Before You: A letter to my second child

I have largely neglected you, blog. I apologize. I felt compelled to share some thoughts today relating to my now 100% shared “I’m Pregnant” news. I know, my timing is impeccable. It’s April Fools’ Day but I promise it’s fo real. I’m 15w4d and due 9/19.

You all might be just finding out, but we’ve known since early January. There’s a lot of anticipation, excitement and unknowns. I’ve written a letter to my youngest (and final!) child…

Dear Baby,

Sometimes I think about how difficult it will be to have two kids, to parent a “second” child. Not like “where will I find the time!” type thing, but like your father and I are first borns. I worry about being able to replicate Margo’s experience for you – give you comparable levels of attention, goods and services, photographs… You spoil your kids, and it’s no secret that first borns are the recipients for more of the above.

But then, you get something that Margo never got: you’re completing our family. When I think about my family growing up, it’s the four of us. There was this short period of time before Ashley was born and then she arrived and it was the four of us forever. The past 3 years where it’s been the 3 of us McQ’s has been so great. We feel blessed in so many ways but it’s really hard to fathom that in 20 years, we’ll look back and it’ll be the 4 of us, and the 3 years when it was the 3 of us will just be the time Before You. Margo won’t have a huge memory of life Before You, and I can only imagine the ways in which you’ll make everything feel more complete, different, unimaginable that we were a family Before You.

We don’t even know if you’re a boy or a girl yet. We’re all so excited. Your sister is already ready to shower you with gifts (she made me get a sippy cup for you for when you come out!) She tells everyone we meet that “Mommy has a baby in her belly!” and she says good night to you and sometimes even sings you songs. She sang Away in a Manger the other night – did you hear it?

I know before we know it, you’ll be here. Summer is coming and summer ALWAYS flies by (just really hoping it’s not a Too Hot summer this year!) Soon we’ll know if you’re a boy or a girl, we’ll make you a room in our house (you already have one in our hearts), and we’ll pick a name for you and buy you clothes. We have a lot to do, but now we’re just excited and the anticipation is joyful.

With love,

Momma (and Daddy and Margo)


Going Streaking!

So, I’m officially taking part in the Runners’ World Streak this month, hoping I do better with this than #NaBloPoMo! For the streak, I’m committing to running at least a mile a day from Thanksgiving til New Year’s Day.

(Well, I actually started the day after Thanksgiving, since I was all snotty, coughy and voice-less on Thanksgiving. And I didn’t run Monday because we were in DC, drove 5 hours and had a very tight schedule. But I’ve let myself off the hook for that. I made the decision not to let running ruin our family schedule/mini-vacay as it sort of held our last DC trip hostage. I truly think that first week was the toughest for me schedule-wise, and I’m hopeful I can do the rest of the streak unbroken 🙂 )

So, a week into the challenge, I sort of love it. It gives me a doable goal and makes me run, as basic as that sounds. Yesterday I did a body sculpting class and had to run a quick mile before the class. I wouldn’t have done that otherwise, and those little bursts will (I’m hoping) make all the difference in keeping me feeling good this holiday season. Plus, I signed up for a 5k in 2 weeks and am hoping to go fast. I think shorter runs are making me go faster, and I’m hoping that extends to a 5k time too!

Since it’s officially cold here, with overnight lows in the 30’s pretty consistently now, I’m typically running more mid-day/afternoons. And having to run at some point every day… well, it makes me sort of have to eat light and healthy more than I had been. I can’t have heavy meals that might not digest in time for my run. That’s a good thing!

Plus, I have lots of streaker friends on the Twitters to motivate me 🙂 #RWStreak!

Dry Shampoo & Daytime Workouts: A Love Story

I don’t know if I’m severely behind the curve here, but I just discovered dry shampoo. The daytime workout game has totally changed for this curly girl.

As I’ve discussed here, I have thick, naturally curly hair. I workout at work. In the summer, that meant getting to work early & showering here. In the winter months, it means fitting it in at lunchtime and rearranging my showering schedule to accommodate. It also means that if I skip a workout bc I don’t feel like it I have to walk around all greasy and gross bc I didn’t shower OR workout.

Wait, that’s not cool.

Enter: dry shampoo. I grabbed it after my stylist told me all about it during my last cut. (I like it, but having impulse bought it at a salon… well, I’m quite sure there are more affordable and equally good options out there. That said, I’m not even gonna bother with a shout out to the brand.) Like any curly girl product, make sure it’s sulfate and silicone free & you’re set. It basically soaks up oils (sweat in my case) that might require me to wash my hair more frequently. My stylist told me that dry shampoo has been around for a while and they would often use it for the elderly & bed-bound folks who couldn’t get baths/showers as often as they needed to. (Sounds good, she also has custom made gas masks for her dogs in the case of the apocalypse, so, you know, grain of salt or whatever.) It essentially makes it so that instead of showering (or rinsing and having to redo my hair), I can do dry shampoo.

