Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Here's to 2015!

I've learned that New Year's resolutions don't really hold up past the month of January, but I do love the feeling of a fresh start a new year brings. This year is bringing some new changes for our daily lives. Here's a few of them:

• Emma and I are canceling our stroller strides/Fit4Mom membership. This makes me sad, but it's what's best for us. I'm a work at home mom, so while I get to have flexibility, I don't have all day to spend with Emma. We have to pick and choose what we do. 

• Instead of stroller strides, I'm exploring other fitness options. I'm starting with a Pilates reformer class a couple times a week. I might do a bootcamp or a yoga class as well. I'll keep taking Emma on runs 3-4 times a week too. I've realized I need that "me" time an adults-only fitness class gives.

• We enrolled Emma in an activity class with the town of Gilbert. We plan on having her in at least one class at a time and also making a more conscious effort to take her to things like library story time, play dates, doing at home activities and using our new zoo membership (thanks mom and dad!).

• We are officially done saving for our emergency fund and can move on to the retirement fund and Emma's college (yay!). We also have a fund now to do some work around the house. Our first project is the office and I am SO EXCITED! We're making it a super functional space for all three of us to be in with lots of organization including a family command center on the wall. We're hoping this makes it possible for us to work and still watch Emma. She will have her own desk/chair and play area with art supplies. 

• I started a new daily routine over the past few months but haven't been the best at sticking to it with getting sick, sleepless nights and work deadlines. Now that Emma's sleeping through the night I want to get back to that routine. I wake up early, around 6, and get myself together and check into work. Emma gets up around 7:30-8 and I give her breakfast. Then we have our fun time together. We go running, will go to our class, library, art time, etc. We eat lunch at 11 and nap time at 11:30. I work from noon-5 and Mike is with Emma until we have family time at 5, after work. We love this routine!

• Once we are all not sick anymore and I can find some food prep time, we are going to do the Whole 30.

A friend also posted this from Lauren Conrad and I love it!

A bad habit I'm going to break: Going to bed late. I'm not sure why I do this, but it really makes waking up early difficult!

A destination I'd like to visit: We'd love to take Emma with us on a trip somewhere in the Northwest like Portland or Seattle, but San Francisco would be fun again. 

I'm going to work harder at: Staying on-task at work and with home duties and balancing everything in life. (Ha, seems impossible, right?)

A project I'd like to finish: Emma's baby book and our 2014 family book.

A class I'd like to take: Pilates/yoga/barre classes. 

I'd like to spend more time doing: Fun and creative projects and outings with Emma.

A food I want to eat more of: Plain fruit and leafy greens. I'm so bad at eating fruit and I love leafy greens but never know how to cook them in a creative way. 

I want to wear more: Sounds funny, but nicer comfy/workout clothes. It's pretty much all I wear and I'm working on getting better quality stuff instead of things that have been around for years and are falling apart. 

Wishing you all a happy 2015!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My First Body Back Challenge

In February I joined Fit4Mom and religiously went to Stroller Barre classes with Emma twice a week. I saw some good results, more importantly felt more energized and we have made some wonderful friends. Joining this group has been the best thing for us! Still, I wanted to be more fit, healthier and working out more than two days a week, so I decided to try an 8-week Body Back session in October. This was our last week of class and wow, what a difference it has made!

This class was without the little ones and included six days a week of workouts, training for a 5k and daily challenges (for example, time how long it takes you to do 150 burpees...what?!).

Now being at the end of the session, I have some regrets about not pushing a bit harder, falling off track and frustration at my seasonal allergies that flared up halfway through. But, overall I improved tremendously and slimmed down too! I lost 5 lbs, 6 inches total (4.5 inches just in my hips and waist), cut off 1:16 from my mile and successfully ran a 5k in 36 minutes without stopping! These are huge accomplishments for me, someone who always wanted to love running but truly really hated it. 

