2013 In Review

2013 was a BIG year over here.  Lots of fun & exciting things happened this year and it will be a tough one to beat.  But I have high hopes for 2014 :-)

Here are some of the highlights for 2013.

-Bought a house
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-Surprised my mom with a special military homecoming 

-Got a green thumb & started growing stuff

-signed up for my First Marathon & decided to fundraise with Team Salute

-Survived my first deployment away from Madelyn & explored Hawaii and Guam 

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-Drank our way through Michigan Wine Country…we’re due back soon!

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-Celebrated 1 year with our little love bug

-Ran my 4th half marathon and earned a PR

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-Completed my dream of running the Chicago Marathon.  I’m still in awe of this race.

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Like I said, 2013 was a big year but I’m looking forward to all that 2014 has to bring :-)

What was the most exciting thing you did or accomplished this year?  

I’d have to say that the Chicago marathon takes the cake.  This race will always hold a special place in my heart.

Turkey Chili

As I sit here and write this blog post, I’m waiting for two dozen cookies to cool off so that I can throw them away.  cookiefailHashtag cookiefail.  I will be the first to admit, a baker I am not.  If you look at the top of the page and scroll over “Recipes”, you will see very little under the desserts section.  Cookie baking has never been my thing.  Cookie eating on the other hand?  Well, that’s a different story.  It’s probably a blessing that I’m not great at baking cookies.  On Monday, I tried out a new cookie recipe and they turned out fabulously!  And on the first try too!  The only problem with them was, they were a little crumbly.  So this time around I added more butter and, well?  Not so good.  For the next batch I added a little less butter and a tad bit more C4C flour and they’re looking much better.

As much as I enjoy being in the kitchen,  cooking is more of my thing.  The star entree of the week has been the turkey chili that hubs requested for Monday.  It was a definitely a chili kind of day…14 degrees?  That calls for chili.  I was browsing recipes online and either we didn’t have the right kind of peppers or it didn’t sound good to me.  So I decided to “wing it” and see what happens.  Verdict? So good, the recipe is worth sharing :-)  I was successful at something this week!

Turkey Chili
Ingredients

  • 3lbs ground turkey meat
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp Chili seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 heads of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 15oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 15oz cans kidney beans
  • 2 15 oz cans pinto beans

Directions
Place ground turkey in a stock pot and brown the turkey.  Season it with italian seasoning and chili powder.  Add in the garlic, onion, and peppers.  Stir until soften.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil and then place on simmer for about 45 minutes.  You can choose to garnish it with cheese and sour cream if you wish.  We tried a little bit of gorgonzola and it was amazing!

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I’m off to finish the rest of my cookie baking!  Wish me luck, I’ll be needing it ;-)

Special shout out!  I’d like to thank the peeps over at For Two Fitness for making me a brand ambassador.  I am honored :-) I am a HUGE advocate for exercise, especially when growing a little bambino (IF okayed by your doctor of course!).  I sported their super cute and comfy exercise tops while I was pregnant with Madelyn and will be proud to put back on my “Sweating for Two” when the time is right ;-) Head over to their website and purchase something for that pregnant person you know in your life or for yourself!

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WOAH BELLY!!!!

15-Month Update

Today, our little princess turns 15 months!  How is this even possible?  Image

What’s she been up to?  RUNNING!  Everywhere she possibly can.  She has important places to be :-)

-Talking & learning animal noises.  Her vocabulary has grown immensely in the last 3 months and she tries to repeat everything we say, so we are extra mindful of our words and how we talk around her.  “Dada!” is still the winner.  We’ve heard “mama” a few times but it’s usually while she’s eating, so I’m thinking she’s saying “nom nom” or “mmm”.  Either way, we’re getting close!

-Dancing. When I say “dance” or “Baila” she starts to move her little feet and dance.  It’s the cutest thing ever.  The other night I put some music on while I was cooking and we had a dance party in the kitchen.

-Teething.  Those back teeth are misery. End of story.

A lot of people have been asking me when baby number 2 is making his/her way to the Campbell family :-) I just laugh!  Depending on what kind of day/week we’ve had I say, “NEVER!”  But my usually response is, “We’ll see!”.  Because honestly, we don’t know.  We have a lot of weddings and possible deployments coming up next year, that being pregnant isn’t feasible and our life is starting to feel somewhat easy again so to start again from scratch makes me a little nervous :-/  Although, when I see a pregnant woman out in public, I get a small bit of baby fever-I really enjoyed the pregnancy part!

I realized that I never posted any pictures from Madelyn’s first birthday!  So on this rainy day here in Milwaukee, I leave you with some sunny, Pink Lemonade Birthday pictures & DIY links!!

