Weekday Ramblings

I don’t really have a set post to write about today but hate how silent this space has been lately. So I figure I’ll just start writing and go with whatever pours out.

I feel like I blinked and suddenly my children aren’t such babies anymore. Even my baby isn’t much of a baby anymore. He’s filling out, sprouting up and constantly on the move. He walks from place to place with ease (while holding on to something) and is starting to attempt standing unassisted. I’m not ready for him to grow up yet.

IMG_20150120_180921He’s now 22lbs 11oz and 30.7″ tall!

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I came across some old pictures of Jackson when he was Andrew’s age and it brought me to tears. Where did this baby go?!

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When did he get so big? Where did the time go? I’m constantly wishing I could push a pause button on life and enjoy this fleeting years forever.

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I’ve been feeling particularly ho hum about running lately. Well, about exercise in general. With snow and ice everywhere I’d rather sit inside curled up reading on my iPad then venturing to the gym or using naptime for runs. Today in particular the last thing I wanted to do was run. But the kids were starting to freak out from cabin fever and I desperately needed to get my lazy butt moving. Per my theoretical training plan I set out to do 4 super easy miles. I’m happy to report, I survived! 4 miles at an average 9:09 pace with a 1/4 mile warm up and cool down at 3.5mph (17:07 min/mi). I left feeling energized and both kids had a blast snacking and playing at daycare.

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This weekend we sleep trained Andrew. It only took us 9.5 months but we finally did it. I’ve been delaying because he’s a really good sleeper. He goes down about 6:30 every night and would sleep until 2am when I’d give him a bottle and he’d be out again until 4:30. Bry gets up early for work anyway so that worked for us. But after the pediatrician told us we really needed to get him sleeping through the night now or risk a major battle when he’s older trying to extend his sleep, we decided to just get it over with. We used the Ferber method like we did with Jack by just letting him cry it out. I’ll fully admit that within 2 minutes I was crying along with him begging Bryan to just give him a bottle because our poor baby was clearly starving to death. But he held strong, I cried into a pillow trying to erase the pit in my stomach and before I knew it, it was 6am and we’d all slept! The next night was about 3 minutes of fussing and since then he’s been sleeping until 6-6:30am without problem. He still fusses a bit, trying to get comfortable, around 3:30am and unfortunately I have mom ears and it wakes me up every time. The last two nights I haven’t been able to go back to sleep so coffee is my best friend this week.

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We also decided to finally convert Jackson’s crib to a toddler bed. Yes, at almost 2 and a half and the size of most 4-5 year olds, he was still in his crib. For the simple fact that we liked him caged. It put our minds at ease. But the conversion to a toddler bed has been remarkably unremarkable. He enjoys it and has been really good about staying in it. Well, sometimes. And other mornings I walk in to find every toy he can find in bed surrounding him and him lying underneath it all with this innocent expression asking “how’d this get here?”

We got some snow this week. Not like Boston but a good 3-4 inches and Jackson went bananas. He put his shoes on the wrong feet, opened the deadbolt to the front door and ran outside with nothing but his pajamas on. I finally wrangled him back in, with the promise of hot chocolate,  to get on real snow clothes so we could play. He couldn’t get enough.

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I’ve been fairly overwhelmed lately by being stuck in the house with two energetic kids who want to explore everything they shouldn’t explore and who manage to find trouble in the most mundane things. I’ve been counting down the minutes until bedtime and a socially acceptable hour to uncork the wine bottle. Between the lack of movement and the cabin fever, it’s been rough. But now that we’re finally venturing out some more I feel my sanity coming back and I’m able to be more present with the boys. And in those moments, I have so much fun. As overwhelming and exhausting as motherhood and life often are, I feel so lucky to be living this particular life. These kids, they make it wonderful ❤

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The Key to Fitness Success

When I had Jackson I quickly realized that when it came to fitness and maintaining some semblance of a routine, I had to be flexible. Long gone were the days I could lace up my shoes and hit the trails, rain, cold or sunshine. I could no longer decide on a whim to drive to a local yoga studio to clear my head. Runs required hours of prep from making bottles to refilling the diaper bag, arranging the runs around nap times and often poopy diapers, and then departing with the knowledge that my run might be cut short at any moment. Gym outings required similar preparation and classes were taken knowing at any moment the daycare lady might politely interrupt to inform me I had to collect my son. I had grand ideas about working out at home but those flew out the window once Jackson became mobile and my sun salutations suddenly involved a baby crawling between my arms and over my back. If I wanted to stay active, I had to be willing to go with the flow, even if it wasn’t exactly the flow I wanted to be riding.

