April 27, 2012

Right Now ...

Right now, I am...
… adjusting to the new routine of being back to work. I’ll have post on surviving the transition soon.

All decked out - complete with heels - for the first day back
… feeling relieved the HPs allergy tests came back negative – dairy is a go! 
… realizing that I have only three more long runs before race day. One of which is this weekend.  
… preparing for a crafty weekend away in next weekend.
… making travel plans for a family vacation somewhere warm ... likely in early 2013 before HP turns two.
… reading Good Night Moon and Time for Bed every single day. And enjoying it.

... hoping the warm temps last weekend weren’t just a tease and that spring may actually be arriving.
enjoying some park time + sunshine last weekend

… dreaming of an outlet shopping excursion stateside. Sigh, I wish.
… eating chili freezer awaiting more consistent BBQ weather.
… wondering how I was so blessed with this little family of mine.
hoping you have an awesome weekend. Happy Friday!

April 24, 2012

A Card with a Girly Touch

Another friend and one of my new running partners celebrated her birthday last week. Seems as though this is a popular time of year for birthdays amongst my family and friends! We had the pleasure of dining at their place this weekend, so I of course whipped up a card just for her.

I love girly cards, which this one totally is. I started with a script stamped background and layered on paper strips in floral and spring colours, along with a strip of washi tape. That was topped off with a layered flower embellishment and a stamped greeting banner. Altogether it says “girly” to me. And with my little man being the focus of my scrappy adventures these days, I love it.
Thanks for looking J

April 23, 2012

Runday Monday: Fueling the Fire

When I started running a decade ago I wasn't a breakfast eater. Or a big water drinker. My day started with just a cup of coffee at my desk. I usually didn't eat anything until at least 10:30ish when the grumbles started and then it was quite likely a pastry or doughnut or something equally carby and sweet. A glass or bottle of water was rare, unless it was super hot out and where I live that isn't often.
In hindsight I'd guess the bad habits started in university when late nights out led into late morning sleep-ins that led right into lunch and when I'd rather replace water with wine. Alas, as my running distances crept up over the course of marathon training those habits simply didn't work anymore. 

I discovered that a long run of 10km-32km simply wasn't doable without breakfast and good hydration. I could plug through a shorter distance ok, but after that 10km mark my energy and will to keep on keepin' on dropped without something in my tummy. I also found that I was hungrier earlier and more often during the week. I guess all that running built up muscle and metabolism and my coffee and sugary brekkie's weren't enough. In fact, some of those longer runs even required snacking en route just to keep the energy up.

I tested out different breakfast menus, times, and amounts of water until I found something I could rely on. With a few different experiments (including one that involved a late Saturday night of drinking followed by a greasy brunch immediately followed by a very long hot summer run: EPIC FAIL!) I settled on a good routine. I found a light carb such as half a big whole grain bagel or a bowl of oatmeal, some peanut butter for protein, and a banana worked best. Anything more wasn't digestible pre-run and anything less was not enough sustenance. I also found a big glass of water and a half a cuppa joe with breakfast was about right. Most of my long run hydration needed to happen the day before and then during and after the run. Otherwise I'm on the look out for a port-a-potty or large bush!
Fast forward 10 years and well into half marathon training, I needed to remind myself about fueling the fire. Since my marathon training days I had become a habitual breakfast eater, but water first thing in the morning was a no-go. A couple of long runs in and I remembered the importance of extra water the day before and at least a glass before hitting the blacktop. I also remembered I need finish eating and drinking about an hour before lacing up so everything has time to settle. A couple of longer runs in and I've rediscovered the balance - a nice warm bowl of oats with some PB and banana mixed in,  a half a cup a java, and tall drink of water about one to two hours pre-run and I'm set.
My pre-run fuel: oats+PB+banana, a little coffee + water
I strongly recommend you play with your own pre-run meals to see what works best for you - as I what I do may or may not be it. I also recommend you try that out well in advance of any race day as you certainly don't want any unexpected surprises en route that day. If you're looking to figure it out what works for you, check out this article and this one from Runner's World online as they certainly have more experience than I do.

