Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fall--or Maybe Not

Hello! This week has really gotten away from me, so I thought I'd just stop in for a quick update.

First of all, Monday and Tuesday mornings presented a rare opportunity: cool weather for baby to wear fall clothes!

 Marshall learned the words "jeans" and "jacket" and now proudly points to both!

The chill didn't last long, of course--it's supposed to get up to the 100s again later this week--but I savored those moments!

Yesterday Terry cracked an egg and got a double yolk. Awesome. And then I cracked an egg and got a double yolk too. What?! Obviously it was going to be a great day. Well, then this happened with the next egg:

Soooo...I'm not sure what that meant, but the day turned out okay.

The elementary school down the street from us is hosting a fall festival, so yesterday we walked around the block to check out the setup progress. Marshall and Terry surveyed the scene in style. (I'm super excited to check out the actual festival this weekend! It looks so cute!)

This week's meals have been excellent. I made Ina's Mexican chicken soup,

  (Marshall ate his whole bowl with almost no help from us!)

plus chicken salad sandwiches.

YUM. Here's what I did:
- 1.5 cups cooked chicken, chopped
- 1/3 (give or take) cup of plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp mustard of choice
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- squeeze of lemon

All mixed together for the salad. Then we made sandwiches with sourdough bread, avocado, and bacon. Quite awesome, if I may say so.

Workouts have been lighter this week after our ultra-active weekend. On Monday we did an upper body workout focusing on triceps, chest, and core. Tuesday we did Day 6 of the squat challenge and some yoga. Today we just rested, and tomorrow we'll crank it back up a notch. 

My parents are in town for the next few days, so I look forward to soaking up some time with them, time on my own to get a few odds and ends done, and time with Terry for a date night!

Have a wonderful day! 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Botanical Garden Kind of Day + Squat Challenge Details

Terry, Marshall, and I woke up this morning to a lovely, cool day! Clouds and everything!

We enjoyed some waffles and tea and headed out for a family walk up to the UCLA Botanical Garden. The weather was perfect for the walk and meandering through the trees, saying hello to the turtles(!), and fitting in our daily squat challenge (see below!). Marshall loved the turtles and the waterfalls most.

We apparently enjoyed a slow morning, because we got home right around Marshall's lunch time. I threw together some Blue Apron leftovers for us to enjoy, and then we settled Marshall in for his nap. Then it was yoga time for Terry and me, plus some stretching, dishes, blogging, and tea. Once Marshall woke up again, we played it close to home with lots of indoor play time, a short walk around the block, a batch of coconut brownies (YUM), and a Blue Apron meal.

Tonight we watched Once Upon a Time (Prince Charming, you are just a treat). A lovely, low key Sunday.

Also, I finished up the squat challenge calendar!

By the way, I'm doing the whole Squat Challenge thing in addition to regular workouts. We're still doing yoga, lots of walking, maybe a little running, and upper body workouts. I'm also incorporating 1-2 full rest days per week, plus lots of stretching and foam rolling.

Here's the first week:

Day 2: (3-4 rounds) --we did 3 rounds, and those wall sits were killer
15 squats
15 plie squats
1 minute wall sit
1 min plie squat pulses

Day 4: (10 minutes total) -- did this one today, and it was actually pretty tough!
5 squats + 5 jump squats (repeat for one minute, then rest for one minute)

Day 6: (2-3 rounds)
Stepping side squats (switch sides every 5-10 steps) - 1 minute
Side lunge - 1 minute each side
Curtsy lunge - 1 minute each side

Day 8: Plie Squat Challenge
Plie squat + 3 plie squat pulses + plie squat + plie squat jump = 1 rep
Complete 10 reps, then 9, then 8...3, 2, 1 (rest as needed)

Day 10:
20 squats
20 forward lunges per leg
20 back lunges per leg
(2-3 rounds)

Oh, and here are a few photos from our first family UCLA game experience. We arrived in the middle of the first quarter and left at halftime, which was just about perfect. Marshall did GREAT (eating and looking for the Goodyear Blimp kept him quite entertained!), and we avoided the crazy crowds at the end of the game. Unfortunately, we had to park super far away from the entrance to the stadium, so we had about a mile and a half or so to walk with Marshall on Terry's shoulders. Of course, that morning we had chosen to take a family hike, too, so we ended the day with about 20,000 steps! Yowza.

