Thursday, October 29, 2015

40 Weeks and 1 Day

Today, our sweet baby girl, Piper Grace, has been "out" for as long as she was "in". For 40 weeks and 1 day, our Piper Grace grew, hiccuped, kicked and danced in my belly.

On January 20, 2015, after 40 weeks of pregnancy, I believed those had been the best days of my life. Then, another day came, January 21, 2015, and she was here. She was in my arms. Our 9 pound, 6 ounce, baby girl. Our Piper Grace.

It has been 40 weeks and 1 day since Piper was born. It would be easy to say that the day Piper was born was the best day of my life. But, how could I say that? Since then, there have been 40 more weeks and 1 day of Piper growing, hiccuping, kicking and dancing on the outside, here with us. Each of these days have been the best days of my life because, by the Grace of God, she is here, with us now.

Dear Lord,

For years, even before my conscious knew, my heart prayed for You to bless us with a baby when the time was right; a time only You knew would be right. Lord, thank you for blessing us with a healthy pregnancy. Thank you for blessing us with a healthy delivery. Thank you for blessing us with our baby girl, each and every day of her life.

Lord, please be with those who are now where I was years ago, praying and waiting for this blessing; the blessing of a pregnancy. 
Lord, please be with those who are now where I was a year ago today; when I was pregnant with our blessing. 
Lord, please be with those who are now where I was 40 weeks and 1 day ago, when I was giving birth to our blessing.

Lord, please guide me through the days, weeks, months and years of motherhood. Please also be with those who are in parenthood now, where I will be; 40 weeks and 1 day from now; months from now, and; years from now. Bless us all with patience, hope, and perseverance.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Big Bridesmaid Challenge: Part II - Week 2

As promised, here's the recap of Week 2 of my current challenge. {You can read the fine details my current challenge, here: Big Bridesmaid Challenge, Part II.}


{exercise plan for week 2}

M - 30 min/treadmill (Skipped)

T - rest (Done)

W - 30 min/treadmill (1 hour - Jazzercise, instead)

T - rest (Done)

F - 30 min/treadmill (Skipped)

S - rest (Done)

{meal plan for week 2}

S - homemade chicken pot pie (Done)

M - fish with rice and brussels sprouts (leftovers at moms)

T - chicken salad (Done)

W - pork stir fry with rice (chicken salad)

T - chicken salad (Done - at a restaurant)

F - pork stir fry with rice (beer and wings)

S - white chicken chili (chicken alfredo)

The Progress:

Starting Date: 10/11/15
Starting Weight: 245 lbs

Current Date: 10/28/15
Current Weight: 245 lbs (+1.5 lbs from last week)

Total Loss: 0 lbs

Goal Weight: 220 lbs
Goal Date: 3/13/16

Pounds to Goal: 25 lbs

After Wednesday last week, I kind of went into over-indulgence mode. You can read everything that happened this past weekend in Monday's post: Long Weekend Recap.

This is a small glimpse into our Friday evening, alone. There was much more of this on Thursday and Friday, too.

Basically, eating out two nights in a row and drinking pumpkin beer three nights in a row is kind of a recipe for disaster on the scale.

It's okay though, I am not going to have a loss on the scale every week. I know that! Some weeks I am going to over-indulge and that's why this challenge is in place. After all, I am trying to lose weight while living life. This challenge is going to keep me on track, get me to refocus on my goals and keep me accountable along the way.

Refocusing complete.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Meal and Exercise Plan 10/25/15 - 10/31/15

Yesterday, I shared with you most of the details from my long weekend. If you saw it, then you know that I ate out a couple days (in a row) and drank a little too much pumpkin beer ('tis the season, after all)! You can read more about my over-indulgent weekend, here: Long Weekend Recap.

In effort to keep myself accountable for this week, below are my exercise and meal plans for Week 3 of my Big Bridesmaid Challenge, Part II.

{exercise plan for week 3}

S - rest

M - Jazzercise!

T - rest

W - Jazzercise!

T - rest

F - rest

S - Jazzercise!

So, last week I found out that Jazzercise (in our local studio) is FREE for the month of October. I wish I would have realized that a little sooner but, I tried a class last week and one last night. So far, so good!

Picture of me leaving the house for my first Jazzercise class!

It's been really nice for me to get out of the house (alone) after being at home all day long, and the workout has been killer! I will give you more of an update on Jazzercise after I try a few more classes.

