Best Damn Race- Orlando {Recap}

Also known as… the race where I PR’d and also flashed some dude my crotch. <–you read that right.

Saturday was the Best Damn Race – Orlando. There was a half, a 10K, a 5K, and a 10k/5K challenge. I ran the half.

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The name had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, it delivered. But, I’m ruining the story and getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the very beginning…

I feel like I signed up for this race forever ago. I wanted to be one the people who only had to pay like $5 to race. I don’t know who these lucky bitches are…but I logged on RIGHT AWAY (I was on maternity leave — it was THAT long ago) and was still more than 100 people out. Woomp woomp.

But that’s okay because I DID convince a few people to run this race with me. Most notably, my good friend Tracy, who had previously stuck with 5Ks and  triathlons — and my my friend Keith who just got back into this running game after running sprints in college. And of course, Paula was in from the start.

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I also know that my local bitches (love you guys), and a few Tampa ladies were all in — so even if it wasn’t the BEST damn race, it was going to be a pretty GOOD damn race.

I’ve learned over the years that in order for it to be a good race, I needed to ensure that I am stressing Paula out as little as possible. This involved leaving the house at 5:45….for a 7:15 race. At the time, I was like “DUDE”, but now that the race is over and there was a {spoiler alert} happy ending for all involved, I fully endorse a ridiculously early wake up.

I pulled myself out of bed at 4:45. It was not easy because for some reason I couldn’t go to sleep until midnight (and there was a 3am wakeup). Once I was up, I was fine. I got dressed, threw on a little makeup (mostly because it includes SPF and I don’t look dead to the world), brewed a cup of coffee, and then snuck in a quick nursing session with E. It was either that or pump – and I’d much rather nurse — and he barely woke up. After BFing, I drank my coffee, collected my thoughts, put all of my crap on me, and hit the road.

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Crap. FYI – look for a review on the handheld soon. Short recap is that I LOVED IT.

I amazed myself (and probably Paula), but actually leaving the house ON TIME. I got my friend Tracy at 6, and was at Paula’s by 6:20. We then headed downtown, parked without issue, and headed over to Lake Eola for the race start. We also hit up Panera on the way for a quick pre-race pee (it’s SO MUCH BETTER using a real bathroom) – and then headed to the start.

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Can you see my pores?

At the race start we met up with a million blogger friends and a few work friends as well. We nervously chatted for about 20 minutes and then lined up with a few minutes to spare.

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Picture stolen from Meghann

Paula and I commented that we had never been that close to the start of a race before (even at the Baldwin Half we were further away!)– and we were in line with the 2:00 hr pace group! It was really the perfect number of people to race with. Not too crowded, but still enough people to feel a little competitive.

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No idea that I’m about to flash a stranger in an hour or so.

So, the race…

I went into this running it for fun. At least 10 people asked me what my goal was, and I seriously didn’t have one. So my standard response was “To have fun.” I wasn’t feeling a PR. Really, I wasn’t. I got a pretty sweet PR in January and didn’t really expect anything better. I hadn’t done more than 6 miles outside since then (and the max I did was 8 on the treadmill), although I have been feeling really strong during my weekly early morning runs. And just… happy. Therefore the goal was to just have a happy run.

As I took off, I spotted Victoria, Meghann, Beka, and Carissa ahead of me. I knew that Victoria and Beka were gunning for a sub 1:55 and that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up, but I figured it would be fun to stick with them for a few miles. It was fun chatting with them – although I was actually pretty amazed that was possible because we were averaging an 8:30 pace. After about 3 miles, I Victoria, Beka, and Meghann pulled ahead – while Carissa and I ran at the same pace for a few more miles. We were both thinking “Why the hell are we running so fast??” There was no answer to that though – it just felt GOOD.

The Best Damn Race course was similar to OUC in some parts (same area, similar cobblestones that I wanted to punch), but not others. Probably the BEST part of the course was running around Lake Underhill at mile 5ish. It was just such a pretty day and the weather could NOT have been better. I swear there were birds sitting on my shoulders chirping — that’s how surreal this run was.

Around Mile 6.5 we started on the out-and-back part of the course. It was through an older, but pretty, residential area. It probably would have been boring and a little tedious (there were a lot of turn arounds – in fact there were something like 40 turns/corners in this race!!) if I didn’t know so many people running – but instead I got to see at least 5 people I knew and mentally high-five them. Mental high-fiving was fun. It was a pretty awesome pick me up – especially because everyone looked so damn happy.

