Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Imaginary Play, Running With Kids, Normal Sex Drive, and Passed Out Two Year Olds

Motherhood/Imaginary Play
It's been a rough week for me as a mother. A week of fighting, whining, screaming, a chorus of "I'm bored, we want candy, can we call our friends?....", and just an overall feeling of needing some structure! I feel like I've had no focus.  Just when I get on track to do something or clean something up, there is a fight to break up.  Just when someone calls me on the phone, I'm needed IMMEDIATELY by all of my children at once and the person on the other end must think I have no control over my life. 

But right now, everything is perfect. IN fact, it is wonderful. Instead of bored kids, begging, whining, and looking for trouble, I'm hearing the sound of imaginary play!  Our neighbor boy is over and the living room is turned into a glorious kingdom of couch cushion forts, rivers of cars and blocks, and a fancy princess bed with a sick princess being covered in medicine (a.k.a baby wipes).  They are all lost in a magical world of imaginary play...an art that I don't seem enough of these days.  The art of creating your own fun, turning a box into ship or a secret cave, hanging blankets across chairs to make a castle, learning through "pretend play", eating invisible feasts, and imagining that you are someone completely different and living in an entirely new land!  Gosh, I miss this.  I think  imaginary play is one of the most important parts of childhood and such a big part of learning.  Kids shouldn't need every toy in the world, a t.v on all day, or all the latest video games to entertain them.  I've tried my hardest to make sure my kids learn to appreciate what they have and make their own fun without having to have a bunch of "stuff" and get sucked into television but these past few weeks of summer it has been really hard.  It seems like they fight with each other for most of the day and it has been rare that they play together for too long before asking for something or wanting a friend to come over.  I'm so happy to hear them all getting along!

I'm still keeping running on the lighter side without putting too much focus on a specific plan.  I do have a half marathon in October but I think it will be for fun.  It is the Girlfriend's Half and I imagine it will be a fun race to go to with my girlfriend and meet up with a few blog friends. Hood to Coast is also coming up but that is for fun too. Although I'm not training too terribly hard, I do find that I need to run in order to afford my eating habits/large appetite and keep my spirits up.  I feel better when I'm exercising hard.  

On Sunday, my husband and I got away for a beautiful run.  He ran 22 at 7:40 average pace with his last 8 at around a 7 or under pace.  Really impressed with him.  I ran 10 and then biked 14 and took some pictures of him for fun.  

Mile 18.  He was at a really great pace!

This morning I had a plan to do 8 repeat 400's so I attempted it with my kids.  All three of them.  It actually worked out okay for the most part.  After every repeat, I could jog over to them and put out any fires before my 2-3 minutes of active recovery were up and I had to hit another one.  It was a lot of yelling at my six year old to come keep an eye on her brother (I try not to put her in charge very often..I do want her to want kids of her own someday), stopping for a minute to show my two year old how fun playing with his cars could be, and jogging around the play structure for my recovery.  I only made 7 of them (not because I was tired but because my kids needed me):  90, 88,88,88, 88, 92, 88.  I was trying to keep them right around 3k pace and focus on form...getting my knees up, leaning forward, increasing my cadence/turnover, and not over striding.  I also fit in a Jillian workout early this morning.  Yippie!  

Oh, and last night I went on a pretty solid base run of 7 miles at a sub 8 average.  My oldest daughter rode her bike the entire way.  Hills and all!  I was so impressed with her.  There was only one scary moment (or funny) when she went too fast down a hill and flipped her bike into a blackberry bush.  She was okay though.  No tears.  Just a little bum sticking up out of the dry brush.  At first I thought she was a doll and then I realized it was her.  Wave of emotions: confused, scared, laughing, scared, relieved, cracking up.  


This is my husband stealing my compression tights (he wore them the right way), and compression socks after his 22 mile run.  Poor guy needs to get his own but didn't have anything.  He looked just a little silly.  

  • I finished answering my questions in my last post for those of you that asked and are interested. Some of those were kind of hard to answer.
  • Even though my husband has been SO busy lately with work, school and other business stuff, we have made time for a few dates!  This is so important for us.  Having time together really helps us stay strong in our marriage and be better parents.  

