Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fitness

Right around New Years I finally had my "AHA Moment" when it came to my health.  I was still dragging around a ton of my baby weight, I hadn't gotten back into exercising, and I was so sick of being envious of people who were writing about their fitness journeys on Facebook and Instagram.  People were running 5K's, posting recipes for healthy meals, and hitting their goal weights.

I'd love to say I was happy for them, but I was just jealous.  Because they were doing the healthy thing and I was doing the eating pizza and drinking beer on the couch thing.  Which is cool, and needed sometimes, but I had had it with looking at myself in the mirror and seeing a chunky blog.  I was sick of my clothes not fitting.  I was sick of feeling sluggish and lacking energy.

So I started Weight Watchers.  And I stuck to Weight Watchers.  It's amazing how well a program works when you follow it seven days a week and not just Mon-Thursday.  Weight Watchers is the best program for me because I need to be accountable.  I need to track everything that I eat, weigh myself each week (I do online because I don't have time for meetings), but still have room to splurge.  I need my flex points.

I saw the number on the scale go down.  Of course here and there I had a bad week and would gain a bit, but that's all part of the process.  It's a lifestyle not a diet.

Then I started running again.  My runs were laughable, but hey I was getting it done.  Then I started doing some of the workouts on-demand on cable and those were pretty tough.

I could start seeing the results.  Then a bunch of girls at work all started doing P90X3, which is a 30 minute version of Tony Horton's P90X.  That's where the money started happening.  I was dropping weight a lot faster and now (about 60 days in) I'm really starting to see some definition and toning.

My problem areas are still my problem areas (stomach and hips) but they're getting better.

Then I bought the Shakeology to go along with the Weight Watchers and P90X3.  So it's like a triple trifecta of health.

I actually went on a food bender over Memorial Day weekend and I had that same bloated/sluggish/shame feeling I used to have, so yesterday was right back on the program.

Before I had Arya I was a gym rat and I used My Fitness Pal.  My situation has changed since then and so has my fitness plan.  I'm still a little bit away from my goal weight and I have a lot more toning up to do, but I feel great and I love the way that my clothes are actually fitting me.

 I'm too embarrassed to post my official "before" picture, but maybe I'll post the "after"...you know...after.

This was late December 2013


April 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cozy Wall Art #Review

I'm a sucker for a good wall decal.  I love how it can really spruce up and personalize your space, so when Cozy Wall Art asked me to review a wall sticker, I jumped at the chance.

I chose an adorable Sweet Dreams Wall Quote Decal in pink to go above Arya's crib...I was hoping it might help her sleep through the night, but no cigar.  I also chose Stars Multiple Sized Wall Patterns to go around it.



The wall art shipped quickly and was easy to apply.  You just clean the wall, use the water technique or the applicator tool, stick and smooth out any bubbles.  I thought the letters would give me a hard time because of the swirls, but once I got the hang of it it was easy peasy.  

The decals arrived super fast, they are affordable and can easily be removed at any time.  

So if you're looking for a way to spruce up your space you can find tons of options on Cozy Wall Art, such as custom name stickers, wall quotes and patterns.  

*I received a wall decal free of charge so that I might provide an honest review.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Working Towards Weaning

I remember how much I worried if I would be able to succeed at breastfeeding Arya.  I would read books and fret to my husband at night.  Once she came, I wasn't sure if I would make it through the cracked, sore, bleeding nipples, the painful latch, and the marathon cluster feeds before bed.  But things got easier and by 3 months things were downright easy.  I made my first goal of 6 months and decided that things were going so well I would push for the year.

Well a year came and went and I'm halfway between I need to stop nursing right this minute because I need my body back now now now! and I'll just let her naturally wean because she loves it and so do I.  

Depends on the day...or the night.

So I started googling "gentle weaning" "ways to wean"  "weaning your one year old".  I've decided that I'm not going to stop cold turkey.  I know she's one but she's still so little and she really is such a little nursling.  But I'm going to try to cut back a bit.  I'd like it if we could just nurse in the morning, before naps, and at bedtime, instead of all those snackies during the day and then gradually drop a feeding.  She takes cow's milk during the day while I'm working like a champ and I just recently dropped my lunch time pumping session.

