Friday, November 30, 2012

November, Month of Thanks

Thanksgiving. Let's do this!
Thanksgiving is possibly my favorite holiday! It’s all about family, food and giving thanks! I’ve loved seeing so many friends share what they’re thankful for each day on Facebook, but I didn’t want to personally bombard folks with my daily notes of thankfulness. It’s a great exercise though and I’ve kept note of what I’m most grateful for throughout the month. Below is my list of thanks by day. J

As my father in law shared in his Thanksgiving sermon, detailing the nitty gritty for which we’re grateful, versus only giving thanks for the big things in life, is really humbling and enables to more fully see how fully God cares for us.

Month of Gratitude
1.     Girlfriends and a much-need night out!
2.     Lil’ O! He’s so much fun!
3.     Good wine and great friends who joyfully babysit Lil’ O and let us escape for a couple hours.
4.     Husby and that he takes great care of our son and lets me sneak out for personal errands.
5.     That my friends and family on East Coast are safe despite the effects of Storm Sandy.
6.     Privilege of voting and knowing final outcome is all part of God’s plan.
7.     Progress on food truck disaster relief project and a relatively calm day at work.
8.     Night out with Ms. E plotting baby shower awesomeness for Lulu.
9.     Hot Mama! I fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans!
10.  Tag teaming with Husby. We’re a great team!
11.  Our veterans and a nap allowing me to be extra productive.
12.  Amazing, locally grown oranges – they’re ugly but the best tasting oranges I’ve ever had!
13.  An upcoming vacation.
14.  Helping hands in planning Lulu’s baby shower.
15.  G’ma coming to the rescue and playing with sick Lil’ O while I stayed home with him, but had to work.
16.  Traveling to Ohio! Thanks for relatively smooth travel with Lil’ O.
17.  Lil’ O is such a trooper! He’s easily adjusting to ET zone and enjoying exploring a new place.
18.  Grateful for a down day connecting with family and letting Lil’ O catch up on sleep.
19.  Opportunity to see friends in Cincinnati.
20.  An afternoon out with the ladies of the fam and seeing my beautiful sister-in-law try on wedding dresses.
21.  Vacation! Time to play with Lil’ O and to reconnect with family. Plus, awesome hand-me-downs for Lil' O!
22.  Thanksgiving service and feast with family galore.
23.  Relatively smooth travels home and minimal fuss by Lil’ O. He’s becoming such a good traveler!
24.  Lazy Saturday with my guys and a visit with G’ma and G’pa for Thanksgiving leftovers and pie.
25.  Productive day including ordering and wrapping baby gifts to welcome new bundles of joy.
26.  Job in a creative field and the occasional indulgences it affords us.
27.  Fun night out seeing a movie and having dinner with a good gal pal.
28.  Healthy baby boy! Lil’ O had a smooth 9-month check-up and is in the 95th and 99th  percent for weight and height.
29.  Starbucks coffee, holiday ginger bread and Christmas carols!
30.  Discovery of a new blog, The Shine Project and the encouragement it gives. A new writing project at work and opportunities overall.

My guys chilling on vacation.

How refreshing! An exercise in positivity can really help lift up and spread joy. And, with December starting tomorrow, I’ll be getting into the Christmas spirit by singing carols, sleuthing for that perfect gift for the folks on my list, drinking hot cocoa, and continuing to reflect on the small and big things that have made this year so fulfilling.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Beyond Post-Prego Diet Food – Exploring CSA Produce

Some women are super cute pregnant. I don’t believe I was one of those women. I got huge! I gained 55 pounds and I can’t blame it all on Lil’ O, who was born at the large, but perfectly respectable weight of 8 pounds, 12 ounces. I’ve been dieting. I’ve been exercising. I’m super close to achieving my pre-prego weight, but not my pre-prego body. I’m coming to terms that all those cute clothes in my closet may not fit again, but I’m still eating right and working toward that magic number on the scale.

When I focus on healthy eating, there’s an interesting trend in our house. While dieting, I cook more. And, when I cook more, we eat more adventurously. Yet, despite my large arsenal of cookbooks and cooking magazines, I’ve been intrigued by the movement for more community-supported agriculture, or CSAs. Here’s how it works: For a regular fee, we get a weekly box of fresh, in-season produce from local growers. Simple, right? Wooed by the allure of trying new things, especially veggies, as I work to stick to my healthful eating resolution, we made the leap and joined.

