Monday, June 9, 2014

#runclub2014

The year began with the (ambitious) goal to run a 1/2 Marathon.



context...

It's not something I ever pictured myself having the desire to do. For much of my "running career" I stuck very close to the 5k mark. The idea of running further than that seemed daunting and simply unappealing.

The spring after Simon was born began a shift in this mindset.

I trained and completed a 10k race.

I found the training to be motivational as it forced me to become much more focused, determined and "hardcore" about my running. Having a goal to train for kept me dedicated. I would find myself running in conditions I would never before have deemed appropriate for running (rain, snow, wind, frosty days).  To say I was a "fair weather runner" prior to this would be a slight understatement.

This shift brought about a sense of pride and enjoyment in my running that I hadn't known before.

I started to resonate with those (crazy!) people who claimed to "love running." I began to get glimpses of the ever-illusive "runner's high." I also cherished the "alone time" in a new way since becoming a mother.

The 10k race was an exciting accomplishment and the atmosphere on race day became something I craved to experience again. And it was on that day that I realized I would be willing to push myself to train and run the half.

training...

Hence, this year's undertaking...

(January, prior to our first run)

We began training in January. A very cold, long, dreary January. Which transitioned to cold, dreary February, March, April and May. (it's got to have been the worst winter/spring in Calgary's history and definitely not the ideal year to choose to undertake this endeavour). Nonetheless...we persevered through a VARIETY of weather conditions...



(FINALLY GREEN!!!)

We started with runs that were under 5km. In fact, my first run was 3.5km. And it was tough. I was only 3 months postpartum at that point in time and had spent the year prior dealing with the longest, toughest pregnancy. I was definitely out of shape.



Slowly but surely our distances and stamina increased. We started "the climb" (adding a km each week) and soon we were facing distances above 10k on a weekly basis. We got to know the paths along the river/Memorial (and their ever-frustrating closures) quite well and found ourselves further down the paths than we would've imagined.





Having my sister as a training partner was a pretty special experience. It was companionship, encouragement, and motivation all wrapped up together. We made a good team. Our pace was similar. Our goals aligned. Our music tastes helped each other out. Our need for snacks and bathroom breaks was common ground. I will cherish the time spend running, mostly in silence listening to our own music, side by side.





Although the training started to become a bit all-encompasing towards the end, it was without a doubt time well spent.
(Scott decided to join us for a training run.
He appreciated our pace)




Training stats:

  • 43 training runs
  • 305km travelled 
  • 33.5 hrs

(just a bit of gear required)

race day...

Apparently race days start E A R L Y. We had to be at the start line for 7am, which meant getting up before 5am. But, the adrenaline kicked in early and carried us through. As soon as we got to the C-train station and joined our fellow runners, there was no looking back.

We were blessed with a beautiful day. Sunshine. Warm, but not too hot. No rain. Or snow. Thankfully - we had had more than enough of those elements.

The atmosphere was, once again, incredible. It feels like you are part of something so big and exciting. And there's a commonality and sense connection between you and all the racers around you.



Soon enough, we were OFF. Scott left us behind pretty quickly. Jennette and I found our groove, running side by side for the most part. Passing people. Taking in our surroundings (taking note of many cool restaurants and cafes to check out). Laughing at some of the signs. Stopping at every water station ;)

(the route)

The kms seemed to go by pretty quickly. And fairly easily.

A pee break at 12k, cost us a few minutes on our time but was well worth it!!!

After our potty break, since we had lost our pack of people going at our similar pace, we spent most of the remainder of the race weaving around and passing people. This kept things interesting and exciting. It probably made us feel like we were going faster than we were (although, our pace definitely picked up at that point).

It was at around 18km when Jennette really (really) picked up her pace. It was a struggle for me to stay even a good bit behind her. But I was determined not to lose her. I was determined to cross that finish line together. I pushed it and had to give it all I had left in the tank. In the last (and longest-seeming km) she slowed down to accommodate and we crossed that line together...breathless, thrilled, a bit nauseous and so very proud!

