A Very Merry Weekend

Hello from New York! We are currently celebrating the holidays in New York with my family, and I’m off the routine, which means that this week in running will be a little off. But we’re having tons of fun while we’re here. Some of the highlights or our week so far:

FW and LM met Santa! He stopped by school last week and FW asked for some gifts (he asked for “presents.” When Santa prodded, he asked for “books and dinosaurs.”

LM got in some quality Nonna time.

And FW bonded with Uncle Greg over trains and music.

FW even got close to my parents’ dog a few times.

LM got to meet a good college friend of mine, whose parents live nearby.

We had my favorite local pizza, Defazios.

We braved the line and caught the lights in the park. FW loved them!

I also got to run outdoors by myself during the day! Time off from work, plus mild (cold but not snowy) weather, plus grandparents to watch the kids meant I got to spend some time outdoors, running. In fact, last week’s running went really well. We had a warm front and I was able to run outside every day this week, including one stroller run to kick off the week! I got in a 6.3 miler in NY, which put me at my highest post-LM mileage week thus far!

Here’s how the week looked:

I can’t complain! The week was great in running and beyond. I just love this time of year!

Some questions for you:

  • Has the weather been mild around where you are?
  • Are you in the holiday spirit?

I’m linking up with the weekly wrap.

Sick Kids and Cold Weather

As you can see below, I had pretty low mileage week tbis week. For a few reasons.

First, it got cold and snowy and icy and I opted to run inside on the treadmill. All the runs this week were on the treadmill and I’m still getting used to running on the treadmill sonI can’t seem to go more than 2 miles without stopping.

Second, the end of this week brought little sleep. One night, I literally didn’t sleep because I was worried about a sick toddler and felt the need to listen to him breathe. Earlier this week, FW landed at the doctor’s office, with a barking cough and trouble breathing – croup! So we knew that some of our plans for the weeken would be put on hold.

But there was still stuff we had to get done! Luckily, after his meds and some sleep, FW was feeling alright enough to help us with dropping off food, gifts and grocieries for our annual adopt a family program.

It’s a lot of work, but I’m always so glad we are able to be part of this annual tradition.

After drop off, since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to ger some coffee (for B), kombucha (for me), and chocolate milk (free for FW).

And then we popped into the West Side Market. It was a bittersweet visit- we were saying goodbye to some of our favorite stands. Two of them were closing – Rooted in Cle and Basketeria.

After the Market, we grabbed a quick lunch at Boaz. FW feastes on hummus and pita and LM tries her first hummus as well! I think she liked it.

It was a low key afternoon and evening, including some raking, nap time for the kids and dinner at home.

Sunday morning included some pancakes (made by B, but not pictured) and a stroller run with FW. We got in 4 miles and it was 40 degrees, which felt AMAZING. I don’t get in many stroller runs when it’s winter because of the cold and snow, so I really appreciated getting out there.

The afternoon went by quickly, and included attending my nephew’s Christmas pageant and then a baby shower. It was a pirate-themed shower with tons of cute decorations.

And then we finished with dinner and festive fun at B’s parents’ house.

All in all, a good pre-holiday weekend and a pretty good week of runs!

Some questions for you:

  • How do you find time for running when life gets in the way?
  • Do you work out in the morning or evening?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps

Things to Do With a Kid Downtown

Don’t get me wrong – I love our new house in the ‘burbs and all that our new little city has to offer – but I do miss our lives downtown. There was always something to do, always something going on, and it was great walking everywhere (especially to work). And even after we got married and had kids – yes, there was still kid-friendly stuff to do!

