Friday, July 18, 2014

Teddy Bear Picnic!!

Well, would you look at that- I go through a fabulous streak of all of the posting then...nothin' :-P  In my defense, the last week was so damn crazy that after June 13, Greg and I threw in the towel and sorta just zoned the last few days.  Between the party, docs appts, Musselman weekend and some family stuff, we were DONE!  Musselman report coming soon - spoiler alert, it was NOT the race a I hoped for, but if I'm honest, I'm not shocked.  I did get some wisdom out of it, and that's the real deal for experience, right?  Right.  But, backing up even further, I want to show you what we did for Rob's b day!!

We decided to go with a Teddy Bear picnic theme, 'cause he's our little "ro-bear".  Greg and I really got into it - we did a tedy bear invite (designed by lol), and Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Ro-Bear shirts....also designed by him.  I went a little Pinterest wild, and also threw in my own creativity.  We invited 30 friends and family over to share, and the snag was to do it on a budget.....which we managed to pull off at $120 for all the food, decorations, drinks, and favors.  It was a mix of bargain shopping and creativity.....take a look!!

FOOD - We did everything Bear themed.  BEAR-B-Q, honey cornbread, daytime porridge (barley salad), field greens.  Snacks were honeycomb, gummi bears, teddy grahams and BEAR-ies.  I shopped sales for weeks for the snacks, drinks (Target soda and awesome soda coups made the drinks less than $20 for 10 2 liters, 2 iced tea jugs, 3 12 packs and 48 bottles of water).  Tops had berries b2g3, and all snacks were bought with a coupon.  Same with the bread and buns, which coincided nicely with 4th of July.  For meat we used chicken thighs and chuck steak, which my Uncle brought, and my Dad and his new bride brought the field greens.
BEAR - ies
Personalized water bottles (yep, Pinterest)
The snack table! (Teddy bears everywhere - thank goodness for my moms '90s beanie baby obsession)
BEAR B Que (Chicken and Beef)

Honey Cornbread and "Daytime Porridge"

Cake and Favors - I was all set to do cupcakes,  then I couldn't find tins.  As I think I mentioned before, Tops offered a free smash cake for Rob (all I had to do was bring his birth certificate to the service desk, no purchase necessary), so I went a little wild with my chocolate cake recipe.  I had meant to use the teddy grahams for the cupcakes, and this just sort of evolved.  Novice, but I had fun doing it! (Why pay $40 for a friggin cake??)  The top is a round cake and a mini cake pan cut in two :-)  For favors we did more homemade labels with gummy bears thanking our guests "beary much!"  (Yes, this is why I had kids.  lol)
Picnic style cake!
N Stuff -  Obviously, we did the whole house in bears and gingham.  I got the paper goods at the dollar store mostly, and found a killer deal on plates and cups at Walmart - 1st birthday stuff for .25 each.  Score. I printed off lots of bear cutouts and peppered the house, and also jazzed up a first birthday banner and mural I got for $1.  Bear bib - Ebay for $1.
We did a time capsule (why hello PINTEREST) and asked each guest to write down (I came up with the qs!) when they first met Rob, their favorite moment, and a future wish.  We sealed it up in a high tech silver wrapped shoe box, to be opened on his 18th :-)

Lastly (and my favorite part) was the album.  Early on, I got into the habit of taking a picture of my super handsome son.  Every. Single. Day.  How could I not?  Everything he did was amazing to this in love momma.  Well, about 4 months in, I realized this could be a cool concept, so I kept at it, and a few months ago, started going through my pictures and picking my favorite one from every day (I think I ended up with over 1200 pics!) and stored them, dated, on a jump drive.  I stalked target sales and walmart, and got some great deals on prints, and started my photo album/scrapbook - it wouldn't fit in anything but a binder, but I used some cool scrapbook paper and stickers.  A picture and a caption for every day, sometimes more....from July 5, 2013- July 5, 2014.  My kiddo's first year, one day at a time.  It took me a ridiculous amount of time to finish, and I got incredibly teary doing it.  And it was amazing.  I know he will roll his eyes and me, but I'm sure someday when he is 6 foot tall and dating girls (like, next week), I will curl up on the sofa with a mug of hot cocoa and remember my baby :-)I highly recommend it - the whole thing was less than $50 to do and is probably my best memento from year one :-)

And that was the party!  It was so much fun to plan (even when I got carried away) and even more fun to have!  We did 90% in crock pots, which allowed us to enjoy the party and not stress about food, and had a great mix of cutesy and practical (according to our guests).  Now, onto #2.....PARTY #2, ya know.
 Geez :-P

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mommy Post Baby - Year 1

And the last one of these too, promise.  Of course, I've been posting like a mad woman this week, so maybe my amusing you makes up for the incessant Rob and Mom talk!  I wouldn't even care about this one, but i had a few requests for a "body post baby" one year last recap.  The narcissist in me will OF COURSE indulge you, ha.  This is another one where I feel like the updates end at year 1 - pretty much it stopped being about me when kiddo was born, and I'm fine with that.  But after being Momma for a year, I've discovered that my pre baby body and my post baby body...and mind....are totally different.  Here we go!