There was one little blip in my run. At Mile 8 I had the urge to pee SO BADLY I couldn’t stand it. The only time I’ve ever had to pee during a race before was when I was pregnant, so this was SO bizarre. I decided that it was either pee myself or go to the porta potty – and when I saw the porta potta at Mile 8.25 I jumped in it (I was thankful there was no line!). Unfortunately, I did not do a great job of locking the door (I SWEAR I LOCKED IT) and while I was mid squat peeing, I dude opened it. Yes, I just wrote that. A DUDE OPEN THE DOOR and got an amazing crotch shot of me, MID PEE. (Are you visualizing this yet?)  I screamed.

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He yelped. I pulled the door shut. I didn’t look him in the face and I’m hoping he was ONLY looking at my face. Then I pulled myself together and got back on course. He wasn’t there when I jumped out (thankfully) and I just kept on running. What else can you do?

I lost about 2 minutes (and ALL of my dignity) in the porta potty, so I had a little catching up to do. I have to say I don’t normally run a sub 9:00 pace at mile 9 and 10 — but for some reason not only did I have no issue hitting that pace, but it felt good.

Around Mile 11, I got a text from Dan that B had gotten a double during his baseball game. I was so proud!! And forever reason it made me simulanteously tear up and speed up. Lol. Around this time I also noticed this dude running close to me. He kept creeping up (but not in an evading way) and then backing off, before he finally sprinted past me at Mile 12. He seemed super fit, so I was kind of impressed with myself for keeping up with him!

I have to say, I really enjoyed the last mile of the race. We ran straight down South Street (which is a slightly downhill stretch that I welcomed with open arms after running up hills on the cobblestone for the last mile) and then turned onto Rosalind and then turned onto Central for the finish. Right before the turn onto Central, I saw a co-worker (who is typically faster than me) and set my sights on catching him. About 400 meters from the finish I caught him and then managed to pass him (turns out he was hurting, so I tried not to rub it in).

And then I crossed the line and saw my time on my Garmin — 1:54:14. NO FREAKING WAY. My official time ended up being 1:54:12. The race was SLIGHTLY short, but eh, who cares. If this had been any other race where I jacked up my Garmin, I would have never known. Also, I would have PR’d even if it was long — so I’m rolling with it!

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I was kind of in a daze when I get my medal! I saw Beth (who was volunteering) and introduced myself (and also smacked her with my medal – sorry!). I was on a such a high, I probably looked and sounded like a delirious fangirl. (She was VERY sweet)

I then found Victoria, Beka, Meghann, and Amanda and heard all about their AMAZING races too! It was like PR after PR rolling in…. Paula, Katy, Tracy — who ran her first in 2:05 (amazing!!), and Keith who ran his at least 10 minutes faster than he anticipated. ALL PRs BABY!! We celebrated with beer — of chips and beer and lots of photos.  

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Then the guy from Mile 11 (turns out his name is Tyler) came up to me and introduced himself. He thanked me for pushing him to keep going. I thanked him as well – you’ve got to love a little friendly competition. This is reason 309438 that I love the running community!

After the drinks and food it was time to ring the PR Bell.

1:54:14 (unofficial) #bestdamnpr @bestdamnrace

It was a sweet, sweet moment!

It was especially sweet because this was  my last half marathon until October (I have a 10K and a 10-miler coming up this month and I’m hoping for MOAR PRs!!). What a DAMN GOOD WAY to end the 2013-2014 half marathon season!

So the verdict? This was THE BEST DAMN RACE.

E and Me {9 Months Postpartum}

I think the last update I did on E was 6 months… well, somehow it’s 3 months later.

It's hard to believe this happy, giggly guy is 9 months old today!

Pure joy

It’s pretty amazing how much a baby can change in 3 months. E is still my laid back, chill baby – don’t get me wrong – but he’s bigger, faster, smarter, and has opinions! Oh my.