Are you thinking of living in downtown CLE with kids? Or just looking for stuff to do with kids downtown? Here are some of the ways we had fun and the things I loved to do downtown with FW:

1. Take advantage of all the free attractions

When you’re a kid, there are so many things that are exciting — and the best part is, so many of these things are free! For example, FW, loves just watching trains, trolleys, buses, boats, etc. These are all things you can see— and ride— downtown. There are several trolleys that ride around downtown for free and you can hop on and hop off whenever you want. Also, FW LOVES looking at pretty much any vehicle, especially trains and boats and airplanes. The best place to do this? Walk down to Voinovich Park. On the walk, you’ll cross over train tracks. At the park you’ll see planes landing into Burke airport as well as boats in the water. If you walk down to the Flats, you’ll also get a glimpse of boats and trains. Walk along the waterfront path near FWD Night Club and you may even be able to catch not only a boat along the water, but also a train cross the bridge. Public Square is also a great, free place for kids. Not only can you watch the buses, but there’s also green space to run around, a splash pad in the summer, ice skating in the winter and plenty of year-round events.

2. Be willing to spend some money

In addition to the free attractions, there are other things to see and do right downtown. Some of the attractions that cater to children include:

3. Know the child-friendly restaurants

My husband and I lived in two apartments downtown, one near East 4th Street and one in Playhouse Square. Both areas had restaurants we’d frequent with our baby and toddler. Some of them include Winking Lizard (they have a kids menu AND a lizard that kids may enjoy checking out), Masthead Brewing Co. (they have high chairs and quick food, which is perfect for kids; it’s also loud, which is great for blending in with your loud baby), Corner Alley (they have games for older kids) and Hofbrauhaus (they have a giant enclosed patio with a playscape and live music). During sporting events or at night, these places can become not as friendly, so we stuck to them mostly during the day. Around the Flats, there also were so many places great for kids because they’re near the water (see above: cool views of boats and trains and bridges) and casual. Some of our favorites include Coastal Taco and Dante’s Inferno. Both are casual, have games for the older kids to play, and are on the louder side, so a screaming child may not get noticed.

There are so many great places to eat downtown, and the best part is, so many of them are child-friendly, especially if you go earlier in the day. If you’re not sure, definitely call ahead and ask.


4. Frequent the family-friendly events

All year long, Cleveland is home to child-friendly events. Most of these are events that people from all over Northeast Ohio attend. Some include:

Whether you’re looking to spend money or not, there’s so much to do in downtown Cleveland year-round. We loved our time living there with our toddler and hope you are able to enjoy some of the fun activities we loved, as well.

Do you live downtown with your baby or small child? OR do you spend a lot of time downtown with your kids? How do you keep them entertained?

A version of this post was shared on NortheastOhioParent.com.

1 Weekend, 2 Runs (Plus Some Good Food)

Before we had two kids, weekends looked a little different. Not only did we get in more sleep and stay out later, but weekends meant running. There was usually one long run and one shorter run. Weekends were time to spend hours on the roads, and whether I was running by myself or with B, I’d be getting in some miles.

Weekends are a little different now. Why? Weekends are time for me to spend with my family- any time I am outside on a run by myself, I’m not with the kids. Do I sometimes feel guilty? Yes, especially now that we have 2! But somehow this weekend I managed now 1, but 2 runs! Saturday by myself and then Sunday with FW.

In addition to the 2 runs, the weekend also included some good food. B made some great French onion soup Saturday night for dinner.

I also baked some cookies.

And check out these spooky sweet treats my niece and mother-in-law made!

And in some other exciting, running-related news, I’m excited to share that once again I’m a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador this year! Last year I ran the 5k/10k challenge series at 39 weeks pregnant (LM was born 4 days later) –we’ll see what this year’s race entails for me!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever made French onion soup before?
  • How often do you run on the weekends?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps

Grateful for Low-Key Weekends

Another weekend has come and gone and I’m feeling so grateful. Grateful for a few days off to recharge, grateful for a healthy family (after a week with the stomach bug in our house) and grateful for a low-key weekend with nothing planned.

How did we end up with nothing planned? Well, we were originally going to be spending the weekend in Detroit to visit B’s brother and his fiance, but after the plague hit our house for the week, decided to take it easy. And we did!

We started off the weekend with some sushi. Seaweed salad, a roll and some of my favorite sashimi for me.

