Monday, May 16, 2016

Our Summer Bucket List

Even though this weekend went from bare legs outside on Saturday to an extra couple of layers this morning, I am completely dreaming of summertime. We got a few new pieces of furniture pieces for the back porch and took the entire grill and lounge set up for a test drive this weekend and I want MORE.

The other night I thought it would be fun to go around the dinner table and let everyone choose a couple of items for our summer bucket list since I am usually the one who makes/hijacks all the planning fun. Here is what we came up with:
Maddie chose the roller coaster park (Six Flags, which my uncle awesomely got us season passes to so this will be happening quite a few times) and water slides (also something that Six Flags has, so two birds - one stone!).
Matt wants beach, beach and more beach which will be fulfilled by a week in Maine with my AIL at The Cottages near Wells and hopefully many weekend trips to our local favorite beaches.
Mama chose a weekend in Mystic, CT to go to The Dinosaur Place and the Mystic Aquarium which we have never been to (already booked!) and I wanted to go to Thomas Land at Edaville since I really miss that damn train, but Matt suggested we wait a few more months until Annie can really appreciate it, so I want to check out the Whaling Museum in New Bedford.
Annabel seems to be excited about being outside, splashing in water and eating food - so we think that she will be pleased as punch with our family selections.

June will mark the end of Maddie's first year in school and I finally get why parents get a little excited because not having to drag her out of bed and get her ready while trying to get ourselves ready and keep to our respective running schedules and also taking care of the baby who loves to walk around the house making huge messes is going to be AWESOME. We have Maddie signed up for a couple of different summer camps as well as the YES Track program so she will be busy but not so much that we can't wake up early on any given Saturday morning and escape to the beach, which is going to be lovely. Poor Annie needs to get a good summer activity in too, so I think I will look into enrolling her in the music or gymnastics program that Maddie did as a tiny one so that I can avoid the unfairness that happens to the second child!

Here is to warm summer evenings and babies in bathing suits, even if I do have a fleece on!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

April, May, Here We Are!

You guys. A LOT has happened since we last spoke. Some good, some great, some awful, but we made it. Seems pretty obvious to still be standing but there have been a few times in the past three weeks where I had to just pat myself on the back for the lack of laying down and giving up.
It has been insanity, but cheers to the sunshine outside and the summer vacation request on my desk and all that exciting stuff to come. However, let's give it up for the last few weeks, shall we?

I ran the marathon. Excuse me, the Marathon. As in Boston. And it was a PR and I raised over $7,500 for Boston Cares. It was amazing and fun and inspiring and I am still thinking about what a blur it was after all those months of training. I am beyond honored to have done it and so proud of all my friends and strangers who chased the unicorn that day.

Then, my Mom was here, so we got to hang out with her, which is always awesome, especially for those girls of mine who think that Gramma is just the cat's pajamas (they're right, she is). We ate, we shopped, we touristed and she was gone much too fast, as always.

We didn't even get much time to be sad because the day she left the four of us got on a plane and headed to DC for a little touristing before I had a work conference for a few days in Maryland. Matt and I played a very skilled game of parenting and tried to switch off and tire out and not cry and I must say we did a pretty great job, mostly because that man is Superdad. It was Annabel's first vacation after transitioning out of our bed and she did a great job in her crib, even when we put her in crib in a closet in a shared hotel room. Maddie was a little maddening, but apparently that is what happens when you're four (right? parents? please tell me they are all a little/lot crazy?).

Then we came home, on a 7am plane, which was a miracle unto itself that all four of us managed to get up at the crack of dawn and get ourselves across Maryland and home in one piece. We came home to devastating news in the neighborhood and spent the rest of the week trying to be as helpful as possible and doing a lot of praying and hugging the ones we love.

