Tag Archives: Post Partum

The Myrtle Beach Marathon: Redemption!

I have never been more excited to write a race recap! The Myrtle Beach Marathon went better than I ever dreamed it would. Every single detail came together and I ran the strongest race of my life, both physically and mentally. I beat all of my goals by a landslide and scored myself a 13 MINUTE PR! Here are all the details.

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Best race photo of my life! At mile 26 too!

This race kind of snuck up on me. I have been super busy with work and home stuff that our trip to Myrtle Beach felt like it came out of nowhere. All of a sudden it was time to pack up and head south, and before I knew it I was at the expo picking up my stuff and then at the starting line the next morning. I think this was a huge blessing in a way, because I didn’t really have time to get myself all worked up and stressed about the huge challenge ahead of me. I also went into it with sort of low expectations, since my #1 goal was just to finish this time after my DNF here two years ago.

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I was very excited about the weather forecast, which looked absolutely perfect. High 30s at the start and low 50s at the finish, with minimal wind for a coastal race. I was so thankful that wind didn’t seem like it was going to be a big issue this year, because it has been really tough the last few years which caused me to expend too much energy. Everything seemed like it was starting to come together.

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Even despite all of these positives, I still woke up on Saturday morning with a very nervous tummy. I focused on doing my pre-race routine – bathroom, coffee, eat, get dressed, bathroom again… but my breakfast made me feel a little nauseous so I couldn’t get much down. I left the house around 5:30 to drive about 20 minutes to the start, and once I got there I pumped (#momlife), used a porta-potty (there were a TON this year with no lines – so much appreciated!), and made my way to the start. I felt like I had a ton of pent-up nervous energy that I needed to get out. I couldn’t wait to start running to release it.

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Luckily, I knew Andrew, who was pacing the 3:45 group, which was my ‘Gold’ goal, and I was able to say hi to him when I lined up in his corral at the start. Seeing a familiar face made me feel a lot more comfortable. I knew he would be running about an 8:30 pace, which I thought was doable based on my training and recent half marathons. However, I still had some fear lingering in the back of my mind from two years ago when I had to suddenly stop at mile 21, so I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to hold that pace the entire time. I decided to go for it and see what happened.

Finally it was 6:30 (super early race start!) and we were off. There was a big wall of people with the 3:45 pace group so I hung a little behind them to give myself some space. Since we started toward the front, the course wasn’t super crowded and it was easy to keep the pace I wanted. As expected, an 8:30 pace felt really easy, and almost too slow. I was SO tempted to pick it up a little bit – but I have made that mistake so many times before. I kept telling myself to be patient and hang out here at this very comfortable pace for a while. We ran out to a shopping area called Market Common, did a loop around there, and then headed back out toward the beach to start running back the other direction.

  • Mile 1 – 8:32
  • Mile 2 – 8:26
  • Mile 3 – 8:34
  • Mile 4 – 8:28
  • Mile 5 – 8:32
  • Mile 6 – 8:29
  • Mile 7 – 8:32

I passed the 10K timing mat at 52:06, but it was a little off from what my watch said. Actually, all the mile markers were about a tenth of a mile short from what mine and the other people around me had on their watches. Not a big deal, and I knew it would eventually even out at the end. I had set my Garmin to show my overall average pace while I was running and it stayed steady at 8:30-8:31/mile the entire time, so I knew I was right on track.

I have run the full (up to mile 21.5) and the half here a couple times, so I know the Myrtle Beach Marathon course very well. I practiced visualizing it on my long runs. I knew every long stretch, every turn, every mile marker, every timing mat. I knew there would be two parts of the course that would be the hardest for me. The first would be the 9 mile stretch along the water from mile 8-17. Not only can this be hard physically because of the wind that comes from off the ocean and between the buildings, but it’s also very tough mentally because you’re running straight for so long without any change in direction. I knew this was my first big test, and if I could get past this part feeling strong I’d be in really good shape.

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  • Mile 8 – 8:28
  • Mile 9 – 8:33
  • Mile 10 – 8:35
  • Mile 11 – 8:24
  • Mile 12 – 8:25
  • Mile 13 – 8:33

I passed the halfway point at 1:51:05, still keeping a very steady 8:30 pace. I have never run a more consistently paced race in my entire life, and I really owe that to our pacer Andrew. I have never run an entire race with a pace group before, but it was very freeing to be able to just run and not expend any extra energy worrying about looking at my watch and crunching numbers. It really helped me enjoy myself and take in my surroundings better. I also loved the pace group for the support and the camaraderie. The miles were just flying by as I spent time talking with the people around me and getting to know them and their stories. It was amazing!

  • Mile 14 – 8:36
  • Mile 15 – 8:34
  • Mile 16 – 8:31
  • Mile 17 – 8:30
  • Mile 18 – 8:33

From miles 15-17 we took a very slight turn bringing us even closer to the water, and the wind really picked up once we did that. I tried to focus on not fighting the wind too much so that I didn’t waste too much energy. I knew it would be over soon and that we would be turning and running inland at mile 17, so I just hung in there. I never let myself feel mentally defeated. Something that really helped me was to think of the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Yes, I realize that’s kind of funny to say since I am a vegetarian 🙂 But for me, the mental part of running is huge and it’s very easy to get caught up in that and get overwhelmed. I kept reminding myself to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Rather than stress about the 26.2 miles ahead of me, I broke it up into smaller more manageable “bites” – just make it to the 10k timing mat, then the half, then mile 17 when we finally turn away from the beach and the wind, then mile 18.3 where another timing mat is, and so on. This made it seem less scary and more doable!

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I passed the next checkpoint (18.3 miles) at 2:35:32, still right on my 8:30 target. By now my watch and the mile markers were perfectly in sync. I knew my next “bite” was to make it to the spot where I had to stop last time, at mile 21.38. This was the second part of the course that I was nervous about. I was feeling really great at this point, especially since we were now away from pretty much all wind. The pace still felt extremely comfortable and once again I was tempted to pick it up some, but I really didn’t want to push it until I got farther in the race. I think one factor aside from pacing that helped me feel really strong was my hydration and fueling. I actually decided to wear my Camelback just like I did in my last marathon two years ago, and I am so glad I did. I loved having water whenever I needed it, as well as a place to store my Honey Stingers (and my obsession – chapstick) that was out of the way. I never felt thirsty or like I had any sort of dip in energy the entire time. I drank when I felt like it and ate a half pack of Stingers at 1 hour, and then every 35 minutes after that. It was the perfect balance that left me feeling hydrated and fueled.

  • Mile 19 – 8:30
  • Mile 20 – 8:34

I really love hitting mile 20 in a marathon. To me, the two halves of a marathon are not 13.1 and 13.1. I think the first ‘half’ is the first 20 miles, and the other half is the last 6. If you run a smart race, both of those segments should take about the same amount of effort.  The last 6 miles were such an out of body experience. I kept waiting for the wall to come (either mentally or physically) and it never did. I kept telling the pace group that I couldn’t believe how good I still felt, hoping I wasn’t jinxing myself. I got a little worried when the spout to my Camelback fell off at mile 21 and I had to stop to get it, but I was able to pick it up and get right back into it. I also got worried when our pacer Andrew had some IT band pain at mile around the same time and had to slow down. But the best feeling of all was running past the exact point where I had to stop and get medical help two years ago. I remember so clearly how terrible I felt in that moment, and today in this moment I felt so strong and unstoppable.

