Monday, May 18, 2015

Run a 5K with Baby

This weekend, I ran my first 5K post-baby and I ran it with my little one in the jogger stroller.  Although my training for the race didn't go as I had originally planned, I went ahead and ran the race anyway, as I was already signed up.  It was my first race ever with a jogger stroller and it was a great experience.

I had a training plan in place -- and I encourage you to follow one, too -- but I had to stop running altogether two months before race day.  Despite not running for almost two months, I decided to show up for this weekend's race anyhow and loved every minute of it.  I didn't run the entire thing (I made my best effort to run most of it) and I found that what I enjoyed most wasn't racing, but the camaraderie of being out there with runners and walkers just getting outside and moving.

I'm not encouraging you to run your first race without any training, but I'm sharing my story to let you know that you don't have to be an experienced runner to participate in a 5K.
Here's why you should consider running a 5K with your baby, even if you've never run before.  (If you decide to sign up for a 5K race, make sure to check the race regulations to see if strollers are allowed.)

1. 5K races attract both walkers and serious runners.  Every race will have some speedy runners, but the 5K distance is great for new runners and people interested in walking, so if you're feeling nervous about not keeping up, don't worry!  The 5K I ran this past weekend had four waves (term for how they group the race entrants so that the fastest people start at the front of the pack and the walkers get placed at the back) for runners, runners with dogs, and a family/walker wave:

2. Signing up for a 5K will provide motivation to exercise.  Knowing that you have a race coming up will encourage you to get out with baby and the jogger stroller!  If you can, enlist another mama friend with a jogger stroller and do your walks/runs together.

3. If your training goes awry, you can still walk a 5K.  Like the race I ran this past weekend, there will be plenty of walkers.  If you decide to walk, just park yourself at the back of the pack at the race start.  Not only is it good race etiquette, you won't feel pressured to run if you're only prepared to walk the entire race.

4. 5K is a distance you can finish in an hour or less.  If you decide to walk an entire 5K, you should be able to walk the whole race (briskly) in about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.  As a walker, you'll be in good company in a 5K distance.

5.  It will be an event that you'll remember.  There's baby's first time sitting up, baby's first time standing, and baby's first words!  How many kids can say that they ran their first race with mom when they were a baby?

Have you ever run a 5K?  Did you train or not?  

If you're a seasoned runner, what's your favorite race distance?  Why?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

This and That

I am looking forward to the weekend.  There has been so much going on lately.  Between the THREE hospital appointments for Baby O this week and all the contractors coming by to work on the house (a fresh coat of paint, getting the sprinklers un-winterized, and a new roof!) I've barely had a moment to myself this week.

It's time to sit down with a cup of coffee and just chat about nothing in particular.  I'm linking up with Amanda to shoot the breeze and just share what's on my mind when I'm decompressing...

1. I'm usually a fairly clean eater but lately, I've been craving donuts.  Maybe my body is telling me something?  Like I need more carbs?

2. For the first time ever, we conducted a full-blown spring cleaning.  We've only lived in this house for about two years but we really needed to go through all our belongings and just get rid of stuff.  I even went through the kitchen and ended up cleaning out my spice collection.  I just removed a few odd spices that I've only used once or twice like ground allspice and Chinese five spice (I've learned I really don't like Chinese five spice).

3.  We've finally found a solution to eating dinner at home.  I was really struggling with the challenge of going grocery shopping, prepping dinner, and then cooking it.  I thought I hated all of it, but with our second week of Blue Apron, I've learned something about myself. Apparently, I don't mind cooking and cleanup all that much if someone else does the grocery shopping.  And it doesn't hurt if the food is super delicious.  Points to Blue Apron for introducing me to new foods like hominy and spring pea tips.

4. I'm looking for a few new statement necklaces.  I'm thinking about getting at least one of these:

5. I'm excited to try one of my Mother's Day's gifts: some amazing smelling bath products from Lush.  Have you even tried anything from Lush that you'd recommend?