  • I have mentioned sex a few times lately.  It appears that I'm coming across as if I have sex all the time and that I have an issue.  Ha!  For the record, I don't think I have sex any more than the average "in love" couple.  I think I just joked about it one too many times and people are beginning to think we are like one of those couples that gets it on multiple times every day.  Nope.  We have three kids.  We are tired.  Sleep is good.  
  • Sleep is especially good after chasing my energetic two year old around all day.  This is what happens when he doesn't get a nap...he eventually runs himself ragged and passes out somewhere.  With a bowl on his head.  Not sure where the bowl came from or what he was doing with it but this is how we found him:

  • Writer's Block.  Big time.  I keep feeling like I have something I want to get out...something big...but whenever I find a second to think about it and get it out, it is gone and the "mommy, mommy, mommy" chorus begins.  Gosh, this sucks for a someone that processes through writing!  Like right now.  
Imaginary play is up.  My time is up.  Oh well, it lasted at least an hour. 

1.  Mothers, are you finding that the end of summer at home with kids is rough?  Are you ready for a schedule, structure, and school to start or do you keep yourself plenty busy in the summer?  
2.  When you were a kid, did you use your imagination for hours on end?  We would pretend for hours!!  Granted, my brothers and I also fought something AWFUL!  I played better with my friends but I certainly wasn't allowed to watch t.v all day and I am grateful for that!
2.  Running.  Are you training for something right now or just enjoying running for fun?  



  1. My kids have been with their dad for the past two weeks so I've been deep cleaning the house. Exciting stuff but it feels nice to have it out of the way before they get home and things get crazy preparing for the school year. This year even my baby heads off to Kindergarten so it's a bittersweet homecoming. I am totally laughing at your comments about your sex drive. I'm not training for anything right now and barely running at all. My sciatica is still crazy wonky.

  2. Oh the good times I remember being a kid and using our imaginations to play for hours. So much fun. I am training for a half marathon in sept but have a 10 k this weekend

  3. 1. I am soooo not ready for school to be here...for me. My kids, yeah, they can go back. I know the structure will be good for ME, though, since things have gotten mighty lazy around here. Not looking forward to getting up way early to run, though, or trying to rush home in time to make the group ride. I'm sure it'll make my husband happy to no longer be the only one working.

    2. I was not an imaginative kid. My younger brother could play with things for hours, making up the most intricate plotlines. Me, I changed my barbie's clothes a lot. And read.

    2. (2) I'm semi-training more a half that I may or may not do. I'm also training for an adventure race, and after this past Sunday, I'm looking into training plans to help me NOT come in last in my next bike race.

  4. Sex every day sounds wonderful to me! The logistic of it all is the hard part, though. I never understand women who say they don't want sex...I guess I have a pretty healthy sex drive:)

    Yes imaginary play is so important. I see a lot of that over here, with the wooden trains. My son has many imaginary friends to keep him company.

  5. Great job on the 400s!! That's so awesome that you were able to do that with the kids! :) Sounds like your hubby is turning into quite the runner! Very solid 20 miler!!

  6. My two boys are all about imaginary play and I love it! When we were camping this weekend, that's all they did and it was awesome!

    My husband and I really need a date night! Hopefully we'll get one figured out soon!

  7. Yay for speed work! 400 repeats are one of my favorite workouts.

    I know it can sound patronizing and I definitely don't mean it that way, but I am absolutely in awe of people who have kids and still manage to keep up their training with anything like consistency. I don't even have a dog and some weeks it is SOOO hard!

    You are amazing for doing what you do. Keep it up!

  8. Always love your posts! I have been out of town for the last 2 1/2 weeks and decided to not check my email, facebook, or blogs for almost the whole time. So I will never catch up on the blogging that I missed but it was a nice break but I feel a little out of the loop. Do you know your start time for Hood to Coast? I finally got on a team, yeah!!!

  9. I can't believe you didn't ask your readers about THEIR sex lives! *snort*

    I am so impressed that you got such speedy 400's in while your kids were there... or that you got ANY 400's in while they were there. It would never work in my world :P

    Waylon is getting pretty ...ummm... fast! Sheeee oooot.

    Nice to see a glimpse into your life again... we've been missing you :)

  10. I loved this post! I don't know, maybe because of the different things you talked about :) You always crack me up but inspire me at the same time.

