Monthly Archives: November 2012

I come from a family of alpha cooks.  You know the ones.  If you are in the kitchen with an alpha cook, chances are, on a good day you are relegated to sous chef-ing, or on a bad day, you are banished to the sitting area with a drink in hand  (or vice versa, depending on your mood or inclination).  It makes for a hectic active kitchen when everyone is an alpha.

I digress purely for added texture.

This morning we all put our little alpha hands together to make apple streudel.  A lovely Thanksgiving tradition.  Caroline is a little alpha in the making.

The recipe is good ‘ole Betty Crocker.  With a few tweaks.

Apple Streudel

We used packaged filo dough instead of making our own (much easier). We added craisins and we plumped the raisins and craisins with rum over night. (I was plumping as well).  And we used more butter than the recipe called for.  Because you can never have too much butter, right?  Nota bene – by “we” I mean my amazing mother and father.  I was taking pictures and drinking champagne.  And eating the sugary apples. And ‘helpfully’ backseat cooking at times, as is my wont.

Now we’re rollin’

Beautiful, and oh-so easy when you use packaged filo dough and have an army of alphas in your kitchen. And an apple peeler/corer from Williams and Sonoma.  And a few bottles of champagne.

Delicious! I snuck a taste of a streudel that “accidentally” came apart when we took it off of the baking sheet.

It is Wednesday. Me and Josh and the babies are hopping on a plane this afternoon and heading down to my family’s house in Florida. I’m so excited to see everyone.

I have this rich and textured feeling RIGHT now. I wish I could bottle it up to mull over later. The anticipation is almost the best part. Because I know how short our time together is. And I know I will be sad to say goodbye in just a few short days.

My walk to work this morning was delightful.  The streets were quiet and my footfalls were muffled by the yellow Ginko leaves.  The sun was busy rising and the colors were saturated and purposeful. 

Here are some snaps from my mood enhancing morning meandering.  Dear old fancy Delancy:






Rittenhouse Square.


Happy Thanksgiving.  Savor every last drop of every moment.



‘Tis the season.  I can just smell it.  I have an insane urge to decorate and bake and knit (and I don’t even know how to knit).  And buy stuff.  Especially anything with sparkles.  This time of year I go a little crazy. (Yes, Josh, I am admitting to ‘the crazies’ in writing.)  I guess I tend to go overboard. 

Last year I baked my face off. I made so many batches of cookies, pies, brownies, fudge, and of course a Thanksgiving spread Jose Garces would be proud of.  I hosted a holiday party and invited -oh- about 150 of my closest friends and all of their children.

Cookies were my real achilles heel.  We were up to our chubby armpits in cookies.  I took tins of holiday cookie cheer to my in-laws, our neighbors, my friends, my office, my husband’s office, and every doctor appointment I went to.  I became a favorite with the nurses. 

Ah yes,  I may have neglected to mention that I was in the late throes of pregnancy.  I think my nesting instinct went a little haywire.  And its not that I felt compelled to eat the cookies–I didn’t.  I was just DRIVEN to bake them.  It was a little manic.  Night after night, I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning . . . baking and scheming and …. you get the picture. 

I get the cookie shakes

And don’t even get me started on twinkle lights.  I think I sent Josh out to the store maybe 5 times to buy more lights.  Can’t. Get. Enough. Twinkles.  Josh was NOT thrilled by our electric bill.  Yes, I added enough lights to make a difference.

Take a deep breath, Jocelyn.  I’ve made a promise to myself that this year the theme is going to be moderation.   (in moderation of course.)

It is very comforting, at least, to know that I am not alone in my holiday haywire.  I saw this blog post “I’m like Gollum. But much taller”  and laughed out loud.  It really resonated with me.  And then I got to thinking….maybe I ALSO need some sparkly disco balls…..

I survived my first marathon.  I ran a 4:06.  I was hoping for a sub 4:00. (maybe next time).  I’m actually feeling perfectly fine today–except for my poor knees.  I iced and took tylenol, and I think that pretty much did the trick for the rest of my body.  I was a waste of space yesterday after the race, but what else would you expect?

Thank you for the cheers and comments on Facebook!  Here are some pictures from yesterday.

It was about 39 degrees at the start.  Perfect marathon weather. 

I couldn’t believe how many people ran!  The course was pretty full the entire 26 miles.  It was nice to see the New York marathoners running Philly. 

Overall, I thought I ran a decent race. One of the hardest parts was keeping my pace in check at the beginning of the race.  Hindsight being what it is, I could have paced a little faster because I had too much left at the end.  Oh well, you run and you learn.

