June 28, 2013

five years

Five years ago today I woke up well before my alarm.  I laid there in bed staring at my ceiling, making a list in my mind of the million things I still had left to do (have I mentioned I'm a HUGE procrastinator?).  I rolled out of bed, took a shower, and scrambled around the house doing this or that.  I was surrounded by my family and friends.  The morning was hectic, and stressful, and absolutely wonderful.  All those people I loved right there with me.

Eventually we were all ready, the limo finally showed up, and we headed to the church.  With a pit stop on the side of the road for photo ops in front of a corn field of course.  We snuck our way into the church so my groom wouldn't see me.  My stomach was a ball of nerves, I was so excited, and so anxious.  I listened to the prelude music, and heard the hum of guests filling the church.  I couldn't believe my wedding day was here.  Everything was a blur.  Suddenly it was time, we lined up outside the sanctuary.  One by one the couples made their way down the aisle.  I smiled when everyone laughed, the flower girl was taking her sweet time with the rose petals, and the ring bearer gave up and left her.  Then it was just my bestie, my dad and me.  She gave me one last squeeze before heading into the church.  I slid my arm around my dad's elbow, gave him a smile.  We stepped into the doorway.

And for a moment time stopped.  I can't remember exactly what everything looked like, what Chris's face looked like, but the feeling that I got?  I'll never forget.  My eyes met his and all of my joy and excitement and love collided into one place.  Everything else disappeared out of the room, and all I felt was pure happiness.


Today I get to celebrate five years of marriage with my better half.  We've grown up together.  I was 15 when we met, just a baby.  We've been through a lot.  High school, college, med school, residency.  We moved to Kansas City, we bought a house, we had two babies.  During all of which we've certainly had our ups and downs.  Right now our relationship isn't where I want it to be.  We're both spread pretty thin, and haven't made each other a top priority.  In spite of that, I love you, Christopher, even more than the day I married you.  You make my world go round, I don't know what I'd do without you.  I'm honored and overjoyed to celebrate many more years together.

Happy Anniversary.

Sorry for the excess of photos.  The lovely Adrienne Maples captured the day so well, and it was hard to narrow down some to put in the post.  I figured since it was somewhat of a milestone anniversary I was allowed :o). 

June 27, 2013

breastfeeding vs. bottle (formula) feeding

Ah yes.  A sometimes controversial highly debated topic.  Which is better?  Breast or bottle?  And yes, I'm talking formula.  Not exclusively pumping.  I have no experience with that.  But I've raised one child who was completely formula fed (aside from a 6 day attempt at breastfeeding that left my blood pressure through the roof and my kid down more than 10% of her body weight.  you can read more about that here).  And now I am exclusively breastfeeding Elsie.  So I thought I'd share a little about what I thought the pros and cons to each were.

For me, the biggest pro for bottle feeding was that feedings didn't really dictate my day.  If I needed to be away from Ryann it didn't matter, there was always food on hand and I didn't have to stress about whether or not she would take the bottle from someone.  And I didn't really have to worry about being in public when she needed to eat.  I'm not opposed to nursing in public, I've done it numerous times, but I'd definitely prefer not to.  And yes I could use pumped milk in a bottle when we're out, but I mean if I'm right there...

It was also really nice that someone else could easily help with feedings.  If I really needed a little bit more sleep Chris could get up with Ryann.  It didn't happen often (because honestly I'd wake up anyway, and no offesne to him, but Christopher is pretty much useless in the middle of the night), but he COULD help.  Those first few weeks that I was feeding Elsie, even if I wanted a little extra sleep and he was willing to help, I was concerned about my milk supply and didn't really want to deal with having to pump when someone else was feeding here.  Again, if I am there, I might as well do it myself.


Personally the thing I hated most about formula feeding was washing the damn bottles (hence the reason I don't often pump or give her pumped milk, I hate washing bottles and pump parts with a passion).  I'll admit I can be a pretty lazy person about some things, and those stupid freaking bottles.  I just hated washing them all the time.  There is nothing to clean when you're exclusively breastfeeding.  Ok, well that might not be entirely true, there could be a little more laundry thanks to leakage and what not, but I'd rather change my shirt than clean a bottle.

Another major downside to formula feeding is making sure you're prepared with bottles and formula and such whenever you leave the house.  I don't have to remember to take my boobs anywhere.  And if we decide to stay somewhere longer than I expected I've got plenty of food along.  Nor do I have to worry about running out at home.  Because we all know I'm notorious for running out of stuff (such as diapers, whoops).  Also I remember whenever Ryann wouldn't finish a bottle I'd see dollar signs going down the drain.  And I was much more reluctant to try feeding her when she was fussy, because if that wasn't the reason she was upset I didn't want to taste a bottle.  My milk is (more or less) free, and if I can't figure out what the heck is wrong with Elsie I can just stick a boob in her mouth.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I don't stress about wasting anything.

Some make the argument that nursing allows for a better connection or bond with the baby.  I can't say that I agree.  I don't feel any more connected to Elsie than I did with Ryann.  But as I've said before, I'm thankful that nursing has forced me to sit down and spend time with E.  Because it would have been incredibly easy for me to pass her off for feedings while I did something else.