Saturday started off with a run! It was my first run outside in more than a week. Despite feeling out of shape, it was near perfect running weather and it felt so good to be outside. My Garmin was low battery, so I had to break up the run into 2 Strava workouts.

Saturday was Celia’s birthday party, which was also a costume party. FW put on his Winnie the Pooh outfit and had a blast – eating pizza and ice cream and decorating pumpkins.

Saturday night, B and I put the kids to bed semi-early so that we could hang out and watch a movie. Have you seen Black Panther? I really enjoyed it. And my snack of choice – popcorn and candy corn!

Sunday was chilllllly, but we still managed to spend some time outdoors. We spent the afternoon watching FW’s cousin play soccer.

Then, we decided to stop by a nearby pumpkin patch. It was our first time there, and FW had a great time! We rode a hayride to get to the pumpkins, and then FW was able to run around and play with the toys on the farm.

It was a fun way to end the weekend! I love pumpkins, and I think FW enjoyed picking some out for him and LM.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you gone pumpkin or apple picking yet?
  • Do you like candy corn?

Tips for Living Downtown With a Young Child

It’s been about a year since we moved our then family of three from downtown Cleveland to the suburbs. And while I love how family-friendly our neighborhood is in the ‘burbs, there are so many things I miss about living downtown. When we announced we were expecting, one of the first things people often asked was if we were leaving downtown Cleveland. Many people could not fathom how we could live downtown and have kids. Well, we not only made it work but we LOVED it! If you’re thinking of moving downtown or living downtown with babies or young kids, here are some tips.

1) Find a child-friendly place to live

When I lived downtown, there weren’t many self-proclaimed “child-friendly apartments.” That being said, we made our place child-friendly — we were lucky enough to have a 2-bedroom apartment in a relatively quiet downtown neighborhood before we even brought our son home from the hospital. Some other things to look for in a place to live include:

  • Working elevators — Can you survive with a walk-up apartment? Absolutely; people do it. But you’ll be happy you have an elevator when you’re lugging a stroller and groceries (and diapers!).
  • Lowish level — Bonus points if you’re not too high up in case said elevator breaks down (it’s bound to happen sometime!).
  • In-unit washer/dryer — Kids make a lot of laundry at all hours of the day. Depending on their age, there is spit up, diaper blowouts, other bodily fluids, finger foods, etc. Having an in-unit washer and dryer will make your life so much easier.
  • Close parking — In my apartment, we parked across the street, and sometimes that seemed far — especially in Cleveland winters! When you’re carrying a carseat (and aforementioned diapers and groceries), it will be really nice to have a parking spot that is close to your destination.
  • Thick walls — In our first apartment that we lived (sans baby), one of the interior walls was so thin, you could hear every single conversation that the couple next to us was having. This is NOT something you want when you have kids. You’ll not only be paranoid that your baby’s crying is bothering your neighbors, but you’ll worry that every little sound will wake him/her up.
  • Bonus: Friendly management — Yes, this is important whether or not you have kids, but I personally found myself needing to talk to building management after having kids. Have your parents visiting and need an extra key? Diaper delivery running late and you need to get into the office to retrieve it ASAP? Need to park in a special spot for a day or so as you’re recovering from giving birth? Having an understanding building management — as well as one that loves kids — is a plus.

2) Get used to living with less

Babies and kids themselves don’t take up a lot of space. But there’s so so much stuff that they often come with – bouncers, endless diapers, changing tables, cribs, bassinets, playpens, bottles, etc. Since we had such a small place, we only registered and purchased the essentials. What does that mean? Our baby’s bedroom had a crib and a comfy chair (that had previously been in our living room). We did not have room for the traditional dresser or changing table. So instead, my husband made some drawers that would fit underneath the crib. He also built a changing table that would open up and close back into the wall. We didn’t have a bouncer or many toys. And, it worked out! Most of the time, we simply told family and friends to not get us stuff outside the essentials, and instead donate to our son’s education fund.

