Saturday, December 9, 2017

Baby/kid talk, Christmas stuff

I'm in the second trimester of my pregnancy! 14 weeks!

Yeah, I got the memo you aren't supposed to have tons of apps and know the exact number of days pregnant you are with the third pregnancy. But I don't subscribe to that. Being pregnant is still super exciting and I like to obsess over it! I mean, it's a big deal! I'm growing a human. I don't think I could ever get over that no matter how many times I do it.

Pictures of fetuses are boring, so.

Being out of the first trimester has never been such a huge relief. As I said in my previous pregnancy post, I struggled the most I ever have with anxiety about losing the baby. And I still get scared - does anyone ever relax until the baby is in their arms? But at this point the odds are that the baby will be in my arms this summer!

The morning sickness is so much better. I'll occasionally feel nauseous or have nights like Monday when the only thing I could stomach for dinner was white rice, but they are becoming fewer and further between. A lot of days I feel almost normal and it's amazing. My diet has been worse than most college freshmen. After the slurpee period, I went through a period where I couldn't stop eating Taco Bell bean burritos. Yep, weirdly specific. I hadn't had Taco Bell in ten years prior to this pregnancy and now I don't even want to think about it. But for awhile there, I was going multiple times a week. There was a lot of chips, pizza, crackers, and juice too. You know how some people are all like "oh all I craved was fruit!". MUST BE NICE FOR YOU. I craved everything that could make me the fattest ever. Except sweets. My consumption of dessert is WAY down. Like I've eaten white rice with soy sauce FOR DESSERT. I don't even know me.

Now I can frequently be seen eating pickles in my classroom while teaching. Pregnancy cravings are so weird and I never had any like this (cue everyone saying ooooooh it must be a girl because symptoms totally predict sex). I had foods that sounds good and I wanted to eat them, like in normal life. But this is different. The audiobook I was listening to mentioned Minestrone soup and I drove straight to the grocery store and bought some and my mouth was watering the whole way home and I couldn't think about anything else until I had that soup. It's just so random and so specific and once I think about that food I can't think about anything else until I have it (most inconvenient at work). I drive around with pickles in the passenger seat. Not even joking.

Random pic to break up text.

Aside from the fetus, my outside children continue to grow and develop as well. Royce continues to shock me as he gradually becomes less and less of a confused destructive caveman and more and more into a real actual human being. Just a few months ago, like September/October, we had an important milestone. I introduced him to the wonder of Chick Fil A sauce. I wish I had a picture because he essentially bathed his entire upper half in it. He quickly abandoned his dinner to just use his hand to shovel it into his mouth, as we all would like to do, but is only socially acceptable for a one year old (and barely at that). He was covered with it.

Last night, he was neatly dipping his nuggets into the sauce LIKE A REGULAR PERSON WOULD DO. He barely even made a mess. Sure, he also dipped his apples into it but there's no accounting for taste. Also sure, maybe this indicates an over-reliance on fast food for our family, but I've already discussed this in previous posts and anyway, Chick Fil A is not on the same level as other fast foods.

Just eating with no high chair or anything, like a regular person.

Another pretty cool thing with Royce is he understands so much now. He's not talking, so it's easy to overlook this, but I'm noticing more and more how much he's responding to whatever I'm saying. I can actually calm him with my words now! The vast majority of the time, of course that doesn't work because he's a toddler, but it's starting to happen. For example, if I'm buckling him into his car seat and he's fussing for a toy he sees, he will often actually stop fussing and wait if I tell him I'll give him the toy after I buckle him in. That's amazing. He's turned from a helpless newborn that has no choice but to cry for every need to an real human being who can dip Chick Fil A nuggets properly and listen and react to what people are saying. Yes, every single human being on earth also has made this transformation in their lives, but much like pregnancy, it's still incredible when it's your child and your experience (see above).

Royce is truly just fearless too. Another Chick Fil A milestone, he was climbing to the top of the play place and going down the big, fast slide. At 19 months. Dalton didn't do that until he was 3, and he's known for being a daredevil climber.

No fear

Dalton just continues to amaze me with his sweet and caring nature. It's weird too, because he's very much like me in many ways but I'm not exactly known for being a touchy feely warm and loving type. Yesterday, I won't mention where we were but see above, a bunch of parents/kids were helpfully saying things like "watch out for the baby!", meaning Royce, in the playplace. Dalton went up to him, put his hand on his shoulder, and and quietly said "you're a big boy". I mean, melt my heart. Another time I took Royce out briefly because he was fussing over something and Dalton came running out to me. "Royce is ok, right?". He's just such a good big brother and so, so funny.

They are all precious when they sleep.

