Thursday, May 30, 2013

going nuts.

ok so after the cleanse i went a little nuts. well, actually, it had nothing to do with nuts. nuts are cleanse-friendly. so i went a little chocolate. and bread. and cheese. and diet coke.

i've been thinking almost every day for over a week, "today i'm getting back on track." i don't know that i've really made it "on track" past lunch on any one of those days. also, i haven't seen the inside of the gym in weeks. not good. why does it seem so easy to keep going with positive changes when you're already going in that direction but it's so hard to start again once you've stopped? i didn't take physics but i'm pretty sure there's a principle like "an object in motion stays in motion." so i'm thinking this applies to habits like eating right, exercising, drinking water, etc. i need to get back in motion (literally and figuratively) but i just can't seem to make it happen.

today's the day.

coffee does not count as water.
cherry laffy taffy does not count as fruit.
and a frappuccino does not count as dairy.

i know with our schedule over the next couple of months, i'm going to be really busy and eating right is going to be a challenge. just the rundown of the plans has me exhausted...

denver to visit my cousin and her husband 6/14-6/17 (joe's birthday 6/15, my birthday & fathers day 6/16)
independence day at the cabin 7/3-7/7 (bennett's 1st birthday 7/6)
zac brown band/kenny chesney/eric church concert 7/12
bennett's 1st birthday party 7/13
closing date 7/15
paint, paint, paint; move, move, move
renters move in 8/10

obviously i need to plan ahead in order to not gain a million pounds over the summer from a diet consisting only of pizza and takeout. i really need to think about making some meals and freezing them so we can just pop them in the oven and have something healthy for dinner without spending a lot of time.

i think this weekend will be spent grocery shopping and cooking, plus sorting, organizing, and packing.

hopefully a little thoughtful planning will help keep me from going nuts. again.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

memorial day recap.

we spent the holiday weekend at my family's cabin in chetek, wisconsin with my mom and dad and my brother and his wife. it was a really fun, relaxing weekend. naturally, joe and i got in a fight on the car ride there (i swear 99% of our fights occur in the car), so the weekend didn't get off to a great start. i think all the house stuff just has us both stressed and more sensitive than usual. we are both excited about making changes and updates to the house, but we each have slightly different ideas about how to spend our money and what changes are priorities over others.

fortunately, the mood of the weekend only went up from there.

bennett was a champ all weekend and was in a great mood. i seriously think a tooth is going to come through soon (otherwise, we'll have to think about getting him fitted for baby dentures), but he didn't seem to be affected by it at all. he even took a couple steps on his own for the first time! he quickly decided that crawling is faster and more efficient, so he hasn't been interested in a repeat performance so far.

the weather wasn't great, but we were able to get out for a pontoon ride on sunday afternoon. after the fact i realized we need to get a life jacket for bennett. fortunately he survived our poor parenting judgement this time.

love this boy
wearing dada's boat shades
helping papa drive the boat
snuggling with auntie jeanie
ben is starting the "starfish" class (baby swim lessons) at shoreview community center in june, so our little starfish will probably be splashing around in the lake later on this summer. it seems he's out of his "i hate baths" phase, so i'm hopeful swim lessons will be a positive experience for all.

my parents' wooded, lakeside lot is nice, private, and serene. however, it also brings with it some scary side-effects. for example, we found ticks on george, my brother's dog apollo, and even one crawling on bennett. gross. i've felt itchy ever since. also, two eagles were george-hunting all weekend in the front yard. george was oblivious, but those shrill, piercing shrieks coming from way up in the trees were a little scary. we tried to remind george that he's eagle bait if he's not careful, but he didn't seem at all deterred from spending time outside. while my mom stood guard while the dogs were outside, i'm not entirely sure what good that really did. i asked her what she would do if one of those eagles swooped down, talons at the ready. she couldn't really answer, but i appreciate the gesture. no one threatens her granddogs.