On Thanksgiving morning I signed up to do the mile turkey trot and took Emma with me. It felt so great to be active right before having a giant feast, I want to make it an annual thing...maybe do the 5k next year (there was no way I was going to attempt two 5k's three days apart!).

Since class ended and through this holiday weekend I've lost my way a bit. I'm so ready to get back into the swing of things this next week. I don't want to lose the momentum! As far as food goes, I feel like I'm in a fruit and veggie rut and in desperate need of inspiration. I struggle cutting out dairy, even though it's clear it doesn't agree with me. I was so good for so long without it, but it's so hard to avoid over the holidays and while eating out...and we've been doing a lot of that lately. Because of this, I've decided to commit to the Whole 30, starting in January (because how impossible would that be over the holidays?!). It's 30 days of pure, clean eating and no dairy, gluten, grains of any kind, sugar or anything processed. The goal is not to lose weight but to clean out your system by reducing inflammatory foods and get you started on a healthier lifestyle. I'm really excited about it and hope it helps!

As far as running goes, I hope I can keep this up and work my way up in mileage and down in time. I haven't been this fit since my high school volleyball days and even then I never ever ran three miles straight. Yay to new accomplishments!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family Pictures 2014

We are so in love with the pictures that Ashley Whalen Photography took for this year's family pictures! Here are just a few of our favorites, I will post our Christmas card once they are sent out. Eventually we'd like to get some of these framed and printed on canvas to hang in our home (gasp! something on the walls finally!). Thank you for the beautiful pictures, Ashley!

3-year Glutenversary

This fall marks three years since I decided to go on an elimination diet and figure out why I was so sick every single day. I've since become gluten free, the best decision I made for my health! I suddenly wasn't sick every day, my complexion changed, I lost a lot of weight, didn't feel foggy/exhausted all the time and so on. I'm still not 100% better, but it's a pretty dramatic change.

Last spring I also went dairy free, to help clear up Emma's eczema, but ended up finding I also felt much better by doing that! For some reason I really struggle with the dairy free. It's tough to have so many restrictions when eating at restaurants or at people's houses. We try doing dairy free at home and are more relaxed about it while out and about, but it is tough.

Every year I like to acknowledge my "glutenversary" because I feel like it started me on my journey to better health. It seems I really kicked it into gear when I went dairy free last spring, Emma starting solids and started going regularly to Fit4Mom classes at the park last February. This past October I started an 8-week class with Fit4Mom called Body Back. It's a super intense bootcamp that focuses on fitness and nutrition. I have to say, I haven't felt this healthy, fit and in shape since my high school volleyball days! I truly enjoy running now, which I never have liked…ever. Part of the finale of the class is a 5k run, which is next Monday. I'm nervous about it, but have more confidence now that I can mentally and physically do it. Wish me luck, this is my first big run ever!

Last week I came across a picture of myself at Thanksgiving three years ago – just a few weeks into my gluten free journey. I couldn't believe the difference. It seems I just look so tired, bloated and unhealthy…and I was! I recently was telling this to someone I just met a few weeks ago and she didn't believe me until I showed her the comparison. I'm a bit nervous to share it, but here it is:
A healthy and active lifestyle has now become a passion of mine and it's become a lifestyle change for our family. I feel like I'm constantly learning from friends, Facebook groups I'm in, my Body Back instructor and from my own body how to live a happier and healthier life. I'm so thankful for those wonderful influences and their support!

Halloween 2014

This was Emma's first repeated holiday, it is so crazy to think how small she was last Halloween compared to now! We were a little late on picking out pumpkins (definitely learned for next year!) so we went to Vertuccio Farms and had some fun finding the perfect pumpkins to carve and paint.

Grandma and Grandpa came over that evening, Grandpa loves trick or treating and was so excited to take Emma around for her first time! Our neighbors had the 2nd annual potluck dinner before trick or treating. It's always a fun time to catch up with neighbors and meet new ones!

