Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! And, if you're reading this post on Friday, Happy Love Actually Day! I'm planning to watch the movie later in the day, after Marshall is asleep most likely. We're spending the majority of the day at the Rose Bowl, rooting on the Bruins at their last game of the season against Stanford. Go Bruins!

We kicked off our turkey day with a bit of exercise. We packed up and headed to the beach for a four-mile trot along the Strand. We walked some, ran more than we expected to, and relished the fresh air on a warm-but-not-too-hot morning.

Our Thanksgiving celebration was really lovely. It was our first time hosting the big day, and I felt really great about the whole thing. I planned and planned and planned, and thankfully we got a lot done in advance, because we did have a few minor bumps on the day. For one, Marshall had trouble going down for a nap, and we were really counting on that time to get a few things done. Instead, Terry had to hold Marshall for his entire nap, struggling with some major fussing while I scrambled to try to finish as much as possible around the house. Then, my hair dryer suddenly wouldn't work, but Terry got it going at the last minute. Crisis averted.

Anyway, we had a small group of six adults, one baby, and one cat for the holiday. We took care of the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, potatoes, stuffing, and pie, and our guests provided a giant salad, fresh green beans, several appetizers, wine, beer, and two types of cookies. Needless to say, we had TONS of food! And Terry and I are now (happily) swimming in leftovers, which I'll bet will be gone before the end of the weekend. Seriously.

Ready for the festivities!

Ina's Perfect Roast Turkey, which really did come out beautifully

Most of the food

It was all SO GOOD.


All told, I'd say our first real Thanksgiving went well, but here are a few lessons I learned (or a few things I'd do again!):
  • Limit appetizers and filler foods. We kept it light on a few delicious appetizers and simply omitted bread/rolls. I thought it helped me appreciate the rest of the food even more. (Plus, it's a tip from Ina, and Ina knows all.)
  • Say YES when people ask if they can help. Any chance I had, I handed over jobs to others, like putting food into serving dishes or washing dishes after the meal. I think guests like to participate and feel awkward just watching the host(s) do all the work, so it's nice to be able to let those who want to help do so.
  • Plan, plan, plan. I really felt like I couldn't be prepared enough for the day. I wrote out a detailed schedule and did as much as possible in advance. The day-of stuff was kept to a minimum, which kept my stress level low.
  • Enjoy the day! I made sure to have a few glasses of wine, I chatted with our guests, and I definitely indulged in the food. 
  • Remove the giblets from the turkey. (Um...yeah...don't forget that...)


I'm most thankful for this little person, who has made my heart so full and looks painfully adorable in a bow tie.

It was a wonderful day of enjoying each other's company, laughing, eating delicious food, and celebrating the season. I hope yours was awesome as well. 

Happy Thanksgiving from the Heinrichs!


What's your favorite part of Thanksgiving? I truly loved hosting! It was so fun to prep, plan, and cook and to watch our guests enjoy themselves. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tuesday Tangents

Happy Tuesday! I hope your Thanksgiving week is off to a great start. Thanks to very little sleep and a long day, my mind is a jumble of nonsense, so I thought I'd just roll with it and write a Tuesday Tangents post.

My dad called today to inform me he was disappointed in my reporting skills because I failed to mention a few details of their visit last week. I told him I'd happily hire him to edit my posts, so we'll see if things become more accurate around here. Anyway, I never mentioned that my parents, Marshall, and I took a little walk around Palos Verdes and ended up getting to watch the Coast Guard perform some impressive rescue drills. (At first we thought they were actually rescuing someone, so I was relieved to discover that it was just a drill.)

See the guy dangling from the helicopter? 


Whew!


I'm sure I left out other stuff about my parents' visit--we had dinner out one night, Marshall slept a ton, Terry worked a lot--but overall it was a fun, quick visit. We're already excited for a few days up north to celebrate Christmas next month.

