A “Toasty” Weekend

We had a HOT weekend here in Cleveland – it was 95ish or so degrees both days and humid. Or as FW says, “toasty!” So, we had to find some ways to keep 2 kids entertained and stay cool.

Friday night started off with a walk to get some ice cream at a nearby ice cream shop. It’s about a mile walk there (FW didn’t make it the whole way there or back on foot).

FW enjoyed sharing ice cream with both of us.

Also, this little lady turned 1 month old!

Saturday morning tarted orly – B and his dad were going to chop down a tree in our backyard. It was starting to grow and invade our neighbors’ house so they asked us to do something about it.

FW joined in – he watched over the chopping with donuts:)

And made sure the ladder was safe to use.

Then, we took a little family walk. It was HOT out so we didn’t make it too far.

That afternoon, B had plans and was out of the house for a few hours. It was my first extended time alone with the two kids … and to be honest – it was hard! They got along for some time, but there were a few meltdowns from both of them at some points. 

When B came home, I was READY to get out of the house. It was past dinnertime and FW (and B) were hungry. So, B went with the kids to pick up pizza, and I went for a short run. It was 90 and humid and I’m so out of shape from not running after giving birth, but it felt SO GOOD to be outside and moving!

And, my favorite local pizza – plus wine and soda! – for dinner.

Sunday morning, we watched some World Cup and went for a walk before it got too hot. We walked to some local lakes where FW likes to watch the fish.

The afternoon included trying to keep cool – hanging out in the AC, watching some World Cup inside, and relaxing on the porch. A perfect weekend for the summer!

Some questions for you:

  • Did you get out and run in the heat this weekend?
  • Do you have AC?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps.

Happy Birthday, FW

Happy Birthday to FW. I cannot believe that you are two years old today. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what life was like before you, and other days it feels like you just arrived.

This year held a lot of change for you. New school, new home, new sister, two new bedrooms, new bed – what else is there to change?

Yet (most of the time), you’ve stayed happy, giggly and (okay, I’m biased) so adorable.

This will be a big year for you. You’re already showing so many of the signs of being a “big boy” – both good and bad. The terrible twos have started to appear (yes, including tantrums, not listening to us and crying on demand), but you are also so caring and helpful, especially around your new little sister.  You’re saying sentences and not afraid to express your feelings, whether you’re happy or sad.

Every single thing they say about kids growing up too fast and time flying is true. I have to remind myself to take a step back and enjoy our time right now, because with the blink of an eye, I know these years will be over too soon.

Thank you for making me a Mom.

Weekend Recap: Cleveland Marathon Weekend!

Well, Cleveland Marathon weekend has come and gone. It’s always such a great weekend and I love all the events that I get to take part in – thanks to being an ambassador – that I’m a little sad it’s over.

I’ll start by saying that I was having mixed feelings about this year’s events. Why? Being 39 weeks pregnant (due date=THURSDAY), I was unsure of my ability to run/walk. Sure, when I signed on in the fall, in my head I thought, “If anything I can at least walk 6 miles – that’s nothing.” But as I got further and further along, I realize that walking a 10K with extra weight,  a baby in my belly pushing on my bladder, and little sleep (yay third trimester), may not be what I wanted to do at this point in my pregnancy.

BUT I’m so glad that I did. I really do love running and even when it’s not so comfortable (a.k.a. NOW), it’s great to be part of a fun race with fun crowds and a great location –  CLEVELAND!).

In any case, my weekend started early with fun marathon events.

First, the Expo! Cari and I headed to the Expo and had to take our annual race weekend photo. A little different than last year’s photo, huh?

This year …

Last year!

Then, it was time for the pre-race reception/dinner. As a race ambassador I get to get dressed up and mingle with all the VIPs (sponsors and elite runners!) in town the night before the race. The event always has good food, live music, a great location – it’s at the beautiful Galleria – AND I get to see my fellow ambassadors!

Saturday morning started early (but not as early as Sunday …) with our alarm going off to get ready for the Cleveland Marathon 5k. This is my third year participating in the race’s Challenge Series, which involves running an event on Saturday (either a 5k or 8k) and then an event on Sunday (either a 10k or full/half marathon).

The race was fun and not as painful as last weekend’s 5k for some reason. Oh, and B wore FW in a backpack and RAN ALONG SIDE OF ME. I still can’t believe he did that.

HE RAN LIKE THIS

After the race, we hung around for a little and checked out some of the event they had going on. The real event is Sunday, but they had some tents and things set up. Including a place that had THESE things – FW ran over to it and immediately started playing. Let’s just say I know what he may need for his birthday!