 

Post race is pretty much the funnest thing ever! You're so pumped from your accomplishment and there's so many treats to be had! We took full advantage of everything offered. Juice boxes have never tasted to refreshing! Free Jugo Juices. Oreos, bananas, power bars. And it's quite fun to partake with no guilt since you've just burnt almost a days-worth of calories. There were also free massages that might have been the highlight of the day altogether!!

(starving and so excited for foooooooood

 

stats:

  • 21.1km
  • 6.20/km pace
  • 1hr 19min
  • 1608 calories burned
(thanks Nettie!)

final reflections...

I must admit, I'm pretty proud of myself. Especially of the fact that Bridgette is just 8 months old and still nursing! I had to wonder how many other nursing moms were out there running and figured I was among a pretty elite group in that regard.



I can see how this could become addictive. Our goal for this race was just to finish, without having to walk at all. With that accomplishment under our belts, I can see us trying to train for a faster time. Although I'm not competitive by nature, it brings out a drive to do yourself better next time.

There will definitely be a next time. Who's in???



other things of note (in no particular order)...


  • best post-run snack: chocolate milk and a shared peanut butter cookie from Starbucks

  • best post-run recovery: epsom salt baths
  • lululemon gear is very sturdy...withstands wipe outs with out even a slight damage to the material (despite some fairly major wounds underneath!)
  • bathrooms along our training route:
    • Eau Claire (nice cold water for drinking out of the taps as well)
    • Tri-It store (along Memorial)
    • Extreem Bean cafe 
  • running socks are WELL worth the investment!!! (*thanks Daniel)
  • energy gels are disgusting, the gummy candies are better but the absolute best are "TABS" (Dex4 Fast Acting Glucose goodie bombs)
  • favourite songs:
    • "People Like Us" (Kelly Clarkson)
    • "Holy Ground" (Taylor Swift)
    • "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark" (Fallout Boy) 
    • "Timber" (Ke$ha)
    • "Roar" (Katy Perry)
    • "I Love It" (Icona Pop)


acknowledgments...

There are a few people in particular who I need to express my thanks to...

Scott. Thank you for your support, encouragement and willingness to watch our kids while I took off to run a few times a week.

Mom. Thank you as well for all your support and help. Particularly with watching my children...especially on race day. It couldn't have happened without your help.

Jennette. You were a great partner. Thanks for endeavouring on this journey with me. Shall we do it again one day?

Kayla. Aka: COACH. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise, keeping us on our game and for your excitement. Next time, we'll all race together!!!

Laura. Thanks for being my neighbourhood running buddy. Knowing I had someone to run with made all the difference on those weekday runs.

Our sponsors. Thank you to everyone who donated to our cause: the Alberta Cancer Foundation. It was so encouraging and motivating to know that you stood behind us in that way.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day {2014}

a little bit of hand-me-down love and St Patty's Day cheer...







Simon's 1st St Patrick's Day (2012) (*he was pretty dang cute too...)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

{Bridgette} @ 5 months

Does the fact that we have yet to post her 4 month blog update say anything about the speed of time and the craziness of life at this stage of the game?! Things are very. busy. in our house.  Please excuse the lack of blog posts (I do intend to return with some regularity once life settles down a bit...or will it ever?).

EATING - 

Bridgette's eating has returned to its regular pattern. She eats well and it's always a pleasure to hold her close to me while she does so. My milk seems to have steadied out as well, so that's a big relief on my end.

We've switched our routine a bit and Bridgette now eats before she goes to sleep (both for naps and for night). She is much more relaxed and content to eat in those moments. We tend to hide out in her room so she can enjoy her meals in a bit of quiet (aka: away from her wild man of a brother).

SLEEPING - 

I would say that sleeping is where the biggest changes are happening (*yay*).

She is definitely "transitioning" to more regular and predictable sleep patterns.

Bedtime: We've started her on a little more consistent bedtime routine. She often joins Simon for a bath (which they both love) after which she gets all cozied up for sleep. She's still in a "SwaddleMe" which is then zipped inside a sleep sack. Quite cozy, if you ask me. We then nurse to sleep. While she usually wakes and fusses to be fed a couple times before I go to bed, she sometimes...I would even go so far as to say, often...sleeps pretty much through the night! I give her a "dream feed" right before I head to bed myself and that will often carry her through until 6 or 7am...sometimes even 8am. She wakes HAPPY in the mornings (a bit of a change for us...Simon has always woken with crying and in need of pretty instant attention...this little lady is happy to laugh and talk in her bed. So. Cute.). She gives the biggest smiles when we go in to rescue her, pretty great.

