Thursday, May 19, 2016

Taking a Total Rest Day

It feels like forever since I talked training, eh? Well, it's still happening. Last week I ran a little over 26 miles!

I was thinking last week about how I really needed a complete rest day after several days of exhausted feeling runs. I can't put my finger on one reason I felt so wiped during most of my runs, but I'm going to chalk it up to some shorter nights of sleep, a few warmer afternoon runs with H in the stroller and also working on strengthening my right hamstring (leaving it sore).


As the weekend approached, I knew I needed to do my long run on Saturday or Sunday, so I decided the other day would be a total rest day. Midweek if I take a rest day from running, I often do a hike with Henry or something that doesn't really afford for much rest.


So, Saturday morning when it was pouring and grey outside, I welcomed my rest day with open arms and yoga pants. Ahhh... My biggest activity that day was walking around the grocery store for 30 minutes. That's how you do rest days, friends.

And Sunday, my body felt just a bit more ready to tackle 9+ miles with hills thrown in.

In exercise routines and life, there are clear advantages for taking a step back and just relaxing for a day. Most days, Henry and I are running an errand or two and walking or hiking, so an entire day or afternoon at home feels almost luxurious.

But last week amidst a busy calendar and just feeling burnt out, I could tell we needed a life rest day as well. I nixed my plans for the afternoon and soaked up a few extra hours of playtime at home with the little man.

He loves having anything in his mouth, especially this plastic bug.

It was just a good reminder that the things I need or want to do often can wait. Henry is at a really fun age where he's starting to laugh at things out of the blue, plays independently and can even follow instructions if I ask him to bring me something, so it's not like staying at home is a bummer.  Plus, he's working on his walking skills so time spent at home is just extra practice time for him.


I probably sound like a broken record talking about rest days again, but I don't think enough of us really give ourselves appropriate recovery time from whatever it may be - work or workouts or life in general.

Do you have a regular rest or recovery day on your calendar? What do you typically do that day as part of your recovery? 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

First Flight with Baby

It's crazy to think that I didn't get on an airplane until I was in middle school for a band trip to Disneyland (nerd alert) and these days, it's not uncommon to have flown several times before the age of one. Ah, modern conveniences.

A few months ago, I threw the idea out to my college friend Laura (who also lives in Eugene and has a 2-year-old) that we should go visit our friend Audrey in California together with the kiddos. All of a sudden, the trip was here, the minivan was booked and we were off!


Some of my preparation was the same as it was pre-baby: I still packed too many clothes, was overanalyzing the weather and ran on the day of our flight.

And some things were different: I had to pack diapers and baby clothes as well as books, toys and snacks that would hopefully keep him entertained on the flight. And I didn't pack a single thing to entertain myself (i.e. books or magazines).

[Being the parent of a small human means you never have enough hands.]

TRAVEL
Henry did pretty well on his first flight considering he had barely napped all day and our flight left at 4:00 p.m. He was awake and active the first 45 min of the flight looking out the window, peaking at other passengers and grabbing the in-flight magazine, and then he finally nursed and fell asleep for the second half.

We picked up our baggage and sweet minivan with no trouble and grabbed a quick dinner at Chipotle before heading on to Audrey's house.

[Life with a busy baby means cleaning up approx. 20 black beans from the floor of the restaurant and nearly having your drink and food dumped on the floor multiple times.]

SLEEP
During our visit we stayed both in Santa Cruz and in Monterey. The key to sleeping success for us was bringing the sound machine from home (familiar sound, small, easy to just plug in), a few books he likes and as his cuddly chick blankie.


One morning, he woke up at 6:00 a.m. so I kept him entertained in our room waiting for everyone else to wake up. By 7:30 he was rubbing his eyes, so I just asked him if he wanted to cuddle and all of a sudden, he laid his head down on my arm and conked out. 

[These are the moments you just feel your heart exploding again and again. It really can't get much better than taking a nap with your little one, especially now that this type of thing is so rare.]


I tried to take it in stride when he didn't get his usual naps. Some of his naps were shorter car naps, but he stayed surprisingly happy even when he was tired.

THE FUN STUFF
The highlights of the trip for both Henry and I were beach time and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.


My favorite memory of the weekend was walking on the Monterey beach and seeing Henry digging in the sand. Then when he really noticed the ocean, he put his head down and crawled his little heart out toward it.


The Monterey Bay Aquarium is amazing and great for kids of all ages as well as adults. My favorite parts were seeing the penguins swim and toddle around and the huge fish tanks with all kinds of crazy fish in them.


I decided not to bring our stroller on this trip, so I carried Henry everywhere in the Ergo. Being that he's now over 23 lb., my shoulders were a bit sore by the end of the weekend.


