Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Thought I was a Runner...

Yep - have the shoes, the running clothes, and all the accessories. I think of myself as a runner, and have even completed one marathon (first and last). Now I have some super-cool software on my iPod, the Nike iPod training software. It is pretty neat - lets you track your runs, set challenges (with yourself) and goals (with others) and helps with motivation. After a run, you even get surprise messages from famous athletes with words of encouragement, like"Great job - you just completed your longest ever run" or "Great job - you just finished your fastest time for a mile." And you can pick a "power song" for extra motivation (though I haven't figured out yet how it works).

But today, after a medium run, I checked my stats. I knew I hadn't lived up to my personal challenge (10 runs in 4 weeks) and I even missed out on the goal (50 k in 6 weeks), but I didn't know my overall performance had been so dismal. Yes, there's always an excuse - school finishing parties, sick kids, sick me, guests, work, etc, etc. But I didn't really calculate the number of runs I average per month. Sadly, my running average - even counting my "better than nothing" 20-minute jaunts around the block - is three per month. Not even one a week.

Time to do better...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Aquatic Disaster

So the fish tank was a good idea... until...

The boys got a bit out of hand on Sunday night, and managed to dump a whole can of fish food in the aquarium. We made an emergency call yesterday and today to the service company, and they have come out twice so far to clean out the tank. The guy who came today was amazed that anything was still alive in there, but we still have about 15 hearty fish swimming around. I begged him to take them somewhere so that they might have a better (short) life, but he said that they have to keep them there to get the aquarium back in balance. So I guess we just keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

In the meantime, we have a little graveyard for all the dead fish that Benjamin has found (that we haven't flushed away before he has seen them). We said a small prayer for each of them this morning -

"Dear Flattie, you were a great fish. You were really flat and swimmed really good. I'm sorry that I killed you. Dear Suckie, you were a great fish. You really sucked good. I'm sorry that I killed you..." and so on. I think he has learned his lesson.

Our only consolation is that we are perhaps not the only ones who have found themselves in this situation. The aquarium guy said that usually it's the adults... but suggested that we hide the food in the future. I just think it's a good thing we started with fish.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Adventures with Dad

I went away this weekend with our friends from Texas, which left David alone with the kids. I must admit that when I have a weekend alone with the kids, I generally get about as adventurous as one of the local museums, or maybe an activity center. But not my husband - he is always planning new and exciting things to do with them.

This weekend, he sent Annika to stay with a friend (so that she could attend sailing school both Saturday and Sunday), and then managed to organize a fishing excursion with Benjamin and Christopher (and Carl - a neighbor and David's extra pair of hands on these excursions). From the pictures, it looks like they had a great time - fishing, kayaking, watching football (soccer) - really, really cool!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mamma? I'm got.

Christopher is working on developing his sense of humor. His latest joke is to call "Mamma?" and when I say "Yes?" he smiles and says "I forgot." Repeat this about 20-50 times, and he finds it quite funny. The only problem is that he doesn't really say "I forgot". He almost never uses "I", just "I'm" (as in the response to "Where are you?" - "Here I'm is!") And then he forgets the for in forgot, leaving only got. So yesterday, after about 10 "I'm gots", I really focused on making him say FORgot. So today, as we were walking home from school, he started up again. I couldn't really hear him because he was in front of me, and all I heard was "got". But then I asked him to turn around and say it again, and with a big smile, he looked at me and said "I forgot." YES!!! Progress! Next challenge? Here I'm is!
(and a little song for your enjoyment - HERE)

This is So Much Better

I had a goldfish once. It was one of those things you do at the county fair - throw a ping pong ball at a series of tiny glass fish bowls full of colored water, and if your ball is (un)lucky enough to land in one, then you get your own goldfish in a little colored-water-filled plastic bag. I can't even imagine how the poor fish must have felt, being carried around the rest of the fair in that little bag, nor can I imagine that he/she even lived beyond the first five minutes, but goldfish must be a hearty species. My little fish not only survived, but lived on for a couple of years in a glass bowl in the kitchen. Even when I forgot to feed him, or didn't keep his bowl as clean as I should have, he survived to a ripe old fishy age. But as a pet, he wasn't really so interesting, just swimming around in circles...

And of course, the kids have been begging for pets for ages, and the discussions about why we can't have one are endlessly repetitive - what do we do with it when we travel; wouldn't it be lonely all day alone; we don't have a fenced in yard, etc, etc. Everyone says a dog is almost like another child, needing to be walked, fed, bathed... and I just can't imagine adding one more thing to my to-do list.
So for Benjamin's birthday, we decided to take the first tiny step towards pet-hood, with hand-holding all the way. We went with a leased aquarium - which seemed to solve all our problems in one (expensive) solution. They take care of the cleaning, and the health of the fish, and all we have to do is feed them and enjoy. They can even put in an automatic feeder if we are out of town. They turned up the day before B's BD, and within an hour, we were completely set up with an aquarium full of fish, plants and even a sunken ship.
So far, it has been a big hit. Everyone is mesmerized by it, and both Annika and Benjamin have been found in front of the aquarium, reading to the fish and showing them pictures from the books. The only disappointment was when I had to tell B that he couldn't catch fish from the ocean to bring home...

Monday, June 09, 2008


We spent the weekend on Sandhamn to celebrate Benjamin's birthday (and Sweden's), and the boys managed to be at least as interested in fishing as they were last year. Amazing. Equipped with life jackets and nets, they stayed busy for hours. Within five minutes, their shorts were soaked, and they also managed to tromp straight into the water without taking off their shoes. Oh well - everything dries... eventually.

Benjamin's birthday dinner was soooo sloooow, but at least the kids' food came quickly. We then waited more than an hour for our appetizers, but ended up with lots of fellow restaurant friends who were in the same boat, so to speak.

I can't believe that this will be our first summer without Sandhamn. The kids are really disappointed, but we just have too much going on. Also, the house we have rented for the past 6 years is not really available, since the owners now have children and want to use it themselves. We have been so lucky to have been there the past summers, and will always think of it as a tiny bit ours...