Just remember that fueling the fire, however you do it, is key to having a good long run!

April 17, 2012

A Flower + Splatter Birthday Card

One of my besties celebrated her birthday last week. I wrote a longer post about her last year and the sentiments are the same. Adding in of course that's she a strong, determined, kick-ass chick who's lost 90 pounds in just over a year. Seriously awesome-sauce given she did that all on her own by changing her approach to eating and working out at home while looking out for five lovely kiddos. I'll also add in mention of how lucky I am my boy is about to become one of those five lovely kiddos and the blessing it is to know he's in great hands. All that to say, she deserved nothing less than a handmade card to celebrate her special day:

To make this, I started with a blank white background and splattered it with some Mister Huey inks. I then layered on a yellow cardstock punched border strip misted with the same inks, a dotted patterned paper strip and some chevron washi tape. On top of that I layered a large flower with a handcut flower circle from the same dotted patterned paper with a smaller yellow felt flower and finally a brad. Some stamped pennant strips for the greeting and it was a card fit for a queen. Or at the very least one of my best friends.

Happy Birthday Sandy!

April 13, 2012

t-3 ...

I woke up today and it was t-3. That's right, t-3 until I'm finished maternity leave. T-3 until I wake up to rejoin the masses in morning rushes, (hot) coffee breaks, and TGIFS.  T-3 until I'm officially back to work. This has been my last week home with my boy and I've been soaking it up - hence my lack of presence on the blog this week. Come Monday, our routine changes yet again. Truth be told I'm not as worried about it as I though I would be.

I went off on maternity leave thinking I may not make the year. The thought of being disconnected from work for a whole year was a bit daunting. And while there have been times when I've actually missed it, I truly enjoyed having a year plus home with my handsome little man. I loved being able to be with him as he grew, changed, and learned. I've been fortunate to witness all his significant firsts. His first roll over. His first smiles and laugh. His first crawls. His first words. His first steps. And most recently - and finally - his first tooth. I know many mamas who missed some of these moments either because they returned to work early or because they happened while they were out or their babe didn't do it before the year was up. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, though I am happy I didn't miss these things while I was sitting behind a desk.  Makes that return a little easier knowing I won't be wondering if he's taking that first step today.

Not just walking these days, but running.
To get this pic, I placed him by the sofa there in the background and I ran to get
on the other side of the sign. This is where he was by the time I turned around.
The boy can really move!

I am also extremely blessed to have my best friend taking care of Hudson P. She has three lovely, kind, funny, playful boys of her own and stays at home with them for the time being. She looks after another little guy and, fortunately, had a space open up for Hudson. Knowing that he's there with "Aunt" Sandy and his little buddies makes my mind and heart rest easy. There is no stress about whether or not he's eating right, getting hugs and kisses, having playtime and fun. I know there will be stories and crafts and outdoor messes and Friday happy dances with the music on bust. We've already spent some time there, with an afternoon sans mama this week, without issues. Sure the first week may be a bit of a transition for all of us, but I'm confident beyond any doubt that Hudson will settle in contentedly in no time.

Getting a little help from his friends.
One of Sandy's boys showing HP the ropes while mama was out and about.

I also like my job (and, let's be honest, my pay cheque). I'm fortunate to have ended up in a career I enjoy and working in an environment that is generally flexible and positive. While I've no doubt the first week or so will be an adjustment for me, I'm looking forward to getting back into thinking and adult conversation and, if we're being honest again, my stilettos. I do miss that part of my life and am happy to be getting that part of me back.

