Wednesday, October 30, 2013

the windy city.

a couple weeks ago, joe and i headed to chicago for the weekend with joe's younger brother jake and his wife allison. it was the first time we've left bennett for that long, so we struggled a bit (though bennett didn't at all!).

we set out around 6:30am friday morning. the drive was pretty uneventful and we made it to geneva (a suburb outside of chicago) by around 12:30. we walked around geneva for a couple hours and then took the train into the city. then we got checked into our hotel, casually got upgraded to a suite for no reason, and relaxed for a while before heading to giordano's for deep dish chicago pizza. AMAZING. sooo worth the hour and a half wait.

we were pretty tired from traveling all day so we headed back to the hotel. obviously a little while later our sweet tooths (teeth?) came a'calling and we sent the boys out for takeout dessert from the fancy steakhouse near our hotel. classy dessert party on our hotel room floor.

we got up the next morning and hit up the donut shop attached to our hotel, glazed and infused. (are you sensing the theme of the weekend?) my personal favorite had to have been the crunchy pb&j.

all weighed down for the day, we set off to explore michigan ave. and do some shopping. joe and i went on a little lunch date by ourselves. we went to a restaurant called howell's and hood just off michigan. they had great pub food and a cool atmosphere. joe and i walked around a while and got joe some new shoes at puma. he felt very hip after that.

we met back up with jake and allison and headed to millennium park to walk around and see the bean.

we then headed back to the hotel, exhausted from lots of walking! we rested for a bit and then got ready to go to dinner. we'd made reservations at tavern on rush, where joe and i had been for our anniversary a couple years ago. it was just as delicious as we remembered! the lobster bisque was amazing and we all left stuffed to the brim!

we got to meet up with my friend julie who moved to chicago several months ago to be near family. she's an OB/GYN resident and works crazy hours, so it was nice to be able to see her even just for an hour! we grabbed cheesecake at the cheesecake factory and caught up.

sunday morning we took a short walk to meli cafe and juice bar for a delicious breakfast. yes, we probably each gained 10 lbs this weekend. don't judge. it was worth it.

we headed back to the hotel and got packed up. unfortunately we didn't realize the train back to geneva was only running every two hours and we missed the morning one, so we had to wait until 12:40 to head out. traffic on the drive home was terrible thanks to construction and some accidents, so we didn't make it home til late and our little buddy was already sleeping!

bennett had a great weekend with grammy and papa. he even got to see uncle ryan and auntie jeanie!

snuggles and milk with papa in the morning

fun with papa at the park!
playing with a new clifford puppet...
...and a pool noodle he found in the neighbor's garage
we sure missed bennett but we had a fun weekend away and loved having the one-on-one time with jake and allison. we are so thankful for our great relationship with them!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

bathroom makeover and weekend visitors.

well, it's been a while since i last posted! things have been busy, but we've been having a great fall so far. this past weekend my cousin amanda and her husband beau were in town visiting us from denver. before they came, joe and i got very ambitious and decided to redo the basement bathroom and get the guest bedroom ready (which was complete with hideous wallpaper).

the previously dark oak cabinets were painted white
and we replaced the old vinyl countertop with a new white marble one
joe installed new flooring (which is actually rubber and snaps together) over the old nasty linoleum.
we got the idea to use this flooring from a blog i follow here.
joe was able to get the walls painted, the new flooring completed, the new vanity top and toilet installed, and the cabinets painted in under a week. we didn't have time to get the trim installed, repair the walls where removing the old trim caused some damage, or get the cabinet doors sanded and painted. but i'd say it's come a LONG way.

between my mom and i, we were able to get all of the wallpaper stripped in the bedroom. unfortunately, we didn't get the bedroom painted before they came. i'm sure they enjoyed the gluey-wall ambiance... but hey, it's better than the half-stripped wallpaper ambiance.

amanda and beau flew in thursday night. we just chatted for a while when they got there and then all went to bed decently early. because my cousin is pregnant too (and due 3 weeks before me), we both savor our sleep! friday morning the boys got up early and went golfing with my dad. ben, amanda and i just lounged around at home.

this boy loves breakfast time
when ben took his morning nap we got ready and then headed to mall of america to meet the guys for lunch when ben woke up. after lunch, beau and joe took ben home for his afternoon nap and amanda and i did some serious power shopping all afternoon. we both had some success finding cute maternity clothes and enjoyed lots of chatting over pinkberry.

