Saturday, January 31, 2015

Exercise Recap + Meal Plan: February 2015, Week 1

Normally I would post my meal plan on Sunday morning but this weekend is going to be packed.  So I'm getting a head start and planning next week's meals on this lovely Friday afternoon... and then jumping into the weekend with both feet!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Ski Day?

This weekend we are hoping to make a daytrip up to the mountains.  Since the Broncos aren't in the playoffs, we've decided that we can skip watching the Superbowl this year, and we're hoping that the ski slopes will be a little less crowded because of it.

I'm not planning on doing any skiing or snowboarding this weekend.  I'm perfectly happy to sit slopeside with a hot chocolate, my baby, and maybe an audiobook.  

Almost one year ago, we were also up in the mountains!  That weekend, we learned that kids need to be potty trained before you can enroll them in ski school.  Oops!  We're hoping to enroll the toddler this weekend so that hubby can do a little snowboarding and I can hang out in a coffee shop or spot facing the mountains.

We're hoping it all works out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Day in the Life: Flying Solo

I am officially a single parent with two kids: a two month old and a three year old.  Fortunately, it's only for a day and a half.  And yet, it has the potential to be the most terrifying 36 hours I could imagine.  By the time you read this, I will be well into this latest test of parenthood.

Let's rewind a bit and look at Tuesday: another day with my newborn...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Baby & Mama Update: 2 Months!

My last baby & mama update was at the four week mark.  I've been pretty busy since then and gave up on posting the five and six week updates (both of which were half done, but never completed).  Time is flying!  I can't believe Baby O is now two months old.  She's going to be off to college before I know it.

Here's what's going on at the two month mark for baby and mama:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Making the Most of Sunday

There is nothing like having a newborn to make you realize how precious your time is.

On Sunday, we tried to squeeze as much family time in as possible.  All while trying to keep the day feeling relaxed and low-key so that we didn't feel drained by the end of the weekend.  Talk about walking a fine line!

I think we did a pretty good job this past Sunday.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Exercise & Meal Plans: January 2015, Week 4

This weekend, I hit a major milestone!!  I went out alone without my baby.  Dear husband offered to watch both kids so that I could go out and get my haircut.  A much needed haircut.  It was wonderful.  I got to sit in a chair, and get taken care of for two whole hours.


Food-wise, this week was awesome.  Unlike the previous week, my husband and I were able to cook quite a few dinners together and they were delicious meals.  But before we get to the meals and recipes, let's review my exercise for the week.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Falling In Love, Sleep Deprivation, and Fresh Snow

When you're up in the middle of the night two or three times a night, that's a lot of free time to think about random things.  Here's what I've been dwelling upon lately when I'm awake nursing Baby O.

1. To fall in love with anyone, do this:  did anyone else see this article in the New York Times a week or so ago?  It's a study trying to prove that one can fall in love with anyone given this set of 36 questions.  After reading the article, my husband thought it would be fun to go through the questions together.  We've only gotten through the first set of questions, and we hope to get through all 36.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Eat More Veggies

Happy Wednesday!  I'm linking up with Jenn from Peas and Crayons because food is one of those things I really love about life.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing a good crop of brussel sprouts at the grocery store -- which I spotted recently.  And then I bought a truckload (OK, not really, but I would have if I could have eaten a truckload).  I am really picky about how the produce looks.  If it doesn't look good, I won't buy it.
Let's start with what I've been eating lately... after all, it is WIAW #32 for me!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Newborns: Preparing for the First Six Weeks

When my husband and I learned we were pregnant with baby #2, we agreed that we would try our best to be a little more prepared the second time around.  We read books, we researched specific topics online (sleep!), and we talked to friends who had multiple kids.  Our friends warned us that the second baby may or may not be like the first baby, and that we should be prepared for anything the second time around.

While every baby may be different, there were a few things that were the same.  Baby #2 is now seven weeks old, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that things are going to get better from here on out.  Whether they do or not, here are a few things we found to be true...

#1 A newborn's routine will continually evolve

The first two weeks our baby ate and slept like a dream: she would wake up, feed, and then fall asleep for two hours.  Repeat.  While this was great during the day (we knew exactly when it would be time to feed the baby), it was horrible at night.  The good news?  By week three, the time between some of the feedings began to stretch out to three hours.  And the wake/sleep patterns continue to evolve.  Every week it's a little different and it has kept us on our toes.

#2 You will be tired

Even though our baby's schedule was predictable the first two weeks, having to feed every two hours in the middle of the night didn't make for a whole lot of sleep.  It was especially tough for me as I was exclusively breastfeeding.  During the night, the process of nursing and putting the baby back to sleep took 30-40 minutes, depending, so that only left me about 90 minutes to fall asleep and catch some rest before having to do it all over again.  Make sure you have a plan of action to get as much sleep as possible.  If you're planning on bottle feeding, that will help, as you can take turns with middle of the night feedings.