Emma went as little red riding hood this year. She hates anything on her head, so finding a costume that didn't involve a giant head piece and wasn't going to be too warm was a challenge (I was lucky to get this pic with the hood on, I think she was reaching up to take it off, ha!). My mom made the adorable poncho and I made the bow (yes, it took us the same amount of time, she's pretty amazing!). Thanks mom!

First Dentist Visit

Right before Emma turned one we took her to a pediatric dentist since she has a few teeth (and a lip tie that we wanted a second opinion on). The dentist is actually free under 3, great deal! She absolutely loved the dentist office, until he had to check her teeth out. She pretty much hated that part, but all was better in the end when they gave her a balloon. Everything looks great with her teeth, but we are just keeping an eye on the lip tie. Thank goodness for balloons, right?! ;)

Backyard Landscaping

Not the best quality pictures, but after two years of dirt we finally got our backyard landscaped! A few of our trees died in the summer heat so they will need to be replaced, plus some more plants added (our garden has already taken off!).

We've since hosted Emma's birthday party and a neighborhood progressive dinner in our backyard. We are enjoying it so much and are excited to finally be able to use the fireplace. I've even learned how to grill a little better and enjoy it so much. We're looking forward to adding more plants, pots, new furniture and other decor.

Emma is One!

Oops, I've been slacking on keeping up with blogging! I'll be catching up with a few posts of happenings over the past few months starting with Emma's birthday party.

Emma turned one on September 3 and we celebrated by having a family dinner with grandparents. It was fun to get that time to celebrate and watch her devour her cupcake on her actual birthday! The following Sunday we hosted a big birthday party for her with friends and family.

The theme was a garden party and we served BBQ pork sliders with three different salads - quinoa, lentil and cobb. The party favors were tomato seed starter kits and we had a water slide in the backyard for the older kids (it was a hot day!). My mom made the carrot cupcakes and Emma's cake (gluten, dairy and sugar free!) and I made the coconut cream frosting for her cake. It wasn't as messy as regular frosting, but she loved the taste of it…and no allergic reactions at the party!

We were so blessed to have so many friends and family come to celebrate our baby turning one! She loved opening her presents and all of her new toys, books and clothes. Mom and dad were excited that family helped us start a college fund for her!

Stats: 18 lbs (25th%), 29.5in (50th%) – taken at 13 months

Sleep: We still hadn't gotten that solid 12 hours of sleep at night! Usually waking up once to feed between 3am-5am. Fighting the afternoon nap SO MUCH.

Feeding: Breastmilk and solids. Eats what we eat.

Clothing size: 12 month size – she moved up!

Teeth: two top, two bottom

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Emma: 11 months

Date: August 3

Stats: Not sure, but it definitely seems like she has gained some weight!

Sleep: This month was so on and off for sleep. She's been teething A LOT, so that has been waking her up. She was also sick and that made things worse too. Right now she's not going down for naps on her own very well and will sometimes take just one nap. Nights are fairly regular, but lately she's been doing an 11/midnight waking. She wakes up around 7:45am nearly every morning.

Feeding: Breastmilk and solids. She's really eating most of what we are, with her absolute favorite being hummus. We tried some dairy with her and she seemed ok, but spit up a bit and had a case of the runs the next day. Good to know she can have a bit of it, but we're still avoiding. Also avoiding wheat because she threw up from it two separate times. We're looking into doing some allergy testing for that. We're still breastfeeding every 3-4 hours.

Clothing size: 6-12 months/9 months depending on the brand. She has a few 12 month things that fit too.

Likes: mommy and daddy singing to her (any kids song, no songs on the radio), pointing to everything including our eyes (ouch), waving to everyone she sees, blowing raspberries, playing with her pots and pans in her new playroom, watching the landscapers install our backyard

Dislikes: her feet in the grass, our morning breathe (who would?!), being left alone for too long

Teeth: Two on the bottom, two on the top, two more coming in the top!

Biggest changes: Everything goes in her mouth still, she loves to mimic our laughs, more interactive and playful. She has a ton more hair and I have started using hair bows, but she recently discovered them and likes to pull them out of her hair. She gets really excited when mommy comes in to the room and gets super playful when mommy says "I'm gonna get you!" Her favorite word lately is "za!"

