Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Weekend (a day late)

Happy Tuesday, friends! I'm coming at you today with my weekend recap because I couldn't get my act together on Sunday to write my post. And then Monday morning we had a 2 hour delay and all I wanted to do was lounge around and soak up not having to be at work. Cooper always enjoys the snow days and delays too :)
In addition to not posting my weekend post on Monday, I slacked on picture taking this weekend, so I apologize for being a bad blogger all around. Despite the lack of pictures, my weekend had several highlights, some of which included:

~Friday night girls night dinner with friends from work (one of which is going to be watching our little girl next school year). We had yummy food, and had fun catching up over the 2 hour dinner :)

~Saturday morning MG and I lazed around the house, had a leisurely breakfast, watched the news (grrrrrr), I did some reading, we tackled some laundry....then we hit up one of our favorite Mexican places for lunch.

~Ran to the store to pick up some ingredients to cook a meal for a potluck gathering at our neighbor's house. I made this Artichoke Pasta Bake which was a huge hit. There were 5 families, all of whom have kids, so we got lots of advice and got to witness firsthand the chaos that is having mobile children haha. We also inherited a baby bjorn from our neighbor who had given us the jumper a couple of weeks ago. It's true what they say, as soon as you have kids (or are about to), you start meeting other parents really quickly! It was a good night and great to get to know some of the other families in our neighborhood.
~Because dinner was at 5pm, we were home by a little after 8 and had time to get into The Night Manager for a little bit before heading to bed. So far, we like it!

~Sunday morning we ran errands and then headed to Quantico National Cemetery to see my dad since his birthday was on Saturday. Unfortunately my mom came down with a cold and wasn't able to come with us since she didn't want to risk getting me/baby sick.
 It was a really nice day out, and MG and I got to lay flowers by his grave, talk to him for a bit, and thank him for watching over us. I was also happy to see that the wreaths were still laid in Quantico which was a pretty scene to take in as well. 
~We made our way back home, had lunch (leftovers of the pasta bake) and decided to go into the city to see the Car Show that was at the convention center. Our friend Kurt came into the city and met up with us, too, so we spent a few hours looking at all kinds of cars, and hopping in and out of a ton, too. MG was eyeing up ones that he may be interested in, in the next couple of years. 
We had fun looking at some of the concept cars, too.
this one reminded me of a Lego car haha
I will say, being pregnant at one of these things was actually kind of nice, because in the crowds, people gave me a little bit more room to maneuver which I gladly accepted :)

~By the time we got back, we were both ready for dinner, so we picked up Thai food on the way home and had a pretty low key night in.

Monday morning we woke up to a bit of snow outside (not too much, but still pretty), and my school system had a 2 hour delay which I gladly took advantage of :)
Hoping that your weekends were fun-and friend-filled, too!
P.S. how is today already the last day of January??

Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Dear Dad,
    I can't believe that your birthday weekend is already here (Saturday), reminding me of your birthday from last year. You'd come down with a pretty bad cold and were suffering through it. I didn't know then that it would be the last birthday that we had with you. I remember when I got to see you and give you your card, it was when you were in the hospital. I never thought at that point that you wouldn't be coming back home.
    As I look back, I can't believe it's already been almost a year since everything happened. Mom and I have made it through, although with admitted struggles and breakdowns along the way. We miss you.  
   If you were here, I'd give you all the hugs I haven't been able to give you over the past 10 months. I know you'd light up when you saw me and my ever-growing bump, especially since you knew how hard a time we were having trying to get pregnant, and even during your hard days in the hospital, always asked how it was going. I'd relish you being able to feel this strong little girl kicking away, saying hi to her grandpa. 
   This year has been bittersweet with getting the news that we're pregnant, and not having you to share it with how I want to. I know in my heart that our little girl has met you already, before she made her way down here to be with us, and I know that you've been watching over us, making sure we're both okay, and that makes me feel so comforted. This little girl will definitely grow up knowing and hearing about her grandfather.
    January 28th will always be the day that I celebrate the amazing man I had in my life, who loved me without limits, who taught me so much, encouraged me throughout life, and who I was lucky enough to call my dad. 
     We'll be seeing you on Sunday. It won't be the way that we want, and it won't be the same not being able to give you hugs and kisses like we normally did, but just know that we love you and miss you so so much. 
                                                                                Love Always (your favorite daughter :),
                                                                                           Jennifer

