Monday, September 28, 2015

Exactly What I Needed

Sometimes you need 5 minutes and sometimes you need 5 days.  Either way, everyone needs a break from their day to day routine now and then.  I was lucky enough to get a few days away this past weekend.  Not only was it to a beach, but it was with six of my closest friends.  We've had this trip for most of the past ten years, but I haven't been able to go for quite awhile.  We spent three days without a schedule - relaxing, talking, eating and drinking.  We lucked out with weather and had two nice days to soak up the sun and walk in the sand.  The time went fast but all seven of us took full advantage of it, as we all had our own stress to leave behind.  The trip this year seemed to fall at the perfect time for all of us.  It came before new jobs, new houses, chasing dreams and a time of year that is always filled with the word "busy."  It wasn't just exactly what I needed, we all needed it.

It's been a crazy year and I'll bet the next twelve months are crazy in their own way too.  But there were these three days to laugh with my oldest friends, listen to the ocean waves, sleep (woohooooo!) and recharge my somewhat dying batteries.  I'm ready to recommit myself to my health goals (more on that in a later post soon :)) and take on whatever life has in store.  

Thanks for a wonderful trip friends!! Love you :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Breakfast for Dinner

I am stuck in a rut when it comes to dinner.  We eat a lot of the same things and it's time to shake it up.  Aiden has been on a pancake kick recently, so I used the opportunity to make breakfast for dinner and try out a new recipe.  I really enjoy quiche, but the calories can add up quickly.  I searched Pinterest for a crustless version and ended up taking ideas from several to make my own.  You could make this quiche with any vegetables and sub in any cheese.  I just used what I had and what I knew Andrew liked :).  We had it alongside Simple Truth sausage patties and this pancake mix.  This will definitely be in our dinner rotation from now on!

Crustless Veggie Quiche
  • Bag of frozen peppers/onion
  • ½ tsp minced garlic 
  • as needed non-stick spray 
  • Large handful of spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 2 oz. feta cheese (I used reduced fat)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan 
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • to taste salt & pepper 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute peppers & onions with either non-stick spray, olive oil or butter.  Cook them until all the liquid is gone, then add the spinach and garlic.  Once the spinach has cooked down, set aside.

2. While veggies are cooking, add eggs, milk and parmesan to a bowl and whisk together.  Add salt and pepper and whisk again.  

3. Spray a pie dish with non-stick spray.  Spread the veggies in the dish, and sprinkle the feta on top.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over the veggies & feta.  Sprinkle the mozzarella on top. 

I made this earlier in the day, covered it and let it hang out in the fridge until dinner time.  When you're ready, cook uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 - 60 minutes.  Mine took 50 minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Facing Insecurities

In high school, it was that Presidential Fitness contest.  The one where you have to do sit ups (not just crunches), pull ups and run.  Looking back, I wasn't as "huge" as I felt during this time, but I definitely wasn't in shape.  I struggled with these exercises and always felt so embarrassed having to try them in front of the class.  I became more fit when I started lifeguarding and then freshman year of college I worked out regularly, but then I broke my hip and it went down hill until I graduated.  Several years and lots of ups and downs later, I thought I was past that insecurity.  I thought as an adult, I'm supposed to be confident and not care what other people think.  Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

I've been making great strides in my strength and fitness level and overall have felt really good about myself.  I recently switched up my workout regimen to go from two to one session with my trainer, but added a small group training option to keep me going.  It's not only significantly less expensive, it's good to change things up now and then.  I was nervous going into this group, but I kept up just fine and truly surprised myself.  That is, until this past Tuesday.

At the end of the session, the trainer led us into the gym for a group "activity."  As soon as he said that, I started getting knots in my stomach.  Those high school insecurities were already creeping up.  He showed us this torture device that we would use to race up and down the gym. (Please see picture below)  It would take a lot of upper body, chest and core strength.  Great, all three of my weaknesses.  I considered making up an excuse to leave early (where was a fussy Audrey when I needed her), but I sucked it up and decided to try it.  As others made it look easy, I cracked jokes to try and ease my nerves.  When my turn came, I strapped my feet in, got in the position, took a few movements with my arms and...thud.  Yep, not as easy as it looked.  

To be clear, although I felt like I was back in high school, no one acted like teenagers.  I did not get made fun of and there were no whispers, only encouragement and smiles.  As nice as that is, I was still humiliated.  I could feel the blood rushing to my face and the tears forming in my eyes.  In that moment, it didn't matter how far I'd come or that I had open heart surgery 7 months ago.  I felt defeated and frustrated.  

