Friday, December 23, 2011


What a time we've had over the late fall and early winter. It seems there's been quite a bit of working, traveling, jogging, juggling, balancing, grieving, rejoicing...and an awful lot of cutting going on lately.

Making the Cut

Thanks to the generosity of my parents, who agreed to occupy (read: snuggle and spoil!) our son, the Grants and the Bus Crew were able to run one of our favorite winter races a few weekends back. I really do love the Mistletoe 5K! The route winds its way through our own neighborhood, plus it's hard to beat the sights of people running in reindeer antlers and jingle bells. And it was such a clear, cold morning, which makes for great running weather. I'm certainly not all the way back into running shape, but I did manage to beat my own self-imposed time cut, and that felt invigorating as we move toward 2012...

Cutting Down the Christmas Tree

As Fischer grows older, I hope to renew our tradition of heading west and cutting down our Christmas tree at a tree farm along some snowy ridge in the North Carolina mountains. But for the past two seasons (early pregnancy haze in 2010 and infant son logistics in 2011), the very nice guys at Rash's Tree Patch have cut our Christmas tree for us. And this year we bought our first tree as a family of three, you know! The addition of the ornaments and lights has Fischer completely mesmerized...

Cutting for Stone

One of the (many) cool aspects of having a book club is creating new traditions together. Last year, we celebrated the holiday season with a cookie swap (my first!), and it took no time at all to decide we'd love for that delicious tradition to continue. Although this year's cookie swap was put on hold until the New Year, we've already chosen our first new book for 2012, Cutting for Stone. I can hardly wait to start few things I love more than a good book!

Cutting a Tooth

Two nights ago, Erich and I had the pleasure of hosting Argus (his band) & Co. for a practice in our own living room! Prior to their wonderful show last night with Small Town Gossip at the Community Arts Cafe' in Downtown Winston, the guys and their families got together to reminisce with a side of jam. Noisy fun with guitars, singing, laughter, and even babies cooing makes for wonderful memories, especially here at Christmastime. Arabelle was so inspired that she rolled over for the first (and second and third and fourth!) time. Not to be outdone, Fischer cut his first tooth! So surreal to feel that tiny razor-sharp edge along his soft little gumline. Sweet boy...

The Deepest Cut

It's been well over a year since I wrote of my friendship with Starnes and our multi-faceted adventures Shaking & Baking together. I quoted Kahlil Gibran back then, and it (of course) remains true: "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." And so it was with the deepest of sorrow that we sent the beloved Mayor, her father, to his final resting place just over two weeks ago. If you know us at all, you might have guessed that we somehow found each other just before his funeral service to share a wordless fist bump. Which was my way of sending her on to deliver his eulogy, now maybe my favorite oration of all time. I mean, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Winston Churchill were pretty good...but they didn't know Charlie Fish. The sorrow, it's really very deep. And so I look forward to all the joy we'll be able to contain in time.

Cut (& Paste)

Lastly, I'm always so inspired by Kristin Armstrong's writing. I've often said that while Lance is kinda fast on a bike (legitimacy to be determined), she is by far my favorite Armstrong. Her words are simple, profound, and (for me) so often right on target. Her Christmas entry this past week was, as usual, a delight for me to read, and so I've decided to share it here, too:

Some holiday hints from Kristin Claus...
Do not count calories. Do not wear a watch. Try doing what other people feel like doing rather than being compelled to always make the plan. Stay in pj's as long as possible each day. Getting coffee, bagels, donuts or tacos in pajamas is not only socially acceptable, it's encouraged. Get down and look at your children when they talk to you. Or if they are getting taller than you these days, look up. Make eye contact. Cook someone's favorite meal. Or cook your favorite and invite people over. Sit by the fire and leave your cell phone in another room. Watch Christmas Vacation. Make pancakes with holiday M&M's in them. Go for a walk if you have a houseful of different ages. Turn all the lights out but the tree and sit there, at least once, late at night and recall what you are grateful for. Try to make peace with (instead of sense of) the things you don't feel as grateful for. It's not a hassle to make a fire in the fireplace, it's an invitation. Pet your dog, especially right behind the ears the way they like it. When you grab your last minute stocking stuffers from the drugstore (admit it, I'll see you there), pick up a couple scarves, socks, or fleece blankets to hand out to homeless people when you drive by – let your kids do the honors and feel warm inside. Think of someone you know (maybe not even very well) who has had a tough year this year and pick up the phone or put pen to paper and wish them a happier new year. Let the kids frost the cookies, trash the kitchen and get high on icing. The people who bug you are in your life for a reason, you may as well love them because they have something to teach you. Don't assume people know you love them, be clear. Make love to your love, you are not allowed to be too tired, busy or grinchy. You are not too old or jaded to believe in magic.

Everything you need is right here – want what you have.
~ Kristin Armstrong

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fall Start!

Sipping coffee this morning, which is both a pleasure and a maternal's almost impossible to believe that September is here!

I love all things autumnal. The hint of a chill in the air, the beautiful colors of the changing leaves, the whistles of football practice, the addition of pumpkin flavoring to my caffeinated indulgences...all of it.

