Thursday, 28 February 2013

Story Time: Cooper and the Big Boy Bed

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Cooper.  Cooper liked to give his mom and dad a run for their money.  It all started even before he was born.  He threatened to be born at 34 weeks, and then had decelerations during labour, sending his L&D nurse mother into a panic.  He came out screaming, but soon revealed a deafening (!) heart murmur.  When he was 3 months old he spent a few days in the hospital with RSV and bronchiolitis, and had a cough for a year after.  He had approximately 3 trillion ear infections, and always chose to have them at the most inopportune times (the day before vacation, 10 days before open heart surgery etc.).  He waited to walk until he was 16 months old, just long enough for his mom and dad to think that something was wrong.  Oh, and that funny looking outtie belly button, that's a hernia.  When Cooper's feet hit the floor he was always running, in the opposite direction his parents wanted him to go.  He was busy busy busy, really curious, and extremely stubborn determined.

His Oma said he was spunky, his parents said he was exhausting.

Cooper's parents had issues of their own.  They truly were gluttons for punishment.  They did crazy things like drive to Florida with a 10 month old and 2 year old, and run obscenely long distances for fun.

Well Cooper's crazy parents decided it was time Cooper started sleeping in a big boy bed, the weekend they moved to a new house.  Now most parents would realize how tired they would be just from moving, and running 13 miles the next morning, and assembling furniture, and painting, and unpacking, and would keep that spunky boy in his crib for just a little longer.  But not Cooper's parents.  Cooper's parents would sleep when they were dead, and Cooper would sleep in his big boy bed.

Cooper was delighted with his new bed.  KaChow (Lightening McQueen) sheets, and dinosaur blankets.  But the VERY BEST PART...The ability to get out of bed 30587230975023875691863 times.

And get out of bed he did.  At nap time, and bed time, and at 5am.  Cooper's mom and dad were tired, so tired, as tired as they had ever been.  When they got to sleep they dreamt about sending Cooper to Oma's house for a week.  But then it happened.

That spunky little blonde head, in his one piece footie pajamas, with Elmo hanging from his right hand, came scampering into his parents bedroom at 5:30am, and his mom's heart exploded with adoration of that spunky little exhausting boy, and they decided to keep him after all.


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Moving on

This spring it will be 2 years since I started running.  So as a runner, I have always lived in this house. It didn't take long for me to build my own mental database of running routes.  Starting from our house I can give you several options for the common distances I run, theres a few 3 milers, a couple of 5 milers, several 6-8 milers, and some good 10-14 milers for good measure.  I can tell you where to go to find a good hill workout, which route is easy and flat(ish), and how far it is to the high school track for interval runs.  I can tell you how far it is to the Tim Horton's at the corner (0.35 miles), how far it is to my brother and sister in law's house (3 miles), and how many times I have to run up and down my street if I have inadvertently made my loop to short and need to add an extra 0.2 miles before I go inside (all the way to the end, then all the way back, then about halfway from the end home).  I know I have to ease the door shut really slow on my way out or it bangs right as it closes and wakes up my sleeping boys, and I know that the front step is just the right height for me to do my physio stretches for my cranky hip/IT band.

We moved here when I was 26 weeks pregnant with Lucas, just over a year after we got married.  So as a mom, I have always lived in this house.  When we brought our brand new babies home from the hospital this was home.

I will be forever grateful to 'Mum' (Auntie Lesley) for helping the kids create this sign for when Cooper came home.  Such a sweet memory of welcoming our new boy into our home and family.
When they were tiny I could get up in the pitch black of night, find my way to them in complete darkness, how many steps to the crib, and how many steps to the chair to sit and snuggle my babies.  When Lucas needed to be walked and rocked and shooshed to sleep I knew which 3 spots of his bedroom floor would creak and wake him.  Now I know the sound of Lucas' feet hitting the floor in the morning, even before he starts running.  I know the sound of Cooper jumping in his crib when he has woken up and is ready to be rescued.  I know just the right spot to turn the faucet to for the perfect little boy bath temperature.  I know the best seat to snuggle with Lucas in while we watch a movie together. I know the sound of Leigh's car pulling in the driveway when he gets home, and the boys know the precise moment that they need to start running down the hall to greet him.

