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Thursday, December 31, 2009

CHRISTMAS 2009

It was a white Christmas! We got out of DC just as the Blizzard of 2009 hit the area. Although there wasn't 17 inches of snow in Pennsylvania (which is the final snow tally in our neighborhood), there was enough snow outside for K to get out and enjoy it.

Here she is outside with Grandma taking her first walk in the snow (yes, she is walking...finally). Poor girl was so bundled up she needed help from two people to make her way through 4 inches of snow. But she loved every minute of it. And she stayed toasty warm!

Christmas week was full of yummy food, family, friends, toys, and LIGHTS. K loves lights. She was constantly wandering around pointing at ceiling lights, Christmas tree lights, candles, anything with a glow and proclaiming "Yites". That is K-speak for lights (unfortunately it sounds all too similar to "ice", which is K-speak for rice).





Grandma's house was full of lights and new toys. Family friends gave my parents a host of toys for K to play with. Grandma also reintroduced K to her tupperware drawer. As you can see K was enjoying the Christmas tree lights, tupperware, and new toys during the early morning hours. It was hard to get her to sit down and eat there were so many new distractions. Sleep was hard to come-by, especially at nap times.

K was showered with wonderful Christmas gifts. She got several stacking toys, which she loves. She also got some puppets and has become quite taken with them. She even knows how to put them over her hand. So cute! Her Uncle J got her a pair of pink Converse All-Star high top tennis shoes. They are wonderful and are bound to fit within the next six month. Love them!

With at least four extra hands helping out with K, it was a peaceful and relaxing holiday week for D and me. We slept in; went out on dates; spent an afternoon out with my brother - all without a child. Although I love her to death, sometimes this mama just needs some adult conversations and some alone time with her husband.

We also had some wonderful meals with my parents and some fun playdates with my friend, BA, and her girls. We also had a wonderful dinner with Carla, John, and Luci.

Before we knew it, Christmas was over and we were on our way back to DC. Back to work and school, schedules and household responsibilities.

Our Christmas 2009 was wonderful. Full of precious moments I'm not soon to forget.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE

We have been looking for THIS hot sauce since the summer of 2007.



We used to be able to buy this "spicy hot pepper" at the local Asian grocery store. Then we were only able to buy it in Taiwan. We bought out a grocery store in Tainan during our visit in August 2007. Brought home 10 bottles in our luggage.

When D went back during the summer of 2008, he couldn't find the spicy hot pepper. And again in 2009 the spicy hot pepper could not be found. We have looked in every grocery store we find that might have it. We haven't seen a bottle of this stuff in YEARS.

That was until a few days ago...

On Saturday, my brother and I took D to the Strip District in Pittsburgh. We ate lunch at Wholey's and walked through some shops. We also checked out three Asian grocery stores before we found our Christmas miracle. Who would have thought we'd find our spicy hot pepper in Pittsburgh's Strip District?

As you can see, we bought a few bottles. You never can have enough...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SMELLS OF THE SEASON

I love Christmas time.

Love the music. Love the smells. Love the lights. Love the food. Love the parties. Love candle-light church service. Love presents. Love the decorations. Love seeing friends and family.

I just love it.

This year getting in the Christmas spirit has been a little slow-going for me. I haven't been to church in two weeks because of K's many illnesses (ear infectionS, sinus infection, and, yes, roseola). I've missed the Advent services more than I thought I would. I've missed the lighting of the candles, the readings of the Christmas story, the music, the children's program, the decorations. Simply everything.

Pandora's Christmas station and baking cookies have been my saving graces, as have all the wonderful Christmas cards we've received. Baking is one of my calming activities. With the illnesses, lack of sleep and stress of school, I have been baking up a storm.

On any given day, there is a stack of freshly baked cookies on our kitchen counter...


























Here we have: pecan tassies, chocolate cover pretzels (which I used as favors for a bridal shower I hosted a couple of weekends ago), chocolate chip cookies, and peanut-butter blossoms.

I have also made white chocolate peppermint crunch candy, molasses cut out cookies, and several loaves of bread. We're planning to assemble plates of cookies and deliver them to our neighbors later this week. I just to deliver cookies on Christmas Eve with my family so we are trying to establish a cookie-giving-away tradition of our own. We're giving the loaves of bread away as gifts, too. Nothing like a little homemade something to say "Merry Christmas" to friends and neighbors.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

DECAF COFFEE

About a week ago I bought a 1/2 pound bag of decaf coffee. It was Dunkin Donuts brand. The reason for buying said coffee was because I hosted a bridal shower on Saturday and it was an afternoon coffee (or tea, but most people drank coffee), and the bride-to-be requested decaf. Wanting to make a drink that she would drink, I went with the decaf.

A lot of coffee was consumed at said party. It snowed last Saturday so a warm cup of joe with pumpkin spice creamer and cookies and cupcakes hit the spot. Even though we drank a lot of coffee, there was some left over. I put the bag of decaf on the shelf with the rest of the coffee and tea.

D does not like decaf coffee. And that's where this story begins.

We were up early this morning. 4:43am to be exact. K was all cranky in the wee hours of morning. With the help of my great mommy skills and wonderful singing voice, I was able to get her back to sleep for another 1.5 hours. I got an extra 45 minutes of sleep. Awesome.

At 6:30 D came downstairs to make lunches for us (yes, I am spoiled by him). I was getting my stuff together, organizing K's food, and eating Cheerios out of the box for breakfast. K woke up at 6:40. I went and changed her and brought her downstairs for some milk. K was sitting on my lap drinking her milk when I asked D to make some coffee for us. He was on it.

No more than five minutes later I could smell the coffee brewing. Finally. I could not wait for my first slip. I stepped into the kitchen with my travel mug in hand ready to pour myself a big cup of joe. That's when I saw the Dunkin Donuts bag sitting on the counter.

OH.NO.

D had made a pot of decaf coffee. Decaf coffee on a Wednesday morning before 7am...

I.don't.think.so.

I sheepishly asked D if he had made the DD coffee. He said he had. That's when I broke the news to him that it was decaf coffee. Within 10 seconds, D had dumped the entire pot of coffee, had water brewing for a second pot, and had placed the bag of decaf in the trash.

And what did he have to say...

Honey, that is why we don't keep a loaded gun or decaf coffee in our house.

So this is my public confession: I will not bring decaf coffee into our house again.

Also want to give a huge shout-out to D. Not many people can have me belly laughing pre-coffee before 7am. Thanks for the morning funny.

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K update: I got the call from our nanny around 2pm this afternoon that K was running a fever of 104. I raced home. With a little bit of Motrin her fever is down to 102.7. D will be home with her tomorrow morning. I'll be home in the afternoon. United States Grandma and Grandpa arrive on Friday. They cannot come soon enough.

School: I have a final on Monday - survival analysis. And tomorrow I'm sending my general research plan to my dissertation committee. I'll be working on revisions over the holiday break.

Holidays: we received our first card today, which means I can mail my out. Yes, this is a stupid rule I adhere to: I don't send my cards out until I receive my first card.

Sad news: our wonderful nanny is moving back to France, her home country. We are working hard to find another nanny, but no one stacks up. I'm so sad to be losing our nanny.

New Drink: D made this one up... "the Mad Mayan" - 1 part Kentucky bourbon to 3 parts Kahlua. Serve chilled or room temperature. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SNOT BUBBLES

Yes, snot bubbles.

K is recovering from her second ear infection in three weeks. Last week we went to the doctor on Tuesday, were so excited to see our favorite nurse practitioner (seriously, this woman is one of my favorite people - kind, caring, takes the time to talk and answer questions, always pleasant, and so knowledgeable), and received a clean bill of health. On Wednesday K barely slept. She woke up Thursday snotty, but not too snotty, and she was a bundle of joy. By Thursday evening it was obvious that she wasn't feeling well. She didn't sleep much on Friday. I called the doctor's office at 8am on Friday. The set up an appointment for 9:15am. I successfully dressed myself and K, got a diaper bag packed, packed breakfast for both of us, found my wallet, packed it, and was out the door in half an hour (is that world record). We took the train to the appointment and were there ON TIME. Un-freaking-believable.