Pre Baby - All about me.  Let's train it, stuff it, starve it, beat it into submission.  I've lived within a 10 pound window for the last 10 years and had good years and bad years, but always tapped in super carefully to my Italian fat loving jeans genes.  Ahem.  When I found out I was pregnant with Rob, I fit into my normal clothes but was about 10 pounds above my happy weight.  I'll also finally admit it - I had some pretty severe body dysmorphia.  Thank you dance background.

Post Baby-  Everyone said that my body would never be the same.  They were right.  IN fact, I have never ever loved my body so much as I do now.  First and foremost, it grew a human being.  Bad ass.  It wasn't about me, it was all of a sudden about this kiddo I was growing, and then feeding, so my food choices weren't about restricting or binging, they were about getting Rob the nourishment he needed.  That'll change your outlook!  I also don't have all the time in the world to obsess or prepare my food, which for some people sucks, but for me, it's been excellent.  I have some great go to meals with lean protein, veggies and grains that can be made in 20 minutes or so.  I perfected homemade pizza and crockpot meals.  And I damn well enjoy my Kraft Mac n Cheese and M&Ms when I want them, and don't obsess.  Breastfeeding helped, as well as training (I was so lucky to be able to run 3 weeks pp), but now my body is different- I went down a size in pants, I am below my actual happy weight, and when I look in the mirror, I see a happy, healthy parent and role model for my kiddo.  Please stop throwing rotten tomatoes.


Pre- Baby:  I felt pretty well adjusted.  Good job, good relationship, solid hobbies.  I was never bored, but did enjoy my own quiet time and was a bit of a hog with my training time - I used to sleep in till 9, pfaff around, then do a nice 3 hour ride or so, hang out, make dinner, call friends, go line dancing (I know, wild woman).  Greg and I each enjoyed our own time and did alot of things as a couple.  I also worked a few jobs and took my time scouting deals at the stores and garage sales.

Post-Baby:  6am is a late morning.  What time??  I rarely sleep for more than 5 hours, and never all at once - i haven't slept for more than 3 consecutive hours since Rob was born.  My to do list is a joke, and I find it an accomplishment if the laundry is done and dinner is made.  It baffles me what I did with my free time before....
I still run and bike and swim.  That was non-negotiable.  I've signed up for a few dumb races (hmmmm...double marathon with a 10 month old) and need to learn to scale back a instead of half irons.  I have time to train, but not TRAIN for anything with Iron in the title. But I do know that I need to hang on to what made me Rae, and not just Mommy.
I love my husband even more than I ever thought possible.  He helped me create the most beautiful child, takes on his share of parenting, and gives me my "me" time.  And he's still sexy as hell :-)
Speaking of Love.....I had no idea what that was before I had Rob.  I thought I did, and I was wrong.  This little kiddo is my sun and stars, and the thought that he could ever be hurt sends me into a Mam Bear rage and makes me feel helpless.  My heart has never been so full of...everything.  And it's the BEST. EVER.

So there ya go, life in a nutshell, one year post baby. I would do it again in a heartbeat.  (NO, that is not a hint).   Moving on to more of what this blog used to be...meals, running/tris, and life in the thrift!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

12 months/ 1 year - No more baby!

12 months - My big boy!

Oh holy cow, bud.  How has it been a whole year?  It's so strange - I feel like you've been in my life forever, but I can't hardly believe a whole year has gone by - no more baby, you're my big man now. It's sort of surreal....the days seem to stretch into foreverness because I'm so tired, but the weeks and months just fly by.  This past year has been hands down the best year ever and I am loving being your mommy so so much.  I have never loved your dad more than I do now, and you are the perfect addition to our family.  But this isn't about's about YOU!  Let's see where you are at 12 months....

One week old....
Size - 24 pounds-ish.  We take you to the docs on the 16th for your one year check up, but according to the scale at home, that's where you're at.  You are 30" high (2.5 feet!) and are for sure a full blown toddler in my book.  You are smack dab at the 50% for your weight and height, but that's where the normal  I wouldn't have it ANY other way, bud!!

