Monday, June 30, 2014

Day-trip to Portsmouth - dog friendly!

Yesterday's Workout:
3 mile run

It's hard to find good dog friendly places these days. Many public parks prohibit dogs, and I can't say I blame them. There are a good number of careless owners out there that don't know how to clean up after their pups. I've been that person that steps in unexpected dog shit before, and it ain't pretty.

However, there are plenty of responsible dog owners out there as well, and it's worth it to do a little digging to find a dog-friendly getaway in your area if you can. Your dogs will appreciate it more than you know.

If you live in the New England area and own a dog, I can't recommend enough going to Portsmouth, NH for the day. We started off the morning at Peirce Island (yes that is how it is spelled, and yes it drives me crazy). The entire eastern side of the island is an off-leash dog area with beach access and walking trails. Jasper had a blast running up and down the trails and taking swimming breaks.


He had actually never been in the ocean before, only ponds and lakes, so it was quite an experience with the waves and salt water. All the dogs we met were super friendly, and you could tell they were all so damn happy to be running around together.


From there, we headed over to Redhook Brewery for some grub, which is a little outside of the downtown Portsmouth area. They have a big outdoor patio section that is dog-friendly, so we chose a spot under the tent for some shade for Jasper. The waitress was so nice - she brought over a giant bowl of water with ice for him to keep him cool. While we were waiting for our food to come out, Jasper somehow managed to drink almost the entire 1/2 gallon bowl of water and proceeded to throw it all up within minutes. I think he might have had a little too much salt water in the ocean, poor guy! He was looking pretty tired after that so we cut our trip a little short and headed back home.


Not before we stopped to grab some froyo though! :-)


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lately

Yesterday's Workout:
2 (very hot and humid!) mile walk with Jasper

Now that summer weather has finally made an appearance and seems like it's here to stay, Jasper got all his hair chopped off last weekend to celebrate. Well, we celebrated, because it meant less panting, which in turn, meant our couch and bed would not be constantly shaking to the beat of his breath. Jasper, on the other hand, was plotting our murders the second he got back home.


Unlike Jasper, I love a good haircut and was way overdue. I have a really bad habit of that - it's easy to keep pushing off. Until I resemble a hippie swamp creature. Then I'm calling the hairdresser frantically about getting in that day or else people are going to start mistaking me for that little girl from The Ring that comes out of the TV. So ta-da!


This week marks 22 out of 40 for baby and I! He is way more active than I would have expected. I feel him pretty much every hour. I think he's kind of getting on my schedule in the sense that he's pretty immobile at night while I'm trying to sleep and only seems to "wake up" during that time when I get up to use the bathroom. He's definitely growing, that's for sure. I only started showing about 2 weeks ago, but I feel like my bump has doubled in size since then *queue bathroom selfie*...It's still surreal to look in the mirror and see it. I smile every time and say "hi baby!" Brent probably thinks I'm crazy. But I've caught him talking to my belly when we're sitting on the couch at night, so he's a little crazy, too.


One of my favorite parts about pregnancy so far has been enjoying all the foods I wouldn't normally indulge in. While I'm definitely still very conscious of not going overboard and making sure I'm getting in the proper nutrients for myself and baby boy, I must admit I have had some really great splurges! At the top of the list is the milk and cookie plate I got as a dessert at Gibbet Hill when I took Brent out for dinner for his birthday last weekend. Warm chocolate chip cookies, soft lemon sugar cookies, and an ice cold carafe of milk. I died a little inside when it came to the table. The wide glass on the side for dipping was key.


In between fulfilling my fat kid fantasies, I've been keeping very active. Everyone said the second trimester was the honeymoon phase of the pregnancy, and I can attest to that. I actually feel not much different from my pre-pregnancy self, besides the whole growing bump and running much slower than usual. It's been wonderful! On the hotter days, I keep to running on the treadmill that sits in my nice, cool basement. I've been targeting 3-5 miles at a time and have managed to keep this up about 4 days a week. The other days I stick to my daily 2 mile walks with Jasper. This weekend, I knew it would be hot during the day, so I headed over to the track first thing in the morning to get my miles in there. I ended up doing just over 4 miles in about 40 minutes and felt great. I have all intentions of running as long as I can through this pregnancy and feel incredibly lucky to be able to do so.


