Friday Five: Ask a Mom! 5 Questions for The Last Mommy Blog

My friend Reanna is a super mom.

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She is one of the first of my friends to have a baby, and she has been a source of so much inspiration and information as I’ve started this journey toward motherhood. She’s a great resource – she is going through all that I’m going through 6 months before I do and doing it and all with a smile and a great sense of humor (she’s super hilarious – check out her blog, The Last Mommy Blog). So when she asked if she could interview me for her blog, I was like – wait, why can’t I interview YOU? So, I’m partnering with her and sharing some advice, info, tips, etc. for moms. She has so much info to share that this will likely be a series of posts for the next few weeks.

Before we get started, here are 3 fun facts about Reanna:

  1. She used to live in Cleveland but now lives on a farm south of the city. She moved into her grandparents’ house when her baby was just a few months old and is cleaning it out, renovating it and basically living in nature. This is so crazy and amazing to me – I’m scared/in awe of anything nature related and don’t know how to even fix a broken drawer.
  2. She was the Lady who started Ladies’ Craft Beer Society. In case you haven’t read my posts about it, we meet once a month and drink a craft beer and do a craft. It’s been a great way for me to meet new friends with similar interests (drinking is an interest, right?) in CLE.
  3. She wears many hats these days. She’s adjusting to life as a stay-at-home mom AND is a part-time freelancer. And she also is a semi-successful gardener and may soon be a goat owner. That’s more hats than I own in real life! (which is why she froze her eggs…more on that [clickbait! but you know you wanna know!] here)

Okay, onto the pregnancy and parenting stuff. Here are 5 Q&A’s with Reanna – and check out her blog, where I answer some of these questions as well! This week, we’ll celebrate Friday and talk pregnancy and becoming a mom.

FRIDAY FIVE; PREGNANCY AND BECOMING A MOM

1. Has motherhood changed your perspective on the world in any way?

I feel so hard for all mothers and babies now. I have always thought our maternity leave policies (or lack thereof) in this country were unfair, but now I feel they’re downright cruel. I took The Baby to a restaurant when he was a few months old and our waitress told me she had a two-week old at home and I wanted to stuff piles of money in both her hands, scoop her up, drive her home and tuck her and her baby into bed. It is appalling to me that we are failing families in this way.

2. What was the worst advice you got while you were pregnant?

I have to also say, “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” I caught a few naps while The Husband was home from work, but as an anxious person it was almost always next to impossible for me to fall asleep on demand. It’s the advice equivalent of telling someone, “Don’t be scared,” or “Win the lottery.” You just don’t have as much control as that advice implies.

3. What was the hardest part of pregnancy for you?

Agonizing heartburn. It was so bad by the end of the second trimester I could barely eat until I started taking prescription heartburn medication, which I felt nervous about every time I took it because it was a Class B drug or something. That and my regrettable inability to quickly think of a good retort at 37 weeks when a male coworker asked me if I was dilated.

4. What surprised you about pregnancy?

I thought I would be really excited to tell people I was pregnant after I was far enough along I felt comfortable to. But I had a lot of anxiety around it. I’m not sure if it’s because I’d had a miscarriage the first time around, or because I was explaining my participation in human reproduction, or because it opened the doors for people to pay me lots of attention and ask me a lot of questions, but it didn’t feel as good to let people in on our secret as I thought it would. Except with my friends, I just wanted to carry on with life as usual.

5. Are you happy with your childbirth experience? Is there anything you wish would have gone differently?

I am so very grateful for my childbirth experience. The only major bummer was that it happened on Christmas Day. Not because it ruined that particular Christmas (not by any means!) but I know it’s going to make The Baby’s birthday rough for him, for his entire life.

There you have it – until next Friday, when there will likely be 5 more questions for The Last Mommy Blog.

Some questions for you:

  • What questions do you have for new moms?
  • Moms, how would you answer any of these questions?
  • YAY for Fridays!! What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Friday 5: Family Vacation Favorites

I’m just getting back from a week of vacation spending time in New York and California with family. I’ve already written a few recap posts (NY, Sonoma), but before finishing up those posts, here’s a quick Friday Favorites dedicated to some of my favorite photos from our trip. Here you go – a few photos and one sentence as to why I like each photo.

