Whew! I am still recovering from this past weekend’s festivities. It was a four-day extravaganza filled with lots of family events. It was B’s brother’s wedding on Friday so the weekend started with a rehearsal and dinner on Thursday, wedding on Friday and a brunch on Sunday. So yeah, I’m pooped but it was all in good fun! Continue reading
What a fun long weekend! I wish it didn’t have to end. It was full of plenty of outdoor time, good food and even some work.
The weekend started with this amazing treat. Ham and cheese croissant from Stone Oven.
And it also included a pedicure and some reading.
Followed by watching the delivery truck drop off some supplies – B is redoing our back patio!
After much of the work was done, I took FW out for a short stroller run and we hit up the library on the way back.
We had our favorite pizza for dinner on the porch.
Sunday morning started with a stroller run – FW and I ran to the bagel shop again and brought home breakfast.
After breakfast, it was time to head the our favorite playground for a playdate.
Having friends with kids is amazing.
Then it was time to pick up some groceries. They had free ice cream samples!
And then we headed home for lunch on the porch.
The afternoon included more work on the patio and finding ways to stay entertained without getting in the way.
It was SO nice to also have Monday off and “sleep in” (as much as you can with a toddler and preschooler). Since the four of us were all home again, I took out FW for another stroller run.
It rained the entire time and I ended up soaked! But FW was a good sport.
The weather cleared up, and the afternoon included more work on the patio, and then we took a break to watch some of the airshow. Every Labor Day weekend in Cleveland, there is an airshow and tons of airplanes perform.
We then got in some quick playground time.
But then it was time to head home for dinner. B grilled for a nice Labor Day meal.
And just like that, our long weekend had come to an end. Between work and after work commitments, it’s going to be a busy week, so hopefully that means it goes by fast!
Questions for you:
- Have you ever seen an airshow? My first one was in Cleveland.
- Did you grill or cook out for Labor Day?
Hello from HOT Cleveland.
We had a super hot weekend, with temps in the 90s and “feels like” temps getting into the triple digits! That didn’t keep us from doing anything, however. We still had lots of fun!
Friday night the four of us went out to dinner at Aladdin’s, a local Lebanese restaurant. As always, the food was amazing. I love their spicy cauliflower!
It may have been hot, but we still had time outside.
Especially on Saturday. It was HOT so we spent most of the day like this. We had a birthday party to go to (Actually, it was a half birthday party) and luckily there was a pond to relax in and plenty of water toys.
AND chickens! My friend has chickens and goats, so FW loved chasing the animals around (or running from them … I’m not sure).
Sunday was another hot one. But I wanted to get in a run and had some errands that I could do while running. So, FW and I decided to get outside and get in some literal running of errands.
We first did a loop around a lake nearby that has been drained recently. We stopped for a water break (FW sprayed me with his spray bottle in the above pic) and then he took this pic of me!
Then we ran to CVS to pick up a Rx and then the bakery to pick up treats and bread. And then the coffee shop for coffee for B and then we ran home.
5 steamy miles later, FW and B were able to enjoy the treats on the front porch. AND B had made me breakfast!
The afternoon included some playing, baking and working.
B is building a fence for our garden to hopefully keep the animals out. We’ve already lost all our zucchini and tomatoes, but hopefully will get some more tomatoes if the fence goes up.
They made some great progress and hopefully the fence will be up this week!
We finished the day with dinner with B’s parents and some new cousin time.
Some questions for you:
- Do you have a garden? What’s in it?
- Are there deer near you?
You guys. We FINALLY had a weekend where it didn’t rain. No flash flood in our backyard. No mud on our shoes. We went all weekend without a drop of rain ruining any of our outdoor time and it was GREAT.
Here’s a look at some of the fun we had:
Friday after was B and LM’s school’s end of year picnic. The school closes early for preschool graduation (thank goodness we have a few years before that cryfest), and all the kids are invited to fun with facepaint, a picnic, food, games, an artshow, etc.
B and I skipped the hot dogs and ended up getting takeout, Cilantro (local Chipotle-esqe restaurant).