They both "know" about the baby but I put that in quotes because who really knows how much Royce understands, and Dalton is really a live in the moment kind of guy so at this point even Christmas is kind of far away for him to be getting worked up about. Neither of them are much interested in babies or baby dolls or anything. I've tried to show Dalton the 3D image of the baby on my app but he just asks to see the picture of the bunk beds I told him he and Royce would be sharing when the baby arrives. For him, that's by far more exciting (and who can blame a three year old for that thinking, really). I'm not concerned because Dalton never showed any interest in babies last time but clearly it worked out fine.

Back to the baby, one reason I really like my doctor is she's super blunt and just came out and said what everyone is likely thinking. She walked into my first appointment and the first words out of her mouth were "so, was this planned?". I'd definitely been clear with her when we discussed birth control options last winter that another baby was hopefully in the cards for us, but, I'm not offended. I know two kids in less than two years puts me in the "woah, you'll have your hands full!", minorly crazy camp. 3 kids in 4 years puts me in the much smaller "this bitch has seriously lost her damn mind" group.

I probably will have my moments where I am losing my mind, but, I love having my boys close together and we really didn't want a big gap before another baby. This is a decision where I can totally understand the other side of waiting much longer in between children. Unlike, for example, the other side of the epidural decision. No offense to anyone, but I just DON'T get why anyone would just want all that pain. But anyway, Dalton is now at the age where it's much more common to add another child to your family, and, I get it. He's very independent, out of diapers, out of the crib, can do a lot of things for himself, and he's out of the "I don't know what this thing is so let me lick it/bite it/throw it and figure it out" phase. I can get him out of the van and tell him to walk to the sidewalk and wait while I get Royce out and be 99% confident he will not run into traffic because he understands it's dangerous. (I feel 100% but nothing in parenting is ever 100%.) I can definitely see how adding a newborn with just one child at this age would be desirable, it's just not for us. I much prefer to just keep rolling with the diapers/night wakeups/constant, CONSTANT supervision. It's insanity and chaos and constant crumbs and mess and crying, but honestly I think the two of us handle the chaos pretty well and it doesn't bother me (much).

I don't remember ever being this eager to just HAVE THE BABY. I was so nervous about the changes the last two times that it was maybe equal parts excitement and nervousness. Now, sure, I'm nervous about how I will handle 3 kids but I have this overwhelming impatience that I don't remember having for anything since I was a little kid where I just cannot wait to hold this baby. I think I would truly just go ahead and fast forward to June if I could, I just want to meet this little person so bad.

I had some sort of foolish thoughts that since I can just have a scheduled c section with this one, I wouldn't need to have 400 contingency plans for going in to labor. Um, wrong. When I met with my doctor, I realized all a scheduled c-section is a spot blocked out on my doctor's calendar. If there's one thing I've learned about babies, it's that they DGAF about how you want to birth them. The earliest they will schedule a c-section is 39 weeks 2 days, which is tentatively the plan. But Royce came at exactly 39 weeks so....I kind of feel like a third time laboring followed by a c-section is in my future. Womp womp. I'm over these contractions, but, I know carrying a baby to term is a blessing and I need to focus on hoping I'm lucky enough to do so even if it means more stupid contractions for me. If I do go early, it does meet my earlier desire of meeting the baby earlier! So, every friend I have within 30 miles of my house, you are officially on call in late May/June.

We've also done some adorably fun Christmas stuff lately.

Train garden

 Breakfast with Santa where they actually got near Santa! Not that we got a decent pic, but still.

 Dalton showing off his breakfast with Santa craft. He was so proud!

That's my latest stream of consciousness. I have to get everything on my mind out because who knows when I'll get around to blogging next. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving and Random Kid Updates

I've been wanting to do a general update post and both boys have now had official weigh ins. Dalton is 34 pounds and Royce is 25! That means if I run with the double stroller, or, more likely, if I pick them both up because meltdowns come in pairs, it's just about 60 pounds of toddler love in my arms. 

So far, age 3 has hilariously ridiculous. Dalton is officially in that "kids say the darnest things" phase and Eric and I are constantly in tears laughing. It's probably not worth sharing in a "only a mother finds it funny" sort of way but I will share an example anyway. 

Me: It's Friday! 
Dalton: FRY?? Fries are at Chick-Fil-A! 

It's also worth noting my devotion to cooking has declined a bit. But if Chick-Fil-A is wrong, I don't want to be right. Next thing you'll be telling me it's wrong to "bribe your kids with munchkins" or "send them downstairs with the tablet so I can sleep for another 20 minutes". (Please note these currently only work for 50% of my children but holding out hope we can get to 100% any day now.)

Dalton has also taken to yelling "Alyssa!" over and over during his "naptime". I guess he figured he wasn't getting any answers from "mommy" or "daddy". He has fought sleep since the moment he entered this world. Seriously, one of the first comments we got, after noting his eyelashes were super long, was how alert he was for a newborn. 

