Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oh right, training

Remember how I said I was going to train? Right.

Things have not been going well in the training department. Unless not doing anything counts as training. Then, I'm kicking ass.

I did manage two 3-mile runs last week, but only because I have an amazing midwife who recently joined weight watchers and wants to do a half in May. She called me twice and wouldn't take no for an answer. I even pushed the stroller for one run - wow, I say.

But then said amazing midwife took a very selfish vacation and left me to find my own motivation. Hmph. And as you guessed, I didn't find it. She's back this week, thank goodness.

In the meantime, I had managed to kick the baking habit for a full two weeks, and then promptly crumbled and made both muffins and cookies (in my defense both were for get-togethers and most of the muffins stayed there. The cookies? Not one survived after just 24 hours. But they were small. Right.)

The calendar says it's the last day of November. By now I figured I'd be a solid three weeks or more into strength training and non-running stuff. Instead I'm looking at January 18th with more than a little trepidation. Why, you ask? I've decided to run a half in early May. And what's 15 weeks prior to that date? January 18th. And here's me thinking I would have maintained a 6-mile base. Um, no. But I do have a 3 mile base, which, compared to this last go round is 3 miles better than last time.

My new goal is to get three 3-mile runs in a week. Or any three days of activity. I'll bloody well count laundry if I have to, but I just want three workouts in in a week is that so much to ask, Body?

The Chou, judging my inactivity. We do have daily tickle fights. Do those count?

She looks like all she needs is a cigarette the way she's got her hip jutting out there. At least she's not face-planting anymore...much.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The one where my body wows me yet again

The Chou is getting better. Well, she never got all that bad to begin with. I have yet to have to steam her at night. She's sleeping just fine, and while now again she barks, for the most part we had one tough day and since then you'd hardly know she was sick - just more clingy and, as per today's blog title - is nursing like a newborn.

Thursday was her worst day. She was like a wee marsupial, clinging to me and nursing whenever the mood struck her, and struck her it did. Every half hour, I'm sure. Nights have actually been about normal, but daytime has been all booby all time.

Here's what I love about biology. Chou is nursing for comfort, yes, but also booby juice is the best thing for her right now, full of nutrients and bug-fighting antibodies.

Today is Saturday, and I've got knockers the size of cantaloupes, the likes of which I haven't seen since the first two weeks of feeding. This morning, the husband couldn't stop staring, which is how I knew that after Chou's chug fest two days ago, the body was, ahem, rising to the challenge.

And how amazing is that? Baby needs more booby juice. Baby tells body so. Body responds. Baby gets what she needs. I dare formula to do that. Ha!

Oh, and just in time for family pictures today. Can't wait to be all Dolly Parton in our Christmas photos. Really.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's like having a puppy, only less fun

Wee Chou has come down with croup. To anyone out there who has never heard the barking cough that comes with the croup virus, it sounds like a dog barking, really. Wednesday night she went to sleep just fine without a fever, cough or even runny nose, but by 10:30 it sounded like she was snoring, then at 11:30 she woke up to nurse and it sounded like she couldn't breathe she was wheezing so badly. After half an hour sitting beside her crib listening, we picked her up and headed to emergency - thankfully, it's 6 minutes away. We got there and she was the happiest wheezing baby you've ever seen. She couldn't believe her luck to be awakened in the night to go visiting. Yeah, and we were worried? Sheesh.

Once we got to the hospital she did start coughing, and as soon as I heard the bark, I knew what it was and that, really, we could have stayed home and had a steam in the bathroom, but we were there so may as well just make sure. We were seen within 15 minutes (which both impressed me and freaked me out, you know, because it means it's serious), the doctor saw us within 10 minutes and we were released and back home in no time.

Yes, it's croup. It's a virus. There's not much to do, except keep her happy, well fed, well rested and take her outside in the cool air at least once a day, and at night, a good steam in the bathroom can help with the cough.

Thursday she was one sucky baby, but surprisingly well. She ran a very low fever and slept a lot and nursed even more, but last night wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. She slept fine and didn't have any barking fits. What a good puppy.

But the two stories I'm supposed to have written as of today? So not happening. And that's OK. My baby needs me.

It's now Friday morning and she's barking a little more, but making her way around the living room happy as a clam to be tearing up the morning paper. She'll be fine in no time.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I'm a delinquent mother and didn't write Chou Chou her seventh month blog post. In my defense, we flew out to Manitoba that day, so it's not like I was around a computer to jot down a few notes. But alas, now when I try and think of my seven month old baby, few specifics come to mind. She'll just have to live with her eight month blog post. I don't think she'll be too scarred by me missing a month, will she? (note to self, convert RESPs to therapy fund, just in case).

