Browsed by
Month: March 2017

Mama’s half marathon – 9 weeks until race day

Mama’s half marathon – 9 weeks until race day

Well folks, we did it.  Adam and I have just registered for the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon.  Yikes! …I mean, yahoo!  

We have been talking about doing it for a few weeks and even pulled up the website to look at the registration form but hadn’t yet filled in the information and clicked submit.  For Adam, it was a matter of paying the registration fee x 2 that was holding him back. For me, to be honest, I think deep down I was hoping the race would sell out and then I could say “well, I tried!”  After a night out with friends on Saturday and talking about all of the people we know that have already signed up, it was enough to seal the deal and we were officially registered racers by 9am the next morning.

We are less than 9 weeks from race day.

Later that same day, Adam took Clyde out to run some errands so I decided to kick off my training and jump on the treadmill. I nursed Jude, had a light snack, got into my running gear, set up my music and water bottle, put Jude in the Jolly Jumper, laced up my shoes and stepped onto the treadmill – feeling like a boss, I might add.  Some would argue that I had already completed a workout just getting to that point (with which I wouldn’t disagree) but I was ready to run.  I pressed ‘start’ but the treadmill didn’t move.  I turned the power switch off then on again and still no movement.

That’s when it happened.

I looked down and noticed that the ‘safety key’ was missing.  If you are not a treadmill runner, this‘safety key’ is meant to be clipped to the runner so that if you are falling behind, the clip will detach and the treadmill will shut off.  It will not start again until the key is clipped back into place.  You can see my issue.  Memories of Clyde racing around the basement with a clip and a string flooded my mind.  I scanned the obvious places with no luck.  I called Adam and he confirmed that just days prior, he remembers seeing Clyde playing with this piece from the treadmill.  He put the phone on speakerphone so that Clyde could hear me and I asked “Clyde, do you know where the clip for the treadmill is?” ……… “No.”

By this time, Jude had had enough of the Jolly Jumper and my window of free time had come to a close.

Adam and I spent the next 24 hours looking for this safety key only to find it at the bottom of a small bag of ‘treasures’ that Clyde stashed in Jude’s room.  Needless to say, it has now been given a home out of reach from small hands and only to be used when an adult is on the treadmill.

In the midst all of this, I realized that this 9-week journey to race day is going to be an adventure that should be documented.  Tune in over the next few weeks to read my progress reports on running, food, race day prep and my sanity.

Next Wednesday I will share my goals for the race and my training plan to achieve them!

Anyone else have a race day coming up?

Saturday Sprint

Saturday Sprint

Happy Saturday, gang!

This weekly re-cap post has me feeling lots of feels… I’m enjoying the time to consciously look back on what we were up to but it’s a little startling how quickly the time is passing. Fortunately, this week went by at a much slower pace than last week. (If you missed the re-cap of our wild March break week it’s here.)

On Monday, I kicked things off with a trip to Kindergym at one of our amazing Community Centres.  I very rarely go out to something like this without calling on an army of Mom’s with fellow toddlers but after all of the socializing we did over March break, it felt like going on our own was the right thing to do.  From the smiles below, I think you’ll see that the kids agreed.  It felt so great to sit with Jude while Clyde zipped around on the plasma car – and then to put Jude up in a wrap and chase Clyde from one end to the other.  I so look forward to the social time with my Mom friends at these outings but investing in the kids this time was exactly what we needed.

On the same trend, we also spent some time with Dad!  Hooray!  Working in Recreation means times like March break are busy at work so we were overdue for some after work hangs with Super Dad.

Photo credit on the right to friends that joined us for a walk to the one and only Wes’ Chips!

To counteract the fries, I will offer you the details behind a delicious vegetable dish.  Disclaimer: you can join me on my journey to ignore that these are cooked in butter and cheese thus making them no longer healthy or you can embrace that you’re eating vegetable candy – either way, get yourself some green beans, an onion, butter and parmesan cheese.

Step 1: Make la piece de resistance: the onions.  Recipe here.
Step 2: Melt a generous amount of butter in a pan and sauté the beans.
Step 3: Once sautéed, add parmesan cheese to your liking.
Step 4: Add prepared onions and toss it all together.
Serve immediately (doesn’t reheat well).

Yesterday it was Spring (for a day) and I’m so glad we made the best of it by getting outside on Clyde’s balance bike.  This little bike is a hand-me-down from my cousin and we are so grateful to have it.  Clyde is finally tall enough for his feet to touch.  In the hour that we spent outside with it yesterday, he was getting to be like an old pro hopping on and off by himself and pulling over to the side of the road for cars and buses.  He hasn’t quite figured out the push and glide feature yet but I know it won’t be long until he does and then I’ll be chasing him up and down the street until the first snowfall of 2018.  Godspeed little buddy!

