Friday, January 31, 2014

Back on Track! {Fat Free Friday}

Fat Free Friday

  I was so excited to weigh myself this morning. I know I did things right this week and was very hopeful. I was expecting a loss, and I was right!
 
Week 5: Down 1.1 lbs!!


Starting Weight: 120.9 Remember, I'm only 5 feet tall. I'm a tiny person and 120 is muffin-top, clothes-don't-fit, fluffy belly, feeling-crappy-about-myself territory.)

Current Weight: 116.2

Loss or Gain: loss! Yay!

Goal Weight: 112 (that was my pre-pregnancy weight) Only 4 lbs to go! I'm hoping this only takes another month to get to...

Challenges this week: not weighing myself every day. After last week--which was so tough--it was hard not to hop on the scale every morning to see if I was making progress or not this week.

What I ate: Lots of fruit and veggies and I followed my rule of eating a piece of fruit before anything else, and, once again, it worked. I wasn't starving this week either. I also hit 10,000 steps nearly every day.

What I'm focusing on next week: Not eating everything in sight and making sure I get my 10,000 steps in. We are going away on Tuesday...to an all inclusive beach resort in the Caribbean. I'm not about to totally deprive myself while we're on vacation, but I don't want to go overboard either. Finding that balance might be difficult.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispy Brownies

A few weeks ago I went to a family gathering. Knowing that sweets are my thing, my cousin (who was the hostess) asked me to bring dessert.

There's nothing I love more than baking. Scouring of the internet and Pinterest boards commenced immediately. I have a board called "Desserts to Try" exactly for occasions like this--when cupcakes and cookies are too "easy".

I narrowed it down to 2 recipes I've been wanting to try and then I agonized for a few days about which one to choose. 

And I ended up going with:
But you already knew that because of the title of this post. 
 
They look really yummy right? Well, looks aren't everything. They are seriously the most delicious things I've ever tasted. And they are so so so addicting. I'm over here trying to lose the last of the baby weight and these things were just killing me. I couldn't be around them without eating every last one. Not surprisingly, that was the week I didn't lose any weight. Hmmm...
 

Anyway, here's the recipe. I dare you to NOT make them.
 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispy Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of your favorite brownie recipe for a 9x13-inch pan (I used Ghirardelli brownies and just baked them in a 9x13 pan at 325 for about 30 minutes)
  • 10-12 Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped
  • 1½ cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups peanut butter (creamy or crunchy--your choice)
  • 1½ cups Rice Krispies cereal

Directions:

1. Make the brownies according to the package. When there are 5 minutes left on the baking time, remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.


2.When the brownies are finished baking, take them out of the oven and gently spread out the peanut butter cups, which should now be melted.  Let this cool for a few minutes.

3. Then spread the peanut butter over the peanut butter cups. (Yes, peanut butter on top of peanut butter...)

4. Then, melt the chocolate chips. (I prefer to do this in the microwave.) Once melted, stir in the cereal and evenly coat.  Pour the chocolate crispy mixture over top. Spread to cover evenly. 

5. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting and serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker 

 Go ahead and pin them.  You know you want to!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fat Free Friday {a little late}

 
I delayed in posting this because this past week was NOT a good week for weight loss. This was absolutely the toughest week yet, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I was cooped up in the house, thanks to the snow. When I'm home all I want to do is eat. I stuck to my points, only going over each day by a few points (which is ok bc I have "flex points").  And the Fitbit is helping keep me motivated to move around. I'm walking anywhere between 8,000 and 10,000 steps a day.

So why they heck did I...
 
Week 4: stayed the same


Starting Weight: 120.9 (Let me remind you that I am 5 feet tall. I'm a tiny person and 120 is muffin-top, clothes-don't-fit, fluffy belly, feeling-crappy-about-myself territory.)

Current Weight: 117.3

Loss or Gain: neither. Stayed the same

Goal Weight: 112 (that was my pre-pregnancy weight)

Challenges this week: Being cooped up.

What I ate: Not enough fruit and veggies this week. I didn't follow my rule of eating a piece of fruit before anything else, and it showed in my lack of weight loss. 