We were seen right away. K had a slight fever and an infected ear. No wonder sweet little girl couldn't sleep. We stopped at the pharmacy on the way home and saw our favorite pharmacist, who just happens to be named Virginia. She is so kind to K since they share the same name. Virginia the pharmacist is named after her mother, Virginia Sr. I love telling her that K is named after her grandmother. Anyways, Virginia the pharmacist filled our prescription in 5 minutes and we were on our way home.

At home K ate some lunch and took her antibiotic without complaining. We then got a call from our photographer that the prints we ordered from K's first birthday photo shoot were ready for pick up. I was SO excited for an excuse to jump in the car. I was so tired of caring around a sick baby. K and I ventured over to Capitol Hill and picked up our pictures from Elizabeth. We came home just in time for a nap. Or so I thought...

As I was putting away my keys and taking off my shoes, K decided to barf EVERYWHERE. All over her; all over me. Lovely. Just lovely. There is no easy way to clean up puke so I just took all of K's clothes off and put her in the bathtub. She loved it. While she was goofing off in the water, the phone rang. I answered it. In the two seconds I turned my head to answer the phone, K pooped in the bathtub. Lovely. I picked her out of the bath and started to drain it. K slipped on the wet bathroom floor. It hurt. She wailed. I felt terrible.

I did a quick clean of the tub. Filled it back up with water and let her play/relax a little while longer. We also brushed her teeth, which she loves. I finally got her to sleep at 3pm.

She slept until 5:30pm. D was home from work before she was awake.

By Saturday she was feeling somewhat better.

No more pukes. No more poops in the bathtub. Ear infection under control.

This is when the snot bubbles started to appear. They are just beautiful. All different shades of greens and yellows. She put on a snot bubble blowing show at the bridal shower I hosted on Saturday afternoon.

Makes me so proud.

Upon some reflection, I've realized that snot bubbles really aren't that big of a deal. They actually make me laugh.

And laughter is the best medicine, right?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

THEY SAY...

... a picture is worth a 1000 words. Here's a couple thousand words from the past few weeks.

A few shots from NYC. First is a glimpse of Lady Liberty. This was the first time I saw her. It was 7:15am. I was on the Staten Island Ferry headed to the marathon start. The second shot is of yours truly proudly posing at in front of the marathon course map and holding my race number the day before the run.
















On Thanksgiving Eve we came downstairs only to find a hawk in our backyard. Yes, a HAWK in our backyard in Washington DC. It was incredible.


We hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year. My mom, dad, and grandmother joined us. Here K is loading the dishwasher with her grandmother (notice their matching outfits!). In the other picture she's playing with her grandfather. The two of them are the best of friends.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

GETTING STARTED EARLY

One nice thing about not having to nurse K is that I can have a glass of wine before putting her to bed. Last night we hung out with friends and I enjoyed a glass of wine. We came home soon after. I gave K a quick bath, snuggled with her as she had her milk, and then put her to bed. Not once thinking about how the wine was concentrating itself in my milk. The same milk my baby would drink before going to sleep.

I really enjoyed my glass of wine.

K is taking a bath right now. I'm baking some bread and washing diapers. A glass of wine seems to be just what the doctor ordered.

So I'm having one. And enjoying every sip.

This evening we are enjoying a medium dry Riesling by Polka dot. It's pretty good for the price. It tastes like granny smith apples to me and reminds me of fall. It would be perfect with Thanksgiving dinner or a warm apple crisp.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NOTES TO SELF

Dear me --

Here is a reminder of all that needs to be done today. And everything you've already accomplished.
Go get 'em...


Friday, November 20, 2009

just.like.that.

It was over.

Finished.

Never to be done again.

K is done nursing. I have been stressing for weeks over how I was going to wean her. She was only nursing twice a day - morning and night - but she seemed so in to it. Bedtime nursing was part of her routine. Would she go to bed without her nightly fix?

Then last Saturday night she just stopped. We sat down after her bath and she refused to nurse. Her nose was a little stuffy and she was fighting an ear infection, but she'd been nursing through it. I was shocked when she just flat out refused me. To calm her crying and her repeated signing* for milk, I got a bottle out, warmed some soy milk, and gave it to her. She downed the bottle, handed it to me, put her head on my shoulder and fell asleep. I put her in her crib.

And that was that.

She's officially weaned.

I was slightly traumatized by the whole situation. My baby is making decisions for herself; expressing who she is and what she wants and doesn't want. She was fully satisfied holding the bottle by herself. She is becoming little miss independent.

I'm sad that nursing her is over. But I'm also so happy. Nursing is a blessing and a curse. It is healthy and a wonderful bonding experience, but when you're the only one who can do it it can be overwhelming (and painful, especially at the beginning and when those little teeth come in). I didn't think I would enjoy nursing K as much as I did. And I'm sad that she brought it to an abrupt close. I wasn't prepared. She was in control; not me.

Thankfully I have the emotional capacity to handle this transition and to deal with it. Maybe it's better this way... it was easy on her (but not on poor me).

K is 100% on soy milk these days. And she still likes to cuddle in the morning, before naps, and at bedtime. Cuddling makes me very happy. I'll take her laying on my chest, pulling my hair, and drinking her milk any day.

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*signing - we have been using sign language with K for several months now. And it is wonderful. She lets us know when she wants "milk" and "more". She can also sign for "all done" and is quickly picking up on "please", which we have taught her so she stops whining/screaming when she wants something out of her reach.

1 year check-up: K went in for her well check at 13 months. Little girl is still really little - weighing in at 17 lbs 4 oz. This puts her in the 5th percentile for weight. She's going to be sitting backwards in her carseat for a long time. Otherwise she is healthy and developing nicely. She did have an ear infection diagnosed at her well check and is on some antibiotics. Her "fang" teeth and molars are all coming in right now. She's had a lot of Tylenol recently.

REMINDER

Saturday, November 7, 2009

26.2

miles.

One city; five boroughs.

4:23:15.

10:02 pace per mile.

43,000 finishers.

Awesome fan support.

One of the best days of my life.

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My NYC marathon was a dream come true. It was without a doubt one of the best days of my life. At the end of the race my face hurt from smiling so much. The race starts on Staten Island. I took the ferry from Manhattan - got from great Statue of Liberty photos. The staging area before the race was a zoo. Seriously it was crazy. And it was wet and muddy. I ended up sitting on a concrete slab for an hour before the race. I ate and drank so much prior to racing - a bagel (my second of the day), two bottles of water, a Powerbar, and some sugary fruit snacks - that I ended up using the porta-potty FOUR times before getting to the start area. Thankfully I remembered to take my own toilet paper because the porta-potties ran out early on in the morning.

There were no fans the first two miles of the race because we were on the bridge, but right at mile two we crossed into Brooklyn and the crowd went crazy. There were fans lining the street for the next 12 miles. It was unbelievable. So much fun!

My favorite sign read: "your feet hurt because you are kicking so much ass."

I love the woman who made this sign.

The first half of the race takes place in Brooklyn. After that you cross into Queens for a few miles. At mile 15 you get on the Queensboro Bridge and it is a bitch. It's mostly uphill. You're running on the lower deck so it is dark and narrow. And there are NO FANS. The exit to the bridge is a steep downhill, but you're finally in Manhattan and the crowd was incredible. Seriously, there were people everywhere.

I finally saw D at mile 18 right after refueling on a goo pack and washing off with a couple of sponges. The sponges were one of the highlights of the run for me. It felt so good to get the salt off of my face and hands. It was rejuvenating! I saw D again around mile 22 and this time he ran with me. We ran together down 5th Ave and into Central Park. The energy from the crowd along 5th Ave was amazing and once you entered the park the energy was almost more than I could handle. I was fighting back tears. So.exciting. So.close.to.being.finished.

