So I will put Thriller on my Spotify playlist and plow through my to do list so I can rush home to enjoy the neighborhood kiddos in their costume finery.
Happy Halloween to all!
After such a hectic weekend last week, I'm looking forward to this one which involves relaxing, catching up on a little reading, a few errands here and there, and soaking up the minimal sunshine we're expecting. I'm feeling inspired to make pumpkin flavored something, so maybe we'll check that out too.
We miss Husband, but we'll just keep looking forward to next weekend, which involves a fall themed getaway to the lake. There must be pumpkin patches and/or apple orchards nearby, and we're determined to find them.
Until then, have a lovely weekend, friends, and enjoy a few fun reads before you go!
The one where a turkey attacks!
A lovely reminder that people are good, especially when we need them most.
Oven coil gone wrong (this one will cause your laughter circuit to short out, fair warning.)
Possible additions to the reading list?
I want to go to there.
We're thinking about all things Halloween over here, so if you have suggestions for fur baby costumes, share them, won't you? Here's a little inspiration in the form of a pic from last year's lion and tiger action:
And here, you can see what Cooper thinks of Frankenstein doing the monster mash:
Perhaps it is a bit odd to post a weekendings recap on Thursday when the next weekend is so close, but last weekend was one for the books, and I think it warrants a story. I don’t think we stopped moving the entire span of weekend. There was much to do, and excitement galore, and we were eager to dive in and not miss a minute. It was a whirlwind, but an exceptionally fun one, and I think we’ll remember it a good, long while.
Friday was our usual: movie date and dinner. We lapsed two hours watching Clooney’s narrative on American politics, and Gosling’s brilliant navigation of his character, all while clad in a smart-suit. I think I like political Gosling. All in all, a film worth seeing, even if portions were predictable and the end sort of leaves you with a taste of “ick.” (yep, another of my technical terms)
Saturday brought a mess of fun, and might have been the single most beautiful day we’ve seen in Chicago. We visited the north shore, coveted a few houses, soaked in the vibrant trees and leaves, let the fur babes run through a park, and even visited the beach where we watched a family fly a kite and wished we were on kayaks headed straight for the point where the water meets cerulean sky. I think I could live out there, and that isn’t light talk coming from this city gal.
We begrudgingly returned to the city where hundreds of our furry friends awaited, ready for the annual Mutt Strut to benefit CCRF. It was in a perfect neighborhood this year, and we enjoyed every minute, even if Cooper did need to ride with Daddy instead of walk most of the way. I love to see so many people unite for a cause that is dear to my heart, and I think the best part has to be all of the “alumni” dogs, returning with their forever families to thank the organization that cared enough to save their lives. We’ll be in the lineup again in 2012, without question.
Our Fall theme was certainly working for us, so after a quick lunch al fresco, we headed for supplies to 1) make the outside of our home as festive as the inside, and 2) create awesome signs to motivate Husband to run 26.2 miles through the city on Sunday. I think we succeeded on both fronts, yes?
We closed the day with a yummy carb-heavy dinner to fuel Husband for his big race and me for serious weight gain. It really was a perfect day. And sometimes, it’s just good to reflect on those and write them down so you’ll never forget.
45,000 runners participate in the Chicago marathon, and more than 1 million residents line the streets to cheer them on. The spirit of the day is one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced, and if you ever get the chance to do the same, don’t think twice. Take your kids, make your signs, run from stop to stop, and scream your fool head off for your loved ones and for complete strangers. On race day, everyone feels like family.
I thought I’d document our marathon experience, so we’ll always have it, and so you can know it too.
We started the day at 5AM, and we walked outside to sees Beeg off to the train, waving until we couldn't see him any longer. He looked prepared and ready to conquer the day, yes?
Even though I wasn’t planning to leave until 7:15, I was out the door, back-pack on and sign in hand, by 6:45. By 7:05, I was in place at my first stop along the marathon route, and I was literally the first spectator out there. It was a gorgeous morning, and I sat on the curb, soaking in the light as I waited for the fun to begin. Soon enough, I was joined by one family, and then another, and many after that until our corner was bustling and loud and packed on both sides with spectators ready to cheer on the runners.
Official race vehicles passed by us, horns honking and all smiles, followed by official bikers and then…the handicapped racers. They’re just an amazing sight to see, and I screamed as loud as I could for them, swiping tears from behind my sunglasses and noticing more than one of my fellow spectators doing the same.
Shortly after, the elite runners came through, and they were literally a blur of sinewy muscles and toned everything as they whizzed past us, focused and determined, even at mile five. It was the first time I’ve been able to see them in person, and like everyone else, I was in complete awe of their skill. Some of the world’s best runners were in my direct line of sight, and they made running look really good.
At mile five, the pack of runners is exceptionally thick, and I was determined NOT to miss Beeg in the crowd. I was scanning the faces so intently, I literally had a brief headache….and then, in a blur, I heard him scream my name and I looked up to see my guy running by, smiling big, and all I could do was scream and hold my ridiculous sign over my head and hope that he knew how proud I was.
(I didn’t get action shots of Beeg at all during the race, and I’ll forever regret this, but I was so focused on seeing his face and on him seeing mine that there just wasn’t time to coordinate the shutter button amidst everything else. I have mental images though, scores of them).
From there, I looped back on foot to see him again around Mile Ten, and I spotted him quicker this time, so I could jump up and down in addition to screaming and waving my sign. This was a really fun part of the route, and I saw hilarious signs, neighbors enjoying cocktails and passing out oranges to the runners, tribal drummers providing a constant beat to spur on the athletes, and a hundred moments of spectators connecting with loved ones running by, and every time, I blinked back tears.
