Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lacing up those shoes: Cinco de Mayo 5/10k Run/Walk in Flint, Michigan

Hey guys! It's been awhile!

Life's been crazy around here with a new baby and being first time parents, but it's been AWESOME! Our lives have been flipped around and everything is new and each day is an adventure. We've been so blessed with an easy and laid back baby and for that I'm extremely grateful and I'll be sure to post a baby update very soon. 

Now that things have calmed down somewhat,  I've been getting back into a workout routine. I've always had a really hard time keeping myself accountable so one of my ways to stick to it is to sign up for races and other athletic events.  I've recently signed up for my first post-pregnancy 5k and it's the Cinco de Mayo 10k/5k run/walk on May 3rd at Swartz Creek Golf Course in Flint, Michigan. 

I LOVE themed events like these. It just adds a flare of fun to the events.  Not only is there the fun run to look forward to, but we get sombreros, Qdoba at the after party, Adirondack chairs at the finish line to celebrate in and tech shirts that I'm sure are going to be awesome (tech shirts are always a thumbs up in my book). I'm still trying to figure out my outfit and am thinking that my old work shirt from the Mexican restaurant I worked at might come in handy. ;)

To prep I've been running 3-4 days a week and adding in some circuit training on other days.  Hopefully all this will help me get back to pre-baby body. ;) I'm feeling pretty good so far with the distance but my pace sure has slowed down, a LOT. That's okay though, I'll get there and at least taking steps to get back to my prior level. Part of this race course is on the CRIM route with the hills, so I'm looking forward to checking it out since the CRIM is another potential run that I'd like to do this summer. It'll be a nice practice run for early season.

As for other races I'm looking forward too...I'm taking a HUGE leap and signing up for a TRIATHLON through TriToFinish! I'm scared, nervous and excited all at the same time. I can't wait to tell you more about it and how I am training for it, but for now I've a little teething baby boy to give some cuddles too. If you're thinking about doing one, let me know! :)

If you're interested in signing up for the Cinco de Mayo run let me know and sign up here. We have a small group running right now and would love to have more join us.  

How do you hold yourself accountable for exercising? 
Do you have any fun races planned for the summer? 
Any training tips (especially for speeding up pace)? 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Must Have Monday Product Review - Swaddle Angel Blanket by Munchkin

I've been thinking for awhile that I should blog about some of the items that I love and get to try. I often receive free products to try via Klout, Influenster and BzzAgent and participate by leaving feedback and reviews on their websites regarding the products.

The Must Have Monday posts will be reviews on the products that I love and use on a regular basis. Sometimes they'll consist of baby items, fitness gear, home, food and technology products. Basically, a little bit or everything. :) I'll be sure to post if these were products that were given to me or purchased on my own as well. I'll likely focus on posting a MHM post once or twice a month to begin with.

This weeks Must Have Product is the Swaddle Angel Blanket made by Munchkin. I LOVE these swaddle blankets.They are made of the softest material (100% rayon from bamboo so it's breathable and lightweight as well) and has a reinforced center panel on each blanket that helps to keep baby warmer without a ton of added bulk. One of my favorite things about them is the gorgeous designs that they come in. They're fashionable enough and don't scream "baby" like so many other products which is great because they are so versatile.

I am so glad that I happened to pick up a pack of these (comes with two) at Babies R Us because they are my hands down favorite blankets that we own. We use them each night to swaddle Aiden (I also use a flannel receiving blanket to keep him a bit warmer since it's been freezing here in Michigan for the time being). I think that these blankets will be great for using in the spring/summer when it gets warmer outside too. They are large enough that they could easily be thrown over a stroller or carseat to keep the sun out and have nifty loops on each corner to attach it so that you're not having to constantly adjust it. These loops are also really convenient for using the blankets as a nursing cover (I used this recently when at a family function) that won't overheat you or your little one.