At mile 25 D stopped running with me. I had 1.2 miles left and I ran like the wind (I completed the last mile in 9:30). Between the crowds, music, and signs of encouragement ("One mile to go!!"), I wasn't feeling any pain. I was just enjoying the moment. By mile 25 I realized that I was going to accomplish my goal of finishing the race in under 4:30. Even if I had to walk to remaining mile, I would finish faster than I ever had before. It felt so good.

The last mile is a blur... there were cameras and big screen TVs and then the sign that said "800 meters to go" and then "400 meters to go" and then I saw the finish line. I ran strong and steady across the finish line and completely forgot to stop my watch. Crap... what was my final time?

After the finish, I got my medal, and then my warm wrap. Then we were herded like cattle - getting food and drinks along the way. Luckily I had my cell phone with me and was able to talk to D and my dad. My dad had been tracking me online so I finally knew my my finish time was and my pace per mile. It felt so good to KNOW I was under the 4:30 mark.

D and finally reconnected at Central Park West and 72nd Street. We went and showered and then headed to the bus station for home. I was a somewhat uncomfortable ride home for me and I didn't have enough water, but still I felt so good.

Completed the NYC Marathon. Check!

Friday, October 30, 2009

PACKING LIST

They say in order not to forget anything on raceday you should make a list. Fearing that I'll forget something tomorrow morning when we leave home at 6:30am to go to New York for THE MARATHON, I've decided to make such a list. These are the items I will be taking with me...

1. shoes - yellow and grey Nikes
2. socks - my little white ones (yes, they'll get dirty, but they are my tried and true long distance run socks. I love them)
3. pants - this year I'll be wearing my Lucy capri running tights
4. purple, white, yellow and black striped top
5. sports bra
6. three pony tail holder - two for the little braids; one for the actual pony tail
7. warm clothes to wear at the start - including hat and gloves
8. warm clothes to wear home
9. body glide - to prevent chafing
10. camera
11. food - gummy bears, fruit snacks, power bars, oranges
12. drinks - water, gatorade, and propel
13. contacts
14. photo ID and registration form
15. toothbrush and toothpaste
16. deodorant
17. hair brush
18. cash - for cab to get to the ferry on time
19. thank you gifts for our host - homemade lemon bread and wine
20. bus tickets
21. cell phone and charger
22. homework - to do on the bus

Am I forgetting anything?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

BIRTHDAY CAKE

For K's 1st birthday, I channeled Martha Stewart.


The big cake was vegan carrot with a non-vegan cream-cheese icing.

K's cake was vegan carrot with a soy milk, powdered sugar glaze. It was a huge success. She had no interest in smashing the cake. Instead, she channeled her inner princess and ate bits and pieces from the palm of her Papa's hand.

CONFESSIONS

of a mother of a ONE YEAR OLD.

On October 7th, and then again on the 10th, we celebrated K's 1st birthday. What a milestone. She's one; we made it through the first year. Cheers to all of us...

When I found out I was pregnant in January of 2008, I was in shock. I wasn't ready to be a mum. I had just started working on my PhD; I had comprehensive exam to take; I wanted to run the NYC marathon; I didn't want to be pregnant in DC during the summer. My list of excuses was a mile long. I wasn't ready...or so I thought. The night before I actually confirmed I was pregnant, I sat at home alone and decided I wasn't going to sleep until I was *ok* with the idea of becoming a mum. Somehow I found some peace deep down and went to sleep.

Looking back at how c-r-a-z-y I was that night (and the following when I finally bought a pregnancy test and told D he was to be a papa), I can now laugh. If I only knew then what I know now...

I love being a mum. The timing of K's birth was perfect. I cannot imagine or remember my life without her. Watching her grow over the course of this first year has been nothing short of miraculous. Watching D with his baby girl brings a smile to my face. I love her little hand inside of his and I love seeing him pick out outfits for her (personal fav - flare jeans, green flower top, and a hippy headband!). Watching my parents become grandparents is a hoot. K squeals going up the steps for days after my father leaves because he has chased her SO MANY times. And my mum, well, she's the best. Naming K after her was the best decision we could have made.

Being a parent is hard freaking work. Six hours of uninterrupted sleep is a blessing. Getting up at 5am to have some *me* time is hard (especially when it's so stinking dark outside). Trying to make decisions about food, sleep, discipline, hygiene, and daily routines is draining. And the endless amount of laundry is, well, endless.

But I love it.

And I love her.

One year ago...


And today... she's off on her own - curious about the world around her and extremely adventurous and independent.


What a difference in ONE YEAR.

She's mobile (not walking on her feet; only on her knees); she's verbal (no words; just lots of grunts, squeals, screams, and hand gestures); she's energetic (like the little bunny that keeps going and going and going - especially when the music is playing and she's in a dancing mood); she's temperamental (lots of pounding her hands and pulling on my pants); she's silly (lots of kissing noises, tongue twirling, laughing, mischievous glances); and she's just lovable (if you say 'can I have a hug?', you're likely to get one - sometimes with a big wet kiss).

A year ago I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how we'd adjust to being a family. I had no idea how to be a mum or I wanted to be a mum in the first place.

BUT I have learned to be a mum. And we have adjusted to being a family of three. Things have changed, but I passed my comps, am working on my dissertation, and am running the NYC marathon in two weeks! I'm overjoyed and couldn't imagine a better role than being a mother and wife.

A year ago I had no idea that I could fall so deeply in love with a little person. No idea that I could love my husband even more.

BUT I have. K, you are my pumpkin. My little angel. And such a joy. And D, I love you more today than I did yesterday. You're a great father and a kind husband.

A year ago, I would have never guessed that I'd be saying this...

I wouldn't change a thing. The timing of everything was just right (minus the being pregnant in DC over the summer!!). I am so humbled and overjoyed at being a mum and wife.

Happy birthday, little pumpkin. I love you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ONE SICK MAMA

It's official: I have the flu.

After three days with a fever, soar throat, clogged ears, and a headache, I finally made my way up to the doctor this morning (special thanks to D for taking the morning off and hanging with the K - they enjoyed mushroom, pea, artichoke empanadas for breakfast!). And it is confirmed I have the flu. My rapid strep test came back negative and I do not have an ear infection (which I was sure I had). I do have the flu.

I got a written note/excuse from school for the remainder of the week. I have an exam tomorrow that I haven't been able to think about, let alone study for. They don't want me back on campus until next Monday because I have germs and they want me to get completely well.

Being a mom and being sick SUCKS. My parents were here over the weekend so thankfully I had two extra sets of hands to help out. Sunday morning D got to sleep in while I vegged on the couch while my mum and dad played with the K. Sunday afternoon D and K went crawling all over our street (and many of the front steps of our neighbors); I slept. I got K to bed on Sunday night and was asleep soon afterwards. Monday I stayed home (my high temperature for the day was 103.5); K went to her nanny share. Last night we had a rough night. I went to bed with a temperature of 102.7. K woke up SCREAMING at 1am. D went in to calm her down and she wanted nothing to do with him. I finally went in and she was all "let's snuggle", but not at all in the mood to sleep. I tried letting her cry herself to sleep, rocking her, patting her, walking with her, etc... Nothing worked. We were up until 3am together. She finally went to sleep around 3am and slept until after 7. A two hour interruption in my sleep while sick was not what I wanted. My fever was down a little this morning, but my throat is still hurting A LOT.

D went to work around 1pm. I'm home with an active 1 YEAR OLD (we'll save that story for another post), who just wants my attention. She wants to be chased and carried, fed and danced with. And I just don't have it in me. I'm counting down the minutes to nap time and the hours until D gets home.

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Running: "they" say you shouldn't do any training runs while running a fever. I haven't been out on the road since last Thursday (missed a 13 mile run over the weekend). I'm a little nervous about the impact this will have on my marathon run. Here's hoping I can get back out there by Thursday.

Monday, October 5, 2009

DEHYDRATION

They say that if you're running more than a 10K you need to think about nutrition during your training runs and event. I learned this is true the hard way...

