Three Weeks Out

It’s 5:45am and I’m sitting here typing away in complete silence. Complete. Silence. Let that soak in.

I’ve come to realize that especially on long run days, having extra solo time in the morning > sleeping “in”. It’s more relaxing to be able to get ready and eat, to even put the dishes away without having to tend to two tiny people’s every need before I even have a chance to pee.

All three guys are sleeping away while I sit here eating a PB & banana sandwich and alternating between cups of extra strong coffee and water. Fueling for my 2nd to last long run of this training cycle. It seems surreal. At the same time though I feel prepared and confident in my training. I’m, dare I say, excited, about seeing it through and seeing just what I can accomplish.

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For the next 21 days here are my goals:

1. No alcohol. Lately with 2+ wake ups a night from Drew and non-coordinating naps (if naps at all) during the day, plus a teething infant and a tantruming toddler I’ve taken to a glass of vino almost nightly. There’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence and some even say a glass of wine in good for the patience, soul, heart. But I know that my running feels much more sluggish with that glass of red than without. So for the next 3 weeks I’m going to try to forget it’s pumpkin beer season, stop envisioning a tall glass of Blue Moon and spend more quality time with my water bottle.

2. Water. I need more of it. I’ve been drinking about 4c a day. Yup. In an entire day. Even on days I run 5 miles. Even though I’m still nursing. I need to stop hydrating with coffee and adult libations and go back to the watering hole. I can definitely feel how thirst I am on runs and it’s not something I want to hinder race day.

3. Limit desserts to weekends. I am all about the sweets. All the time. But it goes with the other 2 that killing an entire container of Oreos in two nights isn’t great for my running (but it’s Halloween Oreo season and I’m obsessed with them). Ordinarily, the cookies and ice cream and apple crisp and the Southern Butter Pecan gelato sitting in our freezer would win out but I’ve put a lot of work into my training and I want to give myself the best chance at performing my best.

4. Yoga. I really really really need to focus on stretching more. My hips are horribly tight and after forgetting to stretch all together after Wednesday 5 miler I can feel how tight my IT-Bands are and in turn, my knees are starting to ache. Not exactly what I want to be experiencing 3 weeks out from race day. So stretching is a must.

5. Enjoy it. My last 2 runs have felt forced. I had no mojo and couldn’t get out the door until after naptime. Yesterday’s run was so undesired I even showered before throwing on one of my husband’s old hats over my still wet hair and just doing it. I always feel better afterward but I’ve just felt blah about the idea of running lately. I looked back at training for my 1st half and realized I felt the same way for it. I think it’s just pure exhaustion from twice nightly wakeups that is just dragging me down.

6. Remember why I run. I’m not running to prove anything to anyone but myself. I want to prove to myself that I can do this even if I’m running it alone (which is something I never would have been able to do in the past). To prove I can accomplish something if I set my mind to it. That even though my main role, and my happiest is as Mama, I can still have some of my old identity. That training with two kids in a double jogging stroller for 90% of my runs won’t stop me, but rather make me stronger. To be a healthy example for my kids and to do something that one day, when they’re old enough, they’ll hopefully be proud of me for. To not give up and to enjoy this amazing ability I have, to be able to run, to enjoy my sport.

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Mexican Casserole

I haven’t had the itch to cook much lately. I’ve fallen in love with the easiest and quickest dinners. Sometimes as easy as picking up a phone and calling Papa Johns. By the time dinner rolls around all I want to do is get the kids fed, to bed and park myself on the couch. It’s usually the time both kids are the neediest and dad isn’t home yet so I don’t have a lot of time for complicated dishes. I have had a lot of time to bake, however! There’s always time for anything chocolate. Last night I whipped up a dish that turned out to be delicious and only took 10 minutes to throw together (plus another 30 in cooking time). It’ll definitely be a part of our usual rotation so I thought I’d share.

