August with Oma

Pamela Life 1 Comment

My mum (we call her Oma now) has been spending time with us this month and yesterday we said goodbye to her as she heads back to NZ via Vancouver. It’s always a bit of a gamble as to how I’ll feel when we say goodbye after a visit, but this time felt like it was much too short and she has left a bit of an Oma sized hole in our lives. If we are speaking literally, the hole isn’t that big because she has lost a ton of weight and looks AMAZING. But if we are speaking metaphorically (which we are), the hole she is leaving is quite large. She gives Mika so much (attention and love, but also donuts..) and she is so confident and helpful with Teo. To hear ‘you guys just go, i’ll put them to bed, we’ll be fine’ is like the biggest sigh of relief and has ivan and i running like love-struck teenagers to the movies? a restuarant? a bar? the park? who cares really, we just needed some TIME together and we really managed to get plenty of it while Oma was here.

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We went swimming, we went hiking, we went camping, we went to 5 different farmer’s markets, we went to a yoga class, we walked the lake. We explored beaches, we explored supermarkets. We cooked dinners and we ate out. We made pancakes and we picked berries.

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Lately we have been wondering about the size of our family. Is 4 just perfect? Or do we want 5? Or 6? And when we have family visiting with us it makes me think that if we all lived in the same city then maybe i would definitely want a larger family. But because we are so far away and everyone we love is so spread out around the world, a part of me thinks that a little family unit of 4 might be just perfect. I’m still not entirely sure. If you have 3 (or more) kids I would love to hear your thoughts!

Teo is 9 months old

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Our dear sweet boy is 9 months old and our days and hearts are full.

He wakes up before everyone (around 6 or 7) and Ivan takes him for a coffee. Mika wakes up around 8 and I try to get an extra half hour in bed sometimes if I’m lucky. Teo is still feeding through the night, mostly 2 or 3 feeds but sometimes more.

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He gets so much milk but still he loves food. We are cautious about what we feed him still, but so far he has tried carrot, sweet potato, mango, cucumber, melon, strawberries, blueberries, oats, avocado, pasta, raisins, prunes, apple, potato, pear and banana. His favorite is when he can hold it himself, so we finally bought him a highchair that we all love. And oh yes there are two teeth! Two big strong bottom teeth!

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And just when I starting worrying that he wasn’t saying much, he started saying ‘mama’ and ‘mamamamama’ and ‘dada’ and now mostly ‘nanananana’. It’s so cute to hear him making more sounds and I especially love how he chooses to say ‘mamamamam’ when he’s hungry and ‘dadadada’ when we call ivan on the phone and ‘nanananana’ when we try to put him down for naps. And also, this sound is the best thing ever.

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Naps have been very tricky lately. We have been trying to do 2 good naps a day but because it is summer and mika has such random activities scheduled (a ballet camp! swimming!) and there are fun things to do like summer markets and free wading pools, it has been tricky to keep any sort of routine. He’ll usually do little naps in the carseat or the stroller, but when I try to put him down for a proper nap it ends up taking a good HOUR to get him to chill out and actually sleep. And that sucks for Mika to be waiting around, and so sometimes i just want to throw him in the stroller and head out the door or put him in the carrier and walk him to sleep and not do any ‘proper’ naps at home, but then i worry he’s not getting enough ‘good’ sleep. In any case, I’m sure once fall is here and we have a bit more of a settled schedule we’ll be able to get a better routine in place.

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This boy loves to stand. And he can pull himself along the floor army-style but he doesn’t really enjoy doing it yet.  He sits like a champion and can pull himself up on ledges but still hates lying on his belly.  He’s trying REAL hard to get onto his knees.

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And it seems that when Mika was 9 months old she was the biggest and oldest and smartest baby on the planet. So how is it that 9 months seems so tiny now? I think maybe because with Mika a part of me was always wanting her to get a bit older. I was excited for every new stage and for a while it seemed like the new stages couldn’t come fast enough. But now it feels like the EXACT opposite and I really can’t believe that he’s supposed to be crawling and pulling up on things cause it seems like he was just born.

