Post-baby PR

Happy Friday everyone! I am very excited to post today because, yesterday, I got a postpartum 5K PR. I ran it in 25 minutes, YAY! I know this isn’t fast for many of you. It’s not even fast for a lot of ladies who are also 9 months postpartum, but I had given up being speedy a long time ago. Actually, I have been anti-fast running since I went to college.

In high school, I had the talent but not the motivation. I simply wanted to be good for the wrong reasons. I wanted to win for other people. I wanted others to think I was good. Now, I don’t care if I’m fast or not. The goal to be faster does not necessarily make me happy; it’s the journey to that goal that brings me joy. I have come to love putting in the hard work and seeing what comes from it. The struggle is what makes me happy. It makes me feel strong, and that strength gives me confidence.

This PR is special because of where I started. As anyone who’s had a baby knows, giving your body over to your child for 9 months as they grow and to continue to nourish a newborn for months while dealing with all the changes and stress put on your body is hard work. And in the end, you have a completely new body from the one you started with. Proving to myself that I can still work hard and see results gives me strength.

I am excited to see what this new body can do, so I’m going to continue to work and challenge myself. Earlier this month I signed up for a four Road Race Series and the St. Jude Marathon (this will be my third). So lots, of challenges already in the books. Can’t wait!

What gives you strength and confidence?

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My splits, I definitely see some areas for improvement.

 

Ohhh! The guilt.

Lately, I have been debating weaning Chicken. Up until a month ago, she was exclusively breastfed, and since then she has only had formula on occasion. My original goal was 6 months, and we were lucky that we had an easy nursing relationship. Breastfeeding Chicken was easy, so that’s sort of why I kept going past my goal.

I’m beginning to get tired of the demand on my body, particularly the pumping at work twice a day. I’m also not a huge fan of the acrobatics that goes on while feeding a 9-month-old. Is it weird to say I sort of miss my period? TMI?

So basically, I’m debating quitting, and like most times I debate something, I turn to Google. I googled what other people’s experiences have been and their thoughts on the subject. What I have found is that there is a bit of a stigma and a lot of negativity out there for women who want to quit before a year. I feel like it is only acceptable to stop if you’ve had trouble from the beginning and it’s not working or once you’ve reached a year. If you’ve had a successful breastfeeding relationship and you’re thinking about quitting before your baby is a year old, you should feel guilty.

Guilt and pressure is one thing us moms don’t need. I already feel guilty about weaning on my own. The feeling of wanting to quit makes me feel selfish and that I am somehow doing a disservice to my daughter. Although, I know that is not true, and that whatever time nursing I can give her is valuable. I know that these last 9 months have given her a great start, but in order to be a good mother to her, it is important that I am happy too.

I am still unsure what I will do. If I do decide to begin weaning, I will do it slowly. I am not quite ready to give up that first early morning feeding. It is such a special moment that only we share.

If anyone reads this, I’d like to know your thoughts. I know that there are many opinions on this subject and no right answer, but I’d like to hear from you. What was your experience? Did you feel pressure to quit or keep going? How did that make you feel?

 

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We have come a long way.

 

Camp Rules…

…are different than Everyday Rules. As I mentioned in a previous post, we took Chicken camping for my birthday last weekend. On our adventure, we learned some valuable lessons while camping with an 8-month-old. Probably the most important one was that your everyday rules get thrown out the window while living in the great outdoors particularly those pertaining to bedtime and sleeping arrangements.

Normally, Chicken goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00, and she always sleeps in her own bed. She has always slept in her own room. We have never co-slept, not even for a nap. This is mostly because when Chicken was an infant, she had acid reflux. At first, the doctor thought it was colic but thankfully was later diagnosed with the very treatable acid reflux. During that time of continuous crying, the only time she would sleep was in her crib at night. Ever since then she has loved her crib, and her dad and I have thanked our stars for this. We assumed that camping would be no different. Like most assumptions in parenting, we were wrong.