Honestly, when it comes down to it, I can't tell you which method of feeding I prefer.  I lucked out.  For the most part nursing has been so easy this time around.  Had I gone through a similar experience that I had with Ryann, I would have given up on nursing quickly.  It was still hard, but not physically excruciating like it was with Ryann.  I think that is one of the biggest downsides to nursing, how terribly hard it can be in the beginning.  The other big downside being how reliant the baby is on you.  You are the only one making food for the baby.  You are the one who has to watch your diet.  Worry that something you're eating might be making your baby cranky.  You worry that you might not provide enough milk.  Your day is constantly interrupted with the need to feed the baby or pump (not that it is always a bad thing, but it is true).  And sometimes nursing sessions can take SO LONG.  I've been late many times because I didn't anticipate how long it would take to nurse correctly.


But there is something pretty damn rewarding about watching your baby grow and gain weight, and knowing that YOU did that.  You protected and nourished that baby in your womb for nine months, and still you are the sole reason he or she is growing.  I definitely patted myself on the back when Elsie gained 2.5 pounds in three weeks (seriously, why did I think I needed to wake her to eat?  she did just fine.  psh.).  It is strange, even after spending an entire year giving Ryann formula, and truly not thinking anything bad about women who chose to formula feed, the thought of giving Elsie any formula makes me cringe.  We'll see how long that mentality sticks around.  At this point I plan to continue nursing her until at least six months (hold me, that is barely more than a month away!), and then I'll go from there.

I'm sure you've heard all of those pros and cons before.  But if there is anyone out there on the fence about which feeding method to try, I thought hearing it from a mama who has done both could be helpful.  If you think you might want to nurse, try it.  Maybe it works out great for you.  I definitely believe breast is best as far as nutrition goes.  BUT, ultimately?  A happy, sane, not too stressed out mama is the most important.  So if that means you need to do formula, so be it.  Your baby will be fed, and I guess really, THAT is the most important thing. 

June 26, 2013

a day in the life - grace

Good morning lovely readers! Thanks so much for your input yesterday on our sleep issues. Truth is I'm really with most of you, do whatever the heck works to get some sleep. Honestly our biggest issue is getting Elsie to sleep. Once she is asleep she usually naps for 1-2 hours and sleeps 7-10 hours straight at night. So we aren't dealing with night wake-ups and such too much anymore. It's the fact that she cries and squirms and fights me every time I want to put her to sleep. And I can't really have that half hour battle all the time with Ryann roaming the house.

My concern is not so much that she is sleeping swaddled or in the rock 'n play, but teaching her to sleep by herself in those situations might be a lost cause since eventually we'll need to get her to the crib. Last night I let her sleep one arm swaddled in the rock 'n play and she slept for 9 hours. So there's that.

Anyway, that is probably enough about sleep. I swear a good percentage of my blog posts talk about sleep. Ridiculous. Whatever. Today though, you get a peek at a day in the life of Grace. Enjoy!


Good Morning Domestic Wannabe Readers! Thanks to Ashley for the opportunity to share my day with you guys. I think I originally found her blog back in my Knot/Nest lurker days (many years ago!) Anyway, my name is Grace and I blog over at Pinster Sisters with my younger sister Shannon. We post mostly about things we have attempted from Pinterest - crafts, recipes, beauty treatments, etc. I don’t delve into a lot of my day-to-day stuff, so this is pretty new for me. I live in NJ with my husband Joe and our 19 month old son JJ. I work full time so this might get a little boring in the middle, but this is a “typical” weekday for me...
4:58am - Alarm goes off. I get up, go to the bathroom, put on some socks, throw my hair up and head to the guest room to use the elliptical machine. It pains me to get up while the clock still has a “4”, but the fact of the matter is I need those 2 extra minutes when getting ready in the morning and if I don’t work out now,I know I won’t work it in during the rest of the day.
My workout views.
5:35am - Done with a 30 minute work out. I go back to the bedroom and wake up my husband Joe. His schedule changes from day to day - some days he’s out of the house while I am on the elliptical, some days I wake him up before we leave the house. Unfortunately for me, today he needs to get ready at the exact same time as me. So while he’s showering, I make the bed, let the dog out and start dinner. Tonight is Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. I already prepped the sauce last night and just stuck it in the fridge so all I had to do this morning was throw the pork in the bottom, top with the sauce, and turn it on. If you are interested in the recipe, check out the Pinster Sister’s blog on Friday! I toss the bowl in the dishwasher and set it to run once we leave the house.
5:50am - My turn for the bathroom. Joe kisses me goodbye and I hope in the shower. I am way behind schedule so I try to be quick and then blow dry my hair. I brush my teeth and apply my makeup, all while trying not to sweat  (I still haven’t completely cooled down from the elliptical).
At some point during my shower JJ wakes up and starts babbling to himself and playing around in his crib. Some days I have to wake him up, others he wakes up on his own at 6am. He is usually pretty good at keeping himself entertained until I go in and get him.
6:35am - Go get him out of his crib. Change his diaper, get him dressed, and spend about 1 minute getting some extra snuggles in on his chair.  Put the dog in his room, then head downstairs. I give JJ a cup of milk and turn the TV on Sprout. I grab a yogurt out of the fridge, make sure my bag has everything I need, start the car and go find JJ’s shoes.
Apparently still a little sleepy
6:52am - Shoes are on, bags are packed and we head out the door. I like to leave the house by 6:45 - sometimes that 7 minutes can make a huge difference traffic wise.
Ready to go to Shahie's!
7:18am - Arrive at my Aunt Sharon’s house. We are very fortunate that JJ has been taken care of by family members since I went back to work when he was 3 months old. Depending on what time of the year it is, either my Aunt, my cousin Claire, or my sister Kelsey is watching him. They get paid (but no where near what a traditional daycare would cost) but its so comforting knowing  he is with family. I spent a little too long talking to Aunt Sharon and know I am going to pay for it in traffic.
about 8:10 - Arrive in Newark. What should have taken 20 minutes with no traffic, has taken me 40 today. You’d think I would be used to this by now, but I still get stressed about it. I park the car and walk over to my office.
I work as a Traffic Engineer for a smallish consulting firm. Its a bit nerdy and can occasionally be boring, but in general I really like what I do. Once I get to my desk I turn on my computer, change my shoes and check my email. Before Outlook even loads I see a bunch of new messages that I was not expecting - this could be a long day! I start skimming them and decide I need coffee before I tackle anything. Fortunately I work in a building that’s connected to a couple others with a sort of plaza walkway. There are a bunch of food places, two Dunkin Donuts, a Starbucks, pharmacy, and some other stuff I can get to without having to go outside. I pick up a large french vanilla with skim milk and sugar and head back upstairs.
My view at work and my typical breakfast
I start tackling the emails and prep for a surprise meeting. Around 10 I give into my hunger and eat my greek yogurt and low fat granola. At this point the morning starts slowing down. At 11 I am starving again, but I resist snacking and pop a lifesaver instead. Finally at about 12:20 I run downstairs to grab some salad.
Lunch happenings.
I do some light internet shopping while eating my lunch. JJ’s doc said he should try drinking from a real cup so I am researching some “training” options. After my 45 minute lunch break, I get back to work.
2:59pm - I receive a text/pic from Aunt Sharon alerting me to the fact she thinks JJ got a bug bite on his cheek.

