A day in the life of a full time working, training for a marathon Mum

This is an updated ‘Day in the Life’ post, as my routine has changed so much since writing my last one.  These timings are from one day last week, and this day is actually a pretty standard weekday since I returned to full time work back in May.

2:45am – Oscar usually (but not always) wakes me up by calling out to me at about this time.  He wants a feed and so I go and collect him from his room before bringing him back to the comfort of my bed where I can feed and play a quick logic puzzle game on my phone whilst waiting for him to finish drinking.  If he doesn’t fall asleep on me during this feed he still tends to be very sleepy, and after about ten minutes or so I can usually transfer him back to the cot in his bedroom where he drifts off fairly quickly again.  I try to stay awake in my bed until I can no longer hear him rolling around or chatting and then I turn my bedside lamp off before instantly falling back to sleep.  On a good day I might only be up for 15 minutes in total.  On a bad day, it could be an hour in the middle of the night.  On this occasion Oscar was fairly quick and I was able to switch my bedside light off 20 minutes after having initially woken.

5:00am – I set my alarm for this time to give myself a chance to get ready without Oscar in the morning.  I never appreciated in the past just how easy it was to get round when there wasn’t a baby around to slow me down!  I get dressed and grab my own breakfast at this point.  My go-to breakfast at the moment is stodgy porridge topped with blueberries, as it only takes three minutes to prepare.  Anything which is quick and easy at the moment is a winner!

Porridge with blueberries and raspberriesI also nip outside to water the plants in the greenhouse.

5:25am – If Oscar hasn’t already woken by this point, I push his door ajar and then chat to him quietly from outside his room so that he wakes ‘naturally’.  He won’t eat breakfast immediately upon waking, so once I’ve changed his nappy I take him downstairs, place him onto his playmat and pull out a selection of toys for him to play with.  (Nothing too noisy, as Dan is still fast asleep, and I’m nice like that! 😉 )  I spend a little time playing with Oscar so that he is nice and settled before breakfast.  He is usually in the best mood in the mornings and I resent having limited time with him before I have to leave.

Oscar playing6:00am – After feeding Bella (our cat), I make breakfast for Oscar and then pack up lunches for both Dan and I.  I try and vary Oscar’s breakfast every day.  On this day I cut up some fresh strawberries and spread them along with some almond butter over a warm slice of toast which I cut into thin strips to make it easy for Oscar to pick up.

Toast with almond butter and strawberriesOscar is going through a phase of hating being put into his highchair, and unhelpfully tries to make himself as spread out as possible with both his arms and legs, whilst squawking loudly at me.  Eventually I manage to strap him in and he spies the toast, immediately falling into line and reaching out for it.  Whilst Oscar is eating his breakfast I organise his nursery bag and a backup set of clothes for the day, pulling a bag of breastmilk out of the freezer to defrost if required.  On this day there is enough already expressed in the fridge, so I don’t need to defrost any more.  I pile up my lunch, phone charger, Dan’s lunch and Oscar’s nursery bag, milk bottles and coat by the front door, before expressing and placing fresh milk in the fridge for the following day.

6:30am – Dan emerges from the staircase and takes my spot at the table whilst Oscar finishes up his breakfast.  I kiss both of them on the head, confirm the dates for the milk so that Dan can let nursery know when he drops Oscar off at a little before 8am and then drive into work.  When I first returned to work I aimed to leave home by 7am each morning, but leaving that half an hour later resulted in an extra hour or more of travel time, so I gave that up rather quickly!  My journey in is rather dull.  I tend to listen to Heart radio most days as the radio presenters are Blue Peter presenters from my childhood.  (I actually met Katy Hill once!)

7:15am – This is usually the time I arrive at work.  The first 5-10 minutes after I’ve arrived is spent switching on the classroom computers and, at this time of year, opening the windows and turning on the fans in the classroom, before checking my emails and prepping for my lessons that day.  If I don’t have a high volume of lessons, I might be able to sneak 5-10 minutes of Twitter/blog reading time in, but this is very rare nowadays.  I don’t manage any blog time on this particular day.