6. After having a baby, I was excited when I started walking in February.  By March, I was starting to run a bit, too.  Unfortunately, I had to put a hold on my running progress.  I have plans to start running again, but not soon enough, because I have a 5K that I'm supposed to run this Saturday.  Although I'm not ready to run it, I am still planning on going and I'll probably walk it.  Both my husband and I are signed up, so he'll take one kid and I'll take the other.  It's a good thing we have two jogger strollers.

Have you done any spring cleaning?  Do you like going grocery shopping?  Are you doing any shopping to spruce up your wardrobe?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Free Summer Activities to do with the Kids

With Memorial Day just around the corner, I've got summer on my mind.  Here in Colorado, we try to make the most of our summer because the best summer weather usually happens between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Here's what's on our bucket list for this summer...all kid-friendly ideas.

Cruise the Farmer's Market.  Farmer's markets not only have great produce, but also prepared foods and sometimes entertainment.  Our farmer's market is frequented by lots of other families, so we often see lots of other kids and we also see alot of pets -- lots of people bring their dogs.  Great fun for kids!

Attend a cultural event.  I like to seek out different cultures for the food, but you can use these events as learning experiences to introduce your kids to the world without leaving your town.

Watch a parade.  Cultural events sometimes have parades.  Fourth of July is a great holiday to find a local parade.

Grow something.  You can plant a garden or do something simple: herbs or a few flowers in a pot.  Kids love watching things grow from a seed into a plant.

Pack a basket and go on a picnic.  If your kids are old enough, have them help choose what goes in the basket.  Pack a few fun activities (a frisbee or boomerang, etc.) and go enjoy a beautiful park in your town or city.

Spend a day at the zoo.  Check your local zoo's website and find a free day or a day with special activities.  We like to pack a lunch (to save money and to make sure we have healthy choices to eat) and save our money for a souvenir (or two).

Visit the botanic gardens.  Go on a free day -- most museums, zoos, and similar institutions usually feature a free entrance day at least once a month.

Tour a farm.  I'm really excited about doing this.  In Colorado we have many farms near us so I'm hoping to find one that allows tours so that I can introduce my son to where his food comes from.

Try an easy hike.  Once our son turned three (last summer) we asked him to hike on his own.  Prior to that we had always carried him in a backpack or put him in a jogger stroller. There were times where my husband would carry him (on the shoulders) but for the most part, he is a pretty good walker!  We keep our hikes to an hour or less.

Go camping.  Although we have an infant, we're going to try and go to a family friendly campground this summer.  Here's one I'm looking at, there may be a similar type of campground in your neck of the woods: Jellystone Park/Campground.

What are your family-friendly ideas for the summer?  Any tips on how to juggle a 4 year old and an infant when going on summer outings?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Baby & Mama Update: 5 Months!

How was your Mother's Day weekend?  Our was full of rain...and snow:
Yes, it snows in May when you live in Colorado.  The crazy thing is it snowed on Mother's Day last year, too.  Despite the snow, I had a great Mother's Day weekend, with lots of relaxing and not a whole lot of cooking (by me).  My favorite part is that my husband came home early on Friday afternoon, took care of the kids, and made dinner, too!  We got our first shipment of Blue Apron last Wednesday and hubby has volunteered to make most of the dinners delivered by Blue Apron.  He loves how easy it is to follow the directions and that we don't have to shop for all the ingredients.  Everything gets delivered in a box right to our house.  Friday night we had crispy fish tacos with english pea guacamole and pea tip salad.  I didn't even know what pea tips were until that night...

So it's time for a baby & mama update.  Somehow I missed providing you all with an update at the 4 month mark, so let's make up for some lost time!

What I'm Loving Right Now
Baby O's hair is just funny...she was born with alot of hair, but now her hair is falling out / thinning out on the sides and in the back.  Meanwhile her hair continues to grow on top and in the front (bangs) so it's starting to look a bit like a faux-hawk.  Her older brother's hair did the same thing right around the 5-6 month mark.

Everything was going great with feeding the first three months: I was exclusively breastfeeding, I stockpiled a supply of pumped milk (in case I got sick), and Baby O became such a great sleeper that we decided to stop having my husband feed with a bottle -- Baby O was only nursing at 1am and 6am, so I was getting plenty of sleep.  No need for hubby to handle any of the night feedings.