From miles 22-26.2 I refused to let myself think about how much I had left, and instead just focused on working on the mile I was in at the moment. One bite at a time. It got a little lonely, since our pace team had broken up quite a bit and I was now running alone. We were also in a more isolated part of town that seemed to drag on a bit, and I saw my pace slow a little bit in miles 22 and 23. I gave myself a little pep talk and decided that it was all me now. No pacer to take me the rest of the way, nobody to talk to and distract me. Nothing but me and the road and my own determination. I knew I was going to PR at this point, and it was up to me to decide by how much.

  • Mile 21 – 8:27
  • Mile 22 – 8:39
  • Mile 23 – 8:38
  • Mile 24 – 8:31
  • Mile 25 – 8:35

I kept working on each mile, one at a time, and before I knew it I saw the flag for mile 25. I decided I needed to pick it up and finish strong, just like I had been practicing in my long runs. I gave those last 1.2 miles everything I had. Right after the mile 26 flag we turned right into the finish area, and I looked down at my watch and saw a time of 3:42. I could not believe that I had just run that fast. I started getting teary eyed once I saw all the people watching by the finish line, and when the announcer called out my name. I ran through the finish line and immediately burst into tears. I DID IT!!!!!

  • Mile 26 – 8:21
  • Last . 20 – 8:07 pace
  • Finish Time – 3:43:10 / 8:31 average pace

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I think this is my shocked face 🙂

What went right in this race? Sometimes everything just comes together and conditions are perfect. It happens very rarely, but I think today was one of those days. Everything from the temperature, the wind, how my body felt, the familiarity of the course, my fueling and hydration plan, my mental strategies, my slower than usual pacing, my strong finish. I tried very hard to stick to my power words of patience, discipline, and trust. Patience to not go out to fast. Discipline to stick to the plan and keep going when it starts to hurt. Trust in my training and my body.

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Like I said in my goals post, this was more than just a race to me. This was a chance for me to get my redemption from two years ago and finally cross the finish line of the Myrtle Beach Marathon. This was marathon #10 in state #10 for me, which allows me to officially join the 50 states club and start working toward the other 40 (however long it may take!). And most importantly, this race was an opportunity for me to leave some sad, angry, defeated feelings on the pavement, and remind myself that I am strong and can do hard things. I could not have asked for a better experience for my 10th marathon, and I am so proud and thankful.

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What’s next? Well, first I’m looking forward to a few months off from hard training! I jumped into training pretty soon after baby, and my body and mind are definitely ready to cut back a bit. Then marathon training will resume this summer for an undetermined fall marathon. I plan to keep chipping away at my time in order to hopefully get my BQ sometime in the next couple of years. We’ll see! Running has taught me that anything is possible with time and a lot of hard work!

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Mom & Baby: 8 Months

Whenever I sit down to write a new update on one of the boys, I always open up my planner to see what we did over the past month. I also look at the pictures I have taken. I couldn’t believe all that happened in just one month! From the holidays to traveling to South Carolina to a blizzard… whew! We sure did pack a lot of excitement in. It’s actually been so exciting that I’m 2 weeks late writing this update. Here are all the details about Kyler’s 8th month of life.

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Baby

Kyler went to the doctor at 8 months to get his second flu shot dose, so I know that he now weighs 17 pounds 4 ounces! He’s gained a good amount of weight since last month when his sickness took his appetite away for a little bit, so I was relieved to hear that!

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He somehow contracted a viral case of pink-eye this month shortly after his ear infection, but other than that he’s been healthy (knock on wood!). It needs to stay that way! He’s been home with me the majority of the month thanks to winter break, travel, and some snow days, so that helped with the germ factor.

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Kyler has become quite the little eater! We’ve been a lot more relaxed this time about letting his taste different foods, after the initial month or so of experimenting with one at a time. By this point he’s had a ton of different food, and I honestly can say that there hasn’t been one thing he has disliked. From avocado to banana to green beans to broccoli to eggs, he devours it all and he really likes to feed himself. Right now he eats breakfast and dinner with us, but soon we’ll add lunch in there too.

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Since food is just for fun until he turns one, he’s obviously still nursing a lot too. One of the nicest parts of this month was that I was off work for most of it for winter break and then the blizzard, which meant I could put my pump far away and just nurse him. He usually nurses 6 times a day, sometimes more if he’s not feeling well or is extra attached. This month I did have a new challenge when I traveled for a work conference in Myrtle Beach, which meant I had to pump for 48 hours straight. It was weird to not feed him for that long but we got through it. I was very thankful for all the milk in our freezer!

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Nursing after the Charleston Half Marathon

He doesn’t have any new teeth yet, and is still very proudly rocking his bottom two. I can’t even handle this smile of his. Melts me every time.

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Kyler has gotten very good at sitting and only really falls over if his brother knocks into him or pushes him over (yeah… it happens!) Now he is starting to move from the sitting position onto his tummy. He is not really trying to crawl yet but he is working hard on pushing himself up with his arms and scooting a little bit. Kevin started army crawling at 9 months and crawling on all fours at 11 months, so I’m not worried about it. I’m enjoying his lack of mobility for now 🙂

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I think Kyler’s tummy and digestive system is still getting used to eating solid food, because we’ve had our fair share of poop issues this month. Never a dull moment, that’s for sure! He tends to not go for a few days at a time and then has a really bad, explosive diaper. It’s hard to predict when it will happen, which makes going out risky sometimes. Over winter break I took both kids to the grocery store, and Kyler started screaming when I was almost done and wanted to be held. When I picked him up I realized he had a huge blowout and it was all over the car seat, his clothes and me. I rushed through check-out while holding him because he was still upset, and every concerned citizen informed me that my baby had pooped through his clothes. Then Kevin had a meltdown because we had to go home and couldn’t go Christmas shopping for daddy. Sigh… all I could do at that point was laugh!

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About 30 minutes before the grocery store poop incident!

His sleep has been a little disturbed this month, which I think is due to the wonder week he’s working through. He went from 7-9 hour stretches to waking up 2-3 times a night. Now he’s back to the longer stretches but every once in a while he has a rough night. While I was off form work, I tried to get him napping on more of a schedule and in his crib more consistently and it went really well. He tends to take a morning and afternoon nap, and sometimes little catnaps if we’re driving somewhere.  I am also working on moving his bedtime up. He was going to bed at 8:30, but now we have him going to bed at 7:30. Then he usually wakes up between 3 and 4 to nurse.

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Coffee for both of us?

Kyler is VERY vocal and loves exercising his voice. He will screech, babble, make noise with his lips and blow raspberries. He practices different volumes and goes between screaming and whispering. He has started to say “dadada” but I don’t know if he’s associating my husband with that. He also LOVES to laugh, and has learned to wave! Check out the videos below to see my little man in action!

I still can’t get over the personality difference between Kyler and Kevin. Kevin was (and still is) very high maintenance, while Kyler is super laid back. He’s just happy pretty much no matter what is going on, unless he’s hungry or tired. For example, we got him up super early, drove to Charleston and dragged him all around the city and he was super smiley the whole time!

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Kyler’s favorite part of the day continues to be bath/shower time. As soon as he hears the water turn on he starts kicking and squealing in excitement, and he gets upset when it’s time to get out.