Likes: Sneezing (you find them HILARIOUS), walking to Mommy and Daddy, spinning and upside down baby, and reintro'ed to running!  You had a blast at our 4th of July family run, lounging in your running stroller and making Mom and Dad do all the work.  Classic, kiddo.  You also loves snuggles still, even though you've graduated from sleeping on mommy all the time....I have more time now that you do naps on your own, but darn am I tired!!  You also love family dinner time and spend most of it snorting through your food and giggling, which is something I need to remember 10 years down the road when I get one word answers from you about your day :-P

One year old!!
Dislikes: Being wiped off after mealtime and also having your nose wiped at any time.  You also hate the end of bath time and have a strong averse reaction to beef - your little nose crinkles up and you spit that burger out!  On the dislike side, right now strawberries also dislike get a rash when you eat them.  That's a bummer- I hope you grow out of that one!!!
Sleep: We're in a decent rhythm, aside from teething episodes - bedtime is about 8-830, and you sleep until about 6am, with one or two wake ups, usually a solid one between 3-4am.  You usually do a quick morning nap (30 minutes) and then about an hour to an hour and a half in the afternoon.  I'll take it, bud.

Eating: It gets better and better.  This month we introduced tofu, whole eggs, peanut butter (which we expected hilarity from and you just looked at us like we were nuts), and citrus.  Your fave this month is raw snap peas- you pop em in your mouth like candy!

Walking-  We are up to 12 unassisted steps!!
Beach Swim- We took you to Kershaw- you thought the sand was hilarious, and stuck your little toes right in the water.

I feel like there are more firsts, but I'm having a brain fart.  You did learn a new word..."no".  oh man, are we in doo doo.

Best Moment: Your first steps.  Awwww, bud, you are growing so darn much every day.  And I love you even more every. single. day.
Looking Forward to: Our family picnic, the summer of fun coming up, beach time, walks, playing in the yard, and all of the fun things having to do with summer!!

Now that you're one, I probably won't be doing monthly updates - I'm not a mom that says that their kid is 19.5 months.  I'm thinking a 1.5 year and 2 year check in is where it's at, although I fully expect Rob blogging to be part of this blog as cool things come up!  Hope you've enjoyed my pregnancy weeklies and infant monthlies as much as I've enjoyed doing them :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Firecracker 4 miler - A new tradition

Time for a family race report!!  Since this is the day that I spent in the hospital last year NOT having a kiddo (oh what a 4th that was...) Greg decided we should try something new this year and run the Firecracker 4 miler-as a family!  Since this is Robs birthday weekend, we want him to know it as a fun filled weekend of barbeque's, fireworks, and some good ole fashioned exercise.  While he can't run it yet (maybe next year :-P), we decided to take this one as a 3 person family group run!!  While Rob didnt have a bib, Ill give you a spoiler- that darn kid beat us by one second, as always :-P  Ahem.  Sorry for the corniness.  Moving on.

Race morning dawned a bit chilly, but clear skies and the promise of a perfect day.  We were up and at em at 5:30 (that's sleeping in, ha!) and after a quick breakfast of cereal for kiddo and me, bagel for Dad, we headed out to Fairport, a town about 10 miles west of us.  This is normally a 5 mile race, but due to construction, it was shortened to 4 miles, which was no problem with us.  We donned our family jerseys (made by Greg!) and did a quick potty stop (Rob went in his pants...shhhh) and connected with a few friends.  When it came to start time, we lined up at the back (we aren't dicks), and walk :-P

Mile 1 - I took the lead here, since I was a bit more comfortable with the stroller - since we started in the back, I knew we would be weaving, but wanted to do it so we didn't disturb anyone elses race (mission accomplished!).  About a quarter mile in, theres a big hill, and we zoomed right up it, dodging people left and right (there were a few good natured ribs about showing people up, lol).  Mile 1 clocked in 9:50, which was decent seeing as we didnt cross the start until 45 seconds in!

Mile 2 - I handed over the "reigns" to Greg at this point, and we motored up another hill, with a healthy descent afterwards.  As we worked, the non stroller person tended to the stroller-ers needs, and we just chatted as we ran easy.  It was pretty awesome- we've never raced together before- I loved it!

