Friday, February 27, 2009

11 months

My poor kid.

We've been home two nights now and she's had a great time rediscovering her toys, but a horrible time adjusting back to her old crib. It doesn't help that her two big top chicklets cut through last week and are working their way out entirely. Poor shitter.

Which brings us to me being a few days late with this month's newsletter. But heck, as of a few nights ago we were in B.C. Give me a break.

Chou has come into her own this month, perfecting the bye bye to anyone and everyone (and her hand is usually facing her, instead of the person, which adds to the adorable factor). She understands the word "dance", and will boogie when you say it. She'll also boogie to any beat or song - theme songs, jingles, singing, anything. She loves to bang the drum and mash the piano and sing sing sing.

She's a real charmer, too. Men with facial hair and glasses are her favorite and she'll smile and flirt better than her mummy can. I'm in so much trouble.

Within the last few weeks she's really taken off on her feet. She can do three to four steps on her own but prefers to hand on to the very little tip of your finger for support so she can RUN everywhere. And she circles and circles and circles...usually to the right. Is she showing a handedness already? Maybe.

The chatter from Chou is hilarious and non stop. Neena showed her this neat noise that happens when she sticks her tongue out, and it's a new favorite.

My love of animals seems to have transferred; horses get an "oooohh" and pointing finger, puppies get a dead fish kiss and a point on the nose, cats good enough to stick around (Mickey) get their tails pulled (with love). This month, Chou had her first pony ride and when it ended she bounced up and down as if to say, "keep it up!" Probably my proudest moment to date.

While Chou is lovely, she's also showing her playful and stubborn streak. She loves to drop things to watch you pick them up and will head for whatever it is you've told her you can't have. She'll gesture her want of something and heaven help you if you don't hand it over. We're in for a tough ride, I think.

And finally, babies. She loves babies. All babies, which means anyone under the age of 12. She wants to follow them, kiss them and poke their eyes out. Her head will swivel at the slightest glimp of a mini person. This makes me happy, as we sit on the eve of her starting day care. It gives me at least a little comfort to know she wants to be around other babies.

Today is my last official day of maternity leave. In so many ways, it's been the best, most amazing year of my life. Monday starts a new chapter. One where babe gets on her own for a few hours everyday, one where I get my own time for a few hours everyday. I miss her already, but she's more than ready for a few dedicated hours of playtime. And like it or not, I could use a few hours in a day sans-Chou. But I miss her when she's sleeping in the next room. What do I do when she's slumbering a mile away?


Where's the giant pause button? For the first time, I've wanted time to stand still.

I still don't know how I let this sweet, perfect being out of my sight. No one told us about this in pre-natal class. I want a refund.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More love

Chou and Newt

Chou and Meghan - eight months apart!

Chou at Flo and Neena's

Chou and Marianne - six months apart!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Home from home

We're back.

After many miles flown, the Chou and I have come home to our tiny apartment overlooking our busy street in one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. It's good to be home, but at the same time, it feels like I was home and so my head, heart and body just don't know what to think.

Spending as long as I did out west made me homesick for it (if it's possible to miss something while you're in it). We've left so many great people behind and seeing them almost makes it too hard to come back.

But then I open the door to my own space, where the husband has left flowers to be found on our return, and I'm glad to be here. I love our little corner of this city. I'll be glad to sleep in my own bed. Chou is breaking her old crib in once again, and I think she's very glad to be doing so.

And then there's my training. Sure, I got four runs in while out west, but I'm itching to get into a routine again and start racking up the miles on my new Sauconys.

But before I forget and get too caught up in being home, let me recap some of the highlights of this last kick at the maternity leave can:

1. Running with my running buddy, on crunchy snow, on a flat course, knowing sweet Chou is taken care of, and then
2. Heading out in the perfect clear, endless sunshine that only can happen on the prairies, for a lovely sleigh ride with my whole fam damily (minus the husband, of course), and my running buddy being good enough to join us
3. Dinner with the whole family - the ruckus made with all of us in one room is something akin to a roar. I've missed it.
4. Shoe shopping, or rather shoe buying
5. Sipping many cups of coffee with Lynda the wonder farmer and then hanging out in the barn with her 40 cows and our two babies, breastfeeding on a straw bale.
6. J-9 being sweet enough to let me take my old pony around a few poles at a friend's. That is one sweet little horse.
7. Seeing the husband's family's faces light up when they finally got to meet our little wonder Chou
8. Meeting Kate's not one, but two daughters who magically happened in the few years since we've seen each other.
9. Having my youngest (but not littlest) sister in law kick my ass at Wii, but then running circles around her (she's 11, but going on 17) after she asked to join me on a run.
10. Watching my dad, ever the hard ass, turn to mush and baby talk with Chou - I never thought I'd see the day.

