Just call him “Speedy”

I started running about seven years ago. Mostly on the track at my gym and, even then, not for miles and miles. When I started at my current company, I discovered they had a runners’ club and I took the plunge and joined up. The allure was the opportunity to run four local 5K races at a steep discount. I’d never considered running a 5K until that point.

Now I’m a big fan. I still don’t run miles and miles, but I will run 3.2 in a row. With thousands of other people. It gives me energy and keeps me focused. And it’s just plain fun.

My son has been asking me for several years if he can run a 5K with me. My answer has always been, only if you commit to training with me. That would quickly turn him off to the idea. Dev likes to do something very well without having to prep. But he ran track last spring, had a blast in cross country this past fall, and has been running a mile straight in gym class over the course of several months. So he and I both considered that training. And I signed us up for the Fifth Third Riverbank Run.

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Before selfie

We had a blast. He’s faster than me. (Not a surprise!) And he was able to maintain his pace for the entire three+ miles, which he’s never done before. He would speed up ahead of me, look back and see I was lagging, and then wait for me. It was sweet. Yet I could tell that his competitive nature was being reined in. We crossed the finish line at 28:03 and 28:04, respectively, but I know he could have gotten a better time if he hadn’t been so nice as to wait for me. This was my second-best finish and I really do have him to thank for it. I know I ran harder trying to keep up with his fleet feet!

Maybe next race we can figure out a plan for him running his little heart out and me being able to find him at the finish line later.

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After selfie (he was geeked about all the snacks at the finish line)

The weekend: it came and went

Weekends are too short, don’t you agree?

Looks like Nick could use another few hours in his weekend too. Lazy cats! I can’t resist taking photos of his big ol’ paws. Especially when he stretches out so adorably. The only bad thing about the photo is that the flannel sheets are still on the bed. They’re usually gone by mid-April. But I see hints of hope this week. Some high 60s and low 70s. I might be able to fold them up and stuff them in the linen closet soon.

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The garden is certainly giving me some hope as well. I haven’t planted bulbs in several years but was determined to have some nice spring flowers to greet me after winter said goodbye, so I planted a few dozen in the fall. I think I’ll do that again this year. The garden just looks so much more lush, even though the perennials are just getting started.

 

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My cooking mojo seems very scarce during the week. A by-product of getting up so dang early and then feeling so rushed around that time of day. I don’t really have the gumption to put too much energy into the whole event. So weekend dinners are the ones that I tend to be proud of. I scroll through my Pinterest faves and find something new to try. This time around it was a Quinoa Taco Bake, which I actually made without any quinoa. I subbed in ground turkey since that’s what I had (and I knew the 10-year-old would more likely eat it).

The original looks splendid, I admit. But I was pretty happy with my results. A little basmati rice on the side and we were good to go. With plenty of leftovers, well, uh, left over.
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Today was Museums Free 4 All, which I made sure to put on our calendar. We hadn’t been to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in quite a while. It seemed like a great opportunity to get in a visit. The kiddo wasn’t as into some of the historical aspects of it. It is politics, after all. But he was smitten with the aircraft carrier. He read the entire story that was displayed around the base of the carrier. And then he asked for my phone to take photos. 
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Afterward we walked around by the river. It was sunny and beautiful. The only downside was the wind. But it didn’t seem to have an impact on their hair in these photos. That’s a plus!
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Florida – one month later

Yep…an entire month has gone by since we returned from our trip.

I’ve been to Florida many times since I met Scott because some of his family lives there. And it’s always been a welcome change of scenery from the colder weather. This trip, though, was the first one where I felt sad leaving. Probably a combination of the dread of returning to the frigid weather, not wanting to let go of the relaxing feeling of a vacation and wanting to hold on to the joy of watching Dev explore a new place. (One that’s complete with amusement parks, alligators and an ocean.)

We flew direct to Sanford International Airport, which was awesome. Quick and easy flight. Quick and easy car rental. Not so quick and easy drive to Orlando (crazy Florida traffic!).

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Sanford – we were looking for alligators but it was pretty chilly when we arrived.

Dev was so, so excited about Universal. The parents weren’t really on that same wavelength, especially the daddy parent. However…it turned out to be way more fun than the adults had anticipated and spending a full day trekking around the park didn’t even phase us. You can see the smile on the kiddo in the photos. It was there for most of the trip!

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Dev wasn’t the only one excited about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

As much as I loved Hogwarts and the butter beer, I was LESS than thrilled with the Dragon Challenge coaster. Even with dramamine in my system, that ride kicked my butt. Of course it was the first one we went on that morning and I was sure I wasn’t going to be able to do anything else once I got off and swerved like a drunk for several minutes. Happily, the Hogwarts ride went smoothly and I handled the rest like a champ.