So, here’s how I use it. Let’s use today as an example.

I woke up & showered at home. This is a daily thing, I’ve stopped the “I’ll just shower at work and hope I don’t skip my workout” mess. I know you’re all proud of me for showering daily. Thank you. I feel like I’ve come so far.

I went for a run and then did at body sculpting class. The combo wasn’t intense the whole time, but I was my fair share of sweaty. When you have thick, course hair like mine, it holds the sweat in the hairs right by the scalp. Before, that meant it’d dry then have sort of oily and greasy looking roots.

So, today. after my workout, I pulled out my pony tail and blew it dry for a minute or so. I sprayed dry shampoo on the “wet” parts (that had been mostly dried) and scrunched it back up. I’m sitting here with hair that looks more or less the same as it did going into my workout.

Sometimes easy solutions fall in my lap. I think I’m in love with dry shampoo.


Sending Love to Mom-Mom

This post isn’t about me, or my birthday, or cancer. It’s about my mother-in-law, my husband’s mother and my child’s grandmother. We love her, she’s so important to all of us and she’s having what I can only assume is one of the toughest days of her life today.

She was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2007, and underwent treatment (Intensive Interferon) in the summer of 2008. We were sad to hear the news a few weeks ago that… it’s back. Today she’s having a procedure done that essentially pumps her leg full of chemo (my words, if you want the sciency/real info, check this out.) Worth noting: it says 60% of patients don’t get the cancer again. While we know there are no sure things in cancer (or… life), we’re very, very hopeful about this procedure.

Though I bash them frequently, I think I actually started a prayer chain on Twitter. There’s a first. 🙂 And I think all of my friends who were thinking of us today and will continue to as Mom-Mom recovers.

There are a lot of unknowns ahead, and we’re even more helpless than we’d otherwise be since we’re stuck 450 miles away in NC. We’re sending all our thoughts, prayers and positive recovery energy to Mom-Mom, knowing recovery from the surgery will be tough, but not tougher than she is.

We love you, Mom Mom, and we’re sending all our love.

You can follow her journey and recovery here.

I wanna go fast!

I gave myself a week after the marathon. I took it slow and totally wiped “working out” from my radar and it was great! I truly did enjoy it, and surprised myself that I didn’t get too ansty.

However, after a week…I got all twitchy and felt the urge to get back into it. (It was fun to follow my “desire to run” rather than “a spreadsheet of workouts.”)

So, I’m signing up for the Girls on the Run Reindeer Romp on Dec 15, and I’m gonna focus my working out on short, speedy workouts! It’s a fun change, after growing accustomed to one-hour workouts minimally (plus in warmer weather so always followed by a shower and hair drying!), a little half hour or less run? Pretty easy sell! I figure one month is a good period of time to focus on this, and hopefully the base I have from my marathon training isn’t all gone and I can build.

How am I gonna get faster?
I consulted with some runnerd friends and GPB, the runnerd husband and designated coach/child care provider of the group. Lots of good tips, and we’re actually hoping to do a Saturday morning speed workout in the near future! I love having runnerd friends (even though they’re all faster than me. And my goal to get faster has NOTHING to do with wanting to keep up with them. Nope.)

Well, my first method will be to run faster. (I know, you come here for the revelations like this.) But during the marathon training, I often would focus on maintaining a slower speed to go farther. Speed was not part of my focus (and that was fun in its own way!) Now I’m trying to reenter that world a little, and just go faster. I ran most of my marathon training runs in between 10:15 and 11:00/miles; I’m shooting to get myself to 9:00/miles now & gradually getting closer. Bonus: it doesn’t take as long! (I’m full of really obvious statements today – you’re totally welcome.)

Today was a great run, though I tried to take a shortcut and ended up doing who knows how much on pause. I think it was about a mile… so ended up going further than the non-short-cutted route. There’s a message in there that applies to life, I’m sure.

Awesome fall run, getting faster! (Also- garmin on pause for ~a mile.) #runnerd

A post shared by Jamie McQuiggan (@jamiemcquiggan) on

I am going to get two speed workouts in per week. I’m gonna do a tempo run later this week- 1 mile warm up, 2 miles below 9:00/mile and 1 mile cool down. I also want to include repeats and sprints as the other speed workout. We have a track at work so I can do 400 yard sprints.

I’m not sure if this is related to speed persay, or just general fitness/cross fitness, but I’m going to incorporate two strength workouts per week as well. I started going back to body sculpting last week and remember why I love it so much. I’m not sure why I’m so masochistic about being sore, lol! I hadn’t done any lifting since August, so even a bicep curl was pretty awesome. Let’s work some glamor muscles.

