next day we slept in (I can hear the angels singing when I think about it), went shopping at a mall (angels are still singing!), got boxes of goodies at Mike's Pastry, walked the freedom trail, devoured a delicious clam chowder bread bowl, and stocked up at Trader Joe's (seriously...the angels!). 

We climbed 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill monument, witnessed some serious trashy arguments on the T, got good use out of our winter coats/scarves/hats/gloves (brrrr!), stayed up late chatting and basically had an amazing getaway.

We're so glad Andrea is such a good wife. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

frozen lashes

I had to get my 8 mile run in on Friday this week before I headed to Boston for our quick getaway. It was negative 2 degrees outside, but I was actually feeling pretty warm with my new fleece hoodie and brand new balaclava. 

About two miles in, my eyelashes felt a little heavy, so when I stopped for a traffic light, I mustered up the courage to take my hand out of my glove and use the camera on my phone to see what was up. 

This is what I saw:

Believe me, I was as surprised as you, so I quickly snapped a picture and then immediately put my hand back in my glove, clutching a hand warmer. But it was worth the cold! It's now one of my very favorite pictures. 

After posting it on instagram and facebook, I got quite a few comments ranging from how awesome I am to how crazy must be. I'm pretty sure crazy is the correct answer. But I'll do lots of crazy things for Miss Leah.

I even received a sweet get well note from our cute neighbor girl on behalf of my frozen eyelashes. 

Boston or bust!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

ski tuck

Every year for the past 28 years, Tuck has hosted an event called Winter Carnival. It is one of the more popular events among US MBA schools and it's something that students and partners here at Tuck get really excited about - ski races, parties, pond skating, and more. In preparation for the carnival, Tuck solicits entries from students and partners for the Winter Carnival poster. They then hold a vote to choose the winner. 

I really, really wanted to try and create a poster last year, but just never took the time to do it. So all year, I planned on submitting a design. Of course, the time drew near and I still had nothing. But about a week before the submissions were due, I decided I definitely wanted to submit something. My original ideas just weren't working out, so I scrapped them all and tried some new techniques in Adobe Illustrator. 

It wasn't initially my favorite mostly because it wasn't what I had in mind all year long. But, I really did like the final outcome and, after a week of sitting on it, figured it was worth a shot and sent in my submission.  

So did six others. 

Then we all voted. 

And guess what!? My poster won!

Ryan is pretty proud (and surprised!). And I know he's serious because he doesn't like lots of things (or ANYTHING) hung on our walls and he's begging me to hang the official 28th annual Tuck Winter Carnival poster in his office...whenever he gets an office. Sorry Ryan. It's going in my office. Feel free to frame a print of it, though!

The winner got a free ticket to the carnival (which are sparse and coveted), but because I don't drink and it would be nearly impossible to find a babysitter for an entire weekend, I decided to sell mine and pocket the winnings. It's been fun to be a small part of Tuck history!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

high horses

Earlier this month, Miss Ribbons had her first session of hippotherapy at High Horses. It has been a long time coming. We heard about the program more than a year ago but I just never got my act together. Last summer, we were handed the application in person by one of Ryan's classmates who happens to volunteer with the program. But you might remember my summer? So we finally submitted the 17 page application last fall and were welcomed with open arms for the January session. 

Leah's first session was filled with adventure. She was first placed on Nutmeg, a very mild mannered pony, who was spooked by the loud (really loud!) sound of the snow sliding off the tin roof of the barn. Nutmeg bucked her off and Leah was swiftly caught by PT Kate. Nutmeg was taken for a little walk to calm down while Leah switched horses and began riding Buddy. Not 10 minutes later, more snow slid off the roof and Buddy did the bucking. This time, it was Blythe (Ryan's classmate) who smoothly swooped a giggling Leah off the horse and into her arms. Leah continued to ride Buddy for the rest of the session. The directors, therapists and volunteers all apologized profusely and assured me this sort of thing is not normal. I, however, was thrilled with seeing their training in action and just felt even more assurance that Leah was in good hands. Leah just thought it was hilarious. 

Aside from the excitement, Leah gets to ride (usually Nutmeg) forward, backward, sideways, standing up and kneeling down. The girl is a natural. Her favorite is to ride lying down and then showing off her amazing core by pulling into a sitting position. And she also loves trotting. The giggles are extra loud then.

After just three sessions she's getting better at either gently tapping Nutmeg three times, signaling "walk on", or using a switch that says the words for her. She spends 45 minutes going round and round, her giggle echoing through the barn. 