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My view waiting in line to get into Ollivander’s – the longest line of all.
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The kid is a huge Jurassic Park fan.
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I think the water rides ended up being his favorite.
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It was only 55 degrees, but the sunshine made getting drenched a non-event.
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It seemed like every ride had its own unique glasses you had to wear.
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This? So, so good. I had two. Yes, I did.

Over the weekend we did some visiting with family and friends. We got to catch up with sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews (and grandnieces and nephews) and various new in-laws. We traveled to New Smyrna Beach to meet up with a friend we’d both worked with in Chicago. She’s a huge nature enthusiast and brought along a mermaid’s purse for Dev. He was thrilled. He was also pretty geeked about chasing the seagulls on the beach. It was too chilly and windy to spend as much time on the sand as we would have liked, but he was happy as the proverbial clam while we were there.

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See? He loved it.
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Dev thought these birds looked like “those bald guys who have just hair on the sides of their head” – apologies to any of those guys who might be reading this.

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Meet-up with Patty! Photo by Dev.

After the beach we went to Blue Spring to see the manatees. In all the years I’ve been visiting Florida, I’ve never seen one. Imagine my giddy excitement when I saw the first one. I think Dev thought I was a little crazy. He was way more impressed by the alligator that was lounging on a log in the middle of the manatee party.

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There’s an alligator lurking amongst those manatees. Beware!

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 The last day we headed back to Universal to try the other side of the park. The one with The Simpsons recreation, including Duff Beer for Dad!

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 There was plenty of other fun to be had, including riding The Mummy three times and dining on a deck with plenty of sun and and a nice breeze in “San Francisco.”

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This one would have made me hurl. I’m pretty sure of that.

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There’s that smile again. I’m so happy that he was so happy!

Cheerful

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It’s how I feel after walking my dog on a beautiful summer night.

It’s how I feel after eating a tasty dinner grilled up by my husband – and having that dinner on our deck in the sunshine and breezes.

It’s how I feel when I finish mowing the lawn and the backyard looks as good as it ever will with its 16 different types of grasses at the same height for a small window of time.

It’s how I feel when I had shy of six hours asleep after arriving home from Chicagoland at 3:00 a.m. this morning, yet I’m perky enough to mow that aforementioned lawn, and take that aforementioned dog walk and even bake up a batch of raspberry muffins.

It’s how I feel at the prospect of settling down in our newly rearranged basement to watch Life of Pi with my two guys.

It’s how I feel knowing I have a vacation day tomorrow and that Dev and I are going to bicycle around Reeds Lake.

So how do you feel?

Rice noodles and memories

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The first date I ever went on with my husband wasn’t really our first date. But I’m gonna call it that for this story.*

We used to go to lunch a few times a week with another guy we worked with, but Mark wasn’t free that day. I’d just started a few weeks previously and we were all just getting to know each other. So we kind of looked at each other uncomfortably and said, well, uh, do you want to go to lunch anyway?

We went to Singha (which sadly closed a couple of years ago) on Clark Street for Thai. Before moving to Chicago I didn’t have a very adventurous palate. My mom had never taken me to an Asian restaurant at all during my childhood. So Chinese sweet-and-sour chicken was about all I’d done at that point. Turns out, though, I loooove Thai food. And it became a favorite lunch and dinner option for us over the years.

Scott’s favorite Thai dish has always been pad thai. When I think of pad thai, I think of Scott. (Well, when I think of satay, I think of him too. We always ordered that as an appetizer during our Thai meals.)

For whatever reason, though, I never thought about making pad thai at home. I made some tasty satay one time but since I never went for the pad thai, I guess it wasn’t on my mind.

Now that pasta has become a “red light” when it comes to gluten-free dining, I’ve been looking at other options and rice noodles have figured into a lot of the dishes. This one just looked so simple I couldn’t resist. I didn’t even realize how closely it resembles pad thai until he mentioned it during dinner. Now that I’ve tried this yummy concoction, I’m going to explore a more authentic version. I never knew what I was missing before.

He’s a smart cookie, my husband.

*Full disclosure: I already knew I liked him at this point so it may as well have been our first date. Our official first date consisted of a day browsing through Printer’s Row and dinner was at Ranalli’s, right next to my apartment, where he patiently looked through photos from my cousin’s graduation party I had just picked up from Walgreen’s.

 

 

 

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Spring break is almost over, but I figured I’d better log the first part of it before too much more time goes by!

My son’s class was given a Game Changer award by the Detroit Pistons for the charitable work they’ve done in our community. That meant free tickets for everyone to last week’s game. So we booked a little spring break getaway to Auburn Hills. (Land of many hotels and parking lots.)