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One of the most special parts of this month was that we celebrated Kyler’s first Christmas. With him only being 8 months old, he only had a few presents to open and was mostly interested in trying to eat the wrapping paper, but it was really sweet and something we’ll remember forever!

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We are thinking of transitioning him into a convertible carseat soon. We already have one and he just looks so big in it, even though he hasn’t hit the weight and height limit yet. I might actually shed a tear when we move him out of it and say goodbye to the infant carseat we’ve had since Kevin was born. It’s close to it’s expiration date anyway, but I remember when we first bought it. Seems like yesterday and forever ago at the same time.

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Finally, here’s some brother love!

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The face they make when mommy sings… :/

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Melts my heart

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Pretty sure Kyler lived in his Christmas PJs all month

And some mama love too. This boy usually won’t take his eyes of his mommy lately 🙂

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Body

It was an interesting month for me physically. I don’t have any official body pictures this month so I will use a photo from my snowy run the other week instead. I am officially below my pre-pregnancy weight, which I don’t really want. I have been so hungry lately, and it was hard to tell whether it was due to marathon training, breastfeeding, my thyroid or a combination of those things. It felt like my metabolism was in overdrive. I got my thyroid levels checked and they were definitely on the hyperthyroidism side now (I’ve had Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism since I was 16) due to still being on a higher dose of my meds from pregnancy and the initial post-partum period. They adjusted them back down and I feel so much better. It feels like my body is functioning like it should, and my anxiety has gone down as well, which can be a side effect of thyroid levels on the hyper side. So glad I got that checked out!

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Even though I prefer to weigh around 130 and I’m a little below that right now, I’m pretty happy with my body at 8 months postpartum. My clothes fit really well, I feel strong from running and marathon training, and things are slowly going back to the way they were. I had my annual appointment with the midwives who I delivered Kyler with, and after examining me they said it seems like I never even had a baby (or two). I beg to differ about that, there are definitely some things that aren’t (and will never) be the same, but that is fine. The more I run and the more success I find in that, I’m so much more interested in what my body can do rather than what it looks like.

For example, I ran two races this month that I feel very proud about. I did the Resolution 5K on New Years Day and the Charleston Half in the middle of the month. Even though neither race gave me a PR, I think both showed how my running has improved since having Kyler, and helped me learn a lot about myself.

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Mind

So much went on this month that made me happy mentally and emotionally. First we celebrated the holidays for the first time as a family of 4 and with our extended families. It was really nice, despite strangely warm temperatures this year (I ran in shorts and a tank top on Christmas Eve… it was 70 degrees!). But we baked cookies anyway, sweating the whole time 🙂

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I spent two weeks off from work on Winter Break with my boys, which was so nice. It was definitely a different experience than the last time I was home with both of them for an extended time during the summer. Kyler and Kevin can actually play together a little bit, which is really nice. But it did make me a little nervous for this summer when they’re both mobile!

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A few weeks later we headed to Myrtle Beach for a mini-vacation. Like I said earlier, I went down a few days early for a work conference. I haven’t been alone for an extended amount of time like that since before Kevin was born. It was a little weird to say the least, and I didn’t like having to pump all day since I didn’t have a baby to feed, but it was also relaxing. And I got to sleep through an entire night uninterrupted! However, I was still super happy to see my boys at the end of the week and to spend the rest of the long weekend together.

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Finally, this month was capped off with a glorious blizzard that led to us being off from school for a week and a half. But that went into month 9, so we’ll talk about that more soon!

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I have been so aware of how quickly time is passing, and really trying to focus on enjoying and remembering these special times with a baby that is only going to be this little for a short time. A lot has happened in the last two weeks since he turned 8 months old, but I’ll save that for next month’s post. Hopefully I can get it up in a more timely manner 🙂

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Previous Mom & Baby posts:

Mom & Baby: 7 Months

Kyler is now officially in the other half of his first year of life! My not-so-little baby boy is now 7 months old and is more fun than ever before. Here are the details about both of us at 7 months post-partum.

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Baby

Kyler is officially 16 pounds 13 ounces and 28 inches at 7 months old. I know this  because we had to take him to the doctor a couple days ago (more about that later!). He’s starting to look longer and leaner to me, just like his brother and many of my family members are. I think we’ll have another tall and skinny kid soon!

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Last month I said that it was so nice to have him healthy for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, soon after writing that he got sick again, and this time it was really rough. He started to get a cold when we were home in Pennsylvania visiting family for Thanksgiving. It got worse and worse, and when we took him to the doctor for what was supposed to be his 6 month well visit (a little late), they said he had a pretty bad ear infection. I felt terrible. He was in pain but rarely complains so we didn’t know how bad it was. After that we started him on antibiotics and took turns staying home with him for a few days, since he was so sad and just moaning and wanting to be held. Poor baby 😦

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Thankfully, after a few days he started to return to his happier self. We finished the 10 days of amoxicillin on Saturday, but on Monday after work I took him out of his carseat and I noticed big red hives/welts on his face. I immediately stripped him down and they kept appearing out of nowhere. I panicked and started packing up to go to urgent care, and called his pediatrician at the same time. He was breathing okay and not in distress, so she said to give him some Benadryl and see what happens. Once I did that the welts went away within about 10 minutes. His doctor said it was most likely a side effect from the medicine, and that sometimes it has to reach a certain level in the body to see symptoms- even after you are finished taking it. He had a little breakout of more hives two nights later and they went away with Benadryl again. He’s doing much better now. The pediatrician says his ears are looking good and that his little runny nose and cough should clear out very soon. So thankful for that! We will just need to keep an eye on the hives to see if they continue to happen. She’s pretty sure it was a reaction to the antibiotic but we can’t be 100% sure.

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One of the huge hives!

In happier news, we had some new developments this month! Kyler started to sit up all on his own. We have been practicing but he would just fall over after a few seconds. One morning I sat him up and he stayed up! Such a big boy! He loves his new view 🙂

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We also started solids this month. He had his first bites of food at Thanksgiving. We gave him avocado just like we did with Kevin, and he could not get enough!

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Since then he’s also had banana, sweet potato, apple, and butternut squash and has loved it all. This is a lot less than Kevin had at 7 months because we’re taking it slower this time. He’s also become a big fan of feeding himself. He loves this little self feeder. So independent 🙂

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He only gets solids once a day at dinnertime and nurses the rest of the time (or takes a bottle of pumped milk while I’m at work). Aside from a little decrease in appetite when he was sick, he’s still nursing 6-7 times a day. He tends to nurse around 3:30 or 4 AM, before leaving for daycare at 6:30 AM, then has three 4 ounce bottles at daycare. After we get home I nurse him at 6:00 and 8:00, then put him down for bed. His two bottom teeth are not fully out, but he doesn’t bite me as much anymore – thank God!!! He mostly chews on his own fingers.

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His nighttime sleep has been inconsistent this month, again due to the sickness, but when he’s feeling okay his longest sleep stretch is between 7 and 9 hours. Naps are a different story. He’s not really on a napping schedule yet, and that’s probably our fault. We tend to just let him sleep anytime, anywhere, including on us. I really want to get him in the habit of taking naps in his crib, so that we don’t pay for it later!

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Kyler is not crawling yet or really trying to crawl at all. He will roll and reach for what he wants, which is EVERYTHING right now! This kid is so grabby! If we are holding anything or if something is nearby, he will do whatever it takes to grab for it.

