Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dear William (68 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 68 months old!

In case you ever think I didn’t do enough for you, I’d like to remind you that this month, I crawled through the grocery store on my hands and knees to find the tiny light saber that fell out of Luke Skywalker’s hand while we were shopping.

I found it.

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Also, I helped you with your homework.

Homework

 

The school says you read “at grade level,” but in truth, you are smarter than them all. 

IMG 4909

 

You had spring break.  All the other parents were going stir crazy with their kids at home and couldn’t wait for school to start back up again.  I completely can’t relate to them, not even a little bit.  I love every single moment I get to spend with you.

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We hiked the Horsetooth Falls trail on a cloudy day.  We only made it halfway (if that even) because all I had brought for you to snack on was 3 granola bars, which you had devoured by that time.

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You did some “trail running” with Daddy at Bobcat Ridge.

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You liked it so much that you insisted we go back as a family the following weekend.

Family hike

 

We followed a trail that led to an historic cabin.  It wasn’t really all that much to look at, but for whatever reason, the cabin really impressed you.  Except you couldn’t remember its name.  Afterwards, you kept asking, “What was that thing I hiked to called again?  A cabinet?"

Jedi cabin

 

We’re still in the process of moving to our “new” house, but we took some walks in the old neighborhood.  I will miss the dirt trails that led practically from our front door to to the mountains.  But I guess we won’t be too far away, and besides, there are other dirt trails in our new neighborhood.  That’s the thing about Fort Collins, I guess.

IMG 4968 Walking through the “old” neighborhood.  

 

We had April Fool’s Day, and you fooled your dad.  Although I suppose the old “there’s a moose in the back yard” joke isn’t quite as far fetched now that we are Coloradans.

Moose in the back yard

 

You tried some new things this month, such as roller skating (sort of).

 Attempting roller skating

 

But the biggest thing of all, the thing I was beginning to think would never happen, was that you learned to ride your bike!!

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I am so proud of you, William.  You are the bravest kid I know.  I had all but given up hoping that you would ever ride a bike.  We had been trying, unsuccessfully, for about 2 years to warm you up to the idea of a bicycle, but you wanted no part of it.  I should have known.  You do things on your own time.  You didn’t walk until you were almost 16 months old.  You’ve never done things when the books or the internet or the “experts" say you should.  It has never bothered you if the other kids your age are doing something and you still don’t want to.  You do it when you are ready.  And this month, you decided to ride your bike. 

 

William's first bike ride from Melissa Raguet-Schofield on Vimeo.

 

You finished out the month with your first ever trip to the doctor for an illness (you’ve only ever been for check ups before), which turned out to be your first ever ear infection, for which they prescribed you your first ever round of antibiotics.  I’m wary of antibiotics for things that might be viral rather than bacterial, especially if these things will resolve themselves so long as you rest and drink lots of fluids, but you’d been battling bravely for 4 days with no relief.  By the evening after you’d taken your first ever dose of amoxycillin, you were back to your usual happy self.  

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William, it has been quite a month.  I am so proud of you for all you are.

Love always,

Mama

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Dear William (68 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 68 months old!

In case you ever think I didn’t do enough for you, I’d like to remind you that this month, I crawled through the grocery store on my hands and knees to find the tiny light saber that fell out of Luke Skywalker’s hand while we were shopping.

I found it.

IMG 4874

 

Also, I helped you with your homework.

Homework

 

The school says you read “at grade level,” but in truth, you are smarter than them all. 

IMG 4909

 

You had spring break.  All the other parents were going stir crazy with their kids at home and couldn’t wait for school to start back up again.  I completely can’t relate to them, not even a little bit.  I love every single moment I get to spend with you.

IMG 4857

We hiked the Horsetooth Falls trail on a cloudy day.  We only made it halfway (if that even) because all I had brought for you to snack on was 3 granola bars, which you had devoured by that time.

FullSizeRender

 

You did some “trail running” with Daddy at Bobcat Ridge.

IMG 4924

 

You liked it so much that you insisted we go back as a family the following weekend.

