Friday, October 31, 2014

Coffee Date

I've seen these fun posts on Gina's and Bobbi's blogs, and I think they're cute. I pretend I'm meeting for coffee with you (dear reader :-), and we chat about whatever we would chat about in person. I'm feeling inspired by the fact that I had an actual coffee date this morning with a real, live human adult!

Yay! (Marshall's bib says, "My First Spooky Halloween.") 
(Also, can we talk about his thighs??? I love them!)



So let's start there. If we were having coffee today I'd tell you that it was so nice to go to a new place, meet someone new, and talk for almost three hours about raising kids (she has five-year-old twins!), how neither of us really loves Halloween, and Europe (she's originally from England!). Marshall came with me, of course, and he had a mini-meltdown while we waited for our coffee (poor guy was tired but bringing him to a new place with a new person kept him awake and he just lost it), but then he fell asleep, ate, and then played happily while we chatted. This mom is a member of my local MOMS Club and invited me to coffee to welcome me, which was so kind. She also encouraged me to check out a group called MOPS, so I'm excited to look into it.

This is Marshall's tired face.


During our little get together I actually opted to have tea--with caffeine. I've avoided caffeine since a few months into my pregnancy because I was worried about its effects on Marshall, but after talking to a lot of other moms about their caffeine intake I decided to try one cup of my favorite English Breakfast to see how it goes. Last night I slept terribly because Terry was out of town, so today was a good day to go for it, and Marshall doesn't seem to be any different from usual. Hooray! I've been really excited about adding tea back into my morning (and sadly, I just don't love herbal teas the way I love my English Breakfast--although yesterday I tried a lemon-rose herbal tea from Peet's and really enjoyed it), so I'm happy!

I'm also a little jittery. Go figure.

Last thing about Marshall: He rolled over tummy to back today! He's been so close for several weeks, but we kinda gave up on it ever happening, and then today he seemed super close while on his fluffy play mat so I moved him to the carpet and he turned right over! Hopefully he'll do it again when Daddy gets home.


Twins!


I don't remember if I mentioned it, but we finally settled on attending a Halloween festival nearby tomorrow night. We just want an excuse to dress Marshall up, get a photo of all three of us, and enjoy some local festivities. I can't wait to finish up my little Halloween post all about Marshall's first holiday celebration!

If we were having coffee right now, I'd want to know what you're up to. How have things been lately? What are your plans for this weekend? And for the holidays? Any fun Halloween costumes you've seen?

Hope you have a fantastic Halloween and a great weekend! Remember to set your clocks back an hour!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WIAW

Happy birthday to Heidi, one of my best friends! I'm so glad we have experienced so much of life together, from cheering on the Bruins on the sidelines to living together in college to celebrating our weddings together, being pregnant together, and now sharing the joys of motherhood together! I hope you had a wonderful day!

Happy Thursday to you all! Hope the week has been treating you well. Today was an especially productive day, so I'm looking forward to a solid night of sleep before starting over again tomorrow. I can't believe Halloween is this Friday! There are actually a lot of local events around our area--a carnival, a "Halloween walk," and a festival of sorts. Terry and I are hoping to bring Marshall to one event for a little bit just so we can enjoy the festivities and get a picture of all three of us on Marshall's first Halloween.

I know it's WIAW, and I didn't eat this meal today, but I thought I'd share that I'm slowly finding fun ways to get out of my meal planning slump. Yesterday I thought all day about what to make for dinner. The challenge: I had a TON of greens about to go bad, so I knew we would need to cook them down for part of the meal. Usually I'll throw sauteed greens into a bowl of pasta and call it a day, but we ate pasta the night before. So I came up with the idea to make breakfast for dinner, and this happened:


First, I baked up some fresh biscuits using Lisa's recipe. I didn't have nearly enough milk, so I used about 1/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup Greek yogurt. They turned out great! Then I sauteed those greens in a little butter, sliced and heated up some sausage, and fried some eggs. I really wanted to try crispy eggs, but I got the pan hot and added butter and suddenly our apartment was filled with smoke. Terry and I rushed around turning on fans and opening doors to prevent the smoke alarm from beeping (success! Although with that amount of smoke, I kind of wish it had gone off because now I'm convinced it doesn't work), and I settled on regular ol' fried eggs instead. Still tasty. Oh, and we added some avocado, which was a great idea.