We hope to have Leah continue riding until June when we move. And then, we hope to find another similar riding program in the Midwest. I love seeing her pigtails spill out of her cute pink helmet. I love watching her walk to the platform where she mounts Nutmeg. I love watching her gently brush him after her lesson is finished. I just love it all.

These sessions have brought a smile to my heart. For six years, I have worried about all Leah is missing out on. She can't take a dance class or an art class. She can't sign up for piano lessons or join the soccer team. 

But she can ride Nutmeg. So ride she will. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

dear kate re: the tub

Dear Kate, 
I know you love the tub. Really, I do. But there are easier ways to get there. 
If you agree to never do this again, I will agree to remove this post from the blog before your friends learn how to read. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

ktg: 8 months

Our little Kater Pie is growing right before our eyes. Two thirds already! 

Eight months was an obvious favorite of mine with Leah. I assumed it was because Leah was sitting up, but not yet moving around and was more able to play with toys and interact with those around her. Because of this, I thought my "favorite" with Kate might come a bit earlier. But I was wrong. My two littles could not be more different at just 8 months old, but so far it is still by far my favorite! 

Kate is on the go. She started to crawl just a few days after her 7 month mark and hasn't turned back. In fact, this month she also decided to walk like an elephant on all fours, pull herself to standing, and begin cruising along the furniture. She also loves holding my hand and walking throughout the house. She looks up and grins at me the entire time. 

Kate's smile just keeps getting bigger and bigger and she's so much happier with her new found mobility. She definitely helps us keep our floors clean, but still finds every single piece of everything I miss from my twice a day vacuuming sessions.

Miss Kate loves the tub and plays and explores until the water is long gone. She is just learning the art of splashing and her favorite tub toys are the washcloth and the drain. This bodes well for our student budget. 

Her favorite words are "wabu wabu" {reminds me of: "she said gleeba!"} and "dada" and she will babble this all day long. However, much to Ryan's chagrin, Kate is actually a momma's girl. She much prefers my manly voice to his and my smooth skin to his stubble. I will admit: I don't mind. After watching my eldest clearly prefer her dad for the last six years, it's kind of nice to come in first. 

Kate can go from blissfully happy to crocodile tears sad in a matter of milliseconds. It's kind of amazing, actually. And when she gets mad, she growls her glottal growl, buries her chin in her chest, and pulls at her mullet, like so: 

But when she is happy, boy is she happy. Her smile is more of a mouth and eyes wide open look, but it gets me every time. 

Her sleeping is back on track. She goes down between 7:00 and 7:30 every night and wakes up between 6:30 and 7:00 usually. Naps for 2-3 hours in the morning and usually around 3 hours in the afternoon. 

I nurse her first thing in the morning and right before bed and she alternates three solid meals and two bottles during the rest of the day. She is still always hungry and she now feeds herself her bottles. It's kind of amazing to watch. And I'm kind of loving it. Those functioning hands are a mighty miracle. 

Her favorite toys are whatever is NOT a toy and also her diapers (clean and dirty). She loves hanging onto the dishwasher when I load and unload and she now knows how to dance to music. She's just finding the headbands on her head, but usually we can distract her so they stay on. Still no teeth, just a toothless grin. Church is now at 9am, which is amazing and awful at the same time, but so far we are surviving. And she has no idea what to do when the wind hits her in the face, so she usually just gasps for air...and it is hilarious.

In summary, eight truly is great.
8 month Stats:
Weight: ???
Length: ???
Head Circumference: ???
No. of diapers used: I stopped counting, but similar to 6 months (120)
Diaper size: 2
Clothing size: 6-12 months
Longest stretch of sleep: 13 hours??
NEW Nicknames: Biff (because she biffs a lot)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

she stands!

Kate is officially an on-her-own stander. And really, she'd rather be standing than doing anything else in her little 8 month old life. She's quick. She's strong. And she's good. It definitely brought a smile to my face when I went to get her from her nap and saw her peering over the top of her crib bars, fingers white from gripping. 

A standing ovation is in order, I believe. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

a first time for everything

My name is Maren. I lived in Utah for 25 years and I've never been skiing. 

There. I said it. 

Call me crazy. Tell me how ridiculous I am for having the best snow on earth in my backyard and not taking advantage. Explain to me that your family spent their winter vacations traveling to Utah to ski and you can't believe I've never done it. 