So we're working towards weaning.  My hope is that by the time the summer ends she'll be done.  I'm cautiously hopeful because she uses nursing as a way to connect to me and she pretty much tries to get in my shirt whenever she wants to nurse.  I'm hoping that since I'm at home in the summer she'll feel connected enough to me where she won't want to nurse all the time.

We'll see how it goes.  I'm really trying not to worry or plan it out too much, I'd like to let it happen organically I just don't want to be nursing a two year old next summer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Arya's Onederland

For Arya's first birthday party we decided to do an Alice in Onederland theme.  It was such a beautiful day and I loved seeing all the kiddies play together.

The Decor 

I used Etsy printables from Krown Kreations for all of the paper goods including a banner, drink me straw flags, drink me water bottle wrappers, photo props, Alice in Onederland decorations and signs.  I used .  I actually used a ton of them.




alice in wonderland decorations


The table decor was my favorite.  The grass table runner was purchased from Amazon.  I actually made the teacup centerpieces with my mom.  Michael's Craft store had giant teacups on sale for like $4 so we bought three, filled them with foam, stuck in some fake flowers and covered them with fake grass.  So easy, cheap and adorable!  The giant flowers were also purchased from Amazon.  

alice in wonderland birthday party


alice in onederland birthday

alice in wonderland first birthday


The flamingos were purchased from Amazon as well.  We're an Amazon house...guess it must be the prime.


All of the yard decorations were purchased from A PropHer Party on Etsy.  The artwork was amazing and they added a really nice touch to the yard.  We had Alice, The Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and the White Rabbit.







To create a non-sensical, "wonderland" effect inside, I hung chinese lanterns and butterflies that I purchased on Amazon at all different heights along with empty picture frames.  I found cheap wooden frames at Michael's and painted them blue, yellow, pink and purple.  


The Food

For the kids we kept it simple:  Wonderland pizza because you can't go wrong with pizza.  For the adults we had Queen of Hearts Sandwiches (a 6ft chicken cutlet hero), Croquet Croquettes (potato croquettes), Croquette Rice Balls, and White Rabbit Vegetables.  

The dessert table was out of this world.  We got a two tier cake from Sugar Coated Bakery in Brooklyn that was white cake with cookies and cream filling.  It was so beautiful that it was almost a shame to cut it, but it was delicious enough that it was worth it.  We also had Cheshire Cat tails (strawberry marshmallows that flanked a white marshmallow dipped in purple Candy Melts), sugar cookies from Two Crazy Cookies on Etsy which were so pretty, the kids went nuts over them.  We also had Caterpillar rock candy and Wonderland Sweets (jellybeans and sixlettes).  

Alice in wonderland cake

two crazy cookies


alice in wonderland birthday party dessert

alice in wonderland birthday

rock candy


alice in onederland dessert

two crazy cookies



queen of hearts sandwiches

The Activities

We lucked out and wound up having a gorgeous day so mostly the kids played outside in the bouncy house and on the play set.  We brought out the mini trampoline and mini slide as well for the younger kids.  We also played Pin the Grin on the Cheshire Cat, which is just like pin the tail on the donkey, from One Love Designs on Etsy.  We also had Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum Sack Races.  There was a Painting the Roses Red Craft Center where the kids got to decorate a Mad Hatter Hat and a flower pot.  Craft supplies were purchased from Oriental Trading . I also bought a large wooden frame from Michaels Crafts and hung it from the ceiling after painting it pink and created a photo prop center.  And of course a pinata.  

alice in wonderland craft center

Mad hatter craft


painting the roses red craft center

alice in wonderland games


alice in onederland games

alice in wonderland party activities


It was such an amazing day and I'm so glad that Arya got to spend the day with her family and friends in Onederland!

Arya and her godmother






Monday, May 19, 2014

Mother's Day

***for some reason this didn't publish so you're getting it now. A few weeks late***

I hope all of you mommy's out there had a wonderful day of being pampered, spoiled, and appreciated. 

Andy had to work nights on Mother's Day (boo) but was able to work his schedule so that he could go in at 10 pm (yay). I have to say that he really spoiled me. A bag of chocolate shakeology, he cooked my favorite bbq meal, did both girls bedtimes and kept my wine glass full. 

I'm so blessed. It was so nice to enjoy my kids without the minutiae of taking care of them if that makes sense. I also got some adorable crafts that Isabella made in school. 