So here's what I actually ate today:

Breakfast: two pumpkin pancakes topped with maple syrup (devoured while running around getting Marshall and myself ready to meet up with a few other moms and babies). I used this recipe for the pancakes and added half a can of pumpkin instead of the bananas.


Our walk with the other moms was so fun! These are the ladies I met while walking on the Strand a few weeks back. Four of us met up today (the other three babies are two months old, so Marshall is ancient, but it's so fun to get to know some new people!). We met at Point Vicente and walked along the beautiful cliffs.


For lunch I assembled a turkey and cheese "toaster quesadilla" which is just a regular quesadilla but with no dishes. I topped it with the other half of the avocado from last night's dinner and had an apple on the side.


Later in the day I got to enjoy a little break. Marshall stayed home with family while I grabbed an almond croissant at a local bakery and ran a few errands.


I forgot to take a photo of dinner, but it was delicious! And best of all--I didn't make it. (Much as I love cooking, I also love getting a few other things done, sitting down to a homemade meal, and not even having to do dishes. I was totally spoiled today.) I had a salad with bell peppers and cucumbers, limoncello pasta (<--link to the recipe), toast with Parmesan on top, and Brussels sprouts. Delicious meal.

For dessert I ate a brownie with new-to-me coconut ice cream. I've been craving ice cream in a bad way lately, but I'm still avoiding it at night because it bothers Marshall's tummy. I've read good things about So Delicious ice cream, and then yesterday I saw that the brand is strongly anti-GMO, so I decided to support them and bought some tonight. It was pretty good. It's not ice cream, but it'll get me through. I topped it with some granola.

I'm really ready for the weekend over here. I hope you have a great day! Check out the other WIAWs!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Marshall: Five Months

Happy five months to you, my happy little boy!


We won't go to the doctor again until you are six months old, so we have no idea how much you weigh or how tall you are. You're still in size 3 diapers, and your clothes are almost all 9-12 month sizes.

Five months!


Four months


One month, two months, and three months



You have made some HUGE leaps this month. The day after I wrote your four month post, you rolled over! You rolled back to tummy over your left shoulder, and it's still the only way you roll (ha!). We're convinced that you'll be walking before you bother to learn the other rolls. This month you also practiced sitting up (you can hold yourself up with your arms for a few seconds, but then you tumble forward, which is pretty adorable),


standing with lots of help,

and more tummy time. You actually seem to really enjoy tummy time now, and you'll hang out there for a long while while looking around.


You smile and laugh a lot now! Your giggle is such a fun sound, and you get especially giggly at night before you go to bed. We make you laugh by blowing raspberries on your tummy, playing peek-a-boo, and lifting you up and down (Daddy is best at that one). You also have had some pretty phenomenal crying spells, so I guess the bad comes with the good.



I have started to wear you in the Ergo a lot more. I love it because you're too heavy to carry in the car seat (even just lifting it from the car to the stroller is agony on my muscles), but it's also become a nice way for you to see more of the world. You seem to love it, too. You get all quiet and wide-eyed and just look around at everything. Daddy wears you in the Ergo a ton, too, and you guys seem pretty happy together. Im grateful it's finally cool enough to wear you instead of just sticking you in the car seat/stroller all the time!



You also seem more interested in your toys, and you have gotten really good at picking up almost anything near you, reaching for objects even when you aren't on your back, and pulling or pushing things.


Oh, and you found your toes! SO cute.


Things you love (or at least tolerate well enough to convince me you don't hate it):
  • looking in mirrors
  • taking naps in your crib (you smile when I turn on your mobile)
  • peek-a-boo, tickling, letting us blow raspberries on your tummy, playing airplane with Daddy
  • hanging out on your activity mat
  • "talking"--you have so much to say now!
  • when we put a cloth or blanket on your face and then you (or we) pull it away
  • looking around at everything
  • staring at trees
  • reading books
Things you don't love:
  • getting into your car seat (though sometimes if we sing while we strap you in you get distracted enough not to realize what's going on)
  • being done with tummy time (once you hit your threshold, you are DONE)
You are starting to be more and more interested in watching us eat, so we think you'll be ready for solid foods pretty soon. We took out your high chair this week so it'll be ready for you. Otherwise you're still breastfeeding every 3 hours or so and growing quickly. 