ImageDIY Scrapbook paper Birthday Banner *Here*

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The 1 year old sign was probably my favorite DIY project.  First, I created a few rough drafts on scrap paper to see how I wanted it laid out.  Then, I bought black poster board and did everything by hand first with a pencil.  If you look closely, you can see where I made some mistakes, but I feel like it gives it character and makes it look more like a chalkboard.  After I was done writing everything in pencil, I went over it with acrylic paint, a very thin paint brush and a paint pen.  All of which I found at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I found some stickers and used those for an added effect.  You can see the bubbles I used near the bath time is my favorite statement and the paws next to Oliver.  After everything was dry, I glued the black poster board onto a white cardboard background to give it more sturdiness.

ImageThe dessert bar!  Yellow cake pops with Chocolate frosting, lemon ricotta cookies and pink lemonade cupcakesImageSmash cake was just yellow cake!  I did a test run (thankfully!) and Madelyn was not a fan of the pink lemonade flavor.

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The pink lemonade stand was super easy to construct.  I bought the crate and the boards from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Larry painted it all pink and then glued the boards into the crate.

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ImageA toy box that my sister made for Madelyn!

Happy 15 months to our little girl who puts a smile on our face every day!

 

PAIRDD

I want to preface this post by stating, that I do not have celiac disease nor do I avoid gluten as a weight-loss technique.  I am aware of the seriousness of people having to be gluten-free.  I  simply try to eliminate it (along with dairy) from my diet as best as possible because my body is much happier :-)  Sometimes I’m successful, and other times I’m caught at a moment of weakness.
A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook invite to check out Pairdd.  Pairdd is a home delivery service that will deliver fresh, gluten-free ingredients to your door for you to prepare a meal.  You simply go onto their website, pick a recipe from a gluten-free blogger that sounds tasty to you, order and expect delivery in about a week.  Unfortunately, it’s only available to people currently living in Wisconsin.
Last week, I decided to try it out and chose a recipe from my friend, Sarah, at Celiac in the City.  With the weather making a nice transition from tank tops & shorts to skinny jeans and boots, I thought it was the perfect time to make my first batch of chili for the year.  What really sold me about this recipe wasn’t the chili but it was the parmesan biscuits that served as a side.  I’ve never made gluten-free biscuits so I was really excited about these.
My Pairdd box was sitting in the driveway when I arrived home on Tuesday and I couldn’t wait to get cooking!
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Everything came packed on ice and included all of the ingredients needed to make Italian chili and parmesan biscuits except milk, salt and pepper.  When you order your meal online, the website does inform you of the ingredients you’ll need to have already available in your kitchen.
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I love that everything was already measured out and chopped up.  And most importantly, I didn’t have to peel garlic!!!!  A HUGE plus for me because of all the things to peel, I find garlic to be the WORST!  I did have to chop up some onion and green pepper, but that I didn’t mind so much.
Along with the package comes the list ingredients and the recipe to make the meal.  So now I have a yummy new recipe to add to my collection.
chili recipe
The directions were super easy to follow and I liked that the box included a picture of the completed meal so that I knew what to expect.  The Italian chili was some of the best chili I’ve ever had!  Normally, I either make sweet potato and black bean chili or Italian Chili with pasta but this was perfect because it contained meat but didn’t have the heaviness that the pasta adds to chili.  It made enough to feed two very hungry adults and a baby x 3 meals.  Madelyn loved it as well :-)  The biscuits were AMAZING and we ended up making 9 decent sized biscuits.
The whole meal cost us $15 because we used a coupon code from Sarah.  Normally, the price would’ve been $30 which I still didn’t think was bad for all the ingredients plus delivery.
We will definitely be ordering from Pairdd again!  And thanks to Sarah for preparing an AWESOME meal for us!
What’s your favorite thing to get delivered? I’m really loving groceries via Peapod, especially on drill weekends!

11 Months-Teetering Along

Late to the monthy update party yet again.  To say we’ve been busy in the corner of this universe would be an understatement.  Between being back to work, marathon training, gardening, planning birthday parties, and enjoying our summer I’m left with very little time for anything else.  We’re coming up on our last month of her being considered a “baby” in just a few short weeks, we’ll have a toddler in the house.  Cuh-razy!!

She’s definitely starting to develop a little personality and I’m sure she’ll be walking unassisted within the next few weeks-all signs that our little baby is growing up.  Her 11 month picture was the hardest one to take.  She did NOT want to sit still-this was the best I could do before finally just giving up.