Pam jumped in at 13 to run the back half with me.  Thank goodness for her company!  It was such a morale booster to see her when I came around the bend up to the Art Museum. 

I thought it would be funny to take a picture of us while we were running.  I added some special effects so you could get a feel for the action:

during Philadelphia marathon

Josh was awesome. He walked me to the start, and then he cheered for me at mile 7 at 22nd and Chestnut, mile 13 at the boathouses, and then again at the finish. Jessica brought the girls and met up with Josh at the finish line. 

You might not be able to tell from this picture, but I was not feeling particularly awesome.  It was kind of strange–the worst part of the race was stopping. It was like my legs were programed to just keep going.   I couldn’t feel my legs or my feet the last few miles of the race, but I heard them loud and clear as soon as we slowed down past the finish line.  I also felt a little bit like I wanted to vomit. But I didn’t.

It took me about an hour to walk home.  It was a long painful walk, but I think I walked off some of the lactic acid.

Post Philadelphia marathon

Phew!  Glad that is over.  Now I’m ready to eat my face off for thanksgiving.  So what, a full thanksgiving plate is around 50 weightwatchers points?  I think I’ve earned a little trukey and gravy.

And no, I don’t think I’ll be doing a turkey trot on Thursday morning.

My adrenaline started going when I read this great course description–my Wednesday morning running partner Kristin recommended it. 
Only two more hours till race packet pick-up.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Philly Marathon: Breaking down the route with a marathon veteran

Read all of our coverage of this year’s Philadelphia Marathon at And don’t forget to join us there on race day to follow the action.

By Robert Senior

If experience breeds wisdom, few people know as much about marathon running as Mark Sullivan—particularly in Philadelphia.

On November 18, Sullivan will run in his 19th consecutive Philadelphia Marathon, making him one of two individuals confirmed to have run every year since the race started in its current form in 1994. Overall, this will be Sullivan’s 155th lifetime marathon, a number that includes 26 consecutive Boston Marathons (Sullivan is one of less than 50 people worldwide to have competed in the Boston event for 25+ consecutive years.)

But it’s the race through the City of Brotherly Love that’s closest to his heart. Aside from competing, Sullivan will offer a pre-race seminar at the Health & Fitness Expo on November 16 & 17 at the Convention Center where he will offer a preview of the race, explaining what competitors and spectators should expect. He spoke with Sports Doc to provide a preview of the course.

Start of Race-Mile 1: “A Wide-Open Venue”

“The race starts and finishes on the Ben Franklin Parkway. This is a great location for so many reasons, mainly because it’s such a wide-open venue. In places like Boston and New York City, the start and finish lines are so far from one another—if you wanted to see the beginning and the end of the race, you’d have a hard time. Not here.”

“For a runner, this is great because of the openness of the area. You can walk right up to the start line from your hotel. Once the race starts, you can run fast right away, which is a huge advantage over more congested courses. Anyway, you’ll turn onto Arch Street and pass the Convention Center—runners will recognize this, that’s where you’ll pick up your information packet in the days before the race—and that’s about the one-mile mark.”

Miles 2-4: “Very Scenic—one of my favorite parts of the race.”

“This part of the race takes you through Chinatown, before you turn onto Race Street and head down towards the Waterfront. You’ll reach Columbus Boulevard, which is a very scenic, enjoyable part of the race. It’s still early in the morning, and you’re looking out over the water, with all the bridges in the distance… I really enjoy that stretch.”

“You’re on Columbus for about 1.5 miles, then a turn onto Washington Avenue takes you down a short stretch to Front Street.”

Miles 5-7: “It’s crowded, it’s exciting—but be careful!”

The four mile-mark comes up quickly after the turn onto Front Street—and that’s where Sullivan says things get interesting.

“Here’s where you get to run along South Street, and that’s a different experience. It’s such an eclectic area with the little shops, and at that hour you’ve got some people out there—a good number of spectators, but no huge crowds.”

The huge crowds aren’t far away though. “So as you run up 6th Street, you’ll pass Independence Hall… and here you go onto Chestnut Street. This is a big part of the race—you’re past five miles, you’re getting into the meat of the race, and there are some big crowds. This is where I always stress staying under control. It’s very noisy, very exciting, but if you let the crowds get you too psyched up, you’ll start running too fast and believe me, that catches up with you quickly.”

Miles 8-10: “…in my opinion, the toughest part of the course.”

