Thursday, April 23, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I realize Fridays probably shouldn't seem as exciting for me since I stay home with Marshall, but I still love them. There's always the excited buzz in the air; Terry is often home on Fridays; and the weekend (family time!) is just around the corner.

This weekend promises more birthday celebrating around here, plus some girl time for me. Otherwise, we're all still trying to get back to 100% healthy, so sleep and fresh air are the focus. For now, some Friday favorites!

Birthday Celebrations. Terry's small celebration with the three of us turned out...well enough. Last year, we went to Terranea to take advantage of their free surf and turf on your birthday. It was a delicious meal and an amazing deal. So this year we decided to do the same and booked a table at 5:30 so the little guy could join us before bedtime. Except that after we arrived and sat down, we realized...the deal is no longer offered. It's just a normal ol' (expensive) restaurant. Oops. Still, we enjoyed our meal and Marshall did really well, so luckily the birthday wasn't a disaster or anything. Note to self: Research birthday deals ahead of time!

(The guy who took our photo said, "The baby looks how I feel." To which Terry responded--later, when the guy was gone--" hate your life?")

Our Growing Boy! Marshall turned 11 months old today! WHAAAAT?! I'll write up his usual monthly update post next week, but I can't believe we're so close to a year. Just today I found this photo on my phone and took a comparison shot:

There's such an obvious difference in height, but also in his confidence and comfort standing. In the first photo he's clinging to that stool and not really on top of his feet. Now he's relaxed, barely holding on, able to twist and bend and turn while standing. Crazy! (Plus, he's wearing raccoons on top and a moose on bottom, so the second photo is much more creative.)

San Diego. Terry and I have been traveling to San Diego for pleasure for years, but in recent years Terry started driving down for work a few days at a time. When Marshall was born and I quit working, we were able to join Terry for his trips, and San Diego became a really pleasant place to visit for me. I think San Diego is beautiful, I love the fresh air, and we've discovered tons of delicious restaurants. This week, Terry completed the project he has been part of for the last six years(!!!), and the trips to San Diego for business are officially over. I could not be more proud of my husband and his team, and even though I'll miss the chance to get away in the middle of the week like that, I'm thrilled for whatever comes next for Terry at work!

This time around, we stopped off at Cafe 21, one of our favorite places, for lunch. I had one of their amazing cast iron omelets, and Terry went with the short rib sandwich. Plus, I got some loose-leaf Irish Breakfast tea, which was phenomenal. 

Pinhole Press. Terry and I have been slowly piecing together some ideas for Marshall's first birthday. We're keeping it very low key, but I think themes are super fun, so we're doing TRAINS! I'll be sure to share everything after the fact, but I wanted to share this awesome first birthday gift we're getting Marshall from Pinhole Press: a book of favorites! I read about it on A Cup of Jo, and Marshall loves looking at all our framed photos around the house, so I figure it'll be perfect for his birthday. We added photos of all Marshall's close extended family (grandparents, uncles, aunt), plus me and Terry and Scout and some familiar objects. I'm ordering it tomorrow! (P.S. A Cup of Jo has a discount code good through Sunday, 4/26!)

Other than that, I'm really not sure how the little birthday celebration will come together. I wish I was more into crafts and fun details. I love admiring them at other people's parties (my friend Katie did such a great job at her little girl's birthday party recently!), but I find that for me when I try to do something creative it a) doesn't turn out the way I hoped; b) costs more than just buying something simple; and/or c) ends up going unnoticed/unappreciated/unused. I have one or two fun things I want to try for Marshall's party, so hopefully they won't backfire.

As mentioned, the major goal of the weekend is to get healthy, so I'm off to bed! Hope you have a wonderful weekend planned. Here are some fun links if you need them:

I loved this hilarious sketch from Amy Schumer. Apparently everyone knows who she is (except me, until yesterday), and she is hilarious.

It's National Infertility Awareness Week! This post from Brittany helped me learn a little more about the topic.

