Monday, April 13, 2015

Marshall's First Beach Experience

All morning, Marshall has been crawling up to walls, cabinets, and doors, sitting with his back to them, and lightly banging his head backwards. WHAT? I guess he likes the sound his head makes when it hits the wall? Why are kids so weird?

Our weekend was a mix of fun and work. I've had the spring cleaning bug for a few weeks now but haven't really been able to dive into the bulk of stuff I wanted to clean. Thankfully, Marshall got some extra attention from family on Friday and I had three or four hours to clean, sort, organize, and get rid of a whole lot of stuff. We took half a car of lovely but unnecessary items to GoodWill! YAY!

Terry had to go back to San Diego at 4:30 in the morning on Saturday (please pity my sweet, hard working husband!), so Marshall and I had a long day ahead of us. Even longer because the little dude had me awake with him from 2:30 to 4:15 Saturday morning--ouch. But we all pushed through the cloud of exhaustion to enjoy a decent day. Terry had some success at work and Marshall and I found enough activities to entertain us throughout the day.

Sunday was WAY more fun. We were up fairly early again, but it was to drop Terry off at a rec center to brush up on his scuba skills! For his birthday, Terry wanted to go diving, so he took some time yesterday to refresh his skills. He's a dive master, so he also helped out the scuba instructors with teaching some new divers. Meanwhile, since I don't dive, Marshall and I hit up Target (Honest Company released the CUTEST new diapers that made me a little excited that we haven't been cloth diapering!), dropped off a few more boxes at GoodWill, and napped/read while waiting for Terry.

Yesterday was also our friends' daughter's second birthday party! We spent some time before the party with Heidi, Ed, and their daughter Kayla (who is three weeks older than Marshall). It was SO fun to see Marshall play with his little friend! He gets to "interact" with other babies at MyGym, but it's more like they all just hang out in the same space while playing near each other. With Kayla Marshall actually paid attention to her and even gave her a kiss! Ha! Totally unsolicited, and we'll need to talk to him about consent, but it was cute. :-)

The party a little later was absolutely adorable. Katie and Corey know how to throw an amazing party, and this one was no different. The theme was bunnies, and Katie even brought in a little bunny petting zoo! Marshall got to pet a bunny or two (he was actually gentle!), and we had fun letting him roam around the backyard with the other kids. I think he was the youngest one there (aside from Tessa, Katie and Corey's two-month-old), so it was fun to see him watching the older kids. Mostly, I had a blast chatting with friends and relaxing on a Sunday, which I think is what Sundays are for.

Oh, and bonus: Marshall must have been perfectly tired because he slept 10 hours straight last night. Hallelujah!

Today was really nice. Marshall woke up at 5, but we made it work. We took a trip to Target (of course) and to the park for swings and a walk. Terry worked from home and wasn't feeling great, but he joined us for a short trip to the beach--Marshall's first time on the sand and in the water! It was freeeeeezing and windy, but he seemed completely content. He loved watching the waves and touching the sand with his hands. He's been to the beach dozens of times, but he's always just in the stroller--this time was way more fun for all of us!

I have been wanting to squeeze in more workouts during nap times, so today I did some burpees. Starting on the minute for ten minutes, I did 10 burpees, then 9, then 8, etc., all the way to 1. I was going to repeat it, but Marshall woke up (darn! hate when I can't do more burpees...), and it's probably for the best because my legs are already wobbly. Also, I did the first set of 10 burpees with push ups and then realized I was insane and stopped that nonsense.

Last night I made this Mexican Chicken soup, and we're having those leftovers again. Terry says he thinks it's his favorite soup I make! We top it with sour cream (well, Greek yogurt), avocado, and cheese, and it's perfect.

This week promises to be better than last (I hope), because my parents are visiting! Hooray! They arrive Wednesday, so Marshall and I will have some company for the latter half of the week. We don't have anything big planned, but hanging out with JanJan and PopPop is always an adventure!

Hope you're enjoying the start to your week!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

San Diego Phone Post

We're heading back home from San Diego today, and it looks like we have a nice weekend ahead. Terry might even get some solid time off!