While a quick phone call to Andrew after class cheered me up, it was on my mind all day. Typing this out now, it feels kind of dumb and you probably all think I am incredibly immature.  But just maybe you've had an adult moment of insecurity too.  One that sends you back to a time in your life when you felt all eyes on you and whispers behind your back.  The difference between these past times and the present is a big one.  I am now armed with experience.  I know that this moment doesn't really matter.  No one else in that class gave it a second thought and today when I went back, obviously no one brought it up.  I have come a long way and I will master that contraption one day, but for now there are so many other important things to occupy my mind.  

I will always have insecurities.  Everyone does.  It may be related to appearance, ability, money or another trivial thing.  We have to learn from our teenage selves to not dwell on these and focus on the positive.  Easier said than done in today's world, but it's now not only important for myself, but for my kids too.  I want them to know a confident mommy who sets a strong example.  Babies enter the world with zero wonderful would it be if we could all stay that way?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Audrey Kay - 12 Months + Party Pics

Audrey turned one on September 4th and we celebrated as a family with a trip to Entertrainment Junction and lots of snuggles and kisses.  We had a party on Saturday to continue to celebrate our little sunshine.  Before we get to the pictures, here's an update on our girl...

Audrey Likes: 
Walking!  She hardly ever crawls anymore.  She went from a couple steps to practically running in a few short days.
Reading in her room.  It's the cutest thing ever.  
Her new toys!  She especially likes her new purse, complete with a cell phone and credit card.
Animals.  She went nuts over a little dog at the park recently.
Currently likes strawberries, cheese and anything with cheese on or in it :).
Singing and dancing!  She loves "Ants Go Marching" and "Old MacDonald."

Audrey Dislikes:
Sleeping through the night...still up once...
Getting dressed and her diaper changed...I have to keep a stash of distractions in her dresser!
When Aiden steals her toys.  She gets it now and it's not pretty when it happens!
Now that she's walking, she's been relatively happy these days!

Now on to the party....As I went through these pictures, I realized I need to do a better job of getting pictures of Audrey with people!  I'll work on it :).  Audrey LOVED her cake and both her and Aiden had a great time!  Such a fun party!

Friday, September 4, 2015

My Dear Audrey

Dear Audrey,

When I found out you were a girl, I was shocked.  Elated, excited and grateful, but shocked.  But God knew you were exactly what we needed to complete our family.  One year ago today you were born.  You came out screaming to the world that you had arrived and your little (big) voice hasn't stopped since.  You're sweet, sassy, strong, stubborn and beautiful.  You are my sweet sunshine and firecracker wrapped into a little body with curls and gorgeous blue eyes.  This has been one of the toughest, but the BEST year of my life because of you.  We love you and wish you the happiest of first birthdays.  

All my love,


It was tough, but here are my 12 favorite pictures of Audrey.  More birthday fun to come on the blog over the next week :).  Happy birthday, Audrey!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

525,600 Minutes

How do you measure a year?

RENT is my favorite Broadway musical of all time.  If you haven't seen it and don't know this song, please click here and fall in love with the lyrics.  As we approach Audrey's 1st birthday this Friday, I've thought a lot about this past year.  Years always fly by and always seem to have been filled with more change and life events than possible.  But this year...this year has truly been the craziest year of my life.  Audrey was born in September just after Aiden turned 18 months old.  My aortic valve was quickly deteriorating and while I was sleep deprived from a newborn and active toddler, I was also quickly losing energy.  My surgery was in January and Aiden turned two in February.  Recovery went well but was long and I've been on this road to better physical and emotional health since.  

I've measured this year much differently than those in the past.  As I listened to "Seasons of Love" and the things they list, I started to make my own.  Here's what I came up with...

In heartbeats
In centimeters (dilated :))
In baby cries
In diapers
In bottles
In cups of coffee
In smiles
In hugs
In doctors
In choo-choos
In snotty noses
In friendships
In kisses
In progress
In support
In hand holding
In story times
In pounds
In firsts
In love...

A year ago I knew we were in for a roller coaster ride.  We rode it, not always with our hands in the air, but with a positive attitude.  And we got off stronger as a family and more appreciative of life than ever before.

"It's time now to sing out
Though the story never ends.
Let's celebrate..."