#proof #lashesfordays

At Royce's 18 month appointment, I asked the doctor if it was normal that he always seemed really tired when it got close to bedtime/naptime. She looked at me like I was crazy, which, I then realized, was probably true, because what a dumb question. But I swear Dalton has NEVER acted tired in his life, barring a few times when he was really sick. During special occasions he's gone hard with no nap, until like 10pm. So a child not only approaching, but embracing the idea of sleep because he accepts that he's tired, well, that's a new one for me. 

Royce is now on the backside of one and, just like his older brother, never stops moving. I can never find any good pictures of him, he's just a blur. And smiling pictures? There's no way. While he's definitely a happy kid, and we get to see his beautiful smile all the time, his typical expression is just pure concentration as he wanders around, touching, looking, and climbing on everything, just trying to figure out this crazy world he lives in. 

He's still solidly in that parallel play stage, and when it's just me and him sometimes I feel like I don't know what to do because he is perfectly happy just wandering around, doing his own thing. He'll occasionally bring me something, and, lately, he's wanted a little more affection and begging to be picked up a lot, but mostly, he just wants to explore, preferably from the highest vantage point in the room. 

When he's around his brother, it's a different story, because he just wants to do whatever Dalton does. The other day Dalton was having a mini meltdown and laying on his back on the kitchen floor. We were ignoring him and Royce went over and laid down next to him, and he just had the hugest smile on his face and was so proud and excited. Then yesterday, Dalton was helping me unload the dishwasher (please please let this love of household chores continue forever #yeahright). Royce was kind of watching, checking it out, and finally came over and started handing me silverware, again looking just so proud. He always wants to be involved with everything, and he usually struggles to totally figure out what's going on, but he tries! 

Always helping

We got to spend some one on one time together on a sick day when he had an ear infection last week. We bonded over our shared love of pickles in the grocery store while waiting for his antibiotics. 

The sibling love is still going strong with these two. The other day I came out of the bathroom and they were just sitting like this. I mean...I can't. 

When I try to say Royce can't do something with us because he's too little (ex. swim class) Dalton insists he's big, and says he misses him when he's napping. They constantly gravitate to each other and Dalton is the only person that Royce truly "plays" with and his smiles when he does are to die for. Whenever one of them is crying, the other one will bring over some sort of comfort item. 

They both loved being involved in kitchen prep for Thanksgiving, sometimes being more helpful than others. Like when I tried to make apple pie and they both just started devouring sugar covered apples. 

 We had our traditional fried turkey.

It was just the four of us, so we had a simple spread. Turkey, mac and cheese, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. 

With a side of fire truck.
Centerpieces brought to you from daycare crafts.
And obviously, apple pie a la mode for dessert. Then we attempted, and I believe, nailed the family self timer picture.

Attempt #2
We have plenty of seating, but there's no seating as good as Dad after a huge meal.

I was way too lazy for Black Friday shopping, and anyway I usually don't get my ducks even in the same pond to buy gifts until at least Christmas Eve. However, I was adamant we had to set up the tree. Dalton was SO excited and kept saying "It's just perfect!". He loved putting the ornaments on almost as much as Royce loved taking them off and throwing them. 

"Who, me?"
And that's what's going on with us! Personally I'm psyched it's the most wonderful time of the year and I can (continue to) play my Christmas music without being judged now.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Baltimore Marathon Recap: DNS

So I trained for four months, ran a 20 miler, was totally prepared to run a marathon and didn't happen. I didn't run. I didn't even show up to the start line. It was a bit of a bummer.

The week before the marathon, I had a bad cough, but nothing that I thought much of. But in the days leading up to the race, it was getting worse, my chest was hurting, and coworkers were starting to run in the opposite direction when they saw me in the hall. My marathon prospects weren't looking good when I felt like I couldn't even handle going to the expo to pick up my bib. Sure, I probably could have pushed through and maybe even finished the race, but I wasn't interested in bronchitis or pneumonia.

The truth was, even before I got sick, I had been fairly sure I wouldn't be completing the marathon, although I thought I could at least do SOME of it.

Two days after the 20 miler, I found out we are expecting baby #3! Unlike the common stereotypes for a third pregnancy, I have not been laid back or nonchalant AT ALL about this. Starting with finding out. When it comes to getting pregnant, there are two types of people. If you can understand this sentence: "I got my BFP on a FRER at 12po.", then you are my type of people. If it makes no sense to you, you've probably never gone down the rabbit hole of TTC (trying to conceive) websites and general obsession that comes with desperately wanting a baby and not having your body cooperate immediately. In that case, you definitely will not identify with the following story and definitely will think I'm crazy (which I am).