Indoor play is also full of adventure these days as Jude gets to be more interactive.  He is now able to participate in the “hiding” portion of our forever favourite game “hide and seek.”  Clyde picks a spot, I’m to hide Jude with him and then go count and look for them.  Here is a picture of their sneaky spot under the coffee table.

Lastly, some pictures from our family outing (minus Super Dad but plus grandparents!) to Temples last weekend for pancakes and fresh maple syrup.  If you missed the recipe for gingerbread pancakes you should 100% check it out.  We have eaten them every day this week!

 

iCloud: Our Modern Day Baby Book

iCloud: Our Modern Day Baby Book

I know, I know…what even is the Cloud?  If you have even one Apple device, stick with me.  It’s really not that complicated and the end result is an amazing modern day baby book.

On the day Clyde was born, Adam set up an iCloud photo album titled “Clyde Martin O’Rourke” and loaded the first few pictures after his arrival.  This was the first picture that went up less than two hours after he was born.  Since that day, we have posted 1,970 pictures and 232 videos of our little man.  Following suit for baby brother, an album titled “Jude Joseph Robert O’Rourke” was set up on the day that he was born and to date has 628 pictures and 55 videos.

What started out as a simple place to store photos for the kids’ baby book has now become one of our most treasured keepsakes.  Adam and I both admit to scrolling back to the beginning of their photo albums if we’re waiting somewhere with time to burn and scanning the pictures from then to now.  It’s almost like watching one of those flip animations of them growing into the amazing person that they are today.  Below are the first and most current pictures of their sweet faces in their respective albums:

The plan was always to use the pictures from these albums to create a hard copy photo book of their first year.  Nearing Clyde’s first birthday, I did start to assemble some pictures but quickly realized that a virtual baby book won the prize:

– It’s free!
– I can include videos.
– I have it with me wherever I go.
– I don’t have to stop at 1 – somehow they just keep getting cuter…amiright?
– There’s no risk of pages getting ripped (by toddler’s that love to see pictures of themselves).
– I don’t have to store it…and dust it.
– Pictures are date and time stamped to help with marking milestones.

Have I converted you yet?

The best part is that the benefits of having a virtual baby book don’t stop with Mom and Dad.  Anyone in your family or circle of friends that has an Apple device (and if not, see step 7 below) can get in on the action of your growing child(ren)!  The admin for the album (in our case, Adam) sends an invitation by phone number or e-mail address to give access to the shared album.  Anyone that’s a member of the album can get a notification when a new picture or video is posted and can like and/or comment – much like having your own personal Facebook!  Except in this case, the quality of your pictures and videos are maintained unlike loading and storing your pictures on social media which holds the lowest possible quality of your file.

We also use this method of sharing pictures between friends and family for camping weekends, weddings, trips etc.

Are you ready to start your own shared iCloud account?

Step 1: Open your ‘Photos’ app on your phone

Step 2: Along the bottom, click on the icon “Shared”

Step 3: In the top left corner, click on the “+” icon to add an album

Step 4: Name your album

Step 5: Invite people to share your album by phone number or e-mail address

Step 6: You’re set up!  Add photos and enjoy.

Step 7: To share with non-Apple users: open your shared album, click on “People” on the bottom, scroll down to find “share link.”  This gives you a link to the album that can be sent via e-mail or text message and opens into a web browser.

Years ago, Adam and I were perusing iPad accessories at a tech store in Barrie and the salesperson asked us if we were part of the ‘Apple eco-system.’  We had never heard the term before and laughed about it on the drive home.  Little did we know, it wouldn’t be long before we were in fact fully submersed in the Apple eco-system and loving every minute of it.  Any fellow Apple fans following along?

Saturday errrrr Sunday Sprint

Saturday errrrr Sunday Sprint

This week was a wild one!  Filled with all good things but it is Saturday night at 7:30pm and I am sitting down by myself for what feels like the first time to catch my breath.  Hence why this week’s edition of the Saturday Sprint is brought to you by Sunday.  I feel like weekends are the place for grace though, don’t you?  On Friday you can write yourself the most ambitious to do list for the next day knowing deep down that there is still a bonus day to follow if it doesn’t all get done.  This seems to be where I live these days – on the bonus days, and the bonus time.  Who’s with me?!