You're still spitting up a ton. I don't really want to talk about it.

Your sleep had some rough setbacks this month. You have now settled back into a new routine of waking up twice at night, usually around 1 and 4, and then you're up for the day between 6 and 7. A lot of times you also wake up (but just needing some comfort/resettling to get back to sleep) around 11 or so. Hopefully you'll be more comfortable once you've moved into the crib. 



This month has definitely been the most fun so far. We can't wait to see what's next!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Miscellany

Happy Monday! Hope you're enjoying this last week before the time change. I'm sort of dreading it, because I love our evening walks so much. Terry usually gets home from work between 5 and 6, so those walks will need to shift around a bit. No way am I walking with a baby in the dark around here--the speed limits near our place are way too high for that.

Still, we plan to get creative with our workouts to stay in shape for the winter. Here's what we did at my parents' place over the weekend (we visited them in Palm Desert, so the problem there was that it was too hot outside--over 90 degrees one day!):



*Notes:
  • (3-2-1) Squat: Lower down in three increments, then stand up in one count.
  • Squat (3-2-1): Lower down to a squat in one count, then stand up using three counts.
  • We rested at least a minute between sets. 
We're definitely still feeling that one three days later. We also did a quick and fun family workout, and my parents even joined. Every minute on the minute for 20 minutes, we did 5 push ups (100 total). (We agreed we could do any style of push up we wanted, so tricep, incline, wide-arm, clapping, etc.) It wasn't too crazy challenging, but I am surprisingly sore today! My core and chest are really feeling it. I liked the workout because after the 5 push ups we had a lot of time left to rest, so we all scattered after each round: Dad played with Marshall, Mom cooked breakfast, Terry and I packed. I need to do more workouts like this on busy days. Think of the possibilities! EMOM burpees might me in my future...

I'll share more about our little getaway later this week, but it was lovely. Now we're glad to be back home and not planning on going anywhere (unless I'm forgetting something, which is more than likely) until close to Christmas. But can you believe how soon that is? Less than two months away already! Yikes! Sadly, a lot of our Christmas decorations are up in northern California in a storage unit, and I don't know how feasible it is that we'll procure them before the season begins, so it might be a bit of a lighter Christmas around here. Either that or I'll suddenly feel the need to make our apartment into a Winter Wonderland for Marshall's first Christmas, and HomeGoods won't know what hit it.

Speaking of decorations, my brother is ridiculous with his, even for Halloween:



Crazy, right? Children on his street are going to have nightmares for sure.

Tonight when Terry came home from work I mentioned that I needed a few items from the store, so we all walked down to Trader Joe's. I made one of our new favorite super easy dinners, Nutty Noodles from Kath Eats Real Food. I had two bell peppers on hand (thanks, Mom!), and I was able to prep the peanut sauce and the peppers before Terry got home from work. We even ended up eating dinner before Marshall went to bed! I can't remember the last time that happened.


We drank sparkling wine with it. Why not? There's always something to celebrate.


While Terry put the kiddo to bed, I whipped up a batch of my favorite brownies and also decided it was a good idea to make some homemade whipped cream. I didn't even have any berries on hand, so I can't begin to pretend this dessert was anything but an indulgence. But it was awesome. Perfect for a Monday night. Or any night.


And on the other side of the health coin, have you heard about the gallon of water a day challenge? I saw it on Facebook a while back and, while I didn't participate in the actual 30-day challenge, I started upping my water intake. I love drinking from my 32-ounce Nalgene bottle, and I really do drink a lot (especially while I feed Marshall), but some days it's easy to just forget or not drink enough. I try to push myself to drink one full bottle by 10 am, 2 pm, 6 pm, and 10 pm. That's about 8 ounces per hour, which is totally doable. I really feel a lot better on days I drink a lot (of water). Maybe this will help make up for the lack of sleep to which I am probably permanently doomed.