I felt good during the race, so I had pretty much written off that month for a positive pregnancy test. But then, that Tuesday at work, I started to really suspect I was pregnant. I had implantation bleeding, which I had also had with both boys (bleeding when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus). One of my wise friends, who is also my level of pregnancy crazy, told me to check my heart rate in my FitBit. Since the day I had ovulated, my daily average resting heart rate was consistently up at least 2 bpm.

That seemed pretty auspicious, so as soon as I left work I went to Walgreens, bought a FRER (expensive pregnancy test, considered to be the most accurate and gets the earliest positives). I had cheap amazon test strips at home, but my period wasn't due for 3 more days, so I needed the big guns if I wanted to get to the bottom of this. Plus I'd been holding it for hours at this point, attempting to save up pee for testing needs.

I took the test in the dirty Walgreens bathroom, and it was...inconclusive. With pregnancy tests, even the faintest hint of a shadow of a line means a positive. But I kept getting confused - sometimes I thought I saw that shadow of a line, sometimes not. I spent a good ten minutes sitting in my van staring at it at various angles, in various lights, etc. I couldn't tell. I used an app to invert the line, and sent pictures to friends. Still inconclusive. Some saw it, some didn't.
I maintain that the line is clear as day on the inverted picture. 
See, you can't just take another test because my pee had already been diluted during the first test so any further tests would just have the same problem. (Pregnancy tests test for the presence of HCG, a hormone your body produces when knocked up, and it increases in amount the further along in your pregnancy you are. That early on, before a missed period even occurs, it's a very minimal amount which is why it's so hard to detect on a home pregnancy test.)

Sure, I could test again in the morning, but if you are thinking that then you do not understand a potentially pregnant woman's need to know NOW not in the morning NOW NOW NOW. It was torturous. Eric insisted there was no line and I was crazy. So I woke him up at 5am the next morning to show him an extremely clear, unmistakable POSITIVE test!! 

Yep, it's my third rodeo and my hand was still shaking seeing that second line for sure. It's pretty amazing and I don't think I'll ever get over the idea that my body is actually creating a human being as I type this. 

However, there are some differences in a third pregnancy. With my first, I was instructed to drink x o ounces of water an hour before the first sonogram. I set an alarm to remind me to drink at work, drank that exact number of ounces exactly an hour before the sonogram. 

With the third, we were walking upstairs to the Perinatal center and I was like "oh shit I was supposed to have a full bladder, give me some of your coffee". 

My anxiety has been off the chain this time. Of course, I'm always worried about losing the baby when pregnant, but it's been much worse this time. The older I get, the more I know, and the more I realize how much it's truly a miracle to conceive and carry a healthy baby to term. There's a LOT that can go wrong. It's gotten harder and harder for me to feel confident things will go right. And I still have a long way to go. Up until we saw the heartbeat last month, I was a nervous wreck. But, we saw it! It was beautiful and I cried. This is one of many reasons it drives me crazy when I'm asked if we are "trying for a girl". I don't care, I just want to see a healthy heartbeat on the sonogram!

A couple basics:

Due date: June 9 (likely a scheduled c section a week or so before that)

How far along: 8.5 weeks and counting

Feeling: completely  miserable, by far the worst of all 3, I just started Zofran yesterday and so far it's a Godsend. 

Sex: Keeping it a mystery again! We won't know until June. We are not "going for a girl" and will be thrilled with a healthy baby either way. (Can you tell this is a pet peeve?)

Do the boys know: I mean, technically yes, but do they care or understand or show any interest? No! They are live in the moment types. 

So, in a nutshell, that's the story of the marathon I never ran! I'm not posting a social media pregnancy announcement just yet, so I'm just posting this blog post quietly, not on Facebook or anything, so only the very few people who still have me in a reader (THANK YOU) will even see it (if anyone). 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

NCR 20 miler recap

I'm kind of amazed I actually ran 20 miles this past Sunday! I mean, 20 miles. It's crazy.

I've run this race a few times in the past, and it's one of my favorites. Tiny, only around 100 runners this year, shaded, flat, quiet - you can't go wrong. It's point to point as well. You show up at a shopping center and park your car. This is the finish. Fancy coach buses with nice heated bathrooms bring you 20 miles away, nearly to Pennsylvania. You walk about half a mile (quite a warm up) to the start line and then run back! The whole thing is on a rails to trails trail, so there are no turns, streets, cars, spectators - it's really a whole lot of running on packed dirt, through trees and that's about it. My favorite.

I arrived just before 7, found my friends, and got on the bus. We tried not to talk too much on the bus. Gotta save the stories for the run!

It had been a little hotter than usual the previous week and extremely humid. We were relieved to find that we were actually chilly before the race started.

