Saturday, September 29, 2012

Back to the land of the living (and working)

It's been almost 9 weeks since Reina was born -- wow, that totally flew by! Overall, it has been a more delightful, easier ride than with Lorelei as an infant. Not to say that Reina is an "easy baby" or anything, but she doesn't spend all her waking hours screaming for hours on end. She (kind of) sleeps at night, though not "through the night." She's only done that a handful of times, and I'm trying my best not to stress about what conditions caused that. Probably none. Just randomness.

I'm getting back to myself in a couple of ways. I feel fully recovered at this point (though still tired). I have run a total of one time since I had her -- but I plan on running today. Let's see if that happens... And I have decided to go back to work.

When I say "go back to work," I don't mean return to the job I had before. That position ended at the end of the school year and I was unsure whether I would just stay at home with the girls or try to find work. While I've been having a lovely maternity "vacation" -- Lorelei still went to her babysitter while I stayed at home with Reina -- that was not exactly sustainable, for a number of reasons. If I decided not to return to the working world, I'd be committing to staying home with both kids. Lorelei's babysitter is a wonderful person and has been the best possible option for our family until now. I wouldn't want to lose her either.

So, starting Monday, I will be going to a new job and both children will be with the sitter. I am very excited, but of course there will probably be many tearful mornings when I simply will not be liking this at all. When the snow is falling, I'm going to curse myself for making this decision. When the babysitter tells me of something amazing either of the girls did, I'm going to wonder why I decided not to be there for those milestones.

But I have come to realize this about myself: I need to work. Not only to contribute to our family's income, but also to feel a social connection outside of my children and husband. Plus, I need to fulfill a creative, productive urge that has nothing to do with my kids. It's kind of ironic, actually, because I work with children in my field. But it's just different. I can't explain it.

I know a few moms who have recently decided to become stay-at-home-moms instead of going to work. That is totally cool too. I did that with Lorelei. But I couldn't help feeling trapped as a stay-at-home mom. Maybe it's because I didn't find a great group of moms in my area to hang out with. I went to a breastfeeding support group, and a moms group, once in awhile, but neither were close to where we lived. I also felt -- and still feel, to a certain extent -- a healthy dose of anxiety when it comes to constantly being with groups of moms and their kids (and my own). I always feel as though my kid is going to do something "wrong," or that I'll get ostracized or something. I know that sounds ridiculous. But it's not easy to just "put yourself out there" and trust that everyone has those irrational fears.

So anyway. Life's going to get crazy here for awhile (possibly forever). But I hope I can still check in from time to time.

P.S. Any moms who happen to be reading this who have done partial weaning (nursing morning and night but formula feeding during the day), I'd love to hear how it went for you! Looking forward to having this uncomfortable period, where my supply is reorganizing itself, to be overwith. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fun on the farm

This past Saturday, Derek and I took the gang to Dodd's Hillcrest Orchards in Amherst, OH. We've been on a "pick your own" kick since the summer, when we went blueberry picking and peach picking. (By the way, if you are into this, check out It's a great website devoted to finding farms to pick stuff, and includes tons of recipes and tips for preserving and canning fruit. I first found the site when I was looking for a good blueberry pie recipe two years ago, and I have never used another recipe since then!)

We headed out Saturday at around 1 or 2. After checking the place out and buying our passes ($4/adult; kids under 3 are free), we hopped on a breezy, bumpy hay ride.

Me and Lolo
 After awhile, though, it started to get windy, a few drops of rain fell, and ... it started pouring! I think I was the only one bothered by this. Lolo thought it was funny, and Reina just slept the entire time.

Derek and Reina
Here's a picture of me and Lolo after the wind picked up a bit:

We took the ride back to the entrance, where we waited in the car for an HOUR, to no avail. We ended up buying some pumpkins, a squash, and two bags of apples from the little market at the front. Here's a (doctored) picture of the storefront through the rainy windshield:

Oh well, better luck next time!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Annoyances of creating a new blog

...You think of a good name for your blog, but then you see the domain name is already taken. Even if the blog is not the same title, the address is, so that won't work. I don't want people accidentally going to the wrong site...arg! This has happened twice already. Now I have to think of a third "good name" for this yet-to-be-determined new blog.

Well, maybe I broke the ice already by starting to post again, so for right now, I'll stay right here :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Two reasons I haven't blogged in over a year

1. My first kid.

2. My second kid.

No, but seriously ... well, actually, that was serious! I have been so busy, it's like I've been a different person. I bet nobody knew I was even pregnant again! That would be my fault, because I fell off the face of the earth.

