Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekly Workouts and Weight - Week 8

Week of November 18

The madness continues...
Getting outside as much as we can!
Weight: 156
Height: 5’10

Could not believe the scale. Say what??? I’m only TWO pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. WOW!!! The week before was such a bad week mentally and physically. The only thing I can think is I’ve been really watching what I put in my mouth. I have been eating smaller portions because there isn’t a whole lot of time to eat and I rarely EVER sit down now. Jackson is keeping me on my toes if I ever set him down.

The other thing is I can’t afford to feel run down or tired and I have learned sugar or heavy carbs makes me feel that way. Sure, a treat tastes good but 40 minutes later and I want a nap. I can’t feel that way. EVER. So it’s not worth it. For example, I have a bag of Jolly Ranchers at my desk (for emergences). Usually around 3, I want something sweet. I ask myself… are two or three Jolly Ranchers really what I need/want or will a tart apple do the trick? The apple wins. AND I am not ravishing by dinner time. Sometimes I don’t get to eat dinner until 8, so I need something that will fill me up. Jolly Ranchers don’t do the trick.

Sunday: None. Was still at cabin and no running/walking allowed because I might get hit by stray bullet. Got home too late to work out since I had to get us all unpacked, laundry going and dinner cooking. Feeling rather anxious. Missing my heart pumping workout. Head feels fuzzy. So much on my brain. Need clarity.

Monday: Nothing. Slept HORRIBLE the night before…maybe 2 or 3 solid hours in a row. Was a walking zombie all day. I did park very far away from the grocery store so I had to walk more and then walked across the street to grab lunch. That was my exercise. Took a LOT of deep breaths!

Tuesday: Quick 20 minute walk over lunch. The weather is AMAZING for November. Close to 60 degrees. We have a 5-hour car ride ahead of us so I wanted to get something in. Visiting my parents for the Thanksgiving holiday. VERY excited to do some walking/running around Roscoe because it’s hilly where they live. Just hoping we can fit that in!

Wednesday: Holy TIRED. We left for Roscoe at 7 p.m. and arrived at 12:30 in the morning. We didn't get to bed until 2 a.m. And then... oh man...Jackson was up at 5:00 a.m. I AM TIRED. Like walking zombie tired. I DO NOT LIKE FEELING LIKE THIS. Karl and I went for a 40 minute walk up and down all the  hills. The weather is wonderful so we tried to enjoy as much as possible. Just wish I could get SLEEP.

Thursday: Still SO TIRED. Jackson slept until 3, but not enough sleep for me. At home he'll get up sometimes at 3, eat quick and fall back asleep until 7, but he was up again at 5 a.m. after I fed him. I NEED SLEEP. It's Thanksgiving and my grandparents are coming over. Trying to be hard being peppy being so tired. My mom and I take a 40 minute walk up and down hills with Jackson. The fresh air feels GREAT but I try to take a couple naps. Not happening. Brain won't shut off. And Jackson will not nap.

Friday: Me here. DYING. SO TIRED. Jackson was up from 2 a.m. on. Every half hour. Pretty sure he's teething. Not napping at all. Life is hard. I want to cry. I just want to sleep. Grandparents are still here. Feel like we're keeping them up with Jackson's screams. I don't change him during the night like normal because that means going to a different room, that means he'll scream and wake everyone up. But he soaks through his diaper and his pjs and his bed...and our bed. Oopsy. At least we fit in a nice walk. Ahhh. 20 minutes of fresh air. Brother returns from Everest Base Camp. He is too exhausted to talk. Truthfully, I'm too tired to even listen to anyone. I just want SLEEP. I try to nap. No go. Again...brain won't shut off.

Saturday: Yep. Still no good sleep. Is it time to go home yet? I just want my own bed. Our routine. Jackson is NOT napping. If he is, it's for 20 minutes and he wakes up crabby. I am exhausted. No rest at all. Constant go-go-go. Teething like crazy. Seems to be in pain. Dreading the car ride back because I'm scared. Will Jackson be able to make it? Karl and I take a nice long 40 minute walk with Jackson... Of course he naps now. Feels good but I AM SO TIRED. Jackson is up quite a bit. I feel sluggish. I don't feel good about myself. I'm wearing the same outfit for three days. Ugh. Everyone is SICK! Coughing and sneezing and sore throats. YUCK! My nose keeps running. So much for all those fruits I ate before we left just to avoid Karl's sickness. I NEED SLEEP. I NEED A GOOD WORKOUT. MOMMA IS STRESSED.

