May 31, 2012

HP's First Haircut

Taking a break from the Project Life fun to share a simple layout with you. I made this back in early may at the Paperie retreat as well. I really wanted to capture Hudson's first haircut in his scrapbook album and how he was such a littel superstar through the whole thing. I think it helped he was only 8 months old at the time, so perhaps a little too young to be frightened of it all. He sat pleasantly through the whole thing and looked extra cute after it was all done: 

In making this one, I chose a bold patterened paper background and then layered with a bold dot print, punched iwth the notebook edger punch. A strip of washi tape over that and a tabbed journaling car was put on top. I decided to mat the pics in white to help them pop off the page, and used light grey letter stickers by Amy Tangerine for the title.

I embellished them empty space next to the journalling with a cluster of stars - a mix of felt, glitter, and metal - to reflect the journalling about him being a superstar:

I also added a glitter star, a strip of the punched dot paper, and a strip of washi tape in a cluster at the top. This picked up the look of the page and gave me a place to note Hudson's age.

I really like the way this one turned out. Now I should probably do his second haircut, which came before he was a year old. Yep, the kid had two haircuts before he had any teeth and before he turned one. Crazy I know! We're already gearing up for haircut number 3 .. which you can see is long overdue (pun intended!):

May 30, 2012

Project Life Week 19

While week 18 still looks like a work-in-progress, with some pics printed and placeholding:

I'll move right along a share week 19, which was Mother's Day week and my little nephew's fourth birthday party. Those two events combined meant we spent much of that weekend around the bay. Here's the two-week spread, without the insert shown:

And here it is showing the insert from Mother's Day ... more on that in a bit.

Here's a closer look at the left side of the page showing some nice spring weather, our little funny face, and a lunch date for D and me:

A closer look at the left corner. The picture of HP with the wine bottle is priceless. He hauled it out of the recycling box in the kitchen and came barrelling around the corner with it in hand, smiling and laughing, all proud of himself. Of course we took it and put it away so avoid any attempt to chew on the bottle or break it :) Then there was an impromptu lunch date that week for Des and me. We enjoyed conversation and delicious food, sans babe. Nice for a change.

Now for a closer look at the right side of the spread, which focuses on Logan's birthday party celebrations. There are pics from lunch, from Des playing his new game and then Des and Jason (Logan's dad) playing the game after Logan tired of it ... boys will be boys I guess! And my favourite story/pic from the day, Logan blowing out his candles before the end of the happy birthday song. Upon realizing it, he threw his hands up and declared that we had to do it again. Which we did ... his birthday party afterall!

I also ended up with an insert this week just because there were too many fun photos and happenings to pare it down. I used the insert to cover the Mother's Day events, which was perfect. Here are the front side (left) and back (right) of that insert. I used one of the page protectors just cut in half:

On the front, I made a title card, included a pic of me and my boy and the story of him still calling me "bob" instead of mom, and then a pic of Hudson, me, my mom, and my nan. On the back was a pic of Mom getting her Mother's Day gift from us, some snuggles from HP, and I added in the tag from my running jacket present from HP and D. I also added in the card from Des and Hudson, just punched holes in it and stuck it in:

Thanks for looking ... hopefully weeks 18, 20, & 21 will be ready soon :)

May 29, 2012

Project Life weeks 16 & 17

While I work on getting the more recent weeks of Project Life (weeks 18, 20 and 21) up to date, I'll continue to get you up to date on past weeks sharing Weeks 16 and 17 with you now. 

Week 16 was a full, busy week. I started back to work. Hudson P started in daycare full-time. We enjoyed dinner with friends and some awesome April weather, meaning playtime in the park. Here's a look at the two-week spread:

In laying out the week, I decided to group pictures. I used the right-side for my return to work and HP's start in daycare, grouping my work pictures, the details on a journaling card, and a card that I received from my VP on my first day together. I then grouped HP's story and a picture sent to me from his day in the park that first week on the bottom corner. Here's a closer look at that:

On the right side of the spread, I grouped pics and a story from our dinner out down the left half, and then pics and a story from our afternoon at the playground down the right half:

Here's a closer look at the night out ... where you can see Hudson's little buddy getting ready to pull on his hair. And instead of Hudson's daddy putting a stop to it, he encouraged it. All in good fun until someone starts to cry right?!