My first endurance event was an Olympic distance triathlon, which I trained for with Team In Training. During the training program we learned a lot about proper nutrition and hydration. Unfortunately during my triathlon I just couldn't get myself to eat and I barely drank during the entire event. And my body was not too happy about it. I was so sick the day of and after the race that I could barely get myself out of bed. I thought I had learned my lesson...

During my first marathon, I ate and drank throughout the race and felt great at the finish. My second marathon...not so much. I drank well throughout the race, but ate poorly. I barely finished. And I felt like crap for days afterwards.

By now... during the training for my third marathon, you think I would know about what my body needs. But this weekend, I realized I don't know my body as well as I thought. I had my last 20+ mile run on Saturday. And I ran hard. I ran my normal 21 mile loop and completed it 5 minutes faster than I did two weeks ago. Yeah me! I drank well during the run - refilled at my normal spots. And I ate well, too. Gummy bears and power bars.

What I didn't factor into my nutrition equation was that I didn't drink much before heading out on my run. I didn't start out hydrated. I was dehydrated before I even began running.

STUPID.STUPID.STUPID.

I felt great during the run, but suffered the consequences of dehydration afterwards. I got home from my run in time to feed K dinner and shower before she went to sleep. I put her to bed and proceeded to pass out for about 2 and a 1/2 hours before getting up to eat dinner, drink some water, and brush my teeth before heading back to bed. Thankfully I woke up Sunday morning feeling much better. Thank. you.God.

I did learn a HUGE lesson about my body and the need to pre-hydrate before a big race. I will take all my hard-learned knowledge with me to NYC in 27 days.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

MISSING

Orange tabby cat.

~14 pounds.

Answers to the name "Chai".

Last seen on Friday morning at home.

Likes tuna juice, sitting on window ledges, meowing loudly, and drinking water out of leaking faucets.

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Seriously, the cat is gone. We don't know if/when he got out of the house. My fear is he's holed up somewhere decaying. D thinks this is unlikely, as we have checked everywhere. Neither of us remember him sneaking out of the house, and let's be honest that cat is not stealth.

We're looking for some conclusion/closure.

SNACKS

Lately one of the common phrases heard in our house is:

"We have no snacking food."

It is true. We do a freaking amazing (I'm not joking) job of planning our weekly menu, never buying our lunches, and not wasting food. But we rarely have snacking foods in the house. I know snacking can be bad for you, but sometimes you need a freaking snack. We usually don't eat dinner until 8:30pm. So if we eat lunch at noon or even 1pm, it's a L-O-N-G time between lunch and dinner. A snack is necessary.

The snacks we've had around lately include: pretzels, chips and salsa, and homemade bread. These are great snacks, but they aren't cutting it. I need something a little more substantial (so I don't eat an entire bag of pretzels), and usually I want something on the sweeter side.

This week I've decided to make some seasonal breads - banana, pumpkin, and zucchini - to see if they can meet our snacking needs. Only the banana bread is done as of now, and it has been some good snacking (so good I'm not sure I'm hungry for dinner). If all goes well, I may start baking more breads over the weekend to serve as weekday snacks.

Any suggestions for semi-nutritious snacking foods?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

THE MORNING ROUTINE...

...of a wife, mama, PhD student, and marathon runner.

5:00am: alarm goes off

5:10am: out the door for a 3.5-4 mile run

6:00am: in the shower (downstairs - for fear of waking the baby by showering upstairs)

6:15: in the kitchen - brewing coffee (HIGH priority), assembling lunches (D usually has everything made the night before; I just have to put it in tupperware), preparing breakfast, packing K's lunch in a cooler which then goes in her stroller. All of this is done in my towel (cannot afford the extra trip upstairs -- too much time and no need to make an extra pass by K's room).

6:30: upstairs to get dressed.

6:30: average time K is up and ready to nurse

6:45: change K's diaper, get her dressed for the day, and pack extra diapers in her bag.

7:00: downstairs - place K's diaper bag at door (so it is not forgotten) and begin feeding her breakfast.

7:10: upstairs to dry hair and finish getting dressed

7:20: microwave oatmeal or toast my toast

7:28: kiss K and D good-bye

7:30: in car and on the way

7:50: on beltway to get to 95N. Must have breakfast (which I do eat in the car) finished because I cannot drive 75+ miles per hour and eat at the same time

8:30: at school ready to start the day!

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Getting up and exercising before leaving for the day is HARD. But I feel so good afterwards and it makes my afternoons so pleasant. I'm not fretting over when and how I'm going to get a run in. I'm looking forward to the time change in November - hopefully it won't be as dark when I hit the pavement at 5:10am.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

MY HOME AWAY FROM HOME

For the past two years I have been a nomad at school. I haven't had my own desk, my own computer, or my own work area. I've had a locker; my small space where I could keep an extra pencil or store my jacket in the winter time. It's been hard. I've worked in computer labs and the library, but not having a designated spot to work has made getting work accomplished hard.

That has all changed.

I joined a research group over the summer. This is the group I work for and will be doing my dissertation research with. I really like all the members of my research group. And I really like the fact that they have provided me with a desk, a computer, book shelves, and an office. I share my office with another grad student. My officemate is extremely nice and we are making the most of our little space in the med school.

Not only do I have an office, but our little suite of offices is filled with other grad students and research staff. And we have a lunch room complete with refrigerator, microwave, silverware, water filter, and toaster oven. It is a little slice of paradise to me.

NEEDED: cabinet locks

Guess who can open the kitchen cabinets all by herself?


Sunday, September 27, 2009

FAVORITE PANTS

Several months ago a friend of mine gave me a TON of hand-me-down clothes. At the time they looked huge; K would never fit into clothes that big. But she's grown and all those BIG clothes are starting to fit. The moment I took these pants out of the bag, I was in love with them...

Seriously, how could you not love velor vertical striped pants in pink, brown and blue?

K wore these pants with a pink top in the AM and a blue top in the PM (she usually requires a change after lunch). The blue top with the pants and her new robeez looked especially retro.

I.loved.it.

She'll be wearing these pants as frequently as possible until they fit no more.

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New shoes: purchased at the consignment store on Capitol Hill, my new favorite place to shop.

Sleep: didn't get too much of it last night. K was up from midnight to 3am and then up again for the day at 5:30. I'm heading to bed as soon as we finish eating dinner.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

THAT'S A BIG BABY

K is a peanut. She's weighing in at about 17 pounds WITH a diaper on these days. She is petite.

When I heard that a woman in Indonesia gave birth to a 19 pound baby a couple of days ago, I nearly fell out of my chair. There are times when carrying K around is hard work. I cannot imagine carrying a baby 2 pounds heavier without neck control. Crazy...

Not surprisingly, the baby's mother had gestational diabetes. It was untreated. (shocker)

In a clip from the TODAY SHOW, Al Roker made a funny when he said that the big baby looked at the little (read: normal sized newborn) baby lying beside him all swaddled up and thought, "Mmmm...burrito. Must get you in my belly!"

Also in today's news... NPR did a segment on Pittsburgh (host of the G-20 summit) this morning. The story painted the city in a really positive light. At the end of the segment a woman named Kate Bensen was interviewed. I think I went to high school with her (she was my brother's year and valedictorian of his class). The segment is worth listening to/reading.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

MY LITTLE DANCING MACHINE

K loves to dance.

Before she was on-the-move, she enjoyed music. Her favorite CD is by Elizabeth Mitchell and is all about birdies. Track #4 is a real crowd pleaser. While on vacation last month, we enjoyed watching K crawl over to the little iPod speaker set. It was there, in front of the speakers, that she found her groove. The little girl will sit on her knees and bounce up and down in time with the music. She's quite good at finding the beat. And the girl will dance to anything - from her singing nursery rhyme book to Aqueduct.

This evening she was overly tired (no afternoon nap) and was cranky about everything. D and I were hanging out with her in our room. She was really clingy - pretty much had to be within touching distance of one of us - until she heard the music (being played on the computer in the office). She crawled her little self to the doorway of the office, stopped, got up on her knees, and found the beat. She's even added a little shoulder shake to her dancing routine (a nice complement to her bouncing up and down). It is so stinking cute.