One of my favorite parts about owning our home is being able to sit out and enjoy the yard now that summer has arrived. Everything is so green right now, the roses are blooming, our garden is growing like crazy. School's out, all the neighborhood kids are out running through sprinklers, Jasper will sit out for hours chewing on his bones that he has lying all over the yard. It's a great time to sit back and relax. Brent found a really great recipe for a mango colada mocktail and has been my personal bartender lately.


Cheers to the beginning of a wonderful summer!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Brent

Yesterday's Workout:
4 mile run

We celebrated Brent's birthday yesterday - the big 41! The weather could not have been more perfect for a beginning-of-summer BBQ.


While we were sitting having our coffee Saturday morning, I learned an important fact about my husband. It began when I asked him what kind of dessert he wanted: chocolate, confetti, or white cake? Cupcakes? Brownies? Pie? Ice cream sundaes? This is a major decision, after all. He shook his head and said I don't have to do any of that for him, I should be relaxing and enjoying the day, etc. Silly. What is a birthday party without something sweet to celebrate? My genius suggestion, which may have been more selfish than intended because I just can't seem to get enough of frozen treats these days: what about an ice cream cake? I can just buy it, no hands-on work required. Easy. When I ever looked over at him to see his wide eyes, looking somewhat perplexed, as if I had just revealed to him that I was heir to some spectacular family fortune...it dawned on me that he had no idea what I was talking about. Ice cream cake? Huh? That sounds amazing. It then became known to me that Brent had never had ice cream cake before. Yes, you read that correctly: a man with a summer birthday had survived 41 years without ever having ice cream cake. This was just not okay. So yesterday, he got his ice cream cake.


It's crazy how fast a year goes by. At this time last year, we were celebrating his 40th by renting a big house for the week with friends down on the Cape. We were in the process of buying our new house, Jasper was still too young to be home with us, and parenting wasn't on our radar just yet. It's funny how much your life can change in such little time. It's also pretty amazing how much more I love this guy a year later. Happy birthday, Brent!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Father's Day Recap

Yesterday's Workout:
2 mile walk with Jasper

I know it's a few days late, but here's a little recap of Father's Day, via picture:

Homemade blueberry pancakes with caramelized bananas for the soon-to-be daddy on Father's Day morning!




The last picture was actually from Saturday. It was rainy and gross out all morning, so we took the opportunity to organize all the wonderful baby gifts we have received from friends and family already so that we can begin planning the nursery. Jasper knows there's something going on, and he's not quite sure what to make of it. So his solution was to jump in the middle of it, obviously. Poor guy has no idea how much life is about to change in just 4 months. Also, he's terrified of the saucer (the blue thing in the bottom right). Just wait until there's a baby in there bouncing around. Can't wait!

I surprised Brent with this cute little onesie as his first official Father's Day gift. He loved it, and I'm pretty sure Baby Mo will be wearing it often, if Brent has his way!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blueberry Peach Crumble

I made this for Father's Day, and it was a huge hit. I began calling this a "cobbler" until I discovered what a true cobbler really is...so technically, this is considered a crumble. I guess. I don't know. Either way, it's really effing good. And what better way to ring in the beginning of summer this weekend with a fresh berry crumble...served warm...with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream...

I'm sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes, go home and make this. Then invite me over for some. I'll bring the ice cream.