And here's a closer look at the grouping of stuff from my return to work. A quick pic of my desk, my first day back outfit (reminds me of being back at school!), a little note, and the card that was waiting on my desk for me that first morning. I just stuck the card in the slot for now, but I do have plans to go back and properly mount it on a background, and maybe to cut a slit across the top so the card can be flipped open and read without taking it out. We'll see :)

Moving right along to ...

We spent more time around the house this week, just relaxing into our new two-working-parents routine. Here's the two page spread:

I liked how the photos pulled together for a green/blue/yellow colour theme. Worked nicely with the Project Life kit and the extra supplies I had on hand. And yes that's a toilet seat around my child's neck:

Hudson is a bit of a Bam-Bam. And this week we had to replace the toilet seat from the half bath downstairs as he had pushed it so hard he cleared snapped it right off. We also had to install the gate on the stairs as Hudson had also figured out how to slide the uninstalled gate over through the spindles and make his way up all on his own. Fun times!

On the left-side, we see plenty of morning snuggles and other morning routines, from picking through the cupboards, to pulling on PJ pants until being picked up, to running around mid-dress!

Here's a closer look at a 4x6 slot where I used a couple of smaller pictures of family visiting HP on a Sunday afternoon. I wanted to get more pics in this week, so resizing them made that easy-peasy:

I also love the look of the washi tape layer on over empty space on a photo, leaving me room to stamp and play a bit:

And finally, there's this pic from the week, perhaps one of my favourites. Our little post-bath froggy, having a fun time before bed. xoxo HP.

May 28, 2012

Runday Monday: Rest & Recovery

With my half marathon completed under time, I spent the rest of last Sunday and Monday celebrating my accomplishment. I was relieved to have it done and ready to rest up. On Monday, I happily designated the next few days for R&R – rest and recovery. After a visit to the physiotherapist, those few days turned into a whole R&R week, which was a-ok by me!

In the last six to eight weeks of training, I was feeling my right hip quite a bit. Not so much during the run, but certainly afterwards. Especially when going from sitting to standing and when taking those first few steps. I knew it was running related issue, but put off physio until after the race. It wasn't extremely painful, it wasn’t slowing me down, and I was in no way ready to slow on training that close to race day. I did make an appointment though for the week right after the race.
In the first few days of the week, without any running on my agenda, the ache had subsided, confirming my suspicion of a running injury. At physio, we determined it was a typical running injury related to a tight IT band (the muscle/tendon that runs from your hip to your knee). Fortunately, I caught the issue early enough (though perhaps heading in before the race would have been even better!) that a few stretches and some foam rolling to release tension and loosen everything up should take  care of it in no time. My physiotherapist suggested really taking it easy, focusing on stretching and foam rolling, and very easy runs for the rest of the week, easing back into more regular running next week. No prob said I!

I actually decided to skip the easy runs altogether and spent the week kicked back. There was no lunchtime running, instead lunch dates with friends and taking care of a few outstanding errands. There was no post-work run crammed in before supper, instead I cooked leisurely or enjoyed a BBQ, cleaning up as I went, freeing up post-supper time to play with the boy. 

The extra time even meant a nice glass of wine on a warm sunny evening after the boy went to bed: 

There was no weekend long run either. Instead, I indulged in a celebratory supper with friends (an amazingly delicious dinner with amazingly delicious wine!), time with my family, some extra zzz’s, and plenty of time-wasting on the internet via Pinterest, Facebook, and my google reader. It was awesome all around. Exactly what the doctor physiotherapist ordered.