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Mexican Casserole
Serves 6

Ingredients:

-1 can black beans, drained but not rinsed
-1/2lb ground turkey, browned and seasoned with garlic powder, salt & pepper
-1 can green chilies
-1/2c enchilada sauce
-2c Mexican cheese
-2c corn (I used TJ’s sweet frozen corn)
-1/2c salsa (I used a Target brand southwestern blend with black beans and corn)
-Frank’s Red Hot sauce or hot sauce (optional)
-1 tbsp garlic powder
-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-1 tbsp chili powder
-8 small tortillas (I used the corn and wheat tortillas from TJ’s)

Directions:

1. Cover bottom of casserole dish with tortillas. It’ll take about 4 tortillas.
2. Mix cooked ground turkey, 1c Mexican cheese blend, corn, salsa, seasonings, black beans and chilies in a large bowl.
3. Cover tortillas with turkey mix and spread evenly.
4. Cover turkey mix with 4 more tortillas
5. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and enchilada sauce
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes
7. Top with hot sauce and/or extra enchilada sauce and enjoy!

Lately

Monday morning my mom watched the boys so I could knock out a solo run. Jack is currently sporting a nasty cold so I didn’t want to take him for a run in crisp weather. I decided to do an “easy” run to the starting point for my upcoming 5K then practice “race” the course. I ran to the starting point 1.67mi away in 15:10. A little speedier than I’d have liked. Then ran the course faster than normal but without really pushing myself too much (I want to avoid injury as my half the following weekend is more important than the 5k).

20140922_080016I felt good. Miles .5-2.5 are all uphill but I pushed through. My legs were tired and I was extremely thirsty. I really need to hydrate with more than wine and beer. I jogged for another 1/3mi to bring the total to 5mi for the day.

I got home and relieved my mom from baby duty. Later I found out she’d accidentally left a black pen in the living room when I walked back in to Jackson saying “uh oh” and this:

20140922_152149Toddlers. Can’t fault them for original artwork.

In the afternoon I took Sicky to the park to release some energy.

20140922_140124We had the place to ourselves so I wasn’t worried about infecting other children. We walked around a bit enjoying the crisp fall air and crunchy leaves.

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Tuesday was rather productive! Bry biked to work so we had the car. After weeks of it being covered in crumbs, goldfish and random socks I finally cleaned it out and vacuumed it. Did you know that goldfish can get stuck BETWEEN the carseat cushions? Who knew?!

20140923_141915I found a shirt at Target that matched one of Jackson’s. Hey look bud! We can match now! He’s thrilled.

20140923_100033I took care of some grocery shopping with both boys in tow. Every single day I get someone who tells me it looks like I have my hands full (and it’s usually not when Jackson is having a meltdown, surprisingly). It’s true. I do. But my heart is pretty darn full too.

20140923_085259And this little love munchkin? He’s getting too big. Slow down time! I’m not ready for you to be a toddler too 😉

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One Of Those Days

Do you ever have one of those days where just about everything goes wrong and you find yourself wondering how on earth it isn’t a Monday cause it sure as heck feels like one? That’s today. Where I find myself desperately wishing for silence. A moment where I’m not puked on, having toy trains thrown at my head, babies screaming at me, toddlers screaming my name, throwing their toys in defiance or crying “potty” any time they deem they aren’t getting enough attention. A moment where someone isn’t pulling my hair, biting my foot, sneezing in my face. Just. One. Moment.

It’s one of those days that started way too early (4am to be exact) following three wake-ups in the night.  Where there wasn’t nearly enough coffee and the baby who demanded you awake from your slumber promptly passed out 30 minutes later while playing on his activity mat. When you naïvely went to pee, you came back to find your toddler playing in a puddle of milk he’d created on your microfiber couch. “Uh oh” he says to you as he innocently looks up at you with his big blue eyes. You stare back in amazement that he could create such chaos so quickly…then recognition sinks in as you notice something on his hands. The joys of a curious toddler who’s used the bathroom in his diaper (if you get my drift). He’s generously spread some on the chair as well. Yup. That happened. I assume we won’t get many requests for visitors anytime soon.

