Thursday, September 11, 2014

Baby Free Weekend

I know the blog has been quiet for the past couple of weeks. I wish I could tell you that there was one big thing that was sucking all my time, but there really wasn't. It has just been a lot of little things sucking my time. Since baby E's birthday, there has been travel, illness (both her and me) and visitors. In addition to trying to keep the house running and my career on track. I guess that is a lot. 

Our last trip for a while was this past weekend. The husband and I had our first weekend alone together since baby E arrive (over 13 months ago for anyone who is counting). It was a much needed trip. Friday evening we packed up the car and headed South. My husband's aunt offered to watch baby E for the weekend. She lives in the Jupiter area, so that was our first stop. After getting E settled and giving way too many instructions (I was a little nervous), we were back in the car and headed a bit further south to Fort Lauderdale.

It was about 8 p.m. when we got to Fort Lauderdale, so our first stop was dinner. Guess where....Publix. Yup, our first night away from the baby and we ate subs in our hotel room for dinner. We have such a wild life. In all honesty, we were both wiped from a long week and a long drive. It was nice to relax and go to bed early without having to worry about entertaining a little one.

Saturday my body clock got me up at 6:45 a.m. Yay adulthood! We found an amazing French bakery for breakfast. Then hit the beach for a while. The weather was questionable most of the day, so after a few hours in the surf with rain clouds looming, we decided not to push our luck too much more. We headed back to the hotel to clean up and relax. 

Ham & Cheese in a Crossant....yes please
I take terrible selfies
  That evening we found a local brewery. The beer was good and it was nice to have some time to have a real conversation. That evening we headed back to the beach and enjoyed oysters, ceviche and more beer. After a walk on the beach we headed back to the hotel and hung out for a while.


Oysters and Beer

Sunday morning we slept late (until almost 9), then got ready and packed. We took a walk around the harbor close to our hotel and eyed some of the boats. The boats by our hotel were large gigantic and really pretty. Maybe if I win the lottery I can have one. The only problem with that plan is that you have to play the lottery to win and I don't do that.

So pretty

After ogling the boats, we went back to the French Bakery for breakfast and then headed North to pick up baby E. It was nice to have some time to ourselves, but I missed her smile. She gave me a huge hug and did not want to be put down for the rest of the day. The best thing was that she was happy to hang out with her Aunt while we were gone, she was even happier to have us back.

A few hours later, it was back home and back to reality. At least until our next trip.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How We Made it Through 12 Months of Breastfeeding

Baby E just turned one and this means we hit the one-year mark on breastfeeding. I feel very lucky and blessed that I have been able to provide her with both milk and the closeness nursing provides for the past year. A few months ago I discussed the first 6 months of our nursing journey, and while overall, the second 6 months was easier it did present different challenges.

One of the big problems over the past few months was Baby E would get distracted. Starting at about 9 months, Baby E would pull off at the slightest noise or movement. This made it more difficult to nurse her when we were out and next to impossible to nurse her in the car (not while driving). She also stared occasionally doing what I call yoga nursing when we were home. The urge to stand up would hit her and she would end up in something that looked like downward dog while latched. That was always interesting.

Around 9 months is also when I started to get really sick of pumping. Not just, oh this is a pain sick of pumping, but wanting to poke my eyeballs out sick of pumping. The constant 5:30 a.m. wake ups and building my day around the pump sucked. I don't miss the pumping at all. That said, it was worth every minute I spent attached to that horrible machine to be able to still nurse Baby E when I am around.