At eight months, wee Chou, you are one happy, smiley, interactive and active baby. In the last two weeks you've learned to not only pull yourself up on everything and anything, but also move hand over hand along the couch or any other object you pull yourself up on (like Lt. Dan, me, your daddy, the laundry basket, the list goes on). While you're pretty confident on your feet, you're also fearless and indiscriminate as to the stability of the objects you use, thus landing on your butt more times than I care to count. When you fall you look at me as if I'm to blame. I hope I don't have to get used to that.

Your fine motor skills have developed rapidly this month. You make your way across the floor from tiny speck to tiny speck, a criticism of my housecleaning perhaps. Your favorite things to chew on are the phone cord, the padded mats down on the floor to protect your precious melon (of which we'd rather you didn't chew on, who knows what chemical they're made of) and the wooden puzzle pieces shaped like farm animals. The drool factor has increased exponentially these last two weeks, but alas you are still toothless. I didn't get my first teeth until nine or ten months, so it looks like you take after me. The hair, oh your hair, is growing, a few tiny curls at the back of your head sit as a promise of what's to come. In the meantime, your crazy wispy hair is growing like mad on the top of your head creating a halo of white fuzz - again, something you get from me.

Your favorite foods are breastmilk, breastmilk, breastmilk and then maybe squash, lentils and oatmeal/raisin/cinnamon porridge. For the most part though, you have very little interest in eating solids, but I still try to feed you twice a day. Mostly, I fail, and you simply taste the food and then chew on your sippy cup. Apparently your cousins didn't like solids much until 12 months, so I try not to get too worked up about it. You'll eat when you're ready. It's not like you've got chompers to chew with anyway.

Bedtime is a bit of a treat these days - well, last night you went down like an angel - but the last few nights you started protesting before the last book was even read. This is what we do - daddy gives you your bath, mum dries you off, dresses you and hands you back to daddy, daddy reads three books to you, then passes you back to me for a nurse and a cuddle and down to bed you go. Usually you drift off right to sleep, then you wake at 930 for a nurse, then midnight, then 2, then 430 then up at 630. Ugh. If you wouldn't mind going back to up only twice a night, that'd be super. I think my problem is you're so busy during the day standing on everything that you're saving up all your eating for night time (as you do nurse each and every time you wake up at night). Today, I'm going to try and get you nursing more during the day and see if that helps your sleepy time. You have slept 5 hours straight pretty regularly before, but that was before you found movement. The puzzle that is an infant! The naps have gotten better and more consistent which is making scheduling interviews, playdates and my showering/housecleaning/working out much easier; thanks for that.

This month you have let me know, without question, that you are a social butterfly and need to be out, out, out. You also hate your snowsuit. Those two facts make for some interesting attempts at getting out and about. We're trying though, I promise. You had your first real stuffed up nose this week, meaning that your playdate friends ostracized you. I don't entirely blame them, but you're on the mend, so we should see them this week.

I have no idea what you weigh, though I guess around 21 pounds, and you've definitely stretched out these past few weeks. We have an appointment coming up in just over a week where we'll get your official stats. All I know is, I'm still retiring a few outfits a week. Bah!

And lastly, my sweet baby, you are such a joy. I'm constantly getting told what a happy, content baby you seem. And it's true. You rarely cry (though you babble and roar to your heart's content, all the while grinning from ear to ear), you smile at strangers and giggle as you give five (your newest trick; waving bye bye is coming along but not quite there yet). You are a happy, happy girl, whose eyes sparkle when you smile at me and your dad. As you nurse, I snuggle you to me so tightly, so closely, knowing our months of you needing me this much, this often are drawing to a close. You'll be off like a rocket soon, and before I know it you'll be talking and spending the mornings playing at someone else's house. I love these days, Chou. I'm going to miss them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I keep waiting for what I'm supposed to do with my life to walk up and hit me in the face. The likelihood of that happening is, I'm guessing, about as likely as Angelina adopting a white baby.

But then again, maybe, just maybe I'm being smacked around and I'm just too dazed to notice. Or in denial. Either or.

I get paid to write. That makes me a writer, I guess. I came into it completely by chance, not design, so a part of me has always felt like a fraud. I never dreamed of being a writer. I didn't attend journalism school. Heck, I hardly kept a journal in my teens.

I am a talker, though. It's not so much that I like to hear my own voice (actually, I hate the sound of my voice) but I just can't help it. I have too many ideas, opinions, observations and so on, that somehow I think people need to hear. You'll note I don't say "want" to hear, because they likely don't. But that doesn't stop me. Oh, no. I hand out advice left and right, much to my own detriment at times. I could sit over a coffee or tea and chat for hours, pre Chou Chou. I know a little bit about a lot of things and just can't stop myself from sharing. I'm also very curious. I read a lot. I remember most of what I read, even in passing. See what I'm getting at?