Then, picked up some bagels from our favorite local bagel shop. They had piping hot apple cinnamon bagels right from the oven, which was a perfect post-race meal.

Then, we hit up La-Z Boy. We had ordered a chair for our nursery back in March, but for some reason it was delayed and we didn’t find out until this past week. So, we had to go back in the store and pick out a new one so it would arrive in time – hopefully it’s delivered this week before Baby #2 arrives!

no chair photo, but here’s FW inspecting his bagel

We played it low key in the afternoon. It involved a walk outside (FW loved splashing in all the puddles), and B made us pasta for dinner (my request – a perfect pre-10k meal!).

 

Sunday morning started even earlier – my alarm got me up around 5 so that we could have enough time to get ready, get FW up, eat something and head downtown before the 6:30 road closures.

Despite the weather forecast looking picture perfect, it rained steadily as we drove downtown, as we walked to the start and as we started the race. Despite being wet, I was happy that it stayed in mild temps and I didn’t overheat (which happens a lot faster at this point in my pregnancy).

I’ll be sharing a full race recap, but all in all the 10k went well. Was it  a lot harder on me than the 5k? Yes. Was I sore before and during and after the race? Yes. But did I feel super proud for having completed a 10k at 39+ weeks pregnant? You bet. And FW and B kept me company throughout the entire route, which made it even better.

After the race, we got some hot coffees. Mine was delicious (or I should say is delicious – I still have some leftover :)) – it had honey and cinnamon in it!

Then, we met up with Dave and Anson for or usual Happy Dog lunch. I got a veggie dog with veggie chili and an egg on top – it was really good!

 And since we were in the neighborhood, we picked up a few groceries as well.

Admittedly, I pretty much crashed after that excursion. I’m not typically a big napper, but when FW took his afternoon nap, I took a short one as well. My body was TIRED from the 10k – I felt like I had run much more!

That night, we finished up the day with dinner at B’s parents house. As always, a good end to a quick weekend. And FW always has a good time playing with his cousins, aunts and uncles.

Some questions for you:

  • Ever run a longish race in the rain? How did you stay dry or warm?
  • Do you like naps?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps.

Mother’s Day Weekend

For some reason, this year Mother’s Day weekend, felt a little different than past years. I felt much more like a mom this year than I ever have before. Yes, it’s technically my second (or third, depending on who counts) Mother’s Day, but for some reason, I feel much more deserving of the title this year. Maybe because I have a toddler who runs around and calls me mom? Maybe because I’m (as B calls it) 1,000 months pregnant?

Anyway, being a mom is HARD, but some weekends are just great. And this was one of those weekends. It was definitely a weekend where I loved being a mom!

The weekend started actually with Muffins with Mom at school. I got to stop by FW’s classroom on Friday morning before work for breakfast!

And it was a pretty gorgeous day, so after work that night B, FW and I went for a short walk around the neighborhood. FW loves running! 

Saturday started with some flowers to celebrate Mother’s Day 🙂 Call me basic, but I will ALWAYS love a nice bouquet. 

Saturday morning ALSO started with a 5k! There was a race starting a few blocks from our house, so we decided to do it. I haven’t done a race in FOREVER and I knew it was going to be a lot of walking and VERY slow running, but I’m so glad we did it. (Disclosure – B pushed FW in the stroller while I ran)

FW’s favorite part was likely the muffins afterwards 🙂

After the race, we walked back to the house and did some baking! FW helped mix things up.

These were the “muffins” we made. The recipe was for muffins but I’m not too sure what makes these muffins and not cupcakes …

And then, FW decided he was tired and wanted to nap. On me! It’s been a while, and it was actually kind of a nice way to spend an hour. 

Later that afternoon, we went to the West Side Market to pick up some groceries. 

And then Rising Star for some coffee. FW enjoyed his chocolate milk 🙂

And then B made us pizza for dinner! We haven’t had homemade pizza in FOREVER and it was a nice change.

Sunday morning, FW didn’t wake up until around 8 – which was a great Mother’s Day gift! After he woke up, B and FW took a trip to get me a Mother’s Day specialty – a cassata cake doughnut. These are some of the only doughnuts I really enjoy and it’s mainly because of the quantity of frosting and cream.

This photo doesn’t do it justice.

After breakfast (doughnut and some fruit/yogurt per my request), we took a long walk. More than four miles while FW slept in the stroller.

We saw some geese and baby geese on the walk – it was a cute thing to see especially on Mother’s Day!

And then, FW got to spend some time at the nearby playground.

