What I'm Loving

It's a beautiful January day and easy to think of lots of things I am loving.

{1} I'm loving that the week is halfway over!

{2} I'm really loving that January is almost over which means summer is getting closer!

{3} I'm loving that I've fallen into a great workout routine! It does mean eating supper a bit later, but is totally worth it. I really do feel a lot better.

{4} I'm loving the outfit I pulled together for today. I don't consider myself a fashionista or style blogger at all, but am excited about this one.

{5} I'm loving that hubby is back at work today. Hah! Totally shouldn't say that, but of course when he is home I stay in bed longer in the mornings ... then again, he did a great job of helping with Cooper in the mornings as well.

{6} I'm loving this hair! Almost makes me wish I were a boy :)

{7} I'm loving these things I've recently pinned ...

{8} I'm loving my handsome men :) {Totally need an updated picture}

What are you loving today?

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Tuesday randoms

  • I've actually written two blog entries since I last posted but forgot to publish. Whoops.
  • So, last Wednesday hubs had a minor surgery, to remove a nodule from his vocal cord. Everything seems to have gone well and he has a follow up planned for tomorrow. The worst part of it all is that he's been on vocal rest for a week - which is essentially no talking or whispering. Frustrating.
  • Little Mister marked 14 months last Wednesday! Once I get him to sit still for a few pictures, I'll have a little post :)

  • Last week, our college president called a meeting in which he refocused our department. I'm super excited about these changes and feel it will be for the best.
  • The weather here is absolutely crazy. I'm definitely not complaining about temps in the 60s in January, however.

  • I'm really considering purchasing this weekender/garment bag that's being featured on Groop Dealz today. Super reasonable, and I think I need it for our upcoming Vegas trip!

  • If you are a mom of a toddler, or have nieces and nephews, what do you feed them? I feel like, other than lunch/supper, C eats the same food day in and day out. He really loves some foods, like cheese, bananas, cheerios, cherry tomatoes, and applesauce, but I don't want to burn him out. To be honest, he has hot dogs and frozen pizza more often than I care to admit. Also, I have a really hard time with the veggies. HELP!
  • Hubby got a new work truck. We are very excited. I probably looked/sounded like a dork with all my "oohs" and "aahs" but I'm so proud of him. This is his first new truck since he started this role almost eight years ago, and he's grown his route to be the second largest out of his market center, so I am really happy for him.

Why yes, that is a Tonka truck in the driveway :)
  • In addition to the nice weather, I'm really anticipating spring/summer for the garage sales!
  • I'm thrilled that I've done really well on my money/budgeting since posting about attempting to use all cash for my personal purchases, minus gas! Between a check from my freelancing and mileage, I paid all but $200 on our fridge last weekend, and am also paying the facility rental fee for a baby shower I'm helping to host with cash! I'm almost positive I'll have the fridge taken care of in the next few weeks, and then it's on to saving for car insurance (blech), my new iPhone, and Vegas!
  • Working out/eating healthier is going pretty well. I think I'll save all that for a more in-depth post later this week.
Happy Tuesday, friends!

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Losing it

As I mentioned in my post looking ahead in the year, I really want to find a happy weight and truly make it a lifestyle. 

With hubby's birthday and some work related things, this goal has been on the back burner. But over the weekend, realizing Vegas is coming up very soon, I decided to bring it front and center. 

Ideally, I'd like to lose about 10 -15 lbs. total. That's about what I was in college and truly a "happy weight" for me, I think. But there are so many variables ... I've had a kid, so things have definitely changed. Right now I'm focusing more on a tone body as well, so when it's muscle versus just slim, that makes a huge difference in the number on the scale in relation to the size. Overall, I just want to feel good in my own skin - which is definitely not the case right now. 

For my workouts, I'm trying to keep things really simple. Running is such a great form of cardio, and last fall, hubby and I invested in a treadmill. So, I'm aiming to begin running again at least every other day. I've also discovered there will be a 5K in my town on April 6, so my goal is to be back at being able to run the full thing, hopefully in less than 30 minutes.

