“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Sunday, July 31, 2011

5 Things I love about myself

My friend Judi tagged me in a blog post....so I'm supposed to blog about 5 things I love about myself.  For the most part, I'm pretty happy with the way I am, so picking 5 required more thought that I expected.
I thought it'd be fun to bring back out this crazy picture from  last year's ski trip here.
1.  I'm a realistic optimist.   Ha!  :)  In general, I have a fairly optimistic outlook on life.  But, I'm also very pragmatic and apply common sense and realism to most things.  It can rather annoy my husband while watching TV or movies, but whatever.  The thing I like about it is that I don't usually wind up in a situation wholly unprepared and wondering how I got there.

2.  I'm a type A planner.  Put it this way - my nursery has essentially been ready - minus a few things or extras here and there - for the last month....and I'm still a month away from my due date.  I am obsessed with spreadsheets and schedules and even my DVDs/books are organized alphabetically.  Makes things easy to find, and again, I'm don't usually find myself up a certain creek without a paddle.  Hmm...I'm seeing a theme.

3.  I challenge myself often.   I'm a big fan of - there are few things you cannot do if you put your mind to it.  Example: I wanted to train for and run a half marathon on my own - and I did it.  Now, I'm wanting to train for and climb a mountain and I can't wait to plan for and begin the training!

4.   I am LOYAL.  I am always there for those I love and care about.  There are very few times when a friend or a loved one has needed me in some capacity where I haven't crossed any obstacles to be there in some way, shape or form.  The only potential downside to this trait - to a certain extent - I expect most people to be this way.  And when someone betrays a trust, I never forget it.  Ever.

5.  I'm smart.  Ha - this is the one that I feel kind of arrogant saying.  I love the fact that I read all the time.  I love the fact that when I think of something  new to do I research the heck out of it.  I love the fact that I am capable of understanding most things with the proper amount of prep work.  I love that I got my first college degree in three years, that I finished law school with honors, passed two bar exams, and still went back and got a chemistry degree magna cum laude. This quality and the loyalty one are two things that I really, really hope my daughter inherits from me.

Hmmm...I'd really meant to include some physical things I like about myself as well....and even paused to think about that before finishing the list.  I think - being in my third trimester though - makes it incredibly hard to say that I like anything even remotely physical about myself at the moment.  LOL.

Now, according to the rules, I'm supposed to tag 5 other bloggers to do the same thing.  Honestly - I think most of the people who follow my blog regularly, and have their own blogs, have already been tagged by my other blogger buds....  Except, Kelly and LeDawn.

Until next time!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To climb a mountain...

As you all know, I'm on self-mandated injured reserve status with respect to most exercise until Bug is born.  (What????  8 months pregnant and I can't climb mountains, run marathons, compete in triathlons?  LOL!)

Soooo....instead I'm planning for the things that I will train for post-birth.  Yes, I know I will have to take off about 6 weeks to recover from birth.  Yes, I know that scheduling in my training will be a completely new challenge with a newborn in the mix...but I'm determined to keep up my crazy thirst for new adventures and challenges anyway and my husband is thoroughly supporting this madness.  Plus, if I start planning now, I'll feel obligated to follow through.  HA!  :D

The big thing that has crashed into my calender for next year is a highly technical mountain climb.  My family and I are planning for a climb of Mt. Rainier in Washington State in Summer 2012.  According to the RMI site (the guide group we intend to use for the climb), "Mount Rainier, at 14,410 feet, is the most extensively glaciated volcanic peak in the contiguous United States."  That just makes it more interesting!  Right?  

Oh - and the reason this has to happen this summer?  We're eyeballing a more challenging climb involving approximately 19,000 foot volcanoes in Ecuador for the following year. For that climb, the guides would require the climbers to have proved themselves on a mountain like Rainier. :)

Mt. Ranier, a picture from my brother's climb this summer.
The climb of Mt. Rainer that we would be doing from their site is the 4 day summit climb.  The first day is pre-trip orientation.  The second day is mountaineering school where packing will be finalized and skills practiced on the lower slopes of Rainier around 6,000-6,500 elevation.  Some of the skills that sound fun - cramponing, roped travel and ice axe arrest.   The third and fourth days are the actual summit attempt.  

As my Dad described RMI, the guide outfit, "They are not the best guide outfit for summitting.  They are the best guide outfit for getting you back down.  In other words, the best guide outfit for my kids to climb with."  In other words, their priority is your safety - even above making the summit.  If they do not think you can physically make it, they will make you turn around and return to base camp.  They are also the group that is famous for doing a lot of the rescues of other climbers on the mountain.

