Setting Goals for 2018

It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not referring to Christmas. Though it is my favorite holiday! We’ve reached those last couple weeks of the year when it’s time to start planning goals for next year. I am having trouble picking what to focus on in 2018. The main reason is that the biggest goal of 2018 is we are going to try and get pregnant again in the fall. Just writing it makes me nervous. Two kids that’s going to be SO much work! I need to start reading some blogs about moms of multiple kids reaching big goals, pronto!

This is where setting running goals gets tricky. I can obviously set a spring race goal, and I know I’d like to work on my speed over the summer. Maybe get some 5k and 10k PRs. What should that spring race goal be a PR in the marathon or half marathon? Should I plan a goal race for the fall in case my pregnancy goals don’t go as planned? Also, should you plan like you’re not going to be able to get pregnant just so you don’t jinx yourself? I didn’t have trouble getting pregnant with Chicken, but you never know. Every pregnancy is different. Or so I am told.

If I wasn’t planning on trying to get pregnant, I would probably go for a PR in the half this spring, speed train over the summer, and then go for another marathon PR in the fall. So what do I do? Just go about training like I’m not going to get pregnant in 2018 and change my plans if I do, or make my plans to assume all goes as well?

I still have a few weeks to figure it all out. I do have a few other goals for 2018 that can strive for either way. I plan to finally start a daily push-up habit, and hopefully, my new strategy is so easy I won’t’ set myself up for failure. I plan to start with one push-up a day for the first week and increase by one every week for a year. I am going to feel completely silly for a couple weeks, but eventually, I will get up to a respectable number. The goal is not how many I can, but to develop a habit that’s why I’m starting so easy.

I also have a few goals for work, and probably the biggest one that I am most likely to fail at is finally getting us moved into our new house. We moved in last April, and I got us about 3/4 the way there and then stopped. I really want to finish and get to living without boxes tucked everywhere and pictures sitting in and behind furniture. If only I could decide on a wallpaper I like! Ugh! There are so many choices!!!

So here’s to 2018! May it be full of achieved goals and to the ones I fail at may they offer great life lessons!

I will leave you with some wallpaper samples for you to tell how much you hate them!

Top 3 for my dining room and bottom 3 for my downstairs powder room.

Arcadia WallpaperDutch Garden Wallpaper

Garden Buzz Wallpaper

Dog-a-Day Wallpaper

Dog's Life Wallpaper

 

When Things Go Topsy-Turvy

Life over the past month has really thrown my family for a loop, and I am hoping by writing about it, I can start to make sense of everything or just digest it a little better. A few weeks ago while in pilates, I got one of those phone calls. You know the ones where the world just stops spinning and everything around you seems to float in space. My mom and sister were hit by a car walking to dinner for my mom’s birthday. Everyone is okay, and all injuries will heal with time, but it is in these moments that you see just how fragile your family is.

I know one day my parents will be gone from this earth, and that I will have to share my memories of them with Chicken to keep them alive for her. I am just not ready for that. I probably will never be. I am not sure how to even prepare for such a thing. Which brings me to another scary thing my family is experiencing. My sister-in-law’s father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer last Easter and over the Thanksgiving holiday, we found out the cancer has spread to his lungs. Why is it we never see these things coming? All my life, I have been so fortunate to be blessed with a healthy and fit family, but the world works in strange ways and I never know how to handle these things. I’m not sure I ever will.

My sister-in-law and her family are going through so much right now, and I want to do whatever I can for them, but I have no idea where to begin. I don’t think straight up asking her is the right thing, so I am figuratively opening the door and waiting for her to come to me. I am constantly doubting this strategy and looking for other ways to help.

I have had a lot to celebrate in my personal life this last month, particularly with my running and work, but with everything going on I feel I need to step back and be grateful for my health and my family’s health. I have had a hard time getting into the Christmas Spirit this year with all the stress and sadness my loved ones are experiencing. With that, I am trying to change my attitude towards this time of year. Instead of focusing on the commercial side of things which always seems to take over, I want to turn my focus on family. I want to be able to show everyone the love and support they need while also showing them how much they mean to me. I want to celebrate the beautiful family we are blessed to have!