One of my biggest trouble areas is my tummy. So, I decided to do the Fab Abs January workout schedule I found on Pinterest.

I didn't come across this until last week and just began on Saturday, so I'm planning to do 2-3 workouts each day until I get caught up. So far, I've done five days and my chest/abs are already hurting. 

I've also pinned similar calendars for February, March and April, and am looking forward to having an easy workout that isn't too time-intensive to keep me working my abs daily. 

Of course, one of the biggest problems/lifestyle changes I need to make is altering my food choices! While nursing, I could eat anything and literally not gain a pound. For awhile, I was eating two breakfasts. Those days are over and those habits have got to change. So I'm working really hard to have healthier options for breakfast, lunch and my snacks. I'm not going to be too restrictive on what I cook for supper, but I am going to work on smaller portions. 

I'm considering downloading one of the calorie tracking apps to help me see just how much I consume daily. Do you have any suggestions? And for those of you who already do this and are restricting yourselves to 1200 or 1400 calories a day, what suggestions do you have regarding the foods I can eat that are filling yet low in calories? 

I know a lot of my readers are already pros at what I am setting out to accomplish, so please, share your tips and successes with me. 

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Free time

If there is one thing moms can agree on, it's that, once the baby is out, there is no such thing as free time anymore. As a working mama, every day is a rat race from the time the alarm goes off until 8 p.m. when Mister goes to bed. I get so stinking jealous of the "me" time hubby gets between the time he gets home and Cooper and I get home.

Then there are days like today ... I am off work, hubby is at work, and the sitter is open. So, I took Cooper to her. At almost 14 months, he is into absolutely everything and it's downright impossible to get anything done when he is awake. 

But then there's the guilt. The feeling that I should keep him home with me. The feeling that I'm a bad mom for wanting a day of "me" time. 

Which is actually laughable. While I do plan to relax today, I have a million and one things to do, it seems. We had a pretty laid-back weekend, including a four-hour trip over to Kentucky on an errand yesterday, so I have tons of housework and laundry to do. I'm working on a couple of writing pieces. I plan to run on the treadmill and get in a good workout. I need to file papers and get the pile of things we no longer want/need organized for a yard sale. 

I tend to take days like today when I actually get a bit of free time and take a major chunk out of my to-do list. But there are days that I like to veg out and catch up on my shows. 

What do you do on free days? And if you are like me and feel you are always on the go, how do you carve out some "me" time?

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Sunday Social

It's been a hot minute since I participated in the Sunday Social, but I liked this week's topics and had a few minutes to spare, so I decided to join the fun!" title="Sunday Social">

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Top 3 Favorite Kinds of Food::
- PIZZA!!! I've had an obsession ever since becoming pregnant I think. Probably the reason I can't lose anymore weight.

- Bagels. They make such a yummy breakfast.
- Salad. I love, love, love a good, fresh salad!

First 3 Things you do in the morning
- Push the snooze button!
- Cuddle with hubby.
- Turn on my hair straightener (if it's a work day) or use the restroom

Last 3 Things you do at night
- Check on my angel baby
- Turn on the alarm
- Kiss my hubs

3 TV shows you NEVER miss
- Criminal Minds
- Wheel of Fortune
- How I Met Your Mother

3 Places you want to visit
- Vegas (so excited to be going in March!)
- Italy
- New York City

3 People you can always count on
- Hubby
- My mom
- My dad

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Yummy breakfast casserole

This is one of our family's favorite breakfasts. It is a real treat - I always make it for Christmas or other special occasions!

I've shared the recipe with friends, at work potlucks, and have also been asked to make it for brunches and such with them, including the morning of one of my besties' wedding. 

It is so easy and yummy!

What you'll need:
- One can crescent rolls (the big sheets work really well, too!)
- 1 lb. sausage, browned
- 4 eggs, mixed with 2 T. of milk and seasoned with pepper to your liking
- Shredded cheese (I think the recipe calls for 1 cup, but I eyeball it!)

