Friday, January 23, 2015

31 Weeks & Cherishing This Time

Parenthood is one of my favorite shows and last week in their episode, Going Home, the grandparents on the show, Zeke and Millie, went to their old house to retrieve a old baseball to give to a new grandchild that was about to be born. Once they got there, they saw children laughing and squirting each other with water guns in the backyard. As Zeke and Millie watched they laughed and smiled with a sense of nostalgia. A mother finally appeared at the door and Zeke said, "Let's go. I want these kids to find the ball in the barn one day and think they just won a treasure hunt." He then looked at the mother and said, "I hope she's enjoying every moment of this." It was one of my favorite scenes and I know I'm not doing it justice, but it struck a core with me. We have 8 weeks left with Sawyer and we want to focus and enjoy every moment with him.

In my January goals, I wrote that I want to do one fun adventure with Sawyer a month before the baby comes. Last Saturday, we were able to. We went to Massanutten Indoor Water park for the day and it was such a great day. Sawyer had a blast on the lazy river and even braved a big boy slide.  Here are a few snapshots from our day.
Sawyer's really into crawling like Spiderman right now.
The day ended with pizza at Petes and a boy who slept 13 hours the next day.

I know that we'll have excitement, trips and chaos when baby boy #2 comes, but I do want to try to cherish these next few weeks that I have with Sawyer. I want him to know that even though things will change, he'll always be loved and now, we can talk about all the adventures that we did together before the baby came.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pregnancy: 30 Weeks

(shirt-Pea in the Pod; Pants: Maternity Old Navy Rockstar Jeans, which BTW, are SO comfortable! Why didn't I invest in these before?!)
This week I'm feeling anxious, excited, and ready. Most days I can't wait and think that 10 weeks seems like eternity and then I start thinking about all that I have left to do with work and Sawyer (we're potty training right now) and it makes me hope that time would slow down.

But the kicks, punches, and hiccups are very consistent and strong these days. This little boy has quite the personality and I can already tell its very different from Mr. Laid-back Sawyer who never moved a lot and was totally fine with just hanging out. I have a feeling this one will put us through the ringer especially with sleeping when the punches, dance parties, and kicking is the most strong.

In terms of weight, I'm up 18 pounds, which is the same when I was pregnant with Sawyer. I'm trying to work out, but most days, I'm just doing a 20-minute youtube video and call it a day. That being said, playing and chasing a toddler is quite a workout in itself.

For food, I'm trying to be healthy and I started drinking Red Raspberry Tea, which was recommended to me by my midwife. It's supposed to help my immune system, promote better circulation and strengthen the uterine muscles. I'm supposed to drink 1-2 cups a day, so I make a big batch of ice tea with a little agave and try to drink it with lunch and snack.

In other news, we bought the bassinet stand and I'm going to try to order artwork for the nursery this week. Thankfully, we don't need a lot of stuff because of Sawyer and Christmas, so that makes this time around so much easier.

That's all for now! I do want to try and update more on this pregnancy though. Its been incredibly helpful to look back on my last pregnancy posts, so I want to be better at documenting this one as well. Hopefully, I'll have the time over the next 10ish weeks.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Winter Recipes: Mediterranean Chicken & Vegetarian Chili

Recently, I've been loving these two recipes. To me, they are the perfect way to warm up on a cold day and DC has had its fair share of those recently. Plus, these two are so easy to make. Both recipes only have two steps to make, so both are easy and delicious. The perfect winter meals for a busy Mama or professional.

Mediterranean Chicken. 
(Adapted from Cooking Light)

What you need from the store: 
2 small lemons
1/2 white onion chopped
1/2 cup of pitted olives
1 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic
2 chicken breast
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup of chicken stock
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
Sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste

Combine the first 7 ingredients in the crock pot and add 1/4 cup of chicken stock over it. Let cook on low for 7 hours.