I started working again in September of 2011, and, as most of you moms would attest, it is nearly impossible to balance having children and working full-time and still have the ability to engage in all of your "extracurriculars." So blogging was, unfortunately, first to go, especially since I've been writing part-time for CliqueClack which pretty much took all the writing gusto I had left within my haggard bones. (Ha, ha.)

Other than that, I've just been mom-ing it up as usual. Our second daughter was born on July 30, 2012. I went for my first postpartum run (well, run/walk) last night and it felt great ... so I thought I ought to share that!

As of now, I'm unsure about the status of this blog. I am thinking I may create a new one to better reflect my current "musings." I was thinking about it this way: people write books about periods in their lives (memoirs, essays, etc.) or even write different novels which serve different purposes and are geared toward different audiences. Well, why can't a blog be like that too? It's almost like Blog and White Cookie was my running blog with a bit of stuff thrown in. While I am still a runner (in my head, anyway), being a parent has taken over most of my thoughts. And I have really funny stories about it. So I think I may head in another direction with the new blog, talking about mostly parenting stuff.

Now I realize that the Internet needs another Mommy Blog the way that New Yorkers need a sugary beverage greater than 16 ounces: it's in no way necessary, but if it's in front of you, you'll take it. I don't really want this to be a "parenting" blog. That actually makes me wanna vomit a little. But I am a parent now, so it will be a blog written by a parent. And maybe it'll be a little bit funny.

So, once I know what's up with that, I'll let everyone know.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

B.O.B. (Baby, or Boulder?)

So, I realized that sometime between signing up for the Cleveland Clinic River Run Half Marathon on September 11, and actually running said half-marathon, I ought to do some training. And it's not like I can half-ass the training on this one, as I haven't run over 3 miles in a year and a half. (!)

I'd been getting back into the swing of things with a couple of recent 5Ks. Last weekend, I ran a bit before and after the Lakewood Summer Meltdown 5K, making my total between 4 and 4.5 miles. This weekend, I was set to hit the big 5.

I know that sounds like nothing to a lot of you, but to me it sounded monstrous. I usually feel "done" after only about 2 or 3 nowadays. (Well, to be honest, in this heat and humidity, plus the added "bonus" of the jogging stroller, I'm usually tired out after only 1.) Plus, Derek is away this weekend for a friend's bachelor party (yes, all weekend -- boo!)*, so it was B.O.B. time for me and Lorelei.

We set off to the Rocky River Reservation, my favorite place to run. I wasn't sure where to start. I was getting a little bored of always starting near the Detroit Rd. entrance, so I drove a little bit and parked by the Big Met golf course. My thinking was that it's easy parking, close to a water fountain, and close to a mile marker (5).

Let me just say that it was already hot and humid at 9 am! But there was really no backing out. I did all my "long-run" preparations for this, and I was doing it. Funny to think of 5 miles as a long run, but since my body wasn't used to it, I did have to make sure to do extra stuff just in case, like put on Body Glide, eat a PB & J, hydrate, etc.

I'm so glad we were close to that water fountain, because I was able to fill my water bottle and Lorelei's sippy cup right away. I headed north towards the really hilly portion that makes you think you're going to have a heart attack (you know what I'm talking about. Nice cliffs, shaded area, huge mountainous hills on both sides leading up to the top? Sorta think you're gonna fall off if you're not careful?). I said I'd get to 2.5 and then turn around, but after what seemed like forever, I was only at ... 3.5?!?!

I usually think the mile markers are a little screwed up in this area. For example, I can never really find the 4.5 or the 4 mile marker. One of them in this area always seems a little short, and another, really long. So I said I'd compromise: I'd hit 3, then turn around and make it up the other way.

But after another really long bunch of running, I still didn't see 3. I had been out for 35 minutes, so I decided to turn around. I figured I'd go with time anyway for right now. Since I haven't run for more than 40 or 45 minutes at a time lately, I figured a little over an hour was probably just about right because I didn't want to push too hard too soon.

Speaking of pushing, and pushing HARD, oh my GOD is that B.O.B. stroller ridiculously hard! Not to mention on hills. I certainly hope it gets me into better shape than just running solo, because I had to stop to drink about 5 times in a half hour! I even considered drinking the water from Lorelei's sippy cup (she was sleeping, after all) ... but I refrained. :)

Anyway, I was really feeling good out there in general, though. And a female runner passed by and said, "You go girl. You're my hero." Wow! That made me feel awesome.

