Life Lately

So I miss blogging. A lot.

I wish I could blog more, but right now life just does not allow it. And you know what? That’s ok! All in due time, right?! Smile

Just wanted to pop in & give you a little peak into my life right now…because I know you are all DYING to know. Winking smile (Please notice the sarcasm!)

So right now I am currently studying to get my personal training certification, with a ‘specialty’ in women’s fitness. I am thrilled to train people, and especially women that are pregnant, post delivery, and just knowing how to train women better in general is SO EXCITING!! I’m hoping to take my test by the end of the year…hopefully. It’s hard to get studying in between my job (I work from home), being a Mom and just life in general. You know how it is- we are ALL busy in different ways!

As for my bundle of PURE JOY….

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(she’s like, look guys, I’m TEN months!)

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She’s WALKING (unassisted), which is INSANE to think about. She started walking, on her own, September 2nd. (oh yes, I do know the EXACT date Winking smile )

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And she is a bit of an odd ball, EVERY where we go, all she wants to do is eat leaves.

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She’s like, yep Mom, totally know you are watching and I’m STILL going to do this. Little stink. Now I give her spinach leaves as part of her dinner and tell her they are leaves. Seems to be working???!

I CANNOT believe it, but I’m planning her first birthday party!! I picked out the theme and have purchased a few items already. Pinterest & Etsy are my party planning best friends. ;) And you guys, first birthday outfits?!??! I’m DYING because I don’t know which one to get. We may need a few outfit changes throughout the day. No lie.

As everyone says, it DOES get easier. It really does. Those first few months are HARD. Not that it’s ‘easy’ now, but you really UNDERSTAND each other. You understand your child, and you and your partner KNOW what to expect…usually Winking smile 

I cannot lie, it was HARD….REALLY hard on our marriage initially with Gabriella. Just because it’s something TOTALLY new in your life. COMPLETELY unpredictable, and it felt as there were new ‘issues’ that would arise EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. But you know what, one day I just told myself, we will get through this! We WILL make it work. Just like anything in life, you have to realize what your priorities are and what you WANT in life and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Yes, of course, there are still rough days here & there, but you know what? I’m SO blessed that I get to spend my ENTIRE life with my BEST friend, my husband. The one who is by my side NO MATTER WHAT. We also have this little lady to share our life with too…

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And, God willing, she will have sibling to share US with. Open-mouthed smile 

So other than that, I’m REALLY focused on training these days. Gabriella and I run every morning- well, she rides in the BOB. Smile I try to do at least 10 miles everyday, and vary what kind of training it is- whether speed, endurance, etc.

I have six races in the next four months…and I CANNOT wait!!! One 15K this Saturday, four half marathons and one full marathon in December. Race season is FINALLY here…what I have been training for ALL summer! All of those long, hot, sometimes VERY hard runs, are going to be completely worth it!!!

So for now, the blog is on hold, but I may pop in here and there. I really miss Google reader, so much…I was able to keep up with some of my favorite blogs. Any suggestions for sites like Google reader?

For now I’ll leave you with these pictures of Gabriella playing with her water table and bubbles. Girl is OBSESSED with bubbles. It’s hilarious!

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And just one more…because it’s too cute not to share…

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‘Flying’ with Daddy. Smile

Changing

Big CH-CH-CH-CHANGES are happening in our household!(Edited to add: I am NOT pregnant! :) )

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And someone ^^^^^^ is pretty excited about it. Winking smile

I can’t say much for now, Craig and I still have a lot of thinking, talking and praying to do. But I just wanted to let you know what I may be stepping back from blogging for a bit.

Although, Gabriella is taking HUGE steps forward…

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She is using EVERYTHING as a walker. Including the box of our favorite beer. HA!

I can’t wait to share everything, once WE figure it out. I promise more details to come. For now, I’ll just say that I’m excited! Open-mouthed smile 

Have a WONDERFUL day!

Oh, and PS, look at this:

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My bad habits are rubbing off. Gabriella can’t get enough of Lululemon either. Uh oh!

