May 28, 2013

Well, I Tri'd

Yesterday Miles and I completed our first triathlon. We signed up for the Capital of Texas Triathlon in the category "First Tri" which, obviously, was geared towards beginners, but there were several other categories as well including distances for professional triathletes. Our tri involved a 400 meter swim (1/4 a mile), 10k bike (6.2 miles), and a 5k run (3.1 miles). To put that in perspective, a full Ironman Triathlon is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a full 26.2 mile marathon run. My friend Erica has completed TWO of them. She's a beast. But she was kind and answered all of my silly questions I've had over the last few weeks, like "what do I wear?" "When do I take my swim cap off?" "Will I get kicked in the face?"

As it turns out I did not get kicked in the face during the swim. The swim was in Lady Bird Lake which runs through Austin. Due to a lot of rain this past week, the water had to be monitored to ensure it was safe to swim in. They decided it was just safe enough, so we swam in some pretty murky, brown water, but it actually didn't bother me at all - probably just nerves and adrenaline, because when I think about it after the fact, it was pretty gross, and pretty surprising that I didn't get kicked as you couldn't see another swimmer until you were right next to them.

Miles came in first in his division (Military and First Responders), because of course. I'm proud of him and all, but seriously dude, your first race?! I, on the other hand, left plenty of room for improvement, but my goal was to just finish. When we went back to pick up Finn from my sister-in-law's house, my three year old nephew asked to see my medal and asked "did you win, Caroline!?" I said, "well, I finished and that's kinda like winning."

Speaking of winning - they gave out free ice cream at the end - my kind of race!

My sweet friend Katie came out to cheer us on and stayed for the whole race. It was such a boost to hear someone calling my name during the bike and run - the miles on the run seemed to be especially long!

When we got home we went back and watched some Team Hoyt videos. A few years ago I heard about this father-son team. They have done 247 Triathlons, 70 Marathons, and numerous other races together. Dick, who is now in his 70's and still racing, pushes his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy from an oxygen deprivation at birth. If you are in the mood for a good cry, watch this. Their story is amazing and humbling. Equally humbling, was seeing how many para-triathletes and amputees competed in yesterdays race.

Overall we both had a really good experience and look forward to doing more in the future. Especially if it involves ice cream.

May 23, 2013

May 23rd

Today was my due date for my last pregnancy.

A pregnancy that never got to be anything more than 10 weeks.

After awhile I stopped thinking about how far along I should have been. I stopped comparing myself to others who were due, and have gone on to have babies, around the time I was due. At some point it stopped being my reality, as much as I had hoped it would have been.

It makes me a little sad. To think of the could-have-been. But, well, what are you going to do?

In four days I'll participate in my first triathlon. So I guess that's what I'll do. A newborn would have been amazing, but there are lots of things in life that would have been amazing, and fortunately, lots that still are.

And honestly today has just been another day. A good day even. I ate grocery store sushi that was delicious yet I know that just sounds so incredibly gross. We went to a BBQ at a nearby lake and watched Finn throw rocks in the "baba" over and over and over. And I got to attend another Favorite Things Party (score!) and walk away with new treats.

Life doesn't go according to plan. But it seems to still go in a good direction most days. So that's something.


May 19, 2013

Colored Rad

This weekend I did a Color Run with my friend Brittany.  Finn hung out with Dadda during the day, but was feeling pretty rad himself when I got home. Hope everyone's had a nice, err rad, weekend.

Neon dipes are all the rage right now.

May 14, 2013

Cale's Garden: Georgia

I briefly thought about writing a post on/about Mother's Day, but there's not much to say. It's still a hard day. Even with the greatest almost-two-year-old in the world, it's still just hard. A lot of people recognized that and I appreciate it. A lot of people wished me a Happy Mother's Day, and I do genuinely appreciate that. But when your heart is especially heavy and you're missing the boy who made you a mom, it is hard to keep hearing Happy Mother's Day, Happy Day, Happy! It's just hard, that's all. Maybe you read this already, but if not it's worth the read:  In Case Mother's Day is Hard for you.

After Cale died we decided that we would make a little garden in our backyard in his memory. I don't really know where the idea came from, but I think the seed was planted when we received this thoughtful gift from my friend Danielle soon after Cale's passing:

Where does one put such a lovely stone? Well, outside in a lovely garden I suppose. Only we needed to make one. Here's a picture of the area in March of 2010 (when I was 24 weeks pregnant with Cale):

Same area I had my maternity pictures taken:

We decided to plant several plants throughout the area - gardenias and black eyed Susans, and added bark for mulch, and eventually edged off the grass area with nice stones. We ordered an outdoor bench and had a plaque made to put on it:

His garden became a very lovely place for me to go and be with him. To sit and think about him and send him my love. 

