Christmas and Food Talk

Christmas is less than 2 weeks away and I have done basically NOTHING to prepare. I ordered 1 or 2 gifts online, but aside from that, my lists have been completely neglected. Today I finally forced myself to make some headway in the gift department, and now my mind is just over flowing with wonderful ideas for gifting to the ones I love. Giving is my favorite part of the season.

I squoze (is that actually a word) in a nice cold weather (35 degrees!!) outdoor run this morning while G was at school, came home jumped in the shower, hurried to pick her up and she helped me run around town getting some of our shopping done. Eventually she had enough and pooped out in the car so I head home to let her nap.

I DID manage to watch last night’s episode of these fabulous ladies …

I really can’t get enough of anything that Andy Cohen manages to put together. It is all just so good. Sometimes so bad, its good … but nonetheless.

After G’s nap and my trip to BH fantasy land, we head to the store to gather some ingredients. In an effort to bea better wife (if that is even possible ;) ) I am going to try and make a couple healthy meals that the Hubs can take to work with him or eat when he gets home late at night. He mostly lives off take out and it’s not the best thing for his health. I’ve tried packing his day’s worth of food but there is just SO MUCH FOOD because he’s out of the house for so many hours that it is actually really overwhelming. I think this option is a better one.

(I must say that I took this pic off Martha’s website– my finished product looked much better — sorry, Martha)

So, what did I make? I made thisrecipe that I head Sandra Gluck talking about on Monday on her Sirius radio show on the Martha channel. Yes, I’m that much of a geek that I listen to the Martha channel. Whatever. Sandy does Meatless Mondays and sometimes has appealing thingson the menu! This week she made Rigatoni with Spicy Eggplant and Shallot Sauce. It was super easy to make and looks delicious. Hopefully the Hubs will like it.

I also made this recipe from Cooking light for Roasted Butternut Squash soup. This one was more for G and I than the Hubs. I have been craving soups, and G likes soups with out any “seeds” in them. Seeds = anything that has texture. She’d like to drink straight broth.

Finally, I had to make these cookies that Mama Peamade this week.They came at just the right time, because they’re a little something sweet that I can slip to the Hubs without him really noticing that (a) they’re vegan, and (b) they’re full of little things that can help naturally reduce his cholesterol like unsweetened dark cocoa powder, and oats.

Of course, cookie making is a little bit challenging when your sous chef eats all of your ingredients.

And NOW, after this long day, my bed (and my sous chef) are calling my name. Off to snuggle time! See you on the flip side.

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Mama Takes a Personal Day

This morning I woke up and it was just one of those days.

Being a stay at home mom is kind of an interesting thing, because most people (read; people who are NOT or HAVE NOT BEEN stay at home moms) think that it is what television makes it – unlimited down time, lots of mani/pedis, lunches out, housekeepers, nannies, and shopping sprees. The truth is, its much less glamorous. As any average stay at home mom will tell you, our job never ends. We are on call 24/7, and there is no glamour involved. Now, please understand, I’m not complaining. I feel very grateful to have the privilege to stay at home and raise my daughter. But it can’t be denied that being a full service cook, housekeeper, care taker, diaper changer, play mate, wife, and mother does take it’s toll on a person. It’s very rare that I geta break – the Hubs works almost allthe time, and the occasional sleep over with the grandparents is just that – occasional.

Last night I knew that today I was going to need a break. So I got G ready and she and the Hubs headed out to visit his mom.

Even though I wanted with my entire being to just lay on the couch and do absolutely nothing, I knew that if I did, it would leave me depressed and lonely in a matter of hours. So I decided to take full advantage of my alone time and do things that would mentally and emotionally refresh me.

First on the agenda was an outdoorrun — even though it was 37 degrees. I bundled up with a few different layers and head out. I took it nice and slow on the way out and just tried to warm up. I usually do the same route with a 2 or 2.5 mile out and back to make for a 4 or 5 mile run. This morning whenI got to 2 miles I was just starting to feel comfortable in the cold, and decided to turn off the main strip for a bit. It was nice to run in a neighborhood (I usually run on the side of a main road). A lot of people seemed to be stayingwarm near their fire places or stoves today because that beautiful smell was carrying through the air. I found a few nice hills in the neighborhood which was cool because my usual route is pretty flat. At the end I wound up with 6.5 miles which is the longest run I’ve done since the Diva. It felt great to be able to take it slower and enjoya bit of extra mileage – something I usually can’t do because I have to hurry back to G.

