Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Five Favorites (Vol. 4)

Welcome to today's link up with the fabulous Hallie for......

- 1 -
Walks with Leo
Not sure if he's flexing for the camera or not...
 Simply put, Leo loves being outside. If he is being fussy all it takes is stepping onto the patio to calm him down. The other day he was being very difficult when it came time to take his bottle but he was hungry so what was a mama to do? Take him outside and feed him out there. BAM! Instant success. I sure don't mind the exercise either!

- 2 -
Garage Sales

For some reason we have an abundance of clothing that covers almost every age bracket up to 2T, but barely anything in the 3-6 months range. And as it happens, that is exactly where Leo is now and the winter sleepers aren't quite cut out for this weather. So I hopped onto Craigslist and searched for Garage Sales and lo and behold, I found one near(ish)by and Leo and I went to investigate. It was an absolute goldmine of 3-6 month clothing in great condition! I practically skipped home (in my car......).
- 3 - 

OK, I made a huge mistake a few weeks ago. I had a donut. OK, I had two donuts. From a local bakery. It was the beginning of the end. Since then I am not entirely sure how many donuts I have had and truth be told I don't want to try and figure it out. All I know is that I love them and wish they were for breakfast every day. And maybe lunch. And dinner. And dessert. Please?

- 4 - 
Free Boxes
Thankfully this is a google image, not what our apt looks like (yet)
With the move changing from the end of July to the end of June (yay/what?!) we are in packing mode around here. While it is a pain to buy packing tape it is just straight up unthinkable to purchase moving boxes. They are pricey as all get out and we need things on the cheap thank you very much! So Ben went around to the local liquor stores and voila! We have a bunch of sturdy, good-sized boxes for free! 
- 5 -

In my last Five Favorites post I mentioned a 10 minute workout that I really liked. I got it off of the website above and have been doing a circuit workout every other day that I got off of that website as well. I love it! The first time I did it I was whining like a baby and Ben had to talk me through it. I felt like I was going to die. Then I did it again. That time I used my own stopwatch (20 seconds rest between each exercise max) and was my own motivator. As much as I hate exercise I love getting it done and staying committed. That website has tons of different workouts (in print and video) and they are all free (my favorite). 

~ Happy Wednesday ~

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What I Wore Sunday (Anniversary Edition)

Today is an incredibly blessed day for me. Not only do we get to celebrate Trinity Sunday but it is Ben and my first wedding anniversary! On top of that Leo turns 3 months old today! I cannot imagine life without the two most important men in my life and just don't have the skill to express how happy I am and how good God has been to me. Luckily, this post is about fashion and not my feelings and suchlike so I will go ahead and leave it there and go ahead with linking up with the fantastic folks at Fine Linen and Purple

Just had to include this one

Please note the squirrel statue by my feet
Leo looked exceptionally dapper today in plaid button-up shirt, blue khakis, and blue shoes. I am afraid I don't know where any of them came from but he really ought to have his own WIWS post today. He behaved wonderfully at mass (despite continuing his habit of pooping upon arrival) and garnered the attention of several adorable children in the pew behind us. Hopefully Ben and I will be able to fill up a pew one day as well =)

The Outfit

Shoes : American Eagle
Skirt : Thrift store
Shirt : Target
Shrug : Charlotte Russe

~ Happy Trinity Sunday ~

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Five Favorites (Vol. 3)

Here is hoping Leo continues his nap long enough for me to join Hallie et al for today's Five Favorites! I better start upping my typing speed! 

1. Visits with Family

Leo meets Uncle Joe

Leo with Uncle Jer and Nana

Leo with Grandma Y

The past weekend was filled with family! My three younger brothers and mom came up to Indiana, allowing my brother Joe to meet Leo for the first time (he was abroad for the past semester). It was (as always) awesome to spend time with them and my mom offered to watch Leo so that Ben and I could have a dinner date on his birthday - BEST. EVER! On Sunday we took off after a brunch with everyone and went to visit Ben's side of the family for a few days. I am incredibly blessed to have such amazing in-laws! The visit was over too soon but filled with fun. 
2. Chili's Chicken Crispers
If only I could eat this picture....
 The past week will not go down in history as my healthiest. For our dinner date Ben and I went to Chili's (my first time there) and I ordered their Chicken Crispers. Basically they are beer-battered chicken tenders, but that description hardly does them justice. They were incredible and my only regret is that the meal did not come with about fifty more of them! 