To make:
- Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray
- Spread out the crescent rolls on the pan, making about a 1 inch crust on the sides. 
- Layer sausage, egg mixture and cheese. 
- Bake at 375 (or whatever temperature the can of rolls calls for) for approximately 12-15 minutes. 

A few tips:
- If you are like me and not a morning person, it works very well to brown the meat and mix the eggs the night before - just layer and bake in the morning!
- I like to pat the top down with paper towels once pulling out of the oven, as it eliminates some of the grease.
- Some of my friends aren't fans of eggs, so I once made a breakfast pizza without them. They all said it was very good!



What I'm Loving

It's REALLY easy to think of things I'm loving on this surprise snow day :)

I'm LOVING that I work in education and have the day off. Despite driving 30 MPH on a major highway on the way home from our main campus yesterday. Ugh. 

I'm LOVING that I get to spend the day with this little love monkey.

I'm LOVING that it means I get to catch up on the DVR. Two episodes of The Good Wife are already cleared!

I'm LOVING that we had a great night out for hubby's birthday over the weekend. We had a delicious steak dinner then met up with some friends at BWWs. It was the perfect night, until some drunken jerk knocked a friend's fruity drink over and it spilled all over my lap. Ugh!

I'm LOVING that my birthday is coming up in just a few weeks:)

I'm LOVING that we have our flight, hotel and show booked for our Vegas trip! So excited and hoping time flies until we depart :)

What are you loving today? Are you in a winter wonderland as well?

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When thinking about my goals for 2013, it was much the same as years past. Lose weight, be healthier, save more money. Blah, blah, blah.

When I saw other bloggers instead choosing a "word" for the year, I was immediately drawn to the idea. Because that's where I am in life right now.

In 2013, I just want to be content. Happy with where I am.

Honestly, this really encompasses all of those goals, plus a few more.

I've seen all the posts pointing a finger at Pinterest, social media, etc. for setting too high of expectations for women.

As a working mom, I can definitely relate - I catch it in real life, too! It seems almost every holiday, I feel most of the other daycare moms have outdone me in their treats for the kids. Add that in to what I see on Pinterest, blogs, TV, etc., and it easily can make a woman feel like she's not doing "right" by her family.

But this year, I pledge to be happy with what I can do when it comes to my family. What's important is that we're all sitting down to eat a meal together, even if it is frozen pizza. And honestly? I know there are families out there that rely on processed or fast food far more than we do. Others may not consider the way our family operates as "perfect" but it is for us. We are all clothed, bathed, and fed. Those are the important things. And by golly, my kid knows he has all the love in the world. So if spending time with him in between work means frozen pizza and a messy house, so be it. These moments with my family are the most important right now.

The way I see it, being content will help me SO MUCH where money is concerned. Instead of having to go out and buy a new outfit for some occasion, I know that I have plenty of clothes and can shop in my own closet. Same goes for all the cute things I see in stores or online - I really need to ask myself if I need something.

To further help me with saving money (because let me tell you, between Christmas, taxes, Cooper's birthday and our life insurance coming due, the last two months have been killer!) I'm doing a couple things. First, on payday I will withdraw a certain amount of money, and that's all of my spending money for the month. I truly need to go to a cash system and I'm hoping I can figure it all out. Second, I'm going to cash out some portion of my mileage and other checks and keep the cash in a safe place at the house. Once it hits the amount I feel is appropriate for all those events, I'll start diverting those funds to my savings account instead.

When it comes to the losing weight part of the equation - let's just say I'm not content with where I am right now. However, instead of holding myself to some goal such as "lose 20 pounds" I want to just be content with my weight and body. Whether that means losing 5 or 20 pounds, I'm really not sure, because I do know that a tone 150 is a lot different that a flabby 150. So we'll just have to see.

