Life in CA Mommy Anecdotes On Becoming a Better Mom

Firsts at #Seawheeze2018

It’s been over three weeks since the #Seawheeze2018 half marathon in Vancouver, and I feel like I’m still on recovery / catch-up mode.

I always say it was the hardest half I’ve done, and maybe that’s what makes it so memorable.  And there were a lot of “firsts” that I can associate to it as well.

It was the first time I traveled outside of California to run.  In fact I said I’d never spend money to do that!  My husband already thinks paying to run in local races isn’t a good use of money when I can run for free.  But I told myself, it’s a lottery system, what did I have to lose?

As it turned out, I got in on second round, which fell on my birthday!  Do you believe in signs? 😉

When I got in, he surprised ME by saying — go ahead and do it.  That was a big first in itself! I guess the old adage, never say never, still rings true all around.

My best friend lives in Vancouver and was gracious enough to host me for the weekend.  So I prepped, packed and flew over.

I’ve heard all good things about Seawheeze.  It’s a beautiful course in a beautiful city, and there is nothing like it.

Pretty #raincouver

And of course, Lululemon.  They had a jam-packed weekend with yoga, shopping and a party, but I’d been so busy leading up to the weekend I really didn’t have time to think any of it through.

Actually, leading up to the race felt like a race in itself.  I didn’t have time to properly prep for it, and so going in I felt ill-prepared.  I was going to  Orange Theory but outside of that my runs were sporadic and short. I started to feel aches and pains and I was constantly sore.  My best friend took me to her boxing circuit the day before, which was a good way to warm up our bodies in the cold.

Where I met Bob.

The weather forecasts showed signs of rain and this wasn’t something I could wrap my brain around.  I’d never run in the rain.  That’s something my mom told me NOT to do!  I hoped the chances of rain would decrease but as my friend says, “honey, they don’t call us #raincouver for nothing.” 

But at some point, I had to come to terms with it.

Rarely do I do selfies, but the trash bag look is in these days…

That’s also the reason for the cling wrap around my ankles and socks.

The race began without rain, hurray!  But the trash bag flapping was pretty distracting.  So I chucked it and just as I rounded the corner for mile 2, well whaddya know: DOWN. CAME. THE RAIN.

In a couple of minutes I was soaked and everything was squishing in my shoes.  I tried to avoid puddles, but people were running past me and splashing thru without a care in the world.  There wasn’t much else to do but keep going if I wanted to finish.  And boy, was it hard to keep going!

Yes indeed. Thanks for the photo, Dewi!

This wasn’t my first half, but it was definitely the hardest one.  It was truly “mind-over-matter”.  My toes were gripping in my shoes so hard that parts of my body I never knew could cramp started cramping!  It had to keep reminding myself: Beautiful course, beautiful city, and force myself to look up and enjoy the sights.  I didn’t get a picture of it because my phone was encased in ziploc, and even that was wet.

All things considered, I finished with an acceptable time (to me).  For all the glamour that a brand like Lululemon holds, I felt the farthest from it, a tired, cold wet rat to be honest!

The view WAS beautiful though, and on a good non-rainy day, it would’ve been an ideal race.

Debbie and I post-race, limping up to catch a better view.

Props to the swag too:  it’s the best I’ve seen in the little experience I’ve had with races.

The Sage bath salts, oh my word! Love them.

And thankfully, I had friends to share this experience with!

Part of my running village!

Even off the course, and my entire weekend stay was absolutely delightful.

The best support group I could ask for! Love them all.

My own little after party was full of eating, laughing and shopping! And just such good conversation all around.  Gotta love decades of friendship.  It was a first to have my own cheering squad at the end of the race, bananas, and dry clothes to say the least!

The big question is, would I do it again?

And the honest answer is:  I don’t know just yet.  If it weren’t for the rain, I’d most definitely say yes.  But I think I need a little bit more time to think about it. 😉

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MyMommyology #FieldTripFriday at La Brea Tarpits

Walking away from LACMA on the right, you’ll find the La Brea Tarpits.  You can’t miss it, you smell the tar and the sulfuric gas as you walk towards it.

