Fall Friends and Family Fest

Spending time with old friends and family do wonders for the soul. We’ve been lucky enough to host and visit a slew of friends and family in the past month. We reminisced, laughed at how ‘old’ we’ve gotten and had fun just hanging around in sweats having a cocktail or two.

Our first guests of the fall were our friends Ryan and Claire. They’ve been friends of ours for about a decade now (what?!) and currently live in Rhode Island. Huge Colorado State fans, we planned their trip for a visit two years ago when the 2016 CSU football team announced a game at Minnesota. Needless to say we’d been looking forward to it for some time.

While not all of the fun things I had planned came to fruition thanks to crummy weather and most of us coming down with bad colds, we had a great time! Here are a few highlights.

 


A few days after they left, we drove to Omaha to celebrate my Great Uncle Dan’s 75th birthday. It was a mini-family reunion of sorts. Unfortunately my dad and stepmom were out of the country and my Walker siblings away at school, but it was so much fun having almost the entire family together. It was fun introducing my kids to extended family and just celebrating as we used to on holidays when I was growing up.

Once back home, we only had to wait a few more days for my sorority sister Kirsten and her husband Brandon to arrive. Kirsten rocked the Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Miler! It was definitely fun to be a spectator for once. Ella and I also ran the Family Mile. She finished it in 12 minutes which I’m pretty sure is faster than I ran my first mile!

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We had better luck with babysitters and were out and about all weekend.

Ah, it was a like a breathe of fresh air being with them. I definitely ate and drank too much and ran too little, but I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.

Just this past weekend we also were treated to a visit from Josh’s parents. We enjoyed a nice dinner, took in a show at the Guthrie Theater and went on a train ride with the entire family. It was another great weekend.

Next weekend, it’s off to Indianapolis for the Monumental Half. I’ll have to write a little update on how training has shaped up. It’s been quite a ride these past several weeks. Can’t wait for more visitors, even if it isn’t until we thaw in the spring!

All About Anderson – 8 Months

Well we’ve reached the 3/4 of the year mark*. How this year has flown by. I swear in the past month our baby boy has switched on the development fast track.

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Anderson is now 20.4 lbs and 28.5 ish inches long. He’s well on his way to outgrowing his 6-9 month clothes which means we really need to get shopping for him. Poor thing is running out of options that aren’t like muscle shirts or capris on him.

This month Anderson went on his first flights. He is a natural traveler just like his sister. He slept most of the way on our flight out to San Diego and the entire flight, take-off to landing, home. The little time he was awake he just looked around and happily sat with Josh and me. We were a bit worried about his ears since his infection just will not go away.

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He also went to the beach for the first time. He loved eating the sand but was not too sure about having his toes in the water. Please take a moment to check those awesome baby thighs.

First time at the beach

He also went to his first wedding where he looked quite dapper.

Anderson wedding

Speaking of his infection, he’s get tubes in his ears. We avoided them as long as possible with Ella but with three months straight of infections, we were ready to go ahead and schedule Anderson’s surgery rather than have him on any more antibiotics. He will feel so much better once his ears don’t constantly hurt.

Aside from ear infections, he’s doing great. He’s enjoying trying all sorts of new foods. His current favorites are hummus, butternut squash, avocados and bananas. He will try anything and everything we give him.

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He even enjoyed his first pieces of chicken and pork chop. He’d rather feed himself than have us help him, which has really helped him master his pincher grip. He swiftly picks up food and gets it right to his mouth.

The biggest accomplishment this month has been movement. Anderson is super quick to spin himself around and tries to bring his knees in when he’s on his belly. He also can push himself backwards and has started to attempt the army crawl. When he’s sitting up, this is what happens:

He’s trying so hard to crawl and pull himself up. It looks like we’re going to need to lower his crib mattress sooner rather than later. When he does attempt movement we all cheer for him and clap. He gets so excited that both arms start going like he’s waving with both. He’s almost got clapping down but often twines his fingers instead or slaps his legs to make sound.

