Archive for June, 2012

Backyard Science

June 28, 2012

A new take on an old fourth grade science experiment:

We made volcanoes/ witches brew in the backyard! The kids thought it was great and everything we needed was already in our kitchen!

The boys spooned the baking soda into containers (we tried muffin tins which worked but we found the volcanoes had more “power” with shot glasses.)

They added a few drops of food colouring to each one.

Lastly, they poured in the vinegar and loved to see the bubbling brew burst over the rim!

We repeated over and over (and over!) until we actually ran out of vinegar. It’s a good way to kill a whole hour!

Give it a try! 🙂


June 25, 2012

It’s been an eventful week around here.

Tristan graduated from preschool!

His face, as he walked down the aisle sporting his paper graduation cap, was beaming with pride. He waved to us with a huge grin plastered across his face, proud of himself for reaching this milestone and so happy to have his family all there to witness.

It was a special morning. I will even admit to shedding a few tears as he marched down the aisle with his classmates to the melodies of “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Yeah, I know. It’s just preschool. It’s just that to me this graduation was so symbolic. He started out a 2.5 year old toddler, not yet able to fully express himself in a voice that still very much carried notes of babyhood. He’s now an energetic 4 year old with his own thoughts and ideas and dreams of becoming a pilot and a lambscaper (er… that’s landscaper.)

It’s an event like this that propels my mind forward. I imagine all the accomplishments and graduations that await us. I think about the kind, conscientious boy I am trying to raise, knowing that one day he will be a father, a husband.  And most close to home, I think about the first day of kindergarten, sneaking up on us oh so quickly.

This morning I had to stop for a school bus as a little girl was getting on, and I imagined Tristan on his first morning of school, walking up those steps, wearing his new little backpack, bravely looking back to wave, and I know I’ll feel it welling up inside.

I’ll hold it in, myself bravely smiling and waving back, but as soon as the doors close and the bus drives away, I know they will come.

The tears. I know they will come.

Tears of pride that my big boy is  going off to school and starting a new adventure.

Tears of sadness that our days won’t be spent together anymore.

Like any mother, I have some worries. I wish that I could just protect him from the world forever. But I know that that’s not the way it is. I know that my job is to prepare him to go off and be strong and kind and friendly and generous and fun loving and adventurous…

Yet I worry about not being there when he falls down on the playground and scrapes himself. I know someone will give him a band-aid and send him back on his way. But I won’t be there to kiss his knee.

I worry about the first time he feels the sting of someone not being kind to him on the playground.

I love my boy so much. Why wouldn’t everyone want to be kind to him and be his friend? But I know that’s not the way the world works and kids can be mean.

All I can do is love him and teach him that he is kind and capable and deserving… and the rest shall fall into place.

Race to the Finish Line

June 24, 2012

I won a medal!!

Ok, so it’s not gold, not silver, not even bronze.

It’s a finishing medal, because I FINISHED A FREAKIN’ HALF MARATHON! In 2 hours and 27 minutes.

Waiting at the start line for the race to begin

I began with the 2:15 pace bunny, and for the first couple of kms I thought perhaps I was short changing myself by running with this pace group. It was easy! Running along with the pack, I was happy, my stride was good, my cardio was in check.

I was excited as I neared the 5 km mark – my parents were there cheering with my boys. I was excited to high five them and I received the nice boost of  adrenaline I was looking for.

Sometime after that point, everything became a lot more difficult. My legs felt heavy. Somehow the energy I enjoyed for those first five kms had drained out of my body. Having only completed a quarter of the race, it was time for the mind games to begin. I would not be giving up yet!

“C’mon, Andrea, you can do this!”

As the race progressed, I had to adjust my goals.

I made the conscious decision to slip back from my pace group – clearly that speed was not sustainable for me, at least not on that day.

Around kilometre 8, something really weird started to happen. I started to shiver. I felt cold.

I knew that this was not right. I’d ran at least 8 kms close to three times a week for the previous four months. This distance was not typically difficult for me.

It was a warm day, and I was running in a race. I should not be shivering!  In truth, these symptoms started to really freak me out.

Maybe it was the adrenaline. Maybe it was the fact that I couldn’t sleep the night before (nerves!) Maybe it was the fact that I was fighting a sinus infection… I will never know.

Pretty soon, it became purely about the journey. Thoughts of finishing times became a distant memory. I just wanted to cross that finish line. “It doesn’t matter what time I finish in, I just need to finish!”

My strategy?

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Life’s kind of like that sometimes isn’t it?

One small step over and over eventually led me to that blessed finish line. Familiar faces cheering in the crowd along with friendly strangers waving encouraging signs pushed me along.

The last couple of kms were painful. I could see runners dashing to the finish line on the other side of the canal. It was so close yet it felt so, so far away.

Leading up to the race I was certain that I would be a finish line crier. Scratch that – that’s not intense enough.  I was fully prepared to be a finish line bawler.

When my foot made contact with that finish line mat, I had a  gentle welling of tears, but I didn’t have anything left in me for a full on cry. In training we were told not to “leave anything on the course” and no one can ever accuse me of breaking that rule.

I proceeded down the chute, picking up my post race recovery snacks, before finally reaching the place where I would receive my medal.

“Hi Andrea! How are you feeling?” asked the lady with the stack of medals.

“Great!” I replied. “I have earned this medal with every step…”

I bowed my head so that she could place the medal around my neck.

And that’s when it happened.

The flood gates opened.

Finally realizing that I had seen this goal through to completion, my body felt the relief and my mind felt the accomplishment.

The tears flowed freely as I walked away.

This accomplishment is not one I will ever forget. I am proud of my efforts in training as well as my determination to finish on race day. I look forward to many more sporting events and challenges in the future… just maybe not another half marathon. 🙂