Finally Fall!

Happy Monday, folks!

I am LIVING for the fact that it finally feels like Fall around here! It literally went from like 86 degrees and humid AF one day, to crisp and breezy the next, which certainly set us up for a fantastic weekend. I hope these temperatures stick around, because Penny’s got a whole wardrobe full of cold-weather clothing that I’ve just been dying to bust out, hehe.

  

Anyway, on Friday, Penny and I had a playdate with a friend at our favorite local play place, nook!

 

She crashed hard when we got home, and my MIL came over to spend some time with her so I was able to get some work done as well as take care of a bunch of stuff around the house that I’ve been putting off. (Slash that I’ve been waiting for Sean to take care but let’s be honest, if you want something done… hahaha.)

Then on Saturday, I woke up feeling a bit under the weather, but Sean got up to get Penny and let me sleep in. When I got up, he had made brunch for us! Waffles & bacon, yummmm.

Then after Penny’s morning nap & lunch, we headed back at Mosaic Center to hit up the Merrifield Fall Festival!

 

It was a pretty cute festival, with bands and lots of restaurant vendors, as well as a local vendor market and a few kid things. Penny was too young to take advantage of most of the kid activities (pumpkin painting, face painting, a little hockey area), but they did have a “Gently Loved” book sale there, so we picked up 6 new books for her for $3! Not bad.

 

After we came home and Penny had her (unreasonably short, IMO) second nap, she and I spent a little time outside with our new neighbors, who have a daughter just six weeks older than Penny! It’s super fun to have a little friend for her just a few doors down, plus they are really good at spending time outside (unlike me, who is a TOTAL creature of indoor comfort, haha), which has really been encouraging me to get outside with Penny even just for a bit every day. She loves walking around our little cul-de-sac with her walker toy, trying to eat rocks and leaves and stuff, heh.

 

Alas, when I woke up on Sunday, I was feeling even worse than I felt the morning before, and unlike on Saturday, it didn’t go away. So sadly, I spent most of the day laid up on the couch binge-watching Once Upon A Time. Penny was feeling a bit puny in the morning too, since she’s teething hardcore right now (she cut 3 new teeth at once last weekend!), but she perked up a lot after her first nap. Sean took her out for a little Daddy-daughter date around lunchtime so I could get some more rest, too, which was lovely of him, and which I totally squandered by NOT resting at all, of course. But I did get some uninterrupted chores done, and was able to feel good about the state of the house and our laundry piles by the time we all went to bed last night?

Anyway, trying to kick off this week strongly, so I headed to the gym this morning (15 minute walking/jogging warm-up and then half an hour of my weight lifting routine), and now I’ve got a bunch of work stuff to tackle before heading off to another playdate. Busy day! See you on the flipside!

First Mother’s Day Weekend Recap

Aloha, everyone! I hope you all had an awesome weekend, whether you were celebrating Mother’s Day or just enjoying some time to yourself. Mine flew by, as is typical, in a total whirlwind — there was a bit of car drama, time with other mamas, and, of course, a supermegaton of Penelope!

I’m actually going to back up to Thursday, since that’s really where our weekend story begins…

THURSDAY: Spontaneous Failure to Start

Penny goes to daycare on Tuesdays and Thursday, so bright and early Thursday morning, I packed her up into the car and got ready to go. I actually had intended on capturing my day on Thursday for another “Day in the Life” post, so I’d already made a point to take photos of all her daycare stuff, of the pups, and of our morning in general as we went through it.

No sooner had I snapped the above image and climbed into the driver’s seat, however, my car wouldn’t turn on. I have a push-button start car, and the “low key battery” indicator had been flashing for a couple of weeks, so I thought that it might be the key fob itself causing an issue.

With an increasingly impatient Penny still strapped into her carseat, I started the painstaking process of breaking my nails to remove the battery from my key fob… only to continue to have nothing happen when I pushed the start button again. Guffffff. I was about ready to give up when, suddenly, without me doing anything new, my car suddenly started! Hoorah! Off to daycare we went, with me thinking it must have been the key battery thing and it must have just taken a second to start working.

Weeeeeell, turns out that wasn’t the case at all. We go to daycare, I drop off a happy little Penny poo, get back in my car aaaaaand…

Yup. Dead car. And this time, it doesn’t randomly turn back on after trying a few times. The radio and AC work, but the engine just doesn’t seem to be connecting at all. No clicking, no turnover, no nothing. Le sigh. So I spend the next two hours creepily hanging out in my daycare’s parking lot while roadside assistance first sends out someone to try jumping my car (doesn’t do anything), and then finally a tow truck.

