Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sweatin' it

I work out at home. Some people think this is lame, but it's perfect for me. I don't waste 20 minutes driving to and from the gym, and more importantly, Madelyn doesn't sit in a gym daycare while mommy sweats it out on a stairmaster. I'm away from her too much as it is, the last thing she needs is TWO daycares in the course of the day.

Plus, when you workout at home you have no excuses. I mean really, who can't find 20 minutes to turn on a DVD?

I thought given all the yucky rainy weather we've been having you may like a few suggestions of my favorite at-home workouts. Obviously when it's nice out we get out and walk or jog, but I think these workouts offer other fitness elements that are really important, especially for women.

1. Body by Bethenny. I know, I know. She's a Bravo reality star. But before you completely discredit her, many people don't know that well before she was on Real Housewives she was a natural foods chef for many celebrities and has done yoga for 20 years. And we've all seen her body. So, that's enough evidence for me. Plus the video is co-hosted by Kristin McGhee who is a yoga industry pro. The video is primarily yoga but there is a great 15 minute weight segment at the end and then a 5 minute "booty bonus" after that. To me the workout is just hard enough to know you're really accomplishing something but not so difficult that you want to die. I like.

2. Another yoga pick- Yogalosophy. I've written about this one before so I won't go into too much detail, but it's by Jennifer Aniston's yoga guru Mandy Ingber who is both likable and situated on something high overlooking the ocean which I find instantly calming. This is really a yoga hybrid workout in that you hold a yoga pose then transition into a core strength move--lunges, squats, pushups, etc. Basic moves, but reinforcing large muscle groups.

3. Jillian's 30 day shred. This is a great 20 minute workout. Seriously, it's only 20 minutes. And it's hard. Matt and I did this together a lot before I got pregnant and I swear this is partly how I lost the baby weight from Madelyn. You use light weights to transition from strength moves to cardio and then abs in three separate circuits without taking a break. It has three different levels but I can only attest for two. I'm pretty sure had I attempted level three it would have included resuscitation via chest paddles. Like I said, it's hard but it works.

4. Elle Beauty Sculpt with Brooklyn Decker. This one is new to me as I just did it for the first time the other night. It's a basic weights workout but you move quickly and will definitely be out of breath. What I like most about it is I thought it was primarily focused on arms but I can't remember the last time my butt was this sore, and looking at Brooklyn Decker you can't help but want to workout. Plus I like her because I've always been a fan of her hubs Andy Roddick. In fact I'm quite certain we were born in the same month in the same hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. That's right, I was born in Omaha. Nebraska. Ever heard of it?

Hopefully that inspires you to squeeze in a quick sweat-session before American Idol tonight! I typically workout as soon as we put Madelyn down so I have the rest of the night free. I try to do yoga twice a week because it has amazing benefits for our mind and body, weights twice a week because I want to tone up, and then walk the other days. It's a good balance, and it keeps me from getting bored.

Go forth and sweat, girls!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Things I'm loving right now

The Help. I'm about 2/3 of the way through and it is so good. I suppose you shouldn't judge a book until the end but I am really enjoying this one. I especially love all of the references to life in the "old south"--minus slavery, obviously.

This quote: "There is no such thing as savers remorse" which I'm told came from an ING billboard. Brilliant.

My Wednesday evening. Specifically, the time I'll be spending at the W Hotel/Bliss Spa having a 75 (75!) minute prenatal massage and 30 minute hair and scalp treatment. I scored a totally amazing deal off of Travelzoo one day and am basically getting all of the above for a mere fraction of the actual price. I plan to get there early, lounge in a comfy robe, and soak it all in as long as I can. Oh, and I also love hydrangeas. Always, not just right now.

This outfit. Even though Katie holmes does kind of seem like a pre-recorded monotone version of her former self, the girl can dress.

This table setting by Christi at Grey Umbrella. It's going to serve as my inspiration for Madelyn's second birthday party coming up in April.

Oh, and how could I forget, FOOD! The stomach virus has officially left the building and I can eat again. Oh joyous day :)

Hope you're all having a great week so far!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sleepless nights

This week has been a week of sleepless nights in the Marden household, so please excuse my lack of posts. And please also excuse if this post doesn't make sense, I'm only half conscious at the moment.

Madelyn had her first official asthma attack. It lasted from Friday until Wednesday. And then, because things were becoming too routine and predictable, she suddenly came down with a stomach virus around 7 p.m. on Wednesday night. Aside from the lack of sleep this means for me I absolutely hate to see her uncomfortable or not feeling well. So, if sleeping with me helps her feel better and get some rest so be it.

Now, Madelyn hasn't slept with me EVER until this week. Not when she was a newborn. Not when she had RSV or pneumonia. And not even on those nights I was having an emotional mommy moment and just wanted to cuddle her to death. It was important to me that she learn to be independent and sleep in her own space. And until now it worked.