{dinner plan for week 3}

S - leftover chicken alfredo

M - chicken salad

T - fish with brussels sprouts

W - pork stir fry with rice

T - chicken salad

F - shrimp stir fry with rice

S - white chicken chili

I wanted to share my plan for this week before this week got too far away from me. So, there it is! I am a little behind on, well... everything right now. But, I'm catching up!

I will share the full recap on my progress (more like, lack thereof) from the second week in this challenge, tomorrow. After all, accountability is key and better late than never, right?

Readers, do you have an exercise and/or meal plan for this week?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Long Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! How was your weekend, readers? Mine was all sorts of amazing!

Before we get into all the details from this weekend, I must say, I know that I owe you an update on my Big Bridesmaid Challenge. I actually haven't updated you on anything since last Thursday. Yikes! This is the first I am at a computer since about that time, and Piper is only down for a short nap right now. This update will be typed fast and furious, so watch out!

Since I am currently doing the nap-time hustle, all I'll tell you about Week Two of my Challenge is that it was a bust (weight-loss wise). Womp womp. I was very indulgent this weekend. I will give you the full recap of Week Two challenge results soon, promise!

Part of the reason you haven't heard from me since Thursday is because this weekend really started on Thursday for me. After my husband got home from work, I met my friend (that is getting married next June) at the bridal shop to confirm her bridesmaid dress choice for myself and the others. Then, once we were finished there, I met some of my other girlfriends out at the Brewerie for drinks and dinner. I really needed that night out! I drank draft pumpkin beer, ate the best chicken caesar salad in Erie and caught up with a few of my best friends. It was absolutely wonderful!

Friday night was just as great! My sister took some Fall family photos for us (which I'll share as soon as I get them edited) and after that, she watched Piper so my husband could take me out on a dinner date.

My husband and I went out to Buffalo Wild Wings and I (again) had some of the best draft pumpkin beer and ate wings for dinner. I know that beer and wings might not sound like a romantic dinner date for some people, but let me tell you, we felt like we were honeymooning again! It's been about a month since our last date night (just the two of us) and so we were over the moon excited about Friday evening! Nick and I sat at a booth for dinner and after he finished ordering his meal, he stood up and came to my side of the booth to sit. I asked him what he was doing when he stood up and he said he just missed me. He sat down and put his arm around me. Swoon.

On Saturday, we had our friends and their baby over to our house for dinner! I drank pumpkin beer for the third night in a row (I promise -- I don't have a problem, I just LOVE to have pumpkin beer while it's in season). My husband made his homemade fettuccine alfredo and I made chicken and shrimp to go with it. Our friends brought over some amazing garlic bread, salad and pumpkin gobs for dessert. We were basically in heaven with all that yummy food and with our friends by our side.

Piper and her new friend, Rowan, played together on her play mat after we all finished dinner. We found out real quick that she has a slight problem with sharing toys. We're going to have to work on that.

On Sunday, Piper got dressed up in her Halloween costume (spoiler alert -- she's a Cabbage Patch Doll) for our Annual Pumpkin Carving at my in-laws!

Nap time is just about over for Piper right now so I will have to give you more updates from pumpkin carving night, soon!

Readers, what did you do this weekend? Do you like pumpkin beer or no?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Season Our Baby is Still a Baby

If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have already seen some of these words I'm about to share from a post on Tuesday. I wrote these words on a morning with little sleep and a big heart.

If everything in life is just here for a season, then we're in the season where the days are long and the nights are short. This is the season when we count down the minutes until dad gets home. The season where we crawl on the floor while Piper is sleeping in our room and, the season where she is almost crawling herself. It's the season when we are anxious, exhausted, and constantly seeking grace. It's the season where we find true joy in her smile and giggles. We're in the season where laundry and chores are never caught up; where making the bed is a small victory. We're in the season when we drink more cold coffee than hot; where every warm meal that eat together as a family is cherished beyond words. This is the season when we give every ounce of ourselves and watch a miracle grow from it!

One day, our home will be quiet and clean again. One day, people will again invite us to go out and we'll go out more than we stay in. We aren't in that season right now and, even when it gets hard, I'm so incredibly happy for the season we're in. These are the days that go too soon. These are the days when our baby is still a baby.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Homemade Pasta for Baby

If you haven't already noticed, this past weekend we were busy -- the right kind of busy. Nick, Piper and I spent most of our weekend at home, in the kitchen.