After my run to stretch out, I did some of this,

It was so nice to practice yoga without someone crawling inder my downward dog, or jumping on my belly during savasana.

Then I took a nice shower, ate something, and indulged my need for mind-numbing celebrity news with some of these,

By the time I figured out who wore it best, why Angelina refuses to eat, and all the latest deets on Kim K’s divorce, I was exhausted. I tried to take a nap, and failed, and all of a sudden was itching for my family to come home.

They must’ve read my mind because they walked through the door before I was able to find anymore horrible reality TV to watch. And now things are back in working order. This is happening,

this is happening,

and this is happening,

My husband and 2 year old are screaming “Tebow Tiiiimme”!! Apparently this guy is the King or something.

And I’m back to my duties of housekeeper, cook, playmate, mother, and wife. But I’m feeling refreshed and much happier to do it all.

 

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Baby C – 17 Weeks

Other than showing our positive tests, and mentioning my cravings, I’ve hardly talked about our new exciting bundle on the way! Unfortunately, it’s way passed my bedtime and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit at my computer today, but I wanted to give a quick weekly update!

Baby C celebratesin utero weekly birthdays on Thursdays, and this week we are 17 weeks! It is SO exciting to see the numbers increasing … 17 weeks feels substantial. I’m almost 20 weeks along already!

I’ve been using this really handy app on my iPhone called “Sprout” to get my weekly updates on what Baby C is doing and how he or she is growing. This week Sprout says that our baby is approximately 5 ounces, and about the size of an APPLE! (I can NOT believe that Baby C is the size of an apple this week. It seems pretty impossible since I don’t really feel him/her moving around at all yet)! Sprout also says that the baby is beginning to hear sounds like my heart beat and the sound of my voice as it resonates through my body. And his or her organs are now well developed, the heart is contracting about 150 beats per minute, the kidneys are secreting urine, and the liver is starting to produce bile! So incredible!!

How I’m doing? I feel GREAT this week. MUCH more energetic than previous weeks. Although I do try to consider how I feel day-to-day rather than week-to-week because it does seem to vary that much. Overall though, I feel more energetic, more interested in working out, and more willing to include fresh vegetables in my meals. ALL of that is wonderful. It makes me feel much more like myself.

How about the bod? Up until last week I was really beating myself up over all of the changes that my body was going through saying that it was too soon for me to be getting a bump, or to need to wear different clothing, etc. FINALLY I broke down and got myself some maternity jeans and it changed everything. It made me feel SO much more comfortable, so much prettier, so much more like myself again. I think a lot of the reason why I was so hesitant to get any maternity gear was because I don’t really have a big bump yet! But that doesn’t mean my body isn’t changing. I’ve found my midsection to be getting wider and just overall, not as flat and small as it used to be. I’m OK with all of that because I’M PREGNANT after all! But, as I’m sure for any woman, it was tough to feel the waistband on my pants becoming increasingly tight day after day. Needless to say, I’m really feeling relieved this week to have some clothes that I feel comfortable in and that will allow me to grow throughout the next several months.

I love seeing people document their pregnancies with regular weekly belly shots. I haven’t taken any up to this point, but I guess now’s the time to start!

I’m hoping for a big bump to appear soon!!

I also want to include picture of this kid in my weekly updates, because, well, who wouldnt want to see her picture even more than you already get to, and because I think it’ll be interesting to see how she changes week to week over the next several months!

She’s really cute.

The last, and maybe most interesting part of my pregancy journey is that the Hubs has this superstition that cutting his hair from the time we find out we’re preggo til afterthe baby is safely delivered is out of the question.Sort of like a game beard. Yeah … interesting. Probably just his wayof wiggling himself into the weekly update ;) I couldn’t nail him downto snap a picture today,but I promise to provide one in week 18!

Here’s to another week of growing, and hopefully more showing!

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I Like Myself

One of my biggest worries in having a daughter is being sure that I raise her into a confident and self-assured young woman. I’m learning more and more about myself and her every day as I attempt to do it, but it’s happening. I know because of all the times she assures me that she can do it herself, and she does, the times that she chooses tomarch around wearing fairy wings and a tutu, even on a random Tuesday afternoon, and doesn’t think twice, and for all the times that she adores herself in the mirror and has even said, “I’m looking good”.