Then Maddie got a stomach bug for the weekend, which was fine because it gave us all a chance to relax and chill out and recover. Then I turned 34 at Fenway Park with the love of my life sitting next to me in the pouring rain and things could not have been more perfect.
Then I got the bug. Then Matt. Then our nanny and then it was like the g'damn Oregon trail where everyone gets dysentery and the ox goes feet up because HOLY MOLY I cannot believe how fast that puppy spread. The good news is that I was already planning a post-marathon no sugar/no alcohol cleanse but the bad news is I expected to at least be able to drink water. UGH.
But we recovered. Well, now my AIL has it but I blame the fact that the entire city seems to have it, even if Maddie may or may not be patient zero.

After we could all eat again (thank GOD) it was Mother's Day, which I spent relaxing and eating homemade meals from my AIL and hubs and being very thankful to get to be a mama to these two little ladies.

And now here we are.

Feeling better, planning our summer (bucket list post to come) and getting ready for Matt's graduation this weekend (yay, Matt!).

Phew. Ok, glad we could spend this time catching up.

Ready for a photo binge?

Start line dance party.
Heartbreak Hill.
Vacation means popcorn and the Disney Channel in the big bed.

Heart eye emoji at Dada.
My peas in a pod at the zoo in DC.
Maddie and her new aviating family. 
Straight touristing.
Annie liked DC, especially the lunch part.
All the museums!
Still not entirely sure who lives there but she liked his lawn.
Mama's day love.
Park time before the Mother's Day deluge.
My favorite flower bouquet.

Friday, April 1, 2016

5 Things I Love // 4

Happy Friday, y'all! This has been a bananas week with my first overnight away from baby Annabel, lots of work projects due, an event at Maddie's school and trying to stay awake past 8:30 so that someday we might finish  up Mad Men. Ah, this life of mine. Here are some of the things making me happy!

Physical Therapy: not so much needing to go, but it has made such a huge difference in the way I feel before and after runs and has made me actually do the stretching that all runners tell other people to do and never do themselves. I go to Elliot Physical Therapy along with most everyone else in my running club and they are by far the nicest, most patient, talented people. I feel even better about this marathon because of the work they have done on me!

Radio Flyer Wagons: My Mom got this for Annabel for her birthday and both girls are LOVING it. Also, super easy to maneuver around for the grown ups. it is such a great alternative to double strollers and they look so darn cute cruising around the neighborhood in it. Now to pimp our ride with the speakers and drink cooler accessories.

Sofritas Tacos: A Beautiful Mess posted this last year (that is their picture) and it is probably going to be going in our weekly rotation for a while. I may have put in a wee bit too much spice last time around, but it was still really good. Bonus part is that Annie loves the tofu (we gave her some without the spice).

A Full Night of Sleep: We moved Annie into her own room because cosleeping had officially become not the best way for everyone to get a good night's sleep. She is going down at 7pm every night without a peep until morning. Now, if we could just get her to sleep past 4:30/5:00 every morning...hence the 7:45am nap picture above.

All the Fundraising Love: I am closing in on my goal for my Boston Marathon Fundraiser and feeling awfully loved and supported by all the donations. I still have a ways to go, so please throw me some loot if you can!

I am looking forward to a rare weekend of not a lot of plans and only a little 15 mile run to complete. Hope your weekend is lovely and no one got you April fool'ed (seriously hate this day - I don't trust anything!).

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Boston, My Home

In 19 days I will be almost halfway through my first Boston Marathon. Less than three weeks. One little 15 mile run and then very short runs. Lots of stretching and clamshells (the workout, not the mermaid accessory). Very little alcohol or fried foods.

I ran 21.5 miles from Hopkinton to Boston College last Saturday (I wasn't sure if I wanted to do 21 or 22 so I compromised). I haven't run more than 19 miles since the last time I ran a marathon. As I pushed up and down and up and down those famous hills I crested towards the BC chapel and saw that beautiful skyline. The same one that I remember seeing on the airplane about a year after I moved to Boston. coming back from visiting my mom on the heels of my massive breakup, heartbreak and meltdown. That skyline that made me say to myself "home, THIS is what feels like home. MY Boston" for the first time.

