Friday, August 29, 2014

Potty Adventures Part 1.

Who knows how many parts these adventures will have, but this is the beginning!

Elliot starting expressing interest in the potty whenever he saw Jack and I in the restroom (because we know having alone time in the bathroom is a thing of the past with kids) and he would be so curious! We started saying "pee pee" and he would repeat it and point at the toilet. Whenever he has a poopy diaper he grab his diaper and says "poo poo" ha! So I thought it would be good to take this and run with it!

I've been pinning and reading so many articles on potty training before two and I thought why not start trying and get him used to it even if he doesn't actually start doing it right away. I also read tips from other mamas. I bought a potty and a book. I read that the simpler the potty the better, the one with all the bells and whistles and TP holder is distracting for the kid. Knowing Elliot, that's exactly what will happen. I'm getting these and these undies. They are so cute and I know I will need a ton of them.

They arrived pretty quickly and when I took them out of the box, Elliot got the potty and used it as a push toy to go around the house. That was the first thing he had to learn, the potty isn't a toy to play with! So he learned that it stays in the bathroom and he goes and sits on it. As soon as we see him we say "pee pee in the potty". I feel weird typing this like it's somehow TMI ha! Everything goes when you have a kid though right?

I haven't actually started with it because like I said, I want to get him used to the potty first. Also because we need a weekend to do nothing but this and we have been busy getting things done. I'll be honest, I'm also kind of dreading the poopy days because if you know my kid, you know his diapers are the kind that make you gag and your eyes water, especially when you're hungover. ;) On my baby shower at work, the environmental manager gave me a bucket full of hazardous material gear to change diapers complete with a hazmat bag, goggles and gloves. I think it might come in handy for this. ;)

I have a plan and I know all hell will break lose and my plan will go out the window, or down the drain, but at least it's a start! This shit is going down! Literally. Do you mamas have any tips?

For now, we are ready over here to start our three day weekend! Happy Friday!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fitness Update.

It's been a while since I've talked about what's been going on with my workout and losing weight. The truth is, it hasn't. I'll blame it on being super exhausted most of the time and always on the go, but when I work out I don't feel so exhausted. Ugh. When I started, of course I made the time for it and made no excuses for it. I slowly started to bring up excuses to not do it, well I have two loads of laundry to fold, I'll work out tomorrow, I have to make a trip to the store, I'll work out tomorrow, I'm on my period, I'll work out when it's over. Sure enough the stretches of time started getting bigger and bigger and it's been about three or four weeks since my feet have touched the treadmill or running shoes for that matter.

I also blamed the fact that I missed Elliot's bed time. I'm so used to putting him to bed and laying with him, working out didn't allow me that time. I left him with Jack and when I came back from my shower he was already asleep. I know, lame, lame, lame excuse. But the truth.

You know when you eat something not so good for you, then junk food another day? Then you think well okay, this will be the last day of eating bad and next week for sure I'll do healthy options and work out, and it keeps going? Yup, that happened too. You start eating bad and you see no point in working out until you start eating better, but since you're not eating better, you don't want to work out? It's the most vicious cycle of cycles known to humanity.

I haven't been eating that shitty, or been that tired, or missed out on Elliot, or had laundry not done. These are all my excuses. And they need to stop. Now.

So really, next week I'm restarting and resetting myself. I know I've been down this road not too long ago, or many times actually. This is sort of a setback, a relapse if you will. I hate to think of it as a big deal but to me it is. My body is something I've always struggled with one way or another. I don't mean/want to sound whiny but man it's hard! Recovering from having a baby is hard! For me at least.

This was like a tongue twister! I just needed to get it out. Can anyone can relate? Or, even better, what motivates you? What's your willpower? How do you get yourself to the gym or your workout? How do you avoid those french fries and delicious pastries and more importantly, beer! Like I said, it's a vicious cycle and I tell myself that it's all in moderation but the cycle kicks in and it's game over. I'm not the only one this happens to right? Right? 

I haven't touched my running shows or workout gear but I am and I will!

Have a happy Friday full of healthy choices! :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Birthday Weekend.

