Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May Totals

Busy month here but I'm hoping to post more regularly soon. First day of proper training starts tomorrow, and I am quite nervous as I've just looked at the schedule and it looks quite brutal, actually.

A quick post to record monthly totals:

9 miles swimming (not much this past couple of weeks but I was happy with this)
73 miles running (again, would have preferred 80 but happy with this, too)
255 miles cycling outside (and maybe some additional inside time but I can't remember).

And a pic of our first open water swim, which included Raf! We had a nice run down to the pond, swam for 15 minutes or so, and then a little cool-down run to the car. Very nice summer evening.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A woman cannot live on Cliff bars alone.

I took an impromptu day off today. I had a long department retreat, which went very well (considering I was leading the retreat) but I am tired and the weather is just miserable. Just miserable, miserable, miserable. I don't think it is helping things.

I'm in a state of ambivalence.

Term has ended, reports need to be written, the summer is ahead of us, the weather is awful, my bike is brilliant, my swimming sucks, raf is wonderful, our nanny quit, a dear friend is pregnant, a little unknown boy was found dead.

I suppose this is life, with all its seeming untenable paradoxes of good and bad, of hope and hopelessness.

I am likely not alone in having to work at staying on top of this ambivalence, and training is one way I do this. It keeps me in motion when I might otherwise be paralyzed, it provides me with some space and time where I get lost in the physical aspect of it all, and yet today I skipped my bike ride (it was raining and I could not cope with the trainer in May) and I find when I do this that I lose traction straight away, I turn inward and irritable.

Why did I miss that ride, I'm asking myself.

Alas, I did. but one thing that I wanted to blog about is my terrible, terrible eating habits. I have been living on cliff bars and fruit and sandwiches. I can't remember the last time I had three square meals a day. My Dr. thinks that my body might be run down - thus the nausea and sickness. My Vit D was very, very low, my cholesterol was very low, too, which of course isn't necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but it might suggest that my nutritional needs are not being met.

So I;m going to make an effort to really get serious about nutrition, of making the time to eat real food, of thinking carefully about what I need to support my training. I'm also nursing still, and I think that this inevitably places more demands on my body. So I am going to get serious, seriously. I may even post some plans here in an attempt to keep me on track.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

excellent week, you were much needed.

This week I was lucky enough to buy my new ride - a Cervelo P2. It's beautiful. Part of me is feeling a little bit guilty as it's a pretty spendy purchase. As soon as I took it out today, though, I concluded that it was a very good buy. My old bike - Ray of Sunshine - is long past her prime, and while I won't be parting with her it is nice to have this little beauty:

I bought the bike (I need to name her) from Cyclemania and I cannot say enough about how great and helpful they were. I had been tempted to just buy the bike online since the LBS didn;t have my frame size in but i'm glad I waited as they helped so much with fit and accessories, and the guys, David, even gave Raf a Cliff bar to chew on. Very sweet. Today i went out for my first proper ride. 41 miles of sheer pleasure, even with the upper back discomfort (I need to tweak the set-up) I felt super out there. My longest and speediest ride of the new year.

In work news we had the final day of classes this past week. I have a mountain of grading ahead of me as well as many meetings and a retreat I have to organize, but I can honestly say that I feel incredibly free and unburdened - at least for now. I am summer teaching online, but this is nothing like in the classroom teaching. Oh yes, I do have many reports to write for the first time, but even the idea of those isn't discouraging my pleasure.

And then there is the little one. He's so comical and fun. How can he get even more delightful? Well, he does. He is growing evermore demonstrative when I return home, and I find myself daydreaming about that welcome when I'm in the midst of the working day. What a lovely little fellow we have.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Round up

A simply hectic week here - somehow even more busy that usual. First we spent a lot of the week negotiating and finally putting on an offer on a house/building plot. We're now under contract! Whilst we're under contract to sell our house to the town, we have to wait until its ratified by a referendum in June. Everything is resting on this vote... which is nerve wracking to say the least.

Unfortunately I was sick all of last week, which didn't help things along, and as soon as I remotely felt better Raf came down with something, poor boy, just a bad tummy, but he vomited for the first time as a toddler and he didn't seem to know what was going on.

As for training.. what a couple of weeks. it happened in March, too, where I had a super first half in terms of training and then a terrible final couple of weeks due to illnesses of various types. And so it was this past month, too. A rest week the week before last and then last week just plain sick. I've managed a bit of running this week but no swimming or cycling. My goals for the month have largely been unmet, as is seemingly usual, with 73 miles run (goal was 80), 7 miles swam (goal 10, but I swam almost all of these miles the first two weeks of the month so I was for sure on target), and only 12 hours of cycling (goal was 20).

There is always May.

The sun has been shining, the semester is almost at an end, and the summer is stretching out before me, yet I am feeling incredibly homesick. I just did a search for jobs in the UK but it's a terrible time to look for something, and the reality is that it would be very difficult for us to make the move back any time soon. Yet I feel so melancholy about it at the moment, and perhaps it was the crowds and European styling I've been seeing on the telly this past week, or maybe it's something else, but I am missing home today. I miss running across fields and cycling down narrow lanes, I miss sarnies from Marks and Spencers and shandy on the river front, I miss walking around busy high-streets and walking to Grantchester and having tea in the Orchard, I miss getting in the car and visiting one of my sisters, and I miss church bells on a Sunday morning. I miss words like queue and mum and lift and petrol and mate and bloke...

And then maybe I don't miss these things ... well, not all of them. Sometimes, when i feel this homesick and full of longing, I wonder if what I really miss is my younger life, so carefree and self-absorbed: of researching and writing and running. And of course so miserable in many ways because, really, the pressure and the intensity of a place like Cambridge Uni means that no one there is really happy or carefree, but everyday is focused on the same thing, with few interruptions.

That's not the life I want, and I think this wistful thinking is more that i currently have too much on my plate, that I feel stretched thin by having too many roles to fulfill and there is a sense that in being stretched this much that you can't possibly be doing a good job in any sphere.

It does have me rethinking my goals for the summer, too, though. I don't know that i can really expect myself to train for a 70.3. I have more time in the summer, for sure, yet I have yet to have a month of training go even remotely right - largely because of illness. I will have to give it some thought over the next month or so...

