Sunday, January 13, 2013

Harpie Doodle on Video

Ready for some H-Bomb cuteness overload? Here are a few of my favorite videos that we have taken in the last few weeks.

Here is our video of Harper's first steps!! I still can't believe we got it on video, but we knew the sweatshirt zipper would get her little wheels going! :) Please excuse my husband's paint stained gym shorts at the end.

I took this video on Christmas night after I finished feeding her before bed. She was being so sweet & had the cutest laugh. I also love the milk mouth! :)

This one cracks me up... Harper was so tired & getting grumpy before bed. But she can't help but dance when here elephant toy music starts playing.

Now it's time for me to ask you all a question. When did your kiddos start to give you kisses? Harper whips her head around so fast when we try to kiss her lips, she HATES it. She shrieks. She barks. She growls like a zombie. I cannot figure out how to get her to give kisses & it drives me bonkers! Any ideas? Maybe she's still too young? Or maybe I'm just crazy. All I want is a big, wet baby smooch!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Valentine's Day Favorites

With Valentine's Day only a little more than a month away, it's time to start planning lots of festive February outfits! I stocked up last year on cute Valentine's Day stuff, thinking maybe Harper would arrive in time! She was born just one day too late! :) So very excited that this will be her first Valentine's Day... but sad that it will be her last "first holiday." We are going big on this one!

Here is a collection of all of my favorite Valentine's gear for both little ladies & gents!

Tulle Headband - Striped Leggings
Bee My Valentine Sweater

I think it is so fun to pick out cute boy's clothes! Maybe because it is all new to me, but there certainly is some adorably festive attire for the little kings of your heart!

It's also hard to believe that by Valentine's Day, we can almost guarantee that our little doll baby will be running around the house like a wild woman!

 That's right folks, Harper took her FIRST STEPS the other day!! She's been standing on her own for a little while now, but had no problem walking right to me to get her little hands on my sweatshirt zipper! :) The best part? We actually got it on video! As soon as I upload, I will share it!

I am trying to soak up every last minute of her being somewhat immobile, because I am well aware that shit just got real.



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cold Weather & Cold Coffee

Brr... It's cold outside!! I always seem to think that the cold weather is going to disappear right along with my Christmas decorations as soon as the holidays are over, but jokes on me. It's not getting any warmer in our neck of the woods!

Puffy outer layers, warm socks & tights and of course, the best lotion & chapstick to fight dry winter skin are some of our favorite things right now! :) And with Valentine's Day right around the corner, we are ready for a little PINK in our lives.

The cold weather also calls for cozy, sweater one piece outfits on the days that we aren't rocking our pajamas.

One of the biggest bummers about winter weather is that it keeps you cooped up inside. I hate to bundle up Harper just to go out for a few errands. Which is why I am so very excited about the iced coffee that I have been able to make at home with our new Keurig! We got the Keurig Elite for Christmas from my parents (thanks mom & dad!) & right away I was determined to get a good iced coffee out of it.

You can see it here in my oversized mason jar (aka. the only way to drink a homemade iced coffee).

For those of you who have asked, here is the low down.
Rather than buy the k-cups made specifically for iced coffee (which you have to brew over ice), I use the Starbucks Breakfast Blend K-Cups & a metal cocktail shaker as my mug. I brew these as a medium coffee (ours has 3 sizes, this is the 8 oz size), so they are quite a bit stronger, right into the cocktail shaker. As soon as it is done brewing, put it directly into the freezer (hence why you must use metal & not glass/porcelain). Since it is a relatively small amount of coffee, it is usually cooled off in five or so minutes.
Then, just pour over ice, add cream if you wish (I use just a splash of half & half) & ENJOY!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Health, Fitness & Losing Baby Weight

Finally. I know I've been promising a post on losing baby weight for the longest time, but I kept struggling to write about it for some reason. Maybe because I am not a fitness/health guru, I wasn't sure that I would really have anything worthwhile to share. But at the end of the day, I can at least share my story & my experiences. I am like most, I hate working out & only do it so I can combat my Frito/Chipotle/cupcake obsession.