But even though it sometimes feels like he was just born yesterday, he has wiggled his way into our lives and hearts in such a big way and all my worries about missing the days when it was just the three of us or wondering how i’d have room in my heart for 2 children seem like such silly worries now because he is here and we can’t imagine it any other way.

a minimal but comfortable camping list

Pamela Uncategorized Leave a Comment

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So my perfect idea of car camping is to splurge on some key comfort items and keep it minimal for the rest.  Strive for a balance of efficiency and luxury.  A big factor for me is how long it takes to get from not camping to CAMPING READY. And then the same in reverse – I want to get home from our camping trip and be like ‘what camping trip?’ with the ease and speed at which we can pack it up.

SO. That being said. Here is our list.

The basics:

  • Tent (we have this tent and it is so easy to set up and so great, but it is too small. Next summer we will get a bigger one and it will be so, so great.)
  • Queen sized air mattress + pump. (A bit of a luxury, yes? We actually turn it sideways and sleep on it like it’s a king-size with our feet on pillows at the bottom. Cause yep, we all sleep on it.)
  • Sheet/blanket/sleeping bag (Another easy luxury with the car, just throw in some warm blankets and a sheet).
  • Pillows (Just grab em off the bed!)
  • Chairs. (These are super duper comfy. But I also have this one because I would sometimes sit in the tent and nurse and this little thing is AMAZING and perfect for nursing whilst camping).
  • Table cloth. (the easiest way to make camp dining feel not gross. Even fancy!)

In the ‘utility/cooking’ box:

I have this small box ready to go all the time. Stocked and clean and I know everything that’s in there.

  • Gas burner + gas
  • Pot/pan/kettle
  • Cups/mugs
  • Bowls/plates
  • Sporks
  • Cleaning soap
  • Cloth/dishtowel
  • Sharp knife
  • Tinfoil
  • Paper towels
  • Salt/pepper
  • Spice tower
  • Trash bags
  • Coffee maker + filters + ground coffee
  • Herbal tea
  • Cutting board
  • Flashlight/lantern
  • Rope/string (for hanging clothes etc)

Clothing

Each person gets their own bag for clothes, toothbrush, towel and bathing suit. For 3 nights I usually pack 2 extra shirts and 1 extra pair of shorts. I also pack a pair of long warm pants and a cozy sweater and a warm coat. Don’t forget the warm coat!!!!!

Extras

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Playing cards
  • Camera
  • Books
  • Baby carrier
  • Inflatable water toys
  • Sand toys

That’s it! It’s been a foolproof list for us this year so far. I’d love to know if you make it camping with wee kids.

camping; some ideas

Pamela Travel 1 Comment

‘but is it hard?’ is what people ask when we say we’ve been camping with a baby. and we say ‘sorta, but it’s all just pretty hard isn’t it?’

and then on our last camping trip we ate too much bread and ivan decided he was going to be entirely gluten free for a month which meant our next camping trip would be without bread! and we wondered how it would be and whether we could really do gluten-free vegan camping.

have you seen our car? it’s not a hatch-back. we have a boot, (or a trunk if you’d rather) and it’s decent enough, but more like ‘fits all the groceries and a stroller’ sort of big, not ‘go car camping with the kids for a week’ sort of big.

and so after next week we will have been camping 3 times this summer with a 4 year old and an 8 month old and we have plans to keep doing it some more this summer. and whilst this definitely doesn’t make me an expert on the subject, it should hopefully give me plenty to say about it all.

so stay tuned for: Gluten-free, Vegan, Minimalist Car Camping with a Preschooler and a Baby around Washington State (mostly). (and in 3 or 4 parts, so you can take what you like).

seattle rock n roll 2015!