1. Redwoods Selfie: Love that it shows all of us just hiking in the Redwoods, a place that is seriously so unbelievably beautiful, that it’s only better if you’re sharing it with family.

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2. Family in Jersey: Again, love that it captures me and my extended family – we’re hardly ever all in one place! family at katies birthday

3. Me and Greg @ Dinner: We actually look pretty related here, which doesn’t happen often. 20150726_202918

4. Greg and me and the vines: A traditional brother-sister selfie.

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4. Lavender fields at the vineyard: I can look at this picture and smell how beautiful it was!

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5. Parents on our walk along the Mendocino Headlands: They make me happy ❤20150728_140539

AND a bonus: Mom feeding the chickens: Because when else are we ever feeding chickens, or even around wildlife (and she looks like she’s having a great time!)?1438107515188

Happy Friday! I’m linking up today with Life in Leggings and Fitting it all In! 

Friday Five: Summer Favorites – Five Things I’m Looking Forward To This Summer

The official first day of summer is this Sunday and I’m pretty pretty excited for it to begin. Summer in Cleveland is the best. As is spring and fall but I do just LOVE SUMMER. Here are 5 things I’m already excited about- these are my summer favorites!

1.The Beach.

I love going to the beach. Yes, Lake Erie is a lake but this East Coaster grew up with the ocean and still loves Lake Erie. It’s so big that it feels like an ocean at times and just laying out on the sand, relaxing, AND going to events like Edgewater Live where there’s live music and food trucks on the beach make me so excited for summer!

Edgewater Last June ... I need to get back!

Edgewater Last June … I need to get back!

2. Summer Vacations.

B and I took a big trip to Asia early in the year so we don’t have anything huge planned for summer, but I do have a few trips already on our agenda:

– Milwaukee for  Summerfest – just a drive away and a great music festival on their water. Plus beer, cheese curds and Jelly Belly! (Here’s a recap from the last time we went)

Last Milwaukee Vacay

Last Milwaukee Vacay

– California to visit my brother – for my mom’s birthday, our family is taking a trip out west again and spending some time with my brother who lives in SF. We’ll be doing a few days in the Redwoods before I head back to CLE (they’re taking a longer trip and have a few more adventures planned).

Last Cali trip with the fan

Last Cali trip with the fam

– Camping with friends – B rented a cabin for us and a few other couples to enjoy a weekend in the woods.

3. Ice Cream.

Yes, I enjoy ice cream year round, but there’s just something about an afternoon walk to our favorite ice cream shop that just screams summer, amiright?

I realllly reallly really love ice cream ..

I realllly reallly really love ice cream ..

4. Running.

Yes, summer running can be hot, humid and less-than-stellar but the days are longer, mornings are brighter and paths are clear of ice and I definitely appreciate it. And since I’m running a half in August, training starts two weeks ago now! And my running bff signed up for a full so that means we’ll be sure to get in some early morning longish runs together hopefully.

see! I sweat .. a lot.

see! I sweat .. a lot. but i’m still smiling!

5. Blossom/Outdoor Music.

I love patios. And backyards. There’s just something so relaxing and freeing about sitting outside and enjoying live music. The Cleveland Orchestra’s summer home is at Blossom, and last year B and I went to two shows where we sat on the lawn, brought some wine and cheese and snacks, and listened to the orchestra perform. BEST way to spend a summer night!

A shot of the lawn - packed with people!

A shot of the lawn – packed with people!

Some questions for you:

  1. What are you most looking forward to for summer?
  2. Do you have any summer vacation plans?
  3. Do you like running in the summer? If not, what’s your preferred season for running?
  4. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Shout out to the Dancing Runner for inspiring me to write this post! AND linking up today with this fabulous blog – Running for Cupcakes!.

Friday Five: May Randomness

As we get to the unofficial start of summer, I realize I haven’t been so great about my weekend recap posts this month. Jinkies! (yes, cue the Mystery Machine) So here is a random Friday Five to catch you up to speed. Don’t worry – I hope have more weekend update posts AND some new baked goods recipes coming soon (butterscotch chocolate chip cookies and ginger cookies!).