On Wednesday, I taught a Physical Literacy course with Canadian Sport for Life.  It was all-consuming for the first half of my week as I practiced and stressed about presenting (in french) but in the end, it always feels good to do it.  As per usual, my bottle striker joined me for the afternoon and thanks to the GoPod and baby wearing, he was the perfect baby.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be influencing the sport community – even if these workshops are just a drop in the bucket.  Canadian Sport for Life is spearheading very exciting changes for sport with Physical Literacy and Long Term Athlete Development.  Some great information and resources for parents here and here!

The second half of our week was full of play dates with friends from near and far!

Also this week, my Mom joined us for story time!  The librarians announced last week that the story for March break would be my childhood favourite, Red is Best so my Mom arranged to have the time off work to come with us.  (Aren’t grandparents the best!?)  As it happened (and as it happens every week), we were racing in a few minutes late and missed the first story.  We waited anxiously with each story to see the familiar cover of Red is Best cover only to find out that it had been read first.  Woops!  Fortunately, my Mom and I are no stranger to these kinds of misses so we had a good laugh and enjoyed our time together at story time.

Is anyone else experiencing bittersweet feelings towards day light savings?  I was singing its praises at 5:30pm when we were outside playing before dinner bath and bed.  Then we get to the bedtime part of this routine and I find myself singing a different tune.  Clyde went from in bed and quiet at 7pm to finally giving in to the sand man at 10pm.  Wasn’t day light savings just one hour difference?  How is it having a three-hour impact!!?  I’ve shortened his nap the last few days to make sure he’s good and tired by the end of the day but it’s still not back to what it was.  Feel free to spam me with your time change words of wisdom.

Adam brought home dinner from Ottawa’s best Indian restaurant (in our opinion) and I powered through bedtime on an empty stomach so that I could sit and truly enjoy every bite.  If you haven’t had butter chicken from Little India Cafe you should change your existing dinner plans and make it happen.  You won’t regret it!

This morning, Adam is taking the boys out for breakfast so that I can sleep in.  Thank the Maker!  If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in bed watching Gilmore Girls until the minute they walk in the door.  Oh yeah…and eating gingerbread pancakes.  YUM!  Recipe here.

Happy Sunday!

Skating on nature’s backyard rink

Skating on nature’s backyard rink

 

My father-in-law has been telling us for years that the creek in the field behind us used to fill with water and then freeze to make the perfect backyard rink.  Year after year, for one reason or another, Mother Nature had plans of her own for our winter landscape and those plans did not include our own personal skating rink – until now!

The onset of March has looked a little different than previous years.  We had a taste of spring at the end of February – just enough to see some snow melting and hear the water flowing through the ditch – and then bam!  It’s winter again!  We are back to temperatures of -20C and low and behold, the creek in the field behind us filled with water and has frozen to make the perfect backyard rink.

If you caught my first blog post, you may remember that the game of hockey and I are long time friends and that this is the year that Clyde would try skating for the first time.  I have had so much fun taking him to the rink this winter and getting lots of different family members involved (no surprise).  Though he still doesn’t last more than 5-10 minutes on the ice, he has learned to stand up and take a few steps on his own and even more exciting than that, he has had lots of positive experiences with a new sport!  [Video of a proud Mama bear watching Clyde “skate” at the end of this post :)]

As you can imagine, when I spotted this backyard rink, I called Poppa right away to arrange a Sunday morning skate for Clyde.  He put his snowsuit on and made the trek out to the ice only to come in five minutes later begging me to take his snowsuit off and play inside.  I was devastated.  Insert good reminder from Story of This Life here: “have zero expectations.  Then if they actually perform you can be pleasantly surprised.” …something I’m still working on.

Then it dawned on me – I can arrange to go by myself!  Yes, folks.  I’m talking about doing a fun activity without my kids.  Say whaaaaat?!  It took a little bit of help and coordinating to get outside while there was still some day light but it happened!

One evening, after dinner, I ventured out to the rink with my skates, a stick and two pucks.  It was freezing cold and snowing with a strong blowing wind but I was determined to lace up for a skate.  I’m not sure if it was the fact that I was alone or that I was skating on a frozen creek in my backyard but it was magical.  Had I not missed the net and lost both pucks, I think I might still be out there skating laps, stick handling through the snow and occasionally going top shelf on the empty net.

I came inside feeling so energized.  A great reminder for all of us to make time for ourselves to be active and to pursue activities that we enjoy – even if just for a few minutes after dinner in a snowstorm!

What’s activity is on your list of things to do?