What's your favorite indulgent dessert?

Do you go all out with holiday decorations or keep it simple?

How do you encourage yourself to drink more water?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

5 Months Postpartum

I haven't written much of a formal update about how I'm doing postpartum lately, and I've gotten lots of positive feedback on previous postpartum posts, so here's a little update:

Emotions
I finally feel normal. I definitely don't cry very much at all (back to my cold, heartless self :-), and I am even a little less crazy about being unwilling to leave Marshall with other people. I've been so thankful to have my parents and Terry's parents around and willing to baby-sit. I know I can trust them, and it's been really good for me to get out on my own or with Terry. I do think that staying home full time with Marshall has made me much slower to get comfortable with leaving him, so that's something I want to work on. Marshall actually had a TOTAL meltdown with my parents the other week when I left him with them to pick up Terry, and I did okay! I was grateful they called to ask me for suggestions, because I'm the type who would rather know about it (and help) than find out about it later and stress out about what I could have done to help. Of course, my parents managed to calm him down just fine. Babies get to have crazy mood swings like the rest of us.


I am, however, having a tough time with the fact that we'll be moving Marshall to his crib this week. It's time (he's way too big for his co-sleeper), but it'll be hard on me. I'm also dreading the late-night feedings, because our room is as far as possible from his (yes, we live in an apartment, but I wish our rooms were right next to each other). Now instead of being cozy in my bed and helping him back to sleep at an arm's distance, I'll have to either walk back and forth as needed or hang out in/near his room until he falls asleep. I also think I worry about normal stuff, like What if the monitor stops working and I don't hear him crying? What if I never sleep again out of worry? What if a spider/raccoon/bear gets into his room? Typical mom stuff, I'm sure.

I'm still recovering from the C-section. Joining the ICAN Facebook group has been a huge help because I see so many women who went through something similar to what I experienced. And I'm feeling a lot better overall about the fact that I needed the surgery.

Exercise
I feel like exercise is heading in a great direction. I'm jogging somewhat regularly (once a week or so), walking a lot and for longer distances, and even finally adding some consistent strength training back into the mix. I'm challenging myself to get at least 30 minutes of walking each day, plus strength at least 2-3 times per week. I feel really good and much more normal as I get more and more exercise.

I realize this is a photo of Terry and not me. You get the idea.


Postpartum Weight Loss and Body
I haven't mentioned much about weight loss for a few reasons. First of all, I don't weigh myself regularly and only did so during pregnancy to make sure I was gaining weight appropriately. Secondly, postpartum weight loss was super quick after Marshall arrived, mostly because of breastfeeding (and, obviously, not having a baby in my belly anymore). So I don't feel like I did much to "earn" my weight loss and therefore didn't have much to say on the topic.

Yesterday, at the doctor, I learned that I'm now back to my pre-pregnancy weight, which is great, but I still don't feel (or look) the way I did pre-pregnancy. And that's okay, because I'm not the same as I was back then. Now I'm nourishing a (rapidly growing) baby boy and trying to find time to exercise regularly. I am not nearly as toned as I would like to be (hence weighing less but not feeling particularly spectacular), but there's time for that later. My priorities have shifted, so I'll get back to a new level of fitness in good time.

My hips expanded! I know that's supposed to happen and it's normal, but I just really noticed it in the last few weeks. Most of my clothes still fit me, but they fit a little differently.


My hair is falling out. I had heard of postpartum hair loss, but it's insane. I have a visible bald spot growing near my left temple, which looks awesome, and there's hair EVERYWHERE. I feel like I need to vacuum every day.

My scar still tingles a little, and my stomach is sore in some places, but it's getting better. As I get stronger, I notice that my stomach feels less sore, so that motivates me to keep it up!

Other Changes
I'm starting to feel more of a desire to go back to work. I absolutely love staying home with Marshall, but I think since I know I'll go back to work sooner or later, I am anxious about staying away too long and feeling like I can't get back into the swing of things when I do want to go back.