3. Coffee Mate : The Original
Just don't smell it!
I have been without "non-dairy" creamer for the past few days and goodness gracious me I did not realize how important it is! I almost ran to the store last night so that I would have it this morning but (foolishly) decided against it. The result? Diet Coke for my morning caffeine fix. And while I love Diet Coke (seriously), there is something positively magical about a solid cup of coffee. Thank goodness a Meijer trip is in my future today!

4. PicMonkey
Forget Photoshop
 Sooooo yeah, I just discovered this website and it helped enormously with my blog redesign (such as it is) and has been a ton of fun to use! It is very user-friendly and I love how much you can do with it. Also, it's free and that is pretty great too.

5. 10 Minute Workout


Yes, I am once again posting about ANOTHER fitness routine that I am trying out! Ben and I have been having a difficult time finding the time (repetitive much?) and energy for kickboxing lately so I went searching for other workout options. I stumbled across this on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. It doesn't incorporate cardio and could be better for arms, but overall I really like it. I'm sure this is saying more about me than the actual workout but even after stretching I was pretty sore the next day. If you have 10 minutes to spare you may want to give it a try! 

Rushed blog entry DONE! 

~ Happy Wednesday ~

Thursday, May 16, 2013

7 QTs

--- 1 ---

I have been thinking a lot lately about getting my hair cut. Right now it falls just an inch or so below my shoulders, though you would never know it because it is perpetually in a messy bun or a ponytail. I constantly ask myself 'What exactly is the point of having long(ish) hair if all you do with it is put it up and out of the way?'. Well if it were that simple then I would have lopped it all off long ago. The problem is that you can't just scan the web for cute hairstyles and head over to the salon and get a new 'do. Not really. You have to take into account your face shape and hair texture. I say "face shape" but I guess really I mean "chin type." People with strong chins/jaws can get away with a lot of different styles. I do not possess a strong chin. This isn't me being an insecure little schoolgirl - it's just the truth. And then there's the issue of texture. Even after trying out oh, I dunno, almost every available product out there I am slowly coming to the conclusion that there just is no escaping what I like to refer to as The Alice.

This but without the volume on top
 So if I were to follow my heart's desire and lop it off, go for the shoulder-length bob, the odds of it working out are slim to none. The simple truth of the matter is that I need to learn how to do my own hair. And not just look at Pinterest and repin hairstyles - actually learn how to do it. 

--- 2 ---
I really ought to be slapped for having devoted an entire take to my hair.

--- 3 ---
Speaking of my needing to be slapped, I recently purchased a Bluetooth. Why? you ask. Because being the epic klutz that I am I am incapable of balancing a phone and a baby (or anything for that matter) at the same time. I don't know why and have been assured by my brother that it is in fact not difficult and pretty much everyone can do it. Still, I found that I couldn't and as a result was missing out on many desired conversations with friends and family members. So yes, I bought this

Yay adult conversations!!!
Perhaps it makes me an absolute fool but I have to say I am really glad that I bought it. It means I can comfort Leo, change his diaper, feed him, take him for a walk, prep dinner, do the dishes, etc. and still have a conversation with my mom. I never realized how important contact was for me until I quit working. Especially now being a stay-at-home mom with an almost 3 month old and a working husband, having the ability to talk with other adults is huge for me. I can have all of the coffee in the world but it won't give me the same energy that one conversation can. That, and clearly I'm super important and needed the ability to talk via headset........