But it became more than that too. I had some of Finn's maternity pictures taken there:

And some newborn shots:

And we celebrated Cale's first birthday from the garden, reading a poem a releasing balloons & butterflies:

The big tree in the garden had to get chopped down before we moved and part of it is forever with us. We have had friends and family help us add to the spot - with some beautiful stepping stones, a lantern, and a wind chime. I'll share his Texas Garden soon. It feels different and doesn't have the same history, but it is still special and still nice to have a place that belongs to him, no matter where we live.

May 3, 2013

100% Paleo, 80% of the Time

For the month of April I stuck to a primarily Paleo diet. We know lots of people who have jumped on board the Paleo train and while I've made recipes before that are Paleo friendly or dabbled here and there within the guidelines, I never really researched it much or read up on the impacts non-Paleo friendly foods can have your body.

So I decided that for an entire month I would try to stick to it the best I could. Meaning I wasn't going to be hardcore strict about it. I didn't buy EVERYTHING organic, I didn't fret if I ate or drank something that's not Paleo, and I wouldn't stress about it too much if we were out exploring a new restaurant or eating over at friends, etc. I wasn't doing this for any food allergy reasons and this wasn't a diet - in fact, I gained a couple of pounds during the month. I wanted to do this to see what all the rage is about and to see if it did impact how I felt.

Here's a little overview for those of you unfamiliar with how it works:

So this diet, also called the Cave Man Diet, centers around the thought that unless you could kill/pick/grow your own food in it's organic state, you shouldn't eat it. No gluten or grains in any form, no soy, sugar, legumes, or processed foods. And no beer. But you can have cider and wine and I much prefer a Woodchuck Cider to a beer anyway. And there are other things to limit like dairy, which I did limit, but didn't omit. I enjoy milk and cheese but limited how much I consumed and gave up all other dairy. Here is another really good overview of the Paleo Diet that kind of explains why you shouldn't have all those above mentioned items. I bugged my friend Ashley throughout the month asking her questions about foods and brands to buy and bugging her for good recipes as she is the most normal Paleo nutjob I know. And also the most patient! Most of the people who drink the Paleo Kool-aid can be over-the-top food snobs and in the end it's about listening to your own body and doing what's best.

Also, of the foods you can eat, most of them should be organic. We already buy all organic, grass-fed beef  and other healthy meats (as long as it's available which fortunately hasn't been a problem since moving to Texas - land of beef), cage free eggs, and look for deals on organic produce, but I don't stress ensuring that every single thing we buy is organic. So the shopping wasn't a big transition, though I had to go to a few new stores to find certain things, but I basically just stuck to the outside aisles  of the grocery store and had to stock up on some of the essentials like coconut oil, almond flour, non-peanut nut butters, etc.

As far as sticking to the diet - it wasn't too hard. I was thinking it was going to be way more challenging than it was because I LOVE to eat cereal, waffles, BREAD, and of course the occasional garbage junk food I shouldn't eat anyway like red vines and those sour straws I get every time we go to a movie, oh and anything and everything that Haribo makes. But those cravings were only intense for the first day when I wanted to shove a bunch of goldfish crackers in my mouth or gobble down some oreos with milk, and then they went away fairly quickly. We started this diet the month that my brother and sister-in-law stayed with us and they helped cook a lot of the meals and come up with some new recipes. Also, we were able to make some Paleo-friendly desserts which satisfied my sweet tooth. Organic dark chocolate is somewhat acceptable in the Paleo world thank goodness. Here are some of the desserts we enjoyed.

Zucchini Brownies: 

 Carrot Cake:

Kitchen Sink Cookies:

Here are a few other recipes made during the month (that I took pictures of - we obviously made a lot more, I just started to get lazy with taking pictures):

Paleo Pancakes:  Oh they are so good.

Coconut Milk and Spinach Smoothie:

Paleo Pizza:

Zucchini Lasagna:

So after a month I really do have good things to say about my little experiment. Prior to going Paleo, each night I used to get obnoxious headaches at the base of my neck and could count on having at least one a day. I haven't had a headache in almost a month now and I contribute that to the diet as well as being much better about drinking a lot of water during the day. I can't really tell a difference in my energy levels, but another positive is I think MAYBE my skin is starting to clear up a bit. Instead of a 16 year old maybe I look like a 19 year old now? Also, I rarely felt bloated, full, or uncomfortable, even after eating a big meal. I enjoyed how my craving switched from girl scout cookie to some grapes or plantain chips. I certainly started to see that the better I fed myself, the more I craved those healthier foods. Not that I won't still destroy some non-Paleo desserts and enjoy every last bite, it's just nice that I know I can do without them too. So will we be strictly Paleo converts? No. But we definitely will continue to incorporate a lot of the recipes into our diet and just be even more conscious of what we eat and how it makes us feel which is really what everyone should do anyway - find out what works best for your body and go with it.