Pamela Live Longer 2 Comments

it’s always funny/cool when i find myself doing the thing that i once imagined myself doing in the future. in spring last year i bumped into emily and i was pregnant and she was still nursing her not-even-1-year-old boy graham. She told me that she was training for (and about to run) the rock n roll half marathon and i remember thinking ‘woah, that’s amazing.’ and i remember thinking that in a years time my baby would be about the same age as graham and i wondered if i could possibly have it in me to train for and run a half marathon before my next baby was 1. with mika there would have been no way. I didn’t run my first post-mika half marathon until she was 18 months or so and even that felt HARD to train for with all the sleep deprivation. (but i wasn’t even nursing her at that stage).

and so when teo was 4 months old and i decided that i was ready to start running again, i was trying to be reeeeeally easy on myself. my goal was to stay HEALTHY and run frequently instead of far and do absolutely no speed training. i wrote myself a 12 week schedule, which generally had me running between 2 and 5 miles on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, rest on Friday, long run (increasing by 1 mile each week) on Saturday and rest on Sunday then cross-train on Monday.

and it worked! i managed to do EVERY single day of my training schedule. during the week i would run with the stroller and push both kids (or sometimes 3 kids!) or i would wake up before 7 and run alone or wait until after 6pm. On saturdays for my long run, ivan would be wherever i needed him to be to pick me up. I love mapping long new runs that end up somewhere new or random or fun and it is even better when i have a supportive family waiting there to meet me and bring me home.

I planned to run the Brooks 10km trailhead race 3 weeks out from the half marathon and it felt great. I finished 3rd in my age group and 5th overall female. The only problem was that it ended up feeling like such a big event that i almost lost momentum to run the half 3 weeks later.

But i set my alarm for super early on june 18th and ran/bussed to the start line at seattle centre. i had no idea how huge the race was, but i DID know how emotional i would get the moment i saw all the people/heard the national anthem/gathered at the start line. i have no idea why i get so teary and emotional during races, but i love it.

i took my phone and jacket to gear check and then went to find the 1:45 pacing group near the start line. the pacer told me that the course measured a bit long and that the second half was much hillier than the first. so she said they’d go out slightly faster to make up for it.

i headed out pretty fast and figured they would probably catch me up somewhere before half way but i never saw them again. the miles sped by and i choked back tears as i ran past supporters. i even get emotional when i approach the drink stations…i just think people who support and volunteer at races are SO great. the spirit and energy at a race is so wonderful and addictive.

ivan had said they’d try to meet me around mile 7 or 8, but i didn’t see them and then the course went into a long motorway tunnel and i realised i wouldn’t be seeing them for a while yet. i felt sort of bummed out/worried/all the emotions and then at mile 10 i saw them! it was over MUCH too fast but seeing them brightened me up and gave me exactly what i needed to finish the final 3 miles.

the final incline to the finish line was the same one from the seattle half marathon and it is THE WORST THING. it is such a small incline but still, it’s UPHILL and after 12.9 miles or whatever it is almost enough to make me walk in protest. but somehow i ran all the way and crossed the finish line in 1:43:31 which i was happy about. It put my average pace at about 7:50 per mile (or 4:53 per km) and i was 106th woman out of about 7,000. I know it’s much more about my personal time, but i think i would really like to place in the top 10 one day. i’m thinking of training for the seattle half at the end of november and incorporating some speed work. Maybe.

but after the race i bumped into emily (of all the thousands of people there!) and it totally brought me back to that time at the lake when she planted that little seed of an idea in my head that i could train for a race whilst nursing. it’s easy to beat myself up about my time or wish i could have done better or tell myself i should train harder and get faster, but seeing her there after the race reminded me that when i had seen her a year ago i thought she was radiant, strong, determined and inspiring. and so in a weird way by finishing this race it made me feel all those things too. (and wanting to high five all the mom runners i saw holding their wee babies after the race)

I have feet that make people do a sort of cringe thing when they look at them. if i was to write a list of things people will never say to me ‘oh your feet are beautiful’ would probably top the list. i lost 2 toe nails after my last race and the bunion on my left foot is only getting worse. once i had 2 stress fractures in one foot at the same time and my x-rays were used as freak examples for med students to study. what i’m trying to say is that i am quite positive there will come a time when running is no longer enjoyable for me and i’ll be forced to stop. BUT and SO.. until that time comes i’m going to continue to make the most out of how amazing running makes me feel. mika has mentioned a few times lately that she really wants to do a race with me and so i told her maybe next summer she could do one of the kid’s races. and then when (if, i know) she ends up running races later on in her life, i can be one of those awesome amazing supporters on the sideline that get me so teary and emotional. CAN’T WAIT.