Saturday, October 15, 2016

Fall Update

I've taken breaks from blogging before, but never this long. Never nearly eight months. I could not write again, and no one would notice, but I know I would. I love looking back at my posts and remembering things I would have otherwise probably forgotten about in the hub bub of life.

And let me tell you, life has been a hub bub. I planned to write more after my leap day post, but things got crazier than ever before.

Austin's seizure that I wrote about became prolific seizures, that were happening once or twice a week, and scary, and unpredictable, and very frustrating. And in the middle of all that, I was interviewing for a new job. After being with the same company for 7+ years, the company that moved me to Virginia, so that in itself was scary.

I was sitting in the hospital with Ben, his dad, and Austin when I got the call with a job offer. We had just heard word that all was good with Austin, a negative MRI, a diagnosis (pediatric unexplained epilepsy) and a plan for a drug to help control them, and it seemed like it was a good sign. It was time to make a change and move forward, as scary as it might be.

Since the end of March, Austin has been seizure free, and is happy as ever. 

Everett started speech therapy himself in April and now is a talking machine. He's finally communicating his needs and wants, but isn't always happy when he doesn't get everything he wants, and claims he needs, the minute he wants them. He and his brother are really forming a relationship which is so fun to see. They also now team up on their dad and I. =)

And now, Ben has a new job as well. He took a leap out of the news business, and is quite happy with it, and as are we as a family.

Roughly a year ago I told Ben I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water, even drowning some days. Barely having enough time for anything, both working crazy hours and times,  and even though we were working our asses off, we were just making ends meet.

I said we weren't living, we were existing.

I pleaded that we needed a change.

I didn't know what, but something had to give, and I'm happy to say a year later things have changed because we decided they needed to. Life feels less like work most days, and I couldn't be happier. I'm still not a millionaire, and I still have a messy house defined by crumbs and toy clutter, and a random 5-10 lbs that creeps up on me if I'm not careful, but I'm not grasping at straws to make life go most of the time, and that feels good.

So there you have it, the only things that stays the same is change itself, but here we are, standing on the other side.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day 2016

This year's Leap Day gives me an extra 24 hours to make sure I get in a blog post while it's still February. I at least like to make sure I do a new post once each month, and so here is February's.

This month has been all health up and downs. Not to sound geriatric, but we were in and out of doctor's offices all month.

Everett's ear drum ruptured and his tubes are non-functioning, and with that brought an ear infection. We have an ENT assessment for whether he needs another set of tubes later this week, and a speech assessment as well for his lack of words (his biggest word choice, "MOMMMMMM!!! MAAAAAAAA!!" for everything when he needs/wants something and "apple" to point to the apple TV remote).

We all caught some form of a nasty virus. Austin caught it so badly that he actually had a seizure from dehydration while we were waiting to be seen in the Urgent Care waiting room. The scariest five minutes of my life, as his eyes rolled in the back of his head while I was holding him, and then his body proceeded to convulse uncontrollably, while I screamed for help.

Doctors and nurses came running from the exam areas, good Samaritans stepped in, one lady to play with Everett and keep him distracted, a man helping me move furniture so Austin wouldn't hit his head during the seizure and helped me get him on his side. It really brought me even more faith in what people will do for one another when they need each other.

An ambulance ride to the ER, bags of fluid, blood tests and a chest x-ray later, our Austin is back to being his spunky self. We knew he was coming back around when he pointed out the lack of hand dryers in the ER bathrooms and yelled at the x-ray tech who was trying to get him to sit up straight, "Hey, you stop using hurting hands!"

Resting in the ER with Mom

We've all had a bit of the virus he had since, Ben getting in the worst this past weekend. I pray we're all on the up and up to being healthy now!

And how could I forget our sweet Cooper. The Yorkshire is growing older and at his sedated tooth-brushing we do every few years, the vet had to pull six of his teeth last week. He of course was extremely pathetic and whining, and wanted everyone to love him the most. And of course, we did.

Cooper taking care of Austin when he was sick

The spring race season is upon us as well. Ben is all about it this year, although he's worried his bout with sickness will hold him back. I told him not to worry, he's done the training, missing his longest run this weekend before his half-marathon will not kill him, and his body needed the rest.

I had a great dinner out with some of my runner friends last weekend. It was lovely to see each other not in sweaty clothes or at the crack of dawn!

And, if you'll notice in the above pic, I'm getting old and need to wear glasses in low and darker lighting now. I can't drive at night without them, but can still see fine during the day, and enjoyed my nearly 12 years glasses and contacts free post-Lasik.

Onward to March, and here's hoping the whole month is like a lamb and not an ounce of lion!