When we weren't on the go, Henry loved exploring the house. Seriously, 9 times out of 10, kids will pick the most mundane thing to play with over some exciting toy. For example, he played with this drawer and an empty oatmeal box for at least 20 minutes straight.


The Santa Cruz boardwalk and beach is much busier than Monterey, but also fun. Henry was determined to shove handfuls of sand, sticks and other junk in his mouth while we were there, so I had to be on my game! 


I'm bummed we didn't get a group photo of all of us together, but I guess we were too busy having fun and keeping track of the kids. 


Who needs toys when you have sand and a measuring cup?


HEADING HOME
Our flight home left San Jose around 7:30 p.m. and security was a nightmare. Thank goodness we arrived a few hours early because it would have been awful to be rushing or have missed our flight with kids. Henry and I shared a Jamba Juice green & ginger smoothie for dinner and then he had about five minutes to crawl around before we had to board the plane. 

The flight itself was less than ideal and resulted in me basically wrestling Henry for 1.5 hrs because he wanted to crawl all over the plane and make a mess of everything. By the time we arrived in Eugene, Laura and I were both a bit delirious and I was relieved to hand Henry over to Pete. 

Would I do anything different? Next time I would bring a small travel stroller (we don't have one yet) as well as smaller luggage and fewer clothes. 

What are your keys to smooth travel with a baby/small child? 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dear Henry: ten months

So, I didn't post about Henry's nine month milestones because I had all intentions of catching up with months seven and eight first. Well, let's be honest, as I haven't made time for posting even once a week, I better just cut to the chase and get on with it. 

Dear Henry,

Since we last chatted, you've really been on the move. At seven months, you decided to really start crawling on all fours and immediately after, began pulling yourself up on anything and everything. Shortly after that, you started clapping and waving after I would demonstrate it.  So fun. And even though these are no longer new "tricks," I love it every time I see you clap or wave.


LIKES
  • bananas
  • plain yogurt
  • 10-spice vegetable soup
  • baths
  • using your walker across the living room
  • playing in all the kitchen cabinets
  • trying to launch out of my arms when being carried
  • being outside


DISLIKES
  • diaper changes (like, whoa!)
  • having your nose suctioned
  • being tired or hungry

FIRSTS
  • Standing and balancing unassisted
  • Giving mama something after I asked for it
  • Playing in the sandbox at the park (yum, sand)
  • Pointing
  • Dancing & twisting


GROWTH
  • 22 lb 4oz
  • 29.5" (@ 9 months)
  • Clothes: 12-18 months 
  • Teeth: four

SLEEPING
  • 2 naps per day (usually), 1-2 hours each
  • 1-3 wake ups per night (occasionally, none)
  • Usually nurse back to sleep, but sometimes go back to sleep on your own

Ah, geez. I know you're likely going to be tall like your dad, but it doesn't make dressing you any easier. Just when I think I've bought the right size of clothing, I go to get you dressed and everything either looks entirely too small or long and baggy on you.

And socks? I don't know what these manufacturers are thinking when they make socks, but none of them fit you. Good thing summer is almost here!


In the last few weeks, I've started really reflecting on the fact that you're almost ONE year old (how?!) and it makes me a bit sad to think that you're soon to be a toddler and not a baby much longer.


But then you have a rough day where you're sick or teething and all you want to do is be held. On those days, I'm quickly reminded that no matter how mobile, you're still my little baby.


Love you lots,

Mom


Dear Henry: six months

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mini Vacation: Sunriver

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that a few weeks ago we took a mini vacation with my parents, grandma and brother to Sunriver just about 20 minutes from Bend, OR. My parents have rented a house there once a year for several years now and it's a trip I always look forward to.

Sun. Mountains in clear view. The scent of fresh pine everywhere you go. Access to ski, hike and run to your heart's content. What's not to love?


My mom drove Henry, my grandma and I over, while Pete had to work. Luckily, despite only taking a short nap on the 3 hour drive over, H was still a happy camper. This year was slightly different having to pack for a baby and myself, so I tried to stick with the necessities.


The weather in March in Central Oregon can be winter or spring conditions, but we definitely experienced more of the spring side of things. We had one day of all sun and the rest were mostly cloudy with some showers.

Some of the highlights of the weekend included...

A 3 mile family hike along the Deschutes River Trail



A blissfully happy baby during a lunch at the local brewery (+epic naps). Dining out with Henry happens very rarely now that he's extremely active and wants to grab everything or be on the ground crawling all over. Also, Henry napped for 2 hours twice a day, every day we were there. Talk about a vacation.

Plenty of fresh air and beautiful scenery on our walks.