It was the hubs birthday on Friday and I planned a little birthday party with a few of our friends. I'll say one thing, we aren't kids anymore. Holy mother of hangovers! I haven't felt like that in a long time. Elliot went to bed super late and decided to make it an early morning party again when he woke up at around seven. I was feeling like a truck ran me over and over for a couple of days even though it was only that one night of a couple of drinks. Jack wasn't feeling as bad so he got up to make me a virgin bloody Mary, he's a life saver.

So let me go back to the beginning. Friday was Jack's official birthday and the day I planned to give him his gifts. I got him a few shirts, the newest Stephen King book and Cards Against Humanity. He loved everything.

We then had to clean the house and yard. Ugh! But we were done pretty quick and got to rest for a bit.

Saturday morning started like this.

With D-Day ahead of us we needed all the energy we could get! We then headed to Starbucks and SAM's to get everything we needed. The Goldfish worked for about three seconds this time before we let him run around the store.

We tried taking naps to be able to stay up past ten, nine for me (ha) but we couldn't! We got up and started prepping. Elliot helped Jack put the beer in the cooler but not before smelling it? He's smelling everything nowadays, it's so cute because Jack does the exact same thing!

We planned for a super simple menu because I just didn't want to worry too much about it. I didn't want to have Jack grilling all day so we went with burgers and hot dogs. He grilled them in bulk once people started arriving so that they would be done quickly and he could come in and party with us. We had some fruit, pasta salad, chips and dip and lots of drinks. :) One of Jack's coworkers brought a box of the best sweet bread! It was so so good.

We had a full house! It was so much fun and Elliot loved it! Once it was getting a little later and the real drinking had begun, our amazing neighbors took Elliot for a few hours so that we could enjoy the party without having to be after him every two seconds. They're the best! We first sang happy birthday and had red velvet cake. Yum!

They brought Elliot back once he was tired (way past his bedtime), I got him in his jammies and he passed out. I whipped the monitor out and took it with me wherever I went. We did two rounds of shots (I can't even think about that right now) and played Cards Against Humanity once things started winding down a bit and a couple of people left.

The aftermath the next morning was insane and we didn't care. All I wanted to do was stay in bed and Elliot loved it because that meant he could add to the list of things to clean up. Thanks kid.

After we started feeling a bit better, we cleaned up and relaxed the entire day. We even had a chance to take Elliot outside to take a walk and eat Popsicles that tasted like Heaven after feeling like shit all day and eating a ton of bad food. 

 It was such a fun night and weekend. Everyone seemed to enjoy the party! Beer was spilled, shots were taken and memories were made. One thing I learned is that we are no longer crazy party people and we for sure felt it this weekend and sleeping super late when you have to get up extra early is not cool anymore. We used to be able to pull that off three days in a row and now, not so much. Now it will take us about two weeks to recover. ;) Hope you had a great weekend!

P.S. I need a pillow NOW.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Super Easy Spaghetti & Meatballs.

This dish is a 30 Minute Meal a la Rachael Ray with a little from Sandra Lee's Semi Homemade. Being a mama on the go most of the time, I've mentioned that quick and easy meals are a must.

The meatballs I make from scratch because I promise they're so easy to make and a hundred times better and healthier than anything else. You need-

1 pack of ground turkey (I get the 85/15)
Onion- diced finely
Garlic- I chop one clove finely
6 saltines- throw these in your blender for a few seconds to blend them into powder, this holds the meatballs together nicely
1 Egg (optional)
Garlic salt
Salt & pepper
1 box of spaghetti to feed about 5 mouths, Jack, Elliot and I and two next day lunches. :)

Preheat your oven to 345 degrees. Put all ingredients in a bowl with the ground turkey and mix well with your hands. Make sure your toddler isn't wanting you to pick him up constantly because nobody wants raw meat on them. :) I usually put a blanket down on the kitchen floor and a few toys to keep Elliot distracted since Jack is usually helping me.

After you mix the ingredients, wrap a cookie sheet with foil and throw some olive oil on it. Just a bit, you don't need very much just enough to have a little under the meatballs so they don't stick. Roll the meatballs and lay on the sheet. I always, always, always make these first while I have a pot of water on the stove getting ready for the spaghetti. You have to multitask here if you want this to be quick!