So, I'm working on a training program that would prepare me for climbing a mountain.  I do not want to be one of those that has to turn around after all.  And, to make it more fun, I'll be doing that while also training for a half-marathon scheduled for April 1st in Knoxville, TN.  Because why do one thing when you can do two, right? Right?

According to RMI, the best program will simulate the conditions on the last part of the climb.  Er. um.  Okay.  No real mountains in Ohio.  Looks like I will be making good friends with a stair-climber.  :)  I also will have to train with a pack - as I'll be expected to carry a 35-45 lb. pack during the climb.  Of course, they say that training on a stair climber is better than nothing, but not as good as extensive hiking/climbing.  Maybe I'll have to schedule a long visit to my parents in Colorado next summer.   Ok - twist my arm.  LOL!  My favorite quote about the training from one of their guides, "Training for mountain climbing should be neither easy nor comfortable because mountain climbing is neither."

Once I get a schedule more hammered out - I'll be happy to share what I came up with!  My half marathon training will definitely have to be more balanced with strength training and cross-training on stairs.  And, in general, more of my runs will have to involve hill-training because Knoxville is also rather hilly (although, it's no mountain.)

The real challenge will be training my lungs.

What will make this fun for all my friends - is that quite possibly, I'll be running with a weighted vest during next winter's MIT long runs!  Because why do a long run with just a jacket, when you can carry an extra 10, 20, 30 lbs as well.

Hmmm.  Maybe I'm not quite all that sane after all.

So, what crazy things have y'all considering doing/training for???  Go ahead give me some more crazy ideas!  :D

Editor's note:  And yes, for the curious, I am compiling an excel spreadsheet to compare different half marathon training schedules and mountain training needed activities to come up with the best way to sync the two ideas.

Additional Editor's Note:  I will have to lose all the baby fat plus an additional ~30 lbs in order to be in the right shape for this climb.  That is more than a little daunting.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's in a name?

Ultrasound this morning - she's playing with her feet!
Ok.  I am 33 weeks, 6 days pregnant.  This morning at the ultrasound, everything looked good.  Heart beat is 147 bpm, my blood pressure is good and they estimate she's about 4lbs, 9 oz.  At this point in our parent's pregnancies, both my husband and I had already been born. 

And yet, Bug still has no official name.   Our problem is that there are no girl names that we love.   Most girl names we're somewhat lukewarm about.  Names he likes better, I don't like and vice versa.

Or even better, names I really like - don't sound good with our last name.

We have a middle name.  Jean.  It's my middle name and I got it from my grandmother, so it's a family name and special.

Everyone I know - always asks - do you have a name yet.  And my answer is always the same - No.   Then the parade of names begins.  I feel bad too, because generally, I have the same problem with all the names in the parade as I do with all the names I've been looking at in baby books, etc.

We want a name that is preferably not in the top 10 most common names...and yet isn't some weird Hollywood type of name....I never realized how hard it is to name a child.  And how much pressure there is to have a good name.  I keep telling Mark - we're at crunch time now.  We. Must. Name. This. Child.  LOL.

So.  Dare I ask for suggestions???  <ducks and hides>

Editor's Note:  The day after posting this we narrowed down our name list to two names with one front-runner.  Apparently, we just needed the added pressure of this blog post.   :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

7 Random Things

I was just trying to think of something interesting to post about that wouldn't bore everyone to tears...when I got a call-out in Sara W's blog to post 7 random things about me in my blog.....excellent.

1.  I have 3  college degrees.  And I'm not working.  I have a BA in Government and a J.D., both from the University of Texas.  I always said I wanted to be a lawyer and pushed until I got there...and HATED IT.  So, after a few unhappy years, I went back to school at Ohio State and got a BS in Chemistry.  Working in a lab while pregnant - not a good idea.  And now - we've decided I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom for a little while.  Hence, no working at the moment.

2.  I absolutely LOVE teaching.  I would happily teach anyone anything because I love it that much.  When I was getting my Chemistry degree I was a TA for the General Chemistry department at OSU, LOVED IT.  Before I gave up on Law - I taught LSAT classes - and actually liked teaching those too!  LOL!  When I go back to work - teaching is what I hope to do.

3.  I am EXTREMELY competitive.  I could give endless examples here.  (if you read my Cap City recap - you've already seen one).  Another funny one?  On vacation with my family at the beach...I built a small sand castle.  My brother Kevin built a bigger one.   So, I spent two days making a sand castle big enough for me to get inside the walls (and forced my husband to assist me!).  I may have a competitive problem.  :D

4.  I am a die hard Texas Longhorn fan.  Despite living in Ohio, my husband and I are still season ticket holders for the Texas Longhorns.  During Football season, on Saturday, we put out a giant Texas flag and a 3 foot inflatable Bevo on our front porch.  For the past few years we have even flown back to Texas for at least one game.  And, yes, when Texas came to OSU we went to the game and sat in the Texas section.  And yes, we went to the Rose Bowl where we beat USC.  This coming year, because of the little one, will be the first year we haven't been to a game in a long time.  Hook 'em Horns!

