Hitting the Road

It’s Friday! I especially love Friday’s when I know that in a few hours we will have a packed vehicle and be on our way out of town for a few days.

Tonight we will head to Rochester, where we make mandatory stops at Funkin’ Go Nuts (that’s Dunkin’ Donuts for those who don’t watch Jimmy Fallon 😉 ), the Eastview Mall, Trader Joe’s and of course, The Cheesecake Factory. We will stay in Rochester tonight and move back across the border tomorrow to visit my Great Aunt and Uncle in Welland at their home, which has been referred to as The Pork Palace for as long as I can remember. I’m really looking forward to this visit, as I have a ton of fun memories from my own childhood at their house, and am so grateful that Odin will be able to make memories there too.

We have some additional family and friends that we will see in Welland, and then on Sunday we will move along to Mississauga to visit my husband’s aunts and grandmother – who is so excited to see Odin’s ‘Happy Feet’ dance again. The day will conclude with a visit and dinner with one of my closest friends and then we will hit the road and return home.

My Starbucks mug collection will also grow on this trip – with the addition of the Niagara Falls and Toronto mugs, and likely another New York one (I already have 3 of those alone…). For those of you that may not know what I mean by this, Starbucks releases mugs for certain cities, provinces, states and countries. I’ve been collecting these mugs for a number of years now and add to it everywhere I go. My dad even found the Paris and France mini mugs for me, as I went there during high school on an exchange trip.

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Have a great weekend everyone!

 

A Typical Week in the Khan Home

Since returning to work, my life is a juggling act – and I know many parents can relate with me on that! Being the organized individual that I am, I rely on planning ahead and a lot of lists to help me keep it all together. I feel terrible if I forget something or let certain household chores go for too long. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that there will always be cat hair in tumbleweeds on my floors and Goldfish crackers jammed in the couch cushions – and I’m ok with that (now).

I have a few tricks up my sleeve that help our days run smoothly, and most of my tips revolve around food.

1. Pre-packing my lunches and Odin’s snacks

Every Sunday night I pre-pack my lunches for the week. This means cutting up fruit and putting it in individual containers and packing whatever other items I can in advance (crackers, cheese, and other snacks). I also take this time to get a few things together for Odin to take to daycare with him. They provide snacks, but I also send along a few things each week, which I send with him every Monday morning.

2. Writing out dinner menus a week in advance

Over the weekend, my husband and I will take a look at the week ahead, see what the weather is supposed to be like and if there are nights we have activities/commitments outside the house. We take these into consideration when planning out our dinners for the week. Doing this in advance helps us remember what food needs to be taken out to thaw each day and makes it easier to start cooking right away, rather than wasting time debating what we should have for dinner (because I can waste a lot of time making a decision).

3. Getting things ready the night before

Every night I get my clothes and bag ready for the next day. This reduces the amount of time it takes me to get ready in the morning because I just put on what it sitting on my dresser. I also refill items in Odin’s diaper bag and pack his spare clothes the night before so that I can pick him up and go each morning. We save a lot of our housework for the weekend, simply to give us more time to devote to Odin during the evening.

4. Making the most of my lunch hour

We live out of town, so my husband and I make the most of our lunch hours by getting all of our errands done on our lunch breaks. My office is located close to everything I could possibly need in Ottawa, which makes picking up groceries, going to the bank, picking up prescriptions and other errands run smoothly – and allows me to do a lot in a short period of time.

5. Running… at 4:30am

If I didn’t get up extra early to run, I would barely ever get out to run. By the time I get home, pick Odin up from daycare, get dinner ready, walk the dog, give Odin a bath, etc., it would be pitch black before I fit in a run. I also want to have evenings to spend with my family, so it’s just easier for me to run when everyone else is still asleep. We live in the country, so having a treadmill is necessary, and makes it possible to run at 4:30 am without worrying about the types of animals I may encounter if I were running outside in the dark (we only have one street light on our road).

With all of that said, the balancing act that is work and home is not rocket science, it’s simply time management. Once we figured out a routine that worked best for us, things got much easier. It also got easier once our marathon winter in Ottawa ended and we didn’t spend 5-10 minutes getting bundled up before heading out the door each morning.

My Running Bucket List

A lot of people have lists of things they want to accomplish in their life, during the summer, etc. I have a lot of lists – things I need to do today, weekly dinner menus – there’s no shortage of notes in my agenda or on my iPhone. One of the lists I am most excited about is a list of all of the runs I’d eventually like to run. I’ve run quite a few half marathons in Ottawa and some shorter distance races in my hometown of Brockville. The races that are on my running bucket list combine my love of running with my love of travel. I’m constantly looking to add to this list too, so if anyone has any runs they’d like to recommend, please feel free to leave me a comment 🙂

This is what my running list looks like so far:

  • The Reyjkavic Half Marathon
  • The Nike Women’s Half Marathon on Washington DC
  • The Disney Princess Half Marathon
  • The Run Disney Dopey Challenge (a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon on back-to-back days)
  • The Chicago Half Marathon
  • The NYC Half Marathon
  • Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon & Half-Marathon (Anchorage, Alaska)
  • The Other Half (Moab, Utah)
  • The Buffalo Bills Half Marathon (you finish on the football field, how could I resist?!)
  • Ottawa Race Weekend Full Marathon (with the hopes of running a Boston qualifying time)

…the Boston Marathon

A lot of people ask me if I plan on running a full marathon. A lot of people also tell me I should run a full marathon. My mom is convinced that I could qualify for the Boston Marathon at my current state and age. I have a little less confidence in myself, but I am finally ready to admit that I do intend on running a full marathon – and not just to say I did it.