It's so hard to believe she turns one in just a month! We are planning her birthday party and have designed the invitations which are going out soon. I'm on the hunt for a decent gluten/dairy free cake recipe that is also low sugar for her smash cake. Going to test out a few recipes soon and will post the result if I find something good. :)

See, she likes to point at your eyes!

Monday, August 4, 2014

World Breastfeeding Week

This week is officially World Breastfeeding Week. I remember hearing about this last year while I was 8 months pregnant and hoping and praying I would be able to still be nursing by the time it came around in 2014. Feeling very grateful that we are still going strong and breastfeeding has worked out for both Emma and I. The joy and bond that comes from nursing a baby is hard to describe, it is my favorite thing from this past year!

As Emma approaches turning 1, I get asked sometimes if we're working on weaning her or if she's weaning herself. The answer is no. I'm prepared to nurse her for as long as she needs/wants. I never thought I'd feel that way, but it's become more than just a means to feed my baby. It's a bond we share, it's comfort when she's sick or hurt and it is security for her which helps her become more independent.

Maybe we'll be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week next year, maybe not. I'm just cherishing this precious time we have with our little baby while she still is one.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Grandma's 90th Birthday

Earlier this month my Grandma turned 90 so our family threw a big birthday celebration for her at our house. She invited many of her friends from church, the neighborhood and some family came into town from Wisconsin and California. Grandma had a great time and seemed to really enjoy the day! It was wonderful to see so many people gather to celebrate her

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Veggie Noodles

For my birthday I got a spiralizer, so I've been experimenting with different veggie noodles (mostly zucchini and sweet potatoes). I made zoodles with an avocado sauce that was pretty tasty and then we had a dinner with these sweet potato noodles, black beans, green chilis and we made tacos out of them (with guacamole of course). I'm really loving how easy, healthy and tasty these noodles are, but I'm finding it challenging knowing what sauces to put with them. Any ideas? :)

I'd like to precut the noodles, freeze them and also freeze a few different sauces in ice cube trays. Easy lunches, right?!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cousin Love

Emma is starting to love to play with her cousins! She hasn't quite learned not to grab faces though. ;)


A couple weeks ago we went to Coronado (San Diego) for summer vacation. It was Emma's first vacation, so we weren't sure what to expect and we packed for worst case scenario.

My parents went with us and we rented a 2bed/2ba townhouse in the heart of Coronado Island. It was a beautiful place, had a full kitchen, living room with fireplace, washer/dryer and two full bathrooms. Only thing that was missing was black out curtains…which made for impossible naps for Emma! Next time we know to bring something for that. :) This is the only way she would nap…
We just happened to be there on my birthday, so I rang in the last year of my 20's with beautiful weather, the beach, family and a wonderful dinner out with Mike (thanks for babysitting, mom and dad!).

Emma LOVES the beach! We weren't sure what to expect since she hates the feel of grass on her feet, but she loves the sand and didn't even eat much of it. ;)

We also spent most of our time at the beach, but also walked around the Hotel Del. We just love that place! It feels like such a time warp there, like you're back in the 20's or 30's. We of course had to get watermelon sorbet, Emma loves it!

We also went to the park one evening and there was a jazz concert. We sat in the park and ate our grass-fed burgers (, listened to the music and enjoyed the amazing weather. Emma had her first ride on swings too!

While it was exhausting traveling with a baby (she did very well in the car though!), we'd love to do more traveling with Emma as she grows up. Traveling has shaped so much of my life and my view on things, we really want her to have that as well. And it makes for some great quality family time that we sometimes don't get while at home.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Emma: 10 months

Date: July 3

Stats: At her 9 month check up (which was at 9.5 months) she was 17 lbs…right on the 25th percentile for both height and weight.