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Sleep.  We were BEYOND lucky in the sleep department with this little miss.  On average we’d get about 12 hours of sleep from her.  Within the past few weeks she’s decided that she wants to be an early riser and has been getting up between 5:30-6:30.  It took awhile to get used to, but it’s actually kind of nice-I get an early start on my day to get stuff done around the house.  And she’s finally starting to get into a napping routine.  Winning all around.

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Eat. We are in the process of transitioning from formula to whole, organic milk and eating mainly table food.  It’s been fun to watch her play with and explore with real food.  It’s also been very messy & time consuming.  I try to make stuff for dinner that she can also eat too because I don’t have time to prepare 2 different meals during the week.  She loves to eat salmon, chicken, and vegetables.  There’s actually nothing so far that I’ve given her that she doesn’t like.  Now that Madelyn eats most of her meals in the high-chair, Oliver is right at our feet waiting for something to drop.  I don’t mind at all…he’s actually become a big help in the cleaning up department.

Play. This month Madelyn started standing on her own.  She’s not a huge fan-she can do it for a few seconds and then she slowly starts to lower herself to a sitting position on the ground.  On one hand, I’m really looking forward to the day where she doesn’t have to be carried everywhere but on the other, it’s already pretty exhausting just trying to keep up after her when she’s only crawling, so we’re really in no hurry over here.  She’s definitely  more interested in her cause-and-effect toys.  Still no real words.  I’ve been trying to get her to say “Mama”, but all I get is a blank stare and a smile.  She does understand words though.  I can say “Where’s Oliver? Where’s Daddy?” And she looks in their direction.  She also gets what “No!” means, but tries to push her luck with that one.  We’re still waiting on those top teeth to pop through.  I can tell they are bothering her-she’s been up crying 3 times tonight and she has a tiny bruise on her gums :-/ Madelyn also loves the water.  We took her to the pool for the first time last weekend and she LOVED it.  I’m happy to announce that we have a water baby on our hands and that the two of us will be taking some Mommy & Me swim classes this fall at our local YMCA.

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Planning for Madelyn’s birthday is well underway.  There will be lots of Pinterest crafting/wine nights and Etsy purchases in my future.  My dear friend, Marrisa made all of the invitations.  She did an AWESOME job with them and I’m excited to share all the details for the party next month!

9 & 10 Months-Movin’ & Groovin’

When Madelyn turned 9 months, I was deployed and I can honestly say for the first time, the time between 8 and 9 months seemed to have taken FOREVER.  Granted, my time in Guam overall seemed to go by very quickly, I just felt like she was 8 months for a really long time, and I was okay with that.  

When I found out that I was getting deployed, I was pretty bummed.  I kept focusing on all the things that I would miss, 5 weeks out of her life that I would never get to experience with her. Thank God for FaceTime and technology because I got to experience a lot of her growth through my iPad.  When I got home, it was almost like I had never left and I didn’t feel like I missed out on much.  

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I returned home 1/2 way between 9 and 10 months and the biggest change that I noticed was how mobile she had become!  My first week home, she gave me a definite run for my money.  Between chasing a crawling baby around and getting over jet-lag, I was one tired, exhausted mama.  I’m so happy to be home and blessed beyond words that I get to spend my time watching her grow and discover this crazy world around her.  I have a feeling that the next two months are going to just fly right on by and before you know it, we’ll no longer have a baby, but a toddler.

Sleep.  Still a dream come true.  Her naps at daycare have been pretty short to nonexistent.  I think she’s just too interested in what’s going on around her to sleep.  Naps depend on how late she sleeps.  On most weekends we get about 12-13 hours of sleep from her a time and during the week, I have to wake her up and she doesn’t get up very easily.  The girl enjoys her sleep, which I appreciate very much.

Eat.    We are starting to move away from pureed foods and am now starting to give her more of what we’re eating.  With two little teeth, I feel more comfortable giving her food that she can chew up.  Some of her new favorites are  baked beans, steamed carrots, Cheerios, strawberries, quinoa, and blueberry waffles.  She’s also really gotten into trying to feed herself.  She will take the spoon or the piece of food out of my hand and put it into her mouth.  Makes for a fun clean up!

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Play.  Crawling and keeping me on my toes.  She also likes to walk if you’re holding her or she walks if she’s holding onto the furniture.  One thing Madelyn learned while I was gone was to play patty cake.  When you start to say it, she’ll start to clap her hands.  It’s adorable. She also enjoys peek-a-boo and Where is Madelyn?  Another favorite activity of hers? Chasing the dog around and screaming in his face when she catches up to him…he just loves that…haha!  

I’m exciting to see what the month will bring us!  Maybe two top teeth?  The teething monster was at our house a few days ago and it was not pretty. 