I have it towed to the dealer, who informs me that there’s a known issue with the make and model of my car concerning one of its engine parts. One of the symptoms? Spontaneous failure to start. Bright side? It’ll be covered by an extended warranty on the affected part, as will a rental car! Downside? Their transmission guy can’t look at it to confirm that’s the issue until tomorrow morning anyway, which means I’m car-less in the meantime. Womp womp.

And man, if I thought that it was inconvenient to be without a car BEFORE I had a kid? Yeeeeesh. Thankfully, I have an awesome and accommodating mom who drove out to help me pick up Penny later in the afternoon so that Sean wouldn’t have to leave work early.

FRIDAY: Housebound but Happy

Enter Friday, where I get to spend the morning at the house with my little love who is in the absolute BEST mood. I don’t know if it’s because we’re dogsitting my brother’s pup, and she is super into Pixel, or if it’s because she’s finally (finally!) feeling 100% better after being sick for so long, but she is all smiles and giggles and it’s just the BEST!

Her being such a happy, content little princess definitely helps with the continued car drama, as I don’t receive an update on the status of my car until the afternoon, and while it is the covered issue (phew!), they won’t have a rental car available until the NEXT morning (ughhhhh.)

Fortunately, I don’t have too much on my plate today other than getting some work done on my computer and getting the mongrels groomed. And doubly fortunately, we use a mobile groomer that comes to our house!

  
It’s a beautiful day, as well, so Penny and I get to spend a little bit of time enjoying the fresh air while the pups are getting groomed. Despite being stuck at home, we’re successfully able to stave off the cabin fever!

 
When Sean gets home after work, I do have to snag his car and head over to my mom’s to help her with a few errands before she goes out of town. It’s nice to spend some time with her before she leaves, too, since she’ll be gone on actual Mother’s Day (we celebrated early with a dinner last week as well.)

SATURDAY: Mama’s Night Out

Penny’s great mood yesterday comes at a cost, apparently, as she has a bad night sleep-wise (uncharacteristic for her lately!). After fighting going to bed for a good 45 minutes in the beginning of the night, she wakes up at 4:30 AM! I thought she might be hungry since her last nursing sesh the night before was kinda early, so I feed her… but instead of returning to sleep, she’s simply wiiiiiide awake and super chatty for the next full hour. It’s both absolutely adorable and incredible annoying, hahaha.

She finally falls back asleep around 6, sleeps for 45 minutes, and then poops herself awake, lololol. Soooo I change her diaper and then she finally falls back asleep from 7 – 10 AM! Super weird, super irregular for me, it gets us started on our day pretty late. But luckily, by the time we were up and about, the car rental place is ready with a car for me, so Sean drives us over to go pick it up.

We have lunch and hang out for the rest of the day, and after putting Penny to bed, I get dolled up because I’ve got a lady date to get to!

 
I head out to Trio Grill in Merrifield to meet up with my fellow hot mamas Lara and Anne. Lara’s daughter is 15 months old, and Anne’s babe is almost 6 months, so even though we’re trying taking time to celebrate ourselves (an early Happy Mother’s Day celebration!), we’ve still got babies on the brain, hehe. We do our best to talk about things other than our littles, but the conversation is still mostly babies, bedtime routines, and breastfeeding, lol. Hey, you can only expect so much of us!

The drinks, apps, and noshes are damn good though! We share a bunch of stuff, including tuna tartare and oysters as appetizers.

 
And I get an awesome shaved asparagus salad and an Asian-inspired salmon entree.

 
Not pictured: my faaaabulous cocktail, the Blackberry Beret. Gin-based, crisp, sweet, and delicious. Yum!

SUNDAY: My First Mother’s Day

Penny sleeps better — she still wakes up earlier than normal at 6:30 AM, but I’m not complaining too much since I want to be able to soak in every minute with her today. It’s officially Mother’s Day!

She and I lounge around in bed for a bit, nursing and getting some happy, chatty cuddles in, while I hear Sean puttering around in the kitchen. We emerge to find he’s made waffles for breakfast! Both Penny and I eagerly scarf ours down — she eats almost an entire half-waffle by herself!

We have a lovely, lazy Sunday morning all together as a family before heading out to a late Mother’s Day lunch. When I open the car door, there’s a gift waiting for me in the passenger seat! A lovely card and this even lovelier figurine commemorating this very special time in our lives.