Friday 5: 5 Random Things

1. I signed up for the new Rock Hall Half Marathon! Blame it on the runner’s high –  last weekend was the Cleveland Marathon (recap here). I was lucky enough to be an Ambassador and hang out with these lovely people AND run with B. (Yes, I did write about this but I just had to share it again because I’m still feeling the high from the event!)

Some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race - we clean up good!

Some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race – we clean up good!

Me and Nicole. We're running buddies.

Me and Nicole. We’re running buddies.

2. Earlier this month was the St. Martin De Porres Birthday Bash. I went with B and his family and we got all dressed up and celebrated/raised money for St. Martin De Porres High School at the Cleveland Art Museum. Such a great venue – and a great cause!

B and me at the bash

B and me at the bash

Some of us ladies at the event

Some of us ladies at the event

3. I’ve been baking up a storm this month. Some things have included ginger chocolate biscotti, butterscotch cookies, butterscotch chocolate chip cookies, triple ginger cookies. Yum! Recipes coming soon (hopefully).

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4. B and I finally got around to making one of the recipes we learned in Vietnam this year – spring rolls! Our contribution to Mother’s Day (theme: small plates) were these shrimp and pork spring rolls with peanut sauce. So delicious!

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5. A client of mine, Donate Life Ohio, recently kicked off a #DonateKindness campaign. They are encouraging people to take 2 minutes of their day to commit to an act of kindness toward someone else. (And of course, it only takes 2 minutes to do the ultimate act of kindness – register as an organ, eye or tissue donor) I participated already and can’t wait to do it again – I shipped some baked goods (see aforementioned treats) to some friends and family as a surprise!

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Some questions for you:

  1. Have you done any random acts of kindness lately? What have you done?
  2. What is a good Memorial Day appetizer or dessert to bring to a party? I need ideas!

Friday Five: Running Update

TGIF! Another week has come and gone and I am SO ready for the weekend. Aren’t you?

In honor of this weekend’s big event – the Cleveland marathon – and the fact that I haven’t posted a running update in a while, here are some running-related randomness for this Friday Five.

Annual Mileage Total: Approx. 512 miles

I know, I know, I’m at waay less mileage than I was at this time last year. But I’m okay with it for a few reason. One, when B and I went  to Costa Rica last month, I only ran twice – we kept active with walks, hikes, swims, etc. So that’s two full weeks of at least 20 fewer miles to add to my log.  Two, I feel like I’ve been running smarter. When my shin started seriously hurting a few weeks ago (yes, again), I took a few days off. I’ve been trying to take at least one day off from running a week (sometimes 2! like this week) to make sure my body recovers from pounding the pavement. I will acknowledge that it may not seem like a big deal to say “Oh, I’m running only 5 days a week,” but I can assure you (just ask B) that for me, it is. And I know a few other runners out there are nodding their heads reading this and get it.

2014 runs

2014 Races Completed: 4 thus far (plus 1 this weekend!)

I can’t believe it’s May already and we’re right in the middle of running season and our total races completed is 4. B and I started the year with the Chili Bowl 5K in February (we used the 3.1 race as the end to an 11 mile training run). Then in March (exactly one month later), we completed the Chicago Get Lucky Half Marathon. In April, B and I did two races in one weekend – the Hermes 10 miler and a 5K for autism awareness in Columbus. At the 5K, I somehow took home first overall female … guess I should do small community races more often!

post autism awareness 5k

post autism awareness 5k

action shot for the 10 miler

action shot for the 10 miler

2014 Goals: A Work In Progress

This year some of my running goals have included to get to a sub-2 hour half marathon, as well as run 3 half marathons in the year. I’m getting there! I’ve done 1 half marathon (and have 1 this weekend) and met my sub-2 hour goal at the Chicago Get Lucky Half Marathon this year. Hmm, maybe it’s time to set another goal. Sub-25 min 5k? Do I see some interval/speed training in my future (blech)?

