GirlEvolving


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baby carriers

I love baby wearing for a few simple reasons: it’s really convenient and I love holding/smelling/touching my baby.  We have a few baby carrier options that we’ve rotated between.  We have a Baby Bjorn, a sling, and a Moby wrap.  Each of these have things we like and things we don’t: the Bjorn is super easy to get on, but for whatever reason neither Dave or I can get it adjusted to a position that doesn’t feel like it’s killing our back and neck (I actually had my leg fall asleep mid-walk once from it pinching me).  The sling is great when the baby is little but still places a lot of pressure on the shoulder/neck.  And the Moby wrap is probably the most supportive and least painful, but winding 3 yards of fabric around your body isn’t exactly convenient or easy to get on/off in public (let alone at home).

I’d heard rave reviews about the Ergo carrier from multiple sources, including my sister, but Dave and I didn’t really want to drop $100 on a new carrier when we already had a few.  At the same time, we loved the carrier option and really wanted one that would allow us to baby wear for long walks, afternoons at the park, etc.  It’s much more convenient to go on a walk with Leo and hang with him around the playground while wearing Kate than pushing her in the stroller.  Plus, she naps better.

Then I found it: an Ergo knock-off for less than half the price of an Ergo!  I ordered mine from Amazon and while it shipped directly from China, it only took ten days to reach our house.

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I wore it for the first time yesterday and was stunned at the difference.  I wore Kate for over an hour and my back or neck never hurt and I never had to move the carrier around to get a different position or make it feel better.  It was so comfortable.  I’m really excited to use this carrier more and to try the different positions (you can wear the baby in the front, back, or hip positions)!

(We’ll be donating our spare carriers to a women’s shelter or pregnancy center.  I think they’re good carriers when you just want to wear the baby for a short amount of time.  Since we were wanting to wear Kate for much longer, they just weren’t working for us.)


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dirty girl mud run, indianapolis

On Saturday Kimberly and I participated in the Dirty Girl Mud Run.  Although labeled Indianapolis, it was actually held at a paintball venue in Anderson, which was more convenient for both of us since it’s a lot closer.  I was looking forward to the race beforehand, but as the day got closer and the days got colder, I was a little apprehensive.  How much mud could there be with freezing temps (answer: a freakin lot)?

clearly "before"

shirts read: “If you think I’m dirty you should see my toddler.” Fun fact: we definitely out-dirtied our toddlers.

The morning of the race I met Kimberly in Fort Wayne.  We did 4 fast (for me) miles, then loaded in to the car with coffee and snacks.  The drive to Anderson was just 1.5 hours, which was awesome.  We found the paintball place without any trouble.  Registration and gear check was set up in a big field that was already pretty muddy.

shoes after registering - we thought they were muddy.

shoes after registering – we thought they were muddy.

picking my way across the muddy field to gear check.

picking my way across the muddy field to gear check. now imagine how much muddier this field would be a few hours later and hundreds of people more.

It was relatively well-marked, but also a little confusing.  While the volunteers were very friendly, they didn’t necessarily offer extra information, such as “here’s your bib but you’ll get your safety pins down at gear check,” which meant we did some unnecessary backtracking looking for things.  In terms of “flow” it was a little, ahem, muddy.  Strangely enough, the hardest thing to find was the start line!  We followed a group of ladies and got some help from a volunteer.  It was tucked behind a lot of things, including some tank trucks, and completely unlabeled, from what I could tell.

start line selfie

start line selfie

We had signed up for the 9:15am wave, but since nobody asked when we had signed up and we were ready at 9am, we just started then.  The first half mile or so was through the forest.  This part wasn’t very muddy – more a trail through the woods.  We tried to run where we could but it was narrow and a lot of people were walking.  The first obstacle was climbing up a huge inflatable pyramid and bouncing down the other side.  The next obstacle was climbing up an inflatable pyramid again… but this time you slid down a giant slide into a vat of ice cold muddy water.  This was actually pretty fun, although it would have been more fun if it was actually warm out (it was about 35 degrees).  A volunteer at the bottom helped you up, which was nice.  It was also smart to place this obstacle early in the race, as it forced you to get wet and muddy!

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We did a few more obstacles – a waist high wade through a tub of more ice cold mud water, over some muddy hills, up and over a couple walls and across a rope net.  Then we hit a long, open stretch of field.  The course zigzagged over the field, which would have been fine if we could have run, but the mud was literally up to our ankles, making running difficult or impossible.  We were forced to walk much of this, which was slow and tedious.  In addition, the field also smelled distinctly of cow manure.  We ended up walking back and forth across three or four different fields, with only a few obstacles scattered in between.  This was by far the worst part of the course.  Fighting across shoe-sucking mud got old, fast, especially when it was 3 miles worth.  We saw several ladies who cut across the course and honestly, I can understand why they did.  This part of the mud run wasn’t really fun, except Kimberly and I kept each other laughing.