In exciting news, though, a Cervelo P2 in my size has arrived at my LBS and I'm checking it out Tuesday afternoon! Very exciting, indeed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sick Again

I am once again dealing with nausea. I don't know what's causing it. I saw my PCP last week and I have to get some bloodwork done (it's fasting bloodwork and I have not had the time to get it done... Monday, for sure). But it's such a nuisance. I don't know what is happening and it's not helped by the fact that I am also very fatigued. I wonder if I am getting in enough nutrition, and whilst i am for sure not wasting away I have not been taking care of myself in basic ways.

My appetite is all over the place.. mostly down. I have awful aversions and so I don't think I am eating enough, or, in the very least, eating enough of the right food. Any ideas on quick, easy snacks/meals? We're vegan so it's not easy to grab food on the go but I am just stuck for ideas.

and sleep.. oh sleep. Yes, it's the perennial issue. I haven't slept through the night for over two years and sometimes I feel as though I will never feel rested again.

And... stress. Lots of work, which is mounting up, and lots of stress for Rich, too... I don't think I am dealing well with the current stressors. Between work, Raf, selling/buying a house, Rich's work and school, and more - well, there is a lot of stuff to provoke that stress response. I know that good nutrition, rest, and exercise would help - and of course I am only really good at getting in exercise as of late. Oh yes, and Raf has been sick again. Not an earache, I don't think, but a cold which must has started with a painful sore throat. He's feeling much better, I think.

I'd love to know about how other people manage all of these things, and manage to practice excellent self-care, too. I am definitely not a martyr but it is just the case that as a mother you do seem to come near the back of the queue when rest and other things are being divided up.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I'm sat here trying to work out my race schedule for the upcoming season and, at the same time, I'm seeing pregnancy announcement after pregnancy announcement from friends/FB friends who had babies the same time as me. I am feeling pangs - deep pangs - of envy. Of course life is already a little crazed with work, Raf, and also trying to sell our house and build another one, with Rich in school and working, too.

So I'll plan my races and see what happens and I suppose the Pumpkinman 70.3 will be my consolation prize. I mean, it'll be a great accomplishment and I really am so excited to train for it and finish it (hopefully), but the truth is I'd prefer to have another little one on the way. It's not likely to happen so I will keep planning my races.


This is Raf during his mile run/walk this late afternoon. He just loves to wiggle as he runs.. such a funny boy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


A week in bullet points:

1) I am out of grading prison.. until next week.

2) I had a bit of a meltdown on Sunday after I got a flat tire a few minutes into a planned 2 hour ride/2 mile run brick. I have to confess that while I initially reacted in a 'c'est la vie' manner, my mood steadily declined as it became ever more apparent that I would not get in any sort of workout. With perspective I am sort of embarrassed for myself, but it's so very clear to me that staying on my training plan is like preventative medicine. I managed to get up super early on Monday and ended up doing the session, and it felt wonderful to get it in...

3) We had a marvelous family run last night, which involved running in shorts and t-shirts.

4) I at last went to see a couple of Drs about both my weird breathing and nausea and also my hip and foot issues. Last week I went to OA and it was really helpful to get another perspective on the possible causes of my many injuries. I've been referred to the infamous Jared for PT, and it starts next week. But I also got to see my primary care Dr. Last year I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma after my first triathlon. As soon as I finished the swim I started to breathe in a very laboured and LOUD way. It didn't feel like asthma as the noise felt as though it was more emanating from my throat and I also made the noise on the inhale. But I tried an inhaler with no success and this past Monday I returned to my Dr. Well, it seems that I have Inspiratory Stridor, which is not that easy to treat. It's made worse by anxiety and a lack of confidence (ha!) in athletes who suffer with it. I need to write more about it because I am honestly nervous about it... Every time I try to run fast and I hear the beginnings of the breathing I become very anxious... after all, it's basically my airway closing over a little, reducing the oxygen I can take in. I don't know how I managed to complete the tri breathing like this for almost the entire time.

5) In real estate news, we are one step closer to selling our house... think positive real estate thoughts for us!

6) I had an AWFUL swim yesterday. Honestly I just really suck at swimming. I am slow, bumbling, and I am not getting faster. I am really nervous about my next swim as I think, if it's possible, that I am actually getting more awful. 10 years ago I was a pretty good runner and now I am a pretty slow runner, an okay cyclist, and a TERRIBLE swimmer! I'm also happier and more balanced, of course, but I'll admit that sometimes I find it a little demoralizing. Yes, right now I feel a little demoralized about all things sporty.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hill Run

I am feeling pretty pleased with myself since I have stayed on my training schedule for an entire 10 days! This is something of a miracle given how crazy things are at work and home, but I've forced myself out of bed, I have dragged myself off the couch in the evening, and somehow I've managed to fit it all in. Of course these are famous last words... and I am betting that my swim and row may not happen tomorrow. For now I shall pat myself on the back and be pleased that I just got off the bike after doing a disastrous hill run this morning.

My hill run is actually why I'm writing this post. Yes, it was a disaster in that I could not have predicted how slow I would be on the hill repeats, and yes, I am sort of embarrassed by that, but I did indeed do the run, and then came home to a crazy, mad house as Raf and Rich were up by the time I walked in the door.

What was most troubling about the run, though, was not my times (yes, they did kind of suck), but the running commentary that I have in my head as I run. It's not kind commentary, such as 'Al, you can do this, you are a super star, you are going to crush this hill', it's closer to 'OhmyGod I am dying and I want to stop, I'm going to stop, I can't carry on, I want to die, why am I out here, I suck, I wanttostopIwanttostopIwanttostop....' I have to admit that it's not effective, and this morning I actually tried to compel an image of myself floating up the hill, but I have to say that that was a complete failure, too. The loudness of 'I cannot do this, I want to stop' was so overwhelming that a cacophony of positive voices does very little to help.

My tendency is to set the bar very low for myself. I do think that this is sometimes a good idea, yet I do have less-conscious and amorphous desires to do better, to be much better. I don't just do it when I do sports, i do it in many areas of my life. I think it can be quite paralyzing, though, because I run away from 'tests'. So I avoid races, I don't work on my book manuscript, I don't put myself in risky situations too much. I really want to change this about myself, but I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon with that commentary.