Also, I let myself get way too hungry several times this week. Rather than having something small to eat when I was moderately hungry, I'd wait till I was nearly shaky with hunger. Then, no matter what I ate, I was not full or satisfied. It was not a good situation.

What I'm focusing on next week: Back to eating tons of fruits and veggies and drinking lots of water. I also cannot let myself get too hungry. 

With just about 1 week till I'm on a beach, I need to focus this week and get back on track!
 
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nicholas is 3 Months!

Nicholas is 3 months old! 

Gia heard me say 3 and she thinks they're the same age now. But then I explained that he's months and she's years and she declared "years are better".
 

We don't have a well-visit this month, so I'm estimating his weight to be in the 14 pound range!

As for height, all I can say is he's definitely growing! He's getting too tall for 0-3 month clothes -- his little ankles hang out of everything, so we've moved on to 3-6 or 6 month sizes. He was probably ready for this a week ago, but I just couldn't part with the little stuff yet. I'm not ready for my baby to get big!
 

 
 
 Also filed under the "I don't want my baby to get big" category is the fact that Nicholas is still sleeping in our room. He was getting way too big for the bassinet so we tried one night in his crib. He woke up a few times that night and I was miserable going back and forth a million times. So, we moved the pack-n-play into our room, which my husband is thrilled about. But, it works for now.  We're going away in 2 weeks and we'll transition him to his crib when we return.
  


In other news, Nicholas now sleeps through the night! This started a little less than a week ago. He'd had a really good eating day and I had a feeling he was ready. Prior to sleeping through the night, he'd been taking between 28 & 30 oz a day, with 5 or 6 of those ounces around 3 am. For a few nights he'd take only 3 or 4 oz in the middle of the night and fall deeply back to sleep for another 5 hour stretch. It seemed like he was waking up more out of habit than anything else. So last week he had a marathon eating day and took about 35 oz in a 24 hour period--30 oz during his waking hours. I was confident that his belly was full and he'd had enough to eat. So that night when he started fussing at 3 am, I put his pacifier in and put my hand on his belly and shushed him. (In general he really responds well to the shhhhh sound. Day or night, when he's fussing, he usually just wants to be close to me and to be shushed. And I love just about every second of that!!) It took about 10 minutes for him to settle--there was lots of wriggling around and sucking hard on the paci. But, once he settled down, he slept till 8 am without a peep!
 
Now that Nicholas sleeps through the night, he generally has 5 bottles a day. Each are 6 oz and the last one before bedtime is usually 7.5. 
 
 

My little munchkin is much more serious than his sister was (maybe he takes after me? My husband and Gia are goofballs). He loves to talk and he makes tons of noises, but it takes a bit to get him to smile and laugh. He can roll from his belly to his back, although I've never actually seen him do it. I'll put him down for tummy time (which he's ok with--Gia hated it) and I'll walk away for a minute and he'll be on his back. If I stand and watch, he won't do it. 
 
 

And, although this might sound crazy, I think he's started teething already! I constantly see his little tongue flicking his lower gums. (You can see him doing it in the picture below.) I can definitely see white buds under there, and if I put my finger in his mouth he chews on it very hard. I wouldn't be surprised if a tooth popped through before he turns 4 months!
 
 
 
For comparison:
The older Nicholas gets, the less I see any resemblance between these 2! Gia's coloring is so much darker than Nicholas. The shape of her eyes, the shape of her head, and her chubby little body are all so different from Nicholas's.  You can't tell here, but Nicholas's eyes are still a hazel color. I hope they stay that way!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ovia {and Fitbit}



Near the very end of my pregnancy I was contacted by Ovuline, a website and app that was originally designed to help women get pregnant. They just launched a new app geared specifically toward staying healthy while pregnant and wanted me to try it out.
 
 
 
I only had the chance to use the app at the very end of my pregnancy, but it was an awesome resource. With places to record your mood, pregnancy symptoms, daily activity, hours slept, foods eaten and weight gain, you're always be on top of your nutrition and health while pregnant. And, the BEST part? If you have a Fitbit, you can link your Fitbit to the app and specific data will be reported to the Ovia app and then it's "translated" into what that means for you because you're pregnant!