When Andrew arrived I totally understood how easy it would be to throw in the towel and submit to motherhood, hang up my running shoes for good and accept defeat. Running required a double running stroller that weighed a whopping 20lbs before you put the actual children into it. Children who wouldn’t silently nap while the miles ticked by but would rather throw sippy cups and tennis shoes out the side of the stroller, usually perfectly timed when passing muddy puddles. Children who seemed to hide small weights and bricks under their tiny onesies. Children who took turns whining, crying and asking for the 8 millionth time “mama, what’s that?!” while you struggled to breathe pushing your 3 ring circus up a never ending hill.

Staying active, especially running, is part of who I am. It’s my stress reliever, my therapy, my escape from the endless demands, dirty diapers and piles of dishes. Running makes me feel alive and free, energized and reset to come home and take on the endless responsibilities that come with being a mom. Some days I crave a run but it’s raining and Bryan took the car and there’s no one to watch the kids. Sometimes my hips are tight and I’d love the feeling of a good deep stretch that only yoga can bring. Some days I need a good sweat that comes from a touch Bootcamp class. And often times there’s one or a million different reasons I can’t do what I’d like to do. And that’s when I learned the key for me is flexibility.

This week there were threats of ice and snow. Instead of risking danger by packing the kids in the car to drive to work, we stayed home. I found some free barre classes on YouTube and struggled through 30 long minutes while Jackson watched “Pommous” the train and Andrew used me as a handrail to help him stand. One day I needed to get in 3-4 miles at the gym to stay in line with training for the cherry blossom 10 miler but the internet was out at the gym and the thought of mentally struggling through a run with no distraction sounded like literal hell on earth so I took a 45 minute spin class instead.

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Which turned out to be an excellent decision as we were all rewarded with free wine.

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And some days are filled with endless tantrums and to do lists a mile long, that call for an extra large glass of wine at the end of the night. And those days, when no fitness takes place, are OK too. Embracing a rest day (or three) isn’t bad either!

Life is always going to fly by with days that are packed with too long to do lists and weekends that are a week too short, but if something is important to you, you’ll find time. There’s always going to be a reason not to, a reason you can’t. Instead, focus on the reason you should. Sometimes it’s as simple as you want to. And that, my friends, is reason enough.

Pescetarianism: 1 Month In

One of our resolutions this year was to attempt a new style of eating: cutting out the meat. There were several factors in our decision:

1. Jackson is at the age where he’s learning about everything around him, including animals. We have a membership to the National Zoo and often frequent the petting farm where we meet cows, pigs and chickens. As he gets older and more aware of his furry and feathered friends, it’s harder for me to separate those friends from the ones I serve on his dinner plate.

2. I have genetically high cholesterol. I work out regularly and eat fairly well but no matter what I do my LDL is continually high. I figured attempting to cut out the meat for awhile might help and at the very least, it can’t hurt.

3. I’ve read so many things about the meat industry. A lot of it is incredibly scary. I really haven’t done my research about it, and I’m certainly no expert nor do I have first hand experience in the field, but I do know there are enough questions raised surrounding it and surrounding what ends up in our country’s meat supply that I feel wary about feeding it to my body, much less my children’s.

4. Meat can be pricey. If cutting it from our diet helps save a few bucks without hurting us nutritionally (and maybe even boosting our nutrition), sign us up!

I want to start off by saying that I don’t think vegetarianism, pescetarianism, veganism, or carnivorous diets are better than one another. I think each person needs to find what works best for them and their family. For us, we like to try different things and this was a great excuse to see how a new way of eating worked for us.

My very Texan husband lovingly decided to join in so that we could eat the same meals and try it together. I love that man. At first I was nervous about meal planning and how we’d ever feel satisfied with just eating vegetables. I didn’t particularly like the idea of eating a ton of soy either. But the more time that went on (and thanks to some help from Blue Apron brainstorming 3 meals a week for us) we’ve found a good flow.

So what are we eating?

Breakfast:

This hasn’t really changed though Bry’s trying to consume less eggs in general. Where he used to eat 4 eggs and a couple slices of toast every morning he now mixes it up with yogurt parfaits and oatmeal. I’ve been on an oatmeal kick and sometimes I’ll have an omelet or cronuts 🙂 We’ll occasionally have field roast breakfast sausage as well, but we never really ate meat with breakfast before the change so that’s an addition in itself.