once we were all shopped out, we changed into our outfits for the evening and headed to rosa mexicano in minneapolis for dinner. we had some delicious guacamole made table-side and both loved our fish tacos.

from there, we walked a few blocks to the orpheum and saw wicked. we'd both seen it before, but loved it just as much this time! SO GOOD!

baby bumps! 16 and 19 weeks

while we were at wicked, the boys just hung out at our place and entertained (or were entertained by) bennett. they ate at paninos where i hear ben was quite the flirt with all the waitresses. silly boy.

saturday joe had to work most of the day. the rest of us enjoyed just laying around the house. we read lots of books with ben, watched tv, chatted, and of course all enjoyed afternoon naps.

beau and ben reading
that night after joe got home from work, jake and allison were nice enough to come hang with ben while joe and i went out with beau and amanda. we had dinner at amore victoria in uptown, which was really good! the people watching was even better, considering we saw a drag queen eating alone in his spaghetti strap dress. priceless. after dinner we walked through a little gift shop and grabbed sebastian joe's ice cream for dessert.

sunday morning we got up and went to church at 9. after church we ate a big breakfast at key's cafe and then headed home to watch football (again, amanda and i took our opportunity to sleep!). after the packers beat the ravens, we headed to pinetree apple orchard in white bear lake. jake and allison met us there and we had a great afternoon walking through the orchard and pumpkin patch, and of course enjoying lots of delicious apple treats. ben thought all the pumpkins were balls, so he had fun pointing at and hitting all the "baa"s. he also stole a huge piece of joe's apple donut when he wasn't looking. unfortunately for him, the sugar all over his face gave him away :)

that night we had chili at the house (which ben LOVED!) and then watched argo after ben went to bed. amanda and beau flew out monday morning and it was back to the grind for us. we had such a fun weekend with them and really wish they lived closer, especially now that we're going to have kiddos so close in age! i keep reminding myself that amanda and i have always been close despite never living in the same city. i'm hopeful our kids will be as well! i'm not sure if we'll get to see them again before the babes come, but i'm hoping i might be able to sneak out to denver this winter by myself to make it to one of amanda's showers!

a fit and healthy pregnancy.

joe and i had a great conversation last night about our health and fitness. we are both feeling pretty icky lately. our eating habits haven't been great and we haven't made an active lifestyle a priority. this has led to us having even less energy and just wanting to hunker down and watch tv on the couch after long days at work and running after our active little boy.

after we had bennett, we were both motivated to lose the baby weight (yes, dads gain weight during pregnancy too!). using weight watchers online and being more active, we both lost quite a bit of weight and got to a place where we were both feeling pretty good.

in south carolina this past spring
then we moved. and i got pregnant again. and things just haven't been on a great trajectory for us lately, weight-wise.

naturally i have to gain some weight with pregnancy, but considering i'm not small to begin with, i certainly don't need to gain a ton. with bennett i gained about 40 pounds total, but i had lost 20 of those pounds by the time i got home from the hospital. i retained a lot of fluid toward the end of pregnancy thanks to the the 100+ degree heat we had that summer.

i started this pregnancy about 8-10 lbs less than i weighed when i got pregnant with ben. so far with this pregnancy i think i've gained about 12 lbs (i'm 17 weeks).

i don't remember exactly what my weight was to begin with, but i think this is a close estimate. during my first trimester i honestly ate whatever i could possibly stomach the thought of. most days it was carbs, carbs and more carbs. veggies and fruits sounded repulsive to me. looking back i'm sure i could've done a better job with portions, but honestly i was just trying to get through the day most days.

now that i'm feeling a lot better and have [at least some] more energy, i'm ready to focus more on healthy eating and exercise. talking about it with joe and hearing that he's wanting to make these things more of a priority as well really got me excited. it helps so much when we're both working toward the same goal. we can keep each other motivated and support each other when we're feeling discouraged. we also talked about how we want to set a good example for ben when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. we're both all about moderation and balance, a good mix of making healthy choices and enjoying splurges. we want bennett to learn that, too, so we need to be better about practicing what we preach now while he's little.