Combine the remaining stock and flour and whisk together. Add to the mixture to the crockpot and let cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Vegetarian Chili. 
(Adapted from Award Winning Chili from Taste of Home.)

What you need: 
2 zucchini chopped
1 white onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 can of pinto beans rinsed and drained
1 can of black beans rinsed and drained
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of Italian stewed tomato
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of cumin

Saute the zucchini, onion, and green pepper until tender. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.

Cover and simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes then serve.

(We served ours over half a baked potato.)

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What I Read: All Joy & No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood

I found this book when reading through a list of the best books of 2014. I scribbled it down, got it from the library and made a point to read it on our trip. All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood talks about the effects that children have on their parents and analyzes all the ways parents lives are shaped after having their kids. It was really fascinating and insightful, like I had no idea that the concept of parenthood is only 70 years old or that there is an overall decline on marital satisfaction after your first kid is born, but that it goes back up once they reach elementary school. Aside from some depressing statistics, the book also talks about the joy, purpose, motivation, and completeness that children give parents. That their children are their legacy and the years of little one bring back fond memories and delightful nostalgia especially when people are older. 

It was such a good and interesting book. Sure, the research was a bit depressing at times, but the last chapter really tied it all together so perfectly and optimistically that I was hooked. Definitely a must read especially if you are in the midst of raising little ones. 

My book club is reading Unbroken this month, which I read a few years ago, so my next pick is Life After Life. by Kate Atkinson. But I'm looking to read a lot more this winter especially since it's so cold and all I want to do is hang out in bed at night with a good book. Any recommendations? 

(You can read more reviews on the book here: NY Times and NY Mag.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Babymoon in Mexico!

After Christmas, Z and I flew to Cabo for 5 days, while Sawyer stayed with my parents. It was so nice to just get away and relax before our little one comes along in March. This vacation was full of good food, lots of reading, and even more relaxing by the pool. It was everything you could've hoped for in a baby moon. 
(Photo from website)
We arrived at our resort, Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar, at 3 in the afternoon and just sat by the pool and sipped our welcome drink. 
One of the best things we did was wake up every morning to watch the sunrises. They were breathtaking and pretty much everyone else at the resort would be out that early too. It was so nice to wrap up in a blanket, grab a coffee, and watch the sun slowly rise. It was also the best time for whale watching, so we got to see a bunch of whales jump and splash off the shore. It was something I'd never seen before, so I loved spotting them throughout the week. 
Two of the days we were there were cloudy, so we decided to do a boat tour one of those days. We took a glass bottom boat and toured the Arch, Lovers Beach, Divorce Beach, and the meeting place of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. The coolest thing about this tour were the sea lions though. They would jump onto the back of the boats hoping for fish or a pat on the head. It was crazy! 
(Maternity suit-Liz Lange)
 We celebrated being 29 weeks at the resort too by going downtown to dinner at a place called Los Tres Gallos. It was absolutely delicious and not that expensive. If you are ever in Cabo, I would definitely recommend it.
(Dress-Non-maternity H&M)
And finally, we got to meet up with some friends while we were down there. We went over to the house they were renting on New Years Eve and hung out beside the pool for the afternoon. So nice to catch up and see friends from our California years. 

A perfect time and vacation, but we couldn't wait to go back home to our little man. We decided that this would be the last big vacation without him. There were just too many moments where we wished he was there to experience all of it with us. We decided we'll do little couple weekend getaways instead because we do want that time to reconnect with each other, but nothing long like this anymore. So goodbye, adult vacations! We will miss you...kinda. 

(You can see our Babymoon in Lake Tahoe here)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January Goals

Happy 2015! I hope everyone is starting the new year off in a great way. We were able to spend the last couple of days in Mexico and it was extremely unproductive. We spent the days by the pool reading, sleeping, or talking about what we want this next year to look like.