You know I love all things Ina. Here's an interview on her best dinner party advice.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

That Mushy Birthday Post I Promised

Terry's 29th year is done, and I'd say he did it with grace, style, and class. That guy really knows how to make a girl proud.

This year was one of the most difficult we have faced--new baby, demanding work schedule, very little sleep or time to relax--and Terry truly took it all in stride. We moved into our new apartment right before Terry's last birthday, and he just about doubled his commute time to work, the first of many sacrifices he made for our family this year.

Marshall came along about a month later, and Terry stepped into his role as a new dad as though he'd been doing it his whole life. Somehow, he just knew how to be a father--and a fantastic one. He supported me as a panicked, weepy mother while I looked to him for help with everything from breastfeeding ("Does his latch look okay?!" "Can you bring me more water?" "Will you bring me ________?") to midnight diaper changes. He made it look easy and taught me lessons on patience through his calm demeanor with Marshall.

As we settled into parenting, Terry went back to work, and suddenly his project picked up. He had to work longer hours, bring work home, travel to take care of his part of the project--all while helping around the house, putting 100% into his time with Marshall in the evenings, and making sure we had time together. I whined about his work nonstop, but he (almost) never complained.

Juggling an intense year of work plus being a new parent hasn't been easy, but Terry makes it seem like he was born to fulfill both roles. I admire his work ethic and his willingness to put himself second (or third, or fourth) every day.

Terry, thank you for being such a fantastic dad and a sweet pet owner to Scout. Thank you for working so hard for our family, especially this year. And thank you for being the greatest husband; I am truly so lucky!

(Styling by Terry)

(In the middle of one of those looooooong nights)

Happy birthday!!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Miscellany

Today's post is a hodgepodge. Just roll with me. 

We're still under the weather around here. Marshall's sad cough makes me ache. We tried a humidifier tonight, but somehow it made his cough worse? He started coughing every five minutes, and then when Terry sneaked in to turn off the humidifier the coughing suddenly reduced to once every half hour or so. What the heck? I thought they were supposed to help? Is our water (we use water filtered through the Brita) that bad? Any other suggestions for a little one's cough? We've done steam in the bathroom, warm chicken broth, extra breastfeeding, and saline solution/bulb syringe for reducing congestion. I guess now we'll just wait it out.

Thankfully, Marshall is still mostly upbeat and energetic, so we took a family break this evening to hit the park. Marshall got to show his dad how he climbs the stairs and goes down the slide at the playground!

...and then he licked the steering wheel on the fire truck thing.

Kids are weird.

I came across this post from 100 Days of Real Food about reducing waste at the grocery store. I have been trying to become more eco-friendly over the last few years and give myself a pat on the back for my efforts: reusable grocery bags, not buying stuff just for the sake of buying it (or accepting free stuff just because it's free), switching to cloth napkins at home, trying cloth diapers, etc. But this list is far more extensive--and it's all focused on the grocery store. I especially agree with numbers 7 through 9. Happy Earth Day!

Tomorrow is my amazing husband's birthday! I'll write up my usual sappy post tomorrow, but we're celebrating with a family dinner out (Marshall's first fancy restaurant!) and hopefully a clean bill of health all around.

Love that guy. And the little one, too.

Today I went to Costco to buy dates. I wanted to make my better-than-Larabars-and-maybe-sorta-kinda-getting-famous(-but-only-among-Terry's-coworkers)(-and-really-only-like-two-of-them), but Costco was out. Marshall and I wandered around and bought a pair of flip flops (Flojos for $9.99!) and two boxes of butter. 

By the way, the imitation Larabars recipe:
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup nuts (I usually use walnuts, but almonds have worked great)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon rock sea salt
  • about a teaspoon of water 
Throw everything in a food processor. Process until all pieces are about the same tiny size. Roll tablespoonfuls into balls. If the balls are too crumbly, add a little water and process again. Store in fridge. 