Just one of five delicious course ... c'mon a salad with fried cheese on top,
seriously?! Is that not the most perfect dish during a week of R&R?!
That said, as much as I enjoyed the week of R&R and can feel the improvements in my hip already, I’m missing that running schedule. Now, I didn’t say I’ve come to like running, but I do feel the lack of activity in my muscles, my bones, and my brain. Starting today that changes again. I’ll begin to ease back in with a few short, slow runs (likely inside thanks to the damp chilly forecast) and see how it goes. I’m hoping to be back to a longer run on the weekend and settling into a new running schedule that works by next week.
As tired as I was from running and training before the race, I guess sometimes a little R&R is all you need to get the mojo back again. 

May 25, 2012

Good Day for Ridin'

The sun is out today and any Friday the sun's shining is a good day in my books. And if you're a motorcycle enthusiast, like Hudson's Uncle T, it's also a good day for ridin'.

This is a layout I did earlier this month at the Paperie retreat, showing Hudson sitting atop the (parked) motorcycle with his Uncle. We were lucky to spend quite a bit of time with Uncle T while I was off on mat leave and it shows. The smile on little man's face is always quick to appear when Uncle T is around. He's also one of the few people Hudson is happy to go to when he's just waking from a nap and one of the few he'll reach for in a crowd, other than mom and dad. This pic, taken when Hudson was about six months, is a favourite of the two of them.

The paper, with it's motorcycle image printed on the corner, was perfect for the page. I then blitzed it up a bit by layering a star mask on and spritzing with some Mister Huey's ink.

I also can't resist a bit of paper/embellishment layering. Off setting the photo I add a brown "cool" bingo card from the same paper line as the background sheet, which was placed on top of a misted manila tag. On there I added a few star chipboard pieces, some twine, and a phrase sticker.All that was placed on top of more squares and banners of patterned paper and some washi tape. The final bit in this cluster was that leather tag. It was just something kicking around my mixed button stash. I was holding onto it for some unknown reason and good thing! It was the perfect rugged touch for the layers.

After I added a few journaling strips and the date, I still felt like it needed a little something. Poking around my supplies, I found a couple of fun metal buttons that fit perfecting in the motorcycle wheels, playing up that design element. Altogether, I was happy with the end result.

Yes, the sun is shining. It's a good day for ridin' indeed. Happy Friday everyone!

May 24, 2012

Project Life Weeks 14 & 15

Happy almost-Friday-a-short-week! I'm back today with another couple of weeks from my Project Life album - Weeks 14 & 15. Let's kick it off with Week 14, also known as Hudson's actual birthday week and Easter week. We celebrated Hudson's birthday at home with his monthly photo shoot, a visit to Grandma's, and cupcakes. For Easter, we headed around the bay first to my mother's and then to Des' home in Southern Bay. We were back home Saturday night to spend Easter Sunday as a family of three. Busy, chaotic week, but fun too!

Here's the two-week spread:

And a closer look at the left side. Lot's of spring colours woven through this one with washi tape, letter stickers, journaling stickers, and word stickers:

And a closer look at the right side with more of those lovely spring-y colours:

And a few close-ups for you. The colours this week got pulled from the lovely crocus springing up in the yard and the beautiful sunsets that graced the skies. I used a small shot of the budding blooms on a 3x4 slot, added some fringe grass and word stickers to round it out. The title card pick up on the lovely shades of yellow, orange, blue, and greens with some washi tape strips and letter stickers:

I also added a fold-out journaling card in one of the 3x4 pockets. shown with the 'chaotic easter' title. I embellished the front similarly to the crocus insert, with fringed grass and letter stickers, adding an arrow to indicate there's more inside. When you pull it out, there's a bit more detail about the craziness of our weekend going from one place to another with a child who wouldn't sleep! The photo next to it shows Hudson enjoying his fourth/last first birthday celebration with Aunt ML.