Blueberry Peach Crumble
Adapted from [here] and [here]

Ingredients:
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 C water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
5-6 sliced peeled fresh peaches
2 C fresh blueberries

Crumble Topping:
1/2 C flour
1/2 C old-fashioned oats
1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp cold butter, diced

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x9 baking dish.
  • In a saucepan, combine the sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, stirring until thick. Add the peaches and blueberries and stir until coated in sauce.
  • Pour the fruit into the baking dish.
  • For the crumble topping, in a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir together with a fork or whisk. Use your hands to incorporate the butter to the dry ingredients until the mixture comes together in large crumbles.
  • Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the fruit. Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper in case the fruit bubbles over while baking.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the crumble topping is brown and crisp and the juices are bubbling.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

In fact, bubbles - not men - are a dog's best friend

Yesterday's Workout:
40 minute walk with Jasper


If you haven't seen how absolutely frickin adorable it can be to watch dogs attacking bubbles, then you are missing out. My friend, Allyson, brought over a big ol' container of bubbles for Jasper over Memorial Day weekend because we were kind of dying to see what kind of entertainment this could provide. Surprisingly, at first, he was actually quite scared of them, and the entertainment was pretty lackluster. The bubbles would land in the grass, he would approach very cautiously to smell them, and when they popped in his face, he jumped and ran away. His motto: don't trust anything that disappears in front of your eyes. How did I end up with the only dog in the world that somehow is afraid of bubbles?

After a couple tries, a wind gust came and took some of the bubbles up, up, and away, and it was only THEN that Jasper discovered the wonder of chasing these sparkling, hollow 3D spheres that magically disappeared when he chomped at them. It was like his own game of "tag - you're it!"

Now, it's an addiction. The container of bubbles sits on our kitchen counter by the sliding glass door where he goes out. He will sit and stare at them, which is usually my queue to fire up a good bubble chasing sesh. He would be happy doing this for 4 hours a day, or as long as it takes for me to get light-headed from blowing so many of these damn things.

I'm convinced he is a toddler in a dog suit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Loving the curves

Yesterday's Workout:
5.5 miles


It was raining when I got home yesterday, so I hopped on the treadmill for a nice 5.5 miler. I kept at a steady pace of 6.5 MPH and walked the last 1/2 mile for a cooldown. I had a nice stretch session after to help loosen my hamstrings/lower back, which have been a little sore lately, likely from trying to support my growing belly! My new favorite stretch is the Cat-Cow Pose...I did that one over and over again for about 5 minutes last night and felt like a completely new person after!

I got brave and hopped on the scale this morning - up a total of 10 lbs so far from my pre-pregnancy weight! It feels weird to be totally okay with that, by the way. I dare say I was even smiling after. I'm smack dab in the middle of the healthy weight gain range, and it's my goal to stay that way. Brent is loving my ever-growing curves, which in turn, makes me love this new body more and more every day. It's funny how that works! :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Yesterday's Workout:
2 mile walk with Jasper
Bicep, Tricep and Back circuit


Finally...a recipe post! We've been doing a lot of "throw some chicken breast or burgers on the grill" with side salads lately, so I haven't been as creative in the kitchen. Making this meal might have been the first time I actually used our stove top to cook in a few weeks. The clean-up procedure after reminded me of yet another reason why grilling is so much easier...no wiping down of the stove or cleaning pans. But I have to say, this meal was totally worth it! From start to finish, it took only 25 minutes and was super easy and delicious. The sauce? YUM. And for 2 people, this makes enough for 2 nights of dinner - score!


Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4

Ingredients:

[Filling]
1 lb ground turkey
2 tsp vegetable oil
8 oz white mushrooms, finely chopped
4 scallions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1/4 C soy sauce
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

[Sauce]
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Sriracha 
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1/4 C water

[Assembly]
1 head Boston bibb lettuce, cleaned and dry
Shredded carrots
Chopped scallions

Preparation:

  • In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat and brown the turkey until no longer pink. Add the mushrooms, scallions, garlic, and water chestnuts. Cook until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. 
  • In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar. Pour over the turkey mixture and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, prepare the sauce by combining the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, mustard, Sriracha, sesame oil, peanut butter, and water. Whisk well to combine.
  • To serve, scoop some of the turkey mixture into a lettuce leaf, drizzle some sauce over it, and add shredded carrots and scallions. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Gender Reveal

Yesterday's Workout:
4 mile run
Abs on stability ball


Today marks the midway point, and it's official...in October, we will be bringing a sweet, handsome BOY into our family! The thought of having a little Brent running around the house is pretty amazing and makes me so incredibly happy. I'm sure he'll be a little athlete just like his dad!