The morning hike

Go Bruins!

Meal plan for the week--er, at least the first half:

Sunday: Blue Apron meal
Monday: Parmesan and butter pasta with peas and Brussels sprouts
Tuesday: Ina's Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup
Wednesday: Pita pizzas--my parents will be in town but are going out on their own for their anniversary

And now it's time for bed to get this week started. Hope yours is a wonderful one!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Squat Challenge

Oh, weekend. What wonders you bring. Thank you for joining us.

This week had me in a bit of a tizzy. Some really high ups (I'm not naming names, but someone had a baby) mixed in with some down days, too. But this weekend promises some fun! Our plans: a Blue Apron meal tonight (accompanied by a bottle of wine, please and thank you), a hike tomorrow morning, our first family UCLA game(!!!), and a no-plans day on Sunday. With some workouts thrown in for good measure, I'm thinking we have a great few days ahead.

So I have decided that I'd like to go ahead and tackle a squat challenge for October. Actually, I was all excited about completing Gina's "Squatember" challenge last month, but, truth be told, I completely forgot about it until maybe the tenth day and then I decided to just keep on keeping on with the yoga thing. Well, we're still tackling the yoga and really enjoying it, but I am going to create my own little squat challenge, too. Feel free to join me, or just cheer me on, or remind me to keep it up around day four when I've already forgotten. Thanks.

Oh, and yes, you're right, today IS October 2nd. Why on earth am I starting a month-long challenge on the second day of the month? I have no excuse, friends. Not even a really great reason, like, "Fridays are shown to be the best day to start squat challenges," or, "Starting on the first day of the month is proven to lead to disaster." In all honesty, I wrote last night's post around 9:30 pm and just didn't think to add in the whole squat thing. Once again, I'm continuing my quest to demonstrate how amazing I am.

Back to squats.

Okay, here's day two. (Day one was a rest day?)

- 15 bodyweight squats
- 15 plie squats
- 1 minute wall sit
- 1 minute plie squat pulses

Complete 3-4 times. I'm pushing for four but I'll report back with my results.

Remember to maintain proper technique! Plant both feet firmly and engage your glutes to prevent your knees from collapsing in toward the center line. Avoid allowing the knee to move past the toe; instead, keep your knee over your ankle. Focus on proper alignment, then work on deepening the squat to get lower.


Okay, we just finished day two! Um...definitely only three rounds. We thought we were going to fall over after the second round but pushed through for one more. We also did day 12 of our yoga today, and thankfully it was a very mellow one.

So if you're thinking of joining me for the squat challenge, obviously you could start on October 3rd, or you could just skip day two and start with day 4 (on Sunday). Here's Sunday's challenge (day four):

5 squats + 5 squat jumps (repeat for one minute)
Rest for one minute
Repeat one minute on and one minute off for 10 minutes

For more of a challenge, go longer. By all means. My eyes tend to be bigger than my muscles, so I have a feeling I'll be dying by minute 6 and regret everything.

I'll have the rest of the month up by Monday. If nothing else, I'm aiming for a toned and tight tushy by November 1!

And now for some super random tidbits:

- I received a gift of a week of Blue Apron for my birthday, and I finally ordered it. Somehow, signing up for my free week subscribed me to a weekly meal plan, which I didn't want, so I wrote in to customer service. Amazingly, they wrote back and refunded my credit card! Plus, since they had already sent our week of meals, we received those meals for free. I am SO impressed with that customer service! Way to go, Blue Apron!

- We recently watched Lilo and Stitch, which I had never seen. It wasn't great.

- Yesterday was Julie Andrews' birthday! I love her. 80 years old and still amazing. I wish I could say my parents named me after her, but they didn't. So...that's something.

