NYC 26.2: Week 6.

Hal Higdon-NYC 26.2-Marathon TrainingAugust is a terrible month to be training for a marathon.  It’s still relatively hot and humid, and that lazy summer feeling is in full swing.  And I usually have it worse than in June or July since I know summer is coming to an end VERY soon.  We also had wacky schedules again this week which always makes it a little tougher to squeeze in those runs,

But here’s how the week went down:

Got 3.5 miles in at lunch on Monday and 5 miles after A went to bed on Tuesday.  I went for a baby-less long run on Saturday and got 12 miles in.  On Sunday I took a “Step Rally” class at Lithe.  In total I got in 20.5 miles and my “cross training”, but I was still 1/2 of a mile short of the weekly goal of 21, and I only ran on 3 days.  Unfortunately Week 7 was a little more of the same.  But I’ll be recapping that later in the week.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, we’re on vacation this weekend through Labor Day and it cannot come soon enough.  I need a break, and I need some time to run!

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Summer Slump.

Working-Mom-Summer-Slump-Need-VacationAs I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m in a bit of a blogging slump.  We’ve had a VERY off-schedule August and I’ve been too exhausted by the end of the day to blog about some neat projects I’ve actually worked on this summer.  I pretty much organize some area of my life or house every weekend.  Sometimes it’s small (like my coupons), sometimes it’s a lot bigger (like the outdoor space behind our house), but I can never let well enough alone.  I’m always “just quickly tidying up” while B rolls his eyes since he knows this will snowball into me fully reorganizing some space that he deemed perfectly fine.  So I have been busy keeping it neat around here and do have some things to share soon.

We’re on vacation starting this weekend through Labor Day and it can’t come soon enough.  I’m in need of some time away from work (and my organized spaces!) to just fall off the grid and relax.  We’re headed out to Montauk where my family has been going for 59 years. Until I was 18 I hadn’t missed a trip out there, but then along came college and the real world (aka a job in 2004, our wedding in 2009, and a super pregnant yours truly in 2011).  Needless to say in the last 12 summers I’ve only made it out there 4 or 5 times.  My last time out there was in 2010 when B and I made a long-weekend trip out to see my family.  While fun, it’s too short, especially coming from Philly.  So this time we’re doing it right and staying for just over a week.  I cannot wait.

I may do some blogging if the mood strikes (I really do have some fun organizing projects to share!), and I’ll definitely be doing some running.  I’ve got serious miles to catch up on for NYC 26.2.  My busy August put running in the back seat (blogging is obviously trailing behind the car – hanging from the bumper!).  I’m in the middle of Week 8 right now which is turning out to be a little challenging because of the Pangaea Juice Cleanse that I’m doing (that I mentioned here).  And I can’t wait to post about that adventure too – I just finished Day 2 of 3 and so far so good.  Trying to start my new decade feeling light and fit (yep, I turn 30 on Monday…whomp, whomp).

So, basically this is one giant multi-tasking post:  serving as a public acknowledgement of my slumpi-ness as of late, a warning that more slumping may occur  and a promise of some quality bring-you-up-to-speed future posts.  You know I like to multi-task!

Gleaming & Beaming.

house cleaning-Bona hardwood floor polish-clean floors

My floors are so clean right now you could eat off of them.  And I’m not just using that as a trying-to-be-funny saying – they are literally insanely clean and I would eat something off them right now to prove it if I wasn’t preparing for my Pangaea Juice Cleanse that starts tomorrow morning.  (But that’s a story for another post.)  My floors look just as shiny as the day we moved in. They’re so slick KP is sliding around on them.  She almost completely bit it coming down the stairs earlier.  Poor pup.

I’m sitting on the couch typing but I keep peeking behind me to check out the shine on the floors in the rest of the house.  And when I do catch a glimpse I can’t help but grin.  I’ve asked B maybe 500 times, “don’t the floors look amazing?!”.  Heaven.

So, why so clean you ask?  Well I went a little crazy over the weekend and clean-attacked my whole house.  I vacuumed and scrubbed the floors in every room of the house.  I scrubbed and sanitized every surface in the bathrooms and kitchen.  I even cleaned the tile grout with a narrow scrub brush and then went over the lines with a bleach pen (this one – it’s perfect for this task).  I dusted, I Windex-ed, I conquered.  And then, when any sane person would decide it was time to stop and relax, I polished the hardwood floors.  On my hands and knees with my Bona Hardwood Floor Polish and a few micro-fiber cloths (both pictured above).  And the rest is history.

I’m a big fan of Bona products for floors, especially this polish.  I probably only end up using it once a year, but I should definitely do it more because looking at these shiny floors is euphoric.  The polish (and I think most of their products) is non-toxic, has no foul chemically odor, and dries really quick.  The bottle says an hour, but I was walking on my floors within twenty minutes.  It’s easy to apply too – just squirt some of the polish on the floor and spread it around with a micro-fiber cloth.  I applied it to our bedroom, our entire first floor and 2 flights of stairs in less than an hour.  Such a cheap and easy way to spruce things up in your home if you have older hardwoods making things look dull.