Interesting site, stinky smell.

I first heard of tar when we lived in North Carolina, hence the term:  Tar-Heel.  I never would’ve guessed that a whole fossil site was within driving distance from where we now stay!

And fossils — that’s the magic word for my girls.  While they have never watched the Ice Age movies, their books and their love for science and animals have led us to understand a little bit more about the past that is buried beneath our feet.

It’s quite the joyful experience for me when we discover something new together.  The learner in me enjoys taking them to these new places  — and it’s such a treat when I learn something new along with them.

His name is Zed!  So. Cool!

Who know about the vast number of dire wolves in California?  There are 400 on the wall there so far.

Or that a Columbian Mammoth that’s the most complete they’ve found (so far)?!

They all say “so far” — because there are still ongoing excavations.

Paleontologist beware: Curious child in front.

The girls got to ask questions from a paleontologist who was at Project 23, the most recent dig site.  Ever the naiveté, here I thought they’d found everything there was to be found in the last century.  Apparently not!  They claim to have found 3.5 million fossils to date, and the count continues to grow.  It’s a reason to go back — because you never know what’s new to be featured a few months from now, or even a few years from now!

Considering it was a small museum, we spent a good portion of our day there (apart from a quick lunch break across the street), studying a bunch of the fossils they’ve discovered.  Plus, my children like to read all the descriptions.

The Observation Pit where a pile of predators seemed to have gotten caught.

The girls were fascinated as well by the Fossil lab where the scientists were at work on some of their current finds.

Like a scientific fishbowl.

It’s like a big prehistoric jigsaw puzzle with no guide — and they find things out as they go along.  Or they use the parts they find to figure out the story behind why all those fossils are piled one on top of the other!  A predatory kill perhaps?  So much tar has to be cleaned off though!

The Tar is fascinating as much as it is scary.  It’s still bubbling the girls said.  You could still fall in?!  *clutch children closer*

Souvenir photo for the win.

#FieldtripFriday tip:  Buy your tickets ahead of time so you can go straight to the entrance.  Add $5 to attend an Ice Age encounter.  The girls enjoyed it because there was a talking Sabertooth.

And finally, the photo fossil book is a worthy keepsake souvenir.  Thanks Maga! 😉


Life in CA Mommy Anecdotes On Becoming a Better Mom

Run Momma Run

It’s funny how two years ago, you’d never think to put running and me in the same thought.  Or sentence.

I just re-read a post about my first 10k run, and couldn’t help but smile.  I still remember when running a 5k was extremely challenging.

But I am proud to say that my running mates and I have come a long way since then (in actual mileage as well!).  Thanks largely to peer pressure, we’ve managed to maintain our regular Sunday runs.  Regardless of the weather and the time changes too (I cannot begin to tell you how hard it is to get up in 40 degree weather and run in the dark!  Ack!).  If it weren’t for them, I’d probably put the alarm on snooze and roll over and go back to bed.

I’m fairly impressed we’ve been able to keep it up this long.  Some of us have come and gone, but it definitely helps that we have someone asking “who’s up to run this trail this week?” or “who’d like to join this race with me?”

Yes, they definitely keep me going.

And it is thanks to them and a few other running buddies, that I’ve managed to put three half-marathons under my belt to date.  Woot!

Proof that I survived.

The endurance and stamina have been built slowly though.  In my father-in-law’s words (to my husband), I am no spring chicken.  Trust me, I feel it.

The body takes a while to recover when I push, and the prep before a race takes longer.  I know when I eat (or drink) the “wrong things”, I can feel it when I run.  And if I don’t run regularly, I pay for it days later.

In other words, there is no more “winging it”.

It’s also funny how, because I’ve come to run much more, I got pulled into the girls’ school Run Club this year.

Photo credit: @rocking_my_miles

The joke is that my very good friends were desperate for a fourth person.  Anyway — I did as I was told, got a workout in each week with the kids, and I had fun! It’s all good.

