16 February 2017

Calvin is 10 Months Old!

 My little Calvin is TEN months old!!

This past month Calvin enjoyed his very first Superbowl and his team WON! He started eating lots and lots of food and he also has FINALLY started consistently sleeping through the night without a 5am bottle! It took a day or two of crying because we got your pretty used to a nice early morning bottle, but we finally broke that bad habit and we all sleep better because of it - hallelujah!

He also took his first big digger off the couch. I was literally right next to him, but the little bug is so fast and so determined to just flail all over the place that in one second flat, boom, he was on the floor. So that's where we will be staying from now on... the floor. 

These last months have just gone by so fast and we are in such a routine, I can't believe my eyes when I look at him sometimes. How did he go from this tiny helpless infant, to the lean mean Calvin machine who doesn't take no for an answer and is determined to get what he wants!? Gosh, I love him. 

Here is a little photo dump from our 10 month shoot:

 can someone seriously dust that fireplace?!

 Always chasing the cats.


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20 January 2017

Top Ten Whole 30 Recipes

It is January 20th and I am 20 days into my first round of Whole 30.

Now first, what is W30 and why did I decide to do it?
In my own view, W30 is a cleanse and reset for your body. It is a strict dietary program in which you restrain from ALL sugar, grain, dairy, alcohol, and legumes for 30 days. That means even a drop of it will not count and you are supposed to restart. After reading It Starts with Food and Whole 30 I was intrigued by all the scientific health benefits this program was promising to have on my mind and body, so I figured let's give it a whirl. 

While I was pregnant with my first son, I gained a lot of weight (like 50 lbs) and had a really, really tough time losing it. When I was about half way there (8.5 months post-Theo) we discovered I was pregnant again - surprise!! I was a bit discouraged because I was still working off the weight from Theo, but the second time around I gained another 35 lbs and I was just ready to get back to my old self! I started to going to the gym and loved that feeling, but I really needed to break a lot of the bad food habits I had gotten into over the past 2 years of pregnancy, newborns, and toddlers. We really didn't need to eat out every damn night... I actually enjoy cooking and I don't want either of my boys growing up on take out food.

So here I am! I have made a nice, homecooked meal for the last 15 or so nights (some nights we have had leftovers) and we, as a family, are getting used to fresh, real food again! It is so very exciting.

Here is a layout of how people (generally) feel during the program as your body gets used to detoxing from sugar and grain etc.:
^^ these are a little silly, but some of them are pretty accurate!^^

Day 1 - I was definitely thinking "okay this is so simple, I can do this!" (how naive)
Days 2-4 - were far and away my hardest thus far! I had a headache, my mind and body were still craving snacks (all.the.time) and on top of that, my boys were SUPER sick and all I really wanted to do was sit on the couch and drink wine from the bottle.
Days 5-12 were all about adjustment as the process got easier and really I hit my "tiger blood" day 12 and haven't looked back!

There are a few times I find myself saying "okay, I got this... I can be done now and not officially do W30" but I made the commitment to myself so I am going to finish it out! I will share my results at the end as well.

For now, I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes I've had throughout this process!

I grabbed a quick shot of my meals with my iphone before I would eat, so don't mind the "not-so-fancy" food photos.

Buffalo Chicken Casserole & Strawberry Salad
 This sweet potato and buffalo chicken casserole I found over on Paleo Leap and didn't adapt it at all! A casserole is always a win, because it lasts so much longer and the buffalo flavor won my husband over! We had it for dinner one night and I was able to eat the last 2 serving for lunch over the next couple days! I served a small salad on the side with spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, red onions and walnuts!

Brussels Sprouts, Chicken and Apple Skillet!
Other than the peeling and dicing, this was another delicious skillet with a bit of fall flavor! We had this during week 2 and loved it. The recipe for this one can be found here: Harvest Chicken Skillet. I am always a fan of a one pan meal! And the key to this recipe is to cook that delicious bacon first, remove it, and cook the rest in the bacon fat! YUM!

Steak & Eggs!
 My good friend, Laura, is doing Whole 30 with her husband and she sent me a picture of some steak and eggs they had for dinner one night! I knew I wanted to make some and I saved it for a night after I had a killer workout. It was time for some protein!

For the herb-rubbed steak I just bought a sirloin and coated the top with ghee.
Then in a bowl, I mixed up some:
chopped rosemary
chopped thyme
 minced garlic
 salt and pepper
 and rubbed it all on top. I put the steak in a glass container for about 6 hours!
When it came to cooking, I just seared both sides of the steak on my cast iron skillet (about 3 minutes each side) and the put it in the oven (425) until it was to my "doneness" - for me about 7 minutes.
For the sides I just added some steam green beans with shaved almonds and 2 eggs over hard.

Curried Mango Chicken Salad
This type of chicken salad is served at one of my favorite sandwich shops and I knew I could remake it easily and it would W30 compliant! This is an easy one!

