Monday, November 26, 2012

When Things Don't Quite Go As Planned...

Let's just say, our Holiday weekend didn't turn out as I had pictured it would.

The plan was to begin all our own family traditions on Liam's first Thanksgiving, but Thursday, I woke up with the stomach flu.  Talk about the worst day of the year to not be able to eat anything, yup, it's Thanksgiving Day.  Our travel plans were cancelled, and I spent the entire day in bed or in the bathroom.  I was thankful that we are still with my in-laws so that my husband was still able to eat a Thanksgiving meal and that he had some help with a cranky, teething baby.

The plan was to move into our new house this weekend, but the carpets and other flooring isn't finished being installed yet, so we half-moved.  My amazing, wondering parents came out from Ohio to help us.  My dad and Korey busted their butts and loaded and unloaded the U-Haul all by themselves while my mom and I took turns packing and watching Liam.  It is tough moving with an 8-month old, but we made it work.  I am so thankful to have a husband that works so hard and parents that help us so much!

The plan was to move into our new place with dishes (doesn't seem that unusual, right?), but in the process of packing a box wasn't sealed tight enough to hold it's contents and all of our dishes crashed to the floor and shattered (only one plate survived!).  I was thankful that my mom was there because otherwise I might have cried.  And I was thankful that I had others there to help me clean up that mess and to make sure that Liam didn't get into it.

The plan was for Liam to sleep in his crib in his room in our old apartment on Saturday night, but that just did  NOT happen.  I don't know if it was because the room was unfamiliar, he didn't like his crib, he was just over tired, or his teeth were bothering him, but every time we laid him in his crib he just screamed and trembled.  He ended up sleeping with Korey and me on blankets on the floor in our bedroom.  He was so restless all night; I felt like I couldn't get him to stay still for more than 5 minutes at a time.  He definitely didn't sleep for more than a few hours total.  But I was thankful that even in the middle of the night, my sweet boy can still make me smile.

The plan was to start getting settled into our new place and start this week feeling fresh and new, but I ended up sleeping through my first alarm this morning and being 15 minutes late for work without coffee, breakfast, or lunch.  But I am thankful for my job and that I work for understanding and kind bosses.  I'm thankful for my sister who's hugs help a Monday not seem so bad.  I am thankful that I made it through my long day, and that my baby was still awake when I got home for me to snuggle.  I am thankful for my mother-in-law that is so willing to watch Liam for us all the time.

I am thankful for all the offers of help I got today for watching Liam or for unpacking or moving.  I am thankful that we will be settling into our new house by the end of this week.  I am thankful for the smiles of good friends and the smell of Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo.  And I am thankful for this life because it is mine.

And I really didn't mean for this post to get so sappy, but it's all true.  Because sometimes things don't go as planned, but that helps us realize all the more the things we are most thankful for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Losing the Pregnancy Pounds: Part One - My Backstory

A series of posts about losing the weight I gained with my pregnancy.  I didn't start this blog to be a weight loss blog, but it is a big part of my life right now so I can't help writing about it.  This series of posts will be on going; it will be a struggle through the holidays, but after Christmas, I plan to get much more serious about it.  

Part One: My Backstory (aka the post in which I talk A LOT about my weight)

I have pretty much struggled with my weight and my body image my whole life.  I was always a little chubbier as a kid; in middle school/early high school, I knew I was bigger than all my friends (or at least felt like I was), but didn't know what to do about it.  My senior year of high school, I still felt big, but looking back I was actually pretty thin.  I think I lost weight just from being busy all the time, staying active, and not eating much.  Then when I got to college, I gained the freshman 15 pretty quickly and it stuck with me.  I lost a tiny bit of that for my wedding, but then gained back even more during the "honeymoon" phase of my marriage (what, let's order a pizza and watch a movie and snuggle? ok!).