What a mistake it was giving up the bottle.  At the end of March we went in for our four-month checkup and learned that baby O was underweight, so we were asked to supplement nursing with bottle feedings.  As luck would have it, she no longer wanted to have anything to do with the bottle.  We've tried different bottle nipples.  No luck.  We have even been experimenting with feeding her breastmilk with a spoon (do you have any idea how long this takes?!) and that's been met with mixed results.

This past weekend we finally saw a glimmer of hope: we decided to move onto solids.  Baby O ate pureed banana!  Because we've been struggling with supplementing for a month, we have a referral to see a feeding consultant at our local Children's Hospital, so I hope that we get some good help/tips on how to get her to take the bottle, if it is recommended to still supplement with breastmilk or formula over solid foods.

We're still using the magical combination of swaddle, pacifier, and rock n' play.  We had intended to start transitioning her to the crib this past month but then we were overwhelmed with trying to feed Baby O.  She does like being swaddled and will often nap 2 hours in the morning, 3 hours in the afternoon, and then nighttime sleep is 8pm-8am.

We'd be more worried about Baby O's eating situation if it wasn't for the fact that she is sleeping well, and when she's awake she's very alert and happy.  She likes to stand and doesn't have much patience for sitting in her bouncy chair or swing these days.

Baby O enjoys tummy time and is using her hands more to explore her world.  She's also finally figured out how to get a few fingers in her mouth:

But she's not yet able to suck her thumb like her brother.  Here's a side-by-side comparison of both them around the 5 month mark.  It amazes me how alike they look!

Mama Update
Back in March I was starting to get out alot with Baby O in the stroller.  I was walking 3-4 miles a day, 3-4 days a week.  I even started slipping in some running!  And then when we found out my supply (breastfeeding) was running low, I stopped walking/running because I was busy trying to nurse Baby O, then offer the bottle right after feeding, and then pumping after all of that (pumping is a great way to increase your supply).  All those extra feeding activities took over our schedule.  I was also worried that maybe I increased my activity too quickly and that may have contributed to my low supply.

I would like to get back to getting active again and now that we're going to see the feeding consultant and Baby O might be eating solids soon, I'm hoping I can spend less time pumping and find time again to exercise but I may opt for easier workouts so that I don't adversely affect my supply again.

What I'm Looking Forward To
I hope Baby O learns to sit up soon.  We have her in a Bumbo for her feedings and that's working out well.  She definitely wants to be part of the action and I can't wait for her to be able to sit in a high chair when we go out to dinner at restaurants!  I'm also looking forward to her having better control with her hands so that she can pick up solids and put them in her mouth.  I've read a lot about baby-led weaning and can't wait to try it out.

Earlier Updates
Here are more baby & mama updates if you missed them...
Baby & Mama at 2 Weeks
Baby & Mama at 3 Weeks
Baby & Mama at 4 Weeks
Baby & Mama at 2 Months
Baby & Mama at 3 Months

I'm linking up with Katie on this wonderful Monday!

How was your weekend?  Did you celebrate Mother's Day weekend?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Let's Have Coffee!

Happy Friday!  Are you glad the weekend is here?  I am -- and I'm so glad you agreed to meet with me for an afternoon coffee while Baby O is taking her afternoon nap.  It's nice to be able to have an adult conversation with someone now and again when most of your week is spent at home minding the sleep-wake-feed-play schedule that is my life right now.

We would have to have coffee at my house (thanks to baby being asleep) but you wouldn't mind.  I could make you just about anything you like.  Coffee?  Cappucino?  Tea?  Sorry - I don't know how to replicate any of Starbuck's Frappucinos, but I hear that they are having a Frappucino Happy Hour every day from 3-5pm until May 10.