 I've decided that I want to be more focused this year with my resolutions and goals, so I'm going to be breaking them down into monthly goals instead of a big yearly resolution. That way, I can be held accountable and make these ideas more attainable.

Here are my January goals:

Friendships: Have a couple over for dinner and make a meal for a friend who just had a new baby.

Reading: Read a new book every month with an emphasis on non-fiction books. (I find that I tend to read more fiction and I want to steer away from that and focus more on biographies, histories, and cultures.)

Parenting: Have a fun getaway/outing with Sawyer.

New Baby: Get a bassinet stand.

Health: Workout at least twice a week and drink only water with the exception of one cup of decaf coffee a day. (I set up google reminders for this, so hopefully I can hold myself accountable.)

Spiritual: Wake up early to read a psalm every morning and write 3 things I'm grateful for in my gratitude journal. (I was so good about this in November and then it fell off the wagon. I really want to go back to this because it was such a great way to start the day and gave me a more positive outlook.)

What are your goals for the new year? Do you break them down by month or year? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

2014 is gone and here comes 2015! I loved 2014. It was a year where we all slowed down and captured the little moments. No big trips. No sad moments. Just a year of making memories with family, building community with friends, and capturing sweet moments with Sawyer.

2015 will be a big year. We have a new addition coming in March (!!!!!) and a huge 2-month trip planned, so before I look ahead, I want to take a step back and remember 2014 for all its little moments.

Family. We were able to see family a lot more this year. My Mom came up about once every 2 months and my Uncle started to live with us last June. Having my Uncle stay with us has been great.  Its allowed me to go out to book clubs and girls nights without having to pay or look for a baby-sitter and given Z and I a date night or two. Its also nice to have someone in the house when Z's away on business. But more importantly, its given Sawyer a wonderful relationship with his great-Uncle. I can safely say that Uncle "March" is one of Sawyer's favorite people and I'm pretty sure that Sawyer considers him one of his best friends.

We've also had Z's brother stay with us and were able to see some of my cousins and brother more frequently too. I'm really grateful for this and that's a big reason we moved back east. Family is really more important than anything.

Z. This has been a really wonderful year of marriage with Z. We went to our first marriage conference and were able to spend a lot of time together this year. He's my best friend and every day, even through the ups and downs that life throws at us, I really am so grateful for him. I feel like I lucked out in the marriage lottery with that one and I can't wait to do life with him in the New Year.

Travel. This year we really focused our travel in the US and spending trips with friends. We went to:

Duck's Island
Martha's Vineyard
Estes Park, Colorado 
New York, NY
Boston, MA

Friendships. We started doing Supper Club this year with a few couples and I've loved building community with these friends. They are honest, trust-worthy, and wise. It's been a great group to get to know.

Book club has also been really fun and a great way for me to see some of my girlfriends from college on a more regular basis. Plus, I've gotten to deepen some relationships from book club that I'm really grateful for. One of these girls is getting married this October and I think its one of the highlights of Z and I's upcoming year. We love this couple and can't wait to celebrate them.

This is the year that I didn't have any toxic friendships like previous years. The people that I did surround myself with, I love a lot and they make me a better person. I hope that I do the same for them even though some of them and I want to continue to reach out and plan things with those that live far away.

Work. Work has been really good for both Z and I. This was our first year at both of our jobs and they have been blessings. Mine has allowed for a lot of family time and Z's has challenged him and allowed him to work with great people, which has been my prayer for him since day one.

Baby! 2014 we found out we are having another baby and I'm already ITCHING to meet him. I look at my calendar everyday and am already kinda wishing the days away. I seriously can't wait to hold him and welcome him into our crazy crew. I'm thankful for a healthy pregnancy thus far and I just can't wait for an even better 2015 when I finally get to have him in my arms.

From my small family to yours, I hope you all had a wonderful 20114 and an even better 2015. Here's to making a lot more memories.

*Template idea for this post came from one of my favorite blogs, The College Prepster

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