Several people have asked me how we made it so long and there are several things that helped.
  1. Pump early. I started pumping very early on and started pumping with some regularity beginning at about 4 weeks. This meant that by the time I went back to work we had almost two months of milk in the freezer. Knowing we had extra gave me comfort in the beginning and allowed us to go longer without supplementing.
  2. Pump often. For me to keep my supply up I had to pump a lot. On days when I worked it was sometimes as many as 7 times a day. I was lucky in that Baby E slept through the night very early on. However, the early morning hours were when my supply was highest, so for the first 8 months of Baby E's life I pumped at 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. every day. At 8 months I stared to drop the 1:30 a.m. pumping session. While they completely sucked, without these pumping sessions, I wouldn't have had enough milk for daycare.
  3. Rotate your stock. When I went back to work, I started sending a combination of part fresh and part previously frozen milk. I would then freeze the additional fresh milk. Another step that took some time, but this kept my freezer stock fresh and made sure that none of the milk went bad. I think I would have cried if I would have had to throw any milk out. It was bad enough the couple of times I split some.
  4. Make friends with the letdown feature. This girl turned me on to this trick and it helped me increase my output. About halfway through each session, I would run the letdown cycle again. I was all about more milk in the same amount of time.
  5. Take it one day at a time. Over the course of the last year there have been days when I wanted to give up. It may have been a day when my output dropped or a day when I had to do every pumping session in the car or a day when I missed something because I was stuck pumping, but whatever it was, I was over it. Each time I took a deep breath and said to myself, "try one more day and see how it goes." The next day was always better and that gave me the momentum I needed to keep going.
My supply dropped pretty significantly when Baby E was a little over 9 months. I continued to pump and get as much as I could, but I was only pumping about half of what she was taking. Luckily Baby E was pretty well established on solids when this happened. Additionally, because of the amount of milk we had in the freezer we were able to give her exclusively breast milk until around 10.5 months and then started to give her small amounts of organic whole cows milk. Deciding what to use as a supplement was an agonizing decision, but in the end, we decided that cows milk would work best for us.

At this point I plan on continuing to nurse Baby E until she is done with it. Sometimes I worry that is right around the corner, and other times I think she will want to nurse forever. Right now Baby E gets cows milk at daycare and she nurses in the morning and the evening. Without having to pump, I am enjoying the nursing sessions more. It is a good way to welcome the day and reconnect after work. It is bittersweet to be closer to the end of this journey than the beginning.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One Year!

Baby E is one year old today. In many ways I can't believe it has been a year already, and in others, the time seems to have gone so slowly. All I know is that I don't really remember what life was before this little girl was a part of it.


I know the first year is full of changes, but it is amazing that in a year she can go from a little lump to a walking, talking little girl. Each day her personality comes out more and more. I love that smiles and giggles are common.

How do you go from this....

To this in just a year?

Baby E is doing great. I don't have her exact stats, but I know she is about 22 pounds and tall enough that she can no longer play under the table without bumping her head. Unfortunately, she doesn't always remember this, but she is learning.

Baby E is starting to climb and trying to run. She loves being outside even if it is just in the front yard. While it is not quite as often as when she was a tiny one, Baby E still likes to snuggle and be held. It is not uncommon for her to walk up to me with her arms out and squeaking, which is her way of asking to be held.

Her birthday was filled with lots of Mommy and Daddy snuggles, some time at an indoor playground (rain meant no swimming), a dinner of her favorites (eggs, beans and blueberries) and a giant strawberry cupcake.

What is with the singing...give me that cupcake.
A year later I am in a different place than I thought I would be. To say it has been a growing year would be an understatement. There are still days when I still struggle with Baby E's birth, but it is a lot better than it was. I am regaining some confidence in myself. The one thing that I am happy to say is that I am still nursing Baby E, but no longer really pumping. (I will have a whole post on this shortly.) I don't know when she will wean, but at this point I am not in a hurry. 

Love this little one.
I know the first year is full of some of the most dramatic changes you see in a child's life, and there have been many moments where I have been blown away. I am excited to see what her second year brings.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Race Recep - Suck it Up Buttercup 5k

A few months ago a coworker of mine was looking at ways to get in shape for his 40th birthday. A couple of us convinced him that participating in his first 5k would be a great motivator and he said if I could find one, he would do it. It felt like it was meant to be when I found a race the weekend before his birthday in the part of town where he lives. Little did we realize that the Suck it Up Buttercup 5k would live up to its name.