How do y’all celebrate family over the holidays? I want to start meaningful traditions with Chicken that we can share in the years to come. If you have any traditions that you and your family share together please tell me about them. I would love to hear about your traditions. Maybe they are something we could do too.

 

Marathon Recap

I told you in my last post I had a lot to talk about! This isn’t even the last big event that I have on the writing agenda, but I will get there. Since I am still riding my marathon high, I best reflect. The Saturday before last, I ran my third marathon, the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. I had run the half here once before, so I had an idea of what to expect. If you have never run this race, I highly recommend it. The course takes you right through St. Jude’s campus and there is nothing like it. I’d like to meet the person who can run this mile of the course and not get all the feels. They’d have to be made of stone. If you haven’t run this race, you should add it to your bucket list. All the proceeds go to St. Jude, which everyone knows is fantastic organization.

Back to the marathon walk through. As this is my third marathon, I feel I had learned some lessons from before and had my pre-race prep down. For example, I have a terrible nervous stomach and in past marathon’s I would do the typical carbo-load of night before spaghetti, but not this time. This time I made a simple meal my family eats on the regular, baked salmon, white rice, and sauteed zucchini and squash. It was easy to digest and a good mix of veggies, carbs, good fats, and protein. I also had a glass of red wine to help calm my nerves so I could get some sleep.

Before bed, I did my pre-race gear check. Here is the list of gear I used for this marathon. I linked to Amazon so you can see exactly what I used but I am not affiliated with any of these brands, but if you buy from the Amazon link I get a slight kick back.

I believe that’s my whole gear list. Some of these products I love and some I are just whatever. I don’t think of myself as a brand loyalist, so some I could interchange. When it comes to choosing what I wear for the marathon I pick out all my favorites and make sure they’re clean for the big day. Maybe one day, I’ll do a “products I’m loving” post.

After gear check, I schedule my Uber and head to bed. It’s marathon day! Although my alarm was set for 5am, I’ve been basically awake since 4:30. Oh, race day jitters! I always start my race morning by washing my face and getting dressed which includes 5 minutes of applying Glide and getting my toes in my shoes just right. Seriously, this toe thing is a process! My breakfast includes a glass of water, coffee with milk, two pieces of toast with almond butter, and a disgusting banana! I HATE bananas! Seriously, I only force myself to eat the terrible things on big race mornings. Once I eat, I fix my water bottle with an electrolyte drink to sip until the start line prior to mixing my race fuel, which was Tailwind Nutrition this go. I used Skratch Labs as my pre-race electrolyte this time. I liked it, but I still prefer Nuun. I also foam rolled until my Uber picked me up.

My brother-in-law was also running the marathon. This was a great treat, because I had a buddy to hang out with, and he also ran with me for most of the race. Got to the race in plenty of time to use the bathroom 3 times. Honestly, I could go to the bathroom as many times as I had time for. I have two complaints about this race. The first is the start line. They didn’t assign corrals, which was a terrible idea. People were all over the place. Seriously, there were people who crossed the start line already walking with the 4-hour pace group! They also didn’t give a map of where the corrals would be from the start line, so you had to backtrack to get to your corral. It was just chaos. Because of this, my first mile was about a minute off my pace. You also start downtown and the streets are narrow, but after the first mile when you turn off Beale Street the crowd starts spread out.

 

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I love pre-race photos. We look so happy and excited!

 

The first 5k winds through downtown and down Riverside Drive. My second complaint is at mile 4 this year they combined us with the 5k. Again, chaos! All of a sudden there was a hoard of people running all sorts of speeds in the middle of the half and full marathons. This again slowed down the pace because you were trying to dodge folks and not get run over at the same time. These simple problems were quickly forgotten at mile 5 when we entered the St Jude campus. During this mile stretch, I ran the whole way with a smiley teary-eyed expression on my face. If you’re not a high-fiver, this is the place to let all that go. These are the greatest high fives you’ll ever get.

