Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Abs 'n' Arms

Hello again! It's so nice to feel like I'm on something of a regular blogging schedule again. I love this little hobby of mine, and it's a lovely treat to find time to write. Thanks for reading along. :-)

Today was a busy one. I had a doctor appointment, and Terry came with me to watch Marshall while I was in there. We also went out to lunch and then I dropped Terry back off at work before Marshall had a crazy meltdown. Poor guy. We played it pretty mellow after that.

Thanks to some suggestions on Facebook, I upped my game for tonight's dinner. As I mentioned yesterday, I was already planning to slow cook some chicken breasts with salsa, but I really wasn't sure where I'd go from there. Here's what I did:

- four chicken breasts in the crock pot with about a cup of salsa (we like Whole Foods' 365 Salsa Verde)--I spread about 1/4 cup of salsa on the bottom and the rest on top of the chicken
- cooked on LOW for 4.5 hours (ours switches to warm when the timer's up--does everyone's crock pot do that?)
- pulled the chicken out, shredded it up, and then added about a cup (maybe more) of the liquid from the crock pot to the shredded chicken (I tossed the rest of the liquid, which was about another cup); then I returned the chicken to the crock pot on the "warm" setting until we were ready to eat

My friend Kirsten suggested sweet potato and black bean burritos, but I didn't have black beans, so we made do. I opted for a salad, and Terry went with a burrito, and we loaded up with:
- the awesome chicken (so juicy!)
- sweet potato fries (sliced into wedges, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, roasted at 450 for about 35 minutes, tossing halfway through)
- lettuce
- avocado
- tomatoes
- more salsa
- pepper jack cheese (for Terry)
- crumbled tortilla chips

Remember how I don't love salads? I could get on board with this one!

I am already inspired to make tons more fun meals, so I started pinning some ideas today. Hopefully this new motivation will last!

I even felt motivated to squeeze in an upper body workout today. After a nice walk (Terry strapped Marshall into the Ergo to get him to take a good nap), I grabbed a set of dumbbells and got to it.

* - I made up this move. It's a regular biceps curl plus a hammer curl plus a reverse curl, all in a row (that's one rep).  
** - I did this one on a ball.

I loved this quick workout. My arms definitely felt fatigued at the end, but it was over before I knew it. Plus it only required a set of dumbbells and a stability ball. Marshall also thought the whole thing was pretty funny, so that's a win. I love being back to strength training!

What did you have for dinner today?

Any fun upper body workouts to share?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Meal Plan Slump

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday: Date night!

Thursday: Leftover crock pot chicken

Friday: Out of town again

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

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

These are my problems. Please alert the masses.

 Okay, so back to the day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lots of Food and Family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you get to see your extended family often? 

What are you doing for Halloween?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Favorites

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

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

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

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

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

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

My mom had her nails done for the series!

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

First Two Days in the Bay Area

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

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

Yes, Scout crawled onto Marshall, who barely noticed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, and GO GIANTS!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Flashback Monday Isn't a Thing

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

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

And now some fun scenes from the weekend:

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

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

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

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

So did Terry.

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

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

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

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Any fun plans this week?

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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Day in the Life: Baby Edition

After Marshall was born, I made the tough decision to stay home with him for several months. I was so nervous to not go back to work, especially since I only worked part time last year, but my parents actually really helped me decide that staying home with Marshall would be super rewarding in its own way and that I could go back to work later. So with that decided, my day-to-day certainly looks a lot different from how it looked when I worked! Here's how today went:

12:38 am - Wake up to Marshall fussing. Hungry again? I fed him twice before bed last night and again at 10 because he woke up. Growth spurt? Diaper change, back into bed, but Marshall is wide awake, talking, playing, and eventually fussing.

1:30 am - Wake up Terry because I can't get Marshall back to sleep and I'm exhausted. He swaddles him, then goes back to sleep, and Marshall is awake again within ten minutes. I start getting frustrated. He never gives us trouble going back to sleep! I try feeding him again. Terry burps him, puts him back to bed, and we all finally go to sleep.

