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, 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?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Meal Plan Slump

Today's to-do list was all about getting back into the swing of things after almost a week away from home. Despite not working for the last several months, I still find myself writing lists of what needs to get done. At least that way I can look at my day and feel like I accomplished something (other than taking care of our baby boy, which of course is my most important job). I spent most of my morning unpacking, cleaning, and trying to create a meal plan.

Speaking of which, I'm in a total meal planning slump. Every week I sit down to come up with some interesting ideas, and I find myself facing a painfully blank page. It reminds me of college, when I had to write dozens of papers (I was an English major), and staring at the blank page was the worst part. But back then, once I got a few paragraphs written, the words would flow. With my meal planning lately, I come up with one (pretty pathetic) idea and then sit there annoyed with my inability to think of more.

Here's what I have so far for this week:

Monday: Mom's chili verde (when we left yesterday she handed me a container out of her freezer and told me she really does love me...and Terry is even more excited than I am) with a salad.

Tuesday: Crock pot chicken (I'm going to try winging a new recipe with salsa and chicken breasts in the slow cooker) with a side of rice and another salad

Wednesday: Date night!

Thursday: Leftover crock pot chicken

Friday: Out of town again

I have absolutely NOTHING on our lunch menu. Today I ate fried eggs and toast. I wish I were the type of person who loves salad so much I could eat it every day and just rotate different vegetables and proteins into the mix. I should really try harder to force myself to like salads more. But to me, salad is almost always an accompaniment to dinner and nothing more.

I've tried looking in cookbooks and on Pinterest, but I keep making excuses or just fail to follow through on recipes that look good. I think I feel like every meal needs to be "easy," when in fact we have a very independent baby who would be happy to hang out on his own while I start dinner. Plus, Terry usually plays with Marshall and does most of the bedtime routine, so I get a good chunk of time there, too. Still, I haven't found a good rhythm yet with the meal planning thing and find myself making the same stuff over and over--and it's not even all that delicious.

These are my problems. Please alert the masses.

 Okay, so back to the day.

Lots of unpacking. Here's Marshall's stuff from the week. We ended up acquiring several new outfits thanks to generous friends and family!

Marshall LOVES looking in the mirror now. I plopped him down in front of a mirror in our room and he had a blast smiling at himself!

Also, he spent about ten minutes just chilling on his mat like this.
Umm...what? (He kind of looks asleep there, but no, he's wide awake. Just contemplating life.)

After Terry finished work and I finished a few errands, we met up at the Strand for a long walk while watching the sunset. (<--Please know that I really do appreciate the fact that I live so near such a beautiful beach and that I can watch the sunset there anytime.) We're soaking up the last few days of "late" light before Daylight Savings kicks in.

When we got home, we played with Marshall and put him to bed, then devoured my mom's chili verde and a salad (I did spice things up a little by adding cherry tomatoes and avocado...). Now I have brownies baking in the oven (those are Terry's favorite dessert and what I consider the very best homemade brownie recipe ever. I reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup but keep everything else exactly the same, and they are truly awesome). It's been a really nice start to the week.

And here's another photo from the weekend, in case you missed it on Instagram. Marshall loves his Uncle Chris!

Can you suggest some new, interesting meals for me? Any meal planning tips?

Do you love looking in the mirror as much as Marshall does? Lately I avoid mirrors, and it works out for the best for my self esteem. :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lots of Food and Family

I feel like I actually did a decent job of documenting the rest of my week at my parents' house. My brother and Ashley joined for two nights, and Terry made it up by Friday night, too. Marshall enjoyed playing with his extended family, and I have a feeling he'll be pretty exhausted for a few days! Here are a few more scenes from the week...

We spent some time each night hanging out in my parents' backyard, enjoying their new fire pit. I guess I should have taken some photos during the day, huh?

On Saturday morning we headed downtown for a huge breakfast, starting with a gigantic cinnamon roll. Mom was half-laughing in this photo, but you should focus on the size of the roll. HUGE!

My breakfast was the veggie omelet, with spinach, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini, plus home fries and toast. I only ate about a third of my plate and took the rest home.

