A slightly snowy, slightly bloody run

I didn’t have a lot of time to run today because of [blah, blah, blah, insert boring parental stuff here]. I decided to just run a quick route through my neighborhood to get to the local HS cross country course. When the time came to turn right to go to the school or left, I chose left. There is a park nearby with some “nature trails” I wanted to check out. I had taken the kids there a couple of months ago and it seemed like I should be able to string together something. It was snowing out so it seemed like a good time to explore.

It was 3/4 of a mile to the park and I hopped onto the trail and headed clockwise. Things were going well for a while and then the trail abruptly ended. I realized I missed an overgrown turn. I got back on trail and then ended up near a baseball field. I saw what looked like another entrance to a trail, but I think it was just used by critters. I got a few yards in and couldn’t go any further. I turned around and followed the ball fields until I came to the opposite side of the entrance and picked up the trail there. I got to the point where I had stopped when I had the kids. We had stopped because it was grown over. Being alone, I figured I’d give it a try. Not my smartest move. It was super thorny. I pushed through until I ended up in a field again. I found the “correct” section of the trail and ran on that back to the entrance. By the time I got home I had a measly 3 miles but lots of scratches to show for it.26804571_10215187518865427_2902290771241573959_n

It looked worse than it was. And it was nowhere near as bad as the last time I did something like this. Last time I got stuck in a huge bunch of thorns and came home with a ton of them still in my skin. I had to have my husband dig a whole bunch of them out with tweezers. That was not the case today, so I count it successful! I also know what NOT to do, and can find my way through a nice little loop. It’s not like my old 10K route at the old house, but it gets me off the pavement for at least a little bit.


Where has the time gone?

I can’t believe how long it’s been seen I’ve written here. I can’t begin to recap everything that has happened, so I won’t even try. Let me just tell you the short story: we had our baby girl, she’s now 16 months old and we moved out of the condo and into a single family home. Here’s a a picture of the kids from Christmas in front of the awesome fireplace in our new digs.


In other news, I reentered the ultra world back in October with the Blues Cruise 50K. That was the first ultra I ever ran back in 2009 and since it was close to home, I figured I’d give it another go. It went well even though I wasn’t all that well trained and had to stop twice to nurse my daughter. Yay motherhood!!

I just got accepted into the Massanutten 100 which will take place in mid-May. I’m behind in my training so I’m trying to get some good, quality workouts scheduled. This morning my friend and I ran some hill repeats at a local park with a 20 pound vest. That was new to me and wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. We’re going to make that a regular thing, I think.

I’m definitely going to try to pop in here more, especially as I get back into training. Talk to you soon!


This weekend . . .

There are weekends that simply kick your ass and leave you exhausted. This was one of them.

It all started on Friday. I was working (my part time job), but my boss is excellent and is also one of my best friends, so it is hardly like it’s work. We didn’t get together until 8:30pm, and I didn’t get home until midnight. We had a great time of laughter and work. I had tons of energy for some reason, which led to me having a hard time falling and staying asleep!

The two of us reconvened on Saturday morning for a 3.5 mile trail run on the mountain behind my house. I’m still getting out on flat, easy stuff and am loving it. We had an unusually cool morning with a beautiful breeze. It was truly perfect running weather. We found a baby turtle, no bigger than a quarter, in the middle of the trail and barely managed to miss stepping on it. We got him off the trail so he didn’t get squished. After the run we hit up on of my favorite spots in Harrisburg, Mellow Minded Cafe, for coffee. Coffee turned into quinoa pancakes (Ve & GF), tempeh bacon and fresh fruit.

Yum, right??

After that, I had to hustle home to get showered and dressed for our baby shower. This was the second one that was thrown in our honor, and this one was hosted by my family. It was held at my dad’s fiancee’s house, which is wonderful and was perfect for such an occasion. My cousins and aunt put together a really beautiful day that was perfectly complemented by the gorgeous weather. It was a really special time with family and friends. We received lots of wonderful gifts, but the most special thing I received won’t be used to clothe or feed the baby. No one at the shower saw it because my cousin had my husband give it to me after we left.


Here’s a closer look at the photo.


I’d never seen this photo before. That’s me and my mom. Isn’t it wonderful? My cousin found it in her mother’s wedding album and they decided I could have it. I was speechless and shed some tears. I love it so much.

