Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Politics and dead birds aside, I am a fan of Thanksgiving if only because it involves two of my favorite things: warm fuzzy feelings and food.

I could list a lot of things I am not thankful for at this very second, because I am definitely having one of those days BUT there is a heck of a lot more that I am thankful for, and that is much more fun to share, right?

This year I am thankful for not one but TWO happy, healthy daughters. I am lucky to get to be their mama and that Annabel has been a relatively easy baby compared to a certain someone else...

I am thankful that I have an awesome husband to raise those two kiddos with and that even though this season in our life is more falling asleep on the couch at 8:30 than sunset strolls, there is no one in the world I would rather have by my side.

I am thankful for my mom and the renewed commitment we have made to our relationship; the mother/daughter relationship is a special one and I am thankful to have such a loving mom who is also nailing the Gramma role.

I am thankful for a job that challenges me, that makes me feel a sense of purpose when I leave the house each morning and that lets me work with some pretty great people.

I am thankful that I get to lace up my shoes and run any day that I want because I am healthy and able to; I am thankful that I have an amazing group of people to run with every week and that all those miles have led to me Boston 2016.

I am thankful that tonight and tomorrow I will spend time with my friends and family and have a warm home that we own to come home to.

I may be busy, exhausted, stretched thin and more quick to think about the have-nots than the haves, but tomorrow I am going to try extra hard to focus on the latter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy 4th Birthday, Maddie Jane!

Last night after I tucked Maddie in and whispered "goodnight, my three year old" she told me "and tomorrow I am four and it is going to be awesome" and I don't doubt it for one second.

Our Maddie is a lover of life, of friends, of fun and EXCITEMENT. She is the least shy person I have ever met and makes friends wherever she goes. Everyone knows her - at school, at church, at the local breakfast diner - because she is quite unforgettable with her big smile and need to talk to and hug anyone she meets.

She is kind and funny and smart beyond what I could have imagined and although raising a big personality doesn't come without some big exhaustion I would not have it any other way.

Maddie Jane, you light up our family's life like a meteor storm. You get the biggest smile out of Annabel and have taken this year of change and chaos and run with it (quite literally). We love managing your busy social calendar just as much as we love snuggling with you over three (no less!) books every night.

Your Daddy loves his football and popcorn buddy and taking you for games of soccer at the park; I love our walks to school where we talk about everything from your love of unicorns and what color we should paint your room (someday, you will make up your mind!),

When you woke up to the balloons Daddy and I snuck into your bedroom this morning in true Maddie fashion you said "thank you for my birthday" but really we are the ones who thank God every day for you.

Happy fourth birthday, kiddo, we can't wait to celebrate you all weekend long.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Our Halloween

I am thrilled to report that Maddie may be just as excited about holidays as her mama; from decorating the house to arts and crafts projects about the big day, not to mention the actual day when it finally, finally came, she was INTO Halloween this year.

We spent the weeks before watching movies (The Great Pumpkin being a family fave), carving pumpkins and attending as many Halloween festivities as we could fit into our schedule.

And talk about getting some mileage out of a costume! We got a lot of use out of that unicorn and little Annie had three that she rotated based on the party (and ability to crawl as fast as she could in it). We had a school Halloween party, a trip to the Castle Island Halloween Party with their new nanny, the annual Pumpkin Float, pumpkin carving with our awesome neighbors and a little costume parade around the neighborhood with Maddie's school; she even got to wear her costume at dance class! I was really glad she loved the costume so much and didn't try and change her mind. Unicorn FOR LIFE (or at least a month).

I managed to convince some friends to come over and sit on the porch (it was so nice out!) to hand out candy and drink festive libations while Maddie and her Daddy went out and scored a ton of candy. Our neighborhood was filled with kids and Maddie came back with a ton of candy and a smile from ear to ear from having spent her night chatting with all her friends and making friends with anyone she didn't yet know.

Now we are fully into 4th birthday planning and Thanksgiving pie dreams....even if Maddie still insists on watching Halloween movies and not "thanks be giving" movies every night still.

My little owl/skeleton.

At the Pumpkin Float.

Cutest unicorn ever!

School Halloween Party!

Bat baby!

At the Castle Island Halloween party (photo cred: awesome nanny).

Dino baby!
Very proud that this was not a Pintrest fail.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fall is here!

My last blog was about the end of summer and now here we are in the thick of fall and man oh man have I missed this blog of mine. I love coming here and sharing our life, spewing random things and making a little piece of Internet memory for myself. Note to self, schedule some blog time in at least once a week.

So what's new? 

My Mom recently made a super spontaneous trip to see us (read: bought tickets less than a seek before flying) and it was absolutely magical. We decided not to tell Maddie and when she woke up and wandered into the kitchen to see her Gramma standing there it was just the cutest situation ever. She was beyond confused, surprised and elated and spent the next 5 days in Gramma heaven. 
It was also really awesome for me to spend time with my Mom and get to work on our own relationship. It's interesting how things change when daughters become mothers and start relating to their own mothers and WOW things can get messy but I feel so close and at a great spot with my Mom now. This visit couldn't have come at a better time for all of us and we made some awesome memories together. 