Family hike

 

We followed a trail that led to an historic cabin.  It wasn’t really all that much to look at, but for whatever reason, the cabin really impressed you.  Except you couldn’t remember its name.  Afterwards, you kept asking, “What was that thing I hiked to called again?  A cabinet?"

Jedi cabin

 

We’re still in the process of moving to our “new” house, but we took some walks in the old neighborhood.  I will miss the dirt trails that led practically from our front door to to the mountains.  But I guess we won’t be too far away, and besides, there are other dirt trails in our new neighborhood.  That’s the thing about Fort Collins, I guess.

IMG 4968 Walking through the “old” neighborhood.  

 

We had April Fool’s Day, and you fooled your dad.  Although I suppose the old “there’s a moose in the back yard” joke isn’t quite as far fetched now that we are Coloradans.

Moose in the back yard

 

You tried some new things this month, such as roller skating (sort of).

 Attempting roller skating

 

But the biggest thing of all, the thing I was beginning to think would never happen, was that you learned to ride your bike!!

IMG 4942

I am so proud of you, William.  You are the bravest kid I know.  I had all but given up hoping that you would ever ride a bike.  We had been trying, unsuccessfully, for about 2 years to warm you up to the idea of a bicycle, but you wanted no part of it.  I should have known.  You do things on your own time.  You didn’t walk until you were almost 16 months old.  You’ve never done things when the books or the internet or the “experts" say you should.  It has never bothered you if the other kids your age are doing something and you still don’t want to.  You do it when you are ready.  And this month, you decided to ride your bike. 

 

 

A video posted by @melissa.raguet onMar 31, 2015 at 6:06pm PDT

 

You finished out the month with your first ever trip to the doctor for an illness (you’ve only ever been for check ups before), which turned out to be your first ever ear infection, for which they prescribed you your first ever round of antibiotics.  I’m wary of antibiotics for things that might be viral rather than bacterial, especially if these things will resolve themselves so long as you rest and drink lots of fluids, but you’d been battling bravely for 4 days with no relief.  By the evening after you’d taken your first ever dose of amoxycillin, you were back to your usual happy self.  

IMG 4869

William, it has been quite a month.  I am so proud of you for all you are.

Love always,

Mama

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March 2015 Mileage: Exactly what I needed.

March.  Finally, a good month, running-wise.

The snow started to melt (although everyone tells me we will still get a few more snow storms).

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FullSizeRender Cathy Fromme Natural Area

The muddy Pineridge Trails dried up enough so that they could be reopened, and I saw some deer again.

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One morning just as the sun was rising, I heard a rush of hooves behind me, and all of a sudden there were 9 deer that seemed to be all around me.  They leapt up onto the rocky ridge and kept running, although every so often they would stop to look back at me, as if to wait for me to catch up and make sure I was still there.  This went on for several minutes before we turned our separate ways.  One of the coolest things ever. 

Most of the various injuries that had been nagging me throughout January and February felt a little bit better.  I decided to attempt a preview of the Horsetooth Half Marathon course (which I am running in April), even though I wasn’t sure my dodgy knee could take all the hills.

IMG 4831Horsetooth half marathon map

OMG, I loved it.  Loved it.  I’ve run up Centennial Drive before, but never beyond the second dam.  The course was, as the website contends, spectacular.

The following weekend, the running club was doing a group run up Redstone Canyon Road, and Rob suggested that this might be something I would like.  He said it was a dirt road, mostly uphill, (those are the two things I love) and that was all I needed to hear.  I’d never done a run with this group before, and in general, I have a great fear of running with other people since we moved to Colorado because I am so slow that, no joke, octogenarians have passed me on the trail.  But Rob encouraged me to try this, so I did.

It was pretty chill hanging out and meeting the other runners before we got started, and then a world-famous ultra runner pulled up.  I thought, I am waaaaaay out of my league.  I didn’t expect to be able to stay with the group as we ran up the canyon, but I was okay with that because I knew we were just running straight up the road and straight back down, so there was no way to get lost.  