#3 Newborns don't differentiate between day and night

The exact milestone is debatable, but babies' circadian cycles and ability to create melatonin doesn't really set in until 12 weeks or so.  The result?  Some babies will be wide awake for hours in the middle of the night and/or sleep most of the daylight hours.  Parents can help babies with developing their cycles by incorporating them into the daily schedule (such as opening curtains in the morning to let in lots of natural light, reducing noise & light stimulation at bedtime). 

#4 Newborns tend to grow increasingly fussy...up to the six week mark

This is definitely not a hard and fast rule, but according to the development and sleep books out there, things get worse before they get better.  Those predictable two hour chunks between feedings?  Completely out the window by week 3, and increasingly worse by week 4.  We didn't experience anything much worse in weeks 5 and 6, but things seem to have leveled off in the last week.  Baby #2 seems to be sleeping much better at night.  Knock on wood.

#5 Newborns can't be spoiled

You may hear that holding a baby all the time will set you up for a sentence of having to hold the baby until they become a toddler, but you can't spoil a newborn in their first six weeks.  When they cry, pick them up.  Offer cuddling and contact, change their diaper, see if they're hungry.  My baby carrier has been a godsend in giving my baby the comfort she seeks, especially when I've done all the holding and rocking I can do and can no longer continue to hold her.

#6 Partnering up is the way to survive

When we had the first baby, my husband and I had no idea how challenging it would be to take care of a newborn given that there is no roadmap, that every baby will be different, and that we were both incredibly exhausted.  All the time.  So we prepared ourselves for the second baby, read books, discussed battle plans, and then baby came.  Every night we had to rework our strategy, because it seemed like every night was different.  Whether you are sharing the newborn responsibility with your spouse, a grandparent, or other helpful soul, it helps to have a plan ahead of time and be ready to change that plan as needed.  I honestly don't know how single parents do it, but those first six weeks, don't go it alone!  Enlist someone to help out, because the best way to survive is to have a partner to help you through those first six weeks that require constant vigilance and adaptation.

Prepare: Educate Yourself!

There are lots of great resources out there to educate yourself on newborn development and how to handle these tough times.  The information is constantly being updated and improved.  Get out there, read up, talk to parents, and arm yourself with ideas and information.  I know we are constantly revisiting our "bag of tricks" on how to provide our newborn with the support s/he needs without burning ourselves out.

What's your goto trick for comforting a fussy newborn?  What do you remember about those first six weeks?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Exercise & Meal Plans: January 2015, Week 3

How is your weekend going?  We've been enjoying some unseasonably warm weather here in Colorado, so you bet we got outside on Saturday!  Friday night, Baby O cooperated and my husband and I both got some much needed sleep, so on Saturday, we headed out for brunch and a trip to the science museum.  I have to say, I was pretty thrilled to be able to wake up Saturday morning, take a proper shower, and put on some makeup.  I felt like a brand new woman.

Friday, January 16, 2015

At this Moment...

Happy Friday!  How is the new year treating you so far?  I feel like I've been preparing for 2015 for so long, I haven't fallen into that trap of referring to the new year as the old year (i.e. thinking it's still 2014).

A lot of bloggers were excited about their new 2015 planners.  Although mine isn't anything fancy, I was excited to order a new pattern for my 2015 refill pages.  I normally keep a journal but with Baby O keeping my hands full, I barely have enough free time to blog, so I've been using my planner to track my schedule, write down To Do lists, and jot down quick notes (that would normally go into a journal entry).

So what's going on in my life?  Well, at this moment...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WIAW #31: Cooking with Baby

So far, my first week alone with Baby O is going pretty well!  Let's talk about the food aspect of my life-with-newborn: eating is pretty important when you're taking care of a little one.  I'm hungry.  All.  The.  Time.  So, you can imagine, food is even more important than it was before baby was born.  And that's saying alot.  Because, you know, I loooooove food.

Unfortunately, the challenge lies in finding time to cook when you (1) are exhausted all the time; (2) have your hands full most of the day, preventing you from making meals.

My family was in town for a week to help out with Baby O.  Before my brother, sister, and mother left, the last favor I asked from them was to help with food prep on Sunday night so that we would have a refrigerator full of food that was peeled, sliced, and diced.  It looks like I might need to work a little bit on my meal planning, because all that I asked them to prep was some butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and carrots.  Not bad, but I think there's room for improvement.

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 Officially Begins Today

It's January 12 and the new year is finally kicking off for me.  That is because I am now officially on my own with Baby O.  I actually had a "dry run" last Monday, as I had a solo day between my mother in law leaving and my side of the family arriving.  That's right, we had two sets of visitors to help out with the newborn: my mother in law was here the entire month of December and then my brother, sister, and mother came out for the past week.

Their return to California marks the end of six weeks of family support with Baby O.  Oh, how sad I am that all the fun is over.  It was alot of working having people at the house, but oh so worth it.

