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The only thing constant in life is change.

The last few weeks have been a doozy! Had you asked me a month ago what I’d be doing the night of September 10, I would have simply said  getting ready for Steve to get home. Had you asked me 3 weeks ago what I’d be doing the night of September 10, I would have said getting ready for Steve to get home and possibly leave and then possibly getting ready to move. Had you asked me 2 weeks ago what I’d be doing the night of September 10, I would have said your guess is as good as mine. Had you asked me at any point if I thought I’d be back at work full-time by September 10, I would have said you. are. crazy. 

And here we are, the night of September 10, and I am getting ready for Steve to get home! And I am back at work full-time. WTF?

Like I said, the last few weeks have been a doozy. And I have been reminded that the only thing constant in life is change.

It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for Steve and me. All of this grown-up decision making has worn me out! With all of the stress we’ve been under, it’s probably been a good thing that Steve was in another country 😉 But really, all I have wanted to do is hug him.

Fortunately for me, I’ve been surrounded by some of the best girl friends in the whole world! Seriously, my friends are probably better than yours. I don’t know how I got to be so lucky, but I know that I wouldn’t have survived the past 90 days, and certainly not the last month, without each of them! Whether it was giving me level-headed advice (while I was freaking out), going on a long run with me, listening to me cry (ok, blubber), drinking wine with me and simply having quality girl time, etc….I have felt such amazing support. Girls, you know who you are and you know that I am forever grateful.  And I owe you some wine. And probably some tissues.

When I wasn’t pulling my hair out, Graham and I were saying farewell to summer:

Kfer’s Bachelorette Party:

Kferg and me at OUR beach :)

Kferg and me at OUR beach 🙂

bride and bridesmaids (wish I could photoshop LEIGH in this!!)

bride and bridesmaids (wish I could photoshop LEIGH in this!!)

First Redskins game of the season:

first preseason game was better than first regular season game!

first preseason game was better than first regular season game!

An unexpected trip to the cardiologist where they told me everything I already knew –> my kid has a heart of gold 🙂

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such a brave little man

too cute not to share

too cute not to share

Graham gave me a preview of the terrible two’s (but I won and he ate the damn sandwich. Mom – 1, Graham – 0):

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stinker.

Playdates that ended in pure exhaustion:

climb in water table fully clothed = come home in a diaper

climb in water table fully clothed = come home in a diaper

Mommy goes back to work….??? It’s amazing how life can change so drastically in 24 hours.

fake smiles

fake smiles

Super fun weekend with some of the best girls I know! Running for those who can’t!

pre-race

pre-race

in our corral

caro and me, ready to run

post-race! so very proud of my girls :)

post-race! so very proud of my girls 🙂

my awesome godmother....and our photo bombers :) fav pic!

my awesome godmother….and our photo bombers 🙂 fav pic!

Caro and I made the Charlottesville newspaper!! Emotional finish - running for Debbie and Tammy.  (photo curtesy of The Daily Progress)

Caro and I made the Charlottesville newspaper!! Emotional finish – running for Debbie and Tammy.
(photo courtesy of The Daily Progress)

One last playdate before heading back to being a working mom:

dreaming of the playground

dreaming of the playground

we caved. Graham and Morgan swinging.

we caved. Graham and Morgan swinging.

chilling out with Ben, watching some really cool cartoons.....like Thomas or something.

chilling out with Ben, watching some really cool cartoons…..like Thomas or something.

And there you have it. So long sweet summer. I’m a working mom again (which means I need to change the title of my blog). And Steve is coming home. FINALLY. 🙂

Through all of the crazy I have been reminded that:  Without my family and friends I would be lost. I have a super great husband who loves me, Graham and Scout and wants nothing more than to take care of us (actually already knew that). Running, friends, and wine are, in fact, the cure all.

And above all else, I have been reminded to STAY POSITIVE (even if all you really want to do is cry).

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xoxo,
Jo

PS. Cowabunga, Dudes!
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Stroller Running…

I have always known that I like (okay, love) my kid. And I have known that I like running. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I actually like BOTH…together….at the same time!