5.  I am obsessed with taking photos.  My first job ever was as a children's photographer in Anchorage, AK.  Loved it.  I think it's in my blood.  Before he retired, my grandfather was a commercial photographer.  I have been known to take several thousand pictures on vacation, and have had to buy a spare memory card for that reason.  My family has teased me about reliving the vacation by looking at my pictures as a flip book.  :)

6.  When I was 13, I climbed Mt. St. Helens with my Dad and my Grandpa.  On the way back down - I did a few somersaults when I tried to stop to pick up a rock for my sister and brother who were too young to be allowed to make the attempt.

7.  I don't generally drink cold water.  I like my water room temperature.  Unless it's a billionty degrees outside and I'm stuck outside in it.  Then I want ice in my water!

And that's probably more than enough random things about me!

Until next time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Baby Shower! Picture intensive!

It's official.  I'm having a baby.  On Sunday, we had my baby shower.  My friend Lindsey hosted the shower at my home.  It was perfect...despite the outside heat!

We started a little bit late because we couldn't resist chatting and watching the US women's soccer team pull out a fabulous win against Brazil in the FIFA world cup.   Then, we jumped right in to the food....since the shower started at 2pm, we had lots of finger foods...fruit, veggies, crackers, jalapeno artichoke dip, cheese cubes and, of course, chips and guacamole.
After our tasty snack, I took people upstairs to see the mostly completed nursery...it looks fabulous, if I do say so myself.  Then we started on the games.  The first game involved a brief trip outside.
The idea was...that we had to guess how much water (in ounces) a newborn diaper could hold without leaking!   The winner - 1/3 of a cup!
We escaped the heat and went back inside for the next game...one that tested our memories.
Who could remember the most of the 28 baby items on this tray after 2 minutes to look at it.   The winner remembered all but two items!

The next game was pretty fun too - old wive's tales.  We had a list of 13 old wive's tales that would tell you what gender the baby was.  We had to guess which way each one determined.  The winner correctly guessed 11!

After that - we measured how fat I was.  Hehehe.   Well - everyone tried to guess how big around my baby belly was - cutting out their guesses from a roll of tape.  
The winner - actually guessed my baby belly size EXACTLY!  After the fun of learning how fat I really was (Jennifer let me keep the winning tape length as a momento.  I'll be able to really appreciate my baby fat weight loss later!  Hehehe)...I started opening up all the amazing gifts my friends had brought.

The funniest part - was that Cassie stayed laying at my feet the entire time - no matter how many times I dropped wrapping paper or presents on her.  She was enjoying her nap!  (She'd thought all the women were there to play with her - of course).  I cannot believe how talented and crafty my friends are!

The party favors and game prizes table.  The boys actually arranged the favors to spell bug before they left the house!
I remember when I first got pregnant and a friend first mentioned the idea of a baby shower to me.  I told her that I didn't have enough friends to have a baby shower and that too many of my family lived across the country.  It was truly humbling to realize how wrong I was.  Even though everyone I wanted to be there couldn't make it - either because of distance or timing - I have been not so subtly reminded that I have amazing friends.  My mom and mother in law also flew in from miles away to celebrate with me.  I cannot begin to describe how special I felt having everyone there.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Mommy Advice cards everyone filled out during the shower.  The prevalent message seemed to be to "enjoy every moment."  I cannot wait to take that advice to heart!   My family and I also rather enjoyed the "don't hold the baby over your head with your mouth open" advice.  HA!

My husband told me after the shower that my Lucky 13 running group actually secretly contacted him to try and find out what kind of jogging stroller I wanted.  Unfortunately, as he admitted, he wasn't much help.   It'll be so much fun to use the gift card they settled for to get a jogging stroller and rejoin them on the running trails!  My mom couldn't believe that our group has known each other for as short of a time as we have.  She was jealous because her own running group was nothing like that.   It really drove home how lucky I've been!

Ok.  So this post was long and full of pictures.  Thank you for making it to the end!  Thank you to all my wonderful friends for sharing my excitement about Bug!  Thank you so much for providing so many special memories for me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Extra Birthday Fun - not so much.

Yesterday, 7/3, was my birthday.   Yup, I'm a 4th of July weekend baby and as a little girl, I always thought the fireworks were for my birthday.  HA!  Before blogging about the extra excitement that occurred - let me say first.  Everything is fine.  The baby is good.