The "incident report". 
3:30pm - Decide its time for a (decaf) coffee run and snack while I catch up on some company news. I successfully avoid a donut and opt for my peanut butter crackers instead. Still not the healthiest of choices, but better than a donut.
What I really want, and what I wind up with.
4:13pm - I hear one of the guys who sits in an adjacent row start clipping his nails. I almost gag. I swear it happens at least twice a week in my office. Who thinks its ok to groom themselves in their cubicle?! After I turn up the volume on my headphones to drown out the sound, Joe texts me. He will be passing through Newark a little before I am ready to leave so he decides to save himself the train fare and catch a ride with me.
Evening commute arrangements.
5:00pm - Quittin’ time! Log off my computer, sign out, and head downstairs. Find Joe in the walkway on the way to the car and we are on our way. We make it to Sharon’s by 5:35 and find my cousin Katie, her husband Nick, and their son Sal all hanging out front with JJ. They came over to cover for Sharon because she had some appointment that started before we would get there. We spend the next half hour  or so enjoying the sunshine and talking while JJ runs around the yard.
6:00pm - Back in the car on the way home. When we get there, Joe and JJ go upstairs to get changed, let the dog out and get him fed. I go start a load of laundry and then  get the rice going. I am about to shred the pork when I notice it is unusually watery and double check the recipe. I forgot to add the brown sugar. Lovely. I throw in a couple teaspoons of brown sugar, a couple teaspoons of cornstarch, and turn it on high hoping to thicken up the sauce a bit. It sort of does the trick and we are all seated and eating dinner around 6:45.
Dinner after I tried to fix the sauce
Ready to eat! Check out my blog on Friday for more details.
By 7:25 we are done. I work on clearing the table and unloading/loading the dishwasher, JJ gets some last minute energy out. I join the boys for a few minutes of playtime and before I know it, its time for bath.
Um, I think that bus is a little too big for the track.
7:50pm - JJ's getting a bath from Joe and I am picking out his pjs and changing into some comfy clothes myself. Once he’s clean, he’s handed over to me for a fresh diaper, pjs, bottle of milk, and bedtime story. I kiss him goodnight about 5 times and put him in his crib. He doesn’t always go right to sleep but he is pretty good at being quiet and eventually getting himself to sleep.
8:15pm - Switch the laundry, put in a new load. I call my mom and head outside to water my flowers. Everything is looking pretty good with the exception of the hanging baskets on my front porch. I have a pretty black thumb so I am surprised this is the only problem plant at this point. I head back in the kitchen to clean up the rest of dinner while Joe straightens up JJ’s toys and wipes the table and highchair down.