While I was pregnant, I jogged & did some small circuits of pushups, lunges, etc. to try to stay in shape. Eating spoonfuls of jelly on the reg definitely didn't help my cause, but overall I gained about 26-27 lbs. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I just tried my best to get out & walk every day. My doctor told me that with all the extra poundage being carried around, you burn so many more calories, so I made sure to walk at least 30 minutes per day. Even if it was just around the mall. :)

Skirt, Grey Tank, Jean Jacket

I lost all of the weight in the first three weeks, which I think can be much attributed to breastfeeding. On the topic of breastfeeding, I know that after I had Harper the last thing I wanted to do was shovel in food after I looked like a bloated, pillow-esque-slob-kabob BUT you need those calories in order to produce milk. I spoke with so many lactation consultants & breastfeeding expert friends who had to tell me this over & over again. Good, healthy fats like eggs, avocado & peanut butter can make a world of difference in your ability to produce milk, which essentially burns those calories right off in return.

Once I was cleared to start working out again at my 5 week postpartum appointment, I started to ease back into running & jumped back into my favorite workout DVD, Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I love this workout because there are three levels, so it is perfect for a beginner & leaves room to become more advanced. With this DVD, I use Three & Five Pound Dumbbells & a Yoga Mat. For a more ab focused workout, I love Six Week Six-Pack. These workouts are SO short, you can actually watch the clock during them & always be assured that there are only a few minutes left.

Crossfit workouts are also an amazing way to get in shape & stay toned! My husband is an avid Crossfitter (is that a word?) so he makes me shortened/girl version workouts that I can do at home using just my 5 lb Kettlebell or dumbbells. If you are interested, I'd be happy to share some of the workouts on the blog.

I try to do a workout video or Crossfit routine 3-4 days per week, all at home. It isn't realistic for me to even attempt doing it daily, so I don't stress over it. And if I can't fit these in, a run or long walk with Harper in the stroller is always a good workout!
I don't have a recent pic, but this is the best I can do for before & after. The left is right around when I found out that I was pregnant, June 2011 & the right is exactly one year later in June 2012. I am posting this picture to show you that having a baby (and having a c-section) doesn't mean you can never have your old stomach (sorta) back. Update: For anyone who has asked, I used Mustela Double Action Cream to prevent stretch marks... it worked like a charm! :)

This was also obviously just my first pregnancy (I hear it gets harder the second time around).

I don't have the magic remedy for losing baby weight or staying in shape. As most of you know I drink beer, have a Frito addiction & honestly, sort of despise working out. Here are the realistic tips/rules that I can give on this topic:
1. Absolutely no soda & no fast food. I substitute ALL sugary drinks with sparkling water. Straight up carbonated water with no sugar, no sodium & no calories (also a perfect alcohol substitute when pregnant).
2. Real cardio is a must. I used to go to the gym and fuck around on the lowest speed elliptical setting & do some pathetic sit ups while trying to watch Ellen. None of this will give you the same results as running. Go outside, find the steepest hill & haul ass to the top of it.
3. Find healthy snacks that you like. I know it seems like all healthy food sucks, BUT keep trying new things & find those one or two healthy snacks that you can tolerate. I randomly discovered whole fruit bars when I was pregnant & couldn't stop eating them! Also, strawberries, a banana & a splash of skim milk with ice in the blender is an amazing low-cal smoothie that will cure a sweet tooth in a hot second. Other favorites are peeled grapes & wheat thins, apple slices & peanut butter or tuna on cucumber slices.
4. Chug that water. Funny how this always makes the list when it comes to losing weight, but I swear that it works. Before I had Harper, I got a water tumbler that I loved & could not stop filling up. I noticed a difference in days in both my skin & my body. Go out of your way to find a water bottle that you LOVE & it will instantly be easier for you to guzzle that H2O. Camelbak Bottles are my favorite!
5. Remove all possible things that will cause you to make excuses. I literally used to skip workouts because I had to change the TV from the cable box to the DVD player. One button on the remote would stop me from completing my workout. Now, I have a dedicated TV , with my weights under the dresser & I will SLEEP in my workout clothes so that I cannot make a single excuse in the morning to not workout.

Well ladies, there you have it! :) I hope this is helpful. If nothing else, inspiring or reassuring to those first time moms that are pregnant now & worried that the baby weight will never go away. It is a daunting task & different for every person, but just takes a little time to find out what will work best for you.

As my husband always says, "How do you eat an elephant?"
"One bite at a time!"