I'm a bit terrified of how the rest of January will go.  For several reasons: (1) I am completely obsessed with getting Baby O quality sleep.  One of the sleep books my husband and I read (and we've read several) encourage that babies not be awake for more than three hours at a time.  (2) I've really gotten used to having people in the house with me at all hours of the day.  I'm not sure how I'll cope with being alone at home.  Well, not completely alone.  I've got Baby O with me.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Exercise & Meal Plans: January 2015, Week 2

The first week of meal planning for the year went fairly well!  My brother, sister, and mother were in town for a week to help with the newborn (and provide a little fun and entertainment for the toddler).  They also pitched in with cooking:

I chose recipes that we've made before, and I'll share some photos of some of the meals we enjoyed at the end, so if you enjoy food photos, make sure you read through to the very end.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Five: I Love Denver

I've lived in many cities: Honolulu, Boston, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and now I call Denver my home.  I would hope I know a few things about U.S. cities, having lived in all these great towns.  Given this small boast, I'm really happy to live in Denver.

We moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Denver in the spring of 2013 and that big move was part of the reason I started my blog!  We've been here over a year and a half and back in August I shared some of the reasons I love Colorado.

I think it's fair to say that all the reasons I love Colorado also apply to Denver, so I need to dig a little deeper for additional reasons I love Denver.  Here's what I came up with...

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How to Prepare for Long Term Houseguests

My family is in town for a week!  Will I survive?!

There's nothing like having a baby to draw people over to your home to visit you.  In our case, both sides of the family live out of state, so when we learned that we were pregnant with baby #2, we knew that we'd have out of town visitors.

In the end, my mother-in-law was with us for a whole month (it's a good thing I like her!) and my family is now here, for a week.  I spaced out the two sets of visitors so that I could have two days as a breather.  As our second set of houseguests share our home with us, it's had me reflecting: what's important to consider when you have people in your home for an extended period of time?

Here are a few things to consider/plan for if you'll have people staying with you for longer than a three day weekend (regardless of the reason for their stay):

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Baby & Mama Postpartum: Week 4

I'm a little behind on my baby & mama postpartum updates, so you'll get two reports this week...this one and one for week 5.  It's hard to believe Baby O is moving through the newborn phase so quickly!  If you missed the other updates:

So how do I summarize week 4?  Well, in week 3 we lost the predictability of Baby O's sleep & eat schedule.  In week 4, we continue the challenge of introducing the bottle (we started in week 3).

Monday, January 5, 2015

Goodbye, Holidays!

The party is over folks... the holidays have come and gone.  I'm hoping that I don't get slammed with a serious case of the post-holiday blues; we had alot going on throughout the entire month of December and I just don't know if I can go back to "regular" life.

In addition to Baby O arriving on the first of December, my mother-in-law was here for the entire month to help out and she flew back home on Sunday.  We had friends over for a potluck holiday dinnershowed our visiting guests around Denver, and, celebrated Christmas in our own home.  I think it's a holiday we'll be talking about for a long time.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Meal Planning for the New Year

How is the new year treating you?  We're only a few days in, but I am ready to take on 2015.  That includes my approach to preparing meals.  Every Sunday, I link up with Laura from Mommy Run Fast and Jill from Fitness, Health, and Happiness and their meal planning link party.  It definitely keeps me motivated to plan my meals every weekend.

2014 was a big year for my husband and I - specifically, when it comes to food: we've found a way of eating that works for us; we've learned that we prefer making as many of our meals at home as possible; and we really enjoy food that is made from scratch, which means very little processed food in our diets.

However, we are now parents to a five-week-old newborn, which means my husband and I won't be cooking in the kitchen together for awhile (one of our favorite weekend activities).  I have a feeling I'll be doing alot of prepping & cooking on the weekend, and less cooking on weeknights.  So it's time to shift to recipes that work with this approach.

So here's my meal plan for this week.  My brother and sister are going to be in town, visiting from California, and they've promised to try and help with cooking, so I thought this would be a good week to try out a specific meal plan.  You'll note that I have recipes picked out for breakfast, which I wouldn't normally do for the weekdays, but since I have family visiting, we'll be sitting down to breakfast every morning...

Oh - and if you're wondering about my intro photo?  That's a collage of a typical lunch over the past holidays... we did a good job of building lunch out of leftovers.  I learned a few lessons from having my mother-in-law in town for a whole month, to help out with the newborn, including how to make leftovers look exciting.  Maybe I can post about that another day.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Baby & Mama Postpartum: Week 3

It's hard to believe that three weeks with a newborn have blown by, but they have.

The days are long but the years are short.

And because this is our second child, that statement couldn't be more true.  Everything with Baby O seems to be happening twice as fast as it did with our first child, which is a good thing and a bad thing.  Last week, I shared details on the first two weeks at home with a newborn, including details on both baby and mama.

In hindsight, the first two weeks were heaven.  Baby O was soooo predictable: she would eat, then sleep for two hours, eat, and sleep another two hours.  She is what many would call a 23-and-a-half-hour baby, meaning she sleeps pretty much all day.  And night..

All that changed in week #3.
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