Cross country skiing with my brother. It was a full body 5K for sure!


This fox decided to say hi on our ski. He or she just stopped and stared at us for a few minutes, so we assume it gets fed by people regularly. It was pretty cool to see it so close for such a long time.


Morning coffee in the hot tub with the snow coming down

This is the life. 

Just as we were leaving, my mom thought to snap some family photos. I rarely think of it, so it's nice to get a few.

with grandma

After several wrangling a baby who wanted to crawl in the snow photos, we finally got a keeper. Waving and clapping are two of his favorite skills right now.


Ah... Even though vacation has a different meaning these days (and doesn't always mean a vacation from parenting), it was nice to go at a slower pace, have some good laughs with family and be in a place we love.

It's crazy that last year when we were in Sunriver I was just halfway through my pregnancy and now we have a 10 month old. How things change.

On that note, happy April! As Henry turns 10 months tomorrow, I already find myself thinking about his 1st birthday. Everyone tells you the first year flies, and it really does. As our little guy gets closer to walking, I'm a bit sad my baby is soon to become a toddler.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Running: Back in the Routine

It's been interesting to see that almost 10 months postpartum, I finally feel like I'm getting back into the routine of running and actually training. While those first three months really are the most exhausting and sleepless (for most parents), it has taken several more for us to get in a groove and frankly, for me to feel like I could leave the house guilt free on a regular basis for my runs. Tiny humans demand a lot.


While the mornings or late evenings are really my only guaranteed times to run, I don't mind being up before the sun {and missing an hour of sleep} to start my day in such a peaceful way. 


It also works out nicely that H seems to wake up for one feeding around 4:00 am and then is back to sleep for several hours so I can leave knowing he probably won't wake the manfriend up too early.

Last week, I started meeting up with a friend who lives nearby to run and it's been nice to have a running buddy to chat with for a few miles as the body wakes up. I'm currently getting in about 20-22 miles with 4-5 runs per week, but I know that will start to increase as my long runs get longer.

The benefit of living near hills: you actually get to run them regularly if you want to. 

Testing out the HOKA Cliftons as part of my running store gig

While I'm not someone who ditches out on exercise easily, it's nice to have the goal of a half marathon on the horizon to give me a little extra motivation to run a few more miles or actually do my speed workouts. I'm also trying to get back in the regular routine of strength training & yoga to keep any injuries at bay. Committing to my running also feels like I'm doing something to really fill up my tank before I take care of Henry.

And an added reward for these morning runs is ending them with watching the sun come up. I mean seriously, try to tell me there's a better time to run. And let's be honest, after 8-10 hours of chasing and lugging the little guy around, I'm pretty well spent.


 Good morning, world.


What's your favorite time to run or workout? What one thing really fills up your tank and allows you to be a great employee, friend, spouse, or parent?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Moved!

Thanks for all your positive feedback on the whole motherhood thing. I'm definitely learning as I go and trying to give myself grace when I have negative thoughts. And, I started taking Vitamin D, so we'll see if that helps.

I thought I'd update you all on our move and how Henry is liking his new space. So, by nature I am a procrastinator who likes to fill her days with more than is humanly possible to achieve.


We started packing slowly about two weeks prior to move day. Then I quickly realized how soon things were going to be happening and started picking up more boxes, scheduling a Uhaul, and trying to pack and organize during naps (or with Henry crawling around at my feet).


I haven't moved too many times, but it's definitely not a task I enjoy. I like to save things that are sentimental or that I think I might use someday (ahem, science books and notebooks) even though I know I don't need them, which means I get to see these fine things when I move. 

We currently have about 4 boxes in the garage of books and notebooks that I have yet to open. Instead of saving them, I think I will try to sell the text books online if possible. At least that way I'll feel that I'm getting something back from them. :)

We got our keys on a Wednesday and planned to move most of Saturday and Sunday. My dad and a few guy friends helped load things into the Uhaul on Saturday and my mom watched Henry, which was super helpful. By Saturday evening, we had 90% of our things in the new place and were able to go to sleep in our beds. Sunday was spent doing more cleaning and emptying of the old house.


Then last week we really had just a few little things to get and some cleaning to do before the buyer took possession of the house. While Henry isn't very patient these days, he actually really liked being on my back in the Ergo. This was his first time on my back, but I think he liked feeling like a little koala all snug on my back as we cleaned the fridge and freezer, mopped and scrubbed things.


After a week in the new house, life feels fresh and exciting. Our rental is bigger with plenty of room for Henry to crawl around and tons of cupboards and new space for him to discover.



The DVD player seems to be of particular interest to him, and of course, the cords behind the TV.