8:15am – Students from my form start arriving from this point, so I bring up the activity planned for form time onto my computer screen and then jot down a list of notices which I need to share with my form.  There are two teaching periods before morning break, and this morning I am only teaching one of them – a year 7 programming lesson to a lovely group of students.  I love teaching, but I especially love teaching programming, as I find it so satisfying when students ‘get’ how to write the code.  Programming is like one big puzzle which you have to solve!

10:45am – As all year 11 and 13 students have finished for the year, year 8s and 9s have exams and year 10s are off out on work experience placements for the next two weeks I don’t have any further lessons today.  The time is needed to prep for the next academic year within the department though as there are so many changes being introduced to the school in light of the new 9-1 GCSEs.  (Grades A*-G and levels 3+ will no longer be referred to, and instead all of our resources and worksheets must reference the new 9-1 system.)  It feels like a lot of changes in paperwork for the sake of it to be honest, especially when the first set of files (out of hundreds of the resources in our user area) all mention curriculum levels and final grades, requiring an hour of checking and changes just to themselves.  With three new courses in our department next year, there are also a whole load of new resources to be created and with only a few weeks before the end of term I briefly wonder how we are ever going to fit all of the required work in before the holiday.  I really hope I don’t have to work over the Summer.

1:05pm – A quick ten minute break for lunch, – although I’ve already picked at most of mine by now.  It’s rather nice to have some adult conversation.  I did miss that whilst I was off on maternity leave earlier in the year.
Lunch is standard since returning to work.  My lunch ‘requirements’ are that it has to be something which will keep me full and something I can pick at for long portions of the day.  I am all about the variety…and picking!

Healthy lunchbox with salad, fruit and nakd barWe have two ‘work experience’ students with us this week (students whose actual work experience placements fell through at the last minute).  Luckily, as well as being Core Computing students, they also both take ICT as an option, and so I use the rest of the afternoon to help them improve their coursework in the subject.

3:00pm – As students start to leave the site at the end of the day I fight my way back upstairs to my classroom, where I give it a quick tidy, shutting all windows, turning off the projector and wiping the board clean.  The worst part about being a Computing teacher is that other teachers always use your room and they never leave it how they found it!  I used to stay in school until 5:30pm before having Oscar so that I wouldn’t have to take work home with me, but now I try to leave no later than 3:10pm as otherwise there is a high risk of not arriving back to pick Oscar up from nursery in time.

3:50pm – Traffic has been awful along the A14 just lately and I can often be seen rushing madly from my car to the nursery doors hoping that I haven’t interrupted the babies in the baby room during teatime (4pm).  When I collect Oscar he grins excitedly and starts chatting away, lifting his arms up high above his head for me to pick him up.  Nursery fill me in on his day, telling me that he had adored playing in the water table that afternoon (taking his sunhat and filling it with water over and over again!) and had also been out in the buggy to see the farm animals earlier in the day.  They also give me a quick run down of the times they gave him his milk bottles, what he ate for lunch and the fact that he had given them an explodapoo at lunchtime, so they’ve popped his dirty clothes into a bag inside his nursery bag.  I thank them, collect his nursery bag and lift him into his old baby seat in my car.  Because Dan drops Oscar off in the mornings and then continues on his way to work, it doesn’t make sense for him to return home in order to leave the car seat for me to collect after I finish work for evening pick up.  I’d never make it on time then anyway.  So Dan keeps Oscar’s current car seat in his car and his old baby car seat is strapped into my little Ibiza.  I think we’re going to get away with this arrangement for the remainder of term but when I return in September for my final few weeks I fear I’m going to have to walk the 2.5 miles home with Oscar in the buggy each night before then running back out to collect my car later in the evening.  (Our initial plan.)