Over the course of the next few weeks we will build a new mental database of running routes.  When we head out on our 13 miler from our new house on Saturday morning I won't be sure exactly where I should go to cover my miles, but I know my legs will fall into the same rhythm they always do.  I won't be sure of how far it is to the corner, or where the hilliest 6 mile route is, but the comfortable familiarity of the pavement under my feet will make me feel right at home.

And so it is with our family.  We are moving on from the place that has always been our home.  The feet hitting the floor in the morning before they come bounding to our bed will sound different at first.  We will stumble as we try to navigate in the dark, and it might take a minute to get the bath temperature just right.  But we will be together, and we will fall into the same rhythm we always do.  The comfortable familiarity of our family, and of the love that binds us together.


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Friend(s) in High Places

After his surgery when Cooper was transferred from CCCU to the Stepdown unit on the cardiac floor at Sick Kids we were surprised to learn that a good friend of ours just happened to be the Resident on call for much of the weekend.  What a great, reassuring feeling it is not only to personally know your child's doctor, but to know that he really is a great guy.  He took extraordinary care of Cooper, and patiently addressed our concerns.  We seriously could not have imagined our luck.

So now it's our turn to help him out!  M and our other (very talented) friend E, who took our amazing family photos, are part of a band called The Maladies Of Adam Stokes.

Check out E's photography webpage here
They need YOUR vote for CBC Music's Hunt For Canada's Best New Artist.  You can vote by clicking here, scrolling down about halfway and clicking on "VOTE FOR THIS ARTIST."  You can vote once a day for the duration of the contest.  So please take a minute and show them some love.

You can check out (BUY) their album through the iTunes Store.


Monday, 18 February 2013

Juicy Burgers for a Cause

Having just come off being sick with that what Lexie sweetly refers to as a "Man Cold", I have been craving a big juicy burger for last 24 hours since my appetite has returned after being noticeably absent since last Tuesday. Luckily today is a great day to have that craving as Lick's Homeburgers (a burger chain in Southern Ontario) is selling their famous homeburgers for 50 cents a piece with all proceeds going to Sick Kids. They also have the same deal for their vegetarian Nature Burger and more health conscious Gobbler (turkey burger). So head out to one of the locations below and take everyone you know with you to support a great cause.

Guelph (5 Clair Road West), Burlington (3315 Fairview Street), Oakville (2420 Lakeshore Road West), Oakville (270 North Service Road), Oakville (548 Trafalgar Road), Queensway (1585 The Queensway), Mississauga (2969 Argentia Road), Mississauga (5029 Hurontario Street) and Barrie (347 Bayfield Street).


Saturday, 16 February 2013

No One Could Ever Accuse Me Of Being Graceful

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a gymnast or a figure skater.

There were 3 problems with this.  First, I was 5'11 1/2" by grade eight.  Second, my proportions and weight were appropriate for someone who was 5' 11 1/2".  And third, I am not graceful by any stretch of the imagination.

The memory of this came crashing down on me, literally, this morning during my run.  Let me set the scene.  I worked evenings last night, so I didn't get to bed until about 12:45am.  When my alarm went off at 6:30 for my long run I was SO tired.  I was not optimistic about how 10 miles would go.  Off I went anyway, and surprisingly I felt fantastic.  The miles ticked by quickly, I held my pace easily, and I felt great.  Feeling strong and confident, on top of the world, and maybe a bit cocky.  After all, 10 miles was feeling easy.

I was running on the sidewalk in front of a strip mall, with a Tim Hortons, a bank, and a grocery store in it, on Saturday morning.  Just for good measure there was also a bus stop with two people standing at it.  I thought to myself, "boy this sidewalk is really icy and bumpy here, I'm gonna hop down onto the road up there at that driveway."  Literally as soon as I thought this I pushed off with my right foot as I stepped forward with my left, I realized that I was on a slippery smooth lump of ice, and my right foot slipped backwards, my watch beeped 7 miles, and I was on the ground.  Thankfully my instincts made me twist to one side, protecting my face, wrists, and knees, but I came down hard on my left elbow and hip.