Agendas

I didn’t have a post planned for this morning, but then I did a devotion in my Bible Study book this morning & HAD to share. It really opened my eyes, and I think it may have an influence on some of you too.

The book we are using for Bible Study is ‘Tune In’ by Jen Hatmaker. It is a WONDERFUL book, and I highly recommend it. You can also do the study on your own, it doesn’t  have to be with a group. Either way I think you would really enjoy it. The book is written in a modern context and her writing style just really makes things clear. One minute she is making you laugh, and then the text she writes something so powerful that it really makes you think.

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(^picture from Amazon Winking smile )

In the chapter regarding ‘peace,’ I read this passage:

‘We must lose our pride to gain salvation. OUR AGENDAS MUST DIE IN FAVOR OF A LIFE OF SUBMISSION. We sacrifice selfishness for holiness, pleasure for righteousness. Those are HARD TO LAY DOWN.’

The words in caps REALLY hit me. How often do we try to plan out our lives? I mean everyday I have an ‘agenda’ for the day that I plan out in the morning. It could be something silly, like what I need to get from the grocery store, or how long I plan to run. But I also try to plan our my life’s agenda. And I think that is why this hit me so hard. OUR agendas MUST DIE in favor of a life of submission. WOW. Not going to lie, that is HARD to do.

That’s my goal though, to work on that. Let God guide me with what HE wants me to do in my life. The funny thing is that I think he is guiding me right now. Guiding me towards something new in my life. I was actually talking to some friends about it yesterday, and I really just feel like it’s something I should do. I plan to talk about it more in a little while, I am still praying about it to make sure that really is part of my ‘agenda’ that God has in mind for me. Smile

The main thing I need to remember though is to just take a step back and let God guide me. STOP trying to plan every detail. Let HIM guide me.

Are you a planner?
Do you lay out all of your plans for the day before starting?

Spicy Ranch BLT Braid

Well hello there!! I apologize for the lack of posts last week.

Gabriella and I went up to Jacksonville to visit my parents and Craig was actually out of town for the while week for a work conference. I figured while he was gone it would be a perfect time to visit my family & friends in my hometown.

It was such a nice time, and Gabriella did AWESOME! Remember how I was just talking about all of the attachment issues coming back? Well, much to my surprise she did GREAT with my parents and friends. My Mom watched her for me for a bit one day so that I could shower, and she was fine. The second she saw me though she started crying for me. But the whole ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is key for her.

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LOVE this little chick!

It truly is AMAZING how fast she is growing. My Dad kept commenting on how she would be walking in no time. A few times he would look at her and gasp and I was like what is going on??!?! He thought for sure she was about to start walking! Smile 

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She LOVES her walker, which is above. (please notice those chunky thighs. O.M.G. I just can’t get enough of them!) She constantly wants to walk walk walk. No more stationary toys- I actually packed up her jumperoo, exersaucer, and another walker that you actually put her in. She does not like anything that confines her, girlfriend likes her independence. Winking smile

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Seriously, HOW is that my LITTLE girl!?!?! She looks HUGE! Ahhh, slow down Gabriella, SLOW DOWN!!

Anyways, while I was home I got to thinking of some of my favorite meals that my Mom used to make when I was growing up. One of them happened to be this vegetable chicken braid. It was just a mix of vegetables, chicken & spices wrapped up in crescent rolls. It was delicious- just the mixture always tasted so good and I always loved learning that was what we were having for dinner.

I was craving that thee other night, but wanted to kind of mix things up. After looking on Pinterest for a bit, I got an idea and went from there.

With it I created….

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Spicy Ranch BLT Braid

(adapted from this recipe)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 slices

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

1 cup shredded 2% cheddar cheese

3/4 cup crumbled cooked turkey bacon

3/4 cup 2% Plain Chobani

1 package Spicy Ranch seasoning (1 oz. package)

1 package reduced fat refrigerated crescent rolls (Pillsbury 8 oz.)

shredded lettuce

diced tomatoes

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Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the chicken, cheese, turkey bacon, Greek yogurt and Ranch seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Open the crescent rolls. Lay out the dough on a non stick baking sheet. Press together all the seams. Cut small strips 1 1/2 inches apart along both sides. Leave about a 3 inch row in the center that is uncut. Spread the chicken mixture down the center evenly.