Happy 10 months to our baby girl!  We love you more than you know.

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Take it to the Bridge

I’m baaack!  For the past 5 weeks, I’ve been deployed to Guam with the Air Force.  And while it’s not a bad place to be for 5 weeks (I came back with a lovely tan), I’m overjoyed to be back with my babes and family.  This past week was my first week back to work and the start of marathon training-this mama is exhausted.

My long run today was supposed to be 6 miles and it just so happened to fall on the same weekend as the Summerfest Rock N Sole run.  I ran the quarter marathon, which is just a little bit further than a 10k (6.5 miles).  My goal was to finish in about 1:05 and I crossed the finish line at 1:03.

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The morning started out a little rainy.  I laid in bed this morning and for a split second I debated whether I really wanted to do this.  I was tired, it was raining.  I knew that either way, I was going to have to plug in 6 miles today either at this race or on the treadmill, and that was enough to get me out of bed.  Plus, I wanted my awesome medal.  By the time the race started, the rain had turned into a light mist and it actually turned out to be perfect racing weather.  

The course started down at the Milwaukee Art Museum and progressed over the Hoan Bridge.  I’m very thankful that my week day training runs have included some hill work, because this course had 5 hilly inclines to get over.  I feel like I handled them all pretty well-my legs will let me know tomorrow.  

I met up with my sister after the race was over-she did the 5k.  We both agreed that we did a lot better than what we thought we were capable of.  This was my longest distance run since having Madelyn, so I was a little nervous about how it was going to go.  The fact that I ran without stopping to walk gave me the confidence that I need to get through the rest of my marathon training. 

Image Tomorrow is a cross-training day and I’m planning on doing a cycle + yoga class in Shorewood.  It’s at 8am, so we’ll see if it actually happens.

I’m off to enjoy the rest of my weekend & watch the Black Hawks with my favorite guy!

 

Back to Where it Began

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Chicago.  The city where my passion for running truly began.  When I moved to the city, I lived just a few blocks from Belmont harbor.  I started running as a way to de-stress and explore.  I was in a new city, hubs (then boyfriend) had just left for a 6 month deployment to Afghanistan, and I was at a job that I was less than thrilled about.  Running was my way to escape from it all.  

I don’t remember how I found out about it, but my first race was the Nike Human 10k.  It started and ended at Soldier Field.  After that, I tackled a few 5k’s, 8k’s and then in 2010 I felt comfortable enough to sign up for a 1/2 marathon.  My sister and I ran the Chicago Rock n Roll 1/2 on one of the hottest days ever.  It was then that the addiction to long distance running started.  I just knew I could beat my time and with my second 1/2 marathon, I did.

I lived in Chicago for about 4 years and during my time there, I lived in two different apartments.  Both of my apartments happened to be along the Chicago Marathon route-I could sit and watch the marathon from my front windows.  I’ll never forget the first time I saw it.  My mom and sister were visiting from Milwaukee and we saw people lining the streets, Starbucks in hand, waiting to cheer on the runners.  The atmosphere was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before.  Since that first day, I remember feeling so inspired and saying to myself, “I want to do that some day.”  It was in my second apartment on Michigan Avenue where I was near the end of the course.  In 2010, I walked to the spectator area and watched the winner and all of the other elite runners cross the finish line.  Shortly after, I witnessed the wheel chair racers and the runners with prosthetic legs finish.  The feelings that I felt that day can’t be explained in words.  In 2011, I signed up for the Chicago Marathon.  I was all set to start training until a really bad fall and ankle sprain left me sidelined.  I probably could’ve worked my way through it, but then a deployment happened.  Since then, the Chicago Marathon has been on my “list”.  

If I’ve learned anything from last Monday’s horrific events in Boston, it is that there’s no better time that now.  I can keep putting it off another year, but how do I know I’m guaranteed another year?  We take life for granted and it’s horrible that it takes something like what happened Monday to make us stop and appreciate what we have in our lives.  

On Sunday, Madelyn, Larry and I headed down to Chicago for a little family getaway.  We visited the aquarium and Lincoln Park Zoo.  One thing that I couldn’t wait to do was wake up early Monday morning and run the Lakeshore path.  Thinking about running the Chicago Marathon this year makes me crazy excited.  You know how when you first start dating someone, your stomach does those crazy flips?  I get that feeling when I think about running 26.2 miles through my favorite city, my second home.

Because the Chicago Marathon sold out and then went into a lottery system, I had to sign up through a charity.  I will be raising money for Team Salute, a charity that gives financial help to veterans-something that is very near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons.  

I could not be more thrilled, excited, nervous and scared all at once.  Training officially starts in June!