At 8am, the race director yelled something like "GO!" and off we went. It bottle necks a bit with 100+ runners on a fairly narrow trail, but spreads out almost immediately. 

I felt a bit rough the first maybe 5 miles, but the good thing about a long race like this is there's plenty of time to turn things around. I think I was finally warmed up after that. I was actually kind of shocked when we hit mile 12, I wouldn't exactly say it flew by, but it definitely didn't feel like I'd just run 12 miles. It felt like no big deal. Shocking. Especially since I had so many training runs when I felt like getting to 12 was nearly impossible. Another exciting thing was the 12 mile mark has actual bathrooms, like ones that flush and have running water in the sinks. We were a bit spoiled for this race. 

Miles 12-15 were a struggle. Definitely my low point mentally. It's always that time where I've run really far, but still have a loooong way to go that gets me! We started to get into old stories like how we met our husbands to push through. 

After a walk/final Gu break at mile 15 (I had three throughout the race, miles 5, 10, 15), I felt a lot better, and improved further after we got to the portopotties around mile 17-18. This race can mess with your head because after 19 miles of flat, shaded trail, the final mile is on the streets, in the sun, and up a sizable hill. It was over 80 degrees by that point and humid so the last mile is pretty dumb. Although I weirdly felt good then and it didn't really bother me. Maybe I psyched myself up for it enough?

One of my favorite things about this race is it ends at Dunkin Donuts. It's weird, my stomach can be totally off after a race, food sounds disgusting, and yet I can still chug an iced coffee. 

We did some stretching in the parking lot, as one does. Jackie brought her fancy vibrating foam roller, it's been a life saver during this training cycle! Then I headed home to relieve my poor husband, who had been bartending until the wee hours the night before and then got up with the kids for my race. He's kind of awesome. 

I felt a little rough directly after, but I laid down a little bit while the kids napped and that seemed to do the trick and then I felt pretty good! I took the kids to our favorite place solo and bought a week's worth of groceries that night, so I consider that success. 

Upon posting that, I realized I never ate those potato chips. Where did they go?

NCR 20 miler - official time 3:58:30. Yep, not breaking any speed records. We took it easy and used walk breaks liberally. But I made it and now I'm "ready" to do a marathon in two weeks. Maybe. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Marathon Training

As of tomorrow, the marathon I've been training for is just one month away! I had this idea of updating progress in various posts as I trained all summer, but, here we are.

Turns out I don't have any pictures that relate to running for this post. As usual, here are my adorable kids.

Training started out subpar, to say the least. I was pretty sure I was going to have to downgrade to the half. My long runs were all awful, and it seemed like the universe was trying to tell me my marathoning days were over.

I actually had a few strong runs back in June, making it all the way up to 12 miles. But then in July, I went on vacation, and after that it just all seemed to go downhill. I couldn't seem to break that 12 mile mark. And sure, 12 miles is sort of an accomplishment, it's not something I could do a few months prior, but a marathon is 26.2 miles. 12 miles is not in any way sufficient preparation.


I had to bail on a run after 5 miles because of heat stroke. Heat stroke! That's never happened to me. I once did two ultra marathons in the same week, in July. (Rosaryville and the Endless Summer 6 Hour Race.) I was fine! But, you can't exactly ignore heat stroke.

I did 11 miles, and then got hit with a bad fever and was sick the rest of the weekend. This was July. Who gets a fever in July?

My training buddy Jackie and I did 12 miles in ridiculous heat. High 90s, feels like 102. This was downtown by her house, so no shade, no breeze, just HOT and horrendous.

The ONE week I worked in early August, I somehow horribly planned and ended up only being able to get to 12 miles. I did technically run out of time and had to get to work, but it seemed like a pretty poor excuse considering I had so much time off.

The weird thing was I actually ran out of time for 3 of these runs and had to stop at 12 miles, in addition to the other reasons. It had me questioning my commitment. If I couldn't carve out the time to train properly in summer, when I wasn't even working, things weren't looking good come August when I was back to teaching full time.

Even I'd had more time, I honestly felt like I could barely drag myself to wherever the "finish" was for those runs. Each time, 12 miles destroyed me.

Things weren't looking good. In mid August, I was at the point where if I couldn't get in a decent, actually long long run, I was downgrading to the half marathon. Jackie promised me we would do at least 15 that weekend come hell or high water.

The night before was not good. Eric was bartending. We had planned to start at 6, so I was just falling asleep around 9 and......Crying. Royce was up. I went and rocked him and put him back down.

Same thing at 10. Same thing at 11. After I put him back down at 11, I decided if this continued, I would just bring him to our room. Our bedrooms are on different floors, and it's stupid going up and down stairs in the middle of the night. I went down to the basement, found the pack and play, and fought with it until it was set up with a clean sheet in my room.

