Weekend Highlights

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First, I wanted to share a quote that my good friend, Laura, shared on facebook. As I read it, I couldn’t help but shake my head in agreement, smile and get goosebumps. She’s 100% right – and she had said this BEFORE Emma Coburn won the first US women’s Olympic medal in the steeplechase yesterday.

“It needs to be said how incredible the USA female runners are. If you judged by the medals you’d be sorely at a loss – that doesn’t tell the whole story. Molly Huddle with an American 10k record on Friday. Today, all 3 American women placed in the top 10 of the Olympic Marathon – history made.”

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This past weekend was one of the best I can remember. I took off on Friday – yay – and the day started with an early AM run followed by an amazing day at the beach. My parents, sisters and our own offspring drove to Long Branch – it was the first time my sisters and parents and I have been at the beach together in 20 years.

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    Soccer Game tonight + Link to my 1st Video!!!

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    Hope you are all having a wonderful week – I am incredibly thankful that this is a short week!

    So first, head over to Instagram to enter an awesome giveaway I am hosting for some RX Bars (my favorite bars – EVER).

    My husband is a huge soccer fan (played D1 at West Point) and both of my boys are absolutely loving the sport. They play in a clinic/league twice/week and most afternoons are spent in the yard playing against one another. When they aren’t playing, they are asking my husband to put soccer on TV. SO, you can imagine my reaction when I was offered the opportunity to attend a NYCFC game tonight – with a pre-game on-field experience – at Yankee stadium! So we are obviously all going!! Should be a fun, amazing night for all of us!

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    I’m incredibly excited to share the links to the video series that I was honored to be a part of. In the fall, I was contacted by reps from Competitor – asking me if I wanted to participate in a photo shoot / ad campaign for Choose Cherries. As I mentioned a few months ago, I had heard of the benefit of tart cherries / cherry juice but had never tried it before. I didn’t want to say yes b/c it seemed dishonest to be a spokesperson for something that I wasn’t full backing. So I asked if I could try it for a few months and then make my decision. I spent late fall/ early winter drinking cherry juice and eating tart cherries on a regular basis and loved how I felt, so decided to participate.

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      Juggling Family, Work And Life With Long Distance Running

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      This post was originally featured on Women’s Running (it can be found here).

      Training for long distance races (half marathon, marathon, ultras) is difficult in and of itself. It becomes a whole other challenge when you factor in all the responsibilities many of us have–being a spouse, having children, owning or maintaining a home and/or working a full or part time job.

      I had more flexibility with my time before I was married and had kids. It was fairly typical for me to spend a couple of hours each day working out or at the gym. I’d run (with no set training plan–just however far I felt like running that day), cross-train and do some strength or core work.

      These days it is a delicate balance to juggle my responsibilities with my training. My “free” time is limited. I no longer have the luxury of running whenever and however far I like. And so, my training has to be adjusted a few ways.

      Make each mile count. Gone are the days where I just head out to run with no idea of how long or far I will be out. I’ve been forced to get smarter with my training. I am no longer able to waste my time running “empty” miles. Nowadays, each mile has to matter and every run has to have a purpose. I follow a training plan and ensure that when I leave the house, that run means something to me and my goals.

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        Life Lately + Entering Taper

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        easter

        He’s in his bathing suit – it’s an Easter tradition in our family (since I was a little girl) that the Easter Bunny brings your first new bathing suit for the upcoming summer!

        Hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful Easter! We started off the day with baskets, an egg hunt and lots of candy and chocolate.

        Shortly after the festivities, I headed out for my last long run – 18 miles. I can’t say it was a great run. It was incredibly windy (weather app said ~20 mph winds) but it seemed to be gusting MUCH stronger for a lot of the run. And it never seemed to be at my back. It was just one of those runs where you just want it to be over. Lately, I’ve been feeling really bored and lonely for the longer runs and would love to have a friend to chat with and keep the miles easy and relaxed.