Race morning my alarm went off at 4:15 a.m. I got up and got myself together and packed up. This was the first race in months that we were all running, so a little before 5 a.m. I got Baby E out of her crib. The goal was to get her changed and into her car seat without really waking her up so she would sleep in the car on the way to the race. Yeah, that really didn't work. She woke up and didn't fall back asleep until about 10 minutes before we got there.

We all piled in the car and were pulling out of the driveway at about 5:15 a.m. This is the first time in a long time that I wasn't running late for a race. It was a nice feeling. The drive went smoothly and we got to the race site a little before 6 a.m. I let Baby E sleep for a few more minutes, then woke her up so she could nurse before we started. This was as much for me as it was for her.

After a quick stop at the port-o-pottys, we found my coworkers and lined up toward the end of the starting line. I had the stroller, so I wanted to give myself plenty of room. The organizers pushed the start by about 5 minutes, and at about 6:35 the national anthem was played and we were off.

The first two miles went well. It was hilly, but not too bad. I knew the course was not flat and I would have the stroller, so my goal for the race was to keep my pace under 13 minute miles. At the two mile marker, I was just under this pace and super excited. That excitement didn't last long, because the next mile was a killer. There were several really steep hills and pushing the stroller down the hills was worse than pushing it up. For this mile I felt like we were back in Virginia because the course was much more Virginia hills than Florida hills. 


This picture doesn't do the hills justice
I was super excited when I saw the corner to turn down for the finish. At that point I was hot, tired and ready to be done. I was also glad that I didn't sign up for the 10k this year. 
At the finish line

My final time was 41:24 or a 13:21 per mile pace. Which means that I took forever to cover the last mile. Oh well, I'll be better prepared for the hills next time.
What was so hard about that?

Post-race group photo
This was my first race with Final Mile and I have to say I was really impressed. Yeah, the course was hard, but that is not a bad thing. The event was well organized and marked, you had access to your photos, and the race shirt was a gender specific tech shirt. 

Seven months of racing down and now it is time to start gearing up for the fall and winter racing season. I am happy I decided against doing a full marathon this year, and excited to try and kick some butt in the half.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

11 Months with Baby E

This should probably be 11.5 months with Baby E, but better late than never. I think this month has been the fastest one yet. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating 10 months and now 11 months has come and gone.


We are quickly moving from babyhood into toddlerhood. Baby E is quickly learning that walking means there are so many new places to explore. She has also now figured out how the kitchen cabinets work and that there are fun things in there to find. This development caused us to get our butts in gear and put locks on the cabinets as well as some other baby proofing things.

But why can't I play with the trash can?
It seems like she is always talking and more and more things have meaning. She will say hi and daddy is da. Ma is both milk and me. I think that she is a little confused because we are still nursing, so in most cases milk comes from mommy.

So happy

Baby E remains a great eater. She will eat just about anything that you give her. Cottage cheese is one of the few things she doesn't seem to like. Rice is hit or miss, but she eats everything else without any fuss. Eggs and zucchini are still very high on her list and she hasn't met a bean she doesn't like. 

This month was relatively quiet for a change, so we enjoyed some time just hanging out as a family. We spent time at the pool and celebrated her 11 month birthday with a trip to the splash pad.

Birthday party planning is in full swing. I may be going a bit overboard (damn you pinterest), but she is only going to be one once. I wish being crafty came more easily for me. 

I have to say that for me, each month seems to get more fun. I can't wait to see what the next few months have in store.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Masters of All Terrian 5 Miler Seminole State Forest Race Recap

So remember back in April when I ran my first off road race. Well, I decided I enjoyed it so much I wanted to do another one. I liked it and the fact that strollers were not allowed in the 5k I had planned on doing for my June race. 

Another great race!
So the Saturday before Father's day I was up at 4:45 a.m. I made my peanut butter whole wheat bagel, grabbed my pump and was out of the house by 5:15 a.m. This race was about 45 minutes away from home, so I took advantage of the extra time and pumped in the car on my way to the race. That is one pre-race ritual I will not miss. This should be the last time, but I have said that before.