8:45pm - I sit on the couch for a couple minutes before I start folding a load of laundry. I didn’t note what was on so it must have been one of Joe’s shows.
9:15pm - Head upstairs to pick out an outfit for tomorrow and iron it. I put away the load of freshly folded laundry. I go back downstairs to pack up my work bag and switch the laundry. I give into my hunger and devour a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich over the sink in about 30 seconds (don’t judge me, we've all been there).
9:40pm - I am back upstairs to get ready for bed. I have been trying to do these exercises every night in hopes of losing my mommy-belly. I am on week 3 and although I get sore, I am not yet noticing a difference. In fact, sometimes I feel like my belly sticks out more. I now know why the women in my family used to wear control-top panty hose all the time under everything: dresses, jeans, dress pants, etc. I think it might be time for me to invest in a case, are they sold in bulk?! I attempt a pretty weak plank (1:10.9) and head in the bathroom to wash my face, brush my teeth, and put on the million creams my dermatologist has prescribed (okay, a couple are self-prescribed OTC wrinkle creams!). I also remember to set out my sports bra and socks for tomorrow morning’s workout.
10:00pm -  I am comfortable in bed and surfing the internet on the iPad. Joe joins me and puts on Aliens 2. Just what I need to settle down before sleep! We chat a little until the movie ends and then its lights out! I think we are both asleep by 10:30pm. After what feels like 30 minutes, the alarm goes off and its time to start another day!

-What is the most surprising thing to you about being a mom?
I guess the most surprising thing for me was realizing how much I could accomplish with little sleep and little time. In general, JJ is a good sleeper, but like any newborn, the first few months were rough. Before kids, I used to think that getting anything less than 7 hours of sleep meant I was in for a rough day. Now I would love to get 7 hours of sleep! :) Looking back, I am amazed I made it through those first couple weeks back at work and managed to be a productive person both at work and at home. It felt impossible at the beginning, but I eventually got into a groove (like everyone said  I would) and JJ slept more and more.
-What advice would you give to new or soon-to-be mamas?
Never say never. I admit, I was judgey (in my head) about other people’s parenting styles before becoming a mom. Now I know we all do what we can and what is best for our kids. JJ is 19 months old and still takes a nightly bottle of milk. I realize he’s probably a little too old for that, but we will get rid of it soon and it just works for us. Don’t worry too much about “deadlines” and try not to let other people’s comments/advice bother you.
-What are your top three baby products?
Boppy Pillow - This was probably the most used item we have. From nursing, to propping up for tummy time, and then as protection from falls before he could sit real well. I know Ashley expressed some concern about Elsie growing out of it - but don’t worry about that. We used it for over a year with JJ - it will last longer than you think!
Video Monitor - I fought the idea of a video monitor at first. We had a regular sound one for the first 6 months of JJ’s life. I thought having the video was a little excessive and that it might make me a little crazy checking it all the time. Our regular monitor, however, used to click and hum and make annoying noises until one day there was an unfortunate accident (which may or may not have involved me throwing it down a little too hard after it started clicking for the millionth time) and we bit the bullet and bought the video monitor.  It was life changing. Especially once JJ was mobile and I could see him fall asleep sitting up because he couldn’t figure out how to back down. That was priceless!

Halo Sleepsack Swaddle - JJ was swaddled for a looong time. I don't think we weaned him from them until after he was 6 months old and I was afraid of him rolling and having his arms trapped. He used a Halo Swaddle the whole time - the fleece ones in the winter and cotton ones in the summer. I think it was one of the reasons he was a pretty decent sleeper and starting sleeping through the night (for the most part) before I went back to work.

Thanks again Ashley! I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!


Thank you for sharing your day with us Grace!

June 25, 2013

screw the crib.

Raise your hand if you and/or your baby is a Rock 'N Play addict.  Anyone?  Anyone else?  Ohmygawd why did we get so attached to this damn thing?  And the stupid swaddle?  GAH.

I know I'm being a little dramatic.  I honestly haven't even lost that much sleep.  But that is because I've been going with a three strikes rule, I'll try and put Elsie down in the crib three times, the fourth time I have to get her back to sleep she is going in the rock 'n play.  She hasn't made it past 11pm in the crib.

Elsie has always fought naptime and bedtime a little bit.  Sometimes it was really bad, sometimes she would just give in right away, but there was usually a fight.  The last week?  You'd think I was torturing the girl.  She screams and growls and arches her back and wants nothing to do with me rocking her to sleep.  I thought maybe she was just pissed about the swaddle, but unswaddling her didn't make even the tiniest difference.  She got pissed as soon as she realized it was naptime.  So it is for reals time to do some sleep training.  But I didn't think we could do any of that with her still swaddled in the rock 'n play.

photo 1(18)

For one, she busts out of the swaddle like it's her job these days.  Doesn't matter how tight I do it, or how many blankets I use, she gets her arms out.  She is a little sleep sack ninja.  And two, I didn't want to teach her to put herself to sleep in the rock 'n play, just to try and convince her to do it in the crib not too long from now.  And I didn't think it was fair to her to go from rocking her to sleep, swaddled in the rock 'n play one night, to setting her down in her crib unswaddled the next and walking away.  So we're trying to just throw all the sleep props out the window at once.  Fun for everyone, right?

Negative ghostwriter.

We started this weekend by swaddling with just one arm in.  That transition hasn't been seamless, but it was going alright.  She didn't nap quite as well and woke a couple times a night (but went back to sleep when I rocked the rock 'n play :o), but it wasn't terrible.  Then last night we decided to try and get her in the crib.  I rocked her to sleep, set her down, she woke up like two minutes later.  I rocked her back to sleep, and she slept for a little over an hour.  Yay and boo all in one.  I rocked her back to sleep, she woke up a minute after I laid her down.  Three strikes you're out.  I fed her, got her back to sleep and stuck her in the rock 'n play.