- Also this post may be the first time ever I didn't mention Marshall. To remedy that, I'll tell you that Marshall WALKED all the way to the park by himself yesterday! Terry carried him across the streets of course, but he walked almost a mile! Dang, kid. No wonder he eats so much!

- My parents are visiting next week and I am counting down the hours to seeing them!! I love love love watching Marshall play with his PopPop and JanJan. And Terry and I are for sure planning to sneak away for a date night/day/happy hour/whatever (okay, Mom and Dad?).

Happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Things Making Me Happy This Week

I took two full rest days yesterday and today. Very little walking, no yoga, just some stretching/foam rolling and lots of relaxing. I needed it!

One of my friends suggested a "picture of the day" text game where we all text each other a favorite/funny/sweet/frustrating picture from the day. We've been going strong for a while now and have so many fun exchanges based on these photos. I love seeing little glimpses into their lives, too!

Foam rolling! I've been all about it these last few days in particular, because my hips are insanely tight and sore. Marshall jumped in on the action yesterday.

This kid loves to eat. And I love that. But sometimes we have to tell him dinner is over, and he gets really angry. Yesterday it was because we wouldn't give him raisins. Life is hard.

I threw together some meager fall decorations. Scout is a huge fan.

This article about Ina Garten makes me love her even more, especially the fact that she does all her own social media!

These pieces of wedding advice from A Cup of Jo. Some wise words! Mine would be: Do it the way you want. Trying to please everyone else is a great way to go insane. Oh, and be sure to plan for a midnight snack in the hotel room!

One-star Yelp reviews of National Parks

Delightful Language Facts You Never Knew You Needed

Bad Lip Reading at the Republican Debate

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Today's Five Highlights

Today moved a little slowly, so I thought I'd share some highlights.

Upping my workouts for the second day in a row! I really haven't been pushing myself over the last few months, for whatever reason. I've been consistent but pretty mellow, and I've done very few HIIT workouts overall. We're just starting to get back into running, but my body aches a lot when I run now, so I'm trying to keep my workouts super balanced--more yoga, more strength training, lots of stretching, and plenty of rest days. So anyway, yesterday and today I enjoyed some long walks (about six miles yesterday and maybe three or four today), yoga both days (yesterday and today), and a solid lower body workout today:

- 50 squats
- 50 plie squats
- 50 plie squat pulses
- 25 one-leg squats (each side)
- 25 one-leg glute bridges (each side)
- 50 stationary lunges (each side)

My legs were burning for sure, and yoga today felt amaaaaaazing to stretch everything out (luckily it was a lot of hip openers and stretching). Rest day tomorrow for sure!

Pumpkins! At Trader Joe's today, I impulse bought these pumpkins, and then Marshall spent most of the morning playing with them. He tried SO hard to stack them! 

Walking with Jenn! Truth be told, at this point we're just trying to get her labor moving along, so it was almost an hour of walking. Definitely a highlight to hang out with Jenn, but I can't wait for her baby to get here so we can walk with him, too!

Also, Marshall stared at this construction site for about seven minutes with his mouth wide open.

THIS PIZZA. Usually, I live my life by a very strict rule: Low expectations. Especially for meals, because then they can't disappoint you. But I couldn't follow my own rule for this pizza. It just looked too good. The flavors made too much sense together. And three cheeses? Come on, folks. I never stood a chance. But it did NOT disappoint. The Brussels sprouts were perfectly cooked, the cheeses melted perfectly together, and the end result made me super happy I had enough ingredients to make a second pizza. We'll be enjoying this meal the rest of the week!

And finally, just hanging out with Terry at the end of the night. We watched some of The Office while we did our workout and then caught the newest episode of Mindy on Hulu. I always look forward to our evenings, and I guess I don't apply my low expectations rule there, either. But the evenings never disappoint. Hanging out with my husband in our sweaty workout clothes while watching TV? Not a bad way to end the day.

Also, side note: I love this post from Monica. She gets real and says things I wish I could say. 

What was a highlight from your day? 

What's your favorite pizza? This one might be a new contender for a favorite!