        The plan for yesterday’s run was 14 moderate pace and then 4 fast finish. Well, the fast finish didn’t happen. I guess technically it did happen because I pushed harder those last 4 miles, but I didn’t come even remotely close to the paces that my coach had scheduled for me. I’m chalking it up to the crappy wind.

        18 total miles – 7:52 pace. Ran blind for the first 14 and then spent 4 miles staring at my Garmin hoping the miles would tick by faster (and that my pace would drop). Neither happened.

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          Mamalete Day 2014

          Just a reminder – there are four giveaways (in honor of Mother’s Day) right now (Vitamix S30 Blender Entry into in24 Philly Race + Pair of Saucony Shoes + Sparkly Soul Headbands)

          I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a special Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!!!

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          Truth: There are many days where I feel overwhelmed with being a parent. My boys are at ages where they are SO impressionable – I feel like they soak every single thing in (for better or worse) that my husband and I say or do (I learned this the hard way after my oldest started repeating a phrase I yelled at him a handful of times – no curse words, but it wasn’t what I wanted him saying outside the house).  And so we are trying to be the best example we can be. We are trying to lay the foundation for things like a love for school and learning (which I remember my mom instilled in me from the youngest age), a healthy relationship with food, good manners and an active lifestyle.

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            Race Envy + 50 mile week

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            I am pretty excited to share this article with you.  A reporter from the Staten Island Advance contacted me shortly after the Ironman for a quick recap of my race (time, event, etc).  After a short discussion, he reached out again for a more in-depth interview and ended up writing the below story which was featured last week in the Staten Island Advance. The full article can be found here.

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            I had serious race envy this weekend seeing all the pics on Instagram and Twitter from those participating in Hood to Coast. I already gave my husband the warno that I want to do it next year.  I’ve never done a relay before but this just sounds TOO fun to pass up.  Now I just need to find a team =)

            Last week ended my first week of marathon training.  My coach (more on that in an upcoming post!) has me on a 8-days on / 1-day off schedule, so I ran all 7 days last week. 3 stress workouts, 4 days of easy running. I finished the week with 50.63 miles – my first 50+ mile week since early April! So I am already basically at the peak mileage I reached for my previous marathon. In the first week of marathon training. This makes me happy. The fact that I finished the week with an easy 5 miler that felt comfortable and fast makes me GIDDY.

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              BOB Strollers Review + Stroller Running Q&A

              Are you on TwitterInstagram or Facebook? Let’s connect! 

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              When I lived in NYC and had the opportunity to run in Central Park every day, I saw tons of mothers pushing their little ones in running strollers. I always knew that I wanted to be one of those moms when I had little ones of my own.

              So when it was time to register for my baby shower, I did some research and asked a few friends which stroller brand they recommended for running. All signs pointed to a BOB Stroller by BritaxBut then I had to decide which model to get – there’s the Revolution SE, Revolution CE, Ironman, Sport Utility and Motion. It was a bit overwhelming with all the different models and it was made even tougher because a lot of the baby stores we went to didn’t carry the stroller in the store or only had one model to test out.

              Ultimately we chose the Revolution SE. We did not want to register (or buy) two strollers, so whatever stroller we were going to use for running would have to double as an everyday stroller as well.

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                Breastfeeding and Endurance Sports

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                I’ve gotten a ton of emails, comments, and messages from readers asking how I am managing to breastfeed while Ironman training.  I am not going to sugar coat this post and pretend that I am doing all of this training while happily and easily breastfeeding without any issues or concerns. SO not the case. Juggling both is hard.  I do a lot of things on a regular basis to ensure I have enough milk. And as my husband can account to, I am often stressing out about how much milk I am providing for the little guy.

                I’ve had issues with supply (which I discuss below) and it’s almost a daily fight to keep the supply up.  But, here I am – just over 4 weeks away from my first Ironman and still exclusively breastfeeding my 9 month old son.  If nothing else, I hope this post shows that breastfeeding CAN be done while training for long distance events like marathons and even an Ironman. Yes, it takes a bit more time and energy to maintain a healthy supply, but it 100% can be done if you are determined and make yourself as knowledgeable as you can about breastfeeding.