My not-quite-accurate finish time. My "chip start" didn't work so take this tiem and subtrack at least a minute to account for how long it took me to get to the starting line (B's chip stated at 1:51 and we ran together)

My not-quite-accurate finish time. My “chip start” didn’t work so take this time and subtract at least a minute to account for how long it took me to get to the starting line (B’s chip stated at 1:51 and we ran together)

Getting More Social in my Running

I’ve definitely been being a more social runner, something that I really like. Flash back to a year ago, doing a long run and asking B to come with me and he admitting he wished I had more “runner friends.” Because about a year ago, I had only really run with B and Mary. Later in the year I started doing some runs with my coworker Cari … and this year I’ve been running somewhat regularly (at least a few times a month) with Nicole and Erica. Running with people used to intimidate me. What if I ran too slow? I get really sweaty .. what if they were grossed out? Yes, I thought about this things. But for some reason, I just stopped caring. I run with people who run my pace and if I’m sweaty, coughing, etc. well, does it really matter?

Best example – got over myself and did the Running of the Bridges with a group of at least 50 other runners last week. It was warm, sunny, and yes, I was super sweaty – but it was fun!

 

see! I sweat ..

see! I sweat ..

What’s Next?

The Cleveland Half Marathon Race is this weekend! I’m pretty ready and excited to be taking it easy, running it for fun and not competitively, and just enjoy the sights of this city, the new route, the cheering crowds (hopefully) and the cool weather that just came in today. After that – where should I plan half marathon #3?

Good luck to all those running this weekend!  Some questions for you:

  • What’s the next race you have planned? Are you training for something?
  • What are your running goals?
  • Are there any half marathons coming up you like? Which should be my next one?
  • Are you a solo runner/biker/worker-outer or do you prefer in a group?

 

 

Friday Five: Coming Up …

April may be flying by but I’m pretty much enjoying every speedy minute of it. The end of the month means that I have some fabulous things to look forward to:

1. DAZZLE the District!

I am SO excited for this event – happening NEXT FRIDAY. The Dazzle the District celebration is a big party happening in my neighborhood that in honor of some new renovations – lights, video signage, elegant gateways, a humongous “retro” sign inspired by PlayhouseSquare’s 1920s-era roots and the world’s largest outdoor chandelier. Yes, I will be living near the world’s largest outdoor chandelier. Anyway, there’s going to be a big party with happy hours, Hot Chelle Rae Concert and a lighting ceremony. I CAN’T wait. You better bet I’ll be tweeting/Instagramming/etc. with the hashtag, #DazzleCLE.

I walk by here every day pretty much .. here's where the chandelier will be!

I walk by here every day pretty much .. here’s where the chandelier will be!

Love the new gateways - and they're lit up at night!

Love the new gateways – and they’re lit up at night!

New gateway in the area

New gateway in the area

2. Cleveland 10-Miler

The Cleveland 10-Miler is this weekend! It’s a race I’ve grown to love (yes, I said “love” about a 10 mile race) over the years. The crowds, the weather, the people running it, the after-party events, the medal, the Gu/water stops, the t-shirt and even the route. The last time I ran it I was training for a marathon and had already run 10 miles before the start (and had the last 10 miles of my 20 mile run be the race) so this weekend I’m happy to be “only” running these 10 miles.

3. Races for a Good Cause – A Better World for Autism 5K

The spring and summer are full of 5ks that support various causes. This weekend, B and I will be participating in a race that supports a cause that’s definitely close to us, autism awareness. B’s aunt is active in the organization hosting the race, so we’ll be driving down after our 10-miler to join their family in this event. Who knows if I’ll feel good enough to run in it, but I’m looking forward to being part of the event!

4. Summer Farmers Markets and CSAs! 

Now that summer is almost here, it means our CSA is about to begin! B and I signed up once again for Fresh Fork Market and I can’t wait to see what new meats, vegetables, cheese, pasta, etc. we receive this year. I had a blast trying out new recipes and cooking many new greens last year (check out some of my Fresh Fork wrap ups, including what we got and what we made). Some of my favorites included:

Kohlrabi Slaw … I’m so happy that Fresh Fork introduced me to Kohlrabi – now I’m hooked!