besides being on the lookout for ticks and impending eagle meals, the rest of the weekend was spent being highly productive: taking naps, searching online for house ideas, eating a million peanut butter cookies (bad choice), a long walk (good choice), and watching some solid episodes of dateline. i know, i'm 96 years old but seriously, i love dateline. i also think that i could get away with murder far more successfully than any of the convicted murderers on the show. i mean, now that i got that in writing my chances of acquittal are significantly reduced. but seriously, who kills someone, researches "how to dispose of a body" on google, makes a quick trip to home depot and uses their credit card to purchase rubber gloves, bleach, and duct tape, and then lets multiple people witness them loading a large cooler into their trunk? you can't deny quality educational programming.

getting back to work today after 4 days off has been a bit of a struggle. however, the surprise news that i'm getting a raise and now receiving PTO has helped increase my motivation significantly. considering we just bought a house, i'm not sure there could be a more perfect time for a raise and some paid time off.

i'm very thankful for my family, our health, and our freedom. hope you had a great memorial day weekend, too!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

home inspiration.

now that we have made it through most of the hurdles of the house-hunting process, i'm starting to get really excited. we still have the appraisal and final closing to get through, but it seems like there should not be any issues with that. we can't wait to get our hands on the house and really make it our own. while we don't have a ton of money to put into it (umm, hello? houses are expensive), we have looked into a lot of things that we can do ourselves. we plan to paint pretty much every room in the house. paint is pretty cheap, but makes a big impact. i want to do a lot of neutrals (taupes, grays), but maybe some colors in the bathrooms/smaller areas. my mom and i are going to look at paint colors this weekend when we're at the cabin for memorial day. it does pay to have an interior designer for a mom...

on top of painting, we're looking into getting all the carpet replaced (though, we may have to hold off while we save for it). we have a baby crawling around everywhere, and it'd be nice to know that everything is clean and new. plus, bennett's room currently has aqua carpet, which is definitely not going to work.

we also plan to paint the kitchen cabinets. the cabinets are currently white, but they're glossy which makes them look kind of outdated. i think we're going to keep the top cabinets white (only make them more matte instead of glossy like they are now), and paint the bottom cabinets a rich sage green. here's what we're going for (except not open cabinets because, let's face it, i'm not that organized):

i found new hardware for them at target that are like the hardware in the picture, so we'll put that on to make them more modern. then, we found white subway tile 50% off and joe's going to install that as a backsplash in the kitchen.

we obviously will have to work at these projects slowly, but it's so fun to talk about and plan out how we're going to make this house our home. turns out joe is addicted to pinterest (he's going to kill me for putting that on the blog), but feels he's keeping things under wraps because his username is "jakewienke." always throwing the younger brother under the bus...

i'm sure i will fill the blog with house updates, before/after pictures, etc. for now, i'm just looking for inspiration, dreaming of how it will all turn out, and considering which bank to rob to make it all come together. i'm thinking TCF.

Monday, May 20, 2013

house-hunting. part four.

read parts 1-3 here, here and here.

i couldn't believe it. tears welled up in my eyes and it felt like i had been punched in the stomach. perry explained that the sellers had been alerted to the fact that at least one if not two other offers were coming in and that they would be accepting offers until noon. despite the fact that our 9pm response deadline had long since expired, we really couldn't do anything besides withdrawing our offer, waiting, or offering more. honestly we didn't want to do any of those, but waiting seemed like the lesser of three evils at that point.

i cried for a bit, then decided that i needed to distract myself. i poured myself into playing with my precious babe and soaking in his big smile and the sound of his laugh. the verse we chose for bennett when he was dedicated was psalm 25:5. while i will admit this verse didn't come to my mind in the midst of the stress, i think spending quality time with him this morning helped remind me of its truth.

"guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." -psalm 25:5

later that morning, perry called me and told me that the sellers had received a second offer that was "ridiculously high." the listing agent and sellers were concerned that the house wouldn't appraise at that offer price. the listing agent also mentioned a number of times that the sellers, who have owned the home since 1986, really liked meeting us and liked the idea of having a nice, young family move into their house. so, the listing agent said that he and the sellers were working on a counteroffer asking just above list price. the sellers were signing it and if we signed it would be a done deal.

i prayed. i asked God to make it clear if this was the house for us. i asked Him that, if it was right, joe and i would agree about accepting the counteroffer and that He would help the pieces fall into place.

after finally having a chance to discuss everything (joe had been in a case all morning so we had only been communicating via text), we knew we wanted this house. after crunching the numbers, we saw that the price they were asking would have very little impact on our closing costs, down payment, or monthly payment. because it worked financially, we decided to move forward and sign the counteroffer. i spent about 6 hours at edina realty waiting, signing, waiting, signing, waiting, signing. finally, at about 3:30 on friday, we had a contract signed and delivered. 

celebrating at green mill with pizza and diet cokes :) we keep it classy
our inspection was today and it went really well. i was anxious something was going to pop up that would jeopardize us being able to get the house. but the inspector only pointed out some minor things that we can fix relatively easily. we get the results of the radon test (recommended for older homes) on wednesday and that'll do it for the inspection. next is the appraisal. perry said he doesn't think there will be any problem with the appraisal. after the situation with the other house, i guess i'm having a hard time letting myself fully trust that this is happening. assuming there are no issues with the appraisal, we'll close on july 15th. our renters move in august 10th, so we'll have nearly a month to paint, move, and get our townhouse move-in ready for the renters.

this process, while relatively short time-wise, has been emotionally draining. the highs and lows of the roller coaster have been a challenge to ride out while still keeping the faith that everything would work out as it should intact. real estate can be a nasty game. and with it being a seller's market and an area where properties are being sold within hours of being listed, that's even more so the case.

but here's what i know to be true, and what we have been shown through this process: God provides. God answers prayer. God has a plan and his timing is better than ours.

"'for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" -isaiah 55:8-9

house-hunting. part three.

read parts one and two here and here.

after talking to joe we decided that he and perry would go take a look at the house missy texted me about and then he'd call me if it was worth me seeing. after walking through, joe said he really liked it and thought i should look at it, so i set up a showing for 4:15 so i could go straight from work. the listing agents had decided to host an open house from 5-7 that night because of the excessive interest and number of showing requests they'd received, so perry wanted to get me in before the open house started.

when i arrived at the house, the owner was standing in the driveway waiting for his wife to get home because she hadn't been notified of our 4:15 showing. joe arrived with bennett minutes later, so we all were introduced to the seller and his wife when she arrived. they left and then we walked through the house. immediately i knew i wanted to make an offer. while the house needed some updates, it didn't need anything immediately or anything major (like heat and air conditioning- ha). plus it had all of the "must-haves" and several of the "wants" from the list joe and i made before we started looking at homes.

we quickly went back to the agency, drew up the paperwork, and got our full-price offer submitted before 6pm. we weren't newbies anymore and weren't messing around. when you make an offer you have to promise money called "earnest money," which basically just shows you, as a buyer, are serious about your offer. we didn't have to write a check, but we had to give the number of the check we would use should the offer be accepted. i didn't have my purse with me, but we had just done this days before with check 1559. i had written a couple of checks since then that i could think of, so i estimated we would use check 1661. joe chimed in and suggested we put 1563 just to be safe, so that's what we did. when i got to my purse, i pulled out my checkbook. check 1563 was the first one. God is cool.

in our offer we asked for a written response by 9pm. the next few hours i was on edge. feeling burned by the situation with the first house just two days before made me anxious that we would lose it. joe was calmly enjoying his round of 9 holes for golf league, naturally. 9pm came and went and we hadn't heard anything of substance. the listing agent threw out all sorts of excuses for why they just couldn't get a response in by 9 and assured us that the sellers would sign.

i slept restlessly all night and woke up early friday morning. i resisted the urge to call perry at 6am and impatiently waited til i finally heard from him around 9am. it wasn't good news. perry told me, "it's happening again, liz..."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

house-hunting. part two.

