The universe’s plan… now its mine!

As much as I like to be proactive in trying to design my life I have come to accept that there are things in life that are just out of our control. Things that are driven by the universe and sometimes the universe’s grand plan doesn’t align with our own plans. However they do say as every door closes another one opens.There hasn’t been  a door closing in my life as much as I have been sitting by the door waiting for it to open and it just is NOT opening.

Lactational Amenorrhea sounds like a dream but when you are keen to grow your family it is kind of frustrating. So here I am twiddling my thumbs waiting for my body to kick back into baby baking mode.

2 weeks ago after my 5km “not so fabulous” race…  I had an idea. A crazy idea. So crazy it seemed ridiculous at first but the more I thought about it the less crazy and wild this idea became.

After a few days of thinking it over and over I was starting to seriously consider this idea and decided it was time to float it to Big A.

Let me just say I am lucky to be blessed with the most supportive family who have always encouraged and supported me to achieve my goals. I was even luckier to marry a man who is also so supportive of me and backs my every dream and goal 100% no matter how crazy.

So once I had got the OK from Big A I did what any Type A control freak personality does –  organise the hell out of it. I worked out every tiny detail to the point where I could see it all coming together BUT I still wasn’t ready to commit.

Then this happened. I visited my Podiatrist… The king of the lower limbs. I walked in to my appointment 75% committed to my crazy idea and walked out 100% committed.

Decision made.

As of Monday 26th November I will abandon my running to NO program approach and start a 20 week training program for …

WaHoo! YeeeeeHaaaa!

So  rather than sit around and be frustrated and impatient with my body I am going to refocus my energies on another goal. Yes, Little A (and Big A) are my #1 priority but he sleeps 14 hours per day (Little A that is!) so there is definitely some time each day to pursue a crazy goal.

Now there are so many things I want to share with you all but in the interest of not making this the LONGEST post ever I will split it up into 4 more posts that I will publish over the next week. Here is a sneak preview of them…

Chill time!… I’m prepping for a marathon but fully intend to sit on my butt for the next 7 – 10 days ( and I am not injured!) here I tell you why!
I just got the hang of that Running to NO plan. Everything about my experience and what I will do in the future.
So much more than running .. There is so much more to prepping for a marathon than just running. In this post I will share all my plans: nutrition, recovery, managing my niggles and balancing family life.
Running Royalty… A an exciting post to tell you what tipped my decision to train for the Canberra Marathon… THIS IS EXCITING!!!!

Of course running will move up the priority list and blogging will have to move down a little. However I do aim to share a marathon training update each week in addition to the normal mummy and running posts.

Finally I just want to point out that I have committed to TRAINING for the Canberra Marathon NOT RUNNING it. The truth is if my body kicks back into baby baking mode in the next two months I could easily ditch the marathon to move forward with growing our family. However there will come a time when I am far enough into the training when there will be no turning back and I will see out the marathon no matter what my body does. In the interest of making race preparations I have decided to give myself a deadline of February 21st to make a decision on the race. This will see me 12 weeks into my training and 8 weeks out from the race.

So anyone want to come line up at Canberra with me?

When have you been frustrated with your body?

Am I crazy?

How far out from a race do you sign up for it?

8 months

Remember this little guy…

Well now he looks a little more like this…

Little A is 8 months old now and it has been another big month of development. Everyday we are seeing more and more of his fun little personality. This month has also been filled with lots of “firsts”…

First ride in a shopping trolley

“Are you sure this thing is safe?”

“Is that food?”

“Quick Mummy…follow the food”

First time trying to feed himself…

Close but it comes out the other end kid!

Getting warmer

Jackpot!

Then there was the first trip to the pool…

“Does my bum look big in these?”

I tried to get a mummy and Little A shot but he was more focused on what was on the menu for lunch!!

Little A’s first chair…

“Look mum it is my real parents!”… we are still convinced he is a Lion!

Crawling

Little A is progressing with his crawling and starting to lift his belly more and more. For the first few weeks it was more like a “commando” crawl with his belly dragging along the floor polishing the floor boards. He has also started to get more adventurous and will now crawl out of the room and head off on his own. So we have started having to make sure we shut doors and now have a big weekend of “baby-proofing” planned. All I can say is Jeez he is quick!

Life with an 8 month old

Changing a nappy is impossible, dressing is impossible, in fact any task that requires the little guy to sit still is IMPOSSIBLE. As soon as we lay him on his back he wants to roll over and wriggle away. So much so we have given up on the change table and now change and dress him on the floor or bed. We do love how curious and active he is but it just takes twice as long to do the basic tasks some days. We have had to adjust our approach and how long we allow to get ready to leave the house.. 60 second nappy changes are a thing of the past!