If you don’t heed Sullivan’s words and overdo it on Chestnut Street, you’ll find out here. “We’ll cross the bridge at 30th Street Station, and start heading out towards the zoo,” said Sullivan. “Most of Mile 8 is uphill, and people aren’t always mentally prepared for that. Runners need to be aware of this ahead of time, because this course is advertised as flat.”

Passing by the Philadelphia Zoo affords runners a short downhill stretch before resuming the incline on Lansdowne Drive and South Concourse Drive. “This area is very steep, and in my opinion it’s the toughest part of the course. This affects a lot of people, and I’ve had so many runners tell me ‘I’m so glad you warned me about that stretch.’”

Miles 11-13: “The calm before the storm.”

“You run down the Avenue of the Republic, past the Please Touch Museum and over a short, steep hill onto MLK Drive. At this point, you’re back on flat ground—but it can be challenging because for the first time, it’s very quiet. I’ll be honest, this may not be the most interesting part of the course.”

“But around mile 12.5, you start to hear the crowds at the Art Museum, which is the point where the half-marathon ends. If you’re running the full marathon, again control becomes essential. To this point, you may be running among some half-marathoners, and they’ll start making a sprint for the finish. Don’t get drawn into that. Run your own race.”

Miles 14-16: “Time to take a self-inventory.”

“We pass the halfway point at the Art Museum, which is the end of the half-marathon—it’s a very hectic, exciting area. But then you’re suddenly onto Kelly Drive and again, it gets quiet. This is a good time to take inventory of everything you’ve encountered thus far. How’s my pace? How am I feeling? The crowds have carried you to a large degree to this point. Now it’s all up to you for the next few miles.”

Miles 17-18: “Put on your best game face, and you can gain an edge.”

“Right around the 17-mile mark, you’ll take a left turn and head out on a quick out-and-back loop on the Falls Bridge. To me, this is a nice break. You’ve been going along, looking at the same things. Mentally, you know you’re done with that part of the race. On this loop you’re face-to-face with some of your closest competitors, and that doesn’t happen too often. You’re seeing people you’ve passed, people who’ve passed you. This is the spot to put on your best game face, and mentally you can gain a little edge over the competition.”

Miles 19-21: “This couldn’t come at a better point in the race.”

“After you finish with that loop, you’re back on the road and working your way up onto Main Street in Manayunk. Remember how I said it was so quiet after the Art Museum? Forget that—now things change. Now you’re in party central. But that’s perfect because you’re back to reacting to the crowds, only this time they’re helping you. Earlier, they were pushing you too much—now they’re pushing you and getting you back to where you need to be.”

“A lot of runners like to say that the halfway point of the race is the 20-miles mark, because those last six miles are going to take as much energy to complete as the first 20 miles. Well, you hit that mark right there in Manayunk, and for me that couldn’t come at a better point in the race. There’s so much energy and excitement—this is a fun spot for the spectators.”

Miles 22-25: “This is what makes Philadelphia special.”

“One change this year is going to have us running across an overpass before heading back on Kelly Drive. But now you’re moving towards the finish, and passing people on the other side of the street who are on their way out into Manayunk. This is great, because there’s a lot of interaction between runners here. People on their way back are encouraging the runners on their way into Manayunk. It’s very inspiring.”

“This area has a lot of cheer zones, and I have to mention the water station volunteers. These people do a fantastic job—they’re very upbeat, cheering you on the whole way. This part of the race can be a lot of fun. Coming from Chestnut Street early on, now you’re running through what looks like a little suburban park. It’s so unique, it’s what I enjoy about this race. You’d be hard-pressed to find another urban marathon so dependent upon parks.”

Mile 26-Finish: “Get your last burst of energy—you’re almost there!”

“At this point, there’s a slight uphill, and that’s the last thing you want to see. You’re less than a mile from the finish! But if you’re prepared, if you’re expecting it, you’re going to make the charge for that hill. Get that last burst, because once you’re up the hill you’re rewarded by a downhill to the finish.”

“And then there it is—you come around Eakins Oval to the finish line. Boy, is this great. You get your picture taken crossing the finish line with the Art Museum in the background and Mayor Michael Nutter waiting to greet you and shake your hand. That’s another great thing about Philadelphia—Mayor Nutter isn’t just there. He’s an energetic and enthusiastic as everyone else you’ve encountered.”

Mark Sullivan completed his 150th lifetime marathon last year in Philadelphia. Be sure to visit Mark’s pre-race seminar at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch Street, on Friday, November 16 from 6-7 pm or Saturday, November 17 from 2-3 pm.