And the evening included some low key reading on the porch while listening to the Indians game (spoiler – they beat the Yankees!).
Saturday was another gorgeous day, so we spent most of the morning outside. It started with a stroller run and walk for LM and me – a little over 5 miles on a stroller-friendly path near our house – and then a run to the Farmers Market.
We did some shopping and hung out at the market, enjoying the weather.
Then it was time to head home. This time, FW hopped in the stroller (with some of the groceries) while B and LM biked alongside of us, and we ran home.
After we got home, everyone was pooped! After some brief women’s World Cup watching it was nap time. I even got in a quick snooze.
That afternoon included some more outdoor time – including playing with a water table and water gun! My friend Emily came over with her family – she has a 3 year old and almost 1 year old – for a little while, too.
Dinner that night was pizza on the porch. The gorgeous weather continued and we couldn’t stay inside.
Even after the kids went to bed, we went back outside for some summer reading and relaxing. I’m reading The Immortalists for book club right now and can’t put it down!
The next day included MORE outdoor time. We started the day with breakfast on the porch, followed by a ride around the block.
And then a family run! B pushed LM and I pushed FW in the stroller for an easy 5k.
We even saw a big turtle on the run!
After our run, it was time for some errands and then the Indians game! It was a hot game that went into extra innings, but they ended up losing.
We then spent some more time outside at B’s parents’ house on their swing set before heading home for the night.
It was so amazing to spend so much time outdoors. I’m pooped and slightly sunburn, but so happy to have gotten some much needed Vitamin D! (but don’t worry about our plants — of course we have rain in the forecast for today)
Some questions for you:
- Was it clear/sunny near you?
- What’s your favorite thing to do outside?
Disclosure: I was contacted by Dancing Wheels to help promote their upcoming Reverse * Reboot * Reveal! show. I was compensated and provided tickets to their June 14 event, which I had to decline due to pre-existing commitments. As always, all views are my own. Go see the show!
When Mary Verdi-Fletcher talks about dancing, you can hear the excitement and passion in her voice. Born into a musical family (her father was a musician and her mother was a Vaudeville dancer), she always saw herself as growing up to be a dancer.
Mary, however, was born with spina bifida and grew up in a wheelchair. Yet today, Mary is more than a dancer. This inspiring Emmy-award winning woman is the president and founding artistic director of Dancing Wheels Company and School. Dancing Wheels is a professional, physically integrated dance company uniting the talents of dancers both with and without disabilities. The company’s mission is to educate, advocate and entertain through compelling, innovative dance.
Being in Cleveland, we are fortunate enough to be not only the home of Dancing Wheels, but also their world premiere performance and 38th Annual Gala, Reverse * Reboot * Reveal! This June 14 event will feature the works of three internationally-recognized disabled choreographers.
An Interview With Mary Verdi-Fletcher
I was able to talk one-one-one with Mary and got to hear more about her experience and Reverse * Reboot * Reveal. Here is a peek at our conversation:
How would you describe Dancing Wheels?
Dancing Wheels is a physically integrated dance company, which means it’s comprised of dancers with and without disabilities. Today we are also integrated in that the company has dancers that make up different ages, ethnicities, genders, and abilities.
How did Dancing Wheels get started?
As the daughter of a dancer and a musician, I’ve always wanted to be a dancer. It didn’t matter to me that I was in a wheelchair – my parents never told me it was something I couldn’t do, so I always believed I could.
As a girl, a non-disabled friend and I partnered together and started experimenting to see what types of dancing we could do with one another. We ended up entering a nationally televised dance competition that was happening – Dance Fever – and when we got out on the stage, I remember the silence when the 2,000 shocked people in the audience saw me in my wheelchair. But when our song – It’s Raining Men – came on and we busted into our performance, the crowd went crazy. We even got a standing ovation! The rest is history – our story spread, and I eventually founded Dancing Wheels in 1980.
What can someone expect to see at a Dancing Wheels performance?
Dancing Wheels is a dance like you’ve never seen before. We work with a wide variety of choreographers who develop a performance with lots of speed, energy, movement and grace. People are often surprised at how well our dancers move in the chair. They often forget the effort it takes to propel the chair; our dancers truly make the gliding seem effortless.
