My first real knitting project, and other stuff

Thursday, 26th April 2012 at 14:01. Filed in Family and friends, Running1 Comment »

Let’s get a blog post on the map for April, so it doesn’t look like I went from February to May without blogging. (Even though we all know I have!)

In my defense, the extra hours that were supposed to be short-lived have been extended, my family was here for 5 weeks, we’ve had two birthdays to celebrate, and if you could see my house, you’d know the blog is not the only thing to have been denied a bit of TLC over the past few months.

But, I knit a hat! Oh yes, I did. I am very proud. I did it while my mom was here, so I could say, “help, please!” when I accidentally pulled the needles out or somehow ended up with 35 stitches in a row that started out with 30. I think I have learned how to fix my own (basic) mistakes enough to attempt another project now that she’s gone, but we’ll see about that.

I also knit a scarf for the Noodle that he will never wear. It’s super short precisely for that reason, and I knew I wanted to have sewn up the hat before my mom left. (The scarf  was first, and unlike my mother, I prefer to only work one project at a time.)

So, blogging 0, knit in the sunshine with my mom while the Noodle dug around in the dirt 2. That seems like a reasonable score. Especially since my mom was knitting boobs to help teach parents-to-be how to breastfeed. (My mom rocks. I came home from work with a project and she jumped right in!)

I also ran a couple times, which is better that no times, right? And today, I went for my first club run, so I am hopefully going to get more motivated to work toward some of my running goals. It was a good session (let’s not mention the head wind on the way back to the car after it was all wrapped up), but oh, do I have a ways to go.  But, I hope this will also get my blogging on the upward trend again, too. I do miss it.

Catch you again next month, I promise!

Curious George modeling the hat. I hope his head is the same size as a baby’s…

The (Minorly) Delayed Race Report

Wednesday, 15th February 2012 at 15:17. Filed in Race reportsNo Comments »

You know when life just picks you up and sweeps you away and then you realize it’s been three and a half months since your race and you haven’t written your race report? Well, maybe you don’t know, but I know.

The Noodle is napping, the sick-at-home Crunchy husband is napping, and I (being pretty much recovered from being sick at home) was thinking “what should I do now?” And before I could glimpse my chore list to remind me what I should be doing, I thought, “maybe I should blog.”

So here I am. It seemed such a foreign thought, but then reminded me of good times, so here I am.

The Great South Run went great. Standing at the start line with thousands of runners, most of which are running passionately for their own causes, makes you feel human and alive. It is such a happy and rewarding place to be. As is making it to the finish line intact, which I did. I finished in 1:40.14, bang on 10 minute miles which I am really pleased with.  My Noodle wasn’t awake to see me at the finish, but he was cheering me on at the beginning and at about mile 6, so that helped to get me through!

I was very pleased to have raised £400, plus another £30 in Gift Aid for the NCT.  Everyone was very generous in sponsorship and well-wishes, and I can’t thank you enough.

As for the running and the blogging, I’ve got to find myself another race to train for, as I’ve allowed other things in life to invade this space. (However, most of those things involve paid hours at work, spending time with my boy and sleep so I don’t feel too bad about those choices. The paid hours are short-lived so I am hoping to return to the blog with some regularity by the beginning of April.)

Now, onto that chore list…

Race Weekend

Saturday, 29th October 2011 at 8:49. Filed in 'Nana in training, RunningNo Comments »

Portsmouth, here we come!

One Week to Go Until the Bupa Great South Run

Friday, 21st October 2011 at 20:57. Filed in 'Nana in training, RunningNo Comments »

I’ve missed a couple planned blog posts over the past few weeks, this I know. However, I haven’t missed a planned run. (I’ve re-negotiated this week’s plan, but the week’s not over yet and shall be filling in the blank spot tomorrow.)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had some good runs alone, some good runs with my boy, and we’ve had a couple nice family runs together – or partially together, as Crunchy husband wasn’t quite ready for Minnis Bay to Reculver Towers and back.  I was stung by a wasp at the end of one run in Sandwich last week, but luckily couldn’t dwell on it too much because the run segued into a walk / park play date, so I just sucked it up and moved on with the day. Until my friend mentioned she had Sudocrem. It’s amazing the uses of diaper cream, that you never know until you have kids. (It helped take the edge off for sure, but I swear the area still itches occasionally!)

