Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend Recap: I Survived!

This weekend was a big weekend.  John headed up to Lake Placid on Friday evening to volunteer for the Ironman Lake Placid event (IMLP).  Volunteering is so important because without volunteers many of these races (whether a running race or triathlon) couldn't happen.  The sheer amount of coordination and bodies required is enormous.  Not a completely selfless trip...for volunteering John gets to register for IMLP 2014 before registration opens to the masses.  A huge advantage.  John will be recapping his experience on the blog later in the week.

It is with a mixture of jealousy and sadness that I stayed behind to be on kid duty.  It would have been epicly epic (you get the point) to have this experience with John.  While I am a mom and am no stranger to long spans of time trying to occupy the very active A Team, this weekend has had me in a panic for months!  Months!  They were mine, all mine from Friday night until Monday afternoon.  I was consumed with anxiety that I would make this a fun weekend where they didn't dwell on missing dad. I needed to ensure I was able to endure all the endless requests and negotiations (solo!). Also, I needed to be able to do man put a bike on a bike rack!

Rocked it!
Despite the amount of time my husband spends training (15-20 hours/week), he is a huge help!  One would think he would be too tired to engage with the kids after 2-4 hours of training.  It happens to be the opposite.  John is more engaged and present after training.  He often jumps right from a sweat session into the thick of cat herding!  Often times he is still sweaty and still in bib shorts.  He is my ROCK star.
Playing in the pool before heading out for a run
(while on vacation!).

Anyway, back to my weekend.  I prepared for this weekend like I was training for a race.  Here is what worked for me and made this weekend a success!
First, I made the kids pinky promise to
be excellent.
  1. Plan ahead: A few weeks ahead of time I started putting together an outline of our activities.  I let it ruminate and made changes.  I definitely over scheduled us at first.  
    Master Schedule
  2. KNOW yourself and be honest: I toyed with a beach trip but deep down I knew that would test my patience too much. Plus, Alasdair has triathlon camp on Saturday afternoons for two hours.  Tri camp isn't close to anything so it takes some planning to get there.
    Like a Boss at Triathlon Camp
  3. Ask for HELP: I was conflicted on this.  I like to be so dang independent.  I am always so grateful that my parents live in the same town.  I don't like to impose upon them but they both graciously offered their time.  Additionally, I hired a sitter on Sunday morning so I could get my swim done and have a few hours of peace.  This was worth every some.  I made sure I scheduled my sitter well in advance to ensure her availability.
    My mom watched Avery so I could
    focus on schlepping Alasdair's gear at Tri Camp.
  4. Take an ENTIRE day to get organized: This is preferably without kids.  I planned to minimize the amount of housework and errands that needed to get done.  I took Friday off from work to clean, organize, and run errands.  Also, I needed to ensure I got my long run done!
  5. Take a shortcut OR two:  For $15.30, I dropped my laundry at the laundry mat to be done and
    folded.  I minimized how many meals I would be responsible for making on my own and combined it with some fun time with my parents.  We ate dinner with my Dad and Stepmom on Friday.  Saturday we ate with my Mom.  We also did take out once or twice which we normally don't do.
  6. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate:  The week before I repeatedly communicated my expectations for their behavior. I also shared the schedule with them so they could become familiar with our plan.  If they didn't like something, they had plenty of time to voice their opinion.  Then it was LAW.
  7. Do something special: I made sure we did things we wouldn't normally do like go to the movies.  We invited friends to amp the fun factor.
  8. Have a reward (or bribe) thought out in advance: They love to have sleep overs in each others rooms, I allowed for this on Saturday AND Sunday night.  Sunday would typically be a no-no because it is a school/camp night.  However, they were so excited they got into bed early (7:00 pm) so they could watch a movie.  SCORE!
    TWO night sleep over.
  9. Take Control: There were going to be big consequences for giving me a hard time.  I did have to enforce this a few times.  I just can't stand the bickering or little A's constant crying.  Every time she lets out a shriek I think it is a hospital visit in the making!
  10. Don't sweat the small stuff!  Like I might have skipped a bath but their was no sunscreen and
    chlorine that day so I figured I was safe.  I may have raised my voice this was more to be heard than because I was frustrated.  I tried (this is hard for me!) to be casual, laid back and fun.
    No filter will ever make this look good.
    Taking time for myself was a huge help!
I could tack another one on grateful! I was grateful that I only had to do this for a short period of time.  Single parenting is no joke! 

I was determined to allow John this time away graciously and lovingly with no stress about what may or may not be happening at home.  Knowing I gave him this freedom kept me going and gave me strength. It wasn't perfect.  Nothing with kids ever is but it worked. Turns out they had a great time and that is all that matters.

The BONUS for the weekend...I got to sleep in the middle of the bed and I got to load the dishwasher any way I wanted.  Note: John is certifiable when it comes to dishwasher loading.  Don't believe me? I have PLENTY of witnesses!

More pictures from the weekend:
Watching for Daddy and one of his Triathlon Coaches.
This woman is one serious badass.
Alasdair's swim coach at Triathlon Camp
Barbara Cronin-Stagnari...there are just no words! Finished
in 11:53:20.  Swam 2.4 miles in under an HOUR!

There he is!

Ready for Camp...usually John's job.  I executed flawlessly.
I am looking for any and all tips on occupying kids solo.  What works for you? With John's Ironman training I have a feeling this will become my norm!

Follow me and my Iron Family:


  1. I like your list of prepping for solo parenting time. My husband travels for work, any staying occupied on weekends is harder because most friends are busy with family stuff. I just jam pack our schedules with friend time, and I also have a ritual that we go out to dinner somewhere fun like the diner or IHOP one night.
    But it's no joke...but we get 'er done.

    1. Oh and I know Barbara too! She's awesome. She's the original Iron Mama.

    2. I notice you are always on the go...I get tired watching you! I was like that too when they were younger. Now I find my son likes a little more down time. I feel more confident that I can handle his IM training now!