Monday I decided to try naps in the crib.  HA.  The first time I laid her in there, she slept 15 minutes.  I got her back to sleep and she slept another 40.  But that was already her afternoon nap.  Her last nap of the day she actually slept 90 minutes.  Boom.  Joke's on me though.  Last night I spent over an hour rocking her to sleep, putting her down, her waking up and on and on.  She hit her three strikes by 9:15pm.  Into the rock 'n play she went.  I know consistency is a good thing, but this mama (and everyone else) needs their sleep.

photo 2(19)
I could not stop laughing at this when I walked in the room.

So now what do I do?  Tonight I really wanted to start the sleep training process with the Ferber method, but I don't know if that's the best idea.  I know lots of you out there are probably thinking I'm awful for wanting to do Ferber, but it worked with Ryann (read about it here, here and here) and changed all our lives for the better.  And with the way she fights me about going to sleep, I'm at a loss for anything else to try.  I really wish we'd tried transitioning to the crib sooner, but we kept coming up with excuses not to.  Oy.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions send them my way.  Unless you're going to slap my wrist for considering letter her cry it out.  That I don't need to hear.  Constructive comments or virtual booze are very much so welcome :o).  We've got to do something, because not only is it frustrating to try and put her to sleep when she's fighting me, but I've got Ryann to be concerned with too.

June 24, 2013

i'm not a good summer runner.

Well hello Monday.  First things first, I wanted to comment a little bit on last week's post and the feedback I received.  Most of it was completely positive, and I appreciate all of the 'you look great already!' and the 'you've had two kids, you look awesome!'.  Really, you guys are too sweet, and it puts the biggest smile on my face to hear I've inspired some of you.  And I'm not hating on my body.  Yes, I have body image issues often, I touched on it a tiny bit in this post, but I think a lot of it stems from having naturally little friends and growing up in the dance world.  No one ever said I was overweight or made a comment to me being bigger, but I'm not blind.  It was easy to see who the biggest one was among our group of friends, and there is no hiding anything in spandex hot shorts.

Right now I'm ok with my body.  It HAS birthed two children.  I weigh 20 pounds less than my highest weight (not pregnant), 10 pounds less than when I got pregnant with Ryann.  But I worked SO hard to get to where I was before I got pregnant with Elsie.  And I was happy, proud of what I was doing health and fitness wise.  I'm not completely unhappy right now, but I don't want to settle either.  I never want to get back to where I was after Ryann was born, physically or emotionally.  So I think there is nothing wrong with striving to get my 'old self' back again, eventually.

What concerned me with a few of the comments that were left last week, is that my desire to be a better me, should not make anyone feel less about themselves.  Let my want to be better and do better be an inspiration to be the best YOU that you can be right now.  Health and fitness goals and where you are with either should not be measured against anyone else.  They should be personal.  If you want to be better at something, try and be better than you were.  Not better than your neighbor, or another blogger or your spouse.  Sure a little friendly competition is always good, but don't let something I post make you feel less or inferior in any way.

My goal is simply to be the best me that I can be.  And right now?  I'm not there.  I'm doing a pretty good job.  I'm raising two kids and trying to take care of my body.  But I don't have it all figured out yet.  I'm working on it.

Ok, jumping off the soap box.  Sorry!  I've discovered a new favorite veggie to snack on.  Not new that I've never had it, but new that I've never really thought to keep it around the house as a snack.  Hello blanched sugar snap peas.


Seriously.  I'm not sure what it is about these little green guys, but they are SO good blanched.  I probably like them so much because they have a higher sugar content than most veggies damn sweet tooth, but there are only about 70 calories per cup of pea pods.  I'm going to guess that eating a cup of sugar snap peas is a much better choice than a handful of M&Ms.  I was eating the peas with a veggie dip that my mom had leftover, but it was sour cream based so that's no good.  Well, actually, the dip was REALLY good.  It tasted like it was probably sour cream mixed with maybe taco seasoning?  I'm not sure.  Something like that.  I would love to try and make my own with greek yogurt, but my little puke monster is back in full force so I'm trying to keep the dairy to a minimum.  Boo.

I managed to meet my goals this week.  I got in four sweat sessions:  one barbell class and three runs.  Barbell seriously left me sore for DAYS.  That is the class I will miss the most (I suspended my gym membership until further notice, read why here).  Anyone know if there is a video similar to a class like that (which I think is the equivalent of body pump at some gyms)?  My runs were pretty meh.  The first one was on the treadmill, and after the first mile I kind of wanted to bang my head against a wall, so I switched to intervals.  The second two were outside after not a whole lotta sleep and it was already 75+ degrees at 6:15am.  My pace wasn't what I would have liked and I took some walk breaks.  So there's that.  But I kind of hate summer running anyway, so I'm just trying to keep plugging away and survive until fall :o).  Also, the scale surprised me this morning, and I'm down 4.5 pounds.  Yeah, I'm going with water weight for the most part.  I know I made better choices this week, but I can almost guarantee you I didn't have that kind of calorie deficit.  Oh well, I'll take it!