I do wish that my thoughts about myself were a little more kind and forgiving, and that I could take risks without worrying about failing or making a fool of myself. I don't really fear what others think, but I do worry about giving my sub-consciousness even more fodder.

Friday, April 1, 2011

March's Stats.

March's stats:

So a little off... but I was down and out from swimming and running for more than 10 days so I was on track to meet my month;s goals.

Swimming: 9 miles
Running: 57 miles
Cycling: 13 hours 26 minutes
Rowing: 12 miles
Total time: 30 hours 17 minutes

I'd hoped to do 40 hours of training, 8 miles of swimming, 80 miles of running, and 15-20 hours of cycling. I was very pleased to have managed 9 miles of swimming, far surpassing my other months' training. Disappointed with my run, but once again I was on track to meet the 80 mile goal...


Swimming: 10 miles
Running: 80 miles
Cycling: 20 hours
I'm also hoping to hit the weights.... let's hope!
Total: 40 hours

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sick Day

I'm still sick, I haven't worked out in a few days, I'm chomping at the bit and a bit crazed because of it, of course. Somehow, though, I am managing to keep myself on the right side of sanity. Just.

I took the day off work today, though I did a lot of work from home with Raf watching much too much Peppa Pig. I justified his viewing because he can now say 'George' (one of the characters in the cartoon) and points to the ducks and says something not really approximating 'quack quack'. Oh, and he loves to dance when peppa dances, bounce when they all jump in muddy puddles, and does a lot of pointing. All of this allows me to believe that watching TV is a good learning opportunity for him.

But mostly I've sat on the couch, tapping on my laptop in between playing with Raf. I washed nappies, made Raf lunch, made tea and let Raf watch Peppa while he ate it (I know, I know but I was too nauseous to eat dinner and Rich was out). I walked the dogs, felt weak and uncomfortable. Indeed even my mouth hurts. All my teeth. I don't know what that means and what;'s going on but it's kind of miserable. And I even managed to get some assessment stuff done, too... as well as sort of appease a difficult someone (need to be vague here).

OH, I also spoke to several banks about mortgages, which honestly makes me super anxious for reasons I can't quite pinpoint. I always feel like a deeply immoral person when it comes to money, and lots of guilt for some reason. We're not even big spenders, either, but there is something in this culture - or at least how I've been socialized into it - which makes me tremble as I think about my credit score (and FWIW I am too scared to look at it.. for no good reason!),

I also had some time today to think about what our plans are for the year. We're moving - all being well - and that's actually a great relief for us all. I'd also decided to do the Pumpkinman 70.3 in September. With the summers off, just research, I'd have time to get in the needed long rides - leaving at 5, returning at 9, spending the day with Raf and working for parts of the day. But you know what is even more important to me, right now, is having another child. Not that we're trying, but it's becoming apparent that another child is really what I want.

I spend so much of my day thinking about how much I love Raf. I walk around saying how much I love him, When I go to bed in a little while, I'll lie there with him and Rich (who's upstairs now putting him to bed), and I'll inevitably exclaim "oh, you're such a great little boy. You're so good. I love you so much".. and on and on, even though he's asleep. When I'm with Raf I spend much of my time close to tears thinking about how lovely he is, thinking about his little legs that bend when he dances, about his little head that shakes from side to side as he listens to his favourite music.

I am so lucky to have him. And I know i turn into a cliche when I write about him, about how there is nothing quite like the connection between a mother and her child, and, mercy, I am an embarrassing cliche, but I suppose this is who I now am. I didn't grow up in the most demonstrative house, and neither did Rich, and yet I simply cannot help myself!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Note to Friday

I should have posted yesterday following a good night's sleep (first in many a month.. or even years), an early morning swim, and a lovely day with Raf, which was topped off with a bike ride outside in shorts. Instead I am writing post-meltdown, after an awful night's sleep, after missing my swim, after the nanny texted to say she couldn't come, after realizing that it's the final day of spring break and I am not even remotely caught up, not even out of grading prison THREE weeks on. I realized that I have yet to touch the assessment document I should be working on, let alone looked at the tenure file I should be assessing. I then realized that the dishwasher was not really working, that there was dog pee on my office floor, and that, ohmygod, we are probably selling our home in the next 2-3 months and we have yet to find a house, work out our financing.... and, worst of all, I simply cannot get a swim in today - a swim that might very well save my sanity.

I desperately want this day to turn around. Please turn around, Friday. You are the pits thus far.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

on confidence

Ah, Spring break has at long last arrived. I will need all of it to catch up on grading, admin, and more, but frankly it's wonderful to have the breathing space, and it's also wonderful to spend time with my lovely boy. But this past week has been a real test, with many moments of self-doubt.

Am I putting too much time into training... Are we making big mistakes with Raf's sleep... Could I be more assertive at work... Will I ever be decent runner... Is Raf's language development really lagging... Should I buy a new bike when we're planning on moving... How many stupid, stupid things did I say to our real estate agent, builder, students, Rich, Raf, friends, comments on DM and FB... and thus the list goes on.

One thing I just have to be mindful of - across the mothering, academic, sporting terrain - is that my state of mind constantly works to undo me. It's not as if I am a particularly negative person. I am happy, I believe my future will be happy, I am generally not too cynical (politics are the exception!), I hold others in positive regard (you know, within reason!) but my thoughts about myself can spiral downward so very quickly.

I feel most confident as a mama. I've surprised myself with the patience I've discovered, especially as this is not a trait I'm necessarily known for. Raf still nurses a trillion times a day (10-15 times.. and that's actually no exaggeration), he is up a lot in the night, he likes to be cuddled and held and he is super attached. We practice very gentle parenting so we work hard to avoid situations where Raf might be vulnerable to tantrums, and we're attentive as we could possibly be.

Today, though, was a lesson in how my mind has the capacity to undermine my precarious sporting-confidence. We all set off for a long run. 12 miles on the schedule... I've been working really hard this past two weeks, especially with swimming, and yesterday, following a 2.5 hour spin and a quick 2 miles off the bike, my legs were very tired. This morning I wasn't feeling the running love, but off we went.

