Friday, March 30, 2012

Pushing Your Limits

I had a really good and really hard three-mile run last night. As in, it totally reminded me of one of the reasons why I love running. I LOVE pushing my body to the limit. To the point where I can’t push it any further. Last night was one of those runs.

I run for a variety of reasons. I run to have me time. I run because it provides me with the quickest bang for my buck. I run because I love hearing Grayson ask, “You run to keep your heart healthy?” I run because I love being able to do races with Griffin. I run because I like to race myself. You all know I am competitive. I love that during a race I can compete AGAINST MYSELF and my personal time goal. I run because it keeps me fitting in my clothes. I run because I don’t agonize over food choices when I clock in a fair amount of miles for the week.

And last night, I decided to run and push my body harder than I have for a couple months. After running comfortably for ten minutes, I started to increase my speed. Every minute I kept pushing the button that increased my pace. Every minute I pushed myself harder. I made the decision to do this until I reached three miles. (This was after I had completed an earlier 2 mile run). While I have completed fast paced intervals before, I have never held such a fast average pace for an extended period of time. By the end, my legs were shaking. Sweat was pouring down my back, my legs, and my face. But man, did it feel good. It felt great to know that I am capable of so much as long as I push myself. And that feeling…There is nothing like it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mid-Week Updates

I tried for like ten minutes to come up with a better title. Just not happening. I am too tired to be creative, so let's get on with some great Dunigan Updates:
  • My current class ends on Monday. That sounds so wonderful, yet so horrible. How can I possible accomplish everything I need to accomplish by then?
  • I was a guest lecturer again last night at Northwestern College. I have now been asked to speak four different times!!!
  • Griffin has a black eye that is slowly fading. Really slowly fading. It has been 8 days. Spring pictures were on Monday. It will be interesting to see how those turn out.
  • Griffin passed another level of swim lessons. I cannot believe he can swim a pool length doing both the front crawl and the backstroke.
  • Griffin is now registered for his first set of tennis lessons.
  • Griffin and I will be running/walking his first 5K in April.
  • Grayson is now registered for his first set of solo swim lessons.
  • Grayson has tried approximately 2,000 new foods. Okay. Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration. But just in the last few days, he tried and ate meatloaf, a hamburger (no bun), ham, cantaloupe, mango, and cinnamon and sugar toast.
  • Grayson told me the other day, "I'll still love you even when I'm big." Thanks. I will remind you of that when you are thirteen!
  • My run streak was broken. Too much homework. I am pleased, though, because I have still been able to clock in at least 15 miles each week.
  • I ran a 10K on Sunday (no race just used my GPS watch). It was a SLOW start, and my legs felt like lead, but I pushed through and had a great last three miles.
  • Brandon has only three more weeks of tax season!!!
  • My friend Holly J. has taken up running recently, and I love having a running buddy at school to talk with about races and such. I was asked today, "What have you done to Holly? She's a running geek like you now!" I'll take that as a compliment thank you very much.
  • Have I mentioned lately how obsessed I am with the Hunger Games books and movie? I just watched a ten minute interview with a few cast members. I'm even more in love.
  • Can you tell I'm procrastinating? How is it that the longer I am enrolled in school the more I procrastinate?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hunger Games Midnight Showing

Couldn't wait to put on my Hunger Games Geek Squad Outfit!!!

District 12 (Katniss and Peeta) Nail Polish--Smoke and Ashes

District 11 (Rue and Thresh) Nail Polish--Agro

So happy that Brandon could come too!!!

Yep. Just think of us as the same person.

Although I was a little bummed she chose to wear a nail color from an enemy district... :)

My excitement for the midnight showing was contagious, so I was stoked when Holly O. said she would sleep over in order for Brandon to go with me! Holly J. and I had a blast preparing :) Despite my critique of the movie, I truly was in LOVE with it. I think they did an incredible job creating this masterpiece. They were smart in seeking Suzanne Collins' advice in creating the screenplay!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Books Are Always Better

SPOILER ALERT. Do not read this if you plan to read or see the movie!!!

It's true. And it always will be. Books are ALWAYS better. Don't get me wrong. I LOVED the movie. It had all the makings of an incredible film. I thought the casting was perfect. I was so in love with a few of the extra scenes thrown in, and I was beyond impressed with how they brought the arena to life.

But when all is said and done, seeing the film reminded me, once again, that reading is always better than watching. Before you hate me, I want to once again reiterate that I liked the movie. I really did. With that being said, it also reinvigorated me to fight the good fight with my struggling readers. With every ounce of my soul, I long for them to realize that reading IS better...Especially when you find a book like the Hunger Games.

Here's why.

Reading allows you to completely fall in love with a character. Yes, people can fall in love with any one of the characters in the film. But by reading the book, you fall deeper in love.

By reading the book, you learn more about "the boy with the bread."

By reading the book, you learn more about Katniss' internal struggle with the love triangle.