Over the last couple of months, I have become one with our jogging stroller. I often talk about “my boys” – you just didn’t know I was talking about Graham, Scout and BOB.

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It’s hard. But I love it.

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(older pic from the Twilight 4-miler)

A woman told me once that of course I liked running with a stroller because it was easier. Ummm. Not exactly. Easy isn’t usually the word I use to describe my stroller runs. Unless, maybe it’s an all downhill run…and I’m yet to find one of those.

babies, after an "easy" 8 mile run

stroller babies, after an “easy” 8 mile run

In preparation for my fall races, Graham and I have been building up our mileage. This weekend we did our longest run together – 12 miles. He was great! During the first half he did his normal babbling, which had Rachel and me laughing and trying to carry on the “conversation”, and then he slept the second half. Not bad.
Tricks for a long stroller run: ability to talk nonsense with a baby, food, and “night nights” (G’s paci and blanket).

running 12 miles is exhausting

running 12 miles is exhausting

Sometimes I get emotional when I think about all the ways that being a mom has made me a better person. I can’t get into it all right now, but I will say that in addition to making me a better person, Graham has helped me to become a stronger, more determined and motivated runner.

Graham and Scout also like to challenge me during my core workout.

Graham and Scout also like to challenge me during my core workout.

I’m looking forward to Steve getting back and running with us…..and maybe he can distract the boys so that I can do crunches on my own.

xoxo,
Jo

PS Who remembers this? Running buddies a year ago 🙂

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Ragnar DC 2012

2

Throw Back (to last week)

Well hello there, August! Where has the summer gone?! With August comes the farewell to summer (sad face), but it also means I’m one month closer to Steve getting home (yay)! I’ve never been one to wish summer away, and I’m not fully there yet, but I am excited for September. The summer has been wonderful, but this fall is full of exciting things: my hubby’s return (technically it’ll still be “summer”, but kids will be back in school so I call that “fall”), a half marathon, my best friend’s wedding(!), a full marathon, Frye boots, college football, cooler running temps, and hopefully some other little surprises.

Before I go jumping into fall, I want to throw us back to my last two weeks at the beach. Last you heard, I was being a mopey zoo lion (Cards Against Humanity, anyone??), complaining about my non-beach-loving baby. I think that you must have sent good vibes my way because Graham made a complete 180!

week #1 doesn't want to touch the sand

week #1 doesn’t want to touch the sand

week #2 covered in sand...and happy

week #2 covered in sand…and happy

We really had a great couple of weeks! The first, as you know, was with family. The second was with college friends (the SCMAS). I would love to talk more about this week and the shenanigans that went on, but I fear you would think we were weird 🙂 I guess all that really needs to be said is that we had a BLAST and everyone was close to tears when we had to say goodbye.

Some (blog appropriate) highlights from the beach:

-Pontoon boating (both weeks)

ready to go!

ready to go!

swimming with Ashley

swimming with Ashley

floating

loving being able to float

swimming with mama

swimming with mama

snuggling with Michelle

snuggling with Michelle

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being with best friends

showing the big kids how it's done

showing the big kids how it’s done

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ice cream with pop

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Graham and mommy time on the beach

cousins at sunset

cousins at sunset

As much fun as we had…I missed my bed and my running buddies.

And Graham missed his couch.

reunited after a week apart

reunited after a week apart

It’s good to be home 🙂

xoxo,

Jo

PS one more….just because it’s cute:

i love his sunscreen hair

i love his sunscreen hair

1

Loving the journey

I know…I’m a disaster when it comes to keeping up with posting. I need to keep a tape recorder with me because there are multiple times during the day that I think of amazingly, witty things to write about. And then I don’t sit down and do it! Steve’s been gone for 4 weeks and I’ve only posted twice (bad wife). Luckily, we get to FaceTime (yay) every day and I get to tell him all of the witty things I’m thinking. Unfortunately for him, I’m a terrible story teller. I guess I’m better on paper.

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur.