Sleep: I recently stopped doing the dream feed before I go to bed and she sleeps right through it until about 5am! So now she is going 8-9 hours, doing a big feed, then back to sleep until 7:30/8am. We got a little off with sleep and she has been needing to nurse to sleep since the roseola/vacation/throwing up (yes, it was a fun couple of weeks).

Feeding: Breastmilk and solids. We had an incident of throwing up from something she ate. It was horrible! We've been easing solids back in, but she seems to be doing well. She is really a great eater and tries everything we give her. We are so grateful for that! She had a phase of not wanting to nurse much, but now she wants to do it more than ever, loves her milkies. Still breastfeeding and no end in sight! :)

Clothing size: 6-12 months/9 months depending on the brand. She has a few 12 month things that fit too. (She's been in these same sizes for a while now!)

Likes: the ABC song (she's obsessed with it!), pointing to buttons, her sand toys and bucket, riding in the ring sling

Dislikes: anyone trying to hold her hand, headbands, getting dressed/diaper changed

Teeth: One tooth on the bottom and the upper tooth is coming in now. She grinds and clinks them together!

Biggest changes: She is constantly rolling r's and making new sounds. She says dada, mama, hi, bye and waves. She's gotten much more giggly with us when we do silly things. She now sings along with us, especially to the ABC song. She has become extremely clingy to mama and cries when she sees me leave the room. At first it was cute, now it just makes things difficult. She also has more hair now, so I can finally use hair bows! Still not walking, but is standing on her own for longer periods of time.

Emma had her first vacation in San Diego this month (will post pics soon!), was sick for the first time (once with roseola, then the throwing up from food), met one of her 2nd cousins for the first time and went to the art museum for the first time. It was a really fun month!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Emma: 9 months

Date: June 3

Stats: Her 9 month check up is in a couple weeks. We weighed her a few weeks ago and she was 15 lbs, but I think she's gained weight since then. She's been eating a lot more food!

Sleep: It's become very consistent. 7:30-7:30 at night (dream feed at 10pm, wakes up to feed at 5am). Two daytime naps that are at least 1.5 hrs each. We're pretty much on a 2-3-4 schedule (nap after 2 hrs of being up, another nap after 3 hrs and bedtime after 4 hrs of being up). The consistency and predictability have been great!

Feeding: Breastmilk and solids. We are getting adventurous with her food and have introduced eggs, salmon and ground beef. She loves all of them! She loves all her veggies and most fruits. The only things she hasn't liked are peaches and mangoes. Soon we will start giving her brown rice and quinoa. We try to give her all organic, but some things are hard to find.

Clothing size: 6-12 months/9 months depending on the brand. She has a few 12 month things that fit too.

Likes: pulling up to stand next to everything, eggs & salmon(loves them!), swimming, anything that is not a toy, magazines, books, songs, anything new

Dislikes: getting her diaper changed (hates lying down or sitting still!), strangers, standing/crawling in grass

Teeth: She has her first tooth on the bottom! Looks like the other bottom tooth is coming in too. She bit once before the tooth was really in and it hurt, but she hasn't done it since!

Biggest changes: She only wants to stand up, all the time! Pulls up to the sofa and is almost walking while hanging on. She's getting better at standing one handed and can stand on her own for a couple seconds. She says mama, dada and hi but we can't tell if she's just babbling or actually saying those words.

Emma absolutely loves swimming and the water! We took her on a mini trip to Tucson with my parents and she went swimming for the first time. Our trip was a little preview of what our San Diego trip will be, she did great!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

I had a wonderful first Mother's Day! We visited with family and I got spoiled by Mike and Emma. They got me a beautiful Sakura Bloom linen sling, I already love it so much! They also started a Mother's Day journal for me and (with a little help from daddy) Emma started the very first page. It's exciting to think next year she will be able to draw a little bit.

I am very blessed to have such a beautiful baby and wonderful, loving and thoughtful husband, family and friends. I'm feeling so very loved and appreciated. I have to say that I now understand at least a little bit of the love my mom feels for me, it's so very special!