read part one here.

perry said that the house had been flipped by two guys in a partnership and that only one of the sellers had agreed to the counter-offer. since the counter wasn't in writing, they had no obligation to us as buyers. at that point, two more offers had been received at or above list price. accepting their "counteroffer" (or so we thought) at list price was the best we were willing to do, so we lost it to higher bidders.

we were crushed. we had counted our chickens before they were hatched and gotten ourselves emotionally invested in a house we thought was ours. having it ripped out from underneath us blindsided us and left us feeling cheated and that our good faith had been taken advantage of.

after mourning the loss, we wanted to get back out there and find the house that was meant to be ours. wednesday we saw two more houses. we didn't like the first one. it had a really nasty bathroom, complete with navy blue tile and an orangey-colored "japanese tub" (don't ask- it was bad) and just would've needed a lot of work. we moved on to the next house. this one (unlike most in the area) had been on the market over a month, which was due to the fact that it had electric heat (most houses have forced air heat through vents) and did not have central air. while joe and i both actually really liked a lot about the house, i couldn't move past the heating/cooling issue. ideas were thrown around about getting estimates to put in central air and forced-air heat, as well as other options to remedy the issue. ultimately, though, we agreed we wouldn't buy a house without something major on our "must haves" list that we'd made before we even started the hunt.

our realtors, helen and perry, asked us to be "at the ready" to go look at anything we might be interested in. with how quickly things were flying off the market, we needed to be prepared to move fast. we weren't willing to take any chances that we could get outbid again if we found the house we wanted. at this point, we were feeling pretty discouraged. not only did it seem like there was nothing on the market we liked, we were also feeling like if we actually found something that we would just get outbid again in the [likely] event of a bidding war. this was supposed to be fun, and it was anything but fun. we continued to pray for guidance and for God to lead us to the right home for us.

the next day i got a text from my friend missy with a link to a house that had come on the market within the last fifteen minutes. missy and her husband live in shoreview and she is the biggest advocate of anyone and everyone joining them in "God's country," as she lovingly refers to it. she also trolls the internet for shoreview real estate on a daily basis (along with local prisons' inmate rosters, but that's beside the point) and was happy to step up as our honorary agent. the house she texted me about looked nice and was in a great location, but was slightly over our price range...

Friday, May 17, 2013

house-hunting. part one.

house-hunting honestly sucks. it is an emotionally-draining roller coaster ride. fortunately, God is good and keeps showing up, continuing to show us that His timing is always better than ours. i will start at the beginning...

on monday we went and looked at 3 homes. i had been excitedly anticipating seeing one in particular, but we didn't even get to look because it had already sold by the time we started our showings at 4:30. the first one we looked at was ok, but definitely not something we would put an offer on. it was right on the corner of a really busy street and had a huge deck that honestly took up 80% of the backyard. with a hot tub built into it. not ideal for kids. or anyone with eyes.

we got to the second house and were immediately struck by how nice everything was. new wood floors, new granite countertops, new white trim, new, new, new. we quickly called my parents and asked them to come to the house so they could see it, knowing we were really interested. while my parents started heading our direction, we went and saw the 3rd house. ummm, no. let's just say it  had a sunken tub. i'm talking it had a step down to get in it. B. A. D. didn't take us long before we were back at the other house discussing an offer. the house had only been on the market 4 days and was obviously a flip, because it had been purchased just over two months ago at nearly $100,000 less than the current asking price. not knowing much about the current market, especially in the shoreview area, we decided to put in a low-ish offer to feel-out the seller and see if he was willing to budge at all. at 9 the next morning, our realtor had received a verbal counter-offer from the listing agent, which we accepted. the listing agent said they were aware that another offer was going to be coming in around 3:30 that afternoon (i was perplexed for a bit thinking he had meant $330,000, which was significantly over the asking price) but that they would honor our offer as long as we got the paperwork in quickly. the paperwork was updated to reflect what we had agreed upon and sent to the sellers for signatures before noon. we had the house! perry, our realtor, was going to call once they'd signed on the dotted line so we could schedule the inspection.

around 3 i started feeling antsy... what was taking so long? i called our realtor to check on the status. he said he would call the listing agent and see if everything had been signed. perry called back 15 min later and said, "well, liz, there's been a change in the game, and not in your favor..."