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He has also started watching us closely and copying us. He will mimic us talking by screeching and babbling. He will stick out his tongue in response to us if we stick out ours, and we will blow raspberries back and forth. It’s really fun to see him become more interactive.

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He LOVES to cuddle. I can’t remember if Kevin was as big of a cuddler as he is but I love it too. I know that time passes quickly so I enjoy every minute of snuggles I can get.

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One other new thing he has been loving this month is the stroller. He is now big enough to sit in the main part of the stroller next to Kevin, rather than his carseat attachment. We’ve been having a very mild winter/late fall so far so he has been out on many runs with us, and he smiles from ear to ear the whole time! It has been really fun to go on family runs too.

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Finally, he continues to be infatuated by his big brother. He loves him so much, and Kevin loves him too. He is always taking care of Kyler and making sure he has toys, a blanket, or whatever he needs. Kyler watches him and tries to do what he does. It’s so fun already to see them together, and I know it will only get better as they get older.

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Body

Not much is new physically in terms of my weight or how my body looks. I haven’t weighed myself in a while but the last time I did I was still holding steady around 132 pounds. I’m feeling a bit bloated right now thanks to all the holiday treats from Thanksgiving to now (almost Christmas), but I know that’s just temporary. I don’t know if it’s marathon training, breastfeeding, my thyroid or some combination of those but I have been SO hungry! I’m getting my blood drawn to check my thyroid levels next week, but it feels like my metabolism is in overdrive sometimes.

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Last month I talked about how I thought I was getting my period because I noticed some signs of ovulation and a little bit of decreased milk supply, but I never got it. I’m really curious when it will return, but not missing it at all right now 🙂 I have been feeling pretty good physically and really excited to be getting faster lately. I’ve been seeing my chiropractor regularly for maintenance which I think is helping. I have been having a little bit of pain here and there in my right side, especially in my lower back and my right foot. It’s nothing too bad at all but it’s something I notice on and off. I’m going to keep my eye on it and maybe go to the running store to see if they think I’m overpronating more on one side. I have a feeling that’s what it is.

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Mind

The past month was really awesome for me mentally and emotionally in many ways, but mostly because it’s my absolute favorite time of year. I LOVE the fall and winter, and especially October to December with all of the holidays that they bring. We started the month by celebrating Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania with my family, and because my school gave us off on Wednesday this year, we were able to go away from Tuesday to Sunday. I haven’t been home for that long in years and it was so nice and relaxing. We were able to see a lot of people we love, and Kevin and I even got to go out together with friends on Thanksgiving Eve which was a blast.

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Our Annual Turkey Bowl

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The boys with their Aunt Yaya

The boys with their Aunt Yaya

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Since Thanksgiving we have done a lot of fun things to help get ready for my favorite holiday of all – Christmas! I grew up with very strong traditions around Christmas and it’s something that I think is important to pass on. We got our Christmas tree and decorated it together, saw Santa on a fire truck and sat on his lap, visited the Festival of Lights, and more. It has been so much fun, especially this year now that we have a family of 4. I’m writing this on Christmas Eve, and we still have so much more in store for this upcoming week. I’m so excited!

Picking out our Christmas tree!

Picking out our Christmas tree!

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Pajama Day at school and daycare

Pajama Day at school and daycare

At the Festival of Lights looking just like Daddy

At the Festival of Lights looking just like Daddy

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This month I have tried very hard to leave stress at school and focus on my family at home. I know I’m truly doing the best I can at work and I refuse to let it affect my family or my time at home with them. This has really helped me keep things in perspective and make the most of our evenings and weekends together. I’m really happy to be home with both of my boys right now for 16 days (!!!) over Winter Break. It was so, so needed!

Seeing the boys after daycare makes me so happy!

Seeing the boys after daycare makes me so happy!

Finally, one thing that is keeping me busy in a good way is my new coaching business! I am so excited about it and the progress I have made with it already. I have taken on 4 clients and each one is so important and special to me. It feels good to be doing something for ‘work’ that I’m so passionate about, especially since I haven’t really felt that way about teaching for a while. Maybe someday I will be able to make this a full-time job, but in the meantime I am really enjoying  doing it on the side.

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I can’t wait to see what month 8 has in store for us!

My 3 boys :)

My 3 boys 🙂

Previous Mom & Baby posts:

A Day in the Working Mama Life

The last time I wrote a day in the life post was back in August when Kevin was almost 3 years old and Kyler was 3 months old. I was ending my summer vacation and maternity leave and getting ready to head back to work. Fast forward to 4 months later and it has been quite the whirlwind. Adjusting to working full-time again with two kids, while also juggling pumping, running, my coaching business, and more has been a challenge (to say the least!). We are finally settling into somewhat of a routine, although I wouldn’t say it’s gotten any easier. I think we’ve just gotten used to the craziness. I thought it was a good time to capture another snapshot in our lives. Here is what our day was like on Thursday, December 17th, when Kevin was 3 years and 3 months old, and Kyler was almost 7 months old.

4:52 a.m. Kyler wakes up to eat. His feeding schedule has been a little inconsistent lately because of his teething and sickness. Sometimes he wakes up to eat around 3:00, and sometimes he doesn’t wake up until closer to when I have to get up and start getting ready (like today).

5:30 a.m. He finishes up and we lay down together for a few minutes while my husband showers. Kevin wakes up and comes into our room around this time and gets into bed with me.

5:50 a.m. I shower with this cute little boy as my audience.

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6:02 a.m. I get out of the shower and start getting ready for the day. While I’m doing that my husband is downstairs with Kev making coffee, prepping our smoothies for breakfast and packing our lunches (he’s pretty awesome!). Kyler hangs out upstairs with me, and Kevin comes up and down a few times to bring his brother toys and play with him.

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6:30 a.m. I feed the baby again quickly, even though it hasn’t been very long since he last ate. I like to feed him right before he goes to daycare to “top him off,” especially because his weight was down a bit at his 6 month appointment. I think that was because he was sick that week and didn’t have much of an appetite, so I have been trying to make up for it since then.

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6:45 a.m. I get the boys dressed and ready and make sure the diaper bag is packed for daycare with diapers, extra clothes, milk, etc.

7:02 a.m. My husband leaves with the kids. He’s been on daycare drop-off and pick-up duty most days since I’ve been so busy at work. It’s a cold, rainy day – which is why I skipped my morning run and moved it to the afternoon. I can do rain, but not in the dark and in 40 degree weather! After they leave I finish getting ready and drinking my coffee.

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7:35 a.m. I leave for work with my smoothie in hand!

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8:05 a.m. I arrive at work after sitting in some traffic due to rain (nobody knows how to drive in any type of weather where I live). I drop off my bags and immediately start running around to different classrooms to check in with some teachers about things that we have going on that day. I am a reading specialist so I support both the students and the teachers in my building in grades K-5.

8:45 a.m. I take a break to go pump. While I am pumping I plan out the rest of my day and eat some pumpkin bread my aunt sent us with Christmas gifts 🙂

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9:00 a.m. Back to work! I do some lesson planning, work with a couple students, meet with a couple teachers, and complete some paperwork. Whew!

12:00 p.m. Quick 20 minute break to shove some food in my face (veggies with my favorite cilantro jalapeño hummus and last night’s leftover Baked Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta – so good!) while pumping.

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12:20 p.m. And back at it. I work with two more students, more lesson planning, another meeting with a teacher, and one more student.