We took off, and to my surprise, the run felt comfortable and everybody stayed together.  I had no trouble keeping up.  The aforementioned world-famous ultra runner had done a 38 mile training run the day before, so this was a taking-it-easy day for him.  Everybody chatted the whole time, and it was great.  It’s been so long since I’ve had a group to run with that I’d forgotten how much I love it.  I never felt like I was pushing it too hard on the run, but looking at my splits afterwards, I ran a lot faster than I would have on my own.  

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After putting in another decent week of mileage, I wanted to run the Horsetooth Half course again.  No better way to prepare myself for those monstrous hills than practice them, right?  

I took a few pictures this time:

FullSizeRender Horsetooth in the distance, and the reservoir

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FullSizeRender After the 3rd dam on Centennial Drive, the course is mainly a descent to Bingham Road, and it is heart-achingly beautiful.

 

FullSizeRender Horses.

 

I had gotten a late start to my run that day because Rob took the morning shift for a group trail run somewhere in the mountains.  When I left, I hadn’t realized how hot it was, or how cloudless.  I had thankfully thought to put sunscreen on my tattoo, but nowhere else, and I could tell that I was starting to burn.  I knew I would pay for it later, but at the moment it just felt so good to be running in the heat again after my first Colorado winter.

Maybe it was because I was so hot, or the fact that I had not eaten properly before the run, or my general state of exhaustion, but it was around this time that I had the overwhelming sensation I was running near the isthmus on Ometepe.  I looked over my shoulder expecting to see Volcan Conception, but instead I saw this:

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FullSizeRender What about for runners?

 

IMG 4922 Reposting this exquisite elevation profile. Love it.


March has shaped up to be a decent month, and I’ve finally started thinking about the future.  Very high on my radar is the Rocky Mountain Ultra, a 50K near Laramie on Memorial Day Weekend.  The website is kind of sketchy, but I know someone who’s run the event, so it’s real.  

It also occurred to me that I would like to run a marathon sometime this summer, as a training run for the Bear Chase 50M, which I hope to do again in September.  My top marathon choice would be Steamboat, but it is only 2 weeks after the Rocky Mountain Ultra, which isn't ideal.  Then I discovered the Bear Lake Endurance Challenge.  Three marathons, three days, three states (Idaho, Utah, Wyoming).  It falls at a good time for me (June 19-21) and doesn’t conflict with anything in Rob’s race schedule.  I thought maybe I could run the Idaho race (80% dirt road), and then we could continue on to the Tetons and Yellowstone for a little family camping trip.

But then I was thinking, what if I ran two of the races instead of just one.  What if I ran Utah the day after Idaho?  I’ve never done something like that before. The idea is becoming more and more intriguing.  I think the safe thing to do would be just run the one race in Idaho, but we’ll see.  I increased my mileage significantly in March and managed to keep the injuries at bay.  If I can continue to run like this in April and May, it might be possible.  At least, it’s something to consider.

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151.19 miles in March. 342.24 YTD.  I’m about 85 miles up from the awful place where I was at this time in 2014, and millions of light years away.

Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

High altitude vegan pizza dough

I haven’t had too much trouble with baking things since we moved to high altitude.  Boiling beans, that’s another story, but at least in terms of baking, I didn’t notice much of a difference.  The only thing that has caused a problem so far is pizza crust.  The kind I used to make back at sea level just didn’t work a mile in the sky.  The first time I tried it, it was doughy and gross.  It might have worked if I’d just baked it longer, but a quick Google search yielded another recipe that was delicious and turned out perfect every time.  The major drawback to it was that it took forever to make, what with the mixing and the kneading, and the several rounds of rising.  Something you kind of have to reserve for special occasions.  

I decided to make it again the other night near the end of Will’s spring break.  The recipe makes two pizzas, they freeze well, and Will likes to take a slice in his lunch.  I thought it would be nice to have a stock of pizza in the freezer for those days when I can come up with nothing else to put in Will’s lunch sack.