I'm finally getting into a routine of putting a little time into myself in the mornings. I try to wash my face, brush my teeth, put my contacts in before we leave the bedroom to play (Marshall usually hangs out on the bed with a toy during these five minutes). Otherwise it just won't happen. And I even wear makeup most days (brow liner, eyeshadow, mascara, and sometimes a little blush). My hair is almost always in a ponytail because I usually shower late at night and skip the blow drying, but at least I take regular showers now. That's a step in the right direction!

Leaving the house has gotten much easier. I used to dread going out and put it off almost the whole day because it was such a hassle to get out (packing up, making sure Marshall was clean and fed and dry, then usually having to start all over on the way out the door because Marshall would spit up). Also the car seat was too heavy. Now, though, I just strap Marshall into the Ergo and head out. He still spits up half the time we're leaving, but I'm calmer and faster about cleaning up.

Everything Else
For a long time, I felt like I really missed Terry. We were around each other a lot, but we didn't have a lot of time to just hang out, relax, chat about things we used to. I found myself talking about Marshall 95% of the time we were alone, and I missed our old conversations about more varied topics. But I feel like that's getting better now, too. We make it a point (most nights) to sit at the dining room table with the TV off for dinner, and we have really great conversations. We also are getting more dates in, thanks to grandparents, which is good for me and for us as a couple. But also, I think our relationship is naturally getting back to normal because we're getting more sleep, we're getting the hang of this parenting thing, and we're getting more exercise and healthy meals. It's all connected!

I love writing these posts and reflecting on how I'm doing in recovery. Pregnancy is such a hot topic, but I really don't read much about postpartum (parenthood, yes, but not the emotional and physical changes that come with it). It's nice to have a conversation about it. I would love to hear your experience, advice, thoughts, questions, comments. Please don't hesitate to contact me!

Other postpartum posts: three weeksseven weeks, twelve weeks. Plus, breastfeeding at 15 weeks.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wrapping Up a Wonderful Week

Happy Friday!!! How has the week been? Mine has flown by, and it was a really great one.

On Tuesday I got to spend about four more hours than usual with Terry, because he accompanied me and Marshall to my appointment in Santa Monica. We made the most of it with lunch on Third Street before heading home. Midday lunch dates are such a treat, and Marshall generally seems happy to hang out with us at restaurants because there's so much to see.

Yesterday was a normal day, but it was a fun and productive one. We also took a long walk at the park and I even ran about a mile with the stroller. And Terry and I got to go on a date last night! I'm so grateful for family willing to hang out with our little guy. I'm getting a lot more comfortable leaving him for a few hours, and each date feels a little more relaxed. We made it a traveling dinner, with a drink and appetizer at Chez Melange (I cannot recommend it enough!), sushi at a local place we liked well enough to try again, and dessert at the Melting Pot. Fun fact:



Yep! We had planned for weeks back in May to go to the Melting Pot for a big date night. We thought two weeks before the due date would be enough time, but nope. I went into labor the morning we were supposed to go out, so we finally went last night. Did you know you can customize your chocolate fondue? We had no idea. I wanted dark chocolate (I always want dark chocolate), but almost all the menu options call for milk chocolate. Luckily we checked with our server, and she told us we can mix and match any way we want! She suggested dark chocolate, sea salt, caramel, and a shot of Bailey's. Hello, amazing. We looooved it!

This morning Marshall woke up extra early (so much for my wish), but Terry was getting ready for work so he offered to let Marshall play in the living room while I kept sleeping. I gratefully accepted and snoozed a little longer before finally getting up at 7. A while later we were off to meet my new friends!

If you remember, a few weeks ago while my parents were in town I mustered up the courage to introduce myself and Marshall to two other new moms walking along the beach. We've stayed in touch since and they invited me to walk with them today at the beach. I set out to meet them at 10, arrived on time for once, and then checked my text message only to discover it was supposed to be 9, not 10. Ugh, mom brain strikes again (<--dude, remember that horrible incident???).

I texted my new friend to explain and apologize, called Terry to inform him that he married a lunatic, and then got a text back from my friend saying that she had messed up too and that it was supposed to be 10! Ha! Luckily mom brain was attacking both of us, and it worked out. I met up with three other moms for a long walk, and we even invited another mom (who was just walking solo) to come along. It was so fun to chat and compare motherhood stories!

