Sunday, September 29, 2013

Girls on the Run Giveaway

I've previously written about Lindsey's involvement in Girls on the Run. This is not just a nonprofit about running -- it encourages self-esteem, positive self-image and confidence in young girls, and has been a program Lindsey has benefited from immensely in the two years she's been participating.

Lindsey's first 5k, spring of 2011.
One of Lindsey's classmates moms noticed a change in Lindsey. As we both were waiting to pick up our girls one evening, she mentioned how much more outgoing and confident Lindsey seems. "She used to not talk to anyone," she said, "Now she can have a conversation with adults and kids she doesn't know well."

Another time, Lindsey told me about a time she could put her Girls on the Run lessons in action. They had just had a lesson on gossiping: what it is, how it's different from other kinds of conversations, and what to do to prevent it.

The day after the lesson, one of her classmates was talking about a mutual friend and the way she dressed. Lindsey cut her off and said, "Well, she's not here to talk about it, and I don't want to discuss this behind her back." End of conversation. If only adults knew and abided by this lesson.

Lindsey's first medal.
This fall both Marissa and Lindsey are able to be in the program since it's for 3rd through 5th graders. I love picking them up after their meetings twice a week and hearing about what fun games they did, their energy awards and then, of course, the running.

Their grand finale will be a Girls on the Run 5k on November 16th. Nearly 100 girls from around the Twin Cities and their running buddies will be participating. For the first time, Girls on the Run is opening up the finale 5k race to the community to participate, and have limited the field to 300 runners.

That's where you come in.

Here's the easy part: I have been given a free entry to give away to the Girls on the Run 5k which will take place Saturday, November 16th, at Lake Nokomis.

Here's the hard part:

If you win it, you have to run it.

This is normally a $40 entry fee, but it's free to the winner of this giveaway.

Just comment on this blog post with your take on why fitness or running are important to kids (be sure to register so I can contact you if you win).

And if you can share this post via social media sites too, that'd be great, though I won't make it a requirement of entering.

Wayne and I are both going to be running buddies for our kids on that day -- join us and other runners to support our Girls on the Run!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Having gone through my entire childhood without ever getting lice, I have had the privilege of getting it not once, but twice as an adult, both times from my generous kids.

Lice is a chronic issue in the school and I can understand why. Most lice today are immune to the pesticides that were used back in the 70's when I was a kid. Now to get rid of lice, you have to use an olive oil based product to comb through the hair, then pick the eggs and babies out of the hair every day for 21 days until there are no more. If you don't keep pulling them out, they'll eventually grow up to be adult, re-produce, and you're right back where you started.

On a related note, I don't know why lice haven't died off as a species from all the inbreeding. Brothers and sisters copulating, every time they have babies? Gross.

These photos are from the day before we discovered lice on Marissa. We had gone to the Fulton Festival, where one of the fundraising activities was a hair coloring station.

Marissa had begun scratching her head that morning. I had been checking her head for lice since notes had been going home all week about lice, but never saw anything. I should've known better to think I could recognize them with the naked eye, despite my prior experience in ridding our house of lice. 

She ran into a couple of good friends she hadn't seen in a while and wanted to have a playdate with them the next day. So Sunday morning I informed her that I wouldn't even call the parents to set up a playdate until she let me comb through her hair and check her over.

And that's when I found the little critters. 

Marissa does not like to have her hair combed. At all. Usually it is a matted, tangled mess. I figure that as she gets older she's going to care about her hair, so that's a battle I'm not willing to have right now. Until it comes to ridding her head of lice. 

Once she realized she didn't have a choice but to let me comb through her hair, she was amazingly patient. We set up a lice-killing station and went to work for over an hour, combing through every piece of her hair with the best lice comb ever, nit free. 
Worth every penny. Accept no substitutes.
I checked Lindsey -- nothing. I checked myself -- yep, critters. Makes sense since Marissa is often snuggling in our bed, usually on my pillow.

Having been through this before, I knew to inform Marissa's friends' parents so they could check their own kids. One parent found lice on both her kids, and I went to her house and helped clean both of them up. But then the following weekend Marissa went to a sleepover and came home with an adult louse on her head. Since I'd been combing through her hair every day, I knew it wasn't an adult I had missed, she must've gotten it from someone else. I communicated with the parents of the kids at the sleepover, and sure enough, one little girl had it and they hadn't known it. No itching, no scratching, no symptoms until they checked her and found out. Little stinkers.

It's been a week now that I have NOT found adult lice on her head, which means that other kids have stopped transferring them to her. So hopefully we'll have this second episode of lice behind us soon. I have continued to check Lindsey and she remains lice free.

