This morning, in preparation for Blackstrap Hell II, we got Sam geared up and ready to go... a Trail Monster in the making!
We had a blast hanging with Neighbor Kate and Ann at the finish line, and watching all the race proceedings. It was a beautiful day to be out and Sam was such a good girl! Sounds like the race was fun - muddy and wet - just as it should be! Thanks to Jeff for putting the race on and organizing the post-race pizza and beer! It was great to see all our friends and expose Sam to the crazy and fun world of trail running and the Trail Monsters :-)
Thanksgiving morning Ryan and I got out for a run on the roads around his parents house. While Ryan had originally hoped to race a Turkey Trot that morning, he said a slow run with me was just as good... or hopefully at least less painful! :-) We left Samantha in the capable hands of her grandparents, great grandparents and aunt and uncle, and set off on our merry way. Skies were overcast and it was a bit humid, but we had a nice time, chatting as we ran through along and generally enjoying a bit of "us" time. The 3.2 mile loop took us 29:20. It is the first time I've run all on roads, and flat roads at that, since I've been back running, so I was happy with the pace, and even happier with the company :-) A great way to start off the morning.
Of course, we returned to hear that Sam had cried most of the time we were gone... Do you think babies know when their parents head out the door?! But luckily, no one was too upset about it, and she was a great baby the rest of the day, and very happy to be passed around from relative to relative. We gorged ourselves on a yummy turkey dinner, stuffed ourselves with pumpkin and apple pie, and then of course, went back for "snacks" around 8pm before bed. Ah, Thanksgiving!
Friday morning dawned rainy and nasty. A perfect stay-inside day. Except that I really wanted to run. But I put it off, hoping the rain might stop, or I might feel less guilty about not running as the day went on. In the end, I went out around 3pm, fueled mostly by frustration over the conversations about scheduling Christmas. Man, it is tough to try to make sure everyone sees everyone at the holidays! Anyway, a run seemed a good way to escape it all, and I ended up doing the loop in 27:47. Oops. Guess running to escape something means running fast (or at least fast for me at this point!). Saw a pair of hooded Mergansers on a small pond along the route, which made me smile, and calmed me down a bit. I came back soggy, and with a clearer head, knowing that it will all work out in the end and that I had at least burned off a few more bites of the pie and ice cream I had eaten with lunch :-)
After the nice reprieve we have had from typical November weather, the dreary gray days I expect out of this month came back on Monday. Ryan was up at work all day, so it was just Sam and I. We did get out for a walk, but Sam was cranky the whole way and the overcast skies did nothing to boost my spirits. I could never live someplace like Seattle, where it is rainy and overcast a lot of the time! I seem to be really affected by the weather. Usually exercise will snap me out of it, but for some reason I was really feeling it on Monday.
Yesterday I was supposed to work, but my boss wasn't feeling well, so Sam and I just ended up going up to the gallery for a few hours in the morning to catch up, which was fine with me! It was quiet and I cranked through what needed to get done. When I got home, Ryan was just headed out for his run and upon his return, it was my turn. I hadn't expected to be able to run yesterday so it was a bonus workout! Hurray. I did the 3-mile out-and-back on the powerlines and felt pretty good. The gray skies only accentuated the bright red of the winterberries in amongst the otherwise barren bushes, and as I slipped and slid in the mud, I had to smile - it was good to be out.
The run also made me realize that despite November being my least favorite of the months, it does hold my favorite holiday. These days it seems like all holidays are simply one marketing ploy or another to get consumers to buy something, send something, spend something. And yes, while Thanksgiving has that aspect as well, it rings truer to me than a lot of the other holidays. There are no gifts, no costumes. There is always a Turkey Trot to run, and any holiday that involves running is a good one! There are family and friends getting together to laugh and talk and eat and drink and enjoy each other's company. I know that I often forget how much I have to be thankful for. It is easy to overlook how lucky I am and easier still to get caught up in the day-to-day gripes and worries. Yes, life is not perfect, but I am happy. I am healthy. I have wonderful family and friends. I am married to my best friend. And this year, to add to the list, I have a beautiful, healthy little daughter, who we stare at in wonder every day, even if it is wonder at how little she is sleeping or how much she is crying :-) How could I not be happy?
