Monday, February 03, 2014


Just in case you missed it when I shouted from the rooftops and it happened to sneak past you in the Instagram and Facebook (and, gosh, maybe even Twitter) feeds, here it is - Lucy riding a bike WITHOUT training wheels:

If you want more advice about how to get your kid to ride happily on two wheels, I cannot help much.  I can only share my experience and maybe from that you can, at least, extrapolate what not to do.  It took 3 years, two bikes, one helmet, more bribes than I can count and one patient uncle.  And what Christian and I were not able to accomplish in 3 years of trying, Uncle Richmond accomplished in about 30 minutes on a quiet street.  

Lucy's first bike was a really cute, multi-colored trike.  Although she was never too enthusiastic about riding it, she did, occasionally with much prodding.  Christian campaigned for one of those itty bitty two-wheelers with training wheels for Lucy when she turned 3.  I put my foot down thinking it was just one more unnecessary toy.  When Lu turned 5 we got her a Schwinn with training wheels.  We got her a new helmet. She loved them both.  That is, she loved the way they both looked.  She did ok on the bike the wobbling made her nervous and the cracks on the sidewalk made it tough for her to every get up much speed or confidence.  We took her to Audubon Park now and then and sometimes she looked comfortable on the bike but she never really asked to ride.  When she was 5.5 we started experimenting with two-wheeling without the training wheels.  The practices usually occurred at the park near our house where the sidewalk is (relatively) even and there is a large grassy area.  The first attempt was lousy and she shrieked the entire time and let go of the bike and grabbed whoever was holding it and running alongside her.  She stopped pedaling, she insisted she would fall and never once, not a single time in about 20 different attempts over the course of the next 3 years did she ever pedal more than about 3 rotations without someone holding the back of the bike.  

Let me also add that this was not for a lack of kindness and encouragement.  Christian and I were both incredibly patient and sweet (at least in front of Lucy).  We took breaks.  We didn't push it.  We only took the wheels off when Lu said she was ready.  None of it worked.  

One of my 2014 goals was getting her on two wheels.  I knew she would love it.  I just couldn't figure out a way to convince her.  My mom recently rehabbed a 30 something year old navy blue Schwinn that is a little lower and a lot heavier/sturdier than the one we bought Lu.  I think my sister and little brother both learned how to ride on this bike and so maybe mom was right to bust out the old clunker and bank on some good two wheelin juju.  

After wasting most of the day on my MLK, Jr. holiday I decided I needed to accomplish something and I couldn't run (due to the IT band injury I mentioned in my last post) and didn't feel like working or going to the grocery or cleaning the house.  So, at that point it made sense to get Lu back on two wheels and make it happen.  It was not a total coincidence that I planned it when Richmond was in NOLA.  

There's no question that things felt different when I got Lu out there on the blue Schwinn.  Was it as simple as just a different bike?  Was it the passage of time?  Who knows...but I did get her to pedal about 20 feet without anyone holding her bike.  And then she started to get nervous and I ultimately had to throw in the towel.  At that point Richmond stepped in, I forced myself to keep my mouth shut and about 30 minutes later I walked out on the front porch and took the video I included above.

I remember pushing Lucy in the BOB when she was a baby.  I would circle Audubon Park and point out birds and trees and dogs and bikes.  I remember seeing moms running along side older kids on two wheelers and thinking, "boy, I am going to love it when Lu is riding her bike and I am running right next to her".  Last Saturday we did just that (my IT band injury is improving, slowly, and with the help of acupuncture - more on that journey later)...I ran, she rode and we passed a young mama pushing her baby in their BOB and my eyes welled up with tears.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Newtons for Running

Have you ever spied these guys on the well-toned calves of a runner and thought you just had to have them?

It happened to me frequently for about a year and I just put off the investment for many reasons - 1.  I am a Brooks girl and I have always run happy in Brooks, 2.  Newtons are not cheap (relatively speaking), and 3.  I never felt like a serious enough runner to wear them.  Two full marathons, more 1/2 marathons than I can count, an average 8:30/9:00mm pace, and a weekly regiment of anywhere from 10 to 30 miles over the last 20 or so years (depending on work and babies and spirit) just didn't seem to place me in that upper echelon of runners deserving of such a super-hot shoe.  But I talked about them all the time, coveted them on others, read about them, and fantasized about running in them for so long that I finally decided to get a pair.  And, sadly, the decision coincided with my first ever running injury, the dreaded IT band (I am slowly getting back to my old running routine 6 weeks later thanks to acupuncture, stretching, more stretching, yoga, and foam rolling - more on my injury and recovery soon).  The injury sidelined me mid-way through the training for the Mardi Gras Marathon, this one would have been my third.  The MGM is this Sunday.  I will be standing on the sidelines, green with envy, but trying to remember how good it felt to hear the cheers and shouts of encouragement up and down St. Charles Avenue.  Oh, and I will be wearing my Newtons with pride, because I finally realized that I deserve to.

And have you missed seeing these guys?

These photos are actually about 2 months old!  They are getting so big so fast, but what's new.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sports 24/7

When I was younger, and even into my college years, I had very little appreciation for professional sports.  Even though I grew up in a house where Sundays meant football was on t.v. all day long and even though I actually played sports in middle and high school (ok, well, 'played' is a bit generous; I was on teams), once I went off to college there were likely weeks, months and maybe even a year there when there was not a single football or baseball game on t.v.  And then one day I met Christian and tolerated the occasional game on in the background while I read a book because I had fallen in love. And then a few more years passed and I might have watched a few minutes here or there and paid attention for one or two of those "you have to see this" plays because I was actually starting to enjoy it. And now it is 17 years later and there is an 8 year-old who hasn't met a sport she doesn't like and a 4 year-old who already knows the colors and quarterbacks of most of the NFL teams.  I suppose what that means is that all weekend long there is a cacophony of sports noise - games on tvs and radios and ESPN highlight clips and You Tube videos capturing the incredible moments we missed - and lots and lots and lots of discussions about who we want to win.  