Once through the campus, the pack really starts to spread out a bit. It’s here that I remind myself that my plan was to take it easy the first 10 miles and keep track of my hydration and nutrition. This stretch of the marathon heads up the Parkway to Poplar Ave to Midtown, where you will spend the next 22 miles. My brother-in-law said he had to go to the bathroom back at like mile 3, and he kept talking about it but was determined to hold it. Around mile 6 with all the bathroom talk, I started feeling like I needed to go to, Ugh!. At mile 8, we saw a group of porta-potties with no wait so we decided to just go. Oh man, was that a good idea! I felt so much better! Back to running! We saw our family at the Cooper Ave turn onto Madison. Nothing like hugs and cheers to put a smile on your face for the next 7 miles until we saw them again.

I made it to the 10-mile mark feeling good and continued on pace. A little after the half, the “work the second 10” approach started to become prevalent. I still felt really good, but I could feel myself getting tired and my form starting to slip. From here until mile 20, my goal became centered on running form. Since I haven’t really bragged about Tailwind Nutrition yet, let me just tell you this stuff is amazing! I can’t say enough good things about it. Thank you, dude, at Fleet Feet for encouraging me to try it, because I don’t know if I will ever use anything else ever again! Enough kudos, back to the race. Miles 13 through16 of the course was beautiful. The path through Rhodes College and then this cute little neighborhood followed by Overton Park. It always makes me happy when races don’t jip those running the full. Sometimes I feel like races get lazy with the second half of the course but not this one.

 

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Mile 17, feeling good!

 

 

It was around mile 16.5 that I began to lose my brother-in-law. We both knew this was bound to happen as I had trained a lot harder, and we had agreed to just let it happen when it was time. I saw my family for the second time at mile 17, and got a few quick baby hugs from Chicken and was on my way yet again. Now alone without my brother-in-law to distract from the fatigue in my legs, I had to turn my attention back to my form and my plan to work the second 10. Before the race, my husband said he would see for the last time at 19.5. I didn’t see them and thought that maybe they weren’t able to make the close meetups. This got me a little down, but luckily this was also on my old street in Cooper-Young. Instead of concentrating on the missed meeting and letting it depress me, I decided to check out the street and observe the changes to my old home over the past year. Luckily that was all the distraction I needed, cause when I rounded the corner at mile 20, there they were! This time Chicken ran alongside me. Seriously, it was adorable! This was exactly what I needed to move into the last phase of my race plan. Empty the tank and run until the wheels fall off for the last 10k!

 

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Mile 20 much-needed dose of cuteness!

 

At the next water stop, I refilled my bottle and poured in another serving of tailwind. I had also saved my music for this stretch too. So turned on my headphones and pushed shuffle on the playlist. China Grove came on and kicked off the trip downtown to the finish line. I’m telling you, I felt great! I ran a negative split and put everything out there. That last mile I turned it up and gave it everything I had and because of that, the turn into the shoot felt amazing! I have never been so amped at the end of a race! I finished 3 minutes under my goal at 4:17! Just writing this is getting me excited. I might just go register for another one. 3:59, here I come!

 

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Marathon finishers! My brother-in-law, nephew and me.

 

 

After the race, we went out for my fav post-race meal, a big, fat cheeseburger and a cold beer!

 

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The marathon also wore Chicken out too! She also enjoyed some of my post-race Oreos from the goodie bag. 

 

Opening Weekend

So many things have happened in our little family over the past few weeks. It’s hard to pick what to write about first. As you see in the title of this post, I obviously have decided to go with the opening weekend of duck season in Mississippi, but I will be sure to fill y’all in on all the other happenings too.

Back to duck hunting. Every year I eagerly await this time of year not just for shooting and eating ducks, but for the quality time outdoors and more importantly the time spent with family. Duck season and holidays have the great benefit of falling at the same time of year, so not only do I get to spend the holidays with my family, but I get the whole 60 days of duck season. Most weekends are spent at my parent’s house or duck camp where we are surrounded by good food and better people. It’s because of this that I look forward to duck season all year long.

Normally, I miss opening weekend to spend Thanksgiving with the Burke’s in New England, but this year due to travel we decided to visit for New Years instead. That means this was the first Thanksgiving and opening weekend, I spent at home since I met Andrew, 7 years ago. This might not work out again, so I savored the whole weekend getting in as much family and outdoors time as possible.

