Thankful

I am thankful for so many things! This year has been such a whirlwind and I am so happy with the place I am in life right now.

Here are a few things I am thankful for. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Family

I am pretty sure I have the best family ever! I am super close with my family, and feel so lucky that I get to see many of them all of the time. Both my family and Jim’s family are so supportive and awesome. My mom is my best friend, and I feel so lucky that I can say that. We have been living with her for the past four months while we wait for our new house to be renovated, and it has been so fun seeing my mom everyday.

 

Jim

Although Jim is my family, he gets his own category. :) I feel like we have successfully navigated so many life changes this year-having a baby, selling a house, buying a new house, selling a car, buying new car, and moving. We are always on the same page with major life decisions, and the whole renovation process, while stressful, wasn’t stressful for us a couple, which I feel really happy about. We managed to almost get through our first year of parenthood together, and I think we make a pretty good team. I am also beyond thankful that Jim has an awesome job that allows me to stay at home with our baby. It is so rare nowadays to be able to stay home, and I cherish every minute of it.


Connor

I try to keep Connor private on the blog, but I can’t help but write about him today, as I am beyond thankful for him. He is the light of my life, and I love him beyond what I ever thought imaginable. I truly never knew that I could love someone so much. He is such a happy baby, and our days are so fun together. I am so grateful that he is healthy and happy and that I have him as my son.
Health

On that note, I am so thankful that my family is all healthy, and that my body successfully produced another human! Having a baby and a hard delivery was no walk in the park, but I am fine now!


Ok now on to the less mushy stuff!

Coffee

While Connor is a great baby, he is a pretty horrible sleeper! He still wakes up a ton, and I am planning on doing some type of sleep training soon. In the meantime, coffee is my savior. I literally look forward everyday to the time in the morning when I can start drinking coffee!


Dessert

I have always been a sweets lover, but once I got pregnant that intensified. I thought after I had a baby I would stop eating a dessert everyday, but that is not the case. I still eat dessert everyday and have no plans to stop. Eating a small sweet treat does not mean that I have gained weight or feel out of control in any way. I watch my portions and believe in moderation!

 

Suburb Life

I lived in the city for 15 years and just moved to the suburbs this past summer. Our town is particularly special in that it has a cute downtown that we can walk to, so I still get the city feel of being able to walk to the grocery store, to restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. But now I don’t have the congestion, traffic and noise. Our town is also surrounded by beautiful woods and farms, and I am loving the quiet life of living in a small town. And the best part is we can hop on the train or in the car and be in the city within an hour.

 

 

My Trip to Kleinfeld’s in New York

I started blogging after I was already married, so I thought it would be fun to do a few wedding posts now.

Wedding planning was both fun and stressful. For the most part I really enjoyed it, and loved putting my vision to work. We didn’t have a wedding planner, and my mom and I did all of the planning ourselves! One of the highlights was our trip to New York to go to Kleinfeld’s! My mom and I both love Say Yes to the Dress and had said for years that we would go when I got engaged. Once I was engaged, we decided to do it! We planned a quick overnight trip to the big apple.

We arrived on a Saturday morning and walked around, went to eat, and to the big Macy’s to work on my registry. Then we went to Cafe Un Deux Trois, and saw Once.


  
  
  
The next morning was a little hectic. Our flight was cancelled due to a blizzard that was coming to Chicago. They said they could only get us on an early morning flight which meant we would have to miss our Kleinfeld’s appointment! After lots of back and forth we were able to get on a later flight. The funniest part was when we arrived back in Chicago, all the schools were closed for the next day, so we could have stayed an extra day anyway.
I was so happy our appointment was still on! It was so exciting to be at this world- renowned store! Our consultant was Diane and she was a nice as could be. I tried on lots of dresses and they were all pretty traditional. Diane said she pictured me as Grace Kelly- how flattering :-) she saved the best for last- a gorgeous Augusta Jones dress, Pnina Tornai belt, and cathedral length veil with lace. I was in love and we said yes to the dress!


  
  
  
It was a magical weekend, and I am still so happy we went for it and did it. I absolutely loved my dress, and the accessories, and everything felt absolutely perfect.

Easy dinner-baked chicken with baked veggies

I made another quick and easy dinner last night. Baked chicken and green beans. 


Chicken

I just used olive oil, sliced lemons, and fresh rosemary. 

Potatoes and Green Beans

We had a few leftover red potatoes so I used these with green beans and red onion all covered in olive oil and garlic. 

Overall

I totally forgot to put the potatoes in ahead of everything else so they were a bit under cooked. Live and learn! This was a good and quick meal for a week night. Just prep everything and throw it in the oven!