Call it Italian motherly intuition, but this entire pregnancy, I've been referring to Baby Mo as 'he' - I don't know why - but it always felt really natural. I still cried when we got the news because it's real now...this little person growing inside me is my son. He has no idea how loved he is already!

We did the gender reveal through cupcakes with blue frosting inside...not the most original idea out there, but it was fun, and who doesn't love a delicious cupcake??

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bump!

Yesterday's Workout:
3.5 mile run
Shoulder/Chest Circuit, with 10 lb dumbbells:
1 x 12 front raise
1 x 12 lateral raise
1 x 12 shoulder press
1 x 12 upright row
1 x 17 push-ups
1 x 12 chest press on stability ball
1 x 12 dumbbell flies
*Repeat for a total of 3 circuits

After taking 2 days off from any real exercise besides chasing Jasper around the park and backyard, I was back at it again yesterday. I usually feel really energized after a workout, but yesterday, all I wanted to do was take a hot shower, throw on PJs, and curl up on the couch. I have a feeling Baby Mo is going through a growth spurt right now. There's some serious dull aches and ligament pain going on in my lower abdomen lately, and then this happened :


I'm starting to show! The bump is definitely more prominent at night, probably from having eaten all day - I call it my "food baby" - but nonetheless, it's there, and I couldn't be more excited! Just in time for the big ultrasound tomorrow :-)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 19

Yesterday's Workout:
10 mile hike 

...followed by a substantial ice cream cone at Ben and Jerry's

Hello there! I woke up this morning to a pop-up message on my phone from my Baby Center app informing me I've entered Week 19 of my pregnancy. Okay really, where is the time going?? Next Monday, I'll officially be halfway there. About 3 weeks ago, I felt the first signs of movements, and since then, it is nonstop. This baby is VERY active in there! Baby Mo seems to prefer making movement on my left side, especially after I eat a meal. I'm not sure whether they are kicks, punches, or even hiccups just yet, but I feel these movements pretty much all day now. Brent has even been able to feel them a few times, they're that strong!

The next big milestone right now is making it through the work week so that we can finally be able to identify our little Baby Mo as HE or SHE! Brent and I went back and forth on this for a little awhile. Do we find out? Do we not? Our parents didn't have the luxury of knowing until the delivery, so why do we need to? But how will we be able to turn away from the ultrasound for even a second to avoid peeking?? When you only get a handful of opportunities to see your growing baby over the course of 9 months, you have to take advantage...there ain't NO way I'm averting my eyes from that screen for anything!

In the end, we both felt really strongly about finding out the gender. I wish I could be that person who could relax and keep it a surprise, but that's just not me. As the weeks go by, it's becoming hard for me to refer to our baby as "it" in conversation, since it just seems so impersonal, so I really am looking forward to being able to identify this little person growing inside me as our son or daughter. We definitely have our predictions for the gender, so until Friday...

In the meantime, we have been keeping super busy. We went up to Vermont this weekend to visit one of my best friends who just recently gave birth to the most handsome little boy, Dominic! We embarked on a 10 mile hike through the rolling hills of the Green Mountains, and we lucked out with the weather - it was by far the most beautiful day of the year yet to date. Baby Dom is one active little dude, let me tell ya - he loves hiking!




We were all pretty tired after our 3 1/2 hour workout, so we made a quick visit to Ben and Jerry's...it's an absolute must if you're in the area! And what better reward than 2 scoops of turtle cheesecake ice cream in a sugar cone?


Jasper had a little weekend getaway at my mom's playing at the lake, so he was pretty comatose by the time we got home and wanted pretty much nothing to do with us.


I thought I'd maybe be sore from the hike yesterday - walking 10 miles doesn't seem intimidating, but when you're doing it up a mountain, it's not as easy as you might expect - but I'm surprisingly feeling totally fine. I dare say Baby Mo loves all this activity he/she is getting these days!