Luckily his super cute smiley face makes all the impossible worthwhile…

“Did someone say playground?”

“What are we waiting for? SWING SWING already!”

“Finally she’s giving me food that isn’t mush. She must think I’m a baby or something”

Little A’s best “Angel” look. Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth…

Apart from all the crawling and cuteness the month has been filled with all the other typical baby stuff. There have been some rough nights and grizzly days with the teething. The new teeth have also seen Little A experimenting with new sounds. I just can’t wait for that first word but for now we are happy to enjoy his beautiful baby noises.

All in all our little guy is a happy and thriving little boy. He is the joy of our lives and every day I feel more and more blessed to watch him grow in front of my very eyes. Pure love… pure happiness!

Fail

You know you have failed as a housewife when you get in your car to get take away for dinner and it still smells of last nights take away.

Yes it was not my finest moment. Purely and utterly disorganised.

Life is not even chaotic but rather just constant at the moment. I seem to move straight from one thing to the next thing all the while trying to find a spare minute to work on the big projects in the background.

On Friday I put my head in the freezer to discover my pureeing stash for Little A had dwindled to almost nothing. 6 weeks ago I was whinging that I couldn’t fit even a tiny tub of ice cream in the freezer as Little A’s food took up ALL of it. Now I have my tub of ice cream but am back in the kitchen doing a daily batch of pureeing.

I have to confess I am hopless in the kitchen. Big A didn’t marry me for my cooking abilities. We eat simple meals that take little time to prepare. Nothing I cook or bake will ever end up on pinterest. Luckily though I love food and the desire for it forces me to at least try. I salivate at some of the recipes I see on people’s blogs and when I am feeling game I venture into my kitchen. Sure mine never looks as good as the picture but I try.

Luckily for Little A there isn’t much you can mess up when it comes to pureeing…

Peel

 

Cut & cook

 

Blend

 

Freeze

 

Mix and match for serving ( Sweet Potato, Brocoli, Carrot & Pumpkin)

While it is not difficult it is mundane and timely. I don’t love it. But I love Little A and I love that I am preparing food for him that is nutritious and brings him joy. Not every aspect of parenting is going to be magical and for me pureeing is not magical its mundane! Although I am becoming a bit of an expert… the other day Big A asked me how I could tell the difference between the Sweet Potato, Carrot and Pumpkin. I quickly informed him which shade of orange was which. Yep, move over 50 Shades of Grey cause we’ve got 50 shades of Orange and thats way “hotter” than grey!

Anyhow between preparing Little A’s meals and projects around the house I had given little thought to what the rest of us (Big A and I) were meant to be eating. For the last two nights after Little A has gone to bed I have realised I hadn’t organised anything for dinner and the supermarket was closed. So we have had to resort to takeaway. Don’t get me wrong I don’t have anything against takeaway but I prefer to enjoy it when I am craving a good indian meal or a pizza and wine night. I don’t enjoy takeaway when I really don’t feel like it and its purely as a result of me being disorganised.

So I am giving myself a big fat “F” for organisation this week! My punishment will be when I get in my car and it smells like a horrible mix of Chinese and Pizza.

So I ask…

Have you had a failure moment? Come on make me feel better!!!

Are you good in the kitchen?

Whats something Mundane that you do out of love for yourself or others?

7 months

Our little boy is growing in to quite the character. This month Little A has mastered the art of blowing raspberries. Coupled with the copious amounts of drool this teething baby generates you really don’t want to be on the other side of these raspberries!!

And in other typical BOY behaviour …

Someone has been leaving his shoes out…hmm wonder where he learned that?!?!

“Crack me a beer and pass the remote”…he’s a real charmer isn’t he?!?!

Seriously though, this kid is growing!!! Remember these long lean limbs….

Well they’ve gone from marathoner legs to….

Sprinter legs… “All the better to play with mummy”

Speaking of playing, visiting the playground and feeding the ducks is Little A’s favourite pastime these days.

Yep… he LOVES the swing!

And more proof that he is my son… he got the hang of this hammock thing very quickly!

Little A is getting closer to crawling . It’s like edge of your seat TV everyday watching him experiment and try. As much as I want it to happen for him I am a little nervous for me! Life is going to be very different when he is getting around!

As for the sleep department, I was so looking forward to bragging about how Little A had returned to his old awesome night sleep ways (12 hour nights waking only once for a feed) but then he went and shook it up for a few nights. This one likes to keep me on my toes!

So now for some of my favourite snaps for the month….

“My sippy cup… all MINE!”

I swear this smile gets bigger everyday!

Bath time is always a hit… but don’t stand between this boy and his rubber ducky!