Believe me, in the past 31 years, I've heard it all. And then some.

But I just never had the desire - the desire to pay for all the equipment or the lift pass or the transportation to the resort. Between a part time job, school and extra-curricular activities, I didn't feel like I had the time either. And so I never went. 

But guess what!? Neither did Michelle. She grew up in Utah too. And her husband skis pretty much any day he can. So does her seven year old son. And her three year old son is jumping on the bandwagon. 

So, crazy Michelle and crazy Maren were feeling a bit adventurous. They, albeit broke, also felt that the "learn to ski" promotion going on at Sugarbush Resort in Vermont ($29 for a beginners lesson, a lift pass and full rental) was just too good to pass up. So, we packed our bags and took a day trip. Luckily, we had willing husbands to watch the kids. 

We couldn't have asked for better weather, there was just one other girl in our "class" so we each got a lot of attention, and our teacher was great. 

My favorite quote of the day was, "Pretend like there is a little birdie in your hands - keep the bird alive. KEEP THE BIRD ALIVE!" Apparently I have a tendency to get a bit tense. Who knew?!

But, after two hours and some basic instruction, we hit the magic carpet. And then we hit it again. And again. And then I rode the chair lift. And then I did it again. And again. 

And guess what? I liked it. I really liked it. And I wasn't half bad!

So I guess I have to update my previous statement:

My name is Maren and I like to ski.

Next time I'm in Utah in the winter, I'll have to test out the snow. I'll let you know if it's truly the best.

P.S. A note to East Coasters: When someone from Utah refers to the resort as Alta (Al-tuh), please don't correct them by saying Ahl-tuh. We promise we know what we're talking about.

and four makes one

Leah's fourth tooth came out today! Right into daddy's hand after brushing her teeth before bedtime. Four missing front teeth equals one big smiley gap for this girl. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

100 days and counting...

Today marks 100 days until the Boston Marathon. 

To say that I'm nervous would be an understatement. But to say that I'm excited would be one too. I get butterflies in my stomach each time I imagine myself crossing the finish line on Boylston Street. I often tear up on my training runs as I picture the thoughts and emotions I might have on April 15th. And I've been compulsively checking this map to familiarize myself with the course.

I have run two other marathons, but it's been more than four years since the last one. And honestly, I'd like to be stronger and better prepared for Boston than I was for the other two - mentally, emotionally and physically.

Ryan has a knee injury that has prohibited him from running thus far. After an MRI a few weeks ago and a consult with a doctor this morning, we now know he doesn't need surgery, but he will need to ease into running - as in a mile at a time easing into it. He's been killing it on the elliptical listening to books on his iPhone in the meantime. The other day, I asked him if he was nervous and he responded, "No. I'm confident I'll master this marathon because I'm training with Jason Bourne." 

Really, he has been. Some of the books he's listened to so far are from the Bourne Trilogy. Isn't that brilliant? Nothing like training with Jason Bourne to boost your confidence before your feet even hit the pavement.  

In the next 100 days, I hope to gather some of that confidence for myself. 

I know there are multiple ways to prepare and train for running 26.2 miles; I also understand that it's very individualized. What is best for one person might not be best for another. I've questioned myself on more than one occasion when I found out how much someone is running during any given week, when or what kinds of things they are doing to cross train or if their overall plan is drastically different than mine. And I just need to remember that what I'm doing works for me

In the next 100 days, I'd like to eat a little healthier, procrastinate a little less, push myself a little harder and sleep a little (okay, a lot) more. (After all, Jason Bourne says, "Sleep is a weapon.") 

Here's to a stronger and better prepared me in 100 days. The countdown is on.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

sixth annual NYE bash

And now for the sixth year running, Ryan and I have held our annual New Year's Eve bash. It's been completely different each year, but always a lot of fun. We decorated a bit before dinner - and this semi-inflated balloon kept Kate busy for the better part of a half hour. Every time she so much as touched it, it floated off in front of her and she calmly followed just to do it all over again. 

We started, as always, with pictures in our glasses before we tucked the girls into bed.

This year, not many people were still in Hanover. And some of those who were still couldn't find sitters, etc. So, it was a small group this year. We ate some delicious food and played some fun games. After three games came my favorite quote of the night from Mike, "Can we just be done playing games now." Good thing it was 11:55. 

We got in our positions and...




Happy New Year!

2013 will be full of change for all of us here - but I just know those changes will be good. Happy 2013!!

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