Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Be Extraordinary

This morning I started my day at an early physical therapy session. We taped my feet, did tons of strength and balance exercises, and by 8:15 am my hips were on fire. I questioned this PT regiment when I first began. It doesn't make sense to do tons of hip and core strengthening exercises. I hurt my foot people. 

You'd think given my extensive PT experience that I'd learn not to question their methods or why every physical therapist has deathly strong hands. That's a serious query: are these individuals who already had strong hands or do they grow into it?

Speaking of my PT manipulated my foot this morning, and ouch. Ouch. Granted I haven't spent the remainder of the day wearing the most appropriate footwear, but my shoes are gorgeous, medical tape and all.

Bringing sexy (medical tape) back.
I continue to marvel at the resiliency of the human body. Life has thrown Crohn's and its related complications at me, and I've confounded the situation by being Type A and never slowing down which has resulted in things like hip and foot injuries from running and wearing heels. But my mama always told me you have to suffer to be beautiful. Also she didn't raise a quitter (my words not hers). 

As hard as I've pushed my body has *mostly kept up. I was a sickly kid. I had severe ear infections and four ear surgeries by the time I was in high school. I had stitches in my face three times by the time I was seven. I have Crohn's and the resulting six abdominal surgeries, and I've gotten IV infusions every six weeks for 14 years. Two years ago I had a blood clot. I've had Melanoma and basil cell carcinoma (twice). I've been in physical therapy five times in the last ten years for running injuries. Seriously - my body is f*cked.

You'd think it would be so easy to slow down. But I think instead this is a great time to train to break 20 minutes in the 5k. My imperfections drive me. My body is resilient, and it forces my mind to be too. I'm making a very conscious effort to be kinder to myself. It's precarious to balance my desire to travel, run, hang out with friends and not miss a beat and the yearning to go to sleep at 8 pm. 

Here's why it's so hard for me to slow down - in a world filled with ordinary, I'm always looking to be extraordinary. I expect my body to keep up. I'm seeking the be kind to myself but don't settle for less than extraordinary balance. It's out there. When I figure it out I'll let you in on my secrets. 

*Mostly refers to my last blog

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Search for Perspective

It's been nearly six months since my dad died. Six months since we heard him laugh or sing to himself or tell us he loves us. It's still unfathomable. I still can't believe he's gone. Do you ever get used to it? Last night I tearfully read through some of the blogs I wrote right after he died. Despite my sadness I remembered the perspective I had during that time. Nothing was more important than being with my family. I didn't return work emails. I didn't worry about the unimportant tasks that usually feel so important. I felt so connected to myself, and it seemed like that focus would remain.

Love this photo of my dad with my son at his baptism last April
Of course life loves to derail my perfect perspective, and here I am nearly half a year later stressing about the small stuff. I return work emails when I should be playing with my son. I push myself to complete all the household tasks - laundry, dinner, picking up toys - at a pace that's absurd. Who cares if my son's playroom looks like a tornado exploded? Nobody but me, and I pick up the toys several times a day.

Last week I think it finally happened - I pushed myself too hard. My husband was gone for nearly a week, and Will and I went to St. Louis. When we got back on Sunday I went to Urgent Care where I was diagnosed with a severe sinus infection. I was taking both sinus meds and Ibuprofen like candy along with an antibiotic. On Monday I felt like I was completely out of energy.

I've also been dealing with a foot injury, and I started physical therapy on Monday where the therapist taped my feet to reposition them. It's fun being me.

Thank God she didn't ruin my pedicure.
Tuesday and Wednesday were my work's legislative conference, and I sucked up the exhaustion and pushed through. I rocked cute dresses and heels. I crawled into bed at 1 am on Tuesday after 17 hours in heels and woke up with my son 3.5 hours later. On Wednesday I worked my tail off to raise $7500 for our foundation. When I finally sat down for the last session on Wednesday afternoon I wanted to cry. I was so, so drained. It rarely happens, but I was entirely out of steam. 

My colleague drove me home, and by the time my husband got home at 5:30 I had already shed the cute dress and heels in favor of sweats and a headband. I was in bed by 8 pm. That was nearly a week ago, and I don't feel much more well rested. My body is trying to tell me something, and for once I'm having a hard time ignoring it.