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    3.  Cross the strips over each other in a braid pattern. Press the end together. Bake at 375* for 20 minutes.

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    4. Top the braid with lettuce and tomato before serving. Cut into 8 pieces.

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Instead of using mayonnaise like the recipe my Mom has, I subbed in Greek yogurt. I used 2% Chobani, but I’m sure you could also use fat free. I just thought the extra milk fat may make it a bit creamer.

The recipe says it makes enough for four…well, I guess that depends on how hungry you are. Craig and I polished off everything but a tiny little slice. We both really enjoyed it, and it was one of those meals that doesn’t leave you feeling stuffed.

Quick, easy meal for the WIN!

Enjoy your Monday! Gabriella and I have some big plans this week, and we are very much looking forward to it! Open-mouthed smile

Learning to Relax

Isn’t it funny when you realize that you just had an ‘ah – ha’ moment?

I had one of those yesterday afternoon.

Craig is always telling me that I let Gabriella affect my mood too much. Sometimes I agree, but then other times I want to tell him to hush it…in the nicest possible way, of course. Winking smile 

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I honestly can tell you that I’m pretty sure I don’t give her enough credit. I am constantly thinking that ‘she’s not ok,’ or ‘she can’t do that, it’s too out of her routine.’ WRONG. Gabriella is SMART. And she is a PERSON, she can adapt. She is no longer an itty bitty baby (and yes, I know, itty bitty babies can definitely adapt too), she can get thrown out of her usual ways and she will BE OK.

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(She’s like I’m totally fine, Momma, DUH!)

It’s just hard for ME to remember that. I don’t know if it’s a first time Mom thing, or if it’s just a ME thing but I am constantly worried about making sure her environment is just right for her. Does that even make sense?

Let me explain.

Gabriella and I came up to visit my parents for a few days in Jacksonville, just to spend some time with them and to catch up. Yesterday, while she was napping in the afternoon, the power went out. The second it happened I went into panic mode.

I immediately went straight to her room to make sure that she was still sleeping since her sound machine went off. We keep it on white noise while she sleeps- both for naps and bedtime. Honestly if I could go back, I don’t think I would use a sound machine…BUT, like her pediatrician told me ‘If that’s her only crutch, then you are doing just fine.’ Anyways, she was still sleeping but because I went into the room to try to turn it back on (the power was out just for a bit), I woke her up.

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I was frustrated. I was frustrated with my self, but didn’t realize that in the moment. I was actually mad at the city of Jacksonville for making this power situation happen. I mean, really Holly, really?!!? LIFE HAPPENS, get over it! But at the time I didn’t see it that way.

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Since I ended up waking her up, she started crying, but I decided to wait it out a bit to see if she would fall back asleep. I went in the other room to see my parents and asked how long the power usually stays out when this happens. They said it could be anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours- no one knows. Of course they could tell something was wrong, and asked if everything was ok. I got all ‘huffy puffy’ and said, ‘well, no, Gabriella is now awake because her sound machine went off.’

First of all, that was only half of it, the real reason that she was up was because I just HAD to rush right into her room to make sure I had the sound machine ready to go in case it came back on. STUPID. She was FINE. I could have just let her be.

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(^how hilarious is that?! She is in the sink at my parent’s house Smile )

My parents then said, ‘well we don’t even hear her crying, are you sure she is still up or did she fall back asleep?’ I responded with ‘yes, she’s STILL up, I JUST walked past her room and she was crying.’ (I sound like a real FUN daughter, right!?!?!?! Winking smile God bless them.) So my Dad went to listen near her door & she didn’t make a peep. Little stink, she knew she was going to prove me wrong. Smile I really had just walked past her room & she WAS crying, but she had stopped at this point.