About 6 a.m. I pulled into the parking lot. There was plenty of parking for this race and it was nice to know I wouldn't get parked in. The line for packet pickup was short and the race organizers were nice enough to provide bug spray, something I hadn't even thought about. I sprayed down my legs to try and avoid getting bit by anything nasty. After a quick trip back to the car and then the port-o-potty, I headed over to the starting line. I don't know if it was because this was a smaller race or because they were better prepared, but bathroom lines were much more mangageable at this race.

At 6:30, the gun sounded and we were off. The first two miles of this race were quick. We were running on a trail that was wide and made of packed gravel. It was fun to see the sun come up over the Florida prairie. I managed to get gravel in my shoes about a half mile in, but after a couple minutes it was fine. As I approached the 2 mile water stop, I looked at my watch and was pretty excited that I was on track for a pretty big PR. Then the course turned right.

The trail went from wide and made of hard packed gravel to narrow and made of mostly sand. This is where the trail got hard. I was really happy that my training had been more consistent for this race than the one I did in April, because I needed that additional fitness here. 


Some of the trial was like this

 
Most of it was like this (It is even narrower than it looks)

For most of this part of the course I didn't see anyone. It was so desolate that there were a few times that, even though I was following the trial flags, I wondered if I was still on the right path. While a little scary, it was nice to spend some time by myself. This was also where my pace fell off a cliff. The sand, twists and turns of the course and other obstacles on the trail slowed me down. There were a few spots where it was pretty much impossible to run.

Miles 3 to 5 were hard, but fun. The course was really pretty and that made the distance seem to go by relatively quickly. When there wasn't a water stop at mile 4 I began to regret my decision to leave my water bottle in the car. I hate carrying things when I run, but at that point it was starting to get hot and I was starting to get thirsty. Not surprising, it is June in Florida.

Just when you think you are getting close to the finish...tree




My official time was a little over 1:09:52 which is almost 3 minutes slower than the April race. The crazy thing about my time is that I am actually really happy with it. This course was much harder than the course I ran in April. I am learning that there is a lot more variation on trail courses than on road courses.


With this race I am half way through my goal of racing at least once a month this year. I have a most of the rest of the year planned out, but I am still looking for an August and a December race. Any suggestions would be great.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pleasant Prairie RecPlex Spring Family 5k Race Recap

This race recap is a little lot late, but better late than never. We spend Mother's Day weekend in WI visiting my family. I was struggling to find a May race when I stumbled upon one taking place about 10 minutes from my parents house the weekend we were there. It got event better when my whole family decided to do the race with me.


Everyone ready to race

The nice thing about racing in May in WI is that you don't have to worry about the heat. The race started at 9 a.m. and it was still chilly. We had baby E with us, so it was nice to have a little extra time to get her up and ready to go.

We got to the race site about 45 minutes before the start. It was enough time to nurse Baby E and hit the restrooms without feeling rushed. A little before 9 we lined up and took a few pictures. Then the national anthem played and we were off.

The first half mile or so of the race was really crowded. My speedy sister was able to cut through the crowds and get out ahead. I got caught up behind a couple of people here. the start was on a road, but we quickly moved to a paved path. 

Still a little crowded

I had run the loop that made up most of the course a number of times in the past (it is my favorite place to run when I am visiting my parents), and knew it was only 2.25 miles long, so I was curious to see how they were going to make up the difference. About a mile in I found out...


surprise...trail race. 

The trail portion was an out and back that was just over three-quarters of a mile. Then you were back on pavement for the rest of the race. The best part was the view of the lake. 

So pretty

About 2.5 miles in I remembered why I hated running in the cold up north. It makes my allergies go crazy. By this point in the race I was coughing and having a hard time breathing. Something I need to keep in mind if I am planning on racing out of FL again.

My final time for this race was 39:04. The course was long and the race didn't have a rolling start, so I was probably a minute faster than that. Still not a great time, but I had a good time and that was what mattered here.