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

WHW {#77}

Happy hump day everyone! Hopefully the week's going quickly for you--mine has been all over the place with a 2 hour power outage at school on Monday leaving us without power, phones or internet, and a half day at work yesterday because MG and I had an appointment for an echocardiogram at the hospital for the baby (everything looked great!). So, today feels like it got here pretty quickly, and luckily we've had some bursts of sunshine the last day which have been few and far between lately. 
I was also a little M.I.A. yesterday because I needed a break from social media. I've been feeling really overwhelmed by all of the negativity that seems to be put out there lately. Republicans against Democrats, seeing celebrations of certain groups of people/political party's lack of power now, people bashing the Women's March, Democrats bashing Republicans, facts and figures about attendance.... It's not doing good things for my soul or for my stress levels which I know isn't good for the baby. I've been not logging in as often, and unfollowing when needed.

In that vain, and based on the responses to the Kid President video I posted on Monday, today's post is going to be filled with things that bring a smile to our faces and remind us of kindness. We need more of this every day. Not the pointing fingers, celebrating others' losses, looking for evil, arguing. Just happy things, love and acceptance. So, here goes...get ready to put on your happy pants!
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{via} #pregnancyboobs

Just remember, we all have things in common:
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And we all need a helping hand once in a while:
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And challenges that life throws at us:
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So find someone, especially someone who has a different view than you, and show them some kindness. 
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We all could use it.

If you don't feel like smiling, or participating in the kindness train, this is my response to you:
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Have a happiness and kindness-filled Wednesday (and hell, let's get crazy and go for the rest of the week too while we're at it!)
Link up with Jessi and I below to share what's hap-"pinning" with you lately.



Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekend Stuff+Perspective

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Monday means back to a full work week! Luckily it's coming off of a pretty good weekend with these highlights:

~Friday morning breakfast date with my friend Hanna since we had the day off of work

~MG coming home from his training and going out to dinner at our favorite pizza spot and a low key night in after a long day.

~Saturday morning was another rainy one so it was also kind of a lazy one. I was pretty impressed and proud to see how many people turned out for the Women's March. I had lots of friends who went and I cheered them on for standing up for equality.

~We headed to the hospital for our tour there which was surreal, but also makes me feel slightly more prepared for when baby girl arrives in a few months
~Stopped at our friends' place to meet their new pup, Luna who immediately rolled on her back to greet us, and was a total cuddle bug the entire time we were there--puppy snuggles make everything ok!
~Our good couple friends texted and asked if we wanted to meet up for dinner that night so we went to their house for drinks and to see their new apartment, and then headed over to dinner at Cava where I had a super delicious mocktail (at another place while we waited for a table), and the waitress took pity on my pregnant self and brought me the crazy feta stuffed olives that go in the dirty martinis--I was in heaven
~The food was delicious as always and we were all stuffed at the end of dinner. Not to mention my stomach hurt from all of the laughing we did--I cried I was laughing so hard!
obviously we enjoyed it all :)
~Sunday I woke up to baby kicks, so instead of sleeping in, MG and I cuddled and felt our girl doing her morning dance moves. I'll take that wake up over an alarm any day :)

~ had a yummy blueberry pancake breakfast and then got ready to take Coop to the groomers.
 Unfortunately I paid $80 for a haircut that didn't look like he got cut much at all. Won't be going back to that groomer!

~While we were out, we stopped at Pottery Barn and got a new rug on sale for the living room since the one we got around Christmas was too thin for the traffic in here, so we moved the shag rug upstairs to the baby room
~in the afternoon I got overwhelmed by all of the media coverage of everything, and just all of the negativity that people seem to get sucked up in around this, myself included. I took a break from everything and did some yoga to re-center myself.

And on that note, can I just put this out there? Can we all please try and remember that Democrats and Republicans aren't supposed to be enemies. We are treating each other like the opposite are terrorists. We all want what's best for our country, for our families and for ourselves. Yes, we have different ideas of what that entails but that doesn't make you bad, or me bad. It's what makes our country great. Please stop attacking one another like the other is the devil. Stop relishing the pain/angst someone else is feeling because you know how that feels. We all want to feel safe and respected.
This helped me to put things into perspective yesterday and I'm going to share it here today in case you need this, too. 

If I have different views than you, and you have different ones than I do, I want to listen and I hope you'll listen to me, too, and maybe we'll understand each other just a bit more. It's a step--we can all take one step. Like he says, kids are watching us and learning and I for one want to be an example of what TO do.