Mile 3 - Greg handed over the stroller about mile 3, and we headed back toward town.  We saw one of Robs childcare workers, and he started charming everyone on the course-just sorta chillin as we worked our tushes off.  Figures :-P  Greg cramped up a bit here (he's had some calf issues), but did really well and kept going strong.  He took over for about a half mile toward the end of this mile, and we finished mile 3 in 28:45.
Mile 4 - I really had no expectations of a time, but figured under 40 would be awesome, and I knew we had this.  We sailed up and over the bridge, turned the corner, and started hunting rabbits (Rob did a great job pointing them out and I caught them!)  With a hundred yards to go, we turned out the gas, Greg grabbed a stroller handle, and we finished together.  Awesome.

Post race we did some Rob snugs, found our cousin Larry (who is 65 and finished in 37 minutes.  Awesome.).  Our watch time was 37:51, gun time was 38:30.  We felt great :-)  It was the perfect way to kick off a holiday and birthday weekend, and to start the celebration of Rob's first birthday!

(Which went great, by the way.  But I'll save that for another post.)  How was your holiday weekend?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

One year Sentiments

Hey hey Buddy,

As this week has flown by (they all do, you'll realize that when you get older)...I've found myself, in the midst of getting everything ready for your birthday party...remembering our first year together and all that has happened since July 5, 2014.  You'll hear this story till you wanna hurl, but last year at this time (pretty much exactly), I went into labor with you.  You were in a hurry, bud, and not much has changed since then.  I cant even believe for a minute that you are going to be one- it seems like just yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital, a teeny little thing, and here you are, 4x the size and such a little dude.  I know you'll hear that one ad nauseum, too.

I wont recap our first don't remember, and if you need to, you can always look at Moms blog and roll your eyes with how ridiculous I am.  Instead, I want to tell you a little bit about what you've taught me this year (did you know how wise you are?)

Since you came into my life, I've learned....

That even sneezes can be funny.  You find them hysterical.  And any other little thing that most grown ups would just scoff over.  Buddy, the small stuff is where it's at.  Too many times in life people worry about the big stuff and completely miss a perfect sunrise (we've seen so many of those at 5am!).  Or the way vanilla ice cream feels on your cheek.  Or how sweet a baby giggle really is.  Its just divine, I tell you.

Afternoon naps are the best.  Preferable snuggled up together.  For the first 11 months of your life, you slept alot on mom and dad.  Everyone told us we were being ridiculous,. but our cuddle time was priceless to me.  And, as I knew it would, it passed way too quickly.  And ya know what?  I don't miss at all what I used to do from 7:30 to bedtime every night, or a random hour or two on the weekend.  I got to snuggle the sweetest, most precious baby in the entire world.  And even though you sleep like a big boy now, you still love your mommy hugs and snuggles with us at nighttime.  Oh, are amazing.

That the days are long....but the weeks and months so short.  I remember shopping with Daddy and we picked out a 12 month Sabres jersey for you- we looked at it and thought, holy cow, he will never fit into that.,  It's enormous!! grew out of that one in March.  Yikes. You are a weed!!  I can't believe that the kiddo we brought home last July was really wre so precious then, but you are so much fun now!  Everyone tells me to enjoy this stage before...(fill in the blank) happens.  Well, ya know what?  I've found that each stage has it's struggles, but each stage is magic.  And i'm enjoying the magic parts to the fullest.

How stinkin' much I would love you - I never thought it possible that I could love someone else so much, and that's saying something, because I love your Daddy to pieces.  Bud, the thought that something could happen to you just hurts my heart.  If anyone tried to hurt you, I would rescue you with the ferocity of a million mama bears.  No doubt, they would not stand a chance.  I want to protect you from all the nasty crap out there, while letting you learn each day about the wonder that the world is.  I expect a few bumps (and bruises!) but please know that no one, aside from Daddy, will love you more than I do.  No matter what, k?

I'm sure there's more, Ro-bear, but I'm quite certain that you're already wholly embarrassed by mommy.  Good-that's what Mommy's are supposed to do.  Just never forget that you are my little dude, you are amazing, and I love you times a million billion zillion.  Thank you so much for making me a mommy- it's the best present anyone could ever give.  I can't wait for tomorrow, I can't wait for Saturday, I can't wait for this Christmas....for forever!!  Every day with you is the best gift a person could get, and every morning I wake up so excited and happy to see you. 

Love n smooches forever,


Thursday, June 26, 2014

I got the Power!