And so with that, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Wish us luck with our first long car ride with Sam later this morning! We're headed down to Ryan's parents for a few days. That means many hands to hold Sam ... maybe Ryan and I will even be able to sneak out and get in a run together?!
With Ryan's recent decision to race short and race often, we headed down to Cape Elizabeth this morning for the Maine Running Company Turkey Trot. Of course, Ryan didn't decide he wanted to run this race until Thursday, and we almost didn't get out the door this morning as we hadn't set the alarm and we're both still sleep deprived. Luckily, Sam woke up hungry at 6:45am and with that, Ryan looked at the clock, said "Oh s***." As I still had to feed Sam, I wasn't sure I'd be able to get out the door with him in time for him to get there to register, but amazingly, we were all out the door at 7:35am. Pretty good with a 6 week old who hadn't yet eaten when we woke up!
While Ryan registered and warmed up, Sam and I hung out in the car. It was cold, and she was sleeping and I wanted to keep it that way. I got her into the B.O.B. in time to go down and see the start, and as I was walking back up to the car, Kristen called and said she was parked across the street with Morgan. On a whim yesterday, I had told her we were planning to come down for the race and wondered if she and Morgan wanted to come hang out with me and Sam while Ryan raced. As we're getting into crazy holiday season and their weekends are going to be busy with the kids, she figured this was as good a chance as any to see us, so they motivated too and came to cheer Ryan on. It was fun to see them - thanks for making the trip over guys!
Morgan had fun at the playground while we waited for the runners to start to come in, and I saw Blaine, who was volunteering, and chatted with him for a minute or two before he took off to man the finish line.
Morgan enjoying the twisty slide
When we saw the winner round the corner, we walked over to the 3 mile marker, figuring Ryan would be coming within 5 minutes or so. We saw him right around the 20 minute mark and he was pretty far up there in the field. Go Ryan go! We cheered for him and walked over to meet him at the finish line. Morgan thought Ryan was pretty gross in his post-race state of snot and sweat and stink, but once he changed she had a change of heart and wanted him to put her up on his shoulders :-)
We all hung out for the awards as Ryan came in 2nd in his age group with a time of 20:19 and in 25th place overall. Nice! Sam was a trooper, and pretty much slept the entire time. She finally woke up when we stopped at Tim Horton's for some celebratory and much needed coffee and donuts! Of course, Morgan just ate the frosting and sprinkles off her donut but it was fun :-) All in all, a great morning!!
OK, so by most people's standards, today's morning run and afternoon walk aren't really a double in the true sense of the word, but I figure at 6 weeks post c-section, I can get away with calling it that :-)
This morning, I headed out for a run along the powerlines. It has been a long time since I've gone farther than the rise just past Highland Green Road which was my walking turn-around late in pregnancy, and I had forgotten how nice it is down the hill along the lines before Topsham Crossing. It was great to squish through the mud, looking up at the fluffy clouds and blue sky above, listening to the chickadees, bluejays and robins chattering and chirping and the wind whistling through trees, bushes and brambles. Today's run was a bit tougher on me than yesterday's run, in part due to the rougher terrain but also as it was the second day in a row of running. Still, I was happy to be out on yet another warm and sunny November morning.
After Ryan got in his run, and we did a few things around the house, we set out to enjoy a bit of the afternoon together. We drove to the Skofield Shores Preserve in Harpswell, and after Ryan suited up with Sam in the Ergo (Thanks Sean and Kris!), we walked down to the water's edge and then along the trails that wind through the woods farther out onto the peninsula. Although the loop is likely only a mile or so, it is a beautiful walk - winding along the edge of several fields, through the pines, meandering by a saltwater marsh and then back along the ocean. The late afternoon light was hitting the golden marsh grasses and glinting off the water, and Sam was content in the carrier, sleeping away as we walked along. It was really nice to be out, with all three of enjoying the woods together!
