Catch Up

I’m alive! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post. In the little spare time I have, I’ve had my nose in the books, studying for a promotion test that I have to take for work. Good news is that I passed! Bad news? It’s a two-parter, so I’ll be back at it studying for the second part within a week or two. My brain needs a little break right now. I’ll be happy when it’s behind me.
So, what have I been up to since my last post?
Running
Slowly getting back into the swing of things. I ran 4 miles yesterday at a 9:14 pace, longest run post marathon. I headed down to the lakefront after work and it was completely dead compared to the last time I ran down there. I started by the lakefront but ended up running more in neighborhoods. I ran without music and it was very therapeutic. I had a lot of thoughts to last me 4 miles :-) Now that the marathon is behind me, I want to start training with a purpose. During my last two marathons, my goal was just to finish and to beat my previous time (2nd time around). Now, I’d like to focus on getting faster, add in more speed work, and educate myself more on marathon racing/nutrition. Next up on the race list? I am signed up for a Thanksgiving day run…running stroller category! I’ll be doing my first ever 5k while pushing Madelyn in the jogger. That should be interesting. Fingers crossed for good weather.
strollerunCooking
I’ve been dabbling with a little bit of everything the past few weeks: {partly} paleo, vegetarian substitutions, and vegan cooking. I recently purchased this cookbook and made Eat Your Greens Detox Soup. Oh She Glows has been a long time favorite blog of mine, so I was thrilled when I got it in the mail. I’m hoping to make some more meals very soon out of it.
detoxsoup
The soup was delicious, and perfect for a cold, autumn night. It freezes well too. I also changed it up with the old spaghetti squash creations. A few weeks ago, Danielle Walker from Against all Grain put up a picture with a link to a delicious looking casserole type dish: Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash. Once the spaghetti squash was cooked and shredded (thanks hubs!) this was incredibly easy to put together. Just how I like it! We also had leftovers of this that I froze and ate for lunch throughout the week. I really want Danielle’s next cookbook, Against All Grain-Meals Made Simple. I think I’ll add it to my Christmas list.
Celebrating
This past weekend, I celebrated my 30th birthday! It was the perfect weekend filled with all of my favorite things to do with all of my favorite people. I started the weekend off with a class at The Barre Code with my mom and sister, taught by one of my faves :-) Then we headed over to Polished for manicures and mimosas. After that, I went home and took a NAP! (My in-laws had Madelyn). When I woke up, I got dressed and ready to go celebrate with my husband. What I thought was going to just be dinner and drinks somewhere turned out to be a surprise party! I knew Larry had something up his sleeve, I just didn’t know what and to what extent. When we arrived at Camp Bar and he suggested we go “walk around to check it out” as I was trying to Instagram my Old Fashioned (they have THE BEST!),  I was onto him. It was so great to see all of my friends and family there to celebrate. It’s really hard to get surprises past me, so I give them props. If I know something’s going on, I usually bug the person until they just tell me (Larry is usually the only one who caves) and then I get mad at him for telling me. I’m the worst. The biggest surprise of the night? A Michael Kors handbag. And inside the handbag was a wrapped book clueing me in to a New York City trip! I didn’t know when we were going until I opened up the book and saw that we’ll be ringing in 2015 in NYC!!! I’m thrilled! Larry knows that I’ve always wanted to visit NYC during the holidays. Well played husband, well played.
bestbirthdayeverThere’s a story behind the book. It’s a kids series called Larry gets lost in…(Fill in the city). My mom got Madelyn her first one when she went to San Francisco and every time we’re in a city where they sell the book, we buy it. When I surprised Larry with his trip to Boston, I had the book gift-wrapped with baseball tickets inside. She has San Fran, Chicago, Boston & NYC.
The next morning, I started my day off with a run and then we enjoyed a peaceful, childless brunch before picking up Madelyn at our meeting spot. My mom cooked a delicious meal from Against All Grain. And of course birthday cake. She bought me tickets to a Broadway show in NYC. I was super excited to be spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square-something on the bucket list-until I read all of these horrible reviews basically giving advice not to do it. I went back and forth on it for a couple of days and then decided that it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity, it’s the reason Larry bought the tickets for the dates he did, and the older I get, the less appealing it will probably be. So, we’ve decided to brave the craziness and do it!
Other things on my NYC to do list so far: Run through Central Park, Frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity, Walk the Brooklyn Bridge, Ice skating at Rockefeller Center, visit Babycakes Bakery NYC, The 9/11 memorial museum, and a Carriage Ride through Central Park. I told my husband we will need a vacation after this trip :-)
It’s been a great month so far and I have lots to look forward to. The next few months are going to fly!
What are some other must see/eat/do things in NYC? What’s your favorite way to ring in the New Year? I’m a bum, I prefer staying in, making dinner and fancy drinks at home over getting dressed up to go out. This year will be a nice change of pace!

32 Weeks and a Babymoon

8 months pregnant…really?? I know this is cliche, but where does the time go?  It’s hard to believe that in about 6 weeks or so, we’ll have a little one here :-) I’m definitely ready to meet this little person who’s been summersaulting in my stomach.

LC and I just spent a wonderful weekend in Door County, Wisconsin.  We celebrated our first year of marriage/babymoon and stayed in Sturgeon Bay at the Black Walnut Guesthouse bed and breakfast.