One of the fun things we did was take guesses from our guests regarding the baby’s name, delivery date, length and weight. We already have the name picked out, but haven’t told anyone. It’s fun to check out the guesses. My brother would be the one who predicted I’ll have a 13 lb baby. I sure hope not, but my maternal grandmother was allegedly that weight at birth, so I guess it’s possible!


After we got home we all went for a walk with Little Dude on his bike. By the time we got home from that, I was beat. I felt like my midsection had been beaten and bruised. I took a spot on the couch and didn’t really leave it the rest of the night.

All of a sudden it was Sunday morning. I was still tired, but rolled out of bed to meet my dear friend Anne for a trail run on the other side of “my” mountain. I knew it would turn out to be more of a hike, but I really wanted to see a particular section of the trail again and knew it would probably be the last time I’d be up for it. We did hike quite a bit of the route, but it was fine. We had beautiful weather again and had a great time. The uphill gave me a hard time, but the steeper downhill was equally difficult. Gravity was pulling on my belly with every step so I ended up walking that part. All in all, though, it was great.

We went to church and then back home for another walk and to prep some food for a campfire event as part of our faith community (my part time job). We got to the campfire around 5pm and our son was GONE. He found the kids and was running around, playing with sticks, tubing in the creek, practicing cartwheels . . . it makes me tired just to think about it. Meanwhile, we socialized and ate a yummy dinner. We stayed well into the evening and enjoyed some fireworks. (If you’re not from PA, you might not think that’s a big deal. But if you live here, you know that you can’t get much more than sparklers here, so having a friend who brings fireworks to a party is pretty exciting.)

We got to bed super late again, and all of a sudden it was time to get up and head out again. Why do we keep doing this?  Today we were off to a trail run on the Appalachian Trail in Boiling Springs. Our running group’s founder and “coach” celebrates his birthday, and America’s, with a trail run every year on the 4th. We hung out afterwards for some snacks and socializing and then headed home. We just wrapped up a cookout with our neighbors and now I’m writing this. Whew!!

Our trip to New York City

We decided to take one last little trip as a family of 3. We had promised Little Dude for quite some time that we would take him to “the dinosaur museum”, and finally got around to doing so.

First time in the Lincoln Tunnel

We drove to Lyndhurst, NJ, where we were staying the night, and caught a bus to the Port Authority. Little Dude and I had never been on public buses in the US, so this was a new experience for both of us. He was most impressed by how high up we were. It’s the little things. From there we boarded the subway and took that to the vicinity of Battery Park. Thankfully we had all agreed to take the Bob stroller, because by the time we got within view of Lady Liberty, LD was passed out. Out cold. We tried to wake him up, but really only got him up and out with the promise of a snack. All 3 of us thought Battery Park would give us a  closer view of the statue, so we were a little disappointed by that. But it was a beautiful day and there was a lovely breeze, so we stood there for a while and watched the boats come and go. And then LD was DONE. We headed to Terri’s (for me) and Au Bon Pain (for them) for lunch. And again he was DONE.


From there we subwayed back to the 50th street station and headed to Rockefeller Center. LD was out cold once again by the time we got there. We wandered around for a bit and then decided to take advantage of his nap and walk through St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I was there years and years ago, but it’s been renovated since then and is simply gorgeous. I spent a good bit of time reading each of the plaques about the various saints and artifacts. It takes your breath away.

By then Little Dude needed to run around. We took him to Central Park and stopped for a minute to sit on a bench near a flock of pigeons.


LD was mesmerized. He couldn’t get enough of those birds. We had to PRY him away. But then he saw the rocks. And he decided that he had to climb every rock we saw. He’s never been very adventurous, so this surprised me, but what surprised me even more was how well he did on them. He climbed them as if he did so all the time. We spent a good bit of time at the various rocks, then at the carousel, and finally at one of the many playgrounds. He was good and tired.

From there we went back to the bus station and painfully navigated that system, and finally found ourselves back at the hotel. We stayed at a Quality Inn. It was what you’d expect. But LD thought it was the best thing ever.


He LOVES hotels. He willingly goes to bed because he thinks the beds in them are awesome. He was so excited to get there and swim in the pool, so we decided to put off dinner. After playing in the pool for about 45 minutes, we went to dinner. We weren’t in the best area for food, and ended up at a PF Chang’s. I have to say that it was a miserable experience. Our service was SOOOOOO slow. we got there around 8:45pm and didn’t get out until nearly 11pm.