— As promised, a proud Mama bear video of Clyde “skating.”  These are the days!

the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

Welcome to the first edition of “the Saturday Sprint!”  This will be a weekly post that highlights some of the things that are currently happening for our little family.  Check in every Saturday for a brief review of what we’re up to, what we’re loving- or not loving – and likely a recipe of some kind.

– Adam was recently contacted by a neighbour to say that a photographer from a community event last summer had pictures of our family she wanted to get to us.  This was very exciting because we both remembered the pictures being taken of Clyde at this event and wanting to see them.  They came to us on a USB this week and they are so adorable!  I am so grateful to have these pictures of our little water baby.  (Side note: seeing beach pictures makes me ache for summer.  Is winter over yet?)

– This week is March Break in Montreal so my sister and her family are in town for a few days.  We are celebrating with ‘cousinpalooza’ and getting all of the cousins together for the greatest play dates.  This includes having 8 kids ages 5 and under!  It is as crazy as it sounds but so much fun.  A picture from when Grandma joined us for story time!


– Have you noticed the layout changes on the blog?  I am so excited about how it’s coming together.  I owe it all to Adam and a friend of ours for their help on the technical side of things!  We spent an evening together earlier this week to make layout changes over Thai food and ice cream.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

– You guys, we have the greatest babysitter.  Clyde was in bed and asleep by 7pm and didn’t wake up until 6:45am the next morning.  This is unheard of in our house.  The next time I’m struggling with his bedtime routine or early mornings, I am going to invite our babysitter over to set him straight. I might even just park down the street and read my book for an hour or two.  I don’t want to waste a minute of this opportunity to sleep once he’s down and out.

– Also on the topic of having great people in our lives, I had a friend send me an awesome muffin recipe after the recent post including a link for banana lentil muffins.  These Morning Glory muffins barely lasted two days in my house:

Morning Glory Muffins

In one bowl, combine dry ingredients:
2 cups flour, 3/4 cup white sugar, 2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt

In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients:
3 eggs, 1 cup oil, 2 tsp vanilla

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.

Mix in add-ins:
2 cups shredded carrot, 1 shredded apple, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup walnuts (optional), 1/2 cup coconut (or oatmeal)

Bake at 350* for 20 minutes
Makes 1.5 dozen muffins

– Jude mastered sitting up this week!  Looking back at pictures, I can see that it’s been happening for a little while now but it feels like it just happened overnight.  Nevertheless, I’m excited to see him becoming a ‘big boy.’  I remember saying every stage of Clyde’s development was my new favourite but I think this really is one of the highlights for me – fun to play with but not yet mobile… who’s with me!?

Adam is away for the weekend so think of me as I solo parent these two beautiful boys for 48 hours.  Happy Saturday!

Family day at Pigeon Lake Resort!

Family day at Pigeon Lake Resort!

img_1008-2The year that Family Day was introduced in Ontario (2008), I was spending it with this family.  Three months travelling New Zealand and Fiji with a backpack, a friend from high school (+ her friends) and this great van as our home.  I remember talking to my parents on the phone and them telling me they had the day off because of this new holiday called Family Day.

Nine years later (2017) and I am spending Family img_1066Day at one of my favourite places in the world with my most favourite people – my husband and my two beautiful boys at Pigeon Lake Resort in Bobcaygeon, Ontario.  Things look a little different today than they did nearly a decade ago and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Joining us for the weekend was another one of my favourite people – my Mom (Nana Q)!  More about how much we love having extra hands around here.

Pigeon Lake Resort is a beautiful spot in the Kawartha’s with housekeeping cottages available for daily and weekly rentals three seasons of the year.  My parents first rented a water front cottage at the resort in 1992 and with the exception of one summer, we have spent one or two weeks there every July.  Throughout the years, our annual summer vacation included some of our closest friends and visits from family and friends that lived nearby.  Here I am heading off to Brownie camp from the cottage with my childhood bestie circa 1997.

In 1999, we celebrated the Y2K New Year by winter cottaging with three other families.  I have such fond memories of that week at the cottage including skating on the lake, bonfires and endless snowmen.  When the opportunity came up to go for family day weekend, I couldn’t wait to start building new winter cottage memories at Pigeon Lake with my family – almost twenty years later…say whaaattt!

As luck would have it, the weather could not have been more perfect and we spent all day, everyday outside.  Saturday morning included a trip into town for fish and chips at Just for the Halibut and ice cream from the Kawartha Dairy – did I mention the great weather?  Then it was back to the cottage for an afternoon full of park play, tobogganing and giant snowballs.