Put the meatballs in the oven for about 30 minutes- as long as it takes you to get everything else ready.

For the spaghetti-

Salt the pot of water, it will also make it boil quicker! I think it was Bobby Flay who told me that, or it might have been Rachael Ray. ;) Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti and time it. I learned this from Jack, I used to just let it boil forever causing it to overcook and become super soft. Jack likes it al dente so I make sure I time it and taste when it's getting close to being ready. Drain it and NEVER rinse it with cold water. This will cause it to stick! Besides, the sauce needs to stick. Put back in the pot with a tiny bit of the water. We use regular spaghetti as opposed to whole wheat. I've never been a fan of it because the sauce doesn't take to it as it does with the regular one besides, when you compare the fats and carbs and all those things there's not a huge difference and doesn't taste great. Pastas are better than spaghetti when it comes to whole wheat in my opinion.

I save a little bit of the water (another trick learned) and add it to the sauce. I use a store bought one. I used to make it when I had the time and it was a super simple boiling of whole tomatoes, garlic and a little slice of onion, throw them in the blender, throw the sauce back in the pot, add oregano, salt and pepper and let it hang out for a while. No time for that now, so after trying a few brands, I went with this organic one. I also like Emeril's, they both contain all natural ingredients and stuff you can actually read on the label. I put this in a pot to simmer once my pasta and meatballs are close to being done and once simmering, I add the meatballs to it just to flavor everything and make everything yummy.

We make our own garlic bread, we are carb eaters and not sorry! So we need to do it in a healthier way. This is a whole wheat french bread, we slice it, put it on a cookie sheet with foil, drizzle a little olive oil and in the oven they go for about 5-7 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Take them out and rub the crunchier side with a whole garlic clove. You should have nothing left after you're done! It's the best garlic bread and not so bad for you.


Another thing Jack likes is adding his own sauce instead of me mixing everything together. I get a plate and use tongs to grab the spaghetti onto the plate. Add sauce and meatballs and a slice of garlic bread. Nothing new here just an easier way of making things that works for us! Enjoy!

It's Jack's birthday today and I'm excited to show him his gifts! We are having a small cookout with a couple of friends and we can't wait for the fun to begin. :) Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our Weekend.

We are getting to those toddlerhood days where they revolve around an 18 month old and his decision on the amount of time we get to spend inside a store. ;)

He is starting to want to run around the stores nonstop and bribing him with goldfish isn't working anymore. Fun times. He literally takes off and gives us a run for our money. One of us has to be doing the actual shopping while the other chases him around until he gets tired or we leave the store defeated. This weekend was that.

We wanted to hit some stores but I think our max time was about fifteen minutes. You know how we always say "oh I can't wait for my baby to take his/her first steps!" uhm yeah I was one of them. Enjoy the slithering, crawling around phase because man, it is tiring! Besides the fact that if he doesn't get down from the cart in two seconds, tantrum erupts. 

So anyway, with that said, Friday night was our usual movie night. We watched Divergent and it was so good! I think Shailene Woodley gets better and better in every movie she stars in. 

Saturday was when we hit a few of our favorite stores and ended up going home to relax. All three of us ended up taking a two and a half hour nap! It was Heavenly. After waking up super groggy, we had dinner and hung out. We tried so hard to work on some house projects but the bed and TV won, so that's what we did. Totally boring and so relaxing at the same time.

Sunday, I had plans to meet up with the sweetest girl that I call my friend and sister. I've known her since before we knew our current husbands, while we dated other people and partied together like rock stars. Now she's a military wife coming back from Washington and I finally got to meet her adorable son and she got to meet Elliot! Isn't it crazy how we have some friends we have known for a long time and we get to be part of their journeys? I love it! I hadn't seen her in a few years and when we met up it was like no time had gone by. She drove all the way from Washington with a seven month old and her mom. That's a hero in my book! :) Her husband is getting stationed somewhere else for a couple of years, and just like before, we have always kept in touch and we always will until hopefully one day she gets to be back here. Those kinds of friends are truly forever!