And now, I've got a pile of mail to wade through, appointments to make that I've put off, a daycare integration to take on and work to start on Tuesday. It never ends. But I will leave you with this. She's so cute.

Baby's first ride on the lovely Ticker

Playing window stickers with Newt

The kid just has bad hair

Playing piano with Auntie Ili

Monday, February 23, 2009

Really good post

Will be up shortly. So much to say, so little energy. Three weeks on the road, too many flights with an eleven month old (as of yesterday!), too much rich food and not enough running makes me want to blog, blog, blog. But not until tomorrow.

I'm missed you.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's runderful to be home

(I couldn't help the title. My apologies.)

The weather gods smiled on me yesterday - so much so that I had the most wonderful long run in the morning with my running buddy, and then, wonder of wonders, the weather held for a lovely mule-drawn sleigh ride in the afternoon. And then today, the weather gods turned vengeful and are in the process of dumping 10 mm of freezing rain all over the roads. I'm home with Chou, sipping coffee, stretching sore legs and thinking about all the people I'd like to be visiting right now. But what can you do - except blog about a kick ass training run.

It felt so good to head out with Jen P. The sun was bright, the snow crunchy, the route flat and, most of all, friendly. We managed at least part of our 10 km on the Trans Canada Trail, a nice trail that doesn't actually connect to the rest of the trail on the west side of town unless you count the highway as the 'trail'. I'm pretty sure someone is taking the translation of "trans-Canada" very loosely. I was totally blown away by the friendliness of morning runners and walkers. It makes me all the more aware that Ottawanians (Ottawaers?) are polite, but not really friendly. I'll work on that when I get home.

We did the entire 10 km with no walk breaks (except for Jen to strip off a layer and slight pauses at a few stop lights) and while it felt good, it was getting mighty tough near the end, at which time Jen decided we should sprint the last 1/8th of a mile for good measure. Apparently she's fastest on an empty stomach? I don't know, but I fell in step behind her mentally noting just how much I didn't have left in the tank. In fairness, she just ran 12 miles last week...oh, wait, that means she should have been sore and crippled. Hmmm. Right.

Either way, it was lovely to run with my buddy again, and as a bonus Mr. P looked after Chou and kept her out of the garbage, where Newt thought she belonged. Next Sunday is 7 miles. I can't wait.

It's so good to be home.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gate 44A was Hawaii, Gate to Winnipeg

I'm nearly done packing for our three week whirlwind tour of western Canada. We've got two weeks in Winnipeg, then a week in Prince George to visit, play, visit some more, get a haircut, run, go for a sleigh ride, run some more, visit some more, maybe shop, then run and return home.

Leaving on these visits home is always bittersweet. Three weeks in the life of a baby in her first year is like three months for a toddler. Chou is nearly walking, so much so that I think she'll truly be walking by the time we return home. One friend suggested I tie her legs together with baler twine to keep her from getting too good at it in the absence of her dad. Good suggestion, Farmer Lynda!

I'm going to miss Mr. Wumpus and his help with Chou, but mostly I'm going to miss watching them together and our evening giggle fest on the floor of the living room. And I'm sad that he's going to miss these few weeks with Chou, when her babbling is starting to form words, her hand gestures communicating her thoughts and her little legs carrying her further every day. But in reality, there's a reason we're going now; Mr. W is working so hard and such hours that there have been a few days where he's seen Chou a total of 30 minutes in a day. Being a de facto single parent is no fun - being one away from most of my friends and all of my family is down right difficult. It doesn't have to be that way, and so this, my last month of mat leave, I'm hitting the road and leaning on my family and friends to entertain us (and maybe help me get my training runs in? Thanks!).

For all its storied weather, Winnipeg is still home. Yes, even Winnipeg in February. While the Midwife jets off to Hawaii, and some of my Manitoba folks head to warmer climes, I head to Winnipeg. Trust me, the hilarity of it all is not lost on me. But it is home - where my people are, and I can't wait to get there.