Naptimes: We're starting to fall into a 3 naps/day pattern. A morning nap (anywhere from a half hour to an hour and a half), an afternoon nap (usually around 2 hours) and a late afternoon catnap (30 min or so). My favourite part of recent days was cuddling up with her during her afternoon nap (*which, we work hard at aligning with Simon's) and "nurse cuddling" her while catching up on Olympics. Pretty much the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

SKILLS - 
  • getting very good at reaching for, and grabbing, items of interest (aka: pretty much anything and everything...gonna need to start being more careful what we leave lying around and particularly diligent about what Simon has stashed around the house)
  • her Uncle Dan made an accurate and beautiful point about Bridgy Boo...he said that she's the first baby he's ever met who tries to get you to smile instead of the other way around. Her dad had a similar sentiment: "Shauna, I think you gave birth to the happiest baby on earth!". Bridgette is a beautiful, content, engaging little baby...we are so blessed by her presence in our life.
  • she's almost rolling from back to tummy...she can get right over on her side but then gets caught up by her arms...it's gonna happen soon (and then we enter the "mobile" zone)
  • playing in her excersaucer...even though she looks too tiny to be in there, she's able to spin herself around, manipulate the toys, find things to chew on, and turn her music on
  • she's into doing what we refer to as a "jig"...pretty much just the most adorable thing done with two legs while laying down and kicking 
  • BITING (unfortunately) with those 2 adorable little teeth...doesn't feel so adorable on my end, that's for sure. She also enjoys munching on Sophie, her banana tooth brush, her bunny and any other toy we let near her mouth.  More teeth around the corner perhaps?
  • sleeping in her carseat! Unlike her brother, Bridgette is a dream to take places in the car. She never puts up a fuss and simply sleeps everywhere we go. What a blessing...definitely not taking that one for granted. 












Saturday, January 25, 2014

{Bridgette} @ 4 months

Bridgette welcomed the new year by leaving infant-hood and entering baby-hood. Our little girl is growing at a rapid pace...leaving us trying to soak it in and catch up all at the same time.

EATING - 

We've had some "adventures" with feeding over the past month. I've experienced some decreases in milk supply for various reasons (and am becoming pro at rectifying the situation). She's experienced a couple colds and some teething symptoms (*first tooth appeared a couple days ago!). It's been a bit stressful for me, even though she is fine (content, bubbly, happy and thriving), even though I know that these are normal bumps in the road with nursing...I still struggle with an anxiety about breastfeeding (very likely rooted in the traumatic experiences with Simon). It hasn't been the blissful, relaxing, joyful time that I had hoped it would be. And yet, I'm not sure why I put those expectations on breastfeeding. It, like all aspects of parenting, is filled with ups and downs. With good and bad. With easy and difficult. And, like all aspects of parenting, we press on. One day at a time. It also keeps me on my knees, bringing our needs and desires before our Heavenly Father.

(If you are someone who prays, please pray that we will get back on the right track in this area, for peace and joy and freedom. Thank you.)

Her spitting up hit an all-time high and called for some changes in her (aka: my!) diet. We are now off milk and low on dairy products. It actually makes a huge difference. And though I miss my cereal and big glasses of milk, it's a pleasure to make such a simple change for the good of my daughter. What I wouldn't do...

SLEEPING - 

Bridgette has graduated to her own bed in her own room! A much bigger deal/transition for her parents that for her. She began with a few naps in her room (in her peanut, in her crib), then moved up to some early morning sleep-ins (much better sleep for everyone), and then finally she began sleeping full nights in her room...first in her peanut in her crib and soon enough just in her crib, all swaddled and tiny.

She's still a *pretty* good night sleeper. It varies. She has amazing nights (sleeping almost the entire way through, or at least until 6am or 7am). She has more difficult nights (up quite a few times). I would attribute the restless nights to teething and colds more than anything other factor. I think, when all things are as the "should" be, she likes her sleep. (BUT, when are things ever as they "should" be??? There always seems to be something amiss...)