Outside the house, I've really enjoyed going on walks and runs in our new neighborhood. My first morning run gifted me with this nice sunrise over the nearby hill. 


And our new 'hood has some hills, which is probably good for my running (and my rear). A few friends and I are signed up for the Fueled by Fine Wine half in July, which takes place in Oregon wine country, so hill training is going to be necessary. 

I hope you're having a relaxing weekend! It's a rainy, stay indoors kind of weekend around here.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Season of Motherhood

Oy... I can't tell you the number of times I wanted to write here. And yet, sleep, dishes, zoning out and part time work won out. But I'll admit that as someone who loves to write, I've been missing this space and know I need to carve out the time for myself. Now on to motherhood...

When I first started this motherhood journey I'll admit I wasn't sure how I felt about the whole stay-at-home mom gig. I knew I wanted to stay home with our little one for a period of time, but I also had hopes I'd move on to a career or back to school within six months or a year at most. In hindsight, I know now that I was a bit naive in having such expectations without yet knowing just what taking care of a child would be like.


Since I was little, I have always valued career as highly important in the scheme of one's worth (although I know it certainly doesn't paint the whole picture). And in my career, I always felt I was several steps behind where I "should" have been. It's one of the first things I want to know about anyone I meet.

Over the past nine months, I've noticed my perspective shifting. I am still highly fascinated in the career and the story behind someone's career (how, what and why), but I'm realizing that not having a career path carved out can be okay too. Yes, it gives me mild panic attacks to realize I'm in my 30s and still don't know "what I'm doing with my life," but I trust I will figure it out.

As a mama, I'm now keenly aware of how many other stay-at-home mamas there are in our community, from women I meet through friends or moms we connect with at the birth center (where I received midwifery care) during a weekly baby weigh-in.

And these women certainly aren't sitting around eating cookies and watching movies all day. These women are taking care of their kids, feeding them, taking kids to doctors appointments, doing the majority of the dishes, laundry, cleaning, paying bills, often working part time/evening gigs and trying to find a moment for themselves on occasion.


By no means do I believe that a stay-at-home parent is somehow holier than the full time working parent. Both gigs are HARD. Both have advantages and sacrifices.

But I guess this is just a long winded way of saying that my perspective has shifted. Staying at home with a baby is as exhausting as it is awesome. I'm slowly giving myself a bit more credit for the work I'm doing to raise a happy, healthy and curious little boy.


In fact, until recently the guilt for staying home was really getting to me and I found myself apologizing in various ways. At one point I finally had to say to myself "What you are doing matters and so what if someone else doesn't think so." So I'm working on not negating my role. I worked full time before and I'll likely work full time again. But this time right now feels sacred and I feel humbled and thankful to get to spend my days chasing Henry around.

How's your week been? What's one thing you want to give yourself more credit for? 

Also, how is it already Friday?? We have been packing up slowly and are planning to move the majority of our stuff into our new place this weekend. I can't wait until we are moved and unpacked!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Jonah Bell

Pete brought Jonah home when she was eight weeks old, a year or so after he moved to Eugene in 2002.  She became his little companion going on hikes together, trips to the dog park and plenty of pheasant hunting.






When Pete and I started dating seven years ago, I coincidentally became a dog mama at the same time.

As black labs are, Jonah Bell was needy, had plenty of energy and loved people (at the dog park she would ignore all the other dogs and come right back to us). She loved being out on the trails and darting in and out of the woods across the path.

For several years, she would go running with me in the morning for maybe 20-30 minutes. But over time, she started slowing down and no longer wanted to run. So it turned into a morning walk, almost daily, for years.


This past Thanksgiving, Jonah had a scary episode while Pete was visiting his family where I was sure we were going to lose her. The vet did a blood test and said her red blood cell counts were low and white were high and we knew she had a tumor on her back. We didn't do any further testing, but assume it was likely cancer.

I regret that in the last two years as we focused on our growing family, she didn't get as much time or attention as she had before. She got fewer pets, shorter walks and some impatience from us.

When she passed away on Tuesday night, I was surprised how hard it hit me. There have been plenty of tears in our house, loss of sleep and general sadness for losing Jonah Bell. I already miss the things we were so accustomed to... the clicking of her paws running to the front door when we get home, seeing her head poking out the window curtains as we left the house, her grunts or scratching at night as she's getting comfortable, the way she would check on Henry after his naps, and her request for morning (or anytime) walks.


The house feels eerily quiet when we come home and I'm sad for the bond she and Henry were starting to have. So, this is a friendly reminder to appreciate what and who you have while you have it. We never know when it's going to be gone.


So yeah, I miss her. And while I don't think we'll get another dog for at least a year, I already know I want one. Jonah Bell, you will be so missed.