We are trying to capture her dancing on video, but it harder than one would think. Somehow turning the camera on translates into "stop dancing NOW". Hopefully we'll get some footage to share with folks in the days to come.

And here's hoping she keeps dancing and gets into Juilliard!

DEAR BLOG,

Yes, I have neglected you. My hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly to do lists are so long these days. I have every intention of writing; of giving you the attention you deserve. But the hours slip by and the days are a blur. Before I know it the week is over and another is about to begin. Could you tell me where August went? I seemed to have missed it (and the beginning of September) entirely. I have a list of topics I hope to blog about - so much has happened, is happening, and about to happen. Plus, I've witnessed some thought-provoking events during the past few weeks that I'd like to share through you to my readership.

You do deserve my attention. Here's to giving you your due time four times each week...

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UPDATES:

School is now in full swing. I'm taking just one class this semester, but it is kicking my behind. The weekly homework assignments are time consuming. After a long day of working, momming, wifing, and marathon training sitting down to do a couple of hours of regression analysis is not my idea of a good time. I can't wait for the class to be over; only four more homework assignments and a data analysis project to go...

Research for my dissertation is also underway. This has been a HUGE time suck. My adviser is hardcore (love her and really appreciate her attention and mentoring of me). I have due dates for everything and weekly meetings. At this point I have three specific aims ironed out and a handful of hypotheses. I have to have a methodological framework turned in by Tuesday. HOLY SMOKES. Then I'm going to meet with the other key members of my committee. After I get their input I'll put my general research plan together and submit it. Supposedly getting this plan through the Graduate Program Committee is the hardest and most time-consuming step of the process. Here's to getting it approved the FIRST time through.

K is growing my leaps and bounds. She got her first pair of walking shoes yesterday (she's still NOT walking, but is close; we're going to practice wearing shoes like a big girl when we leave the house). We spent some time at the Capitol Hill consignment store, Monkey's Uncle, yesterday. Many good finds were found. We are also planning K's first birthday party. Can you believe it? My baby is about to turn one? We're doing a birthday brunch with family and a few friends the weekend after her birth day. We're also having family pictures taken as a birthday gift for her.

I'm hoping to have the K weened by Thanksgiving. She has an allergy test in early November. We'll confirm then if she has a milk allergy. Assuming she doesn't we're going to hit the store bought ORGANIC milk hard. I'm counting the days until I get to put my pump away permanently.

Marathon training is also in full swing. I have two long runs - an 18 miler and a 20ish miler - under my belt. I'm looking to do another 20 miler today (thank God for the fall-like temperatures and low humidity). Then I have just two long runs - 20 and 15 miles, respectively - before the race. I've really enjoyed training this time around. The "ME" time is a valuable gift.

To do today: laundry, changing bed sheets, making baby food (she's eating SO much these days keeping up is hard), hanging the K letters on the wall of her room, ironing, and running 20 miles. I also need to do some school work/reading. Better get started...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

CRUNCHY URBAN MAMA















Yup...these are my reusable diapers drying on my ghetto laundry lines. I tied string to each side of the fence in our backyard. Once the diapers and liners were pinned on the lines nearly touched the ground (yes, we need to mow our yard/city plot). I don't think D liked my shoddy clothes lines (I needed two for all the diapers), but I loved it. It is nice not using the dryer and a little sun is good for those white liners.

Friday, August 28, 2009

BEACH TRIP

K,

Two weeks ago we went on our first family vacation together. We went to Bethany Beach, DE for a week of relaxing at beach. You had so much fun; so much that you didn't want to nap during the day or sleep at night time. And considering you didn't sleep a lot you were extremely pleasant. Several mornings you were up around 5am, refusing to go back to bed. Daddy and I took turns sleeping in and getting up with you. One morning you were up particularly early (before 5). Not wanting to wake the entire house before the sun was up, we went down to the beach and watched the sun rise. It was beautiful.


Later that same day we saw several dolphins swimming in the ocean. Unfortunately, I didn't catch them on film.

To say that you enjoyed yourself at the beach would be an understatement. You freaking loved it. You crawled all over the beach - through hot dry sand, in the wet sand, and right into the ocean. We had to hold you back in the water because the surf was a little too rough for you. Here you are just crawling around; exploring the big world around you.


And here you are with Mama and again with Papa enjoying the ocean.















You bring us such delight!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

TED KENNEDY

The news of Ted Kennedy's death is everywhere. People can't stop talking about the impact he made in the Senate or his legacy. I'm not about to be one of those people, but I do have a story to tell about Ted Kennedy...

Political celebrity sitings in DC are common. However, I'm never at the right place at the right time to see the celebrities of DC. The closest I've gotten to someone famous is motorcade. (Oh...and the time I passed Condi Rice running along the Potomac one early Friday morning.)

Another time I was out running on Capitol Hill early in the morning - I'm talking before the sun was up. When I was triathlon training, I used to leave my house around 5:45am two mornings a week for a 3-4 mile run. I timed my runs precisely so that I got out onto Pennsylvania Ave SE right as the Marines were beginning their run. This was for safety purposes. I didn't like running in the dark by myself. Tagging behind the Marines made me feel safe.

One cold morning I was huffing and puffing around the Hill when I was greeted by an elderly man in shorts, a hoodie, and tube socks standing on the corner by the Senate office buildings. He said something along the lines of "you're looking strong; keep it up" to me. And I said thank you in return and kept running. A few steps later it dawned on me that: 1) he was important judging from the security force in his presence; 2) he acted like a professional politician - cheering me on with a smile on his face as if I were able to cast a vote for him right then and there; and 3) he looked SO familiar. It wasn't until a few hours later when I saw HIM on CNN that I realized I had bumped into Ted Kennedy that morning. For the record, he is MUCH shorter than I expected him to be. And he was extremely friendly and chatty at 5:45am.

Without even realizing it, I got some encouragement and praise from Ted Kennedy himself early one morning on Capitol Hill before the sun came up.

Monday, August 24, 2009

VACATIONS

August was a month of vacations for us. At the beginning of the month, D and I split up. He traveled to the other side of the world; I drove four short hours to Pennsylvania.

D's family lives in Taiwan. Last year he traveled to Taiwan without me because I was seven and a half months pregnant and in no mood to sit on a plane for 14 hours straight. I was also fearful of going into labor while abroad and needing a translator to help me through labor. This year K and I stayed home for two simple reasons: 1) I don't believe her first trip on an airplane should be the 14 hour trip across the Pacific Ocean. We need to fly to Florida or even California first to see how she does at 30,000 feet before trekking across the globe. And 2) she hasn't had several important vaccinations yet, specifically her MMR. And measles are still endemic in parts of Southeast Asia. The slight possibility of her being exposed to measles abroad was enough to keep us both home.

So K and I went to Pennsylvania for a L-O-N-G weekend. We visited with United States Grandma and Grandpa while D visited with his mom, aka Taiwan Grandma. Our trip to PA was wonderful. Grandma and Grandpa had a lot of fun with the K. Much time was spent playing in Grandma's tupperware drawer. Grandpa borrowed a kiddy pool from a neighbor and K had several pool parties. She also played in the sprinkler for the first time. My father started a new "game" with K... when I'd carry her up the stairs he'd follow along behind me yelling, "I'm gonna' get you!" K thought it was SO FUNNY. She's squeal (as loudly as possible) and reach out to grab him. Upon returning home she's start to get excited as we walked up the steps only to realize no one was there chasing her. She'd get really disappointed.

On our way to PA, I ran into a friend from college at a rest stop on the PA Turnpike. We met up two days later and went over to visit Carla and Luci. We had a wonderful breakfast together - Car made some amazing apple cream cheese stuffed french toast! Also during our Pittsburgh visit, K and I attended Elizabeth's 9th birthday party - Disney World themed party. And on Sunday we had lunch with K's Great Grandma and Grandma Nancy, my grandmother's good friend.