About .25 miles in I knew it would be hard, and no doubt I made it much, much harder by dwelling on that fact. It didn't help that I was pushing Raf every half mile. It was brutal. We stopped for water, for gu, for any reason, actually, just so we could stop, moan, and carry on... At some point my asthma kicked in and I got really cross. I was pushing Raf, which made it worse, Rich and I were squabbling - stupid, silly stuff - and then I suddenly stopped - got really cross, rowed with Rich a bit more (how embarrassing!) burst into tears and ran off with Raf for half a mile. So many negative thoughts about stopping, about not being able to continue.. so many undermining thoughts.

This was mentally and emotionally such a truly difficult run. I reminded myself that a run like this will serve me well in my half ironman, but, gah, I wish I wasn;t my own worst enemy. When I read my DM friends' updates and blogs I'm always slightly in awe of the self-confidence I glean from their posts. I don't know if it's sometimes a cultural difference - with most of my DM buddies being from the US - but I'm always struck by it, and then imagine myself writing some of the same words, and it feels so foreign. Yet I bet it serves people well!

But, on a positive note, I have had another good week of training with 2 longish swims, 3 runs, and 3 rides. I skipped out on a row and another swim because of time, but it was confidence-boosting to at least be (mostly) on track.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This weeks attempt at balance

This past week has been utterly crazy. I don't think I've spent one evening with Rich. Either Rich is working late, in class, or he's fallen asleep putting Raf to bed(!), or I'm working late, at appointments, and so forth. The weekends haven't been much better. Rich is at his practicum site Saturday mornings, and I spent a lot of time grading papers this past weekend. I'm really hoping things calm down soon. Spring break is on the horizon, and thank goodness as I need some time to catch up.

OH, how life has changed since I've become chair.

But despite the busy week I managed to get a lot of training in, mostly doing a lot of early morning sessions and sneaking in swims at work. Before last week I wasn't using the college pool at all, instead I was going to another college pool down the road from where we live. I don't know why I didn't head to my own college pool before now! The hours are better, I can nip there before breakfast, at lunch time, or just before I leave to go home. As a result I actually managed to get in every planned swim last week. This is pretty phenomenal for me! With my swim today, I've actually swum more in the first week and half of March than January and February combined.

And today I actually enjoyed my swim!

Mind you, Raf was up, literally UP, at 1:45am so it was a long night. I headed to work early to get some grading finished but nipped to the pool beforehand. Dare I say that I actually enjoyed my swim? I really did. I think that I just need to make sure I get to the pool on a very regular basis. I don't think I'm ever going to be a brilliant swimmer(!), but being half decent would be wonderful.

So that's all going quite well.

Whilst training hasn't really detracted from time with Raf (early mornings, late nights and lunch time workouts), work has certainly gotten in the way of time with my little chap. Oh, work, work, work. This is one of the first times where I've felt quite resentful and overwhelmed by work. One of the lovely things about my job is the brilliant flexibility, but the downside is that this great flexibility means that I often work weekends. Poor little Raf has really suffered this week, I think. As regular readers of my poppet blog will know, Raf is not the best sleeper, but just lately he is wanting to nurse almost all of the time... and so much during the night. At first I thought he might be teething, but now I think he is just wanting some cuddle time to make up for the time I'm not there.

I get to spend the morning with him tomorrow, which will be lovely, and also most of Friday so hopefully things will get a little easier.

Friday, March 4, 2011

work, work, work

I work really hard to find some balance in my life. I try to make my job 'just a job' so that I have time for other things which, frankly, seem much more important. My family, especially since Raf arrived, has been the center of my life. I try so hard to keep perspective, to wonder how I'll feel in the future if I missed out on parenting, and I weigh this up against how I imagine I'll evaluate my career down the line. It's difficult for me to envision that I'll regret not working more, yet, yet, yet...

Today I had one of those days of radical self-doubt. Sitting in a meeting with a lot of overachieving women (all academics) I found myself feeling despondent. Despondent by my lack of published books (I really should have at least 2 books out by now), my apathy toward college politics, and my sense that I may have committed academic suicide by remaining at my current institution. And then there are the doubts I have about myself as a Chair of a department, my inability to focus in on detail, my propensity for procrastination.

And then there are the many comments I receive from colleagues, who wonder, very loudly, how on earth I workout as much as I do when I am Chair and have a child. The implication is usually that I must not be working hard enough - at least that was the sense I got today. I'm a pretty sensitive sort of person, with very thin skin, and so of course I immediately felt as though I just really need to stop this triathlon business, to dedicate myself, instead, to research and publishing and chairing. Of course I tell myself that this would not be balance, that my life is not 'work', that I am 34, tenured, published, and so forth, and that I HAVE worked hard. But you know how it goes.

Then, today, I was 'friended' by an old college friend on Facebook. The first thing he asked was if I was still a cutting edge scholar. No. No, I'm not. Not even close. I have lots of projects and none of them are going anywhere fast. I was sick- VERY SICK - when pregnant, and with raf research has just taken a back seat. And that is how I responded. Inevitably this is a college friend who is doing amazingly. he's a judge. Our other friends include famous politicians, well known scholars and lawyers. And here i am, the one who graduated the top of her class, the person that people predicted would go far, and, yes, here I am.

I returned home from work early today as Raf has a bad shoulder, and I felt the stress of all of this coursing through my body. This will pass, I know, but I am definitely in a work funk.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Stats

Not awful, especially as work is crazy and we were away for a few days making training much more difficult.

Total time: 32 hours and 43 minutes
Running: 57 miles
Cycling: 15 hours and 36 minutes
Swimming: 2 miles (no snickering... there's clearly a reason why my swimming is so bloomin' awful!)
Rowing: 23 miles

Goals for March:

Closer to 40 hours
Running: over 80 miles
Cycling: 20 hours
Swimming: (hard not to beat February's awful effort) 8 miles
Rowing: 40 miles

Monday, February 28, 2011

time, time

It's Monday, and today because of the weather I ended up aborting my drive to work and coming home. Like everyone, I'm sure, I'm ready for Spring: for warmer days and lighter mornings, for roads that aren't ice covered with a layer of snow atop. I'm feeling desperate to run without hat, gloves, mask, coat and countless other layers. But here we are with 3 storms in 4 days, and I'm wondering how I'll get my workouts in this week.