I highly recommend these! I plan on picking up more of them soon because the two that I have is just not enough and I want to make sure to have plenty for the years to come (plus I really love the other patterns too).
Aiden all swaddled

Used as a nursing cover (just loop the blanket through the corner loops)

The gorgeous designs! (Image from the munchkin website)
I never used to swaddle our little one because he would throw a fit during the process. We started doing it after he kept waking himself up with his crazy, flying arms. We found that after the initial fit of crying, he would quickly calm down and sleep so much better through the night. Now he doesn't even mind the process of swaddling. If you're finding that your little one is fussy and waking often in the night (aside from feedings), I'd give swaddling a try. Below is a great diagram that walks you through the steps of swaddling. Remember to wrap them pretty tightly for best results (reminds them of life in the womb).

Photo courtesy of Bambino Land

Do you swaddle your baby? Do you have a favorite swaddling blanket?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Heart Healthy Black Bean Burger & Smashed Potatoes

Today is National Wear Red Day, a day in which the American Heart Association and many others, bring attention to heart disease and it's prevalence among women. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and actually kills more women then men annually. Heart disease is often referred to as a "silent killer" because there can be few, to no noticeable symptoms that someone may be afflicted by this disease.

Since the first National Red Day in 2003 there have been many move towards increasing awareness and education about heart disease for women. For more information about their decade of success check out the American Heart Associations website.

In honor of this day I'm going to feature a few recipes that we have often around our house: Black Bean Burgers and Smashed Potatoes. I like to consider this recipe a healthy alternative to the traditional burger and fries. The burgers pop with flavor and are a great meatless option and the potatoes get crispy and are salty enough to satisfy your salt craving without the fat and calories that are associated with your traditional fries.

Black Bean Burgers:
4 servings


1 can of black beans (15 oz. rinsed and drained, or for lower sodium option you can make your own black beans)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced peppers (I use green, orange and red peppers)
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic seasoning
Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mash black beans in a bowl with a fork until it is a thick and pasty texture. Mix in onions and peppers. In separate bowl beat the egg and seasonings together. Add liquids to bean and pepper mix, and stir well. Add in bread crumbs until the mixture sticks together well. Form mixture into patties (makes 4 patties).

Place patties on lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, flip, and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.

Side note: This recipe has a lot of potential for substitutions. I have used rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs and have added whatever veggies I had around the house (corn is a great one to add, along with jalapenos for a spicy kick). Adding some avocado on top or pepperjack cheese just takes this to another level too.


Smashed Potatoes:


Russet potatoes
Seasonings of choice (I like to use creole seasoning, but you can use just salt and pepper too)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and scrub potatoes well. Puncture potatoes with a fork, and microwave just as you would a baked potato until a softer texture. When potatoes are done "baking" in microwave, let cool and slice in half. Season the cut side up with seasoning.

Lightly oil a baking sheet. Place potatoes cut side down on baking sheet and lightly smash into the baking sheet. At this point I use my Misto and lightly spray potatoes again and add additional seasoning to the outside of the potatoes.

Bake 20 minutes. Flip potatoes and bake additional 20 minutes.

Creamy inside and crispy goodness on the outside.
Pair it with a salad and you're all set.
Finally, ladies (and men) take control of your life and the steps to lead a healthier lifestyle. A few of the most important things that you can do to prevent heart disease (and other chronic conditions) are:

1. Be physically active: Aim to get at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. 
2. Eat a healthy diet: Choose a diet low in fats, cholesterol, sodium and sugars. A diet high in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and fiber rich proteins will help your quest to have a healthy diet.

What steps do you take to lead a heart healthy lifestyle?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Welcome to Parenthood - Advice from a New Mom

Happy One Month Baby Boy!

I can't believe that it's already been a month since Aiden has been born. In that moment our life completely changed in so many ways, but I can say that it's worth it, but also has been one of the hardest months of my life. I don't think that any amount of reading, preparing and conversations can prepare you for the way that becoming a parent can affect you.

You spend 9 months imagining and preparing for this little person to enter your life and once they do, life is turned around completely. The moments following are some of the most challenging moments, both mentally and physically, however also the most rewarding and fulfilling. It's surreal the moment they hand your child to you. It's a moment of disbelief that YOU made this child and that he/she is yours to keep and raise and hopefully mold into a decent human. Talk about responsibility.