Graham got to spend some quality time in Blackstone with my parents, sister and niece.

hanging out at MawMaw and Pops' house

hanging out at MawMaw and Pops’ house

And then, because that weekend wasn’t enough, he went back a week later without me.

Helping Pops cut the grass.

Helping Pops cut the grass.

just fun.

just fun.

While I got to play.

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On the water, an American flag, with some besties – happy girl!

And now we’re at the beach – for two weeks! It’s a hard life.

But alas, I sit here tonight with a heavy heart. For starters, I’m at the beach without Steve. It stinks to be on family vacation when half of your family is on another continent. Fortunately Steve’s family is great and I enjoy hanging out with them – and I think vice versa 🙂 Now, for the extra bad news. I don’t know how to say this. I’m still working through it myself. I think….oh boy…Graham might hate the beach.

There. I said it.

Maybe it’s because he’s teething (no really, he is teething). Or maybe he’s going through a growth spurt. **If you’re a mom, you know that these things cause your happy baby to turn into a miserable mess.**

Teeth/growth spurt aside, my heart breaks a little every time we step foot on the beach and Graham cries. I think I was born with sand between my toes and would live the rest of my life at the beach if I could. Meanwhile the kid I birthed (or did I?) can’t stand to have sand between his toes, or in his hands…or near him. He doesn’t even want to be held by someone standing on/near the sand. He must be teething.

We’ve only been here for a couple of days. I’m hoping that it gets better. It will get better, right??

Even through the tears, I’ve managed to get a few pictures where Graham looks like he’s having a blast.

my little monkeys the first night

my little monkeys the first night (actually did not cry this night)

cried before and after this pic.

cried before and after this pic.

crying during this pic.

cried during this pic.

happy until we got to the beach..then cried.

happy until we got to the beach..then cried.

While Graham has been hating life at the beach….Scout has been LOVING IT! Between the pool and the ocean, he has been one crazy swimming pup!

how will we ever go back to fetch in the back yard after fetch in the ocean??

how will we ever go back to fetch in the back yard after fetch in the ocean??

Though I’m sad Steve is away, sad Graham hates my favorite place on earth, and exhausted from playing fetch 24/7 with Scout, I’m remembering Mrs. Yancey’s motto: love the journey, not the destination.

So, here’s to loving the journey…crying, teething, beach-hating babies and all.

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xoxo,
Jo

4

New routines, dog walks and swim meets.

I’m trying to think positively about Steve’s current deployment. The adjustment period on either end of his trips (coming and going) is always hard. I don’t live and die by a routine, but in my older age (you know, I’m 30 now) I’ve come to realize that I kind of like a routine.

Right now I’m trying to establish our new routine without Steve’s constant presence. Yes, constant. If you’re one of my close friends, or an acquaintance, or a stranger that I met on the street, or if you have ears….you may have heard me say that Steve was constantly around for the last 3 months.

I love that man. Very much. And I love spending time with him. But it took some getting used to when he was home 24/7.

In the beginning he was all about doing everything together and I was all about getting out of the house without the baby/dog/husband. We had to have a talk about how I wanted privacy from him and baby while in the bathroom.  But then we got into our routine – we got up together, we got Graham up and put him down together, we went for runs and walks together, we clipped coupons together (ok, Steve clipped and I stood nearby), we grocery shopped together, we thumbed through the mail together, we did laundry together, we went to the pool together, we cleaned together, we gardened together, we emptied the dishwasher together, etc….you get the idea! I got used to knowing that if I needed an extra hand, his was always there. Sometimes A lot of the time I complained about it. But secretly, I might have liked it.

Now I’m bored.

In an effort to keep from getting sad and sulking, I’m doing what I can to stay busy.

Tuesday: ventured to Arlington for lunch with college buddies. Graham was rotten. Maybe I’m being harsh. He was very much a little boy and shame on me for taking him to a restaurant with adults. But it was great to see Marty and Chris…and I’m pretty sure I bought their girlfriends a couple more years of being just girlfriends. Graham wasn’t making them want to become parents any time soon.

