Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Feature

Kid President. Just what I needed on a rainy Friday. The timing of this video, which I saw for the first time this morning, couldn't be more perfect.

I was pretty tired this morning -- Henry got up at 3:30 for some snuggles -- and I realllllly wished it was Saturday. Alas, eight more hours between me and the weekend. Anyhow, Henry taught himself how to blow raspberries and decided to unveil his new skill with oatmeal and peas at the breakfast table. I couldn't find something to wear so I ended up in a suit (a SUIT!). And, again, it's raining. Gloomy. Yuck.

Obviously, I needed to turn it around.

Sitting in traffic, I detoured into the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru and decided while waiting that I wanted to do a random act of kindness to rally my Friday morning. I know, random acts of kindness are best kept quiet, but I wanted to share because they just feel SO good and I wanted to put the idea in your head, too.

I paid for the order from the car behind me and went on my way with a big smile on my face. It cost me all of a buck fifty, if that. Tell him to have an awesome weekend, I told the cashier.

To be awesome, Kid President says, treat people awesome.

This weekend, do something sweet for a family member, neighbor, or stranger. Smile and say hello. Put down the phone and look people in the eye. Buy a coffee, or a doughnut, or a bouquet of daffodils (they're $2.99 a bunch at the place next to my office!). Be awesome.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Baby on Board: Running with my Sidekick

Can I confess to you a recent struggle, as silly as it may sound?

I feel badly about taking Henry out in the stroller for a run during the very few waking hours we have together on week nights.

I know. Mommy guilt. How unoriginal. But, here's the thing: our days together are really short. I feel conflicted because I wonder if I should be using that time to having developmentally-friendly face-to-face playtime. Babe in arms, or at least on our bellies side-by-side on the playmat. Reading stories or singing songs when I'm not huffing, puffing, or so out of breath I can't sing at all.

That said, am I teaching a healthy habit from a young age? Does he know? Will he notice? Is getting out to enjoy nature just as good as a story or song? I think I know the answer, but for some reason, the issue doesn't feel resolved.

And then there's me and my well-being. Nature, and movement, and meditation is key for my own emotional health, so it's sort of like passing down an important coping mechanism and also making sure the happiest, healthiest mama possible shows up each day.

Why the debate?

Last night, I changed into running gear at the office to make more seamless the transition from car to stroller to road and when I walked into daycare for pick-up, Henry's teacher asked, So, are you a runner or just dressed like that? I laughed hard.

Running felt pretty challenging last night; the headwind was strong on certain streets and angles and my arms and legs felt tired from our run the night before. Still, Henry settled in for a nice nap and I greeted the neighbors I passed one, two, three times and more, until finally we laughed and said, Good to see you again! We ran four and a half miles, which might be my longest distance running with the baby in tow.

I've managed 11 miles so far this week between two evening runs and a Sunday afternoon walk in chilly sunshine. My half marathon is a month from today and while it will be a far cry from a personal best, I'm excited to pin on a number, deck my little guy out in a running onesie, and hit the road with a few thousand running friends -- sans stroller for a change.

Let's hear it parents: how did you incorporate exercise when the baby arrived? How did you conquer the guilt, if you felt any? And for the crowd: tell me about an outdoor memory you have from childhood. Did your parents introduce exercise when you were young?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

To Sum It Up

We've had a turbulent 24-hours over at Casa Pereira, so alas, no original content. The babe had his 6-month check-up yesterday, complete with a handful of shots and a surprise double ear infection, so fussy would be an understatement and overtired is more or less the only word to describe his mother this morning.

To buy your love and patience, a quick before and after:

Doctors?! I love doctors!

Annnnnnd, two and a half minutes post-appointment. If only he'd been this sleepy in the overnight hours.

I have a few things in the hopper, but no time or wherewithal to make 'em happen today. As a result, I bring you a Health magazine story, converted for Carrots N Cake and now, passed down to you here. Re-gifting is an act of better-than-nothing-love in this case, not a lack of caring.

Can you eat what you want or do you have to watch it?
Always, totally and completely, watch it. I definitely can't eat "anything" and notice junk food's affect on my body pretty much instantly. On the chin, chest, and belly. I generally find it really difficult not only to lose weight, but to not gain it.

Has your body ever changed dramatically? 
I fluctuate. I think the first time I really felt out of sorts and foreign in my body was when I studied abroad in Galway, Ireland. I was cooking for myself for the first time, legally able to drink, and Irish staples like heavy bread, thick butter, and potatoes were consumed at all meals. On top of that, my townhouse with six ladies only had a dorm sized fridge, so I had no idea how to eat well on the fly. I remember being in a little coastal town south of Dublin in the week or two before I flew back to the States and I spent a rainy afternoon in a bookstore reading The Abs Diet on the floor down some aisle. I started the diet when I returned home and dropped 20 pounds that summer. Granted I had just gained at least that.

I guess it would be obvious to say my body changed dramatically while I was pregnant last year and while it did physically, I felt really comfortable and had such a great grasp on eating well and moving often that I was more at home then than I had been in the past.

After you had a baby, did you feel pressure to snap back into shape?
No, not pressure, but my body really did get back to it's so-called normal size and weight really quickly, so maybe I would have if it didn't. Even still, that isn't to say it was the same as before. I'm still working on regaining the strength and endurance I had before and I'd really like to look better and feel stronger than before Henry. Since having the baby, I feel more capable than I did before.