Sean takes us out for Mother’s Day lunch at Fogo de Chao, which is fabulous (aside from me accidentally knocking over and totally SHATTERING a pepper shaker to keep it out of Penny’s grasp — whoops) and puts me in a serious food coma.

As the most wonderful Mother’s Day gift, Penny behaves AMAZINGLY the entire time. She’s so happy watching all the gaucho chefs toting their meat popsicles around, and enjoys eating bits and pieces of our meal (big fan of the mashed potatoes, jury’s still out on the green beans, lol.)

All things considered, a pretty perfect way to spend Mother’s Day weekend! Well, it would have truly been perfect if I didn’t have all the stuff happen with my car, of course, but hey, you gotta take the bad to get the good, right? And Sean says I’ve still got a gift on the way, which means the good’s just gonna keep on comin’, hehe.

Okay, okay, I swear, I’ll stop gushing now. I just can’t get enough of my awesome little family! Must be that obsessive personality thing I have going on… but hey, I can think of worse things to be obsessed with. 😉

Have an awesome day!

My Lobster

Today is January 26th. Here are some facts about January 26th that I just learned right now from Wikipedia:

January 26th is Republic Day in India.

On January 26th, 1838, the state of Tennessee enacted the first probition law in the United States.

On January 26th, 1958, Ellen DeGeneres was born. (Happy birthday Ellen!)

On January 26th, 1998, President Clinton went on television and declared that he did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinksy.

On January 26th, 2004, a sperm whale exploded in Tainan, Taiwan.

And on January 26th, 2012, completely unrelated to all of the above facts (and thank goodness for that, especially with regard to that last one — yikes), I went on my first date with this studly guy right here:

 
Sean and I celebrated our 3-year anniversary on Saturday night — he surprised me with dinner reservations at Mokomandy, a super unique local restaurant that offers both Korean & Cajun cuisine! It was really sweet that Sean remembered me mentioning this place, because I’ve been wanting to try it for forever.

 
We feasted on a true smorgasbord of both Korean and Cajun/Creole foods — I can’t say that I ever thought I’d have jambalaya and bulgogi (or beignets and mochi cake) in the same meal, but somehow, it all worked! And their cocktails are seriously boss. I sipped on the Black Rose Fizz during dinner, which had blackberry & rosemary ice cubes (!!), gin, soda, and some other deliciousness. Good stuff, man. Gooooood stuff.

Aaaanyway, right! Anniversary. Heh.

Our time together thus far has been chock-full of exciting things — my brother Ben’s wedding, my niece Mia being born and turning one, starting my job at Yelp — and has been marked with amazing trips — Ireland, Cabo, and, of course, Harry Potter World (twice, actually!) — but it’s still kind of hard for me to believe that it’s been three entire years since Sean and I started dating. Believe me, I know how cliche it is to say so, but time really does fly!

  
Since my relationship is probably of very little interest to, um, every single person on the planet other than Sean and myself, I will attempt to spare you the mushiest and gushiest bits of the mushy gushy stuff. I will say, though, that I just feel very lucky to have someone who compliments me so well.

 
Sean is like a calming wind amidst my ocean of neuroses and emotion. He knows how to bring me back to reality when I’m going off the rails, and he keeps me grounded while still encouraging me to aim high. He has always been super supportive — of my job (he’s actually the one who pointed me towards Yelp back when I was job-searching!), my interests (he barely even complains when I plaster his face all over my blog, bahaha), and even my various hair colors. What can I say? He’s my lobster.

So, see? For anyone who might be skeptical of whether you can meet anyone of substance on OK Cupid, now you have at least one moderately successful relationship to use as an example, haha.

Okay, okay, I think that’s enough saccharine reading for your Monday morning. I hope you all had a fantastic weekend — as you can probably tell, I definitely did! My only regret is that it flew by too quickly, of course. This week is pretty much my last week of semi-sanity before Yelp’s Fit Club takes over my entire life (which, local friends, you should totally sign up for, by the way!) and so here’s to hoping I’m able to make the most of it!

Three Learnings from the Weekend

Alternate blog title: Two useless things and one really long rant about being discouraged.

So I learned a few things over the weekend.

#1. Mid-January is evidently the best time to buy a new calendar.

Sure, you miss out on, uhh, knowing what day it is for a couple of weeks, but you save big money! Some random store at the mall was advertising 75% off calendars, so I snagged this smexy Marilyn Monroe calendar for a whopping $3.97. #girlcrush

#2. I don’t know why I’ve ever bothered drinking from any water bottle other than my Hydro Flask before.

