Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Case of the Mondays

Monday is one of my two full days home with the kiddo (Thursday is a half day) and how we spend the day all depends on how much work I need to do, what chores around the house need to be done, and what errands in general I need to run.  Not to mention what kind of mood Reese is in when she wakes up :)  Luckily I didn't have too much of the non-fun stuff to do this past Monday so the day was jam packed (well, as jam packed as you can get with a 12 month old) with fun.  After she woke up from her morning nap we went to story time at a local book store around the corner.  We regularly hit up the library for the baby class on Wednesdays but I had high hopes we could add this to our rotation of Monday activities.  We got there about 10 minutes before story time started and it was PACKED!  R was definitely one of the younger kids there but she had a great time.

After story time ended we played there for a bit and headed home for lunch and nap time.  After she woke up we made our way downtown to play at Washington Park in the beloved fountains.  I had hoped that with schools starting this week that we'd have the place to ourselves but I was wrong...there were kids everywhere.  We had a great time despite me being a Debbie Downer cutting in on the fun to re-apply sunblock a thousand times (it was HOT).

I am no fan of summer but our first real summer together will forever be my most favorite.  I'll always cherish this time with my little buddy.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Hey, hey, hey...Annabel & Co. is on Bloglovin!  Head on over to follow so you won't miss a post....because my posts are awesome, no?  Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Whole 30: Almost Halfway Update!

This Saturday will mark two weeks since I started the Whole 30.  I wasn't too sure I would make it this far to be quiet honest.  I truly cannot believe I haven't cheated...not even a little bit.  Not even a sip of diet coke!  I feel like if I'm really going to commit to this, what's the point of having a little cheat here or there?  If I'm taking the time to buy, cook and prep all of these meals I owe it to myself to stick to the plan.
The first 3-5 days were not fun.  I missed ice coffee filled with creamer and sweetner in the morning.  I missed snacking on a few tortilla chips during the afternoon.  But I realized those habits weren't doing good things for me so it was getting easier to detach myself from them emotionally.  The sugar and caffeine withdrawals were rough.  Luckily on the fourth day of this challenge I had a minor surgery so I was able to get over the hump of the withdrawals with the help of good ole' anesthesia :)  By the end of the first week I was so tired and wondered when all of this energy I keep hearing about was going to hit me.

I know myself well enough to know that if I'm going to be successful, food needs to packaged, ready to go in my fridge.  I need to have a plan for the week and stick to it as best as possible.  In order for this to happen I have been spending a few hours on Sunday making my breakfasts and lunches for the whole week. I portion out each meal into Tupperware containers so when I'm hurriedly packing my bag for work with a toddler attached to my leg, all I have to do is throw it in and I'm good to go.  I really don't think anyone can be successful without planning and prep ahead of time.  After all, cooking and eating REAL food takes time!

Some friends and family have asked what I've been eating and for me, the key is to keep it simple and repeat meals.  On Sunday I make a large batch of roasted sweet potatoes and an egg "casserole" for my daily breakfast.    I cut three sweet potatoes into small pieces, coat lightly in coconut oil and sprinkle with cinnamon.  The egg casserole consists of 10-12 eggs, chorizo, and sauteed bell peppers, onions and mushrooms.  You could make this egg dish a million different ways to your liking.  I've made it this way the last two weeks so I'll change it up for the last two weeks.  For lunches I have been eating "taco bowls" as I like to call them.  During my prep time on Sunday I cook about 3 pounds of ground turkey and coat with my homemade taco seasoning (the delicious store stuff is full of chemicals...a no no).  I portion the turkey out for several lunches and then add some salsa and home-made guacamole when it's time for lunch.  I use the remaining turkey for our family dinner on Taco Tuesday.  Easy.  Dinners have been fairly easy, typically consisting of a meat or fish, vegetable and sweet potato.  I've found myself snacking MUCH less frequently but when I do I stick to fruit, cashews/cashew butter, or the occasional Lara bar if I'm on the go.  

Overall, I've got nothing but major snaps for Whole 30.  I'm not weighing myself (per the rules), but I am charting my measurements at the end of each week and was very encouraged by my first week progress.

Here's to the next two weeks!

p.s.  miss you diet coke...hope you're doing well :(

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Low Down on Whole 30.

Last weekend, on Saturday August 9th, I embarked on a 30 day commitment to eat whole foods.  Looking back, it was a less than ideal weekend to start, but my mind was made up and I wasn't about to waste any more time.  You've likely heard of the Whole30 program, which is essentially the Paleo diet but with only a 30 day commitment.  Something about only committing to 30 days made this feel much less overwhelming for me.  I can do anything for 30 days, right?  You can read all about the program on the website above but the skinny (har-har) on it is committing to cut out diary, grains, legumes, sugar (fake and real), alcohol, and anything else that isn't a meat, vegetable, fruit, or nut.  No cheating.  No slips.  Just suck it up and do it.  So what the hell do you eat, you might ask? Turns out, lots of things. I decided to do this for variety of reasons but I can narrow it down to three core reasons. 

