Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Twinkle Twinkle is old. Just in case you didn't know.

I love having conversations with K.  Up until a few months ago, our conversations consisted mostly of one-sided mommy-babble, but these days they've matured into a full-fledged two-way communication system.  I love K's delightful sense of humour and her witty replies, and cherish the fact that our runs together have become our "chicks only chatting time".

The chicks.

K's latest "thing" is labelling everything that bores her to bits as being "old".  For example:

K: Mommy, let's sing a song!
Mom: Okay, Bub, what do you want to sing?  What abooooooout, uhmmm, Twinkle Twinkle?
K: No, Mom, Twinkle Twinkle is old.
Mom: Okay...  Uhhhhm, what aboooooooout Bana ba sekolo (the Sesotho version of Frere Jacques)?
K (giggling): No, Mom, Bana ba sekolo is old!

And so we'll continue for the largest part of our run, until some blessed song in our repertoire is deemed worthy of being sung.  Got to love it.

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Something that I find "old" these days, a la K, is this whole coughing and sneezing situation going on in our home (and I'm sure that by this time you're finding it very "old" too).  Yes, there was a brief, shining moment during which all four of us were more or less healthy again.  But then Will decided that coughing up a storm each night is much more fun, and J Bear quickly followed suit.  And so did our nanny.  Sigh.

Sick as a (big) dog.  At least he still has his sense of humour :) .

So no more Mr Nice Guy.  From here on out, if you sneeze between these four walls, you will be issued with a safety mask.  And if you cough, you will be nebulized, humidified and Vicks Vaporub'ed.  Oh, and just for good measure, you will be provided with copious amounts of orange juice, honey and echinacea, whether you sneeze or cough or just come for a visit.  So beware.  Mama's on the war path.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Small Beginnings

We did it!  After months and months of all talk and no (double strolling-) action, I finally plucked up the courage to load both kids into the double stroller - simultaneously, I must add - and head out the door.  This is huge for us, people.

Loaded up and ready to go!  K looking very suspicious of our new passenger.

We didn't go very far (we stayed within the parameters of our security complex), but our excursion was a delightful success.  No tears, no milk breaks and no nervous breakdowns - just smiles all around.  Hooray!  

All smiles.

And then I got cheeky and did it again the next afternoon...  With similar results...  Can you say "happy mama"??  So even though we're still light-years away from 10 k family runs, we made a start this weekend.  And we plan to gradually build it up over time.  Never underestimate the day of small beginnings, right?

Still smiling after Round 2.  Happiness!

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In other news, K and I also clocked our longest run since J Bear's birth this weekend (we did it without J) - a whole 7 km, BOOM!  At this rate we'll be catching up to Big Dog's fitness in no time, mwuahaha...

Stretching with Mom after our 7 k run. Such a cutie!

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, 11 April 2014

I've been Liebster'ed!

I've been nominated for a Liebster Award - thanks so much for the nomination, Hailey!

Hailey, who blogs over at Striding Strong, is a super fast and amazingly humble runner who is currently making a comeback from a foot injury.  She's one of the most disciplined runners I know, patiently doing what is necessary to get her back to her old, speedy self.  A fantastic example to runners everywhere! 

Being Liebster'ed also implies answering a list of ten questions compiled by Hailey, so here goes: 

1.  Are you a morning or a night person?

I used to be the poster child for morning people - you know, up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) for a run and then gobbling down breakfast before the bulk of the nation had even thought about waking up.  

However, I've recently discovered that having two children aged two and under kind of forces you to be an all-day (and all-night!) person, ha!  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

2.  What was your favourite childhood TV show?

I adored a local children's show called Casimir.  I even had a Casimir doll, ha!  Any other South Africans out there who remember Casimir?  Ahhhh, good memories.

Casimir.  Apparently he's a dinosaur??  [Source.]

3.  Are you a dog or a cat person?

Cat!  But we have two dogs and zero cats.  That has to change.

4.  What is one of your current goals?

It's a bit more of a BHAG than just a goal, but I want to run the world!  To date I've been privileged to run on three different continents (Africa, Europe and North America) and in four different countries (South Africa, the Kingdom of Lesotho, France and the United States).  Lots more to go!    

After completing the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in 2010.  Loved.  Every.  Minute.

5.  If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?

Iceland.  If I had to narrow down my bucket list to only one country and only one race, it would be the Reykjavik Half Marathon in Iceland.  Why?  To drink in Iceland's almost unbelievable beauty.  And to meet one of the planet's friendliest nations.  And to do it all while running.  

The Reykjavik Half Marathon in Iceland.  One day...  [Source.]

6.  Summer or winter?

If you asked me this 10 years ago, I would have said winter without any hesitation.  But the older I get, the less I like being cold, ha!  The only problem is that summers in South Africa can be quite brutal too...  Spring, then?

7.  What is your favourite movie?

Anything without swearing and killing and cheating and...  You get the idea.  That narrows it down quite a bit, doesn't it?