Weekly Workouts and Weight - Week 7

Week of November 11
late posting... life has gotten crazy.

Weight: 158.5
Height: 5’10

Me and my little man hanging out
This week was horrible for working out. Terrible. This whole week was an all-around stressful, no-fun kind of week with very little time and sleep. YUCK. In short: When it rains, it pours.

Sunday – Was hoping to get to the gym. Nope. All I had time for was to get to the grocery store. Does that count as walking? I shop really fast. My list is made out the way the store is laid out. I have to be quick. Was hoping for a walk outside but the weather wasn’t the best. So nope. Was hoping for the elliptical. Nope. Tried not to be so hard on myself…

Monday – Nada. No time.

Tuesday – 25 minute walk over lunch! Any chance to get fresh air.

Wednesday – Had the day off to watch Jackson! I LOVE when I get days like these. I wish I could do this every week. We spent 45 minutes running and walking. As soon as Jackson would fuss, I would start running and he would stop. I think he was pushing me. Felt so great!!

Thursday – 15 minute walk over lunch and a phone call to my mom. I love when we get to talk.

Friday – 15 minute walk over lunch. SUPER stressful day. Had to work a full day and then race home and pack everything up. Plus feed Jackson. We didn’t get to the cabin until after 9. Then Jackson was up after being asleep in his car seat. Put him down to sleep and he woke up a few times throughout the night. Mom was TIRED. Dad woke up with a bad cold. Jackson woke up with green boogies.

Saturday – At the cabin. No working out because stray bullets (hunting opener). I tried to run up and down my in-law’s hills a couple of times because it was SO NICE OUT. Totally bumming I couldn’t enjoy the weather a little more, but me and the little man say outside and soaked up the rays and fresh air. Jackson had lots of green snotL

Lesson learned… I think I’m going to have to retire going to the cabin during hunting season.

1. I don’t hunt nor do I have a desire to.

2. I do not like being trapped inside all day. I’m too active. Sitting outside is nice (we got lucky with this year’s weather), but I need more than just sitting outside...

3. I have so much to do at home, it’s best I just stay back and get that all done. Working 40 hours a week kills all my time to get things done around the house. I need my weekends, otherwise I feel internally unorganized and my whole week is just as messy as my house feels.

4. I really like my sleep. And I get very little at the cabin with Jackson in the room with us. Then when Monday rolls around...I’m dying! I need to be focused at work, and it’s SO hard when I’m SO tired.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekly Workouts and Weight - Week 6

Week of November 4

Weight - 158
Height -  5’ 10”
On a family walk on Saturday (was 72 degrees out in November!!!)

Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss! I made it to the 150s!!! I am just four pounds away from my pre-baby weight!!!!!!!! There is still a stack of pants in my closet that I can’t comfortably fit into so I’m working on toning up.  Thanks to my last training session, I think I might have shocked my body and muscles to work extra hard! Just wait until the Halloween candy catches up to me.

Sunday – 35 minute lift and Life Time and a 5 minute steam! Ahhhh. Then a twenty minute walk with Jackson. We bundled up tight. Love getting fresh air with him. Now it’s going to be too dark when I get home to do much of anything outside with him. Boooo.

Monday - None

Tuesday – None. Had to give up my gym time. Jackson had his 6 month appointment and that meant dad had to work late.

Wednesday – Elliptical 25 minutes

Thursday – 20 minute walk outside over lunch break. In the 50s in November! Awesome. Sun is shining.

Friday - None

Saturday – 45 minute walk (and a run toward the end) with Jackson (warm but cloudy and rainy) and then sun cleared so we went on a 25 minute walk with dad! Able to see the sunset! Also cooked a lot of healthy foods for Jackson: chicken, mangos, papaya, butternut squash, bananas, asparagus, plums. Next up green beans, peas and more avocados and sweet potatoes. We are flying through the food now that he eats three times a day.
Another fun walk during the week!
Spent a portion of my weekend cooking up healthy foods for Jackson. My fave...baked plums. YUM!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sixth Month Check Up - 6.5 Months

Jackson’s 6 month visit (even though he’s almost 7 months)

We had to change Jackson’s 6 month appointment because his pediatrician had a conference so now he’s a little off schedule but I’m always OK with delaying shots… hate those things!
Hello friends! I am sitting on my own! I'm 6.5 months old here.