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Vegetarian omelet with homefries & toast


Lunch
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For lunches Bry finds it easiest to take sandwiches and granola bars as he’s often on the road or at a job site during lunch. Before the New Year he’d take lunch meat and cheese. Now he’s been mixing it up between cheese and Tofurky sandwiches and PB & J. He said he doesn’t mind it at all. I’ve been on a grilled cheese and soup kick. I love Trader Joe’s roasted red pepper and tomato soup and I take two sliced of their sprouted bread, spread it with all the Earth Balance that I can fit on each slice, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder, load up with mozzarella cheese and grill it on the foreman. It’s amazing. Sometimes I’ll have a PB&J or I’ll make my favorite kale salad. It depends on my mood.

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Dinner:

This is where we have had the biggest change. I used to meal plan around a meat, a vegetable, a carb. Now it’s a little different. We usually eat seafood twice a week either as coconut floured fish or fish tacos. Other nights we might have tempeh stirfry with soyaki marinated tempeh, mixed vegetables and quinoa or brown rice. Sometimes we’ll have paninis and soup, chili with cornbread, big winter salads, veggie burgers (Trader Joe’s cowboy burgers are incredible) or pasta dishes. I’m terrible at cooking with tofu so we have yet to use it since the New Year. If we eat out we gravitate towards sushi or vegetable filled pizza. After the first week it’s become fairly easy to meal plan and we haven’t really missed meat that much.

IMG_20141226_180828Winter Greens, Parsnip & Beet Salad (Blue Apron)

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Do we feel any different?

Physically I felt more tired at first so I began taking multivitamins again and started to feel like normal. I feel healthier most likely due to our increase in vegetable consumption (Bry agrees). Mentally I feel relieved to have a clear separation from what I’m serving for dinner and who we’re meeting at the zoo.

Are we saving money?

I’ll fully admit I thought we’d cut our grocery budget in half when we decided to do this. Meat is pricey after all! But I didn’t account for the increase in fresh fruits and vegetables we’d be consuming. Overall though, we’ve cut our weekly grocery costs by about $20-25 which I love.

What about the kids?

What about them? Every family is different and needs to find what works best for them. No one way is the right way. For us, we serve everyone the same thing, more or less. If we’re out though, Jackson can choose whatever he wants. Jackson usually eats smaller portions of whatever we’re having. Andrew is doing baby led weaning and eats almost everything as well: fish, avocado, butternut squash, peas, broccoli, tofu, you name it. He’s a bottomless pit. I don’t puree meat for him and I don’t serve it to him namely because of the fear of choking to death attempting to chew it but I will buy a pouch with meat in it for him if we’re out.

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Do we plan to stick with it?

We’re not sure yet. For the foreseeable future, yes. There’s no reason not to!

Almost a month in, this is where we’re at. If you have any questions or want any other information, let us know!

Disclaimer: I’m in no way affiliated with Blue Apron besides being a consumer for over a month now. We just really like the service and have enjoyed the food and push to mix it up in the kitchen. I’d say 80% of the meals have been delicious and 1 or 2 have been pretty bad. But for a service that is trying to accommodate a lot of tastes, that’s not terrible! If y’all would like to hear more about our experiences with the company, let me know and I’ll create a post. Maybe I’ll even throw in a free delivery 🙂

Lately: Running & Reading

Sorry about disappearing on ya. Between the holidays and our anniversary last week, we’ve been soaking up family time. I’ve fallen away from using electronics for anything other than reading or taking pictures and thus this space has been eerily silence. I’m working on remedying that and finding a happy medium. Let’s catch up!

I hit a wall with treadmill running and haven’t really been consistently at the gym in weeks. I used to be able to get through the miles by distracting myself with mindless TV Shows like “How to Get Away With Murder” and even by reading (which made me semi nauseous trying to concentrate on words while moving). But eventually I found myself cutting back on mileage and hating every step.

With the two weeks of holidays I had 3 days each week with an extra set of helping hands. I traded in naptime relaxation for outdoor runs and am LOVING them. Some of the runs have been in 22 degree weather and some in rain or snow, but I’ve found that I oddly love winter running. My favorite run was a 4miler in about 4″ of powder. It was awesome and doable thanks to Yaktrax. I don’t have the desire to claw my skin off I’m sweating so profusely, I’m not dripping wet in perspiration and the cold numbs me so my pace has been killer, even with easy runs. I pass the time listening to Serial podcast and come home feeling incredible.