Terry and I are obviously not working out while we're sick, but we've been talking about setting another running goal for May. The one we did in January (20 miles in 26 days) was fun, challenging, and just enough of a push to make sure we got active anytime we may have opted to skip the workout. This time we're thinking 25 miles in 31 days, which may be tough since it'll be a busy month. I also hope to increase my one-off mileage. I think my longest run postpartum is around 3 miles, so I'd like to be able to do 4 or even 5 (maybe without stopping?) by the end of May. Also, congrats to the Boston Marathon runners today!

Speaking of running, while my parents were here my mom forced me to go on a run with her, and we actually did really well! We tackled a HUGE steep hill (only ran up half of it, but still), and we felt pretty good about it. I'd say we were out for about 35 minutes and ran 15-20 of those. Not bad for two gals who don't run all that often anymore!

I finished my J.K. Rowling book! And I loved it. I'm excited to read the sequel, The Silkworm. But for now before bed I'm just rereading bits and pieces of Tina Fey's book Bossypants, which makes me laugh after a long day. 

Okay, it's 8:30 and I have important decisions to make: another (third) bowl of cereal? a different dessert? tea? These are my struggles at night. Wish me luck.

What book did you read last? Any recommendations? (Nothing scary--I need to relax when I read.)

Any fitness goals coming up?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Visitors, Catalina, and Sick Sunday

I hate taking such a long hiatus from blogging, but lately my consistency is a little off, to say the least. Luckily, I have some good excuses, like visitors and illnesses and upcoming birthdays. So here's a quick recap, and here's hoping this week will be better.

The big news of the week: My parents visited! They made their usual trip, Wednesday through Friday, and we got lots of quality time. Marshall practiced climbing the stairs at the playground!

PopPop and Marshall read all about the farm.

Scout had to go to the vet for a vaccination and spent about 24 hours curled up like this.

We made a trip to UCLA and wandered around a bit. Marshall got to learn a little about Coach.

One highlight of my parents' visits is always their help around the house. Usually, I scramble around trying to take care of everyday chores, but now we have things (a little) more under control around here, so my dad helped me do some deep cleaning. He vacuumed the entire house, including Scout's tower and our heater vents, plus he scrubbed our bathrooms. 
Terry, these are the things we'll be doing for Marshall when he has a kid!

Marshall wanted to help vacuum.

Mom helped by watching Marshall so I could scrub our kitchen.

Scout didn't help at all.

(Thank you thank you thank you Mom and Dad for all your help this week!!!)

Terry's birthday is this week. As part of his celebration, he wanted to get back in the water for some diving. Last weekend he refreshed his skills in the pool, and on Saturday we all headed out to Catalina Island! 6:15 am. Had to arrive at the ferry station at 5:45. Had to leave the house at 5:15. Had to wake up at 4:45. We were all pretty tired.

BUT once we arrived and found a gorgeous morning, it was all worth it!

Marshall helped Daddy prep his scuba gear.

And while Terry dove, Marshall snoozed and I walked. A lot!

We also got some time to play. 

Checking out the salt water taffy making machine!

We tried out Maggie's Blue Rose, a Mexican restaurant, and loved it! Tacos, enchiladas, and guacamole.

Honestly, I felt a little nervous about the day--I knew it would feel long and tiring for Marshall, and probably me--but it was absolutely worth it. Terry seemed really excited to dive again, and we really did get a lot of family time. Marshall napped great (once in the Ergo with me, and once in the stroller for over an hour). I got a ton of exercise--over 19,000 steps! And Terry rocked his dives. He's now completed 88 dives!

Today, unfortunately, we're all under the weather. Terry's been getting over a cold and thinks it came back a little, Marshall's in the middle of something unpleasant (it breaks my heart to hear his deep cough and sad, lethargic cries!), and I'm trucking my way through the same thing. We took today as a major rest day (thanks to Terry for getting up with Marshall at 5:30 so I could sleep longer), but even that hasn't cured us. I'm sure it'll be a few more days before we're all back to 100%. 

(How do babies manage to be so cheerful when they're sick?)

Since we're suffering from colds, soup sounded perfect for dinner, so I spent some time in the kitchen making a favorite: Ina's Winter Minestrone. We all loved it, and the broth felt great on my throat. I also bought oranges and sweet potatoes and other healthy foods to boost our nutrition. Gotta fight these germs!