3:35 p.m. I end my work day by helping with dismissal outside in the rain for 30 minutes. It was during that time that I decided I wasn’t going to do my run outside today. I just couldn’t take the cold rain!

4:15 p.m. I leave work and drive home. I’ve gotten really good at pumping in my car on the way home. I put my cover and my pumping bra on, set everything up before I start driving and then just let the pump run while I make my way home. Eventually I turn it off but I don’t undo everything until I’m safely parked back at home. I think it’s a great way to save time and multi-task 🙂 I also eat a Larabar on the way home for a snack. My husband gets off workout 4:30 and gets the kids before he heads home too.

4:55 p.m. I get home, unpack my stuff, and quickly get changed to run before I lose my motivation.

5:14 p.m. I hop on the treadmill to begin my 5 mile progression run. Running on the treadmill feels harder to me than outside so I keep my effort easy tonight. The miles feel like they drag on!

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5:55 p.m. My boys all get home. They were stuck in some traffic due to rain.

6:00 p.m. Finally finished with my run! I head into the living room to do some stretching and to see my boys. I really don’t like to run after work because I like to be able to come straight home, make dinner, and have time to play with the kids before bed. I’d much rather wake up super early to get my runs in while everyone is sleeping and this afternoon reminded me of that.

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6:15 p.m. I nurse Kyler while my husband makes dinner (I told you, he does so000 much around the house these days!).

6:45 p.m. We all eat. My hubby and I have homemade paninis, Kevin has ‘deconstructed’ quesadilla at his request (tortilla, beans, corn, cheese and guacamole) since he already had a sandwich for lunch. Kyler has applesauce in his little self-feeder and LOVES it!

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7:05 p.m. My husband leaves for the part-time job he has working at a local brewery on Thursday evenings, while we all finish up dinner and clean up. Afterwards we go upstairs to get into pajamas and ready for bed. We normally do baths most nights, but on nights that my husband goes to work we usually skip it or do it in the morning before daycare. Kevin’s been a little tough to get down lately for some reason (I think he has severe FOMO- Fear of Missing Out!), so I try to compromise with him by letting him read to his brother and staying with him for a little longer than usual.

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8:05 p.m. I finally get Kevin to sleep… whew!

8:15 p.m. I nurse Kyler for the last time and try not to doze off in the process.

8:55 p.m. I get Kyler into his crib, then go downstairs to start getting some school work done. It truly never ends!!

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10:35 p.m. I am finally finished with my work. I go upstairs to get ready for bed. My hubby still isn’t home yet but he should be home soon.

10:50 p.m. Sleep!

While I was at work, Kyler had three 4 ounce bottles, took a morning and afternoon nap, and played on the floor and in his exersaucer. Kevin had breakfast, lunch and a snack, took an afternoon nap of 1.5 hours, played with puzzles and legos, and read some books.

I am currently on a two week winter break (Hallelujah!!) so I’m feeling much better and less stressed already. I needed this break badly and I’m so happy that I’ll be able to spend so much time with my boys. My next day in the life post will be on a weekend, so you can see how we try to make the most of that time that we have together. Being a working mom is tough, and I’m still figuring it all out, but there is nothing like coming home to those sweet faces!

Previous “Day in the Life” posts:

Mom & Baby: 6 Months

On November 22nd, Kyler was officially 6 months old! These 6 months have been the quickest of my life. Kevin’s first year in general was such a struggle at times that they felt like they dragged on and on. It has been the total opposite experience this time. Time is flying! Here are all the details about what happened this past month for baby and me!

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Baby

Kyler has not been to the pediatrician for his 6 month appointment yet, so I’m not sure how much he weighs – but I do know he’s getting bigger! His body is growing some adorable rolls and his cheeks keep getting fuller. He’s in 6-12 month clothes depending on the brand. According to our scale at home, he’s about 17 pounds.

2 days old to 6 months. What a difference!

2 days old to 6 months. What a difference!

His hair is getting thicker and is still very dark. By this point Kevin was pretty blonde, so I’m wondering if we’re going to have a brunette baby this time. That would be weird because my husband and myself were both blonde babies. I have a feeling he’ll end up being strawberry blonde/red like a few random family members on my side (including my sister). I guess time will tell! He still has a little bit of cradle cap underneath his hair which makes his scalp look scaly and dry. I’m not sure when that will totally go away but hopefully soon!

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One of the things that made this month so great was that Kyler stayed healthy the whole time! Last month we had a few rough weeks where it seemed like Kyler would get a cold, get over it, and then come down with something new. Thankfully he was congestion/cough/snot free all month, which made us all very happy!

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Sleep has been a little back and forth this month. He has been very consistent with following the developmental patterns that result from his wonder weeks, and this month he started having some separation anxiety, just as it said he would. He is starting to realize when we are not right next to him and doesn’t like it. This has led to a little bit of difficulty with putting him down at night, but it’s gotten better with time. He also seems to have developed a fear of the dark – especially in his car seat. This is a problem when we drive home from work since it gets dark so early! It also causes him to cry sometimes if he wakes up in the middle of the night and is scared. We’re going to get him a little night light which should help some.

Right next to mommy is his favorite place to be!

Right next to mommy is his favorite place to be!

The other thing that has affected sleep has been that he cut not one, but TWO teeth! His bottom left tooth broke through on November 14th, and the bottom right broke through the next day. He has been chewing on everything in sight, and he has wanted to comfort nurse a lot more because of the pain. I can’t believe he has teeth already – Kevin didn’t get any until 8-9 months!

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Nursing continues to go really well. His feedings have varied some with teething and waking up more at night sometimes but he tends to eat anywhere between 6-8 times a day. He is starting to get a little distracted when he eats now, especially during the day or if we are anywhere that has things going on around him. He will pull off to look around or to look up at me and smile. It’s really adorable, but also messy at times since my milk is spraying everywhere in the meantime! We hadn’t started solids yet when he turned 6 months (I’ve been kind of resisting it for some reason – just not ready to take that big step!), but over the last week we have. I will update more on that in his 7 month post!

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We had a great month of development. I have loved every stage of Kyler’s life since he’s been a relatively easy baby, but I really love when they hit 5-6 months. Things start to get a lot more fun! He has become extremely vocal and has definitely found his voice. He loves to be loud, screech/scream and babble. He’s started to use some consonant sounds when he babbles (“dadada” and “yayaya”) too.

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At his 4 month doctor’s appointment, our pediatrician said Kyler had strong legs and lower body, but he seemed a little “low-tone” in his upper body and shoulders. She told us to give him a lot of tummy time so he could practice pushing himself up and strengthen those muscles, and cautioned us against using things like the exersaucer and bumbo seat until he got strong enough to hold himself up. We’ve been working hard on this, and over the last few weeks, we felt Kyler had enough strength in his upper body to start using the exersaucer and he LOVES it. He will spin himself around so that he can get to all the activities, and will jump around, laughing and smiling the whole time. We still keep his time in there short until he gets stronger, but it’s exciting! Check out the comparison of Kevin (left) and Kyler (right) both in the exersaucer around 6 months old 🙂

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We’ve also been letting him sit in his little seat more. He likes to play with toys that we put on his tray and watch his older brother. I think he really enjoys his new view.

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He has gotten really good at reaching and grabbing for whatever he wants – whether it’s toys, my phone, my hair, our faces, etc. He’s a lot more interactive and likes to play. It’s a lot of fun 🙂

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Finally, he is so in love with his big brother! He watches every move he makes and tries to copy him. It’s so sweet, and I’m really excited that they will have each other while growing up.