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E had his 9-month checkup on Wednesday and he did what ALL of my kids have done starting around 9 months — he started dropping on the weight chart. He was in the 95th percentile — and he’s now in the 75th. I’d heard it with all of them at this age, “You should stop nursing as much and give them solids more.” With my first, I freaked out – and no matter what I did the percentile kept dropping. Both B and L were in the 20th percentile for weight when they were 2 — and are now both in the 50th. This time, instead of freaking, I nodded. He eats PLENTY and I’m not going to give up any breastfeeding session. I mean he still GAINED – he was up to 22lbs 6oz (from about 20.5lbs). And did he GROW. He is also still completely off the charts in height – coming in at 31 inches (that’s 2.25 inches in 3 months!). Sooo….yeah.

As for other stuff…

He’s sitting, he’s rolling, he smacking his hands on anything and everything (and laughing about it), he’s waving (particularly when prompted with hi or  bye), he’s says ‘da’ and ‘ma’ (and I’m fairly certain he says “ba bye”) and he is happy. Almost always. He loves giving kisses (it’s his newest trick) and loooooves the bath.

Curly.

Pretty sure he’s gonna have curly hair…

He also love, love, loves his brother and sister. He gets so excited to see them and prefers just hanging out with them. I hope it stays that way!

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However, he HATES getting strapped into his car seat. Thankfully, he’s easily distracted.

He usually only takes his paci when he's in his crib... It's that kind of Monday.

As far as milestones go — he’s NOT like his siblings at this age — he is not crawling, he’s not pulling up, and he’s not even creeping (rolling gets him where he wants to go).

Caught red handed. #cordlover4life

I can still get to cords. That’s all that counts.

He CAN stand holding on to something (the Dr. had me show him), so all is fine – and truthfully, I am NOT complaining! Like I said, he’s chill. He can roll if he wants something or — someone will get it FOR him. It doesn’t help that he is the size of an average 18 month old — his body is like “whatever dude.” I’ve seen him get on his knees and rock maybe once or two in the past few days, so I know it’s coming. And I always dread it. Can we just move onto walking? Crawling is gross. Everything within eye level is in the mouth.

Just chewing on my toes. Waiting on my flight.

But chewing on my toes is totally cool, mom.

One area that he’s excelling in is teeth – he has four teeth with more on the way. The bottom two teeth were a piece of cake. The top two teeth were a bitch.

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Teething makes him sad. And clingy.

Teething is pretty much the worst. But everyone knows that right? It’s too bad we need them to eat.

Boys.

What’s funny is that while he’s adding teeth — B is losing his. Ahhh… the circle of teeth.

As for sleep… well, he’s in his crib and wakes up about once a night. Of course, the nights he doesn’t wake up — I STILL wake up. So that’s fun.

Butts up.

I know I have to put an end to the wakeups at some point – but I don’t mind it at the moment. I feel like I hardly get to snuggle with him these days, and his 10 minute feeding in the middle of the night makes up for it a little bit. Also, I’m a sucker.

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Who can resist this face?

As far as health goes – I’d say he’s a pretty healthy kid. We’re had a few colds this “winter” but nothing crazy. He’s had some random stomach and constipation issues (I got to use a Q-tip for something I NEVER thought I would last month. Yay.)  - and when he gets congested it seems to turn into a mild croup cough (it’s happened twice now). He also has mild eczema that we remedy with a little coconut oil/aquaphor mix (put the coconut oil on first and then seal it with some Aquaphor so that the oil isn’t staining everyhing). It’s amazing how effective that mixture is!

As for me…

What can I say that I haven’t in months past? I’m still breastfeeding/pumping — and therefore down about 10-15lbs from my normal weight. I am doing my best to enjoy this calorie burn for 3 more months — because once I wean from the pump, I know the weight will return (a very healthy weight — that I am COMPLETELY happy with, ftr).

Truthfully, I still have my ups and downs. My biggest challenge is postpartum anxiety. I don’t experience it daily, but every now and then it creeps in. I’ll start stressing out about the most mundane things (and when E was sick— forget it) and drive everyone crazy with my thoughts and concerns. Sleeping helps – as does running. I really need to do more of both.

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I also need to get my HOME in order again. I feel like I’ve gotten back to “normal” in stages. First, it was work. Then it was working out, and now I’m in the stage where I need to focus on keep my house in order again. The most annoying thing? LAUNDRY. OMG, we have so much of it!!

Oh, and maybe I’ll actually go on a date with my husband again soon? I keep saying this is going to happen. Can somebody clone us so we have time??