4:10pm – Depending on what activities Oscar was involved in at nursery that day he tends to be rather tired and irritable by this point.  A horrible whingey sound comes out of his mouth until I can get him into his sit-in walker in the kitchen.

Oscar in his walkerIt’s then a race against time to try and keep him amused whilst making tea as quickly as possible so that I can get him fed before he decides that he’s waited too long for his dinner!  He managed to make it until about 4:35pm today before the whinging begins.  I cut him a couple of small strips of cheese which seem to keep him occupied for a few moments whilst I quickly complete all tasks where I need both hands!  After that I pick him up and place him on my hip to finish the cooking.  It’s not ideal, but I can’t listen to him whinge all evening!

4:45pm – Tea time!  I have always had my dinner on the late-side since starting running.  Often it would be 9-10pm before I sat down to eat in an evening.  This obviously isn’t practical now that we have Oscar though, and I want to do my best to demonstrate good table manners when possible, so I now have my tea at this super early time with him.  I also get Bella her tea at this time.  Tonight Oscar has spaghetti with mushrooms, broccoli, sweetcorn, chicken and chopped tomatoes.  It all disappears rather quickly!

Oscar tea5:15pm – Once Oscar has finished his tea (usually indicated by sweeping his arm across his highchair through all the food) I get him out and roughly brush him down on the plastic mat we lay underneath the table.  He then walks holding onto my hands for support to the bottom of the stairs where I pick him up and carry him upstairs to the bathroom and place him into the bathtub.
Oscar loves bath time and any playing with water in general.  I always place a selection of plastic balls, a mini watering can and squirty animal toys into the bath with him and I am sure that he would literally stay in the bath all night long playing if I let him!

5:50pm – After drying Oscar down and getting him changed into a clean nappy, vest and sleepsuit it is time for a story on our bed.  At the weekends Dan reads to him and I love sneakily watching them from the doorway as Oscar is always so captivated by the book and the voices which Dan puts on.  My voices are never as good it seems!

7:00pm – After a little more playing it is time for Oscar’s last milk feed of the night.  If he’s had a busy day at nursery he often falls asleep during this feed and I can then transfer him to the cot in his bedroom.  Tonight it’s not so easy and it takes me half an hour to convince him to go to sleep.  Dan has the knack of always getting him to fall sleep within minutes.  I think I am often too impatient at this time of the evening as I know just how much I still have to fit in before bed!

7:30pm – Dan arrives home just in time to help me soothe Oscar to sleep and then I quickly whizz around the house trying to complete as many basic housework chores as possible.  During the week I stick to the necessities – mainly washing up and washing/drying clothes.  I also clear away Oscar’s toys from earlier in the day, clean down his high chair and mat, and sometimes hoover if it’s been a particularly messy meal!  Tonight I just quickly use a bristle brush to sweep the worst of the food away.

8:00pm – Anywhere between 8pm-9pm I head out on my run for the evening.  I aim to run 4 nights during the working week, but it’s much tougher to slot them all in than I first thought it would be, and I often end up running twice on a Saturday to make up for a run I missed out earlier in the week.  Tonight I get changed and am out of the front door by 8:30pm, but I only have a 6 mile easy run (10:50mm-11:40mm pace) on my training plan so this is more manageable than the days where I’m due to run 8 or more miles.  The run goes well, and although I’ve been finding it hard to keep my runs this slow and steady, these sessions have definitely been paying off and I can feel that my endurance has improved no end just lately.

10:00pm – I always grab a glass of milk on arriving back from my run, and take 5 minutes to upload my run to Strava and just chill for a brief moment before grabbing a shower.  I hate not showering in the mornings, but I just don’t have time at the moment, so I wash my hair and quickly plait it to sleep in so that it doesn’t look too wild in the morning!

11:15pm – I like to be in bed by this point and on this occasion, I manage it with ten minutes to spare.  Rather than an extra ten minutes of sleep (which is probably what I should have used the time for) I scroll through my social media channels quickly before turning my bedside lamp off and waiting to hear Oscar calling out for me a few hours later.