5:35 am - Marshall is up again, and I'm nervous. Sometimes when he wakes up at 5:30 he's able to go back to sleep; sometimes he's up for the day. I feed him, Terry burps him (Terry is already up for his work day), and Marshall is miraculously willing to go back to sleep.

Unknown time - maybe 6:45? - Terry comes in to say goodbye to me as Marshall is waking up yet again to eat. Yes, I'm pretty sure it's a growth spurt. I cuddle up with the little guy in bed and he falls asleep next to me. Hooray! Another hour of sleep for both of us.

8:06 am - We're awake! I say good morning to Marshall and let him play with his toes on the bed while I brush my teeth and put in my contacts. Diaper change, another meal for M, and then he poops again! We head into his room for a diaper/outfit change and talk and play while he's on the changing pad. Lots of smiles and laughs today!

8:45 am - I let Marshall play on his mat, then chat with Jenn via e-mail. Meanwhile I make my own breakfast (same as yesterday) and start emptying the dishwasher and cleaning the kitchen. I pop my head around the dining room table every few minutes to check on Marshall, who rolls over! Yay! He still only rolls to his left (back to tummy), but he's less upset when he gets to his tummy now. I eat breakfast while chatting with Marshall.

Are you kidding me with those thighs? Too cute.

Marshall's second breakfast: a hearty serving of toes. (He literally just managed to get his toes into his mouth for the first time last night!)

9:04 am - Marshall seems to be getting tired already, so we head into his room for quiet time and read Are You My Mother? Turns out the kitten is not the mother, guys. Within a few minutes Marshall is avoiding eye contact with me and turning away from the book, so it's nap time. I swaddle him (we got rid of the swaddle a long time ago, but lately he's been extra-flaily with his arms and keeps waking himself up or preventing himself from sleeping, so we're back), put him down, and turn on his mobile (we bought a mobile from Target this week in hopes that it will help him put himself to sleep in the crib). I leave him and write an e-mail to Terry while he babbles and chats to himself.

9:23 am - Marshall's chatting has turned to crying, so I head in to the room and find him out of his swaddle. Where's Dad when you need him? Oh, well. I swaddle him again, rock him for a few minutes, try the pacifier (not interested), and put him back down when he's calm. I sing "Somewhere Out There"  and he just stares at me while I'm singing. Super cute. When the song is over, he smiles and looks away, so I leave the room. Within a few minutes he's asleep! What the heck? I never know what's going to work with this kid.

9:31 am - Start this blog post. Say hi to my friend Amanda on Gchat and write back to Terry.

9:52 am - Spend the rest of Marshall's nap cleaning up the house (make the bed, organize my diaper bag, wipe kitchen counters, etc.).

10:53 am - Marshall is still sleeping! I take a break to check a few blogs and cuddle with Scout.

11:00 am - Throw Scout's mouse around and play for a bit. Text with my friend Winnie about breastfeeding.

11:24 am - Marshall is still asleep! I do some dishes (quietly!) and sterilize the breast pump parts I used yesterday. Then I grab a pear to hold me over until lunch. I chat with my parents for a few minutes.

12:17 pm - Marshall wakes up! Finally. I get some big smiles when I get him out of his crib, and he eats like a champ. After a diaper change, we hang out in his room, singing (me), rolling (him), reading (both of us), and spitting up (mostly him). I tidy up his room a bit and start going through his closet and drawers, pulling out clothes he's outgrown. Naturally, as soon as I pull out all the clothes and start going through them, he gets fussy. Time for a change of scenery!

1:12 pm - I bring Marshall out to the living room to his bouncer. We chat, he plays with his toes and his O-Ball, he smiles a lot. Scout wanders around the apartment making sure everything is to his satisfaction. As usual, it isn't. He eats something off the floor. Soon I'll have a baby doing the same. I realize I'm hungry and start heating up lunch while explaining to Marshall the importance of eating vegetables.

1:26 pm - Marshall spits up on himself. I wipe it off and decide he's still good.