Maddie is loving school and we are loving the way she is flourishing in her new environment. We knew that she was going to enjoy being busy and having new things to learn and explore, and she is definitely thriving. It has been interesting to watch as she tries to navigate her new friendships. This is the first time in her life that she sees the same kids on a regular basis and she's definitely learning the ins and outs of friendship; we are trying to be as positive and supportive as possible while letting her grow in her role as a friend. She's got most everyone smitten with that amazing personality of hers, of course, so we are hopeful for the next 14 years of school :)

Busy remains the word of the season but I think we are hitting some sort of stride. I am learning to let us have time that isn't booked on the weekends and to take advantage of leftovers and slow cooked meals to help us slow down on the weeknights. Is it chaos? Absolutely, but we are able to keep doing all the things we want and need to get done and still have quality time together in some way every day, so I'll take it.

Now that Annabel is mixing up her nursing with solids I am able to get away a little more than I used to so I took an after work spin class with Kate Friday and feel ready to start training for Boston 2016 (fingers crossed one of the charity bib apps takes me!). This also means that I am cherishing our cosleeping and having her snuggled up close to me all night, especially since the little angel actually sleeps (I am looking at you, Madeleine Jane no sleeper!).

So that is that; nothing too exciting to report over here but a real promise to be back sooner!

And, of course, come pics! The weekend before last we carved pumpkins with our awesome neighbors and snapped a bunch of cute pics I figured I needed to share. Bonus, some pictures from our amazing time with Gramma!

On her first boat ride!

Whale watchin'. 
My sassy Maddie.

It doesn't get much more fall than this.

So proud of her decorating. 

A family pic with all of us! 

The cutest pumpkin in the patch!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Farewell to (tanned) Arms

Yesterday was September 1st, and even though we are no longer having cocktail hour on Tuesdays (more on that later) I asked Matt to pop the bottle of Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin so we could welcome in the new month and the inevitable and terribly sad truth that summer is on the way out. It is not, however, completely gone and so I will not say my official goodbye until I have spent the entire weekend on the beach, which will be my third weekend in a row because I never say no to a Cape Cod weekend invite.

The end of summer hasn't felt this tangible since I was in grad school, with two of the four O'Sheas going back to school...or one going for her very first time and one already having started this week. You read that right, folks, our sweet baby girl is starting Pre-K on the 14th and we are all as excited as can be. I spent this morning getting her uniforms organized and am on day two of attempting to follow our new family schedule with hopes that two weeks is enough practice before we go live and actually have to get this kiddo to school every day.

We have to keep a crazy specific schedule in order to complete everything we all need to do in a day (running, work, drop off, pick up, dinner, family time, church, swim lessons, date nights, friend hang outs, play dates) so we keep our day by day spreadsheet hung up on the fridge for all to see and follow, which has worked really well for us. Just this week we decided to try and really stick to it, which includes waking Maddie up at 6:00 to have her ready to walk to school with one of us at 7:00. We were both worried about how well this would go over with our little sleepyhead but it turns out that I AM THE WEAK LINK. Yep, Maddie totally gets it from me because I have yet to be able to drag my ass out of bed at 5:00 on the dot but, in my defense, it has been pretty close and I have gotten out the door to run both scheduled days despite wanting nothing more than to keep hitting snooze.

The struggle is real, y'all.

So hopefully we make it through this test period and are good to go in a couple of weeks, but until then I'm going to soak in the last drops of summer and this time in our lives. This is definitely a season in life we will be looking back on and patting ourselves on the back for, but I am trying to be as present in the moments as I can, even if they are a little exhausting. Two littles, two careers and now two students is no joke but it'll be over before we know it and I don't want to wish the good times away. I am soaking in this cuddly baby and enjoying this hilarious little preschooler just as I am relishing these last few days before the air gets crisp and the leaves get crunchy. 

Until then, one more weekend on the Cape (and don't judge me for bringing the fall Vogue to the beach).

Hammock lyfe.

Maddie requested the matching and it was too cute not to take a hundred pictures. 
Maddie helping Dada build a sand stegosaurus. 
These two are going to be besties, methinks. 
Annie has perfected the art of the beach nap. 
Maddie ran her first race this summer too!
She also fed a baby goat.
We sure will miss you, summer evenings on the porch!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A is for...

AUGUST! Here we are half way through August and my tan is just now getting good, so here is hoping for a September that still has beach days because I am really not ready to let this summer go yet. I am now fully aware that we New Englanders make up for the horrific winters by jamming a million things into the summer months and I am officially ok with it, though my husband may say differently.

Last weekend, for example, our Sunday afternoon opened up and so we drove up to York, Maine to eat at the Goldenrod, go to the zoo and enjoy one of the most beautiful drives along the water. It was awesome and as we sat in traffic on the way home I couldn't believe that we had spent the morning at Maddie's swim class but then crossed three states and pet baby goats.