The weather has taken a turn around So Cal, and it's still pretty warm but also painfully dry. My skin is uncomfortably dry and I'm a static machine. Some rain would be a welcome change for the holidays!

My little family is currently in San Diego for a quick trip for Terry's work. That's why we woke up at 5 am to drive down here and part of why I'm so tired. I hope a good night of sleep will energize me for the rest of the week, because it's a big one and I'd rather not be a total zombie. 

Despite the exhaustion, Marshall and I had a nice time today while Terry worked--some naps (for him), a little walk and play time at the park, 


and dinner with Dad. Usually Terry has to work through dinner when we're down here, so it was an awesome surprise that he was able to join us for a meal! Tomorrow's plans include a mother-son breakfast outing, a hotel room workout, and a stop at HomeGoods in search of some good cloth napkins for Thanksgiving. We're getting wild around here, folks.

Today in our hotel room Marshall took a nap and I turned on the TV. I decided it was fate that no channels had any connection--except the Food Network and HGTV. I got to watch a full half-hour of Ina cooking Thanksgiving foods, and I was in heaven.

I'm really not asking for much for Christmas this year--our families and friends were beyond generous this year as they welcomed Marshall and made sure we were comfortable as new parents--but that doesn't mean I haven't taken a peek at all the fun gift ideas out there. I think my Christmas list would include almost all cookbooks, including Ina's new book, Make It Ahead, the 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook, Cook's Illustrated Science of Good Cooking, and probably twelve others. I love cookbooks.

Marshall turned six months old yesterday! I'll have his six-month post up this week, but I'm absolutely stunned at how fast half a year flew. I guess all those people who have told us, "It goes so fast!" were on to something. 



Jenn and I discussed today how we've been feeling less than motivated to work out lately. What is it about the holiday season that does that to a person? Janae talked about getting motivated to run in her post today, so maybe that will help some of us. For me, lately it's all about something quick and (usually) indoors, like my little burpee workout the other day or just grabbing some dumbbells and letting the magic happen (that's what I call it when I get 15 consecutive minutes to lift weights).

Marshall seems to have lost his sensitivity to dairy. Which means I can eat ice cream again. Which is incredible news but also something I need to keep an eye on given my previous paragraph.

Off to bed with me! Have a great day!

What's the weather like where you are? I keep reading other blogs claiming it's "warm" (low-50s), and I'm a little jealous.

What motivates you to work out during the winter? I'm off to a slow start, but there's always time to turn it around!

What's on your holiday wish list? A white Christmas? World peace? New Uggs?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I'm Almost Leslie Knope

Well, last week turned into a pretty sad blogging week for me, but I hope to make it up to you, because I'm sure you were distraught without your daily dose of BLWB. Forgive me, please.

This weekend we said goodbye to my parents early Friday after breakfast at Black Bear Diner (we had heard the portions were huge and the food was decent, and both those statements are true, but it's not as good as The Country Way in Fremont) and some family photos. My parents took some pictures for us so we could get a couple of good shots for our Christmas cards, and we actually had some nice results! You never know with a baby.



After our goodbyes, Marshall went down for a nap and Terry and I designed our Christmas cards on VistaPrint, which we have used for our wedding save-the-dates, our Christmas cards in years past, our return address labels, and our birth announcements for Marshall. It's a simple process (they have pre-made designs or you can upload your own) and we've always loved the results, so I highly recommend it. Plus they always have "deals" (is it a deal if they're pretty much always going on?), and they're quick! I opted for the "economy" ("cheap") shipping and my order will be here in a week. Just a tip if you are still looking to make your holiday cards!

Then we enjoyed a little family outing to Old Navy to buy a few winter items for the three of us--new jeans for Terry, a few warmer sweaters/jackets for Marshall, and this sweater, this vest (also have it in black from last year), these jeans, and a white long sleeve t-shirt for me. We also tried to grab a pumpkin beer at BJ's, but sadly they're out for the season. So sad. Best pumpkin beer I've ever had.