Make the start of your week great.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Happies

Happy Friday, friends! I'm thankful for a day off of work today as all of the roads around and into the city are either blocked off or clogged up with traffic. I'll happily enjoy this day from the comfort of my home.

Since it's Friday, and that in and of itself brings with it undue amounts of happiness, I thought I'd share some of my happies from the week!

~While at Target I discovered they sell kid size Honeycrisp apples, and for $6 I got 10 perfectly snack sized and delicious apples to eat my way through this week and into next. Plus, they're way sweeter than the ones at the grocery store are now. It's the little things, people!

~Saturday MG and I are touring the hospital that I'll be delivering our baby at. It's crazy that we're already planning for this--and I hope the whole thing makes me feel more prepared as opposed to totally overwhelmed haha

~I think we are going to try and see our friends' new rescue pup on Saturday after the hospital. The pics have been super cute, and watching them both swoon when they talk about her this week has been really cute to see. Can't wait to meet the new fluffy love of their lives!
~MG was away for a work training this week and since it's hard to cook for just one person (without getting bored of the same leftovers for days on end), I enjoyed Chipotle and Thai food this week for dinners. No shame.
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~Speaking of MG being away...several times that Cooper would hear a car door shut at night, he'd rush over to the ottoman and stare at the front door. Much to his dismay, MG never walked through, so I can imagine his excitement and tail wiggles when he comes home this afternoon. #wigglesfordays
~I've been sleeping like a bear this week. Sometimes I wake up 20 minutes before my alarm, and I'm able to fall back asleep enough to have a dream which I'm usually NEVER able to do. Apparently my body is storing up the sleep for baby's arrival because I've never slept so hard in my life...minus first trimester where I slept like 20 hours a day lol
~I'm so proud of all of the women I know who are going to be marching in the Women's March on Saturday. I can't be a part of it due to our hospital tour, plus large crowds+being pregnant doesn't mix very well (especially with the amount of times I pee a day lol), but I'm there in spirit and cheering for all of the things that you are marching for. If you need a list, visit Stephanie's post from yesterday and read number 1.

~During one of the meals that I cooked at home this week, I tried out chickpea pasta which is apparently loaded with protein and fiber, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I will say, it wasn't bad. I'd probably try it again in the future, especially in a dish that wouldn't have protein in it otherwise. (Found this brand at Target)
~I had a parent at work who I don't know randomly stop and tell me yesterday that I look "so cute" and pointed to my bump. So that definitely made me feel good :)

What are some of your happies from the week?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

{Recipe Files}: Twice Baked Crock Pot Taco Sweet Potatoes

As promised from last week, I'm sharing the taco sweet potato recipe I made in the crock pot.
Keep in mind that this recipe is vegetarian, but the original recipe had ground beef/turkey in it. I just omitted it because our meals for the week were pretty meat-laden and I wanted something veggie focused. Plus this meal has sweet potatoes and black beans which are both recommended for a healthy pregnancy diet. Score!
What You Need:
~4 sweet potatoes
~1 small onion, diced
~1.5 tsp minced garlic
~1 C drained diced tomatoes
~1/4 C tomato sauce
~15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
~1 Tbsp taco seasoning*
~salt/pepper
~1 C shredded cheese

*I recommend adding a little bit more than this amount to add some better flavoring to everything.

What You Do:
1. Scrub and rinse the sweet potatoes clean. Then poke holes all over them so that the potatoes don't explode in your crock pot (that would not be fun to clean up). Place the sweet potatoes in the crock pot on LOW for 5-6 Hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours (I did the low setting).
2. When the potatoes are close to being done, in a skillet, over medium heat, add in the onion and garlic and a little bit of olive oil to prevent burning. (If you're adding in meat, cook it now with the onion and garlic). 

3. Add in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and taco seasoning to the skillet. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally and add salt and pepper to taste. 
4. Cut into the sweet potatoes (not all the way through) and wedge them open. Stuff each with the skillet contents and top with cheese. Cook the sweet potatoes for another hour on HIGH.
5. Top the sweet potatoes with whatever topping you want and enjoy!
These were even better, and more flavorful the next day for lunch as leftovers. But definitely a guilt-free dinner that was super tasty and healthy for baby!