Exhausted but still all smiles for new urbanist porn.
On Friday afternoon I ran a kick ass tempo run at 6:27 minute miles. I felt like a rockstar. On Saturday morning I got up to run and ran for exactly 7 minutes before I stopped. I had zero energy. It just wasn't happening. And for once I couldn't push it. On Saturday afternoon I snuggled with my baby and napped with him for two hours in my bed. I'm not one of those "nap while the baby is napping" people because generally I have 1,000 other things to do. But this weekend my drive was usurped by my fatigue.

This upcoming weekend my husband and I are going to Chicago for our first weekend away by ourselves since our son was born. I have a list of things we want to do, and sleep is on the top of the list followed closely by eating leisurely meals without a toddler. My therapist told me that if she could she'd write me a prescription to play. I'm trying to balance that play with taking care of myself. Crohn's has been kicking my tail this year, and my level of exhaustion has been extraordinary. For the first time in the 18 years I've had Crohn's I actually feel like a sick person, and I am not amused. 

I'm going to spend a few weeks focusing on that perspective. My dad pushed himself constantly like I do. He never seemed tired to me. He just kept going Energizer bunny style. But if he were here he'd lecture me for not slowing down and taking care of myself. I probably wouldn't listen, but it's a lecture I'd love to get right now. A lot of me thinks I've pushed even harder to push past the pain and anger I feel about his death. If I slow down I'll feel too much, and it will be too painful. 

I'm going to try my hardest to slow down a little in the next few weeks. Take deep breaths. Find that perspective. It will be a continual struggle to remind myself to focus and have perspective. I may need your help y'all. Keep me honest!     

Monday, March 21, 2016

We Go Together Like Two Olives in a Martini

I sipped my cappuccino and tasted the familiar bitterness as the caffeine heightened my senses. A decade ago I could get by without the espresso kick; now some days it's necessary to function. Maybe not necessary but helpful. I was driving to pick up the dogs at the kennel after a weekend with one of my best friends. It was one of our most tame weekends we've ever had, but drinking tons of magaritas is child's play compared to parenting a toddler. 

14 Years Earlier

I met Julie in 2002 in Killeen, Texas. We immediately clicked in a world filled with Army wives with multiple children at age 20. I was finishing law school at Baylor, and she was finishing her masters degree in speech therapy. We realized we had a lot more in common other than being a sucker for men in uniform. 

When our guys were deployed (both domestically and abroad) we filled the time by shopping, hanging out, and drinking way too much. It was amazing. We commiserated about being lonely and ate a lot of Sonic. We made mixed cd's (the best is the "F*ck the Deployment Mix) and watched Friends. Jules is one of the pivotal people I met in my 20s, and I'm grateful for her every day.

2003: The party isn't started until someone's wearing a tiara for no reason.
2002-present day

I truly believe there are only a handful of friendships in one's life that withstand the test of time. Our friendship is one of those. Julie now has two children (older than mine at 8 and 11), and our visits involve slightly (but really only slightly) less drinking these days and more kid-friendly endeavors. We have careers, and we have mortgages. We're actual grown ups (in theory), but our friendship is stronger than ever. Sometimes we talk or text regularly, and sometimes it's several months between chats. It doesn't matter how much time goes by; our friendship is always exactly the same. There are very few people in the world who know me as well as Jules. She knows my deepest, darkest secrets including all the youthful indiscretions that make me glad Facebook didn't exist when we first met. She's never judged my choices, and I trust her implicitly.

Last weekend I went to St. Louis to visit her. It was the first time she was meeting my son, and I knew traveling with a toddler in tow would mean a more relaxed visit. By "relaxed" I mean less drunken. Chasing a toddler doesn't make anything relaxing.

My son and I left our house at 5:30 am on Friday to go to the airport. By the time we arrived in St. Louis I was exhausted but never too tired for brunch and bloody marys. I haven't been to St. Louis since high school, but I immediately loved the vibe of the quaint neighborhood we visited right by the Anheuser-Busch brewery. We had delicious bloodys and eggs benedict before heading to her house so the baby could nap.  Friday evening was sedate with dinner, kid time and wine. Lots of wine. 

Traveling with a toddler is an adventure as he was up at 6 on Saturday morning. We headed to Soulard Farmers Market first thing to check out the market. It was amazing. It's the oldest market west of the Mississippi, and we know I'm a sucker for old city markets.  Also a plus for St. Louis - there is early morning booze at their farmers market shops. We sipped Baileys and coffee (it was vacation!) as we walked around the market and enjoyed delicious mini-doughnuts.