Thursday, May 16, 2013




in many ways it really wasn't as bad as i thought it would be, and most days it was relatively easy. it certainly required significantly more planning/prepwork, but i wasn't constantly craving things i couldn't have. i think what helped me stick it out was knowing things like sugar and bread were "off limits," but only for a short time. if i tried to do this long-term, i'm not sure i would've had the same resolve.

"you're tasteless, boring & i can't stop cheating you."
all in all, it was a good exercise in self-control and helped teach me things that i can easily cut out and substitute in my diet. for example, i've been drinking my coffee black and learned that i don't need to have artificial sweetener and cream in it to enjoy it. also, i can add extra veggies and avocado to bulk up salads instead of extras like cheese or croutons, and am just as happy with olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a dressing instead of ranch from a bottle.

salad with turkey, strawberries, almonds, balsamic vinegar/olive oil/honey dressing
i think those are the things i can really take away from this cleanse. i felt satisfied eating this way, though it's not something i'll adopt as a lifestyle 100% of the time. i want to be able to go out to eat and order something interesting on the menu instead of always getting a salad. i want to be able to enjoy a meal prepared by friends and not worry about each ingredient involved.

oh, also, i lost 3 lbs in 10 days on the cleanse. while that might not be anything to shout from the rooftops, i certainly feel good about it and it helped me break through the plateau i seemed to be on for the last month or so. this was the primary goal of the cleanse, so i'd say mission accomplished. now i gotta keep that off and keep going!

i've lost 35 lbs since mid-august. i have about 25 more to go to get to my "goal weight." i would like to reach my goal by the end of the year (12/31/13), which means i need to lose less than 1 lb/week. i think that's a realistic goal, but will take me continuing to be diligent and committed.

"fed up with how her diet is going, charlene takes a more serious aim at her target weight."
 i celebrated the end of my cleanse with a bagel breakfast sandwich at bruegger's this morning. but i think i've been brainwashed- i got a whole wheat bagel instead of my normal plain. and it just wasn't as good.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

bold prayer.

we have a very exciting house update to announce! we have renters! that means we'll be moving by the end of the summer! i'm pumped, but also kinda scared out of my mind. it's quite a bit earlier than we would've moved had this not fallen into our laps, but it's definitely an answer to prayer. cool story...

about six weeks ago i went to a women's ministry event with several of my coworkers at my supervisor's church. one of the administrative assistants at family innovations, erin, was the speaker, so several of the other admin staff and i went to support her and spend some time together outside of work. i don't know erin all that well but i was excited to hear her speak. well, as it turns out, her talk was more timely and personally meaningful to me than i even really realized at the time.

the theme of erin's message was bold prayer, and she talked about her personal experience praying boldly in looking to sell their house and move their family to hudson, wisconsin. she encountered a number of obstacles, but God kept coming through and answering their bold prayers (like, "God, please let our house sell TOMORROW." and it did.). the verse erin gave us to think about was hebrews 4:16:
"let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy
and find grace to help in time of need."
she had us write the verse down on a note card, and on the back, asked that we write one word to describe our bold prayer. i wrote "home."

joe and i had been talking about the timing of having another baby (no, not yet), and have talked a lot about wanting to be in a new house before that happens. our townhouse has been amazing for us the last few years, but is getting pretty tight for our family of 3 (4- george counts). having another baby there would more than max us out on space and would probably drive me to near-insanity. obviously we'd make it work if we had to, but i am not keen on making any plans (i.e. trying to have a baby) to put us in that situation on purpose. i thought, "well, the big thing i want that doesn't seem to be in reach and would take God moving in a major way to make it happen is a new house." so, i half-heartedly wrote "home," with a lot of skepticism and not much expectancy.