First let's back up a little. On Tuesday we had our normal busy day--My Gym, lunch with daddy (well, daddy came to the park with us while on a conference call, but at least we got to see him!), and then a dentist appointment. Everything went well there, thankfully, and Marshall even showed our dentist his six(!) teeth. They're coming in fast!

My workouts this week have been more consistent, but I'm eager to ramp up the intensity. Now that I'm more than ten months postpartum, I feel really ready to add back some HIIT workouts and to increase my strength training. So on Tuesday after M went to sleep and before Terry and I sat down to dinner, I threw together a 20-minute full body strength workout. I often feel like I should wait for the "right" time to bust out a really great workout, but that usually translates to never finding a good time and then just not working out at all. I tell myself I'll do some planks and push ups later, and then I sit on the couch and realize it's 9:30 and I never do anything. It's a terrible habit...I need to just do what I can do when I can do it, even if it means 10- or 20-minute spurts.

So anyway after that quick workout (Terry did 5 push ups every minute for 20 minutes --> 100 push ups), we sat down to leftovers. On Monday I had baked 10 chicken legs (salt, pepper, garlic powder) on top of a chopped onion. I browned the chicken at 450 for 10 mins (but should have gone 15), and then covered with foil to cook at 350 for 30 minutes more. Honestly, it was too onion-y. The chicken was moist but the flavors sucked. Gotta work on that one.

The green beans and cornbread, though--YUM!!! 100 Days of Real Food cornbread. Can't go wrong. Green beans: olive oil and butter on the stove, med-high heat, saute with salt and pepper for about 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add some pine nuts at the end for about three minutes. Devour. Soooooo tasty!

Yesterday we came to San Diego for work for Terry, and Marshall and I did our usual thing, walking, picnicking at the park, hanging at the hotel. Terry joined us at the park after work for some play in the grass and then dinner nearby. Marshall did great until the very end, and he even enjoyed some super spicy taco soup! We also sat next to some San Diego Chargers, just two dads out to dinner with their daughters. How cute is that?

Today is a gorgeous day down here. We all grabbed breakfast at Panera (less than awesome, but whatever), then Terry worked for a few hours before getting word that he could go home early! Yay! So back to LA we go. Marshall and I spent the morning enjoying a walk and more play time at the hotel before checking out and picking up Dad. Lunch plans include Pizza Port on the way back! Yummm...

As for our weekend plans, I have high hopes to do some spring cleaning and make a trip or two to GoodWill. I know I could probably sell stuff, but a) I'm lazy and would never actually do it, and b) I hope that by giving it away I might do some good for someone who needs it more than I do. Bonus: I always feel a huge relief when I get rid of stuff we don't need! Even really nice things...if we don't use it, it makes me anxious and annoyed. I'm already eyeing some of Marshall's stuff that we know we won't use for a second baby. Another bonus: if we move anytime soon, less stuff to clear out/pack/pay people to move!

Other plans: Reading (I'm really enjoying The Cuckoo's Calling), plus Terry is getting back in the pool to brush up on his scuba skills so he can go diving next weekend, and we're celebrating our dear friends' little girl's second birthday! Guess I should take some notes for Marshall's big day...only a little over a month away!!!! How?!?!?!

Okay I'm blogging from my phone so I apologize for the format here, but you get the idea. Enjoy your Thursday!!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

San Diego Weekend In Reverse

I just uploaded all these photos from my phone and this order is how I found them on the computer. So we shall relive our little family vacation in reverse order. How fun!

I thought going out to breakfast on Easter Sunday would be a complete disaster, but actually most restaurants weren't busy at all--because we arrived around 8 am. So we enjoyed a nice meal (Marshall slept through it and gave me my arm workout for the day) and then walked back to our hotel to pack up and hit the road. Before we left, though, we all threw on our swimsuits and dunked Marshall in the hotel pool! It was so fun to test out his swim lesson skills (back floats while we hold him, being dipped under water, and jumping off the edge of the pool from a sitting position) in the middle of a crowded pool. I thought he might be too distracted by all the kids, noise, and splashing, but he did great and held his breath at all the right times!