After relaxing for a few hours at in our comfy room after the drive (and sneaking in a swim for the kiddo), we took our seats at The Palace and chatted with some of the other families who took up the offer. Free seats, of course, aren’t very close to the floor so we had a long view of the action, but it was fun to watch. The only bad thing was the margin of defeat. I think the Raptors topped Detroit by at least 25 points.  Ah, well, at least we got to rock out to glimpse Luke Perry (yes, I’m serious) and rock out to Color Me Badd for ’90s night.

The next morning we headed to the Bald Mountain Recreation Area for a nice family hike. The weather was awesome. And the trail was a nice length. It was a short getaway, but made for some quality family time. (Except for the part where Scott was supposed to be navigating, but wasn’t. And you know nothing good came of that moment.)

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Season’s greetings

So how was your holiday?

It went by fast. Again. It seems to surprise me every year that with all of the preparations that go into it, the event is over in must minutes. When you have an 8-year-old, that is! He got himself out of bed at 5:13 a.m. The gifts were all opened before 6:00. (With more that came along with Grandma and Grandpa later that morning.) Of course if you factor in all of the playing he did with the gifts – and all of the eating of food – the day does indeed last the allotted time.

The day ended with another gift, though. Dev came down with the stomach flu and was up most of the night. Poor kiddo.

But I think he’d still say it was a very good day.

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Father’s Day weekend: Saturday

Saturday consisted of a lot of housework — and a lot of water balloons!

While Scott was at the gym, the kid and I filled up more than 30 balloons with plans to ambush him when he got home. But we got distracted and the father in question stayed dry.

But when Kev and Clo came over later that afternoon, the water balloons were remembered. And there was much throwing and splashing and drenching. And lots and lots more balloons filled up.

Not wanting to be left out of the fun, Juliette enjoyed some bonding time with Kevin.

 

Father’s Day weekend: Friday

We were a busy little family over Father’s Day weekend. And I was actually in a pretty zen place with my camera. Meaning I actually used it. My, oh, my.

So I’ll start with Friday, shall I?

Scott actually caught whiff of an event that I was unaware of. The nerve. SiTE:LAB was having an event at Blandford Nature Center, he explained. With art, music and kid stuff. What’s not to like about that? I couldn’t think of a thing. Well, except that the weather was a bit hot and muggy. But that didn’t stop this intrepid family of ours. We headed on over for the fun. And fun was indeed the thing we had — watching a blacksmith do his thing, trekking through the woods to see the art installations, listening to some great music, having a glass of wine or two and chatting with lots of people.

And let me tell you about the “ghost girl” who followed us down Leonard in her car. White hair. White face. Black lips. A serious, kind-of-frightening look on her face. Then she turned AT THE SAME CORNER as we did. Ay-yi-yi! It turns out she was a performance artist. Scott actually ran into her later in the evening and mentioned that we’d seen her behind us. She told him she was so nervous that she didn’t even remember the drive there. I think that would explain the kind-of-frightening look she had, eh?

Art in the woods

Dancing ladies

Random fact: I saw the woman in red at Marie Catrib’s on Monday

Looking at water bugs…in the water

Plus a few phone pics…

And then there’s this cool time-lapse video of that evening:

Seven years

This photograph makes me smile and also makes me pine for Devin’s younger days. It seemed like a great way to start out this post.

I know myself well enough to realize that with tomorrow’s busyness, I’m not likely to find the time to put this together. So I’m going to celebrate Devin Day one day early.

Seven years ago, on Oct. 19, Devin flew into Detroit on a Northwest Airlines plane. It was one of those moments you don’t ever think is going to happen. We waited six months from the completion of our forms to the day he arrived. And although that seemed like forever, most international adoption takes a lot longer. We were so lucky that things went so smoothly and so quickly. Except for the part where the passengers disembark from the plane and go through customs. That part took A VERY LONG TIME.

Every time the frosted-glass doors would open, the three waiting families and their entourages would stand on our tiptoes and search for babies, but instead it was always the other passengers streaming out. And we’d sigh collectively and go back to nervously biting our fingernails. (OK. It was me doing the nail biting. I’m not sure what everyone else was doing because I was totally focused on the doors.)

When A VERY LONG TIME finally came to an end, the whole mob rushed forward and I couldn’t see the babies at all. So I was confusedly walking in the wrong direction and Scott had to steer me over to where Gail was holding Devin. And there he was. So tiny and adorable.

I love remembering that day. Even the part where I put his diaper on backward.

And I love when we came home and set him down on the floor and he took off at an army crawl at an amazingly fast pace. It was kind of an indicator of what to expect. When walking commenced, it was basically a few steps and then he was running. Always moving. Always on his way somewhere. Always curious and going after what he wants.

I also love that we have this day every year. We celebrate his birthday, but we also get an extra day where we celebrate our family’s seven years of togetherness.