He’s babbling like crazy, mainly baba and when he screams, we swear he’s saying Ella. I would not at all be surprised if his first real work is Ella rather than mama or dada. His favorite things to do are play with his sister, bath time (preferably with his sister so they can splash each other), lotion massages after his baths, being talked to and being tickled. He also loves looking at himself:

He’s so busy observing the world around him, he hates being confined. Sleep is kind of a crap shoot. Most nights he goes to bed between 6:30-7 pm, wakes around 10:30 pm then again at 3:30-4:30 am. I appreciate when he waits until 4:30 to wake since I’m getting up already at that point.  He had some great nights after he got down the baba sound and learned just how loud he can be. I think once he figures out how to crawl he’ll sleep better. His sleep always regresses when he’s trying to learn a new skill. I think the ear pressure relief will help too!

Over the past few years I’ve forgotten how fun each new stage is and how fast they learn new things. From movement to switching items from hand to hand, hitting them together to make sounds and searching when something he had has gone from his sight line. It’s amazing to what his little brain try to figure things out.

Though he is quite vocal when we do something he doesn’t like, such as change his diaper, take away potential choking hazards he’s grabbed when his sister isn’t looking, or putting him in his car seat, he’s more squeals of joys than cries. His smile crosses his whole face and brings a twinkle to his eyes. His laughter is contagious and I just cannot get enough of his chubby little hands.

Oh my sweet Anderson…

*Ok, so I wrote this two weeks ago and hadn’t uploaded pictures. Now that he’s two week away from nine months – it’s time to hit publish.

Weekend on the Go

Josh made it back safely from his weeklong hunting trip. Let me tell you, nearly 6 days with both the kids by myself, was exhausting. Luckily I have great friends and family that were happy to keep up company from time to time. The evening we got back, we decided we’d head back to Lincoln to visit Josh’s family.

Wednesday afternoon we were packed and on our way. We never look forward to the drive, but we had a good book on CD and lots of books and Kindle entertainment for Ella. Anderson I just hoped would sleep most of the way. We had only made it about 1.5 hours out of town before we had to stop for a nursing session and what turned into a clothing change, rest area sink shower for Anderson. The rest of the trip was uneventful and we were excited when we arrived at Josh’s parents house.

It just so happened that Josh’s sister and her kids decided to come back for the weekend as well, making for a full house. We had an action packed weekend.

First stop, the Henry Doorly Zoo. I grew up going to this zoo and it is still, maybe even more, amazing as I remember it being as a child. Ella loved walking through the jungle.

The aquarium was a close second and disappointment was only fleeting when we found out the train wasn’t running. Luckily the carousel was.

Quick lunch and we headed home to Lincoln for naps before joining a few of Josh’s high school friends for dinner. Shortly after we got home from dinner, Josh’s sister and her wild bunch pulled in. Ella loves playing with her cousins. Getting her to bed was a challenge the entire weekend.

The next day I headed out for a run. I covered six miles! I even did so tackling hills and managed a 8:47 min/mile average pace. I love running at lower altitude. After I cleaned myself up and naps were taken we went to the pumpkin patch.

This pumpkin patch is like no other patch I’ve ever been to. I remember going there when I was young but it has grown by leaps and bounds. It was a little chilly but we didn’t let that stop our fun.

We were there for about four hours or so and were so busy that we didn’t even make it to the actual patch. If you ever happen to be near Gretna, NE in the fall, I really recommend you go to Vala’s.

As if we hadn’t had enough action, we decided that sticking around the house on Saturday was boring. We packed up the kids and went to the Lincoln Children’s Museum. Ella loved when Josh painted a dragon on her face (currently obsessed thanks to Mulan and Shrek), playing in a fire truck and on a motorcycle, and grocery shopping.

She and Anderson must have been exhausted because when we got home they both went down for 3.5 hour naps! It was awesome. I totally should have joined them. After dinner, Grandpa built a fire in the backyard pit and had all the kids roast marshmallows for s’mores. Ella had her first s’more…

I think she loved it.

We came home yesterday and we all ready for bed early. It was a great weekend away but I wish we’d actually taken family photos.

Rocking the Strip at Night

Wow, what a week it has been. I’m finally home from a very successful trade show. Within the show craziness I took a few hours to run my last distance race of the season. It started with a visit to the expo on Friday night.

I took off to walk from the MGM to the Venetian, where the expo was being held. I had apparently forgotten how far it was between the two. I didn’t spend much time there but I was there long enough to snap a few pics and grab some lights for my shoes.

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Unlike other races, I didn’t have time to lounge around or carb up since I was working. When race day came I ate a big breakfast and headed off to work. With the race starting at 4:30 pm I had no idea to what to eat the rest of the day.