Earlier in the morning, Terry offered to hang with Marshall while I went out for a run (Terry's ankle still isn't 100%). I cannot tell you how fantastic it felt to throw on some Pandora (I never wear headphones when I walk with Marshall because I chat with him while we walk), zone out, and enjoy the early morning air. I know I can run with the stroller, but it is much, much harder, so it's nice to get out by myself now and then. As I finished my run, I saw my two favorite guys coming out to meet me, and we continued our walk up a ton of stairs at the Conference Center. 

(Terry had Marshall on his shoulders, and I could see Marshall looking all around for me as Terry asked, "Where's Mommy?" I sprinted to get to them!) 

More walking around (it was super early, since Marshall woke us at 5:45, so we made the most of our time without the crowds).
Yes, that's a Superman cape!

Before the run, we found out the Easter bunny had stopped at our hotel! 

Our experience with Marshall at restaurants has been quite hit-or-miss, especially since he started eating solids. He loves to eat and wants to eat continuously from the moment he sits down until he is satisfied, so if we don't offer food right away or don't offer food quickly enough after he's finished what's in front of him, he becomes a whiny, loud little boy. Add to that a little bit of tiredness and we've got a cranky mess. Our poor fellow restaurant patrons. 

Saturday night did not go well. We went to Cafe 21 for dinner, and service was a little on the slow side (we wouldn't have noticed if we didn't have an unhappy baby on our hands). Despite our bringing food for Marshall, he was tired and grumpy, so we raced through our meals, chugged our drinks, and took turns holding him. Terry's expression sums up the evening perfectly.

Thankfully, the earlier parts of the day were much more successful. Marshall loved looking out the hotel window, and he even learned how to point this weekend!

And I was mostly interested in a long walk on Saturday, so that's what we did. We stayed at the Hilton Bayfront, so we walked through the Gaslamp District, along the bay, out to a few piers, and back through downtown. Including our later walk to dinner, we totaled more than 20,000 steps! 

Before arriving downtown, we stopped for lunch at Legacy, a small brewing company and restaurant. The food was delicious (Terry had a short rib sandwich; I had a lamb burger with brie), and the beers were excellent, too. Then we headed to Green Flash Brewing Company for a few tasters. I loved their Other World Irish Red! Oh, and at least three people stopped Terry to ask him about the Ergo. Strangely, they all had kids but had never seen a side-carry carrier before. Marshall was a total celebrity in that thing. Also, he likes looking at fans, and the brewery had the World's Most Gigantic Fan (I think the blades must have been 6 or 7 feet each), so he was in heaven.

Our Easter yesterday was really nice, even with the traffic battle to get from San Diego to Orange County and then home. Marshall seemed to enjoy his first Easter weekend, and we look forward to many more! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

And Then it Was Friday

And what a beautiful day it is! We let the baby wake us up early today (I say "let" because he usually wakes us up between 5 and 6 now and we almost always try to pretend he'll go back to sleep, which never happens, but today we agreed to get up and out when he woke up), around 6 am. I fed him, we ate a quick snack and made tea to go, and then headed out to the park. We walked two miles, chatted, watched the people and squirrels and birds and dogs, and headed back home. It was the perfect way to start the weekend--fresh air, exercise, time together as a family. 

I told Terry we need to make an effort to get ourselves out like that more often, because it just hasn't been happening in the evenings. We're all exhausted at the end of the day (more like by 3 pm for me), and since Marshall is ready to start the day super early, maybe we should just roll with it until he's past this phase (I hope?) of waking with the sun. Terry's work has been absolutely insane, too (how many times have I said that in the last several months?), so he works longer hours and often has to drive to San Diego and therefore almost never gets a chance to exercise. When he signed up for a football team with his coworkers, I was all excited about it because it would give him at least one day a week of exercise. Then he hurt his ankle. TPoor guy.

So anyway, we agreed to try to get up and out more often for family walks at the very least, and to complete more quick at-home workouts. Last night I did an "every-minute-on-the-minute" workout--5 push ups plus a 10-second plank every minute for 20 minutes. 100 push ups total, not too strenuous or sweaty, and perfect for a post-dinner workout, since the only chance I found was after Marshall was asleep. Little workouts like that do their job of keeping me strong without requiring a gym or tons of space or lots of time--none of which I have at the moment.