i'm going to start cooking more and focusing on healthier recipes. i have historically done a good job of choosing "lighter" options and making healthy substitutes like using low fat ingredients in place of full fat, bulking up dishes with veggies, etc. more recently, though, i admit i haven't been as intentional about that. i enjoy cooking, trying new recipes and finding ways to make our favorite foods healthier. i'm never going to be satisfied eating grilled chicken and plain vegetables every night.

joe's going to cut back on sweets/afternoon treats and start eating breakfast again. he often skips breakfast, and when he's out of the habit he just simply doesn't feel hungry in the morning. but then he reaches the mid-afternoon slump and hits the gas station or drive-thru to help make it through the rest of the day. he has noticed that when he's consistently eating breakfast, he has more energy and doesn't fall victim to the afternoon snack trap quite as easily.

we're both going to make exercise a priority. whether it's bundling bennett up in the stroller and getting out for a fast-paced evening walk, throwing in a workout dvd, or hitting the gym, we decided we're going to make the time and support each other. i have summer sanders' prenatal fitness dvd and just ordered a prenatal barre workout dvd to try. also, we are thinking about joining the shoreview community center, which is less than a mile from our house. joe can stop after work and get in 30 minutes of shooting hoops or jogging on the treadmill. when i start staying home, i can take bennett to the nursery there while i get in a workout, or we can go splash around at the pool together, etc. when joe and i have been gym members in the past it's been so far from our house and it eventually just became a pain to make it there regularly. the convenience of being within walking distance to the community center will [hopefully] leave us with few excuses to make it work.

my goal is to keep my weight gain to about 25 lbs. this time around. my body may have other ideas, but i think it's realistic (and within the healthy range determined by my OB). i'm close to the halfway mark in my pregnancy and i'm about at the halfway mark to 25 lbs.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

15 weeks and things we're loving lately.

15 weeks today! gosh, it seems like time is flying by. i'm so excited we have just over a month until we find out if this little friend is a boy or girl!

baby: size of a naval orange, about 4 in. long and about 2.5 oz.

cravings: nothing strong. i'm loving honeycrisp apples right now!

aversions: none! finally feeling back to normal!

aches/pains: i'm starting to get to the point where i'm not really able to sleep on my tummy, so i have a hard time getting comfortable enough to fall asleep. may need to pull out that body pillow again! other than that, i feel great!

body: nothing new. tummy is just getting bigger!

boy or girl? we find out nov. 7th! i can't wait!

names? pretty sure we've figured out our number one boy name and our number one girl name. we haven't talked about it much lately, though. i'm sure it'll be the focus of conversation after we find out the gender!

now for the things i'm loving lately...

1. MAMA parka in khaki green from H&M ($39.95)

who knew H&M has a maternity line?! the length of this jacket is great and i like that it doesn't make me feel huge (like a lot of other maternity coats i've tried). it's perfect for the crisp fall mornings we've had!

2. aveda smooth infusion glossing straightener ($23.00)

Smooth Infusion™ Glossing Straightener
helps control frizz without making my hair feel "producty". use a pea-sized amount and run through damp hair before blow drying. done.

3. envelopes app (free)

iPhone Screenshot 1

joe and i did dave ramsey's financial peace university when we first got married and we were pretty diligent about it. since then we've continued to use a modified version of the system. but for me, carrying around that much cash didn't work. i couldn't keep it organized and it was just too much to manage. this app (which a coworker just told me about recently) is amazing. i can divvy up how much i have for each category (and you can pick your own categories) and "deposit" it in the envelope. then i can "withdraw" based on what i spend. this way i can use my check card still and not carry around cash, but i know how much money is allocated for each expense and how much i have left at any given time. LOVE IT.

this is not a picture of my envelopes, by the way. it's just a generic one showing how the app works. i wish i had $500 in our vacation budget. wait, what vacation budget?

4. beco gemini baby carrier in metro black ($129.00)

Beco Gemini Baby Carrier Metro Black

so i am maybe jumping the gun a bit saying i'm loving this considering i haven't gotten it yet (but i ordered it!). i know there are carriers that are made to be used up to 35 lbs. we stopped using the baby bjorn MONTHS ago because bennett was just way too heavy. but he's been having a hard time sitting in a cart for long stretches at target and after some research online, i think this might be our solution! you can carry children from newborn up to 35 lbs. the child can face either in or out and can go on your front, back, or hip. with another baby on the way i like that i can use this with bennett (who's about 25 lbs now) but can also use it with a newborn (without having to buy extra inserts, etc.). i'll let you know what i think once i try it out, but i'm excited!