Boil some chicken and cube it (about 2 cups worth).
Cube a mango
Cut slices of green onion (I used 2 stalks)
Mince 2 stalks of celery

In a bowl add and stir together:
 3 tbsp of mayo (I used this compliant one by Primal kitchen)
1.5 tsp of curry powder
1/2 tsp of ginger powder
salt & pepper

Add in your chicken, mango, green onion, and celery and stir all together!

Salmon and Baby Potato Arugula Salad
All I did for this yummy dinner was:
Cook some sockeye salmon with a little olive oil and lemon
-Boil some baby potatoes and mix with ghee, salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic
and serve over an arugula salad!

Chicken Sausage Pepper Hash
 This breakfast was FILLING and lasted me like 4 days. I made both week 2 and 3 so I would have a big, filling breakfast to start my day! I work out at 530am 4 days a week so this meal, in particular, is my favorite after a big workout! You can grab this hash recipe HERE and I served it with 2 eggs over hard on top!

Shrimp & Arugula Salad
A friend of mine had shared online this simple salad that is QUICK so I threw it together on a couple nights I didn't feel like doing too much cooking. All it is is shrimp and almonds over a bed of arugula with some lemon juice squeezed on top! I served some sweet potato wedges with cajun seasoning on the side.

Monkey Salad
I have made this for breakfast twice now when I want something besides eggs! There are a million recipes all over Pinterest for monkey salad and you can really make it whatever you'd like. In my I put 1 sliced banana, a few raspberries, a few blueberries, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and then I top it with a drizzle of almond butter (I made my own) and unsweetened coconut flakes!

Garlicky Shrimp Stir Fry
 My husband and I love a good stirfry and this one with shrimp and mushrooms was delicious! I found it over on Skinnytaste and while my husband had it over jasmine rice, I served mine over bean sprouts.

Southwest Scrambled Eggs
This easy recipe came straight from the Whole 30 book and was a light a refreshing staple in my breakfast routine. It's as easy as it looks - just 2 scrambled eggs topped with avocado and compliant salsa (you can make your own or I found mine at Whole Foods).

So there you have it, 10 of my favorite recipes so far!

There are a bunch more that could be on this list, like the fried cauliflower rice I made last night - YUM! I may have to add a second round of recipes soon.

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13 January 2017

Calvin turns 9 Months and His First Christmas

 Another month has come and gone. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that my little Calvin will be a YEAR old in just 3 short months. The first year of life is such a milestone for parents and I cannot believe it is coming up so quickly.

Of course, it's a milestone for the child as well as there are so many changes in their life in such a short time.  My little guy is growing like a weed, getting new teeth every week, and really cruising all over our furniture. 

I have been saying for months (really, years) now that I want 4 children and after I turn 30 this April we can really think about trying for baby 3 However, these last couple weeks both Calvin and Theo were terribly sick and with both boys active and moving all over the place, I began wondering if maybe our 2 boys will be it. I sometimes feel torn between wanting another and also wanting to get onto the next stage of life - growing up, no more pregnancies/babies/etc. So who knows. They say you just know when you're done.. so maybe I will know...

Here is my sweet boy's update:

As you can see, he is as smiley as ever and he is really starting to get a little personality. His big brother still runs the show (attention hog anyone?!), but Calvin isn't letting big bro push him to the side. He is a giggly little one who still loves being held, being read to, and now he loves to eat solids!

He also celebrated his first Christmas a few weeks ago and let me tell you that day flew by. I host a breakfast in the morning with my immediate family and then around noon my extended family comes over for lunch, so I was a bit busy running around and cooking all day to snap too many pictures, but here are a few ones I gathered up:

We all go out to dinner on Christmas Eve!

Then early to rise for presents:


We also got a surprise gift...
My soon-to-be sister in law asked me and my sisters to be bridesmaids in her wedding!!
And my brother asked Parker to be his best man!

It was a long day but around 4pm Tina, Weezil, Parker and I decided to head down to Foxwoods and surprise my brother and his fiance for the night! They headed down earlier for a little getaway and we thought it would be a fun surprise to just show up! My mom and aunt Shirley put the boys down for bed and babysat while we headed down. It was so much fun! Such a great night :)

This month we are getting back into our work schedules and planning out a whole new year of fun and adventure! 
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14 December 2016

8 Months of Calvin

^^^Guilty as ever^^^

 My sweet love.

 This picture makes my heart melt. They just love eachother.

 Calvin has become much more playful with Theo this past month. He likes to pull his hair and grab his shirt. Theo is not sure how he feels about it all.

He is always watching big brother.

My heart.
So grateful for these boys this Christmas season.
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14 November 2016

Calvin is 7 Months Old!

My big boy!!! I love you so much and we are loving every second of watching you grow and learn and show us more and more of your personality. As of now, you are still laid back and mostly quiet. That is, until you want to eat or sleep. You will just look right in one of our eyes and let out a LOUD yell. You literally yell at us to feed you or put you to sleep. It's kind of hilarious.

We are nearing the holidays and I am so excited to spend them with you! The holidays are such a fun time with lots of family, lots of food, and lots of laughs!
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01 November 2016

Our Unconventional Life!

