Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hoppy Easter

Happy Easter 2016 from the Clute Family!!

While this was Norah's very first Easter, all in all it was a fairly uneventful day. Besides an occasional church visit or the traditional egg hunt, Easter has never been a "huge" holiday to me. I will say that now that we have kiddos it is a lot of fun to prepare and set up the baskets, and to hide the eggs. And watching them open it all up is just priceless. I was about ready to run out there and collect the eggs myself I was just so excited. Plus Charlotte is now at the age where she can understand and enjoy all these traditions. Traditions I hope her and Norah remembers and cherishes their whole lives. 

Like dying Easter eggs. This was something my sister and I did with my Grandma every single year. That and pumpkin carving. And I am sure it was something my mom would have loved to do with us, but she sacrificed and made it special for my Grandma. Thanks Mom. And thanks Grandma for all those memories. Dying and decorating eggs. Putting together the perfect baskets with delicious candy and random amounts of money. My sister and I always got the same amount...$1.27 each or maybe $2.31 haha. I am sure it was whatever was in my Grandma's purse at the time, divided in half. Must be fair! 

Last year Meredith and her kiddos came over to dye eggs, this year it was just me and my girls.

Norah mostly just watched. Maybe next year she will be able to participate. She was more than happy to just chill with me the entire time. 

And both girls did amazing with the Easter Bunny. No tears, all smiles!!! 

Finally Easter morning arrived and I could put together all the little things I had been collecting over the past few weeks. And a special gift from Nana too....the plush bunnies!!
all set up and ready for the girls!

new shoes. check. bunny from Nana. check. candy. check. 

what a couple of silly little monkeys!!

Ladies and Gentlemen it is now time for the main event....the egg hunt!!!! On your marks, get set....GO!!!

a little video of C hunting for eggs. 

I've been trying to take more videos with the legit video camera. I love looking back and seeing videos of them as little babies, and big events like this always deserve a proper documentation. 

Since it was just us hanging out at home this year, our family photo took a little more effort. Camera timer, on the deck, with Matt running back and forth until we got an acceptable image. It wasn't easy with two kiddos but we managed a decent one! :)

Hope you all had a great Easter too! Now time to go cook dinner!!

Friday, March 11, 2016

the day I walked 100,000 steps

Today we have a very special guest blogger, my devilishly handsome husband Matthew Clute. When he told me he wanted to walk 100,000 steps I thought (of course) he's crazy. And then, hey this could make a really awesome blog post. :) So after much begging he finally sat down and wrote one for us all to enjoy. I know I will never walk this many steps in one day, so I will just have to imagine the experience through this post.....
Last summer I got a Fitbit for my birthday. It’s a fitness tracker that counts your steps, can determine the number of floors climbed, and monitors your heart rate. It also allows you to compete against friends who also have one. It’s a really cool gadget that has a really good iPhone App. Once I started wearing it I started earning achievement badges depending on how many steps I walked and floors I climbed for a day and the total amount since I started wearing the Fitbit. I curiously googled what the highest badges you can earn were. Highest badge for floors in a day was 1,000 and highest badge for steps in a day was 100,000. First, I tried just walking out my door early in the morning and doing a really long walk just to get a ballpark feel for how many steps I could do without really pushing myself too hard. I walked for 5 hours and then did a bunch of yard work in the afternoon and ended up with around 43K steps that day. Next up was how many floors could I do? I decided to try a workout just running up and down stairs in my office building for an hour. Got 200 floors doing that. I did that workout twice before trying to get 300 floors. Got it the first time I tried and it took a little over an hour and a half. The 300 floors workout was fairly difficult but that was with me running up them, not just walking.

sweaty proof. 300 floors.

Next up – try for something really hard - the 100K steps in a day badge. A few months went by before a good opportunity came up for me to be able to dedicate a whole day to the challenge. The weather needed to be cool, no rain or snow in the forecast, and the wife and kids would need to be out of town so I didn’t feel like a jerk for not spending what little free time I have with them. On Sunday, January 31st 2016 the stars aligned when Shannon took the kids to Richmond for the weekend to visit a friend. The night before I packed a backpack with various supplies. I woke up at 4am and drove into DC to see if I could do it.

