Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Runday: My Weekend Runs

It's no secret that I don't get enough sleep.  I'm up early in the mornings, and don't get to bed early enough.  Plus I have a kid that usually ensures I get up once in the middle of the night too. 

And yet, on the weekends, I get up at 4:30am.  Not because I'm a masochist.  And not because I really want to get up at 4:30, but because that's my running time.

I get up at 4:30 in the morning to run for two reasons.  This first is that my friends usually run at 5 or 5:30.  Which means if I want to see my friends, or have company on my runs, I need to get out there at the same time.  The other reason is because it gets my runs over early.  Which is important because the weekends are my time with family. 

So the night before my  weekend run, I lay out all my clothes on the dining room table.

When my alarm goes off, I get out of bed, wash up, and go out and change into my running clothes and try to sneak out of the house as quietly as possible, so as not to wake the boys.  Sometimes this is successful, sometimes it's not.

I keep a headlamp in my glove compartment for those early morning runs.  Because it's dark out at 5:30!

As much as it sucks to get up so early on a day I don't have to go to work, I never regret my early morning weekend runs.  After they're done.  Besides, I'm sure that I'll get plenty of sleep once these kids become teenagers.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Prosciutto, Fresh Fig, and Manchego Sandwiches

The highlight of Thatkid's baseball season is Pony League day at Petco Park.  It's a day when all the Pony League teams across San Diego get to come to the ball field and parade around it before watching a baseball game.

Thatkid met up with his best friends and team mates outside the park.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, which you can read all about if you follow me on Twitter, we didn't actually get to see the parade of players.  Luckily Thatboy hobbled along beside them and texted me the following pictures.

We met up with them at our seats, which were right behind first base.  Thatkid used this as an opportunity to share the special snack he had brought for his friends.  He had originally wanted to bring cracker jacks, but got distracted by the neon orange-ness of a bag of cheetos.

Eventually the boys all settled into their seats, ready for the game to begin.

In addition to being Pony League day at the park, it was also Military Appreciation Day.  In honor of the honor, the US Navy Parachute Team entered the stadium from above.

After the first inning, Thatkid couldn't wait any longer for his special treat.  The fun thing about ice cream and 5 year olds is that not only do they end up wearing most of it, you wear a lot of it too!

The game was fun and exciting.  It was the last of the Padres/Giants series and the Padres had won the first two games.  But the Giants won this one.  As soon as the Giants took the lead, Thatkid switched teams and loyalties and cheered loudly when they won.

After the game, Thatboy noticed a sign that mentioned that kids could run the bases, and he brought Thatkid down to the field to stand in line and wait his turn.

It was an experience that he won't soon forget, as he got to round the bases of a real ball field.

If baseball season doesn't herald the arrival of spring for you, then perhaps the produce does.  Bright sweet strawberries have hit the produce aisles of my supermarket.  And figs!  We have fresh figs!  This might be a California thing, but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.  (Speaking of - isn't that really a word of warning?  You're supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth to make sure it's not filled with Greek soldiers, right?)

Whatever the reason, I was quick to snatch them up.  I've been dying to try this sandwich, but fresh figs aren't available in the winter.  So it had to wait.  Really, when figs are available I put them on just about anything, from pizza to tarts. They have this unassuming nature that doesn't overpower like citrus.  Instead it just adds a sweetness, which pairs well with prosciutto, like melon without the juiciness.

With the prosciutto, manchego, and fig, this sandwich feels very "Spanish" to me.  Like something you'd eat on a spring day in Barcelona.

Prosciutto, Fresh Fig, and Manchego Sandwiches (From Cooking Light)
4 tsp Dijon mustard
8 slices Italian bread, toasted
1 cup arugula
2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
2 oz Manchego cheese, shaved
8 fresh figs, cut into thin slices
2 Tbsp fig jam
  1. Spread 1 tsp mustard over 4 of the bread slices.
  2. Arrange 1/4 cup arugula over each bread slice.
  3. Divide prosciutto evenly among bread slices.
  4. Top evenly with cheese and fig slices.
  5. Spread 1 1/2 tsps jam over each of the remaining 4 bread slices, and place on sandwiches jam side down.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mommy Mondays: 22 Months

Weight: 30 lbs (+ 21 lbs, 12 oz) 
Height: 35" (+ 13") (from 18 month)
Head: 19" (from 18 months)

Sleep: Ridiculously terrible when he was sick.  Which we weren't really surprised about.  It's gotten amazingly better since he's been feeling better.  Usually once a night, often before we go to bed.  Which means in the past month I've gotten two full nights of sleep with no wakeups!  I'm hoping this is the beginning of the end.  And in typing that I also know I've jinxed myself.