I love my kids, I really do and I am lucky to be able to be a stay at home mom. But sometimes even mamas need a break. And some days naptime can’t come soon enough. But of course, it’s one of those days. Just as one goes down, the other awakes. No rest for the weary. Basically, it’s 11am and I’m ready for bedtime, a giant glass bottle of wine and absolute silence.

Thanks for letting me rant. Hope you’re having a better day than we are. In the meantime I’m going to pry my exhausted butt off the chair and try to run off this ball of stress. At the very least it’ll hopefully help with the jitters I’m currently experiencing from downing my 7th cup of coffee. Survival at it’s finest.

Weekend Happenings

It was another busy weekend over here filled with lots of miles in the car, skipped naps and Monday morning sneaking up far too fast.

Friday night I was finished with the week and couldn’t hop on the weekend train fast enough. I wanted beer. I wanted cheesy, greasy pizza. And I wanted to lay on the couch and not move a muscle. We did just that 🙂 Papa Johns delivered and I enjoyed a relaxing night on the couch with my biggest guy.

Saturday morning came far too early but I slept surprisingly well. I ate, dressed, got ready and kissed the boys goodbye. Then I drove to Capital Crescent Trail and headed out for a 10mi out and back. My first double digit run of training!

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Ignore the Garmin. By mile markers I ran exactly 10mi. But don’t think that pesky watch doesn’t bother me by ignoring .5mi (no doubt due to tunnels and lots of trees).

It was a great run overall but I was ready to be done. My feet hurt and I just wanted to stop standing. I stretched, ate a Clif Builders bar <— my favorite!!! and headed home to find the sh*t show goes on without me.

After naps for all it was a mad dash to get errands done: grocery shopping, picking up Bry’s bike, gas, etc. We spent the afternoon doing something I’m sure was productive but I have zero recollection of what it was. Then it was time for me to get dressed in normal people clothes and head out for Girls night! My first in literally a year. I need to remedy that.

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I spent a few hours with my oldest and dearest best friend who I’ve known since I was 2. We ate and chatted and generally had a great time just enjoying quiet. She works with kids so come the weekend she’s equally happy to step away from screaming, begging, demanding tiny humans for a bit.

Sunday Jax woke up with a cold. We had our traditional Sunday Morning Pancakes but we added something special…PUMPKIN!! Since it’s now officially fall it’s officially all-the-pumpkin season. After we ate we drove out to Gettysburg, PA and walked around the battlefield park.

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It was eerie, serene and oddly beautiful. It’s hard to imagine how many lives were lost in this place and that this beauty was once marked with so much bloodshed.

After a few hours the boys were more then ready to sleep so we headed downtown for some quick food. We grabbed a few burgers and fries from Blue & Grays Bar and scarfed them down.

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Then stopped by Mr. G’s for some handmade ice cream: Black raspberry and salted caramel (the star of the show). It was delicious!

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We got home in time to change, shower and head out to a friend’s 2nd birthday party. You can imagine how that went down with two napless kids. And just like that, the weekend was over and another week began. I’m already counting down to 5pm Friday.

Jackson’s 2nd Birthday

Better late than never! Our original baby turned 2 on August 19th. I still can’t wrap my head around where the past 25 months went. We were very lucky this year that MiMi and Pappy, Bry’s parents, were able to join us for the week of Jackson’s birthday. We only get to see them a few times a year so we cherish the time we get together.

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We kept birthday week pretty low key with lots of trips to the park and walks around the neighborhood. Jackson soaked up all the extra attention and doting. We ventured into DC on his actual birthday to tour the top of the Washington Monument, which has been closed for the past few years after it was damaged in an earthquake. Jax loved taking the train into the city and stared out the windows, said “hi” to everyone who got on and repeated “choo choooooo” no less than 500 times. The actual tour of the Monument was great for MiMI and Pappy who had never been. It’s a really neat experience that offers 360 degree views of the entire city, including the most infamous landmarks: the White House, Capital, Lincoln Memorial and reflection pool, etc. Jackson wasn’t as interested in stopping to look out the windows as he was in running around like crazy. Enter the National Mall. The perfect place for an energetic two year old. He ran around in circles endlessly and then promptly crashed in the stroller for naptime.