I’m feeling in a good place on my training. In an ideal world, I would have liked my long runs at the weekend to be longer this close to the race, but realistically, I am exactly on target from where I started from 7 weeks ago when I began training for the Great South Run. I ran 7.5-7.75 miles last weekend in 1:18.30 (which includes time I took for a pit stop and a slight wardrobe malfunction) and still felt like I had lots in the tank when I arrived back at Minnis Bay to hug and stretch with my little boy.  I feel confident that I am fit enough to go out there in 9 days and have a great time, if not race a fast time, and really enjoy myself.

Thanks to some very amazing and kind donations,  I’ve raised £205 for the NCT. That amounts to enough money to provide five new parents under stress with six weeks of support from a trained NCT postnatal leader. Or, eight hours of NCT practitioner support for new parents in need. But, I would love to raise more. As a team, we’ve raised over £1,600, but we’d like to reach £2,500, as this would be enough money to fund a two hour Bumps and Babies group for 1000 new moms.

If you were waiting to see how hard I would be working for your money, here’s what I have accomplished in the last three weeks:

Week 5
Mon – 30:17
Tue – 20:07
Fri – 45:37
Sun – 60:16

Week 6
Tue – 30:15
Thur – 50:19
Fri – 30:22
Sun – 78:30

Week 7
Wed – 40:28
Thur – 30:04


Which is mountains more running than I was doing 7 weeks ago, so I am pleased. I know times are tight, but even a donation of £5 can make a difference by paying for a trained practitioner to be on the helpline to accept one call from a parent in need of emotional or practical support during pregnancy, through birth and into life as a parent. Every pound counts, and is greatly appreciated!


Sunny Running Through the Heat Wave

Saturday, 1st October 2011 at 16:38. Filed in 'Nana in training, Running1 Comment »

It was a busy week. Between two jobs/volunteering and the strange (but not uncommon) jolt of jet lag just when I thought it had passed, my mornings were completely filled. My afternoons and evenings were spent one on one with the Noodle while Crunchy husband was at a conference in Amsterdam for a good portion of the week.

But, I ran. I would have never run if I hadn’t been training for this race. I know I wouldn’t have, with everything else going on. So this week’s run tally is proof to me I’m doing okay, and accomplishing what I mean to get done.

Today’s run was great. I left the kiddo with his daddy and grandad and went out with music and without the stroller. Even though it was the longest run in a while, and the hottest (HEAT WAVE! 28°C today), I felt good to be out running in the sunshine. When the end came, I wasn’t dying, and I felt like I could have done more if I had wanted. So that is good. But, after a morning on the beach building sand castles and my afternoon run, I am looking forward to having my dinner cooked for me at the pub tonight.

Thanks and deepest appreciation go to those who have sponsored me so far for a total of £85. This week I am hoping to focus on some more personal fundraising pleas, starting with my mother, who never seems to be home anymore when we call.

This week’s runs:
(Last) Sat – 40:22
Mon – 35:52
Tue – 31:21
Thur – 26:51
Sat – 50:27

Running Through the Jet Lag

Thursday, 22nd September 2011 at 19:50. Filed in 'Nana in training, Running2 Comments »

It has been a crazy week. Toddler jet lag is the pits. It’s worth it to be able to spend time with family and friends, but it is definitely rough. And unpredictable. On Sunday and Monday nights, we were up from 1.30am until 4.30am and then the Noodle slept 14 hours straight on Tuesday night.  But then last night, we were up until 2.30am.

It would have been easy not to run this week. However, with this race in mind, I knew that was not an option. And I was excited to go out with the Noodle. We got our running stroller home on the flight all right – it doesn’t seem any worse for wear than when we found it sitting outside the Salvation Army, waiting for a home. (The running stroller was always a question for us. When we spotted it a couple weeks ago, I kind of figured this was our chance. It’s not perfect, there are some things I would have preferred different. However, it does have 16″ wheels, with the front one fixed, and with a yoga strap fashioned as a wrist strap so that my boy will not roll away from me, it will do just fine.)

It’s been a lot easier to run with the stroller than I expected. It’s a lot lighter to push, and easier to steer, than I anticipated. I’m definitely not running fast, but speed is not my goal here. My goal here is to do it. It’s very freeing now to know I can go running whenever I want, without having to plan around childcare.  It’s nice to see my Noodle sitting up and enjoying the scenery, too. Although, I think he could have done with a bit less wind in Ramsgate yesterday on our return to the car.  (I probably could have, too.)