    Not training for anything in particular, but just trying to enjoy running. Inside. Not outside. Stoopid Texas heat.

  11. Oh Amanda! I'm so thankful some days that I have older kids although I've truly enjoyed every stage of parenting. I am being brought back in time and remembering EXACTLY what you are dealing with on a daily basis!!

    I was huge into imaginary play. I was such a tomboy and would spend hours in the woods pretending I was living out there, building forts, trying to catch rabbits....My son especially entertains himself for hours exploring and I am thinking much of his fun involves imaginary play.

    Wow Waylon. Fantastic pace, especially to bring it up at the end like that. I'm anticipating a VERY good marathon here. Also, kudos for working as hard as he does and still managing to get in this training.

    Great job on the 400's. I actually liked those although I did mine around 5K with a couple closer to 10K. Great day to get Jillian in there too. I'm opting for a different kind of total body workout-Quaker style-bahahaha!! Perhaps I should keep our private jokes to myself-whatever!

    OK-hope you are having a great day. Camping by now?

  12. AMANDA! I am doing Girlfriends too. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to meet you!

  13. I could play with barbies for HOURS as a kid....loved them! My youngest is better at imaginary play than my oldest...why am I referring to them as that? LOl you know their names! ha ha...okay ERika is much better at it than Meg. she can take ANY random objects (like 2 bottles of paint the other day) and make them into people or animals or whatever and I will hear them playing and talking to eachother. When in the car..she turns her fingers into little people! it's a little whacky! I think you are amazing! 2 is my limit and you handle 3 children wonderfully! you are a fantastic mother and I love you! th emore I get to know you, the more I love who you are. so real, so genuine...and so happy! love talking to you! always lifts my spirits! xxx

  14. Wow - I can't imagine doing a track workout and taking care of the kids during my recovery. you are a rock star!

  15. Oh that picture of S is too funny!!! That is like our house! Where did that bowl come from?? Or more likely, why is Matthew sleeping nude again? I busted a gut looking at that picture and shared it with Jon :)

    Waylon looks ridiculous! Haha! But i know he's really a manly man. :) Jon was running long distances for a while and I lent him a pair of tights to avoid the manly chafe. He only weighs 215...so I lent him some tights I wore when I was preggo. That was pretty funny :) They were actually men's tights though- so I guess they are his now for good.

    Great repeat 400's! Those are awesome! And I am fully impressed that your workouts on the track are able to happen with kiddos. WOW!

  16. You are certainly busy and to get all those workouts in between everything else is awesome. I'm always training for some next goal. I line them up years in advance.

  17. I'm suppose to be training for a half at the end of September, however I pulled a muscle and haven't ran for 5 days. Maybe tomorrow....
    As a kid, all about imaginary play!!

  18. Hah. I'm sorry you felt like you had to explain yourself. All good in this hood.

    Some older siblings like taking care of their younger ones, but I know at the same time you don't want them to feel like they have to be responsible instead of a carefree kid. I think you are doing a fine job of parenting (and balancing running and sex). :)

  19. Awww that bowl on his head! So cute.

  20. Sorry it has been a rough week. Darn it!

    Great job on the track work, and I enjoyed the sex comments. I think it's a sign of a happy, healthy relationship. :)

    I am training for Pocatello Marathon on Sept. 3 (ikes!) Hoping to be right around 3:30. Then Top of Utah two weeks later (just pacing a friend), NYC in November and Goofy challenge in january. :)

  21. I love the way you include your kids in your workouts, such an inspiration to moms everywhere that with a little creativity you can fit even some pretty intense training in!

    It's bittersweet seeing the summer days draw to a close. I love the good weather so much! Since we homeschool, there's no such thing as summer schedule or school schedule, though we do get busier in the fall as all of my daughter's dance team stuff will start back up and I coach my son's robotics team which kicks off Sept. 10. I likethe more unstructured time of summer with less running around and more just hanging out.

    My kids have always been imaginative in their play, with each other and with their friends. I'm happy to say that it has continued as they have gotten older, with even my son and his teenage friends continuing a game they call "Ummmm", which he and my daughter have also dubbed "The Imaginary Game". Basically a more grown-up version of castles and fairy tales, they play in their heads. It's hard to explain but they talk through an imaginative world together.