While I may consider myself a writer, I'm a born talker, and really the two aren't so different. And while I dream of all sorts of careers I think I'd like or even be very good at, I've got a very good one staring me right in the face. And it's one that I can do while still spending all the time I want with Chou - and not many people have that opportunity.

I have a job I'm going back to. But I've asked for a few things before I fully commit to going back. And today I started wondering just what I would do if they weren't going to sweeten the deal for me. I started getting antsy about my fall back plan of freelancing and completely depending on my business for income.

I went for lunch with a friend and while I was explaining to her my situation, it dawned on me. To maintain my current level of income (maternity leave) I have to write exactly one story a week. Seriously. I can do that in less than 5 or 6 hours usually, nevermind an entire week. Then, I think, but where would I get work from? But since I've put out my shingle, I've always had stuff to work on.

And then, kizmet. I got home, my head full of all the possibilities of what I can/will/want to do, and I had two e-mails waiting for me. One to add my name to a list of international freelancers and another for a very lucrative freelance writing opportunity. I sat up just a little straighter in my chair.

Maybe I'm getting smacked in the face. Just a little.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Chou Chou's cold is totally cramping our social life. I'm considering giving her a time out for it (I'msokidding). See, a few of the momma's from our group are anti-sicky (understandable) and a few others just plain can't make it to our hosting of the playdate tomorrow. And that is very disappointing. Not only did I have delightful snacks planned, but I also cleaned and planned to shower. Honest!

But alas, it looks like at most we'll have two visitors (one of which I suspect gave Chou the cold in the first place), and even those two may not trek all the way to this end of the city.

Sigh. It's lonely over here.

On to much more interesting things. Chou has mastered the pull up and is now shuffling a few steps to either side - a precursor to cruising, the precursor to walking. Yikes. And officially my sweet daughter is the most stubborn child on the planet. Really, I shouldn't be suprised - she is mine afterall. It would seem this week that the wee angel has really started to figure things out, such as that she's missing out on fun play time when she goes to bed. Tonight she threw her first real "I will not go to bed" fit. We're not cry-it-outers Chez Wumpus, but don't think I wasn't tempted to just let her scream after the fifth time she was asleep/dozey and I put her down and whump! awake, sitting up, crying baby emerged. She did eventually doze off on her own, but, wow, can that kid fight.

It's also a big wake up call for me. She's eight months old this weekend - still an infant, yes, but every week she's learning so much more about how her world works and the people in it. The concept of mummy existing once I walk out of the room is really quite an abstract thought, when you really think of it, and she's getting it. That's mind blowing. She craves attention, loves being the centre of it and doesn't care who knows. She's happiest in the midst of her adoring fans, whether that be at Costco, playgroup or just in the livingroom with her two biggest. And now she knows that bedtime is the end of that. It's amazing and sweet, and annoying as all get out.

My sister told me that with her first child she waited a really long time before starting time outs. By her third baby, she knew that at a year old the kid was well aware of what she was doing and could handle discipline. That's only four months from now. And while I wasn't sure I could believe that an 8-month old could really try and bend a situation to their liking, I'm now a believer. How awesome is that? I mean, it'd be more awesome if she used it to get us free groceries or something, but whatever.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Well, that went well.

And by went well, I mean it didn't.

Last week was a gong show. My love and partner for life has basically abandoned me for this new phase of his job. My wee baby has decided she can now pull herself up on anything and everything (or will nearly kill herself trying) and has also started covering ground and picking up the most minute speck of anything she can find. Translation? Icky dust mite-riddled carpet would actually be a good thing to have right now; at least it would save me from all the sweeping/swiffering I'm doing (or should be doing).

What I'm trying to say is that I got in exactly one 3-mile run (though in under 10 min/miles, yay me!) and one weight/ab routine and that's it. In fairness, the weights actually really kicked my butt - literally. I haven't done that particular routine in quite some time and I thought, heck, I'm in way better shape, I can kick it up a notch. Ouch.

Which brings me to today. I'm looking at the week and wondering where I'm supposed to fit everything in, especially in my new found life as a single mum (I'm hardly exaggerating. Seriously. He put in a full day on Sunday, and is getting home a whole hour before the baby goes to bed). I suppose I could adjust my expectations, but that's not going to get me where I want to be. Chou and I do start an aquafit class on Tuesday, but it's only 30 mins Tues/Thurs, so it almost doesn't count. Hmm. Time to get creative, I guess. Any suggestions?

In other news, Chou has a sniffle (her first real cold, awww) and isn't sleeping well, meaning I'm not sleeping well. Meaning I'm grouchy. As if you couldn't tell.