So I did the only thing I could do.  I stood up, and ran away.

And that my friends is why I never became a figure skater.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

A love letter to my Valentine

Before I met you I had my share of bad break ups.  When I started training for my first half marathon last winter I gave my heart to the Nike Air Pegasus 28.


They made me feel like I was running on clouds.  I was light as air and they let me land softly with each and every step.  But after awhile they stopped treating me nicely.  Soon they made my plantar fasciitis flare up, and made my IT band cry.  It was time to kick them to the curb.

I had no choice but to rebound fast (I had a race coming up).  And the new object of my affection?  The Brooks Ravenna.

The Ravenna treated me well.  Comforted my aching heart feet, and carried me to a 1:48:05 half marathon time.

But then I ran into a pair Saucony Kinvaras on sale for $35.  I had read many rave reviews of Kinvara lovers, and knew I had to give them a chance, so I was unfaithful to my Ravenna's.

The Kinvaras changed my life.  Their 4mm heel drop felt so good.  They made me forget all the aches and pains in my past, and I thought we would stay together forever.  But our fling was short lived when they started to hang on too tight (to my toes) and gave me a Morton's Neuroma.

I needed space (to spread my toes) so I set out in search of a new love.  Someone with a 4mm heel drop, who would give me my space.  And that is when I found them.  The Brooks Pure Cadence.  My true love, one who will run with me on the dark cold mornings.

They adjust to my needs with their BioMoGo DNA midsole, and keep me on my toes mid foot with their 4mm heel drop.  Their Nav Band hugs my tired arches and fends off the nasty Plantar Fasciitis from my past.  The anatomical last gives my toes room to move, they are careful not to overcrowd me.

And best of all.  They are so good looking.  Guess that makes me shallow.  Brooks Pure Cadence, I will love you forever.

I'll love these guys forever too!  Opening their Valentine's Day gifts this morning.

Super Hero Book and Figures


How was your Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What am I going to do when they are teenagers?!?

Let's start this post with a simple equation.

In Muskoka after running The Great Muskoka Relay

1-6'5" Man
1-6' Woman

A whole lot of long distance running

A very active job for above man

These 2 clowns with hollow legs (true story)



We go through A LOT of food in this family.  The boys are only 2 and 4...I do not know how we will keep up when they are teenagers!  As you all know, food is expensive, and becoming even more so.  We make an effort to eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains.  Unfortunately healthy foods are even more expensive.  We go through fruit like you wouldn't believe, recently a 13lb case of oranges disappeared from this house in 10 days.  Yogurt is another dietary staple, and we go through it like water.  We love greek yogurt as a breakfast or snack.  It is (usually) low fat, high in protein, and with a little bit of natural peanut butter and a drizzle of honey it makes a satisfying post run treat.  The stuff is not cheap though!  Especially taking the equation above into consideration.  Enter homemade greek yogurt.  Whenever people find out I make my own yogurt they want to know how.  So here's how.  It takes some time, but most of it is inactive waiting time.  You end up with a delicious, preservative free product, for much cheaper.  I originally used this recipe, but after making it several times I sort of just wing it now.

Dump 4 litres of milk into a large pot 

Heat slowly until it reaches a temperature of around 180˚ F (or 184 if you are trying to tend to 2 young children, make dinner, make yogurt, and take photos all at the same time)

Turn off the heat and allow the milk to cool to between 110-120˚ F

At this point on turn the oven on to about 200 to get a cozy warm spot for your yogurt to grow.  Then  whisk in one of these babies.  Any plain (or vanilla) yogurt with live cultures in it will due.  We had this (no artificial sweetener) vanilla one in the fridge so in this case I used this.  The flavour and sweetness is very diluted by the 4L of milk so it does not effect the taste of the final product.  You can buy single serving plain yogurts at most grocery stores (I get the Astro Balkan Style one at No Frills), or once you have made one batch you can use a scoop of your own yogurt to culture your new batch (as long as you remember not to eat it all before you make your next batch)

Now TURN OFF your oven, and transfer the mixture into clean, covered glass container(s).  Get a nice cozy Thomas blanket, lay it in the oven, place the bowls on top, and pull the blanket over top.