Friday night was pretty mellow. We had leftovers for dinner, put the little guy to bed, and caught up on some TV shows before heading to bed ourselves. Unfortunately, Marshall had a little party in his crib between 1 am and 3 am, so I couldn't sleep while he was awake. Oh, well.

Saturday was the UCLA-U$C game at the Rose Bowl! We drove out separately and tailgated with Terry's family, and then I went home with Marshall while Terry stayed for the game. We had a great time enjoying lots of food and showing Marshall the joys of being a Bruin fan. Marshall took it all in and then took a nap.





I came home to chicken in the crock pot and ate a chunk of it wrapped in a tortilla while standing in the kitchen. I'm super classy like that. Don't worry, I also threw together a salad after Marshall went to sleep. And then I ate whipped cream with berries. Balanced meal for the win (I had to call the berries and whipped cream part of the meal because I ate a separate dessert later...I have a problem). I also did 50 burpees WITH push ups because I realized I hadn't really worked out in about five days and needed some endorphin action. I completed 5 per minute for 10 minutes and then collapsed next to Marshall on the floor.

(By the way, I made a bunch of whipped cream because we had heavy cream and what else do you do with leftover heavy cream? So then I spotted it in the fridge while I was about to make my salad and thought, "Can I put whipped cream on a salad?" And thus begins my inevitable transformation into Leslie Knope.)


And the Bruins won!!! Wahoo!!!!

Today (Sunday), I realized I have five days until Thanksgiving and need to get a move on! I wrote out our menu and all the ingredients so I can get organized. We already ordered our turkey (good thing my mom noticed that people were ordering their birds at our local Whole Foods; otherwise I would have been that girl who walked in on Monday and panicked), but I still have lots to do to get ready.

Here's our menu:

  • turkey (we're having six adults and I ordered a 10-pound turkey, but today my brother told me that 10-pound turkeys look tiny so I'm imagining a bird the size of a pigeon in the middle of the table), cooked using Ina's 5-star recipe
  • Sausage and Sourdough stuffing
  • mashed potatoes (I like to keep these simple with just potatoes, butter, a little milk, and some salt and pepper)
  • gravy, of course
  • cranberry sauce (Terry is in charge of this one, and I think he's going to try to get my aunt's bourbon cranberry sauce recipe--here's one that might be similar)
  • pie (I'm debating between blackberry or apple)
  • plus lots of generous dishes from our guests, including green vegetables, I promise
I realized we didn't have any chicken stock left, so I made some last night, and I did the bulk of the shopping today. Since I had my list all organized, the shopping trip took less than 15 minutes! What the heck? On Wednesday I'll buy the stuff that needs to be extra fresh, and I'll also start in on prep, like cooking sausage for the stuffing, chopping vegetables, baking the pie, etc. If you can't tell, I'm a wee bit excited to host my first big holiday!

Other than that, today was delightfully mellow. We took Marshall for a walk and surprised ourselves by jogging almost a mile of it. Then we decided on lunch at The Counter and split a burger (my husband was worried it wouldn't be enough food, but we also split fries and a shake, so I think we were quite satisfied). We spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up a bit, video chatting with my brother and Ashley, watching Bring It On (obviously), swapping out pictures in some of our frames, drinking champagne to celebrate the Bruins and Marshall's six-month milestone, and getting ready for the week. It's going to be a fun one!


Do you send holiday cards? I love sending them! It's so fun to write little notes to folks, especially those we don't get to see often, and I LOVE receiving holiday cards, too. So if you need more people to send cards to, let me know.

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Aside from hosting, we're hoping to push ourselves to run three miles--our own little turkey trot to carry on the tradition from last year.

