First races in the states

The last race my husband and I ran was a half marathon in Luxembourg last September. We were both eager to keep running a part of our new life in the states, but it took awhile to get back into the groove. Out first Boston summer was much hotter than we’re used to, making evening runs hard. And while we managed morning runs for awhile, once bébé Monkey starting sleeping “late” (past 6:30), we did too.

We finally decided on November races, which gave us plenty of time to prepare. I did a 5k at the beginning of the month, in an effort to work on speed before tackling a longer distance again. My husband has his sights set on a full marathon soon, so he did a half marathon this weekend at Red Apple Farm, about an hour away.

My 5k was at the local Y, so it was basically like a regular Saturday morning: Monkey and papa stayed at home while I went out for an hour or two. The half marathon got us all out of the house exploring. It started at 8, which meant getting up before 6 on a Saturday (much harder to do when you’ve only been able to sleep past 6 for the last few months!). The farm was having a harvest festival, so there was plenty for Monkey to see and do.

Blacksmith

Farm Animals

As much as we want to keep exploring New England, I think we’re getting to the point where we just want to chill out on weekends. Yesterday was probably the last of the warm weather (at least 60 degrees for the race). Winter weather has finally appeared and we’re going into hibernation like most people do. So it was nice to have a motivating event like the race to get us to visit somewhere we wouldn’t normally go. And now that we’ve been there, I think we’ll definitely try to get out there again next year!

BearRed Apple Farm
Farms are great places for toddlers, and we’ve already been to a few in the area. This one had everything though – cows, chickens (running free!), pigs, donkeys, sheep, goats, and huge bunnies. The store was absolutely adorable, and the outdoor grill was both entertaining for Monkey and delicious for us. I was the only one who found the blacksmith entertaining, but I grew up next door to one and have always loved it. For the festival there was music and additional booths with all sorts of fun holiday stuff. I think we’ll try to go during apple picking season next year to take full advantage of everything they offer.

Store2 Store1

Even if we didn’t pick them ourselves, we brought some apples home with us that  I can’t wait to bake into a pie for Thursday!

Sick and tired

With fall weather comes fall colds! The past few weeks have been rough on everyone, bébé especially, who had bronchitis, along with the regular sniffles thanks to the changing seasons.

Things were better last week, so bébé and I headed to Springfield with a friend who came up from New York. This was to give my husband a little break, since he took care of (sick!) bébé for almost an entire week while I was at a conference in July. We know it will never be a 50/50 split between the time we both spend with him, but we do try to give each other breaks like this when we can. And we both need lots of breaks these days, as bébé is getting more and more . . . opinionated (=insanely frustrating). He even won a raffle at work for Red Sox playoff tickets, so he had a perfect sports/video games weekend all set.

The weekend with my friend was pretty nice too, eating and drinking, exploring a part of the “revitalized rust belt,” and making plans to move there once we saw at how cheap the beautiful old houses are. (These plans were abandoned, however, upon researching the quality of the schools system.) It was nice to not make any particular plans, but just go by what we felt like and how bébé was acting. That’s one thing I’ve gotten much better at the past two years. I used to plan trips down to the second, not wanting to miss anything a new city has to offer.

But this weekend was a good example of my new “non-plan plan” of writing down a few parks and family-friendly restaurants and seeing what the day brings. Day one it brought us to a corn maze with ice cream, the Dr. Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden, the public library, and some excellent barbecue. Day two it rained, but we got in a quick walk in Forest Park, before heading north to check out a big Yankee Candle store (that sells way more than candles!). It was a very different pace for both of us, used to bigger cities, that I think we’re getting to the age/life stage to really start to crave. Definitely a bummer the schools aren’t better. So we’ll just have to keep exploring the small cities between Boston and New York to find that perfect one to live out our next-door neighbor dreams.

I wish I could say the sick and tiredness was cured by a weekend away, but as often is the case, coming back from a break means you’re even more tired than when you left. Both my office and daycare were closed today for Columbus day, so at least there wasn’t the usual morning craziness to deal with. But I decided I needed to cook all the fall things today (butternut squash soup! pumpkin spice cake!) and bébé has been coughing all day, so we’re both not in tip top shape. At least I won’t have to worry about cooking the next few days while we’re all sitting around sniffling!

Already two weeks in Massachusetts

… and I can almost spell it without looking it up! (Seriously, how are you supposed to know how to spell it without having grown up here??)

The move up to MA from MD went well. A wonderful and amazing friend drove up with us to help out the first few days. I’m not sure how we’d have done it otherwise, without either actually killing each other or filing for divorce. Moving states is apparently more stressful than moving countries for this family. So hopefully we’ll stick around in Massachusetts for awhile (yay! Didn’t look it up that time!)

We had a week to get settled before I started work, and my husband had an interview that week as well. And he got the job! In terms of timeline for his job hunt, it was a little quicker than mine, but still everything happened once we were physically in the States. So really, we could have spent those last few weeks in France drinking way more wine and sending a lot less applications…

I kept up my weekly DIY last week and made bread for the first time in 8 years (because who bothers to make homemade bread in France?). I made overnight oatmeal during the week, which I’m going to count because this weekend was absolutely gorgeous so I was out exploring rather than spending much time in the kitchen.

Since I can walk to work, my husband will be able to take the bus into Boston for work, and bébé with be at a daycare we can both get to on a bus to/from work, we don’t have a car (we only rented one for the week of the move). So we’ve mostly been exploring our new town on foot, which is just a few miles west of Boston. There’s a trail along the river that goes straight into Boston that I walk along to get to work, and we had a nice family stroll there this weekend. We also checked out a church in a very pretty 20th century building, the library, and a local park. We’ve been meeting lots of friendly people all over the place, so I’m feeling fairly pleased with our choice of town. I did just sign up for Zipcar though, since I know we’re going to want to explore further out in the coming weeks, especially if the weather stays so nice.

Getting used to a new state after being abroad for so long is hard because I can’t use the same references and landmarks. I don’t know what’s good, what’s bad, what’s dangerous, what’s acceptable, etc. But a big reason I took the job I was offered was how insanely nice everyone seemed, and how open and adaptable they were about work/life fit. Support is important when you’re abroad, but I think it’s even more important when you come back. And the support and understanding I’ve gotten after only a week at my new job has made such a huge difference in feeling more settled. Having never worked in the States (besides waitressing and the university computer lab), I can’t say if it’s like that everywhere. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not like that at most places. So I feel super lucky that this is the kind of job I was able to find!