Meanwhile, we've been doing well with lots of home-cooked meals lately:

Frittata loaded with spinach, mushrooms, chicken sausage, cheese, onion, and green bell pepper, plus roasted potatoes

Pumpkin muffins (I made a double batch last week and froze half, so they lasted a while)--made with maple syrup instead of honey

Marshall has been especially helpful on grocery trips lately.

Actually, funny story: The other day we went to HomeGoods, and Marshall likes to reach his hands out toward the merchandise, but of course I make sure to keep the cart in open areas so he can't actually touch stuff (except clothes and rugs, because those are just fun!). Well some well-meaning man walks by and says, "You need to keep him farther away from stuff! He'll grab things off shelves!" AS HIS WIFE WALKS INTO A DISPLAY AND KNOCKS DOWN AN EASTER BUNNY STATUE. Justice.

I just smiled and thanked him for his advice (as I thought, "Um, maybe you need to keep your wife farther away from stuff...").

Tomorrow our little family is taking a short trip down to San Diego. We're just spending one night, but I've noticed more and more that restaurants with a baby are more successful and calm if I bring food for Marshall instead of waiting for our food to arrive and then scrambling to give him bite-sized pieces of our meals. So I am packing the following:

  • frozen peas (they'll thaw quickly, but I've learned there's no need to boil them ahead--Marshall gobbles them up either way!)
  • a pumpkin muffin
  • sliced olives (straight out of the can, but rinsed off)
  • these quesadillas below:

I tried Ezekiel quesadillas this time around; they are made with all sorts of natural ingredients that result in a complete protein (and no honey, which is hard to find). So I layered cheese and cooked spinach and then cut them into rectangles, and now Marshall is able to bite off pieces of foods like this instead of needing them cut into tiny pieces for him. I'll grab two of these for a meal along with some other fruits or vegetables, and he's a happy camper!

Other than that, we'll grab fruits and vegetables there and of course share from our plates. And now Marshall loves to drink out of a straw, so we give him sips of water at the table to make his day.

So our weekend will be a delightful little trip to San Diego, along with celebrating Easter on our way back. I hope your weekend is filled with relaxing, friends, family, and fun! Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dream Home...Or Good Enough

The other day, driving down to San Diego, Terry and I started reminiscing about our old apartments. Since moving in together in 2008, we have lived in four different apartments!

Our first place was fancy and expensive, a one bedroom place in Brentwood. Our favorite memories there: letting our laundry pile up because we had no system for organizing it, so the process of sorting it took so long that we put off the chore as long as possible. (Now we have a four-bag laundry-sorting rack that sorts whites, colors (x2), and towels/linens, so we just grab a bag and head to the laundry room. Marshall has his own hamper and laundry bag.) We also had this little couch that could fold out into a makeshift bed, and we would have little living room sleepovers (I think because we didn't have a TV in our bedroom?). This apartment was where we started taking long walks together regularly, and it's (the neighborhood) where Terry proposed to me!

Photo credit: Heidi and Edward!

Next we moved to Mar Vista, and we shared an apartment with Jenn for a year! It was so fun to live with Jenn, and we all got to save money for a bit. That place was huge, a good location (we could walk to The Counter!), and...infested with cockroaches. Get me OUT. Still, some fond memories, like my bunion surgery (well, the recovery from it, which involved learning how to go up and down stairs on crutches), tons of fun with Jenn and Justin, and the start of our journey with running (I remember when jogging half a mile to the park felt like death). It's also where we welcomed Scout to our family!

In 2011, right before our wedding, we moved up a few miles to our favorite home so far, the first place that really felt like home. 650 square feet, one bedroom, newly renovated, and a little patio. Terry carried me over the threshold after our wedding. It's the place from which we departed for and to which we returned after all three of our trips to Europe. It's where I truly learned to cook and improved my health drastically. We loved that neighborhood--walking everywhere, visiting UCLA often, trying tons of restaurants, training for our half marathon together. Oh, and TMI--let's just say Marshall wouldn't be here without that place! ;-) We would have stayed there many more years, I'll bet, if we had just a little more space for our growing family.