I’m proud that G has a confident way about herself and hope that as she grows, her confidence does too. It’s tough for girls out there where they’re being fed mixed messages on how to look, think, eat, feel, and act. So for me it’s important to consistently send messages of self love and acceptance. As a woman myself that’s a tough thing to constantly portray, but I try. And I make use of all the tools I can get my hands on.

Last week we were meandering through Barnes and Noble when I saw this book.

Iflippedthrough it on the sales floor, and immediately added it to my purchase pile.

It’s full of simple, but meaningful messages,

fun, little rhymes that keep herengaged,

and silly illustrations that keep her laughing.

Raising a confident little girl is surely a great challenge, but with creative tools that I can use on a day-to-day basis, it maybea little bit easier, and a lot more fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sick and Tired

This morning I had the pleasure of waking up to a skyfull ofrain and a toddler full of mucous. Poor G was stuffed to the hilt, and asked to just stay in her jammies and lay on the “little couch”. I really couldn’t blame her since that’s all I wanted to do myself. This pregnancy has been wearing me out. While most days I’m at full capacity ’til late afternoon when I find the necessity to slump, some days I just cant get out of it. This was one of those days. Probably the growing baby C combined with the same cold symptoms that G’s suffering from. Whatever it was, today we found ourselves sick, and tired, and not wanting to do anything other than lay on the “little couch”.

Oddly when your toddler tells you they just want to lay on the couch, they really mean that they want to lay on the couch for 3 minutes and then raid the toy boxes and bookshelves, have a tea party, color, do play-dough, play dress up, play all of our instruments, and simultaneously use her iPad, your iPhone and watch “her TV” at once. This was not like the sick days I used to have before motherhood, I can tell you that.

We did manage to have some independent reading time – this is a new-ish thing I’m trying out. Hoping that encouraging G to turn off all electronics, and quietly read her books while I read mine for a short time each day will get her in the groove for all those homework and study nights that will undoubtedly be in her future. Maybe this will save us a couple of fights down the road. Maybe not … but in the meantime, it was nice to be able to pick up one of my books for a change.

She’s definitely reading in that picture, and not justtearing apart her pop-up version of “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”. Because tearing pop-ups apart is how 2 yearolds read pop-up books, right?

We did manage to get ourselves into the shower and put clean clothing on. It was absolutely necessary. Especially after G used some of her independent reading time to douse herself and her jammies with lavender scented Johnson & Johnson Bedtime Lotion. (That stuff could not put me to sleep even after 10pm while being forced to sit through one of the Hubs History Channel shows. Maybe it’s the pregnancy, but I had to eat a few saltines in order to keep my breakfast from making a second appearance).

The one healthful thing I did do for myself today is continue my effort to incorporate more vegetables into my meals. Since becoming pregnant I have had the strangest cravings (like for MEAT! And I’ve been a veg for 10 years!) Although I haven’t been giving in to them, I also haven’t been eating as healthfully as I normally do. I have found grilled cheese, veggie burgers, home made pizzas, and low sodium soups MUCH more appealing than my good old quinoa and kale.

Last week I finally gave myself the challenge to at least have one green vegetable on my plate at lunch and dinner. I’ve been doing pretty well with it. Even though I was feeling extra lazy today, I managed to throw together a yummy little salad with my old favorite greens that I haven’t used in a while.

In the mix are some mixed greens and baby spinach, a Bosc pear, some walnuts and a sprinkling of Gorgonzola cheese. SO. Good. Even though this isn’t one of my good old chok-full-o-veggies salads, there’s definitely some good nutrition in all those greens.

It’s just about snuggle time now … I guess we’ll go from snuggling on the couch to, er, snuggling on the couch.

 

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A Recap in Pictures

Its been a while since I’ve been to the blog. I can say I’ve thought about writing everyday. I just haven’t sat down to actually do it.

Since my last post, SO much has happened, and what better way to explain,than in pictures

At my last post, we were still in late summer and our gardens were in full bloom.We got to pickbeautiful vegetables,

(Maybe not all were beautiful).

We picked delicious figs from our fig tree,

And remembered the special man that planted our fruitful trees, my Poppy,

We ran a 5k as a family,

where I won 2nd place in my age division!

We celebrated a certain someone’s 2nd birthday,

We had bouncers,

(2 year-olds aren’t always happy. They’re sort of like 13 year-olds. At least mine is).

and cousins that face painted,

and sang.

And lots, and lots, of loving family …

Oh, and CAKE!