Just three more days until the Philly marathon

I can’t believe I haven’t broken any bones or gotten the stomach flu (which Caroline had this past weekend, poor baby) — or randomly gotten pregnant or something  (And although I am probably out of the woods re: all of the above, I am just a little worried about jinxing things).  I’m really going to be running it!  I’m so excited. 

It has been quite the long haul–getting back on the road right after birthing Gabrielle.   Finding time to run with two little ones at home.  Convincing my husband to watch the girls by himself Sunday mornings so I could go off running for three plus hours.  Pumping before my runs so my boobs didn’t explode–or nursing in the middle of a run.  Figuring out how far I could run with the girls in tow.  (Yes, people do look at you funny and judge you for being a bad mom when your kids are screaming bloody murder in the jogger.)  Figuring out that I needed to put air in the tires of the jogging stroller . . . no wonder it was so hard at first! 

Scheduling ‘meet ups’ on my really long runs, so I had some company to keep me going.  (Thank you Pam and Laura)

Oh, and running distance while weighing about 40 extra pounds.

Well now I’m all ready to go — lean(er) and fully equipped with my Cytomax sport drink, my jelly belly energy beans, my nike running app and a killer running mix.

I still need to get a new pair of socks.  And I was thinking of treating myself to a new piece of Lululemon attire:

Lululemon running tank

But generally speaking, I’m ready to go.  The socks and the Lululemon top are just icing. 

Wish me luck! (And don’t tell me to break a leg)   Like me on Facebook during the race on Sunday and I’ll get your cheers through my earphones.

I thought I’d share some of the fun (educational) things my girls do during the week. I’d also like to highlight that raising kids in Center City Philly is very cool, enriching, and exciting. And otherwise, I thought I’d sneak in … part deux in the mulitipart series–Why Having an Au Pair is Awesome.

I schedule one activity for each day of the week–except Friday which is a free day to go to the zoo or the library or to a play date, or whatever. It adds a little structure to the day beyond naptime, and it gets the girls out and about on the town. When I was home on maternity leave with Caroline, I realized that it was all too easy to just schlep the baby along with me on every errand under the sun instead of focusing on play time with the baby. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly benefits to taking your children with you everywhere. But I needed to build in a ‘stop and smell the roses’ part of the day. There is only so much shopping that one baby will benefit from.

My friend and neighbor told me about a music class called Enchanted Music Together. It was the first class Caroline and I tried. And we loved it! Music Together is a class for babies and young children that is designed to nurture the musical growth of your child. It is a “thoroughly researched program” that encourages active participation of both parent/caregiver and child in a playful atmosphere. The songs are super catchy but not too ‘kiddy’–they have a folksy singer-songwriter feel, as well as some international flavor. We pop a cd in the car for kiddo claming effect anytime we have to drive anywhere. And I guarantee that if you try it, you will be singing along too. And maybe singing it out loud at your desk at work . . .

Music Together

(Photo courtesy of Music Together)

When I went back to work at the firm and Jaqueline (our first au pair from Brasil) came to look after Caroline, I decided to keep up with the music classes.

And then some. I added a few more classes–which I heard about through word of mouth from other moms and caregivers.

For example, the Children’s Boutique on Walnut Street has a Storytime class and Ms. Lori’s Music Monkey Jungle. Both of these classes are stimulating and fun (although I think storytime may be on a hiatus) and the kids get little snacks at the end. Which, if it were me, would definitely be one of the highlights of the class. Ms. Lori also has a cd that is fun to have at home and in the car.

The girls also go to swimming lessons at the Christian Street Y. And they do tumbling classes at The Philly Kids Gym. Sometimes the girls go to storytime at the Library and othertimes they go to storytime at Barnes and Noble. There are so many things to do, and only so many days of the week.

Jessica (our current au pair from Brasil) (the reason for Brasil in our next installment) gets a little structure, and maybe some breathing time (when I have both girls by myself I am certainly relieved excited when it is time to go to class) and the girls get to learn in a fun social atmosphere that isn’t too structured.

And a funny unintended side effect of the girls about town–is that more people know my kids than know me. I can’t walk through Rittenhouse Square without some mom saying hello to Caroline. Which I get a kick out of. My little socialites.

Here is little Caroline and her bestie hanging out in the Square. (so I might mention that Jessica is best friends with Kerly, an au pair from Venezeuala–and Kerly minds two little girls roughly Caroline’s age. Voila, Caroline has two best friends)