One Year Old


Weight: ??? (Doctor's appointment is upcoming, I'll update it later)

Height: ???


Sleeping Habits: Nothing much different to report she goes to bed around 7, wakes up around 2am to nurse, and then back to bed until about 6.  She takes two naps that are about 1.5 hours each.  Her sleeping habits are the same wether I nurse her to sleep or if she falls asleep on her own in the crib.  

Eating Habits: We still EBF and she takes bottles of pumped milk when I'm at work.  I'm working on dropping my lunch pumping session at work and Arya had been slowly getting used to cow's milk mixed with my milk in her bottle.  I'm trying to stick to nursing in the morning and at night but she just always wants to nurse...like all the time, plus she's still getting breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  At this rate she won't be weaned until she's 15.  

Milestones: She's full on walking now.  She can go straight across the room.  She can also go up the stairs, which is not as exciting as it sounds.  She's also talking a lot more she can say: mama, dada, bella, ball, bye-bye, night night, grandma, Elmo, car, go, Cinderella (rella), and baba.  Not everyone might understand her, but we can.  It's like the past two weeks have been a language explosion. 

Best Thing This Month: Celebrating her birthday with our family.  It's an Alice and "One"derland theme and I'm working on that post now.  Such a fun day.  

Challenges:  Temper temper.  This kid doesn't get what she wants and it's a full on scream a thon.  
I can't believe that she's one.  I love this age.  She's so curious and fun and funny.  

Loves:  chicken, Elmo, her stuffed lambie, going down the slide, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Hates: mashed potatoes, sleeping through the night, getting her diaper changed, and letting anybody sit down for a minute.  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Garage Sale

So since I'm totally done having babies I have a lot of "baby stuff" that's hanging around in my garage.  Things like swings, pack and play, basinette, jumper etc. I'd like to have a garage sale but I'm kind of at a loss on how to plan and promote one.


Is there a lot of haggling going on? How do I decide on a fair price? When and how do I start to promote it? What kind of stuff do I need to help set up?

I've tried Craig's list without a lot of success so I'm thinking if I can sell most, or even some of it, that would be great and I can donate the rest. 

Share with me your best garage sale tips and tricks! 



Extended Nursing

When Arya was first born the thought of nursing her for a year (my ultimate goal) seemed like a long and daunting prison sentence.  I mean between the bloody torn up nipples and the toe curling pain when she latched, I never thought I'd make it.

But...as we both learned and perfected our technique, things really evened out and nursing became not only easy, but enjoyable.  Now we're coming up on her first birthday (shut up right?!) and it's seeming like neither one of us is really ready to end our nursing relationship.

I don't want to be one of those women who nurse until their kid is in grammar school, I'm thinking I'd like to just go a little further, maybe through the summer.  I wouldn't be working so I wouldn't have to pump.

She has breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus a snack or two and she'll have breast milk 3-4 times per day, from me if I'm home or pumped milk if I'm working.  I'd like to keep the morning and night nursing sessions and drop the middle two.  That would be my ideal.  But she's such a little nursling.  When I'm home she constantly wants to just "graze".  Which doesn't really bother me, but it's not heading in the direction I want.  We've started adding cows milk to her bottles a little at a time and she's tolerating it well.

Honestly, I kind of worry that people will think it's "weird" or "strange" or "gross" if I continue to nurse her past one.

What is your take on extended nursing?  Any advice?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Disney with a One Year Old

Disney with one year old is not for the faint of heart.  Maybe if you have one of those easy, adaptable, just sits in the stroller all day type of babies you'll be OK, but if your kid is full of piss and vinegar like mine, it takes a little finesse.  So here are some tips to help you make the most out of your trip with your  budding toddler. 




Know your limits

This was the motto of our latest trip.  Isabella is almost five so she could have stayed at the parks from sun up to sun down and waited on every 2 hour line that we saw, but Arya is still too little and is starting to be mobile and she didn't want to just be held or strolled around...she wanted to explore.  So we needed to set limits about what we could do and what we couldn't do.  We wanted to get to the parks early so we could beat the crowds, but we couldn't because Arya needed that first nap in the crib. We wanted to stay and watch the fireworks every night, but we couldn't because Arya is a bear when she gets overtired.  There were hard limits: bed times and naps and soft limits: meals.