    Running: I'm training to do a very unofficial trail marathon around Waldo Lake on Labor Day weekend. Just whoever wants to show up to do it, with our mountain biking friends/spouses providing the aid stations on the way. Very excited, and hoping the mosquitoes won't be horrible this year with the late snows!

  22. Fun update! Your family is adorable and imaginary play is absolutely necessary. Love it!

    Who is your husband? 22 miles!! Look at him go that is just awesome.

    I am e-mailing you my address right now!

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  24. It's so nice to hear about kids actually using their imaginations instead of playing video games are watching TV. As a kid, I was a bookworm (big surprise) but I also played outside ALL day until it was dark and it was time to head home. We played and played and never wanted to go home or watch TV, that was boring. My, how times have changed, and I'm only 25!

    Glad to know you have a healthy sex life. :) That's very important. When life gets crazy it can be hard to keep that aspect in tact.

    Your little man sleeping with a bowl on his head -- too cute!

    P.S. I had NO idea your husband was so damn fast! You two make a super speedy duo!

  25. *I meant OR watching TV, not ARE. :)

  26. Your hubby is making such great progress! So happy to hear this.

    Oh and the bowl on the head is too cute, reminds me of my college days!

  27. I love the bowl on the head picture. TOO perfect!

    That's funny about the sex thing. Sheesh...show off a little lovin' on your blog and look what happens ;-)

    I'm ready for school to start and not ready all at the same time. This summer has been weird. We haven't done nearly as much FUN stuff as I had planned on doing. I feel like I can't seem to get my work done that I need to get done and I can't seem to get the fun stuff done that we usually do. I guess I'm just frustrated :-(

  28. the last 2 weeks of summer were fights more fights and more fights
    I was beyond ready for school to start Monday!!!
    Now we have some peace back!

    training..yes...Disney Half Marathon and long beach half marathon!

  29. Sometimes I read your posts and feel quite melancholy that my kids are all grown up and that special time has past. And then there's posts like today when I remember why I'm glad that my kids are all grown up. Thanks for the balanced perspective.

  30. I can relate some to your kids... My 3 kids tear up our house on a daily basis including making forts out of cushions. Don't know if they're using their imagination, or just trying to stress their parents out.

    Race training? I'm training for Pikes Peak. Jill mentioned she should be running with you that week. Maybe we'll see you out there.

  31. All that fighting is a sure sign they love each other :-) And I'm glad your husband likes those compression socks. He's made quite the fashion statement.

  32. I'm having a HORRIBLE time right now with my kids. On one hand, I'm anxious to fit everything in and finish this summer off right. On the other, they are driving me crazy. They almost pushed me off the deep end this week with their whining and fighting. I think I'm ready for the structure that Fall brings.

    I'm so excited you are running Girlfriends!...I think you could win that thing. Easy. I'll ask for your autograph if you do!! HA!!!

    Have a great weekend, Amanda.

  33. AHHH I love that he is wearing YOUR compression tights...you two are running rockstars. Bummer about the kids fighting but I LOVE that they are so imaginative! You killed those 400's!!!

  34. I'm 50/50 on being ready for school to start. I took this week off from work to hang with my kids, so that will help it feel like we've had a summer together. I don't miss rushing to be out of the house early, but I do miss my kids being tired and ready for bed at 7:30. It seems like they go to bed later and later as the summer progresses and I value a few hours w/o them at night!

    Lots of imagination here! We didn't own a TV until I was 9 and our viewing was pretty limited until I was high school age. My oldest is more drawn to TV, but my 2nd has a fantastic imagination and I hope she rubs off on the youngest.

    Running for fun right now, doing some Insanity. but I registered for my first FULL marathon in January...so training will start soon.

  35. This post is the best because sometimes I feel like you take what I'm thinking and jot it down so nicely. I can't wait for structure and I get so mad at myself sometimes because I feel like I could be doing a better job! I mean how do I run a classroom but my own children are running around like mad dogs and drive me crazy!!!! Its great to hear other mothers are going through the same thing. LMAO over the sex thing...but mostly the picture of your son with a plate on his head lol!!!!