After that 90-minute walk (whew!), Marshall and I took it pretty easy the rest of the day. I took some fun photos of him (I'll share for his five-month post next week!), and when Terry came home we all went to the pumpkin patch!


(I'll share more photos in a full Halloween post, but this one of Marshall eating the pumpkin was just too funny.)


Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from this little pumpkin patch on the side of the road, but it was just fine for our little family. They even had some animals (goats, pigs, a bunny, two chickens, and a turkey), so Marshall got to see that. We bought a pumpkin, took some photos, and made it home by 6:30. Not bad.

Tomorrow we're all heading out (yet again...man, we don't go far nowadays but we sure do go often!) for a little trip to Palm Desert. My parents invited us ages ago (before we knew I'd be visiting them the week before!), and it should be nice to relax, enjoy some good food (we're ordering lasagna to eat in from my parents' favorite place down there), and do laundry (yes, that's a luxury). I'm sure my parents are getting sick of me, but we're looking forward to the trip.

And that wraps up the week! Another great one around here, and lots to look forward to as we approach Marshall's first Halloween. We have a couple costumes for him but nowhere for him to wear them. A nearby town is having a Halloween festival next Friday, so hopefully we can make it to that, but I guess pictures will have to suffice this year. Next year, though, I'm totally using my child as an excuse to either throw a party or dress up to go trick-or-treating.

Any fun costume ideas this year? I've always wanted to go as William and Kate, but we haven't gone anywhere for Halloween in years.

How does the weekend look? I'm just thrilled that Terry's home and we're getting to spend some quality time together!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Abs 'n' Arms

Hello again! It's so nice to feel like I'm on something of a regular blogging schedule again. I love this little hobby of mine, and it's a lovely treat to find time to write. Thanks for reading along. :-)

Today was a busy one. I had a doctor appointment, and Terry came with me to watch Marshall while I was in there. We also went out to lunch and then I dropped Terry back off at work before Marshall had a crazy meltdown. Poor guy. We played it pretty mellow after that.

Thanks to some suggestions on Facebook, I upped my game for tonight's dinner. As I mentioned yesterday, I was already planning to slow cook some chicken breasts with salsa, but I really wasn't sure where I'd go from there. Here's what I did:

- four chicken breasts in the crock pot with about a cup of salsa (we like Whole Foods' 365 Salsa Verde)--I spread about 1/4 cup of salsa on the bottom and the rest on top of the chicken
- cooked on LOW for 4.5 hours (ours switches to warm when the timer's up--does everyone's crock pot do that?)
- pulled the chicken out, shredded it up, and then added about a cup (maybe more) of the liquid from the crock pot to the shredded chicken (I tossed the rest of the liquid, which was about another cup); then I returned the chicken to the crock pot on the "warm" setting until we were ready to eat

My friend Kirsten suggested sweet potato and black bean burritos, but I didn't have black beans, so we made do. I opted for a salad, and Terry went with a burrito, and we loaded up with:
- the awesome chicken (so juicy!)
- sweet potato fries (sliced into wedges, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, roasted at 450 for about 35 minutes, tossing halfway through)
- lettuce
- avocado
- tomatoes
- more salsa
- pepper jack cheese (for Terry)
- crumbled tortilla chips

Remember how I don't love salads? I could get on board with this one!



I am already inspired to make tons more fun meals, so I started pinning some ideas today. Hopefully this new motivation will last!

I even felt motivated to squeeze in an upper body workout today. After a nice walk (Terry strapped Marshall into the Ergo to get him to take a good nap), I grabbed a set of dumbbells and got to it.



* - I made up this move. It's a regular biceps curl plus a hammer curl plus a reverse curl, all in a row (that's one rep).  
** - I did this one on a ball.

I loved this quick workout. My arms definitely felt fatigued at the end, but it was over before I knew it. Plus it only required a set of dumbbells and a stability ball. Marshall also thought the whole thing was pretty funny, so that's a win. I love being back to strength training!

What did you have for dinner today?

Any fun upper body workouts to share?