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Nothing like showering with an audience!

Nothing like showering with an audience!

Body

My weight is still around 132 pounds, but my clothes are fitting differently now that my stomach, butt, and thighs are going back to their pre-pregnancy size. I cleaned out my closet this month and packed away everything maternity, and put a bunch of other clothes in bags to donate. I was left with pretty much nothing, so I used some credit card rewards money I had to buy myself some new clothes. Ever since I did that I have felt so much better about myself in terms of my wardrobe. It’s amazing what some better-fitting clothes can do for your self-esteem! I didn’t take any real body pictures this month, so here’s a picture of the current style I’m loving this fall. Skinny jeans, boots, and loose fitting sweaters 🙂

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I am also feeling really good physically thanks to how well running is going for me. This past month I amazed myself by getting a huge PR at the Richmond Half Marathon. My weekly training regimen has consisted of speedwork (usually mile repeats), a tempo run, a long run, 1-2 easy runs, and 1-2 days of strength training. I also always take at least 1 full rest day. I’ve been pushing myself by running faster training paces in my harder effort runs and clearly it’s working. I’m getting faster and feeling stronger than ever.

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I did have a little issue that popped up about a week before the Richmond half. I felt like I was out of alignment in my pelvis because I was having some pain in my right hip/lower back/SI joint. I went to the chiropractor and he confirmed what I thought. My right leg was rotated wrong into my pelvis. You could actually see that my toes pointed outward when I stood in a neutral position, and when I laid down, my right leg was shorter than the other. The chiropractor told me that this can be caused by many things – pregnancy, childbirth, wearing older shoes, running on hills, a weak core… basically all things that were true for me. Thankfully, I know my body really well at this point and I caught the issue early. I felt a lot better once he adjusted me and did some heat therapy on the areas that were sensitive. Since then, I’ve had a little bit of the lower back pain and it seems to flare up if I don’t stretch and foam roll like I know I need to. I got a new pair of shoes and will continue to see my chiropractor. I know if I stay on top of it I’ll be fine.

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In other body news, I thought I was going to get my period back this month. I had some signs of ovulation about 3 weeks ago. Once you get used to tracking your ovulation it’s kind of impossible to ignore the signs of it. I also saw a little dip in my milk supply when I was pumping at work last week, which happened right before I would get my period each month after I had Kevin. Pumping in general has been going really well and I have still been able to pump more than what I need each day. My freezer stash is well over 700 ounces at this point. However, last week I was pumping about 2 ounces less than usual and it continued to decrease a little each day. But then I never ended up getting my period… weird! It could have also been because I had an extremely busy week and wasn’t very good about drinking enough water. We’ll see what happens.

Love my boys <3

Love my boys ❤

Finally, my hair loss is continuing and the hair I lost initially is starting to grow back. I have tons of baby hairs growing all over my head, but especially around my hairline – which is really attractive. I also really need a haircut. Since I’ve lost so much hair it’s looking thinner and it’s pretty long. I think if I cut it shorter it would look better overall. Now I just need to find the time to do it! One scary part of the hair loss is that my hair is now everywhere, including in all of our clothes when we do laundry. I guess some of my hair got into Kyler’s pajamas, and when I got him undressed for a bath I noticed it wrapped tightly around his toes. When I unwrapped it I realized it had cut into his skin. I felt terrible and it really freaked me out when I thought about what might have happened if I hadn’t caught it. I really need to keep a better eye on where my hair is going since it’s falling out so much.

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Mind

Last month I talked about how it was a tough month for me mentally and emotionally mostly due to work. I still had a super busy month, but I think I did better this month at not letting work stress get me down too much – especially once I got back home. Don’t get me wrong, I still had my fair share of late nights where I stayed up to get work stuff done, but I didn’t let it get me down as much as I did in September and October. I just did what I could and tried not to get overly stressed or emotional about how overwhelmed I felt. I think it helped that I knew I had some good holiday breaks coming up that I’d be able to spend with my family, and once we hit December things tend to slow down some. I’m very thankful for that, and I know my husband is too. He’s been doing SO MUCH at home to help since I’ve been so busy. I appreciate him so much.

Best daddy/husband ever!

Best daddy/husband ever!

On a positive note, we had a lot of great experiences that lifted me up and made me feel really happy. We celebrated Halloween and were able to do some of my favorite fall traditions, like visit Clark’s Farm where we’ve been going ever since Kevin was a month old.

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Kevin's last 4 years at Clark's Farm

Kevin’s last 4 years at Clark’s Farm

Kyler's first picture at Clark's

Kyler’s first picture at Clark’s

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I was able to get together with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while who also have babies around Kyler’s age, which was really nice. I also went to a few social events with my running buddies. My dad came to visit us for a few days (and brought me his treadmill since he’s downsizing and trying to move to a smaller house – woo hoo!). We were able to get a babysitter and celebrate our 4 year anniversary – one of our first dates since having Kyler – and it was so nice. We also had a nice little weekend getaway to Richmond when I ran the race. Overall, it was a great month, and I know it is all up from here now that I’m past the hardest part of the school year.

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Babies born January-May 2015!

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My local MRTT Chapter’s Birthday Party

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Dad’s special delivery

Celebrating our 4 year anniversary where we got married

Celebrating our 4 year anniversary where we got married

Kyler’s 6th month was definitely a memorable one. Since this post is late we’re already working on his 7th month – which has included Thanksgiving, starting solid foods, and more. I can’t believe it’s almost DECEMBER!! Until next month, I’ll leave you with this cute picture of my little family, and a baby with a mustache pacifier… because is there anything cuter? 🙂

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Previous Mom & Baby posts:

Richmond Half Marathon

A year ago, I was 14 weeks pregnant and in Richmond to support many of my friends who were running the full marathon, half marathon and 8K. I wasn’t officially running a race, but I was there to support my friends and run with Amanda for the last 8 miles of her marathon. While I was there I fell in love with the Richmond Marathon races, and I started dreaming about running the half the next year. I knew I would only be about 6 months postpartum, so I figured I’d run it for fun as a way to get back into longer distance racing. That changed a bit once I started realizing how well my training was going. I was hitting awesome new paces in speedwork and even on long runs. I felt strong and ready to test myself. I decided it was time to get rid of my half marathon PR that was set way back in 2011 – 1:48:55. I started training for not only a PR, but I was hopeful for a finish around 1:45:00. I had no idea if I was dreaming too big, but I figured it was worth a shot.

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Kevin and I took a half day at work and headed down to Richmond around 1:00. We were hoping to miss Friday traffic and thankfully we did. We arrived by 2:30 and went straight to our hotel to check-in. We couldn’t get a hotel downtown because they all booked up really fast, so we stayed about 8 miles away near the airport. It ended up working out great though, because it was cheaper, we had a suite style room, and we were right next to our friends Stephen and Laura who also have two kids. Score!

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After unpacking and feeding Kyler, we headed out to the expo. I picked up bibs for myself and Laura, and we spent some time wandering around. I love checking out the expo before a race – it makes me really excited and gets me even more pumped up to run.