So, at t-3, I'm doing ok. I've spent a lot of this week getting ready - getting my hair did, stocking the freezer, shopping for a few refreshed wardrobe pieces, cleaning the house, fitting in those last mid-afternoon visits with family and friends, and of course, stacking as many blocks, driving as many tiny cars, and reading as many board books as I could. Come Sunday night, I may feel differently, but today I feel that liking my job, having my house in order, knowing Hudson will be in wonderful hands and having had more than a year to enjoy his amazing little self, makes the return to work a little easier. At t-3, it's not looking too bad.

Love you Hudson P!

April 9, 2012

Runday Monday: Three's Company

I ran the Tely Teaser on Good Friday morning. It was my first time partaking in the annual event where a large group of runners run the Tely 10 route to kick off the Easter Weekend. Sixteen kilometres was on my half marathon training plan for the weekend so the event presented a good opportunity to get the run done before the chocolate fest began.

Unlike my usual solo-long running, I met up with a couple of girlfriends for the run. One of the girls is training for a marathon so she ran 7km before meeting up with me near the start of the race and the other is training for a half marathon a bit after mine so she joined us at the 6km point. Together we clocked off the 10 miles lickety split. We enjoyed lots of great conversation, shared parenting tips and woes, and kept each other motivated. I have to say, the company made the run fly by. I usually find the latter part of the long runs tiresome, but it was no time and we were rounding the corner into Bannerman Park.

I actually forgot how much I enjoy running company. My husband and I often ran together before Hudson P came along. We even did trained and ran the Tely 10 together in 2008. Unfortunately, that routine had to shift now that we have Hudson P, with one of us tending to him while the other runs. I'd gotten used to running solo with only my iShuffle for company and have clocked all my half training runs alone since January. Truth be told, I was a little uncertain about the joint run on Friday as I'm no longer used to running side by side.

I had nothing to worry about though. We shared a similar pace and made decent time. Sharing the run in the sun with friends made the whole run faster and way more fun. I'm hoping to join up with them again over for long runs between now and the half marathon in May. In fact, the thought of having company makes me look forward to running 18 and 19km runs in the next few weeks. Turns out three's company after all.

image source: tvlistings.zap2it.com

April 6, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Card

Today I have one last birthday card to share - the one we gave Hudson P at his first 1st birthday party on Sunday. (He enjoyed several more through the week, including one with his playgroup, one with mama&daddy and there's more plans for cake and prezzies on the weekend ... you only turn one once right?)

For Hudson's birthday, I decided to make a card that matched his race car party theme. Like Monday's monster card, I used another card from Pinterest as the base inspiration. Sometimes I create my own cards from scratch, like yesterday's butterfly birthdays, but I also love to scraplift others. It's a high form of flattery in the scrapbooking world, providing credit/linkage is given! I was also able to use a bunch of scraps from some of the party decor I made so the card was the same colour and patterns as the rest of this party - black, red, white and grey/silver.
I decided to amp up the layers on this card, compared to the inspiration. I used a couple of layers of distressed edge paper in the background and in the paper strip embellishment. The inspiration card only used one layer for each - I really wanted a little more dimension. I kept the circle and flag embellishments as well, but used a layered circle to showcase the big number one and changed the flags from banners to pennants to keep with the race car theme. I added a bigger happy birthday banner and a star to finish it up and called it done:

I wrote a note on the inside to HP and will put this in our Project Life album for safe-keeping. I'm sure he'll enjoy seeing it in years to come. Especially on his first year in post-secondary school, as our birthday gift to him, noted inside the card, was opening up his RESP with a chunk of change!

Happy Birthday Little Man - Hope you enjoyed your birthweek festivities.