Following the market we headed to the St. Louis Zoo. It's a free zoo with fantastic exhibits. We saw hippos up close and personal at the hippopotamus exhibit. I'm not sure I'd ever seen a hippo in real life. It was a fascinating creature. The kids loved the zoo, and I did too.

My little dude loved the goats
Saturday evening we got a sitter and headed out on the town. I have to admit it was not our finest moments as former(?) party animals. We stopped at Bailey's Chocolate Bar where I had a hard time finishing my pecan pie old fashioned. It was delicious, but I was so tired. We got our groove back a little bit at the second stop: Square One Brewery & Distillery. We got home early (around midnight), and my son decided to wake up when I got home. He then proceeded to sleep four more hours and wake up at 4:30 am. A great way to start a day of travel. 

We've aged well.
It was a quick visit, and unfortunately I didn't get a chance to run St. Louis. But sometimes it's more important to focus on friendship (and cocktails!) instead of lacing up my running shoes. I'm grateful for our friendship and her unwavering support of me. Some people go together like two peas in a pod. We're more like two olives in a martini, and that's what makes us amazing!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Is It Worth It? Let Me Work It.

Missy Elliott meant something very different with the lyrics in her song Work It than talking about running and cross training, but that song is stuck in my head from my treadmill playlist so I am using it.

The last few weeks I've been tired and struggling. Instead of my usual bad ass self I've felt sluggish. It's been rough. My blogs have been less about my running these towns and more about my struggling to be awesome. I've gone with it though because if this entire blog was just about my running and traveling that would be amazing and unrealistic. And everyone would hate me. These days I'm acutely aware of my own humanity. 

I'm a few weeks into the sub 20 minute 5k training schedule, and it's very difficult. I have never worked out to the point of nearly throwing up, but that's how I feel after every run. I'm running 4 days a week, and my workouts are much shorter than I'm used to. The intensity, however, is insane. It's also exhilarating. 

This afternoon I did a really fast tempo run alternating race pace (6:16 min/mile) with recovery (11:00 min/mile). It was about a 30 minute workout, and everything hurt afterward including (especially) my lungs. I felt exhausted, but I also felt amazing. I left the gym to pick up my son, chase him around until bedtime, do some work (because I spent several hours driving today and the bulk of the day in meetings), pack my son's lunch, and finally sit down with a glass of wine to write this blog. My body is sore, and I am tired. But it's the best kind of sore and tired. It's a reminder that today I pushed myself. Today I worked it. Maybe not the way Missy Elliott meant in her song (unfortunately), but probably the next best way to work it.

I look tired, but with an hour to go before my son's bed time I was feeling like a rock star.
Today I was reminded that underneath the mommy/work/life fatigue is the bad ass that is tired of being shut down. It's been a rough few weeks, and I've got a busy few weeks ahead. I'm finding perspective in this new workout schedule, and it's giving me the energy and determination to push through the tired. It is worth it. I can do anything for 30 minutes including run at a fast race pace. It's worth it to look like a Halle Berry poster.

  

Monday, March 14, 2016

I Already Want to Take a Nap Tomorrow

Last week I read a piece about the fatigue of parenting. I try really, really hard not to use that as an excuse in my life. I chose to have a child, and I waited a long time for the joy of being Will's mom. I expected the initial exhaustion when I was sleeping a few hours a night and trying to keep a fragile newborn alive. Even with that I managed to run a half marathon when he was three months old and barely missed a beat.

What I didn't expect was the long-term exhaustion that would ultimately set in. I think having a newborn and the anticipation of finally having a baby kept me going on pure adrenaline. I loved having a revolving door of visitors instead of sleeping. I didn't mind those snuggly moments in the middle of the night. This is what I'd waited for after all.

Yet here we are fifteen months into my incredible child's life, and the exhaustion has hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm just really, really tired. I realize I only have one child, and I seriously cannot imagine adding another to the mix right now. My Crohn's has been the most unstable this year that it's been in more than a decade. I've insisted that I will keep doing the things I love - traveling, running, going out to dinner - but with the baby in tow. I ran five half marathons and a full marathon last year before my son turned one. When my son and I go to visit one of my dearest friends this weekend he will be visiting his 12th state. In fifteen months. He's an awesome traveling baby, and his mom is like a walking zombie because her standards are incredibly high.