In Mississippi, duck season always opens the Friday after Thanksgiving, so after eating an incredible meal at my sister’s we loaded into the car and drove the hour to my parents. Among the chaos of four families unpacking and getting settled to stay the weekend, we bathed and put Chicken to bed and gathered our hunting clothes. At my parent’s Chicken sleeps in a pack-n-play in the walk-in closet in our bedroom (my brother’s genius idea), but even with a door and sound machine blocking her from our room, we had to pull some pretty stealthy moves getting our hunting gear together without waking her. Luckily,  she was in a pretty deep Thanksgiving coma. Once our gear was together, Andrew and I let the trytophan and pecan pie take over too.

This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I love the early morning scurry before heading to the duck blind. It was a pretty chaotic one as there were 5 adults and 3 kids all trying to get ready. Normally, situations like this stress me out, but the stumbling adults desperately waiting for the coffee to finish brewing, the toaster popping up toast every minute or so, kids not so quietly looking for socks and hats, and let’s not forget my dad telling us we’re late for the thousandth time, gets me amped up for the duck blind. It is these early morning moments that only us hunters get to share, and it is something about our family I cherish.

The scurrying continues at camp when we pull on waders, load the ranger with guns and decoys, somehow fit 9 people and a lab in the ranger, drive to the blind, unload, get the kids settled, and put out decoys all before shooting time if were lucky. All this work pays off when everyone is settled and quiet, and you get to witness the world come to life.

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We hunted every morning of the weekend. Repeated the routine for 3 days and had a great time too. We had good hunts, but probably the best part was not the shooting itself but sharing this weekend with my family, particularly my niece and nephews. They were such troopers and eagerly woke early each morning. While in the duck blind they didn’t complain or fight. My nephew wants me to take him back this weekend, and I will happily do just that.

Sharing the outdoors and our sport with the younger generation is so important. As outdoorsmen and women, we must instill the love of nature in our children. It is the only way to ensure that these wetlands will be conserved. Besides duck hunting, I took my niece deer hunting one afternoon over the weekend. These 2 hours were probably the most special 2 hours of the weekend. The time I spent with her talking in the woods is something I will always hold dear. She has grown to be a smart and insightful little girl. While waiting for the deer to appear, she asked why I was the only girl who hunted. I had always thought I’d be ready for this question when it came and although it caught me a bit by surprise, I think I did a pretty good job answering. I first began with telling her that I am not the only girl who hunts and explained that there are many women hunters including her. I didn’t want her to get the idea that there was a reason that some women didn’t hunt, so I told her that more women probably would hunt if they just had the opportunity too. I also explained to her that things are different now, lots of young girls hunt and will continue to hunt. I said to her it is our job, to show other girls how great it is. I finished by asking her to help me teach Chicken and her cousin to love the outdoors too. She was very proud to have the responsibility as the older cousin, and she left with a new found mission of their outdoor mentor. I think in the end it went alright, and I am glad I got that time with her.

I will finish with some pictures from the weekend. I hope you enjoy.

 

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My parent’s lab, Nell, looking regal on her dog stand.

 

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My nephew and Dad after Sunday’s hunt.

 

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My niece and nephews on opening day.

 

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Andrew watching the ducks come in. 

 

 

 

 

 

I Might Actually Be Crazy!

This past weekend, Andrew, Chicken, and I spent the weekend camping. It’s no secret that our little family loves camping. We take every chance to spend our weekends outdoors. But don’t let me mislead you, camping with a 1-year-old is no easy feat. It requires a ton of stuff (here is my list of baby camping must-haves), zero sleep (you can from our baby sleeping mistakes here), and a really messy baby, but with all that, it’s still totally worth it! This trip was made a little easier by some extra helping hands. We were joined by my parents, and sister’s family, so we had the benefit of splitting tasks and baby holding.

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Our little camping crew. My nephew had such great time on his first big camping trip. 