April 5, 2012

Four Butterfly Birthdays

I told you on Monday I had a few crafty cards to share this week - and on a lovely sunny day, butterfly birthdays seem fitting to share. Between March 24 & March 30, four lovely ladies in my life celebrated their birthday. I sat down to make all four cards one evening. Once the first one was finished:

I really liked the way it looked, so I decided to use the same design (a design of my own this time!) for all four. I did change up the papers, colours and sentiment wording on each so that each card was unique - just like the lovely ladies receiving them:

To make these, I started by splattering the backgrounds of the cards with Mister Huey`s spray inks ... love, love, love those. They mist, they splatter, they splot, they cover. They're awesome...but I digress. Once the ink dried, I layered a punched scalloped circle with three strips of washi tape ... which I also love, love, love. I have a bunch of different patterns of washi tape now and have six or seven more on order from Freckled Fawn (via the Paperie). But I digress again. After that, a couple of punched butterflies with sparkly gems popped up finished the paperwork. Finally, I added a few word stickers and stamped birthday to make the sentiment. Simple, but sweet. Or sweet, but simple.

Each card is the same design, but made special with choice of colours and wording. I hope the ladies liked them! Happy birthdays Jennifer, Katie, Victoria, and Hunter.

April 4, 2012

@ 12 months

Today Hudson Peter turns one year old. It doesn't seem that long since we first brought him home, just a teeny. Yet somehow, we have had a whole year blessed with this little man in our lives. It is awesomeness defined.

@ 12 months, Hudson...

... is walking. Sratch that, he's almost running. After taking a few steps here and there, about two weeks ago he just decided he was ready to go. He literally turned on his heel and took off. And he's been going ever since.

... weighs almost 25 pounds. He's our little turkey. Chubby legs you could long to chew on!

... still toothless. Yep, at one year he's had two haircuts, but still no teeth. I guess he's going to be like his mama who was over 13 months before she got hers.

... has a sweet "tooth". Maybe there's no teeth to speak of, but the little guy is like his mama in the sweets department. The odd nibble of a cookie is never resisted. And he did a number on the chocolate birthday cake.

... has changing tastebuds. He started out eating almost anything we'd give him and the transition to chunky foods was well received. That has all changed over the last month. He now spits out anything that's not fruit or toast or cereal, so we hide a lot of veggies and meat in apple sauce.

... repeats sounds and some simple words. There's still no mom or mama, that comes out "Bob, Bob", but he does say da da, hot, and hat.

... loves to read. He'll flip book pages on his own and loves to be read to, especially anything with touch & feel or flip-up pages.

... is happy to see his daddy. When daddy walks in the door at the end of the workday there are huge gummy grins and an all out sprint to get scooped up. Super sweet.

... loves his blocks. He could play with those for hours (well minutes, but that's like hours for babies). You can stack 'em tall and he'll knock 'em down over and over again. Fun times.

... is becoming more independent every day. He's good to play on his own and toddle around as long as you're in sight. He can feed himself when given food on his tray, and holds his sippy cup on his own.

At just 12 months we can see that this little guy is really growing baby to boy. And yes, it is happening a little faster than we like or expected, but we love it all the same. And we love him.

Happy 12 months Hudson P.
You are the best part of our everyday.

April 3, 2012

Zoom Zoom - A Race Car Party

My little guy will turn one tomorrow. We`ll park my disbelief aside for the moment while we take a little run through the Race Car Party we held for him on the weekend. With his daddy being a Mopar enthusiast (ahem, insert understatement), I figured a car-themed party was the way to go. I also knew I wanted to use the vintage-style formula 1 car he got for Christmas as part of the decor, so a racecar theme quickly emerged.

To kick things off, I whipped up a simple e-vite for our families and close friends using a picture of him with his vintage-style car. The colours I used started with the silver, black, and white of the car and I added in red for a nice pop. Insert a checkered border, a couple of checkered flags and a few racecar words and it was done!

I then spent a little time searching around Pinterest and party blogs to pull together the party day decor. In my online travels I spied some really awesome all-out car parties, some including build-a-racecar, actual racetrack races, and remote-controlled car fun! With our party being mostly adults (we kept it to our families and a few close friends), I skipped most of that, but did pull together bits and pieces of inspiration from various places to create a fun little event fit for a one-year old.