Her first night camping, we let her stay up later than normal. I figured she would have a harder time putting herself to sleep in a new place, so I made sure she was tired before starting her bedtime routine. Going down in the pack-n-play went smoothly, and she managed to stay asleep later on when Andrew, myself and the two dogs climbed into the tent to go to sleep. At about midnight, she woke up crying. (To note, she has been waking a lot lately due to teething.) Normally, I don’t nurse her during the night, but I figured since we were camping all the normal rules had to go. I picked her up and nursed her until she calmed down and fell back asleep. When I laid her back in the pack-n-play, she woke up again. This time I tried to pretend I was asleep, FAT CHANCE! She had never seen me sleeping so close before and was like, “Why am I over here? Pick me up!” So instead of letting her cry and becoming “those” people at the campground, I picked her up and put her in bed with me and Andrew. She fell right to sleep. Home rules just don’t pan out when camping. Camping is about survival, I guess? (That’s pretty hard to say while using my phone as a sound machine.) From then on, we all got some decent rest. Other than me who was paranoid about rolling over onto Chicken or just even waking her up. (Mom worry never sleeps.)

Chicken woke up bright and early. Normally, she wakes up around 5 am, I feed her, and she goes back to sleep. But this morning in our family sleeping bag, she opened her eyes, saw mom and dad, and the sweetest grin spread across her face. She was so happy to wake up with us beside her. She was up and ready to play. The sleepless night was totally worth that sweet face, so from now on, when camping Chicken is allowed to sleep with us. It will be our camping treat, and just one more reason to love sleeping under the stars.

 

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You can’t help but smile waking up next to this sweet baby girl.

 

 

20 Things to Bring when Camping with a Baby

This weekend to celebrate my upcoming birthday, we took a family camping trip. It was our first time camping with Chicken, and I was so excited to finally share this experience with her. The idea of camping with a baby brought on lots of stress and worry, so when we made the decision to go I went straight to Google for tips and tricks. I found a lot of good ideas that I had mostly already thought of, but it was still good to get some reassurance that taking a baby camping wasn’t a completely insane idea.

 

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Chicken trying to escape her pack-n-play while we set up camp.

 

My baby camping packing list is long, but it’s better to be prepared, right? We also went car camping which made it easier to carry everything. We aren’t quite ready for hiking in, but hopefully one day we will have the confidence for that. Anyway, here is my baby packing list. I have attached links to the products we used.

  1. A pack-n-play (This is an absolute must for crawlers. It doubled as her bed and a place for her to play during the day)
  2. A portable high chair (If your baby is eating solids. It is also doubles as another place for the baby to sit.)
  3. A baby carrier for hikes
  4. Some of their favorite toys
  5. A lovey or something your baby finds comforting (Chicken loves this security blanket and sleeps with it at night and during all of her naps.)
  6. Multiple changes and layers of clothes and don’t worry about matching. (The temperature at night got pretty chilly and hot during the day, so breathable layers are important.)
  7. A sleep sack
  8. A meal and snack plan (If your baby is eating solids, you need to prep and plan out their meals. Make sure you start preparing their meals well in advance. You don’t want a crying baby while you’re trying to cook their meal on a campfire.)
  9. Water cup and clean water (Obviously, it is important to keep your baby hydrated, but we were not sure what the water source would be like at this campsite, so we brought a jug of purified water just for her.)
  10. Lots and lots of diapers (The last thing you want is to run out of diapers or wipes. We kept an emergency package in the car in case we ran out.)
  11. A roll of softish paper towels (Just go ahead and accept that your baby is going to get dirty! They will probably also eat a little dirt too. That’s just being in the outdoors with a baby, but I found a wet paper towel went a long way in keeping her clean.)
  12. Baby friendly bug spray (Just remember that these baby bug sprays need to be reapplied more often than the bug sprays containing DEET).
  13. A mosquito net (Bug bites on a baby can ruin your trip, so we took extra precaution in keeping the bugs off Chicken. Draping a mosquito net over the pack-n-play was the best way to keep the bugs away from her. Mosquito nets are cheap and can be found at any outdoors store.)
  14. Formula and bottles (We didn’t pack this because Chicken is breastfed, but if you are using formula be sure you have plenty of both.)
  15. A warm hat and a sun hat (nights can get cool and day’s hot and sunny, so make sure you have both.)
  16. Sunscreen (Chicken looks just like her Irish daddy, so sun protection is a must for us.)
  17. A clean surface for your baby to eat on (Outdoor picnic tables are hard to clean, so we brought along our handy EZPZ mat.)
  18. Don’t forget the bib either! One that is easily rinsed off is best.
  19. A large blanket for playing on the ground
  20. The expectation that things are going to go wrong!