Naps continue to be pretty short and follow about an hour and half of wakefulness. She naps in a variety of places, given the day: her crib, her mamaroo, the baby hawk, her car seat, or in someone's arms.

SKILLS - 
  • rolling over (from tummy to back) (*one day I realized I wasn't giving her enough tummy time, so I put her down on her stomach and she pretty much instantly rolled over. Felt like we skipped a step somewhere along the line...getting so big, so fast)
  • playing with toys (her favourite are her super soft stuffed bunny and puppy. She loves to hold on tight, bring them up to her mouth and laugh as she interacts with them)
  • observant!!! (you can just see her following Simon around with her eyes, watching everything he does (*and THAT takes some skill to keep up with!), she doesn't love being left alone and will quickly make her preference for your company known)
  • eating her toes
  • smiling and making everyone smile right back at her (seriously, the cutest, most infectious smile ever!!!)
  • laughing...especially at daddy or when someone is giggling with her (again: infectious)










Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year {2014}

Do you know the feeling after a crazy, busy week? A string of days in which you barely have time to catch your breath, let alone tidy up behind you? Things get out of place and out of order so quickly. Mess seems to accumulate exponentially. Clothes pile up. As do dishes. Make up and brushes scatter the bathroom counter. Toys end up (and stay) in the most random of places.

Or, likewise, the mess of a house after a few days of being sick. It's a similar situation: dishes, clothes, toys. Bathrooms need scrubbing and counters need cleaning. It's difficult enough to care for yourself or family when someone is sick, let alone clean up after ourselves. So the mess gets made. And ignored. Out of necessity but a mess nonetheless.

And then, whether it's after a crazy few days or a bout of illness, when things are in that messier-than-usual state, it's less motivating and more intimidating to try and get back to a clean, orderly existence.  It's more work to put a house back together after you've let it slip a little (*or lot) further than you would normally. In those moments, I find myself wondering: "where to start?"

Basically, that is how my LIFE feels after this year.

It's been the equivalent of both the craziest of weeks and the nastiest of illnesses.

My life - inner and out -  feels like a house that has been neglected. Messes are hiding in every corner. They've piled up over the past 11 months. Habits, routines, goals and aspirations neglected...for good reason: I was making a human. But, neglected nonetheless.

(not to mention my actual house!)

And now, on the brink of a new year, I stand before my life and wonder: where do I start???


I have a thousand hopes and dreams for 2014.

I have goals and expectations and projects...for myself personally, for our little family, for our home and in order to best prepare for our future.

And yet, before I move forward, I need to recover from the chaos that was 2013.

I need to find a place...maybe a tiny mess in a hidden corner...or maybe a big, obvious one that needs looking after because I'm tired of tripping over it...and START.

I need to start somewhere.

I'm not 100% sure where or what that will entail. I'm taking a few days at the start of this year to prayerfully consider what should be my priorities this coming year. I'm asking God to grant me clarity and perspective. As well as strength and endurance.

I'm excited for the year ahead.

But I have a suspicion it will be one in which I am called to work hard. To develop diligence and discipline.

Final note: I look forward to continuing to share our life through this blog and to point out the ways in which God is working in our lives. But I also want to say that the blog will likely take a bit of a back seat for the next while as I recover and re-prioritize. I still plan on posting updates and adventures, but am not going to commit to any regularity.

Happy new year to all! May it hold much love, joy, peace and a few adventures!



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

{Bridgette} @ 3 Months...

(a bit late...but, as I said in my last post, things are going to be a little more sporadic around here...)

Three months! As a parent I don't think I will ever get used to how quickly time passes (*except when pregnant...then time drags on like nobody's business).

Our children are growing and changing on a daily basis. Keeping us on our toes...and knees.

We pray for Bridgette and Simon often and regularly. For direction in parenting. For strength and patience. For wisdom. For health and safety. God has been so faithful in answering our prayers (and the prayers of many others on our behalf), but we don't want to take His provisions and blessings for granted. We want to live a life committed to Him in which His work (of daily provision) is recognized and worshiped.