This week’s runs so far:
Tue: 30:16
Wed: 30:46
Thurs: 34:47

This Mama Is Now In Training for the Bupa Great South Run

Friday, 16th September 2011 at 16:57. Filed in RunningNo Comments »

I am excited to announce I am now in training. Officially. The application has been submitted and accepted, and I am now registered to run the Bupa Great South Run on October 30 as a part of Team NCT.

It is exactly what I need. I am excited. In 7 weeks (or nearly 6 as I am publishing this), I will be running a 10 mile race. It’s a little daunting as my last half marathon was 4 years ago, but this is exactly what I need to get myself going again, and I am looking forward to it. I’ve found it challenging to get past the 1 or 2 weekly half-hour runs for a while now. But now, I have to push beyond this. I have committed.

And it’s for a good cause. Crunchy husband and I did our antenatal classes through the NCT, where we met the families in our current baby group. I really value the friendships that have grown out of this class over the last year and a half, as it’s really helped me to have this support network while becoming a mom half the world away from my own family.

If you would like to sponsor me in the run, please visit my fundraising page. I appreciate any donation you can spare for this charity. And please check this blog throughout the next couple months to see how my training is going, how my fundraising is going and how hard I am working for your money! (Once we get back home to England things will be a lot more consisent – in blogging and training and it will really ramp up!)

Last week’s runs:
Mon: 25:21
Wed: 30:05
Thurs: 30:33

This week’s runs so far:
Sun: 30:06
Wed: 20:54 (at 6,247 feet altitude with stroller, so not completely slacking!)
Fri: 35:16

Soggy Run

Tuesday, 23rd August 2011 at 10:30. Filed in Running1 Comment »

It was a soggy toes run. It was a soggy underwear run. It was a water dripping into your ears run. It was a strip down to your skivvies in the doorway as soon as you get home run.

It was a good run.

As normal for August in England, the sky opened up and sprayed Thanet with warm rain today. I had hoped it might wait until I finished my run, but it only gave me a halfway start. I dropped the Noodle off at nursery and then headed to the coast for a nice, quiet run along the seaside. I toyed with the idea of waiting out the weather a bit, but it didn’t really suit my plans for the morning, so I decided to accept the consequences: soggy toes, soggy underwear, water in my ears.

The first half of the run was a-ok. A breeze, no precipitation. It’s always the tail wind that gets me. I turned around where the promenade cut out and bam! Hello wind, and hello rain.  That’s where the rain cloud from the east caught up with me, too, right at my turnaround. It showered me with warm, sea and sweat salty rain all the way back to the car.

It was a really nice run. It made me smile and feel good. It gave me the energy to come home and battle it out with some “not an option today” chores. I have been running a tiny bit more than I have been blogging this past month, but I need to pick it up. We also got the Noodle out on the bike on Sunday, so my options are opening up.

Run – 18.38
Run – 25.19
Run – 30.48
Run – 25.09
Run – 30.08
Walk – 5 miles
Ride – 1 hour
Run – 30.47

You Know It’s Bad When You Lose Your Taste for Chocolate Fudge Brownie

Friday, 22nd July 2011 at 9:27. Filed in Family and friends, Running1 Comment »

Though it’s only been a week, it feels like a lifetime since I blogged about food and cooking. I haven’t seen much of either this week. My running shoes have taken an unplanned mid-summer break, while I have tried to get my energy back and feel a little better.

But, on the bright side, this week was one of those weeks that improved as it went on. I was nauseous and ill at the beginning, which felt familiar at first, but it wasn’t (for anyone reading and hopeful). It was a mean bug. It’s taken me days to get back to the place where I can look at food and eat it without my stomach turning. You know it’s bad when you can’t stomach ice cream. I couldn’t. (But, I’m fine now. Ben and Jerry’s can relax. We’ll be stocking up at the store today.)

Amidst trying to take care of a toddler while running on empty, I’ve had some really positive things happen. My mom’s here now for three weeks and is soaking up the Noodle and all his goofiness as fast as she can. We live in a world where you’ve got to make the absolute most of it, when we’re together, because it’s feast or famine. All or nothing. My mom wasn’t planning to come visit now, but then she decided she couldn’t wait until we make it back to California for a visit in the fall, that she was missing too much of the baby time she’d never get back. It might sound crazy, given the price of airfare, but I understand. Family’s important. But, I think the airlines should thank their lucky stars. This family keeps them in business. Majorly.