Easy Dinner- Pasta with Meat Sauce

Now that I am a stay at home mom, I realize I need to be more “domestic”. I have always loved decorating my home and have never minded cleaning. I also love baking. However, I am not a huge fan of cooking. Jim typically did all the cooking for us. But now we have a crazy 9 month old, and by the time Jim gets home and makes dinner, it is Connor’s bedtime. I realized that something needs to change. I am making a concerted effort to get better at making healthy, semi-fast week night meals. I thought it would be fun to document them on the blog in case anyone else needs ideas for weeknight dinners, and to note any epic fails, which I am sure will occur! 

 

Last night was my first night of doing this, so it’s still a work in progress! I stuck with a simple dinner of salad, garlic bread, and pasta with meat sauce.  Super easy!

Salad

This was a spinach salad with red onion and candied pecans. I also made a yummy vinaigrette.  I just threw in some olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and sugar. It really made the salad.


 

Pasta with Meat Sauce

I browned up some ground beef with garlic and olive oil. Then I just combined it with a store-bought sauce and whole wheat spaghetti.

 

Garlic Bread

This is a total no brainer! We had bought two loaves of French bread on the weekend, so I just put some butter and garlic and popped them in the oven while everything else cooked.

 

Overall

This meal was easy and fool-proof. I always make sure to try to do the dishes as I go so that there isn’t a huge clean up after dinner. There were a few pots and pans to wash but that’s to be expected. This meal is pretty healthy, and of course the garlic bread could be eliminated, and ground turkey could be swapped for the ground beef.

 

 

 

 

 

November Goals

In October, I posted a few goals so I thought it would be fun to revisit these goals, and then to make some new goals for November.

 

My October goals were:

Move everyday- I think I did an okay job with this.  I have tried to do some type of strength activity 3 times a week and I have tried to run twice a week. I also try to walk outside whenever the weather permits. Not every week is perfect, but I feel pretty good about this overall.

Eat more veggies- I have been good about eating a salad or some type of veggie every afternoon so that I’m getting more than just one serving a day.

Settle in to our new home- This hasn’t happened yet because our house is STILL being renovated!!

Sleep- This still is a challenge.  Connor is teething so we’ve had some really rough nights this past month.

Wash my face each night- I haven’t washed my face every night, but have been making more of an effort to be better about it.

Do lots of fall activities- Yes!  We went on a hayride, to a pumpkin farm, and celebrated Halloween!

 

Here are my November goals! I challenge you to make at least 3 attainable goals for this month!

Blog more! I have totally stunk at blogging so my goal is to blog at least twice a week.

Settle into our new home- I hope this will happen this month!

Host Thanksgiving- We are going to host Jim’s family, and I’m so excited to decorate and get everything ready.

Cook and bake- I want to research a recipe and actually cook it, and bake some yummy treats this month.

 

Healthy Football Snacks


Football season is upon us! Jim is OBSESSED with football. He literally will watch every game on tv if he can. I am becoming more of a football fan as the years go by because it is always on at our house. My favorite part of football is the food- wings, chips and dip, and beer. Yum! However, eating like this on a regular basis isn’t the best idea. Here are some of my favorite healthy football snacks!

Veggies and Dip

I love some good old fashioned celery, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli or cauliflower cut up to dip into low fat ranch. You get the crunch without the calories. 

Pita chips and dip or salsa 

Pita chips are usually a healthier alternative to regular chips, and salsa is a healthy option as well. Chobani Meze Dip is a new healthy dip that is low in calories – 25 for 2 tablespoons, and high in taste! With flavors like chili lime and roasted red pepper, these are a crowd pleaser. You wouldn’t even know they are healthy! 


Apples and Caramel Dip

 Nothing says fall and football season more than Carmel apples! By cutting up apples and dipping them into caramel dip, you save calories over eating a traditional caramel apple. 

October Goals


I am still trying to get myself together in terms of balancing staying home full time with my baby, writing, and working as a writing tutor.  I struggle with feeling like I didn’t accomplish what I intended to at the end of each day.  Partially, I set my goals so high, that there is no way I can possibly do everything in the 24 hours we are all given.  I have decided to take a good look at my schedule and what I want to do with my day, and focus on the most important things.  Heather gave me the idea to set some goals for October, and then revisit them at the end of the month to see how I did.

 

Move everyday

I have given up on the idea that I will complete a formal workout everyday.  My baby is a really bad sleeper, and there are many, many days when I need to take a nap in order to survive, and that takes precedence over working out.  Now I have decided to focus on doing something everyday- whether it is a nap time yoga flow, a run with the jogging stroller, or even just a nice long walk outside, something is better than nothing, and that is what I will focus on for October.

Eat more veggies

I have been horrible lately about eating vegetables.  I usually eat some fruit during the day, but no veggies until dinnertime.  My goal is to eat some vegetables with lunch everyday.

 

Settle in to our new home

We are renovating a house and hopefully it will be done in October.  I’ll be doing a full post soon.  I just want to move in and start getting settled in, without getting stressed out.  The thought of unpacking a whole house full of things with a crazy 8 month old baby seems quite daunting!