A box of new produce each week can be a bit intimidating and time consuming – after all, we want to be sure we eat up all those delish veggies before they go bad and before we get another box. For now, we’re doing a three-week trial run leading up to Thanksgiving to see if we can keep up the veggie-loving pace.

Now, I’m honestly not sure if this is the best use of my time, but exploring new veggie options does have worthwhile merits, at least in theory: we’ll eat more veggies by exploring new flavors; by knowing more veggies, we’ll be able to introduce Lil’ O to more tastes; and, if I do this correctly, we’ll be eating more healthfully (and maybe I’ll finally lose that last little bit of weight). And, if it does turn out to be too much work or too time consuming, we’ve chosen our initial intro to be a week-by-week subscription, meaning we’re not locked in to a six-month or annual subscription and stuck paying for produce we potentially can’t finish each week. Hopefully, we can stay on this healthy eating band wagon, but we’ll see. And, if we don’t, I resolve not to feel guilty about it. We’ll still be eating our veggies; the dinner side dish repertoire may just be a bit more mundane. Not the end of the world.

If you’d like to follow along by checking out the recipes I’m finding to use up all this crazy, fresh and potentially obscure produce, check out my dedicated Pinterest board where I’m currently housing my recipe finds and noting any successes.

Ants on a Log!
Thanks to some celery in a recent produce box, I introduced Husby to this childhood classic.
Truly, somehow he'd never eaten these before! Glad I could fix that!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Eight Months!

Wow, my little guy is not so little anymore. It’s hard to recall just where the time has gone, but Lil’ O is now eight (and a half) months! He is such a blessing and joy. At eight months he’s still a chill, sweet, happy little dude, but some of his more favorite things lately, in addition to eating (wow, does he get eager for meal times!), have been bouncing and bopping, especially to music; crawling and exploring; verbalizing/yelling and trying out new sounds, and playing and chewing on toys. Chewing you ask? Oh, yes, teething is happening in full force - Lil' O has six teeth and is working on some more! 

Sigh, I remember when we would cuddle in the morning and he’d fall asleep in my arms. Now he’s more interested in exploring his world and asserting his independence. At every stage though, he brings such joy.

Weekend Warrior

Lately it seems like I’m confined to getting the bulk of my personal and/or home tasks done over the weekend. Sigh. I’d much rather get these things done bit by bit, but lately my weeks seem to be booked! There have been some fun things, like a recent, much-needed night out with some girlfriends and cooking all the fresh produce we get via our new weekly produce box, but largely I’ve been busy trying to keep up with work. Yeah, the masses call work a “day job,” but us PR gals are available around the clock, plus I’ve lately been needing the evening hours after Lil’ O goes to bed just to keep up with my work to do list. I’m not complaining, but it is making it more challenging to stay balanced and to do some of the things I like to do in my down time. For example, reading for fun is progressing at a snail’s pace; I barely had time to prep for the Bible study we were hosting and Husby was leading; and, as you may have noticed, I’ve not been good lately about keeping up with this blog. I have a post for last week half ready and had meant to finish and post it during the week. Clearly, the week escaped me and it never got to posted. So, immediately following this post, you can catch my musings on Lil’ O achieving the 8 month mark. He’s getting so big!
So, though weekend warrior is usually a term for weekend-only exercise, I’m expanding it to also include the caffeine-induced hyper drive necessary for working moms – or maybe parents everywhere – to keep up with the kiddos and get all the things done personally and around the house that slipped through the cracks during the week. I can't yet imagine what weekends will look like when I have more than just Lil' O and Husby to keep up with! My weekends lately include cooking breakfasts and such in prep for the weekly crazy, menu planning, grocery shopping, gardening (attempts), running sundry errands, laundry, attempting not to lose touch with friends, Saturday morning exercise (which is so far the only day I’m consistently exercising, sigh), and maybe some cleaning and whatever new baby task is needed for the week. (This week it was Husby installing new car seats and us starting to tackle baby proofing the house since Lil’ O is now crawling). Lil' O is napping, so I'm off! Bring on the caffeine!
I hope all the other parents and friends out there are having a more relaxed weekend, or that you're at least, like us, finding pockets of time for fun with family and friends. :)