3) Be prepared to leave downtown for some necessities

One of the best things about living downtown is being able to walk everywhere — the grocery store (hooray for the downtown Heinen’s!), the mall (GREAT for AC in the summer and warmth in the winter), restaurants, entertainment like a splash pad, etc. But, while living downtown Cleveland is great, it does lack some essentials that you’ll need more of as you have kids. So, be ready to hop in a car and leave downtown for some things. For example, we found great childcare just outside downtown, in Tremont. Our pediatrician was in Lakewood. And, the urgent care that was walking distance from our apartment was unable to see babies, so we needed to seek emergency care elsewhere. Also, I love running with the stroller, but I found many of the sidewalks downtown a little bumpy for running with a baby. So, I typically headed to the Metroparks or Towpath when seeking a longer stroller run.

Some questions for you:

  • When you had kids, did you move? Or if you are thinking of having kids – would you move?
  • Have you lived in a major city with a child or baby?

Please note: I’m now blogging with Northeast Ohio Parent magazine! And, the original version of this post was on their site.

Feels Like Fall Up Here

It finally has started feeling like fall here! Which makes sense, because Saturday was the first official day of fall and it was only in the 50s all day.

Do I prefer summer? Yuppppp! But it was still a good few days.

Some of the fun included:

Finally getting to see the Infinite Mirrors exhibit by Kusama at the art museum.

If you ever have a chance to so this, i HIGHLY recommend it. It was amazing.

After the exhibit, we decided to get some wine and cheese, which was the perfect way to end the night.

The weekend also included some homemade pizza. FW helpes with the dough.

Saturday was pretty fun, too. We started off the day with a trip to one of the coolest playgrounds nearby and met up with Celia and Maura and Maddie.

FW had a blast with Celia.

And I’m sure LM had fun with Maura, too.

The day also included some basil picking and pesto making.

And even a short walk.

And B and I made dinner together, which hasn’t happened in FOREVER.

Penne with bacon, leeks and mushrooms.

The night ended pretty boring- catching up on work with football and ice cream as aids (I had a Sunday a.m. deadline and a call that started at 11pm).

Sunday morning fun included a family run!

We brought our nephew and niece along for the ride, too.

The day also included a walk and ANOTHER playground visit!

And some monkeying around with the cousins.

I have another busy week at work coming up, so I also tried to get in all the snuggles I could.

We finished off the weekend with dinner at B’s parents’ house. And make-your-ow sundaes!

And now I’m ready to take on a crazy week! Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite sundae topping? I’m team caramel ober chocolate syrup any day!
  • Did it feel like fall near you?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps

Too Much Fun Stuff

Well, I think we outdid ourselves this weekend. In just 2-ish days, our weekend included (and not in this order):

  • 2 Indians games
  • A date night
  • Cookie baking
  • Muffin making
  • A visit to a new local bar/brewery
  • A block party
  • A family birthday dinner
  • A 5K race
  • A nature walk

See what I mean? I didn’t even include work, which took up a few hours of my weekend as well! Good thing I like being busy.

Friday night started out with a date night! B and I went to the new Southern Tier and grabbed drinks. I of course had to get a Pumpking- they had a coffee stout kind that was amazing!

We will definitely be back.

After that, we were off to the Indians game! This is our 9th game of the season together.

It was just the 2 of us at the game for the first time all season! It was nice to just relax and enjoy the game.

Saturday morning FW and I let LM and B sleep in, so we started off the morning by making muffins!

Later in the morning, we took a walk to the nature center. It was packet pickup for a race we had planned for Sunday. FW enjoyed checking out the turtle.

And then we went fot a short nature walk.

That afternoon included some cookie baking.

And then we took said cookies in our wagon and headed to our block party!

Everything was really kid friendly. FW loved the chalk.

And the donut game- you had to try to eat it on the string without any hands!

There was also a game that involved eating whipped cream with no hands.

And an egg toss.

Not a bad block party, right?

Sunday morning started early with a 5k race around the Shaker Lakes.

It was my first race pushing the stroller the entire time – B pushed LM and I pushed FW – and it was fun!