Even before Piper could scoot all around the kitchen in her walker (like she did all weekend long) she was with us while we were cooking. In her earlier months, Piper loved to sit on the counter in her bumbo chair, where all the action was happening. Piper has always loved to watch us cook, and we love to have her with us. After all, my husband and I are two foodies raising a little foodie over here!

This past weekend, as my husband and I made homemade pasta for ourselves for dinner, we made some for Piper, too! Basically, we used the same recipe as we always use, with the fettuccine attachment for our KitchenAid Mixer and then we cut her pasta into tiny pieces before cooking it. This extra step for Piper was easily done with a pizza cutter!

Ingredients for pasta:

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 egg
2 tbsp. water
(a little extra flour will also be needed)

Directions for pasta:

Mix flour and salt. Add slightly beaten egg. Mix into dough with hands (your best tools). Add water as needed. Mix until dough is formed.

Use the pasta attachments for your KitchenAid mixer to roll out the dough and cut into fettuccine noodles. As far as rolling the dough with the attachment, I use size 4 for the end result. (Or, if you don't have the attachments, roll the dough and cut it yourself. I'm sure the pasta would be thicker if you roll and cut the dough yourself, but it will be just as good, I promise!) Use extra flour as needed throughout this process.

IF making for baby -- cut pasta into bite-size pieces with pizza cutter, as shown below.

Drop pasta into boiling water, cook for about 5 minutes. Drain water; let cool.

This recipe made enough to last Piper about 2 - 4 weeks! I set some pasta aside for the next few days and bagged up the rest for the freezer.

We have one happy NINE month old, over here!

Eating dinner together as a family is one of the things my husband and I use to talk about back when it was just the two of us. It's amazing that some of the "one day's" we use to talk about are here, now! Our hearts are so full with Piper at the dinner table beside us, enjoying the same foods we're eating; better yet, watching her enjoy the food we made for her from scratch!

We are blessed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Homemade Applesauce for Baby

We never knew just how lucky we were to have an apple tree in our backyard until this year. FREE applesauce? Yes, a million times, YES!

This is the first year we took advantage of our apple tree because, as it turns out, apples are a very baby-friendly food. The applesauce we made this past weekend literally consists of just apples and water. You can add sugar and cinnamon to the mix (which we may do with our adult portions) but it's just as good without that extra stuff.

Saturday morning was the perfect morning for us to make our first batch of homemade applesauce together. Piper was strolling around Nick and I in the kitchen with her new walker for over an hour! She was so content, and we loved watching her "walk" all around.

This past Saturday, in our warm cozy home with my family, was definitely the essence of Fall for me. There was some Fall "snow" falling out the window and the aroma of boiling apples filled the house. Making homemade applesauce is a Fall family tradition we are going to keep around for years to come!

For this batch of applesauce, we used 12 of our handpicked apples with 2 1/2 cups of water.

Homemade Apple Sauce. It's super easy to make!


12 apples, cored and skinned
2 1/2 cups of water
2 tsp. sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)


Bring water to a boil, add apples, boil for about 5 minutes. Slightly reduce the heat and continue to cook for about 30 - 40 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once finished, mash (or use a processor) until applesauce is at your desired consistency. (add sugar and cinnamon if you wish.)

We made about 6 pouches of applesauce for Piper to enjoy and a couple containers for Nick and I, as well. Who knew our apple tree could bring us so much joy?

Readers: Does anyone else have an apple tree? What do you make with your apples?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Meal and Exercise Plan 10/18/15 - 10/24/15

Yesterday, I shared the recap of my first week of the Big Bridesmaid Challenge (Part II). As I explained yesterday, I consider my first week in the challenge a success, not because I followed all of my plans perfectly, or even because of the number on the scale; rather, it was a success because I kept my goals in mind all week long, and I kept myself accountable!

(photo from the first weekend of this challenge - 10.10.15)

In effort to keep myself accountable for the week ahead, below are my exercise and meal plans for each day this week!

{exercise plan for week 2}

S - rest

M - 30 min/treadmill

T - rest

W - 30 min/treadmill

T - rest

F - 30 min/treadmill

S - rest

Last week, I only worked out once, on Monday. Womp, womp. I'm going to keep my goal of working out 3 times for the week ahead!

{dinner plan for week 2}

S - homemade chicken pot pie

M - fish with rice and brussels sprouts

T - chicken salad

W - pork stir fry with rice

T - chicken salad

F - pork stir fry with rice

S - white chicken chili

I love to make hearty meals on the weekends! Yesterday, I made homemade chicken pot pie for dinner (I'll share the recipe, soon) which also gave me leftovers for lunch and my husband leftovers for dinner at class.