My goals for this week:

three runs
lose one pound
30 minutes of core work

Hopefully I can have another successful week.  Our five year wedding anniversary is on Friday and I fully intend to enjoy our nice dinner out.

Link up your health and fitness related posts below!

June 20, 2013

this and that

It has been a while since I've had a chance to sit down and get out some randomness.  So instead of cleaning anything here you go...

::  I took a picture of Ryann on the first day of MDO and the last day.  I can definitely see the change from toddler to little girl...


::  Our trips to the gym might have come to a sudden stop.  Yesterday when I picked up Elsie she had a mark on her arm, a bruise of some sort.  At first glance I thought it was a bite mark, but you can't see any teeth.  And she was in the baby area, where the majority of them don't even have teeth.  It is possible that she sucked on her arm or something, and did it to herself, but I have no idea.  And neither do the girls from the childcare center.  I've worked in childcare before.  I completely understand that stuff happens to kids even when you're watching them.  But she is four months old.  It's not like she was getting into something or provoked anyone.  Again, it is entirely possibly she did it herself, but if she was sucking on her arm furiously enough to leave a bruise someone should have noticed or have an explanation.  I don't know.  It just breaks my heart to think someone or something could hurt her when she is much too small to defend herself.

::  Which leads me to a question, if you're a nursing mama, and you workout in the morning, how do you go about it?  Elsie has slept through the night more times than she hasn't in the last two weeks (HAPPY DANCE HAPPY DANCE HAPPY DANCE), getting up sometime between 5:45-6:30 to eat.  That is fine and dandy, but if we aren't going to the gym, the best way to get my workout in is before Christopher heads to work.  I'm ok getting up between 5:15-5:30 to go for a run, but what do I do about my rock hard boobs?  And the fact that I never know when she is going to wake up?  Do I just pump every morning and if she gets up Chris can feed her?  Why I can't figure these kinds of things out on my own I have no idea :o).

::  And here is where I insert a couple of cute pictures of Elsie just because...


::  With summer comes one of my very favorite TV Shows, So You Think You Can Dance.  I've watched nearly every episode since season one.  When the show first started I felt pretty awesome because season one's winner, Nick Lazzarini, had attended a dance convention (sort of, it was like a week long in LA and we made some sort of video?  I can't for the life of me remember what it was called) that I was also at.  No, I never talked to him.  But hey.  We occupied the same room at the same time for a couple days.  I totally KNEW him, right?

Well now I can do that one (or a ton) better.  Miss Hayley Erbert?  The cutie from Kansas?  I taught her.  Now granted it was only a couple of years when she was maybe 9-11, and if memory serves me correctly it was just ballet, but I'll just go ahead and pretend that insignificant portion of her dance career helped her make the top 20.  HA.  Nonetheless, I'm rooting for you Hayley.  Good luck!

::  Meh, I really don't have much else to talk about right now.  So I leave you with a comparison shot of Elsie and Ry.  I really can't believe how much they look alike sometimes.  There are slight differences (and I wish they both had the same expression in these pictures for better comparison!), but sometimes I feel like they are so minor that it is hard to pin point what exactly makes them look a little different...

if you weren't sure, Ry on the top, Elsie on the bottom

Happy Thursday! 

June 19, 2013

a day in the life - sara

Morning.  Elsie and I just had a 45 minute battle about taking a nap.  I won.  Boom.  But... I don't want to fight with her anymore, so it is about time to do some sleep training.  Ugh, I'm dreading it.

That is beside the point.  Today you get a peek at Sara's day!


Hey there readers of "The Domestic Wannabe!" I'm super excited to be guest posting for Ashley today, I've been reading her blog for years and just recently started my own blog with two of my best friends. I am the "H" of Real Livin' with HSB...but you can call me Sara! I am married to my husband, George, and have a four year old daughter named Felicity (Lis). Most of my blog posts have to do with crafting, decorating or party planning, so this is a whole new type of post for me...I hope you enjoy a glimpse of a day in my life!  

2:50am I hear Felicity calling for me...I go into her room to find that one of her stuffed animals has fallen out of her bed. I pick it up, give her a kiss and tell her to go back to sleep. For the next half hour, I hear her singing and playing in her room. IT IS 3:00AM...GO TO SLEEP CHILD!

 3:47am Felicity is calling for me again...I go into her room to check on what it is that she needs now. She can't get a dress on one of her baby dolls. At this point, I tell her that she needs to go to sleep and that if I hear her playing with dolls one more time, she will lose them for the rest of the night. This seems to work as she is silent and, hopefully, sleeping for the rest of the night!  

6:35am My alarm goes off and I reluctantly wake up and jump in the shower. I try to get myself as ready as possible before I wake Felicity up for the day. I'm dressed, accessorized and have my hair fixed by the time I wake her up.  

7:05 am I attempt to wake Lis up for the day...of course, she is having none of it due to her little night party. She eventually gets out of bed and gets dressed for the day, although she is not thrilled about it. I have her go to the potty, and I brush her teeth and hair before we leave for the babysitter's house.