I know I'm not perfect, and my goals aren't going to make me "perfect" either. I'm going to screw up. I'm sure I'll lose weight and gain some of it back. I'm sure I'll splurge, especially with my Vegas trip coming up. I'm just trying to make sure I don't hold myself to too high of standards - all that does is set me up for failure.

Someday, I'm sure I'll set those lofty goals again. I'd love to read just 12 books a year. I'd love to have monthly date nights again. Heck, I'd love to shave once a week {sorry if that's TMI}. But that's not the season of life I'm in right now. And I'm OK with that. And I'm hoping I can be OK with all the things life throws my way this year.

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Hey baby, let's go to Vegas!

So, Santa surprised me big with a trip to Vegas!

Back in November, hubby purchased a raffle ticket in my name for a Rotary Club fundraiser. The grand prize was a weekend Vegas trip, and I was notified on Christmas morning! Talk about a really wonderful Christmas :)

Since I know the lady who is in charge of booking the trip pretty well, she is letting me be a bigger part of the process - as long as it fits their budget, we can pick where we stay, and some packages include shows.

Right now, the main options are Mandalay Bay, The Mirage and Vdara. Anyone have any experiences with any of these? Also, any shows or other attractions we must see?

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Cooper:: 13 months!

Note to new moms: Buy the monthly onesie stickers. They are worth it in that it is guaranteed you will get a monthly picture of your baby!

There. Now that's out of the way, I can tell you how this post really has been brewing for the past two weeks, but I've been waiting to get pictures. And it's never happened. We had way too many pajama days on break. But in the full interest of getting this post up closer to 13 months than 14, I wanted to go ahead, without the posed pictures.

Flirting with Aunties Christine and Bella - 12.23.12

Playing with PayPay - 12.23.12

Cooper, at 13 months, you are doing all kinds of things! You are into absolutely everything. You can have 20 toys sitting out, and you want our phones, cups, or papers that are out.

If we don't watch it, you'll grab a cup off the table and try to drink whatever is in it.

Talking on the phone

Mister, you are my little monkey man, and it scares me. You climb up the baby gate. You climb on top of the ottoman. You grab the bar on the oven and try to climb up it. While I love your curiosity and adventurous spirit, I cringe thinking of the emergency room visits I'm sure are in our future.

You think you are king of the world ...

You took the transition to cow's milk and a sippy just fine. We like the Take & Toss cups (cheap at Walmart) best, but when you toss them, the lid often pops off! We only offer you milk and water to drink.

Cooper, you also do very well at eating table foods. A typical breakfast for you is banana slices and a handful of Cheerios, and then you snack once you get to the sitter's. Lunch varies, and if you are home, your afternoon snack usually consists of string cheese and fruit or some puffs or Cheerios. For supper, you eat what we eat. You REALLY like green beans, peas and potatoes as your veggies, and bananas and applesauce for your fruits. Anything with tomato juice/sauce (chili, noodles cooked in tomato juice, lasagna, pizza) is high on your list, as well as hot dogs! You aren't too sure about breads yet.

You are a really good sleeper. You sleep overnight from about 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. (longer if we'll let you, such as on the weekends) and take two naps a day. If you sleep later, you'll just take one long nap around lunch time.

You love babies. Mrs. Robin sometimes has to pry you away from Zoey because you snuggle up to her. On your 13 month birthday, you got to meet your new cousin, Hayden, who wasn't quite one month yet, and you were very loving to him as well.)

You are all boy! When you play, you love anything with wheels on it. You often make the "RRRRR" noises too - have to have that motor. I sometimes call you "Coopy Monster" because you will roar - one day you saw my Mizzou magazine and there was a tiger on front, which prompted you to start roaring. It was adorable.

You love to dance, and watching you shake your little booty is priceless.

This month, you had a really bad cold, and ended up on a steroid cough medicine and taking breathing treatments. It broke my heart.

Speaking of my heart, it officially melted this month. I can sit on the floor, hold open my arms and say "mommy hug" and you'll run over and give me the biggest hug. So sweet. You've also figured out how to give kisses, and that makes me melt.