I would highly recommend this B&B to anyone with a gluten allergy.  The owner was VERY good in making sure that I had a lot of gluten-free treats.  From GF & vegan cookies to GF muffins and granola for breakfast.  Everything was truly amazing.  The breakfasts were very “light”, which I appreciated in the hot summertime heat.  The first morning we had muffins, fresh fruit, and fruit parfaits.  The second morning we had made to order omelets, fruit and GF toast.  The breakfast was brought to our room every morning which I really liked.  One thing that worried me about going to a B&B was having to sit with total strangers in the morning and eat breakfast.  That was not the case here.

When we arrived in Door County on Saturday, we grabbed a snack at a local cafe and went to a fish boil for dinner.  LC’s never been to one so that was on our list of things to do.  We also spent the day walking around Egg Harbor, checking out the local shops.

Hubs got to sample some of the local brew.

While I go to taste different types of olive oil.  Things got CRAZY people :-)

After we enjoyed our Door County fish boil, we headed across town to the outdoor movie theater for a double feature of Disney Pixar’s Brave & Avengers.  Brave was a really cute movie and I stayed awake for maybe 10 minutes of Avengers.  When I was younger and my mom used to take my sister and I to the drive-in, I could never hang long enough for the second movie.  I guess some things never change :-)

Our second day there was spend doing more shopping, walking, and driving.  It was relaxing and perfect.  Even though we enjoyed our B&B experience, we decided if we go back again in the summer time, we’d like to stay somewhere closer to the beach and enjoy some water sports like jet skiing.

Even though it was only two days, it was a nice change of scenery.  It was also a nice getaway before the baby gets here.  It gave us a chance to just enjoy each other, talk about what we’re excited about and what we’re both a little nervous about.

This week, Baby C the size of a large jimaca (just learned what that was today!) Baby is nearing 4 lbs and is about 16.7 inches.  Baby’s main job right now is gaining fat to survive outside the womb.  All major developments are pretty much complete.

How am I feeling? HOT! I would be pregnant during one of the hottest summers on record.  I prayed for a cool summer and got the complete opposite.  My fingers have also started to ache randomly throughout the day.  I do a lot of work at my computer, so I try to step away every hour and go for a little walk.  This seems to help.  I’ve also had a few Braxton Hicks contractions.  I started feeling them toward the end of the second trimester. Then, it felt like my whole stomach got really hard and tight.  Now, they are kind of uncomfortable and feel like very mild period cramps.  They aren’t regular and go away after I’ve had a snack, water, or changed up my activity.  In 5 weeks I will be considered “full-term” which means the baby can come out at anytime.  I know there are health benefits for the baby to stay in there past 37 weeks, but physically, I am ready.  I LOVE watching my stomach move around like crazy, but I’m getting anxious now.  Anxious to have my body back to myself, to find out whether this little one is a boy or girl, and anxious to start a new chapter in my life.  It’s been a blessing and a wonderful journey, but we’re ready for our outside baby.  We just have a few more loose ends to tie up (like finishing the nursery).  Big pregnancy craving right now? WATERMELON!!!! I can’t get enough.  We just bought our 4th one for the season.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July!  I’m off to get a workout in and prep for a little BBQ we’re having here :-)

Trippin’

It has been a week.  On Friday, I flew from Milwaukee to San Angelo, TX.  My sister has been there the past few months for military training and on Monday she finally graduated.  I’m so proud of her!

Shortly after her graduation, we set out on what was THE longest car trip of my life.  We drove from San Angelo, TX to Milwaukee, WI with minimally stopping along the way.  I played DJ while Melissa drove most of the trip which I am really thankful for.  I’d rather play DJ and keep her company with car games than drive, especially at night.

As far as food goes, we packed a lot of snacks to munch on in the car.  String cheese, apples, and gluten free breakfast bars were crowd favorites.

Monday night, we stopped in Wichita Falls, TX and ate dinner at a place called Carinos.  It’s a chain restaurant that I’ve only noticed in Texas that is very similar to Olive (I definitely just wrote Oliver) Garden.  The food was really good!  I had an Italian pot roast served over potatoes instead of pasta.  It  was definitely more than I could eat and Melissa and I both agreed that we could have split it.  I was so hungry, that I forgot to take a pictures BUT I did get a pic of their gluten-free menu :-)

  
Tuesday, was our long day of driving and I helped this time.  We ended up in Collinsville, IL…more than 1/2 way home! We were both super tired and hungry so we just did a quick Qdoba run.

 Naked burrito bowl with lots of veggies, a sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of guacamole.  I’m a big fan of Qdoba & Chipolte because they’re both really good and can be somewhat healthy, sans the flour tortilla.  I don’t like the way the meat tastes at Qdoba but I do love their vegetable options while I LOVE chipolte’s chicken but wish they had more to choose from veggie wise.

After another restless night of sleep (I could not get any sleep on this trip to save my life), we were finally on our last leg of the trip…home! Or rather WI.  After I dropped off my sister, I then had to load up my car and drive back south 2 hours to Chicago.  Where my husband, dog & a gluten-free pizza were all waiting for me with open arms.

Although it was a long trip, I cherished the quality car time that I got to spend with my sister.  We talked about so much: life, her plans for finishing school & all the fun and exciting things we both have to look forward to in 2012 :-) This year has been absolutely wonderful but I have a feeling that next year will bring even more excitement into our lives.

Tomorrow, I get back into the car and hubs and I travel back up to WI to spend Christmas Eve with my family and then back to Chicago for Christmas day with his.  After this weekend, I’ll be staying put for a while and I couldn’t be happier about that.