Do you guys want more kids?
Yup! Well, I do at least! I always thought I wanted a couple and within days of Henry being born I was sure. No rush though. We're having fun as a family of three.

What's the key to maintaining a happy family life?
In my opinion, carving out time for undivided attention with just your immediate family, in the midst of lots of fun visits, outings, company, etc. I think a balance of both is important, but I love the little moments when it's just the three of us and the baby has Nik and I in hysterics (it's usually that way, instead of the opposite)!

What are your favorite ways to pamper yourself?
Facials, hair cuts, and blow outs. Facials are justified, hair cuts are impulsive, and blow outs are indulgent. If I won the lottery, I'd get my hair blown out a few days a week.

Besides wine, do you have a go-to drink?
I'm off all alcohol right now, so English or Irish breakfast tea with skim and two sugars.

Do you have any health regrets?
I hate moisturizing. I'm bound to regret that sooner or later.

Are you a yoga person?
Yes, off and on. I long ago got over thinking it was a hippie workout and that the spiritual aspects were kooky. I never feel as clear-headed and centered as when I step off my mat after a good 90+ minute practice.

What workout move do you loathe?
I hate taking the time to do a concentrated ab workout. I wish it just happened.

When do you feel sexy?
I suppose I could say when I'm in great jeans, a loose blouse and sky-high heels, but usually I feel my best during the most unexpected moments -- usually dressed down in old and oversized clothes with my hair piled on top of my head and no makeup on. I have to imagine this isn't the time my husband finds me sexiest... 

When do you feel your absolute happiest?
Sitting on the couch watching Nik and Henry interact, laughing, when we travel, and on the beach.

My Favorite Things
In my bag: I shouldn't admit this. I've been hauling around a giant tote with my pump and bottles (a girl's gotta do...), a daily planner, Moleskine, work ID, and three or four different lipsticks. Glam.
Ultimate app: Pinterest, Peapod, Tetris.
Go-to hair products: Oh, I'm terrible about hair products. I'm committed to workout headbands and a high, sloppy bun. I'm experimenting with wearing my hair natural lately though, so I've tried a variety of air-dry products like John Freida Dream Curls.
Must-have makeup: These days I'm into lipstick! I carry four or five around with me and match them to my outfit and mood. I'm a huge fan of a bright fuchsia that I'm so glad I grabbed on the fly. To find the right colors for me, I googled "lipstick for fair skin" and scooped up those recommendations.
Beauty trick: When I wear black eye-liner, I put on pencil before liquid. I get a good straight-ish line and then have something to trace with the liquid stuff. I feel like it goes on straighter and has something to stick to. Insurance.
Favorite TV show: I'm not that into TV, so my preference is always sports. I have to admit to liking Suits though. The female characters are all strong and have killer fashion sense.
Favorite movie: Re-runs on TNT... James Bond, Italian Job, Fast and the Furious... can you tell my husband runs the remote?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Feature

Any baseball fans out there? Yeah? Have you heard of the Van Man, Daniel Norris? Because he's awesome.

Also, not terrible looking.

And, apparently, a good sport. Teammate R.A. Dickey stole his van -- his HOME -- a week or two ago, and drove it onto the infield.

So, this guy is a millionaire and the Toronto Blue Jays' top prospect. He grew up in an outdoorsy and down to earth family and despite being drafted straight out of high school, maintained a part-time job at an outdoor retailer so he'd have opportunities to get outside to camp, backpack, and kayak. He lives in a VW bus, works out in the Walmart parking lot where he lives, and keeps a thought journal that he writes in by the light of his camp headlamp.

Like I said, he's the man.

With number of violent, despicable sports stories that overwhelm sports media, I'm so encouraged when I see someone humble, down-to-earth, and true to himself. On the same note, I loved the lengthy profile of family-man Ken Griffey Jr. featured on Bleacher Report last week. Compare Griffey and A-Rod, right? Yikes.

Have an authentic, simple, kick-ass-life weekend.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cost Per Mile

I love this:

My cousin Leigh once remarked off the cuff that she tries to keep her race registration fees at less than $8 per mile. So, a 5K should cost no more than $24 dollars, a half marathon $108. It's actually pretty generous. I might pay $24 for a 5K, but maybe $6 or $7 per mile is more my speed for longer races.

It's actually kind of genius, right? Think about it. What's your threshold?

This time of year, when I'm going stir crazy and just want to get out and run, it's incredibly tempting to let myself go crazy on the internet, credit card in hand. 10-Miler in Newport? Yup! Half Marathon in Boston? Sure! Maybe I should run the Maine Half as a lead up to New York full. Everything sounds beautiful, warm, and fun. Throw in some triathlons; it adds up quick.

A few years back, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't run in any races planned by one local organizer anymore. They are usually fun, yes, but super crowded (I once got stuck in a bottleneck inn the last quarter mile and WALKED through the finish!) and too expensive. The shirts usually stunk. It just wasn't worth the money. On the other hand, I've never been so thrilled to see $255 drained from my account than when I got the notice I was into New York.

When you set up your race calendar, do you consider the cost per mile? How do you choose races?