Although camping is not why I’m crazy, but it did produce the opportunity for my husband to attempt to talk me into doing something crazy, but I’ll get to that later. We are a family that needs to move, and the Village Creek State Park’s great trails are perfect for just that. On Saturday morning after we all enjoyed some delicious breakfast sandwiches my mom made, we strapped on the babies and went for about 5-mile hike. The good thing about hikes that long on easy terrain is you get a chance to talk with almost everyone. At one point during the hike, while Chicken was sleeping on my back, Andrew mentioned that after the St.Jude Marathon, I will have run 3 marathons in 3 different states. He then joked and said maybe you should go for 50 marathons in 50 states. The man should know better than to mention crazy running schemes to me. I’m extremely susceptible!

As crazy as that idea is, it got me thinking, why not? After St.Jude and my 50k, I could easily add in the Mississippi Blues Marathon at the end of January. There’s 4. I’ve had my eye on the Moonlight 50k in Arkansas in June, that’s 5. Then I would only be 5 away for qualifying for a membership to the 50 States Marathon Club (yes, that’s a thing). If I finish all 50, I get a trophy, medal, and finisher singlet. I mean, what won’t I run for free stuff. Seriously I’m not lying, I signed up for the New Orleans Rock n’ Roll Marathon instead of the Half Marathon so I could get the finisher jacket. Totally, worth it!

Another bonus to committing to 50 in 50 is it would give Andrew and me an excuse to buy a camper, and we’ve been dreaming of a camper for a while now. We could turn most of the races into family vacations. How cool would it be to be able to show Chicken the United States one race at a time? Oh no, I think I might be talking myself into it! Maybe I should finish the St. Jude and Swamp Stomper first before I fall too deeply into wanderlust.Well, I’m not committing yet, but it sure does sound like a pretty awesome goal!

Does anybody else have dreams of crazy running goals? I’d love to hear them! Maybe you can inspire me to do something even crazier!

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It never fails to amaze me how messy she gets while camping! 

A Weekend of Family, Football, and Running

This past Thursday, Andrew and I made a last minute decision to buy tickets to the Ole Miss vs Arkansas game on Saturday. I am so excited we did. This would be the first game, I had been too in a couple of years, and even more exciting, it would be Chicken’s first Ole Miss game and visit to the Grove.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ole Miss football, the Grove is a one-of-a-kind tailgating experience. Seriously, there is nothing like it. I grew up going to the Grove for every home game. My parents met at Ole Miss and my older siblings and myself all went to college there. Ole Miss is part of who I am, and when you’re in the Grove on game day, you can feel that love and passion for the school from every fan. The setup itself is unlike any other tailgate. There are no cars just tents in every direction and boy, is southern hospitality on display. The food found in every tent is over the top and the drink runs freely. The grove is not a place to worry about your diet that is for sure.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early and squeezed in my 10 miles at race pace. It was a great run in the new cooler weather. I can’t believe it’s taken until the last weekend in October to get any sign of fall here. I ran some good times. A little faster than intended, but I can’t help myself when a run is feeling good. Post run I fueled with a fried egg and extra egg white, sourdough toast, half an avocado, and the oh so essential coffee before heading off to Oxford.

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We arrived about an hour and a half before the game and set off for the Grove. Chicken was immediately greeted with a doughnut and the adults with some delicious adult peppermint hot chocolate and homemade chicken biscuits. How can you refuse?

At the game, I was so proud of Chicken. She did so well. She was so distracted by the band playing music and the people shouting and waving pom-poms, she never even noticed she had missed her nap. I was sure we would have to bail on the game before halftime, but she made it until the start of fourth quarter, and then we just watched the rest of the game from a tv in someone’s tent. (It didn’t end well for my Rebels, but at Ole Miss that never dampens our spirit.)

 

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She did take some time to chill in daddy’s lap, though.

 

She had a blast playing in the Grove and eating every cookie she was given, which turned out to be about 5. The cookies combined with no nap made for a big crash in the car on the way back to my parents’ house. Where we ordered take out and climbed in our PJs at 5pm and spent the night hanging out until an early bedtime. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

 

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Excuse my car seat, I never seem to get around to cleaning that thing.