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Thursday, January 7, 2016


The New Year is such a refreshing time. I'm not a big New Years Resolutioner, but I do love the simplicity that comes with the New Year and the fresh start.

The holidays are full of so much excess. Excess food, excess decorating, excess parties, excess shopping, excess traffic, excess mail...the list goes on.

And I'm a Christmas lover. I love the glittery, fun items that line the aisles at Target, the twinkle of Christmas lights against the dark nights that start so early in winter and anything involving peppermint and chocolate mixed.

But, I also love sweeping my home of the Christmas tree and clutter come January, refreshing the refrigerator with more fresh produce and not having the grocery store be a mad house each weekend.

Our holidays were wonderful, Christmas at home with our little family, then a week trip out West with various stops to spend time with Ben's family.

Everett loved this turtle Santa brought him that I saw Laura at Our Styled Suburban Life feature a few months ago. Each time it popped, he reacted in complete surprise, and it was hilarious and sweet as you can see in the video below.


I'm trying to have a January free of commitments after an end of 2015 that felt so full. So far, the only things on our calendar this month are a two year old's birthday party and a vet appointment for Cooper. I'll take it.

Right now, I'm also reviewing my race schedule for the year, and have decided on the following races:
I hope 2016 is starting out wonderfully for you and I'm looking forward to another year of sharing on the blog!
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Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas List Favorites for 2015

I have been an all around slacker at blogging the last six weeks with no excuse, and especially getting out my yearly list! I've jotted down things on my phone when I see them (or left them hanging on our computers web browser for days...just to drop subtle hints), but I'm finally around to compiling them all together here! So here goes...

Five years post wedding gifts, and I need to replace my bamboo spoons from C and B. One broke, the other is on it's last leg, and I admit, I haven't kept them oiled up enough, but I love these utensils, and really want this set. It's affordable too, at $19.95!

This is a little self-serving to post, but I love this Jamberry Holiday Set. I love them all, but this one especially, and after using one for a raffle last week, I bought one for myself. I love the wraps, the polish is a beautiful color and the Nourish lotion smells great (and I'm not a smelly lotion person!).

I'm obsessed with these earrings. I love basic studs, and these put a little pop of pizazz on that. The teal ones are beautiful, but I think I'd get the most wear out of the silver ones. They were just 30% off at Nordstrom last week, so I'm hoping they'll go on sale again!

I really want to read the new Harper Lee novel, but know I'll never buy it for myself. And the holidays are the perfect time to ask the indulgent items you won't put on your list!

Remember when socks were a dreaded Christmas gift?? Boy was I a dumb kid, because good socks rule! As I've stated before, I loooooooove Smart Wool socks, and these Shea Socks from Bath and Body Works are a close second. They're so soft, and have grippers on the bottom. I love getting a pair in my stocking, and I love going to their big sale in January to buy the holiday varieties half off. =)

Starbucks Glitter Cold Cup
There must be a glitter theme for me this year, because I love this gold glitter cold cup from Starbucks. I don't see it on their website anymore, but I snapped this picture when I saw this in store and sent to my husband for a Christmas idea. I love cold cups with straws, and go through them all the time, helps my drinks not get spilled with the kids, and keeps them cold longer. This one is gliterry cute to boot!

Gift Cards

I am never opposed to gift cards; I think they're the best gift. Some people say they're a cold, or lame gift--to that I say, "no way!" It's shopping for free, and I love the choice of what I want, but forcing me to do something that I will enjoy, because let's face it, cash would go in savings, or towards a house project right now. So, gift cards are awesome!

This year, I'm all about gift cards to Stitch Fix, Target, Starbucks, Panera, Old Navy...the list could go on! But anywhere that makes my life more enjoyable, and gives my budget the ability to spend where I normally wouldn't be able to.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fall Favorites

I've had the pleasure of finding some awesome new items (and let's face it, most of them are food) this fall that I had to share.

As Ben said, "I'm going to eat this, and know it tastes like yogurt, but I can't get over the fact that its' cheese!" I found Elli Quark at Super Target after seeing it on Instagram, and they were kind enough to send me a variety pack of a dozen of their flavors to explore it further, and both Ben and I agree, delicious!

Here's how they describe their product, "Elli Quark is a spoonable FRESH CHEESE with a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt, but with a richer, LESS SOUR taste. It also has a better protein-to-carb ratio than Greek yogurt, with HIGH PROTEIN and NO ADDED SUGARS or artificial sweeteners."

Frankly, I love it! It's two Weight Watchers points. Tastes great, and has fun flavors. I love putting some Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips on the Mint Chocolate flavor. Ben enjoyed the lemon flavor. 