This past month has been a learning experience. I think most people go into parenthood with pre-conceived notions of what it will be like. Media shows parenthood to be this simple walk in the park of cute, sleeping babies (which they are...sometimes, and pretty much never at night), perfectly clean homes, easy & pain free breastfeeding (think again...it's hard), and so on.

Each person's experience differ, but the following are the few bits of advice I have:

Be prepared to be flexible - That first month is pretty much dictated by baby, and that's okay. Just go with it. There's no point fighting it because at that point you and baby are both learning this whole new thing. I know that I went into this with certain ideas of what I would and would not do. I've already reneged on more than a few things and I'm sure as time goes on there will be more.

Sleep when baby sleeps - Everyone says this...but honestly do it as much as you can. You never know how the upcoming night will go and you'll really regret not sleeping that extra hour when you've been up between 12-6am with a fussy baby. Those dishes will get done, laundry washed and house dusted...just maybe not today, or even this week.

Get over bodily fluids - You will be spit on, pooped on, peed on and leak everywhere before it's over. The sooner you get over being grossed out by it...the easier life will be.

Ask for help, and accept help -  If you need something ask. People aren't mind readers. And when others offer help...accept it. It's amazing how refreshing an hour to yourself can be, so take up people's offers to watch the baby for an hour or two, and accept all offers of free, prepared food.

You know your baby better than others do - Everyone loves to give advice. Listen, but don't feel obliged to do everything others say. They mean well, but sometimes people get diarrhea of the mouth and don't know when to just stay quiet (however, I do recommend listening to your pediatrician, but don't be afraid to ask questions and research your options).

Don't take anything personal said between the hours of midnight and 6AM - I had a close friend tell me this the other day and it's true. You and your significant other are both in this together, but sometimes after four nights of little sleep and three hours of a crying infant, tempers can flare. Being angry and resentful will only lead to more issues in the end. Make sure to keep communication open.

Lastly, give yourself a break - Being a parent is hard. Suddenly you're thrown into taking care of a human being that is completely dependent on you and sometimes you feel like you've lost a part of yourself at the same time. Everyone always said that it gets easier, and it does. It's only been a month for us, but I can tell you that each day gets a little bit easier than the previous day. And even if it isn't easier, those baby snuggles make each and every day worth it.

What words of advice do you have for new parents? 
Did you have a hard time adjusting to becoming a parent?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Welcome Home Aiden!

We're all doing great! I'll be sure to update soon on our birth journey. Thanks everyone for all your support and love through the last 10 months. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bumpdate: 36 weeks!

Guess What?! I hit 36 weeks today! Officially hit the 9 month mark and holy crap, that means Baby Boy is going to be here SOON! It blows my mind that if labor starts next week that they won't try to stop it. Eeek!!

Bumpdate Stats:

Weight Gain: About 28 pounds at 9 months. I was hoping to not gain anymore than 30 so we're getting close to that mark. I've honestly ate pretty well throughout the whole pregnancy and stay active at work. I was hoping to get some more workout's in, but by the time that I'm done with work, I'm pretty spent for the day and crash once I get home. I really can't wait to be active again and to have some energy after pregnancy. :)

Baby Size: Head of Romaine Lettuce (18 1/2 inches long and almost 6 pounds). At this point baby gains about an ounce a day.

What I've Been Eating: Little meals at a time because there's no room for much more. Still eating lots of peanut butter, fruits and veggies. Been digging nuts lately too. And of course lots of Turkey this week. :)

How I've Been Feeling: Tired and getting a bit more achy. Work kicks my butt when I stand all day (back aches). Still no swelling though so that's awesome! I feel like he's moved down lower so that's becoming uncomfortable to the point that it makes me wince at times. To be honest, for being 9 months pregnant I thought that I'd feel a lot worse so I'm pretty thankful.

Am I Showing Yet:  Duh.