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So that’s what I get up to on weekdays just lately.  I do wish I had a little more ‘free time’, but I get the opportunity to head out for a run most nights, so I can’t really complain!  I know that I definitely would not be able to maintain this lifestyle permanently though and I’m very glad that the end of term is now in sight.  I have returned as a full time teacher until the end of August, although after handing in my notice and negotiating some pay, my contract has been extended slightly until the end of September, so that I may help the new Second in Department to settle into the school and department.  Had the four weeks I am returning for been immediately on the back of the seven weeks I initially returned for, I would have outright turned down the extra work, but with the Summer holidays off in the middle, I hope that I will be able to muster up enough enthusiasm and energy for my final four weeks in September.
Major kudos to anybody who does manage to work full time and parent successfully around that whilst maintaining hobbies, seeing their partner (notice the lack of any time I get to spend with Dan during the week!) and keeping on top of housework!  I am hoping that once the Summer is here, I will be able to complete a couple of my easy runs whilst pushing Oscar in the buggy during the morning, so running won’t take over every evening during the week.  It’s so hard juggling everything and maintaining a healthy balance in life.  Is a healthy balance even possible any more?

Do you have any tips for fitting everything in to each day?!

Two parkruns and some big news

Firstly, the parkruns.
Both at Northampton, both with the buggy.

Last week I headed over to run with Laura and Steph, who has been out with an injury for almost a year now.  Every runner’s worst nightmare.  Steph was hoping to run the whole parkrun and then intended on rewarding herself with a new pair of trainers if she succeeded in doing so.  Spoiler alert: a new pair of trainers were purchased!

We started at the back and kept things super slow so that we could catch up on the gossip.  I can’t remember the last time I ran properly without chatting at parkrun to be honest.  I’m due a proper hard run soon I’m sure!
Northampton parkrun with the running buggy

We used to regularly have a photographer at Northampton parkrun but it’s been a bit hit and miss for the last year or so and it was nice to see one out and about last weekend.  He was literally everywhere as well.  Popped up so many times out on the course!  According to a post he shared on the parkrun Facebook page, he took more than 2000 images during the run!

Garmin time: 35:37
Official time: 35:42
Position: 449/539
Gender position: 173/234
Age category position: 22/27

We obviously headed to The Good Loaf for cake afterwards, although for some reason I forgot to take any pictures.  Very unlike me!

As I was loading up the buggy back at my car again, a tiny little mouse came running out from underneath my car and just pottered around on the pavement.  He kept stopping and looking at me, but really wasn’t scared at all.

Mouse in Northampton

This past weekend, Oscar and I headed to Northampton parkrun again with Laura and this time Dan joined us too, although ran his own ‘race’.  Now that Dan has decided to give up football on a Saturday morning he thought it would be a good idea to get back out to parkrun for as many events as he can make, starting with the one at the weekend.

Dan, Me and Oscar on the way to parkrun

On the drive over Dan asked if I would like him to head back and collect Oscar from me once he had crossed the finish line.  I said that he could do if he wanted, although we may not be too far behind, depending on how busy it was that day.

Laura, Oscar and I at Northampton parkrunIt was pretty busy.

We got very stuck behind other runners at the beginning.  I’ve naturally got a very long stride and it’s very hard to keep clipping it continuously.  The paths are very narrow at Northampton and so I kept whizzing Oscar out on the grassy verges and over the bumpy bits where I was able, so that I could overtake runners who stopped or slowed as we went along.  Oscar didn’t seem to care though.  I get the impression (from all the fab smiling he does as everyone runs by) that he adores being in the buggy!

Garmin time: 31:40
Official time: 31:43
Position: 361/523
Gender position: 105/217
Age category position: 17/31

I was really surprised to see 31m 40s on my Garmin as I crossed the line, as once again I’d chatted the whole way round and we really had been going so very slowly (for us) at the beginning of the run.  Dan finished in just under 31 minutes and didn’t make it back to relieve me of the buggy!