Day 2 came quickly. We decided to drive into the city this time, and it ended up being a super smart choice. I think it cost us $5 more in the end but it saved us sooooo much time. Our destination was the American Museum of Natural History, so we parked in their garage. We got there just before 11am, and S predicted LD wouldn’t last very long. Boy was he wrong. This kid was in his element. He loves animals so much. He’s obsessed with the PBS show Wild Kratts, and has memorized soooo many facts about lots of animals- ones I know nothing about. There were times when I thought his poor head was going to explode. He was desperate to find the dodo bird skeleton and wanted his picture taken with it. (Excuse the poor photo; it was the only way to actually capture the skeleton. If I used the flash to get him in the photo, I lost the skeleton.)


This is him schooling S about the differences between a cheetah and a leopard. He was so intense. Note the finger.


He went on and on and on about the differences between alligators and crocodiles. He ran to one, spouted off a fact, to the other, spouted off another fact, and then repeated the cycle over and over. He was just so excited. It was so adorable. I wish I had video of that, but we were just enjoying it too much.

Collectively, our favorite floor was 4, which has all of the dinosaur skeletons. It had the coolest thing I’ve ever seen: the titanosaur. Whoa. Just whoa. This thing was ginormous.


Yay for panorama setting!!

We spent about 4 hours and 20 minutes at the museum and I felt like we RAN through it. We didn’t even do any of the special exhibits. I would totally go back there. Oh – and by the way, if you plan a visit there, know that it’s a pay-as-you-wish museum. They ask that you pay the suggested rate if you are able, but if you can’t, you pay what you can.

After the museum, we hit up a little hole in the wall sushi place. The waiter gave LD some training chopsticks and he demolished 2 veggie rolls. It was a fantastic little place with delicious food and prices that were super wallet friendly. Afterwards we treated him to an ice cream cone from one of the trucks outside Central Park.

We really had to get going, but he really wanted to climb more rocks in Central Park. We gave him a half hour, and he got some good climbing in! This particular one freaked this momma out a bit (though it doesn’t look so bad in pictures), but S stayed right behind him the whole time. He was a cool, confident climber. His uncle is going to have a blast taking him climbing over the next few years!

We had so much fun and promised LD that we’d go back some day when Avocado is big enough. But honestly, all this kid needs is a hotel with a pool and some rocks to climb on. He’s pretty easy to please!

Updates all around

Well crap. I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since I updated this blog. No . . . that’s a lie . .  . I can totally believe it. It’s been nuts for me lately, and I kept sitting down with the intention to write a blog but then something else would come up and I couldn’t do it. So let me give the rundown.


I entered the 3rd trimester (28 weeks) on Thursday. I was extremely nauseous during my first trimester, and everyone assured me the second would be drastically better. I had two cousins who were sick pretty much the whole time, so I knew that wasn’t a guarantee. From weeks 15 – 22 I felt halfway decent. I was suuuuper tired and was taking lots of naps (which I hate), but I wasn’t sick, so that was good. I did have a good bit of acid reflux, but I’ve dealt with that a lot even before pregnancy so it wasn’t something I couldn’t handle. I had aches and pains, bleeding gums, weird cysts on my gums, and a few other weird side effects, but nothing that was too bad.

During week 22, I started experiencing excruciating pain in my chest, near the base of my sternum. When laying down, I felt like someone was trying to saw me open from the inside with a red-hot saw. It was awful at times. Thankfully the most intense pain was fleeting, but there was a longer lasting, less intense one that stayed around for the better part of a few weeks. The doctor said it wasn’t my gall bladder, which was their initial concern, and that I probably just tweaked a muscle at the gym. I don’t quite buy that answer – because no matter what I do, I can’t MAKE it hurt – but I don’t have another one. I’ve dealt with it off and on for the last 5 weeks, and it’s at the point now where it’s not much more than an annoyance. At times, though, it’s accompanied by some nasty nausea, so that stinks.