This weekend I did something I'm embarrassed to admit. I signed up for a 10k, my first race since November. I need to race. It helps fuel my running, and I've been missing it. I woke up excited on Sunday morning. I checked the weather on my phone, and it said about 46 degrees and "showers in the vicinity". I dressed in tall compression socks, shorts and a long-sleeved shirt.

I drove 15 minutes to the race start and stood in a picnic pavilion in an absurdly long line to pick up my packet. As I waited I noticed it seemed colder. The "showers in the vicinity" were really driving rain. The wind was whipping, and I suddenly felt drained. I grabbed my packet and jogged back to the car. I sat there for a few moments before I turned the key and drove home. I didn't want to run in that weather; I didn't have it in me. I felt both defeated and buoyant as I drove away. I promised myself that this year running would be fun, and nothing about running in that weather without the proper attire seemed fun. Instead I came home and crawled into bed to snuggle my husband while our son napped. I do not regret that decision, but I do feel guilty for not running. 

I tend to either forget or pretend like I'm not contending with a chronic illness. I was out with friends on Friday evening, and I was so sick. I imagine if you asked any of them none of them realized, because it was taking all of my energy to hide it. But that meant the rest of the weekend I was struggling to get back to my normal self. It's never a good sign when I Facetime with my mom and she asks if I am okay because "I look tired." She's like a ninja in detecting when I'm not feeling well!

I keep saying I want to have an affair with sleep. No seriously - I want a hotel room that I can secretly retire to at various intervals during the day to snuggle up in comfy sheets and sleep. Is that too much to ask?

There will always be other races, and I hope to get a handle on the exhaustion (although losing an hour in the Daylight Saving Time change didn't do me any favors). I drink significantly more coffee now than I did before my son was born, and I'm grateful for its unwavering support. Today is a new day, and I will continue to work on my balance of being bad ass and being kind to myself. But first another cup of coffee.

Friday, March 11, 2016

What if You Really ARE What You Eat?

Let me summarize this blog for you really quickly so you know what you're getting into: ice cream, potato chips and red wine. 

I've been notoriously open about the fact that I eat like a seven-year-old. I love fast food with an unabashed joy, and the last time I was anemic I remedied that with Filet Mignon and Cabernet. I'm an overachiever. I'm notorious for posting about nutrition a few times a year to remind everyone that I'm still not too serious about it. Actually that's not fair - it's not that I'm not serious about it, but it's really hard to figure out what works. That stresses me out, and as a result makes it hard for me to take it seriously.

Last summer I took at stab at going low FODMAP (eliminating certain sugars that are hard for your body to digest). When I went to see the nutritionist I explained to her that I have Crohn's, I run marathons (or a lot even when I'm not training for a marathon), I have the metabolism of a hummingbird and I have no large intestine. Figure that out, nutritionist. I get it...I'm a tough case. But she immediately started telling me that FODMAP was the option for me, and I knew it was because it was her latest thing. Every nutritionist I've ever seen has the book of the latest nutrition fad on his/her desk, and that'll recommend it every time regardless of what I say. She had the FODMAP book on her desk ready to recommend it to anyone who walked in.

But I was a trooper. I tried it even against my GI doctor's concerns. He was worried that my inability to absorb so many nutrients would make the FODMAP diet too restrictive for me,but I wanted to try it out. I did discover that my diet of constant bread and pasta was maybe a bit much. I figured out that limiting wheat did make me feel better, but I am constantly hungry. Sometimes that works, but when I start training (you know to break 20 minutes in the 5k), I'm starving all the time. I can't get enough food. And being hungry makes me angry. I'm not very good at it.

I'm even worse at running nutrition. The morning of the New York Marathon I ate a granola bar, had a handful of almonds and two cappuccinos. Breakfast of champions! Around the halfway point of the race I was starving. I drank water and Gatorade at every stop, but after nearly five hours of running I was famished. It wasn't the best training nutrition plan. 

Here I am then back at square one. I'm still limiting wheat, but I'm not sure that's the entire solution. Maybe it's just part of it. I'd love to find some other colonless active person to help figure out how they make it work. Sometimes I'll finish a workout craving sugar (which is odd because I don't have a sweet tooth) or salt. I've been known to run on the treadmill in my office and immediately scarf down a bag of potato chips because my cravings are so strong. I've learned salt craving is related to low stored iron, so I down the potato chips and go easy on the self judgment. I'm still trying to figure nutrition out and realizing that I may never get it right.