Eating: He's still nursing, as I wrote about earlier, although I'm happy to announce that once he was feeling better, he dropped those extra sessions he'd added in while sick.  He eats like a bottomless pit at breakfast, either two waffles or two bowls of oatmeal.  He runs in the house after school asking for "nack nack nack" which usually consists of a cheese stick, or some raisins, or grapes, or oranges.  But dinner?  He's entirely uninterested. 

Best Moment:  I love these boys together, and I've had so many fabulous moments between the two of them.  Like the above picture occurred after Thatkid finished running home.  Thatbaby went running up to hug his brother.  Or when Thatbaby was sitting on the couch and Thatkid went up to him and said "ohhh you're so cute" to which Thatbaby responded "oooo  ew so coo" right back, as he hugged his brother around the neck.

Monthly Wisdom:  We're really working on communication this month.  And it's been more frustrating than I recall with Thatkid.  Thatbaby just doesn't have the vocabulary that his brother did and we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what he's saying as he attempts to communicate.  But it's really important to make that effort and listen.  It's easy to tune them out when they're not making "sense" but that's enormously frustrating for them.  So we put in the work to try and help him find the words, or at least what he's trying to impart on us.

Goals for the Upcoming Month:
- Passover.  I feel like it's so much harder for kids who don't quite get why they can't have what their friends are having.
- A plane trip!  We haven't done one of these since before he started walking.  And even though it's a short one, I'm not looking forward to keeping him still and occupied!

Things Thatbaby is doing:
-  At bedtime he nurses, then looks up at me and says "walk" for me to walk around the room with him.  Then he holds my face and asks for the "Horsey song" which is "All the Pretty Little Horses."
- He asks for hugs, and when you hug him, he says "Oooooohhhh baby.  Oooooohhhh baby."
- He stopped sleeping in a sleep sack and sleeps with a blanket!!!! And he loves his blanket.  He also loves to be covered with it in his chair or on the couch.
- He loves to do everything himself "No!  My do it." 
- He looks for people/things:  "Mama where aaarrrrreee you?" "Where Thatkid go?"
- He loves playing tricks, like pretending to give me a bite to eat, and then taking it away.
- He climbs in and out of his crib before bed.
- He is a little echo.  He repeats everything everyone says.  Especially Thatkid.  It's the cutest during bedtime stories.  
- Probably because we spend so much time at baseball practices in games, but he is very into baseball.  He always is pulling out the bat or glove to play with.  He carries around a baseball all the time.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Sunday Runday: Sharon's Run Ride Walk 2017

I think this is the fourth year I've done this race, the third time Thatkid has done it.  This year was supposed to be the second year we did it as an entire family, but Thatbaby didn't sleep at all the night before the race, due to illness and fever.  He wasn't running a fever the morning of the race, but he was definitely still not feeling good.  So Thatkid and I left the other half of the family at home and headed down to Mission Bay.

We got there a little later than we usually do, so there was less time to kill.  Which was fine by me.  We met up with our group, the intrepid Serena's Crusaders.  All of us are dedicated to Serena, the leader of our team, who fights to daily fight against Epilepsy, and the reason we do this race which raises money and awareness for Epilepsy.

And pretty soon after we were all heading to the start line.  Thatkid and I did our mandatory "Running face" while we waited to begin.  I love this kid.

I love this kid, but I don't always love running with him.  This race is always tough on him.  I think it's because it starts so late that it gets warm.  Or maybe because he just doesn't sleep well the night before.  Or maybe he's 5.  Whatever the reason, he always spends the whole 3 miles whining and complaining and asking to be carried.  He ran in 3 second spurts about once a mile.

And he kept asking if he could just fall down.  When I inquired further he admitted that once he fell down, he had no intention of getting back up.  So I made him wait until after we crossed the finish line.

But after we crossed the finish line, we experienced a miracle!  His legs, which he claimed were going to fall off from pain during the race, were pain free!  He had all sorts of energy to partake in the post-race activities, the thing that keeps him coming back year after year.

This year, in addition to all the other great kid-friendly activities, there was cotton candy!