We made our way back home in time for a late lunch. Both kids napped and in the afternoon we took a trip to the playground. When Daddy got home we ordered Papa Johns. Jackson LOVES “pipi”. He couldn’t climb into his highchair fast enough to devour a slice. After dinner we opened a few presents from the grandparents and then tried to tell our new 2 year old it was time for bed. Yeah right. He ended up crying himself to sleep in his crib surrounded by a few of his new trucks and tractors.

Saturday we celebrated our birthday boy with friends. We had a brunch, automotive themed party at the house inclusive of all things truck, tractor and plane. We feasted on quiches, bacon, bagels and cream cheese, fresh fruit, yogurt and potatoes. In lieu of a birthday “cake” I made vegan cinnamon streusel cupcakes, keeping with the brunch theme, that were a huge hit. Though it was a rainy day the kids had a blast playing with all Jackson’s new toys while the adults hung around and chatted. I felt all the love for our little boy and felt overwhelmed by the generousity of all of our friends.

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I love seeing these boys grow up together and a bit of my heart breaks thinking that we’ll most likely be moving in the next few years. In the past 3 years that we’ve been here we’ve made some truly incredible friendships and lasting memories.

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And just like that our little boy wasn’t so little anymore. He’s turned into this incredible, vivacious, outgoing and energetic, curious and independent, caring and nurturing, loving and sweet, crazy and silly, intelligent and funny, perfect big brother and amazingly wonderful little man. I couldn’t be prouder of the person he’s becoming and feel so grateful to be his mommy.

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Happy Birthday, Jackson Wyatt. You are loved beyond measure ❤

Life Lately

Remember when you were a kid and the days and years dragged on? You felt like you had to wait forever to be old enough, big enough, wise enough to do anything. And then you blinked and you found yourself running like a crazy woman chasing your overly energetic toddler, trying to keep him away from the street, the lone pile of dog poo, the dead squirrel he sweetly refers to as a kitty (insert any other object he shouldn’t be near and he’s probably knee deep in) while nursing your infant with one hand as his head bobs up and down precariously (you assure yourself he’ll be OK, just a few scrambled brains never hurt anyone) as your nursing cover trails behind you in the wind, you lost one of your TOMS a hundred yards back, and your oh so sweet baby is no long nursing but looking curiously after big brother, your boob now fully exposed to the other patrons at the playground. This is motherhood. This is life, folks.

I used to have grand ideas of what motherhood would look like for me. Playdates with other well-behaved children laughing in my clean and organized living room, constructive play with homemade playdough where my brilliant toddler creates a realistic dinosaur at the ripe age of 2 and my infant coos and babbles, happily self-entertaining. Reality isn’t as neatly wrapped up in a pretty bow. There are literally days where 2pm rolls around and I gawk at the clock wondering how I’ll survive another 3 hours before daddy gets home because I just realized I have yet to brush my teeth, half my hair is sticking up like a peacock in the back from a rough night of sleep (the downside to a pixie haircut), there’s spitup down my shirt and remnants of sweet potato puree all over my yoga pants. I just realized there’s a rouge piece of Jackson’s cheese stuck in my hair, I really have to pee but the baby screams every time I put him down (teething) and I just got the toddler to go to sleep. I forgot about my sandwich in the toaster and it’s now a pile of ham and cheese smashed between sad looking black toast. Nothing a chug of water can’t cure. I look at the pile of dishes in the sink, the clean ones in the dishwasher itching to be put away and the 9 loads of freshly laundered clothes scattered over every itch of our place that no one has time to fold, or put away. Instead we’ve found this pretty sweet system of sifting through the baskets every morning in search of what we need and pretending the rest of it will magically fold itself. If only. I’ve been up since 3am and I have no idea what I’ve accomplished in the past 11 hours. Surely I’ve accomplished something. Right?