THIS happened,

We are BEYOND thrilled …. more on this later.

For G’s birthday the Hubs and I got her front row tickets to Yo Gabba Gabba.

We had a BALL! And, we got to bring a special someone with us …

For me the best part of the show, save for seeing G’s excitement after her initial fear faded, was being rained on with confetti! I felt like I was on a game show, or in Oprah’s audience and she just gave us all a trip around the world … I may have evencried a little. Don’t judge me. Til you’ve been rained on by confetti, you wouldn’t understand.

Because of the new pregnancy news, my doctor warned that I take it slow on the Diva Half Marathon that I was scheduled to run. So I picked up and awesome running buddy to keep me company.

We celebrated Fall’s arrival by pumpkin picking,

We trick or treated,

We got to go to our first Crew Regatta that my little brother was competing in.

I thought the regatta experience was really cool … it was sort of like a giant, all day long tailgate where the athletes are among the fans until they board their boats. Andy’s boat did great – especially since it was their first regatta ever!

Then with SO MUCH to be thankful for, we celebrated a beautiful, family filled Thanksgiving that kicked off the Holiday season,

It was the good old kind of Thanksgiving, where everyone stays late, and you get to eat leftovers at night.

With the Holiday Season in full swing, our community had their annual Christmas Parade this weekend.

Someone thought Santa looked a bit suspect …

A good time was had by all.

Well, now that we’re all caught up, I hope to be back regularly with some good reads on working out while pregnant, being a vegetarian and eating well for two, and of course, all the fun that is raising a 2 year old. Here’s an amazing fact for you; G went in to her second year being quite the conversationalist. Now, she seemingly only has one word. “NO”. Yeah … it’s been fun!

Stay tuned!

PS If you like what you read, click the “Subscribe” button in the upper-right hand corner to be notified everytime I publish a new post!

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I consider myself sort ofa creative type. I have an appreciation for art, and have thoroughly enjoyed my trips to the Met (that were takento fulfill criteria forart history classes in college – I can’tpretendto be that much into it)where I quietly meandered through the museum stopping to look at every piece and appreciate their history and detail. However, in my home I love nothing more than decorating with personal photographs.

You can find collages like this in almost every room in my house. I love mixing up different frames and different photographs …

 

As evidenced by these photographs, I haven’t updated our frames in quite a while.

 

With G’s birthday coming up, I thought it was the perfect excuse to spring for a family photo shoot! I got a referral from a friend to use Jen, at Lightful Photography. Of course, as soon as I booked the date for our photos, I immediately started dreaming up what we would wear. We wound up deciding to shoot in a little forest, andthought it would be fun to gowith a Fall look.

 

The shoot wasamazing – Jen was SO patientwith G who was as boisterous and defiant as any almost-2-year-old.The hubs was also a great sport for having to play “tea party” while getting eaten by mosquitoes, in too-hot-for-summer-clothes in a forest. I had a great time, and the next morning when I woke up to a couple of teasers in my inbox, my suspicions were confirmed …. the pictures were gorgeous.

I truly think that aside from helping tomake our housefeel like a home, myphotos are one of the mostvaluable things that I own.I will forever cherish these pictures and the memory of this day, with G running carelessly through the woods, and imaging a tea party with her Mommy and Daddy. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words … and a million memories.

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Sleeping with the …. Toddler

Let me start by saying that I love my daughter. More than anything in this world, I love my daughter. She is the light of my life, she fills my heart with joy,and her presence reminds me dailyto live and love fully. She has been my absolute greatest gift. I mean, come on. How could you not love this face?

That said, I want my bed back.

Thanks to that charming little smile, that I unfortunately have a very hard time saying “no” to, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 2 years. (Save for those magical nights that my mom or mother-in-law take her for a special sleepover).

When G turned 6 months old and she still wasn’t sleeping through the night our pediatrician told us to let her “cry it out”. We tried. And failed. Miserably. Like I said, I have a hard time saying no. And an even harder time listening to my baby girl crying alone while I selfishly lay in my bed and listen.

Numerous other people – friends, family members, doctors, dentists … should I go on? – gave us that very same cry it out advice. I’d say we “tried” it another time or two over the years, only to be too soft-hearted (or gullible) and fail again.

Fast forward to today. My daughter is about to turn 2, and she not only wakes up during the night …. she wakes up in my bed. Not only does she wake up in my bed, but she falls asleep in my bed too. Gone are the days of putting her down in her crib and at least having a shot of having the bed to ourselves (or myself if I’m really lucky). I’m not too sure where those days went. But gone they are.