That skyline that I always love to see when we drive home from a visit to the Cape or Maine or anywhere outside of city limits. It calms me, this city. It gives me a sense of peace. This life that I built after getting off that plane and picking up my pieces. Finishing grad school here. Falling in love with a Bostonian. Devoting my career to helping the people that live here. Discovering Boston Cares and being able to give back to the city. It's all my story, my life, this life that I sometimes wonder how I ended up with. A poor white trash kid from out west, surrounded by drugs and alcohol and pain and unhealthy relationships. That should have been my path but I made sure it wasn't and Boston was a huge factor in that. Maybe the hugest outside of my own determination.

When I crest that hill in 19 days I won't be stopping and getting in the car and going home to throw my baby her first birthday party. I will have 5.1 miles left to go but the skyline will carry me. The life that I have and the people I get to know and love will be on the course with me, on the streets cheering for me and waiting at the finish line for me. And there will be my skyline, right up close on Boylston Street, ready to carry me home.

If you haven't already and would like to, please donate to my fundraising efforts for Boston Cares and read more about my love affair with this city here.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy First Birthday, Annabel Marie!

It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed since this little human came into our lives. Two weeks early and at first the calmest little baby that ever did we have a walking, talking, screeching, eating machine! Oh what a difference a year makes! Although it is tomorrow, Mama has to run 22 miles and then get your birthday party together, so here is Annabel at one (minus one day)!

At one year Annie is:
Laughing (this forced deep laugh that cracks us all up)
Saying 'Dada', 'kitty' and 'Mama' (finally! this JUST started!)
Sleeping about 11 hours a night in her own space (we stopped cosleeping about three weeks ago when it stopped being the best way for everyone to get a good night's sleep)
Nursing and eating at least three meals and two snacks a day (tank baby!)
Around 20 pounds and still pretty short (compared to me and sister)

Her favorites:
People: big sister (who gets the biggest smiles and most attention), her nanny Hezzie, Mama and Dada, all the teachers and kids at Maddie's school who say hello to her each morning and afternoon
Foods: pasta, yogurt, Dada's pancakes, every fruit so far, every veggie so far, pretty much anything she can put in her mouth
Games: peek-a-boo, dance parties, playing with her sister's toys when she's not been invited, Duplos, play kitchen food and real kitchen pots and pans to bang around

Not being held or not being put down to roam as soon as she wants to be
Mama leaving her line of sight
Closed doors that keep her from getting into fun things like trash cans or toilet paper rolls

Annie bannanie, we cannot imagine our lives without you and feel so complete in our little family. You are a snuggly, sweet joy and loved more than you can imagine. Happy birthday!


One month

Two months

Three months

Four months

Five months

Six months

Seven months

Eight months

Nine months

Ten months
Eleven months

Twelve months!

Friday, March 4, 2016

5 Things I Love // 3

This simple golf ball rolling technique. I do it when I am sitting at my desk and it feels so good and has definitely helped with a sore arch that I have been experiencing this marathon training. It took about 4 years and 2 marathons but I am finally getting into these little upkeep tricks for my body!

I just finished a great book about the funeral industry/death and dying and it has really made me think about how my own anxiety flares up around this subject. Before grad school I took a stint as a deputy coroner where I was responsible for responding to all deaths in the county from 4pm to 4am and had to tag, bag, photograph and call the funeral home. It was an incredible experience and helped me realize that working with dead people was likely not my calling, due mostly to my inability to separate the body from the life (damn you extreme empathy) and maybe even helped push me into a life of helping people while they are still alive. BUT I wonder what would have happened if my anxiety had not been so bad at that point in my life and I would have had more support in pursuing it or at least sticking it out for longer (I only lasted a few months). I am at a point in my life now where I feel more comfortable getting out of my comfort zone and pushing my limits in the name of self exploration and I with I could go back and try it out with where I am at now. Such is aging and growing I guess though, right?