We had a busy weekend actually as Dan, Oscar and I met friends, along with their 11-month-old baby at Beckworth Emporium for lunch.  Well, we met them at 2pm, and were seated a little after 3.  The queuing was insane!  Luckily, the babies behaved.

Beckworth Emporium queueI definitely deserved burger and cake for my lunch/tea by the time we were seated!

Burger from Beckworth EmporiumThat fudge cake was a killer though…I wolfed it down as Oscar needed feeding by that point, but by the time I got up I could barely move I was so full!

Chocolate fudge cake from Beckworth Emporium

On Sunday morning Dan managed a lay in, and then I got him breakfast in bed.  (I thought it was supposed to be Mother’s Day?!  Haha!)  We had planned to go swimming so that Dan could see Oscar in the pool, as, other than his first swimming lesson back at the start of January, Dan hasn’t seen Oscar in the water.

Oscar absolutely adores swimming.  Over the past three months his confidence has grown so much in the pool and he is now perfectly happy to dive in from the side of the pool, go underwater, and he kicks his legs and doggy-paddles with his arms.  He’s pretty easy to spot in the pool as he’s the one that will be shrieking with excitement each lesson!

We stopped in at Asda to pick up some coloured plastic balls and a plastic watering can for him to play with in the pool and although he was quite distracted by all of the other children in the public swimming pool, Dan still got to see him enjoying the water which was nice.

We followed our swim up with a picnic at Irchester Country Park, where we were going to give Oscar his first experience of the swings, but it was so incredibly busy as it was such a lovely, sunny weekend that we decided to give it a miss and headed out on a little walk instead.

Dan, Oscar and I out for a walk on Mother's Day

On Sunday I also handed in my notice at work.  I’ve been at the same school for the last two and a half years, although it feels like much longer.  Despite having been on maternity leave since the end of September, I still find myself logging in to the system every couple of days to work on resources for Year 11 (my subject responsibility), and I check my email daily.  I just can’t switch off as a teacher, despite not being in the classroom!

It was a huge decision for Dan and I to make, but ultimately I know that we have made the best decision for our little family.  I will still be returning to school at the end of May to work my notice until the end of the school year, during which time Oscar will attend nursery, but after that I will become a full-time stay-at-home/work-odd-jobs-from-home Mum.

I was so worried about sending the email with my resignation that it took me more than two hours to write the message, and then nearly another 30 minutes before I felt able to hit the send button!  The response from my Head of Department summed up how I was feeling though, and I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing this paragraph…
“I know that you won’t have made this decision lightly.  I also know that you couldn’t possibly be just an ‘OK’ teacher and just an ‘OK’ Mum, so it’s about priorities.  It’s so important to be happy in life Mary.”

I want to be the very best Mum that I can be to Oscar, and I don’t feel like I would be able to do that with 60+ hour working weeks and without any down-time to run or write.  I don’t know quite how things will work out come-September, but I do know that we will adjust just fine and our new way of life will become the new normal.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter!

Just recently there have been several things that I have wanted to write about that I feel don’t really ‘fit’ this blog.  AHM has always been a) very run-focused and b) written more like a diary.  I feel like at the moment there are quite a few ‘topics’ I want to write about.  Some of them baby, some of them just life-things, and they don’t really fit here.  I hurriedly set up a new baby blog back when I first announced my pregnancy online, although decided to continue writing on AHM as my pregnancy journey often had a running-focus.  I think I’m now ready to start running the two blogs alongside each other though, so if you would like to read about a slightly different side of my life, then please visit me over at From Teacher to Mum.  It’s very new, I haven’t played with the design yet and I’m not sure how often I’ll post at the moment.  Getting long blocks of time in front of the computer with a six month old is pretty tough!  I still intend on writing about Oscar-things here when it is running related though.

How did you spend Mother’s Day at the weekend?
Did you learn to swim as a child?
When did you last hand your notice in at a job?

Plans for 2017

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and enjoyed time off with family and friends.