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                  Enjoy Each Mile

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                  Graduation and Commissioning Day (May 30, 2003)

                  Today is 10 years since I graduated from West Point.  The last 10 years feel as though they flew by.  I can so clearly remember being back at West Point.  But at the same time, being back at school seems like a lifetime ago.  I’m always amazed at how it can feel like that.

                  My four years at West Point were where some of my best memories were made and where some amazing friendships began.

                  Looking back, life seemed SO easy then.  Yes, we had a pretty heavy course-load, extracurricular activities and the occasional room inspection that would take us hours to get ready for (truth be told though, I loved having a spotless room =) ).  But, that was really all we had to concern ourselves with.  No little ones to look after, no cooking, no bills.  We were in college, enjoying our freedom, and making cherished memories with one another.

                  The best part, for me, was that my girlfriends and I were all together.  I was in the same company (and roommates) with my girlfriend, Lauren, for the last three years.  I lived with Annie during our freshmen year.  But, we were never more than 1/4 mile of each other.  Meeting for dinner, tv watching, and girl talk was an almost daily occurrence.

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                    I Miss Running

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                    I couldn’t get my act together this week and get out of bed when my alarm went off.  The littlest guy has returned to his twice (or sometimes three) a night wakeup to nurse (maybe a growth spurt?) so I’d like to think it’s from a lack of sleep.  I am slightly OCD and so I set multiple alarms on my phone offset by 5 min – in case I shut the alarm off while I’m still half asleep.

                    The plan works great in theory – and most mornings, I have no problem jumping out of bed with the first alarm (I am typically not a snooze girl) – but when you are exhausted and continually hit snooze on the alarms, it means that there is an alarm going off every 5 min.  You don’t really get any sort of sleep in those 5 minutes.  It’s just enough time to start to fall back asleep before the beeping commences.  One morning, I hit snooze for 40 min.  My husband wanted to kill me.  Per his request, the alarms are now set 10 min apart.

                    This week was an eye opener for me.  Since most mornings I was running behind and couldn’t follow my planned workout, I fit in what I could.  I’ve noticed that when I am pressed for time, my mind and body immediately want to squeeze in a run – not a bike or swim – regardless of what I was supposed to be doing that day.  I think part of it is that I miss running.  It sounds strange to say because I am running – and often times, about 3-5x/week.  But, I miss having my whole day revolve around running – I used to eat, hydrate, sleep for my run the next day.  I like running on tired legs because of a hard run the day before – not because I had a hard bike ride.  And it’s not just the act of running – I am spending more time reading and learning about the other two sports and am finding that I am spending much less time completely focused on running. And I miss it. 

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                      Making Time for My Spouse’s Fitness

                      Don’t forget to enter the Garmin Forerunner 10 Giveaway! 

                      I saw a tweet last week from a new dad saying he was happy to be getting back on track with running post-baby.  My first thought was along the lines of Post-Baby? You didn’t just have a baby!!  But after letting his words sink in for a bit, I began to see more and more truth to what he said.  True, the husbands are not the ones who just carried and delivered a child.  BUT, they DO have a new baby in their lives – and in some ways, I think the spouse’s return to running post-baby may sometimes be tougher.

                      The woman has to deal with the physical limitations of having just given birth, but the spouse may have to deal with his/her own set of challenges that comes with being the spouse of a postpartum woman.  I think it can be challenging for the spouse to juggle fitting in physical fitness while still being supportive at home (especially working a full-time job).

                      From my experience at home, I was given the full support of my husband to return to running very soon after both boys were born.  I had very easy L&D and was given clearance to run when I felt ready.  It wasn’t because I had a race on the calendar, but rather, because I loved running (and missed running w/o carrying around a watermelon!), wanted some semblance of control over my body back, and selfishly needed enjoyed a bit of time away from the stress of a newborn (esp when it was my first!).

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                        Long Run Fail

                        Don’t forget to enter the Ava and Liam Giveaway!

