Tag Archives: friends

Food 4 Thought #4

Oatmeal isn’t a new breakfast option for me but for a couple of reasons I’ve become a huge fan of it this year.

One of my dearest friends introduced me to Trader Joe’s Steel Cut Oatmeal which takes 3.5 minutes to heat up in the microwave.  I usually add a couple of tablespoons of almond butter and a fruit (e.g blueberries, strawberries or a banana).  It’s such a healthy and satisfying breakfast.  And for me it’s become comfort food.  You see my friend who introduced it to me did so by making it for her daughters.   When I stayed with them for a couple of weeks last spring I spent my mornings visiting with the girls as they ate their oatmeal and continued getting ready for school.  I really enjoyed starting off my mornings this way.  So now when I eat oatmeal, especially this particular brand, I think of them and their parents, which provides a great deal of comfort.

Then during the summer I came across Three Sisters Cereal Oatmeal.  It’s pretty good as well.  The fact that I can travel with it won me over big time.  Before this year, my race morning breakfast usually consisted of a bagel, peanut butter, coffee and an Ensure.  When I travel for a race, it’s a challenge obtaining these items for breakfast.  When I have to stay overnight often times finding a bagel for breakfast is challenging.  Even if I don’t have to stay overnight and can drive to the race site in the morning, I have to pick up a bagel the day before.  The bagel is pretty hard and dry by the time I need to eat it.  So, before this summer my pre-race breakfast consisted of at least one new/different item every time.  It’s never a good idea to change things up on race day or even the day before.  But many times I’ve had to do this.  That is until I discovered Three Sisters.  The oatmeal comes in individual serving packets.  The packaging can be used to measure the water which is all one needs to add to make it.  These days most hotels place a mini-coffee pot in each room so I use it to heat up my water and bingo!  I’ve got my oatmeal.  I’ll bring my banana with me or pick one up at a nearby store.  They’re pretty easy to find –  even Starbucks sells them!  I’ve also discovered Justin’s Almond Butter packets.  These packets are super easy to travel with.  The Ensure is relatively easy to take on trips and if not, most drug stores carry them.

I love how oatmeal is part of my diet.  On race day it’s great because it’s a reliable pre-race food and super easy to consume.  On other days I’m comforted as I eat my breakfast.

What food gives you comfort?  What is your pre-race breakfast?

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Support System

Since Noah passed away, I continue to get advice on self-care.  One aspect of self-care is having and actually utilizing a support system.   Most people have support systems.  One isn’t required to be a member of the sad, unfortunate bereaved parents club to have one.  For me, though, since losing my son, I’ve become much more open to this concept and much more appreciative of having one.

I’m so grateful for my friends and family members far and near who are there for me.  I am grateful for their love, compassion and efforts to walk by my side on my journey.

I’m also fortunate to have a few bereaved parent support groups.  MLH and I had one while living on the east coast.  We were sad to leave this group.  We miss its members and think of their children often.  When we moved I searched for a local group and recently found one.  Additionally I have a virtual group that consists of parents who also have lost Heterotaxy children.  I am so grateful for having these groups in my life.  They’re an important part of my support system.

Within my support system I have “a triathlete section.”   Here I have my friends and family members who tolerate my training schedule, inquire about my progress and cheer me on.

Members of my tri clubs are also part of my support system.  The interesting thing about this group is they don’t even know it!  They don’t know that by showing up, focusing on the workout, talking about a race, discussing technique, and doing pretty much anything related to training they’re providing a tremendous amount of support.  Not asking if I have children but asking about PRs, favorite segments, bikes, races and training schedules is the best support I can get at that time.

What does your support system look like?  Are you utilizing it when you need to?  Are you part of somebody else’s support system?

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My Recent Trip

I’m back home after spending 2.5 weeks in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This trip was and still is a big deal.  I was away from home, away from MLH, Abigail & Madeleine, and away from my safe, protective bubble that fosters my highly desired minimal social interaction and relatively gentle days.  The reasons for taking this trip — helping a friend with her wedding and visiting friends — shifted my daily focus and schedule.

Indeed I was able to find a great deal of comfort thanks to two constants:  close friends and my training.  I’m extremely blessed to have very dear friends, with quite a few of them residing in Northern California.  They know about Noah and know me very well.  Aside from my training and a few other activities I spent most of my waking hours with these individuals.  I greatly missed MLH, Abigail & Madeleine and found myself somewhat unsettled by not being in my bubble of a home, but spending quality time with these friends provided a new type of sanctuary.

I was pretty successful in keeping up my training while traveling.  I was challenged with completing only two assigned sessions, and I had to cut three others a little short but not enough to count them as failures.  As expected, when I decided to use Pete, I managed to spend a couple swim sessions with him which was awesome.  Also, a good friend of mine who has a swim video business filmed me in the pool.  (Swimmers and triathletes benefit greatly from being filmed in the water.  Coaches have a tremendously effective tool for identifying areas of improvement.)  And after watching my video, Pete was able to provide very specific feedback on my form; what an improvement I’ve made already!

I’m so delighted and thankful I had the opportunity to help a very good friend with her wedding and celebrate such a joyous life event with her as well as spend lots of quality time with other dear friends.  And I’m grateful I could still train and maintain my special time with Noah while away from home.  I believe I had a good trip, and as much as I’m extremely happy to be back home with MLH, Abigail & Madeleine, I do think the trip was good for me.

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A Helpful Book: When A Friend’s Baby Dies

This morning I came across this free ebook, When A Friend’s Baby Dies (Helping Your Friend After Babyloss) by  Kristine Brite McCormick who is the mother of Cora.  Cora was only five days old when she died.  (You can learn more about Cora and Kristine on Kristine’s blog, Cora’s Story.)

I agree with Kristine that “Every mother is different.  We all grieve differently.”  (Kristine also talks about fathers in her ebook.)

Unfortunately, 150,000 infants, children, teenagers and young adults will die each year in the United States (according to The Compassionate Friends 2011 Fact Sheet).  And more than 25,000 families will face a stillbirth and more than 900,000 an early pregnancy loss.  So at some point in your life you may need this book to help guide you as you support a friend or to share with your friends.  Perhaps you need this book now.

Thank you, Kristine, for creating such a helpful resource.  You are a beautiful mother.

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