7:30 am We arrive at the babysitter's house, who is actually my blogging partner B's sister. She has been watching Felicity for me since she was a year old. Lis loves going to her house...which makes leaving her for the day a little easier on me! Stacy takes care of feeding Lis breakfast, which definitely makes our morning routine easier and shorter. I kiss Lis and head off to work.  

8:32 am I arrive at work...I travel into the city of Pittsburgh for work, so typically, the drive takes me about 50 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic. Traffic wasn't too bad today, but I did have to stop for gas on the way. I'm notorious for waiting until I am on fumes before I get gas...today was no different. Thank God for Sirius radio, that may be the only thing that gets me through my work commutes. Love it!  

Until Noon I have to say, my morning at work was quite unproductive. I train faculty for a living and do all of my trainings over a web based system, since all of our instructors are remote. For some reason, I lost all sound capabilities on my computer overnight. I spend most of my morning working with one of the office IT guys trying to fix the issue. Once we have the sound issue fixed, I work on answering a bunch of emails that have been sitting in my inbox in relation to a training certification I have been working on for the past month or so...  

12:00pm I head out to grab lunch with two of my coworkers...we hit up a local Peruvian restaurant that has some amazing food. We are able to sit outside and enjoy the sun and the views of the city before a round of storms are supposed to come through the area. My office is on the outskirts of the city, in a pretty popular tourist location. In the Summer, the area is quite busy with tourists and locals all out enjoying the shops and restaurants.

1:00pm I return to work to call George...he works the night shift (7pm-7am) and sleeps until about 1:00pm everday. He picks Felicity up from the babysitter's house once he wakes up and hangs out with her for the rest of the day. He informs me that he is taking Lis to the local pool today, since the bad weather seems to be holding off for now.  

Until 5:00pm After I hang up with George, I prepare for a meeting that I have this afternoon. We are launching a new training for new faculty that I have been working on for months now. This project is almost finished up, which makes me super excited!  

5:00pm I'm finished with work for the day so I drive home to try to catch up with George for a couple of minutes before he has to leave for work.

5:43pm I'm home and have about ten minutes to talk to George before he has to leave for his work shift. We quickly chat about the day, and he informs me that Felicity was stung by a wasp today. This is actually the first time she has ever been stung, thank goodness she doesn't seem to be allergic.  

5:55pm George heads out for work...he actually drives further than I do so it takes him a good hour to get to and from work each day. Thankfully, he works for four days straight and then has four days off, so that helps to make the commute a little easier for him. After he is gone, I make dinner for me and Lis. She has chicken nuggets, grapes, and some pretzels. She has never really been a good eater, but dinner time is probably our worst meal for her. She does pretty well tonight though and eats most of what is on her plate. Since I had a big lunch today, I make myself a spinach salad with mushrooms and grilled chicken that we have in the fridge.

6:17pm We head out to meet B and her kids at our local park for a playdate...we let the kids run around and play for a couple of hours before we head to a local ice cream shop.

8:50pm We are home from the park and Lis is pretty filthy...a sign of a fun park play date for sure! I give her a shower, brush her teeth, read stories, say prayers, call Daddy to say goodnight and get her to bed.

9:20pm I change into my pajamas and head downstairs to get some work done while I catch up on some shows that are sitting on my DVR. I watch a couple of episodes of the Bold & The Beautiful (yes, I know, I may be the only person on earth who still watches that show) and work on addressing announcement cards. I've recently signed with Prudential Preferred Realty as a sales associate and am working on sending my business cards and information to family and friends.

11:00pm I'm pretty exhausted from the day, so I head up to bed for the night. It usually takes me a couple of minutes to settle in for the night, so I check my favorite blogs and Pinterest on my phone until my eyes start to get heavy. Fingers crossed for no overnight wake ups tonight...I'm pretty sure we both could use a good nights rest!  

What is the most surprising thing about being a mom? To be 100% honest, before I had Felicity, I never had a huge desire to have kids. Now, I couldn't imagine my life without her in it. She is without a doubt the best thing that has ever happened to me...I miss her every second I'm not with her. I know it sounds strange to say this, but even at the ripe age of four years old, I consider her to be one of my best friends...she makes me laugh constantly and I love to watch her unique personality continue to develop.  

What advice would you give to new or soon to be mamas? Trust your instincts and be true to yourself! Many times, this is easier said than done...but as a mother, you will know your child and your family better than anybody else. Do what works best for your family, even if it is not the norm. And, I would also add, as a Mom, you need to make time for yourself. Planning a night out with friends every now and then or going out with your husband or significant other does not mean that you love your kids any less. It is important to be well rounded! You can be a mom and your own person at the same time! :)  

What are your top three baby products? Well, I have been out of the baby scene for quite some time now, but I will suggest some products that worked great for us four years ago.  
Halo Sleep Sack After bringing Lis home from the hospital, we quickly realized that she didn't like to be swaddled. She was constantly struggling to get her arms out of the swaddle...so we turned to the next best thing. The Halo Sleep Sack allowed her to have the feeling of being swaddled while having her arms free...she loved it!  
Medela Pump In Style I exclusively nursed for 18 months, so the Medela Pump In Style was put to good use, especially after I returned to work once Lis was 8 weeks old. I never had an issue with this pump, and would definitely suggest it to any new or soon to be moms.  
Suave Kids Soft and Smooth Detangler This is my current favorite kids product...we just recently cut off about 5 inches of Felicity's hair. Her hair grows very quickly and is constantly getting tangled, no matter how often we brush it throughout the day. This detangler spray helps to easily work out the tangles without the pain that they can typically bring.