Then, in January of 2011, something just CLICKED for me.  I had reached my highest weight ever, and I was just didn't want to be overweight anymore.  So I made a new year's resolution, and stuck with it for the first time in my life.  I started counting all my calories - staying within 1200-1500 calories per day with one cheat day per week.  And I started working out like I never had before.  I began with Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD and two three pound weights.  I did the DVD for 30 days in a row with out skipping one day, and I counted my calories everyday for four weeks straight, and I lost nine pounds that January.  And it stuck.  I kept counting calories, I kept working out.  My husband and I joined a gym; we tried food we'd never even heard of before (spaghetti squash anyone?); I started running when I'd HATED running, and I eventually ran 4 miles straight.  And from January-July 2011, I lost over 30 pounds.

Then, I found out I was pregnant with Liam.  Which was SO exciting.  But with my pregnancy, I just forgot what it meant to eat healthy and exercise.  I pretty much stopped exercising in my first trimester because I was so exhausted all the time.  All my cravings were bad for me; vegetables NEVER sounded good.  The smell of coffee made me sick, so I started drinking Coke everyday for the caffeine (but not more than I was supposed to have, don't worry).  And the calories just added up and up, and I wasn't exercising so the weight just kept piling on and on.  I tried a little harder towards the end of my pregnancy because I was getting such a hard time from my doctor for gaining so much weight, but it was too late.  And at the time, I was convinced that it was all water weight.

But here I am, eight months after giving birth, with at least 20 extra pounds on me, and I just can't get that "clicked" feeling back.  Oh, I've tried.  I've planned and counted and ran and Zumba-ed, and I have lost, but only about 7 pounds in the past 6 months.  I'll have a moment, and I'll think that it's "clicked" and that I'm ready to go and do this thing for good, but it only lasts about a week usually, and then I'm back to eating whatever I feel like again - picking up a bag of Reeses cups at the store, snatching a cookie off the table every single time I walk by, eating out and ordering whatever I feel like.  About two weeks ago, I started on My Fitness Pal, counting calories and attending Zumba and Dance Aerobics classes like it was my job.  Sweating three days a week and eating salads for lunch - I lost 2.5 pounds!  And then I promptly fell off that wagon.  I'm finding it hard to stay motivated with the holidays coming up, and I don't want to give up, but I don't want to give it my all either.  And I know from experience that losing weight really takes 100% dedication.  

I really wanted to be down to my pre-pregnancy weight before Liam's first birthday, but I still have 20+ pounds to go and with the holidays coming up and less than 4 months until that milestone, I don't think that's a realistic goal anymore.  I honestly will settle for maintaining through the holidays, and starting fresh at January 1, though that will definitely be settling.  

I'm hoping that once we move into our new place, and I have more control over the grocery shopping and the cooking again, that I will do better and that I will lose more weight.  But I can't tell yet whether that is just me putting it off again  or if that'll really happen.  All I know is that I have a box full of clothes from "skinnier days" that I will not get rid of because I KNOW that I will fit into them again someday.  

I FEEL like I'm ready to lose this weight, but my motivation and willpower are feeling differently.  I just need to figure out how to get those things to catch up.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reality Check

I think I'm in for a BIG reality check in the coming weeks.

For some reason, I have this idea that once we move into our new place, life will be all sunshine and roses and perfection. But really, nothing about this new house is going to change the way we live our lives.

I will still be super busy with both of my jobs and taking Liam back and forth to my in-laws. My husband will still work a difficult schedule. Our dining room table will still be covered in mail and the scraps from everyone's pockets. There will still be baby toys and baby gear scattered across my living room. And the bathroom mirror will still be covered in splatters most of the time. The only thing that might be different is that the piles of clothes everywhere might be clean instead of dirty because we will now have a washer and dryer.

But I will have my own place again, and that will be marvelous.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A New Place to Call Home

I haven't been very good at keeping up with my November 30 Days of Thanks challenge.  But I am particularly thankful for one thing recently.

Our new home!