I was also given a hot pink Fitbit Flex to try out, and I just hooked this bad boy up yesterday. I think I'm in love. It was easy to set up and I barely know it have it on, yet it's keeping track of my every move (literally).  I wish I'd had this for my pregnancy.  It takes all the guesswork out of eating well, moving your body and staying healthy.
 
 
If you're thinking of getting pregnant in the near future, or are pregnant now and want to be sure you're up on your nutrition, check out Ovia's website. You can test out a computer version of the app and get a feel for all that it can do. I promise you won't be disappointed.

And, if you're thinking about getting a Fitbit...do it. I love pedometers, so I love to log on a bajillion times a day to see how many steps I've taken. But, my most favorite part is the sleep tracker. Before you go to bed you set it to "sleep mode" and it tracks how long you sleep and how well you sleep. It even tells you how long it took you to fall asleep. Seriously, how cool is that!? It's making fitness and my health almost like a game  And I'll stick with anything that's fun :)
 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fat Free Friday

For the next few weeks (or maybe, ahem, months) I'm going to dedicate Friday to losing weight, as I attempt to get rid of these last, pesky 8 lbs from my pregnancy with Nicholas.

When I was pregnant with Gia I gained about 32 lbs. Two or three of those pounds were from swelling. That, coupled with the fact that Gia was 9 lbs 1 oz at birth, meant that when I got on the scale two weeks after her birth, I only had 7 lbs to lose.  I joined Weight Watchers and did it for about 3 weeks. It was summer, I was active and the weight came off with not much effort.

I actually gained less with Nicholas--about 29 lbs in total. Nicholas was a normal sized baby though, and, let's face it, I'm 3 years older this time. I also gained weight much more quickly with Nicholas. With Gia I didn't start packing on the pounds until the middle and the end of the pregnancy. With Nicholas I was gaining a pound a week from the start, and then in the middle I slowed down.

After Nicholas was born I got on the scale and it wasn't pretty. I tried not to think about it though. My new found muffin top would have to wait. The holidays were right around the corner and there was no way I was going to count calories during the yummiest time of the year. So I really and truly didn't worry. I ate whatever I wanted throughout the Christmas season. I was preparing to detox after the holidays were over.

By 28th of December, I'd had enough. I was eating like crap and feeling like it too. So I signed up for Weight Watchers online. I've had success with them before and I was ready. And, in the spirit of full disclosure, our winter vacation is fast approaching and the thought of being on a beach at that weight was a not a happy thought.

Week 1... I lost 2.3 lbs.
Week 2... I stayed exactly the same

And today marks the start of week 3.

Down 1.3! YAY!


Starting Weight: 120.9 (Let me remind you that I am 5 feet tall. I'm a tiny person and 120 is muffin-top, clothes-don't-fit, fluffy belly, feeling-crappy-about-myself territory.)
 
Current Weight: 117.3

Loss or Gain: Loss of 1.4

Goal Weight: 112 (that was my pre-pregnancy weight)

Challenges this week: Nicholas's baptism was Sunday. I ate everything I wanted that day, but only small portions. It seems to have worked!
 
My other challenges are:
1. The evenings. I tend to save up my points because I'm an after-dinner snacker. I know it's not the greatest, but that is the hardest time for me to not eat.  
 
2. Mentally feeling satisfied. There have been plenty of times this week when I was full but not satisfied. It's really important for me to feel satisfied or else my whole day will be derailed. I can only take deprivation for so long and then I freak and eat everything in sight. So I've been have a piece of chocolate or some other small sweet every day. 

What I ate: Tons more fruit and veggies this week. When I'm hungry I always have a piece of fruit before anything else. If I'm still hungry after the fruit, I find something else.

What I'm focusing on next week: Drinking more. I hate drinking and don't drink enough of anything. And forget about water. Yuck. This week I'm breaking out my water bottle from when I was pregnant and I'm going to aim for 16 oz of water a day, and anything else I drink (which is usually seltzer).

 

Eyes on the prize...this was 1 year ago (Feb 2013) in St. John. Not perfect, but a comfortable, attainable weight for me.