On Monday and Tuesday, I'm making myself dinners that are easily made "for one" since it will be just for me while Nick is at class.

I'll be saving (our favorite healthy go-to meal) stir fry's for when Nick is home for dinner and we'll be using leftover white chicken chili for Saturday's dinner.

Planning ahead like this takes a little bit of effort but I believe it really goes a long way in helping me reach my weight-loss goals. I am down 1.5 lbs. from last week, and I'm ready to lose another pound or more by the end of this week!

Readers, what is your exercise and meal plan for the week ahead?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Big Bridesmaid Challenge: Part II - Week 1

The first week of my Big Bridesmaid Challenge (Part II) was a success!

(Photo of Piper and I from last weekend)

This first week wasn't a success because I followed all of my plans perfectly, or even because of the number on the scale; rather, it was a success because I kept my goals in mind all week long, and I'm checking in today (with the good, and the bad)!


{exercise plan for week 1}

M - 30 min/treadmill (Done)

T - rest (Done)

W - 30 min/treadmill (Skipped)

T - rest (Done)

F - 30 min/treadmill (Skipped)

S - rest (Done)

I got a bad head cold on Wednesday =and decided to use my energy to get better instead of working out. Now that I'm feeling better, I'm really looking forward to following my exercise plan for the week ahead!

{meal plan for week 1}

M - fish with rice and brussels sprouts (Done)

T - crispy chicken salad (Change: Pizza bites and Pinot Noir)

W - pork stir fry with rice (Change: Italian sub)

T - chicken taco salad (Change: Gyro)

F - pork stir fry with rice (Done)

S - homemade pasta with shrimp (Done)

Tuesday's dinner turned into a super classy dinner of pizza bites and wine at 8 pm. Monday and Tuesdays are fairly long for me because Nick works at 7 am and has night class after work so he doesn't come home until 9 pm. Piper was having a hard time on Tuesday (with four teeth working their way through) so by the time I got her to sleep, I was "starving". Pizza bites and wine were quick (and necessary) after my long day.

Wednesday I got sick, and so that kind of derailed my meal plans for that evening and Thursday. Nobody wants to cook when they're sick, right?

The Progress:

Starting Date: 10/11/15
Starting Weight: 245 lbs

Current Date: 10/18/15
Current Weight: 243.5 lbs (-1.5 lbs from last week)

Total Loss: 1.5 lbs

Goal Weight: 220 lbs
Goal Date: 3/13/16

Pounds to Goal: 23.5 lbs

I am starting to feel much better health-wise, just a little sore throat lingering now. I plan on making this week ahead a great (and hopefully healthier) one!

Check back tomorrow for my meal and exercise plans for the week!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mesh Feeder, Walker and Destruct-o-mode

Piper tried some new things this week!

Piper has begun eating fresh fruits with the assistance of a mesh feeder. I wish I would have tried this sooner! It takes a lot of worry away by minimizing the choking hazard that comes with introducing solids. I still give Piper solids to eat by hand, but the mesh feeder does come in handy every once in a while.

The only down side to using the mesh feeder is of course the mess that comes along with it. Bananas + mesh feeder = about 10 minutes of picking out every last piece of mashed banana from the mesh. It's a little bit of work, but totally worth it!

So far we have tried grapes and bananas in the mesh feeder. Piper likes the bananas best!


Piper has been having so much fun playing on her alphabet mat, lately. We bought this gem a couple weeks ago because she needed a little extra cushion while playing on our hard wood floors. It's been great!  We have been storing the mat under our couch when she is finished playing with it; we just fold it up and it fits great!

Now that Piper has this mat to play on, she is learning to brace herself when she falls over (without much worry for us parents). She is much more willing to spend time on the floor now that it's more comfy for her. We love this mat, however, I think the mat's life span just got a little shorter. This past week, Piper has begun destruct-o-mode on the mat. She just loves to tear it apart! 

"Dada" picked Piper up a new toy this week! It has only taken Piper two days to figure out how to maneuver her new walker all around the house. She really loves to chase the dogs with it and she likes to roll around the kitchen island while we are cooking or cleaning up.

This girl is so, so sweet. 

Piper seems to be doing a little better with her teething today but I have a feeling we are about to have some hard moments coming our way. I noticed one top tooth has begun to break through (with 3 more making their way to the surface). Before we know it, that little two-tooth smile we love so much is going to have many more teeth to show!