Tomorrow it promises to be cold and windy, and since I have to leave the house before 7am I don't know that I'll get my run in because it will be very dark at 5:30, and with frozen rain and snow today I don't fancy like running outside when I can't see underfoot. Perhaps I'll shoot for tomorrow afternoon - maybe after a swim. But you know I have work to fit in, too, and the fact that I have 49 long papers to grade by Monday I realize it's going to be a challenging week. And I need to be home by 3... ! Oh dear, things aren't looking good.

I suppose I'm writing here in a vain attempt to materialize more time than I have; as though if I wrote about it and planned it more, I'd suddenly find some extra time. Oh, there you are swimming hour, I didn't see you before now.

Alas, if I carry on as I am - procrastinating as I attempt to grade these papers - I'll be lucky to get any sort of training in.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Another week is over, work looms ahead, and I'm writing after another nice weekend. On Friday we had a snow day, and I have to say, probably to state the obvious, that we are very ready for winter to be over. On Thursday, realizing that we'd be in for a horrible weather weekend, we headed out into the late afternoon for a 10 mile run. It was difficult and challenging and all I wanted to do was to go home and sit in my pajamas, drinking hot chocolate while watching bad TV. Yet we knew we'd feel good for going, that we'd feel relief that we wouldn't have to drag ourselves out of the door to push Raf through slushy, cold, wet streets.

Yes.. more snow!

It was just as well we went out as since then I've been dealing with some bug, or something. I've been feeling nauseous and tired and just downright fatigued. I talked myself into thinking it was something much more alarming like early signs of a heart attack (I'm not usually known for hypochondria!)... Whatever it is, though, it's gotten in the way of doing much of anything. I have done some cycling and a bit of rowing, but not much else.

Until today. Well, I still didn't do much but I did attend a Total Immersion class. It was really helpful. The instructor managed not to snicker when she saw me swim, and we spent the hour working on some drills to help with my stroke timing, etc. You begin by trying to balance your body with 'superman', then you work on titling your body, and then recovery position, hand placement, etc. Breathing is next. Somewhat alarmingly the instructor tapes you and then shows you to see how you're doing. Seeing myself in a swimming costume, flailing in the water was enough to motivate me to practice, practice, practice. That said, if I do say so myself, I was looking nice and long and 'tall' in the water! Now let's see if that translates into long and 'tall' when I take an actual proper, full stroke.

Aside from warm-up I didn't really swim any laps, just up and down half a lane. She did say that my swimming wasn't awful (I am sure she was being kind) but I really think the changes will help. I didn't get to the point of having a new 'stroke' where I could go and swim lots of laps, but I think in a class or two I might be able to swim a lap with a TI stroke. Here's hoping, anyway.

This week I meet with Rob, the guy who is helping me put my schedule together for the season. I'm excited to begin my next training cycle. This past few weeks i've been winging it as my schedule has been crazy and it's not been possible to meet to sort anything out. I'm meant to be doing a bike test next Saturday and also a swim test (well, last week, but I was feeling poorly so I'll try and so it the early part of this week).

Here's what I'm hoping for this week re: work and training:
1) that I feel less awful tomorrow morning.
2) that I get my swim test done by Tuesday
3) that I finally get in to the Dean's office the schedule for the Spring semester (2012)
4) that I mark the 50 long papers that I have coming in tomorrow by the end of the week (I'm almost touched by my own optimism here)
5) that I get in at least 3 runs

And, to finish... to borrow an idea from a dear friend, I'm going to start writing a 'lulu list'. In short, a list of thanks, gratitude, appreciation, and so forth.

1) Raf squealing in delight as he chased Rich around the kitchen this evening.
2) An early morning Friday walk in the quiet with the pups before the worst of the storm appeared.
3) The Red Cardinal in our garden each day.
4) The leek and potato soup Rich made for me twice last week.
5) Rafi shrieking 'Mama Mama' as I came through the door last week, and him throwing his arms around my neck.
6) Eating dried pineapple in the store after our long run.
7) My new friends on Daily Mile, who I really just like a lot.
8) This little fella... through and through.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Daily Whine

I'm not a good blogger. I always have lots of things I want to write about, but if I did I may have to rename the blog 'The Daily Whine", or something similar.I don't lose sight of the good things, I really rarely do. I'm a tenured, associate professor and so a pretty steady and stable job, I have a great little boy, a happy marriage, friends, training, and so forth. But i'm Chair of the department, I'm working a more than full time job, our family lives overseas, and there are only 24 hours in any one day.

I like my job. I do. I enjoy teaching, I enjoy researching and writing, and there are even elements of being chair that I find interesting. It's just that I would prefer to spend my days with Raf. I'd prefer to play with him, I'd prefer to teach him words and watch him as he negotiates his world and finds his way in the world.

And yet of course I do get meaning from my work. I spent time embarking on a PhD, and, really, given how awful that entire experience is I really ought to get some sort of meaning from my work! My research is meaningful, at least to me, and there is a part of me that is invigorated and bettered for engaging in the world in that way, but the balance of my life is really feeling off kilter. I often work from home but I spend so much of my time returning email, composing messages to deal with ongoing and new problems. I prepare classes and grade on the weekends, and being chair makes everything just much, much more intense.

Today I spent a good portion of my time on the verge of crying, feeling overwhelmed by all the things I haven't done and all the things I have yet to do and don't even know about. I feel such enormous envy for women who stay home, or who at least make a choice to go to work or stay home. My 'choice' is compelled. Compelled by the fact I have tenure (who can walk away from a job like that?), by the economy, by the cultural norm that 'women like me' remain at work (I don't think it's an accident that most female academics I know are married WITHOUT kids, which is different from the male academics who mostly do have children).

When I feel this unbalanced and stretched and utterly overloaded, my patience is thin and my capacity to integrate all these part of my life just falls away. I'm at this point this evening, despite a nice weekend (perhaps because of the weekend), heading to bed with some dread as the week stretches out before me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Taking Stock

Rich has taken Raf to bed and I'm sitting on the couch watching 'Heavy' on TV. It's showcasing a woman whose son committed suicide, and as I sit here watching, my own heart shattering for her, I'm reminded by how grateful I am for this life: for Rafi, for Rich, for my puppies, and family overseas, for my 'too-busy' job and my body which can move and be strong, and which has done an amazing thing in bringing into the world this little boy who I adore.

Raf is such a precious little soul: he loves to dance, clap, squeal in delight. He loves to run around the kitchen chasing his Daddy, chasing the pups, and I sometimes feel like I will literally burst with pride when I watch him and see who he is becoming.