You had your first haircut this month.

At your PAT visit, you scored for exactly where you need to be, and then some, developmentally. You made your mama and daddy very proud.

We both love you to the moon and back. Thank you for being the sweet little boy that you are.


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Back to work {and randoms!}

After two glorious weeks off, it's back to work for me today. So far, it hasn't been too bad. It helps that we aren't really open to the public today either :) And we are having lunch catered in!

A few other random thoughts on my mind today ...
  • Mister wasn't pleased when we woke him at 7 a.m. Poor babe was squinting his eyes the whole time. Hubby was happy to see Cooper before work though - while on break, I didn't allow him to go in C's room for fear that he would wake the babe and we wouldn't get to sleep in!
  • It's so weird to think ... the first day back after Christmas last year was my first day back from maternity leave. It was Jan. 2 last year. Which was also the day my daycare re-opened from Christmas break this year. I laughed with our sitter that morning about how I was in tears dropping Cooper off just a year ago, and here I didn't even have to send him that day, but I did just to get him out of my hair so I could get some major cleaning and organization accomplished.
  • Daily deal websites will be the death of me & my budget. GroopDealz is one of the worst!
  • I've decided that while I enjoyed break, I could never be an SAHM. The feeling of the house being in worse shape at the end of the day is not one I liked. Maybe I could do some sort of a part-time gig, if we could ever afford it?
  • I've decided to come up with a Baby No. 2 bucket list. Some of these things are practical {like paying off my car} while others are just fun, like finally needing a passport. Any suggestions?
  • During Operation:Clean House I got quite a bit done. I totally cleaned C's room as well as the spare {which netted about four trash bags plus a big box for yard sale} and am pleased that the house is now spic & span.
  • I think I've come up with a good plan of goals for 2013 and I can't wait to share!
  • One of the internal speakers on my iPhone has gone out :( While it's a 4 and I'm ready to upgrade in about a month, I am pretty sure that I could sell it and get $100 or so out of it... but not with a busted speaker! I understand that there have been some problems with these speakers, so I'm figuring I'll spend an hour or so on the phone with Apple later today, getting them to send me a new phone. Totally wish we had an Apple store closer to home!
  • Signs of a future daredevil? I hope not! {Sorry for the blurry iPhone pics ... I was trying to take them while also keep an arm out just in case he lost his balance.}

  • I'm ready for "real TV" to start back up. That being said, I'm also thrilled that with all the reruns, we've cleared about 60 hours off of our DVR in the last two weeks. And now, a little embarassed since I've said it out loud.
  • One thing I want to do this year, especially over the next few months as we are working to save money, is get back into menu planning. I do so much better when I know what we're having and that we aren't getting into ruts. So here's this week's plan:
    • Sunday: Leftover spaghetti, garlic bread, salad
    • Monday: Poppyseed chicken, green beans
    • Tuesday: Fried chicken, potatoes, slaw, biscuits
    • Wednesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn, crescent rolls, birthday cake
    • Thursday: Poppyseed chicken leftovers
    • Friday: Meatloaf leftovers
    • Saturday: Oat for hubby's birthday!
Happy Monday :)

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The end

My baby is officially weaned.

It was a long process, but went well, and I consider myself so blessed that I was able to breastfeed him just over 12 months. Amazing accomplishment for both of us.

My last time nursing him was two weeks ago. The first week was pretty rough, but we survived.

Believe it or not, I really struggled with making the decision to wean. I first had to be convinced to breastfeed, then was practically counting down the days, but had a tough time making the decision to just stop.

So ... the process began right after C turned 11 month birthday. At that point, Cooper was taking in about 12 ounces of pumped milk daily, while I nursed him morning & night. I also had about 40 days worth of milk frozen, so figured I could take away the pumping. My lactation consultant confirmed this, and also encouraged us to begin the transfer to a sippy cup.