There were a few more walls to climb up and over, some obstacles to climb under, and a long tube in the mud to crawl through.  Also: more ankle-deep mud.  Then we were at the finish line, which was a quick run through a long vat of knee-deep water.  We finished in just about an hour, which was pretty good considering how slow we had to go through the fields.

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Afterwards we picked up our bag from gear check and headed to the area where you could clean up and get changed.  We were hoping for actual showers, even if they were community, but instead got a line of garden hoses on a tarp.  The water was freezing cold!  We got relatively clean, although it was definitely more of a thorough rinsing and not anything that allowed soap.  Afterwards we changed in a large tent with tarp floors.  Water was already starting to come up through the floors, which made us glad we were there early (I imagine later this was a disaster zone)!  Changing clothes when you’re damp, freezing cold, your hands are completely numb, and you’re trying to balance and not fall in puddles of water is a special kind of challenging, let me tell you.  We ended up keeping our old shoes on until we got to the car, since the venue field was now a soupy, muddy mess (spectators basically were forced into a bit of mud run themselves!).  We cleaned our feet off as best we could at the car and left our shoes in the field, since we didn’t want to put them in the car and we didn’t want to slog back through the mud to put them in the donation bin.

Afterwards we grabbed lunch at Panera (warm soup!  hot coffee!), stopped behind Walmart so I could pump in the car, ran a hilarious errand for Kimberly, then headed home.

Overall, I had fun, but I think this was mostly because I got to hang out with Kimberly, who I love spending time with.  The race itself would have been more fun if it were a little warmer (not their fault!) and if there had been more opportunity to run rather than endless fields to walk across.  There were some awesome-looking food trucks at the venue, which would have been cool to try post-race, but at that point we were just wanting to get out of the mud, not slop around in more of it.

In general, I think the mud run is a great idea.  I actually love that it was all women and that it wasn’t timed.  It felt really encouraging and accepting of all women.  There was a wide range of ages and athletic abilities represented, which was really cool.  It would be fun to do with a group of friends, for sure.  However, the execution felt a little… slapdash.  The venue wasn’t set up very intuitively and the race course could have been more creative.  Facebook showed that others were frustrated by the fields, too, and that past years and other locations had more opportunity for running (which would definitely make it more fun!).  I will say though the obstacles were fun and the volunteers friendly.  The general mood was upbeat, too.

For not running I was surprisingly sore on Sunday morning from fighting to keep my balance in the mud!  I’m not sure I would do the mud run again, although I’m definitely glad I’ve done it once.  And I’m really glad I got to do it with Kimberly!

photo 4

Disclosure: I am an ambassador for the Dirty Girl Mud Run Indianapolis, and I was provided an entry to the event free of charge in exchange for a blog post (in March) and a race review. Opinions are honest and written by me.


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the state of things

It’s been about a month since I’ve posted, which is by far the longest I’ve ever gone.  The days have been busy, the hours short, and I either haven’t had time to blog or haven’t really wanted to say anything.  That paints a rather dire picture, but it’s really the opposite.  Our days are full of good things – a busy toddler, a growing baby, work, housework, new recipes, walks in the spring air, time at the park, running, and even small pockets for reading or just hanging out.  I’m doubtful I’ll be back here regularly for awhile – it’ll be sporadic at best – but here’s a few things that have been happening around here:

Leo: We’ve enrolled Leo in preschool for the fall!  We’re excited about this for him, mainly because he’s incredibly social and loves playmates.  The school is within walking distance of our house and we were really pleased with it at our visit.  We think he’s going to love it.  He’s incredibly excited about going, which has led to the next big thing: potty training.  We told Leo he couldn’t go to his new school until he was using the potty and about a week later he told us he was ready to wear underwear.  We jumped on that opportunity and, true to his word, he is ready for underwear!  For the most part it’s been a pretty easy transition.  He’s had few accidents, has used public toilets without fear, has put himself on the potty without our asking, and has even stayed dry through naps and the night (even though we still had him in a diaper)!  He has yet to poop on the potty, but we’re working on it.  We’re pretty confident that this, too, will be a matter of decision for him, but we’re trying to encourage that decision with multiple incentives (he loves fruit snacks so we upped the ante and bought Gushers – the ultimate fruit snack!), lots of praise, tons of conversations/songs about poop, and trying to watch him for signs of poop.  It’ll happen.