For anyone that doesn't know, we have been living with my in-laws for the past 6 weeks.  My husband had been working as a manager for Target for the past year, and I work as an administrative assistant at our alma mater, Anderson University.  We were living in a great little apartment on the north side of Indy, but we both commuted about 40 minutes in opposite directions.  Then, when we had Liam, my commute was even further because I had to drop him off at either my mother-in-laws or daycare every morning.  Korey absolutely hated his job  and was constantly looking for something new.  And in late September, he finally landed on a position at AU too - as a police officer (he graduated with a degree in criminal justice).  It didn't make sense for both of us to commute that far every day in the same direction, so we knew we had to move.  Unfortunately, our lease wasn't up until November, and there was no way we would be able to afford to pay two rents every month.  We also knew we would save loads of money in gas if we moved in with family.  So here we are.

We are lucky to have parents that welcome us to move in with them when we need to, but I am so looking forward to moving into our own place again!  It took us a long time to find a place with the perfect combination: in our price range (aka cheap), not shabby, and not in a shady neighborhood.  TOUGH.  

Finally, about 2 weeks ago, this place popped up in the classified ads at my work, and I called immediately.  What a gem!  It is on a quiet cul-de-sac street in a decent part of town, was right on budget, and even has a washer & dryer!!!  (We've never lived in a place with our own washer & dryer before, so I am PUMPED to say the least.)  The landlord is fantastic and is replacing all the flooring in the living room, kitchen, and bathroom before we move in, and it even has a garage!  It doesn't have a dishwasher, but I decided that wasn't a deal breaker and that the washer & dryer made up for it.  It's also pretty small and has small closets, so we will likely be utilizing some creative organization ideas (hello, pinterest!).  

Anyway, we will be moving before the end of the month, and  I couldn't be happier about it!  I can't wait to have my own kitchen to cook and bake in and to decorate for Christmas!!  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Fall Favorite Recipe: Turkey Chili

Super comforting, but still really healthy - this recipe is one of my favorites for fall.


1/4 cup canola oil
1 small red onion
3 medium carrots
2 small yellow squash
2 small zucchini
1 tsp cilantro
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 lb extra lean ground turkey
2 cans (14.5 oz each) fire roasted chopped tomatoes
24 oz can mild or medium salsa

First, chop or slice all your veggies.  It really doesn't matter, however you like them.  Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Saute the onion, then add the carrots, squash, and zucchini.  I usually chop them while the onion is cooking and add them as I go, and I usually add the carrots first so they have time to cook longer.  Cook until veggies are soft, stirring often.  While they cook, mix together cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and paprika.  When veggies are soft, stir in half of the spice mixture, and then transfer veggies to a separate bowl and set aside.  
Add the turkey to the pot and cook until browned.  Stir in the remainder of the spice mixture.  Return the veggies to the pot and add the cans of tomatoes and the salsa.  Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring often.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

Garnish with shredded cheese and/or sour cream. 

Makes 6 servings:
296 calories
11g fat
24g carb
24g protein 

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Catching up again.

7. I'm thankful that neither my husband nor I will have to work a retail job this holiday season (first time ever!!)

8. I am so thankful for the way God was worked in our lives and brought us to the place we are in right now: with both of us working jobs we love at a place we can call home (our alma mater) and that we will hopefully be in this place for a while.

9.  I'm thankful that, even though money is tight and can seem like a struggle sometimes, we are able to pay the bills we have.

10.  I'm thankful for coffee, because without it today would have been a struggle.

11.  I am so extremely thankful for all the men and women that have dedicated their lives to defending our country and our freedoms so that my family can feel comfortable and safe everyday.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy Election Day!

Today, I am thankful that I live in a country that let's me vote for WHOEVER I WANT.

I'm a person that can be VERY influenced by peer pressure, and I also HATE conflict (I used to hate talking about politics so much, that I would just pretend to agree with whoever was talking to me about it so that they would just drop it and so that we wouldn't have to debate), so I really appreciate that once I get into that polling booth, no one is watching me and I can mark the candidates I really want to vote for and no one has to know.

I don't talk about politics on my blog (I barely talk about it with my mom and my husband, so why would I talk about it on my blog), but I really enjoyed exercising my right to vote today, and I hope you will too!