It's also my favorite time of year to run. I've learned that I don't relish the heat when it comes to running...the colder, the better. And so it is that last night I found myself going for my first post-pregnancy run, Starnes by my side (as it should be). It hurt a little less than I thought it would...and it might have only been two miles...(two miles that conveniently ended up at Bob's Big Gas Subs and Pub where they just happened to need two willing girls to partake of the season's first Dogfish Head Punkin Ales). But hey, it's a start! And I suppose that's how I suddenly find myself signed up for the inexplicably longer (?!) Salem Lake Trail Run at the end of this month...

It's different this year, in all the right ways. Here I sit, coffee still at the ready, but now with my baby boy sleeping soundly in his sling while I blog about running and friends and coffee and living. Definitely an improvement on an already sweet life.

So this fall brings with it the usual pleasures - college football (starts tonight, holycowyay!) and Pumpkin Spice Lattes (coming Tuesday, holycowyay!) - but new and improved versions of fun, too. The Autodrop Invitational launches one month from today...autumnal goodness on a bike. That crazy endeavor comes just one week after the 3rd Non-Annual City Loop Mafia 100K...always an adventure, firmly anchored by friends and chili and beer and football. And my 10-year college reunion at William & Mary is right around the corner (Confusion Corner, that is)...I can hardly wait for that special weekend in October with all my friends (and all of our husbands and babies!) in Colonial Williamsburg. And to be sure, we'll end up hiking in the mountains with a baby (and his Bjorn) in tow. Good times!

And who knows? Maybe another half marathon looms somewhere in the distance...flanked as usual by all kinds of other crazy adventures with all kinds of crazy family and friends...mmm, lovely lovely fall...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Beautiful Boy.

July 24, 2011. 10:33pm. Fischer Keaton Grant enters the world - all 7 pounds, 3 ounces and 21 inches of him!

Instant love.

Beautiful boy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nesting and Resting.

It's really hard to believe that we're only 32 days away from Baby Boy Grant's due date!

In the past few months, we've been so generously showered with love and gifts, set up a fun nursery, and even found time for a little traveling, lots of long walks, and some adventurous bike races. What a crazy fun life!

Time is really flying, too. And while these last few weeks may creep past slowly, the first 36 weeks of this adventure have been a whirlwind. I think the overwhelming fatigue of the first trimester plus the energy boost of the second trimester (which has thankfully carried over into the third trimester!) has resulted in a whole lotta necessary restin' and livin' - but not a lotta bloggin'. Life with our family and friends has happened, too...celebrations for some, heartache for others. And those things are reserved for real life, not the virtual world.

BUT. As we transition into this next phase of having a sweet little boy around to make our happy life that much more beautiful, I'm in hopes that we'll continue to share our adventures as we go...

For now, we have only one week until the Tour de France makes its Grand Depart from Vendee. Erich and I love this time of year! It's nearly time to hedge our bets on who will take the maillot jaune...the polka dots...the sprint on the Champs...and most importantly, Grant Family bragging rights for another year! And who knows? Maybe we'll be pulling all-nighters with bottles and diapers as Phil and Paul call the action from the Alps or the Pyrenees.

Until then, on with the nesting and the resting...

Monday, February 21, 2011


Where did the rest of 2010 go?

I could have sworn it was right there. And then it was just...gone! The last thing I remember was crossing the Finish Line of the Battleship Half-Marathon with Starnes in early November. Well, that and the Mellow Mushroom pizza and the celebratory Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale that night.

And then the V. sport health training camp in the mountains a few weekends later. And coming home and taking a positive pregnancy test. (Wait, WHAT?! Beautiful). And going home to Virginia for Thanksgiving. Before heading to New York City in a daze of decimated appetite and fatigue.

And then celebrating Christmas with family in North Carolina and Virginia...with more than a foot of snow on the ground! And then ringing in the New Year by walking the Running of the Lights at Tanglewood at midnight with our buddies.

And just like that?! It was 2011.

Fortunately, Erich has kept me balanced in terms of resting (a.k.a. hibernating) and moving throughout the winter. We've tried to go for walks every other night when possible, even at times bundled in North Face from head to toe. And we'd signed up for the Hot Chocolate 10K in Asheville long before we knew I'd be running for two. So I was pleased to be able to run (with plenty of walking) right past the Finish Line and into the Early Girl Eatery for brunch!

To be sure, the winter has been cold and dark. It's tough going to work when it's dark, coming home when it's dark, and still staying motivated to move. Anywhere. Even from one side of the couch to the other. But it's true what they say - the second trimester is quite different from the first. Other than a bout with a wicked upper respiratory infection, my energy is on the upswing. And just in time for the sun to come out!

It's a lot more fun to move around outside when the temperature is above the 20's (Fahrenheit). And I find myself even contemplating a 5K or two. And maybe even fantasizing about a 10K in the fall. Hard to imagine not just one but two Grants waiting for me at the Finish Line. But doesn't that sound like something worth getting into motion for...

And speaking of moving, that's just what the littlest Grant decided to work on this past weekend. Not just moving around, which it's been doing for weeks now...but moving so that we can feel it. From the outside world. Absolutely surreal!

So Erich is training full-force for the Battenkill. And I'm quickly moving out of hibernation mode back into the real (much faster-moving) world. And the tiniest Grant is...well, just completely on the move!

The moral of the story? Rest is wonderful. Priceless. Essential. (And something to be treasured dearly, from what everyone tells us)!

But motion is a beautiful thing, too...