I had my 6-week appointment today. Things are healing up fine and I've been given the green light to do what I want to do provided I feel good. So, I am back to running officially :-) Hurray! Also am back to just 5 pounds above my weight at the beginning of the pregnancy, so I won't complain about that either!
Sam and I got a walk in yesterday afternoon while Ryan was down in Boston for the Boston Ski Show for work, and today I went for a run. I had intended to get out after I fed Sam at 6am, but it was still dark and I was tired, so I crawled back into bed instead. A little extra sleep these days is always a good thing :-) I woke up at 8am and after feeding #2, got dressed, ate a quick snack and headed out the door to run the same loop I ran on Sunday. Of course, by that point it was raining. Oh well. Luckily, it was warm, so the rain and wind didn't feel too bad. I did feel like I was working a bit harder than during Sunday's run, but perhaps part of that was doing battle with the wind both heading out on the powerlines and coming back on the road. I returned soggy but happy, having finished the 3.0 miles in 29:48 (I wore the Garmin this time out of curiosity to both confirm the loop's distance and my pace), and feeling like a runner again having gotten out despite the rain and wind :-)
In other news, Ryan took my car down to Boston, so the B.O.B., which has been living in the back of the car, has been parked in the entry way the past few days. Both Ronnie and Gigi have taken a liking to it, with Gigi curling up in the storage basket below the seat, and Ronnie settling down right in the seat, ready to go for a ride!
Yesterday and today were my big test. Could I make it alone through 1) the day with Sam, 2) the evening with Sam, 3) the night with Sam, 4) get out the door to work with her in the morning, and finally 5) survive at least until mid-afternoon at work with her?
I knew I could handle the day along with her. We had a fine time yesterday hanging out, doing some tummy time (She is getting strong and can raise her head up and shift it from side to side too. Yes, she is sooo advanced!), taking a nice afternoon walk, sleeping a bit (for Sam) and relaxing on the couch. She is definitely more alert and active these days. We are also being rewarded with a smile back at us from time to time, which is adorable! Of course, she is also still losing her hair in a rather haphazard fashion, but she is gaining some beautiful eyelashes as part of the deal, so perhaps it is evening out?! :-)
The early evening went as well as could be expected, as that time of night is definitely her fussy time and she is a bit of a challenge, but the big kicker was that she did not want to go down to sleep! Ugh. I ended up bringing up the bouncy chair and putting her to sleep in that. I know as she gets older, she'll have to learn to go to sleep in her bed on her own, but for now, all I wanted was to get some rest!
And work, well, I'm still getting the hang of getting up to and being at the gallery with her. She was very good today, and we lasted until around 3:15pm, which was about what I was hoping for. As we move forward, the plan is for her to be up there with me for the 2 days a week I'll be working in December, and then the 3 days a week we're open from January into March. So, I have to get used to it, but it's definitely a juggling act. Luckily it's quiet through the winter so hopefully it juggling paying attention to Sam and getting a bit of work done won't be too much of a problem! I can hope anyway!!
OK, so I cheated a bit... Six weeks after Sam's birth will be this coming Friday, so I technically shouldn't run until then. I do not want to mess up my recovery, and realize I am still healing on the inside even if I feel OK on the outside. But I also have been feeling good and admit to feeling in part that the 6-week rule is just a rather arbitrary number, and that we all are different in our recoveries, much like all of us moms were at a different level of fitness going into pregnancy and birth. So all that being said, I headed out yesterday mid-morning for a walk, with the thought in the back of my mind that I would try running and see how it felt. Well, I walked to the end of the walkway and started to run. And it felt good, so I kept going. Ryan set the over/under for my return to running at 4.5 weeks so I at least held out for longer than that!