I can't really tell if I've dropped...can you?
Any Other Symptoms: Occasional Braxton Hicks contractions and some insomnia. I think a lot of it has to deal with my work schedule kind of being all over the place (some days I work 1st shift and then others I'm working 2nd shift)

Best Moment of the Week: We had a great Thanksgiving with family. We had my parents over and Ryan's as well. It was great to not have to travel on the holidays like we have done for the last 10 years. Lots of great foods, company and celebrating. My sister got to feel the baby move too, so it was a pretty good feeling too. We also did lots of relaxing on our days off and Christmas decorating.
My sis and I
Ryan and my mom helping out in the kitchen and carving the bird.
The dads hanging out by the fireplace
The turkey apron my grandma made has been passed down to me. :) 
Anything Else: I have a work baby shower on Friday so that's really exciting. I feel so lucky and thankful to have my co-workers do this for me. I'm sure he'll be spoiled. :)  Also started my week OB visits this week. His heartbeat was strong and steady at 150. And we FINALLY told family what his name is going to be.

At this time next week there could be a baby?!?!?! WHOA! 

Any last minute labor and delivery tips that I need to know/remember?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bumpdate: 32 weeks

Oh my gosh, I'm the worst at this. It's not that I don't think about it, it's just that I feel like I'm busy all the time and have NO energy, or need to conserve it to get other things done around here, especially before baby boy makes his appearance.

Bumpdate stats:

Weight Gain: I'm up about 25 pounds at a little over 8 months pregnant. It's literally all in my belly and boobs. I can still fit into a few pair of my non-maternity jeans if they are low rise. I know for some that is nearing the high end of the weight spectrum, but considering how small I was to begin with and the fact that I'm still active I'm not overly concerned, nor is my doctor.

Baby Size:  Squash (Average size: 15.2-16.7 inches, 2.5-3.8 lbs).  We've got an overachiever according to the last ultrasound though, but I'll get more into that later. ;)

What I've Been Eating:  I can finally eat chicken again as long as it's mixed in with other things. After almost 7 months of avoiding the one food I used to eat all the time it's great. Other than that I've been loving on salads with ranch dressing. And still loving on the sweets...I blame this all on Ryan and his sweet tooth which obviously is getting passed onto this kiddo. Greek yogurt with fresh fruit is another love. I can't get enough of it.

How I've Been Feeling: I still feel pretty good. The worst part is just the fatigue. At the end of every work day I HAVE to come home and take a nap to re-charge. Start to really feel it in my feet at the end of the day. I can't complain though considering it's taken this long to start to become uncomfortable. I'm thankful for that. He is moving around a lot still, but it's more shifting now than strong punches and kicks. It's insane to watch my stomach move around and lately he's been using my ribs as monkey bars with his feet and my cervix as a trampoline. No swelling yet and still have my wedding bands on. :)

Am I Showing Yet?: HA, yes, you could say that. The belly has fully popped! Although my fundal height is measuring behind and I get comments that I look about 5-6 months pregnant, not 8 months. My breast have also grown again...It's becoming darn nearly impossible to find a bra that fits. Thank goodness for sleep and sports bras.

Any Other Symptoms: A few Braxton Hicks contractions now and then. Also noticed a bit of milk leaking...oh joy! At least I know everything is working.

Best Moment of the Week:  We had an ultrasound this past week and it was the first one since our 20 week growth ultrasound. It was re-assuring because at my last OB appointment I was measuring behind on fundal measurement by a few weeks, but the ultrasound showed that he's actually about a week ahead in growth (weighing in at 4 pounds, 3 ounces already)! I'm wondering if our due date is going to change. The OB thought that I may measure behind because I have strong abdominal muscles so I may not 'show' as readily as some. Everything looks great for our baby boy and it's all becoming so much more real.

What Else Is Left To Do: We still need to finish the last of the nursery, but it's almost done (post pics when finished). I'll be sure to post pics soon. Need to finalize our birth plan too. I need to send out thank you cards from my family/friends baby shower, but keep forgetting to pick up stamps (which I hope to blog about soon)!
Thank you cards! SO thankful for my awesome family and friends
and how loved and spoiled this boy is already.
I came downstairs to see Mav breaking in the babies playmat.
I had to take it awaybefore he thinks that it's his.

 It's crazy to think that in a month it's pretty much go time and that he could make an appearance! Time seriously flew, I feel like we just shared the news.