But since Monday night she's been sleeping cuddled up right next to me. I can hear every breath and make sure she's ok. She wakes up just to give me a kiss then goes right back to sleep. It's pretty much my version of ooey gooey bliss. But it's time to stop and go back to normal. Mama needs some sleep.

So last night I tried letting her cry when she woke up. It didn't go well. Approximately 40 minutes later I gave in (I know, I know) and brought her in me, just further perpetuating the cycle. She slept like a log. I can't say the same.

Tonight I'm trying a new approach. When I put her in her crib I'm giving her a pillow wrapped in a shirt of mine so it smells like me. It feels vaguely similar to training a new puppy to sleep in his crate at night but I'm hoping it turns out to be my golden ticket to a night of restful bliss. And if she cries, she cries.

I figure it's better than spiking her juice with Benadryl or introducing Matt to the concept of the "family bed". I mean, aren't those the only feasible alternatives?!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

In the name of saving money

Oh the things we do to save a buck.

So with another bambino on the way, and sheer increased financial awareness, Matt and I decided to cut back on some of our expenses. The first thing we did was axe our current cable provider, Comcast, to go with DirectTV which was HALF the price. We get the same channels, the same DVR, and HD (which I really only care about during football season), so it seemed like a bit of a no-brainer.

Before I could say "how do I set the DVR for Bethenny Ever After" they were out here installing everything in a mad fury. And this is where they put the heinous monstrosity that is our satellite dish. Why? Because this is where we had signal. Really? REALLY?! Do you see it? It's that large appendage on the side of my house.
Don't they know I am form over function? I don't give a crap how something works as long as it looks good. This looks ---not good---for the sake of not using an expletive. UGH. I am actually sweating now I am so mad at myself. Why didn't I stand out there an supervise their every move? Whhhyyyyy???!!!

And now, for a grand total savings of $65 a month I get to stare at this

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fighting sugar with sugar

I confess...I've eaten way WAY too much sugar since I found out I was pregnant. It's like healthy me left the reservation and sugar-dependent me took residence against my will. Partly against my will? Ok fine, I didn't put up much of a fight.

So last week I really hit a wall. I wasn't feeling good about myself and I knew it was all mental. I knew I wasn't taking care of myself and therefore I literally saw myself getting bigger everytime I walked past a mirror. So I cut back. And I started working out again. And suddenly, I looked just a little bit slimmer in those God-forsaken mirrored closet doors in our bedroom (why oh why are those still there?)

So this week I made a deal with myself. If I limit the treats this week then come Saturday I can have a small Chick Fil A milkshake. That's what I've really been wanting, but instead I've been mindlessly eating everything else made available to me. Really, shouldn't I just hold out for the creamy goodness I've been craving? Some may call this counterproductive but I dare you to tell a pregnant woman that her logic is illogical.

Today we had birthday cake at the office. I did not partake. Duh, winning! (You can thank Charlie Sheen for that one). Chick Fil A here I come.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Batch Cooking = Easy Week

This weekend decided to employ my almost two-year-old sous chef and try a new approach to cooking.

Our weeks are crazy. I rush home from work, try to get something decently tasty and healthy on the table for dinner, rush to clean up, do the nighttime routine with Madelyn, then melt onto the couch. I'm sick of rushing.

So we are trying batch cooking, also sometimes referred to as freezer cooking. So far, so good. Granted, cooking with Madelyn is a very messy and often patience-trying exercise, but well worth it to see the fun she has.

Here are a few of the things we whipped up. I do have a few pictures but I'm too lazy to get up and download them. Sorry. Lazy bum here.

First we made this white chicken chili. Madelyn and Matt both loooove this. I put half of it in the fridge for dinners and lunches this week and froze the other half in a ziploc freezer bag for later on in the month. All I'll have to do is move it to the fridge the morning we want to eat it and not rush over to the microwave to heat it up. Brilliant.

Next I made a batch of these muffins using fresh blueberries. Again, I kept half in the fridge for breakfasts and froze the other half. This blog has a TON of freezer recipes, tips, meal plans, etc. This wonder woman actually does all of her cooking for the month in one day. I find this staggering but inspiring.

Then we made this pasta bake. I love this because Madelyn gobbles it up-spinach and all.

I also seasoned some ground turkey for salads and tacos. These items along with what we already had in our freezer (tilapia, ground beef, veggies, potstickers,etc) should get us through the next few weeks. With our new budget challenge I'm trying to use everything we have before we make another big trip to the grocery store.
I also have a few other recipes on my radar I'd like to make in the coming weeks to freeze and reheat.

Christi's taco soup and homemade granola

Spinach feta turkey burgers

And a whole bunch of pre-marinaded chicken that you just have to thaw and grill. This would be great to have on hand for salads, fajitas, wraps, etc.
Oh, and maybe some pineapple zuccini bread from Katie Lee's first cookbook that I LOVE.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Alone Time

To me, alone time is critical. I think really it is for everyone. Sometimes once Madelyn is down I just want to go upstairs and sit in bed and read magazines. Or watch Extreme Couponing on TLC (holy food hoarders—has anyone seen this show?) Alone time is good in small doses. This week I'm planning to use my alone time to actually get something accomplished. Imagine that.