I set out on the 3-mile loop through Highland Green, or "the Suck Loop" as Ryan has deemed it. I started out very slowly, gingerly almost. I was unsure how I would feel, and I was really focused on my middle, as I wanted to be sure to stop immediately if anything felt off. I was mostly just praying that my insides wouldn't feel like they were about to fall out. And they didn't. It felt a bit odd at first, but then so did running while pregnant. As I ran long, I got more comfortable, although I still kept the pace mellow. I wasn't breathing hard but I could feel things a bit in my legs. After all, I have had a 9 week layoff from running, so that was inevitable! With the torrential rains Saturday night, the powerlines were wet as were the section of woods by the high school. It was fun to tromp through the puddles and feel like a runner again :-)
I didn't wear the Garmin, but did time the run on my wristwatch, and I finished off the loop in 30:10, which made me pretty happy. It was great to be able to run the whole 3 loop at 10 minute pace without too much effort and to feel good doing it. Of course, I was tired out by the afternoon - perhaps the combination of being up a fair amount that night, running 3 miles, making dinner and feeding and taking care of Sam was a bit much for the day. I suppose a run/walk combination to start out might have been the smartest thing to do, but that is just not me! Anyway, I figured how I felt this morning would be the real test, and I woke up this morning feeling sore not in the stomach area, but in my quads, so I deemed the run a success! I took today off, but hope to get in a walk tomorrow and hopefully run Friday and Saturday. My six-week appointment is on Friday so I should have my official go-ahead for things then :-)
Yesterday Sam and I got out for a 2-mile walk on yet another nice day. It was a bit cooler than Monday, but I still shed my long-sleeve shirt partway through the walk. The B.O.B. is a nifty contraption, and I appreciate that it allows me to get out when I can't leave Sam behind. And I am sure once I'm back running, it will be a good resistance workout as well!
Today, I asked Ryan if he would mind watching Sam while I got in a 3 mile walk. I headed out on the powerlines to do what Ryan has deemed "The Suck Loop." I must admit I did not think of it as sucky today, probably because I haven't run the loop since August, and because I was just enjoying being out on my own on a longer walk. It was a bit chilly with the wind, but the downed leaves crunched beneath my feet, the chickadees chirped in the trees and the sun was out, so all in all, a pretty nice November afternoon. The loop took me 43:00 to walk, and I was walking at as fast a clip as I could. Man, it takes so much longer to walk things than to run them! However, I felt strong as I strode along (and even took a few running steps at one point, but only to cross the street quickly, I swear!) and am really looking forward to running more than a few steps by the end of next week!
Samantha is one month old today. Amazing! It seems both like we've had her forever and that time has flown by and this month has passed so quickly. Somehow I think this trend will continue, and we'll be saying this again and again as time passes and new milestones are reached. She had her one month appointment this morning, and she is up to 7 pounds 15 ounces and 21" inches. This puts her in the 50th percentile for height and the 25th for weight. She is also losing some of her dark hair (or as Ryan puts it so nicely, she is getting power alleys in the front!) and also has a case of baby acne. Poor little one. Ah well, we still think she is a beautiful child, even if she is going through 'an ugly phase' :-)
She is definitely changing - following objects with her eyes, focusing more on our faces, giving us what seem like little smiles here and there. She seems to be getting pretty strong too, holding her head up for good stretches when we hold her upright by our shoulders and lifting her head off the mat during 'tummy time.' She also graced us with great night last night. I fed her at 9pm, and she didn't wake up again until 3:00am! Hurray! This meant we actually got to sleep for over 5 hours. I feel almost human again :-) Of course, prior to Sam's birth, 5 hours of sleep would not be cause for celebration, but hey, I'll take what I can get at this point!