I bought one over the summer after witnessing its magical cold-maintaining powers at the pool one day thanks to my friend Lara. Despite sitting out in the summer sun for an hour and the outside being hot to the touch, the inside water was still ice-cold! Literally, there was still ice inside! Epic.

I kind of forgot about it after the summer heat faded, but dug it out again recently as I’m trying to increase my water intake (given this whole thing where working out makes me sweat about 50x more than I used to… and I’m already a really sweaty person…) and I’m still so impressed by it’s Elsa-like powers to keep my water iceeeey cold. I know that it’s winter, but drinking copious amounts of water is SO much easier for me when it’s cold. I think cold water just tastes better.

 
#3. My body doesn’t want me to be sane anymore.

Here’s the skinny (HA, apt choice of words) on losing weight this time around: It. Is. Not. The. Same. As. Last. Time.

I’m just a little over two weeks into my — shudder — journey (I really hate using that term, but hey, you gotta call a spade a spade sometimes, eh?), so I realize that this may sound super whiny and annoying and entitled and generally make me sound like a brat, but I am feeling super discouraged right now. Why, you ask? Well, because despite carefully tracking my food (I use My Fitness Pal) and working out six days a week, I have yet to lose a single pound.

Yuppppp. Not one.

So, here’s the thing. Logically, I can kinda understand. My body is “adjusting.” Maybe it’s holding onto some extra water. I’m on my period (sorry dudes.) I get that there does technically exist some kind of reason why this may be happening.

But.

I don’t really know what that reason is.

And emotionally, I am not able to make peace with it. Because the last time I made some serious changes to my eating habits, you know what happened? I lost TEN POUNDS in one week. Yes, back in August of 2010, the very first time I started counting my calories, tracking my food, and cleaning up my diet, I had lost ten fracking pounds by the second time I weighed myself. I kid you not.

Now, again, LOGICALLY I realize that it was almost all water weight, that I was probably super bloated from my terrible eating habits and blahblahblah. It’s not like I was really expecting the exact same thing to happen this time, but I did expect SOMETHING to happen. I mean, even with all my admittedly half-hearted attempts to reinvigorate/kickstart my weight loss over the past couple years, I’ve at least been able to drop a pound or two in the beginning. You know, before giving up again. Heh.

Look, I know that weight loss isn’t supposed to be my main focus this time, my overall health and fitness is. And that’s still true. I am genuinely excited about the non-scale related changes that I am starting to see — completing P90 moves faster or more easily, my waistband leaving a shallower impression in the skin on my stomach, being able to hold a plank for more than 5 seconds (seriously, that’s how about how long I could manage the first time), feeling something that resembles muscles underneath my squishyness.

But, all that being said, as someone who, in the past, has really only measured her progress by the numbers on the scale, it is still SUPER frustrating that I am not losing anything. Frustrating and so, so discouraging. I just don’t understand how the scale can be staying the same when I AM seeing the above-mentioned changes!

If I was doing something blatantly counterproductive to my weight loss, that’d be one thing. If I was accidentally overcompensating for my new workout regimen by eating way more than I’m burning, if I was not actively tracking my calories and thus there was a big disparity between what I thought I was eating and what I was actually eating, well, that would explain things.

But I’ve been tracking my food and counting my calories quite diligently over the past 10 days. I’m averaging between 1500 – 1600 calories/day (some days lower, some days higher, of course), so wouldn’t you think that I should have shifted down a pound or so by now? Am I eating 100% clean? Of course not. But even if I ate, say, pizza, I kept my portions in check, logged it, and compensated with my food for the rest of the day.

Even if I was underestimating my calories and logging less than I’m actually eating (which is technically possible, since I do have to making estimations when I eat out and whatnot), I can’t imagine that the difference is so great that I’m actually eating at maintenance level for my current weight. I mean, I weigh a lot. So, even without working out, or hell, even without walking around my daily life, my BMR is around 1,900 calories just sitting there, doing nothing but breathing.

I really wish I could blame this on something. I know I talked above about how there might be a few reasons why things are progressing so slowly this time, but there’s no real way for me to know for sure what the reason is. And I honestly think it would make me feel better if I could just figure out what specific something is making the numbers stay stagnant. If I could identify the problem and attempt to “fix” it.

But, sadly, for the most part, there doesn’t seem to be anything I can pin this on. Nothing apparent to me, at any rate. And while I’d love to be able to lay claim to the old adage that “muscle weighs more than fat” (technically a fallacy — muscle is more compact than fat, so it takes up less room, but a pound is a pound), that really shouldn’t be a factor at this stage in my fitness, or at my current weight.