Any hosting tips? My big 3: 1) Prep as much as possible in advance. 2) Focus on one or two "star" dishes, and keep the rest super simple. 3) Make sure you have an awesome co-host who will willingly (and without a doubt) run to the store for whatever you forgot.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Excuse for Lots of Marshall Photos

Well, it's been another whirlwind week since my parents arrived in town last night. They made it just in time for a late dinner of shrimp pasta and asparagus, and we chatted a bit before sending them back to the hotel and heading to bed.

By the way, here's how we put Marshall down for a nap.

Here's how we found him five minutes later. We've got a mover!



This morning I had to get up and out pretty early for Marshall's six-month appointment! I can't believe we're already (almost) at the half-year mark. What a crazy ride so far. Anyway, the appointment was longer than usual thanks to a forty-minute wait, and then Marshall got three shots. Fun for everyone!

By the way, I am not one of those mothers who cries when her baby gets a shot. I think I've mentioned this before. Should I feel bad about that? I mean, I feel bad for him when his face gets all red and sad, but that's about it. A woman saw his little band-aids and told me shots are "the absolute worst for baby and mom." I definitely don't agree. At least when he gets a shot I know why he's crying and I'm able to hold him immediately after. I'll take that over not being able to comfort him (like with jaundice, when we weren't allowed to pick him up from under the lights) or not knowing what's wrong.



Okay, that was a fun tangent! Moving on. After the appointment we met up with my parents and headed to a local park for a nice walk. Marshall napped, the adults chatted and people-watched, and we ended up looping three times for 2.75 miles. Then we grabbed lunch and Marshall napped again at home, which allowed my parents and I to relax for a little while. It was a nice afternoon of laundry, watching Marshall practice his sitting up(!), and hanging out at home.




I told my dad he would get 10 gold stars if he could get Marshall to sleep before I got out of the shower. He won.



After Terry arrived home, my parents finished making fajitas for dinner, and we put the little guy to bed. Pretty typical day with PopPop and JanJan visiting!

By the way, Terry and I are both super sore from that core workout the other day. You should try it.

Do you cry when you get shots? Or when your children get shots? (Fur children are included here.) Apparently I only cry when my baby sleeps soundly in another room.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ugly Monday

Monday morning reared its ugly head today and made me wish I could clone myself. Mostly so that my clone could just follow me around cleaning up spit up and/or holding Marshall when he spits up on me.

It was that kind of a day. The kind where I found myself thinking over and over, "Okay, there can't possibly be anymore spit up, right?" After he spat up the normal amount (politely, while I held him unceremoniously over a sink and burped him, as we always do), he just kept going. On the floor, on my sweatshirt, on him, on my t-shirt, on the bed, on him again, on the play mat, in the crib... 

Old picture, but you get it.


I know that we got a pretty easy baby, all things considered, so I really do try hard not to complain about little things, but the spit up, as you can see, drives me up the wall sometimes. 

Moving on to more positive stuff! We enjoyed a lovely, long weekend together. Terry was able to stay home with us on Friday, and since we had a planned power outage in our building, we decided to spend a good chunk of the day out and about. 

First up: the La Leche League meeting! Terry dropped Marshall and me off and headed out to a coffee shop. I got to meet about eight other women in various stages of motherhood: a woman pregnant (with twins!), a new mom of a three week old, a new mom of a five week old, a mother of three (ages 10 months, two years, and five years), another mother of three (the youngest was three months), and three LLL leaders, who are all also mothers. Whew! Quite the range, which was so helpful. The meeting was a wonderful, easygoing opportunity to share concerns, ask questions, provide insight to others, seek and give advice, and gain a sense of community and support in breastfeeding. I am looking forward to writing another breastfeeding update, so I'll write more in depth there, but if you are a breastfeeding mother (or pregnant and hoping to nurse), I highly recommend finding your local LLL meeting

Then we went out to lunch, and I tried pho for the first time. Well, really, I ate pan-friend noodles with shrimp and chicken, but it was still a new restaurant. We also walked around a mall for a bit before heading home to our dark apartment and waiting for power to come back on. 