In other news, it was yet another gorgeous day today. I have never been all that fond of November, as it tends to be a bit dreary as the leaves fall off the trees and the days get cold and dark with the time change. However, I must admit that this year, the month has been pretty nice, and I've been fully enjoying this warmer weather! Now, I do want us to have winter eventually, but I'll take an extension of this warmer early fall weather into late November with no hesitation! After Sam's doctor's appointment, she and I headed across the street for a walk. It was so warm, I almost immediately shed my long sleeve top and was comfortable in tights and short sleeves. I'll take it! I have been feeling good and strong, and am counting down the days until my 6-week appointment next Friday. You had better believe I'll be out for a run that next morning!
This weekend was supposed to be a test. Ryan had to be up at work all weekend, staying overnight last night. This was bound to happen eventually, and I knew it would be a big test for me... an overnight alone! I was a little nervous, but figured it would work out OK, even if it would mean it was a pretty long weekend of just 'me and Sam' time. However, the test was diverted to another date, as my mom decided this was the perfect excuse to fly up for a long weekend and help me out. Isn't that nice?! Thanks Mom!
She flew in on Thursday, which gave her the chance to hang out with Kristen and Morgan too, and then the three of them came up yesterday morning to visit. Morgan had a cold, so we headed outside and took a walk around the neighborhood in an attempt to keep little Sam healthy out in the fresh air. Despite her cold, Morgan was on the run the whole time and did not want to stop to be photographed. I got a bunch of shots of her back and shadow, but did at least manage to catch this one shot of her on the fly!
On the move
After a mellow afternoon hanging out and a good night, this morning, Mom, Sam and I got out for another walk. We headed to the bike path to enjoy the sunshine and warm temps. The blue sky above and bare trees were reflected in the flat, calm waters of the river, and the path was busy with people out biking, walking and running. What a perfect day!
Mom pushing the B.O.B.
We did 3 miles at a quick pace, and it felt great. It was a really nice walk, except that about 3/4 of a mile from the end, Sam let us know she was hot and way overdressed. She screamed the rest of the way back to the car. She was not a happy camper and was sure to let us know it! Poor girl! She calmed down once we took off her sweater and took her out of the carrier for a few minutes to cool down before heading home. Amazing how the day warmed up while we were out there!
However, lest you think this post will go by without a photo of Samantha, here is one of her smiling up at me yesterday morning. I suppose it might be gas, but it sure looks like a real smile to me! :-)
We awoke to a dusting of wet snow on the ground, and although that has melted, it has stayed cold, overcast and damp. It is a good day for a day off, as Ryan is up at work and I'm home alone with Sam. Not exactly the best weather to taking an almost-4 week old baby out for a walk.
Yesterday however, I took Ryan up on his offer to watch Sam and headed across the street on my own for a walk on the powerlines. As I walked along, I was thinking that next week I'm planning to slightly lengthen my walks to 3 miles. Walking 3 miles takes a lot longer than running 3 miles but at this point I have the time, and if I am planning to start running again in 2 weeks, I want to at least be able to have walked 3 miles a few times before I head out running 3 miles again! It was a bright afternoon but a bit blustery. I enjoyed the change of scenery from the road route that has become my "normal" loop, and as I crested the rise before my turn-around, I stopped and watched a Red-tailed Hawk circling on the air currents and listened to the chickadees chirping in the bushes. Ahhhh. Another nice day to be out.
When I returned, we went out for ice cream. I've been craving a "Pumpkin Pie in the Sky" from Cold Stone ever since Sam was born, and finally got it today! Yum. There should be pumpkin beer, pie, ice cream and coffee (yes, I like Pumpkin Spice coffee, what can I say?!) all the time! But I guess that would make it less special. Needless to say, pumpkin ice cream with caramel, graham crackers, mysterious whipped topping and cinnamon mixed in is a heavenly treat!
Yes, Samantha is only a little more than 3 weeks old, and no doubt things will change in the upcoming weeks, months and years, but in the meantime, there are a few baby myths I'd like to clear up.
1. "Sleeps like a baby." I'd rather sleep like an adult. 8 hours without waking up. If I were to sleep like a baby, I'd be up every 2 to 4 hours, crying and hungry. This is not how I want to be.