As of November 6, 2012, Jackson’s measurements:
Weight: 16.6 pounds – 18 percentile (little peanut!)
Length: 27.5 – 74 percentile
Head: 17.09” – 29 percentile

Tall and skinny man!

I had only been feeding Jackson solids one time a day (dinner time) and had just started feeding him breakfast this past week (bananas). His pediatrician told us we should be feeding him three times now. OOPS!!! I was going off Jackson’s cues and just started to notice he seems to have tons of energy after he eats at night, and seems like he should get more during the day since he’s been working on crawling. Sure enough, he was VERY excited to eat in the morning. So he gets oatmeal and bananas in the morning. A fruit and veggie in the afternoon and a yummy dinner at night. All with breast milk with some breast milk breaks in between meals too. That’s a total of 6 feedings throughout the day. That’s a lot of eating!!! And a lot more food to make. I just want to make sure he’s always getting enough breast milk first though.
Getting ready for my shots!

We were also told he could eat meat now. This weekend I’ll be hard at work making all his foods. I’m going to try getting him fish at least once a week (same with us). I always feel so good the day after I eat fish. Weird, I know.   

Jackson tried pears this past week (loves them!) for the first time and tonight he’s going to try winter squash. We were also told we could stop his medication for reflux! So I’m going to add plain Greek Yogurt to his diet to help his tummy. Hopefully there aren’t any dairy allergies! Fingers crossed. I’ll probably have to introduce in the morning and on the weekend so I can watch him and be ready if anything should happen.

After work, I ran to Valley Natural Foods and bought some organic puff cereal. I gave Jackson a few pieces while I was fixing his dinner. Why didn’t I think of this before? This distracts him enough where he’s not getting impatient as I cook everything up. He didn’t know what to do at first but once he got one in his mouth, it was so cute to see his teeth and jaw chew! His face was priceless.
Step one

We also give him his sippy cup during his meals. It’s filled with water now until he gets the hang of it. He knows exactly what to do, but we have to work on him throwing his head back to get the water to come out.
Step Two

Sleep has been wonderful. Maybe once a week he’ll get up at 2, but most of the time it’s me going into his nursery at 5:30 before work. There might be a 4 am wake-up call in there every now and again too but I am fine with that. He will go back to sleep after...and same with me. I’ll get that workout in at some point… Just love this little man of ours.
Step Three

Jackson is able to sit on his own now. Just a little wobbly here and there. He has begun to notice strangers and will cling on to me if something scares him: when we Skype, the garage door opens or closes, someone scares him with a loud voice. He is so great at transferring objects from one hand to the next. The doctor was very impressed. 
Step Four

He’ll act like he’s ready to clap and he’ll extend his arms out a little better before when he wants one of us to pick him up. Love that feeling.
Dad? Is that you over there??

Changing him has become a crazy challenge. The minute we lay Jackson down, he’ll flip over and want to crawl over to the edge of the crib so he can bite the wood. A friend said they have a special book for their little girl that will distract her. She only gets it when she’s getting changed. So we tried this and it worked!!! For a minute or two, so we have to be FAST.
And back to trying to crawl again...

I don’t like that it’s SO dark out now when we get home. It’s very hard to go for a walk now. Not sure what we’re going to do. Next week it’s supposed to be in the low 30s, so I guess it’s about that time to get creative with our fresh air.

We’ve made it to church THREE Sundays in a row!! YAY! Yes, it’s during his nap, but we make it work.

Crawling. Crawling. Crawling. I wonder with him eating more, if he’ll have just enough energy to work harder and before we know it, he’ll be all over the place? Oh boy!!! This is going to get interesting!!

I had my first taste of what it might feel like when I get bit by Jackson. Ohhhhh, man… NOT going to feel good. I think he was testing what my reaction was going to be because he kept looking at me. I put the kibosh on that! Those teeth are SHARP!!

The best is when I pick him up from day care and his face lights up. He smiles, laughs and then we cuddle. Day has been made. Ahhhh.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Weekly Weights and Workouts - Week 5

Week of October 28

Height 5'10"
Weight 160 (still hanging on to the 160s...)

Me on a walk over my lunch break. The fresh air helps!!!

Dreaded lots of chocolate and candy Halloween week. The kick off to the holidays... Oh boy, oh boy. My trick: We don't buy bags of chocolate until the very last minute or if we do (I had Karl grab a few bags on Saturday), I put them out of sight.