8.  Do you have a sport you wish you could play, and if so, which one?

Hi.  I'm Karien and I have zero ball handling skills (stop laughing and nodding in agreement, Will!)...  Perhaps that's why I also have zero desire to be good at anything but running...? 

9.  What was the last book you read?

Waldo goes for a walk.  It's one of K's favourites.

10.  Who do you look up to most?

I have great respect for someone who does not have a lot of earthly riches and luxuries, but still chooses to be truly happy and joyful.

                                         *    *    *

And now for some Liebster Award admin, for those who are interested (and, of course, those nominated):

The Liebster Award Rules

1) You must link back to the person who nominated you.  
Done :) .
2) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
Done :) .
3) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small-ish following).  

I nominate the following South African running bloggers:

4) You must create 10 questions for your nominees.  
I love the questions set by Hailey, so please go ahead and answer those too!

5) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees.  

Thanks again for the nomination, Hailey, and happy weekend, everyone!   

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Post-Pregnancy Update: Month 4

J Bear is turning 4 months old this week!  Although this past month has physically been the hardest one for me since his birth (I may or may not have accidentally spritzed my face with foot spray instead of toner on more than one occasion...), I'm absolutely loving the phase we're in.  J is slowly but surely becoming aware of his surroundings and I love experiencing all the new and exciting stuff through his eyes.  He's definitely not a tiny little newborn anymore!   

Running: Although our running is physically going well (my body feels fine and we're slowly getting back to pre-pregnancy mileage and a faster pace), I found it really, really tricky to make time for running this month.  Will and the kids were all sick, so I wasn't keen on taking K out in the cold with me, but I also didn't want to leave poor, sick Will to watch the two kiddos alone.  I did manage to sneak in a few, shortish runs, though, and they were great.  Hopefully things will be easier now that all of us are more or less healthy again.  

Doing everything in our power to prevent J Bear from getting sick...

In other news: Since the untimely death of my Garmin a week or so ago, I've sadly strayed quite a bit from my running programme.  The programme is very detailed in terms of interval times and paces and I found trying to stick to those without a Garmin to be quite a nightmare.  I'm not sure how others run so happily with their phones (am I missing something?!), but I keep having to slow down or stop completely in order to see how many seconds/minutes have passed and whether it's time to speed up again...  Not a fan.  At least I'm running, which is the main thing, but I'm definitely making slower progress without the programme.

Pregnancy weight loss: After losing a mere 500 g last month, things thankfully kicked up a notch again this month with a loss of 1.3 kg.  That brings my total pregnancy weight loss to date to 14.4 kg - only 2 kg to go, whoop!

Baby J: Still the cuddliest bear on the block!  I love how he's starting to interact with things and people around him, especially Big Sis K.  Fascinating how the two of them communicate and enjoy each other, even at this young age - love it!

K "phoning Grandpa" and Bouncy Bear J.

This will be our final post-pregnancy update, seeing that things are pretty much getting back to normal running-wise.  I will, however, shout it from the rooftops let you know as soon as I've parted with all the pregnancy weight - hopefully soon!   

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Running Wild

This week was a whopper.  It was back to work for me (after four months of maternity leave); back to the doctor for K (after three previous visits); and back to drinking once every two hours right through the night for J.  Phew.  I think the start of the weekend needs to be celebrated.  

Helloooooo, weekend!

With dark chocolate, and, of course, a run.  A special one.

Naval Hill is Bloem's (sad-ish?) equivalent of Cape Town's Table Mountain.  Now, before you start thinking in terms of World Wonders, you should know that it's exactly 22.4 times smaller.  And the setting isn't nearly as grand.  But it's all we have.  And we run the living daylights out of it.

I was thrilled to find, after returning to the running scene after J's birth, that some blessed soul in a position of authority somewhere thought of us runners while compiling a budget for the recent re-vamping of Naval Hill (thank you!!).  I was met with a neatly paved running path, marked with safety lights and going all the way up to the hill's new focal point: A 6.5 m high statue of former president Nelson Mandela.  I love it.

Going up.

On top of the world  Naval Hill.

The path isn't (yet?) very long (my Garmin is still dead, but I'm guessing no longer than 2 km) and is a bit overgrown in places, so here's hoping they'll maintain it well.  There is, however a multitude of tar and gravel roads on top of the hill, so once you're safely up there, there are running options aplenty.

We (Will and the kids followed me in the car for safety reasons) also lucked out in the game department (Naval Hill comprises a small nature reserve called the Franklin Nature Reserve):  

Running with the zebras...

Look closely.

Told you.

And the Blue Wildebeest...

And the Giraffe...

So even though we don't have the ocean, or fynbos, or any of that neat stuff, we do have a great place to go for celebratory weekend runs.  Rumour has it that our very own parkrun is starting at this very location early in May 2014 - can't wait!!