These are delicious, hands down delicious. They are made with real ingredients you can feel good about, but don't fool yourself, they're not good for you, and it will require A LOT of self-control to not eat half the pot yourself (I may have done that...) if you make them. Austin loved helping me make them, and they were great with some vanilla ice cream on top!

Pumpkin Alert! Love finding new, gluten free, pumpkin products in the fall. These are delicious. They're not very filling for a serving, but most the time the shelf is empty at Wegmans or Target where they sell them, so I always grab a box if I can! 

I LOVE the Ibotta app for getting rebates on everyday grocery items. You can find some good deals on here and do some nice stocking up! The key is to only buy the things you need and not get caught up in the fun of the bonuses and whatnot and buy extra things you don't need. You can collect a big balance, and once you're at $10 or more (very easy to get to), you can cash it out into your PayPal account. 

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Diva Half Recap

I'm going to keep this race recap short and sweet. I'm not even sure I mentioned on here that I was training for a half-marathon, but thus, I was, and boy am I glad I did this race.

The race itself was meh. Not bad, not great. I did a race in the suburbs thinking logistics would easier. They weren't. You had to park early, you had to buy a parking pass to do so, and the parking lot closed an hour before the race started. It was a nice race, but not one I'd be rushing to do again.

Luckily, I went with some awesome friends and we all caravaned there together, and I ran various miles of the race with a couple of them.

Pre-Race Selfie
This race was hilly as heck. I knew the course would be hilly, but the announcer at the beginning of the race (who, for the record, was an idiot saying bone head things about women doing their make up before an all women's race--huge eye roll), said that the worst hill was at mile three, and you'd be good after that, WRONG. There were many hills after that, maybe not as steep, but longer, gradual ones that hurt just as bad, if not worse, later in the milage.

Here's the kicker. I PRed at this race. I was not planning to at all. My longest long run was ten miles, my foot had been hurting the week of the race, so I hadn't run in a week in order to rest, but it happened.

Around Mile 11 I realized I thought I could PR, I had been feeling amazing up until this point, but around then I started to feel like crap, hips hurting, feet feeling heavy, but I knew if I kept it up, I could get a nice PR. So, despite two quick stops to stretch out my hip, I booked it to the finish as fast as my tired body would carry me.

When I came to the finishers shoot, I was light headed and wanted to puke, but I grabbed some food, water and tried to suck it up.

All the ladies from our caravan post race
I still felt pretty crappy after the race, but then our friend Kate pulled out surprise mimosas in the van. I was no way in shape for the awesome looking Prosecco she brought along, BUT, the orange juice did the trick, and a big glass of that had me feeling back to my old self. Thanks Kate!

Kate tailgating with Post Race Mimosas

Check this out below. My last PR in 2011 at age 27, over four years ago. I remember being thrilled I could run a race at under a 12 minute mile! And here we are now, two kids, two surgeries and a lot of life later, a PR! Woo hoo! However, I really think I can do better, if I push myself harder with training. So now the question is, do I do a spring half and test that out?! Ben is doing his first half this spring, so his training will take up a lot of time, so we'll see...

Previous PR Race:

New PR Time at Diva:
(Harder to read, but says: 2:32:14)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

"What do you mean, he don't eat no meat??"

I'm married to a meatatarian. There's no way around it, he even calls himself that openly. Every dinner should have meat in his opinion. EVERY DINNER. Lunch probably too, unless it's a hearty grilled cheese. When Ben cooks, it's usually meat on the grill, so meatless recipes are just not going to happen on his watch.

That said, I've been trying to sneak a meatless meal into our weekly menu rotation to mix things up. I know a lot of people call out Meatless Monday. According to the global movement, found here, one meatless day a week improves your health, and is also great for the planet.

We don't have a particular day we choose to go meatless, but whatever works in our schedule. It's designed to save us a little money (as you may remember from one of my meal planning posts, we do a big meat shopping trip about once a month at Costco), and make us all try new things.

As long as I don't overload it with "weird" vegetables, or he leaves the table hungry, Ben will embrace the meal, as will Austin. Everett still loves most everything we put on his plate, bless his little heart, stay my baby forever, okay sweet boy?

It's safe to say, everyone's favorite meatless recipe, however, is when I make homemade macaroni and cheese (favorite recipe from The Pioneer Woman found here).

Either way, here are a few of my other meatless wonders that make it on our table. Some nights, I try to make them when Ben isn't home, since there are certain things (zucchini, kale, tomatoes, sweet potatoes) I know he doesn't have a taste for.
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