to be quite honest, i had pretty much forgotten all about the talk and the note card and went on with life as usual. we started refinancing and thought we would probably think about moving in a year or so.

about two weeks ago (nearly a month after the ministry event), the note card showed up out of nowhere at work. for real. i'm not claiming a ghost set it there or anything, but literally i have no idea where it came from. all of a sudden at my desk it was just there. maybe it'd been in a pile of papers on my desk (neatly organized, of course), but it really just appeared. and i thought, "huh, that's interesting." so i put it on my computer screen and have read it several times throughout each day at work since then.

here's the weird thing: within a couple days of the note card showing up is when the opportunity to potentially rent our house fell into our laps. i didn't realize the connection between the two at the time, but have come to see how these two events are completely related and are a reflection of God's ability to answer prayers that we think are unanswerable.

i never thought we would be in a position to move this early. and, honestly, financially we're probably not. but i trust in God's provision and know that He has it all under control. i believe he has the perfect house in mind for us and will help the rest of the pieces fall into place. we just have to be obedient and follow His lead.

hopefully he'll lead us to winning the powerball. kidding.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

cleanse update.

the cleanse is honestly going great and is not nearly as hard as i thought it would be. although when my cousin, noah (who is about to graduate as a pastry chef from le cordon bleu), brought me a freshly-baked garlic thyme foccacia and a baguette, i may have teared up a bit. the loaves, however, are tucked in my freezer for another day and my cleanse is intact.

eating at bar la grassa on tuesday night went fairly well i'd say. no matter what when you're eating out, though, it's hard to be entirely sure what all is in your food. but i asked our waiter a lot of questions about ingredients (yes, i'm sure he loved me) and tried to make the best choices i could. out of the appetizers we ordered i had a couple of grilled prawns and a few bites of prosciutto, then i had a small salad with endive, crab, grapefruit and olive oil, and for my entree i had the roasted chicken with spices, lemon and olive oil (and removed the skin). the food was all really good and i felt happy being able to stick to the cleanse even while at a restaurant.

here's a glimpse of what i've been eating on an average day:

breakfast: oats made with unsweetened almond milk,
almond butter, honey, and  a banana
lunch: salad with leftover roast chicken,
red peppers, olive oil, and roasted red pepper hummus
snacks: water, pineapple, clementines, raw revolution bar
(ingredients are: organic cashews, organic dates, organic sunflower seed kernels,
organic agave nectar, organic coconut, organic almonds, and organic sprouted flax seed)
dinner: tostadas with black beans, ground turkey, and avocado
i have been very satisfied and don't feel hungry at all. finding snacks that aren't just fruit is probably my biggest challenge. you can only eat so much fruit. i just recently got acquainted with larabars. they have only natural ingredients (nuts, dried fruit, etc.) and no flour or added sugar in them, which makes them perfect for the cleanse. when i went to the grocery store the other day, they didn't have any larabars. annoying. fortunately, i found a recipe online, so i gave them a try myself last night. i made them as balls instead of bars because it was easier, but they'd work fine either way, i'm sure. here's the recipe (from

coconut cream "laraballs"
makes sixteen servings

15 medjool dates i used 20 regular dates because i couldn't find medjool
1/2 c toasted almonds
1/2 c cashews with sea salt
3/4 unsweetened shredded coconut
2 T coconut oil
2 T water

line a baking sheet with parchment paper. put the almonds, cashews and coconut in the food processor until fine. add the dates, coconut oil and water and mix until a dough forms. roll into balls and place on baking sheet. refrigerate for about an hour or until set.

just five ingredients: coconut, coconut oil, cashews, dates, almonds
mix the almonds, cashews and coconut in the food processor until fine
add the dates, coconut oil, and water
roll into balls and refrigerate!