I love how blue his eyes are in this photo!Finally a photo where I can see a little of me in this boy… he’s all Daddy this one!

Mindful Mothering

“By the time we have children, many of us have become so achievement-orientated, so goal-driven, so addicted to busyness that we lose out ability to relax along with our capacity to notice what is going on in the now. One of the greatest gifts children bring is the way they guide, if not force, our attention back home to the present. Young children live in the present moment, oblivious to the past, unconcerned about the future. They see objects, people and events with fresh eyes, and with wonder. If we choose to, we can take on their viewpoint and see our surroundings as if for the first time. Once jaded, world-weary parents can find themselves lying in their backyards, fascinated at the proceedings of an ant colony. If we let them, children can teach us the value of time with no objectives, a skillful kind of laziness free from the need for productivity.”

This is an extract from Sarah Napthali’s book Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children, becoming a mindful parent which I was gifted from a beautiful friend and mother.

Am I buddhist? No, but this book is definitely my #1 recommended read for any new parent. Getting up multiple times in the night to a teething child is always easier when you are filled with compassion and understanding. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t bounce out of bed smiling to tend to Little A and lets face it, sleep deprivation can make all rational thoughts go out the window. But empathy, understanding and compassion can help how we experience those difficult times.

This year I set a New Year’s resulotion to have inner peace. The goal was NOT to be happy but to be at peace within myself which in turn has bought about greater happiness. I don’t believe feeling happiness all the time to be possible and or even appropriate… should we be happy when faced with loss? I don’t think so!

Earlier this year I did a meditation course run by buddhist teacher Kelsang Norjin. I was 35 weeks pregnant at the time and if meditation wasn’t challenging enough trying to meditate with an active little boy in your belly was near impossible. That was ok though, I didn’t go for a day of meditation but instead I had enrolled hoping to learn the art of meditation. I knew I would have lots of practice to do outside of the course. What I didn’t know was just how hard true meditation is.

Going in to this class I believed meditation to be a relaxing process in which you let your mind free. I quickly discovered I was wrong. In actual fact it is the exact opposite…training your mind and FOCUSING on one thing. There is nothing relaxing about learning and trying to master meditation. It takes discipline and perserverance. I found it to be extremely difficult and frustrating.

By lunch time I was ready to give up. After 2 morning sessions of meditation I think I had achieved up to 3 breaths of “true” meditation. Luckily I bumped into the teacher on lunch break (before I made my planned escape) and after being informed that 21 breaths is “master level” of meditation I was starting to feel a little more encouraged. “Bugger it” I thought, I might as well have another crack… so I stayed for the afternoon session.

By the end of the day I was feeling much more comfortable and relaxed with meditation. Whilst I hadn’t progressed past 5 breaths in a row I felt I had learned a lot and couldn’t wait to try it out without the interruptive kicks from my belly!

How did my head get filled with so much stuff that I could’t truly focus on ONE thing (my breathing) with NO other thoughts for more than 5 seconds?!?!

Fast forward 7 months and life is much different. When Little A was a newborn I could pass hours just gazing at him and feeling him breath on my chest, then it was hours spent engaging with him as he became more aware. Now it is hours sitting in the high chair experiencing food and watching him discover and experience everything for the first time. Life is lived at a much more relaxing pace and such simple things bring me joy.

Yes there is lots of chaos here too. Days when I can’t wait for bath time to come around because I feel so stretched and exhausted. Days when the endless washing and folding makes me feel so unispired.

Luckily, they are dispersed between moments of absolute wonder and amazement and I am so grateful to be aware of and capable of fully experiencing these.

My journey to living mindufully started before Little A was even in my belly (not long before) but Little A’s arrival has only enriched it and assisted me to slow down and live in the present.

If you are looking for a beautiful book to read, I highly recommend Sarah Napthali’s Buddhism for mothers of young children, becoming a mindful parent.

If you are looking for a “challenge” to enrich your life I highly recommend learning the art of meditation… just don’t expect results over night!

The last HooRah

Little A is just shy of 6 months which means I have been back running for 5 months already. There is nothing like having a baby to make time fly! I have well and truly made my “comeback” and can now shift my focus from regaining strength and fitness to building on and growing it.

Post baby my goal was to regain my fitness as efficiently as possible.
Enter Speed Work!

5 months of running with a program built around Tempos and Intervals has paid off and now I feel ready to crank up the Ks!

And crank up the Ks I will do as I am only seven weeks out from my next goal… The McLaren Vale Half Marathon.

So whats the plan going to look like now?

Well you may remember me saying that I want to become a Stronger Runner?
Enter Hills!