I love you, New England, even if I do say otherwise in the middle of February.

Kiddo is wearing zebra leggings too, if you can't tell.
GOATS! She was so sweet with them and I really wanted to take one home.
They rebelled and had to feed the ones on the other side of the fence too.
I was so proud of how brave and gentle she was with all the animals. 
These two are so cute together. 
Her first time on a ferris wheel and she loved it!

ANNABEL! Oh man, this sweet baby of mine, I just cannot get enough of her. I remember being pregnant and not really understanding how I would be able to love another kiddo since my heart kind of bursts with love over Maddie all the time. I knew it would happen, but I had no idea that my heart could emit all sorts of fireworks and rainbows over two kids like this. Annabel is just the zen to our chaos, the squishy to our hardness and I am head over heels for her, as is her big sister; no one gets a bigger gummy baby smile than Maddie does and my heart feels like it has pop rocks in it every time. At almost five months (!!!) she spends most of her time trying to roll over, picking things up and bringing them to her mouth (toes and her toys, but mostly her toes) and smiling at everyone. Baby girl. you complete this family of ours in a way I didn't know needed you and we love you SO MUCH.

Her 16 week photo shoot.
Picnic at MFA!
Rolling over all day every day.
Watching the monkeys at the zoo while big sister rides the paddle boats.

ANXIETY! Irony is cancelling your first appointment with your therapist in almost two years because you cannot possibly get out of the office to make it across town. Oh, boy. My anxiety monster is never truly gone, but it tends to go deeper into hibernation sometimes and right now is not that time. A lot of it is work related, not because I don't love my job but I just have a lot I want to get done and then all the sudden it is 4:00 and I am out of time. The rest is just the season, I think. Two young kids, two fast moving careers, school about to start for Maddie and Matty (and the price tag associated with that). It is a lot, but it won't be forever, and I know this, but sometimes the anxiety monster can't be bothered with rational thoughts because making my head feel like it is going to pop off is a lot more fun.

Here's to the end of the week and moving on to better letters: babies, beach time and beers.

Friday, July 10, 2015

On the Run (again).

The last time I ran a half marathon was when I was 13 weeks pregnant. 13 miles at 13 weeks! It was ironic and awesome. I had spent the first 8 weeks of my pregnancy pretty miserable, especially since I hadn't experienced sickness my first pregnancy and wasn't quite sure why my body was being so hard on me. So being able to put 13 miles in at that point felt awesome. It was one of my slowest halfs but I was proud of my body and happy to have my little running partner in my belly. 

I kept up running until about February, mostly on the treadmill because of the ridiculous snow situation in Boston. I did get some lovely outdoor running in Florida but it was on that trip that I ordered a belly band because I was experiencing some pain and need for extra support around my big bump. Once February hit it was impossible for me to run outside and really a huge undertaking to try and drive to the Y so I let myself take a break and started sleeping in and preparing for the lack of sleep I was about to experience with a newborn in my bed again. I didn't feel one bit guilty and was honest with myself about the work I'd be faced with postpartum while snuggling in for cold winter nights with my growing belly. 

Lo and behold, Annabel came a couple of weeks early and despite being a peanut of a baby, I left the hospital not too far away from my pre-pregnancy weight. On the ride home from the hospital I was already counting down the days until I could run again. A couple of weeks after having her we went to our first mama and baby yoga class and I very gently started using muscles and getting used to not having that big belly. I almost asked my OB for permission to start running again at 4 weeks but decided not to push it and start going on some long walks with Annie in the Ergo carrier to get some exercise and make sure all the snow had melted.

When my six week appointment came I was giddy with excitement and laid out an outfit for the next morning before I even went in and got my all clear (which thankfully I did!). I almost went out that afternoon but made myself wait for the next morning to get back into my routine and see if I could actually wake up at the crack of dawn for something other than nursing. I told myself I would take it easy and just try for a mile, then I made all the rookie mistakes (went out too fast, didn't bring an inhaler, etc) but I made it to 1.5 and didn't die. I was back in action!

Fast forward to today where I've got 12.5 under my belt from last weekend, a lot of hydration in my system and those awesome pre-race jitters. I'm not expecting this to be a PR and I'm still a minute over my goal pace for my next marathon but I'm here and I'm proud. Training and running can be hard for anyone and I am completely in awe of what my body has been able to do over the last 8 weeks that I've been running again. It's really hard to wake up at 5am and leave my squishy baby (who still takes many trips to the boob fountain throughout the night) and get my ass out there. Not only am I pumping at work for the time I'm away at the office but I'm also pumping once each morning for long runs and stocking up for marathon training in the fall. Hydration is no joke because if I'm not hydrated then neither is my milk supply. Last weekend I was amazed that while my body was getting me through a two hour run it was also making milk to nourish another person. Bodies are amazing! I just want to give a big HIGH FIVE to all the mama runners out there and keep thinking about how awesome it will be to have my two girls at finish lines knowing that they too can do anything they put their mind to.

So good night (even though it is still light out) and please send me and my feet happy thoughts for tomorrow!