Recent Happenings

I don’t have a formal post but thought I’d check in! We moved last weekend so it’s been all consuming. We went from 1400 square feet to 2400 square feet so we have much more space and need to fill a few empty rooms. Unpacking with a 10 month old is challenging but I’ve been keeping him entertained with random boxes and Tupperware, and doing most of the unpacking during his naps. 

We renovated our new house so I plan on doing a full post of before and after pics and survival tips for anyone doing a renovation. 

We are currently just unpacking and putting together our new furniture. It’s fun but also I just want it all done! 

Setting up furniture requires wine! Haha


Ive been enjoying homemade cookies a little too much lately. They are just so delicious straight out of the oven. 

My brother’s best friend got married and I got to be my mom’s plus one. It was so fun and I just love weddings! The whole night was just beautiful! 


Jim made a yummy dinner of pasta with meatballs and we had a delicious bottle of wine from Kamen wines in Sonoma. It was a nice way to end the weekend. I got to take home a centerpiece from the wedding and I’m obsessed with it! I aspire to be able to create flower arrangements like this! 

Finally, we got our first real tree this year. It was really fun to pick it out and it smells amazing! 


I hope you had a great weekend! 

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 ūüėČ

 

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. 

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 fianc√©e 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!

Cape Cod 2016

We had a wonderful trip to Cape Cod this year. ¬†We were adventurous and drove from Chicago with a 6 month old baby! ¬†I was nervous since he doesn’t like the car seat very much but it went way better than I expected! ¬†We stopped in Syracuse and Boston on the way there, and Buffalo and Cleveland on the way back. ¬†Our trip was filled with family, beach days, lobster, shopping, and relaxing.


I was surprised how fast the trip flew by this year, and I attribute it to the fact that being with a baby is so busy.  There is more work involved, but the payoff is so great.  Seeing my baby at the beach and with our family made my heart so happy.



We ate out a bit and ate in too.  Jim made lobsters one night, which is always fun. We went on a quick date night to Chatham Bars one night, and went out with my cousins for drinks to The Squire another night.

We took a day trip to Provincetown one day, and Nauset Beach another day.


Being at the beach and smelling the salt water is magical to me. I have gone to Cape Cod almost every summer of my life, and it is truly my happy place!

Winter Happiness

I usually make big resolutions at New Years and then forget about them. I thought it would be a good idea to check in with myself about how my goals are going. Winter and early spring are the perfect time to slow down and reflect a little. The hubbub of the holidays is long gone. Quiet nights in, home cooked meals, and not much else going on creates a peaceful time to relax. 

I had talked in my New Years post about how I want to not take things so personally and let other people’s opinions bother me. It is absolutely impossible to please everyone in my life, and that’s just something I have to come to terms with, unless we completely give up all of our personal lives to making plans with people constantly every weekend. That’s not feasible or healthy for my little family and myself.  I have been working hard on doing what is the best for Jim, baby and me as our number one priority. If people are mad or offended then so be it! I am trying to not let it bother me.  This isn’t something that will change overnight, and it may never change.  I am trying to be stronger and stand up for myself, and do the things that work for me and my family.

My other goal was to not let work get to me.  Of course, now that I’m on leave this is an easy goal. But once I go back, it will be very important to work on this, since I will be balancing everything. To an outsider, teaching first grade seems like a piece of cake.  You get to go hang out with 6 and 7 year olds and just play all day, right?! However, as fun as it is to be around kids all day, it is also an incredibly challenging job.  The being with the kids part is why I am a teacher.  I love spending my days with these little sponges who are ready to learn and work hard all day.  The amount they learn in one year is astounding, and so rewarding.  There are other parts of the job that aren’t so fun.  Demanding parents, difficult administration, and much more, lead to teacher burnout and frustration.  My one biggest change that has helped me a lot on a daily basis was deleting my work email from my phone.  I used to check it at all hours of the day, and get really stressed out.  Now I only check it when I am physically at work, and it has done wonders for my evenings at home with Jim.  I’m not distracted and worked up and responding in the heat of the moment.  I am more present and calm.  I deal with work at work.  And when I’m home, I’m home.  Of course, I still have work to do at home like grading papers and planning, but the emails were always the stressful part.  I highly suggest this to anyone who struggles with work-life balance.  It was hard the first few days.  I kept automatically checking my phone, and was itching to just put it back on my phone and see what was coming in.  I resisted, though, and within the first few nights, I realized how nice it was to just put it all away for the evening.  There is nothing that earth shattering that needed to be attended to that instant.  It is always all there waiting for the morning.