Apparently that did the trick and Royce was happy in his crib in his own room the rest of the night. I passed out.

1:00am: my door flies open. Dalton had apparently woken up frightened. He's my anti sleeper. If Royce wakes up, I know he truly wants to go back to sleep, he just needs help getting past whatever is bothering him. Dalton is a different story. He hates sleep. He would be perfectly happy waking up at 1am and playing until bedtime the following night.

While I was sure it was against my better judgment, I told him he could get in bed with me. See, this same thing had happened two weeks prior, and we had spent two hours in bed together rolling around, no one comfortable, until I finally asked if he wanted to return to his own bed and got a resounding YES. But I guess this time we were both sufficiently exhausted and passed out until my alarm went off at 5am.

It turns out that just because at some point (maybe) during infancy kids achieve the holy grail of sleeping through the night, it doesn't mean they are done waking you up. Nope. And it's actually worse when it's unexpected and you are out of the habit. It really amazes me how the past summer, when Royce was a newborn, of course I was up all the time, feeding at night, and it seemed like no big deal. I was used to it. Now, after one night being up with one or both kids, I can't even function.

Anyway, after that night of surprises, I couldn't exactly pick out the perfect, weather appropriate running outfit, since I had a 2 year old passed out in my bed and I was left with whatever I could grab from my drawer without making noise. Past marathon training me probably would have had all that laid out the night before but tired, #motherrunner current me is a constant hot mess.

I met Jackie at 6 at the NCR, a nice, flat, shaded dirt trail. Not the most auspicious start, but we had the best run of the entire training cycle. The weather was, for the first time, cool, and more importantly, NOT humid. We both felt, oddly, good (we'd actually canceled doing the run the day before after a night of constant wakeups on her end). We got 16 miles done and actually felt like, if need be, we could have done more.

After that, training was officially on. We continued to increase our long run mileage, getting up to 19 miles. This weekend, my training buddies, Casi and Jackie, and I will be doing our big practice run to prepare for the marathon, the NCR 20 miler. I've done it in the past, years ago. It's a perfectly timed, small race that a lot of local runners use as marathon preparation. We plan to use it as a trial run for nutrition, hydration, doing everything we can to simulate everything for marathon day.

It's not just long runs! Jackie and I have been doing a track series put on by a local running store. Based on a one mile timed trial we did at the beginning, they group us by speed and give us very specific workouts and goal times. We also do form practice, and upper body/core work. It's horribly painful and also awesome. When I had big plans to return to my running blogger days I was going to recap, but tonight is the last night and I'm just now mentioning it.

I did record one workout to give anyone still reading an idea of what it looks like.

6:15pm - arrive, warm up independently (I usually do an easy jog, 2-4 times around the track)
6:30 - dynamic warmup moves, form practice, and strides
6:45 - workout! Example (I included my times, which were all below the goal times, woo!):
          4x200, ranging between 41-45 seconds, jog 200 in between
          1600 (aka one mile), 8:04
          4x200, ranging between 41-48 seconds, jog 200 in between
7:45ish - cool down, jog/walk around the track twice
8:00 - bridges, push ups, triceps dips

Lastly, we've been trying to be diligent about stretching after long runs (Jackie brings fancy tools like a vibrating foam roller). I'm not in my 20s anymore and all. I've been getting in at least 2 other workouts each week, usually easy runs or elliptical, and including at least some sort of strength work weekly as well.

I have pictures for that part!

Don't judge the unmade bed. Eric had just taken a basement nap. Shockingly, in a bed. 

It's not the world's greatest training, nor is it the worst, and I just hope it's enough to get me to the finish line. I'm hoping after this weekend's race I'll have a better idea of a time goal. I know it's going to be a lot slower than my previous marathons, since they were all pre-kid, and I'm just slower now. I know it, and I wish I could say I was ok with it, but I'm not. Yes, I created life, I am woman, hear me roar, but it still sucks to feel so slow compared to what I used to run. I ran several marathons all around 3:54, eventually getting to my fastest time of 3:51 before Dalton was born. Now...I know it's going to be significantly over 4 hours, probably even over 4:30 based on my long runs.

Maaaaaaybe someday I'll attempt to train really hard to get back to that sub 4 level, but that's not where I'm at now. It is what it is. This race is about finishing, which, previous paragraph notwithstanding, I am actually excited to do. 


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Goodbye, summer, goodbye

I suppose it had to happen eventually. This glorious summer has come to an end. And in true school year mom fashion, I started this blog post about two weeks ago. I'm just now getting it wrapped up.