Speaking of nausea, that came back around the end of week 22 as well. At first it was just for a few hours, during the afternoon. Then it was late morning AND the afternoon. It got to the point of being pretty intense and with me 24/7. I dealt with the 24/7 crap for a week or so, but then just had enough. I was so tired and so nauseous and felt like a failure of a parent to my 5 year old, so I called the doctor again. I had bloodwork done to rule a few things out and ended up on Promethazine. It helped, but the side effect waaaaaas . . . . .sleepiness! So I was even more tired than before. Ugh. I ended up at the doctor AGAIN on the first day of the 3rd trimester because the baby really wasn’t moving very much and they wanted to check on her. They said that her reduced activity was likely related to me not eating or drinking “enough”, so I once again explained the nausea and lack of appetite. The doctor I saw that day put me on a fairly new medication that’s JUST for nausea during pregnancy. IT’S A MIRACLE!! I feel good now and actually have a bit of an appetite. It’s amazing!! I think I’m finally at a good point . . . just in time to get super big and uncomfortable during the heat of summer! YAY!

With 2 of the 3 girls who hosted our baby shower yesterday.


Both my dad and my brother got engaged in the last 6 weeks. My dad and his fiancee are getting married in less than 3 weeks, and my brother and his fiancee (one of my oldest friends in the world, no less) are trying to nail down a date for theirs. Both women are great, and I’m really happy to be adding them to our family.


I took on a part-time job at the beginning of the month. One of my dearest friends in the world was ordained as a Lutheran pastor and is leading a new faith community that meets outside of the traditional church building and tries to appeal to folks who have left the church and/or don’t feel welcomed by it. It’s a pretty cool concept, and our family has been part of the community for much of the last year, in addition to our regular church family. When she accepted her call she decided she needed an assistant and ended up hiring me! It’s a great gig: I am doing something I really enjoy with someone I respect and admire and can work from home for 10-15 hours per week. It’s really perfect!


We are trying to raise the money we need to break ground for Hope Academy in Guatemala asap – ideally this fall. This means that there is a lot of work to be done here on the fundraising side, as well as all of the other work we do. I’ve been working a good bit of hours per week to help accomplish this goal. Again, I’m doing something I love with that same respected and admired friend, so I can’t complain!


A pre-5K photo with Little Dude . . . and what looks like an attitude.

I’ve still been running, but it’s been very erratic. I was doing pretty well at getting in 3-4 runs per week of 3-6 miles, but the last couple of weeks were hard with all of the nausea. S and I did run a 5K in early June and that went well. I finished in 30:02:59 despite a bathroom break and actually stopping for some water. (I’ve never stopped for water in anything under a half, but it was warm and humid and the baby wanted some.) I got in an easy trail run last Sunday with my friend. It was her first ever trail run, so it was perfect timing. The trails felt GREAT – much better than pavement. I won’t do trails alone, though, at this point, nor will I do any that are in any way rocky. I need to stick to smooth, easy stuff right now! Now that I’m feeling better I’m hoping to get back out a few times per week, in addition to my twice weekly strength training workouts. Those are so NOT intense – nothing like the old days -but they are getting my muscles to do a little bit of work, and that’s a good thing. I’ve been happy with the level of activity I’ve been able to keep up. I was hoping for a little more but fearful of a lot less. I’ll take it.

Home life

I cannot get this house clean to save my life. As soon as I clean one area, the 5 year old tornado blows through. Dusting has gone by the wayside, but that’s optional anyway, right?? I got Little Dude’s new room painted and got his furniture moved in. We have to assemble his new dresser and hang some stuff on the walls, but he’s in it and loves it. It’s yellow and will soon be covered in superheroes. Little Avocado’s room is next up, and then after that we have some minor fix-ups to do here and there. It’s never ending!

My little bandit garden is doing well. In my 8′ X 16″ plot of crappy dirt I have 1 cherry tomato plant, 5 kale plants, 2 jalapenos, and 2 pepperoncinis. I planted some marigolds alongside of them to hopefully keep pests away since my kale was eaten 2 of the last 3 years. So far, so good! In pots I have cilantro, 2 strawberry plants, Italian basil, Thai basil and rosemary. I also planted a heliotrope in the hopes that it will attract butterflies. I tried finding some lavender but haven’t had success yet. Everything is doing well. I don’t have the best luck with growing stuff, so my fingers are pretty much permanently crossed.

I really need to get my homeschool s*** together so we can start kindergarten. I am going to start asap and do as much as I can so I can take some weeks off when the baby comes.

S has been super busy with work, and is preparing to go to Poland to work with World Youth Day, specifically with the Pope. They are going to be live-streaming the Pope’s final mass there in 360 degree video.

So that’s life in a nutshell right now. Whew, I’m tired. Good night!