My third goal was to go to church more.  So far that goal has gone well.  My mom and I signed up to be parishioners at a wonderful church, and I signed Jim and I up for baptismal classes for our baby.  I have also been trying to make it a habit to pray/meditate or whatever people prefer to call it each day.  Usually this comes in the form of savasana at the end of yoga.  I use my savasana time to check in with myself.  I am not an expert at meditation, and when I don’t focus on something during savasana, I start my running to-do list in my mind of what I need to do that day.  Giving myself a goal of what to think about during savasana has helped me a lot.

I challenge you to think about what is making you happy, and what isn’t.  What can you change to bring upon happiness?  It might be a small thing, like doing a little yoga each day, or a larger thing, like re-evaluating your work-life balance. Whatever it is, this is a perfect time of year to slow down and reflect and think. You never know what might happen if you do!

   

Daily Gratitude 

In the winter it can be easy to feel a little down. The weather is gross, there’s not much going on, and it seems to drag on forever (at least that’s how it feels in Chicago)! For the remainder of the winter, I thought I would focus on the positives during the day, and actually write out a few positives each day to help change my outlook. By simply thinking about the good things from the day, I have found that it makes me happier and more upbeat. I challenge anyone to try this for a week and see how it changes your outlook and attitude. You might be pleasantly surprised!  

   

  

Friday Peaks of the Week

Starting School

It is our first week back at school, so I didn’t take many pictures, and most of my energy was focused on getting my first graders into the swing of things. Teaching first grade while pregnant is nothing short of exhausting! I could go to bed at 8:00 every night if that were possible! My class is adorable, as usual, and it seems that it will be a great year! 

Thursday Dinner Out

Jim’s best friend is getting married this weekend and his other friend is staying with us for the weekend. It’s definitely going to be busy and crazy so we went to a nice dinner last night. It was really nice to not worry about what we were cooking for once! I had bolognese pasta. Yum!  

  My date! 
Overnight Oats

I’ve seen people post about overnight oats for years now, but I never tried tj myself. I have been making them each night and they are so good and so easy for weekday breakfasts! I just throw in some oats, a Greek yogurt with fruit, and some milk. It sits overnight and becomes a delicious breakfast!   It doesn’t look pretty but it tastes good! This was yesterday’s eaten in the car. 

Coffee

I used to rely on caffeine in the beginning of the school year- a cup of coffee in the morning, and another or a tea in the afternoon. Now I can only have about 6 ounces of coffee a day so I’ve been savoring it, and also having some decaf to try to trick myself into thinking it’s the real deal :-)  

  Quickie workouts

I’ve been relying more and more on 30 minute workouts this week because I have to squeeze it in before getting to work. I have still been loving yoga and T25. 

 
No Chip Manicure

I had seen the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel no chip nail polish in the store but haven’t tried it. Sally Hansen Miracle GelI figured I would try it out because my nails chip so fast usually. I don’t know how long it will last but hopefully longer than just a few days like normal nail polish.  

 
  

Role Model

With all of the news about the Ashley Madison hack, Josh Duggar, and Jared from Subway, it makes me feel so sad that so many men are unfaithful partners.  It is so incredibly scary to me that websites such as Ashley Madison even exist, and are allowed.  I have experienced some pretty bad men in my life, both in dating, and in my own family.  I dated the wrong guys in general for a lot of years.  I feel lucky that I am married to such a great man now, and I hope that our future and life together will be happy.