Big guy ready to terrorize Arlington

Big guy ready to terrorize Arlington

That evening I went out to dinner with a couple of friends. Half off mexican – yes please!! Sangritas (sangria and margarita – together in perfect harmony) – ahhhhmazing!! Graham stayed at my friend’s house with her husband and two little guys. I’m told he was really good.

Moms' night out - happy with sangritas in our hands!

Moms’ night out – happy with sangritas in our hands!

Wednesday: I woke Graham up at the crack of dawn to go for a 6AM run with friends. He was such a trooper. I felt a little guilty when we ran by a few playgrounds and didn’t stop. He squealed each time he saw a slide. By the time we finished our post-run iced coffee, Graham was ready for a nap. I guess getting pushed in a stroller is exhausting!
We came home and took Scout on a couple of walks. Graham really wanted to be in charge of walking Scout. Unfortunately, I think that Scout took the lead and walked Graham.

Getting walked.

Getting walked.

Wishing Steve was here...I'm not cutting it.

Wishing Steve was here…I’m not cutting it.

We also went to see the Hickman kids’ swim meet. It was the first time that Graham has been to a pool and not been able to swim. He did not understand why all of the big kids were able to swim and he could not. Not kidding, he cried the entire time. We saw each cousin swim one event and immediately peaced out of there. He did clap a couple of times…while crying. And he did throw his blanket into one of the lanes. Don’t know if we’ll be making it to anymore swim meets.

Two days down….only 70-80ish to go.

xoxo,
Jo

PS A couple extra pics that don’t really have a place in the post:

New sandals from his buddy, Ben - thought it was hilarious that he could see his toes.

New sandals from his buddy, Ben – thought it was hilarious that he could see his toes.

Hanging out on the deck, resting after a tough round of fetch.

Resting after a tough round of fetch.

2

Hurry home, please.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again – over and over – I’m so blessed with a wonderful husband, baby daddy, dogdad, roommate, best friend, etc. Steve is the best. Maybe if he could be a little more subpar, I wouldn’t miss him so much.

Lucky for me, that’s not the case. Unlucky for me, I miss him a lot.

I’m not the only one who gets bummed when Steve goes away:

Scout, after seeing that Steve was packing his suitcase.

Scout was sad after seeing Steve pack his suitcase.

And we all know that Scout and I aren’t going to be alone in missing Steve:

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jumping on dad

face smooshes (that Graham thought was hilarious)

face smooshes (that Graham thought was hilarious)

story time

story time

hockey time (or maybe that's Super Why)

hockey time (or maybe that’s Super Why)

just hanging around

just hanging around

Before heading off to the airport I made everyone sit down for a family photo (can’t believe everyone is looking at the camera – even Scout haha):

I love my little family.

I love my little family.

my heart.

my heart.

So Steve, hurry home. You’ve been gone for 7 hours and I’m already lonely. Running hills in the heat with the stroller sucked (but my red-headed running buddies did not suck 🙂 ) Took Graham to the pub after the run…he flirted with the waitress – you would have been proud. Played fetched with the pup when I got home. And now I’m watching terrible trash television and have no one to fuss at me about it 😦

September can't come soon enough - we love you!

September can’t come soon enough – we love you!

xoxo,
Jo

4

Twilight Recap and Running Buddies

This is slightly delayed (as are most of my posts), but I guess I should go ahead give the race recap for last weekend’s Twilight 4 miler. I know you’ve been dying to hear about it 🙂

after the race, hanging out with friends in the beer garden

after the race, hanging out with friends in the beer garden

It was part of Potomac River Running’s Race Series, so I knew it would be a good, local run with lots of families. The race was advertised as a family event, so there were a lot of things for kiddos like a moon bounce (ok, kids and grown men), face painting, animal balloons, a one mile fun run, etc. I didn’t let my kid partake in any of it – not because I’m mean, but because he’s still too little. I mean, he would have LOVED both the moon bounce and the animal balloons, but I fear that both would have been hazardous to his health. And for the grown-ups there was a beer garden and pizza. This is how we got our friends to come.