Our little family has been through a LOT of changes over the past few years. From moving cross country, getting married, buying a home, many job changes and oh ya.... we now have 2 baby boys! We certainly don't have a very "conventional" life.

But really how "normal" are Parker and I anyways??!
Lately many have been asking what it's like to have 2 parents home all day, every day... with both kids. All in our house... literally 24/7.

It can seem odd to some, but it quickly became the norm over here! I thought I'd share a little bit about our family and lifestyle today for those that are interested!

Many of you probably already know that I was a 1st grade teacher for 5 years (3 in Vegas and 2 when we moved home to MA). While I was teaching I wanted to start sharing my ideas through an educational blog so I started sharing and blogging over at Thank God it's First Grade!
While I was doing that, I also started selling some of the units, activities, crafts, and lessons I came up with for my classroom on Teachers Pay Teachers. I quickly fell in love with all of it. I loved sharing my own resources, I loved using other teachers' resources. It was such a unique and meaningful way to connect with teachers all over the country. The blogging community and TPT helped shape those first few years in my classroom and taught me sooooo much more than I could've learned on my own.

When I got pregnant with Theo in January of 2014, Parker had no hesitation telling me what he wanted to do. He wanted to stay home and take care of Theo. Parker is creative. He is innovative. He is a dreamer and an analyst at the same time. He is NOT an 8-5, sit in a cubicle type of guy. Believe me, he tried it.

In our 9 years together, he has started 3 different companies of varying success and mostly, he has helped my little business become something that can sustain our whole family. He wanted to stay home, help raise our kids, and "build things" around the house and I wanted to support him in this venture!

I loved his desire to stay home and raise our kids. I knew how miserable Parker was at his job and I knew he would make an amazing stay-at-home dad. He couldn't have cared less about any stereotype about being the moneymaker for our family - we've never really been the stereotypical type anyways. So one month after finding out I was pregnant, Parker went ahead and quit his job and hasn't looked back since!

The only slight problem was that I, too, wanted to stay home and raise our kids. That had always been a dream of mine.... and as anyone will tell you, they are only little once!

So after I had Theo and finished that school year I decided I would stay home too. I decided to work full time on my TPT store and leave the classroom behind. It was a very difficult decision to make and many days I realllyyyyy miss being a teacher but I know I will head back into a school soon. In the meantime, I try to enjoy every second of these two boys:

So here we are. Two years into this life-at-home gig and while it certainly has it's challenges, we are finding new ways to make it work all the time!

How do you and Parker deal with each other ALL DAY EVERY DAY!?
Oddly enough Parker and I are used to spending pretty much every second together (insert eye roll here). In our 9 years together we have almost always only had 1 car to share so we would drive one another to and from work and we are both such homebodies. We have our own personal spaces and times in the house that aren't scheduled but just known. I am a super morning person (4:48 alarm every day anyone?!) so I have my alone time then and at the gym and Parker is a night owl so after the boys and I go to sleep he gets lots of alone time.

We fight just like any other married couple and we have to figure it out and deal with it ASAP especially since we see each other every waking second of the day lol.

How do you get any work done with the kids home?
This took about a year to figure out! I was torn between needing to work since I am now the sole financial provider for our family and wanting to spend time with my boys!! This is still something I struggle with from time to time and the only way I have made it work is to be super diligent about my "office hours." I work Monday-Wednesday and on Fridays from 8-4. I work upstairs on the landing where we have an office instead of somewhere outside the home. I tried many different places but I always felt so far away and I would've rather been in a classroom teaching if I was going to be out of my house all hours of the day! I can still hear the chaos and giggles and cries and all that is going on downstairs but it helps me feel like I am present and able to lend a helping hand when needed. I set deadlines for projects for myself and I get really stressed out when I feel like I might not meet them. It may sound ridiculous but it's been a whole learning curve when you decide to work for yourself and have no one but yourself to keep you accountable! I can be my own worst boss.

We also just started sending Theo to daycare 2 days a week which has been one of the best decisions we've made as a family! With two parents in his face all day, every day we thought he could benefit from some structured time with kids and other adults besides us. He LOVES his "school" and has adjusted way better than we could've even imagined. He is making new friends and we are getting bonding time with Calvin (and a little more quiet to get work done).

How does Parker like being a stay at home dad?
I can't speak for him but I let him know all the time that whenever he feels like this isn't for him, we can switch things up and he can head back into the corporate world (or any another avenue). So far his only complaint is me! I may or may not be a bit of a control freak and it took me quite some time to learn to let go of the way I thought things should be done and let him really take over the reigns. The boys just adore their dad and he adores them right back.

This is the stage our family is in currently. Two work from home parents. Two little boys running a muck. Four Joneses all up in one another's business.

Who knows what our life will look like in another couple years?!
Back in a classroom?
More babies?
New job for Parker?
Only time will tell!
We tend to just roll with the changes and see where it takes us!

Also, if you happen to be in the Boston/Northshore area, do yourself a favor and check out Lightshed Photography! They took our above family photos and we just LOVE them. We originally hired them to take our wedding and engagement photos and now they've taken both boys newborn photos as well as family photos! We have loved growing with them!

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