My own father is not in my life, and is in no way a good example of what a husband and father should be.  However, I am lucky that I had a very strong role model of what a husband and father should be like when I was growing up.  My grandfather, who we called Pap, was a true gentleman.  He was kind, good mannered, and always treated my grandma and his children and grandchildren so well.  My grandpa was 100% Greek, and grew up during the depression in Boston.  He served in World War II, and then married my grandma after graduating from Boston University.  He went on to have 8 children, and then 20 grandchildren.  Some of the qualities that my grandpa possessed that I looked for in a husband came from seeing how my grandpa was as a father and husband.

Gentle and patient

Papa never lost his temper, and was so mild mannered and gentle with us.  He always had time to play with us, and would spend hours drawing incredible pictures, making elaborate sand castles, and playing hide and seek.

Good mannered

Papa had impeccable manners.  He never swore, never talked about other women, and always held the door for ladies.  He never said anything inappropriate or off color.

Moderate

Papa never over ate or over drank.  He would eat until he was satisfied, and had one glass of red wine a day.  He modeled this for my family, and I still try to live by his rules for healthy living.  He enjoyed treats- desserts and McDonalds occasionally.  He enjoyed red wine.  But he never over-indulged.  This showed me how to eat and drink.

Put My Grandma First

Papa loved my nana unconditionally.  He put her above himself, and always made sure she was happy. He treated her so well he was kind and loving to her until her very last day.

Self Effacing 

Papa never talked about himself much.  He could have constantly spouted his knowledge about his experiences in World War II, or complained about this or that.  Instead, he preferred to know about us, and talk about sports and current events.

  
I try to model my behavior after these qualities, and I hope that Jim and I can be good partners and parents and be kind, patient, good mannered, self effacing, and put each other and our family first.  I think that if we do these things, we will have a happy life, and be good role models for our own children.

Friday Peaks of the Week

In my first grade class, my students all have a journal, and on Friday afternoons we journal about our “peaks of the week”. ¬†All the good things that happened in school throughout the week. ¬†I thought it would be fun for ME to do the same thing here on the blog! ¬†Here are my Peaks of the Week this week.

Summer dinners

I am loving grilled dinners.  The flavors are so plentiful, and everything tastes so fresh in the summer.

Here is one of our dinners- salmon, baked potato, and corn on the cob- all on the grill.

  
Another night we had burgers on the grill with carmelized onions. ¬†Mine was a mini version of Jim’s. :)


 Time with family

We went on a little trip with Jim’s family last weekend and it was really fun to hang out with everyone, and play with the boys!

  


 Lattes

On our trip last weekend Jim and I snuck out to get some coffee and breakfast before everyone was awake.  I love lattes from coffee shops and bakeries.  I wish I could recreate them at home, and have the same delicious taste.  I think it also has something to do with the fact that someone else makes the latte, and we are usually having fun on the weekend, that makes lattes taste so good!

  
 Cubs game

I wrote about this a little bit in my What I Ate Wednesday post, but we went to the Cubs game with my family this week. ¬†We went to celebrate my brother’s last week here before he heads back to college. ¬†The weather wasn’t very cooperative, but it was still really fun!


  
 Workouts

My back was really bothering me last week, and the week before we were on vacation, so I was happy to get back to some good workouts this week. I have learned I need to slow down and listen to my body more than I had before.  I have been doing lots of prenatal yoga, Piyo, and a little T25 for some cardio.  I am planning on writing a full post about prenatal yoga soon, because it has been amazing so far!

  
Summer Candles

I bought a coconut Yankee Candle at TJ Maxx earlier this summer, but never lit it until this week.  I have been burning it nonstop this week!  It smells SO good, and I want to fully enjoy my summer smells before it is time to move on to my beloved pumpkin for the fall!