 

The next morning, we slept in. Well, we slept to 7 because there is no sleeping in with a 1-year-old. Andrew and I headed back to Memphis after breakfast, and Chicken stayed with my parents to visit for a couple days. When I got to Memphis, I changed into my running gear and got my fuel ready for my 20 miler. This is my second 20 miles so far in this training schedule. The first one did not go so great, so I was a bit apprehensive about this one. I tried a new fuel, Tailwind nutrition. I had both the green tea and tropical punch flavors. I had a great run and never bonked. I was even able to run negative splits my last four miles, but I still kept it pretty slow as the training scheduled said to do. I really liked the Green Tea Tailwind powder. It had a really nice light flavor and mixed perfectly into my water bottle. It was also very easy on my stomach, which is why I won’t take gels or chews anymore. I also really like that I didn’t have to eat anything or drink extra water. The only downfall is that you have to stop every hour and mix another drink. I think I have found my nutrition plan for this marathon. I have 2.5 hour run this Sunday, so I am going to try it again and make sure I still like it. Has anyone else had experience using Tailwind Nutrition? What do you think? Did having to stop and mix new drinks bother you?

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Momma says “no”

Now that I have a toddler, I have found myself saying a no, where I didn’t say no at all before. I have found the beginnings of the disciplining stage of parenthood to be awkward. (I’m not sure awkward is the right word, but that’s what I’m going with.) I know that all parents must discipline their children and everyone needs to hear the word “no” every now and then throughout their lives, but teaching a 1-year-old who doesn’t understand what she is doing is wrong is straight-up awkward.

I am trying to be extremely patient and only telling her no to things that will ultimately endanger her, but I also don’t want to overprotect her to the point that she doesn’t learn to manage things for herself. For example, “No no Chicken, don’t pull on the lamp cord” is something I deem that will endanger her. Whereas the stairs are dangerous, yes, and I don’t want her to climb up and down them without me there for guidance, but she’s going to have to figure them out eventually and practice is the only way that will happen.

I have also found that I can’t just say “no no Chicken and take it away and continue with what I was doing prior to that. She just goes right back to what she was doing that wasn’t safe, and she has no idea why it’s bad. If I want to successfully teach her the difference between what is okay and what is not, I have to tell her “no no” to the bad thing and immediately whisk her across the room and distract her with something that is okay. It is moments like this when I realize babies are not that different than puppies. When I trained my lab and golden retriever to not chew up my house I did that exact same thing. I would say no to the thing I didn’t want them to chew and then hand them a toy or bone that was okay. So if your thinking about having a kid, I recommend raising a puppy first, it will teach a lot of the basics. And yes, I know that babies and puppies are completely different, but seriously, in the early days, there are a ton of similarities.

I have by no means perfected this toddler disciplining thing. And the darn little girl gets smarter every day, which always changes the game. As I am new to this whole parenting life, I am just trying my best to show empathy for Chicken. I know I will never be able to understand the mindset of a 13 month-old, but I’m trying. Hopefully, that will get me through.

 

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More proof babies are like puppies, they both like to lay on dog beds! 🙂

 

 

 

I’m back…

So, I sort of gave up on this whole blogging thing, but here I am back again. I’m not sure why I stopped writing, except maybe I got busy with you know, life. Lately, everything I felt like writing about seemed uninteresting, but if I’m honest this blog isn’t for anyone but me. Although I stopped blogging, I did not stop mothering, running, and hunting. If I had stopped mothering that would have been terrible, poor Chicken! I guess I will just fill everybody in on what’s been going on in our lives over the last few months.

In regards to my running, it’s on full force. I am gearing up for my third marathon. I will be running the St. Jude the first Saturday in December. I have also decided to run my first ultramarathon, a local 50k in mid-January. The training has gone reasonably well with a few hiccups along the way. I am currently in the midst of the high mileage weeks, so I am just trying to not eat everything in sight and get plenty of sleep, which has been easier since Chicken is finally sleeping through the night. YAY!

Life with Chicken is ever changing. We took her to Cape Cod to visit her grandparents in August. We had a blast, and it was so nice to spend an entire week with them. Chicken also got to meet a lot of her extended family too! After the trip, I weaned Chicken from the breast. It was super easy for her, and a lot less so for me. Oh, the hormones!

 

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Chicken putting her feet in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. It was a bit cold!

