Friday Favorites

Music time

This has been the most frustrating week of my year so far. It seems like almost nothing has gone smoothly or come easily. In fact, I nearly lost this post as soon as I finished writing it. So much stress, for so little result. I’m hoping I can just shake it all off over the weekend, or maybe I should beware the ides of March? Either way, I’m so grateful that I have these awesome little dudes to brighten up my day. Also an awesome husband and my mom here helping me get through this time of transition. I know I’m in for many more hiccups, but I have a great family and just thinking about them like this makes me feel a little lighter.

James Franco is just too silly sometimes.

How gorgeous are these floral prints by Ashley Bailey?

While I don’t miss smoking, I do miss smoke break sometimes. (Now, I call them get up and walk purposefully but aimlessly around the building)

This meme sums up yesterday perfectly.

Who doesn’t love an Alton Brown food hack?

I finally picked up this cookbook. I don’t know why I slept on it so long. I love breakfast and it is A-MAZ-ING.

Have a wonderful and stress free weekend.

xo, s.

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The Shape of Things

This is my before picture. Once a week I will post a progress picture until I get to an after picture.
Since I’ve been at it for a few weeks now, I thought I’d share my progress on getting back in shape. Getting back in shape after having two babies over the course of 3 years is hard work. In fact, I was only really starting to get back in shape from the Bear when I found out I was pregnant with the Cub. So while I was taking a few steps forward, I took one giant one back. Isn’t that always the way of things? BTW, the photos in this post were taken at the beginning (top), three weeks in (middle), and then another 2-3 weeks (bottom)
Weekly #gymselfie fitting comfortably in smaller size jeans, posture is better, butt is sitting higher
Anyway, getting back into shape can mean very different things to different people. For me, it means I want to build muscle, lose fat, get rid of the deflated balloon that has taken over my midsection, and fit into my old clothes (and finally buy some new ones). Getting back into shape is not me having a fight with the scale or starving myself or trying crazy diets. When I’m hungry, I eat, even if it’s at 9 PM. If I’m thirsty, I drink water. I don’t skip meals or food groups, but over the course of the last few years I have definitely changed my eating habits by eating less packaged and processed food by making most things at home and eating more vegetables. Still, I love butter and sugar, and turning them into cakes and cookies, just not all the time. I’m not trying to get a thigh gap. Frankly, I think I would feel really weird if my thighs didn’t touch, my body wasn’t built that way and I’m glad. Getting back into shape means that I go to the gym most days, and when I can’t go I work out at home and do my best to spend a good portion of the day on my feet and moving around.
For me, this is about being healthy. It’s not about hating my body and beating it into submission, which I think is how a lot of women feel when they think about weight loss. Oh but wait, I haven’t said anything about weight loss, I’ve said I want to build muscle and lose fat, and that I think is key. I am not concerned with the number on the scale as much as I am with the number on the tape measure when I put it around my waist every couple weeks. In this game of numbers, the scale is usually your worst enemy. In fact, in the 5 or 6 weeks that I’ve been exercising regularly, I’ve only lost a few pounds, but I’ve taken two inches off my waist, which is significant and far more motivating than saying I lost ten pounds, but still being super jiggly. If you look at the photos you can see that my midsection has come in and will continue to come in not because I’m running a marathon every day, but because I am approaching the deflated balloon with a two pronged attack: 1) carving out the muscles underneath while 2) whittling off the layers of fat on top.
In case you thought I'd quit. #motivationalgymselfie

What’s working:

Kettlebells! I love working with kettle bells because they challenge my whole body, improve my posture, and make me feel stronger each time I pick them up. I’ve been trying out this sequence for my upper body and am noticing improvement in just a few sessions. (Seriously, though, Nicole’s whole blog is awesome)

Pilates. Again, I like pilates because I can do them at home and they help me pull in my middle and stand up a little taller.

Cutting back on sugar. Between the end of my pregnancy and the holidays I acquired a big sugar addiction. This isn’t to say I was sitting around eating 5 or 6 cookies a day, but I definitely was helping myself to a little something sweet after lunch AND dinner. I decided for Lent I would give up dessert, and the first few days have been tough. I definitely feel that I need something sweet after meals, even though I totally don’t.

Paying attention to inches and not pounds or even calories. Like I said above, getting into shape is a total numbers game, so it’s important to focus on the right ones. I do weigh myself regularly, but it’s only part of the equation. Since muscle is more dense than fat, as I have built back muscle while losing fat the scale numbers haven’t budged much but the tape measure has. Also, as long as I’m making sure to eat well, I’m not sitting around calculating my day around every last calorie. This blog post does a great job of explaining how women have become calorie obsessed and why we really shouldn’t be.