well, there ya have it! tonight will be a challenge- i have my monthly cooking club with several of my friends. we all bring a dish to share, usually based around a common theme. this month's theme is ina garten (the barefoot contessa) recipes, or recipes you've been wanting to try for a while. i'm sure all the dishes will be so good, but probably not cleanse-friendly. i am kind of embarrassed to draw attention to myself that i'm on this cleanse, but i don't think i can really get away with just not eating the food and have no one notice or comment. oh well. i'm bringing a side dish and since i couldn't really find an ina recipe that fits the cleanse but isn't just boring roasted veggies, i'm making a giada recipe i saw on her show a while ago. grilled asparagus with melon salad. i can eat everything except for the mozzarella, which i can just pick off. hopefully it will be good!

i'll leave you with a cute pic of ben eating lunch at daycare the other day. we were going out to dinner that night, so they wanted to keep his shirt clean. he doesn't seem to mind eating naked!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

ten months.

ok so i'm trying to control my minor freak out about having a baby that's almost a year old. these past ten months have flown by. i know i keep saying that, but it continues to blow my mind.

eating is going really well. bennett is drinking 8 oz bottles 5 times a day and eating lots of solid foods (despite his continued lack of teeth). turkey and chicken are his favorite foods, along with cheese, avocados, butternut squash and, of course, puffs and yogurt bites. we are realizing more and more that our little friend looooves salty foods. (i guess the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.) he's not eating much baby food anymore, mostly because he's not interested in being spoon-fed by us. he will eat (drink?) baby food from a pouch fairly consistently. bennett is a mini version of his uncle jake in a lot of ways, food being a major one of them. when bennett is hungry, he is HANGRY. don't try to get between this little man and his bottle or you will regret it.

sleep is going well most of the time, too. ben is in bed by 7:15pm and usually wakes up anywhere between 6-6:30am. at daycare he struggles with naps, and we're sure it has to do with how social he is. if there's any sort of action, bennett wants in. i seriously think aerosmith's "i don't wanna miss a thing" is his theme song.

don't wanna close my eyes.
i don't wanna fall asleep
cause i'd miss you babe
and i don't wanna miss a thing.
pretty much sums him up. we're lucky if we can get a couple of hour-long naps out of him in a day at daycare. and he usually snoozes for 20 minutes or so on the drive home.

at home on fridays, saturdays and sundays he usually takes two naps (8:30am and 12:30pm) at around an hour and a half each.

bennett laughs in the face of crawling now. he can get from point a to point b as fast as lightning. he goes from laying to sitting to standing in no time flat.

he's able to walk fairly well behind a little toy for balance and i'm sure he'll be cruising soon.

my family has a pool going of when he's going to take his first unassisted steps. may 23rd (grammy), june 2nd (auntie jeanie) and june 6th (papa t) are the current bets. all i care is that it doesn't happen at daycare, but his teacher knows to lie to me if it does! between the crawling and standing, we have had quite a few falls so far and bennett is learning to be a tough boy. joe constantly tells me not to baby him every time he falls, but i mostly ignore that. half the time the only snuggles i get from my busy babe are when he falls down and is sad. let's face it: i shamelessly take what i can get.

we're doing lots of clapping and waving. he still doesn't seem to want to sign "milk" or "more," but he for sure understands them when we do them.

he's still hating diaper changes and getting dressed, which continues to make things interesting. also he recently decided that baths are for chumps and he cries, screams and tries to climb out the whole time. so i guess he'll just be the stinky kid with avocado in his hair for the time being. bennett loves music, reading books, going for walks in his stroller, playing airplane and peek-a-boo, and getting into everything that he's not supposed to (think: dog food, garbage cans, cell phone charger cords, toilet paper, etc.).

we can hardly imagine life without our spunky, curious, feisty, determined little boy. we just love him so much.

