Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Day at the Apple Orchard

Earlier this month we made a trip down to Poynette, Wisconsin to visit my good friend and college roomie, Karma, who was home visiting from Virgina. Karma's parents and her brother and sister-in-law, Kim, live my dream life: they own and operate an apple orchard. I've been to the orchard before, but they've added quite a few novelties since the last time I was there. If you remember, going to an apple orchard was on my Soul in the Season list; this trip did not disappoint.
As soon as we pulled up the drive and I laid eyes on the display of corn stalks, pumpkins, and squash my heart fluttered. I love this time of year. On our way up to the store we were greeted by a Dad and his little girl. Her hands were sticky with carmel and you could see the concentration on her face as she took another bite. Before they left we saw them come back in to purchase two more apples for the road.

Inside the store we found Karma, who was working hard even though this was her "vacation". The best thing about knowing someone that owns an orchard is that you get the VIP tour.

We headed straight out to see the animals. I was very interested to see this guy (or girl, I'm not sure which one it is), an emu. The orchard has two: Mac 'n Tosh. Get it? Macintosh. (I love that!) Ever since I found out about these additions to the Lapacek family I've added 'emu' to Old McDonald's list of animals. The problem is, I never really knew what sound an emu made, so I just kinda made it up. We got to hear Mac (or Tosh) make his noise, which I can only describe as a low grunt.

Then we went to see the goats: Itsy, ZESTAR!, and Tree; lovingly named by Kim's little girl, Cedi.
I have this odd love for goats (right up there with pigs!), so I was so excited when Keaton willingly pet this little guy.

After the animals we checked out the gardens, the orchard has pick-your-own pumpkins, vegetables, and raspberries, and then we headed out to see the apple orchard.

They day was dreary and it was randomly spitting rain so we headed back up to the store and storage shed where Keaton got to taste his very first whole apple, which he loved! Every time I pulled the apple away from him he'd slurp up all the juices and then instantly leaned back down for another taste.

He also got to go for a fun ride on the apple sorter.

After spending some time inside catching up with Karma, Kim, Cedi, and Capri, the sun started to set and we realized it was about time to hit the road. We made one final stop in the store where we loaded up with apples, squash, a pie pumpkin, caramel apples, and cider donuts (OMG, these things are heavenly!), loaded up the car and said our goodbyes.
As we drove away we both instinctively turned to catch one last glimpse. And for the next hour and a half we dreamed about having our own orchard and pumpkin patch.

Karma, Kim, Lapacek's Orchard, Thank you so much for having us!! We had such a great time.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Story of a 1/2 Marathon

The Beginning

It’s the end of May and we’re on our way to Milwaukee. A discussion about loosing the baby weight sets this in motion. A call to CaSondra confirms it. We’ll be running a ½ marathon in October. The thought has me 2 parts excited and 1 part scared to death. 13.1 miles. That’s doable, right? Wait. I’ve never run more than 6 in my entire life. The anxiety creeps in but I push it down, I can do this. WE can do this.

A month passes and we have each put in a few individual runs but we know that when the real training begins we want to do this together. All of us; this is going to be a family affair.

The jogging stroller was a must. We pack it up, slather the baby with sunscreen, tie on his hat and head out for the trail. Our first few runs are only 2 miles long. Pushing this jogger is more work than we anticipated.

My 1st run - July 2009

The Middle

Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch…….
Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch…….
How’s your shin feeling?
It’s doing okay today.
Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch……
Baaaaaa. Baaaaaa. Baaaaaa.
That’s right Buddy, Baaa, baaa. Look at the trees!
Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch……
And Switch.
How far are we going today?
That sounds good.
Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch….

It’s the middle of August and this has become a ‘thing we do’. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays – we have a system that works well, each pushing the jogger for a ½ mile and then switching. Our evening runs are warm, but not sweltering. I look forward to this time together and am in awe at how connected I feel to Collin during these 40 minutes when we are saying the least to each other. Keaton loves being in the stroller and looking at the trees and when we go for shorter runs Maia tags along too.

The End

It’s 6:30 am when CaS pops her head in the door. “Happy Race Day!!” It’s our cue to get out of bed and get moving. As soon as my feet hit the floor my stomach plummets. I’m so nervous. I wasn’t this nervous last night. I didn’t realize it was going to be this bad. I’m not sure if I’m going to puke, poop my pants, or just start crying. Maybe all three.

As soon as we enter the parking lot my stomach settles a bit. We are surrounded by runners and it is cold. Really, really cold, but the adrenaline in the air seems to be warming me up.

The baby is bundled in his winter coat and hat, his stroller is toting a balloon that reads “Good Luck.” A passerby stops him and Busha and asks if his Daddy is running the race. Busha tells them his Daddy and Mommy are running. Strangely, hearing this fills me with an enormous amount of pride. I’m going to run this thing, and I’m doing it for a little boy in a Yooper hat.