Time is speeding past us and some (*most) days it feels like all we can do to keep up. I want to do our best to soak in this time...

...despite its challenges (i.e.: potty training, getting out the door on time, middle of the night wakings, keeping any semblance of order and cleanliness)

....and limitations (i.e.: spending quality time with Scott, accomplishing much within the two hour window between nursing feeds, feeling like we have much of a "life" outside the walls of this house)

...I know it is a time to be treasured, one that we look back on in years to come and long for. (*I'm reminded of this regularly by the sweet and loving elderly people at church and in stores who randomly stop me to tell me that their "baby" is now 40 even though to them it feels as though it is yesterday).

EATING - 

Bridgy Boo continues to nurse well. It is reflected in her contentedness, her growth (12 pounds this month) and her sleep (see below). I'm thoroughly enjoying nursing her and still find our quiet moments together so special and such an answer to prayer.

SLEEPING - 

Earlier in the month we were having some issues with Bridgette busting out of her swaddle and waking up multiple times at night. Thankfully, good friends of ours have lent us the most amazing contraptions called "Swaddle Me"s...basically a cozy swaddle type thing that velcros closed and keeps baby securely swaddled. It has definitely made for long stretches of deep sleep...for Bridgette and for us!

With the help of her new swaddle, she consistently sleeps from around 10pm until 5am, and then again until 9am or 10am! (*she might actually be sleeping slightly better than Simon...) She has even given us the gift of a few FULL nights of sleep (from midnight until 8am or 9am)!!! We are grateful for the rest.

She sleeps in our room, on the floor beside my bed in her peanut. She's starting to move around a bit more in her sleep and can often be found kind of scrunched up at the bottom of her bed. A sign that it's time to move her to her crib. Although I look forward to having our room back to ourselves, I will miss her little presence beside me at night. Another way that they just grow. too. fast.

Naps continue to be at random times of day, usually after she's been up and alert for an hour or so. They vary in length from 20 minutes to 2 hours, but on average they're around 30 or 40 minutes. Just enough time to give Simon some one-on-one attention and/or get a couple things accomplished.


SKILLS - 

  • kicking and lifting her feet...starting to move herself around a bit (esp when naked...which she just loves)
  • lots of talking and laughing (particularly likes it when you dab her mouth with a cloth...gets big reactions)
  • spitting up! (turning into quite a pro at this...giving her brother a run for his money)
  • holding on to things (anything within her reach)
  • bringing things to her mouth (esp blankets)
  • holding her head up strong (for tummy time, when being carried, in the Bumbo, when propped up to sit)
  • following the action with her eyes (you will find her staring at you from across the room)
  • melting daddy's heart (she can do no wrong)
  • blowing bubbles








Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Scott turns 35




I can vividly remember his  his 25th birthday.

We had been dating for not quite a year at that point. I was living in Waterloo, Ontario and he was in Langley, BC. The distance made things difficult but it also made us realize that what we had going was worth the effort.

He was struggling with the idea of turning 25...of entering adulthood and leaving adolescence behind for good. Having, as John Mayer would say, a "quarter life crisis."

This is the card I got him:


We were both on the cusp of a new life...life together...and all that that would entail. I did my best to remind him and encourage him that we had so very much to look forward to in the coming years. 

And now it's TEN YEARS LATER.

Crazy.

As the card says, he has moved with confidence in the direction of his dreams...starting a family, a business and an "adult" life. The confidence he had was not based on or in himself, but based on a deep faith in God. And although I'm not sure he could've ever imagined the life we are currently living, I know that he has done an amazing job of joining God in leading our family to the place where we are today. 

This is the 10th time I've had the privilege of celebrating the man I love. 

The man I so respect and cherish and honour.

The man who shows himself generous and kind and loving on a daily basis - to myself, our children as well as much of the world around him. 



The man who has held my hand through a variety of joys and trials.

The man who God has gifted me with. 

I am so blessed to get to live life at his side. 

Scott, I love you. I am grateful for where we have come from, for where we are today and so very excited to see where the next 10 years will take us. 

Happy Birthday Sir.