After breakfast, we strolled the farmers' market, and I bought some super delicious granola, which I shall use to top my oatmeal this week. I can't wait.

Then we tried to go to a pumpkin patch, but it cost ten dollars per person to get in (???), so we just took a photo outside and left. Marshall didn't want to show his face.

UCLA played Cal this weekend, so Terry and I left Marshall with my parents and headed out to watch the game at BJ's. Their pumpkin ale is surprisingly great! We split a couple appetizers and enjoyed some down time.

Dinner last night was a labor of love from my parents. My mom made an awesome potato dish as well as some green beans with onions and prosciutto, and my dad grilled some steaks. Oh, and I didn't photograph the fun salad my mom made, but it was a Brussels sprouts salad and I loved it. I didn't take a photo of the wine, but my mom poured two wines from the same winery and we had a taste test. :-)

I was in charge of dessert, and my mom had a ton of strawberries she wanted me to use. I baked this yellow cake and then sliced it into biscotti-sized pieces. Terry helped me whip up some fresh whipped cream (so easy--just pour heavy cream into a bowl and whisk quickly for at least five minutes, then add a little vanilla to taste), and then I assembled the cake, whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and some chopped chocolate. YUM.

This morning Terry and I woke up around 8 (I am seriously hoping that Marshall is on a new schedule that involves waking up after 7 every day) and then headed out for a run while Marshall played with his grandparents, uncle, and auntie. We ran a little over a mile, then did about 100 lunges on the way back and jogged a little more. We are going to be SO sore tomorrow.

And our little police officer got all tuckered out...

The drive home is always a little long, but Marshall (and Scout!) did great. Scout even decided to hang out ON Marshall, so that was hilarious.

Marshall went to bed almost immediately after arriving home, and Terry picked up some burgers. So good.

I'm so glad I got to spend a few days up north and that Terry eventually joined us. It's nice to be home for another busy week. Happy Monday!

Do you get to see your extended family often? 

What are you doing for Halloween?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Favorites

Yesterday, Marshall and I headed to Fremont (my home town!) to meet up with one of my very best friends and her newborn (almost two months old) baby boy, Keston. He is almost exactly three months younger than Marshall, and I'm already excited for future play dates! Despite Marshall's look of concern, I think he had fun meeting a fellow baby.

Marshall took a long nap on the way home and didn't quite seem ready to wake up when we got back, so I popped him into the stroller for a thirty-minute walk around my parents' neighborhood. He snoozed away! I think all this excitement up here has gotten him worn out!

Scout's pretty beat, too. My parents' house leaves him lots of room to run around!

How cute are these pants? Man, baby clothes are just adorable.

Also, my new computer gets MAJOR points for having an actual charge. It hasn't been plugged in since Monday, and it's still going on battery (perhaps because I forgot my charger...).

Go Giants! My parents' best friends came over to watch the game yesterday and to see Marshall. It was so fun! I was in the room putting Marshall to bed when the walk-off homer happened, but I sure got to hear the celebration!

My mom had her nails done for the series!

This morning my parents and I took Marshall to a local French bakery. I love just gazing at fancy bakery displays. Edible art, that's my idea of culture. I also loved their little gallery wall.

Oh, and the croissants and pain au chocolat were damn good, too!

I have exactly four minutes of battery left so I'm outta here! Happy FRIDAY!!!! Terry comes up today!!! WOO HOO!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

First Two Days in the Bay Area

Greetings from the Bay Area! On Monday night my dad flew to LA, spent the night with us, and drove me, Marshall, and Scout up to visit them for the week. Terry is in San Diego for work again. I miss him already! But I'm grateful to get to spend some time with my family while we wait for him to get back.

So far our trip has been a wild runaround, and Marshall and I are both exhausted. He has been so great during the trip though! I hate sticking him in that car seat for so long, but he napped and played without much complaint.

Yes, Scout crawled onto Marshall, who barely noticed.

We arrived yesterday around 4:30 pm, and I let Marshall play with his grandparents a bit before taking him for a walk in the Ergo to get some fresh air. After he went to bed, we ate one of my favorite meals my mom makes: fajitas! I make fajitas at home, too, but they never turn out like my mom's. She always cooks her onions and peppers perfectly. Reminds me of my childhood.