And moving right along to week 15, which was a quieter week spent around the house and with our family. The colours, the red, blue, and white were pulled from the photos, which all seemed to have some variation on those shades in them. Love it when it works that way. Here's the two-week spread at a glance:

And a closer look at the left side. I added some banner flags to the title card with some washi tape (yes, I may be a little obsessed with the washi!). I filled out a couple of 3x4s by spreading the journaling across two cards with a larger title, created by using a chipboard mask and some spray ink, all finished off with some more ... washi tape!

I love the pics and words this week. Love that we're close, both in relationships and proximity, to our families and that they get to enjoy time with HP.

And a close-up of the right side focuses more on the quiet time at home:

We enjoyed exploring flowers and snails (yum!) in the garden. We revved engines and drove little boy cars in the yard. And a first visit to Aunt Sandy's to get used to the new place before starting there full time in a few weeks.
 A few close-ups:

The bottom corner shows HP with his older cousins, while the top one shows him having fun with Uncle T.

There was even a bouquet of flowers for mommy - my very first!

That's it - April 02 thorugh April 15, 2012. Fun times!

May 21, 2012

Runday Monday: Race Day Recap

Hudson checking out the quality of the finishing medal!
The day started bright and early. I set an alarm for the first time in I can't remember how long. I couldn't rely on my human alarm (aka HP) on such an important day. Good thing too, he didn't rise until almost 7am. I fueled up with good old fashioned, oats, banana and PB, along with a very large glass of water. It was going to be a hot one, so I wanted to be good and hydrated before heading out. After breakfast, I donned my race gear, grabbed some gu, filled up the water bottle, and laced up the sneaks. Last but not least, I carefully pinned that lovely blue bib - number 2639 - to the front of my shirt. T'was Race Day.

Gearing to go ... 10km for Brooke, 21.1km for me!

After finding a place to park, daddy and boyso headed off in search of some coffee and snacks, while me and my bestie headed off to the start line. Well, first the port-a-potty line, but whatevs. After a long wait at the potty row (cut short by me bumping my way to head of a bunch of 10kers, who had a more time before the start than I), I bobbed and weaved my way through the throngs of racers making my way toward the front. I spied a few pace bunnies and decided to settle myself around the 2:10 pace bunny. I figured if I could keep him somewhere in my sights, I'd be sure to finished ahead of my 2:15 time goal. With a bit of an early morning breeze goosebumps sprouted on my arms, yet I listened to the announcer say this was the best day they've had in years for the race as he reminded us all to take advantage of the water stations.

I got my watch ready to go. I popped my headphones in, ready to hit play on the music. I waited for it. The gunshot that marked our start. And there it was. We were off. It took a minute or so before I actually crossed the start mat and we started out like a herd of sheep. Thousands of us, trotting together along the race course, watching those watching us. It was awesome sauce. Then reality strikes. I'm in this. I've got 21km left to go. I'm running a half marathon. A little of the excitement and anxiety combination, otherwise known as adrenalin, kicked in. There was no turning back now. So onward I went.

It took me a while to get my rhythm. I was just past the 5km mark before I really felt like I had my feet under me. It was around that point that I realized that I didn't need to know the route, I wasn't going to get lost. It was then I realized that I was pretty much around the middle of the pack, and that was perfect. It was then I first looked at my watch to discover I was running well above my pace time. So, it was then that I looked up at the blue sky and leafy green tree tops blowing ever so lightly and realized, "I got this".

Around then I started thinking a little and pulled on the well wishes and pieces of advice so many of you offered me leading up to the race. I distinctly remember one post on my facebook page telling me to trust my training and another reminding to, most importantly, have fun. I really replayed some of those thoughts, along with a few of my own mantras, over the course of the race. I also pulled on another phrase I saw on a  t-shirt at the race expo when we were in picking up our kits - "it's just a hill, get over it". Believe it or not, it made a few of those inclines completely doable.

picking up race kits and activating race chips!