Alas, we had to find a bigger space, and we moved to our current condo, way down near Rancho Palos Verdes and Torrance in the South Bay. We certainly have space, and of course we've made tons of new memories, almost all of them involving welcoming our sweet baby boy to our family. My favorite memories here have been bringing Marshall home, spending those first four weeks trying to figure out how to be a family of three, and watching all of Marshall's big milestones--first smiles, first crawling steps, first meals. Here is also where I have learned that "home" is not about the dwelling but about the people in it. (Duh, everyone says that, but I hadn't yet experienced it.) I don't love this place, but I love the people (and cat!) who live here with me.

After all that reminiscing, we thought about where we might live next. Here are my must-haves:

  • Washer and dryer in-unit
Here are some other dream attributes (keeping in mind these are for our next home, not our eventual dream home, which is obviously a cute little house near great schools with a huge yard and a big dog):
  • two bedrooms, two bathrooms (sure, we'd love more, but we have to be realistic here)
  • two parking spaces
  • enough space to fit our couch (we have a large sectional and looooove how comfy it is!), but we'd be willing to downsize if necessary, because it's pretty silly to turn down an otherwise-awesome apartment for a couch...right?
  • super safe location--I'm paranoid and Terry travels for work frequently, plus I have to get approval from my retired cop of a father
  • great neighborhood for walking--exercise paths, nearby restaurants, local parks
  • family-friendly (not too loud at night, other young families nearby, no smoking in the building)
  • pet-friendly (do you realize some places charge up to $100 per month for "pet rent"? WTF?!)
  • some sort of outdoor space so we can keep our grill
  • storage space, because at some point I went overboard buying too many Christmas decorations
  • well-maintained and/or renovated
  • no cockroaches
I suppose that list could go on and on, but those qualities would be wonderful. Most importantly, it occurs to me that our next place will likely be where we welcome Marshall's future little sibling, so we just hope it will be a perfect potential home to become a family of four (plus Scout). 

Okay, what are your worst and best past living experiences?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spontaneous SD Weekend & Plans for the Week

Hello friends! Hope your week is off to a great start. Can you believe it's almost April? Terry's birthday month! Hooray!

Around here, let's back up a bit, because I get to decide what we discuss here. Friday was a pretty rough day. I desperately wanted to go for a run, but when we got to the park Terry found a screw in one of our tires. Thankfully, despite a fairly long wait, we got the tire repaired (instead of having to replace the whole thing), and they didn't even charge us! WHAT?! I thought it was a joke. We also used the long wait to walk a bit to lunch, so I did get my exercise after all.

Terry had to work down in San Diego (both days, as it turned out), so we made a family trip of it and all drove down Friday night. I feel like there's never a good time to throw a baby in a car for two hours, but we try to start road trips when Marshall is ready for a nap or for bedtime. In this case, we went to his usual swim lesson, ate dinner and packed at home, and then hit the road after Marshall's bath, right around bedtime. Of course, we had to wake him and put him back to sleep when we arrived, but then he slept through from there, so we all got some rest.

Terry's call time was six a.m. both days, but Marshall has been waking up around 5 or 5:30 lately anyway, so it worked out that he was our alarm clock. We dropped Terry off at work on Saturday and then headed out to enjoy our day. I planned to let Marshall nap in his stroller during a walk, but I learned an important life lesson: When your kid doesn't fall asleep for the first 45 minutes of the walk (at which point you stop into Jimbo's for a juice and a Lara bar for sustenance), then you have to keep walking once the little dude is actually asleep, which leads to a 6-mile walk and 12,000 steps before nine a.m.! Luckily San Diego is perfectly gorgeous, even in (especially in?) the suburbs of North County, so I enjoyed lovely views during my walk.


We popped into a few stores later in the day, grabbed a late lunch, and met Daddy at the park after work.

