Life as we know it

Our family adventures

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Goal reached!

I hadn’t originally planned on running the Berbee Derby. Its hard logistically to take the family because its always cold and there are a lot of people and parking is difficult. Throw in the fact that I have bad luck with Thanksgiving races (two of the three previous Berbees I’d signed up for, I didn’t run because of injury), and I was content to make the Haunted Hustle my last race of the year.

But then I got pneumonia and I couldn’t run that goal race. I debated for awhile about the Berbee Derby. Everything ended up working out so well, I felt like I had to. Our big family Thanksgiving was planned for Saturday. I found out the race only cost $35 and that price was good all the way up until race day. Doug and I decided I could run this race if I wanted to, but he and the kids would stay home. I was still leery just because of my history, but I knew I’d do it this year.

I didn’t have expectations and I didn’t even sign up until two days before! My last month’s running has been very light between the pneumonia and Peyton’s bad sleep. But I ran 5 miles last Sunday outside, so I figured I could cover 10K. I also thought I could just turn and take the 5K if I felt terrible.

So I put on my layers this morning and headed out. I got to the race nice and early and ended up parking in the neighborhood across from the start, which really worked well when I was leaving. I went and hung out with Team in Training friends and stayed warm inside until the start. It was fun seeing old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time!

The hardest part dealing with the cold I expected would be the time I was standing outside waiting to start. And that was hard because I was in the slowest 10K wave. My top was cold but my legs stayed pretty good. I got choked up during the National Anthem as I anticipated finally reaching my goal, then did my best to move to keep warm, but not to use all my energy!

Finally we started! The first mile felt great. I was running faster than normal and feeling fine. The whole course was rolling hills and the start was a bit down, then up and back down. I did like the wave start because I never felt crowded. The only sort of “crowding” was right at the beginning, but that happens all the time. I wanted to run faster initially but it was good that it was a bit more crowded so I held myself back and settled in nicely.

I was wearing two pairs of gloves and took the outer pair off pretty quick. Unfortunately they both fell out of my pockets at the first water stop. A volunteer saw one and then I realized the other fell out. I looked back and saw it at the beginning of the water stop, so I went back to get it, losing some time.

After the water stop, I was feeling pretty winded. I knew I’d have to walk some but wanted to get through mile 2 first. Well, I don’t know if I slowed myself down or just that it got flat enough, that I didn’t need to stop. I ended up making it almost half way before I had to stop and walk. And once I started running again, I still felt good. For about the first 4 miles, I could feel the yuckiness in my lungs but my legs felt fine. After my initial walk break I ran the next mile. I was trying to run a mile after each walk break, but that didn’t really happen once the hills and my fatigue got to me.

Much like the first time I ran this race in 2010, it was the tale of two halves, well, not quite half. The first 4 miles and then the last 2. My splits the first four miles: 11.28, 12.07, 12.41, 12.25. The last two miles: 13.29 and 13.35 and then another 4 and a half minutes or so to finish. While I knew that the huge hill I remembered from 2010 wasn’t on the course, what I’d managed to forget was that there was not one, but TWO huge hills at the end! Add to that the fact that my breathing was getting tougher and I was cold… I got pretty miserable by the end.

But I finished! I never even though about taking the 5K turn (partly because the turn was sooner than I expected and since the 5K started about 12 minutes after I did, I would have been one of the first, which would have been weird!). I knew from the start that even if I walked the whole way, I had 10K in me today.

Goal reached! A month later than planned, but it counts.

And not only did I finish, I finished a bit better than I expected. I had my crazy goal of 1:15, but I didn’t really expect to meet that. I ended up finishing in 1:20:17, chip time. Not bad for having pneumonia a month ago! My pace was 12:39, which was about the same or a bit faster than I usually run. I know I could have finished better if it hadn’t been so cold and if I hadn’t had all those hills and if I hadn’t dropped my gloves. But I’m not complaining!

My only real complaint about this race is the fact that by the time I finished there was no more hot chocolate and there were only bananas. I HATE races that don’t have enough food for the slower runners. I did finish very close to the last for the 10K, but when I finished there were still a lot of 5K walkers coming in. So many people never got any food! This race grows every year, you’d think they could get more food. I mean really, us slower runners having been on our feet longer need the food more than the faster folks!

But overall I do like the Berbee Derby in spite of the hills. And now my record is 50%! I’ve signed up for four and ran two!

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Feast day

Happy Thanksgiving! We had a great day relaxing at home while awaiting the Durso family feast, version 2013.

Mama ran the Berbee Derby this morning (race report in another post). While I was running, Dada and Allie put together the Christmas tree! We had a lot of fun with this last year and it sounded like Dada and Allie were having even more fun today. The branches go on by matching letters and colors, so this is a good learning activity for Allie.


She took tree duty seriously!



During the tree process, they had on the parade. But starting at 11:30 it was all football all the time.



It was so fun watching Peyton today! He’s getting to be such a big boy. He watched football with Dada. We were surprised at times how intently he was watching.


While Dada and the kids were watching football, Mama was in the kitchen. I made the crust and filling for the pumpkin pie last night. So after a bit of recovery I started the feast. First I got the pie in the oven. I found out that even with my new oven, pumpkin pie still takes way longer than the recipe says. The recipe is an hour. I had it in for an hour and 40 minutes. While the pie baked, I got this stuffing in the crock pot. I was so excited when I found the crock pot recipe and it turned out so good! Then I prepped the turkey and waited for the pie to be done… and waited and waited. Finally once the pie was done the turkey went in the oven and I got to join the relaxing for awhile. Too bad the Packers couldn’t play!