 

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Chicken enjoying some french toast and berries for breakfast.

 

What a great list, right? It sure would’ve been nice if I could have followed my own advice. Here’s my list of everything we forgot. Not everything we forgot was baby related, but when you’re so focused on making sure your baby is comfortable you often forget about everyone else.

  1. The baby carrier (Thank goodness there was a Wal-Mart in the nearby town.)
  2. The dogs’ leashes (Had to turn around for that one.)
  3. A lighter definitely makes building a fire easier
  4. Carabineers for tieing up the dogs (Poor pups, they sure do get the short end of the stick since Chicken arrived.)
  5. Mine and Andrew’s dinner for the first night (Dorrito’s and beer it is!)
  6. And I’m sure some other things that I’m not remembering right now.

 

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Last minute baby carrier purchased right before the hike.

 

Needless to say, we forgot some stuff, and everything did not go as smoothly as we hoped, but we had a wonderful time. We got in lots of device free family time and created a lot of great memories. There were other learning moments, I will share with y’all in future posts, but for now, I hope this list can help you in planning your family’s outdoor adventure.

Happy, Little Discovery

I wasn’t planning on posting today, but I thought I’d tell everyone about my happy, little discovery yesterday. To begin, Andrew is out of town for work, so it’s just me home with Chicken which means no early morning runs until he gets back. I mean, I would love to pull a Peter Pan and leave Chicken with the dog for an hour while I get in a quick run. I’m sure Enid, my golden retriever, could pull off a Nana, but I’m also pretty sure that activity is frowned upon. So until society excepts dogs as viable caregivers, I’m stuck waiting until after work and taking the little one on a stroller run. Darn!

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Enid and Chicken lounging on our bed. (Don’t worry I’m within an arm’s reach of baby girl.)

 

I have like zero motivation to exercise once I get home from work, but I saw on “Moms Run This Town” (a Facebook group I’m a member of but have never actually participated in) that there was going to be a group run at a park in a suburb a little farther out from where we live. I REALLY needed the run for my sanity and to blow off some steam. Honestly, I don’t know how single moms do it. I think they should wake up to applause every morning cause these ladies have super powers! I am stressed after like two nights by myself!

Once I get home, I pack up the car and head that way. It takes about 20 minutes to get there, and as soon as I arrive, I realized I totally didn’t read the whole post because no one is there. Yep, it said June 13th. Oh well! I was there, and instead of whining about it, I decided to run anyway. I had never been to this park before and to my surprise, it was absolutely lovely. Johnson Park in Collierville has this great boardwalk through the woods. It was beautiful! I took a little video that you can see here: (Sorry for the shakiness, I was running, steering a stroller, and taking a video. I’m pretty sure this should be illegal.)

My only complaint was that it wasn’t long enough and had to do a couple laps to get the mileage. Obviously, that is a silly thing to complain about and hope to make the trip back out to enjoy a change from my regular routes. Maybe, I’ll even make the mom group sometime. That is if I actually read the post and get the time right.

Frisbee and a 5k

Last week, Andrew and I decided to drag Chicken to our various activities. We started off by taking her to her very first Ultimate Frisbee game. Andrew loves ultimate frisbee and has been playing since his days at Villanova. The start of summer also means the start of summer league for the Burke family, and Chicken and I were there to cheer daddy on.

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Chicken had a great time playing on the blanket and eating mommy’s keys. She loves to be outside so was fairly happy even though we were creeping in on her bedtime. We did have to break out the “magical” Cheerios when things started going down hill.

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For the most part, we had a successful first game. Andrew had two games, and they won both. We only stayed for the first since I didn’t want to get little one to bed too late. Although, that turned out not to matter anyway. Parenting lesson of the night, make sure you have your house keys after switching vehicles with your husband. If you don’t you’ll spend about an hour driving around the neighborhood trying not to wake a sleeping baby while waiting for your husband to get home to unlock the door. I guess it could’ve been worse, she could have screamed in the car that whole time instead.


