Leland Food & Wine Festival 2013

If you combine my favorite place, my husband, wine, and good friends - you pretty much get an ideal summer weekend.

This past weekend John and I travelled 3.5 hours North to visit the Leland Food & Wine Festival with two other couples.

It was great to combine grad school friends, our husbands/future husbands, and some damn good booze.

My childhood summers always included a vacation to Leland and visiting Fishtown always brings back sweet feelings of nostalgia, incomplete without a North Shore sandwich from the cheese shoppe.

John and I firmly believe that taking time to be away, just the two of us, is key to keeping our relationship strong. This weekend was just what we needed!


Weight Loss: My Journey So Far

It all started with 2 pictures.

When these pictures from a baby shower posted on Facebook just before I started my second semester of school, I cried. My mom, John, EVERYONE claimed it was just a bad angle. But bad angle or good angle - I never knew I was capable of looking like THIS. 

I cried for hours - I cried all night. I just didn't understand how it had gotten this bad.

For over a year I had looked in the mirror and thought, I don't look that bad. When I wore a one-piece all summer long for the first time in my life, I blamed it on being a mom. When my clothes (a whole size bigger than normal) got snug, I told myself it was no big deal. Until it was. 

See, I gained about 15 pounds throughout college. Over the course of 4 years it didn't seem so bad. I had a lot of fun while I gained that weight! Then, in this past year, I gained 15 more. In ONE year I gained as much as I did in 4! So NOT okay. 

So I made a change. Baby-steps. I wanted this to be a real change, not a flash diet where I lost weight quick and gained it back even quicker. 

My short-term goal: be in a bikini by May for our family vacation to the Virgin Islands. My long-term goal: be my best weight ever before getting pregnant again.

First came the food. I changed what we were eating. No fast food, less eating out, sticking to meal plans, less snacking... In one month I lost 5 pounds. 

So I started working out. Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis Muscular Structure work 3-5 times a week &  a 5k training program 3 times a week. 

In two more months I had lost 5 more pounds, could run a 5k, and was feeling good. Even if running was still hard & most days I dreaded going, it made me feel great to be active!

The final month, I just kicked it into high gear. I started using My Fitness Pal to track my calories. I started learning more about what was in the foods I was eating, portion control, and calorie intake vs. calories burned. 

I lost 5 more pounds. I felt great at my cousins wedding. And best of all? I wore a bikini on vacation. 

Goal = MET.

So here we are. Post vacation (3 weeks past vacation actually...) and I have met a firm plateau of 15 pounds and 14 inches lost. 

With summer here, weekends are spent at the lake, eating and drinking. Weeks are spent undoing what was done on the weekend. 

I'm ready to shed these last 15 pounds. I have started amping up my exercise and hope to be running a 10k by the end of the summer! We are diving head first into clean eating over here and I hope to find some self-control on the weekends! 

The biggest change for me in the past 5 months has been learning discipline, letting myself cheat, and making sure that this is a lifestyle change that will last. There have been bad days and bad weeks. There have been times when I have surrendered to crap food and not worked out for two weeks straight.

The most important thing to me, at this point, as that I keep coming back. Back to healthy eating, regular exercising, and good choices. I feel better than I have in years. I sleep better, have fewer headaches, and have more energy. 

I know this post was long, but I wanted to share my story in hopes of inspiring other people to make a change, motivate those who are in the process of changing, and mostly just because I am proud of myself and ready to take on the second half of my goals! 


Baby-Toddler Limbo

Jack is not quite two, looks two and a half, and loves to march himself over to the biggest kids he can find and try to hold his own. 

I like to think of this time as baby-toddler limbo. Jack is still a baby in a few ways. He still sleeps in a crib, potty-training is not even crossing our minds, and he cannot yet do so many of the "toddler activities" that you find on Pinterest boards and mommy blogs. However - he is a toddler. He walks, talks, helps when he can... 

Recently we (Jack and I) had a conversation that went like this:

Me: "Are you a baby?"
Jack: "No!"
Me: "Are you a little boy?" 
Jack: "NO!"
Me: "Are you a BIG boy?"
Jack: "YESTH!!"

Then, yesterday, while looking at pictures on my phone he pointed at every picture of himself (recent pictures) and said, "baby!". 

Even Jack is confused. 

This limbo time is hard for a few reasons. Mostly discipline and age-appropriate activities. It's hard to stay developmentally correct without challenging them or putting them into situations that are setting them up to fail. 

Jack is a short-tempered, strong-willed, sweet & snuggly, lover boy who gets M-A-D when he cannot figure something out yet bored in 2.3 seconds if something doesn't challenge him. 

My goal this summer has been to try out something at least 3 days a week. So far, so good- challenging activities are saved for the privacy of our own home, and easy/"safe" (As in, safe from tantrums) activities turn into outings. And, when all else fails, we just go to the park. There have been a few ups and downs, but mostly I am excited about all the learning and fun we have been having in the last month!

I've decided to start a series called, "What to Do With Your Baby-Toddler" where I document our activities. Most of them are obvious but I thought it might be a good resource for other moms with baby-toddlers of their own who are stumped over what to do with their afternoon. 

I get the tantrums, the hitting, and (GASP) Jack even bit me two weeks ago... but, as a good friend says to her toddler on the reg, "We are all learning". 

Posts to come:
Baking Cookies With Your Baby-Toddler
Planting a Vegetable Garden With Your Baby-Toddler
Going to the Museum With Your Baby-Toddler
Going to the Play Place With Your Baby-Toddler
Working Out With Your Baby-Toddler