Marissa after a day of de-lousing and combing.

Surprisingly, Marissa hair looked about two shades lighter after a day of treatment, combing and two shampoos. Hmmm, maybe we should be washing her hair more often, you think? On a good note, Marissa is good about combing her hair every day now, and loves to have me put it in pigtails in the morning (to keep it up and away from possibly touching other kids). 

Humans: 2. Lice: 0. 

Beat it, suckers.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Time Rewind: What A Summer

Our week before the start of school was a flurry of activity -- a trip to Colorado, our annual State Fair trip, and the Renaissance Festival.

Looking back through our photos I realize our entire summer has been filled with little outings, trips, adventures and other weekend getaways, right in our own city.

Lake Harriet Rose Garden
Marissa and I took a bike ride around Lake Harriet one day. We stopped at the bandhshell, had some popcorn and ice cream, then continued on to the rose garden. I hadn't realized it had been a few summers since we'd been there, and what a difference a couple of summers makes to a child who is growing so quickly. We took our time walking around the gardens and fountains, watching couples get wedding and engagement photos taken by various photographers.

Over Labor Day weekend Lindsey and I went to Minnehaha Falls with her friend Maia, Maia's mom and little brother. A trail went along the river down to where the creek empties into the Mississippi River. What a treasure of trees, sand and water, pristine and undeveloped, all in the Minneapolis city limits.

Where the creek empties into the Mississippi.
Lindsey's good friend Emma moved into the house behind us at the beginning of the summer. They've spent much of their time together devising what products they should sell to make money. Their most popular had to be the homemade organic dog treats, which were a hit with dogs and their owners alike. This was followed closely on the heels by the lemonade stand, which appropriately opened on one of the hottest days of the summer.

There were after sunset toad catching outings. Tree climbing. Adventures at the park.

Toad catching with neighborhood kids.

Tablets are this generation's flashlight.
And of course, there's this Facebook exchange which was indicative of the activities of the time.

What an adventure this summer was.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

The First Day of School....Twice

 Back to school felt so different this year.

For the second year in a row, we used an offer through a fundraising campaign for the school to buy our back-to-school supplies. I went online and ordered school supplies for a 3rd grader and 5th grader, and everything was delivered to our house in the middle of the year in one fell swoop.

Yes, it cost more than going out and buying the supplies ourselves. Is it worth it to not spend a month worth of Sundays in stores fighting the crowds for the last red notebook or packet of #2 lead pencils? Every penny.

We also didn't do back-to-school clothes shopping. There's no point in buying pants and long-sleeved shirts when the forecast was for 90 degrees every day for the first week. I knew the girls would've insisted on wearing their "new" outfits and they would have roasted.

My ulterior motive for this, of course, is that when the weather finally cools down and we need to buy those items, they will be on sale because the back-to-school retail season will be over. Heh heh heh...

So it already felt a little weird going back to school, but it was made weirder by the brutally hot weather that forced Minneapolis Public Schools to close for the last two days of the first week of school, since most of their buildings aren't air-conditioned.

Three days of school. Five days off for Labor Day weekend. Then four days of school.

It's enough to screw up any family. Are we in a routine, or not? Are we packing lunches, or not? Is this summer vacation, or not?

So the Tuesday after Labor Day felt like the 1st day of school...again.

Two heads are higher than the fireplace mantle, now.
But we only took photos on the actual first day. They were both very excited, had already met their teachers and knew a few friends who were in their classes. The reports on the first day were good -- both of them have new students to the school in their grades, which always reminds me of the grades in which I was the new student to a school. I hope my girls were welcoming to them.

For the third year in a row our kids are still in different buildings. This wouldn't have been the case except that an addition was put onto the lower campus to ease crowding, and the 3rd grade is in the lower campus for the first time. Marissa is excited that her classroom is in the new section. Her desk and chair are brand new; they have never been used by a child before her. She has a locker for the first time, and it also is brand new.

Marissa finds her locker at the open house.
The Grand Opening of the Lower Campus addition.
When Lindsey and I met her teacher the week before school started, her teacher was telling me about her teaching experience. She's taught various grades, but has settled into 5th and really likes that age. 

"The kids change so much this year, especially the girls," she said to me, with a knowing look of the kinds of changes girls start going through in 5th grade.

Lindsey overheard this, of course, and insisted that we measure how tall she is on the 1st day of school. "Because my teacher says I'm going to change a lot this year, so I can't wait to see how much I grow."

Ummm...I'm not sure those are the kinds of changes she was referring to, but we didn't get into it, we just measured her. She'll find out in health class.