Kate: Kate’s nearing 6 months, which is just crazy.  She’s still incredibly happy and smiley and sweet during the day.  She takes a 45-90 minute morning nap, a 90-120 minute post-lunch nap, and a 45 minute late afternoon nap (although this one sometimes gets skipped depending on earlier naps and what’s going on).  She’s a bit of a wild animal at night, but we’ve been working to “break” her a bit.  Previously she was going every 3-4 hours at night still, which was wearing me out big time.  But with a little bit of letting her cry, we’ve moved to once a night.  She now eats at 7am, 10am, 2pm, 4pm, 6:30pm, 11pm (or whenever she wakes up).  We’ve had some really good nights lately, which gives us hope that we might be a bit “out of the woods.”  We started solid foods a few weeks ago but then had some poop issues, so we backed off.  We’ve started slowly introducing again – just last night – after Little Miss was throwing a fit at dinner time because we were eating and she was not (seriously, we tried everything and nothing made her happy… until Dave suggested maybe she was actually just wanting to eat, too).

Running: I didn’t run most of March because of injury and sickness.  I didn’t run most of April because I was too dang tired and I just didn’t feel like it.  I was pretty exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally, and running sounded like too much.  I needed something restorative instead of challenging.  Some days I walked.  A lot of days I slept in.  On days I ran I was getting about 6 hours of sleep in broken chunks, so sleeping in seemed like an obvious choice.  While it didn’t do anything to change my postpartum body, it was definitely the right choice at the time.  Since Kate has started sleeping better I’ve been running more.  Three changes have helped get me back out there: 1) a new route.  I’d been running my old route for the better part of 5 years and I was tiiiiiired of it.  I found a new route that is still well-lit and residential and – bonus – it’s extra miles.  2) I stopped caring about pace.  My preferred pace is always sub-9, but that’s just not happening right now.  Instead I’m just running whatever feels comfortable, which ends up being around 10:30 pace.  I’m fine with that, as pace isn’t (or shouldn’t be) my driving force for running.  And it’ll probably drop as I regain fitness anyway.  3) I’m listening to music or audio books while I run.  Normally I eschewed this since I run when it’s still fairly dark out, but lately I’ve been listening in one ear.  It’s helped to change it up for me and keeps my mind off “uggggh I feel out of shape.”

Dave and I: Here’s how I can best describe the transition from one kid to two: One kid (Leo) fit pretty easily into our already-existing lives.  We had to make a few adjustments but, for the most part, we could still do a lot of what we wanted, just with a kid along.  But with two kids it’s definitely more of us fitting in to their lives.  Our schedules and decisions revolve largely around the kids – what they need, if they can come, their schedule, etc.  I don’t think this is bad.  I think it’s totally necessary and will likely shift again and balance out as they get older.  However, it’s definitely meant some adjustment for Dave and I – adjusting our schedules, our energy, our expectations.  One thing that has been really good for us is carving out a 30 minute time slot in the day (for us 6:30am-7am) where we sit and talk.  We get Leo playing in his room or put on a show (Kate is still sleeping) and get some time to sit together and really talk.  It’s not long, but it’s enough for us to feel like we’re still married and still friends outside of kids and diapers and feedings and all that.  I’m so grateful Dave initiated this for us!

So that’s a general rundown on the state of things around here.  The days are flying by and we’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity we have to be this family of four and to watch these babes of ours grow and change right in front of us.  What a gift (and before we paint too rosy a picture, yes, also sometimes an exhausting, frustrating, I’m going to hide in a closet for alone time “gift”)!

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chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt

  • 2c. plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2c. peanut butter
  • 3T. cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • splash of vanilla
  • sweeten to taste (I used stevia because we were out of honey, but I think any kind of sweetener would work – sugar, agave, honey, etc.)

Mix the ingredients well.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Put the mixture in a prepared ice cream maker for 10 minutes on low.  Serves 4 (… or 2).  Dance for joy.


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friends and first stroller run

Saturday I was supposed to run the Nutri-Run 20K in Fort Wayne with Kimberly.  Because March has been a hard running month for me between my knees and a stomach bug, I just met up with Kimberly post-race for fro-yo and baby sharing.

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I can’t say I was sad I missed the race considering it was sleeting and super windy, but I am super proud of Kimberly for running it and having an awesome time.  She’s amazing and I love sharing life with her - talking about our toddler boys, running, and just “getting” each other.

Speaking of friends who “get” you, Sunday we got to have breakfast with our good friends Joel and Rachel. It was a bit of controlled chaos, with two carseats and three booster seats between us as we navigated eggs and conversation (plus one diaper issue and a spilled drink) but it was so good to see them face to face and catch up a little!

Sunday it was gloriously sunny and warm out, so it was time for Kate’s first stroller run!

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I’ve run 5 times in the month of March, so the run was a little painful, but it did feel really good to get out.  I managed 4 miles while my little beauty snoozed in front of me.  Talk about a supercute view!

It was also my first run with my Garmin Forerunner 10 – a Christmas present from Dave that I’ve been really excited to try out, but it’s been too cold to get outside with it!  I love the watch and it’s super simple, which is perfect.  I’m looking forward to a lot more runs with it!

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