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hello 2013

I hope you all are having a wonderful New Year! This week has been filled with lots of cleaning, organizing & jotting down endless notes about my New Year's resolutions!

Let's recap some BOOs & BOOMs of 2013 so far, shall we?
So far this year I have perfected the Iced Coffee on our new Keurig (I'm such a coffee snob... I need that shit strong & bitter as all get out). So we can chalk this up as a big BOOM! Also, we started the first season of Parenthood (which it seems like everyone I know raves about!) & Courgartown returns in just a few days. A stocked DVR or Netflix playlist is BOOM in my book!

On the flip side. It turns out that we have a family of squirrels living in our attic. A congregation, if you will. So I'm really looking forward to forking over a ton of money to get THAT taken care of. Insert sarcasm font here. BOO!

What I am looking forward to, is getting Harper's room back in order. We had fun decorating it for Christmas, but I miss the pinks & greys. I think she is looking forward to it as well.

This little doll baby is growing up way too fast. 
Also, I kind of want to blow this picture up to be the size of my entire wall.

Back to resolutions! Here is what I have so far.
1. Utilize my Pinterest recipe boards more! I get in a cooking rut all the time, I love to cook but I hate deciding what to make. I have a perfectly good resource for recipes, but always forget to use it. Who's with me?!
2. Stay organized. I sort of laugh at this since it's a resolution every year, BUT here is my strategy. I always think I need to document everything in excel, or in my phone or some other digital means. This year, I am going back to basics, with a notebook & pen. I am a visual person, I'm hoping this will work better for me.
3. Be the best, most fun, most festive, most loving mom & wife ever.
4. Wake up earlier so I have more time in my day to do some more ME stuff. I have unopened books that I am dying to read, endless chalkboard design ideas, DIY projects, letters/gifts/goodies to make & send to people and so much more. I get so caught up with things that I NEED to do, that I rarely have time for the little things that I want to do.
5. Expand my coffee cup collection  (Nevermind, my husband says this one doesn't count)
5. Lay off the Fritos.

There you have it! I am all over my resolutions this year & have big plans to rock them all. 
(Not going to be mad if I fail miserably at number five) 
So, tell me, what are your resolutions!?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Photo Stragglers

Isn't it funny how you get that same sense of happiness when your Christmas tree goes up as you do when it comes down? I always think I'm going to be so sad, but really I get excited when I see that my house looks ten times bigger without giant evergreen trees lurking everywhere.

I am ready for some Spring cleaning & organizing (which is really just code for shopping). But before we say goodbye to Christmas, here are a few more pictures from the last few weeks. I will miss reading all of our Christmas books... I will be on the hunt soon for lots of new books to fill our playroom book shelves.

I'm not kidding you, this kid effing loved the cold weather! Every time we went outside she got so excited! I couldn't help but think of a Christmas Story when she was in her snug little snowsuit.

This picture CRACKS. ME. UP.

My brother got her some of her very own overalls to wear out in snow... this was major cuteness overload.

The road trip was agonizing, we were stuck in a snow/ice storm and multiple traffic jams, that landed us in the car for nearly 18 hours on the way back.  We were so happy to be home! Santa stopped by while we were out of town, so Harper got to open a few more gifts when we got back. I think she was still concerned about whether or not we were going to stick her back in her carseat after she opened them.

Nordstrom Dress (similar here), Headband

Trapper Hat, Fair Isle Pants from H&M (similar here & here)

Some final thoughts on Harper's first Christmas...
1. Christmas is infinitely more fun with children.
2. Her favorite toys were the Zany Zoo, the Parum Pum Pum Drum & the Wooden Phone.
3. The Walkness Monster was the biggest joke, piece of shit toy ever invented. Oddly enough, she loves all of the toy balls that it comes with it, but I still consider it a waste of $30.
4. I totally failed at finishing our Christmas cards OR getting Harper a first Christmas ornament on time. I guess there is always next year.
5.  Speaking of next year, we aren't traveling any further than our local grocery store for Christmas.
6. Did I just say next year? Yes. Because I'm already excited for it.

While I am sad to see the holidays go, I am BEYOND excited for Valentine's Day (which has always been one of my favorite holidays!) & Little Miss Harper's first birthday party!! I am in full blown party planning mode! Hope you all are enjoying the first week of 2013! :)