Monday, September 28, 2015

First Vegan Restaurant, First Wagon Ride

Hello and happy Monday to you! I am up early this morning because last night's planned post just didn't happen. We actually enjoyed a long weekend because Terry had Friday off, and we took full advantage.

Friday morning we all took a long walk and hit the store for some essentials, and then once Marshall went down for his nap I headed out for lunch with Jenn, who is still patiently awaiting her little boy's arrival. We celebrated her due date with lunch at Cafe Gratitude, a new-to-me vegan restaurant. When I told Terry I was going to a vegan restaurant, he said, "Well, that's something I never thought I'd hear you say." Ha. True, but actually I really enjoyed our meal. Jenn and I split two entrees--an eggplant wrap and a black bean burger--and I thought they were both really tasty and super hearty. We even skipped the delicious-looking desserts because we were full (which of course I later regretted--always get dessert, Julie!).

Best of all, we are really having fun taking advantage of Jenn's maternity leave and enjoying all this time to hang out!

Originally Terry and I thought of going to the LA County Fair on Friday afternoon, but we decided it would be too hot and probably just a huge hassle with a toddler (it's pretty far from us, and traffic on a Friday would be miserable). Maybe next year. So we hit up Marshall's for a few items (I had a gift card, so we scored a lot of stuff for only $5 out of pocket!) and called it a day. We also intended to eat a Blue Apron meal that night but accidentally forgot the beef in the freezer, so we trooped out to dinner and loved every second. Happy accident, indeed.

We finally made the Blue Apron meal on Saturday for lunch!

Saturday afternoon, after an awesome three-hour nap from Marshall, we headed up to visit our friends for some UCLA football! First we took the kiddos to the pool.

Marshall got to enjoy his first wagon ride, which was the CUTEST moment ever. He was so happy! (Kayla was a little uncertain about this dude in her wagon, though...) I think Santa might bring a wagon this year...

Then we hung out at Heidi and Edward's house for the game and a delicious meal. They are such generous hosts!

The whole group minus me and Heidi!

Not many photos, but you get the idea. And the game was AWESOME!!! Go Bruins!

We got home late but Marshall did great, even if he was a little tired Sunday morning. We all headed to the park for a little fall fun.

Lovely, right?

Pretty balanced.

And today--since I failed to post earlier this morning--Marshall learned how to climb into a cardboard box. (Here he's signing "more" to ask me to pull him around in the box, which I did once around the living room and was a huge hit.)

Marshall also treated us to an inordinate number of meltdowns today. I wouldn't let him hold the stick, I wouldn't let him bring the stick inside, I didn't feed him fast enough... At one point, the only tool that would calm him down was looking at a photo of the air vehicle Terry works with. The kid was fascinated. Who knew?

And now I'm pretty beat. I walked a TON today--two miles round trip to the park, plus a trip to campus AND a walk to the grocery store. We rounded out the day with a quick yoga session and I'm totally wiped. Off to enjoy some TV before bed! Hooray for fall shows!

Hope you enjoy the last two days of September! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

16 Months!

Made it through Wednesday! Ours involved a lot of down time because Marshall slept until 8:30 (my hero of a husband somehow managed to convince Marshall to go back to sleep at 5:15) AND took an almost-two hour nap. I had no idea what to do with myself. Our house is spotless, though, and I got around to a few chores I had been putting off.

The rest of the day didn't involve anything spectacular; we took a short walk, and I did some Pilates-style stuff after Marshall was in bed. For dinner we all ate a squash salad:
- 3 zucchini
- 2 delicata squash
- 1 head Romaine lettuce
- Burrata cheese
- olive oil and balsamic

I chopped the squash(es?) and roasted them with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes, tossing once. Then I just threw everything else together for big salads!

Tonight Terry has some work to finish, so I'm hoping to head to bed early. By the way, special shout out to Ann from Pittsburgh! Thanks for the e-mail today!

And now...Happy 16 months to Marshall! Here, 16 fun facts:

- Marshall weighs 25 pounds and is 32 1/2 inches tall. He was 33 inches at his last appointment, so something is off, but he's somewhere around there. Lots of people comment on how tall he is! I agree; he's a big boy. Lifting him up and down--especially carrying him plus some groceries upstairs--makes me feel like I can skip my upper body workouts. Plus, he's really looking like a boy now. I am a bit in denial, because in person I still see him as a baby, but looking at photos I really can't deny he's a total toddler.