--- 4 ---
In the first three weeks or so after Leo was born meals were not an issue for Ben and me. My mom made meals the week that she stayed with us and then my amazing SIL made us tons of meals AND coordinated with other individuals so that we were covered for a good long while. When it finally came time for me to start cooking for our little family again I was absolutely terrified. I had no idea how I was supposed to tend to Leo properly and manage to get a meal ready at the same time. Anyways it took me awhile to figure it out and while I don't have it down to a science yet (at all) it doesn't freak me out anymore. I am probably the farthest thing from a "domestic goddess" that there is but there is something empowering and gratifying about being able to tackle a new recipe or just prepare a decent, balanced meal for my family. Tonight I am tackling 
Chicken Scallopini with Orzo

--- 5 ---
Our little Leo will be turning 3 months old a week from Sunday (our 1 year wedding anniversary - how Catholic are we?! ;) I am really excited about this particular milestone for a number of reasons. First, it means that I can try to reintroduce dairy into my diet. I never realized how much I absolutely adore like dairy until the time came when I had to give it up.

Me on May 26th

It has definitely been worth the sacrifice to see Leo doing so much better, BUT I am extremely hopeful that his digestive system will have matured enough soon so that it becomes a moot point. Second......

--- 6 ---

Leo hitting the 3 month old mark means that we can try to introduce a sleeping schedule. We have a couple of methods to try out and see which one works the best for Leo but hopefully it won't take too long for us to figure it out. After reading that previous sentence I imagine all you moms out there are chuckling to yourself......
How I want it to go.......
How it will really go.....

--- 7 ---
I will end this Friday's post with a a word from Leo.....

(Yes, that's me singing and yes, I am very embarrassed about that)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

~ Happy Friday ~ 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The 5 Favs

Here's to making it to the halfway point of the week, folks! Weekends may not mean the same thing that they used to before Leo but it does mean that Ben is a little bit more available to hang out and help out with the  baby. So as long as that is the case weekends are something to look forward to and Wednesday retains a bit of significance. I am especially looking forward to this weekend because it is Ben's birthday (and it's a milestone birthday!) and I am really excited about celebrating. I have a few random surprises in store - here is hoping they don't backfire! On top of the husband's birthday my mom and brothers are swinging through town AND we will be traveling to visit Ben's folks for a few days.

Now, I should probably stop meandering and get to linking up with Hallie

1. Exercise w/Ben

This but less Asian
I mentioned before I am slowly trying to reincorporate exercise into my life. Almost immediately after writing my previous post I came down with a stomach bug and there went the routine. When I tried to pick it back up my joints gave me a lot of trouble, something that I am used to popping up after extended periods of time and rigorous exercise but to experience it after such simple workouts? I brought it to the attention of my husband and he suggested that I ditch the routine and let him train me in kickboxing. I am a pretty big fan of any form of exercise that allows me to skip the jumping jacks and crunches and hit something so the answer was an emphatic "yes!". So for the past few nights that's what we've been doing and I must say it definitely qualifies as a favorite!

2. Bright Nail polish 

This but on the toes. And I'm not going to model it.
I was inspired by my SIL's post last week regarding bright nails so when kiddo took an unusually long nap today and I had finished the dishes, laundry, and dinner prep I thought "What the heck, I'll paint my toenails!". I have not painted my toenails for many a year so I actually had to pull up an article on how to do it and keep scanning it throughout the experience. The color is pictured above so yes, it is bright. In fact it looks a little like summer threw up on my toes. I love it.

3. Perfect Spring Days

This but in an apartment complex. Full of geese. And fewer trees.
I really can't express how utterly delicious it has been to be able to pop Leo in the stroller and walk around our apartment complex lately. Late Spring is my absolute favorite. The sun is warm and the breeze is too and trees are so much more beautiful when they're in blossom, just before their leaves appear. It is wonderful to have the windows open too and have the warm breeze moving through the apartment. Leo seems to love it too

4. Leo

This. Exactly this.

This except with attempts at eating pictured bear
Leo has been all over the place this past week. He had his first major round of vaccinations and that went just about how I expected it would (i.e. screaming but not too much). The thing about the screaming that ensued is that as bad as it was, it wasn't any worse than just about every single bath-time he has. The first photo above (the one where he is giving me a look of utter betrayal) was taken right after such a bath-time. I hate his screaming but I have to admit the absolute drama and ridiculousness of it all amuses me to no end. Also, he has taken a shine to the little stuffed animal the hospital gave us when he was born. Mostly he tries to eat it but when it's in his arms he holds it tight and it is just the cutest thing ever. Lastly, something new happened with him tonight when I was singing to him. Normally he just lights up and smiles at me when I sing but last night he started making a bunch of sounds he had never made before. It was like he was singing back to me and it melted my heart completely. I just adore that little boy! 