For dinner, we joined B’s family per our Sunday night tradition. B ended up making the whole family dinner and it was delicious – we had two different types of fish, grilled eggplant and an arugula salad.

Baking, a race, a long walk and cassata cake doughnut – for me, that is the perfect Mother’s Day weekend!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like doughnuts? What kind?
  • What makes something a muffin vs. a cupcake?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps.

Scenes from a COLD and Snowy New Year Celebration

B and I hosted our first gathering at our home this week! We decided to have some friends over for a low-key New Year’s Eve – complete with food, some drinks, and a few babies/toddlers.

The day started with some COLD outside play for FW. Confession – I didn’t leave my house at all that day because it was so cold, so while B and FW were outside (FW was outside for all of 5 minutes or so) to shovel, play, etc. I was inside helping to prep everything.

We did some decorating had tons of food!  We finally got to use our dining room, too, which was great – it’s a room that we’ve done a good amount of work to since moving in (painting, putting in a new ceiling, taking out the fan, getting  a new light fixture, plus a rug and furniture) so it was so much fun to share it!

We had a ton of food to share – most of it isn’t even pictured! But B and I made pepperoni bread, pizza, baked ziti, eggplant parmesan and Lidia’s Brussels sprouts. We had friends bring over some delicious dips and charcuterie. 

Oh, and of course I made some desserts. In addition to the graham cracker toffee that I’ve now made 3 times this holiday season, I also made some peanut butter cup cupcakes and mocha cupcakes. 

FW had fun hanging out with all our friends. 

Especially his friend Celia 🙂

FW didn’t stay up until midnight (we put him to bed late though – probably around 9:30?), but I made it until 1:30! Which is a big deal fro me 🙂

Happy 2018! Hope yours is off to a fabulous start.

See more fun with the Lou Lou girls linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run: 2017 Year in Running in Review

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I can’t believe the holidays are over; it’s my favorite time of year.  But as we head into the New Year, it’s time to look back and reflect on 2017.

As I look back a the year in running, if I had to give myself a grade, I’d give myself a B+. It wasn’t my best year in terms of mileage quantity – I’ve run more miles in years past, but I still ran more this year than last year.  Some of the highlights, number wise (NOTE that these numbers should go up still, as is does not include any mileage that I run between now and the end of the year):

  • Total mileage for 2017: 1,111+ miles
  • Average weekly mileage: 22 miles
  • Most popular day for a run: Tuesday (I ran 46 Tuesdays this year)
  • Least popular day for a run: Friday (I only ran 28 Fridays)
  • Average number of days run/week: 5

Some visual highlights from 2017:

I started the year out finding that I had been selected as a Skirt Sports Ambassador and even ran a race (The Chili 5K in Cleveland) with some of my fellow local ambassadors!

I also found out that I was selected as a Sparkly Soul Ambassador! I love their headbands – they are the only ones that don’t fall off my slippery head/hair.

I trained for and ran the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 10K/Half Marathon Series in May. I ran it with Mary and FW and B cheered me on!  I was close to a PR, too – finishing at .

B and I have done some stroller runs with FW. B tends to use the stroller more when we run together or in races, but it has been great to be able to get outside and run with him, too! (and yes, he sometimes falls asleep, which is also a plus)

I JUST found out that I’m now also a 2018 Nuun Ambassador! I can’t wait to stock up on some of my favorites to keep me hydrated as I continue to run this winter.

And speaking of winter, I’ve already broken out the Yaktrax and run in the snow. This is a big deal for me – I hate winter and winter running as well, so I’m pretty proud that I was able to get out there a few times when we had some snow. I stayed inside most of last winter, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep up going outside sometimes this winter as well.

B and I moved. While this isn’t necessarily a running highlight, I now have many new running paths! I miss downtown living and running in downtown CLE, but there are so many beautiful places for me to explore.

Here’s to hoping that 2018 is another good year of running! Some questions for you:

  • How would you grade your 2017 year of running?
  • Any tips for getting through winter running?

Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs!

Single Mom Weekends

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – but I have so much respect for single moms. B was away this past weekend, and it was just FW and me. And wow, that was tiring.  Between watching FW and catching up with some work, I feel like I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!

Some of the highlights:

We did a little coloring …

And went for a walk to the lakes. It was a grey day, but relatively warm.

We met up with our friends Nicole, Stephanie and Clara for a walk. FW decided he didn’t want to stay in the stroller. He also didn’t want to be in Clara’s wagon, so I ended up carrying him for half of the ride.

This was taken the hot minute he sat in the wagon.  You can see he wasn’t too happy. 