You would ask why I am having coffee with coconut milk in it and I would explain that I am abstaining from dairy for one week, per Baby O's pediatrician's request: we're trying to rule out allergies to dairy - for Baby O, not for me.  If she's allergic to cow's milk that could prevent her from getting enough nutrition from breastmilk.  I'd go on to explain how I've spent the last month working with our pediatrician to get more calories into Baby O because as of March 31, she has fallen off her growth curve and is not gaining weight as expected:
The personal part of this whole problem is that I've learned that I'm not making enough milk for Baby O.  Since we've been exclusively breastfeeding since she was born, my milk has been her only source of nutrients.  I'd briefly touch upon the various challenges we've battled in April: me trying every known way to increase my milk supply (without much luck) and our inability to get Baby O to take the bottle: apparently she's a boob baby.  We've tried every known bottle nipple on the market, we've tried spooning breastmilk/formula, and now we are trying solids.  Because we haven't had much luck with any of these methods, we've been referred to our local Children's Hospital to get some help from a feeding consultant.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Related to the milk supply issue, I've been so busy pumping between feedings and trying to get Baby O to take the bottle that I've pretty much stopped running.  I had made some good progress with my running in the latter part of March and all that progress has been undone.  Once I got over my disappointment (I told myself that this is just a small phase in Baby O's life), it was easier to accept that running is something I have to put on hold for a little bit longer.  A few more months won't make a difference in the long run.

To get us back on a lighter topic, I'd ask if you've seen any good movies or read any good books lately.  We recently watched Wild on DVD (Saturday at-home-date-night!), and I found the movie to be one of those rare just-as-good-as-the-book movies.  That almost never happens.  Of course, in full disclosure, I'd remind you that I am a big fan of Reese Witherspoon.  I think she is an amazing actress.

And let's not forget our favorite subject: food!  I'd ask you if you've been cooking anything delicious at home lately and you'd tell me about how you've been grilling outside because it's finally been warm enough!  I'd agree and mention that we got our first box from Blue Apron and hubby has been making dinner for us so that I can just relax with the kids at the end of my day.

You would ask what our Mother's Day plans are for the weekend.  As much as I'd like to go to brunch or dinner at a fancy restaurant, it's just not as fun with two kids under five, so I think it'll be much easier if we do a picnic, which is what we're planning on for Saturday or Sunday -- as long as the Denver weather agrees with our plans.

If we were having coffee, what would you share with me?  Any good plans for Mother's Day weekend?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pampering: Mamastyle

I have never been much of a beauty / skincare person.  For the longest time, my beauty routine has almost always been foundation, powder, mascara, and eyeliner.  At night, a good makeup remover and moisturizer at night.  That's it.

As I've gotten older, I've found myself looking for a few products now and again to help me feel pampered.  Now that I'm a mom, there's not much free time to get out to the day spa so I try to get some pampering done at home.

Now that Baby O is five months old, I've had more free time to do normal things like shower and blow dry my hair which is wonderful.  My husband has also been encouraging me to get out of the house on the weekends to go get a mani/pedi.  I recently took it one step further and ordered a few new beauty/makeup products for myself.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Motherhood Right Now

Happy Tuesday!

Some days I wake up and ask myself, What?!  Whose kids are these?!  If you had asked my twenty-something-self about kids I would have told you no way am I going to be a parent...  But here we are:

I love that parenthood means that every day is new adventure.  There are the good days and there are the bad days, and I wouldn't trade a single one for life without kids.  Here's motherhood for me right now:

Toddlers don't nap.  Big brother does not want to nap anymore.  At least that's what he insists.  He stopped napping at daycare about two months ago, but he will still nap at home on the weekends (ok, most weekends).  This past Sunday, he got up out of his bed every fifteen minutes asking if "resting time" was over.  I finally gave up and took him to the library and during the fifteen minute drive over, this happened:

Babies nap anywhere.  On the other hand, Baby O will nap anywhere, including in her carrier while we're shopping.  I love it!  I can get some steps in while I get my fashion fix.  Hooray.

I LOOOOOVE the grocery store.  I had one of those you-know-you're-a-mother-when moments when I was at the grocery store all alone this weekend.  No carseat to lug over to the shopping cart.  No toddler pulling at my arm Can I have a movie, mama?  Just me and my shopping list.  Bliss.

Our weekend "hikes" require two strollers.  Living in Colorado we have so many great places to hike.  Unfortunately, we have to currently stick to hiking where we can push our strollers...