So around 1pm I headed back to my hotel. I ate a Clif Bar, a banana and some Pop Chips. Lunch of champions. I left to go meet my boss, my boss’ boss’ boss and two coworkers who were running with me.

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After walking like two miles, we made it to the starting line.

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Just as the sun really began to set, we were off.

I started off taking it easy, well at least that was my plan. With really crappy training, I decided to just see how it goes as far as pace. The first 5k flew by and I was surprised when I looked down and saw 26 mins flat. It helped that we had a nice tail wind helping my pace along.

8:41, 8:12, 8:12, 8:16

I was feeling good and running with our CEO kept me at a fairly steady pace. As we continued down the strip the crowd support was awesome. The lights were shining brightly and people were  cheering with their yard margaritas in hand.

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It was going better than expected. When I passed the 10k mark (52:11) I took my first gel. The wind that had steadily been blowing decided to change directions just as we left the strip and entered an extremely dark residential neighborhood.

8:31, 8:34, 8:43

As you can see this is where I slowed way down. I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:25:04 which was still a great pace, but when I made the last turn it all fell apart. The tail wind I enjoyed in the beginning was now a nasty headwind. I overheard people at the finish line saying it was blowing at 30 mph with gusts even stronger. It was so bad it took the wind right out of me. Unflattering, trying to move forward race picture…check.

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I walked, several times, and dropped one of my water bottles which a fellow runner was nice enough to pick up and get back to me. This was also when I took my final gel and wished that I had eaten more a little bit closer to race time.

8:51, 9:28, 9:14, 9:13

I saw the finish line and decided I had to just try my best to gun it. It was the slowest sprint I think I’ve ever done: 1:24, but it was over!

Somehow, wind and all, I got a tiny PR. Final time: 1:53:57. Too bad that wind was so nasty, that 1:50 could have been mine! There is always next season.

After the race I found two of my fellow runners.

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I had to speed walk back to the hotel in order to shower and get over to The Cosmopolitan for dinner with all of the international head honchos. I was bad and didn’t really stretch, but luckily I wasn’t sore or feeling pain anywhere other than my toe which had started to bleed during the race. Dang toenail just needs to let go.

Overall, the race was pretty fun. They could have used better signage everywhere, direction to the starting line, mile markers, those would have been nice. The finish line was stocked with tons of food and drinks which was really nice. I’d do it again if I happened to be in town.

Feeling Unprepared

I’m feeling unprepared for the week ahead. Tomorrow afternoon I am leaving for my longest business trip since Ella was born. I’m heading to Las Vegas for six days for our biggest trade show of the year. It was this same show last year that I left Ella for the first time to manage.

You would think a year later I wouldn’t be struggling with leaving, but here I am, freaking out. Six days were a long time to be away from Josh and home before Ella, now it seems like an eternity. Aside from quick trips over the past few months, I haven’t been away from more than two nights since I was in Boston, nine months ago.

I think Ella must sense that I’m going away because she is being extra clingy and has even been nice enough to want to hang out with only me in the middle of the night. I hope that after the first night I’m away (it’s always the worst), she’ll be a good sleeper for Josh. Six bedtimes without mommy and her milk should be interesting. At least there is Skype so she can see me and I can say goodnight just like I do when we’re at home.

Leaving Ella isn’t the only thing I’m feeling unprepared for. I’m also running the Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon on Sunday. I had the best intentions of sticking to the training plan I created for myself. I really did. Then life happened. Work got insanely busy, Ella got sick, I got sick. I still got in my long runs, but my speed work went straight down the tubes. It’s not necessarily the distance I’m uneasy about since I ran 13 miles a week ago, it’s my pace I’m unsure of. I’m still planning on this being a fun run, but it’s the last distance race of the season for me and it would be great to go out with a PR.

Surprisingly the trade show that I’ve been planning for months now is the only thing I’m not stressed about. We’re going to have a beautiful new booth and hopefully a great turnout. I’m going to be super busy so the days should fly right by. When I get home it will only be 15 days until we have 12 glorious days of vacation as a family. Cannot wait!

I know Ella will be fine. Josh will be fine. I’m sure they will have a lot of fun having father-daughter time. The race will go how it is supposed to go. I just need to relax and let go. On the bright side of things, I get to eat great food and get hours of uninterrupted sleep. I may even get to work out before 8pm.