Here`s the main event (aka food table!) before the food was placed:

I hung the streamers on a large picture frame, now nicely hidden behind them and draped the table with a black plastic tablecloth. I had planned to tape white dashes down the centre to resemble a road, but realized that once all the food went on you wouldn`t see it and I saved myself the effort. I also had plans of using bunches of white, red and silver balloons on either side instead of those birthday ones, but the weather foiled my plans so to speak. With the snowstorm coming on Saturday, I couldn't guarantee I'd get out to get the latex ones filled with helium and they wouldn't last from Friday until Sunday. So I went with the foil ones instead, which are guaranteed to last for days. I tried to find plain coloured ones, but no luck. Oh well, I don't think anyone noticed (or cared!). I anchored those to a couple of wheels from Hudson's sleigh/wagon to keep with the theme.
I did put in the effort on the handmade pennant banner though. I used red, black, grey/silver papers from my scrapbook stash for the triangles. I punched holes in the corners and strung those on some black ribbon and added sparkly silver letters. I think it turned out nicely.

I also made up a few race car-themed signs to place on the table and in other areas of the house. I printed the words out on white card stock with a checkered border then mounted that on red or black cardstock. The food table became "The Pit Stop", the refreshment table became the "Refueling Station" and all the food had special names too, from Speedway Soup to Finish Line Fruit to Racetrack Chili.

With only four little boys on the guest list, I skipped formal party games, but put out some crayons and race car colouring sheets in "The Body Shop" and piled all the toys together in the "Junk Yard".

I put up some photos of HP from the past year, including a display of him with/by various and sundry cars. Again, with his daddy a musclecar fan(atic), we have our fair share of these!

I also displayed his 11 monthly photos from the year. I printed them in black and white, strung them up with mini-binder clips and added a few streamers and balloons for fun.

And of course, what's a birthday party without the cake? Thankfully my mama is cake-baker-maker extraordinaire and willingly obliged my request for a racetrack cake. I loved it! Looks great, eh?

And that little pin and birthday hat he's sporting were also my handmade creations:

For the pin, I used leftover bits from the banner. First I cut a 12" long strip and folded it accordion style, shaped it into a circle and glued the ends together. I topped it off with a punched scallop circle, another smaller circle, and the number one. On the back I added a small felt circle with some hot glue, then glued the ribbon strips to that and covered them up with another felt circle. I couldn't find a hat in the colours I liked, so I bought a silver one that had blue glitter words, blue tassels and a blue tinsel-like thing around the bottom. I stripped all that blue stuff off and replaced it with a red washi tape trim, red stickles for the words, and some trimmed black tissue paper for the top. Now it was race car party ready and suitable for my boy.

Finally, there had to be loot bags for the littles that came. I stuffed baggies with goldfish, juice boxes, chocolate easter eggs and a hot wheels car. I added a simple topper with race flags and more racing words to finish it all off.

All in all, it was a Indy-fast afternoon filled with Hudson Peter's biggest fans!

April 2, 2012

Monster Birthday Card

I've got a bunch of crafty goodness in store for you this week, including a few cards, party plans, and *fingers crossed* a project life page (or two!). I'm excited just thinking about it. I'll kick it off with a cute card made for my bestie's littlest guy who turned two this past week. We didn't make it to his party on Saturday thanks to the snowstorm, but he made it out to Hudson's party yesterday and got his card then.

I was inspired by this card that I'd seen on Pinterest. I didn't have the dragon stamp, but I did have cute little monster stickers I've been itching to use. I also used up a bunch of the paper in my scrap stash on this card, which was awesome. I love to make good use of those pretty pieces left from other scrapping adventures. Here's my version of the inspiration:

Cute right?  I also didn't have the punch used to make the grass like edge, but I do have scissors and can manually make a decent substitute. Snip, snip, snip, ruffle and ta-da - some grass! I think the card turned out to be a perfect little monster/boy card for a cute little monster/boy. Hope he liked it :)