1.  I don't like my jean size.  I'm not sure (well I know the basics) how it got to this point but regardless, what I'm doing isn't working so I need to do something different.  The things I did to maintain and/or lose weight at 25 are somehow not working now.  But even if they were, they were not healthy nor sustainable.  This is not only about weight and vanity, but health. I'm closer to 40 than I am to 25 (holy shit), women my age get cancer all the time...I am some one's mother for goodness sake. 

2. I generally feel like crap most of the time.  My stomach seems to hurt more often than not and I have no idea why.  I'm always tired and need at least two (big) coffees to get me through the day.  At first I chalked this up to the whole "busy working mom" excuse, but I believe it's more than that.  And it's not okay....and it kind of sucks.

3. I have a little person who looks to me for cues on how to do everything and setting a good example is of the utmost importance to me.  It's on me to lead the way for her so I'm taking responsibility for that now.  Lord knows I have enough body image issues from when I was younger and the buck stops here when it comes to passing that along to my kidlet.

I have toyed with embarking on this lifestyle change for quite a while now.  I made some changes along these lines when trying to conceive, but once I was pregnant I was all kinds of pukey and lived on saltines and bagels for a good 12 weeks.  Not exactly Whole 30 approved, but I did the best I could.  I gained 26 pounds through my pregnancy (which I'm sure would have been a little more had R not been born 5 weeks early) and was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within 3 months.  But that was the problem.  Once R was born I had grand visions of sailing through my 6 week post-partum checkup, high fiving the doc when I got cleared to work out, and getting back on track with my trusty Jillian Michaels DVD's...with a snoozing R by my side of course.  JESUS...I want to go back in time and slap myself.  At 8 weeks post-partum I was having emergency surgery due to complications at childbirth, from which I had been hemorrhaging since.  FUN.  Once I recovered from that little jaunt to the OR I was nearly 10 weeks post-partum and honestly felt like I barely had my head above water.  I went back to work shortly thereafter and couple that with a baby that was up all night and pumping exclusively, I was lucky that I kept either of us alive.  Weight loss was not on my agenda, but being a good mom was, so that won. 

Fast forward to now.  I'm in a groove with the whole work/life/baby balance thing and I am ready to put myself first.  As moms we will always put our child's, and usually our spouse's,  needs and well-being before our own and I often find my needs are last on my list.  As the caretaker in our family, I should be putting myself up at the top of that list.  The ole' oxygen mask on a plane rule, ya know?

So here I am, winding down day 6 of the 30.  It has been challenging at times, but with appropriate planning it has been much easier than I predicted.  I'm finally through the first few days of feeling terrible and I'm feeling pretttty great.  I've stuck to the same few meals to get me through the first week and I've had everything on hand and prepared, so eating has required little to no thought.  I've found that eating on the go and out of convenience have gotten me in trouble, so having pre-made food in the fridge has been the key for me.  In all honesty I would probably kill something or someone for a large iced coffee or fountain diet coke.   I'm also surprised that I have not been particularly tempted to sneak a goldfish in my mouth when I'm giving Reese a snack or take a bite of her string cheese as she lovingly tries to "share" by shoving it in my mouth.  It's a whole new experience to forbid yourself from eating certain foods when they are sitting in plain sight in your fridge and cabinets.  But, that's real life.  Maybe this all because my head is in the game for the first time in a long time, but I'm feeling confident about this lifestyle change. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

12 Months: The Rundown

Before Reese goes and turns 13 months on me {sob} I want to have all of her 12 months stats documented for posterity.  That, and I have yet to purchase a baby book for my ONE year old.  So this will have to do until I find one that I deem non-cheesy enough for purchase that is not $150 on Etsy.

As of R's one year well check her stats are:

Weight: 19 lbs   (39th percentile)
Height: 29 ins.  (42nd percentile)
Teeth: 8

Sleeping: 11-12 hours at night, 2-3 hours during the day

Eating: A little bit of everything!  Three meals a day with snacks in between.  Loves all kinds of fruit.

Drinking: Cow's milk and water

Playing: Loves books, music, dancing, clapping, playing "chase", swinging at the park, and anything with water.

Likes: 'On the Night You were Born', 'Dog ABC's' book,  her lovies, Lily, dogs, Mickey Mouse, owl straw cup, story time at the library, swimming, and going on walks.