All in all it was a delightful trip. Traveling four hours by car with an infant is a little rough. Prior to leaving DC I spent $14 on a mirror so I could see K throughout the carride. Best $14 spent in a LONG time. We've also learned that K's CD with songs about birdies always puts a smile on her face. Seriously the girl will be screaming in the back seat, we'll turn the bird CD on (song #4 is a favorite), and she'll smile and dance.

D returned from Taiwan two days after we got home. And the next day we turned around and drove to Bethany Beach for vacation with friends. It was such a fun week.

K loved the sand and loved the ocean. She loved buckets full of ocean water. And she loved eating seashells. D and I got a chance to do some relaxing. I actually read a book for fun (did a little school work as well). We went out for coffee in the mornings and ate lots of seafood. It was delightful.

We didn't do a lot of sleeping. K slept in a pack 'n play in our room and that didn't go over too well. She'd be sound asleep each night and the slightest noise (like opening the door or tip-toeing into bed) would wake her up. A few nights we were up for a couple of hours with her. And on nights when she didn't wake up, she'd be up for the day around 5am. Some mornings D would sleep in and I would take K out for a walk or a trip to the playground. Other mornings I'd sleep in. We both took naps in the afternoon.

It was a great family vacation. And I would go back to Bethany Beach in a heartbeat. The beach is beautiful, the people are nice, it is a quiet beach community, and there is good seafood and good coffee. We hope to go back next summer. And the summer after that and the summer after that and the summer after that...

Pictures of our trips will be coming soon. Our new camera card reader should arrive either today or tomorrow.

THE END OF SUMMER

Summer is officially over. Today was the first day of school (thankfully I'm only taking one class this semester). The past few months have gone by so quickly. We've been really busy during the last few weeks of summer...

-- D traveled to Taiwan to visit his mother and brother.

-- I traveled with K to Pittsburgh.

-- We spent last week at the beach with friends.

-- Marathon training continues.

-- I have selected a dissertation topic and am aiming to write my general research plan in the next six weeks.

-- K is growing by leaps and bounds and is doing new things every day.

In an attempt to organize all of the events of the past few weeks, I'm going to devote my next posts to vacations, school, marathon training, new things at our house, and K.

Stay tuned...

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Bummer: our card reader for our camera is broken so I cannot download pictures from my camera to the computer. Pictures of the past few weeks will be not be available for a few more days.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

DOMESTIC BLISS

I love to bake, but my no eggs, nuts, and dairy diet has put a hamper on my baking. You can make a fantastic brownie substituting applesauce for eggs, but applesauce oatmeal cookies simply don't cut it. I gave up all things K might be allergic to the first Monday in February and we haven't had a bloody diaper or a sign of an allergy since. PTL*.

At K's last doctor's appointment, I talked with our pediatrician about adding eggs back into my diet. I'm doing just fine without eggs (though an egg sandwich with D on a Saturday morning would be delightful), but I want K to get a flu shot in the fall and she can't if she's allergic to eggs. I figured I'd add eggs back into my diet and hope there's not a problem. If she is fine, then we'll go for the flu shot in the fall. The doctor thought my plan was sound so last week I slowly started to add eggs back into my diet. Wanting to ease back into egg-eating, I decided I'd start using eggs in baked goods. This afternoon I made a batch of blueberry muffins with fresh blueberries. They were delightful.


Recipe: 6 T oil, 1 1/2 C sugar. Cream. Add 2 eggs. Add 1/2 t salt, 2 t baking soda and 2 C flour. Mix in 1/2 C milk (rice milk). Fold in 1 pint blueberries. Sprinkle sugar on top of muffins before placing them in the oven. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Delicious.

Also on the domestic front, our new sofa arrived today. It is wonderful. It fits perfectly in our living room and is considerably longer than our old one (which is a really good thing). We just need to purchase a new area rug, another arm chair, and some throw pillows and our newly decorated living room will be complete. For now, we're enjoying our new sofa, which I am sitting on right now. So comfortable.


Pictured here is our old sofa in the foreground and the new one in the background. As you can see our old one was pretty beat up and rough around the edges. The new sofa has nice clean lines and the color blends wonderfully with our pussy willow painting on the wall. And, yes, that is K in the background banging on the coffee table. She's proudly wearing her Hawaiian print halter top and yellow diaper. So.stinking.cute.

We moved our old sofa to our basement. Dad, you now have somewhere to sit when you come to visit. We're looking for a footrest just for you.

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* PTL - short for "praise the lord"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

LOVIN' IT

K loves water. Loves the pool, loves the bathtub, loves pots and bowls filled with water, loves washing her hands, loves when the dishwasher is a little wet, loves playing with a bottle and spilling water all over herself. Seriously, the girl can't get enough of the H20.

On Thursday I took K and my mom to one of DC's spray parks. These parks are great. There are fountains to run/crawl through, puddles to splash in, dripping water to grab, and wet leaves to put in your mouth (gross, I know!).

K LOVES the spray park. Here she is crawling around (never letting those knees touch the rough ground) one of the fountains. Just gotta' love the cute little bum. Also love the swimmy suit and sun hat.


HALF-WAY

At 7:10 yesterday morning I set off for my 13 mile training run. Ah...conquering the half-marathon is always a big deal for me. It means two very important things... 1) I'm capable of running 13 miles and 2) I only need to increase my training runs by seven miles before the marathon. My first of three 20 mile training runs is a month from now. I think I'll be ready...

Yesterday's run was brutal. When I left my house it was overcast, but hot. It was in the mid-70s and VERY humid. I broke a sweat before completing the first mile. The sun stayed behind the clouds until I ran out of Rock Creek Park and onto the sidewalk along the Potomac River. Obviously as soon as there were no trees overhead and no shade anywhere in sight the sun came out. Miles six through eight were hard. When I reached the far end of the Memorial Bridge (in Virginia right in front of Arlington Cemetery) I decided to take a quick break and regroup. I walked for about five minute sipping on water and tried to motivate myself. Only six miles left; only six miles left; only an hour more of running; only an hour more of running. I ended up making a slight detour on my way home, running into Georgetown and through Rose Park. Here I was able to get some extra water at a fountain and refill my water bottle.

The run back through Rock Creek Park wasn't too bad. I think I'm used to the course and know what to expect - in terms of hills and lonely spots. Unfortunately my iPod stopped working around mile nine. The last four miles were a little boring without music and the last song I listened to was repeating over and over in my mind. Slightly annoying. Finishing the last four miles without music was an accomplishment unto itself.

After the run, I walked about four extra blocks home. K and my mom were waiting for me on the front porch. K is in the midst of some serious separation anxiety. As soon as she saw me she only wanted to be with me. Unfortunately I was SOAKING wet with sweat and didn't want to pick her up. So my mom held her for the next 15 minutes as I showered. And she screamed the entire time. It was the single-most UN-relaxing way to recover from a long run. I rushed through my shower, wrapped a towel around me, and didn't even take the time to fully dry off before I picked her up. It was another two hours before she went down for a second nap and I was able to regroup from my run.

In total, the run took about 2 hours 15 minutes. I ran for all but five minutes of this time, which is great. It was a great training run. I know that if I can run 13 miles in the sticky humid heat of DC in July, I will have no trouble in NY in November. Yeah!

This coming Friday I'm going to do a 15 mile run. I'm doing things a little out of order... this week should be a 10 mile maintenance run, but I will have free babysitting this weekend (from my parents). So I'm going to take advantage of that and get my long run in now. Then I'll have two weeks of maintenance runs (10 and 12 miles each) before I head out on a 18 mile run towards the end of August. Sounds like a plan. Here's hoping it starts to feel like fall in early September...

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Today: resting my legs. Later this afternoon am going wedding dress shopping with a friend.

Tomorrow: Four mile maintenance run scheduled. Will probably do this in the late afternoon. Maybe D and K will join me.