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                        I like my marathon training cycles to be on the longer side – at least 16-18 weeks with my long runs beginning at 12-14 miles.  One of the reasons is because it gives me a few extra buffer weeks in case I have to miss a long run.  Being a mom to two little ones (with one that’s exclusively breastfed) means that a good night’s sleep is totally out of my hands and despite my best efforts, a long run (or successful long run) is sometimes not in the cards.

                        I’ve being extremely satisfied with my long runs this training cycle.  Until this weekend.  This weekend’s did NOT go as planned (and it had nothing to do with the little ones).

                        I intended to run 16 miles early Friday morning (5:30am) following a similar route as last weekend’s 22 miler.  I knew from the first few steps that it was going to be a tough run.  I was working harder than I should have been to maintain a pace that last weekend felt so easyI wasn’t out of breath – instead, my body felt fatigued, exhausted, and unable to move any faster than what it was already running.

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                          Menu Planning for Ironman Training

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                          Don’t forget to enter my Motivational Sign Giveaway!!

                          After my first week of swimming for Ironman training (coupled with marathon training), I realized I needed to make some major changes with my daily routine.  One area I knew I needed to focus on was my family’s meals – especially dinner.  They had become boring, sometimes very unhealthy, and often lacking in the nutrition that I would need to swim + bike + run.

                          The last two weeks I have been meal / menu planning throughout the week for our weekend supermarket trip.  I’ve tried to include 2-3 new recipes each week while also ensuring a few are crockpot recipes.  I have found that trying to cook past 5pm is often difficult with the two little ones – they are much more self-entertained in the early afternoon hours.

                          Some of these recipes have come from cookbooks, websites, blogs (check out The Lean Green Bean and Making Good Choices for some yummy recipes), Instagram photos…

                          I’ve been posting some of the dinners on Instagram and have been asked to share the recipes.  Let me preface this all by saying a few things:

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                            Slowing Down the Treadmill

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                            Do you ever feel like you are on a treadmill and it just seems to be getting faster and faster…and that you will fall off if you hesitate for even a second?

                            This is how I have felt the last few weeks.  Overwhelmed. Like I was holding down the fast forward button and couldn’t pick up my hand.  Like I didn’t have control.

                            Don’t get me wrong.  Certain aspects have been positive.  I’ve nailed all of my tough runs and I’ve been blogging much more frequently (pretty much every day lately).

                            But other aspects of my life seem to be running away from me.

                            For the last month I have been a zombie.  I’ve been staying up entirely too late for the time I’ve been getting up…My to-do list is only getting longer and with later bedtimes for the boys (some nights around 830), I don’t start doing things until close to 9.  An 11pm bedtime with a 5am wakeup is not easy.  And on top of that, the sleep I have been getting is completely broken.  My youngest is going through a sleep regression so gone are the 10-12 hr nights.  We have been dealing with 2-4 wakeups a night.  He goes back to sleep easily but the wakeups mean I’m not getting more than 2-3 hours at a time.  I’m not complaining. I have a 5 month old so I don’t expect to get 12 hours of sleep a night.  But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  The lack of sleep finally caught up to me last week and I totally skipped my run Thursday and my swim Friday. I just could not pull myself out of bed.

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                              Progression Run + Explosion of Thomas the Train

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                              This past weekend was a cut-back long week.  I follow the “build, build, build, easy” concept when it comes to my long runs.  The last three weekends had been 10, 12, and 14…Saturday was supposed to be 8, but I decided to make it a speedy 6 and leave some extra miles for Sunday since I knew the weather was going to be unseasonably mild:

                              I’ve been doing all of my speedwork and tempo runs on the treadmill, so I wanted to see how it felt to push the pace a bit outside and decided to do a progression run:

                              • Mile 1: 7:47 (warm-up)
                              • Mile 2: 7:19
                              • Mile 3: 7:17
                              • Mile 4: 7:14
                              • Mile 5: 7:09
                              • Mile 6: 6:59
                              • 6 miles: 43:50
                              • Average Pace: 7:17
                              The last mile was tough – I wanted my watch to say sub-7 SO badly.  I miscalculated and was at 5.85 when I reached my home (such a kick in the pants to have to run by my home).  6:59 is the first sub-7 minute mile outside that I have had since I found out I was pregnant last Jan =)

                              Progression runs are hands down my favorite type of run.  I often incorporate them onlong runs, tempo runs, and even easy days.