5. Mommy Blogs

This but not. Not at all actually.
I'm going to keep this short because I should have been in bed approximately 32 minutes ago. I have really enjoyed reading "mommy blogs" lately, especially on Mother's Day. I am amused, challenged, convicted, and inspired by all of the amazing women out there. Thank you for your witness and keep up the good work! With God's grace and a heck of a lot of fixin' I may just get there someday too :)

~ Happy Wednesday ~

Monday, May 13, 2013

Barefoot in the Kitchen (Vol. 4)

Welcome to the fourth post of Barefoot in the Kitchen!

So it's been awhile since I did a recipe post. The good news is that it isn't because I stopped my kitchen experiments - just haven't had kiddo on enough of a schedule to blog regularly until now. The past week was filled with culinary dabbling and I am thrilled to report that there were no disasters! I have been on a quest lately to find recipes using ground beef that are not automatically Italian or Mexican cuisine. It's not that I don't like them (I love them!) but it gets quite old after awhile. So, I decided that I would put Leo's nighttime feedings to good use and scan the web for new recipes. I tried two of them last week and both Ben and I were big fans. I am posting my personal favorite (Ben has a different favorite of the bunch which I may post at a later date). 

Garden Skillet Supper*

Prep Time : 20 - 30 minutes

Cook Time : 30 minutes (approx.)

Servings : 4 - 6 

Ingredients : 
  • 1-2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 large garden tomatoes OR 1 can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1-2 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1-2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
  • red pepper flakes (based on desired level of spice)
  • sugar (if desired)

Step 1. Place tomatoes on foil lined baking sheet and put in over under broiler for five to eight minutes, while you get the ground beef going

Step 2. In large skillet over medium high heat, place ground beef and onion. Chop and stir with wooden spoon until beef is fully browned and onion is tender and translucent, about ten minutes. If not using lean ground beef, drain grease. 

Step 3. Remove tomatoes from oven while ground beef is cooking and set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled, carefully peel skin off and slice into large wedges. 

Step 4. Add tomatoes to ground beef and onions in skillet and continue cooking over medium high heat while you stir and chop them up, being careful not to squirt hot juice on yourself. 

Step 5. Add salt, parsley, black pepper, and sugar (if using sugar). Stir well and cook for about ten minutes. 

Step 6. Add in squash and bell pepper and stir well. Cook until squash is lightly translucent and bell pepper is just tender, about ten more minutes. 


Verdict : Smashing success! Suggest serving with bread for dipping 

*Recipe and pictures taken from Southern Plate

~ Happy Monday ~

Sunday, May 12, 2013

WIWS (Mother's Day Edition)

Happy Mother's Day everybody! Another attempt at blogging post-pregnancy and linking up with the fine ladies over at Fine Linen and Purple!

Today was the first time in my life that I was able to celebrate being a mother and that is an amazing blessing. Other blessings of the day include Ben watching Leo so that I could sleep in (!!!!!), a very healthy lunch courtesy of 7-11 (coffee + sausage biscuit + donut) after mass, and a successful adventure in cooking for dinner (Honey Curried Chicken with Couscous).

We ended up going to mass at a different parish today due to confirmations taking place at the cathedral. Leo was not having a great morning and adding a 1 1/2 hr mass to the mix did not seem like a great idea. The parish is very old, however, and does not have a cry room so when kiddo became upset things became rather interesting. Nothing quite like trying to breastfeed a very fussy baby in a dark corner perched on a rickety wood chair with ushers buzzing around. Also, great acoustics. Awesome.

Note to self: NEVER attend mass at a parish that does not have a cry room!!!!!!

Leo did his best to affirm me in his own way. Today that meant screaming. Lots and lots of screaming and not a lot of napping. For the life of us we don't know what was going on with the poor little guy but he seemed just miserable all day. And no, the freak outs began before my 7-11 binge and did not get any worse afterwards. My incredible husband just got him to sleep and I'm super hopeful that it is for the night, but based on the day I am thinkin' that we are headed for an interesting night. Anyways!