It was a night of firsts for me. For starters, this was my first evening race. I’ve seen 7AM many times, but this was my first PM. It was also my first time racing a 4 miler (if you recall, I walked a 4 miler with my mom on Mother’s Day). I’ve run 5ks, 8ks, 10ks, 15ks, 10 milers, half marathons and a full marathon…and now I can add the 4 to my PR list 🙂 And finally, this was my first time racing with Graham! We’ve done plenty of stroller runs and family runs, but there was something a little extra special about having my two guys with me at the start line. I love running and I love racing…and what’s better than sharing these things that I love with the ones that I love?!

family racing

family racing

The first couple of miles Steve and I took turns pushing the stroller, but then I took over the second half. I really love running with Graham. I haven’t always enjoyed it – you know, the whole pushing a kid while trying to run, which is already painful challenging fun rewarding challenging…not what most people call fun. But now that he’s trying to talk I love listening to him during my run. It usually sounds something like, “mama mama mama MAHHMAHHH!” My interpretation, “Wow, mommy, you’re fast! Go, mommy, go!” 🙂

how Graham wishes he could race

how Graham wishes he could race

or maybe like this?

or maybe like this?

but really he's in the BOB.

but really he’s in the BOB.

His babbling was just the encouragement I needed on Saturday! I had forgotten my watch, so I couldn’t constantly look at my pace and distance (which is nice for casual runs, but not for race day). I was able to set my Nike+ on my phone, so while I couldn’t look at it constantly to see my pace, the kind Nike lady in my phone gave me updates with each mile.

Mile 1: 8:04
Mile 2: 7:50
Mile 3: 8:04
Mile 4: 8:59 (mostly uphill)
plus an extra .14 Mile: 0:46 (because apparently I’m terrible at running tangents).

This was the second race that Steve and I have done together and he says I’ve become a much more “agressive” runner. I’m not sure what that means, but I think he meant it as a compliment.

maybe this is why? ;)

maybe this is why? 😉

Steve also swears that I placed 2nd in the “stroller division” (MIL, this is not a real thing – I did not place). Of course, the woman who came in 1st in the make-believe stroller division was Dorothy Beal and she was pushing not one, not two, but THREE kids in her stroller! She’s kind of my hero and I want to be her when I grow up. Trying to keep up with her (and failing miserable) was pretty exciting! Another exciting thing that happened was that I saw Sue from This Mama Runs for Cupcakes! She was volunteering at the water station. When I passed through the first time I was thinking she looks familiar, then it dawned on me – I read her blog! So when I passed through the second time, I was all like, “Oh my gosh, I read your blog!!” Except it probably came out like, huff puff “I” huff puff “read” huff puff “your” huff puff “blog”. Stalker much?? Kidding…I’m not a stalker…promise.

Summary: Fun race with the family. I saw two bloggers whom I stalk follow. I ran almost at my goal pace (that last mile killed me). And I ended the evening with friends in the beer garden. Doesn’t get much better 🙂

I think I mentioned this in my last post, but I recently (like, last week) joined a running club! This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a lonnnng time, and I’m so glad to have finally found one! It’s a great group and I’ve now done about 6 runs with them. The first run was a pub run, which clearly I wanted to be a part of! Then they got me coming back with the promise of cupcakes the following week! Unfortunately, that cupcake run took place in the pouring rain.

apparently I'll do anything for a cupcake

apparently I’ll do anything for a cupcake – rachel and I are drenched in this pic!

With a couple big races coming up in the fall, I want to do my best to stay strong and healthy and injury-free! My plan: run more, cross-train more, and strengthen my core. Have you ever done core with a toddler?

Graham crunches

Graham crunches

side plank & story time

side plank & story time (in package: steve’s father’s day present – shhhh)

With Steve getting ready to head overseas in a couple of days, I have a feeling I’m going to have a lot more stroller runs and Graham&Mommy core workouts 🙂 It’s a good thing he’s a cute kid.

Now, off to enjoy the weekend with said cute kid and my cute baby-daddy 🙂 ….and our cute dog.

xoxo,
Jo