I love the Christmas holidays. It always feels like the first week is a mad rush with the lead up to Christmas, with the second week then nice and relaxed; catching up with friends, lots of trail runs and playing with all the gifts we got for Christmas.

2017 running calendar

With a new year always comes new resolutions.  The madness of Christmas helps to instil a desire to get back into regular eating, healthy living and an organised way of life.

Several of the goals I set myself for 2016 were unachievable due to my pregnancy:

  • Fit in some double days of running

  • Slot in a midweek long run as well as a weekend long run each week

  • Run a marathon distance at least every 4-6 weeks

  • Get started with some regular core work

When I discovered I was pregnant at the start of the year I knew I needed to be sensible if I wanted to be able to continue running throughout and so scaled back my running distance wise and speed wise.  Core work was out of the question.

  • Continue to run parkrun as often as possible

Finally, a goal I could, and did achieve. I ran 26 parkruns throughout 2016. They started out as tempo runs at the beginning of the year and became chatty social runs towards the end as Oscar grew bigger and bigger in my belly.  I got in lots of parkrun tourism and finished the year having run eleven different events in total.

I also set some non-running related goals for 2016:

  • Purchase a second house

  • Get into a more regular posting schedule on the blog

  • Meal plan every week during term time

  • Stay on top of housework

Again, some of these were affected by the pregnancy.  (They really weren’t joking when they said having a baby changes your life forever!)

  • Rather than purchase a second house we put all our money in the pot so that we were able to improve the one we had bought the year before, ready for when Oscar arrived. (Or not ready, as the case may be!)  As I type there are currently two plasterers upstairs in the bedroom boarding our ceilings.  Dan and my Dad also fitted a new kitchen and bathroom for us this year.New kitchen(Still requiring a paint job, new light fittings and plinths, but it’s definitely getting there now!)  Buying a second property is still on my wish list, but it will just take a little longer to save up for now.
  • The early days of pregnancy left me feeling so tired that I wasn’t able to do anything but head straight for bed after work in the evenings, leaving my blog posts few and far between.  By the Summer I managed to post much more frequently again, but since Oscar’s arrival it’s been hard to find the time to sit down and spew out blog posts like I once did.  I’m such a perfectionist that it often takes me a couple of hours per blog post, and I like to write them in one go, uninterrupted.  Something which nobody seems to have told my child yet!  I want to get back to blogging regularly again, and I’ve sooo missed having the time to read blogs of friends these past few months.  It’s something I’d like to schedule in to the week so that I definitely make time for it again this year.
  • Meal planning was much better this year and I was chuffed that I’d managed to prepare for the early baby days by holding a couple of batch cooking days at the end of the Summer.
  • I have been so much better with the housework.  Now that I’m off on maternity leave it’s much easier to keep on top of, but even before that I didn’t do too badly at making sure the house was usually in a fairly respectable state if anybody dropped by (despite living in what seems like a permanent state of unfinishedness!)

I have high hopes for 2017.

Now that I’m no longer pregnant and *touch wood* currently not injured, I am back on the running bandwagon.  (Obviously!)  The long term goal is still to run a 100 mile race, although the SDW100 is no longer on the cards for June.  (Probably a little too soon!)  I shall see how my return to running goes over the next few months before committing to a 100 miler though.  I haven’t set any ‘time’ goals as such for this year as again, I need to assess how my return goes first of all.  Seven weeks back though and I’m feeling strong and happy.  As long as I remain sensible and build the mileage slowly, I’m hoping I shouldn’t have too many problems.
Running goals for 2017 as follows:

  • Achieve 100 parkruns and order my black parkrun t-shirt

    I’m currently sat at 67 parkruns, (that’s including having run two on New Year’s Day) so would have to run 33 this year.  A number I definitely think I am capable of.  I ran 24 parkruns in 2015 and 26 in 2016, hitting the 50 parkruns milestone back in April.  I just love the parkrun concept and how it is suitable for everyone, no matter their experience or training aim.My 50th parkrun top

  • Increase my parkrun tourism to twenty different courses

    I WILL get on this leaderboard in 2017!