 I also loved the people along the route holding up encouraging and entertaining signs.That support on the route makes a huge difference! I sorta wish I had a camera to take a few snaps. A few of my favourites included:
  • Where's everyone going?
  • Go complete stranger!
  • Where's the fire?
  • Worst parade ever.
  • Run, people are watching.
  • Pain is temporary, pride is forever. 
I plugged on and before I knew it there was a 9km marker. I was still chugging along well ahead of schedule and I ran the math, realizing that if I could keep the pace for rest of the race, I might actually get a finish time in the range of 2hrs to 2:03hrs. It was inspiring to see I was kicking some race butt. I kept on with the plan of attack for another 3-4km, running along and walking through water stations. The heat was creeping up so skipping hydration wasn't an option. Unfortunately for me, once we entered into Point Pleasant Park, I began to see the race pace drop a little. It was hot, hot, hot, in there and there were a number of smaller inclines followed by a very steep incline right near the exit of the park. I lost quite a bit of time in the park - as did many runners I think. But I was still going and still feeling pretty good, so I kept on keeping on.

Coming out of the park left us with just about 4-5km of race left. In my mind I thought that's when I'll be motivated to pick it up a little, but the temps just had me working to convince myself to keep going, never mind go faster. But I looked around I saw a guy walking and limping ahead of me, and I thought, hey at least I'm not limping. That kept me going for a bit. Then around the 18km mark, the race course doubles back for a bit, so on the opposite side of the road (across a median) I could see half marathon runners heading into the park. And I thought, hey at least I'm done that much already and I'm ahead of the game. And that kept me going for another bit. Then in the last 2km, the home stretch of the race, I saw no less than five people splayed out on the ground, on stretchers, hooked up to IV bags. And again I though, hey at least I'm not passed out on the ground. And I kept on trucking.

Before I knew it I was rounding the turn and could see the finish line in sight. I wasn't able to keep up my early race pace, but was now realizing I hadn't seen the 2:10 pace bunny since the start either, meaning I was well under my inside race goal of 2:15. I crossed the finish mat and dared to look at my watch to see 2:08:38. I saw my husband waiting at the finish line with a huge smile and I knew I rocked it. I was so pleased with that result, especially given the weather. I'm happy about it for sure.

across the finish line, water in hand, making my way to the refreshments inside

After almost five months of training, I am also happy to say it's done. And I couldn't have done without so many of you. The comments, words of advice, support, encouragement all made a difference, all through training and on race day. I am also extremely grateful for the two Jennifers, who made long runs more tolerable and even enjoyable. I know their company got me out the door and got me to finish those long runs each and every time. And of course to my family, most especially my handsome husband, who sacrificed joint sociables on Saturday nights, coffee in PJs on Sunday mornings, and spent hours looking out for the little man on the weekends so I could get my run on. I love him.

And without making this post any longer (it already feels like a half marathon!) - thanks to all for making my race day awesome. 

done like dinner!

May 17, 2012

Right Now...

Right Now …

I’m going to the airport to catch a flight to Halifax for the Bluenose Half Marathon 2012.
I’m feeling both excited and nervous that race day, after almost five months, is finally really, really close.
I’m wondering how flying with little man is going to be this time around, now that he’s mobile.

somehow I doubt HP will sleep the whole flight this time around!
I’m eating oatmeal with brown sugar, banana and nuts, like almost every other weekday morning.
I’m drinking a strong cup of coffee, like almost every other morning.
I’m anticipating a lovely long weekend complete with sunshine, family, and friends.
I’m looking forward to enjoying the company of good friends we don’t see often enough over dinner and drinks.
…I planning on meeting my race day goals and celebrating the accomplishment over dinner and drinks!

run baby run!
I’m hoping my body, the weather, and the race course culminate in an awesome 21.1km run.
I’m thinking how lucky I am to be able to run, to travel, to live a happy life. Life is good.
Happy long weekend everyone!