1:27 pm - Marshall poops. I can't ignore that one. Diaper change, clothing change, back out to the living room. Within ten minutes, he's fussy again and rubbing his eyes, so I try swaddling him for another nap. He's not happy about it. Honestly I don't expect him to be tired so soon after his awesome morning nap, but then again he does almost always get tired 90 minutes after waking up from any nap. He hangs out in his crib awhile but then escapes his swaddle and gets upset. I second-guess whether he's really tired and take him to our room to read a book. Then I swaddle him again and rock him until he's calm. I put him in the crib again, and he doesn't want his pacifier, so I turn his mobile on again and leave him to it.

1:58 pm - Still waiting to see whether Marshall will fall asleep or not, I start in on my almost-forgotten lunch. Just as I finish, Marshall starts crying, so I spend the next 20 minutes rocking him, soothing him, calming him down. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes not so much. This time I get him to sleep in my arms, transfer him to the crib, and hear him crying a few minutes later. More soothing, but I keep him in his crib and he manages to fall asleep again.

2:31 pm - Baby is officially asleep. Get packed and ready and put some makeup on so we can go out when he wakes up. I write my final thank you notes, which is a huge weight off since I've felt guilty about taking so long.

2:56 pm - Marshall wakes up crying and is still tired but also hungry. I let him eat and he falls asleep, not a total shocker. I'm trying to get better about letting him sleep on me, but I figure one out of the last four naps isn't bad.

3:26 pm - I move Marshall to his bouncer in case he wants to sleep more, and he wakes up. Oh, well. I refill my water and finish getting ready to go but then realize that we now won't make it back with much time before needing to meet Terry for a workout. So I prep dinner instead and then we get going.

3:51 pm - Marshall spits up on himself, me, and the Ergo as we're walking out the door. Change him, clean up all the spit up, leave again.

4:15 pm - Arrive at Target. I hear Marshall poop in the backseat, so I change his diaper before we go in. I grab diapers and Honest Company dish soap and nothing else! Success! I head to the park for a walk, even though Terry just e-mailed to say he has to stay late at work.

5:04 pm - Start our walk. I walk one lap, run one lap(!), and walk a half lap. About 2.5 miles total, about 35-40 minutes. I check my phone and Terry says he's on his way. I feed Marshall in the car while we wait. He spits up on my leg. Oh, well.

6:04 pm - Terry meets us at the park! It's a little later than I had hoped, but at least we get a short walk in together in the fresh air.


6:55 pm - Arrive home. Terry plays with Marshall while I feed Scout and start cooking dinner. I chop and saute vegetables and get the sauce going for our pasta so it can simmer during the bedtime routine.

7:06 pm - Pour a glass of wine. Frank Family Zin--my very favorite! (Well, next to champagne.)

7:27 pm - I join the boys while dinner simmers. Marshall starts cracking up when I lay on the bed with them and can't stop, so obviously we laugh right along with him. It's becoming a nightly routine that he just goes giggle-crazy near bedtime. I absolutely love it.

7:35 pm - I feed Marshall one more time while chatting with Terry about his day.

7:48 pm - I start wrapping up dinner while Terry puts Marshall to bed. I sip some wine and watch TV to unwind a bit (it was a great day; I just like to take a few minutes during this time to try to relax and be by myself). Marshall's crying about being put down, so I check in with Terry to see if he wants help. We trade back and forth a few times because Marshall is really upset.

8:23 pm - Give up and nurse Marshall to sleep. 35 minutes is enough torture for everyone, and we know nursing works. We'll try again tomorrow. He calms down within a few minutes and falls asleep on me. I remind myself that we had some nap victories today, so there's no need to be upset about a rough bedtime.

8:40 pm - Terry and I eat dinner and watch our shows, The Mindy Project and Modern Family.

9:37 pm - Terry boots up his laptop to get some work done, and I continue this post. I imagine we'll get to sleep around 11, and hopefully Marshall will sleep well tonight. Time will tell!

Happy Friday to you! Hope it's been a good week!