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One of my favorite parts of the expo was a huge wall that had all of the runners names on it. Can you find mine? 🙂

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After the expo we went straight to dinner to meet our friends. Many people recommended a place called Joe’s Inn, so our whole crew (6 adults and 5 kids) arrived right around 4:45 and we were ordering by 5:00. We have all learned from experience that eating early the night before race is very necessary! Plus it’s just better with all of our kids schedules and bedtimes. We had a delicious meal and some good beer, and left feeling fueled and relaxed!

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Once we were back in our hotel and starting to wind down for the night, Laura and I set out all our race stuff to make sure we didn’t forget anything and to take a photo of our ‘flat’ selves. We went back and forth on what to wear, since the forecast said it would be in the 30s-40s and a little windy. We decided on shorts with compression sleeves and long sleeve shirts. We also had old shirts that we were planning to wear and then throw away once the race started to keep warm.

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Once everything was ready to go and the kids were asleep, I went to bed shortly after. I think I was in bed by 9:45ish, but I woke up quite a bit throughout the night. Kyler woke up to eat around 2 a.m. and I was restless until my alarm went off at 5. I got out of bed feeling really nervous. I hadn’t run a race where I was putting a significant amount of pressure on myself in a LONG time- it had been over a year due to pregnancy and the initial postpartum period. I almost forgot what it felt like! I got myself all ready and tried to eat my usual pre-long run/race breakfast [peanut butter and honey toast] as best I could, but it was hard to get down thanks to my nervous tummy. I also drank some coffee, which is always part of my pre-race routine!

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The kids both woke up shortly after, so we all hung out for a while before Laura and I needed to leave. I nursed Kyler at 6:00 and then we headed out around 6:20. My hubby volunteered to stay behind with all four kids (two 3 year olds, a 10 month old and an almost 6 month old… brave guy!), while Laura’s husband dropped us off near the start. Thankfully, it was a quick ride into the city, and we were able to hop out of the car and into the lobby of the Marriott by the starting line. We waited in the warmth for a bathroom, then went to meet some ladies in our local Moms Run This Town group before we had to get in our corral. It was great to see familiar faces and helped ease some of the nerves!

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By this point it was around 7:15 and Laura, Cynthia, Erin and myself needed to get into our corral with wave B, which was scheduled to start at 7:32. We gave each other quick pep talks and then Laura and I moved up to be near the 1:45 pace group. We both hoped to finish around 1:45, but were not planning to run together since we really wanted to run our own races and had slightly different strategies. My plan was to run around 8:00/mile. I needed an 8:18 pace or less to PR (my PR from 2011 was 1:48:55). I knew an 8:00 pace would feel comfortable for a while but I was concerned about maintaining that. My goal was to keep around that pace for as long as I could to push myself and see what I could do. Since I didn’t eat my whole breakfast, I decided to eat a half pack of Honey Stingers to make sure I started the race fueled. I also threw off my extra shirt, and got myself mentally ready to run.

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The race began right at 7:32 and we were off. For the first mile or so I stuck close to the 1:45 group, but I quickly became annoyed by how many people were clustered around the pacer and felt the need to get away. Once I did I was able to settle into my own rhythm at a comfortable pace. I tried to hold myself back and stay around an 8:00 pace but it was hard. I felt great and I wanted to go with it. I wasn’t sure if I would regret it later but I really wanted to finish this race knowing I gave it my all, so I decided not to be a slave to that pace and instead go with what felt good.

  • Mile 1 – 7:55
  • Mile 2 – 7:44
  • Mile 3 – 7:52

I kept Laura in my sights for a while and then around mile 3 we ran side by side for a little bit. We didn’t want to talk very much because we were really focused on not wasting energy. She started picking up the pace and I backed off a little. I knew she was going to finish ahead of me and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up.  I wanted to make sure that I ran my own race. I ate another half pack of Honey Stinger chews around the 30 minute mark and decided to continue with that, eating again at 1 hour and again and 1 hour 30 minutes.

  • Mile 4 – 7:49
  • Mile 5 – 7:56
  • Mile 6 – 7:54

I don’t have any pictures from the race itself because I didn’t want to expend any extra energy trying to mess with my phone, but shortly before the 6 mile mark we entered a park and it was gorgeous! I passed 10K in 48:50 (7:52 pace), which is actually faster than my current 10K PR from a few years ago. However, the park ended up taking a LOT out of me. Richmond is advertised as being a flat, fast race, and my experience running the last 8 miles of the marathon with Amanda last year verified that for me. What I didn’t get to experience last year was this park. It was hilly and the ground was made up of broken and cracked asphalt. I wasn’t expecting all the hills and they really broke my momentum in my stride and my breathing. My pace creeped up into the 8:00s during these miles, and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to recover well from that extra effort I expended during that part. I lost sight of Laura ahead of me, and the uneven terrain was bothering me. I felt like I had to focus really hard on how I was landing which was distracting. I couldn’t wait to exit the park and get back on the regular city/neighborhood roads.

  • Mile 7 – 7:56
  • Mile 8 – 8:13

After we exited the park a little before mile 8, I spent the next couple of miles focused on getting back into my rhythm. It was hard. I did get my pace back down a little but it stayed above 8:00. I also ate some more Stingers which helped boost my energy some. Even though my pace started creeping up, it was still easy to judge if I was staying under my goal of 8:00 average pace since it was an even number. For example, I knew I needed to be at or under 1:12:00 at mile 9 to still come in around 1:45, and then 1:20:00 at mile 10.  I continued to meet these goals (beating my current 15K and 10 mile PRs in the process!), but the nice cushion I had built up was closing. I started to wonder if I’d be able to keep it up. I was feeling it and ready to be done.

  • Mile 9 – 8:05
  • Mile 10 – 8:09

As I worked on mile 11, I kept having flashbacks to running this part of the course with Amanda last year as she finished her marathon. It made me smile and took my mind off everything. My feet were hurting a bit in the shoes I had gotten on Tuesday – Brooks Adrenalines I have worn for years but just didn’t give them enough time before racing in them – and I could feel myself getting a nice blister. Around this time the 1:45 pace group passed me, and I immediately felt myself getting my second wind. I was NOT letting them get too far ahead of me. I also passed the Penn State cheering tent (my alma mater!) and that boosted my adrenaline as well when I yelled “We are!” to them and they said “PENN STATE!” back to me.

  • Mile 11 – 8:19
  • Mile 12 – 8:07

I knew I was going to come in very close to 1:45 based on my watch and the math I was doing, so I tried my best to keep the pacers in sight. I saw a sign that said “only 3 turns left to the finish” I knew I was going to get it if I could just maintain my pace. I finally made the final turn onto 5th street and I saw the most incredible view of the best downhill finish, and I literally lost my breath for a minute. It felt amazing to run down that hill, like I was actually flying. I heard Kevin’s voice off to the side but couldn’t look over because I was all teary eyed and trying not to fall.

  • Mile 13 – 7:43
  • Last .10 – 6:42

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I crossed the finish line in 1:44:33, which is an average pace of 7:58/mile. I burst into tears as soon as I stopped. I was so happy and couldn’t believe I had just ran 13.1 miles at a sub-8:00 pace. I walked through the finish chute and collected my awesome swag (medal, hat, blanket), and tried to find Laura. We finally connected on the bridge and excitedly told each other about both of our huge PRs. She had finished in 1:42:33, which is a 14 minute PR for her (!!!). We were so happy to see all of our hard work and training together pay off.