So, I gots nothin’. Le sigh.

I know that I need to keep a level head about this. After all, these things take time, and two weeks is barely any time at all when you’re talking about a lifelong journey (there’s that word again). And I know I really shouldn’t compare this time to the first time, because there are so many factors that have changed. I’m older, for one thing. I’ve already lost and gained a significant amount of weight, so my metabolism may not be functioning quiet the same way. And the fitness thing is, as I’ve already explained, a really big change for me, so maybe it is just taking my body some time to figure out how to deal with that, haha.

It’s just… hard. I don’t want to feel like this — emotionally tied to a stupid number on a stupid scale. I want to be able to be confident that what I’m doing is making a difference, whether the scale wants to admit it or not. I want to feel proud of hitting milestones like two weeks of daily workouts — a real achievement for my lazy ass! — instead of despondent because it’s not working fast enough.

But… I also want the reassurance that what I’m working for (because it really does feel like work right now) isn’t in vain. I want to be able to see myself doing this — eating well, working out, leading a fitter life — well, I dunno, like, forever? And it’s just hard to really imagine that without receiving any kind of incentive or motivation along the way. I mean, you wouldn’t work at a job you didn’t like if you never got paid, right?

But hey, I just gotta stick with it, right? Discouraged or not, unmotivated or not, I keep going. I whine a lot, but I keep going. Who knows, maybe this week will be the week that things regulate and the number starts dropping. Or maybe once my monthly ladybusiness is all tied up and I’m feeling a little bit more balanced, I’ll just feel differently. Maybe I’ll be able to focus more on the positive notes that I totally glossed right over in this post, haha.

So here’s to the next two weeks, and the next two after that, and the two after that. With hopefully at least a little bit of good news, a smidge of motivation, and a few encouraging results along the way. Okay, rant over. 🙂

Bridesday Weekend, Part II

Ahoy-hoy!

Happy Tuesday to you all. I’m back with another installment of Bridesday Weekend, the weekend in which I used all 3 days to attend three separate bridal events for my dear friends. And also in which my brain (and ring finger) exploded. Poor Sean.

So as you learned yesterday, my Saturday was spent at Aileen’s amazing Mad Hatter bridal shower (she posted her own recap on her blog, btw, which is much, much funnier than mine, so you should check it out). But Friday and Sunday were reserved for Taylor, my soon-to-be sister-in-law (wow, that’s a lot of hyphenation)!

Friday was spent all all sorts of bachelorette activities… of which I will NOT be showing you photos. This is a family-friendly blog, after all. But Sunday was my second bridal shower of the weekend, and while not Mad Hatter-themed, was still absolutely, positively wonderful. Yet again, I fulfilled my roll as unofficial event photographer, so FEAST YOUR EYES!

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Mother & daughter 🙂
Present overload!
Present overload!
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Taylor, her twin sister, Kate, and their Mom.
Bridesmaids!
Bridesmaids!
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Mini pecan pies… SO DELICIOUS.

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There were actually like 100 more photos, but I’m sparing your corneas and just showing you a li’l snippet. 🙂 It’s a little hard to believe that my big brother is getting MARRIED in a little over one month. And then there will be one… heheh.

Whew! So that pretty much wraps up my weekend! So much fun, so exhausting. And there’s no rest for the wicked, since this upcoming weekend is going to be JUST AS AWESOME. I haven’t been doing my customary birthday countdown (what is happening to me?!) but my big 2-5 is this Thursday (as in, the day after tomorrow, squeeee!) and I’ve got activities planned up and out the wazoo!! Allow me to ‘splain:

It all starts with my actual birthday, when Sean is allegedly taking me somewhere he will only refer to as “Taco Bell” whenever I ask him where we’re going. Which, I mean, if he DOES end up taking me to Taco Bell for my birthday… actually, I wouldn’t be that upset. I’ve really been wanting to try the new Cool Ranch Doritos taco.

Friday will be legen–wait for it–DAIRY, because my wonderful friend Ai Rei is coming back to visit me. And the “dairy” is NOT, in fact, a typo, because that night we’re meeting Aileen at The Melting Pot. Worlds will collide with melted cheese present and it shall be glorious!

And then Saturday, of course, is my Quarter Quell: my Hunger Games-themed birthday party. You have been warned.

Bridal stuff. Birthday. Friends. Cheese. Hunger Games. Yep, pretty sure this is the best week ever.