It has been nearly 2 years since I have ran a hill session. I’m not expecting these to be fun but I am looking forward to pushing myself in a new way.

I am also going to keep two “easy” runs but do these with the stroller. I am finding stroller running physically quite challenging but I know it is making me a better runner.

I will also keep one “speed” session each week and will alternate these between tempo and intervals.

Finally of course there is the long run in which I will build up my distance. My longest run since Little A came along has been 80 minutes. In the next 7 weeks I would like to increase that by 30-40minutes. So all up for the next 7 weeks my training plan will look something like this:

Easy
Tempo or Intervals
Easy
Long Run
Hills

With 2 rest days thrown in there too I should be able to comfortably manage this load.

So why the last HooRah?

After this race I’m not going to train for anything. I may or may not race but I wont be following a training program. Runs will be done when and if I feel like them for as long or short as I feel like. There’s a few reasons for this change of approach:

1) Little A will be nearly 8 months and summer will be just around the corner. I can’t wait for our first summer together… trips to the pools, walks to the playgrounds and runs to the beach. Bring it on! I know we are going to have a blast and I know there will be lots of physical activity in there and lots of Ks put on the pram but I want our activites and days to be dictated by the weather and what WE want to do not my running program.

2) I have never really done much “unstructured” running. Generally I have been training for something and following some program. I want to learn to embrace running without striving for a race or an achievement.

3) The BIG reason for the change – Big A and I have made no secret of our desire to grow our family. The last 6 months have flown by and I know the next 6 months will too. When that time comes around I want to be ready physically and mentally. Breastfeeding, Pregnancy and Running individually are all demanding of the body. For me I am finding the combination of two of them an energy burning fest(!!!) and would dare not attempt all 3 at once (Honestly I don’t have time to eat & drink anymore). As I am not ready to wean Little A from feeding just yet I am going to wean the running first. Hopefully I can find my “sweet spot” where my body can manage running and baby growing responsibilites.

4) Finally mastering “unstructured running will be essential if I choose to run through my next pregnancy. Running while pregnant requires you to listen to your body and each run will be taken on a day by day basis (if at all!). I suspect following a plan would be futile.

So here goes my last HooRah before I attempt to master “unstructured running”!

Any unstructured runners out there? Whats the secret?
Did you run through pregnancy?

Running… the answer to everything

Hmmm maybe this wonder week only lasted 3 days I thought to myself as I washed Little A’s breakfast bowl. The little guy was playing happily in his high chair and after only waking for one feed the night before it was a nice contrast to the grizzly bub I had encountered on and off over the last few days. Little A was just shy of 23 weeks and I had put his grizzling and desperate need for mummy and cuddles down to a wonder week.

After the breakfast clean up, I took Little A in to Big A who was enjoying a snooze in. The two boys played and cuddled while I got dressed for my run. It was Sunday and I was due to do my long run. I was keen to crank out some Ks so I decided I would do a treadmill run. The plan was 90 minutes and my goal was 18km.

With everything in place for my run I offered Little A his pre-sleep feed. After a whole lot of fussing and not much feeding I decided it was time to wrap and settle the obviously over tired baby.

As soon as I laid the little guy on his wrap grizzling turned to screaming. I sat in the nursing chair cuddling and rocking confident that he was just over-tired and would settle soon…

10 minutes later and no sign of settling Big A came in to take over. I was happy to trade places by this stage. I paced the hallway waiting for my cue (silence) to jump on the treadmill… 10 minutes later we were no closer to having a sleeping baby.

The longer it took to settle the worse it was getting. I decided to bite the bullet and started packing the pram. I told Big A of my plan and he happily placed the “unsettleable” baby in to the pram.

By the time I hit the end of the street the little guy was fast asleep. Once we reached the river I plugged my hands-free in and called Big A to make plans. We hadn’t managed to exchange a word over the screaming baby and I wanted to make sure he was on stand-by in case the miserable-looking sky decided to leak on us. I decided I would do an hour run (if the weather allowed) and meet Big A at Macdonalds for raison toast and coffee (we earned it!)

11km later I pulled off the track and started the recovery walk to meet Big A. The little guy was still fast asleep and stayed that way for another hour while we enjoyed our coffee and toast. Apparently screaming at the top of your lungs for 30 minutes is tiring work!

About a week later Little A’s bottom 2 teeth cut through his gums. Was it a wonder week, was it teething, was it separation anxiety or was it just a REALLY over tired baby? I don’t know. Either way I thank god for stroller running. The little guy settled and got what he needed (sleep), Big A got what he needed (caffeine) and I got what I needed (a run).

I know there will be a next time and when that comes around I want hesitate about getting Little A in that stroller!