Fennel, tomato and avocado salad

BEER CAN CHICKEN

5. Our 3rd Wedding Anniversary

Next week will mark 3 years that B and I have been married. Wild, huh? It honestly feels like yesterday (cliche, I know) that we were just dating, not even engaged. Wow, times have changed. Please join me for a walk down memory lane (warning, cheesiness ahead)

OK, i know this is before we met, but I couldn't help myself. :)

OK, i know this is before we met, but I couldn’t help myself. 🙂

oldie

Dressed up for a formal, senior year of college.

 

race 2009

A Turkey Trot, circa 5 years ago. check it out – B IS WEARING A HERMES 10 MILER SHIRT! (yes, this post just went full circle)

Halloween. We were the robots from Flight of the Conchords.

Halloween. We were the robots from Flight of the Conchords.

And from this past year - us in Seattle

And from this past year – us in Seattle

 

A few questions for you:

  • What are a few things you’re looking forward to as April draws to an end?
  • So apparently the 3rd anniversary is your “leather” anniversary. Quick, what are a few leather gifts?
  • Any fun races coming up?
  • Clevelanders – will I see you at Dazzle the District?
  • Has a CSA or Farmers Market introduced you to any new foods? Yup, kohlrabi! I love it roasted and as a slaw but when I first saw it I thought it was an alien. No joke. It scared me.

Friday Five: My birthday week!

I’m off on a mini-birthday weekend getaway (don’t worry, I’m not going far – still staying in SNOhio right now), but before I left I wanted to give a quick birthday week update. I was traveling for work 3 days this week, meaning it was a busy, productive, and speedy week! Still, here are five things I am pretty excited about:

1. So much good food.

I’ve definitely been taking advantage of the “it’s my birthday week” excuse and eating all my favorite meals. Which include some awesome salads from Rothschild Farms, sushi from Sushi 86, Janea’s salad from Stone Oven (not pictured because I gobbled it up too fast), and the Super Salad and some steam buns from Noodlecat (not pictured because the lighting was awful).

Salad from Rothschild farms and quinoa

Salad from Rothschild farms and quinoa

<3 Sushi 86

What? That's not food? You're right. But they are the January shot of the month, which seemed very birthday appropriate.

What? That’s not food? You’re right. But they are the January shot of the month, which seemed very birthday appropriate.

What are some of your favorite meals? Apparently I like salads a lot.

2. This birthday gift!

Not to gush, but I’m pretty pumped about this birthday gift that B made (as in he went to the store, bought wood, paint, hooks, etc.) for me. I’d been creeping on something to hang my bibs/medals on on Etsy,

bda gift

3. My longest treadmill run ever!

This week has been COLD. And snowy. Yes, I know it’s winter (warning, vent coming in 3….2…..1) but enough with the sub-zero temps and slippery roads! Anyway, when I woke up to “0 degrees, feels like -12, snow showers” the other morning, I knew my 9 miles probably weren’t going to happen outside before work. I told myself to just see what I could do on the treadmill, assuming I wouldn’t make it past 6-7 without stopping.

Did I go slow? Yes. Did I enjoy every minute of it? No. But did I do it? Yes. And here’s some proof:

9 mile nonstop run followed by .25 walk. DONE.

9 mile run followed by .25 walk. DONE.

4. Arctic Zero.

Okay, I know I’m late to discover this (it seems like my whole Instafeed is always pics of people enjoying their Arctic Zero), but B bought me 2 pints of it for my birthday and I am so in love with it. No, it doesn’t taste like regular ice cream, but it’s creamy/enjoyable/glorious/amazingnessinabowl nonetheless?

5. This video.

If you work in a corporate setting, you’re probably familiar with the dreaded awkward conference call. In fact, I had one this week – where I not only found myself talking on mute (and everyone else was confused), but at another point had one of those moments where we all talk at once and then have a “oh no you go ahead …” “no you go first” battle and then continue to all talk at once. Yes, those calls. If you’re familiar – enjoy this:

 

And of course, some questions for you:

  • What’s the longest distance you’ve run on a treadmill? How do you stay entertained?
  • Have you tried Arctic Zero? What flavors do you like?
  • Do you have a birthday coming up?
  • Homemade gifts – yay or nay?

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!