Ms. Chou playing her new favorite game Stand Up. She MUST stand at all times. She's even tried pulling herself up on my leg. It doesn't matter what it is, she. must. stand. It's cute. Except that it leads to walking. Which is cute, you know, when other people's kids do it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

But Y?

I can't do it.

I can't join a gym. After two visits to the Y, one to GoodLife and past experience with Curves and the university grotto, I just can't do it. It's not just the cost (although both GoodLife and the Y are significantly more expensive than back home and that pisses me off), it's the scheduling, the balancing of time and effort and distance with having a baby, a husband and a job. I'm on leave now, sure, but soon, Chou Chou will be in morning daycare and I'll be working. Which means that mornings are my best chance of getting in a work out before the West wakes up. But only the Y opens early, but with no childcare until 9.

And then I look at what it is I need from a gym - weights and classes. I have some weights, I have a stability ball, a mat, resistance bands and two series of videos that I love and have had results with. Combined with running, a few outdoor activities and some investment in bigger weights - I figure I can skip the $60/month. Because really, I need the flexibility of being home. And it's official - I'm not a gym rat. I never have been, never will be. I should embrace it and move on.

My husband disagrees with my decision, but has relented. He wants me to get out of the house. He wants me to sign on with a personal trainer. But he's also the man that thinks we'll both be able to work out by 8 in the morning while some mysterious someone looks after our infant, not to mention he thinks $180 for a pair of boots is "reasonable". Right.

The challenge then is this - I need to create a workout at home plan and then find the motivation and will power to stick with it.

Here's my sample plan for the coming week:
Sunday - 3 mile run
Monday - Weights and abs (likely in the form of my weight training video plus ab video)
Tuesday - Off (Remembrance Day, plus the husband has a doctors appt and we possibly have a playdate? I'm not sure anymore. Side note: playdate time is seems to be losing steam. Another post for another day)
Thursday - CardioParty plus abs (this is no aerobics class - it's hardcore cardio)
Friday - Weights and Abs
Saturday - 3 mile run

That gives me: 2 runs, 2 weights, 3 abs, 1 cardio.

Off we go.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Phase Two

We've been in our new city just over a year now, and after returning from two weeks away, it feels decidedly different. While Manitoba will always be home, this town is starting to feel much more mine. We arrived home on Wednesday, tired but happy, and our place just felt different. It really did feel good to be home and it felt like home. Last night, it sort of hit me - I live here. I'm not visiting, taking a break or vacation, I actually live here, far from family and friends and on our own. All at once it was a little sad, but mostly exciting.

Which brings us to the title of this post - phase two. My first half marathon is in the bag. My body is recovered from birth, even if our lives will never quite be the same. I've shed about 20 lb. and have fixed a few pitfalls in the nutrition area. We're starting our second year here in the city and I've got only four months left of maternity leave to enjoy and savor.

I've been thinking about goals - race goals, health goals, life goals - and slowly I've put a plan together.

This winter, I'm going to join the Y. I want to learn to swim (really swim, not mess around doing handstands and pretending I'm a shark, which is what I normally do). I'm going back to weights. I need yoga and pilates. I'm also going to get outside. I live in a gorgeous city with fabulous groomed skiing trails and tonnes of parks to snow shoe in. I will get outside. And? I will run. I'm planning a half for May and Sept/Oct. I just don't know which ones yet.

I've also got to tame some of the last food demons lingering. I bake too much, ergo I eat to much baking. I never really started drinking again, but I'm recommitting to cutting out liquor. I need to cut back the caffeine and put the veggies back in every meal. I've decided against a weight goal, instead I have a size goal (one to two down from what I am now).

As for life and family, we don't do enough fun stuff and get Chou Chou out and about enough. That we need to change. There are museums and galleries here I need to see, parks and places to explore, and I've finally got some friends here to share that all with.

And then there's work (yes, we do have to talk about it). It's looming - just a few months away. And really? I'm actually starting to look forward to getting back at it, mostly. But first I need to find childcare for half days for my wee baby. And that's easier said than done. (Not to mention the struggle it will be for me to LET someone look after her for a few hours).

So there you have it. Phase Two - more veggies, more outside activities, more family fun. Encourage me, please. It's been a tough to get off the couch since the half.

Chou Chou also went as Yoda. Note the ears - and the hat had real Yoda lines and everything. Princess Leia is helping me hold up the ears. I have the cutest nieces and nephews ever.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And we're back

With so much to say, but even more house and home stuff to catch up on. In the meantime, some photos of our recent trip to Manitoba.

From top to bottom: My other baby, baby's first Halloween and baby's first hockey game.