Now back to admiring my floors…

NYC 26.2: Week 5.

Hal Higdon-NYC 26.2-Marathon TrainingWeek 5 was a toughie.  Had a goal of 24 miles and I came up short at 22.

B’s dad had his hip replaced last week so A’s Gammy has been watching her at their house in the suburbs while he is recovering (are we not the luckiest people ever that she happily plays Nurse Jane AND Mary Poppins…for free?!).   So our schedules have been a little wacky while we drive out there to drop A off/pick her up on Mondays and Wednesdays.  I was still able to squeeze in my scheduled 4 runs, but they weren’t as long as I needed.

Because I had a jam-packed day and commute to get A after work, I ran 3 miles Monday morning with KP.  I would have gone for 4 but she was slowing me down.  Note to self – need to take her running more often.  Not acceptable for a 2 year old lab to be tired on a 3 mile run!

Got 5 miles in on Tuesday evening but it was hot and steamy and I was slow (not sure if that was from the weather, or the Shake Shack burger and fries I had for lunch…).  My schedule required me to rest on Wednesday, but I took KP for another 3 miles on Thursday morning and she was much better.

Friday is where I fell apart.  I attempted 12 miles with A in her jogger but I think I ended up around 11, with several short walking breaks along the way.  It was way too hot and humid for a quality long run.  Luckily A napped for a good portion of the way, and then fed herself milk and rice crackers when she woke up toward the end of the run.  But lesson learned on my part – when they issue an “Air Advisory”, it’s probably not code for “go for a long run today”.

Here’s to hoping for better runs in Week 6, and less relative humidity!

A Perfect Ten. {Part 2 of 2}

breastfeeding-pumping-nursing-tips-tricks-tidbitsAfter your eyeballs have recovered from reading my novel of a post yesterday about my 10 months of nursing and pumping that came to an end last weekend, here are a few lists I have for those looking for more easily digested reading material.

 Random Things Learned:

  • Breastfeeding is HARD WORK.  It is physically and mentally tough, and it’s all on you.  No one tells you this, so I am.  Be prepared to want to stab your husband as he sleeps peacefully while you nurse in the middle of the night those first few days and weeks.
  • Does this kid do anything but eat?! Newborns nurse very frequently (think 10-12 times a day), and sometimes a nursing session can be up to 45 minutes!  So by the time you finish it’s basically time to start again.  Because of this, you will not sleep as much as your formula-feeding friends, and will probably want to claw their well-rested eyes out on a few occasions too.
  • Your boobs are more like a sprinkler than a faucet.  Who knew?!  No real relevance here but this blew my mind.
  • Pumping is confusing.  Figuring out how and when to pump is difficult and confusing (if you’re trying to establish nursing when do you have time to pump?!).  Wait a few weeks to try it, and try pumping a little bit after each nursing session.  You won’t get much but that’s not because you suck at pumping, it’s because a) obviously you just fed your kid, and b) they only take a few teaspoons at a time in the beginning so your body hasn’t ramped up supply yet.
  • Building a freezer stash seems impossible.  But it’s not.  Try getting those little bits at a time and eventually you’ll have enough for a full bottle.  Try having your husband feed that to your baby one time while you skip the nursing session and pump instead.  You should be able to get almost a full feeding and can add to that the other little bits that you keep getting after feedings  All of this will snowball into a full blown supply and you will be amazed.  At one point I had over 150 ounces of B-milk in our freezer (just over a gallon!)
  • Breastfeeding makes you thirsty.  VERY thirsty.  I mean just think about all that liquid your body is producing and giving away to someone else.  I guzzled water like none other for the first few months.

Products That Are Awesome:

  • Nipple Shield.  Already mentioned them, but in case you skipped my sob story yesterday, the Medela Contact Nipple Shields are very helpful in the beginning.
  • Nursing Pillow.  I thought these were gimmicky.  They’re not.  So helpful with a C-section, and even weeks and months later they help keep your kid propped up and in place.  I was even able to go “hands free” in the beginning when A didn’t move.  I usually replied to emails during this time.  If you heard from me via email in October or November there’s almost a 100% chance I was nursing when I sent it.
  • Nursing Tank Tops.  Comfortable, supportive, and don’t scream “I’m a lactating mom!”.  These particular ones were extra thick and long so I felt really “held in”.  The top flaps down for convenient and more discreet nursing (no post-partum belly popping out while your shirt is up).
  • Medela Freestyle Pump.  Big price tag, but beyond worth it if you’re in this for the long haul.  Cannot say enough how convenient this small pump was.
  • Hands Free Bustier.  All that being said about the pump…it is NOT hands free as advertised.  Well, it is, if you are going to stand still and let yourself look like Robo-Boobs.  The system they provide does not allow for what I really consider to be “hands free”.   I wanted to be able to do anything and everything with my pump on.  Couldn’t have done it without one of these bustiers.  I used this every single day for my 10 months of nursing/pumping.
  • Medela Quick Clean Wipes.  Quick?  Yes please.  Clean?  Gimme!  A very necessary product to have if you are pumping on the go.
  • The Internet.  There is so much information out there and so much dialogue between nursing moms.  You can find the answer to almost anything if you search long enough!  Some of the ones I found the most helpful:

 

Pumping at Work (and in the car, and on an airplane, and at bachelorette parties, and at weddings…)

I had pumping at work down to a science.  From when A was 3 months (when I returned to work) until 6 months I pumped THREE times a day at work alone!  At 6 months I went down to twice during the workday, and at 9 months I went down to just once a day until I stopped last weekend.  I can’t even begin to guess how many ounces of B-milk I brought home during that time…

What helped (at Work):

  • All of the products mentioned above make pumping WAY easier.  For long term pumping on the go, invest in a good pump, the bustier, and the wipes.
  • Having a duplicate set of pump parts and tubing (usually available from your pump’s manufacturer’s website).  I left these at work so I didn’t have to lug my entire bag of equipment back and forth every single day.  I just carried my bottles (empty in the morning, full in the evening) and the actual pump unit.  I used one of these bags to hold what I was carrying back and forth, and no one ever knew that it wasn’t my lunch bag.
  • I’m lucky enough to have a lactation room in the building which obviously is a huge help.  But I’ve heard/read lots of stories of moms having to rig screens in cubicles, or find janitor closets, etc.  If you work for a company larger than 500 people I believe there are legal requirements for providing you with a sanitary and safe space to do your thang.  Google should be able to help you here.
  • No need to wear nursing clothes, but do think about what will be easiest to lift up/take off for those months you are pumping several times a day.  I actually found dresses were great because I could unzip them to my waist and remain (almost) fully dressed.
  • Having a smartphone/blackberry.  I didn’t like feeling unproductive while pumping, it made me feel anxious and guilty.  Being able to take care of any calls or emails was a bit strange to do in our lactation room, but made me feel better about the time away from my desk.

Car:

I pumped in the car on several occasions.  It’s difficult because of the possibility of people seeing you, and the seat belt situation.  A nursing cover or blanket can cover up what you’re doing though.  I also only ever used my hand pump since it was more discreet to just slide under the cover.  This wasn’t that difficult and a great way to kill 2 birds with one stone.  I mean what else would you be doing in the car?!

Airplanes:

You may remember my trip to Miami for AC’s bachelorette party while I was still pumping.  Fun times.  You probably don’t remember that I pumped mid-flight.  Probably somewhere over DC/Virginia if I had to guess.  I was still pumping every 4ish hours during the day at that time so I pumped before I left my house, and wanted to squeeze in my next session on the plane rather than when I arrived and reunited with all my friends (“HI!  So excited to see you!  I’ll be right back, I have to drain my boobs!”).  I used my hand pump because I didn’t feel like freaking people out and bringing a foreign electronic object into the lavatory.  I covered the seat and all surfaces with paper towels and got down to business.  I used my clean wipes afterwards and kept the milk in a smaller bag with a mini cooler in my carry on.

Bachelorette Parties/Weddings

Well, AC’s bach and wedding were the only two where I’ve had to do this, but I did bring my hand pump to 2 other weddings when A was 6 weeks old and again when she was 3 months.  I ended up not using it because I didn’t like the bathroom situation and we weren’t out that late.  So I went about 6 hours without pumping.  Probably a lot longer than most people do when their babies were that age but it didn’t seem to hurt my supply, or my boobs.

AC’s wedding was different since I was in the wedding and we were out for pictures/ceremony/more pictures for several hours before we even got to the reception.  So if I didn’t pump at some point throughout the day it would be 12+ hours without.  Not fun.  So upon arriving at the reception site, I casually mentioned it to a female member of the staff who was like, “No one told me!  Oh come with me, we’ll get you a private place right away!”  Could. Not. Have. Been. More. Accomodating.  I was floored.  It was a perfect situation.  I brought the real deal freestyle pump for this (and bustier!) and used my quick clean wipes for parts and mini cooler for the milk.  It was awkward to have a bag (I used a small tote to conceal things), but since we were in the wedding a couple of people had bags with extra shoes, make-up, etc.

Pumping at events like this can be awkward, but I’ve found people to be very accommodating if you just explain to them what is going on and what it is that you need.  It also helps if you have awesome friends who don’t care that you lactate while everyone else is getting their bachelorette bash on.  Thanks guys.  🙂