Sunday - One hour training session with my personal trainer Josh. Now he's off to train in Chicago. Sad. He kicked my butt and I have a new workout to follow for the next six weeks. I AM SORE.

Monday - Kind of a recovery day. I stayed home with Jackson today and fit in a quick walk outside. It was maybe 15 minutes long. When I get more time in my day, I have to utilize even if I feel like I'm a huge sore knot!!!

Tuesday - I am still sore. 20 minute walk over my lunch break and a 35 minute lift at Life Time.

Wednesday - Happy Halloween! 15 minute walk over my lunch break.

Thursday - None

Friday - None

Saturday - Nice long 45 minute walk with Jackson. We bundled up! Cold out there. Afterwards we headed to a free beer tasting at our favorite liquor store - Marketplace Liquor. Hey, beer has good grains in it! Dad was away hunting, so mom and Jackson had fun!!!

An awesome beer tasting (don't worry...only had a few sips). All in moderation!

Healthy Wild Salmon with Spaghetti Squash Pesto and Tomatoes

Super Foods Recipe
(this is really easy. I made this while nursing Jackson and getting him ready for bed. Pretty nuts if you ask me.)

Salmon is such a power food. It's great for your heart, inflammation, and is packed with Omega-3s that are good for your overall mental health too!!!

Here are some of salmons benefits - Also, shoot for wild salmon versus farm raised. Here is a good website to read why wild is best -

Now...on to the amazing recipes....

Looks like this takes a lot of work but it really doesn't

I found both recipes as I was scanning Pinterest! Yay.

Spaghetti Squash Pesto with TomatoesGina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1/4th Old Points: 4 pts Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 165.4 Fat: 14.9 g Protein: 2.4 g Carb: 6.9 g Fiber: 1.5 g

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 15 large basil leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 tomato, diced


Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and fibers. Place in a microwave safe dish and cover. Microwave 8-9 minutes. Remove from the microwave and scoop out flesh with a fork into a large bowl.

In a small blender combine basil, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt a pepper and puree until smooth.

Combine pesto with two cups spaghetti squash (save any remaining squash for another recipe). Add tomatoes and season with additional salt and pepper.

And for the salmon...
I did not grill, nor did I let salmon marinade. I took the frozen salmon (from Schwans) and sprinkled with all the goodness and stuck in the oven for 24 minutes. I'm short on time these days! And it still tasted amazing.

Grilled Salmon with Avocado salsa
Ingredients (for 4 people):
2 lbs salmon, cut into 4 pieces
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
Avocado salsa
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
3 mild hot peppers, seeded and deveined, diced or sliced
Juice from 2 limes
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs finely chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
Suggested sides Rice and patacones
  1. Mix the salt, coriander, cumin, paprika, onion and black pepper together, rub the salmon fillets with olive oil and this seasoning mix, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat the grill.
  3. Combine the avocado, onion, hot peppers, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and salt in a bowl and mix well, chill until ready to use.
  4. Grill the salmon to desired doneness.
  5. Serve the salmon topped with the avocado salsa, and with rice and patacones or thick green plantain chips on the side.
This is the second time I've made this and Karl loves and I love. AND we're getting all the great health benefits of salmon.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hitting the Sweet Spot! - 6.5 Months

Jackson is 6.5 Months Old

WE SURVIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I SURVIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well...this far:) I have hit the sweet spot! I'd hear people talk about it but wasn't sure what they meant. I just knew I wanted to get there!
Our sweet happy boy

"Things DO get better. I promise," is what I'd hear.

It's weird typing that because things were always awesome in hindsight, but becoming a parent is such a transition. And lost sleep!!! Ugh. That is killer. And you wonder if it'll EVER get better. Then you wonder HOW will it ever get better??? Because you worry. And you worry more and you sleep less. And the less sleep you get, the more delusional you become. Like borderline crazy. I remember thinking such goofy thoughts. One of them: My old life really wasn't so bad. What did I just do???
Sitting up at Gpa and Gma's House

I still remember how I didn't want to leave Kohl's a week or two after Jackson was born because I just wanted my old life of freedom and sleep back. And I was so scared my life would always be like that first month as a new parent.

It really isn't. Things really DO keep getting better and better and better. I mean, why else do people have more than one child? Ha!
Even though I'm away from my baby during the day, he's not far! Always on my mind and in sight.