Check out some of my other recipes on the Recipes Tab at the top of my page!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WHW {#76}

Happy hump day! This day definitely got here a lot faster with having Monday off, and even better that tomorrow is my last work day of the week because of Inauguration. Can every week be a 3-day week? I'd be in heaven!
Anyway, I wanted to do another little bump-date on here since it's been a little bit and I have fun doing them :)

How Far Along: 24 weeks--seriously can't believe that there's only 2 more weeks of my 2nd trimester!
Size of Baby: The size/length of an ear of corn or cantaloupe (depending on the app you look at), and weighs apparently about 1 1/3 pounds

Gender: A girl! We got this adorable outfit from my friend Rachel right after we did the gender announcement and I couldn't be more in love with it
Weight Gain: about 11-12 pounds I think, although I'll know for sure next week at my doctor's appointment

Food Cravings: sweets, especially chocolate. And the nightly ice cream cravings have taken over

Food Aversions: I still don't have any aversions other than cooking fish myself.

Movement: Ohhhhhh yes! Baby girl is a wiggling, kicking machine in there! MG finally felt her moving the other week, and then he SAW her moving when she did a pretty good karate kick in my stomach one night. He's also felt her moving against his arm when we've been spooning in the mornings.

Sleep: Still sleeping through the night, sometimes for more than 8 hours which is so not like me. I will say the crazy preggo dreams have diminished for the most part, though

Clothing: Maternity bottoms all the way now. And some maternity tops mixed with looser fitting shirts. I wore a maternity top the other week and some of my 5th grade girls were giddy when they saw me, saying "you're getting bigger!" haha
This was the day that I looked down and was like "oh wow, the bump definitely got bigger today"

Other Pregnancy Symptoms: I just feel really "full" all the time, especially after dinner. It's like my skin is stretched to the max (well, because it is lol).

What I Miss: I really can't say I miss much other than that delicious turkey sandwich from the deli nearby. I'd have that over a glass of wine right now any day :) Oh, and maybe not needing to pee every 30 minutes lol

Best Moment: when MG got to SEE baby girl moving around--I think he was pretty impressed, and it was a really special moment for both of us.

Looking Forward To: baby shower planning, and getting the nursery set up once we start getting things like the crib, etc.
And we have another ultrasound appointment next Tuesday so we'll get to see baby girl again which we're both looking forward to!

That's it in bump-land for now!
Now it's your turn to link up with Jessi and I to share what's hap-"pinning" with you!





Monday, January 16, 2017

Long Weekending

Happy Monday! Hopefully you have off work today to rest, relax, and reflect on MLK day :)

This weekend wasn't filled with too much excitement, but I enjoy my relaxing weekends a bunch so it was still a good one.

The highlights this weekend included:
~Getting dinner ready for our little dinner party, which ended up being smaller than we anticipated when one of the couples ended up not coming. We got a text about 30 minutes before they were supposed to arrive, saying the girl was still in a meeting at work and he wasn't sure when she would be out. So we pushed back dinner start time and then an hour later he said she was still at work and to go ahead without them. We never got a message or apology from the girl, at all, which kind of annoyed me since we'd gone to the trouble of making dinner for them and to not even text and apologize came off pretty rude.

~We still had a great time with our really good couple friends who came over--we always have a great time with these two.
~4 hours flew by, like it always does when the four of us are together. Even Cooper made himself at home with them
~Speaking of Cooper, he got in his time pretending to be a baby this weekend lol
~Saturday was a cold and rainy day and lent itself to staying in, reading and being lazy.

~We did make it out of the house to visit IKEA where we got some ideas for the downstairs guest bathroom, and we also stopped at one of the best furniture stores I've been to and found several dining room tables that we liked. Holding off on that purchase for a bit, though

~Saturday night we went out for sushi (baby safe--no raw stuff) and then came home and watched The Accountant
~Sunday we ran our standard weekend errands and then grabbed lunch at Yardhouse. My cheese-loving self was quite satisfied with the grilled cheese and tomato bisque
~Got pictures of our friends' adorable new rescue dog throughout the weekend which we swooned over--can't wait to meet her!
how cute is she???
~Gave myself a little at-home manicure and combined two Essie colors (Size Matters as the base and In Stitches on top)
~One of my favorite movies, About Time, was on so I had to watch. This movie just makes me feel good. And after what seems like endless crappy news on the tv, it was just what my spirit needed. If you've never seen it, I highly recommend it, and the soundtrack is awesome too.
~Made a solid dent in the new book I'm reading which I'm enjoying 

And the best part about a long weekend is going to bed whenever you want on Sunday and waking up without an alarm on Monday!
Hoping your weekend was less rainy than ours was!
 
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