                              A progression run is simply a run in which you finish faster than you start.  There are a TON of different ways you can do progression runs:

                              • Miles: This is how I prefer to do my progression runs.  Basically, my goal is to run each mile faster than the previous mile.  I start super slow and end super fast (for me).
                              • Thirds: Separate your run into three equal parts.  The first 1/3 should be the slowest, the middle 1/3 should be faster and the final 1/3 should be your fastest
                              • End Fast: I do this on a lot of my easy runs.  I always try to make the last mile or two my fastest – not super fast, but aiming to be close to my half or marathon goal pace.

                              Progression runs:

                              • Force me to start slow.  I know I won’t be able to run the full progression run correctly if I start too fast
                              • Are a great way to do a short tempo run or speedwork without devoting a ton of miles to it (the last 1-2 miles are usually at a pretty fast pace for me)
                              • Satiate my competitive nature.  I am basically competing against myself when I do a progression run – I have to beat my previous mile time.  Nobody wants to lose to themself. HA.
                              • Make the miles go by quickly.  I only focus on the current mile and concentrate on running that one faster than the previous
                              • Are a HUGE confidence booster.  There is nothing as satisfying as finishing a run (regardless of distance) super fast – and feeling strong and in control

                              If you want to learn more about progression runs, check out these articles by McMillan Running and Runners World.

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                                Running Book for Kids: Pellie Runs a Marathon

                                Pellie Runs A Marathon

                                My husband bought me the cutest kids book a few months after our oldest son was born in 2011 – Pellie Runs a Marathon (by Michele Bredice Craemer):

                                One of the things I am MOST grateful to my parents is my exposure to sports from a young age.  They didn’t force a sport on my sisters and I.  Instead, we were given and shown a wide range of sports from when we were first old enough to understand them.  Basketball, softball, football, running, golf, bowling, soccer, dancing…We played/did them all.  Basketball was my first love and lasted until sophomore year of college.  It wasn’t until that point – and then even more-so during my time in the military and deployments – that my love for running began.

                                My husband and I are not going to push running, or any other sport for that matter, onto either of our boys.  But, just as both our parents did with us, we’ve already begun introducing a handful of sports to our oldest whether through activity outside with his bat and ball, watching football on the couch with daddy, or reading a book about marathons.

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                                  Mustela Review + Giveaway

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                                  Mustela is the #1 Baby Care and Stretch Marks Brand in Europe and just began selling their line of products, including the 9 Months and Bebe lines, in Duane Reade stores across the United States. 

                                  Mustela focuses on selecting only the most natural ingredients to use in their products – any questionable ones such as parabens, alcohol or oils are excluded since they can be harmful to both babies and the expectant moms.

                                  Mustela® prides itself as being the skincare expert for babies and mothers-to-be. For this reason, Mustela® offers effective, easy-to-use products of the highest quality, designed to meet the specific needs of newborns, babies, children and expectant and new mothers.  Mustela is the leading cosmetic brand in the European pharmaceutical market for baby products.  In France, Mustela products are present in 90% of all pharmacies and used in more than 50% of maternity units for the care of newborn.

                                  I was familiar with several Mustela products, but hadn’t actually tried any until my second son was born two months ago.

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                                    Running Mom Inspiration + Mizuno Shoe Giveaway WINNER!

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                                    First, I just want to say thank you so much for everyone’s supportive and encouraging comments, tweets, and messages regarding yesterday’s post.  It was really great to hear about all of your experiences dealing with similar frustrations with returning to running (especially those returning postpartum).