I think hitting the sweet spot means, LIFE IS SO SWEET!!!!!!!!!! You really start to count your blessings. Someone at work even asked me if I was "on something" last week because I've been so happy and bubbly. I's the sleep thing. Jackson slept 12 blessed hours in a row two weekends ago. 12 hours. 12. Now...last night I couldn't fall asleep until 11 and then Jackson was up at little tired here. But I don't mind. Really. I know I can do it.

Some people hit the sweet spot immediately after their baby is born. Some it takes a few weeks. Some a few months. Me...took half a year!!! I'm not saying I woke up one morning just recently and felt I had it all together. I'm saying I love where things are at right now and I'm soaking each moment up as much as I can. I'm happy. I can't get enough of Jackson and he's so much fun to be around. I don't mind getting up in the middle of the night anymore (maybe because these times are fewer and far between). I have a system down. I'm more confident in myself. I'm stronger. I feel really good. I'm proud of myself and am not ashamed to write that. It was rough there, but I did it. I know deep in my bones that I'm in a good place and my life is going to keep getting crazy cool.
First Halloween!

But with those happy thoughts comes fear. Darn fear. The happier I feel and the more attached I get and the more I love, the more I have to lose. And that is scary. I can't even imagine a life without Karl or Jackson in it. It makes me sick and so sad to even think about that. So I'm not going to write too much about that...other than...that fear is there. And as much as things get better and greater, that fear sneaks up out of nowhere. I take it as a reminder to appreciate every second and moment I have with my boys and pray that I get to enjoy infinity seconds with them. 

I've also had to train my brain to lower my expectations (especially of myself) AND not be so hard on myself . If I shoot for accomplishing one thing a day for myself, the rest sort of follows. Karl will list off all the stuff he wants to do and has to get done and I tell myself, if I can get a walk in with Jackson, today is a GREAT day. Or...if I can spend an hour playing with Jackson, today is the BEST day. That's it. I try not to get down on myself if I don't cook up a fabulous meal, or get to clean an area of the house that's been collecting dust, or get out of the house to run a few errands or get a hardcore workout in. My first priority is getting time with Jackson in because I don't get a whole lot of that during the week.
Look mom! Just helping with laundry!

What's new with Jackson -

I woke up this past weekend to see Jackson up on all fours in his crib. Yes. And rocking. He lifted his arm as if he was going to crawl but instead leaped forward into a plank. It was pretty funny. But he got right back up on all fours and rocked again. I know it's coming. It's SO coming... He's doing it more and more on his mats too. Our house is so not baby proofed!!

We gave Jackson a sippy cup after his dinner last week. He took it and put it right in his mouth, but he couldn't quite figure it out. I gave him a little tap water to try. Dad had to help him but he wasn't so interested.
Why can't I get this crawling thing down?

Jackson was introduced to mangoes this week. He had to think about it but once he started making his "mmmm" noise, I knew he liked it. Tonight I'm introducing papaya! And later this week: pear. It's not that difficult to make his food. For instance, my brother was over so we could all watch The Amazing Race. He received a phone call, so in that time I chopped, peeled and pureed Jackson's food. Done.
Sunday Greeter at church with dad!

Jackson is blowing raspberries (i.e. making farting noises). It's the cutest thing. I read somewhere that he's getting ready for those first words!!! I can't wait.
Yo! You talking about my awesome cups?

Jackson went into a full out laughing spat when Mike (my brother) came over. We caught it on tape too. The greatest ever. I looked over at Karl. We both had tears in our eyes. Now that is PURE JOY. I couldn't help it. Jackson laughing -

Karl made the most creative Halloween Costume for Jackson. Mr. Mustache Man. Not a bird. Not a plane. But Mr. Mustache Man. Saving the world one whisker at a time. I could not believe Karl was getting out of bed at 5 a.m. to get to work so he could find time in his day to work on the costume. I mean, we're talking about a man who LOVES his sleep. My mind was blown when I saw it. There was fur. And edging. And pants. And suspenders. And a cape! And a monster-sized mustache. What a great dad. I love weird people. Maybe cuz I'm one of them:)
Mr. Mustache Man and the creator of his costume! Can't wait for next year!!

Jackson has more than just one tooth. A few days after he got his first one, another one popped up from his bottom gum. He's a bit feisty and is doing his major teething thing again, so I'm wondering if another is coming...

I know there will be plenty of ups and downs but when there is a good day - oh, it's SOOO sweet! The day even tastes sweet.

Mommy hood is rockin!