Surviving Back to Work

Tomorrow marks the end of my fifth week back at work. I’ve been back to work five weeks. FIVE WEEKS! As fast as that year off passed, I’m pretty certain the past month plus passed faster. I feels like just yesterday was April 16 and I was putting on my “sitting shoes” (you ladies know what I’m talking about, the pretty, high heeled shoes you wear only for sitting, because walking anywhere further than a photo copier or water cooler would be stupid and painful and stupid… )
Practical? No. Pretty? Most definitely!

But I digress... it feels just yesterday that I was putting those shoes on for the first time in about a year and heading out the door into a brand new world, the world of the working mom. It feels like I blinked and I was back at it more than a month. Here’s how I survived.
I mentally prepared myself. I told everyone I was ready, looking forward to going back. And I was, it just helped to be saying that out loud over and over every time someone asked. You say it and it becomes true. Even when there’s a shadow of a doubt, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am fortunate to like what I do for a living, to like where I work, and to be surrounded by colleagues who are of the same mind, generally speaking. I also like to think about things other than diapers and bibs, to challenge my mind. While I loved being off, I was looking forward to the change. And just saying it out loud to family and friends reinforced that for me so that when a moment of doubt came creeping in, I was able to kick it back out and say it to myself.
I found awesome care arrangements. I realize many people struggle with care arrangements, so I count my blessings that my best friend was able to take Hudson P for us. Having him in a home where I am confident he is picked up when crying, fed when hungry, changed when wet, cuddled when sleepy, and just loved all day made that transition back to work significantly easier on my heart and my mind. I urge every momma out there to try to do the same. Look early, plan accordingly. I know actual daycare places are hard to come by, particularly for babies under two, and that they generally cost an arm and a leg. I also know it would be hard to leave HP with a stranger in their home. But taking the time to find that place, that environment, that person that makes your heart simply feel right is key.
I planned the transition. As a general rule, I like to feel like I’ve got a handle on things, which naturally makes me a planner. Heading back to work was no different. I planned Hudson’s transition into care. He and I went by for a couple of play dates/visits in the weeks leading up to my return date. I also made sure to plan a solo visit for him, where I could stay for a bit and then leave (with an appointment at the hair salon, so I wasn’t tempted to go back early!). That helped me feel confident he knew the environment where he’d be spending his days. I also planned meals. I stocked the freezer with some soups, chili, and casseroles in lunch and supper sized portions, along with muffins for breakfasts, and sweets for evening treats. Knowing that meals were taken care of after long days or during morning rushes was key those first couple of weeks.

Crawling around at Aunt Sandy's - enjoying the new toys!
I went with flow. Not my forte (at least in my personal life!) let me tell ya, but I decided to go with it. If I've been running late for work, I took a deep breath and just worked through lunch or late on the other end to make up for it. If the furniture was dusty, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes (to wit, I dusted on Wednesday for the first time in five weeks, I probably shouldn't admit that, but it's true). If that laundry didn’t get done til the weekend, I took a deep breath and remembered we all have more than enough clothes to wear. As a result, I have a growing pile of wrinkly clean clothes on the ironing board, fingerprints all over the front of the flat screen and fridge, and a happy me. I focus on making sure everything looks tidy and that the floor is swept, and I’m all good. Seriously, just go with the flow.
And, before I knew it, five weeks have come and gone and we’re no worse for the wear. There were no tears on the first day back, for me or HP. Hudson has adjusted well to his new situation, loves seeing his little buddies in the morning and his ‘rents in the evening. We’ve not starved to death. We’re all in clean clothes (even if a little wrinkly). I’ve managed to keep up with race training and groceries, but maybe not all the housekeeping. And it’s all ok. We’re just getting into a new rhythm at the Ryan household. Some days it’s more of a dance than we’ve been used to, but it’s a rhythm we can groove to for the long haul.