Woah, two posts within a week?  I know, I know.  Hang on to your hats.  Its been a rockin' rolling week here - I'm in the midst of power training for Musselman (I have nowhere near the bike or swim prep that I should, but hey, life happens) - a nice 3 week block that coincides PERFECTLY (note the sarcasm) with the most stress I've ever had at work (potential 75% program cuts - yikes) and trying to pull together the perfect birthday for my little dude!  So theres been alot of midnight oil burning, 4am oil burning, complete freak outs, and power days.  One way I've tried to play it smart (in a way I've seriously lacked before) is with power eating.  In the past, I've had a serious case of the restrictions, which does me no favors in terms of training, clothes fittage, or my sanity (blame the ever present chubby kid that's my inner critic).  Oddly enough, having a kiddo changed this - somehow the combo of hormones, breastfeeding and a schedule shock have fired up my metabolism to where I'm now back at racing weight (10 pounds lower than pre pregnancy weight and my happy weight-score!)  On my end, I've done my part to fill my body with at least 80% good stuff- and then enjoy my treats with the other 20% of course :-)

With limited time to cram in nutrients, I've resorted to making what I call "power bowls" at least 3-4 times a week for dinner - 4-5oz lean protein, a grain, and two or more veggies, all simmered with spices.  Easy, 20 minutes or so to cook, and delicious (Rob fully approves as well, and routinely "helps" mommy finish dinner).  My latest fave - Power Chicken Quinoa!

Power Chicken Quinoa (serves 2)

8 oz chicken breast, diced
4 cups frozen broccoli (I just toss in a full bag)
One 28 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
2 tbsp. garlic
1 small onion, diced
2/3 cup raw quinoa
1 tbsp each parsley, rosemary and pepper

Hardly a recipe....add all the ingredients to a stockpot, add in 2 cups water, heat to boil, lower to simmer and cover for 20 minutes.  Dinner.  Gourmet?  Nope.  But each serving boasts almost 40 grams protein, 4 servings of veggies, and when paired with a sprinkling of Parmesan or mozzarella, delectable goodness.


What are you loving for dinner lately?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Oxygen, stat

Hey hey!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  It was absolutely gorgeous here, mid seventies and sunshiny goodness all.  weekend. long.  I took it as a sign.

Lately, I've been super struggling, gonna be honest.  Between work ( major funding issues, supervisory struggles, and meetings up the you know what), my geriatric cat (that I love to bits but is a crap ton of work right now (pun intended), a teething kiddo, certain family struggles, and a first birthday to plan on top of Half Iron training (which is my release, but still rough when the only space for your 12 miler is 4am!)...I'm toast.  I'm usually pretty good at juggling life, but lately I just wish someone would scoop up my kiddo for the day, serve me a grilled cheese and tomato soup lunch, and tuck me in for a nice nap.  Yep, my fantasy life is rich, I know.

So....this weekend I decided to just eff it and take care of me.  I got a bunch of necessary stuff done, but before I lost it, I put on the proverbial oxygen mask and did "me".  On Friday, instead of going by our normal schedule, the boys and I grabbed all of our stuff after work and hit Kershaw for some beach walking and open water swimming.  Greg and I each got in a mile loop while the other hung out with kiddo, then we did some family beach time.  Awesome.  On Saturday, I got in a beautiful 12 mile run in the sunshine - I usually hit the treadmill at some ridiculous hour, but it was such a picture perfect day that Greg took over so I could enjoy the fresh air.  My godfather game over for dinner and some kiddo swim time ("fathers day" late because he had to work last weekend).  Today, we got in our chores, of course, but started the day with a great pancake breakfast (even Rob!) and ended the day with dessert before dinner with the 'bears first ice cream cone and hanging out at the petting zoo!

Gotta drive your own car!
Simple?  You bet.  And even though both nights were rough (nother tooth cutting), the days were picture perfecto.  And I did exactly what I needed to do, exactly when I needed to (within reason).

Which is a good thing - the next two weeks are gonna be ridicul-a-mous between party planning/prep, house cleaning, gettin the birthday stuff together, and the two major HIM training weeks- life until July 6th is going to be one hot mess.  But it's the hot mess that I've chosen for my life, and I'm anxious to get into it!!

I'll share some of the party planning soon- right now I've got all of the ideas rolling around my head and a ridiculous to do list from everything to food, decorations, favors, and house prep/to buy/to borrow.  Type A?  Yeah....well, otherwise how would everything get done :-)  (OH!  One little quick tip on the cake - since we are going to have about 30 people over, I've 99% decided that I'm going to buy the cake -for you locals, Tops provides a free "smash" cake or up to 10.99 off a half or full sheet cake, you just need to bring your child's birth certificate to the service desk.  Awesome.

I hope everyone has a fabulous week- do something for you- it might sound selfish, but it really does go a long way :-)