What can people look forward to at the 38th Annual Gala, Reverse * Reboot *Reveal?
The world premiere performance and 38th Annual Gala called Reverse * Reboot * Reveal! is taking place June 14 at the Allen Theatre in Playhouse Square and will feature the works of three internationally-recognized disabled choreographers.
Reverse*Reboot*Reveal! will be wrapped before and after with a benefit gala. Over 200 VIP guests and supporters will enjoy pre-performance hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. After the performance, all attendees will be invited to meet the dancers and choreographers for a dessert and champagne celebration.
The event will include special guests, including Ben Vereen, the Tony, Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning entertainer.
Want to see something like you’ve never seen before? Tickets can be purchased for Reverse * Reboot * Reveal here: https://dancingwheels.org/reverserebootreveal/. And learn more about Dancing Wheels, including Mary’s amazing story (did you know she has an Emmy?!), here: https://dancingwheels.org/.
Some questions for you:
- Have you ever seen a Dancing Wheels or similar performance?
- Are you musical? What musical talents do you have?
I have had a hard time processing all the events from last week’s Cleveland Marathon. More than a week has gone by, and I’m still trying to put to words how I’m feeling.
The highs – the Ambassador race VIP dinner, working the Expo with fellow Ambassadors, and of course finishing the races under less-than-ideal conditions.
But the low – the passing of Taylor Ceepo – has been running through my mind all week.
I’ll start by saying I did not know Taylor. I had never met her. I do not know her family and cannot fathom what they are feeling. Unfortunately the only connection I have to her is running the same race – the Cleveland half marathon – and running by her after she collapsed.
So why do I feel so connected to her? Why on after the race did I have a hard time going to sleep, reliving the moment that I ran by her on the ground, her mom and boyfriend standing over her, each time I closed my eyes? Why did I find myself choked up on my first #RunForTaylor on Wednesday? Why did I find myself hugging my own daughter a little tighter as I thought about what Taylor’s mother must be feeling?
I can’t help but feeling like I don’t have a right to feel this way. I don’t have a right to write a post like this. Who am I to be talking about this at all? But after reading some thoughts from other local runners, I realize I am not alone. We are all grieving for this woman. Because we are all part of a community. One of my running friends and a fellow ambassador Andrew explained it this way:
We [runners] all have different routines, different speeds, and different backgrounds. But we all have two things in common; a goal to finish and a love for running. This is what brings us together.
We lost one of our own this day. And our hearts are broken. Our hearts are broken for the spectators who witnessed [it], the race staff, the runners who shared the course, the first-responders who were unable to revive her. Most importantly, our hearts are broken for the family and friends of this young woman.
So thank you, Taylor, for reminding us of the community that we are part of. For reminding us of how lucky we all are. I will keep on running for you and your family in the weeks ahead. #runfortaylor
This weekend is brought to you by the letter F. F is for First birthday, Friends, Family and Food — all wonderful things and well, I’m still smiling over what an amazingly wonderful weekend it was.
Friday was LM’s first birthday. That’s right, LM turned one over the weekend and I can’t believe it! While I’m still emotionally recovering, we had a blast celebrating. Friday celebrations started off early – I took the afternoon off and we were able to get the kids early from daycare to spend some time at the playground. Both LM and FW loved the swings.
And then we took LM to get her first ice cream. No photos of her, but FW loved his 🙂
Friday night, B and I actually got in a date night. My parents came into town, so B and I snuck out to grab drinks.
And then we had tickets to see the Indians – they won!
We even made it out for an after dinner drink on East 4th.
Saturday came early (especially after staying out late Friday), but was filled with celebrations — it was LM’s party! She enjoyed her first cake.
B’s mom made the cake and cupcakes – isn’t she amazing?!
LM thought so. She got frosting in her nose 🙂
The weather was PERFECT and FW enjoyed playing with his friends, cousins and of course, me.
After Saturday’s perfect weather, Sunday turned out stormy. We managed to catch a break in the rain and made it to the Zoo with my parents.