Anyone else on a weight loss journey this year?  I want to hear all about it! Find me on Facebook and tell me your favorite low-cal recipe!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nicholas's Nursery {finally!}


Before we jump right in and check out Nicholas's nursery,  let me tell you a little bit about Nicholas's room and how it all came together.

When I was pregnant with Gia, Jon let me have carte blanche when it came to decorating her room. Well, kinda. I picked her bedding and the colors, but he drew the line when I asked him to paint two-toned stripes on her walls. (I know it's not that hard to do, but, in his defense, her room at the time was HUGE. It would have taken him forever. And a day.)

So, once we found out we were having a boy, I let Jon pick the theme of the nursery and from there we picked stuff out together. He absolutely loves the beach (and the summer), so he chose a nautical theme. Over the next few months, we had so.much.fun shopping for things for Nicholas's room.

So without further ado, here is the {mostly} finished product. 

{All photos are courtesy of Noelle Soroka Photography unless otherwise noted.}


Yes the anchor is a little crooked (thanks to the hanging hook on the back). Nicholas absolutely loves the anchor too. When we change his diaper he stares at it the entire time.

One of the things I like best about Nicholas's room is that we did three walls in an awesome khaki color and the fourth wall is navy blue. The effect is very very cool.
 
 
 
The blanket in these pictures is Jon's baby blanket. His mom saved it and gave it to me at my sprinkle. I'm totally sentimental like that (you're not surprised, right? This is really just an extension of a tradition!) and I love that Nicholas has this and that it looks so cool in his room.
 
 
 
 
Above Nicholas's crib we hung a vinyl compass decal. And here you can see the navy blue wall. 
 
Photo credit: Me
We found this little whale in Home Goods and he was on sale for something like $3. I had to have him. 
 
 

Before Nicholas was born, we had Gia paint a picture especially for her baby brother. I found an anchor to go with theme of Nicholas's room, and set her up with paint colors that coordinated with Nicholas's room decor.
 
Photo Credit: me
 
Once the paint dried, I cut it and framed it and it's currently in Nicholas's room, waiting to be hung. (We also have an awesome captain's wheel that Jon stained and also needs to be hung.)
 
Photo Credit: me

What do you think?
 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Nicholas is 2 months old!

I'm a little late with this one (thanks to Christmas and New Years) and I still have so many posts to catch up on. But...
 
...Without further ado, here are Nicholas's 2 month stats!

2 Month Stats: 
 
 Weight: 12 lbs 6 oz (73%)
Height: 22.75 inches (51%)
 

 My little Nicholas is growing, growing, growing way too fast. He's lost that newborn look and is much more baby-like. He coos and smiles and laughs and it's just the cutest thing in the world. He's a total mama's boy and I love every second of it. If someone else is holding him, but I'm within eyesight, he won't take his eyes off me.  He also saves most of his best talking for me. Totally makes me swoon!
 
 Nicholas continues to be a very easy baby. He's extremely predictable. He eats and then he's awake for about an hour. Then he gets cranky because he needs a nap, but is too nosy to take one. Sometimes I let him fuss for a minute (and it really only takes a minute) and then he falls asleep. Other times I pick him up and we cuddle till he's off to dreamland. He'll sleep for about an hour and then he's up and wanting to be fed again. He eats 5 oz every 3 hours like clockwork.



He's not the greatest sleeper in the world (that title still belongs to Gia) but he's working on it. He usually gives us one stretch of 6 hours. Recently that's been from 9 pm to 3 am. Then he eats and is back to sleep till 7:30 or whenever Gia wakes us up.  Little man loves food, so unfortunately for us, I think it'll be a few more weeks until we drop that 3 am feeding.

Unfortunately, Nicholas had his first cold this month. Gia is a great sharer and must have passed on some lovely pre-school germs. He mostly had some sniffles--thankfully no fever. He wasn't even cranky. The major issue is the mucus. It's hard for him to sleep at night, which has been rough on mommy and daddy. 
 
Lastly...for comparison.

At 2 months Gia was: 

13 lbs 15 (off the charts)
23 inches (85%)



I see some sibling resemblance there now that Nicholas is a little chunkier! Do you? 