I've mentioned before, but one thing that we all love to do is to go for a family run. Today we headed out in the afternoon, hoping that the roads would be in better condition after the ice and snow we had overnight. Raf is a complete trooper. He goes into the Chariot without protest, gets his snacks and books and toys and sits back for the ride, Even today in the slushy, bumpy conditions he was happy as could be, and both Rich and I remarked how lucky we are to have a little guy who can put up with us, and, indeed, a little boy who seems to really like being with us on our runs. He likes the dried mango and pineapple we stop off and buy from the grocery store when we finnish our run, too, so it's as if he's running right along with us.

I've had a pretty good week of training, as it happens. No swims (snowstorm really got in the way), but 3 runs,3 rows, and 5 bike rides (of various lengths). I have Rich and Rafi to thank for helping me get workouts in, especially this weekend....

Indeed we've had a lovely weekend. I'm sad about going to work tomorrow (it's going to be a long day and I won't be home until 10pm) but we are going to Orlando on Wednesday morning for a conference. Well, I'm going to a conference and Rich and Rafi are coming with me. We're going to attempt to take the Chariot with us. We'll see how that goes. It's going to be a spotty week in terms of training, probably, but I'm going to attempt to swim in the morning and then perhaps row/bike on Tuesday as should be able to run when Florida... and perhaps swim, too. I'm looking forward to some nice warm weather... without the slushy roads.

Friday, February 4, 2011

busy busy

As usual life is busy. It's too easy for me to reflect negatively and to reflect on what I haven't done. Work is really demanding, at the moment. I haven't been Chair of the department for very long, and I have to say that it's a steep learning curve. Each time I step onto campus it's a whirlwind of meetings, meetings, and more meetings. If not meetings I'm in class or responding to tens of emails a day wanting things from me. It's not a role that is natural to me; I don't like saying 'no' to people, I'm not especially organized, and, really, I'm an academic. I'm pretty introverted, I like my own space and time and so this is a new role for me which is challenging on many levels.

And then I go home to my boys (Rafi, Rich, and our two pups) and I have a small person who needs me very much, and a husband and pups, too. It's all very positive stuff; I feel incredibly fortunate and lucky and, really, I am. Raf is a dream of a boy (except, you know, when it comes to sleep), Rich and I have been together very happily for 16 years...

But what makes life wonderful and a life worth-living are the things and elements which are challenging, difficult, and stressful. There aren't many moments when you can stop and pause and take stock, it's a busy, convoluted life where I wear several hats - sometimes at the same time - as I move from being a mum to academic to administrator to partner to puppy mum to want-to-be athlete.

Here's how my last couple of days stacked up...

Wednesday night
9pm Bed, Rafi up at 9:30, 11:45, 12:30, 1:30, 3:30, 4:45....
Thursday morning
I sneak up at 5:30am to have a bit of time to myself, make breakfasts and lunch for Rich, and just as I sit down to drink some tea Rich is up with Raf, who hasn't gotten back to sleep. Give Raf his breakfast at 6:30am and then sneak onto the rower for a quick hour workout. Shower and then attempt to get out the door with Raf. Our nanny is away so I'm "working from home". Raf has other ideas and falls asleep on me as I nurse him. While he's asleep on me I respond to work email, check in with my secretary to email me documents, call the travel agent to make flight arrangements for a trip next week, respond to more work email... Raf stirs at 10:30. Give him snack, get him changed and then we're out for a haircut by 11am. By 12:15 we;re at the store doing grocery shopping. Schleping Raf around with me I unpack the shopping, check work email, respond to email as I make lunch (thank goodness for laptops), put a load of laundry on, give Raf his lunch, eat my lunch whilst feeding Raf who is not wanting to focus on eating, clear up dishes, put the rest of the shopping away, take Raf upstairs to his nursery to play with some of his other toys. I chat with my sister whilst I put clothes away and play with Raf, then all of a sudden Raf falls asleep on me as we play on the bean bag. I have some reading up there, thank goodness, so read while he sleeps and respond to email on my phone. Rich comes home just after 4pm and so I go downstairs to email adjuncts and work on the academic schedule for next year, 45 minutes later I realize Rich isn't going to start dinner as he's still upstairs and so I make dinner, eat it quickly, and while Raf is in the bath I jump on the bike for 30 minutes. Rich leaves at 6:45 for an evening class, and at 7:30 I take Raf upstairs. The afternoon nap was a disaster and it takes him until 9pm to get to sleep... Gah. It's my bed time so it's bed time for me, too...
Not too many wake ups last night (tooth finally through. But Raf up at 2:30, 3:30, 4:30...) and I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 for the same breakfast routine. This morning I headed out for a quick run when Raf got up, came home, showered, nursed Raf, went to work, late for a meeting, a meeting at 10, another at 11, another at 12, another at 12:30, another at 2:30, which I missed. Worked on last minute budget items and came home at 4:15pm...

It's a lot to juggle. Sometimes I feel as though I am doing an okay job and then I realize that I am always-already behind in at least one aspect of my life. Tri training is a blessing but it;s also, sometimes, a reminder of how I'm failing to get everything done. This was another week of no swimming. Wednesday's snowstorm meant that everything was closed, and this afternoon I had planned to go after my 12;30 meeting but I had so much to get through on my desk so I chose to get admin done and ditched the swim.

It's all about making choices, about reviewing what needs to get done, about whose needs are most pressing and trying to respond accordingly. But did I mention that this is hard (as it is for everyone, I am guessing), that it's trying to find what is perhaps an untenable balance because the truth is we ask a lot of ourselves; we try to cram much too much into our days and something has to give. Sometimes I feel lost in the busyness of it all, I feel as though I am subsumed by others' needs, and when I run, cycle, row, swim, and more it feels like one of the few times when I feel a bit free. Perhaps, more particularly, it's one of the few times when I feel unleashed from others' needs. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a self-centered person but with Raf's sleeping issues I don't really get to reset at night. indeed I have a little boy lying on top of me or next to me with his arms tightly hugging me around the neck. It's lovely but like any good introvert I need some space and time which is my own.

here's to a wonderful weekend!