 

Over Labor Day weekend, I took Chicken on her first Roberson Family Dove Hunt. My family does an annual dove hunt with everybody plus some, and it is always a blast! By went on her first hunt, I mean dressed in camo and road the Ranger around with her Pops. But I was so proud to have her with me on a weekend that has played a big part throughout my life. She was darn cute in camo too!

 

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That’s one proud mama!

 

Chicken turned 1 in mid-September! I know! I can’t believe it either! She has grown up so much in the last couple of months. She went from baby to toddler overnight. I swear someone must have stolen my baby and replaced her with this walking, talking, giggly girl. I mean she’s pretty great, but I’d have liked to say goodbye to the previous one. Just saying.

 

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Smash cakes have to be the cutest 1st birthday tradition of all time!

 

So now, the Burke family is just working, dealing with my training schedule, chasing this little girl all over, and waiting not so patiently for duck season to start. Probably be able to wait a little more patiently if Ole Miss was better at football, but we might have to wait forever for that.

 

My rant about teething

Why can’t babies cut teeth in utero? I mean, I know they won’t be nearly as cute with a mouthful of little chicklet teeth, but it would make this stage of parenting so much easier. Besides cutting teeth, babies are so freaking cute at this age. For one, they think you’re the most amazing person in the whole world and smile while doing a little wiggly dance everytime they see you.  They also laugh with their whole bodies at the silliest stuff, and they give the most adorable and slobbery open mouth kisses. We could have that awesomeness every day if it wasn’t for stupid baby teeth. Oh and I can’t forget to mention, the napping and sleeping schedule is amazing at this stage, but then those growing teeth have to rear their ugly head and screw that up for us too. Come on!

 

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You know it’s bad when you cry over peanut butter toast. Poor Chicken!

 

Not only does teething suck big time, but what’s up with all these teething cures! I could spend a fortune on all the teething toys out there, but let’s be honest they work for like two seconds. Babies at this age get bored faster than you can hand them a new toy. Seriously, they have the attention span of a hyperactive puppy. I can give Chicken all the teething toys in the world, but she still prefers to chew on towels, magazines, and shoes. There really isn’t a whole lot of difference between a 10-month-old and a hyperactive puppy now that I think about it.

 

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The banana toothbrush worked for a hot second

 

I have also tried breast milk popsicles. I don’t mind wasting a little bit of money, but my breast milk, now that’s just not okay! I was desperate. So I froze some breast milk in one of those little popsicle trays and gave it to her one day when she seemed particularly miserable, and of course, she showed zero interest. She just waved it around while she hollered in frustration. I don’t like to think very hard about my breast milk, like the fact that is a liquid that is produced from my body. Gross! Yes, I know it’s natural and beautiful, but it’s like hot dogs, I love them and eat them throughout the summer and occasionally at movie theaters, but if I want to continue enjoying hot dogs, I never think too hard about the process. So giving Chicken a popsicle of breast milk pushed the boundaries a little too far. Have you ever seen a baby eat a popsicle? They’re terrible at it! It melts everywhere and nothing actually ends up in their mouths. The popsicle just melted onto my carpet. Nothing is sadder than literally seeing your hard work lying in a puddle on the ground. I have three more in the freezer and might give it another shot, but it will be outside on a hot day by the pool. Fingers crossed the heat will make her want to eat it!

At what point, does giving your baby Tylenol every 4 hours day after day begin to cause major stomach problems? Actually, I don’t want to know the answer, because that is the only thing that seems to make her happy, and man, does she love it! I pull out the little magical syringe full of purple syrup, and Chicken waves her hands in excited anticipation. She sucks down the goop faster than a college kid doing a beer bong. 20 minutes later, I have my happy sweet baby back!

So f@#! you baby teeth for taking that adorable baby away every time you grace us with your presence. I mean just look at this video of this adorable peep-pie loving girl!

 

 

My tips for Baby Led Weaning

Hello, everyone! Today, I thought I’d talk about why I chose to go the Baby Led Weaning route when giving Chicken her first solid foods. Let me just preface this with that there is nothing wrong with spoon feeding your baby pureed food. It just didn’t appeal to me that’s all, but it is not my intention to offend anyone’s parenting choice. Every has to do what works for them.  If it works for you and your baby then it is the right choice.