Take Turns

It's never fun to get stuck holding a baby at Disney World while everyone else gets to have fun on more grown up rides.  So make use of the rider swap so while one parent rides a ride with an older child, the other one can stay with the baby, then you just use your rider swap ticket and switch.  The older kid gets to go on twice and both parents get to ride too.  Easy.

Use Your Fast Pass

The new My Disney Experience App makes it really easy to plan your fast passes for the day.  We made sure that everything we Fast Passed was baby friendly so she wouldn't have to wait on long lines.  Arya loved It's a Small World, Peter Pan's Flight, Dumbo, and pretty much any other ride that didn't have a height requirement.  Shows were awesome too and they really kept her interest.

Let Them Explore

Arya is just starting to walk, so she's really interested in physical movement lately:  climbing, exploring, toddling.  In each park there's a play type area to let the kids just run around an play.  Her favorite was Honey I Shrunk the Kids in Hollywood Studios.  She got to crawl around and get some of that energy out.  Pretty much any inside area with a rug will do as well.

Have Fun!

Disney is so much fun at any age and we had a ball!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sisters

When I tell people that I have two daughters, some have the audacity to ask when I'm going to try for a boy. Rude! The truth is, I love having two girls. I love that they get to be sisters.


I was always very close to my sister growing up and I still am. I know that there's no guarantee that when they grow up into themselves and their personality develops that they'll even like each other. But I hope they will. 

I like to imagine them as teenagers sharing clothes and talking about boys (it will probably be more like fighting over clothes and boys). I think of them talking on the phone when they move out, cooking together, shopping together, having play dates with their own kids. I like to think of them as my sister and I are now. 



Even now that Arya has become more mobile and interactive I can see their relationship growing and changing. Arya will crawl over to Isabella to see what she's up to. Isabella will play peek-a-boo with Arya or tickle her. Sometimes I see them making up completely insane games together, like taking turns growling at each other. It's cute I swear! 



More than anything I like the fact that they will have each other to lean on and support when Andy and I are old and gone. 

And if one of them happened to have a super power like freezing things and creating ice palaces that would be cool too. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chuao Chocolatiers Review

I love chocolate.  Love it like I could bathe in it and sleep with it and luxuriate in it all day long.  And because I'm part of an amazing group of authors who co-wrote The Mother of All Meltdowns I got four awesome chocolate bars from Chuao Chocolatiers to review.

Chuao (pronounced chew-wow) is the first Venezuelan chocolatier based in the United States.  Unusual flavor combinations is what really makes Chuao chocolates stand out.  They have a huge variety of chocolate in both milk and dark.  I reviewed Sweet and Salty, Pretzel Toffee Twirl, Potato Chip, and Honeycomb.

Sweet and Salty- this was my husband's favorite.  It was creamy and smooth.  The sea salt that was in it had a nice crunch to it so you could actually taste the saltiness of it.  The salt was hefty enough to stand up to the sweetness without being overpowering.  Isabella also loved this one the best.

Pretzel Toffee Twirl- This has three big pretzels smooshed into the back of the chocolate bar with flecks of sweet toffee throughout.  I love dark chocolate and I thought this had a great balance of salty and sweet as well.

Potato Chip- I thought that this was going to be super gross, but it actually wound up being my favorite.  I loved the potato chip crumbs throughout the chocolate bar.  It was just the right amount so that you could taste a hint of cruncy potato chip in the smooth milk chocolate.  I ate nearly the whole bar on my own.  This was also my mother's favorite as well.

Honeycomb- This was very sweet and had a distinctive honey taste.  I loved it.  It didn't taste honey flavored, it tasted like true, sweet honey.  Delicious.

What better way to spoil Mom on mother's day, or to spoil yourself, then with some yummy, decadent chocolate?  Or a copy of our book, The Mother of All Meltdowns, which is only $0.99 for your Kindle on Amazon!

Or you could always enter the amazing giveaway that's being hosted over at No Mother is Perfect.  The giveaway features not only Chuao Chocolatiers, but Anew Wine, Wind and Fire Jewelry, and a bunch more!



The site is created by women for women, a place where you don't have to worry about being judged or melting down.