Saturday we took our time getting up and out and enjoyed a long walk in Palos Verdes, relaxed at home, and then checked out a local brewery. Nice little day.

Also, I'm putting together a little tutorial on how to look like a total goober while taking a photo. Here's a preview:



Terry fails at looking like a goober.


I think my weekend highlight was ordering Christmas stockings on Saturday night! We realized we would need to get Marshall a stocking and decided to go for a family set. We ordered them here on Etsy, and I'll be sure to take a photo when we get them! (Spoiler alert: I did not get the fish one.) I'm so excited to start some new traditions with Marshall and combine some of our childhood traditions as well.

Sunday morning we had Jenn and Justin over for brunch (I made a frittata and roasted potatoes--super simple), 



and then we ventured out to West LA for dinner at a friend's house. She made this pie (as well as homemade pasta and pumpkin cupcakes), and I feel like I need to make it myself sometime soon. Quite the weekend!

Oh, here's another highlight: 

I love how Marshall's tiny hand is on Terry's shoulder.



My parents will be in town the rest of the week! I'm thrilled to get to see them and give them a little time with Marshall. 

Here's a quick little core workout for you if you have a stability ball:




5 Ball V-Passes (don't allow feet or ball to touch the ground!)

30 sec to 60 sec Plank (choose feet on ball or elbows on ball)

Repeat the whole thing four times, resting as needed. 

How was your weekend? 

Are you starting to get ready for the holidays? I've planned out the Thanksgiving menu and ordered our stockings and a few gifts, but Terry doesn't allow Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving. :-)

What's your favorite core exercise? I love a good ball crunch. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Catching Up on a Sick Week

Ahh, this week really took a turn. I'm still sick with some sort of a cold that has progressed through a sore throat, head/neck ache, congestion, and runny nose. Today I entered the sneezing stage, which is fun. Thankfully I never got a fever, but trying to care for an infant while also having to blow my nose (and then wash/sanitize my hands) every two minutes or so is proving rather challenging.

But at least I get to cuddle with this guy even more.



Comfort food helped out a little this week. On Tuesday we made this soup, which tastes exactly like potato cheese soup. Because that's what it is, essentially. Definitely a rich food, but I liked it. I would make it again on a cold winter night. Leftovers last night were great, and Terry took another serving to lunch today!


A little elf who sometimes goes by PopPop is making our Christmas dreams come true! My dad generously stopped by our storage unit up in Northern California to grab several boxes of our Christmas decorations so that we can decorate for Marshall's first Christmas. Thanks, Dad!

On Tuesday we met up with Terry for lunch and even snagged a family photo.

All in stripes! 

I'm making more of an effort to get photos of us as a group of three whenever we can. It's crazy how quickly Marshall is growing, and I feel like I could never have enough photos.

Scout is adjusting to Marshall in the high chair.

Today Marshall grabbed an orange slice out of my hand and starting sucking on it. So there's that little development. I just started reading this book to see if baby-led weaning is something we want to try with Marshall. Seems fun and easy and right up our alley.

Speaking of food, can you believe Thanksgiving is only two weeks away? Terry is super excited for this stuffing recipe, which I have to agree is pretty amazing. I am excited for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is celebrating Marshall's first holiday season!

Some other items of catch-up, since this week turned out to be something of a bust:

I'm really excited to attend a La Leche League meeting tomorrow! Our local MOMS Club invited all the infant moms to attend, so I'm going to check it out. Even though breastfeeding is going well, I'm excited to learn more about what to expect as Marshall starts solid foods and continues growing.

Tomorrow our power will be shut down for most of the day for some sort of maintenance. Luckily, Terry is off work tomorrow (woo hoo!), so we're going to spend most of the day out and about. After the LLL meeting we'll go out to lunch and then probably run some errands, all with the little guy in tow. I'm actually looking forward to a little family day.