When I got back to the original mile marker, I did about a half-mile going the other way, and back, making sure to refill the water on the way. I was out there for almost an hour and 20 minutes! I don't know if that's because I was super slow with the jogging stroller, or if I did a little more than 5. But either way, I'm really happy with how it went.

And next week, we'll be in Walloon Lake, Michigan, and there will be a bunch of nice running paths I can go on ... all alone! :)

Today I'll be taking Lorelei to a yelp elite event -- brunch at Phoenix Coffee. A bunch of people are going to the Indians game afterwards -- and it's a beautiful day to do it -- but I'm still not sure, with the baby and all. I probably won't go, but we'll see.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

*There will be a long elaborate plan for Derek to make it up to me for going away and boozing and staying in a hotel all weekend. First up? Mani/pedi. Next? Possibly a night to myself in a hotel with no alarm clock (aka, baby). Any suggestions are welcome...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Was it a Meltdown, or a Downpour?

Yay! Here's for more summer races. In the heat. And in the rain.

On Saturday night, I ran the Lakewood Summer Meltdown 5K in my neighborhood. It was part of the Lakewood Streetwalk (which sounds weird, but was pretty much just a street fair. Get your head out of the gutter!), and for once it didn't start and end at Lakewood Park!

I'm always torn about night races. On one hand, I love them because a) they're different; b) you can eat and hydrate plenty throughout the day and don't have to worry about all the morning rushing to eat and drink; and c) the sun isn't beating down on you. On the other hand, I dislike them because you're waiting the entire day to do it, and you get tired by the time it's supposed to happen. At least, that's what happened to me.

Add that to the fact that it was ridiculously hot this whole week, and that I was feeling like I wouldn't do so well at the race. But I went anyway, and I'm so glad I did!

I left our place at around 6:35 and walk/jogged there as a warmup. The clouds were forming and I heard thunder. Right after I got my bib (but no t-shirt; apparently they were out. What?! And I had pre-registered!), the sky finally said "I give up" and it started pouring. I hid under an awning at Panera because I didn't want to get soaked before I started running (my thoughts were more about chafing and wet socks than about being cold or uncomfortable -- believe me, the latter would have been impossible!).

Finally, we were off, and I remember laughing pretty hard during the first half mile or so. We started downhill on Belle Avenue towards Clifton, and then we stayed on Clifton for a good mile or so. We even passed by my house!

Shortly after the 1st mile marker (which by the way was 10:34 according to my watch!), we heard the horns and we saw the fastest runners coming back towards us. I always love that part. This time, I didn't shout out to them or clap, because I wanted to conserve my energy, but I sent out positive vibes, especially to the first female runner I saw!

We did a bunch of turns, and I was pretty happy with how I was pacing myself. I had the same few people in sight that I tried to pass, and I succeeded in some cases. Overall, I kept thinking about the fact that I wasn't really that tired, and that even though I wanted to walk, I didn't have to. I passed mile 2 and that split was 11:45.

The last mile wasn't really that bad, despite the ridiculously long block we had to come back up (Belle again, this time towards Detroit) and the biatch of a hill at the very end. There was someone on my tail, who said, "One more minute, or I'm finishing without you!" (Or she might have said "I'm not finishing without you," but that would be way too nice. Haha!) She gave me the motivation to keep pushing and not walk, which I really really wanted to do by this point. (I did take a short walking break for water nearing mile 2). Mile 3 read as 11:46, and then as I ran through the chute, I saw 34:xx but I forgot to stop my watch so it came out as 35:04 when I did click it. (Annoyance: the Hermes Cleveland site still doesn't have results up, nor does it have them for the Fairview Park one I did last weekend!)

[Edited to add: The results were in fact posted this afternoon. My official time was 34:56, or 11:14/mile.]

Well, even if I do go by 35:04, that's still better than the last two 5Ks I did, and better than my first one ever. Feeling good about stuff! Gonna get that time back down if it takes all year. ;)

My only other beef with this race? They ran out of water at the finish. What!?! How many people were they expecting, and how many actually ran? Did non-runners take water? Did runners take more than one? I was kind of pissed off. At least they had watermelon, and I went into Panera where they nicely let me have a cup of their water, but still, that's never happened to me before.

But all and all, a very good time, a fun race, and a nice cooldown jog home!

Monday, July 18, 2011

All's Fair(view) in Running and Eating

Surprise! I ran a race yesterday. Actually, it was sort of a surprise to me as well.

We just got back on Saturday night from a week at the Jersey Shore (Beach Haven). I ran three times when I was there, and I was thinking I might want to try and find a race this weekend.