Dislikes: Car seat, diaper changes, and mom leaving for work.  No bueno.

Says: Up, Mama, Dada...and a whole bunch of other adorable gibberish.

Milestones:  Doing everything close to walking but not yet able to walk unassisted.  R can climb stairs, cruise along furniture, and walk holding your hand.  Take your time munchkin.

One year well check, with snacks of course.

Standing on her own.

Playing her drums...thanks Uncle Adam.

The wild woman dance.

Giving Minnie some lovin' at the store.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Washington Park: Cincinnati, Ohio

If you would have told me five years ago that I would be taking my baby, by myself, to Washington Park to play I would have promptly responded that you were smoking crack (which you likely picked up at Washington Park).  Fast forward a few years and thanks to an amazing renovation, Washington Park  is flourishing amid what seems to be a renaissance in central Cincinnati.  Since 2008 several phases of development in Over-The-Rhine have taken place, making it one happenin' spot in 2014.  Now don't get too disillusioned, there are a several very nice and highly developed blocks bursting with restaurants, bars, and condos....all of which are surrounded by an area filled with crippling poverty and violence.  So, ya know, be careful where you park and such.  BUT, where it's nice, it's really nice!  Anywhoo.

Last week, on one of my days off, I felt the itch to get out and do something different with Reese.  Our pool doesn't open until 2:30, which tends to fly a little too close to the "in-between-naps meltdown" sun.  I packed a lunch, towels, all the necessary "water sport" items we require and after her morning nap we headed downtown.

One of the HUGE benefits of not yet moving to 'burbs is that we are centrally located to pretty much everything in Cincinnati.  We may pay a stupid amount of taxes for schools we'll never use and plummet in to potholes every 5 feet...but damn if we aren't in a great location.   I figured what the hell...if it was a bust we were only giving up about 30 minutes of our day.   Well.....we had a blast. 

Reese is still quite little so I was a little worried that she would be terrified or completely uninterested, but I couldn't have been more wrong.  Being the water bug that she is, she was lovvvvving it (mental pat on the back, mama).  She braved the big kids and made her way right into the middle of the foutains.  My kid is awesome.

We had so much fun we came back over the weekend with Tom.  After the usual and very sad carseat-screaming-drama and unexpected parking snafu's we had a blast, yet again.

It should be noted that Washington Park has tons of events going on all the time so check the website for details.  I know there is a huge city flea market, fitness and yoga classes on the grass and even concerts and parties.  If you're in the area check it out!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Six Months Since "See Ya Later"

Six months ago we said "see ya later" to our beloved English Bulldog, Gouda.  If you're not a dog/pet person this post will probably mean nothing to you, so feel free to skip it. Last summer, as I was excitedly starting my third trimester, a routine 3 year checkup for Gouda turned into a "I think we're looking at Lymphoma" conversation.  A few tortuous days and several tests later confirmed our sweet boy was sick.  We took it hard.  Very very very hard.  And being 28 weeks pregnant and having already unpredictable hormonal mood swings made it nearly unbearable.  We were lucky to have a fantastic veterinary oncologist 20 minutes away and we started chemo right away.  While I was left to prepare for baby, Tom took on the responsibility of most of Gouda's treatment.  Since I was pregnant I wasn't even allowed to touch his medications, so this fell to Tom.  I think we both felt pretty cheated at this point.  After going through so much to have a baby, I felt I "deserved" to be able to relax and enjoy the end of my pregnancy.  But all of that was clouded with knowing that we were going to have to say goodbye to our freshly turned THREE year old dog far too soon.  It all just sucked a big huge fat one.  Sorry, I have no other eloquent way to say it.

I could post a thousand pictures here that I love for different reasons, but I'll hold myself back...

One thing that was very important to us was that Gouda and Reese would be able to meet.  We were lucky in that he had six good months with her and we have hundreds of pictures captured.  I'm still not sure what he thought of her and all of her little baby sounds.  I know for certain that was extremely protective of her and would never leave her unattended when someone came over to visit.  I'll never forget the horrified look he would give me every time I pulled out the breast pump, completely embarrassed to see his mom like that.   It still doesn't feel real that he isn't here and sometimes I catch myself looking around for him.

We haven't brought ourselves to move his box of things out of the dining room yet.  It just really sucks his things are all sitting in a box to begin with.  Gouda was our first baby and taught us what it was like to put our time, money, and energy into someone other than ourselves.   We loved every single minute with him and we are lucky in that we can look back without a single regret about our time with him.  In the midst of our anger about losing him so soon, there is gratitude that we were were able to give him extra time that was vibrant and full of life.  He never felt pain and we were able to keep it that way up until the very last second.  There will never be another G-Man.   We miss you more than you'll ever know buddy and I hope you're indulging in your hedonistic ways up there.  I like to think you're snacking on a steak and lounging in the sun.