Here goes. When I first thought about feeding Chicken solids, I was really turned off by spoon feeding her pureed mush. It had been my experience with my niece and nephews that spoon feeding was a constant battle of wills that goes something like this…

Adult: “Please let me put this food in your mouth!”

Baby: “No I will put the food in my own mouth and hold the spoon and wave it around the room while slinging food everywhere, and you’ll like it!”

Adult: “Maybe we can both hold a spoon?”

Baby: “Nope! I still want yours!”

On top of this battle of over who gets to hold the spoon, I have found that my niece and nephews never really enjoyed meal time as babies and have grown up to be fairly picky eaters. With that in mind, I began to wonder if I even had to puree Chicken’s food. I mean, they didn’t have food processors a hundred years ago. At some point, babies first food had to have been real foods and obviously, they survived without all choking to death, right?

Again, I took to Google! This is when I first read about Baby Led Weaning (BLW) which by the way is a stupid name, but I digress. It immediately sounded like what I was looking for, so I bought the book and started researching the topic fully.

After I’ve researched something into the ground, I like to bounce the ideas off my husband, mom, sister, and just about anyone who will listen. (Sorry, coworkers.) I told Andrew about BLW and like usual he responds with, “that sounds great if that’s what you want to do then do it.” In reality, I’m sure he’s thinking, “Dear God, here we go again.” I also told my mom about my idea and she said, “sounds like the third child method, nobody has time to spoon feed kid number three.” Thanks, mom. Love you too. Since nobody said I was crazy and some even thought it was pretty ingenious (my choice of phrasing, obviously), I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad we did! Chicken is an excellent eater. She hasn’t found a food she doesn’t like, and I owe it all to the BLW method.

If BLW is something you’d like to try, I highly recommend it. But if you’re still in the research stage here are 10 things that I have learned over the last 3 months of our BLW journey.

  1. They won’t get it on their first go. They won’t get it on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and or even 5th go, really. BLW takes time. In the beginning, it is about fun for them. They are exploring a whole new world of tastes, textures, and smells, and it can be a little overwhelming, so start out slow and don’t worry about your baby getting enough to eat that’s what breastmilk and formula are for. Here is a video of Chicken’s first meal.

 

 

2. They really can eat whatever you eat. You just need to watch excess salt and sweets. (We have been table salting our food since we started, instead of salting while I cook.) Oh, and no honey! That’s a no for all baby’s actually.

3. Read the BLW book. You don’t have to do this, but I found it cleared up a lot of questions. They also have a section that shows you how to cut up different foods which are a bit different than what you would normally do for a baby eating solid foods.

4. Join a BLW support group. There are lots of social media groups that offer support and helpful hints. I am a member of the Facebook group “Baby Led Weaning for Beginners”, and it has been great for quick advice like “how do I serve strawberries?”

5. Watch a million safe gagging videos on YouTube. Have your family watch them too! This really helped bring us all peace of mind and learned not to panic when she inevitably gagged a little in the beginning.

6. It’s messy! Less so, if you have two large dogs. Enid and Pep make great vacuum cleaners.

 

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Enid never misses a meal time. That’s some serious focus.

7. People in restaurants will either think it’s adorable, or they’ll look at you like your crazy. Always remember do what is right for you and your baby and don’t worry about anyone else.

8. Eat with your baby. By allowing your baby to feed themselves, you’ve freed up some time to eat without someone touching you, YAY! They also learn from watching you. Monkey see; monkey do!

9. Spinach and other leafy greens are the most gag-inducing. Chicken has a really hard time breaking these veggies down, and they often get caught in the back of her throat causing her to gag. I plan to reintroduce these when she has more teeth.

10. It’s way easy! She eats whatever I eat; she can eat anywhere; I never have to pack extra food for her; she already loves some great whole foods like, peaches, chicken curry, eggplant, corn-on-the-cobb, hummus, cucumbers, and so much more. Seriously, there is nothing she won’t eat.

 

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Enjoying some chicken and rice with lentils.

 

Have you tried BLW? What was your experience? I’d love to hear from you, even if it is something you’re just curious about.