I’ll admit it was nice to see both my girls start to enjoy running as well, and have them build their own physical endurance.  This year they joined a bunch of their friends at Kids Run the OC.  I dare say they’d like to do it again next year.

Training for her race.

This coming fall, we’ve all agreed to do a 5k race as a family.  My husband (the only runner in the family when this all started), who’s run the least of us all, has agreed to participate and “train” occasionally.  This remains to be seen, but hey, here’s hoping right?

I remember a Parenting Lesson Coach Pia taught us — about teaching your kids something that you love, or something you’re good at.  I’d always thought that would be up my husband’s alley since he played all kinds of sports, and he was good at them.  I never thought of myself good at running (I know a whole lot of other people who are better), but I do it often enough that I think I know a little bit.   I never thought I’d enjoy it — it just seemed like the easiest workout to do.  So I never thought they’d “learn to run” from me!

I have to say — that realization has put a smile on my face too! 😉



ExperiMOMent Life in CA Mommy Anecdotes On Becoming a Better Mom

Summer Shenanigans

I suppose it’s best to start with that.  It is after all, summer time in California.

In the past summers, the girls would continue on with classes and camps for a most of the day.  In the period where Sam was in year-round school and Jamie was on a traditional schedule — their schedules didn’t match up.  It got too complicated to juggle them around, and the easiest was to just keep them in camps and school.  They were learning and they were busy.  Done and done!

Eventually, we moved homes, and Sam moved to a traditional calendar school.  Suddenly, summer lined up, but Jamie wanted to stay in her school with her friends (they would have splash day every Friday and pizza), and Sam and I thought we would try out different camps for her around town.  It all worked out and the ladies (big and little) were happy.

By Fall 2016, it was my husband who complained — he’d finally gotten the bill for all the camps.  Wooops.

I’m surprised he didn’t pop a vein.  Or maybe he did.

And to his point, summer is supposed to be a time for the kids to relax, chill and get bored.  My problem he said, is that I always have them doing something (why…. yes.  I didn’t understand.)  They have to learn to do nothing (it took me a while to process that, but…. ok).

So for the summer of 2017, we said goodbye to week-after-week of camp, and just picked one half day camp both girls wanted to do in the same location.  It was the happy compromise between doing “something” and doing “nothing”. The husband was happy, the girls were a little less “on schedule”… but guess what.  It meant more for me to do!

Hence, #mymommyologysummercamp was born.  Trust me, I had no idea what I was doing.

We went around the house for the most part and unearthed gifts, activities and toys they hadn’t touched over the school year and popped them open.

The was definitely some Lego.  And game boards!

Ticket to Ride time.

Somehow, we got some geography lessons in with Little Passports.

We love our Little Passports!

And some science in with our Tinker Crates (more on that next time).

Jamie and her claw machine game.

Of course, I had to inject some Filipino lessons here and there.  Hearing the girls read the words is painful and hilarious at the same time, but hey, a little progress here and there should be good?

Thank you, Amazon.

One of our milestones last year was Sam finally learning how to bike (we had to get the gross-motor skills going too), and I’d like to think that was my personal favorite moment.  We’d been waiting for dad to get out and teach her to do it, since that is not part of my parenting skill set.  But anyway, we got it done (pat self on back)!

Looking for a bike to practice on.  We ended up waiting and asked Santa to bring one.

Last year was the first time we purposely didn’t schedule anything on Fridays.  So the girls and I ventured out into different places around town and did our version of #fieldtripfriday!  We’ll save those discoveries for some later dates.

#fieldtripfriday posts are coming!

By the time I got the girls back into school last fall, I was EXHAUSTED.  It seemed to work its charm on the girls though because they said that they liked that summer “best” and “would love a repeat next year (eeeeek).  Strangely enough, I find that they remembered most of what we did in those sporadic trips here and there.  Maybe my husband was onto something about “doing nothing”…. ? 😉

Life in CA Mommy Anecdotes Mommy Lessons (on Parenting) On Becoming a Better Mom

We Went Camping

Yes.  Yes we did.