Monday, November 5, 2012

November: 30 Days of Thanks

I'm a little behind, so I'm catching up today.
  1. I'm thankful that I have a husband that puts the needs of his family before his own.
  2. I'm thankful to have in-laws that welcome us to move in with them when we need to!
  3. I'm more than thankful that my son is happy and HEALTHY and here with us.
  4. I'm thankful for my mom, dad, and sisters that are always, always there for me and help us in anyway that they can.
  5. I'm thankful for a job that I love and bosses and coworkers that truly care about me and my family.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

This is, hands down, my favorite thing to do with spaghetti squash.


1 spaghetti squash
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 bell peppers, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage
2 cups mozzarella/parmesan shredded cheese blend

1. Roast the spaghetti squash (I do mine with olive oil spray for 45 mins-1hr at 350), let cool, and scrape strands into a bowl - set aside.

2. Leave the oven on and bump the temp up to 375.

3. Remove casings from the sausage if it's links, and brown in a large skillet with olive oil.  Add onion, garlic, and peppers and cook until softened.  

4. Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper.  Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring occassionally.

5. Mix the spaghetti squash strands in with the veggie mixture in the pan.  Mix it really well so the spaghetti squash is spread out.  Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with olive oil spray and then pour half of the veggie mixture into the dish.  Cover with half the cheese, then repeat the layers.
6. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.  Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings
211 calories
7g fat
22g carb
18g protein 

Friday, November 2, 2012

One-Hour Homemade Infant Batman Costume

It was a very last-minute decision to dress Liam up for Halloween.  I thought about it for weeks, but we really couldn't afford a costume, and I wasn't sure that I would have the time to put one together.  Plus, I kind of feel like it's cheating to take your baby trick-or-treating when they can't eat the candy.  And I didn't really want a bunch of candy laying around because I knew I would eat it.  And, to be honest, Halloween kind of snuck up on me.

But when I was at work on Wednesday, everyone was giving me a hard time about it.  And I realized that I could take him trick-or-treating on campus (they do trick-or-treating in the dorms for the community) and just take Liam around and show off his cuteness (I work with all the Resident Directors, RAs, etc. and the students that work in my office were begging me to dress him up and bring him to see them).  So I just decided to go for it.

First, I browsed the Spirit Halloween store website, and found the cutest ever batman costume.  But I knew that the chance of them still having one in stock at the store near us was nill and it was over $20, and I knew I could make one for less.

So off to Hobby Lobby I went.  

At Hobby Lobby, I got:
  • 1/2 yard black knit fabric ($3.50)
  • 2 pieces yellow felt ($0.50)
  • 2 pieces black felt ($0.50)
  • sticky velcro squares ($2.99)
Then I swung by Walmart and picked up this black zipper hoodie for $3.88 (and he can wear it again!).  

So total cost for this costume was about $12.

I printed out some pictures of bat symbols and cut them out - one big one for his chest and a smaller one for his belt.  I traced the big one onto yellow felt and cut it out and traced the small one onto black felt (with a pencil so you can see the outline!) and cut it out.  Then I cut out two long pieces of yellow felt and attached them for a long yellow belt.

Note:  It is really hard to cut felt!  My edges were so jaggedy, but I didn't really have time to care because trick-or-treating was starting in like 45 mins.

Finally I cut out two little triangles for bat ears.

Then I got to velcro-ing.  I folded the triangles down and stuck them to the top of the hood so they would stick up a little bit like bat ears.  Then stuck the big bat symbol to the front of the hoodie and attached the belt at the front and the back, with the small bat symbol at the front.
I cut a quick cape out of the black knit fabric with longer tabs of fabric that would tie around his neck.  If I would have had more time then I might have tried to make a face mask (though I doubt he would have kept it on at all) and probably would have cut the cape with a zig-zag edge cause that would have rocked, but there really wasn't time.

Then we assembled!  We already had black sweatpants and black and yellow striped socks (from a Steeler's outfit) that matched perfectly.

The belt fell off kind of quickly, I think from me carrying him around.  And he doesn't like to have his hood on, but everyone could still tell that he was the best super hero ever!