For the first time in months, I feel I am able to sit down, sip on a glass of wine, take a deep breath, and reflect on everything that’s been going on in life. The busy-o-meter tends to redline this time of year, and it’s been hard to find the time and energy (mostly energy) to sit down and write. I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I’m still blogging or going to continue blogging next year. The short answer is, yes. It’s something that I love to do and want to find time to fit into my life. It serves as a personal journal of sorts, but also as a means to share my experiences with others who might benefit from or be inspired by my journey. It alsoallows me to connect with others from whose experiences and journeys I can find benefit and inspiration from in return. Because it’s been nearly three months since I’ve been able to blog on a consistent basis, I thought it would be nice to fill everyone in on what’s been going on with life CliffsNotes style.
- We hired a new nanny to help with Axel a 3-4 days a week. It was hard to find someone with the flexibility and schedule we needed, but Justin and I kept searching and finally struck gold. Victoria is great with Axel and comes to the home four hours each day to help out while I work, train, and run errands. Knowing I have those hours each week allows me to stay somewhat sane. 🙂
- I snuck away to visit one of my best friends in Southern Oregon and to go wine tasting with a group of her girlfriends. A weekend girl’s trip was just what I needed. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and it was so nice to see my friend Jess and her family.
- Justin and I transformed the outside of our house into a haunted house for Halloween. Because the house sits slightly up off the road on a hill, we decided to set up the baby monitor so we could easily watch and listen for trick-or-treaters as they came up the driveway. The kids are incredibly entertaining and we gave out 240 full size candy bars throughout the evening. Two quotes stood out from the trick-or-treaters. The first was from a group of young boys, one of whom said to his friends as they approached the house: “Hey guys, stay close. This house is really scary.” The other was from a parent who simply said, “You guys won Halloween.” Justin was at the Halloween store when it opened the day after Halloween, and snatched up some great deals on more yard décor. He already has plans to go bigger and better (and scarier) next year, including constructing a big cemetery-like entrance arch over the bottom of the driveway. Men.
- A few days after Halloween we flew with Axel for the first time and made our way to the Big Island of Hawaii for a 10-day family vacation with my mom, step-dad, Justin’s mom, and his sister. It was a lot of fun to see Axel in a tropical, beach environment and to have our families there to help. Although he was a bit skeptical about the ocean and sand at first, Axel eventually opened up and enjoyed the beach experience. I was amazed with how well he slept while we were in Hawaii. It’s obvious that the warm weather and daily adventures really wore him out!
- We ventured down to the beach almost everyday, went on a run almost every day, dined at some amazing restaurants, and played lots of games at our rental house. Justin’s mom also rented an electric vehicle (basically a golf cart on steroids) so we could cruise around to the resorts and beaches within Mauna Lani. Vacations definitely have a different “vibe” with a toddler in tow, but it was fun nonetheless. It was great to spend time with family.
- After returning from Hawaii, we spent the following week prepping for our next adventure up to Seattle. Our plan was to arrive in time to celebrate Thanksgiving, and stay for two nearly weeks as we had plans to go to the Seahawks game that following weekend. Jill (Justin’s sister) and her family were incredibly welcoming and warm during our 12-day stay (that is a LONG time to give up your home to guests). Not to mention, Axel did not sleep well and had us up between the hours of 2:30 and 5am. Every single day. Sigh.
- As part of our trip to Seattle, I ran the Seattle Marathon, as most of you know, three days after Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes actually make for good fuel, just in case you are looking for an alternative to pasta and bread.
- After the marathon I took a long break from exercise and slipped into vacation mode. It was really nice to relax and go with the flow while in Seattle, spend time with Justin’s family, and visit some of the attractions around the area. We met up with one of my life-long friends and her three kids at the Woodland Park Zoo, which was a treat, and took a trip to the aquarium with Axel. He loved it!
- We bought a new car à a Toyota 4Runner Limited. We had planned on trading in our 2010 4Runner and purchasing a new one in Bend, but had a poor experience at the dealership and decided to go elsewhere. The Toyota dealership in Kirkland had just what we were looking for, and was very easy to work with (though they might not say the same thing about me since I had done my homework and beat them up pretty good on the price).
- This year we decided it would be nice to do some three-generation family photos with Justin’s family during our stay in Seattle. It just so happened that my stepsister Whitney, who is an amazing photographer, was in the area for a couple days, so we connected with her for a family photo session along the waterfront and next to the Old Spaghetti Factory’s historic brick building downtown. Thanks for your patience and perseverance in capturing the whole fam-damily, Whitney!
- For our 4-year anniversary, Justin got us tickets to the Seahawks vs. Panthers game that would take place on Sunday night. We spent our last day in Seattle with tens of thousands of Seahawks fans, tailgating and getting hyped up to play one of our biggest rivalries. Unfortunately, the night ended a little early after the guy sitting behind us poured an entire beer down the back of my head, neck, and back. I was a mess. If it wasn’t 30 degrees and freezing, I probably would have toughed it out, but we had a big lead and I was really uncomfortable sitting in a pool of stinky beer.
- Once we returned back to Bend, I jumped straight into finals week and spent countless hours prepping exams, grading papers, and working on final grades. Finals week and submitting final grades is always a hectic time, so needless to say my life was put on hold between work and taking care of Axel.
- Axel had his 15-month follow-up appointment a couple weeks ago. Our healthy little boy is growing at a rapid rate, standing at 32 ½ inches tall (90th percentile) and tipping the scales at 24.8 pounds (76th percentile). His head circumference is a whopping 50cm, putting him in the 99th Yes, our child has a gigantic head. We are also certain that he will be walking any day now.
- Last week, Justin’s dad, Bob, and his wife, Ann, were in town visiting from South Carolina for a few days. They hadn’t seen Axel since last Christmas so it was fun to reunite them a year later. During their stay it snowed a whopping 20 inches (in ONE day) so we stayed warm and cozy inside next to the fire and Christmas tree. Well, except for Justin who got to break out his snow blower three times to clear the driveway and sidewalks. Don’t worry, we got out the sled for a quick trip down the driveway before the removal process took place.
- We did make it a priority to visit Santa while they were in town, which was really fun…. for the adults. Don’t worry Axel, I’m sure you’ll warm up to the man with the white beard dressed in red one of these years.
- I haven’t done much training the past four weeks, aside from a little run or ride here and there. I actually appreciated and needed the downtime. That will all change in the very near future, as I officially signed up for Ironman Canada and will begin rebuilding my fitness for the 2017 season. I always get excited come the New Year, as it brings a new set of goals of challenges – and a fresh start. Even if it means I have to get my butt back into the pool.
I am looking forward to blogging on a more regular basis, and to getting back in touch with many of my readers. I have roughly five blog posts in the works, plus a new interview series that I’m hoping to work on with some notable athletes and other figures from the triathlon community. It’s just a matter of making the time to sit down and write.
With the weekend fast approaching and the ensuing chaos of presents, family obligations, entertaining, football games, and other commitments, I just want to take a moment and wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or whatever other holiday you chose to observe – religious or otherwise . Thank you so much for being a part of this blog and a part of my life!