The day started out fantastic!  My husband gave me a beautiful card.  It talked about raising a family together - and I thought - how awesome that we can exchange cards like that now!  He obviously thought so too because he hand-wrote in it "I can't wait to raise a family with you.  I love you."   Inside the card was a gift certificate for a spa day.  Manicure, pedicure and a pregnancy massage.

Have I mentioned how much I love this man?????  Normally, I'm not a girly-girl, as most of you know.  At the moment, at 7 months pregnant - PERFECT gift.  I was just thinking the other day - I need to take off my old toe polish...but reaching my toes consistently is a little too hard to make that worth it.  LOL

After the card, we went to breakfast.  My husband isn't a breakfast person, but since it was my birthday he took me out for pancakes.  :)  We then watched some tennis and went shopping for some games for our family that's coming next weekend and a curtain rod for the nursery.  I know, we're exciting people.  LOL.

Then we went to the movies with my friend Sarah and her husband.  Good times....until we got home.  There was a bunny eating my garden - our neighborhood has a bunny problem.  We always let our dog Cassie "get the bunnies", because she loves chasing them off and never actually does anything to them or even get close.

So, I got out of the car (Mark was still pulling it in to the garage) and told Cassie let's get the bunny. I was watching the dog and the bunny as I came back around the corner...and wearing flip flops.  Apparently, this is a dangerous combination when pregnant.  My shoe caught on the edge of the garden/sidewalk barrier and I went down faster than a lead balloon.   Despite my attempts to change trajectory....I landed hard - mostly on the baby belly.  (my knee did get pretty banged up too).

I just laid there stunned for a minute after pushing myself off the belly.  Mark flew out of his car as though he'd been shot out of a cannon.  It was one of those falls - that if I had not been pregnant, I would have been laughing at myself and trying to get up fast before anyone saw me because I was too embarrassed to be hurt.  Having a baby in my belly sure changed my perspective.

I got up and walked inside and things just felt different.  (I'm sure because I clinched every abdominal muscle that I didn't know I had).  My belly was sore and I was scared.  Turn on the tears.  Mark told me to lay down - he got a cool rag to wipe off my bloody knee and some neosporin.   I'm terrified I hurt Bug.  I can't feel her moving either.  I send Sarah a text message as a comfort measure.

Then we pulled out the iPad to do some internet searches on falling while pregnant...and Marked pulled out the "When to call the doctor" list from the birth classes.  On the list?  Falling or a direct blow to the abdomen.  I'm crying again....still no baby movement.  Mark tells me to call the Doctor.  I do a perfect impression of an idiot and say "his office is closed."  He reminds me that their recording will have who I should call after hours.  Oh.  I call the Doctor on call, leave a teary message and wait.  She calls back in less than a minute.  Tells me that in these situations at my stage of pregnancy they want me to go to the hospital and have the baby monitored.

For some reason this calms me down.  I think because, intellectually, I knew the danger from the fall would be the placenta separating.  I had no bleeding or contractions...but I can not SEE the placenta, nor can I see the baby.  Knowing that we are going somewhere to check those things reduced my stress a million times.

Luckily, because of the pregnancy, we don't have to do the emergency room.  We checked in right at the maternity floor and were back in the maternity triage hooked up to the monitors in less than 10 minutes.  As soon as I heard her beautiful heartbeat, I took a deep breath and relaxed.

In the two hours we were there we got a lot of fabulous practice for labor.  (fabulous is sarcastic).   I got to feel what the monitors for contractions and for heart beats felt like.  We got to experience the triage room outside of a tour.  I got to experience the lovely painful internal exam without petroleum based gel. (ow)  And I got to experience the joy of having my cervix checked.  I was 1/2 cm dilated...probably from the fall.  But, no blood, no amniotic fluid and no contractions.  After two hours of the baby having a steady, regular heartbeat, they said the baby is good and we could go home.

Not exactly the way I intended to spend my birthday!  I called my Dad after we were released.  I started with "everything is fine", but when I said we just left the hospital - he still got the nervous-my-kid-is-in-danger sound to his voice.  Makes me realize how lucky and loved I am.

Today - I am rather sore....as expected.  I was warned that I would be sorer than I thought I would be...because all of my abdominal muscles most likely tensed as a protective measure for the baby.  They didn't lie.  But, as I told the doctors, I can deal with sore as long as my daughter is okay....and she is. She's been kicking away all morning.

I've been given strict orders by friends, family and husband to not fall again.  Not that I fell on purpose the first time.  :)

Bottom line - today is definitely a rest day for me!  Until next time!