Then grab your Toy Story Snuggie (seriously), and place it in front of the bowls.

Then just for good measure add one more towel.  The idea is that you want the inside of the oven and your culturing yogurt to stay warm for 8-12 hours.  

Then go to bed and leave the yogurt alone for 8-12 hours.

When you get up your yogurt will look something like this.  It will have thickened but will be a bit jelly like, and will have a good bit of whey that needs to be strained off to make the nice thick greek yogurt consistency you are after. 

 Line a large strainer with paper towel and place inside a large bowl to collect the whey that drains off.

Pour in your yogurt, cover, and refrigerate (or put in your Canadian garage in the winter), for a couple of hours.  You can use the whey that is strained off for all sorts of things, it can replace the milk in pancakes, muffins, breads, or you can just pour it down the drain.

Pour into a container, whisk well, and voila!

If you desire you can simmer your milk with a vanilla bean, and even add the seeds for vanilla yogurt.  I like to leave ours plain so I can use it in cooking, or we can add whatever we want to it.  Fresh fruit, a drizzle of honey, a swirl of natural peanut butter, or a teaspoon of fruit spread are all great options with considerably less sugar then commercial varieties (as long as you do not squeeze the whole honey bear out over your yogurt).



Saturday, 9 February 2013

Week 3 Marathon Training!

I (Leigh) did something really special during the third week of marathon training, I spent some time with my bathroom. I guess it was some quality time before the two of us part with one another forever when we move on February 22nd (Sorry if that was TMI, I know some of you don't care when we are moving). There were times when I wish I had this toilet:

You can check Twitter on there, right?
Lexie, being the super Type-A lady that she is, got all of her runs in, and probably crushed each one of them. Even when there was snow-pocalyspe yesterday, she got out and did 4 miles (in the same amount of time it took me to do 3.1 miles, but I'm going to claim the weather got worse when I was out there). but, I shovelled twice which is worth 3 more the very least.

Today marked our longest run to date, and also the longest run I have done since Niagara Falls Half-Marathon.

Today was long run day and we ran for Sherry. Here is a link to the post Lexie did, outlining what it's all about HERE. Running on the rough terrain left over from this weeks snow was tough, but I know for both Lexie and I, taking on look down at that bib on our jackets was all we needed to keep pushing to finish all 11 miles. Here are some post run pics. I promise we look happier than our legs feel.

Lexie suggested we take this picture with me standing a snow pile. I hate snow.

So the breakdown for our weekly training looked like this:

Monday: Lexie - 6 miles, Leigh - 4 Miles
Tuesday: Lexie - 3 miles, Leigh - Hyperemesis
Wednesday: Lexie - 6 miles with Hills, Leigh - 6 hours of reading about running
Thursday: Lexie - Cross Train, Leigh - 2 rounds of the beep test with my grade 10 Girls class
Friday: Lexie - 4 miles, Leigh - 3.1 miles
Saturday: Lexie -11 miles + Pizza + Ice Cream, Leigh - 11 miles + Pizza + Ice Cream

Totals: Lexie: 30 miles, Leigh: 18 miles

Remember everyone: Run Safe!

Did anyone else run/exercise for cause this weekend?

Friday, 8 February 2013

Don't forget!

Just a quick reminder to print out your bib and participate in the 2nd Annual Run For Sherry tomorrow.

Print your bib here
Remember, you don't have to be a runner to participate.  Whatever your athletic endeavour is, remember to keep Sherry, her memory, and her family in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow.

Sherry's cousin Beth from Shut Up and Run, did an interview about Sherry and The Run here if you are interested.

Be Safe. Run On.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Growing Up

Seems to me it was some time last week that we brought this snuggly little baby home from the hospital.

While I wasn't looking he turned into a big kid, and I still just can't wrap my head around it.  One day I was nursing him in the silent darkness of the night, snuggling him close, and smelling that sweet baby smell, and it seems the very next day he talked, and crawled, and walked, and talked and talked and talked!  Now he is 4 and he is doing so many amazing big kid things!  