Also this week, I was fortunate enough to be able to reschedule a job interview (for some part time work) from Tuesday to Thursday and am now back to doing a little bit of what I love for money again. Not much, but I think it will work out well, given my situation as a mom, and I am really looking forward to it.

It took me a long while to decide whether I would even apply for the job, given our current situation and the fact that I can no longer be as flexible as is ideal for the post. (It would be super if low tide could be at 10 a.m. every morning. That would work out very well for me now. Moon? Earth? Can you work together and make that happen? That’d be great, thanks!) But, in the end, I finally decided that I would be really disappointed if I didn’t go for it, especially if it turns out Crunchy husband’s job is saved and we are stable again, which is more of a possibility now that the site is not closing after all. To be honest, I’m getting tired of waiting. We are so very fortunate in a million ways, but life on hold can start to bring you down.

So I went for it. And now things are going to change a little bit around here. I really want to continue running and blogging, but once I have a clearer idea of my new schedule, I will have to amend my calendar (and my expectations). It’s a good thing. It keeps life interesting.

This Cooking Thing, It Could Become a Habit

Friday, 15th July 2011 at 10:33. Filed in Family and friends, Love to eat, hate to cook1 Comment »

My mom has always said she started cooking when she had kids. Whereas I haven’t eaten crap for my whole life, I can see where she was coming from. The burrito, pasta, some sort of chicken dish rotation doesn’t quite cut it once you are cooking for a little one.

I mean, it does. There are always vegetables involved and it’s all at least semi-balanced. But, I’ve come to feel like we need more variety to make sure we are eating right, and enjoying it. When the Noodle began to eat solids last year, I firmly decided I would make all* of his food. Part of this was determination not to be lazy – I am his mother, I should be able to prepare meals for him (since I wasn’t also going to a job for 8 hours or more a day). Part of it was just the idea that the less processing there is, the better. But, I think a main driver was the transition between him eating through me and him eating independently of me. I had nourished him for 41+ weeks inside me, and then nourished him with milk from my body for another 25 weeks. I didn’t stop breastfeeding completely until Noodle was 9 months old, but it felt like that was the “cord cutting” for us, that was when he became separate from me.

The weaning was hard at first. But then I realized that I could still be that food making factory of nourishment, I just had to approach it from a different angle. And not only could I, it had to be me. My 1-year old was not going to stand in the kitchen and say, “Burritos again? Mommy, you are not feeding me right.”

We found a bargain cookbook at WH Smith’s one day, and I have to say, I think it is the best cookbook ever. We don’t have any another where I have made so many recipes. My mom is coming next week, and I don’t think she is going to know what hit her. Chicken and artichoke pie, mango chicken and quinoa salad, Mediterranean chicken. I’m on a roll. I’m even making additions, improving on the recipes. (Like, come on, if you are going to make sesame beef with pak choi and spring onions, how hard is it to throw in carrots, mushrooms and red chillies – yes, I feed my toddler food spiced with garlic and chillies. He likes it.)

I made lasagne this week. As I was stirring the bolognese sauce, I realized, “in my whole life, I don’t think I have ever made lasagne.” I’ve eaten it plenty of times, and had it lovingly made for me, but I cannot picture myself in any of my kitchens layering out the pasta and baking up the dish. It wasn’t bad. Not great. It needed way more cheese, and dare I say more bechamel sauce on the top layer (I’m not a big fan), but that can be accomplished next time.

I’m so proud of myself. This “best bagel toaster in the world” is moving up. But, to be fair to myself, I’ve never been a bad cook. Even Crunchy husband jumped to my defence the other weekend when one of our friends, when trying to understand the situation, started to say I wasn’t good. I can cook. I just don’t like to. It bores me. I can think of so many other ways I’d love to spend my time. But, it has to be done. So, I guess it has to be done right.

*There were always food pouches and baby food jars in our kitchen for times when we were traveling over night, or just in case, but for the most part, I did it.

Tuesday: Run – 30.14
Friday: Run – 30.28

Seal of approval - a happy boy after his lasagne