I do know that being too restrictive of anything not only won't work for me, but it's annoying. I love food. We build vacations around good food. The idea of a meal replacement shake or other unsatisfactory food options just does not work for me. Life is too short to drink a meal (unless one is drinking wine instead of dinner which is totally different). For right now I'll keep trying to figure it out one meal at a time even if that meal happens to be Doritos. Seven year old appetites unite!

Monday, March 7, 2016

My Training Secrets (+ my Very First Fartlek!)

I've been running long enough that I often have people ask me about training plans and my secret to getting faster as I've gotten older. I'd love to say I have some magic running elixir or some really fabulous training plan, but I'll let you in on a little secret: I don't train for races.

There's a bit of a caveat here because I used to train. When I first started running I followed my training plans to the letter. I was so nervous that if my schedule said to run six miles and I ran 5.75 that I'd never be able to finish the race. I've gotten over that. Training for a long race (I'd say 10k and longer) means you generally have to log some sort of regular miles. But I've found that most training plans don't work for me. If I insist that I have to follow a training plan exactly, I will get bored. My life is too busy, and I need flexibility.

Once I built up a base of miles I found it pretty easy to jump into races up to the half marathon distance without really training much. I've never run more than eight miles in a training run before running a half marathon. Most training plans will recommend a 12-miler. Yet somehow I've continued to shave minutes off my PRs. I ran 2:35 in my first half marathon in San Francisco in 2006. Last year I shattered by PR with a 1:53:10 at the Deckers Creek Half Marathon in West Virginia. 

Sometimes when people ask me how I train I'm almost embarrassed to tell them I kind of don't. I run regularly, and I run (generally) enough to feel comfortable with the race distance. But a lot of it is general fitness and the sheer tenacity to push through the run.

When training for marathons I've been a little more diligent when sticking to the schedule, but that's not always the case. Last year having a new baby and my dad's death made training for New York a real challenge. I did not run more than 15 miles while training. I wouldn't recommend it, but somehow I pushed through with a decent time.

This leads me to the ultimate truth about running: it's mostly mental. Sure you've got to be fit enough to actually make it through the miles, but it's mostly tenacity that will get you through. I've never stuck with a training plan, and it's actually worked better for me. I've learned that logging too many miles will always result in injury, so I dial it back to stay healthy. 

When I'm asked how I train for a half marathon, my honest answer of "run 3-4 miles 2 days a week and a long run" is pretty much not what any other runner will tell you. But this is the level of running I need to accomplish to knock out the race and maintain my life balance.

Setting a lofty goal of breaking 20 minutes in the 5k means I have to stick to an aggressive (and fast) training schedule. After week one I am already annoyed by it, but there are only 11 weeks to go. This week I ran my first Fartlek (Swedish for "speed play").  As an avid Runner's World reader I know all about the Fartlek, but it's never occurred to me to actually do one. 

My first Fartlek was ambitious: run ten minutes at an 8:30 pace and then alternate 6:00 minute miles with minute recovery for 15 minutes. Follow that with another ten minutes at 8:30 pace. It was a short workout, but it was hard. I felt like I might fall off the treadmill because it was going so fast, but I did it. I'd never run at a 6 minute/mile pace. It turns out that's very fast.

Over the weekend I had a short workout, but it included two miles at 6:43 per mile. Ouch. My body is sore in places it's never been sore, but it feels amazing. I'm honestly not sure I can break 20 minutes in the 5k, but it's sure going to be fun trying.

Running is hard. The hard is what makes it great, remember?  Whether you're running fast or slow, long or short, you're doing it. It's so rewarding to challenge your body in ways you never have before. My ultimate training secret? Just get out there and do it. And know that doing it makes you a rockstar. Also wear cute outfits. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

We're Moving to Canada

When I met my husband he was obsessed with Canada. Okay he still is, but I had never met anyone so enthralled with our northern neighbor. Maybe it's growing up in West Virginia, but I never thought much about Canada one way or the other. I moved to Michigan during the winter Olympics and met this guy who insisted we meet at the bar and watching curling, a "sport" I didn't even know existed. He loves hockey and wears poppy pins to commemorate Canadian military personnel who have died in war. He can talk about Canadian Parliament like he works there, and before we started dating I had no idea who Steven Harper was (immediate past Prime Minister of Canada...please tell me other people didn't know that.)