We had lunch and talked about everything and anything. Our boys were so cute with each other! They sat next to each other and although her son is seven months old, he was chatting Elliot up. Elliot kept grabbing his hand and looking at me like "is it okay to do that?" it was so so cute. We exchanged gifts that we got our little ones and then it was time to head home. I was sad but so glad I got to see her and her son! 

I headed home and met up with Jack who enjoyed a nice nap and a movie with plenty of Doritos with Tabasco. We still had to buy groceries (sucks) but Elliot had fallen asleep so we waited until he woke up. Sundays usually go by so quick! It poured cats and dogs and Elliot was a fan of that. I opened the door for him to see the rain, it was really raining really hard, and he almost walked out like nothing! I love that he loves it. 

Sundays are always a little bittersweet as they mark the end of great family time, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with this whole taking Elliot to daycare thing. I only get choked up a little sometimes so that's progress right?!

Jack caught me red solo cup handed. :)

Have a great rest of the week! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Play & Learn.

I've mentioned that I take full advantage of my time with Elliot as a working mom and I always think I might as well teach him something while I'm at it. He's always shown interest in books and loves for us to read to him while pointing things out as we say them. He also goes in the room on his own, sits down, pops a book open and pretends to read. Cutest thing in the world although he has shred some to pieces, not so cute. I didn't know where to start, but I did know I wanted him to start saying more words and learn shapes and colors. I got him some word cards from the one dollar section at Target but they're so flimsy and the words are hard. They have two characters to show one word in some of them so that makes them a little confusing when I point and say the word while he's looking at two things. Blank stare from this little one. He did learn how to say Mini "mimi" and Mickey "mitty". My heart melts every time.

I cannot remember how I came across these cards for first words and these for colors and shapes on Amazon, but I remember thinking they looked like they would work. And they do! Also, if your kid likes to chew on them, rip them, throw them around, etc these are great because they're thick enough to withstand toddlerness. :)

They all have the touch and feel feature which is cool, and a little weird like the cat and dog, but they're so good for their little senses! It took a few tries but he's learning so much! They come with a parent card that gives you ideas on how and what to play. I started with the easier words and things he already recognizes along with some simple ones I knew he would catch on. Our favorite game to play is laying the cards on the floor then I ask him "where is the dog?, where is the corn?" and he will go and grab them and bring them to me. I'm also teaching him some order and ask him to stack them on the side because usually he just tosses them and they go flying across the room.

Another one is to hold up the card and ask him what it is, he will usually run around yelling "co, co, co" for corn or "toos" for shoes, "doddy" for doggy, etc. He's starting to recognize more and more! Sometimes of course he just wants to play so I don't force it on him. Only when I see he's truly interested and sits down to play. I bought the colors and shapes too but I won't start with those until I get more words in. They're super affordable and cute. They're a great way to get a toddler to learn!

I wanted to share these from my own experience with them. We love them and it's never too early to start learning! Potty training is next. ;)

Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Success vs Guilt.

Lately, actually who am I kidding, ever since I had Elliot, I am constantly wondering if I am enough. Enough in every sense of the word. Am I enough at work? Am I a good enough wife? A good enough mother? I was reading this post by The Girl In The Red Shoes and I can completely relate to a lot of the things she wrote although my kind of enough has more to do with my job and family than myself. I stopped thinking about myself a long time ago and I know that's a very bad thing but juggling everything in life right now made me that way. I feel like I have to be perfect at everything I do and I'm driving myself nuts over it! I need to slow down and literally smell the roses every now and then.

A midst all of the great things happening in my career (I got a raise!) and all the great things about my company, I often ask myself if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Can I do more? I know I can. I ask myself because my mind is always going a mile a minute at work wondering if Elliot is okay, if Jack thinks I'm a good wife and mom, if I'm keeping our home clean, cooking meals, all those things cloud my mind and when I need to dive into some critical thinking to see how my department can improve, it gets really tough. I want to do so much to improve at work and sometimes I have zero energy because I'm stricken with the most horrible guilt. Why is my son being cared for by a stranger? He should be with his mom! But I love my job, and  most importantly, the reality of things is that we cannot afford to have one income right now. And I'm okay with that.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do but now that I'm getting to where I want to be, the guilt has doubled. I was telling Jack that I feel as if I shouldn't be successful in my job because how can I be so happy at work when Elliot is at daycare? It's a daily struggle that I'm getting a little better at everyday. I think if I had a shitty job then I would be really miserable!