Dinner came together nicely with mashed potatoes, white corn, green bean cassarole, Hawaiian roles and of course the turkey and stuffing! The turkey ended up a bit overcooked, but aside from a few dry pieces, it was still great!



Peyton enjoyed his Thanksgiving dinner! He liked the turkey and mashed potatoes. I gave him a couple pieces of stuffing, but he had a hard time swallowing, so he didn’t get more. He liked the big people food so much, he cried when I gave him his baby food! My baby boy is growing up! He also enjoyed the pumpkin pie.

All in all, we had a great day. And we have a great weekend coming up! Well, I have to get through one more day of work first.

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This Thanksgiving, we have plenty to be thankful for. We always do.

But events of the past year and even the past month really drive this point home.

I haven’t talked about this much here, but Doug was unemployed for the past 11 months. He started working a week and a half ago, ironically at his old employer. He’s in his same job, with some changes and a raise. Talk about ending up where you’re supposed to be!

Its been a challenge adjusting to having both Mama and Dada working again. Its hard to coordinate getting us all out of the house in the morning. Its hard dealing with the interim budget between when you can no longer receive unemployment and when you receive a pay check. And I’m going to be honest here… I miss coming home to a clean kitchen every day!

But Doug is happy to be working again, and especially back at Nimblegen. And the job came just at the right time.

I’m thankful we’re all healthy. And I’m not just talking none of us have sniffles. I’m thankful that I have two beautiful kids who are completely perfect, doctor’s words! Its too easy these days to hear news or stories of families who aren’t so lucky. Hopefully we continue to be lucky.

I’m also very thankful that our month of sick finally ended! I still feel the effects of the pneumonia from a month ago. My doctor actually told me pneumonia can be visible on a chest xray up to six or more weeks after. I do feel that when I walk up the stairs sometimes or when I work out. This week I finally decided I’m not letting the pneumonia (or cold or wind) stop me from running. Tomorrow I’m running my goal 10K distance… just a month later than planned at the Berbee Derby. I wasn’t planning on running this race, mainly because its cold and the parking is terrible. But the way plans shook out I decided to run it after all. Its gonna be brutal, but I’m going into it with the intention of just finishing. If I could finish in 1:15 or less, that would be great, but I’m not pushing for that.

Too bad I can’t be thankful for everything though… I’m not very thankful that Peyton has been teething for six of his nine months of life, and that the remaining three teeth appear very comfy just under the surface of the gums. I’m also not too thankful that state offices are open Friday and that I don’t have enough vacation time to take the day off. Oh well, I should get a lot done!

I didn’t really feel that excited for Thanksgiving this week. There’s just too much to do and its hard to coordinate all the cooking. We’re going to my family’s house on Saturday, so we’re doing our Durso family feast tomorrow. But I planned the menu and did some pre-cooking tasks tonight so I think tomorrow will go smoothly. We’ll have our feast and put up our Christmas tree and enjoy being together.

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Relaxing Saturday morning

The kids slept until 7:30 this morning! And Peyton slept ALLLLLL night! These are both reasons to celebrate. Too bad I woke up when Peyton fussed a little around 5, and stayed awake expecting him to wake up! But still, 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep left me feeling very well rested!
We got up and had some nice snuggle time before making pancakes for breakfast.
Doug caught these cute pictures of Allie playing with Peyton while we were making breakfast.
Allie really loves her baby brother. Its so fun to see that love come out. She was playing with him and then at breakfast she shared her pancakes with him without even being asked!

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Nine months


The biggest news on Peyton’s 9-month birthday is he finally cut a tooth! Considering how miserable we’ve all been with teething, this is definitely a reason to celebrate. All four are coming in, but maybe the first was the worst and the rest will be easier? Peyton’s been sleeping better and in a better mood after some tough days and nights last weekend. Hopefully this continues!

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Mama and Allie day

Poor baby Peyton has been sick the last few days. We had wanted to go to the live dinosaur exhibit at the Alliant Center today. Instead, Dada stayed home with Peyton, and Mama and Allie went out together. I gave her a couple choices and she picked the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Since today was rainy, we stayed inside in the conservatory, which coincidentally has plants from the dinosaur era on exhibit right now!
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Flowers are some of Allie’s favorite things, so she loved this.
Even though it was raining, and we were inside, she insisted on wearing her sun glasses.
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Minnie Mouse came along for the ride too.
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We had a lot of fun! We love the botanical gardens. We’re looking forward to going back in a couple weeks for the Christmas choo choo train exhibit!

Oh, and Peyton is seeming better, though still not great. He’s been sleeping a ton. He’s perked up a bit through the course of the day and actually stayed up three hours this afternoon!

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Precious sleep

My dearest Peyton,

I love you. So much. All the time I spend with you… except that time between about 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. The wonderful hours between which you tend to wake up. Every night. Usually once, but sometimes I’m lucky to see you twice during this time. You slept through the night at 6 weeks and 1 day. I remember it well, it was the night before my second day back at work. I thought, “yay, I’ve been blessed with another great sleeper.” Apparently I was wrong.

I know this is normal. And it is precious time to spend with you. Most of the time I can deal with it. But really, baby boy, if you could start sleeping through the night, I would be every so grateful. Or could you at least let me know when you plan to start sleeping through the night?

I’m also¬†going to bat for you to also address those darn incisors still hiding in your gums. If you teeth could just come out already, we’d both be grateful.