I had never been to Canada ten years ago. In fact the more my husband raved about it the more I dug in. I like to think my antagonism is part of my charm. My first time to Canada was on foot - I ran there during the Detroit Marathon. The second time was a few years later when my husband and I went to Toronto on a whim. We'd been matched with a birth mother who changed her mind after giving birth. We drunkenly booked a trip to Toronto and headed off to start to heal.  

I enjoyed Toronto on that trip, but it didn't blow me away. I much preferred Quebec City and Montreal when we visited there last year. When we started talking about a quick weekend getaway, Toronto didn't come to the front of my mind. But my Canada loving husband quickly pointed out that the Canadian dollar is weaker than the U.S. dollar right now, and if we went to Toronto we'd actually save money. Faulty logic from the guy who is in charge of the largest portion of our state's budget, but I am a sucker for cute faulty logic that results in a vacation.

We arrived in Toronto late on Friday evening after I may have decided I didn't want to follow the directions and got us lost. We got to the Marriott right downtown by the Eaton Centre, a colossal downtown shopping center, around midnight.  I had called the day before to affirm we'd have a crib for the baby so we didn't have to bring the pack 'n play, and I was assured we would. Unfortunately when we arrived not only was it not there, but we were told there were no cribs available in the hotel. We were not happy, and sleeping with a restless one-year-old between us in a king-sized bed wasn't exactly ideal.

Thankfully the hotel was apologetic and gave us free breakfast passes to their amazing breakfast buffet the next morning. We started the morning there before heading out in the chilly February morning. Our first stop was the St. Lawrence Market. I raved about it in my  last Toronto post, and it did not disappoint this time. National Geographic ranked it the world's number one food market, and it was packed on a Saturday morning. We spent a large chunk of the morning wandering through the market and marveling at how they have such a variety of fresh everything


Shortly after we left the market our rockstar traveling son fell asleep in the stroller. It was chilly, but our kid travels like a champ. We stopped at the Hockey Hall of Fame gift shop and did some other shopping while the baby was out. We then decided to regroup at the hotel before lunch.

My favorite restaurant of all time is Toronto's Richmond Station.  We were unable to get dinner reservations at a toddler appropriate time, so we settled for a late lunch reservation (which actually worked better with a toddler anyway).  Our Richmond Station experience was a little different than a few years ago, but the food and drinks were just as amazing. Canadians are also super nice and helped me pick up toys off the floor approximately 44.7 times. I was nervous that my second trip to Richmond Station wouldn't live up to the high expectations resulting from the first visit, but it was incredible. Definitely the highlight of the trip.
Love Richmond Station

After lunch Will decided his stroller nap wasn't good enough, so we headed back to the hotel for a nap (including one for Mom). We followed a long nap with poutine for dinner (French fries with gravy and cheese curds if you aren't familiar). Our son is such a picky eater, but he loved poutine. My husband is so proud. The weather was cold, so we walked around the Eaton Centre for a while before bed. We discovered that one of the challenges of traveling with a toddler means you're in the room relatively early, but it gave us much needed time to relax. 

Baby's first poutine!

I went for a run on Sunday morning and immediately noticed it was warmer than it had been the day before. I took my new Garmin for a spin and logged a few miles before heading back. We had a quick breakfast before walking around downtown. We headed toward the CN Tower and then to the Fashion District in search of Yo Sox, a colorful sock store. My husband loves fun socks, so it was worth the walk.

Striking a pose in Toronto while Will sleeps it off
We took a baby to a bar for lunch as we stumbled into Duke's Refresher. We had cocktails and appetizers (bacon caramel doughnuts? Yes please) before heading back for nap time. I have to admit I don't hate having to take nap breaks on vacation. Usually we don't stop moving, and I found myself more relaxed than I've been on vacation for a while.

You've got a baby. In a bar?

We braved a fancy restaurant for dinner by taking our son to The Elm Tree around the corner from our hotel. He rocked it out with only one slight wrinkle - helping spill a cocktail when toasting with dad. We walked around downtown for a while after dinner before heading to sleep (aka drinking wine in the hotel room). 

Love my beautiful family.

On our last morning we had breakfast and did a little shopping before heading home to Michigan. It's the most relaxed I've been in a while. Having a break from our phones is always the best way to disconnect, and Toronto captured my heart. My husband has decided we're moving to Canada, and I've told him to find jobs for us and I'm in. I'm not super worried about his pulling it off, but I thought I should give y'all a heads up in case you need a place to crash in Toronto.  

Happy, relaxed baby running around in Toronto
Happy, relaxed mom in Toronto