What do you think, runnerd and fast girls (& boys, I suppose!)? Am I missing anything? What workouts have you done to improve speed? Anyone wanna do speed workouts with me?

Confession: I hate party-planning

I’m totally torn on if we should have a 3 year birthday party for Margo.

All year, I’ve said no. We’ve had it at our house the past two years and it’s just been… so crowded and so overwhelming. It’s January, so we’re all inside. (Which I hate bc we have an awesome yard – if she had a May-September birthday, this would not be a discussion.) Last year was the BEST! (And by BEST I mean WORST!) She was sick the week leading up to her birthday party and we had to reschedule it and push it back a week. Her birthday is also 3 weeks after Christmas. You know, that time of year when you’ve finally put away all the presents and decorations and don’t want to even look at anything sweet or think about adding more toys to the mix. And you don’t want to do anything social at all because you’ve been going-going-going for 2 months straight?

Oh, January birthdays.

I feel like a mean mom, to be honest! I think I missed the creative party gene, something that is glaringly obvious every time I log into Pinterest! I felt like that about planning my wedding back in the day too – I just don’t get jazzed up about character cupcakes or personalized banners or whatever shabby-chic decor I’m supposed to want to pay so much for! I’d actually glady farm the planning out entirely. I don’t like crafting, I don’t even like calling the cupcake shop and ordering. What is wrong with me??

But, Margo has been talking about her birthday since, oh… March? She has known her birthday is January 16 and it’s coming “beary soon!” since then. All along we were saying we’d skip the party this year and just do something low key & family oriented, and maybe do a friend party once the weather got nice. But we’ve been going to friend parties all year. We went to one Sunday and she said “Margo’s going to have a birthday party soon!”

Well, it is getting to be “beary soon,” now. 2 months away, it’s time to figure this mess out, I think.

Is it a terrible idea to skip a 3 year birthday party, since she’s so excited & loves parties? Should I just suck it up and do it, or be the boss and declare this a first world problem and know that life will be just fine if we skip…

Blogging motivation: #NaBloPoMo edition

Well, I obviously didn’t blog yesterday, per my NaBloPoMo obligation. (So *shucks* I can’t win any BlogHer prizes. Let’s face it, I didn’t really want them anyway. As much as I like blogging and reading some blogs, I think the BlogHer conference seems like a big sorority party and I’m SO not that kind of girl. Ahem.)

So, I have been feeling more connected to blogging. Writing daily has made it easier to think of things to write about, generally, and I think the process of writing and sharing (and conversing through comments) has been fun and useful. Even though I won’t be able to claim *true* success on #NaBloPoMo since I missed a day, I do think the ultimate purpose of it is still taking hold for me.

It is hardest on the weekend, as I assumed it’d be since I spend little time in front of a computer on Saturdays and Sundays. No big surprise there. I also have hardly any readers on the weekend, which is another blow for my motivation. Did anyone even READ my post Saturday? (Well, 25 of you…) Sunday was this insanely hectic day of going from one thing to the next and doing laundry, cleaning, making dinner in between… I collapsed after Margo went to bed. Anyway, excuses.

It sort of made me think about what my motivation is for doing this daily blogging thing. At many times in my life I’ve been a journaler and it’s been useful in working through stuff I was feeling or going through, but I feel like, only 12 days in, blogging is sort of proving its worth a little.

I like the sharing part. I think my failure to launch yesterday was due in large part to not wanting to blog to no one. I think that’s been part of the issue all along – since I’m so inconsistent I don’t have a strong following.  While I don’t need to be the most popular, branded mommy-blogger in the world, it is nice to have readers and that process sort of reinforces the blogging through comments. And pressure (<- that’s the part I’m less sure about. Never really seeking out added obligations.)

I like the writing freedom as well. I’m a writer by trade, and I don’t have freedom in that. I’m very constricted in the style and topic. I like it, I’m okay with it, but I also have more to give and it’s nice to share that. At times the blank post is maybe TOO free… but like I said, the process of coming up with good topics IS, in fact, becoming easier the more I do it. Just like they said it would!

It’s nice to have my own little space. Even though everyone CAN/COULD do it, not everyone does. And the process makes me have more respect for those of you who do have the branded, professional looking mommy (or otherwise) blogs because HOLY CRAP when do you do it? While I’m not as overwhelmed as I assumed I’d be doing this daily, it’s a commitment.

I’m sorry, I know you were all like “NO POST FROM JAMIE ON SUNDAY!? What every shall we DO?!” Or not. But thanks for sticking with me anyway 🙂