Raf's new haircut!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


January is over and I'm sitting here on the eve of a massive snowstorm. This month proved to be really challenging for me - not just in terms of training but also getting back into work-mode, Rafi's continued difficulties with sleeping, and also the inclement weather. On paper, when I'm planning out my family, work, training week, it seems doable, but sleepless nights - night after night after night - combined with working full-time and being a co-sleeping, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, attachment parenting sort of mum makes the idea of triathlon training a bit of a joke.

Yet I do get training in. I workout when I haven't had much sleep, Rich really helps me to get some movement in, and somehow - while it might not be the training I want or plan - I usually get something in.

The month started well with a beautiful and unexpected bike ride outside. 28 miles to begin the year felt like a wonderful way to ring in the triathlon season. Unfortunately my time in the pool, in spite of promises to myself that things would be different, was pretty poor. Just 3 miles of swimming. I know, I know.. my very worst sport and I spend virtually no time doing it. I find it difficult to motivate myself to get to the pool, but I really must break the cycle because the more I don't go the more I dread it. To be fair to me, the snowstorms have really conspired to keep me away since the pool shuts down when the college closes and on days swims are scheduled (like tomorrow) a snow storm seems to appear.

MUST. DO. BETTER. Goal for February...? AT least DOUBLE that. At least.

Running was not that much better with just 54 miles, but, again, a lot of inclement weather, a hip injury, and general fatigue.

I did, though, quite well with cycling, and spun, spun, spun for over 19 hours during January. I also did 34 miles of rowing...

I'm afraid that core/strength training was awful, but, there are only so many hours in the day...

Not an awful month but not the best month, either. I was planning on 80 miles of running, MUCH more swimming and at least some strength and core work.

Goals for this month?

To get to the pool. Next week I'm heading with the crew to Orlando for a conference. Raf and Rich will be coming with me and I'm hoping I can get some good runs in as well as some swims. We're staying for an extra night at another hotel which has a lap pool so I'm really hoping to get some swim time in.

But, you know, if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen and I'll remember what's most important.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A winter family run

It was a lovely weekend around these parts. Raf was (for a change!) up a lot on Friday night so Rich took him downstairs when I;d normally get up and I slept in until almost 7am. Mind you, I was still so tired when I got up but Rich talked me into getting on the bike early. I did a 1:23 spin (my show on Netflix finished) and then Rad promptly fell asleep on me, even though we were supposed to go grocery shopping! Instead we had lunch when he woke up and then I did our taxes. This is worth mentioning because we'll get enough of a return that I can buy a TT bike! I'm thinking of the Cervelo P2. But we shall see...

We did get to Whole Foods, and then came home for a belated Pizza Friday (thus Pizza Saturday) as Rich had been working late on Friday. This morning neither Rich nor I felt like doing much of anything (hello sleepless nights) but we buoyed each other enough to decide to just get out there... (okay, there was some teasing and jovial digs about the other not being 'hard enough' to run in such frigid condition. So we bundled up Raf in his pajamas, wearable blanket, coat, hat, glove - draped a big blanket over him and we went on our merry way. It turned out to be a beautiful 8 plus mile run.

When we do these runs we take it in turns pushing Raf. I have to admit that usually I quietly conspire to push Raf DOWN the hills and leave the uphill portions for Rich. Sadly Rich has gotten wise to my plan and didn't let me get away with anything... this meant that I landed most of the uphill segments. But a good strength workout :)

Our run in pics and a few words...

Getting ready for a long winter run with Mummy and Daddy.

Enough layers, Daddy?

A quick mile warm-up and we stop for a stretch and check on Raf.

One mile in...

and... asleep already!

One mile to go...

Almost home!

We finished our run at the local grocery store, where I saw one of my students. and after feeling somewhat embarrassed about being seen with my bright red face with my bright yellow fluorescent hat and top, we walked the almost mile home and enjoyed a well deserved brunch of mixed veggies, tofu pups, and potatoes.

Friday, January 28, 2011


The project to balance work, family, and training is certainly a challenge this week. Between the weather and extra meetings at work every workout has had to be snuck in, and, at times, when I wouldn't ordinarily want to be moving. On Monday, after a what felt like a grueling day at work, I managed to force myself onto the bike, and on Tuesday, instead of eating lunch, I headed down to the college pool and got in some laps. On Wednesday morning I dragged myself onto the rower and then bike for a quick row/bike brick, but only because I knew I'd be at work until 9pm... By Thursday I was really dragging. Rich has a class on Thursday evenings so a missed session in the morning sent me into a spin wondering how I'd get my workout in! I have a cold so running and swimming are not the most attractive options to me, so I hopped on the bike again before Rich left the house. Not the session I wanted or hoped for but it was something...

This morning, though, sleep deprived, head cold, no running all week, behind in almost every area of my life, combined with a busy morning ahead of me - and I was feeling cross and sad and a bit desperate. The truth is I am always about one workout away from having some sort of breakdown that might be put me in the loony bin. And so, when I returned home this afternoon, realizing that Rich would be home late again, I wondered how the next few hours would go, and as my mood deteriorated I realized that what I needed to do was to change the direction of things. It was warm out so I wrapped Rafi up and popped him into the Chariot.

The Chariot has been our saviour, our life saver, our way to spend time with Raf, with each other, as a family, doing the things we really love.

Here's a few clips of us using the Chariot over the summer.

This is a picture of the first time we used the Chariot... we ran round the block and the wheel fell off! We actually caught it on film, which i'm sure I'll get around to posting one day. It was quite funny.

Rich pulling Raf on the bike.

Raf loves the Chariot... he often sleeps in there. And indeed today he fell asleep...

This afternoon's jaunt was a glorious run. I was reminded how much I love being out with my boy, and even though it is winter, there is a lot of slush on the roads to push through, we had a grand old time. I thought I'd be lucky to run 9 mins miles, but I managed to run just over 5 miles at 8:33 pace, which was pretty good considering everything. We finished up at the supermarket and, with Raf still asleep, I picked up a few things for dinner and then walked the almost mile home.

Unfortunately there are no sidewalks where we live so the trip home was quite eventful as I pushed Raf up the hill...