I really wanted to do the Winking Lizard Shot in the Dark 4-miler on Saturday night, but we were still on our way back when that one started. So I looked at my good ol' Running in the USA site, and found out that there was a race in Fairview Park on the 17th: The Fairview Youth Association Run for Fun 5K.

I have been extremely lucky, by the way, that the baby has been sleeping through the night. It just makes things like working out and, oh, I don't know, staying awake long enough to eat cereal, that much more bearable. So she got up at 6:40 and after I tended to her, I got ready to go. I got to Bohlken Park, where the race was held, at around 7:50 (start time of 8:30). Registration was painless, got my bib and was good to go! No chip timing for this race. You know what that means! It's so small that I just may come in dead last!!!!

After a little speech welcoming us and thanking us for running the (2nd!!!) annual race, we were off. I thought of NYRR's Mary Wittenberg, and how she needed to use a microphone for all the runners to hear her announcments and speeches before races in Central Park. This was so different, but cool!

I started off a bit faster than I thought I could handle, but was still getting passed left and right. Whatever! Oh, I should also mention that it was hot as balls and even though I was probably in better shape than when I did my last race in April, the heat was stifling so I had very few expectations for this race as far as time was concerned.

The first mile passed by really quickly. I was relieved, because I was sort of having a hard time already. There were no volunteers calling out the elapsed time, and I'd forgotten my watch, so I really had no clue what we were looking at here in terms of my speed. However, a volunteer standing about a tenth of a mile past the first mile marker shouted out, "You're not last!" as I ran by. Gee, thanks. Do you think that really makes me feel confident? How about "Looking good!" or something!!!?!?!

The second mile did not pass by as quickly, but at least I had the water stop to look forward to halfway between these miles. I took two cups, and poured one down my back (I learned the hard way a few years ago not to pour it on the top of your head or on your face unless you want to become temporarily blinded by your sweat stinging your eyes!!!).

Now here's where I began to pass some people. My motto, if you can call it that, is "I won't get passed again" (which of course always makes that Who song get stuck in my head for a chunk of a race when I think about it). In other words, if I pass you, I'm going to make it my mini-goal for the rest of the race not to get passed back. This doesn't always work, but if I can get a good enough lead, it sometimes does. I even psych people out on occasion by surging forward long enough for me to lose them (or better yet, to turn a corner or something) making it mentally harder on them to catch up because I "have so much energy." (Yeah right! It's all an act, and the whole time I do this I'm praying that you don't take the bait and run faster to catch up.) Well anyway, yesterday I passed three people (four, if you count this one guy who was running with his daughter), and I didn't get passed by them again! I consider that small feat an accomplishment, especially considering I could feel the heat emanating from my body. Note to self: SLEEVELESS SHIRTS FOR SUMMER RACES. Duh! I'd put on my black (of all colors) River Run technical tee from 2009.

Anyway. The end of a race is always like running through a fog for me. But at least it propels me forward. People clapping from their front stoops, watering their lawns. A nice guy who set out a cooler and fashioned an unofficial water stop in the third mile. And the volunteers who kept shouting, "Less than half a mile to go!"

I reached the entrance to the park (which I kind of assumed was mile 3) at 35:50 -- this is what the guy with the watch told me. Then I just had a little ways to go. I had to rip off the bottom of my bib in order for them to get my time, which, based on the time I entered the park as well as my fuzzy memory of the clock, was 36:xx. Not bad for a scorcher and only my second race since getting back down to business.

So here are some goals for racing:
-Train and run for River Run half marathon on September 11 (already registered). I'm sort of stuck at this 3-3.5 mile zone for my runs, and I'm looking forward to getting some long runs in again!!!
-Slowly bring my 5K time back down to the low 30s by the fall/winter...and then hopefully back to 28:xx by the time I consider myself really "in shape" ;)
-Much more important than both of these: LEARN TO ENJOY RUNNING AGAIN. It's been so long since I've done it with any consistency that I'm feeling kind of down about it. I've been going out more, and doing it, but it's taking awhile not to feel slow and sluggish and just...tired!!

In other news....
-We moved from Tremont to Lakewood! That's partially why I haven't blogged in awhile. No internet for about two weeks, then we went on vacation. So that's that. So far, I am loving the new apartment and the new neighborhood.

Oh, and speaking of Tremont -- went to the Taste of Tremont yesterday, for the first time as a non-resident ... um, not sure I'll ever do that again! Parking was a nightmare. And it was so hot. Ugh, I guess I'm just getting old! But I sure did take advantage of burning some extra calories to indulge in some of the treats there.