So, if your house is anything like mine and you were paying attention last night you probably busted out your favorite Red Sox shirt early this morning too:

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

More Summer?

Unreal.  It is October.  It is actually starting to feel cool (ish) outside and yet I still have not found the time to post the rest of the summertime pics I wanted to share.  The 7th blogiversary came and went and  (I suppose) the hectic pace of life over here in the Vaicius house made it impossible to celebrate the occasion.  Maybe this is just the natural progression of things over here.  I think about it all the time. Eight year old Lucy has some strong opinions already and the start of preteen angst and those things taken together remind me regularly that she just might not want me to broadcast her life over the great interwebs.  There is no real roadmap for this sort of thing. So, perhaps the occasional update for posterity is just about right for everyone.

And on that note, I give you a few of my favorites from our lovely beach vacation:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

These Days

The school season is in full swing and we have (mostly) adapted to the chaotic routine - and really a routine would be lovely, but it is actually nothing like a routine and it feels like every day brings some new plan(s).  Quite often we send one or both kids off to school and say "someone will pick you up, eventually."  And there is really no way it would work without endless amounts of help from friends and family and after care and job flexibility. I long for weekends and holidays and nights of no homework and school hot lunches, because it is all so incredibly time-consuming.  I am often reminded, though, by those who have been through it, that these are wonderful days and rather than allow the chaos to stress me out, I should embrace it and appreciate every wild moment of it.  So I do.  Correction, I try to.  

As a result of all of the above, I find that there is very little free time in the day for extra-curriculars and even some vital needs - reading still happens (although not frequently enough), running still happens (but only when I wake up at 5:30 a.m.), taking pictures happens (but mostly with the IPhone because I cannot ever seem to remember to grab the real camera), and blogging rarely happens.  Fortunately, I think the winding-down or down-sizing (or whatever it is) of the blog is - in some ways - a good thing. Luz is 8 now and is starting to appreciate privacy and it makes me wonder, how much sharing is too much?  Is she going to be an angsty teenager who is disgusted that the first decade of her life was put out there for everyone to see?  There is no road map or guide or litmus test for how this sort of thing plays out, but I have some doubts about whether I would have appreciated having my life on display in front of people I did not ask to share it with.  So, maybe sporadic posts and less detail is the way to go.  I don't know.  I am not ready to wrap it up entirely; I am just thinking more about this person Luz is becoming and what impact the blog will have on future Lucy.  

While I am figuring it all out, here are a few more pics from the Disney Cruise.  The first couple are from our day trip to Nassau where Christian basically made us walk the entire city in 100 degree heat so that we could see all of the important landmarks - the Queen's staircase (and according to Lucy's count it was 64 steps, not 66) and the old British fort.  Christian could not understand why the kids were not psyched.  I totally got it and, like James, looked like I was a part of the Bataan death march.  Some nut-job, local even stopped us at one point and told us we needed to get our kids something to drink because they both looked dehydrated and miserable.  But while we were there I figured out that Nassau is really all about shopping in the a/c, high-end shopping.  Needless to say, we didn't do any of that.  

The remainder of these pics are from Castaway Cay, Disney's private island.  The only way to get there is to go on a Disney cruise, so you better enjoy every minute of it - I don't care if you are hot and tired and don't like the feeling of sand in your toes or sweating while you eat.  We did though, it was actually a blast - starting with a 7 a.m. 5k and ending with closing time at the beach around 5 p.m.  Lucy's favorite part - snorkeling with Christian and searching for the hidden Disney treasures underwater.  James' favorite part - the BBQ and endless soft-serve ice cream.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


It is still August and in some parts of the country kids are continuing to enjoy the last few days of summer vacation, so I think it is somewhat excusable that I am just now getting around to posting some of the highlights of the summertime.

After a quick 4th of July in Atlanta (where we were rained on every single day - including before and after the Peachtree Road Race) the kiddos geared up for our Disney Dream adventure.  We spent two days in Orlando before the cruise departed (one day at Hollywood and one day in the Magic Kingdom) and then 3 nights on the Disney Dream cruising to the Bahamas and Disney's extra-special, private island, Castaway Cay. 

I was a totally reluctant cruise-goer.  I protested this cruise for a few years and last December, during a weak moment, I said I would go.  Papa-T called my bluff and 6 months later there I was on the veranda, staring out at the beautiful water, wondering why I ever protested.

Here I am with Jamesy on Castaway Cay - doesn't it even look fake (that's because it basically is):

More to come - there is only so much time in the day. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Yikes...Time Flies

I never did this with Lu and am really kicking myself.  I love taking and seeing these photos of James in basically the same place each year almost at exactly the same time (give or take a few days). It is always amazing to me that time passes so quickly.  I was warned.  I said I understood.  I really had no idea.  It is so quick, in fact, that some days I feel like I got shorted a few hours.  I wonder how it is that the day is over already and it is pushing 11 p.m. and I am gearing up for another week that will pass in the blink of an eye.  Oh well, I am a broken record.  I know.






And the look in the last picture captures this 4 year-old personality perfectly - following mama's orders is such a chore.  There is so much sweetness and wonder inside of there, but there is a also a decent amount of boundary testing and patience testing and sleep deprivation (yeah, at some point over the summer J started having nightmares) and insistence that he just be allowed to grow right up and skip all of the years between 4 and 14.  Not so fast, little guy.