I want to run Boston. I really do. It hit me while watching the 2014 Boston Marathon and tracking my co-worker online as she completed the gruelling course. I want to own a Boston Marathon jacket. I want to be able to tell my story about how I worked my way to Boston. Mostly, I feel like I have something to prove to myself. I’ve mentioned before that I constantly surprise myself when it comes to my running, so why not set my sights high?

A Recap of Odin’s Recent Adventures

During my absence from blogging, a lot has gone on around here. I returned to work after having a year off at home. We celebrated Odin’s second Christmas, my 27th birthday, Ryan’s 30th birthday, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Being the sports loving family that we are, we also celebrated the World Juniors, the Superbowl, the Olympics, the Stanley Cup Finals and most recently, the start of the World Cup. If our family had a theme song, it would probably be this:

In early April, we ventured down to sunny San Francisco after enduring an unusually long Ottawa winter. We went to SF because I was attending a conference. We made the most of our trip and took Odin to the aquarium, the SF Zoo, the wharf, AT&T Park and a long list of other SF favourites. My Starbucks city mug collection grew a little more on this trip too. This trip served as Odin’s first place ride – which went surprisingly well. As for me, one of the most amazing parts of the trip was the opportunity to be in the same room, three rows away, from Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was giving the keynote address at the conference I attended and it was the first time where she hinted at considering a presidential run in the upcoming US federal election.

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At the end of May we took Odin on his second camping trip to celebrate Ryan’s 30th birthday. Odin loved every second of it. From helping set up the tent to splashing in the cold water of Lake Ontario, Odin fully embraced the camping experience. Surprisingly (and thankfully) Odin does quite well in the great outdoors. I was worried that the noises in the night would keep him awake and that he wouldn’t be able to get settled in his temporary surroundings. I really had nothing to worry about – he was a pro!

We spend a lot of time in Picton and at the Sandbanks, so hopefully we will find some time to make it back up there before summer ends. You know, on one of those spare summer weekends. We really need more of those…

Most Likely to Hate Running: ME?!

That’s right. Had there have been a ‘least likely to ever say ‘I love running!’ category in our school yearbook, I probably would have won by a landslide. In the 7th or 8th grade, I cried because I had to run an 800m race during our school’s track and field day. At age 10, a few injuries and dance classes where I scooted out of the room on my bum because I couldn’t walk, led to a diagnosis of patella femoral syndrome and I was handed a doctor’s note requesting that I do not run. A lengthy stint in physical therapy made a difference, but I still was afraid to run. I seriously believed I was incapable of it.

During my first year of university, the freshman 15 was more like the freshman 20, which left me unhappy with my appearance. I moved back home for the summer and was working two jobs to help pay for my tuition. I needed to find an activity that I could do at any time – and anywhere. My mom had joined a learn to run 5k group. I figured, if she could do it, why couldn’t I? I decided that I would try running. At first, my motivation was to run 5k and lose some weight. I never thought I would turn into this girl:

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Multiple half marathons later and the owner of a bucket list of races I want to run – who have I turned into?! I am no longer the girl who cried because she had to run 800m. I’m the girl who cries if I go too many days without running. Most of the people who have met me over the past 8 years will mention that I run in the first 30 seconds of describing me. It’s what I do. It’s who I have become. I’ve surprised myself over and over again as a runner. I ran until I was 6 months pregnant with my first son. I have surpassed my goal of running a sub 1:45 half marathon (sub 1:38 to be more accurate). And now I wake up at 4:30am to fit in runs before going to work.

You can do anything if you put your mind to it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you are the only one holding yourself back.

Where in the World Have We Been?!

Good question. It’s been a really long time since I posted on this blog. I could give a million excuses as to why, but instead, I’m re-committing myself to this blog. A lot of other moms that I know have been blogging regularly, and after reading their wonderful stories, I’m left sitting here wanting to share my stories. Perhaps my spark for blogging has been reignited. Maybe I just have more to say. Either way, expect to hear a lot more from our little family. We have lots to share 🙂

Photo Credit and Copyright: Sara Jane Photography

Photo Credit and Copyright: Sara Jane Photography

In the meantime, please visit a fellow mama’s blog post on body image post-baby. Kim and I grew up in the same area and went to the same schools. She took this picture as part of a beautify body project and shares her reason for doing so – which is extremely inspiring, especially for her two little girls!