- He can walk backwards! It's hilarious to watch him practice. He'll randomly stop in his tracks and just step back a few steps, then forward, then back, over and over.

- Books are still a huge hit, but we're noticing that he really has some favorites. He'll continue to pull the same ones down from the shelf for us to read, even if we put them in different places (he even knows which book is which based on the spine, not just the covers!). Current favorites: Down By the Bay; Go, Dog. Go!; 10 Little Rubber Ducks; Goodnight Gorilla.

- I guess it's pretty cliche, but this boy loves his trucks. He loves hearing them outside, loves to watch the garbage and recycling trucks on our street, loves pointing out trucks when we go for walks, loves playing with his toy trucks. He says "truck" ("jruh-jruh!") at least 50 times per day.

- Stacking was a huge hit all month! Blocks, mostly, but occasionally he would find random objects to stack on each other!

- Sleep is a dream at the moment. For nap time, I tell him it's nap time and he points to his room, sticks his thumb in his mouth, and walks to his crib, then goes to sleep on his own and sleeps 90 minutes to three hours (though there were a few very short naps this month, too). At night, we've really whittled down the bedtime routine to bath, pjs, story, brushing teeth, family pictures, then one song as Terry walks out of the room. He sleeps through the night (11-12 hours) most of the time, but again we've had several midnight wake ups this month, too. None of this is to say it's been a breeze: Getting to this point in our sleep routines took a LONG time (as you know if you've been reading along!) and lots of adjusting to find what works for Marshall. Now that we've got a good rhythm, I'm sure something will come along to throw us for a loop!

- Eating was great this month! Last month he seemed to be a little less enthusiastic about eating and would spit out a lot of foods, but we're back on track now. He eats a TON, too, though some of that may be a growth spurt. Favorite foods: fruit, yogurt, smoothies, and bread.

- Words he can say (that Terry and I can understand, anyway): mama, dada, truck, cat, dog, JanJan (my mom's name), that, bus, shoes, ball, baby, bowl, walrus, whale, moon.

- Shakes head for "yes" or "no" (although he really doesn't exactly answer yes/no questions--we can just tell him to say yes or no and he will do it); signs "more," "all done," "again".

- Marshall learned to call for me from his crib when he wakes up. The good news: he doesn't cry when he wakes up! The bad news: He repeats "mama" over and over and over again until we go in there. It's so sweet at first, and then I want to throw the monitor out the window.

- Tantrums are still relatively tame, but he gets upset when someone takes something from him that he wants (duh, Julie), or he's super tired. Oh, and usually the moments before a meal (when I'm prepping something in the kitchen), he's a bit of a nightmare--lots of fussing, impatience, whining, sometimes full on wailing. He's still easily distracted, though, so we're using that to our advantage.

- Marshall's favorite part of every day: anytime we see a dog.

- Other favorite activities: bath time, going outside, playing at the park, MyGym classes, and experiencing anything new.

- Crawling up on the couch, then standing on said couch, and now vaulting off the side of the couch are all new stunts this month. I'm thrilled, as you can imagine.

- Yesterday Marshall walked over to Jenn and gave her a hug, completely independently. It was such a sweet little moment! He's never voluntarily hugged anyone before, including his mama, so apparently Aunt Jenny has a magic aura.

- Marshall LOOOOOOVES Scout. When we read a book about a cat, he points to where Scout is. Whenever possible, he tries to pet Scout, which is more often than I would have guessed (Scout acts like he is miserable around Marshall, but he really doesn't make much effort to stay away from him, so I think he secretly loves the baby). Most of the time, if we need a distraction, we can ask Marshall to "find Scout" and he'll go on a little hunt!

16 months...crazy! I'm overjoyed to see this little boy growing up. He is by far the best thing I have ever created, and I could not be more proud to be his mama. Here's to the next month!