  • Take my weekly mileage back up to at least 50 miles on average each week

    I know high mileage isn’t for everyone, but I find that I run better on more miles.  Most of my miles tend to be off-road and I feel stronger all round the more time I spend on the trails.  Win-win! 😉

  • Complete at least five more events of marathon distance and above

    One of my long term goals is to become a member of the 100 marathon club.  Between 2013-2015 I ran 10 marathons and 6 ultras from 35m-70m in distance.  I didn’t add any to my total during 2016.  There’s still quite a way to go before I reach the 100 marathon total!  At the moment I only have two events booked in.  The Pembrokeshire marathon in April, and the South Downs Way 50m during the same month.  I will leave it to see how I cope with those before booking anything else in for the Summer.

  • PB at the 5k distance

    Not technically a ‘time’ goal as I haven’t set a time(!)  My current 5k PB is 26:37, set at Northampton parkrun back in the Summer of 2015.  I know I am capable of beating this and plan on doing my very best to get there!

From a non-running perspective there are a few other changes I would like to see this year:

  • Take more pictures with my DSLR

    The quality of pictures taken on my big camera is so much better than those taken on my phone, but it often ends up being a laziness thing.  My phone is usually within reach and doesn’t require setting up before each shot.  The phone may capture the moment but it does so in a much less attractive way.

  • Find an easier way of living

    My life has always been hectic.  I’ve always jumped at every possible opportunity and said yes to anyone who has asked for a favour.  It leads to me frequently feeling worn out, exhausted, stressed and teary.  Looking back across my blog posts from the past few years I can see the points each month where things had built up and gotten too much.  Before Oscar I was getting up at 3-4am some mornings and staying up until gone midnight to make sure that I got all of my work done.  I love teaching, I love my school and I love my job, but I also love running, I love blogging and I love my family.  At the moment I’m not sure how I’m going to fit all of these things in alongside teaching when I return from maternity leave in May.  Dan was recently offered a new job much, much closer to home which, whilst fantastic in the long run, has meant that he will not be able to work from home for the 6 weeks between the May half term and July end of year that I initially return to work before the Summer holidays begin, so we now need to look at childcare arrangements for those weeks.  I won’t be able (or want) to leave Oscar in childcare between 6:30am-6pm, so will have to get into school late for those weeks and leave early, working through the night to keep up with my workload.  It’s not ideal, but I’m yet to work out a way round it.

  • Make more time for my family

    This kind of ties in with the point above.  It’s taken the first few months with Oscar to get into any kind of routine.  In the early days Dan would arrive home from work and I’d hand over the baby so that I may sleep, only to be handed him back when I woke again so that Dan may have a break!  I feel like we know Oscar so much better now but we need to make time and plan our time out as a family of three and also time that Dan and I can spend together without Oscar.

What do you plan on achieving or working towards in 2017?

So that was Christmas!

How quickly did Christmas come and go?!  I can’t believe we’re already emptying old wrapping paper out into the recycling bin and thinking about taking the tree down over the next few days.

Oscar and Me in front of the Christmas tree

As always, we managed to cram loads in over Christmas week – here’s a little run down of what we got up to…

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without my running club’s annual Christmas Eve Run.Christmas Eve club runEvery Christmas Eve, runners from our club meet first thing in the morning at Irchester Country Park before splitting off into smaller groups and running the trails, finishing at the café for a club-complimentary bacon/sausage roll and a hot drink.  As Christmas Eve fell on a weekend this year it meant that we had a huge turn out.

As always, I stuck to the trail group which Kev led – guaranteed to contain lots of mud, banter and laughs.  Somehow, the communication didn’t get back to all the members about just where we were headed and once we set off I turned to see ALL of the club members following!  They had begun to split off away from our little group before the first mile was complete though…not so sure they would have all enjoyed some of the sections we ran along, which included the death-defying gullies which we hurtled down when our legs wouldn’t stop!