We make our way to the gates and upon hearing the announcer officially start the race I make the sign of the cross and think again of my little boy. As we creep up to the starting line we are able to give one last wave to Keaton, who is with Papa and Busha. They wish us luck and we are on our way.

The first mile or two go quickly. There are lots of people on the side of the road cheering us on and as we enter the park where the majority of the race takes place there is a band set up playing music. This is oddly inspiring and I get a bit choked up. They came out here for me. Well, sure, and 6,499 others, but still, for me!

By mile 3 I’ve already fallen a bit behind Collin. Not wanting to run that long by myself I push it to catch up to him. At mile 4 we are greeted by our cheering committee. Baby has already fallen asleep put Papa props him up so we can see him anyway. We wave and yell and keep running.

For the next 6 miles Collin and I run side-by-side. My legs never really warm up but I’m feeling okay. This is definitely doable. We talk a little, joke around with each other, and he encourages me when I’m feeling tired. I take my energy gels at mile 6 and mile 9. The first one seems to help quite a bit. At mile 8 we catch a glimpse of CaSondra rounding the bend on the other side of the trail. Collin shouts out and we exchange Woo hoos!! At mile 8 ½ we hear a fellow runner say she is saving her energy for the hill at mile 10 and the finish line.

A hill at mile 10? Who does that?

The hill is the death of me; it is a good 200 feet and it’s steep. I’m chugging, chugging, chugging, but I just can’t do it. I have to walk for a bit. I hate every second of it but my body just physically can’t keep running.

By mile 11 I’m feeling much better and I vow to not stop running for the next two miles. As I come up on the mile-marker for #12 my heart soars. One mile to go. I can so do this!!!

I can see the finish line in the distance and as I round the final bend I give it all I’ve got. I know my body never left this earth, but right now I feel like I’m soaring. As I cross under the yellow banner it hits me. I did it. I completed my first ½ marathon.

After leaving the course the first person I see is Collin. My lungs start to expand in the cold and if I wasn’t on cloud 9 I think they would actually hurt. We make our way back to the family and when Keaton sees us a smile spreads across his face and he reaches out his arms. I know he doesn’t understand what just happened, but it felt like he was saying: Mommy, Daddy, I’m so proud of you. We snuggle our little boy and although I’m sore and already limping, I can’t stop myself from dreaming about doing this all over again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dear Keaton: 9 Months

Dear Keaton,

Last week you turned 9 months old. I should have some doctor stats to share with you but Mommy has had a hard time keeping up with things lately and calling to make your appointment is something that slid to the bottom of the to-do list. So, we aren’t going to your nine month appointment until next week, when you will be nine and a half months old.

Earlier this month your Uncle Ben asked your Daddy and I if we could tell yet whose personality you have. Ever since he asked that question I’ve been analyzing everything you do and have come to the conclusion that you are a definite mix of both of us. You are shy in new situations, analytical, and have my determination. When your getting into something you shouldn’t and we redirect your attention it takes you 0.2 seconds to flip yourself around and get right back to the forbidden object. No amount of diversion will make you give up. The other day I was playing with you in your bedroom and in order to keep you somewhat contained I put your laundry basket in front of the door. You crawled right over to that thing, turned and gave me a look that clearly said, “A laundry basket? Weak, Mom, weak” and then you proceeded to knock it over and crawl over it to get out.

For as busy and determined as you are, your personality is pretty laid back and very jovial, just like your Daddy. You are also hands-on and pay very close attention to detail. When we hand you something new, you flip it around in your hands and study it carefully. I once handed you the top to a soda bottle and you held on to it, turning it round and around, looking at every nook and cranny for a good 10 minutes.

In past months you found different body parts, your legs, feet/toes, hands, etc. This month you found your lungs. Woo-boy, Stink, can you ever let out a screech. This is pretty adorable when we’re playing the ‘I’m gonna get you’ game, or peek-a-boo, or blowing on your tummy. It’s less adorable when you are protesting a bib, a diaper change, or the fact that we took the fork and knife away from you at the restaurant. When you’re mad, you hit a high note in the peak of your scream that I did not think was possible.

This month you got your third tooth (first one on top), started crawling on your hands and knees, walking behind your push toy, and pulling yourself up onto everything. Your crib, the couch, the coffee table, kitchen chairs, curtains, floor mirrors, you name it. If you can touch it, you try to pull yourself up on it. You love this new-found freedom but because you are getting into even more these days I feel like we have said the word “no” more times this month than we have ever said in our lives. No, don’t touch those balls. No, don’t climb on the fireplace. No, we don’t play with cords. No. No. No. There are days that by the time bedtime rolls around I am utterly exhausted.

But, I’ll gladly deal with the exhaustion, heck, I’ll even deal with the screaming if it means that I’ll be greeted with your little head peeking over the crib in the morning, or I get to see you bounce on your knees, or smile with your toothy grin, or reach your arms up above your head for me to pick you up. Yes, I’ll deal. 100 times over, I’ll deal.

I love you little boy,