What I want to start incorporating:

Running: I enjoy running, but I need to get a bit smaller before I can start back at it so as not to add undue stress to my knees.

The rowing machine: These are great for working the whole body, I just need to start making time for it when I go to the gym.

More strength training: Now that I feel myself getting stronger, the weight section of the gym is a lot less intimidating.

I know that this is a process, and it will take time. I know that there will be plateaus, and frustration, and times when I just can’t put in as much effort as I want to. But sharing my story here has been a big help. I can’t wait to share more of this journey with you. I’d also love to hear about your own fitness stories and what’s been working for you.

xo, S.

Prep

P1030391In case you hadn’t noticed, we are deep in the midst of the let’s make ridiculously large meals and gorge ourselves for days time of year. Being a person who loves spending time in the kitchen, the holidays are right up my alley. I love figuring out the menu, researching recipes, gathering up ingredients, and then spending a few days prior to the main event in the kitchen putting everything together. But I have to tell you, I totally hit a breaking point last week when it seemed that every blessed food blog I came across had about 900 different tips, tricks, and even schedules to help the home cook prepare for Thanksgiving. It just seemed overwhelming, especially to folks who are not accustomed to hosting a large meal, or even a small dinner party. Information overload for sure.P1030395

I mean really, as long as the family is together and the pie makes it to the table…who really cares? Even if it’s a store-bought pie, or a bakery pie, or a pie with store bought crust (I do this ALL the time). I think all this “advice”, while well-meaning, misses the overall point of the gathering completely. It’s about being around the table with people you love (and who usually drive you a little crazy too) and enjoying a meal. It doesn’t have to be the wild affair with 10 appetizers, 20 side dishes, and  15 pies, with a table set with painstakingly handmade place cards and pinecone arrangements. Who has time for that? And if you’re stressing out over all that prep work, how do you have time to sit down with everyone and enjoy the meal? (note: I’m pretty sure we’ll eat our Thanksgiving meal sitting around the coffee table)P1030392

Being in the military. DB and I don’t get to spend a lot of holidays with family. In fact, we haven’t spent any holidays with either of our families since we got married. In fact, we’re pretty happy at this point just to have had the privilege of spending our holidays together in the same house and same country. Our lifestyle puts things into perspective for me in a way I never thought of previously, and I hope it’s something that I can instill in the Bear and our new little one throughout their childhoods. The important thing is not the turkey. In fact, one Thanksgiving a few years back the turkey didn’t even make it to the table, but fortunately my sister in law brought down a ham so we had that instead. The important thing is us and the memories we make. So friends, don’t kill yourselves in the kitchen over these next few weeks, just sit back, have a festive drink, and think about how happy your grandparents are to see you.

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31 Weeks

It’s hard to believe that we’re in the home stretch of this pregnancy already. Of course, there were a lot of distractions that have made this whole year speed by in a blur. On the other hand, having spent the better part of the last 3 years pregnant or recovering from a pregnancy, I’ll be pretty happy when this little one comes out, be done with these maternity clothes, and get back to normal.

maternity style//plaid skirt

hat and scarf::handmade, dress::H&M MAMA, sweater and leggings::old navy, boots::FRYE

 

Thankfully, much like the Bear’s, this pregnancy has been pretty uneventful though still different from the first one. Most significantly, DB has been around for this one. I’m so glad that we’ve gotten to experience this pregnancy together.

I haven’t gained nearly as much weight as I did with the Bear.I’ve talked to a bunch of other moms who’ve all pretty much said the same thing. The first one was huge and any subsequent babies didn’t cause quite so much bloat. I think not eating nearly as much processed foods and running after the Bear has been a big help too. I can see my feet and tie my shoes, but I still feel huge.

I’m tired all the time, nothing new there.

My only real craving has been for cereal, which was the same with the Bear, and cinnamon things, which is new.

With the Bear, my hair turned into a giant gross oil slick. No lustre, just grease. This time around hasn’t been so bad, but I still want to chop off all my hair.

I haven’t spent this pregnancy obsessively checking websites like Baby Center and What to Expect to find out what the baby is doing each week, but I’ve felt a lot of anxiety and paranoia about this baby. Most likely this is due to the miscarriage we had in between the two. All signs point to us having a beautiful, healthy baby in just a few weeks, but I can’t tell you how relieving every swift kick to the bladder has been throughout the last several months.

Since I’ve had the opportunity to actually nest (instead of coordinating a cross country move immediately after the Bear’s birth), I’ve had DB rearrange the furniture in the house at least 5 times, and we’re not done yet.