all my supplies

Let me start by saying that downtown DC was an awesome place to attempt this challenge. It’s fairly flat, there are tons of attractions to see, it’s beautiful, and there are plenty of public restrooms. I parked at the East Potomac Park near the George Mason Memorial. I started walking at right around 5 am and I walked on average about 6,000 steps an hour for a little over 16 ½ hours, ending just before 10pm. I stopped for about 15 minutes to grab a piece of pizza in Adam’s Morgan for lunch and then for another 15 minutes at Union Station for a burger and a shake. I stopped twice for a few minutes at the Albert Einstein Memorial to stretch, and I made a few bathroom pit stops. Other than that, I didn’t stop walking for the entire 16 ½ hours. 
Here is a rundown of all the places I was able to visit during my walk (pretty much in chronological order):
George Mason Memorial
Roosevelt Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial
Korean War Veteran’s Memorial
DC War Memorial
WWII Memorial
Washington Monument
White House
US Capitol
Supreme Court
Library of Congress
Union Station
Verizon Center
Albert Einstein Memorial
US State Department Headquarters
George Washington University
Georgetown University
National Cathedral
Naval Observatory
Creepy Savopoulos Mansion (stumbled upon this one wandering through rich neighborhoods)
Adams Morgan Neighborhood
Mount Pleasant Neighborhood
Crestwood Neighborhood (this was the furthest I got from the car at any point)
Rock Creek Park
National Zoo

Savopoulos Mansion. Creepy right?

70k steps and a sunset over the Capitol.

sunset facing west. 

At 5pm I had seen every tourist attraction DC had to offer, and was really worn out, but I still had 5 hours to go. 5 whole hours. So, I just started walking around the National Mall over and over again. It takes about an hour to get from where the car was parked in East Potomac Park to the Capitol and then an hour back so I figured I just needed to walk there and back twice and then go to the Washington Monument and back once and then I would be done. That made it easier to get through the last 5 hours. And FINALLY at around 10pm I was done. I was glad because it was starting to get late and I was getting tweaked that some nutcase was going to jump out of the bushes and assault/rob me and I would be too tired to run away.

I definitely feel like I know my way around DC so much better now! I was proud of myself for sticking it out and not giving up. My legs started to hurt around 60K steps but they didn’t keep getting worse and worse. On a scale of 1 to 10 it was a consistent 7. Not unbearable. Around 70K steps my feet started to feel like my entire forefoot was one big pillow of blister, but luckily when I took my shoes off there was just a quarter sized blister on each foot below my big toe and another small one on each foot near my heel. Around 80K steps the skin between my butt cheeks started to get raw, which hurt for the last 2 hours (TMI?). After it was all said and done I took about 2 days off from working out but then I was back to normal.

So the real question is....why did I do it? Some other guy I saw online that had done it raised some money for a charity by doing it. Good for him. I just wanted to see if I could do it. The badge was there and I wanted to see if I had what it took to get it and I did. I think it’s important to set challenging goals and then attain them. It’s also good just to test your limits once in a while and find out what you’re made of. The other guy who blogged about it online said he thought it was probably not as hard as running a marathon. Let me tell you, I’ve run a marathon before (not a very fast marathon but I did it for the same reason stated earlier in this paragraph). This was WAY harder than a marathon if for no other reason than 4 hours of effort for a marathon vs 16 ½ hours for this. I will say that for someone who is in halfway decent shape, it is attainable if you make a solid plan to do it and don’t give up. It’s more of a mental test than a physical one.

So what’s next? Last year I started getting into triathlons and completed two. My time in the 2015 Nation’s Triathlon qualified me for the USAT Olympic Distance National Championships in 2016. I’m not going to go though. It’s in Omaha which to too far away. I decided my next big physical challenge is going to be the Savageman 70.3 Half-Ironman Triathlon in Deep Creek, MD. Supposedly it has the steepest hill (they call it the Westernport Wall) of any triathlon in the world and if you make it to the top of that hill without falling off your bike or stopping and you also finish the whole race they engrave your name and the year in a brick and put it permanently in the street at the top of the hill. I want that brick! That race is coming up in September so I’ve been busy training for that.

check out that incline!!

thats going to be me!!

After that maybe I will try to get the 1,000 floors in a day. I won’t be able to do it in a stairwell, too boring. I’d like to maybe climb a big mountain like Rainier or Whitney to achieve it. In 2007, back before I had my Fitbit, I climbed Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia all the way up and down in one day. The base was at 6,122 feet and the peak was 13,455 so 7,333 feet probably adds up to 733 floors so I know 1,000 floors is not impossible but it will be damn hard.

Kinabalu from base camp.