I slept horribly last night. I assume Terry's absence plus worrying about Marshall had me all worked up. I woke up at 1 am for some reason, and I couldn't fall asleep until after 4. Luckily Marshall was willing to sleep again after his 6:30 feeding, so we slept until 8:30!

Today was a blur. Marshall played with my mom for a while and then we headed out to my sister-in-law's beauty salon for a cut and color for me. I'll show a picture later, when the bags under my eyes are less ridiculous. So by "later," I mean "never." My mom hung out with Marshall at the salon, and he was really good! He got a little fussy, but my mom took him outside and he calmed down. When we all went to lunch (my mom, me, Marshall, Ashley, and her mom Judy), Marshall dozed off in the stroller.

At home, I desperately wanted to get some exercise, so I took Marshall out for a walk. We walked about 40 minutes, ran maybe 5 of those, and I did a few strength exercises:

  • 15 incline push ups + 20 walking lunges (x3)
  • 15 bench dips + 15 squats (x3) -- Marshall got a kick out of the squats! He cracked up every time I moved up and down. 
Then my parents hosted a short block party with their new neighbors, so I got a chance to meet a few of them. Marshall was wide-eyed through all the noise and people but stayed in a good mood and finally went to bed around 8:15. And now I've just finished dinner and am eager to chat with my better half before getting (hopefully a good amount of) sleep. Tomorrow I'm planning to visit my friend Winnie and meet her almost-two-month-old!

I hope you had a great Wednesday. Here's to an even better Thursday!

Oh, and GO GIANTS!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Flashback Monday Isn't a Thing

This week will be another fun adventure for our little family. Terry has to go to San Diego yet again for work, but it's a longer trip this time. I actually enjoyed joining him the last two times; San Diego is beautiful and there are plenty of baby-friendly spots for me to take Marshall. But since he'll be there for three nights, I'm going to switch things up and visit my parents in Northern California. My dad will fly down tonight, stay with us, and then drive with me, Marshall, and Scout(!) up to their house.

I hate that Terry will have to be away, but this solution is a best-case scenario. I get time with my family and also will have a few chances to take a break. When I go to San Diego (and all the time, really), I'm 100% responsible for Marshall, obviously. It's fun and I think I'm doing a pretty good job, but it's exhausting, too! Especially now that we're working on better naps for Marshall (strictly in the crib, trying to get him to put himself to sleep instead of us rocking him, etc.), I'm pretty beat by the end of the day. This week I'll have a few chances to let Marshall hang out with his grandparents while I rest up a little. And bonus: my parents' backyard is done now, so I get to check it out!

And now some fun scenes from the weekend:

Marshall and I rooted for the Giants (daddy is a Dodgers fan), which succeeded on Saturday but not on Sunday. GO GIANTS!!!

Terry went to the UCLA game on Saturday (rough one, Bruins) and then decided that Marshall needed to try on his first ball cap. 

Saturday night we made one of our favorite meals: Grilled Veggie Kebabs

Yesterday we headed to our friends' house for their daughters' birthday party (one turning one, one turning two). Marshall really got into it.

So did Terry.

And last night, I desperately searched for something to make that would A) make enough to serve us Sunday night and Monday night (with my dad in town for the latter), and B) be something my dad would enjoy (he's not super picky, but you should have seen his face that time I served him a turkey burger). Shepherd's pie fit the bill.
Ground beef, onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, and mashed potatoes. Terry's favorite dish I make!

I started the morning with some oatmeal with raisins, maple syrup, peanut butter, and homemade peanut butter granola. YUM.

Flashback Monday! (Not a thing?) My mom randomly sent over this photo of me. I have no idea when I took it, but I assume I was around eight or nine months pregnant. It's so funny--I barely remember my pregnancy! It feels like such a blur. I blame the fact that we moved in the middle of it--SO much stress. But anyway, hi Marshall!
(And Scout!)

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Any fun plans this week?

Where are you traveling next? Terry and I just realized yesterday that we haven't been on a plane since our trip to D.C. in January. That's a record for us! Our travels will be fairly limited for a while, but we're enjoying the close-to-home-ness that comes with parenting an infant.