So, in a nutshell – E is still happy, life is still crazy, and he’s now been here longer than he was “in there.”

Up close and personal.

And we couldn’t be happier!

Next up… planning his 1st birthday. So….does anyone want to plan it for me? :)

Postpartum Running – 9 Months

It’s incredibly hard for me to wrap my head around this, but Evan is 9 months old!

Not only is my baby sockless, but he's in a liquor store and excited to be surrounded by wine. Can you blame him? #winningatparenting

He also loves wine.

I’m pretty sure my pregnancy with him (which, was pretty damn quick) pales in comparison to how fast these past 9 months have flown.

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Hey remember when I looked like I was going to topple over all the time?

So how am I doing with running?

Well, I’m not necessarily back in marathon running shape, BUT I’m definitely back.

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I’m not trying to brag here (wait – when I say that, does it mean I am bragging??), but yeah I feel like I never took a running hiatus or had a baby. Woooo!

That said, it may sound cliche – but I truly believe that it takes 9 months for you to (mentally AND physically) prepare your body to have a baby, AND that it takes 9 months (at a MINIMUM) to truly feel like yourself again afterwards. There haven’t been any a-ha moments — no breakthroughs or life altering events. No, it’s just taken patience, work, and patience.

Jazz hands! (Thanks @hungryhealthymj for this photo!)

And jazz hands.

It also helps that Evan is now sleeping in his crib (HALLELUJAH!) and most nights he’s up once, if at all. (I wrote this last night – and of course, he was up twice)

It was so worth it to splurge on a video monitor this time around.

You know what this means? Morning running!

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Note the time.

I know it sounds crazy, but I have really missed waking up to run. Sure, it’s hard to get out of bed, but once I force myself to up, throw my shoes on, and head out the door — it’s worth it.

Right now, I’m aiming for 5 miles two times a week with a long run on Sundays – and I’m hoping to up it gradually before marathon training starts. This means I’m currently running between 15-20 miles a week and while it’s low, it’s more than I’ve been able to squeeze in for MORE than a year. So it’s something — AND it’s consistent.

I’m also trying to increase my treadmill tolerance. You crazy people who can run for miles and miles on a treadmill… I want to know your secrets!! So far I’m up to 6 miles.

Trying to build up my treadmill tolerance. I have a feeling I'll be putting a lot of miles on it for marathon training this summer.

Those were some LONG MILES.

Oh, and what was that… marathon training? Yes, Chicago IS happening (I signed on with a charity — more on that later) and I’m probably going to sign up for Space Coast this weekend, so get ready for posts where I complain about how hot it is and how much my body hurts. It’s coming. Get excited.

Before marathon training starts though I have at least two more races — Best Damn Race Orlando and the Winter Park Road Race 10K. I don’t have any goals for Best Damn Race – other than to take really awesome race photos (since I signed up early they are FREE!) and to have fun. I WOULD like to PR at the Winter Park Road Race though — and I think I can.

Now that I’m feeling back to my “old self” again… I’m not sure I’ll be doing anymore postpartum running updates. But who knows, maybe something will inspire me at around E’s first birthday. OMG, how is that less than 3 months away???

OUC Half Marathon: OUCh {Race Recap}

Half Marathon #15 is DONE.

Oh boy, that hurt. BUT Half #15 is DONE. #OUCHalf

This race was full of blunders, humidity, and hurt. It was both mentally elating and frustrating, which is also how I would describe running this entire year, so it’s fitting that this would be my last race in 2013.

But, let’s start at the very beginning…

I swear Evan KNOWS when I have to wake up early, because the kid was up a gazillion times that night. The last wakeup was at 4:20, which really sucked because I had my alarm set for 4:45. Good thing he’s so freaking cute.

The morning went as planned. I got up, got dressed (after trying on several shirts – I was still ‘meh’ about my outfit, but it worked), pumped, ate a Clif Bar, and headed out to get Paula. I got to her house around 6:10 and we were downtown and parked by 6:25. Yeah, local races with plenty of free parking right by the race start don’t suck.

After a porta-potty visit, we lined up. Like last year, it was a madhouse and we ended up WAY behind where we wanted to start because we couldn’t push up any further in the lineup. I really wanted to start at the 9:00/mile marker, but we were behind the 10:00+ marker.  I feel like if Track Shack wants this half marathon to grow every year (like it has) they are going to have to start assigning corrals.

