Once in a Lifetime?

I can’t let such a big event go by without some documentation for posterity: Chloe got to run at the 2010 Indoor Track Nationals this month! She and eight teammates qualified for the meet, which (obviously) included runners from all over the nation and (not so obviously?) some from Canada. She ran in the 4 x 1 mile relay, and they placed 10th overall (in a field of 17). It’s not an event that is run at regular meets (takes too long!), but with five girls on the team who can run between 5:20 and 5:40 miles, they’re a strong group– oh, and they are all sophomores and a junior (so maybe it WON’T be once-in-a-lifetime!). Two of her teammates qualified individually for the 400 meter run (one of the most competitive races at the meet!), and then the 4 x 400 relay qualified as well. They ran a sub-4:00 minute race, and finished 12th out of maybe 70 teams. Incredibly exciting, all of it!

That’s the headline news, but there are plenty of other things to report. For starters… Since I last blogged on this site, Will has become a licensed driver! The Jeep is basically at his disposal– what a great car for a teenager. He drives Chloe to school in the morning, runs errands for me, takes Gus on rides around town. I think he loves it, and I certainly love having another driver in the house. He is such a great kid. As thing start to gear up for college application season, I continue to be grateful for the time we still have with him around “Steve” (our estate– see story here).

Claire is now reading like crazy. Sometime a couple months ago she just flipped a switch and started doing it herself. So we try to spend a little time reading each night. We’re about to start reading the stories about her American Girl doll, Felicity, because we are going to visit Felicity’s home when we go to Virginia next month. She comes from Colonial Williamsburg. Claire is very excited about the trip, and so is Felicity!

Quinn continues to be my daily dose of joy. We spend our afternoons and all day Friday together (at left is us, last Friday, feeding the ducks at Ware Pond, just down the path a bit). Lately he has taken to proclaiming it “Loving Day”– which means I get extra hugs and kisses. At school he is keeping busy, too. The class made a rocket out of a refrigerator box, and they have been traveling the solar system in the last couple weeks. Quinn can tell you something about each of the planets, and he even brought back some “moon rocks” from his visit to the moon! Today at school is Teddy Bear Wake up Day– when all the hibernating bears from their cave are going to come out and have a party with the kids. Need I say I love Quinn’s teachers this year?

Clay remains busier every week. He’s been traveling a lot, which is hard on everybody, but this week’s break from the road is a welcome relief. He doesn’t like it when I brag on him, but he is in great demand for a reason– he is good at what he does. Still, it’s not ALL work and no play. He found time recently to take his little girl to her first school dance…

Finally, an update on yours truly and my constant companion Guster. I’m trying to finish a first draft of a novel I started back in November. Since I really am not master of my own schedule (being the driver, the cook, and the chief bottle-washer), it’s been a challenge to find the time to write. Even now I’m “stealing time.” The goal was April 16th, but I think it will get pushed out again. I’m also at the same point, word-wise, at which my last two noveling efforts died– so I’ll take all the kind thoughts you care to send my way. Another ongoing challenge has been my duel with the kitchen backsplash. Slowly, I’m winning that battle (see photo, almost there!)… maybe I’ll be done by the time my parents visit in May.

Gus gets a generous amount of walking time each day. Last Friday Quinn and I took him to the beach. I sometimes let him off leash down there, where the water, a high seawall, and me standing between him and the entrance to the beach usually make it a *somewhat* safe place for him to run. This time, however, he took off up a narrow staircase to the top of the seawall and off into someone’s yard. I couldn’t follow him with Quinn on the beach (and the tide coming in!), so I had to actually walk away knowing I might never find him, or he might run into the busy road on the other side of the houses. It was scary. Quinn and I prayed as we started back up the beach to get to the road and walk the sidewalk looking for him. Poor Quinny was crying, and I was trying to decide what to do next, when I heard a familiar jangling and looked up to see Gus standing on the hillside above us. I called him, held up a treat, and prepared for my one chance to snag him by the collar before he ran into traffic. Thank God I succeeded and Bosta Louie lived to run another day. He won’t be getting off leash again, though. Too bad for him.

I’m hoping not to take three months to get back on here, but I guess it would be unwise to make any promises about that. However long it takes me to report back, please know that we are thinking of you all. We miss having you around to share in our happy chaos, and we wish we could share in all that you are doing. Sending our best from Massachusetts to all of you friends and family far away!

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