 

The next night, we signed up to run the Harbortown 5k with my sister and her family. It was my first time running this Memphis “must run once” race. It’s a great course that wound through Harbortown and the locals really come out to support the runners. Let me go ahead and let everyone know, I am not a fast runner. I love to run and run a lot and hope to get faster, but that is not my primary goal when it comes to running. So don’t expect to see any impressive times posted on this blog.

I ran the 5k with my sister while Andrew pushed Chicken in the stroller. My sister has recently found her love for running and that brings me more joy than I can tell you. Nothing makes me happier than to share my passion for running, and it’s even more special to do so with someone I love so much.

For starting at the back of the pack, we ran a good race, and my sister outran her expected pace by a full minute! The best part was the finish when my 6-year-old nephew ran through the finish line with us. Sharing experiences like these with loved ones are why I sign up again and again. Here a few pictures of us before the race (when we still look pretty).

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Chicken is ready to run!

 

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Lining up at the start as a family.

The party after the run looked super fun, and those Sonic burritos looked sooo delicious! But once the stroller stopped moving Chicken quickly realized it was WAY past her bedtime, and we had a to make a quick escape! Thank goodness for car rides and my Widespread Panic lullaby CD.

After a Thursday night frisbee game and Friday night race, we decided a weekend at home relaxing and getting back on Chicken’s sleep schedule was what we ALL needed.

Here goes nothing…

is something I often mutter before starting something difficult. Whether that’s the start of a race, a big project at work, heading out to the duck blind, telling my husband I’ve signed up for another marathon or have some crazy idea to redecorate our house. Writing my first blog post feels very similar. I’ve never found it easy to put myself out there, and I can feel myself getting a stomach ache just thinking about clicking “publish.” I have always had a weak stomach that seems to be directly tied to my emotions. Since this whole blog thing is about telling the world the nitty gritty of your life, the good, the bad, and the embarrassing. I thought I’d just get it out of the way and start with an embarrassing story about my emotionally ridden stomach.

Here goes nothing…when I was a little girl about 11 years old, I would often go waterfowl hunting with my dad on the weekends. I would look forward to these mornings all week. The night before I would lay out my hunting clothes and make sure my boots were by the door. I always wanted to be ready to wake up and go so I wouldn’t be a hassle. (When you’re the only girl in the duck blind this is a common worry. In an effort to not be a bother, I would try to be extra prepared the night before.) One morning on our way to the duck blind, I had gotten myself all worked up. We arrived at the boat and were loading up to head out to the blind, and I could feel the butterflies fluttering. Not wanting to be a wimp, I decided to just suck it up. This turned out to be a very bad idea. For those of you who don’t duck hunt, trying to go to the bathroom as a girl wearing chest waiters is almost impossible. So my nerves got worse as I worried about this fact, and the extra worry resulted in my REALLY needing to go to the bathroom. There was nothing but boys and waist-high water all around. I finally got up the nerve to tell my dad that it was an emergency, and being the awesome dad he is, he told everyone he had forgotten his duck calls in the truck. Dad and I loaded back into the boat, and he drove me out of sight to an abandoned duck blind where I could go to the bathroom. Still surrounded by water, I had to lean off the deck to use the bathroom, it was awful and not to mention cold. Dad never told anyone, but when it was just us and we passed that duck blind, he would joke and ask me if I needed to use my outhouse. I’d like to say that is my only embarrassing nervous stomach story, but one is definitely enough for now, especially since we just met.

That experience might ruin the outdoors for someone but not me. The times I spent with my dad hunting are some of the most cherished moments of my life. To this day, I anxiously await the start of duck season when I get to spend mornings in the blind with my dad and family. I hope that one day I can share those experiences with my daughter, except she won’t feel like she has to prove herself because she’s a girl. She will find empowerment in her time in the outdoors and the activities she pursues, and I will be there to help her along the way. In this blog, I will share our adventures as new mom and daughter in a life lived outside.

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Dad and I after a great opening day a couple years back.