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This was pretty much the same view behind us as well. We were same dab in the middle.

In any case, about 2.5 minutes after the start, I crossed the start line and I was off. And here’s where the blunders began…

Remember how I asked if anyone had a Garmin to borrow? Well, Victoria kindly volunteered one of hers – and I chose the the Forerunner 10 so that I could test it out. I THOUGHT I had figured out how to use it the night before, but it was evident during the race that I did not. It wasn’t until I was about a quarter mile in where I discovered I didn’t start it. Derp. So much for that.

Still, the first 3 miles ticked by. I started out slow thanks to the congestion and the Garmin, but quickly gained some speed. From what I could tell, I was averaging a 8:50-9:00 pace for miles 2 and 3. I kept telling myself not to push too hard, but those miles felt easy so I went with it. I know it’s not always a good half marathon race strategy, but I find if I go out fast I tend to do in the long run. I hit the 5K mark at 28:20 — a 9:07 pace.

By mile 5 I was loving life. That is typically my sweet spot and this race proved no differently. Around that time I started strategically planning when I was going to stop for water (and walk) and take a gel. I had decided NOT to bring my own water and just rely on the water stops — I now kind of regret that decision and it’s a decision I’ve regretted before — so maybe this time I’ll actually learn? The water stops were supposed to be about 1.5 miles apart — and  most of the time this was true. Except the 2-3 that were more like 2 miles apart. This wouldn’t have been an issue if I took water at every stop, but I decided to stop at every OTHER stop. Fail.

That said, the miles continued to tick by. I hit the 10K mark at 56:37 (9:06 pace). Despite the fact that it was getting warmer and it was SOOOOO humid I just felt better and better.

My next blunder occurred around mile 7 or 8… my right shoe was untied (despite double knotting my shoes). I quickly pulled off the side of the road to retie it (and tighten the left one as well). Unfortunately, I tied the right one TOO tight and it continued to hurt the rest of the run. FAIl. Again. Also, stopping and squatting down during the middle of race?? Not a great idea for my hip flexors apparently.

Still, I was able to get back into a faster pace and somehow hit the 15K mark at 1:25:34 (still a 9:06 pace). By mile 9.5 I thought that Victoria’s Garmin MIGHT really have magic PR juju (she PR’d the crap out her marathon last week!). I wasn’t on course to PR, but I was on course to sub-2. Which I wasn’t aiming for all (my goal was to knock 10 minutes off my Baldwin Park Half time).

And then things fell apart.

For starters, I missed a water stop. I mean, I didn’t miss seeing it – but for some reason they had Gatorade first and then water. I asked for water and they shouted, “It’s up there!” and so I kept running. And then I realized (after I passed the stop completely) by “up there” they meant “right next to me.” So, I turned around and ran back. For about 2 seconds I thought about just skipping the stop, but I haven’t had water in about 3 miles and I knew I needed it.

And then there were the hills. I know, I know – Orlando is flat! But I swear to you there were lots of mini hills those last three miles and they were brutal. Especially combined with the damn cobblestone we also have to deal with. I felt like around every corner was a hill. At some point I even shouted (probably getting some weird looks) ENOUGH WITH THE HILLS! Needless to say, this was not my favorite OUC Course (they change it every year due to city ordinance – so you never know what you’re going to get!).

So in the end… those last three miles killed me. I even thought “Why wouldn’t I want to run another marathon??” and “Why am I running this race??” It’s funny how quickly positive running endorphins can turn into negative ones. I knew I had missed my opportunity to sub-2 by mile 12, but I was still within my goal of shaving off those 10 minutes. So, I pressed on. I was determined NOT to walk and finish with a smile on my face.

After what felt like an eternity, I turned the corner onto Robinson St. — searching the crowd for Dan and the kids. At first I couldn’t see him and was worried that he didn’t make it in time — until I saw a beaming, chubby face being lifted into the air. There is really nothing better than seeing your very own cheerleading crew at the end of a race. Except perhaps crossing the finish line, which I did in 2:03:33. (9:21 pace)

I walked very, very slowly through the chute (I was hurting!) and finally caught up with my crew.