Mile Seventeen was our next spot, so I hurried to the train to get there in time. Ironically enough, the trains were quite delayed and I missed the first connecting train, and had to wait a miserable 15 minutes for the second one. The crowd at the station was so thick, you literally just tumbled along with the momentum, not even really connecting footsteps with the ground. By the time I wound my way out to the course, I was convinced (and so, so sad) that I had missed him. This was the last spot we had planned until the finish, but it just wasn’t enough. The temperature was climbing steadily above 80 degrees, and I wanted to be able to scream for him one more time, toward the end of the race. I consulted my map (stop laughing!), and saw that Mile Twenty was about a mile and a half away on foot. I did some quick math, and decided if I hustled, I could make it.
This is the point where I’d love an aerial view of the lunatic sprinting down Halsted, backpack bouncing and sign sweating ink all over the place. I slowed about a half block away from the race site, huffing and puffing and thinking for the millionth time that day that I could NEVER complete what these folks were completing, took a sip of water and then wormed my way to the front of the crowd and got down to business intently scanning the faces. It took awhile, but eventually I saw him turning the corner, and I started screaming his name at the top of my lungs, waving the sign around as if I were flagging down rescue for a sunken ship. He was focused, staring straight ahead, and he didn’t see me. What else could I do? I jumped onto the course (a no-no in marathon spectator etiquette), ran alongside him waving my sign and screaming until he looked over. He was confused, and then happy, and very likely thinking what the hell is she doing?!. He turned the corner, and I ducked back into the crowd, but I stood on tiptoe for as long as I could see the back of his hat in the distance.
From there I made my way to the finish area, all on foot because I no longer trusted the trains to get me anywhere in a timely fashion. In a little more than an hour, I came upon charity village and the final turn toward the finish, and I just stood there for awhile. I tried to imagine the feeling of knowing you were that close, after all the weeks and months of training, the giving up your time to get yourself marathon ready, the sweat and the injuries and the aching everything, and then…there it is. The finish line you’ve been running toward for so long. Bet you can’t guess what I did next, can you? I’m a sap, but a consistent one, so yes, I wiped away tears for the zillionth time, and then began the long walk to the other side of the park to the designated runner meet up area.
They should recreate the runner meet up area for people who are in a funk --- I don’t think there’s a quicker way to pull out of it than watching runners of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and races make eye contact with friends and family for the first time post-race. There were bear hugs and shouts and open sobbing and spinning in circles and just joy, all around. I could have stayed there forever.
I got the official text that Beeg finished, and I jumped up and down and screamed, alone in the center of thousands of people, and all of them just smiled and flashed a thumbs up my way.
At long last, I found him.
He will tell you that he struggled. That he really went downhill around Mile Seventeen. That his time wasn’t what he thought it would be, and ultimately, that he’s glad it is over. Here is what I will tell you: for months, he ran. He scheduled runs during holiday weekend trips, during regular weekends, during the week after work when it was the last thing he wanted to do. He experimented with gels and different foods, learned how to battle chafing, endured extreme weather and painful knees and mental dips in motivation. But he never stopped. He didn’t join a training group or do anything formal --- he just researched a plan and made it happen.
I was proud from the beginning, but until I was in the moment and face to face with the race day experience, I had no idea what it would feel like to watch him reach for his goal and grab it.
Just popping in quickly to wish our number one guy good luck tomorrow. We've done lots of prep related activities today, and now all that is left is to get down there and watch him kick ass (and, if you're me, avoid getting lost while navigating the route).
We're so proud of you, babe. Go, Beeg, GO!
This morning, we began the day with a quick walk around the block following our Starbucks run. We do this most Fridays, since I work from home and we have a little more time and flexibility. The leaves have turned and are starting to fall, and our neighbors have begun showing their adoration for Halloween in the form of webbing and pumpkins and scary things galore. It makes me smile, all of it. These final few months of the year are truly my favorite, and I vow each and every October to really dig in and enjoy the hell out of every moment.
As I was walking this morning, my brain was running on a hamster wheel --- I need to find a better apple orchard this year and find time to go earlier, where is the nearest pumpkin patch, oh, let's decorate the front of the building with mums, pumpkins, and maybe a hay bale or two, need to get costumes for the fur babes --- on and on it spins. I do this so often. In my haste to live every season, make awesome memories with my family, write and rewrite our story, I find myself in a place where there is just never enough. Not enough time, not enough options, not enough clarity, not enough.
I am trying hard to reign that in, because wrapping up my favorite time of year in anxiety and a quest to have the perfect season is really just missing the entire point, isn't it?
Because in the end, we won't remember elaborate plans and trips and activities. We'll remember simple walks together, watching the leaves fall and enjoying our festive neighbors and their interpretations of each holiday. We'll remember fur babes running through leaves, the taste of chai lattes, the feeling of home, no matter the season.
Let's slow down, friends. And enjoy the awesome things in front of us every day instead of looking for the perfect way to experience our lives. As it turns out, we knew how to do that all along.
Would you like a few fun reads for your Friday? Well, ok then!
A simple (and awesome) way to honor an amazing man
DIY side tables that had me plotting similar projects of my own
The perfect blend of casual and chic
The right idea for celebrating Fall (and family, and love, and all things awesome)
The reason I am now obsessed with finding something to stencil. These two amaze me on the regular.
Happy Fall, y'all!