My goal was to do under 10 minute miles and we did it – so I was happy.

In the afternoon, we headed to another Indians game. This time, with FW.

After the game, it was time for dinnernat B’s parents’ house. We celebrated his birthday with his favorite- steak for dinner and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for dessert.

And that’s a wrap! Some questions for you:

  • Do you like chocolate cake?
  • Did you get to do any races this weekend?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps

Living For Weekends

Welp, last week was my first full week back at work after maternity leave. And I’m not gonna lie, it was a doozy. I put in more hours than I have in a while, and working late plus little sleep (yay toddler and 3 month old) made me SO pumped for the weekend! And thank goodness, it was a good weekend.

B and FW made dinner Friday night, which meant we were able to have homemade pizza on the porch!

Saturday started out with breakfast for FW and me. We both had eggs – his were in fun shapes.

Then, I took FW out for a run.

It was pretty much perfect running weatherweather- low 60s and cloudy. We got in a little more than 4 miles.

Also, when did FW get so old? He looks so old compared to LM!

For dinner B made homemade pasta, which is pretty much my favorite comfort food. He also grilled some scallops for the perfect meal.

It stayed perfect weather for an after dinner walk.

Sunday morning started with pancakes! B made us all breakfast.

The day included some catching up on work, chores (yay for laundry … and then more laundry after a blowout) and a trip to The Container Store.

The rest of the day was low key, especially since it was pouring rain and super windy all day long. We didn’t make it outside for a walk or run or anything. Instead, we watched football and did some reading.

But, we did make it to B’s family’s home for dinner. FW got to enjoy some time playing with his cousins.

AND how excited are you for this? I’m a little afraid on how it’s going to portray CLE, but excited to see what’s in store for one of my favorite podcasts.

Some questions for you:

  • Did you have crazy rainy weather this weekend?
  • What kind of workout do you do if you can’t get outside?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Wonderful Long Weekends

A good three-day weekend with the family can put you in the best of moods – don’t you agree?

I had a really nice weekend with our family of four. The weather was pretty amazing and felt like a great way to wrap up summer. Our days involved plenty of outside time, running, baseball, baking and more.

Friday night included some of my favorites – patio beers with B, a walk with FW (we walked to pick up our CSA) AND dinner outside on our porch.

Saturday morning, we took a trip to the local farmers market. There’s one we can walk to, so LM and I ran there while B and FW rode the bike.

We picked up some fruit and meat for dinner.

The afternoon included an impromptu trip to the lake to watch the annual Labor Day air show. We got there just in time to catch the Blue Angels! FW was amazed by the loud and fast planes.

That night, B cooked us a pretty amazing meal that just screamed summer. AND it was all local food – the steak was from the Saturday farmers market, the bunching onions were from the farmers market at FW’s school and the corn and potatoes were from our CSA.

Sunday morning started off pretty perfect as well! B and FW surprised me with bagels. My favorite bagel, an everything, was even warm when we ate on the porch.

They also picked up a local blend if everything bagel seasoning.

We decided to go for a little family run together before it got too hot out. It was out fastest family stroller run since we became a family of 4.

That afternoon, while B did some yard work, FW and I made muffins! He loves these chocolate chip banana lentil muffins.

And then it was time for baseball! We left LM with a babysitter, and FW, B and I went to the Indians game. We stayed for the whole game- I was impressed with how good he was for 9 innings.

Monday brought a lot of fun, too. We started off the day with a trip to the park for a picnic with some other mommas and their kiddos, too. FW loved the playground and I had fun catching up with my friends.

The afternoon included some meal prep grocery shopping and even a 2ish mile family walk. It was 90+ degrees out, so it was a sloooow walk and hot.

And that night was our fantasy football draft! I’ve never played before, so this should be interesting … maybe it will get me more intrested in football?

Some questions for you:

  • Are you obsessed with everything bagel seasoning too? What do you use it for?
  • Do you like baseball?
  • Do you play fantasy football?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!