Monday, May 6, 2013


we spent the weekend with joe's older brother and his family in sioux falls, south dakota. we had a great time, even though we had really crappy weather and couldn't play outside. bennett has four cousins who just love him, which is really fun to watch. i think ben was slightly overwhelmed by all the action and noise, but he loved the constant entertainment and all the room to crawl at their house. our little nieces and nephews are growing up so fast! it's hard that they live far away, but it's always fun to spend a whole weekend with them and get a small glimpse into their everyday lives that way. [side note to self: i need to be better about bringing the camera and taking pictures!] also we have a great time once the kids go to bed, just chatting and laughing with jeff and robin. we watched pitch perfect on saturday night and laughed hysterically at all the ridiculousness. bennett did not sleep well all weekend (he never does great when he's not in his crib at home), which means we didn't sleep well and are pretty exhausted. it's worth it though. and fortunately, ben does really well in the car so at least the 4 hour drive there and home wasn't bad.

today is day one of my cleanse. [bonus- the scale showed a nice low number for my starting weight!] last night i prepped a bunch of food and packed my lunch for work. i, of course, finished off the night with some ice cream as a last hurrah (helpful, i know). this morning i literally gagged on the weird citrus-y fiber advocare drink. it was nasty. i'm really looking forward to several more mornings started like that! but honestly i feel really good about starting this and having to be disciplined. i know it will be hard when we go out to eat tomorrow night, and when i go to supper club on thursday. but it's only ten days, and i can handle that. it's amazing how much i've already been made aware of things i hadn't noticed, like how i put some sort of cheese on or in so much of what i eat. or how so often what i cook is built around bread or pasta. here's what i'm eating today:

advocare fiber drink
old-fashioned oats made with unsweetened almond milk
2 T. almond butter
2 t. honey

quinoa salad with lemon-basil dressing

red bell pepper strips with hummus

not sure yet what i'll make for dinner. joe has a business dinner, so it'll just be me and bennett. it's supposed to be 70 degrees today, so hopefully we'll take a nice, long walk tonight and then we'll figure out something easy for supper.

bennett is ten months old today! i'll do the ten month update post later, but didn't want to forget to mention that today! what a big boy he is :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

black coffee and excuses.

i'm switching to drinking my coffee black. and it kind of sucks. in fact, it sucks so much that i think it's robbing me of the joy of my morning coffee. i just don't look forward to it the same way. but i think it's better for me. mostly because i typically put lots of artificial sweetener in it. which i love. but since i want to avoid the potential of getting cancer if possible, i think i should cut down. i know there isn't proof that artificial sweeteners cause cancer, but i do know that limiting them can't hurt me. besides, they HAVE proven that consumption of artificial sweeteners (diet coke, etc.) can lead to overeating. you never thought you'd get your daily dose of science when you read this post, did you? didn't want to let anyone forget i have a master's degree. ha.

anyway, black coffee isn't as good. but hopefully i will adjust quickly and can resume my love affair with coffee.

you're probably getting sick of reading about this stupid cleanse. you can stop reading now if you are. i keep coming up with excuses to put it off. not because i don't want to do it. quite the opposite, actually. but life keeps getting in the way. i was going to start monday. tuesday we're going to bar la grassa with my family as a goodbye dinner to my cousin, noah, who has been here for the last year going to le cordon bleu to be a pastry chef but is moving back to hawaii now (i know, must be rough). bar la grassa is delicious. plus i don't want to be the downer who sits there not eating, but drooling over all the yummy food everyone else is eating. [cue whiny rant from liz.] then, thursday i have my monthly cooking club with a bunch of my girlfriends. let's face it: there's not much "clean" about the food we share there. but it's all good, and i really look forward to that each month. again, i don't want to be the lame "woe is me, i can't eat anything" girl. and then that sunday is mother's day. my first. and i want a freaking doughnut or some cake on mother's day.

despite all of this, i was thinking: when do i really have ten straight days of nothing going on?

umm, never (that's how cool i am).

so, i guess i need to just suck it up and do it, and if i have to be debbie downer for ten days, then oh well. there's always going to be an excuse not to do something, and they all might be semi-valid. but life's not going to get out of the way. it's always there, always happening, always changing. so i need to stop putting off the things i want to do because it might be challenging. cleanse, here i come...

on monday.