And once he finished his sweet treat, he made a bee-line for the giant inflatable slide.  Which he rode over and over again.

And then we moseyed over to the facepainting booth.  There was a craft station next door, so he colored before and made a bracelet after.

I'm hoping next year is more successful in getting this kid through the race course, of course then I'm sure I'll be dealing with Thatbaby and his own race issues.  But at least Thatboy will be there to help!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi

As you may or may not have heard, Southern California was hit with a record amount of rain this year.

There's a saying that "April showers bring May flowers" but when you live in a desert, that timeline changes a little.  In our case, March brought with it a "super bloom,"  an explosion of wildflowers that has blanketed the once barren desert.

Thatboy and I haven't ventured to Anza Borrego since before the boys were born, but we didn't want to miss out on the blooms, so we decided there was no time like the present for a return visit.

Upon our arrival, Thatkid grabbed the wildflower guide and made himself the unofficial guide, leading us around and pointing out the different varieties.

Our guide wasn't just interested in the flowers though, he was also interested in hiking up to various boulders and climbing them.

Thatdog and I, who had no interest in climbing big rocks, waited for them in the shade at the bottom.

The flowers themselves were everything I had hoped for.   I had set up Thatkid before we went, remembering that I was disappointed on my first trip out, after hearing about the amazing wildflowers growing in the desert. 

We spoke about how there is very little water in the desert, so things that grow there are small, conserving whatever nutrients they can and not wasting it on giant blooms or leaves.  And I reminded him that typically the desert is just brown brush and sand.  He took our discussion to heart and was appropriately wowed by the flora.

Some areas were a pastel wonderland.  A carpet of small purple and white buds.

Just a few feet away were fields of yellow.

One thing that is fairly well known about the desert is the heat - even in March.  And although that's fairly well known, I still had romantic visions of sitting on a blanket in the middle of the flowers, and having a picnic lunch.  The reality of the situation had us sitting in the back of our air-conditioned car.  Still picnicking, and still viewing the flowers, but not surrounded by them. 

I packed us desert appropriate sandwiches - cool as a cucumber, or a radish, or a carrot.  Or all three!  Banh Mi are Vietnamese sandwiches, usually served on a french baguette.  When I was in high school, we were close enough to a Vietnamese sandwich shop to have them on a regular basis.  And although they are certainly not seasonal, there is something about them that just seems like a summer picnic food.  I think it might be the pickled vegetables, the crisp cucumber, and the freshness of the bread.  This one especially plays on bright summery flavors with the addition of lemongrass.   And while most banh mi are not vegetarian, this one uses tofu, marinated in that lemongrass, which also makes it feel like a light lunch.

Lemongrass Tofu Bahn Mi (From Cooking Light)
1 package extra firm tofu
2 Tbsp finely chopped, peeled, fresh lemongrass
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil, divided
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp matchstick cut carrots
1 1/4 cup matchstick cut peeled daikon radish
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp canola mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha
1 French bread baguette, halved lengthwise and toasted.
1 cup thinly sliced English cucumber

  1. Cut tofu crosswise into 6 slices.  Wrap in paper towels and top with cast iron skillet or heavy pan.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Remove  tofu from paper towels.
  2.  Combine lemongrass, 2 Tbsp water, soy sauce, and 1 tsp sesame oil in 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  
  3. Arrange tofu slices in a single layer in soy mixture, turning to coat.  Let stand 15 minutes.
  4. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar and salt dissolve.  
  5. Add carrots and radish, toss well.  Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain.
  6. Stir in cilantro. 
  7. Whisk 1 tsp sesame oil, mayonnaise, and Sriracha in a small bowl.  Spread evenly over cut sides of bread.
  8. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Remove tofu from marinade, discard marinade.   Pat tofu slices dry with paper towels.  Add tofu slices to pan.  Cook 4 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden.  
  9. Arrange tofu slices on bottom half of bread.  
  10. Top tofu slices with carrot mixture and cucumber slices.  Cut baguette crosswise into 6 equal pieces.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Mommy Mondays: The Weaning Chronicles

Next week Thatbaby will be 22 months.  Almost 2!  Which often brings up the topic of weaning.  And it's a topic for which I have no answers, ideas or plans.

With Thatkid, things went mostly naturally.  By 14 months he had dropped his first nursing session on his own.  By 18 months he was down to just the one nursing session before bed.  And at 21 months, we coaxed him out of that nursing session too.  He was done.