Sure, you’re probably thinking “what is she complaining about – this kid is tiny”. Well, allow me to demonstrate with an illustration or two …

Hey, I didn’t say they were good illustrations.

As you can see as illustrated above, G makesherself very comfortable. Very comfortable.I am inevitably pushed to the side of the bed where I am almost falling off each and every night. ShouldI try and scoot her over, she’ll wake up and say, “No mommy. My bed”. I’m not kidding. Notice in the illustrations, my hair is piled on top of my head in a bun. This is not by choice. I think it’s unhealthy for my poor hair to be bundled up like that. It causes breakage! But, since G nestles so close to me I live in fear that my enormous amount of hair will suffocate her, and so I’m forced to bundle it up. There are also the kicks in the face, ribs, back, or belly that I suffer each night, the leaking water bottles, and – dare I say it – the leaking diapers.

So, you see, sharing the bed with my toddler is no fun.

About 6 months ago, my mom bought me this book.

I’m on Chapter One.

Lately my literary choices have been limited to anything written by Sandra Boynton, Dr. Seuss,or that features Dora the Explorer. At the end of the day, when G goes to sleep, I would much rather curl up with Jersey Shore, or The Real Housewives of Wherever than read anything that requires real attention or thought. Call me trashy, but it’s true.

The truth is, for all the karate kicks and blows that I suffer unexpectedly during the dark of the night, and despite the fact that I’m writing this mere weeks before my child’s 2nd birthday, I know that this time too shall pass and a time will come when she won’t want to be bothered with me and her friend’s will be far cooler than us. I know that time will come too soon, and for all of the sleepless nights and broken hairs, when she wakes up and says, “Mommy, hold me”, somehow nothing else matters.

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Diva Training Update

(source)

I haven’t updated my loyal readers (ahem …. are there any of you out there) on my half-marathon training in a while. The last time I wrote was here, and I told you that I was feeling an old injury flaring up. That night I made an appointment to see my chiropractor. Previously when I’ve seen my chiropractor for this running injury, I’ve left feeling a bit of relief here but new or different pain there. So after thinking about it, I decided to be proactive instead of reactive (like Caitlin says) and take my care into my own hands first. I have been icing my back religiously – I bought a great strap-on ice pack thatI can wear around the house while doing my ever-so-important motherly duties making the task of icing possible because Lord knows there’s no time for a stay-at-home Mom of a toddler to lay on the couch and ice multiple times a day. I’ve alsoswitched up my training plan so that I never run 2 consecutive days in a row. This is something I’ve never done before because I’m an all of nothing kind of girl …. If I’m going to run, running it will be. And only running. Forcing myself to participate in other forms of exercise, like yoga and spin, has been wonderful. I think it’s benefiting my training physically, but also mentally. There’s not much to get excited about when your workout is the same thing everyday. Even running can lose it’s luster. So, this week, my schedule looks like this.

(Putting my schedule on the refrigerator in a weekly format is something new for me too, and I love it. It keeps me on track, and forces me to notice what I’ll be doing the next day, and therefore, plan ahead. I highly recommend it ;) ). Can you believe it’s already Week 7?! That means that Diva’sjust about a month away!

Making these adjustments has essentially erased any inkling of the injury that may have been trying to come back. My runs are fun, and I feel really strong. Here’s to crossing the finish line!

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Hurricane Irene in Photos

Yesterday, Hurricane Irene rocked the East coast. Her violent winds, andfierce rainswept through North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Vermont knocking down trees, telephone poles, and cell phone towers, flooding waters, and destroying homes. Luckily, we suffered minimal effects, only losing power for 14 hours, and having no real damage to our home or property. Unfortunately others weren’t so lucky. After the winds slowed Sunday morning, being without power, we took to the streets to see what was going on. Here is a glimpse of what we saw.

 

The hurricane affected millions of people, and while the destruction that we saw on Long Island was minimal in comparison to what was experienced in larger hurricanes like Andrew and Katrina, it was significant.

After all of the worry of the days before, after the hurricane finally passed, we holed up with family in a home that still had power to forget our worries and just enjoy one another. As we laughed and talked, I looked up over the table to see the sun breaking through the clouds. What a beautiful sight after the angry gray skies that had been hovering, and what a beautiful end toa not so beautiful day.

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