It wasn’t long before the splashing began and I found myself in the middle of a mud war.  The trick is to give all puddles a wide birth and make sure you are running behind the guys, rather than in front of them!  They cheated this year though, and began picking up the mud to throw rather than just kicking it up!

Muddy Christmas Eve runI got a massive clump of mud right on the top of my head.  Muddy Christmas Eve run - mud in my hairChanged my mind about heading to Tesco for some last minute shopping after that particular hit!

Christmas Eve club runThis photo really does not do justice to just how muddy we were after the run!

After a quick shower (where I tried not to shed too many dried flakes of mud on the floor, but in actual fact anyone would have been able to follow my muddy sock prints around the house) Dan, Oscar and I headed to Norfolk where we were spending Christmas with my parents.

My Mum had been lent a cot by a friend so that when we came to visit we didn’t need to lug that back as well as the pushchair, a stash of nappies and baby clothes alongside all of the Christmas gifts we were taking back for the weekend.  Oscar has been sleeping from about 10-10:30pm each night right through until at least 6am each morning for the past month.  Whilst fantastic that I no longer have uninterrupted sleep each night, I really want to get him out of the habit of staying up so late as I never get to see Dan anymore because one of us is always having to entertain Oscar in the evenings.

For dinner on Christmas Eve, we headed over to my friend Hollie’s house for a Chinese takeaway where there were several of the people I went to sixth form with.  Oscar took a brief kip on a pile of blankets we laid out for him on the floor but ended up being very much awake when we returned to my parents’ a little after 9pm, and then continued to stay up until 1:30am the following morning!  I had to wake him up by 8am, and pointed out that it will probably be the only Christmas morning where I will have to wake him up!

My Mum had requested that Oscar and I join her in church on Sunday morning, and so Dan dropped us off with the pushchair and a bursting bag of baby ‘essentials’.  They did all end up being essential on Sunday to be fair though.  Oscar remained quiet for the first 10 minutes of the service before needing to be fed, then burped, then played with, then changed at the back of the church as his clothes were by this point covered in poo!  Oh the joys of having a baby(!)

Christmas day passed by in a blur.  We always eat lunch before retiring to the lounge by mid-afternoon to begin opening presents.  That part took slightly longer this year as between us we had to open all the presents for Oscar as well.  He had just the right amount of soft toys and books for Christmas.  I really don’t want him to end up having so many presents that he ends up opening them for several days afterwards like I’ve seen on so many Facebook statuses this week.

Dan and Oscar at Christmas

Another big meal for tea that evening.  All this food for just one day!  My belly was feeling rather full by the time we returned to Northamptonshire that night.

Christmas dinner

I managed a super long lay in on Boxing Day after Dan took over from me following the morning feed.  That lay in was required after several late nights of wrapping presents and then entertaining Oscar until late on Christmas Eve, with a whole week of setting my alarm early to express before Oscar wakes.  I felt so much better for the lazy day on Boxing Day.

Then on Tuesday morning I met with several club mates to run the course of the trail race that my club is putting on in February next year.December trail runThere were a load of guys out too, but we got a female-only shot first of all.

As there were so many of us it was rather slow to begin with as we waited for everyone to cross over stiles so that we were able to cut through to the starting point.  We soon settled into a steadier pace though and it was a gorgeous day to be out on the trails.December trail runThere were loads of hot air balloons out as the skies were so clear.  Although everyone had pointed out my bare legs at the start of the run, I was rather glad to be in shorts by the end as it wasn’t too chilly at all.

I didn’t bother with trail shoes (still not clean!) as it had been slightly frosty in the morning and so the ground was neither wet nor tacky.  Instead soft, yet firm enough to run on.

A lovely 6.8 miles to start the week off with!  :)

Have you been in a hot air balloon before?  I’ve never been but it’s something I’d love to do.
How was your Christmas?