5. wicked soundtrack ($10.99)

Wicked: A New Musical [Original Broadway Cast Recording]

my cousin and i are going to see this next weekend when she and her husband come to visit from denver and i can't wait! i've seen it several times and absolutely LOVE it. the songs are so great and i could listen to the cd over and over.

things joe is loving lately...

1. old navy terry-fleece henley hoodie in charcoal gray ($29.94)

joe loves hoodies and is obsessed with his clothes being "lightweight." this fits the bill for mr. particular and he's basically been living in it since it arrived.

2. adidas adizero tour golf shoes ($179.99)

Adidas Men's Adizero Tour Golf Shoes
these were joe's anniversary present this year and he loves them! they're lightweight (go figure that's his favorite feature) and super comfortable. he always loves having the "latest" when it comes to golf stuff so he's been pretty excited to rock these.

3. whoppers ($2.99)

Whoppers Malted Milk Balls 12 oz

i always thought joe's favorite candy was reese's peanut butter cups. then when we had people coming over, i bought some various candies to put out in a candy dish we have and the whoppers were seriously almost gone before anyone even came over. he can't stay away! and he's shared the love with ben, who now aggressively signs "more" and "please" whenever he's by the counter where the candy dish is. awesome.

4. new girl (fox)

New Girl (2011) Poster

i must say we both love this show, but joe especially looks forward to it. it's hilarious and we absolutely love schmidt. and winston. and jess and nick's relationship. ok, the whole show.

5. google play music all access ($9.99/month)

Cover art

joe has this app on his phone, which came with a free 3-month trial. he loves being able to download and listen to any song he wants at any time and then they're stored on his phone. it's like itunes but you can download unlimited songs for the $9.99/month, but you only keep the songs as long as you pay the monthly fee. joe's advocating to keep this when his trial is up, and since it's WAY cheaper than satellite radio (a year free trial came with his new car), i think it makes sense. plus, he has music playing all the time at home over the speakers on his phone, so we all benefit, including mr. dancin' feet himself, bennett.

things bennett is loving lately...

1. jif natural peanut butter ($4.89)

Jif Natural Peanut Butter 28 oz
i don't think bennett actually cares what brand of peanut butter it is, but he loves it. on crackers. on toast. from a spoon. in a reese's (another treat joe introduced him to...). we use a little of this on some wheat ritz crackers as a bedtime snack and he's all set.

2. bubble guppies (nick jr)

we *try* not to let bennett watch too much tv, but we don't mind a little. he is obsessed with music and loves to dance. this show has such cute little songs and bennett just lights up and moves his feet like crazy when it's on.

3. good night, gorilla by peggy rathmann ($7.99)

i think we've read this book about 146,875 times in the last month. bennett will grab the book and back his little buns right into your lap, ready to read. who can resist? and it's just so cute when he roars when we get to the page with the lion.

4. TOMY john deere animal sounds hayride ($20.99)

TOMY JD-Hayride None
i found this at a jbf sale recently and bennett LOVES it. he loves putting the farmer in the driver seat and hearing the little tune it plays. by the way, if you have kids and have never been to a jbf sale, you have to go. i don't buy many clothes there, though i know many who do. but i LOVE the sales for toys, books and other baby/kid gear. i just got a snap 'n go for baby #2 there for $15! score.

5. stride rite SRT palmer ($46.00)

Stride Rite SRT Palmer
bennett LOVES when we put his shoes and socks on. he'll sign "more" when we have one on, excited for the other one. mostly because he really likes playing outside and knows that when we put shoes on we get to go outside. it's really sad in the mornings when we're trying to get out the door for daycare and he just wants to go play in the backyard once his shoes are on... but these shoes have been great for him. he is starting to run and these don't trip him up like his little crocs were. stride rite shoes are pricey but i like that they're designed for each walking stage. plus, they fit his little chunky feet (he's in extra wide widths!). with other shoes i had to go up a size or two to accommodate his need for more width, but then those shoes were way too long.

what are YOU loving lately?