‘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).
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.
– I’m training for a half marathon and I’ve caught the bug. Running is so much harder if you haven’t got the bug and it definitely takes a while to catch it. But now I’m up to 11 miles and have managed to stick to my training schedule for the past 7 weeks and most of all i am loving it, so the bug has definitely been caught. I don’t really want to jinx it by talking about it all too much cause really the lack of sleep and the restricted diet i’m on all make for a very ‘bleh’ state most of the time, and I’m worried that the running bug will turn into the sick bug and that will be the end of that. But right now things are going well. I got shiny new shoes for it all and am running a 10k race soon as a warm up. I haven’t done any speed work (and don’t plan on it) this time round – I just want to be under 1:50 for the June race and maybe I’ll put some speed work in over the fall and aim for a better time in November. My last half marathon was 1:41 which I was pretty happy with considering – and maybe one day in the unforeseeable future where sleep isn’t a novelty I’ll have a crack at my PB time of 1:30.
– everyone asks about teo’s skin and my diet and the current state of everything is just URGHHHH. I dunno. I haven’t eaten wheat or corn or nuts in forever now (almost 2 months) but things are still bad and so I have also cut out coconut and things are still bad and so maybe when I thought soy was OK it actually wasn’t? So might cut that out again, but then I’m like ‘is it raspberries? or stone fruits? or maybe should I not eat onions at all?’ and it makes me quite frustrated. His skin is bad and then we put a tiny bit of steroid cream on him and he is great for a week and so i dunno. I just don’t know.
– we have somewhat perfected the diet of no allergens and so I would love to share some of our favorite recipes on here for anyone who might want to cook/bake so everyone can enjoy their food or just whatever. Like anything I suppose, there is an adjustment period to cutting things out but it is really quite amazing how after a while (about 4 weeks i think, maybe more or less) a new routine and new habits can push out old ones. I do miss wheat and corn, but after finding things i can eat instead, it’s really not a big deal.. But yes, I miss almond butter and toast right now more than you could imagine.
– we had SUCH a great weekend and managed to get a free outdoor picnic table in one of those perfect stars-aligning good karma sort of moments. And there isn’t much that makes me happier than mowing lawns, so I did that, worked on my tiny (flourishing) garden and ivan finally put the sand into what was turning into mika’s permanent mud-kitchen (the mud was awesome, but the sand is even better?). We ended the weekend with dinner outside with friends, which is pretty much how we plan to spend the summer.
– and one last thing: despite our glorious weather, i am desperately wishing i could be elsewhere right now. There are times when being away from so many of our closest friends feels like a real life sickness. Facetime and skype are good but not good enough and i long to be lying in bed next to my best friend while she goes through a yucky breakup or bringing food and doing dishes for two of my favorite people in the world who have just had a baby. Urghhhhhh. I wish i could be everywhere at once!
Today you rolled over from your back to your tummy for the very first time. You did it twice and both times you just sort of lay on your tummy grunting and crying for me to roll you back over. Your favourite position is to be sitting up (assisted) and watching your sister or holding our hands and bouncing on your feet.
Just like your sister was, you are a very social baby. You love new faces, you love crowds of people, you love watching Mika and her friends playing.
Your eczema is bad but we are truly on the mission to get it under control. I have been 4 weeks without soy, wheat/gluten and nuts. We don’t eat dairy or eggs, so it can’t be that. And I’ve been 3 weeks without corn and alcohol and coffee (except for 2 cups). We did a week of steroid cream and things were AMAZING. But we can’t keep that up forever, so now you are a bit uncomfortable and sad and it breaks my heart. We have a doctor’s appointment this week and we will keep trying our best to figure it all out.
You are so sweet and smiley. Which makes it even harder to see you itchy and uncomfortable because I’m pretty sure that you are really the sweetest and happiest baby when you aren’t itchy.
Sleep is just blah. But that’s fine. Sometimes we get 4 hours sleep. Sometimes it’s just 2-3 hours at a time. I will always wish for more sleep, but it is what it is.
We haven’t started real food yet, but you are very interested in whatever i’m eating. I’ve let you hold a carrot or slice of apple and you sort of gum it and get frustrated when I take it away from you. It just doesn’t even seem real that I should start giving you food soon.
Summer is coming! The weather is getting warmer and we’ve even worn shorts a few times lately and it is funny that we were in NZ when Mika was this age and it was the almost the exact same sort of weather! The longer days, the figuring each other out, the warmer weather… all good things.
Sweet happy boy, we love you so much!
All things considered, our days are very easy. We put baby to sleep around 730pm in our bed and he wakes up at 11pm then 3am then 630am, more or less. Mika creeps into our bed between 1am and 3am and I never notice her until I’m sort of awake and feeding baby at 3.
At 630 Ivan gets up with baby and at 7 Mika wakes up, kisses me all over my face and then whispers ‘i’ll be with papa and baby in the kitchen’ and quietly slips out, closing the door behind her. Sometimes I take half an hour more sleep or I lie in bed awake just having some mental time to myself. I am very much a morning person, but lately I can’t bring myself to be awake and cheery before 7. It could be to do with the fact that I’m on a no caffeine diet..but more on that later.
We walk papa to work and depending on the day we drop mika at school on the way. The walk is good cause baby is ready for his first nap by 830 and this makes it easy to get everything done.
We are always home for lunch and sometimes ivan joins us. After lunch, mika’s friend C comes over 3 times a week and this is pretty much the best situation for everyone. The girls can almost entertain themselves entirely with make-believe games. I feed them snacks and we usually do one activity together (baking or a craft) and I always read them at least 5 books. So while they play, I have time with baby – sometimes they help me or play with him too, and then once he is down for his longer afternoon nap, i have some time to play with them or clean etc.
We have a very tiny house and I feel like I am always tidying and cleaning and we have a very minimal amount of stuff and it just makes me wonder how other people do it…like with a bigger house or with more stuff, I think I would go crazy! I am also constantly purging and clearing things out of our home and it somehow always seems like there is more to get rid of.
At 5pm C goes home and sometimes we will walk to get Ivan or we will drive and go get groceries together before heading home. Then I am usually out the door for my run and we all eat together around 7, either something I’ve made or Ivan’s made and after Teo is down by 730, Mika follows closely around 8pm.
It is a good rhythm we have going and it all feels very…easy. And although I wish I could get the laundry done faster (there is just so much!) and our list of things to do in the yard is never-ending, I am really enjoying this baby-nap-3-times-a-day lifestyle. I have heard from multiple sources that it all changes once your baby boy is more mobile, so I’m going to relish his immobility! And every month is just so different – I think the warmer spring weather is making things so, so much easier.
And he is just so insanely cute, I can’t even… like sometimes I’m alone with him and he is just so cute that I don’t even know what to do. Like, should I squish him? Or eat him? Or just make squealy happy noises? Cause he’s so cute I feel like I need to do something.