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About 2 minutes later I heard my name — and there was Katy!

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She totally rocked her race — and I can’t say I didn’t have little race envy.

We chatted for a little bit, waiting for Paula to finish.

Finishers! So happy @eatwatchrun and I ran into @kwidrick (who kicked major ass).

One things was for certain – despite the smiles in this picture we were ALL hurting.

We completely skipped the after party this year. I probably should have grabbed some ice and a beer, but instead, I dropped Paula back home and had breakfast at Keke’s….

Fun at Keke's! #betterthancoloring #starving

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We had to wait a little bit to eat,so it was more like lunch — but it was well worth the wait. I kind of forgot that post-race meals are FANTASTIC.

Despite hurting and having somewhat negative feelings towards toward this race there were a lot of race highlights…

  • Great parking! This year I parked in the garage behind the race and it was completely stress free and close to the start.
  • Amazing National Anthem. I’m not sure who sang, but she did a great job
  • Enthusiastic spectators. We ran through primarily residential areas and it’s always great to see people come out and cheer us on! I especially excited to see one of my book club friends out cheering with her three little girls (her husband ran it and came in 4th place! Wow!)
  • Great race signs – and the “Beer stop” at mile 11(ish?). I was very, very tempted to grab a red solo cup and chug. The guy next to me did and he managed to manage his pace the rest of the race.
  • Beautiful scenery and lots of shade and lakes. I think I said this last year too – Orlando is “The City Beautiful” for a reason.
  • Seeing friends during the course and at the finish! I ran into Kristina around mile 8 (literally), saw Katy at the finish, and I tried to meet up with Amanda too – but sadly that didn’t happen. Racing is always better with racing buddies!

While 2013 wasn’t the best year for me in terms of running – I’m happy to be in a place where I feel like I’m “bouncing back” after having Evan. This half marathon proved to me that I have some speed left in me and I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be GREAT year for racing. So in summary…. bring on 2014! I’m ready for some PRs.

E and Me {6 Months Postpartum}

Have I mentioned that Evan is 6 months old???

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Time is just flying and we have unbelievably hit the halfway point of E’s first year. And a what a SWEET 6 months it has been!

Stats:

Evan had his 6 months checkup last week and guess what? He’s still huge.

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My shirt is totally lying!!

He weighed in at 20.5 lbs (up 2 lbs from his 4-month checkup) and is 28.75 inches tall. He IS starting to thin out – a little bit — and now *only* the 90th percentile for weight. Ha. He’s still off the charts for height, which surprises me a little. Braeden and Livie are consistently in the 75th percentile for height, so is E going to be the tallest in this family? I guess time will tell!

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That’s more like it!

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As far clothes goes – he’s currently wearing 9-month and 12-month outfits (footed jammies are DEFINITELY 12 month), but the funny thing is, he’s still in a size 2 diaper (I’ve tried to move up to the 3s, but they are just too big!). He definitely still my little monster.

Milestones:

So much has happened in this past month!

E can roll over both ways (although sometimes he still gets stuck when he’s on his belly) and he can sit up for about 10-20 seconds unassisted. He pretty much WANTS to be sitting up all the time, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he masters that skill in the next few weeks.

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He’s also started dancing if we put on some music and a few weeks ago he started waving – particularly when you say hi or bye to him (we must wave to him a lot, lol). I haven’t captures this one on video yet, but it’s pretty adorable.

E has already learned that to survive in this family, you need to be heard. He likes to voices his opinion on things frequently :) He is a babbling machine and loves shrieking and babbling — ba and da sounds.

He’s nowhere close to crawling and I’m OK with that. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t start until around 9 months – but watch me eat my words!

Food:

We started him on solids around 5 months and have introduced a ton of fruits and vegetables since then. I’m mostly doing store bought purees at this point because it’s easy (and “easy” is key for this working mama!) but I also give him some of our food if he’s interested. He mostly plays with it/gags himself with it though, so we’re working on it.

He HAS mastered picking up puffs. His pincer grasp is pretty impressive!

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Temperament 

What can I say? This little dude is happy and chill about 95% of the time. I know I say it every month, but I really could not have asked for a more laid-back little guy.

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He doesn’t even mind headbands.

He likes checking out the action and being involved. I laugh at him every Monday at L’s dance class as he listens to this one group of women gossip. He is such a little eavesdropper!!