LM is still a little too young to enjoy it, but FW had such a blast. His favorite animals are the giraffes and elephants, and he got in some quality time with both.
Monday morning my parents left, and we hit up the local Memorial Day parade. It starts about 2 miles from our house, so B rode with the kids on the bike and I ran over.
Post-parade included some hot dogs at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, followed by a run home.
Aftet naptime, it was time for bbq #2, this time at B’s uncle’s house.
FW had some more fun and food with his cousins and LM did some assisted walking.
And that was the end of our perfect three-day weekend. Cheers to the unofficial start of summer!
Some questions for you:
- Did you watch a Memorial Day parade?
- Did you get outside this weekend?
It’s been one week since I ran the Cleveland Half Marathon Challenge Series. Last Saturday, I ran the 8k and Sunday I ran the half marathon, and this week has been all about getting back into the swing of running, recovering, and also tending to my bruises (I rolled my ankle and scraped my knees during a fall at mile 2 of the half marathon … whoops!).
Here was a look at this week’s workouts:
And some highlights from the week:
Sunday’s race (full recap here) was a tough one. It was in the 80s and I was not used to running in the heat. But I kept it fun and finished strong, even if it was slower than I would’ve liked.
After taking Monday and Tuesday off, I decided to #RunForTaylor Wednesday through Friday. My runs were slower than they usually are, but warm weather and a recovering body make it understandable. I’m glad that I’ve felt good enough to get in as many runs as I did this week.
Some questions for you:
- How many days do you take off after a race? A half marathon?
- Do you prefer cool or hot weather running?
It’s TAPER time! That’s right, race day is NEXT weekend and it’s time to taper.
What does that mean for me for a half marathon? Well, I decided not to do a long run this past weekend (mostly because I was tired … and busy). And this week I’m keeping my runs to 3-4 miles at most. And then I’ll take Thurs/Fri off before getting to run the Cleveland Half Marathon Challenge Series 8k/half on Saturday and Sunday!
Last week’s training was okay. I did just under 30 miles total, and my “long” run was 6ish miles. I did two six-milers and it was amazing how different each felt. Thursdays was done on less 5 hours of sleep and I could not MOVE my body at all. Saturdays was done on a little more sleep and felt so much better!
Here’s a look at my 10x400m. I tried to keep my 400 meters under 8 min/mile paces, but not all worked out.
And take a look at the difference in Thursday and Saturday’s runs. Thursday was done at a slower pace, too – but check out the difference in heartrate!
What’s race day forecast looking like?
Well, it’s not my ideal racing weather (48-52 degrees and party cloudy), but it could be worse, right? Let’s just hope it doesn’t get much warmer and stays in the 50s during the actual race time. What are the chances of that?
Some questions for you:
- What’s your ideal race weather?
- Do you take a day or two off of running before a race?
I love weekends with family! And this weekend was one of those weekends, as my parents were able to come into town to visit. The last time they were in Cleveland was October, so it had been some time!Friday afternoon coincidentally was a grandparents’ event at FW’s school, so they got to see him in his element as he performed a song and then they watched a puppet show.And then Friday night included pizza from our favorite local place – Marottas! They had been closed for renovations, but they reopened about a week ago. So yes, this was our second week of pizza pickup from them. I love roasted garlic on the pizza!Saturday morning, the whole family walk to breakfast at Luna. Their almons croissants are amazing.Followed by a little time on the playground. The weather was perfect!In the afternoon, we celebrated our friend June’s first birthday. She had a kindermusik class, and both LM and FW had a blast!
Sunday morning came too quickly. After some bagels, my parents were on the road again and it was time to say goodbye.
As they drove back, we had a relatively low key day. We did not get in any of our usual weekend chores – no grocery shopping, meal planning, cleaning, etc. Instead, I caught up on work and then got outside for a run.
That night, we celebrated B’s sister Mary’s birthday. That ends what seems like a month of birthday celebrations for B’s family! FW will be disappointed not to sing Happy Birthday at next week’s dinner.
Questions for you:
- How do you handle grocery shopping? Do you go once a week or when you need to something?
- What’s your go-to bagel?