As for the Bear, he’s totally oblivious to the fact that he’s going to be a big brother soon. The first few weeks ought to be interesting as he learns that he’s no longer king of the castle. I think he’ll like being a big brother, and we’re happy that the kids will be close in age.

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Almost There

cake, apple cake, fall

Apple Butter Spice Cake with Cream Cheese frosting. Somewhat similar to last year’s cupcakes.

It’s hard to believe that in less than a week the Bear will be 2. Having kids does make the world spin a little faster…ok, a lot faster. He’s so fun right now though, I wish we could slow things down just a little bit. The twos really aren’t that terrible as most would have you believe. I’m pretty sure the people who say that have never had close dealings with a three year old. Having two older nephews has really informed my experience with my own son. Even though he’s en entirely different person, and the feelings are so different because he’s mine, I’m glad that I was able experience a facsimile of child rearing before diving in on my own. From experience I can say that three when the personality and sass really shine through. We’re ready, though. We’re ready for the Bear to continue to grow and learn and refuse to eat vegetables. We’re ready for him to teach us things while we teach him numbers and letters, shapes and colors, and manners and patience.

My dad and stepmom stopped by for a quick visit this past weekend so we had a celebration where I successfully made my first meatloaf. We also enjoyed some apple cake and Bear received several Eric Carle books and some other presents. I think my favorite was the little baseball glove since now he runs around with it shouting, “I got it! I got it!”

Mama, I don't know about this cake, but the frosting is awesome

Mama, I don’t know about this cake, but the frosting is awesome

Books!

Books!

Is this heaven? Do I need a haircut?

Is this heaven? Do I need a haircut?

How does this work?

How does this work?

I GOT IT!

I GOT IT!

Story time with Pop

Story time with Pop

A Hat for Bear

P1020807It’s hard to believe that the Bear will be 2 in a little over two weeks. This time last year he couldn’t even walk without help, now he’s running laps around me as I type. He’s even (mostly) moved out of his crib and is managing not to fall out of the twin size bed we put together last weekend. I know, I know, they grow so fast. But really, they do. Watching a child grow from a helpless lump to an opinionated person with their own wants, likes, and dislikes is fascinating. Not only because you well with pride when they triumph, but you think about the small and big challenges in your life that you had to tackle and overcome to get to this point. If you told me 3 years ago I would be here with a toddler and another baby on the way, I would have laughed. I would have thought it some impossible dream that I’d given up years before.

How did I get here? In the end it’s really pretty simple. DB was coming back to the east coast for a visit after his first deployment. We were only acquaintances, but I knew I wanted to see him again so I invited him to stop down in Philly for a visit since he’d be relatively close…the rest is history.  We were married a few months later, welcomed the Bear into our life shortly after that and we haven’t looked back since. Much like the Bear takes a leap of faith every time he tries to walk down the stairs by himself, or jump, or climb the jungle gym in the park, DB and I took a leap of faith in each other and it’s made our lives so much better.P1020798

Like all new families we are still establishing our traditions. One of my favorites is making new hats for everyone when falls rolls around. I knit this one during some unseasonably warm days in the hopes that it cooler weather would be close behind. I’m happy to report we’ve been waking up to a cool house, wearing pants and long sleeve tops, and seeing far few houseflies flooding in whenever we open a door. Life is good.P1020797

The pattern is Kim’s Hats from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (which according to Amazon, I purchased in October of 2005). It’s my favorite basic hat pattern, easy, quick, endlessly adaptable. I used leftover Shelter from Brooklyn Tweed in the Tent color way. It was leftover from a hat I knit for Bear’s Grampy last Christmas. The brown is from some rogue skein of Lorna’s Laces that I’d mistakenly received as part of a larger order many years ago (like when I first started knitting). So I think it’s fitting that he will now coordinate with his Grampy, but also have a little piece of my knitting past as a symbol of how far we’ve both come.P1020796

Raveled here.

Hope you’re all enjoying cooler weather.

xo, S.

Moving on

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When we left the old house we didn’t linger in the doorway or take one last look through the empty rooms (we spent most of that time scrubbing every last ounce of dirt out of them), but I still felt a bit sad as we loaded in the car and drove away. It’s not that it was a particularly great house. It was creaky, and the kitchen was laid out weird, and you could hear every move the neighbors made. But it was our house, our first house. It was the house that we brought the Bear home to, and the house where we learned how to be parents and how to be married. We played there, and made great food, welcomed our families, said goodbye and then hello again and again, and even created new life. For all those things, I will miss the old house.

Naturally, the day we left was beautiful with clear views of Mt. Baker, the Cascades, the Olympics, and Mt. Rainier. We miss being so close to so many beautiful things, and hope we’re lucky enough to get to live in a beautiful place again someday.IMG_3706