I'm really sad about it. I like my job and all, especially my team, especially ZACH RATAJ, but let's get real: not working is always going to beat working. All summer, I've been doing things like grocery shopping at 10am on Tuesday morning, only wearing clothes with elastic waistbands, napping when the kids nap, and not setting my alarm. Adulting is just hard and it's a real bummer when real life responsibilities eclipse my preferred lifestyle of laziness and play dates.

Sitting in the potty, wearing a tank top, reading? Sure. It's summer. 
I always get at least a medium amount of anxiety going back to school. I hate transitions, and I really hate icebreakers. The beginning of the year always requires icebreakers. I get really worked up about those. They generally include some sort of activity where you have to share something interesting about yourself and I give this way more thought than I should. There's nothing interesting about me. I'm as basic as they come. I live in the suburbs with my two kids. I wear Lularoe. I can't wait until pumpkin spice lattes are back. BASIC.

As though trying to get back in the habit of waking up early and packing lunches wasn't painful enough, HBO apparently conspired with my job to really put me in a dark place. Right as teachers returned to work, the last episode of Game of Thrones season 7 aired. Yes, I know there's another season but rumors are floating that it could be 2019 before it's on. I spent over a year waiting for it, and then there were 7 beautiful weeks and BOOM it's taken from me. 

Last Monday morning I was asked if I was ok and I was like NO I'M NOT OK GAME OF THRONES IS OVER. People who don't watch are all like "oh you need to find another show". No. There is no show that even comes close to being comparable. I don't even like other shows. Go away. 

Clearly, I'm struggling here. On the bright side, the last few weeks of our summer were just as fantastic as the rest. Summer is every teacher's favorite time of year, and I always love it, but I think this summer might have been the best one I've ever had. Last summer was one of the only ones where I didn't work at all, which was nice. It was so much fun, but still a huge transition to life with two kids after Royce was born in May. And while I'm one of the (few?) crazies who absolutely loves the newborn days, and sometimes I want to cry missing those times when my sweet little baby just slept on my chest in the ergo all day, having two toddlers running around is even better. 

It's total chaos, because they are both constantly running in opposite directions, but they are beginning to actually play together and it is the cutest. They have been playing "catch" in the yard each night and I die.

Eric taught Dalton that Royce is a toddler now that he can walk, no longer a baby. So now I have to hear "Royce is a tobler, not a baby" every day and I'm like... go to your room. You're grounded. Shut up. That's hurtful. I've tried to explain that they will both always be my baby but Dalton remains unimpressed. When I hear a mom at the playground tell her child to be careful around the baby and realize she's referring to Royce it's the best validation. But I think Dalton has forced me to face facts that technically speaking, he meets the qualifications for a toddler. 

We took our first family flight last month! We went to visit my family in Rochester.

Seeing my kids with their two cousins is one of my favorite things in this world.

The big boy cousins, enjoying an evening fire.

The main reason for our visit was my nephew's superhero fifth birthday party.

(He wanted the mask like that.)

Other than that, I mainly just buckled down, and worked hard to get through my summer to do list of organizational tasks around the house. 

JK JK JK. Anyone who knows me knows the real joke is that I actually MADE such a list. I did nothing on it. Like, actually nothing. I didn't organize the kids clothes by size, create photobooks for each kids' first year of life, organize the upstairs bathroom...nothing. But I did take a lot of naps. And got to see a lot of friends. 

My friend Emily visited with her son Felix from Manhattan. The kids hated it, of course. 
I got to meet up with my college friends up DC for a girls weekend and we took exactly one awkward selfie.

Ideally, I'd like to post more than once a month, not that anyone cares, but I want to. I plan to do posts soon on kid updates and how marathon training is going!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

How to Create a Bad Ass Mom Squad

When we first started seriously considering trying to start our family, among my many concerns was navigating motherhood with no family around. All of our relatives are out of state, so we knew going in there would be no help with sick kids, no last minute date nights, no one to call for pick up if we had to work late,. I don't mean to sound like our families aren't wonderful, they just live hundreds of miles away. If our kids need something, which they often do, it's on one of us to provide it.

I've found that there's only one way to survive this situation. You need to have friends that become family.

It's just essential.

I've mentioned before that my friend Kristin came and picked me and Dalton up to take me to the hospital when I was in labor with Royce. When we had stomach flu earlier this summer, my friend Liz dropped Tylenol on our porch. Eric and I forgot we had an evening event one night and had to work late, and our friends Carrie and Bobbi took both our kids, fed them, entertained them, and did it so well they didn't even care that we weren't there. It's kind of a big deal to find people to watch two very young children, in addition to their own young children.

You get the gist - it's essential to have a kick ass mom squad. I've been all over social media posting about how I just went on an out of the country, no kid vacation with my mom tribe of 5 (me, Carrie, Bobbi, Liz and Hope). They aren't just mom friends, they are true friends, and even our husbands had a great time without us, smoking cigars at the pool bar. While I can't say for sure, I would imagine it's just as useful even if you do have family living close by.