Monday: am starting to get back into the swing of things re: school. I met with my advisor on Thursday and made a plan, including timeline, for my dissertation. I have to get.on.it. I have committed to spending at least half an hour EVERY day (beginning) Monday on my dissertation. That doesn't sound like a lot of time, but I'm starting with a realistic goal. Really the goal of this goal is to establish a pattern/habit of working on my dissertation EVERY day. Ultimately, I am aiming to be DONE in the spring of 2011.

Currently reading: Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Love the book and love him as an author. I highly recommend EVERYTHING he's written.

Monday, July 27, 2009

ROCK CREEK PARK

I do most of my long training runs through Rock Creek Park. The largest urban green space in the country (yes, bigger than NYC's Central Park!!), Rock Creek is a wonderful place to run. The path through the park takes me from home past the National Zoo, into Georgetown, onto the National Mall, and for those terribly long runs I can loop around Haines Point or jog into Virginia towards National Airport and Alexandria. Running through the park is a pleasant change from my normal runs in the city. I love that there are no stoplights or bad/aggressive drivers and there is a ton of shade (which is great when training for a marathon in the middle of a hot summer).

Prior to training for this marathon I seldom ventured into Rock Creek Park alone. D and I used to run together. Now that I'm running alone, I have time to think and think about the Park. And as much as I love the Park, two fears keep reoccurring...

First, Rock Creek Park is where Chandra Levy was killed more than eight years ago. Not to minimize her death, but she was running alone on a secluded trail when she was killed. On top of that she was out running in the middle of the day on a work day when few, if any, people are out in the Park. Although I'm cautious and stay on well traveled paths, it is hard not to think of Chandra while I'm out there running.

Not wanting to find myself in her position/state, I have come up with a series of safety measures while running through the Park: 1) never go off the asphalt path - this means no trail running what-so-ever; 2) stay on the path closest to Rock Creek Parkway whenever possible; 3) attempt to keep another runner/walker/biker within sight at all times - that way I never feel truly alone out there; 5) never run through the Park before sunrise or after sunset - NO EXCEPTIONS; 6) take the time to look behind you and know who is in the surrounding area; and 7) always carry a cell phone...just in case.

My second fear of running in Rock Creek Park is completely unfounded and I'm sort of embarrassed to say/write it out loud. But I am afraid that an animal at the National Zoo will get loose and chase/hunt me in the Park. I'm most afraid of being attacked by one of the giant snakes that the Zoo has or by an alligator. I'm waiting for the day when I see something skimming the surface of the creek and coming after me; or when a giant snake appears out of nowhere ready to swallow me whole.

I've spent much time focusing on these fears while running lately. Sometimes I swear I can feel a snake coming after me. When a squirrel crossed my path yesterday I screamed out loud. My plan is to focus on happier thoughts during my long runs in the future. Stay tuned...

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Late afternoon plans: K and I are off to the spray park to play in the water. Wonderful distraction and great way to end a long hot day.

Running: did a 8 mile maintenance run yesterday at a lightening fast pace. I was exhausted and soaking wet by the end, but it felt good. I have a 13 mile run scheduled for this weekend. Thinking I might do it on Friday AM and just get it over with...

Online: found the site mapmyrun.com and love mapping out runs and knowing exactly how far I have gone.

Looking forward to: my mom coming to visit on Wednesday.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

HALLELUJAH

She slept through the night!

It wasn't perfect, but K went an entire night without feeding or parental intervention (not a single bum pat). She woke up twice (9:30ish and 2am). D and I agreed we'd let her be for 15 minutes. If she was still crying after 15 minutes, we'd reassess the situation and determine how best to intervene. Well, by golly, no reassessing was necessary. She put herself back to sleep both times.

And didn't wake up for the day until 6am.

Can I get a HALLELUJAH?!?!?

I got more than seven hours of straight sleep (minus the 2am wake up, which I didn't even get out of bed for). I'm feeling better and praying HARD that tonight is another peaceful night.

Friday, July 24, 2009

NINE MONTHS

It took 9 months (and a couple of extra weeks) for little K to go from a single cell to a 6 pound baby capable of eating, pooping, crying, and sleeping. Pretty freaking amazing. In the 9 months since her birth, she has grown by leaps and bounds and has developed into a little person. Again, pretty freaking amazing.

At her 9 month check-up (just two days ago), K weighed 15 pounds 10 oz and was 27 5/8 inches long. She's still a little peanut. She has a long torso and is wearing 9 month-sized onesies, but is still in 3 month pants/shorts and one-piece outfits. We're getting the most out of all of her clothes.

If I had only three words to describe her at nine months old, they would be:

ON.THE.MOVE.

The girl is all over the place. She crawls at a lightening fast speed. One minute she's in the kitchen at my feet and 30 seconds later she's at the top of the steps or in the bathroom pounding on the toilet seat. Her favorite toys are the dishwasher, the toilet, the shower (or a faucet), and spoons. The dishwasher is definitely her favorite. If you want her to play in the kitchen-area, the dishwasher must be open. She's capable of pulling both the top and bottom racks in and out of the dishwasher. To keep her from playing with knives and forks, we place spoons in the front of the silverware holder; knives and forks to the back. Her newest trick is pulling the top rack out, pulling herself up on the rack (baby chin ups) and standing on the open door. She thinks she's so funny.

She also loves crawling up the steps. And if you chase her, it's even better. She just laughs the whole time she's crawling. We definitely need to install a gate at the bottom of the steps. Although she's pretty good with the climbing, she does get clumsy at the end of the day and when she's looking over her shoulder to see who is chasing after her.

She's pulling up on everything and anything and cruising around the furniture. Our favorite nurse at the pediatrician thinks she'll be walking on her own in less than six weeks. Oh.my.word. My baby is getting so big.

She's learning to give high-5s and waving 'bye-bye' . I love it. She's such a curious little girl. Always off to investigate a new spot on the floor, a new box stacked in the corner of the kitchen, or a pile of dirty sheets by the washing machine. It is so fun to watch her discover and uncover new things. She is currently trying to figure out the stream of sunlight hitting the bedroom floor. And getting frustrated that she can't pick the bright 'object' up.

Her separation anxiety is is full form. I took three steps away from her in the pediatrician's office on Wednesday to sign a form and she started screaming and crying. She wouldn't even let the pediatrician hold her with me in the room. A woman at church calls her my "Mama Monkey". And that is exactly what she is... she climbs all over me whether I'm sitting or standing. It's all over Mama all.day.long.

She's also a "Papa Monkey" when he's around. When D comes home in the evenings, she lights up. Everything stops and it is all about getting some lovin' from her papa. We currently have a tenant living in our basement. He came home the other day right at dinner-time when D usually is home. K heard the door unlock and got all excited... she got a look of complete dejection on her face when she realized it wasn't D walking through the door.

She's eating wonderfully. And drinks quite well from a sippy cup. We're pretty much bottle-free these days. Sleep is improving. She was only up once last night and slept until after 6am. Hopefully we'll be back to a better sleep routine in the coming weeks. I'm hopeful that this is just a phase and we'll be back to peaceful nights soon. Please, please, please....

K, you are so much fun to be around. You make me smile every time you pound on the toilet, beg for the dishwasher to be opened, or climb up my legs. Your smile puts a smile on my face.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

INSPIRATION

I'm about to set off on a 10 mile run. Training has been hard this week. Hot temperatures and a lack of sleep are the leading contributors to my bad running. I'm also doing several runs a week with my 28.5 pound jogging stroller and 16+ pound baby. It's hard work.

Yesterday I spent some time online looking for a marathon course map and elevation map (to be sure there weren't too many crazy, long, steep hills). I found both maps. The course is awesome - through all five boroughs and across some of the iconic NYC bridges ending in Central Park. I plan to run with my camera so I can capture it all. The elevation map illustrated a couple of hills, but nothing dramatic. If I can push the stroller and the baby up the 13th Street NW hill from Florida Ave to Clifton Street (and keep going when it levels off), I can take on the NYC hills.

