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April 19, 2013

Run

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I run.

I’m a Runner.

I’ve been running couple-three miles, two to three times a week since the end of February.

Last October, after months of midnight charley horses, buckling joints on staircases, and an inability to bend at the knees and hug my kids, I visited a Physical Therapist. Structurally, all was sound, but my right knee was painful and its supporting muscles tense and weak. I was inspired by this no-surgery news, and dove right into the stretching program that was recommended. I faithfully stretched through Thanksgiving and then, in December, my Physical Therapist said that it was time to “add some cardio” to my regimen. Excited and eager, I started a Return to Run program, and began by light jogging for one minute at regular intervals during a 40 minute walk. I slowly advanced from one minute to alternating jogging and walking every four minutes, until one day at the end of February, to the voices of All Songs Considered’s Bob and Robin on my playlist, I ran for 21 minutes straight.

And suddenly, a girl who was on the Cross Country Team in high school for ONE day is a runner.

What makes me a runner? I regularly put on my Nikes and run a loop around the big park behind my house. Sure, perhaps I don’t run as fast as you run or perhaps not as far as you run, but I run. And I am proud of me.

I love the solitude that running gives me during our busy, overactive family schedule. I love the sense of sweaty accomplishment that follows me though the rest of my day. I also love that I’ve replaced a fussy, old lady knee with toe cramps and blisters.

This morning I did my loop in 24 minutes, shaving four minutes from my previous effort. I was buoyed along my track this morning by inspirational phrases chalked on the path by our elementary school girl’s track club. Phrases like “You can do it,” “You are strong,” “Believe in yourself,” and “Blueberries” caught my eye. Sometimes blueberries inspire me, too (especially when paired with whipped cream and a butter crust). But what really inspired me this morning was the idea that I was not alone. I am not on this loop or in my goal to improve my well-being.

I’d been debating about how to share this little snippet of news from my corner of Toadsland when the news from Boston made me identify differently with my achievements. It’s hard to find the perfect words to describe our fears, our worries, and then, our defiance, our pride. But, perhaps my actions will speak louder than any words. We have the right to peaceful assembly in this great country, and I will show my solidarity this year by assembling together with others. I will run a 5K this year. It’s a goal and a promise.

April 12, 2013

April Loves Science

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Our Adelaide is a girl who loves science. Fractions? Mental math? Geometry? Well, they're okay ... Entomology? Biology? Archaeology? A resounding "Yes!"

Adelaide's elementary school hosted a science fair last weekend, and we were proud to offer our entry: Building the Great Pyramid! A clever (parental-guided) compilation of mathematics, geometry, and history, our display included a scale* model of The Great Pyramid made from sugar cubes! (*One of our sugar cubes = 10 limestone blocks of the real thing) Adelaide proudly displayed her efforts and research to a host of parents, grandparents, community members, teachers, and fellow students.

Since January, we'd been hard at work, reading lots and lots about those crafty engineers, the Ancient Egyptians. We uncovered great details that architectural wonder The Great Pyramid; for example, did you know that The Great Pyramid, comprised of over 2 million limestone blocks, actually looks the smallest among the three at Giza? Did you know that the tools the Egyptians used to make the pyramids included wooden hammers, plumb lines, smoothing stones, and lots of heavy lifting? Of course you know that the pyramids are tombs for the ancient pharaohs, but did you know that construction on a pyramid would begin soon after the pharaoh's coronation?

The research was all very fun and interesting, but I think our favorite part of the project was spray painting the successfully constructed pyramid!

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(Look for an upcoming entry about Joel's big science project, Grand Rounds!)