                                    I’ve heard so many stories about females becoming faster after giving birth.  I didn’t get a chance to experience the full extent of this as I had just started PRing again (my son was 11 months old) when I found out that we were expecting child #2!

                                    But there are a lot of females that get considerably faster post-baby.  One great example is Jen from The Local Elite.  I recently discovered her and her blog (and love both!!)!!  She is insanely fast and hopes to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials.  Check out her pre-pregnancy and post-baby PRs – they give me so much hope!!

                                    • 5k Road: 16:40 (pre-pregnancy 18:20)
                                    • Half Marathon: 1:18:05 (pre-pregnancy 1:25)
                                    • Marathon 2:51 (pre-pregnancy 3:14)
                                    PS. Jen just ran the Columbus Half-Marathon (as a training run – not an all out race) and finished in 1:21:09 (which is a 6:15 pace).  She finished 50th out of almost 10,000 runners and was the 8th female to cross the finish line.  Amazing (especially since it was just a training run for her!).  Congrats, Jen!

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                                      I Am A Domesticator

                                      My daily outfit when I spent the day in the house!!

                                      *Note: I shamelessly am using the term domesticator after seeing it on my friend, Lindsay’s, blog last week.  If you aren’t reading her blog, you NEED to!!

                                      About a month ago, I ran into a college classmate who I hadn’t seen since our 2003 graduation.  We chatted for a while about random things before the topic of our careers came up.  When I told him that I am a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM, aka domesticator), he started laughing and said, I can’t believe that the girl who used to tutor math to all of us is now a housewife.

                                      I know he didn’t mean to be condescending or hurtful with his comment, but I immediately felt embarrassed. Embarrassed that my life consisted of raising my children, cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry and not business attire and corporate events.

                                      Then I was angry.  Angry with myself for being embarrassed with the career choice I have made.

                                      But to be honest, if you would have asked me ten, even five years ago if I ever imagined I’d be a SAHM, I would have had the same reaction he did.  Truth be told, for most of my life, I had ZERO aspiration to be a housewife.  From as far back as I can remember, I had visions of becoming a successful, powerful NYC businesswoman.

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                                        A Second Child: What I’ve Learned

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                                        Happy THREE weeks  to my little guy!!  I’m amazed at how fast the time has gone and how I already can’t imagine life with my two little ones.

                                        While there are definitely some aspects of life that are more difficult now, I am amazed at how relatively seamless the transition is/was.  These are some of the things that I’ve learned the last few weeks:

                                        • Love.  I finally understand what my mom used to say to my sisters and I about loving us the same but for different reasons. There’s no way that I could love my two little boys for the same reasons – my oldest is talking and interacting 24/7 while my youngest mostly eats, sleeps, and poops.  But I feel like my heart is split equally for them.
                                        • Diapers. A good part of my day  is spent changing them. I got used to going through maybe 5-6 diapers/day, so having a newborn who requires many, many more than that is a change for me.  And I’m convinced the boys are in cahoots.  It seems that they decide to “go” at the same time or while I preoccupied with the other!  I received a shipment yesterday – diapers for both boys, wipes, and diaper garbage bags.  Can you believe these two boxes will only last a few weeks!?!  
                                        • Sleep.  I’m amazed at how our bodies adapt to change.  I had felt SO tired the last few weeks of pregnancy and that was on 8 hours of sleep a night (+ 30-60 min of napping during the day).  Now, I’m getting about 6 hours of (interrupted) sleep and surprisingly feel relatively good for most of the day.
                                        • Food/Drinks I had to eliminate / limit during pregnancy. I forgot how wonderful it is to be able to have an afternoon (or early evening) cup of coffee if I want to!  And although I am really not much of a beer drinker, I have been CRAVING one almost every night!
                                        • Older Son’s Reaction.  My oldest son has been pretty wonderful with his little brother.  He wants to be included in everything that is going on – giving him a bath, changing him, holding him…and will almost never pass him by without leaning in for a kiss! I’m appreciate of all the suggestions that were left when I discussed my guilt with having a second child.  Thank you! 

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