Sunday started with one of our favourite weekend traditions  – going into town for breakfast – and continued with mini sticks and a bonfire on the lake. Is there anything better than a warm roasted marshmallow to make you reminisce about summer?  Well, apparently for a toddler there is… “I no like it” he said while sitting contently eating the plain ones from the bag.  I have a funny feeling that the wait time in between marshmallows may have had something to do with his decision.

At the end of both days, we all cozied up in the cottage for a nap to recharge for dinner.  The first night we joined close family friends – the resort owners – for dinner at their home.  The second night we were able to return the hostessing favour by having them over for cards after the boys were in bed.

I was a little bit nervous about a winter trip with an infant and a toddler considering the two weekends prior to leaving we attempted skiing in Montebello and Winterlude which both landed us in meltdown City.  Once again, spending time at Pigeon Lake Resort was exactly what we needed and our whole family felt recharged as we got home Monday afternoon.  Another memorable Family Day weekend for the books!

This is actually the first time that Pigeon Lake Resort has closed up shop for the winter but they will be reopening in May and we are already counting the sleeps to our return in July.  Stay tuned for pictures and details of this amazing place at its peak in the summer.

Pigeon Lake Resort Summer 2016

5 tips for breastfeeding like a boss

5 tips for breastfeeding like a boss

IMG_0013.jpgI recently attended a breakfast function with Ottawa’s Connecting Women with my exclusively breastfed (EBF), bottle refusing five-month old baby.  I was showered, dressed in proper clothes, wearing makeup and feeling pretty great about myself until I looked down to see that I had leaked through my shirt before my meal was on the table.  It was my first time attending a networking event with this group of ladies and needless to say, I did not feel like I was ‘breastfeeding like a boss.’

As it happened, the speaker’s presentation was about writing a blog entry in a morning and we were to sketch out a post as we followed along.  I have breastfed both of my boys but with Clyde I was able to store pumped milk in the freezer and leave him with a bottle for this type of event.  Jude has decided that he would prefer to be my sidekick no matter where life takes us so in the spirit of not wanting this to happen again – to me or any other nursing mama, I used my time throughout the morning to create this list of tips to keep it classy.

  1. Ditch the small talk.  When we arrived, we spent the first 20 minutes introducing ourselves at our table and chatting about what it is that we all do.  I was enjoying the time to network but in hindsight, this was my window to sneak out and feed Jude in a quiet room so that he would be content for the presentation.  Instead, I waited until he got fussy and by then, the room was full of conversations and Jude was far too distracted to latch and feed properly.
  2. Nursing pads.  Even if you don’t need a nursing pad on a normal day, invest in a handful of them and use one on both sides for an event such as this.  That way, if your baby doesn’t take a full feed or is too distracted to nurse at all, you are not stressing about your impending letdown.  I always wear one Bamboobies nursing pad and carry a few extra in an Itzy Ritzy snack bag (essentially a mini wet bag) in my purse.
  3. Burp-cloths-003b.jpgNeutral receiving blanket.  This may seem like a small detail but amongst a group of well dressed professional women, I was grateful to drape a plain grey receiving blanket over my shirt to cover where I had leaked rather than something bright or full of cutesy prints.  Better yet, I was fortunate to receive a “shoulder size” burp cloth from a friend and this in a neutral tone would be ideal.  At this point, you’re just trying to make the best of a worst case scenario so the little things go a long way.
  4. Naked nursing tanks.  I own this tank top in two colours (black and white) and am always layering one under a regular shirt if I’ll be nursing in public.  To each their own but I have never warmed up to nursing covers.  This tank top allows me to feed Jude wearing one of my own shirts (not a nursing top) and keep my mid-section covered at all times.  I feel discreet and confident when nursing in a group setting.
  5. Roll with the punches.  Like with anything else, having confidence in what you’re doing goes a long way so be prepared to roll with the punches.  If you miss part of the presentation to nurse in the bathroom – no biggie!  If you stand at the back of the room with your baby in a ring sling – it’s all good!  When you’re travelling with an itty-bitty sidekick, take the small wins and let the rest roll off your back.

I attended this event with a friend and when we chatted at the end about our planned posts, she assured me that she hadn’t noticed my nursing faux pas.  While it’s entirely possible that no one in the room but me was focused solely on the small wet spot on my shirt, I still wouldn’t wish for it to happen to anyone else.  Let’s be honest, exclusively breastfeeding is hard enough on a mama bear…keeping it classy is always a big win.  Please comment below if you have any tried and true tips for breastfeeding like a boss!