Until we meet again big guy...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

One Year

Dear R,


Last week, on July 29th, you turned one year old.  Did I know this day was coming?  Surely.  I was cautioned by moms who have walked before me that this birthday would come tumbling toward us, fast and furiously, and boy they were right.  I've tried to articulate the experience that your first year of life has been like for me but words tend to fail me.  Bliss.  Magic. Chaos. Exhaustion. Joy. Love. Love. Love.   The year has been all of those things, and then some.  From the moment I knew you were on our way to us I have cherished, prayed for, and celebrated you.  I don't need a date on a calendar to remind me to celebrate how wonderful you are and how you have made us a family.  I hope you always know that I put you first and that your happiness and well-being are at the core of every decision I make.   We have all learned together this year and figured it out as we went along.  Some months were clouded in a fog of sheer exhaustion (particularly months 1-5...OY VEY CHILD.)  Others...endless joy that I didn't even know was possible.  No matter how hard or easy things are, it never changes the way we feel about you.  You're like Christmas morning every day.

We've had quiet a year, you and me.  We've spent endless hours snuggling, reading, soothing you while nestled tightly in your baby wrap, and exploring our city together.  We celebrated all of your "firsts" and I'm still surprised at how bittersweet they are.  You are such a fun loving and curious little girl that you can make any ordinary outing fantastical (groceries! library! walks!).  Your personality continues to come bursting through and your fiesty and independent streak is something your dad and I applaud and try to foster every day.  It can make things challenging at times (as want what you want and you want it NOW!) but I know it is a trait that is inherent to you and will serve you well as you grow into a strong and assertive woman.


I look back on this time last year and remember myself feverishly researching every parenting topic and coming up with a plan for how I was going to do things.  Sleep training?  Check.  Breastfeeding? Duh. Co-Sleeping?  You know it.  Do you know how funny this is to me now?  Things did not go according to plan.  Not one little bit.  Some things went way better than I could have hoped for. Others...not so much.  But the good stuff is in all those little details.  Like how you would get up every 2-3 hours for months and months when everyone told me you "should" be sleeping through the night.  I knew in those quiet moments, as I was rocking you that this too would pass whether I liked it or not.  And despite my bleary exhaustion, I clung to those moments because I knew that they would be over in the blink of an eye.  That eventually you would sleep through the night (thank you) and before I knew it you would be launching yourself out of my arms, ready to play and take on the world.   Even on the weekends when your dad would take over the middle of the night wake ups, I would be sad that I missed out on that special time with you.  

On your birthday eve I soaked you in, just like I did in our first days together.  I shed a few tears after we laid you down in your crib that night, knowing that in the morning our world will have shifted just the tiniest bit.  Maybe it's because of the long and crooked road it took to reach you, but you have healed holes in my heart that I didn't know were there.  You've become my most important contribution to this world and I couldn't be more grateful.

Happy Birthday my sweet little monkey monkey!


Monday, August 4, 2014

11 Months!

On June 29th my peanut turned 11 months old...officially her last month as an infant.  I would be lying if I said this one didn't hit me a little hard.  I have enjoyed her first year so much and I can't believe she's tip toeing into toddler-ville.  Once again, this has been another fantastic month. Her not so little personality continues to explode and she is so, so FUNNY.  We've spent a lot of time together as a family this month and my shift to working out of the house part time has gone smoothly, for the most part.  You have gone from having 2 teeth to a whopping 6 teeth, all in the course of ten days.  We didn't even know you were cutting the other teeth until I popped my finger in your mouth one day and felt them.  Not a single cry or whimper from impressive.  Although I miss your gummy little smile, this one will filled with tiny baby teeth is awfully cute too.

These days my wild woman is crawling, pulling up, standing, and cruising around...all at warp speeds.  Since I now have a set schedule, we've been exploring the city on my days at home and have recently started attending story time at the library on Wednesdays.  It is such a joy to watch her interact with other babies, wave her hands dramatically and everyone who walks by, and shake her little self as you "dance" along with the music.  We've also become pool regulars, although it takes us way  more time to get packed and out the door than we actually spend swimming, but that's neither here nor there!

Other developments this month include holding up her little index finger whenever we ask her how old she's going to be, waving, and giving us a kiss on the cheek when we ask if we may have one. I am continually amazed at her wit, sense of humor, and general joyful demeanor.  I love this little nugget so endlessly and I cannot WAIT to celebrate her FIRST BIRTHDAY!