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Our families came across the bridge and found us in the post-race area, and shortly after that we found Cynthia. She also had a HUGE PR of 6 minutes, finishing in 1:51! It was such an awesome racing day for all of us – and extra special for us too because we all had babies in 2015. Training alone is hard enough, let alone with an infant AND while breastfeeding, but we all did it. I’m so proud of us!

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This is the first race in a LONG time (years!!) where I truly have no regrets. I’m confident that I gave it all that I had and I’m so happy!

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After showers and some food, we all headed out to a local brewpub to celebrate before heading back home. Beer and fries never tasted so delicious!

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When I first started running I never would have dreamed that I could run 13.1 miles at a 7:58 pace. My last half marathon PR was set back in 2011, before any babies, and was 4 1/2 minutes slower. It feels so good to be getting stronger and it blows my mind what can be accomplished with a lot of hard work both physically and mentally.

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Also, aside from an awesome race experience, I love the Richmond Marathon for all the swag you get! A nice fleece blanket, hat, medal and I love, love, love the shirt!

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I plan to take this week nice and easy, and then MARATHON TRAINING begins!! BRING IT ON!

Mom & Baby: 5 Months

Another whirlwind month! I can’t believe it’s already over and my baby boy is now 5 months old, as of October 22nd. Here are all the details about what happened during this past month for mom & baby!

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Baby

My little baby boy is continuing to become not so little anymore! I don’t know what he weighs but he looks and feels bigger, and he’s wearing 6-9 month clothes already. He is a lot bigger than his brother was at this age, by a few pounds and inches! Because of this, I actually had to buy him some new clothes since Kevin was wearing those sizes during the summer, not the colder months. Despite the size difference, I do think they are starting to look more alike. Check out the comparison below of both Kevin and Kyler at 5 months. Similar yet different!

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During this past month we finally moved past the Wonder Week that felt never ending. We also finally got over a cold that seemed like it just kept going and going. Now that we’re on the other side, Kyler is back to his happy all the time, smiling self! This also means he’s sleeping better! Yay! He’s back to his long 7-9 hour stretches, eats around 3-4:30, and then he goes back down for a few more hours. He also naps twice a day. I am loving his sleep schedule!

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We’re still following the same feeding routine that I talked about last month. He eats 7 times a day: his first morning feeding is usually between 3 and 4:30 AM, and then I feed him again before he goes to daycare, around 6:30 AM. At daycare he gets three bottles (4 oz. each), at around 9:30, 12:30, and 3:30. Once we are home I feed him around 6:00 and 8:00 before he goes to bed. I am also still pumping before I go to bed, around 9:45-10:00. I know I could probably drop this, but it helps me wake up less full and adds to my freezer stash. At this point I have over 600 ounces frozen, which is insane to me. I’m afraid my supply will drop off completely like it did before when my period came back every month, so I’m happy to have a lot frozen. However, if everything ends up being fine with my supply I hope to be able to donate the milk somewhere.

Look how big both of my boys grew in the last 5 months!

Look how big both of my boys grew in the last 5 months!

We haven’t done any solids yet and he doesn’t really seem interested at this point. We started with Kevin at 5 1/2 months because he was grabbing at our food, making chewing motions when we ate, etc. but Kyler hasn’t done of those things. I am not worried about it because I’m not in a rush to introduce solids. It’s just so interesting how different two kids can be!

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He is discovering new things everyday lately too. First he discovered his hands, and he loved to hold them up in front of his face and look at them. Since then he’s gotten really good at picking things up, playing with toys, and putting them in his mouth constantly (and in my mouth too!). After that, he discovered his feet. He is totally infatuated with them. He usually studies them for a while, then slowly grabs one foot and brings it to his mouth. LOL! It’s so fun to watch him explore.

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I am starting to get glimpses of what it’s really going to be like to have two little boys. It’s crazy and so much fun, and Kyler isn’t even mobile yet! Eek! I need to watch out!

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Sitting on me while trying to stretch after a long run

Sitting on me while trying to stretch after a long run

All 3 of my boys

All 3 of my boys

Kyler adores his big brother so much. He’s always studying him and watching his every move. Kevin can make Kyler laugh like nobody else can. They definitely have a brotherly bond.

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Right when he turned 5 months, we started letting Kyler sit in his little seat for short periods of time during the day. At his 4 month well check, my pediatrician said to be cautious about using the seat until he’s stronger up top and not slouching. I noticed he was, so we tried the seat and he absolutely loved it. I like to put the tray on and give him some toys to play with. It’s like he is discovering a whole new world.

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Our daycare provider took some fall photos of the kids and then gave them us. I almost passed out at the cuteness! I didn’t even know they were doing them but I even dressed the boys alike, so it really worked out!

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Lastly, Kyler is SUCH a mama’s boy. He has been super attached and snuggly ever since he was born, but more now for some reason. It is really hard to get up and go to work when you have this face looking back at you!

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Body

I’m currently sitting at 132-133 pounds, so I am a few months away from my pre-pregnancy weight of 130. I don’t really care about my weight though, because I’m having so many other physical victories lately like fitting into my favorite pre-pregnancy jeans, and my running is going AMAZING! I’m feeling more and more like myself each day and it’s actually making me reevaluate my goals a little bit. More on that to come in another post!

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I forgot to take pictures last month, so my last ones were from about 3 months postpartum. I didn’t realize how much my body has changed until I compared my 1 month, 3 month & 5 month photos. Everything is thinning out, including my face, waist and hips.

PicMonkey Collage

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I blogged about the Wilson Bridge Half being cancelled and how my Moms Run This Town Running Group made our own race, which ended up being a ton of fun. I still feel cheated from that whole experience though, so I am MORE than ready to test my training at the Richmond Half Marathon in two weeks. This past month I worked hard on my speed, adding in a tempo run to my weekly routine and also adding strength training back in. I’m feeling good and getting stronger. It’s so exciting!

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My skin continues to be good and not-so-good, most likely fluctuating with my hormones. My period still has not returned, which is nice because it was back by now with Kevin. I’m still losing lots of hair. I can’t wait until the initial post-partum period ends. I think it was around 8 or 9 months last time.

Mind

This was another tough month for me mentally and emotionally. It actually had nothing to do with post-partum and having two kids, but more to do with work. The first couple months of school have been insanely stressful as I try to adjust to new responsibilities. Thankfully, I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It should start to get better soon! I don’t know what I would do without my husband. He’s been so amazingly supportive, and takes care of basically everything at home including cooking, cleaning, and more. He packs my lunch for me everyday, and lately he’s been writing me special and inspirational messages on my hard boiled eggs. He’s the sweetest!

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One good part of this month that was super refreshing and nice was getting to go to French Creek for a long weekend with my family and friends. I didn’t know how badly I needed that until we went! It was so nice to be with the people I love and disconnect from everything else for a few days.

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Another good part was that I celebrated my 29th birthday! I bought myself a great gift- signing up for the Myrtle Beach Marathon! Kevin spoiled me too, by getting me my favorite pumpkin beer, making a homemade cookie cake from scratch, and making tortilla soup for dinner. He’s the best!

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We have another exciting month coming up. We’re about to celebrate Halloween, and there are some fun events on the weekends including the Richmond Half Marathon on November 14th. It’s starting to cool down and we’re getting close to the holidays that I love: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, plus our anniversary in November. I love this time of year!

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It is hard to believe that the next update will be when Kyler is 6 months old! Ahhh! Don’t blink 😦

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