I had never met any of these ladies prior to giving birth. We didn't attend each other's baby showers, we didn't even know each other pregnant. It's crazy to think of now. So here's my best tips for creating your own mom squad.

In Punta Cana with my tribe!
  •  Mom support groups

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times - the new mom support group run by my hospital is amazing. You don't even have to have delivered there, they truly welcome everyone. It's run by a nurse and every other week an LC is there, so you have the option for professional advice.While that is certainly helpful, the true gem is meeting other mothers who just had their own baby and are trying to figure this nonsense out alongside you. I first met Carrie and Hope there when Dalton was not even a month old and just beyond tiny. I attended again with Royce, and one of the women I met there dropped clothes on my porch when I said I didn't have anything warm enough in newborn sizes for the unseasonably cool weather that May.

  • Get out of your comfort zone

Carrie and Hope invited me to go get sushi with them afterwards, and I texted Eric all excitedly "I MADE FRIENDS". I was so nervous, like it was a first date, and it even ended up being the first time I nursed in public, since they were, I went for it! I had been super nervous taking my brand new baby out to a restaurant for the first time with people who were practically strangers, but I'm so glad I did.



  • Always be on the lookout for potential friends. 

I'm an introvert and just as socially awkward as any blogger, I even have witnesses who will provide a statement confirming that. When I first moved to my current home, Baltimore, from upstate NY where I had previously lived my entire life, it took me years to make friends. Years! Obviously we all know your time becomes a lot more limited once those babies arrive, so I couldn't afford to dilly dally with mom friends.

I met my friend Liz when she came to my old apartment on one of the coldest days of the year to get some formula samples I didn't need that I'd posted in a local FB exchange group. We started chatting and realized we both had biracial baby boys born just 9 days apart! Long story short, on another crazy winter day, in the middle of an ice storm, I went to her house to stay with her (bigger) baby boy after her water broke and she went to the hospital!

If you meet anyone anywhere that seems even possibly like someone you would want to hang out with, awkwardly invite them to a playdate and hope for the best.

  • Internet

I just got together with my friend Kandi, who I originally "met" when she tweeted me that her baby was born after reading my blog. We quickly became actual, IRL friends and survived the #twoundertwo experiment together.

It's 2017! Time to internet mom date.

  • Mobilize existing resources
Just convince the friends you already have to join you in the family way. If you're a basic bitch like me who turns 30 and starts spitting babies out, it will likely happen anyway. You even might reconnect with people you had kind of lost touch with, because nothing brings women together like pregnancy and babies. Sure, you might unfortunately lose a friend here or there if it turns out she's a sanctimommy, but for the most part it's a likely win. IF you follow the below advice.

Friends since middle school, babies born a week apart!
  • Don't be a judgy asshole. This one is the most important.

I know a lot of moms, most of them have kids close in age to mine, so I feel fairly confident in saying that finding a mom tribe of women who do things just like you is unlikely. You know all those super duper life changing parenting decisions you make when your kid is a baby? We all did them differently. Holding out for someone who wants to do everything exactly like you? Ain't nobody got time for that.

Our kids are all either 3 or dangerously close now, and I promise you cannot tell who formula fed, who breast fed, who co slept, who cried it out, who had purees, who was baby led weaned, who stayed home with their mom, who went to daycare while their mom worked, who walked early, who walked late, etc, etc. Our 5 kids all run the gamut with all those mommy wars items listed, and now that they are older, we are still going to have our differences in how we parent them.

What we bond over is that we all love the crap out of our kids, and we all have moments where they annoy the crap out of us. And we all vaccinate. That's the one area I will draw the line and judge you.

Here's the difficult part: You can't go around acting like your way is the right way, and make disparaging comments about your friends do things, couched by disclaimers like "oh but it's all right for you". Phrases like "I would never" should, actually, never cross your lips. Because kids are constantly changing, you might have another one who's totally different, so what you would "never" do in that moment might suddenly become a really appealing option. Or, maybe you truly will never do it. Unless it's giving a kid ecstasy or just throwing them in the backseat of the car with no carseat, 50s style, get off your high horse.

It's easier said than done, because when we are trying to figure out how the hell to parent these children, you never really know what you are doing. Drawing lines in the sand and vilifying the "other" way is a surefire way to make yourself feel better about your own choices. The problem with that is, it makes you a jerk and then you'll likely never have a true mom tribe. When things don't go as planned and your ZOMG FOODIE BABY LED WEANED little cherub refuses to eat vegetables when he turns two, you really need friends to lean on.

It's simple really. Try out all the stuff I listed above, don't be all smug and holier than thou, and vaccinate yo kid.