The potty "battle" that never ends.  What is it about toddlers NOT wanting to go use the bathroom?  My son will do the potty dance all around the house and insist that he does not have to use the bathroom.  As soon as we have to go somewhere, we get in the car, and five minutes later I hear Mama, I neeeeed to go potty.

It's crazy to think that in a couple of months, when Baby O can sit up in a high chair, as she learns to eat solids, life will change again.  By that time, my toddler will be four years old and I'm sure he will change in unexpected ways and life with these two will be a completely different experience.

Is there something about your life now that you never imagined you'd be doing?  Or are you a member of the "never say never" party?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Thinking Positive in May

I can't tell you how glad I am to say goodbye to April.  It was a tough month in so many ways.  In March, I was doing so well with my fitness: walking 4-5 times a week and getting back into running.  Then we went to Baby O's four-month baby appointment and learned that she had fallen off her growth curve, and since then, everything has gone into a bit of a tailspin: my exercise has all but disappeared and my eating hasn't been so great.  I've spent the last month trying to increase my milk supply and working to transition Baby O to the bottle.  Neither has gone well, but I'll have to save the stories around those battles for another post.

I'm doing my best to shake off the frustration, so I'm setting some goals for May.  But first, I have to say happy birthday to Baby O.  She turned five months old last Friday:

May Goals

I've never defined goals publicly here on my blog, but it's something I'd like to do every month starting NOW.  I have a couple of long term goals that I'd like to achieve, too, so some of the goals I'm listing below are really part of bigger goals.

Run 2 miles x 2-3 times a week.  Post-baby, I started taking 2-4 mile walks back in early March which eventually led to sessions where I was running 2 miles + walking 2 miles.  Unfortunately, stress over my milk supply for Baby O derailed my running.  I've done what I can to increase my milk supply, so I'm ready to get back to running again.
Long-term goal: run a half-marathon in October

Eliminate added sugars.  Before I had the baby, I was really good about avoiding all refined sugars except dark chocolate, fruit, and occasional honey.  I eased up this rule after my pregnancy and thanks to all the stress in April, I've found that I've been eating alot of chocolate chip walnut cookies (there's a bakery nearby that makes the best cookies!).  For the month of May, I'm going to try and cut back to 2-3 desserts a week.
Long-term goal: get back to avoiding all refined sugars except dark chocolate, fruit, and honey.

Find a mother's helper.  I was really overwhelmed with managing two kids by myself in April.  My husband had several business trips out of town and I realized that I just can't manage the kids by myself -- it's just my personal limitation.  It took me some time to accept this, but now I have and I am currently interviewing candidates for a mother's helper position.  The next business trip my husband takes, I'll have my mother's helper over during the evening (dinner time to bedtime)
Long-term goal: find the right balance to being a mother of two so that I get ME time and am also a GREAT mom to my two little ones.  I don't know what this looks like exactly, but fewer mental breakdowns might be a good goal.

Get pampered at least once a month.  Another stress-buster for this mama.  My husband and I have agreed that on the weekends, I should sign up for a pedicure, massage, anything so that I get out of the house for an hour or two by myself.  We're pretty busy on the weekends, so I'm setting a more realistic goal to go once a month.

Research future career options.  I've been procrastinating on this one for quite some time now.  After I had my first child, I talked about finding a new career, but I went back to work in the same field (project management in information technology).  Now that I've had my second child, I'm ready to research options and, possibly, take classes in a new field.
Long-term goal: take classes that could lead to a new career

Do you set goals?  Do you have one you'd care to share?  How do you make sure that goals don't get forgotten?

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Good Week to be Home

Hooray for Friday!  Every week it amazes me how quickly the end of the week suddenly arrives.  I feel like I have my schedule under control up through somewhere in the middle of the week and then Thursday and Friday just fly by in a flash.

After a week away in North Carolina, it was really nice to be at home and back in our routine.  Highlights from the week included storytime with both kiddos, making an easy pot roast, going to the Apple store to get our slow Macbook laptop assessed, a mid-week treat to burgers, fries, and shakes, and buying a new mountain bike (an early Mother's Day present!).

This weekend, I'm looking forward to going to my son's soccer practice, trying out a new brunch place, and testing out my new bike on a ride with the entire family.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

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