Unfortunately, when I went to the bookmarked website with the delicious pizza dough, it was gone.  Just gone.  The recipe had vanished.  I looked around for something similar but really couldn’t find anything that seemed as good.  So I did my best to re-create the recipe.  This is what I came up with (it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours from start to finish):  

Ingredients:

2 packets yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 cups warm water (110 degrees)

Mix yeast with sugar and warm water in a large bowl.  (The water needs to be the around the right temperature or it won’t work).  Let sit for approx. 10 minutes.  The yeast mixture will get foamy.  (If it doesn’t then you know you have a problem).

 

5-1/2 cups flour (plus more for kneading)
3 teaspoons sea salt 
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons agave nectar

Cornmeal
Sauce
Toppings

Directions

Add the salt, olive oil, agave, and half the flour to the bowl of foamy yeast.  With dough hook attachment on mixer, mix for 2-3 minutes (i.e, until everything is well incorporated).  Then add the remaining flour and mix for another 5-7 minutes.  My mixer starts making a high pitched squealing sound after the first 30 seconds, so, this is fun.

(Actually no, it is annoying, and I should probably get a new mixer).

When everything is all mixed up, take the dough out of the bowl.  It will be a little bit shiny and sticky.  Put it onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.

Put the dough into a greased bowl.  Cover with a cloth or piece of saran.  Let rise for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, punch dough down and divide in half (I use a serrated bread knife to do the dividing).  Cover again, this time with the cloth or saran separating the two halves.  Let rise for another 10 minutes.

While it is rising, pre-heat oven to 425 (all the internet says 450, but I’ve had many experiences of the smoke detector going off if the oven is too hot, so I’ve calculated that 425 is about the limit) and prepare whatever veggies you are using.

After the final 10 minutes of rising, take out one of the halves and roll into a circle with a rolling pin on a floured surface.  This makes for a fairly thick crust.  

Sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza stone.  Put the crust on the stone, top with sauce and whatever you like (I put on Dayia mozzarella, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and kalamata olives).

Bake for around 22 minutes (but you should start checking at around 18 minutes, just in case).

While the first pizza is baking, I roll out and prepare the other pizza.  Because I only have 1 pizza stone, I bake them one at a time.  I should probably just get another pizza stone—the second crust continues rising while the first crust is baking, so it always ends up a little bit more “deep dish” than the other.  I think you can freeze the dough as well (after the 30 minute rise, I would guess), but I prefer to just make a lot of pizza at a time and freeze what we don’t eat right away.  I wrap individual slices in foil before putting them in the freezer, and I can seriously just take out one of the foil wrapped pieces in the morning, put it in Will’s lunch sack, and he is perfectly happy to eat it at lunch time.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dear William (67 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 67 months old.

You wrote a book this month.  It was about Star Wars.

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You still looooooooove Star Wars.

Jedi lunch

 

When it was still too cold to play outside, we played board games and Connect 4 together.

Connect 4

 

You also helped me try to recreate Thin Mints.  They were good, but tasted nothing like the real cookies.

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We’re moving into a new house.  Well, new to us, at least.

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Your room is partially turquoise, which you say you like.  You are most happy about the bookshelves though.

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Your bathroom has brown tile, green walls, a peach countertop on the vanity, and yellow tile in the shower.  Colorful.  We’re probably going to change that, but maybe not right away.

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The kitchen is red.

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You helped daddy and me paint over it.

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We had more and more snow, and then it melted.  It finally got warm enough for you and your BFF to play outside again after school.  You took turns pushing each other on the big swings. You loved that.

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You finally let me give you a much needed haircut.  As long as I promised to leave you a Jedi rat-tail.  I did.

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Even with the weather being nicer, you still do not want to ride a bike.  But you discovered that you like daddy’s scooter.

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William, I am so proud of you for everything you do.  You are the bravest kid I know.  Life isn’t always easy, and it’s rarely ever very fair.  You’re learning that in kindergarten.  I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but even if I kept you out of the broken education system forever, it wouldn’t change the way that the world works.  You need to believe in yourself and be strong, tough, and brave.  You need to keep being kind even if you don’t feel like it, even if the world isn’t kind to you.  And always at the end of the day, know that mama and daddy will be here and that no matter what, we love you forever.

Weekends

 

Love,

Mama