 
Ps.  Please please take a minute and 'Like' my Facebook Page. You can click here or click the cute pink F on the top right. And please share with your friends, too!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Twenty Fourteen

I usually make New Year's resolutions. I love the idea of a new year, a fresh start, a chance to reflect on the past and dream about what the future holds. But, like most people, I rarely ever keep my resolutions for more than a week or two.  So last year I set goals for myself instead: things that I wanted to accomplish in 2013. And ya know what? It worked. Calling them goals, rather than resolutions, seems to have helped me get 'er done (for the most part)! 
 
Let's revisit:
 
1. Continue to blog at least 2x a week. Although I didn't always get to post two times a week, I kept up with blogging. I remember hitting a rut in early spring because I was pregnant and not sharing it yet. It's so hard to write about your life when you're keeping a huge secret! Once the cat was out of the bag blogging was back in full force.

2. Continue to hone my photography skills. Definitely did this, but could have done even more! See, I took a photography class a while ago and the teacher (who was awesome) advocated for shooting in aperture priority mode. It worked for me in a bunch of different situations (mostly when I was outside with tons of light) so I just left my camera like that and got comfy. Then over the summer, I noticed most of my images were coming out blurry. After blaming my 50mm lens, the camera and my own eyes, I finally realized I needed to get back to basics and shoot in full on manual. Once I did that, I was golden. Sure I still get blurry shots and not so great ones, but the focus issues were much much less frequent. 

Also, after talking to some awesome friends, I realized that having focus issues with the 50mm lens is very common. So, for Christmas I asked for a 35mm (f1.8) lens and my husband got it for me. I've only used it a handful of times so far, but I love love love it! I can't wait to practice with it more.

3. Patience. This is something I'm always working on. But I can honestly say that in 2013 I made some great strides. And I owe a lot of that to my little Nicholas. More on this soon.

4. Make progress on my novel.  This was the only goal I didn't make any progress on at all. But, I'm not counting it as a total loss because I did do a lot of writing this year. This blog helped me realize that writing is one of my true passions and that I should focus on it more (hence the goal for 2013). In that vein, I started writing for Daily Mom this year and it has been an awesome experience so far. I know that everything happens for a reason, and writing for Daily Mom is where I'm meant to be right now.

5. Get this house organized! Once again, thank you Nicholas for helping with this one! We got the office in order which was one specific area we wanted to focus on. And then we moved on to the other bedroom, which is now Nicholas's room. We still need to work on the basement, though.

6. Continue to make my family my priority. I can definitely say I did this one in spades! There isn't anything more important to me than my family. Being a mom is a crazy ride and I love every minute of it. We made amazing memories with Gia and then in October we welcomed a new little person into our lives. I can't wait to see who he'll become and make memories with him!


Now onto this year's goals.

1. Get back to my pre-baby weight.  I gained about 29 lbs with Nicholas and I have 8 lbs to go. I didn't worry about my weight at all through the holiday season and I'm glad I didn't. I love cookies and candy and all the yummy goodness that comes with the holidays. Now though, it's game time. We are going to Jamaica in a month and I want to look ok. So I joined Weight Watchers and I'm hopeful. I have had success with it in the past and I'm ready to get back to feeling good about my body.

2. Continue writing. I'm purposely being general here because I want to see where the universe takes me in regards to my writing. My novel, Daily Mom, this blog...it's all fair game. So, I'll continue to write, and look for even more opportunities!

3. Organize the basement. This is the last area of the house that really needs help and I want to tackle it this year!

This year I'm also picking a word. I first heard about the one-word resolution challenge on Laura Lippman's Facebook page (she's an author that I love. If you haven't ready any of her books, get on that. Start with "What the Dead Know". Thank me later.) The idea is that you choose just one word to describe & define what your main resolution is for the year. I thought a lot about my work. I thought about "non-judgmental" or "patience" again, or just something simple like "love".

But...I decided on


I get stressed more often than I'd like to admit. Most of the time it's about little things. And just the other day I read something that basically said if you're worrying about something, you're not living in the present. (I wish I could find the exact quote...) That really struck a cord with me. I spend a lot more time that I'd like to stressing about things that I shouldn't worry about. So this year I'm going to work on letting it go. So, relax. That's my word.

What's yours?