 I hope you enjoyed a peek into my life! Thanks so much for having me over Ashley, its been a lot of fun!! Make sure you stop over and see us at Real Livin' with HSB...myself, Stonf and B would love to see you there!


Thank you for sharing your day with us Sara!

June 18, 2013

elsie - four months

written June 11th

Oh my word we are already a third of the way through Elsie's first year!  How on Earth do they grow up so fast?  You'd think I'd be ready for it, it seemed like Ryann's first year went by at lightning speed, but Elsie's is going even faster.


Girlfriend is still growing like a weed, but there is finally a difference between her and Ryann's stats.  At the doctor she weighed in at 13 pounds 9.8 ounces (51st percentile) and measured 24.75 inches long (68th percentile).  Ryann outweighed Elsie by 5 ounces, but they were the same length.  The peditrician said that Elsie looked great, very healthy.  She assured me that E had met all the milestones they like to see by now (I wasn't sure since Ry was rolling both ways at four months).  Overall just a healthy happy kid.  She said there was no need to start solids if I didn't want to (which I don't) and that four months is the prime time to start teaching babies to go to sleep on their own.  So, uh, I guess we're going to work on that.


Elsie is now wearing mostly 3-6 month clothing.  I can still use some of the 0-3 dresses as tops, but girl must have long legs or something, because some of the 3-6 month leggings already look short on her!  Not cool, E, not cool.  Don't grow out of stuff so fast, ok?  At home I've been putting her in a size one diaper, but my mom had a box of two's at her house, and they work just fine.  So once our one's run out it is on to two's.  Little miss dropped one of her nursing sessions, so we're down to 5-6 a day, and she takes 3-4 naps a day, depending on when she wakes up and what our schedule is like.


Speaking of sleep, I'm knocking on everything wood I can find, but it has been SO much better in the last, maybe, 10 days?  Seriously she must be able to read my blog or God heard me praying for sleep, because right after I wrote this post she slept through the night three nights in a row.  Like 10 hours straight.  It is GLORIOUS.  Of course she is still swaddled and still sleeping in the rock 'n play, two habits I really want to break soon, but now I don't want to mess anything up.  Sometimes she still fights going to sleep for night and naps, but it could definitely be worse.  Bedtime is between 8-9pm and we're up for the day between 6-7am.  All just depending on how the naps work out and if she wakes in the middle of the night to eat.


In terms of naps, Elsie usually takes one decent early morning nap, and then is up for a bit while we run errands, go to gymnastics, go to the gym, etc, because she absolutely WILL NOT stay asleep in her carseat.  Even if we are still driving she lasts maybe 30 minutes.  Thankfully she doesn't get excessively cranky even when I can tell she's tired.  So she sticks it out through our morning adventures, and then if I'm lucky both girls will be having quiet time / napping for 2+ hours at the same time.  I feel bad that she is up longer than she probably should be some days, but, um, dual naps?  Happy dance.  E will then take one more evening nap, which is usually only 45 minutes or so.


Miss Elsie still isn't a fan of rolling over.  She has rolled belly to back probably six or seven times the last month, but just really isn't consistent.  Instead she lays on her stomach, shoves her face in to the floor, tucks her legs in and pushes forward in some sort of awful inchworm style crawl.  I don't get it.  Girl is going to get rug (blanket) burn on her face.  She also sometimes tries to roll back to belly, but has yet to figure it out.  Her arm and hand coordination continues to improve, and she has started grabbing her feet (May 19th).  Which of course is the cutest thing ever.


But the absolutely positively cutest thing ever?  Baby giggles.  Elsie laughed for the first time while we were on the airplane to Georgia.  I was so excited she was laughing, but pissed because the plane was so damn loud I couldn't hear it very well.  Sometimes it is tough to get her going, but if you do oh my word, it just melts my heart.  E is also quite the chatter box (when Ry isn't all up in her face of course).  The way she tries to 'talk' is absolutely hilarious.  It is very forced, muffled, and nasally.  It isn't your typical cooing noise.  Makes me laugh every time.


Chris has given Elsie the nickname Honey Bear, because Ry makes him read the Bearinstein Bear books all the time.  I've stuck with Elsie Belsie girl.  And Ry?  She calls Elsie whatever she is wearing.  It is too cute, "Hey there polka dots!" "Hi flowers!" or "Hello stripes!"  I love it.


Were pretty sure E's favorite song is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  She loves trying to stand, and is much sturdier than I'd expect her to be.  Sometimes she thinks it is funny when you drag a burp cloth over her face again and again.  She doesn't seemed overly attached to any toys, but she does enjoy Jacques the Peacock.  Elsie spends lots of time just watching her sissy run around like a nut.  And she certainly cranes her neck in the direction of TVs and computers (bad technology, BAD!).


Elsie girl, I love you.  When you're around I have trouble doing anything but hanging out with you.  Your smile lights up the room.  I'm so excited to watch you grow and grow.  Just don't do it too fast.