Basically, life is crazy with two kids two and under. It’s a constant 3 ring circus of dirty diapers and failed attempts of potty training that end in a half naked toddler running around the house threatening to mark his territory anywhere but in the potty. Someone always needs to be fed. To go to sleep. Just woke up. Needs to be changed. Needs a shower. Needs to be entertained. Needs something. At the end of the day I collapse into our king sized bed feeling like a rockstar for keeping the kids alive. I deserve a medal! And a full night’s sleep. And then, the baby cries. And life begins all over again.

It’s the most amazing job I’ll ever hold and the most exhausting. I feel blessed to be in the midst of such chaos because I truly love my children and think being their mother is the best gift in the world. It tests me every day in my patience, resilience, stamina, strength, love and caffeination. So here’s what life looks like lately. In all it’s filtered glory. Thank God for Instagram and it’s uncanny ability to conceal eye circles and tantrums replacing them with beautiful snapshots that make your life seem effortlessly together.

IMG_20140828_055233Awww they love each other! Reality: Jackson was having a meltdown so Bryan put Andrew on him in an attempt to distract him from his tiny world falling apart. Approximately .2 seconds later he was screaming in his poor brother’s face which prompted Andrew to puke all over big brother. Payback.

IMG_20140828_143720Look at that stylish kid strutting his stuff eating an ice cream, without a single bit on his shirt! Reality: He wore 99% of it by the time we got home. He was having a massive meltdown and refused to walk home because he wanted to be in the single stroller that Andrew was in, even though he hates being tied down. We stumbled upon an ice cream truck where I patted myself on the back for remembering to pack my wallet, told him to choose any sugar bomb he wanted and proceeded to teach him to take candy from strangers in the back of their box truck.

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Could there be any cuter kids in the world? I think not. Reality: I’m dancing around, making ridiculous faces, sweat dripping from just finishing a run in a sad attempt to get both of them to stop screaming so I can have 2 minutes to get our buick back into the house.

IMG_20140831_103614Nature is beautiful. Reality: And almost distracts from the toddler meltdown taking place in the background. JACKSON! Get off that rock! Did you just faceplant? It’s ok. A little blood never hurt anyone. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

IMG_20140901_083118Teaching baby brother how to crawl. Reality: Stealing baby brother’s incentive to crawl then marching around in a circle around him threatening to step on him if he doesn’t start crawling.

IMG_20140901_141020So refreshed after an afternoon nap. Reality: If I stick him here and take a few selfies maybe I won’t have to get up for another minute or so. So tired. Who wants to play a game? It’s called doctor. Mama is the coma patient. Don’t wake her.

IMG_20140902_080305We love to be outdoors. My son is incredibly adventurous and look how beautiful our world is! Reality: Daddy accidentally went to work with both pairs of toddler shoes in the back of the truck so we were pretty limited on what we could do barefoot. It’s also approximately 100 degrees outside and 245% humidity. I need water. Jackson, don’t eat that rock! Did you just step on glass? When was your last tetnus shot? This totally counts as a bath.

IMG_20140903_112112Boys. Obsessed with tractors, trucks and anything that moves. Reality: “Tractor! Tractor! Tractor! Tractor! Tractor! Tractor! Tractor!” If you shut up and stop saying tractor we can watch the damn tractors.

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Oh dear god I die of the cuteness that is this child. I am in love. Reality: I’m in love. And especially so since I get the easy going smiling infant while Daddy is currently chasing big brother all around the store to keep him from breaking everything. I’m also pretending I don’t know that maniac. Justkidding.

IMG_20140908_153943What a cutie. And I have everything so together I got both kids to the park! Reality: Those are chew marks on his hat. Yum. Nutritious mid morning snack indeed.

IMG_20140909_143118Andrew’s first ride in the swing and he LOVES it. Reality: As soon as I picked him up he puked all over me.

So that’s our life lately. We tend to spend all morning outside after breakfast, come home for smoothies and naps, wake up for lunch and go for an afternoon walk to kill time and energy before daddy gets home.