Editor's note: I hope to keep up with my training posts on here, as I will have access to les Internets, but I'll be sporadic. Apologies in advance. Hugs. Be well. Stay warm.
- Ms. C. Wumpus.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tempo, and I'm not talking about the Ford

Yesterday's tempo run was a hoot. It was totally last minute, and nearly didn't get done as I'm rather overwhelmed by all the shizah I need to get organized by tomorrow's flight time. But I've got super duper mummy friends, and Manatee Momma said, hey, come on over and I'll take Chou for a walk while you run. Nice.

Turns out that Ms. Manatee lives a half block from a city-funded daycare that has free (my favorite kind) drop in times where you get the run of a giant, sun-filled, safe-toy, bilingual space for two hours and at the end there's a sing a long. There's even free (good) coffee and tea. It's like if Mary Poppins decided to put down roots and open up a coffee shop. I kid you not. All that is to say that brilliant Ms. Manatee took Chou and her big baby over to play and sing while I went out for a quick 3 mile tempo run.

I had a watch, but no route and no iPod. The no iPod thing is actually good once in a while I find, in that it means I have to listen to my foot fall and think about form and pace and organize my thoughts. It was lovely. And then I got home and mapped my route and managed 3.33 miles at a 9:20 min/mi pace. What? Um, yeah, I thought breaking into the 10s was good, but 9:20 makes me do a little happy dance. It helps that 99% of my route was pavement, but there were a few good hills. Yeah slush and snow are amazing trainers, I've found.

And now it's time for a day and a half of running around like a madwoman trying desperately to get all our stuff packed, the last of any errands or paperwork I need to have done and try and plan our visits. Because I totally haven't. Whoops.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's like wheat, only better

I made not one but two puffed wheat cakes this past week. If you must know, the first one did not work out. Who knew that corn syrup was not a replaceable ingredient? Not me, that's who. The second cake turned out beautifully and lasted in this house for only 4 hours. In fairness, we did have guests but, wow, that's a lot of puffed wheat cake.

Some of my earliest memories of our farm are of me, huddled by one of the heating vents in the kitchen munching puffed wheat for breakfast. When I found the stuff last week in the store I was more excited than I should have been and just about ran out of the store, rushing to get home to eat the stuff.

Seeing Chou devour the stuff like it's crack for babies is total vindication. Did I mention plunking it on the high chair and letting her chase it around is the only way I get dishes washed these days? Praise be to whoever looked at a wheat kernel and said, "We should blow that shit up."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

When do you know that the plow is truly stalking you?

Today wraps up week one of half mary training. Overall, it was a success: I managed only two of three prescribed runs, but my 3 mile tempo turned into 3.9 miles with a stroller and my 5 mile long run was a good 5.09 on mostly greasy streets while still managing to stay in the middle of my pace range. I also got three strength workouts and one cardio plus abs in for a total of six, yes, six workouts this week. Oh, and mini high five to me: today's run lasted roughly 55 minutes...we ran it straight through, and it wasn't that hard. Training for the half in October, I'd do walk breaks for anything in the 45 min+ range, so although I likely could have gone straight through, I didn't. Now I'm thinking I'm likely capable of a 10 km without stopping. Two and a half years ago it took me 55 minutes to do 5 km with 5 walk breaks.

My new running buddy and fellow half mary trainee, the Midwife, deserves credit for getting my sorry arse out there. She was even brave enough to take turns pushing the stroller on our tempo run through snowy, greasy streets. But I balance that with her poor choice of running routes while the snow plows are out - the same plow passed us not once, not twice but FOUR times, three times coming up behind us (once on a VERY narrow street) and then passing towards us. Then we nearly ran into the back of a turning car whose dog in the back started barking wildly at us skirting around them. Then, near home, we passed a, um, half way house (if that's what it's called) for special folks, three of which positively gaped at us with their crooked, toothless grins. They seemed harmless enough, but I couldn't help but giggle at our luck. I mean, it was 10:30 on a Sunday morning and we nearly get run down by a plow - three times - get barked at and nearly hit then get leered at by homeless guys. At least it wasn't boring.

And now I head into a tough week to plan my training. Thursday is a prescribed rest day, which is good, as that's travel day, but my 4 miles on Friday and 6 miles on Sunday? I still have no clue how that's going to happen. Meh. I'll manage.