In fact, I have a whole list of projects to work on at night when little miss is sleeping.

Here's what I plan to try and accomplish over the next two weeks. Wish me luck (and energy)!

- Clean out the guest closet since that's where Madelyn will be moving in the coming months
- Clean out Madelyn's closet, pull out all non-fitting clothes and put in bin in garage
- Plan her second birthday party
- Cook! We're going to cook all day this Sunday. I let Madelyn stand on a chair and help me stir and she absolutely loves it. Except she eats copious amounts of whatever we're cooking so I have to watch what is in it. We're going to make enough food for the next two weeks and freeze half for later.
- Organize my recipe binder. (Take a moment to reflect on what a huge nerd I am.)
- Work on our budget. Yes, this is as glamorous as it sounds. But in an effort to save some extra money we're tightening the purse strings a bit. Luckily I love budgeting and playing with numbers so this isn't as much of a chore as it sounds.

- Make a contingency plan. If our house doesn't sell, how do we best accomodate the bambinos and guests in our three bedroom house? I am fully open to suggestions on this one people.

On another note, Madelyn has become surprisingly self sufficient these days. She even takes care of her mommy. The other morning at breakfast she gave me part of her waffle and said "Mommy eat more." I tried to explain to her that mommy doesn't need to eat more mommy needs to eat less, but this reasoning was lost in translation. Then a bit later she told me to take a nap and she brought me a blanket and my phone. Apparently it hasn't gone unnoticed that I have a minor blackberry dependence. Or the need for an occasional cat nap.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tea party, anyone?

Christi at Grey Umbrella does one of my favorite blog posts every week. She calls it Tea on Tuesday and in it she gives us an honest account of what's on her mind and her heart that week. To me, in a world where everyone is trying to act like they've got it all together, I find this kind of honesty refreshing and inspiring. So this week, I'm joining in! Welcome to tea at my little blog house.

Please come in and have a seat on the couch with the really soft bamboo cotton blanket we got as a wedding gift. Throw off your shoes and relax. I'm serving black and green tea with a small side of red velvet cupcakes. Or maybe King cake in honor of Mardi Gras. Rest assured you can count on some sugar.

As we sat talking I'd probably tell you that I'm about to jump out of my skin trying to sell this house, and I'm having major contentment issues. I don't know if it's the part of me that wants to nest, or the part that just can't give up control, but for some reason I'm having a really (really) difficult time handing this one over to God and trusting that everything will happen the exact way it's supposed to. After all, it always does, right? RIGHT?!

I'd probably also confess that I've been extremely hard on Matt lately. Yesterday I actually had to apologize for being such a raging bitch, and I'm pretty sure those two words have never come out of my mouth. I think this happened immediately after I realized the only stretch marks I got in my first pregnancy, those located in the very conspicuous upper-butt vicinity, have reappeared. How has my butt already realized I'm pregnant? This wasn't supposed to happen for several more months.

I'd tell you that we have a doctor's appointment tomorrow that will hopefully give us the green light to share our happy news and it's pretty much all I can think about.

I'd also share that this week I'm trying to be more patient and bite my tongue when I don't have something constructive to say. I'm trying to not eat so many sweets (with the exception of our tea party which is clearly a special occasion), to do yoga, and to soak up every last minute with Madelyn before I have to divide my attention between two kiddos. It amazes me that she truly gets sweeter every single day.

What's going on with you this week? Link up over at Christi's page and indulge me—I'm a very good listener :)
image from here

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bump Watch 2011

I thought it was probably time I update you on my pregnancy. You know, because details about my expanding girth, lethargy, and food aversions are universally exciting :) Don't worry, I'll keep it short and sweet.

Here are the high (and low) lights:

  • I am deathly afraid to be weighed at my 11-week appointment next Wednesday. My appetite is rivaling that of world champion hot dog eater Kobiyashi, except instead of hot dogs all I want are carbs. I think this, along with the fact that I have already completely lost my waistline, is evidence that our newest bambino is not of the female gender.
  • So far I've craved ranch dressing and pepperoni. Not together, but separately, and often.
  • I can't even think about eating my beloved snap pea crisps. They are dead to me.
  • In the past two days I've gotten my energy back and I am THRILLED! Yesterday I went for a long walk and the endorphins from that alone did wonders for my brain. For the past few weeks I'd felt like an empty shell of myself from complete exhaustion, but now I'm back! Matt is probably more excited than me, because this means he won't have to do everything at night while I lay on the couch like a lifeless blob.
  • I really wish I had some pepperoni right now.
  • I can't wait to see our sweet new baby on that ultrasound machine next week. I just hope and pray everything is ok.
  • I'm doing lunges and squats every single night. If I can't have my belly, at least my legs can look halfway decent!

image from here

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