We spent the last part of the girls’ spring break in the Mojave National Preserve.

We made it!

Camping is a big deal for me.  Like skiing, it’s not in my vocabulary.  I can only “rough it” so far — especially now that I’m older (and supposedly wiser…  it makes me wonder sometimes).  What we did  before was not remotely close to camping in the desert in low temperatures and gusty wind conditions.  And no bathrooms.  Or showers.

I need my showers.

Did I mention no bathrooms?  They were vaults.  Outhouses with toilet seats inside that lead straight down into a hole.  Where everything drops.  No flush.

Photo Credit: Utah Jones (Vaults look so… decent — in this photo. It’s deceiving.)

No flush.

I flashback to our Yosemite trip, where the vaults were nowhere near desirable.  I would hoist Sam and Jamie over it and pray they wouldn’t fall in.

I’d have to say – I was at the edge of my comfort zone, just about to lose my footing.

I had panic attacks.  I lost sleep and I had toilet nightmares.  I looked to Immodium as the solution.  I wanted to back out many times.

But we were going to do this.  I took a deep breath, and prepped my “vault bag”.

From a water proof toilet paper necklace to gloves, I had it all.

I bought a portable shower and a privacy tent, which was quite the entertainment for my fellow moms.

Left: Daddy practicing the tent
Right: REI’s top portable shower pick!

We camped at Hole-in- the Wall, an area that got its name from the uneven cooling of lava and ash from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.  The oxidation of iron in the volcanic mater is what makes some of the rocks look red.    And all toilet humor aside, I will admit it was beautiful.

Photo Credit: Utah Jones

We took a hike on Ring Loop Trail, and Jamie almost ran into a snake (no kidding).

The kids climbed boulders, and took in the wildlife.  Sam loves nature, and her energy and positivity was contagious, especially to Jamie.  The girls did some crafts and completed a badge or two (including the National Parks’ Junior Ranger patch!)

Kids on rocks. My heart in my throat.

And we were in excellent company.  I wasn’t the only mom with vault nightmares — but we made the best of the situation and lived to joke about it after.

It was also because the vaults weren’t as bad as we’d expected (except for one instance when I had to clean it in its worst state. I am forever scarred).  So it was tolerable, even at 2AM in the morning when Sam would need it.

The weather conditions were rough though.  The winds howled all night and snapped a tent in half.  The ranger said the next morning that it shifted to 45mph and were considered “perilous”.  Gee, thanks.  A lot of us didn’t sleep due to the noise and the movement the wind was making on our tents, thinking they’d collapse at any minute.

So all in all, it was quite the experience.  And all I can think of is:  I survived.  In between laughing fits, my friends ask why I put myself through all of that.  Were we crazy to go despite all my concerns and apprehensions?

I only had one reason.

This little girl.

My little adventure-seeker and nature-lover could not be bribed (yes shame on us – we tried) to go anywhere else.  Sam really wanted to camp in Mojave.  She researched about it, read about it, and even proposed a presentation of the trip to her teacher.  She was excited.  And she got Jamie excited about it too.  My timid Jamie, who hesitates through new experiences, jumped straight into this one.  All thanks to her big sister’s infectious excitement.

I can’t deny this was a good experience for them (once we flush all those concerns down the drain).  I would never in a million years, think to offer this to them though, but now we’ve opened new doors to explore.

My girls are the only people who can push me to the limits of my comfort zone and beyond.  It amazes me how far beyond my comfort zone I’d go, to give them a chance to experience these unique opportunities.  Parenting has definitely taught me to “suck it up” and “weather” it out, in a manner of speaking.

On top of the world. Well, the desert.

And I survived!  Sleep-deprived and muscle aches in tow, I surprised even myself.

Oh Motherhood.  It changes you in ways you can’t explain.  And you don’t realize it until it’s there… or until the next morning when you feel your (my) aching back.