By reading the book, you learn more about Rue's love for singing, and how at such a young age, she was in charge of many small mouths to feed.

By reading the book, you learn SO MUCH more about Katniss and her strong desire to keep her sister alive. The movie barely touches on her love for her father. It doesn't explain in detail how her mother falls into such a deep depression after losing her husband that she no longer cares for Prim or Katniss. The movie doesn't explain Katniss' hatred for her mother because of this.

By reading the book, you learn how safe and loved Katniss feels when she is around Rue.

By reading the book, you watch Katniss grow in her hatred against the capitol.

By reading the book, you learn that there is more than meets the eye about Cinna. And Haymitch too.

All of these things make you relate to the novel more than I could ever relate to a movie. Reading makes you grapple with the question, "What would I do in that situation?" And your answer has nothing to do with how someone looks:) (Because let's be honest, I am so Team Peeta in the novel, but I am totally Team Gale in the movie!) Reading opens your heart and mind more than a movie can. And I want my struggling readers to know that. To embrace it. To yearn for it. Because reading is always better than watching.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Grayson!

Today you are three years old.



Yep. You read that right. Mr. Grayson is three. My baby is officially a little boy.

And man do you know how to pack some fun into that little three year old body of yours.

Let's see, little man. What should the world know about you?

The past few months have brought some changes in your life. You are officially Gluten-Free and have gained 1 lb. 8 oz. as a result. You have a few allergies like your brother, so no more stuffed animals for you either :( Thankfully asthma doesn't plague your lungs like Griffin, so you only have to take two medicines each night. You currently wear a size 2T in clothing and a size 7 in shoes. You still don't love brushing your teeth, but you tolerate it. Whole milk will be in your future for at least a few more months, but sippy cups are becoming a thing of your past. You sleep on the bottom bunk, and you don't like to go many places without your elephant (Horton) animal/blanket. Currently you LOVE watching Diego on Netflix and the Smurfs Movies...both old school and recent. You and your brother have killer dance moves to the song Dynamite...moves you show off each night before we go to sleep. You definitely know how to push your brother's buttons, but your love for him shows each and every day when I watch your face light up as he exits the bus from school. You are pretty good at remembering please and thank you, and you LOVE to remind everyone who listens that "we don't say shut up or stupid face." (Thank you, Kung Fu Panda). You are VERY excited to now use the "big kid" gym at the Y, and you are about to start swimming lessons. You currently have ZERO interest in potty training, but I'm not going to push you until you are ready. You are the most outgoing three year old I know. You constantly introduce yourself to new people...and by introduce I mean, "I'm Grayson Andrew Dunigan. What's your name?" Your knowledge of letters and print continue to amaze me. You are starting to point to words and ask, "What does that say?"

What are some things I love most about you? You are a ROUGH AND TUMBLE little man, through and through. Yet, in a blink of an eye, you look at me with sweet innocence and say, "I love you, Mom." I love the way you grab both of my cheeks to give me a "real kiss." (Your term for a kiss on the lips). I love the way you ask, "Does that have Gluten in it?" I adore the way you hug your brother, and I love that when you see something you like you say, "That's beautiful." I love that when I ask you to smile for the camera you say "cheese" and scrunch up your nose and eyes. I!

All in all, it's safe to say we think you are pretty fantastic.

***the above picture was taken at an early celebration in Wisconsin

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

And I'm Off...

I just finished writing my opening paragraph to my dissertation literature review. You know, the one I am supposed to defend in January of 2014. Yep. Today I actually started the bad boy.

I know that by the time it gets published, the opening paragraph will look NOTHING like the one I wrote today. But hey. I have to start somewhere :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Musings

Random thoughts and things pertinent to this week:
  • Today marks day 53 of my run streak.
  • 6 more weeks until I start training for my summer half marathon.
  • Griffin asked if he could pretend to be Dr. Seuss today. When asked why, he responded, "Because I want to write a book!"
  • Spring Break starts Saturday!
  • My baby turns three in less than two weeks.
  • SUPER stoked to receive a gift from my favorite sister :)
  • BEYOND excited to run the 100% Irish for a Day 5K with friends from school. Even more excited that I convinced Jolly Holly to run it---she has never done one before!
  • CAN'T contain my excitement as the countdown continues to March 23rd. Two words...Hunger. Games.
  • It gets better; Brandon just finished the book yesterday, and he is already onto Catching Fire.
  • Grayson ate Turkey for the first time today. He also ate a legitimate meal for dinner. Thank you, Kristen, for making me ask my doctor about going Gluten Free.
  • 6 more weeks left of Tax Season
  • My assignment for this week is to create a five page outline for my dissertation literature review. It's. getting. too. real.
  • Tomorrow I plan to cash my 3rd check from Northwestern College for being a repeat guest lecturer.
  • Toying with this possibility---7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
  • Too many Adolescent Literature books coming out this spring...not enough time :(
  • Life is full, but it is oh. so. good.