His favorite activities include giggling when you tickle him (he has several tickle spots), jumping in the jumperoo, chewing on anything (preferably Sophie or a hat), and of course, eating.

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FEED ME.

Sleep

We are still floundering in this area at night (he’s doing great with long naps!), but I expect it and I’m OK with it. We’ve taken a step back and he’s once again in the Rock n Play and swaddle – but this keeps him asleep longer than anything else at the moment. Part of the problem is that he LOVES to scratch. Not himself – but material. So if I don’t swaddle him, he’ll just lay there scratching the crap out of the crib mattress with his fingers. I was hoping this was a self-soothing thing – but, um, so far it’s not. He also has not 100% mastered rolling over in his crib, so he gets stuck and gets pissed. Granted, it’s a low key kind of pissed (he’ll roll over onto his belly and then get pissed off like 30 minutes later, lol), but it doesn’t help him when he’s trying to get back to sleep.

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Sometimes he’ll sleep on me, and I don’t mind :)

The Dr. asked us about it during his 6-month checkup and I was expecting a lecture. The beauty of having pediatrician who is ALSO a  mom, is that she didn’t lecture or even try to tell me to I needed to train him. Instead, she was more interested to see if he was going back to sleep (which he is, after I nurse him). We left it at — he could probably sleep through the night given his size, but it’s probably a little separation anxiety and he’ll grow out of it. And he’s my last baby… so I’m pretty going going to baby him! I would like him in his crib though…

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What’s a crib?

As for me…

Man, I’m feeling good! My clumsiness has not improved, nor has my sleep deprivation, but things have really settled down in the last month.

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It helps that my older two are no longer acting like such barbarians and that Evan is a little more independent. My hormones have also settled down a bit (yay!) and I have stopped losing as much hair. I also have a new hair color!

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I’m totally cutting it short after the holiday. I’m ready for a change!

Running seems to be going pretty well and I’m still keeping up with my strength training workouts as well. I’d like to get two in, but some weeks I’m happy with just one!

I feel like my body is finally “bouncing back” and I feel more toned than I did even last month. It helps that my belly button is SLOWLY becoming an innie again (Man, that took FOREVER). I can’t say that I’ve really been doing anything different – so it’s definitely one of those “all in due time.” kinda of things.

Doing a little cliff walking before we head home!

I just survived my first postpartum work trip and it went better than I expected. I missed Evan especially, but I’m THANKFUL for FaceTime!

Pumping for 3 days straight SUUUUUCKED, but it’s worth it and I was able to find pumping accommodations wherever I went without having to provide a big explanation. I ended up not saving my milk, which was a total bummer. I probably pumped close to 100oz and all but about 20oz of it was wasted. Woomp woomp. Katie actually gave me some great tips on how to save it, but the logistics didn’t work out. It’s looking like I will be traveling again in January and I’m hoping to be a little more proactive about saving it.

Like I said, I’d love a little more sleep (even during my work trip my sleep was disrupted — I got up to pump in the middle of the night), but until then – I’m enjoying the snuggles.

A lot of people ask me how it’s been adjusting to three kids – and while I’m NOT going to tell you it’s been a walk in the park, the hardest adjustment was STILL going from zero to one baby. Maybe it’s because my kids are spaced out (3 years and 4 years) or maybe it’s because I took a more casual approach to returning to work (I’m back to 40 hours on Dec. 2nd — I’ve been working 32 hours a week since July), but for whatever reason it’s not AS hard as I was anticipating. Would I be able to handle 3 kids, 2 years apart like my parents?? Nope, probably not. Lol.

The past 6 months have been full of ups and downs, but I can definitely tell you that my family has never felt more complete. Evan fulfills something in our family we never realized we were missing. And truthfully, I am just enjoying his babyhood so much – I wish I could bottle it up forever!

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But, since it won’t, I’m really trying to make a pointed effort to just enjoy everything. Every smile. Every cuddle. Even if it means he’s refusing to nap or go to sleep or fussing — these days are just so fleeting. It’s funny how with Braeden I really couldn’t WAIT until the next phase… and with Evan I wish each day could just last a little longer.

He thinks I'm hilarious.

So, here’s to 6 months my little monster! I can only hope that the next 6 months are just a joyful.