Our little family after mass - Leo was busy people watching

Yes, that's all spit up
Details -->

Shirt : Thrift Store
Jeans : Gap
Shoes : Not pictured, but Old Navy
Earrings : Thrift Store
Baby : God 

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and really, I could not have said it better --

To every woman who longs to be a mother, to every woman who carries some if not all of her children only in her heart, to every woman who has chosen life and adoption for her child or children, to every woman busy self-sacrificially tending to the needs of her children here on earth, to every woman who spiritually mothers those God has entrusted to her care... I hold each of you in my heart and celebrate and honor you today.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

~ Happy Mother's Day! ~

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Friday, May 10, 2013

7 QTs : Leo Edition

At last, my momentous return to the 7 Quick Takes! How empty your Fridays must have been in my absence.....

Today's edition of 7QTs is focused on a special little guy who made his grand entrance into this world just over 10 weeks ago and changed our lives forever.

1. Leo's first pictures
Leo Gregory
2:39 AM
9 lbs 9 oz

Sleepy baby

I will save the lengthy birth story for another post. Suffice it to say that there were issues aplenty (e.g. cord around the neck) and I am grateful to God that we had the OB and nurses that we did!

2. Leo with his daddy

Complete natural
The loves of my life

This is the first photo that we grabbed of Ben holding Leo. As you can see he is one proud daddy! I could not have hoped for a better father for my son and I realize how true that is more and more every day. He is a complete natural and I can't wait to see their relationship continue to grow and develop. That being said, I think weapons training may need to wait awhile.....

"I put the 'scream' in Escrima sticks!"

3. Nana Visits
My mom visited for a week to help us as we faced new parenthood and all of the ups and downs that came with it. The help was invaluable and came in the form of sleep (both during the day and night), food, doctor's appointments, moral support, etc. I may or may not have cried when she left...

4. Baptism
Leo's Mimi and Great-Papa, Papa and Nana, and Grandma and Grandpa
We had Leo baptized when he was just a few weeks old. We were very blessed by several family members who made it to the baptism, including my dad who opted for an insane red-eye flight from Washington state so that he wouldn't miss it. I had approached the day with extreme dread and trepidation but Leo did beautifully and it was a joy to show him off to friends and family. His baptismal gown was made by his Nana and I want to slap myself for not taking a close-up of him wearing it because he was quite the looker!

5. Weight Loss
Leo diets
The first three weeks of Leo's life were very hard. Due to several different factors Leo's weight continued to drop after we left the hospital and we were required to bring him to several different weight checks at his doctor's office, each appointment more discouraging than the last. Our poor little guy seemed to have two settings - sleeping and screaming. Eventually I cut dairy out of my diet and while that helped reduce the screaming a little it did not solve the weight issue. The pediatrician informed me that I simply did not produce enough milk and would need to start supplementing with formula. She gave me a few days to try and boost my supply and get his weight up but after a few days the only change was that I was MUCH more sleep deprived and emotional. I went to a lactation consultant for advice and to my surprise she agreed with the pediatrician. There were many tears and much guilt but in the end we introduced the formula and after the very first feeding Leo was happy. Three weeks of thinking we had a fussy, colicky baby and BOOM! We felt like we finally met our son.

6. "Skeptichill"

Leo channels the Godfather

"I will end you, lion!"

Blue Steel
"A walk you say?"
OK this one he's actually ticked

Now, our son smiles a LOT! He is a happy baby and loves to smile, grin, and coo. Hooooowever, his natural expression tends more towards the serious.... most-likely due to his eyebrows. Anyway, we think it's hilarious (especially now that he does smile so we know he isn't just perpetually grumpy). Because it is his typical expression Ben coined the term "skepti-chill" by way of a description. He looks skeptical/suspicious but overall chill (i.e. skeptichill).

7. Our Happy Little Guy

First smile captured on camera

Waiting for the doctor to ruin happy time

Lovin' the floor gym

Happy hands

Best smile ever <3

Leo and his Grandma :)

Look out world - Here comes Leo Gregory!

Don't forget to check out Jen and the other fab Quick Takers