I am officially in uncharted waters with my 21 month old who still nurses.  Up until this week he's been nursing before bed and usually once in the middle of the night.

And then he got sick.

This past week Thatbaby has had some sort of stomach issues, so in addition to keeping him on a pretty strict B-R-A-T diet, I also gave in to requests for a couple of extra nursing sessions during the day.  I don't know if it really helps immunity, but I do know it helps keep him hydrated.

At this point, I know for sure that he's not nursing because he's hungry, that it's purely a comfort thing, but I'm also not quite ready to take away his comfort.  Between constant illness this winter, and the fact he's still teething, it helps me feel like I'm helping in some small way ease his pain. 

It could also be because he's my last child.  As much as I am ready to be done with breastfeeding, I also know these are the last chances I have.  He will also be my baby, and I hope we will always have those close moments.  But this child - he's my Mr. Independent.  The one who doesn't want to be touched or held when he's upset.  The one who never stops moving.  And even though that movement usually continues during nursing sessions with fingers in my mouth or feet in my face, it's the only time he's even close to being still.  And guaranteed time when I can hold him.

So at this point, I'm waiting it out.  I don't know when we're going to stop.  I don't know if he'll still be nursing at 2, or even beyond.  I know eventually this will come to an end.  I just don't know when.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Sunday Runday: Encinitas Half Marathon

Last summer when the first advertisements for The Inaugural Encinitas Half Marathon came out, I was really interested.  I love the course, and it was only $65!  For a Half Marathon!  But I waffled and wavered for months.  And the price kept going up and up.   I still toyed with the idea of running it, even building in some training into my schedule for after the Star Wars half marathon. But then I just didn't actual do the training.  Baseball season started and I pretty much stuck with a simple 6 miles in the morning before games. 

2 weeks ago, I had the opportunity to purchase entry to the race for the original $65, and I decided to go for it.  Even though I hadn't trained.  At all.  I just loved the idea of the race.  The course, the perks, the fact that everyone I knew was running it.  . .

The night before the race Sdmom texted me to see if I was racing the race, or just running it.  It was a hard question to answer, because I really hadn't trained, but I didn't want to be out on the course forever.  We decided to start out together, and then if I wanted to pull ahead, I could.

I got to the race as early as possible  only to find out it wasn't early enough.  All the streets were closed, making parking a scarce commodity.  Eventually I made it over to the start line and met up with my friends.

The course was everything I hoped it would be. Which was nice, because the course was fairly challenging.  So it was nice to have something nice to look at while we ran hill after hill.

The race starts at Moonlight Beach, and the first thing you do is run down a massive hill.  You then run along the 101 through Leucadia for the first two miles, turn around and run back...and back up that hill.

The next few miles take you through some neighborhoods of Encinitas, and down another hill back to the Pacific Coast Highway.  This is my old running grounds and it felt good to be back there.  We ran up to Solana Beach where the Pirates were waiting to cheer me on.  We turned around and headed back the way we came.

Running down the hill into Cardiff, the ocean view opened up, as it always does.

The parking lot at Seaside had been transformed into a energy stop - Cliff had a station there handing out gels, and another vendor had popcorn.

I passed on the popcorn, because I knew we were only about a mile away from the station I had been looking forward to, the smoothie station at mile 10.

We headed back into Cardiff, up the hill to the Cardiff Kook.  There was a group of little cheerleaders there with some pretty awesome signs.

When we hit the Self Realization Fellowship we knew there wasn't much left of the race.  I had kept pace with Sdmom for the race up to this point.  I love her company, an really, it wasn't a bad idea to run a bit slower with my lack of training.  I told Sdmom that I would stick with her to the top of the next hill, and then I would run ahead to the finish line.

I picked up speed as I passed the boat houses, having some good reserves from taking it easy for the majority of the race.

I waited for Sdmom to cross the finish line, and then we went and got those race perks I had been looking froward to.  Oatmeal and a mug, (SDmom filled hers with coffee, and I filled mine with hot chocolate.)

One quick picture with my running partner, showing off our medals and then we split up to head to our respective cars. 

Overall I was really pleased with the race.  Inaugural races can be. . . tricky,.  There are usually lots of bugs to be worked out.   But this one went pretty smoothly.  With the exception of the parking situation, the race really accommodated everyone. The course was beautiful, even if it was challenging.  And I loved getting breakfast after!  And next year, I may even train for it and run it like a real race!