Closing in on some serious financial goals. I have made no secret about some big goals that we have set to get ourselves stable and working towards future goals and I am really proud at how well we have been analyzing our spending and seeking out ways to cut frivolous spending. It is a work in progress but I am getting out of my comfort zone and really making my eyes be open to how we spend our money and how we can reach our short and long term goals. Such a hard thing to do but really great when there is a light at the end of the tunnel (even if the tunnel is realllllly long).

The vanity reasons around marathon training. Of course there is the glory of the race, the fun of doing it with so many friends and the great feeling that I am running for an amazing charity, but as of today I have lost 31 pounds since I came home from the hospital with Annie and that is pretty freaking awesome. I usually gain weight when I train because of muscles and eating more than I really ran off (math is not my strong point) but even with all that I have manged to drop some serious L-Bs. Of course breastfeeding and chasing two little people around when I am not chasing the unicorn have a lot to do with it, but it is really exciting to be closing in on a year postpartum with even less weight than before I got pregnant. I am going to eat so much this weekend to celebrate.

Home sweet home projects. This is the time of year when I start thinking about being outside and having people over for cookouts and I now have a serious list of things I want to get done around our house. This summer will mark our second anniversary of home-ownership and I finally feel like I have enough energy to get some things done and am actually impressed with some things we managed to get taken care of over the winter. Watch out. Pintrest, because I have a current obsession with creating a back deck oasis that is already driving Matt insane.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

46 Days to Hopkinton

Well, well, well here we are. 46 days. 7 Saturdays. 2 course dress rehearsals. Then it is GO TIME.

Training is going great. Can I say that? It's my third marathon so I have something to compare to but this is like no other. This is Boston. I am running for charity and life is totally different then the first and second time I set out for 26.2 (because it always is, isn't it?).

I have a baby who sleeps in my bed and wakes up a lot to nurse or cuddle or play pat-a-cake on my forehead at 2am. I put in a lot of time in the office and at night after the girls are asleep building my career. I have fundraisers to attend, beers to drink, friends to enjoy, a husband to cherish. I am tired. I am sore. I have thirteen other things I should be doing right now. But here I am and I am doing it and putting, ahem, my best foot forward.

BUT I really truly trust in my training. I get out there and get the miles under my feet every Saturday. I make it to the Pilates class by run club hosts every Monday. I wake up at 3:30 on Wednesdays and run 2 miles to a hill and run up and down it 4 times (3 miles) and then run the 2 miles home. 7 before 7 (before 6, even).
The common denominator here is glaringly obvious: friends. I could NOT do this without them. Long runs are hours spent catching up and talking about life, kids, work, dreams, the best type of sports bra and how not to poop your pants. Shit gets real out there, pun intended. What other hobby makes it so that you get hours alone with people with no texting or kids or interruptions? We stop to tie shoes and fuel and let cars go by but then we push on, and on, and at the end we sweaty high five and go home to be mothers and teachers and nurses and wives and everything that we are. I am so inspired by these women (and men!) and I cannot imagine running  up a g'damn hill at 5 in the morning with anyone else.

Also, let's take a moment of silence to give thanks to my coach who makes sure I have my miles, my fuel, my head in the game and takes the bulk of dance class duty and Saturday afternoon crazies so I can take a nap after 17 miles. That husband of mine is a SAINT and to think that I would drop him off for his long runs and let him know how stupid running is on my way to get a breakfast sandwich when he was training for Boston. What a jerk! (Sorry, boo, I love you so, so much and I owe you one hell of a training season when you are up this fall and you were totally right about running not being that stupid).

So, here we are. 46 days to go. $3500 dollars more to raise for an organization that changed my life and makes Boston a better place to live by filling much needed services with volunteers. That is just $80 a day to raise until Marathon Monday.

Thanks for following along, putting in miles with me, donating money, feeding me food - you all know who you are and I love you for it.

My Saturday social hour(s).

And then we stretch.

And then we party for Boston Cares!