It's National Adoption month, and I loved this post from Brittany about how adoption wasn't a fall back plan for her family. Also, these photos of families coming home together are truly beautiful.

Terry is starting to listen to Serial. I heard about it on A Cup of Jo, and it sounds fascinating, but I'm not sure a crime investigation is the best idea for my already-overactive mind.

I made these blondies yesterday, but I melted the butter instead of bringing it to room temperature, and it was magical.

Do you listen to any podcasts? It sounds like something cool people do, but I have never gotten into any. I love books on tape (CD), though!

Happy Friday to you! Hope it's a wonderful weekend.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mom Brain

I'm convinced that nothing else will make my heart feel the way it does when I see these two together. 


...But delicious food also makes my heart (and stomach and taste buds) feel good.
Yesterday's breakfast: zucchini-carrot muffins, raspberries and kiwi, and tea.


Terry is introducing our son to the Wonderful World of Beer. It's never too early.


Today I woke up pretty sick. When Marshall got hungry at 3 am, I asked Terry if he could work from home to help me out as needed. Luckily, the day was an easy one because Marshall was asleep for most of it. He slept on me for several hours, and I loved it. It also ensured that I stayed put on the couch, resting.

Midday, though, I knew an outing would do us both some good. We both get a little cabin fever if we stay inside the entire day, so we headed to Target with absolutely no goal or list.

Here's what I bought:

Two seasonal Larabar boxes (Target has the lowest prices on Larabars I've seen anywhere--$5 for a box of 5 bars): Snickerdoodle and Pumpkin Pie. Terry and I shared a Snickerdoodle bar and agreed it tastes good, but more like apple-oatmeal-raisin or something.

Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea from Celestial Seasonings, which I've heard others mention, but I'm new to the world of flavored teas (I also bought pumpkin-something the other day, and I love it). I thought the sugar cookie one would be way too sweet, but it actually tastes delightfully light!

The cream cheese was to make this recipe. I highly recommend that you do the same. (By the way, she says you should eat it with graham crackers and apples, but I have found that brownies also work.)


And now I shall tell you about mom brain. You might remember that I had pregnancy brain in a bad way. Apparently it continues after the kid arrives, too. Here are some examples:

When Marshall was five weeks old, my brother and sister-in-law visited for the weekend. At one point, we watched a documentary, Somm, together. The following week, I sent my brother a text suggesting "a great documentary" that he and Ashley might enjoy. He thought I was joking. I had just completely forgotten watching it with them.

I cannot think of words when I'm speaking. It almost always happens when I'm trying to ask Terry to bring me something or when I need to give instructions, like with cooking. The other day I wanted to communicate to Terry that he didn't need to grab pajamas for Marshall because I already had them. I was staring at the sleep sack while I spoke, and yet all that came out was, "You don't need to grab the...I already have the...um...it's blue...the fleece...blanket..." By the time I gave up on that poor excuse for a sentence, Terry had already figured out what I meant, gone into Marshall's room, grabbed the other items we did need, and walked into our room, laughing at me all the way.

There was this incident, when I teamed up with another mom for super mom brain.

Yesterday I thought I had my act together. I had a meal plan. I had a grocery list. I was ready to do some prep for the week. I got a few things organized and then realized I couldn't really prep anything else in advance or it would spoil before we got around to it. And then this morning I realized the soup I had planned for tonight required chicken broth. Which was, of course, completely frozen.

So all day I pondered what to make for dinner and finally came up with this easy dish:

- ground turkey (1 lb) plus two hot Italian sausages, browned
- butternut squash (half a Costco package) roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper
- two zucchini sauteed in butter and olive oil

It was so simple, but we both really loved it.


These two make mom brain completely worth it.



Off to bed to fight off this cold or whatever. Hope your week is off to a good start!

Any mom brain stories to share? 

What meal are you most excited about this week?