And now it's time for bed and Monday and getting our family healthy. I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Marshall's First Beach Experience

All morning, Marshall has been crawling up to walls, cabinets, and doors, sitting with his back to them, and lightly banging his head backwards. WHAT? I guess he likes the sound his head makes when it hits the wall? Why are kids so weird?

Our weekend was a mix of fun and work. I've had the spring cleaning bug for a few weeks now but haven't really been able to dive into the bulk of stuff I wanted to clean. Thankfully, Marshall got some extra attention from family on Friday and I had three or four hours to clean, sort, organize, and get rid of a whole lot of stuff. We took half a car of lovely but unnecessary items to GoodWill! YAY!

Terry had to go back to San Diego at 4:30 in the morning on Saturday (please pity my sweet, hard working husband!), so Marshall and I had a long day ahead of us. Even longer because the little dude had me awake with him from 2:30 to 4:15 Saturday morning--ouch. But we all pushed through the cloud of exhaustion to enjoy a decent day. Terry had some success at work and Marshall and I found enough activities to entertain us throughout the day.

Sunday was WAY more fun. We were up fairly early again, but it was to drop Terry off at a rec center to brush up on his scuba skills! For his birthday, Terry wanted to go diving, so he took some time yesterday to refresh his skills. He's a dive master, so he also helped out the scuba instructors with teaching some new divers. Meanwhile, since I don't dive, Marshall and I hit up Target (Honest Company released the CUTEST new diapers that made me a little excited that we haven't been cloth diapering!), dropped off a few more boxes at GoodWill, and napped/read while waiting for Terry.

Yesterday was also our friends' daughter's second birthday party! We spent some time before the party with Heidi, Ed, and their daughter Kayla (who is three weeks older than Marshall). It was SO fun to see Marshall play with his little friend! He gets to "interact" with other babies at MyGym, but it's more like they all just hang out in the same space while playing near each other. With Kayla Marshall actually paid attention to her and even gave her a kiss! Ha! Totally unsolicited, and we'll need to talk to him about consent, but it was cute. :-)

The party a little later was absolutely adorable. Katie and Corey know how to throw an amazing party, and this one was no different. The theme was bunnies, and Katie even brought in a little bunny petting zoo! Marshall got to pet a bunny or two (he was actually gentle!), and we had fun letting him roam around the backyard with the other kids. I think he was the youngest one there (aside from Tessa, Katie and Corey's two-month-old), so it was fun to see him watching the older kids. Mostly, I had a blast chatting with friends and relaxing on a Sunday, which I think is what Sundays are for.

Oh, and bonus: Marshall must have been perfectly tired because he slept 10 hours straight last night. Hallelujah!

Today was really nice. Marshall woke up at 5, but we made it work. We took a trip to Target (of course) and to the park for swings and a walk. Terry worked from home and wasn't feeling great, but he joined us for a short trip to the beach--Marshall's first time on the sand and in the water! It was freeeeeezing and windy, but he seemed completely content. He loved watching the waves and touching the sand with his hands. He's been to the beach dozens of times, but he's always just in the stroller--this time was way more fun for all of us!

I have been wanting to squeeze in more workouts during nap times, so today I did some burpees. Starting on the minute for ten minutes, I did 10 burpees, then 9, then 8, etc., all the way to 1. I was going to repeat it, but Marshall woke up (darn! hate when I can't do more burpees...), and it's probably for the best because my legs are already wobbly. Also, I did the first set of 10 burpees with push ups and then realized I was insane and stopped that nonsense.

Last night I made this Mexican Chicken soup, and we're having those leftovers again. Terry says he thinks it's his favorite soup I make! We top it with sour cream (well, Greek yogurt), avocado, and cheese, and it's perfect.

This week promises to be better than last (I hope), because my parents are visiting! Hooray! They arrive Wednesday, so Marshall and I will have some company for the latter half of the week. We don't have anything big planned, but hanging out with JanJan and PopPop is always an adventure!

Hope you're enjoying the start to your week!