Then there's Elliot. Is he happy at daycare? Is he eating the healthy meals that I'm feeding him at home and have tried so hard to instill in him? Does he resent me because I work? Am I being enough of a mom to him the few hours I get to spend with him after work? I try to cherish these few hours as much as I can and the weekends are sacred to me. Then I scold him for throwing the recyclables we have in the recycle bin into the regular trash, or for throwing his food on the floor and I feel this immense guilt over it. I feel like I shouldn't be scolding him because he will see me as just that. The mom that doesn't get to spend enough time with him and when she does, she scolds him. I also try to teach him as much as I can when I am at home with him and I swear sometimes he looks at me like really? Let me play! Ha!

Then of course there's Jack. With everything else on my mind, how do I take care of him? Does he think I'm a shitty wife because I already have a million things on my mind? Thank God he's so good to me! He helps me with laundry, dishes and cleaning and makes sure our bed is always made and toilet paper is hung. :) We try to go out on dates every now and then to keep the sparkle going. You know how they say your marriage is always first and your kids second? I completely believe that. How can I be a good mom if I'm a bad wife? Jack is my partner and together we need to strong to be able to raise good kids! This is hard sometimes when you lose yourself in everything else. We try to read at night in bed together but sometimes I'm asleep by the time he comes to bed, or we take the time to read and talk about our days and before we know it it's late and if we don't go to bed in the next two seconds, we will regret it the next day. We need to work on more alone time! It's tough! So a little getaway is in the works. ;)

Finding a balance is so important. I'm still working on that. I do know that right now I'm doing the very best I can and will continue to do that! Heck, maybe I can even throw a little bit of myself into the mix (a pedi doesn't sound so bad). Besides, my family is healthy and happy and I am healthy and happy and they make me the happiest. That's enough for me.

Happy Thursday!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Half Bath Remodel.

Happy Monday! (kind of). We finally completed our half bath remodel and we couldn't be happier with it. It was such an easy fix but it truly makes a huge difference in our home. 

We've always had an idea of what we wanted to do with it and we wanted to go bold. It's the bathroom that guests use so it needed to make an impression! I know it's just a bathroom but it was so ugly we hated it!

We had updated the faucet and added the new mirror but it was still not what we wanted. We painted this color thinking it would make it look nicer but it made it look worse ha! I don't think anything in this house had been updated since it was built. The toilet was old (eew!) so of course that was replaced, and the sink was in okay condition but we bought a vanity before we bought the house because it was on sale at Home Depot! Ha!

This was our inspiration. The color (Deep Space) was picked by Jack, he's always wanted to have this color somewhere in the house and I was a little hesitant because it's such a dark color but it ended up looking great. The floor was a no-brainer for me. I've always loved it because it's so vintage but feels so fresh! We knew that was going to be our concept. A mix of vintage and fresh.

We hired a guy to do all of the work for like a fourth of the price. He did a great job. The floor was really hard to install because it is so thin, so that took him the longest. I was so happy to see this progress! The entire project took three days as far as installations go. Once the floors were done, the next day Jack painted the walls. 

I've always loved these faucets and wondered why people update them! They're beautiful and a fraction of the price for the newer, more modern ones.

Once everything was installed and painted, the details were next! This is my favorite part of every project. 

And it's done! We absolutely love the feel of it! We changed the handles on the vanity to match the vintage theme. We also added new base boards because the old ones were yucky!

We have so much art stored in the guest bedroom floor that we did in college and we need to find places to hang everything up! The bathroom is a good place. :) This frame is from Hobby Lobby. The print is a woodcut color background with pencil drawing. The woodcut was done by me and the amazing drawing by Jack. 

This frame is from Pier One. The print is a waterless lithograph I did in one of my classes. :)

We are so so happy with the end result, did I mention that already? :) It was so easy and painless and honestly didn't cost very much. It's a great change for a small space. Now we want to finish every space in the house! I hope you guys like it as much as we do! :)
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