Sleep

This is an ongoing, unattainable goal.  I have been better lately about taking a nap when I am sleep deprived.  In the past I would just try to power through the day and drink extra coffee, but when I am super tired, I am unproductive, I get sick, and I am crabby, so sleep is a priority.  Once we are settled in to our new home, I am going to do some form of sleep training, but in the meantime, napping is my saving grace!

Wash my face each night

Kind of tied into the no sleeping thing- once bedtime rolls around I’m pooped and the thought of washing my face seems too exhausting.  I am trying really hard to change this bad habit.  It only takes a few minutes and my wrinkles will thank me later 😉

 

Do lots of fall activities

Fall is my favorite time of year, and I plan on taking full advantage of the month of October to go a pumpkin farm, go on a hayride, and eat apple cider donuts!

 

 

 

 

2 Quick Ways to Get Happy

On Monday I started my week out on such a positive note. I did a 30 minute vinyasa yoga class and took a lovely walk. It led me to think about fast, easy ways to boost my mood. These are two of my favs! 

Yoga

It’s no secret that I love yoga (hence the name of this blog)! Although I don’t get to practice as much as I used to, I still love to fit it in whenever I can. Nowadays I am happy when I can do a quick 30 minute vinyasa class during nap times! You don’t have to be a super bendy and in amazing shape to reap the benefits of yoga- just taking some time to breathe deeply, clear your mind, and stretch is what it’s all about. Even a few minutes a day of this helps my mental state immensely! 

Walking

I set out on a new route on Monday to fine a playground for Connor. The air was crisp, the sun was shining, I had a mug of flavored coffee in my hand, and Connor was happy after just waking up from a nap. It was a perfect combo and the brisk walk made my mood soar.  Walking outside and getting some fresh air on a daily basis is a quick, easy, free way to take a break from the daily grind, and release some endorphins. 

Another Wedding in the Books

My brother Paul got married this past weekend! That means 3 out of 4 of us are married. It’s crazy how fast time flies! Their wedding was in Cleveland at the Wyndham in the theater district. Cleveland is a really cute small city and it was fun to explore. They are rebuilding after losing a lot of their population after a lot of their industry left and there are lots of cool restaurants and bars to try out. Anyways, some highlights are below! 

Road tripping! 


My brother Peter  and his wife Felicia  live in Copenhagen and came in for the wedding. We decided to drive. I was a little worried about smooshing 4 adults and a baby into a small suv but it worked out great. It was really fun to hang with them and they were the best entertainment committee for Connor! 

Heinens Grocery Store


We stayed right down the street from Heinen’s.  This store is awesome! We have one near where we live but this one is extra special. It is located in an old restored bank building and it’s gorgeous. Also they have a really fun wine tasting you can do. You purchase a card for whatever amount you want and go to the wine tasting area. You insert the card and serve yourself wine. They had tons of different types of wines to taste and it was a fun way to taste different wines from around the world. Sometimes it’s nice to not have to learn a lot about the wines and just taste them :)

The Wedding 

It goes without saying that the wedding was the highlight of the trip! The wedding was simple and beautiful. Jim and I were both in the wedding. Madeline just said she wanted us to wear black dresses, and the guys wore back suits. Easy peasy! Everything turned out so great! It was really fun to enjoy the wedding and see lots of my cousins. I definitely cried through their vows.


Indians Game

We rounded out the weekend with a trip to the baseball field. We saw the Indians play the Tigers. I love baseball and the stadium was a 5 minute walks from our hotel! 

End of Summer

With Labor Day around the corner and football on tv, the end of summer is near. I got to thinking about this summer, and the fact that it is coming to an end. I didn’t have many expectations for this summer because we moved, and that was my main focus at the beginning of the summer. Now that the summer is quickly coming to a close, I thought about everything I have done:
Went to Napa! We took a lovely 4 day trip to Napa and it was my first time away from my baby. 

Went to Cleveland- we celebrated my bother and his fiancée at their wedding shower. 

Moved- we moved out of our home in Chicago and headed for the burbs

Sold our home and bought a new one

Sold our car and bought a new one

Went to Cape Cod


Went on lots of walks outside 

Ate plenty of ice cream

I thought about making and end of summer bucket list but the only thing I want to do is just make sure we take at least one walk outside every day until it gets too cold. So that is my only goal! Pretty easy! And to keep the windows open and the air conditioning off as much as possible. Once the weather turns cool we are cooped up inside for so many months so I want to enjoy the fresh air! 

I can’t wait for fall! Fall is my favorite time of year. As a teacher, it was a time of new beginnings. This year I’m not teaching but it is still my favorite time. I love the air getting cool and the leaves turning colors. I love everything pumpkin- pumpkin decor, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin picking, and pumpkin candles. I love my birthday and Halloween which both fall at the end of October. I love wearing sweaters and scarves. I can’t wait to show my baby the leaves and dress him up in a Halloween costume. This year we will also move into our new home which is currently being renovated, so it will be a busy and exciting time!