2. "All babies need is love." Having a baby has meant our home is quickly filling up with ridiculous "stuff." Plastic stuff. Swings. Pack n' Plays. Play mats. Diapers. Wipes. Toys. A special bathtub. And on, and on, and on. It's impossible to resist. Yes, what babies need most is our attention and for us to listen to their cry and respond, to change their diaper and feed them accordingly, but really, it's all about the stuff!
3. "We're loving every minute!" We love Sam. We did before we even met her. But it is work. And it is tough. It is not all rainbows and candy. All the advice we've gotten from people in these past few weeks is that you just have to get through the first three months, and then it gets better. That is not an endorsement for "loving every minute." Still, when she smiles (or is it gas?), and is cute and quiet, we love it. When she's crying at 3 am, and won't go to sleep, I won't lie and say I'm loving it. But I know this too will pass, and that better days are on the way. I think having a baby is like most other things. There are good times and bad, and it's all in how you handle it. Hopefully we'll continue to handle it OK! :-)
4. The whole breastfeeding thing. Yes, it might be best, and it might be "the most natural thing in the world" but man, it is a lot of work. They don't tell you this beforehand. All the portrayals of breastfeeding are of quiet, contented babies, and moms gazing down at their babies with stars in their eyes. While this may be true for some, I am not finding it to be so. Sam is a squirmer. She burps and poops and moves around. It's a workout keeping her eating. I am feeding her many hours a day. It is tiring. Again, as she gets older, all this will likely change and get better, and I'm not giving up yet, but all I have to say is, if you're thinking of breastfeeding in the future, be warned!
5. "Breastfed baby poop doesn't smell." This is just not true. It is poop. It smells. Perhaps it smells less than formula-fed baby poop. And likely less than once we start to feed her solid foods. But seriously, people, don't lie.
I'm sure there will be other myths to contend with as we continue on this journey, but in the meantime, here is a photo of little Sam in her FuzziBunz cloth diapers. So, far it is going well and we are loving not buying and throwing out a zillion disposable diapers!
Fresh as a Daisy!
This afternoon, Sam and I didn't get out for a walk until right before 4pm. The soft late afternoon light was hitting the treetops, and I walked along, the sun beginning to set, highlighting the clouds as they began to turn light purple. I was tired and hadn't known whether it was better to take a nap or take a walk, but as always, once I got out there, I knew it was the right choice.
After lunch today, with Sam happily fed and contentedly hanging out on the couch with Ryan, I headed across the street for a walk. As I was alone, I decided I would do my 2 mile walk on the powerlines. I haven't been walking along the powerlines in more than a month, and the first thing I noticed was that it looked like November out there. The vegetation has changed to its late fall palette of shades of brown, punctuated only by the magenta leaves of the raspberry and blackberry brambles and the bright red winter berries.
Today though, the brown didn't seem all that dreary, as the sun shone bright in the blue bird sky and the breeze was warm. It was a gorgeous afternoon to be out, and I felt better for it. However, I did have to restrain myself from running. It was just so nice, and I was feeling good. I wanted to let loose and run! Also, I have been feeling a bit jealous of Ryan these past few days, out running in this nice weather, while I'm home with Sam, and while my exercise routine consists only of walking. This is not to say, not in the least, that I feel trapped at home with Sam, or that Ryan is not helping out - nothing could be further from the truth, but I cannot wait to run again!
As for Halloween, neither Ryan or I are huge fans of it as a holiday. However, Ryan's parents came up for a visit in the afternoon, and for their benefit, we dressed Sam up in a cute outfit that Sean and Marisa sent us. And of course, we did our duty and bought a big bag of candy to give out to all the trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood. Luckily there were only a few mini Twix left, so as not to tempt us too much! We had a fun visit with Irene and Dana, and Sam was really good all day long. She even slept through our lunch at Sea Dog! Good girl :-) (Meghan and Chris, we missed you! Hope you feel better!)