So grateful for this Chariot! I was cheered up mightily by the time I returned home... Raf and I did some stretching together and then we did some dancing to the Wiggles. Oh, did I mention that during the entire run I had a Wiggles tune running through my head....! It's hard to get those tunes out of your mind.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Here's an old picture I just discovered on Facebook. My guess is that most people have not heard of 'netball'. it's a game a 'bit' like basketball, except it's actually very different...! It's played by women/girls in England and countries like Australia, I think. Anyway, I LOVED netball growing up. I was really into sports and in this picture we're seemingly netball champions of all the local primary schools :) I think I am the youngest here as all these girls were in the year ahead of me.

Can you guess which one I am :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Misery enjoys company

I am not my best self, right now. I am sad, cross, overwhelmed, and mostly sad. I truly have a wonderful life, and I rarely lose sight of that, but the day in day out of my days at the moment is utterly overwhelming. I am chronically sleep-deprived, over-scheduled, and over needed.

Poor little Raf is cutting another molar, I think, so nights are even longer than usual. But it means that I am not getting up as early as usual so I'm missing the time when I'd usually get some training in. This morning, as I walked downstairs just after 6am, I knew I'd missed my chance, I knew that Rich had to leave for work early and looking ahead to the day I can see my day swallowed up by work, references to write, Raf (time I absolutely cherish), and chores. Rich is in college this evening and I honestly could just cry. Well, I actually did just cry.

This week has been pretty bloomin' shocking. We lost heat and hot water on Tuesday, spent a lot of money getting it fixed, I dropped my cell in the slush yesterday and it's no longer working, I have yet to do one single day of training as planned, I can;t remember a night when I had more than 2 hours of consecutive sleep, and on top of it all I am so homesick that every reference to England brings me to the verge of tears.

I just need a reset day. A good night's sleep, a leisurely run followed by snuggles with Raf, followed by a leisurely bike ride outside in warm weather (don't get me started on the weather), followed by more fun wit Raf, and so on. Instead I am up most of the night, stumble downstairs feeling somewhat resentful (not toward Raf) that I have missed my training times, cry, and then begin my work day.

You know, I'd actually just settle for a good workout, a run or a row or a bike ride or even a swim when I didn't feel thoroughly exhausted before even beginning.

But with breakfasts and lunches made, 2 loads of laundry complete, work emails already responded to while nursing Raf for the trillionth time this morning, I'm about to head off to work.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Goals for the week

This week marks a return to work - well, teaching begins. I'm not sure how I'm already hopelessly behind, but I am. To be quite honest I am not excited to return. I love being at home with raf with my biggest concern related to how I'm going to get my workout in. But, return to work I must, and I have to get myself into gear tomorrow - even though it's officially a holiday. I am already counting down the days until May 5th - the last days of classes....

And I have a busy week of workouts planned - with lots of running. My hip is very sore tonight so I am hoping it's not going to get in way of the running on my schedule. All being well i am hoping for 4 runs (including one transition run), at least 3-4 bikes, a couple of rows, and at least 2 swims. And... well, some core work and weights. I know! We'll see how it goes.

My other intentions for the week are to eat very well. We eat very healthily but I could stand to lose a few pounds to help with speed and weight to strength ratio on the bike. But it's very hard when you're constantly eating your toddler's leftovers. MUST. STOP. THAT.

I also intend to write a half interesting blog! I promise :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Highlights - and nutrition

It IS easier to train than blog (though I also have a Rafi blog, which I am better about updating..at least sometimes). And it was a pretty good week of training, in spite of the snow storms. I managed to get in quite a bit of cycling (indoors, of course), some rowing, some core work, a swim, and only one run (but another one planned for tomorrow). This evening I'm super tired, though, and I'm feeling as though the weeks of not really sleeping because Raf's been teething, my parents' visit, and more have caught up with me. I basically sat on the couch this afternoon and I'm getting ready to hit the hay.

One thing that I'm thinking about doing, though, is shifting up my nutrition. We're vegan so we eat a plant based diet but I am not very careful about post-workout nutrition and it's really affecting my ability to recover from workouts - especially longer and more intense sessions.

I'd love to hear what others do in regard to nutrition and diet

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Busy week

I had a really good week of training. I got almost all my planned sessions in, except one swim (though I had a swim lesson instead) and my weights session. I did, though, get some core work in - so not a complete disaster. I find that having absolute intention really helps to get me out there, almost imagining myself running, biking, swimming the night before - which somehow makes me more motivated and focused. I didn't, though, get a rowing session in... maybe tomorrow.

Week highlights - since i didn't blog all week.

1) A double session on Monday, which got me off to a super week.
2) A swim lesson with Rob, which went pretty well. He has more confidence in my swimming than I do! I have to work on hand-placement and I also need to learn to suffer in the pool.
3) A very cold run which involved the back of my legs almost freezing off.
4) A really great brick session; I watched an episode of "Wire In the Blood", and then headed out for a run with Rich and Raf. Rich very kindly pushed Raf all of the way. After almost 3.5 miles Rich dropped me and Raf off at the store while he carried on for 2 more miles, and then we all walked home with some groceries. These runs are such wonderful opportunities to spend time with my family.
5) A long-ish run with just Rich! A very rare event, indeed, but my parents are still with us.

A very good sporting week. I wish I had time to write more but I can hear Raf upstairs crying with Rich (who might also be crying by the sound of things), so I ought to go an rescue them.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 goals!

Mileage Goals for the New Year:

Running miles: 1000 - hopefully doable if I can avoid too many niggles and injuries
Cycling miles (outside: 2500 - maybe a bit optimistic!
Swimming miles - 100 - okay, this is quite optimistic but I am going to attempt it.

Races... Still working on this but I'm planning on doing - at a minimum:
1) a half marathon in the early Spring
2) Pirate Triathlon at Point Sebago - June 12th.
3) 70.3 Pumpkinman - September 11th.


1) To follow my training schedule as closely as is possible. A very seasoned and 11 time ironman, Rob Smith, is helping me put a schedule together. I have no clue what I'm doing so having some guidance is really helpful
2) To row on the water at least once a week whilst avoiding injuring my ribs (2 stress fractured ribs in a year kept me off the water for a long while. and then raf appeared).
3) To enjoy my training and if it gets to feel like a burden to stop, reflect, and readjust.
4) To be consistent with core training
5) To get moving in the weight-room

Now, all of this is quite dependent on another, very different goal, which is to have another baby.. so we'll see how this all goes :)

2010 with our sweet boy.