Over that first week, I dropped to pumping just once a day (had been 3-4 times, maybe 5 if I threw one in before bed). Honestly, at this point I really was barely making enough to feed him the next day, so it wasn't so bad. About a week later, I quit pumping completely {love!} while continuing to nurse in the morning and before bedtime.

We had a few struggles with the sippy. Mainly, he would drink a few ounces and then just play and chew on the cup. So we'd usually end up pouring the rest in the bottle. But once he turned 1, we decided no more bottle, and if he didn't drink from the sippy he didn't get the milk! We also began using cups that were harder, so he couldn't chew holes in them {poor little teething monster!}

I wasn't really sure on when to stop nursing, but a few days after C's birthday, hubby encouraged me to begin moving that direction. Especially since Cooper was beginning to pull up my shirt when he was hungry - ha! So, from the suggestion of my lactation consultant, we first cut the morning session. I was incredibly concerned about this, as I figured it would put Cooper in a bad mood. And boy, for the first few days it did. Hubby would get him out of bed to make the transition a bit easier, but it still stunk.

After about a week, we came up with a routine of: get out of bed, hug & kiss, change diaper/dress for the day, then morning milk with Cheerios and/or banana. This worked really well, because he can just chill in the high chair until I am all dressed and ready for work. Right now, he basically chugs his first 8 oz. of milk, {and yes, I still heat it} then I give him a couple more and he'll just play around with it and ultimately take it to the sitters.

At the end of the first week, hubby and I had a Christmas party so I ended up not nursing at all on Saturday. By Sunday night, I was in pain and C was whiny, so we went ahead and nursed. After that, we figured we would just play it by ear, but I ended up not needing to nurse again - it didn't pain me, and hubby and I both felt Cooper would do better with a consistent schedule. Cooper now does fine with a sippy before bed and I didn't experience any engorgement

He now takes whole milk just fine. Of course, we began by mixing it 50/50, but he now goes through a full gallon on his own before it expires! We give him 8 ounces each for morning and before bed, about 6 ounces for lunch, and water at other times. No juice. He also gets milk via string cheese, in his oatmeal, and if we have yogurt.

I am so, so grateful to have had such a great breastfeeding relationship with this little man, and hope it's just as successful with any future children we may decide to have!

{I've been working on this post for some time, so in the full interest of disclosure, I wanted to note that, this week, we stopped 

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Life lately

A lot has happened in the past couple weeks since I have really blogged, so be prepared for a lot of rambling bullets.
  • I had Cooper home with me for 11 straight days. While I thoroughly enjoyed it, I wanted to pull my hair out more than once. I now have a whole new respect for SAHMs and and those who work in child care. 
  • I had to apologize to our sitter this morning, as Mister Cooper is totally off schedule. We've been sleeping in until at least 9 a.m. every morning and it's been great!
  • Since I am still off work and C is back at daycare, I am taking the rest of the week to do some major cleaning. 
  • Cooper's 13 month update is coming later this week! I debated and went back and forth on whether to continue them, but I think they'll continue until at least 2 years. So much changes every month, and I love having them to go back and reference. 
  • Our Christmas was so wonderful! We were all spoiled and I can't wait to post more! 
  • I'm still debating on whether to make actual resolutions/goals for 2013, or just pick a "word" for the year, like I've seen so many others do. 
  • I haven't really ventured into the stores after Christmas, but I'm thinking that I may run into town to see if there are still any good sales going on. 
  • I need to start eating healthier and working out, but the problem is that I have these really delicious Christmas goodies in my house and I just can't stand to let them go bad!
  • I cooked up a feast for my family for New Year's Day! 
Hog jowl, cabbage, black-eyed peas and fried potatoes! For a year of prosperity and good luck :)
  • And now I'm going to leave you with some fun pictures from my phone :)

Mama's baby elf

Whoever says you can't play dressup with a boy is wrong! Mister helped us haul hay and was even wearing some work boots with his flannel and Levi's. He was such a good boy he got a sucker!

Monkey man!
Hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season as well! I have some great posts in line for you later this week :)

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