The next day was more of the same, but less walking and an earlier end time for Terry, so we headed back home. We kept last night super mellow--roasted sweet potatoes, leftover crock pot chicken, black beans, shredded cheese, and some salsa verde. And then some roasted Brussels sprouts. Why not?

Today by the end of the day, we all needed some fresh air, so we hit up the local park. Terry took some photos of our little dude. I can't believe how much he's grown since our first times going to that same park!

He did this after watching a bird, so we assume he's brilliant and knows how to flap his arms.

Look at that tiny bug in there! You can barely see his teeny head!

Alright, folks, tomorrow is Tuesday. Here's our plan for the week, food and fitness-wise.

Breakfast: Sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts (leftovers) with an egg on top, plus a pumpkin muffin
Lunch: Out
Dinner: tomato bisque with salad and bread

Fitness: Light walk at the park

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftover chicken and sweet potatoes for Terry, leftover soup for me
Dinner: Mac and cheese and broccoli and peas

Fitness: Yoga!

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with toast and fruit
Lunch: Out (Mom & Marshall), Leftovers for Terry
Dinner: Veggie quesadillas

Fitness: Long walk, maybe jog a little?

Breakfast: Overnight oats
Lunch: Sandwiches, fruit
Dinner: Breakfast for dinner! Frittata? Waffles? Who knows?

Fitness: Full body strength workout

Breakfast: Leftovers from Thursday night
Lunch: Who knows?
Dinner: Eggplant parm

Fitness: Jog at the beach

Hope you have a wonderful start to the week!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ready for the Weekend

Poor Terry. Yesterday was a rough one. He sprained or strained his ankle on Monday evening, so he decided to stay home yesterday to be able to ice it and avoid walking too much at the office. Unfortunately, his work laptop went on the fritz, so he had to go into work anyway--except he drove in way later than usual and hit tons of traffic.

Sometimes, though, the universe is looking out for me. When Terry decided to stay home yesterday morning, I grabbed two loads of laundry and ran downstairs to get them started. All four washers were busy (at 7:45 in the morning?!). Good thing, though, because Terry left soon after and I would have been in a real pickle trying to run up and down three flights of stairs to do laundry with a ten-month-old! Thanks, Universe.

Backing up a bit, we met Daddy for lunch this week!

After lunch, Marshall and I stopped at the park for some swings, a walk, and to look at the ducks. These guys were fearless; they waddled right up to us! I assume they're used to getting food.

On his way home from work, my brother called while I was making dinner. He didn't agree that my meal qualified as a burger salad, but I don't know what else you'd call it. Lettuce, burger patty, avocado, cheese (added after the photo), and dressing. The dressing was from the restaurant where we went to lunch that day, a cilantro-lime something that I am pretty sure I need more of now.

The rest of this week seemed to move rather slowly, but at the same time it's a bit of a blur. I know there was a lot of hanging out with my little sidekick.

Don't try to tell him how to use a walker. He knows exactly what he's doing.

This photo requested by my dad, who wanted to see Marshall's new car seat.

This photo was not commissioned, but I think it could be worth something one day.

Today we went to the library! I borrowed two books a few weeks ago, enjoyed one (Goodnight June by Sarah Jio) and really couldn't get into the other (Le Divorce by Diane Johnson), even after ten chapters. So I returned both today and borrowed J.K. Rowling's The Cuckoo's Calling (written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith). I don't normally read crime novels, but I think Rowling is a fantastic writer, so I'm eager to see how this one goes. Terry is reading A Casual Vacancy by Rowling. 

The library has a little pay area for "young readers"--Marshall was more interested in the fun toys than the books!

In other adventures...

I found Trumer Pils at Costco! I was thrilled, and Scout felt pretty happy about it, too.

It's a million degrees here (well, high 80s), and Scout is miserable. He's not even running away (as fast) when Marshall crawls over to terrorize pet him. We will all be close behind him. Time to haul out the portable air conditioner again...

Tomorrow evening, after a swim lesson for a certain little boy and a basketball game for the Bruins, we're heading down to San Diego for a quick trip. Terry has to work early Saturday morning down there, so we figured we'd make it a little family trip.