In addition to finding both maps, I also found this inspirational video. It brought me to tears. And got me REALLY excited for today's run. I cannot wait for November 1st, and I'm going to enjoy all the training runs between then and now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

WHAT NOT TO DO...

I was going to title this post "BITCHES" because it is about three women I have encountered during the past 48 hours and, well, they were bitches. But after two nights of decent (still interrupted) sleep, I've decided to put a somewhat positive spin on it. This is what not to do...

On Wednesday morning I took K out in her new jogging stroller (more on this below) for a run. We were moving right along when a woman in her pipped out Cadillac yelled at me from the passenger's side window of her car. I think she was trying to tell me something about K's head. She was yelling "you're hurting her head; look at her head." I think she was trying to tell me that the visor on the stroller wasn't completely covering K's face and head and the sun was hitting her. I see this, bitch. She's fine; she has 50 spf sunscreen on. And we're about to round the corner and the sun will be completely off of her. She's fine. We do this EVERY DAY. And who the hell are you? Are you telling me I'm a bad mother because I let a little bit of sun hit my baby? Isn't fresh air good for her? and what about a little vitamin D?

As you can probably guess I was super pissed. How dare she drive by slowly and tell me that I'm not doing a good job as a mother? What not to do... offer unsolicited advise to a mom.

My next encounter with bitch #2 occurred yesterday during my late evening run. K and I were crossing the street when another mom and her toddler in an umbrella stroller passed by us. As we were crossing paths the other mom sneezed twice and did NOT cover her mouth. She sneezed all over both K and I. Without evening thinking the words, "cover your mouth," came out of my mouth and I know she heard me. My tone of voice was extremely rude; however, someone needs to let the lady know that sneezing and not covering your mouth is something you simply do not do. Have you heard of these little things called germs?!?!

My third encounter with a bitch took place two or three blocks after I encountered the sneezer. This women wasn't so much of a bitch as she was a dumb-ass. She was approaching a VERY busy intersection at rush hour with her two daughters (one in a stroller; the other about four). The four year old was pushing the stroller while said mother walked about 10 or so feet behind talking on her cell phone. The little girl pushing the stroller let go of it as the sidewalk started on a downhill and the stroller was making its way into oncoming traffic. The mother, so wrapped up in her cell phone call, didn't even notice what was happening until a very nice and brave gentleman ran into the street, into oncoming traffic, to slow cars down and grab the stroller. His yelling got the attention of the mother who closed her phone and then ran for her baby in the stroller. I wanted to hit her for not paying attention. And from the look on the man's face who saved the day, I think he wanted to hit her, too. What not to do... where do I begin? Let's just say paying close attention to your young children has to be a parent's priority.

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Jogging stroller: we were given a used jogging stroller from a good friend and it lasted about three months. We used it hard - running up to 15 miles a week and using it to get K back and forth to our nanny share. When we realized that we needed a new stroller, I did some research and picked two strollers I would buy if money were not an object. And then I began trolling craigslist to find one of the two strollers. I prayed one would materialize. And it did. We got our new stroller from a family that used it all of three times. We had to drive more than 1/2 hour to pick the stroller up, but we only paid $50. What a steal... And it is beautiful - black and grey with sky blue accents. And, much to my surprise, I love the built in music system. When K starts to get grumpy on a run, I hit play and she just laughs.

Craigslist: we also sold our rocking chair/glider on craigslist. We were planning to sell it for $50 (to offset the stroller), but when D moved it to take a couple of pictures we saw that it had a Pottery Barn sticker on it (we were given the chair as a hand-me-down). We upped the price to $100 and it sold within 10 minutes. SCORE!

Today: need to go to the Yes! grocery store to buy K her plain soy yogurt. She loves it! And we go through it quickly, but only the organic stores carry the plain soy stuff. It's worth the walk to see her so happy.

Weekend: 10 mile run to do this weekend. Working with D to schedule time to get it done.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

GOING OUT OF MY MIND

The past couple of days (read: week and a half) have been awful. My longest stretch of sleep has been about 5 hours. My longest stretch of being awake with a SCREAMING baby is now at 2.5 hours. Nighttime at our house is now dreaded. A month ago I was complaining about a baby who ONLY slept until 5:45am (after being put down at 8pm). I could kick myself. Now I have a 9 month old who is sleeping like an infant - up every couple of hours, eating about every three.

Seriously, I am at the end of my rope. Last night K woke up a little after 11pm. She nursed and went back to sleep. She was up again at 1am. D could not calm her down. I tried to nurse her - no good (she was full, obviously). So I tried to get her back to sleep. I tried rocking her. She arched her back and screamed. I tried walking her. Again, back arching and screaming. After about an hour of this. I put her down in her crib and walked out of the room. I went in and checked on her every 15 minutes for the next 45 minutes. She would not settle down. Around 3am, we did a quick diaper change and gave her some tylenol. She slept from about 3:40 to 6:15.

I feel like complete crap today. D let me sleep from 6:30-8:15 and I needed it. Our nanny is on vacation until the beginning of August so it is just K and me day-in-and-day-out. When the nights are LONG, our days together can also be long. It is freaking exhausting. Not sure going to work would make me any less tired, but I think I need a little distance/time to myself. Since that's not in the cards, we are planning our days carefully and are going to try putting K to bed earlier. I've done a lot of reading about 9 month olds who stop sleeping well and lots of people say it is because they are overtired. We're going to push bedtime up half and hour beginning tomorrow to see what happens.

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Today: K is sleeping now. I'm planning to go back to bed, too. We're going to go out for a morning/lunchtime run (with our new jogging stroller) and after our afternoon naps head up to Baltimore to hang out with friends. The trip to Baltimore is what is preventing us from beginning our go to bed half and hour early tonight plan.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

BROKEN

Yesterday morning I attempted to walk up the stairs from our first floor to the second. I wasn't carrying anything; nor was I rushing. I was just being me. And being me in this case resulted in me missing the first step and twisting my fourth toe in the wrong direction. I'm not sure what really happened or how, but I do know that it hurt. And it still hurts 24 hours later.

After the incident, I took K for a morning walk to the library (about 5 blocks from our house). When I took my shoe off after the walk, this is what I saw...

Front view:

Back view:

I'm pretty sure my toe is broken. Although I don't want to admit this to myself, I think I heard a little snap when I fell/tripped. And I know there was instant pain.

This morning my toe was a little bit puffier, but not as painful. I went out for a 4 mile run and it didn't bother me too much. After my run, I taped my toe to the one next to it for support and am planning to ice.

I'm surprised by the amount of pain I'm in. This time last weekend I had just finished a 10 mile run (at a fast pace) and was feeling great. Now I'm bitching and moaning about the fourth smallest toe on my body. Funny how such small things can cause such troubles.

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Agreement: D and I believe we have decided on a new couch. We found it online and plan to go see it (and sit on it) this afternoon. If all goes well, we'll be the owners of a new couch in a few hours. (It's about time...)

Sleep: K woke up around 11pm, but then slept peacefully until 5:15am. Hopefully she'll be back to her normal routine of 8pm to 5:45am soon. I believe she is cutting her 12 month molars, which could be the cause of the messed up sleep.

Today: couch and grocery shopping. Also need to do laundry and finish a baby gift.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

BY THE NUMBERS

10: The number of miles I ran on Saturday. Felt great. Pushed through "the wall" I hit at mile 8 and finished strong. Felt really good and excited for this weekend's l-o-n-g run.

9: The number of months old K is today.

9: My average pace per mile during my 10 mile run on Saturday.

8: The number of teeth K currently has.

7: The number of hours it took us to drive from DC to Pittsburgh this past Thursday.

6: The number of hours of uninterrupted sleep I got last night.

5: The number of loads of laundry I have to wash.

4: The hour in which K woke up this morning (thankfully she went back to bed from 4:45 to 6:30am).

3: The number of new baby gifts I have left to make. (I'm just about finished with the first!)

2: The number of weddings we have to attend on TWO different continents within a 48 hour period of time.

1: One fantastic 4th of July weekend in Pittsburgh.