Anyhow, hopefully you enjoyed the story of my 100K step challenge (now complete). Hopefully it will inspire you to go for the 100K steps yourself or at least set a challenging goal and do what it takes to achieve it.


Congrats Matt!! What an accomplishment! Love you so much!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Happy 7 Months Norah!

Miss Norah ~

Happy 7 months baby girl! You are officially over the half way mark. Since time just won't slow down, all I can do is try to enjoy each and every moment as much as possible. 

what a big girl!

For you, a lot of those moments are spent asleep. It's amazing to me that you still sleep like a 3 month old. You will typically take 3 naps a day, especially if we are just hanging out around the house. You are definitely predictable. You wake just before 7, nap from 9-11am, again from 1-3 and sometimes a brief nap around 5. Sometimes that morning nap gets moved because we are at the gym. You used to be able to sleep even with all the other kiddos playing nearby, but not anymore. You are too fascinated with watching all of them.

too distracted by the grass to look up at all
one little smile finally!

One of your favorite big kiddos is your sister. You two are adorable together.
princess dress up time!
cuddles from sissy!

You are a smiley, happy, curious baby girl. Your hands are always reaching out for something, especially whatever Mommy has. And everything goes immediately into your mouth. You are a growing bean, now weighing in at 16lbs 10oz and are 26" long. I am now getting ready to switch you to 9 month clothes. Your jammies are a tad tight; they are usually the first to get switched over. The only thing holding me back is that the majority of the 9M clothes are summer, so we need the weather to start warming up!!
9 month clothes already Ma?!

You have perfected the sitting position. You love the view from that angle, and absolutely hate tummy time. Occasionally we give it a shot and you quickly get frustrated. Or turn over. But really you just prefer to be hanging out with Mama all the time. All. The. Time. I think you might be going through a Mommy phase, which is adorable, but can also be tough when I'm trying to get a few things done. Even when other people hold you you are constantly looking around for me. Pretty sure Charlotte went through this phase for a year. haha. 

me and my girls

Last month we had a few goals: get you used to a bottle and get you out of the swing. Yea well neither of those happened. We tried for the bottle for a while, and you did mediocre when Uncle Jim and Aunt Jenny watched you. We really need to continue trying with you so Nana can give you a bottle when we go to California. As for the swing, we never tried to kick you out of it. This month we will. I know it will be a few tough nights and then you will be fine, but committing to torturing ourselves seems silly! But again, we need you out of it for our trip to California, as well as any camping trips we decide to take. 

loving the bouncer

This month still did not yield any teeth. I am actually shocked. I thought for sure this would be the month when at least one if not two popped through, I was wrong. Maybe next month. If not, oh well. You are still exploring food by sucking on it. No pressure to eat any solids just yet. 

mmm tasty tag

look at that drool!!

This month was a big sicky month. If Charlotte wasn't sick, you were. You got pink eye....twice. And a cold that lead to an ear infection. You are still coughing, which you have been doing for at least two weeks (its slowly getting better). We are all ready for this cold and flu season to be over! 
look at that eye! poor baby girl!

Your big milestone this month was starting to talk! You have always been a chatterbox, but now all that chatter is becoming understandable words. Anyone have any guesses as to who got the first word? Mama or Dada? Timehop was kind enough to remind me yesterday that Charlotte's first word was "Mama". The video was precious!! Here is Norah's....

DADA wins this round!!! Congrats Dada!! 

It was also your first Valentines Day...

Valentines Day gymnastics class

roses Dada got us!
getting some kisses from Harley!

We went to the Capitol for the first time and explored a little of the city too!
under construction but still beautiful

C refusing to take a photo and N all angry that I'm not moving. Typical.


Overall I feel like it was a pretty boring month. I am hoping once the weather starts to warm a bit we can get out and about and get some more exciting pictures! Second child syndrome, I feel like I never take enough pictures or video of you!

what u lookin' at?

gymnastics class! 

Big sister giving a salute!!

Trying out the knees.....don't start crawling yet!!

both my girls in the cart!

chef Harley

sous chef Norah

sister playtime

Norah you are getting way too big! 

I still can't believe how much you have changed since birth. I know we have done this once before and none of it should surprise me, but it does. I am still shocked and fascinated by every new thing you do. And this month, your first word. Constantly trying to capture it on camera, trying anything and everything to get you to repeat it. Children sure can be a lot of work, changing everything about your life, but they do teach you one important thing: slow down and enjoy the little things. Time to end this post and get back to those things....

and we're outta here!!

We love you so much baby girl!!!

Mommy and Daddy