He puts away his laundry...
Very helpful indeed
He makes his own bed...

And he cleans up his spot at the table after meals...

All important things to learn, and as you can see he is 'learning.'  I love his eagerness to help, and I am working hard on my urge to clean up after his efforts, because I know he is doing the best his 4 year old brain and body and coordination allow.

He is showing his big kidness in other ways too.

He is such a patient, kind, loving big brother.  I am so proud of the way he is with Cooper, he is gentle, and protective, because that is HIS little brother.  

He is so bright, so smart, and such a great problem solver.  We do 'school time' together every afternoon, where we do different learning activities.  The growth I have seen in him since September astounds me.  He is so eager to learn, so full of interest, and excitement for learning letters, and words, and sounds, and numbers, and math.  He is like a sponge, he knows so much more then I realize.
Working on a new sight word book

Sight Word Towers are his favourite school time activity right now
When he plays this game:
He channels this guy:
The ease at which he completes the puzzles is ridiculous!

Last week (I thought is was last week anyway) we were waist deep in Nemo and Caillou.  Now we have moved onto big boy things.  Star Wars is life right now.  As we strolled through the grocery store Lucas repeatedly hummed the Darth Vader Music.  I caught several knowing smiles from other moms.  It would seem they remember being where I am now.

Deeply engaged in a Star Wars library book
So as it would seem, my baby is growing up.  This morning I walked my big boy into school for the first time.  We registered him for Kindergarten.  It seems like a small thing, a small step, but it is a new beginning.

So many of you have been here before.  I wonder if you remember how it felt the very first time you let them go, even just a little bit.  I sit here with an unparalleled feeling.  I mourn for what has passed by and is gone, I revel in what he is right at this moment, and I am so excited for all the future holds for him.  


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Deal of The Day

Today the boys and I popped into the Athletic Locker Warehouse Sale in Cambridge.

Seems the hours are wrong on their flyer, when I got there at 9:40 they told me they were not open until 10.  They were kind enough to let us in early though.

Let me tell you, I am glad the boys were both in chipper and patient moods, because there were some great deals for runners, and other athletic types!  They sat under a rack of running tops, called it the Death Star (we are in a Star Wars phase), and had a blast while I sorted through boxes of bras.  Lucas told me about 10 times...I LOVE IT HERE...He had so much fun!

Here is my haul!

The shoes are not from the warehouse, but from the Athletic Locker Outlet which is right up the street
I got:
-3 Moving Comfort tech tees
-6 (yes 6!) Moving Comfort sports bras
-2 pairs of Brooks Pure Cadence running shoes

Now hear me out!  Even Leigh was on board with this.  I am admittedly a recovering Lululemon Addict, and I will venture to say that Moving Comfort is of equal (if not better) quality.  Just like Lululemon, you pay for quality.  Moving Comfort is pricey, especially in Canada.  The bras were $7.50 each.  $7.50!!!  They typically run between $45 and $60 when I have seen them in stores or at race expos.  I can now retire my sad 10-12 year old sports bras!  The tech tees were $15 each,  from around $60.  I already have a green one in the seamless style (like the red and grey ones pictured), and I love it. They are flattering, well fitting, do not ride up, and they are super cute, with nice details like this:

Pretty pattern woven right into the fabric, and a nice little reminder inside the bottom hem.

The shoes were 50% off.  Every runner knows that the time to get new shoes is when the new model is released.  The Pure Project 2's were recently released, which means the 1's are on deep discount.  It was just my luck that they had 2 pairs of ridiculously big size 11's, which are typically really hard to find, so I bought both.  May as well grab them before they are gone and I have to pay full price for the 2's.  I will talk about these amazing shoes in another post.  There is no better shoe out there...At least for me :)

So if you can make it out, and are after some new gear, check this sale out before they close up.

I also wanted to share this message from my friend Roger

"The human spirit is indomitable"

Big day for the Hanna Family tomorrow.  Tune in!