Sunday morning I got up early to shower before FW woke up at 7, and made some breakfast as well. Pancakes and eggs made for the perfect Sunday morning breakfast.

Then, we got in some outside time, since it was an absolutely gorgeous day. We went for a walk with our friends Joey and Lulu, picked up some groceries (I love that we can still walk to a grocery store!) and then enjoyed just walking and riding around the neighborhood.

FW decided he didn’t want to go down for a nap in the afternoon, so instead, we got in a few chores, including some sweeping, laundry, cleaning up toys and such, and dishes. After another walk (this time to pick up dinner), we just goofed around the house and got ready for the holidays. 

And that was our weekend.

Questions for you:

  • Did it feel like December near you?
  • What are you most excited about for this month?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Where Did Fall Go?

Okay, where the heck did fall go? I feel like we went from summer to winter in a week. And I’m not okay with that.

For example, here was the temperature when I woke up to go for a run Saturday morning.

Granted, it was earlier than I typically wake up on Saturdays but still – feels like 11? BRR! Still, I bundled up in two jackets (yes, 2), some running tights (Skirt Sports Go the Distance Tights were perfect!) and made it out the door.

Part of the way through my run I was greeted with this beautiful sunrise, so I can’t really  complain.

And when I got home, B and FW were just getting up. B made FW and I pancakes, so it was a pretty good start to my Saturday!

Shortly after breakfast, we bundled up (it was now closer to 26 degrees – much warmer!) and went for a walk.

Then, it was time for the activity that ended up taking most of my Saturday, a benefit for the Carmelite nuns. The event includes some holiday shopping, AND  a fashion show!

Two of my sisters-in-law participated in the fashion show – how fun 🙂 

The event went much longer than I thought, so by the time I got home and B and FW got home, it was pretty much dinner time! We ordered some local thin crust pizza. YUM.

And because my event fell through, the evening ended with watching some more of Season 2 of Stranger Things! I love the show.

Sunday morning, we decided to go on a literal bagel run! B, FW and I ran to the local bagel shop with FW. It was not nearly as cold as it had been on Saturday, but we still bundled up FW. Doesn’t he look so excited to be on the run?

We got some DELICIOUS doughy bagels. These bagels are probably the closest to NY bagels I’ve found in CLE.

That afternoon, I had Lulu’s baby shower! Her baby girl is coming in January and she had a beautiful shower with great decor, friends and games.

I even won one of the games!

That night ended with spaghetti and meatballs with B’s family. One of my favorite meals and perfect for a cold night!

So that was it! Another delicious, fun, but COLD weekend. Here’s to a good week!

Questions for you:

  • Did the weather get cold near you yet?
  • Do you like baby shower games?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps.

What Not To Say to Someone Returning from Maternity Leave

It’s been a year since I returned back from maternity leave. Yup, a little over a year ago, I was starting to figure out daycare drop off and pickups, our new routine, and how to juggle life as a now working mom.

So, now that I’ve been there – and survived – here are some tips on things NOT to say to someone returning from maternity leave:

How was your vacation?

Believe it or not, people have asked this. Or said something similar, like, “How was your time off?” While I was very grateful for my FMLA-esque time at home, it was hardly a vacation or time off. In the beginning, FW didn’t realize that he was supposed to sleep at night, so he’d be sleeping during the day and then up at night. And then when he finally did start sleeping at night, it would be for 2-4 hours at a time. Also, I was breastfeeding (and newborns eat about every 2 hours from the time they start eating), which meant that an average morning went like this:

  • 7 a.m. wake up when baby wakes up.
  • 7:15 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. feed baby.
  • 7:50 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. burp/dress/change baby.
  • 8:20 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. put in a load of laundry.
  • 8:35 a.m. – 8:50 a.m. change baby into new clothes because he spit up all over himself. Luckily, laundry just started, so I can throw the dirty onesie in there.
  • 8:50 a.m. – 8:55 a.m. think about eating breakfast … but am interrupted by hungry baby crying.
  • 9:15 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. feedbaby. Repeat cycle. Except this time baby likely has a diaper blowout. 💩

Let’s just say it wasn’t much of a vacation 🙂

How are you planning on losing the baby weight?

Yes, I was also asked this. While not directly commenting on my new mom bod, it’s NEVER appropriate to ask a coworker this.  Or comment on anyone’s body- especially someone who has just given birth.

It must be so nice to be back and with adults again!

Sometimes, yes. But most days would I like to be home, snuggling with my little baby? Yes. Adults aren’t always as cracked up as they should be.

It must be so nice to get a break from the baby!