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These are my go to winter running tights and I’ve worn this top from Fabletics every day since it arrived on our door step. It’s awesome! I’m also loving this fleece-lined pullover. I wear it daily. (For sizing I have the pullover and Eureka top in XS and they fit well without being skin tight. I have a size S for the tights–they have a drawstring to help hold them up if you’re in between sizes. I hope to have a new post up soon about my latest favorite running gear).

I’ve been consuming books lately. I’ve fallen in love with reading again and find myself obsessed with memoirs. The latest read was “A House in the Sky” which is easily one of the best, if not the best, book I’ve ever read. It’s Amanda Linhout’s account of her life and how she became a self made struggling journalist who finds herself kidnapped in Somalia and held hostage for 15 months. The majority of the book is about her time in captivity and the ordeals she had to endure. She’s an amazing woman and the book was absolutely enthralling.

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New Year’s Resolutions: 2015

Happy New Year! It’s that time of the year again where we all resolve to completely change our lives. Many people focus on their health and pack the gyms, some focus on work be it in an office or as a parent, others make it a goal to complete a certain task. I decided to resolve to do it all. Overachiever much? No. Just dillusional.

This year here are some of my resolutions, in no particular order.

1. Be a better mommy. I think I’m pretty good at this job of mine but there are always areas for improvement. I want to make it a point to have more adventures from play dates to museum explorations, play time at open gym and zoo discoveries. We’ve been doing a lot more of this since winter came since it’s the only way to escape cabin fever. And the kids have loved it! I have too though the days we venture out on such grand adventures usually end with my head in my dinner plate at 5pm from pure exhaustion. They usually require ruined naptimes that lead to overtired kids reaping complete distruction but in the midst of it all, there’s this light in their eyes of wonder and enjoyment that make it all worth while. And the memories? They’re priceless. I also want to be more present. Put away the phone and the constant urge to check it in between snapping photos and just enjoy the moment more.

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2. Read more. All that time I spend doing a million useless things during that rare downtime I want to spend reading instead. My reach goal is 52 books, one for every week. But realistically I’d like to read at least 24, two a month. I’m really into memoirs right now and absolutely obsessed with Oyster. I’m currently working on Waiting To Be Heard by Amanda Knox.

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3. Stay consistent with exercise. I nailed this last year and just want to continue on he activity streak. Having the Cherry blossom 10 miler on the schedule for April has definitely helped hold me accountable which has been great this winter. I started off the new year with a great 6 mile run while listening to serial, even though a nap on the couch sounded oh so tempting. I want to ideally run 3 times a week (or at the very least two runs and a spin class) and strength train twice a week. I also want to practice yoga more consistently.

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4. Probably the biggest resolution this year has been our decision to stop eating meat. We’re delving into pescetarianism. Something about teaching my kids about animals and thn serving them up on the dinner plate doesn’t sit well with me. I also have genetically high cholesterol and although my HDL is killer because I’m active, I’d like to see what cutting out meat does to my number. Honestly this break up won’t be that hard for me. My Texan husband is even on board. He loves a good challenge.

5. Date my children. I want to spend more one on one time with each kid. An hour once a week where the husband and I split up and each kid gets the solo attention they deserve. We’ve done this once so far and I absolutely loved ye ability to focus solely on Jackson, to go down the slide with him at the park and chase him without causing brain damage in a bouncing Andrew in the ergo. He thought it was the greatest thing on earth that mommy was on the jungle gym with him. And in the midst of toddler tantrums and his search for identity, this time of falling in love with him and seeing the tiny person he’s becoming is sorely needed. Ditto for Andrew who is growing up before my eyes and never had the chance to be the only child. I envision gymboree classes and ice skating lessons but most dates will probably be trips to the park or nature walks.

 

6. Date my husband! That handsome man who helped me create this wonderful life were living, I miss him. We have a solid marriage that took a long time to create and is always a work in progress. That’s what marriage is after all. This year we became stronger than I ever thought we could be and I fell for him in ways I didn’t know possible. The mix of overcoming tragedy together and welcoming our second son into the world created an even stronger and more unbreakable bond. It also reminded us how short life is and how you never know what’s around the corner, to appreciate and cherish the now. So more one on one time is in the cards including date nights to local restaurants, date runs or workouts, movie nights on the living room floor. Time to truly enjoy one another. 4 years later I still kinda like that man. I know, crazy right?! 😉

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So those are what I resolve to do this year. What are your resolutions?

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