Wait, was that you said? I couldn’t hear you – I was halfway falling asleep at my desk and also thinking about the diapers, bottles, milk, etc. that I need to buy before heading to daycare pickup, while also calculating how much longer we can have this conversation before I can figure out a polite way to excuse myself to go pump. While I may not physically be with my baby, it didn’t really feel like I was  getting a break.

a selfie a few days before returning from maternity leave

I’m tired.

When I first went back to work, my average night’s sleep was awful. Some nights, FW would be up at 9, 11, 3, 5 and nurse for 30ish (at least) minutes each time …. Meaning I got 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep at a time, if that. No, I’m not saying you’re not tired, I’m just saying I had no idea what tired meant until I had a newborn at night and then had to function as a working, professional adult during the day.

So glad you’re back – we’ve been waiting on you for [insert names of 7 projects].

While it’s nice to feel needed, it’s also nice to get back into the swing of things slowly. I’m not saying you need to give working moms a break and be easier on them, but the first few weeks I was back, were HARD. I was tired (see: aforementioned lack of sleep) during the day and it was hard for me to work on my couch at night like I often did before FW.  I had serious mom brain some days. And, weekends became much more precious – they were time I longed for to spend with my new family. So, when I had to some of the first weekends that I was back, it was hard. If you know a mom recently back from maternity leave, at least tell her how much you appreciate her being back and understand her new schedule – and priorities – may be a little different.

So what CAN you say to a mom who’s back from maternity leave? Here are 3 things I’d recommend:

  1. You look GREAT! (I don’t care if she hasn’t lost any baby weight or looks like she hasn’t slept since giving birth … we all need to hear it sometimes!)
  2. We missed you so much! It’s nice to feel the love at the office, especially when you’re missing your baby!
  3. Here’s _____ for you and your family! (where ___ = healthy dinner, gift card for dinner delivery service, diapers, a frozen dinner, etc. Basically anytime someone dropped off dinner – or diapers! – they were my new favorite people. )

Please note – I am INCREDIBLY lucky to have an amazing group of coworkers who for the most part are supportive and understanding. But not everyone is so lucky. AND note that I do not speak on behalf of all recently-returned-to-work women. All women are different. Some may enjoy talking about their post-baby bodies. Some may have felt like their time off was a vacation. So please take these as suggestions and think how you’d like to be treated as well.

Note: These random thoughts are part of the Thinking Out Loud linkup. 

Why Can’t Weekends Last Forever?

Why can’t weekends last forever? But seriously – shouldn’t they be even at least a little longer? Can someone figure out a way to make that happen? Because some weekends – like this past one – are just pretty great.

Friday started with going out to breakfast with B and FW. We got some fruit and eggs for FW and some amazing lemon ricotta pancakes for me. FW actually ended up eating most of my pancakes – he loved them!

That night, I was in the mood for some Vietnamese food. So, after little outing to my favorite Asian grocery store (we picked up some more Vietnamese coffee and canned jackfruit), we grabbed some dinner at Superior Pho. I got some bun with an egg roll – it was amazing!

Saturday morning started off with a run with my friend Nicole. We used to run together all the time when we both lived downtown and it was great to run together. I should’ve taken a selfie of us together like I used to! Instead, just a selfie of me.

Then, there was some time to hang out with FW. Which meant a few books were read – the little guy loves reading.

That afternoon, some friends came into town and they went to B’s high school football game. FW went too (and was dressed for the part to root for Ignatius).

While they were gone, I was busy! And it was all great stuff. I watched part of a chick flick – the Holiday! It’s not quite the holiday season yet, but the movie is great all year long in my opinion.

Without a baby and husband, I made meatballs (well, sorta – B had already gotten the meat ready – I just balled them all up and cooked them ) …

I also did a bit of baking. I baked some chocolate cake and some buckeye bars. 

Saturday afternoon included hanging out with some friends from out of town (unpictured) and eating said delicious meatballs.

Sunday morning started with a short walk with FW to pick up some pastries to enjoy with our out-of-town guests. FW enjoys cinnamon croissants 🙂

The day also included some housework – cleaning and raking. 

That afternoon, we decided to check out a little street fair happening not to far from our house. It was fun to be able to walk to it!

We decided to stop by the local bookstore and pick up  few items. Including a hedgehog book for FW!

I hope he likes hedgehogs as much as I do 🙂

The night ended with some homemade pizza. I love B’s pizza!

So yeah, it was a pretty great weekend. Can we do it all over again?

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your go-to Vietnamese order?
  • When was the last time you baked?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!