Guess what? She fell back asleep. She was ABSOLUTELY FINE. And she didn’t NEED the sound to sleep, I just MAKE it seem like she does. SILLY SILLY ME. Sometimes I just want to slap myself across the head and say WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!?!?!

There was NO NEED to freak out because of a power outage, or a silenced sound machine. LIFE GOES ON. GABRIELLA SLEEPS ON. CHILL OUT HOLLY, CHILL OUT. I’m capitalizing these things for myself- I swear it’s like a mantra I need to tattoo on my forehead.

The main thing is that I think it’s just a ‘live and you learn kind of thing.’ Babies don’t come with instruction manuals…although I swear that would be MUCH easier. You have to learn each other- you baby has to learn YOU, and YOU have to learn your baby. Nothing about being a parent is easy, but I PROMISE it’s all 100% worth it & I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, other than the fact that I need to learn to relax a bit. But, then again, I am just a work in progress. Smile

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(I just LOVE her in her bathing suits! Smile )

Every day is a new day, and every day I feel like I learn something new. It’s actually pretty neat to realize, even if it is a hard pill to swallow.

Banana Cream Bread

Good Morning!

Hard to believe the weekend has already come & gone. It went way too quickly. I actually had to work most of the weekend, to play ‘catch up,’ because I wasn’t able to do much during the week. This past week was pretty rough with Gabriella, and I tie it mainly to teething. I feel bad, I really wish I could help her because I know she has to be in pain.

One thing that kind of caught me off guard though is that she is kind of going through a regression. We got over the ‘only Mommy can hold me or be around me’ phase about a month or so ago….or so I thought. It’s baaaaaaaaaaack!

She only wants to be around me, or have me hold her. Most of the time she won’t even go to Craig, well I take that back, she will go to him, but only if she can see me. If I’m out of the room she has a break down. Just to further explain how much the attachment phase has come back, I can’t even take a shower or bath without her. She actually crawled into the shower with me while I had her playing on the floor. The second she saw me, she came right in (the door was open of course- I have my eye on her the entire time) WITH her clothes & diaper on. I just had to laugh! She looked up at me like, ‘oh hey Mom! I just wanted to get cleaned up too.’ Love that little girl & I love how much she makes me laugh.

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Sometimes it’s hard though, because I really can’t get any help. I just remind myself that she won’t be this little for long, and it’s actually pretty cute HOW much she wants to be with me. And one of my VERY FAVORITE things is that when she goes to look for me if I am out of the room, is that she heads straight to the kitchen! LOVE that!! She knows how much her Mommy likes to cook.

The other day I had a bunch of super ripe bananas. (YUCK!) I always buy a ton because Gabriella will eat them too- especially in her morning oatmeal. Her favorite breakfast right now is oatmeal with chia seeds, mashed banana and a little bit of YoBaby banana smoothie mixed in. It’s quite tasty, I must say. She has good taste! Smile

I also had one of my very favorite packages arrive in the same day.

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Makes my day when you see this arrive on your porch! Chobani is my very favorite yogurt company, not only for their delicious yogurt, but also because they have one of the VERY BEST customer service teams. I love how they instantly respond to comments on any social media and always want to make the consumers happy! You don’t see that too often these days.

When I opened up the box I happily found a TON of yogurt!

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0% Vanilla, 0% Plain & 2% Plain. I really like the new labeling for the vanilla! The plain varieties are PERFECT substitutions for so much like sour cream, heavy cream, oil, butter, mayonnaise, and cream cheese.

Once I saw that I had over ripe bananas and a new shipment of Chobani, my mind got to work & I decided to make quick bread, because that’s what over ripe bananas are best for. Smile

One of my favorite desserts is actually banana pudding, or banana cream pie. NOTHING is better than homemade banana pudding with fresh cream, bananas & vanilla wafers. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I wanted to re-create that same flavor, but in bread form. That is how this recipe came to be- Banana Cream Bread.

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Banana Cream Bread

(adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt (I used 0% Chobani)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour  
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed (the riper the better)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, cream butter, and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add Greek yogurt and vanilla; mix well.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in mashed banana and 1/4 cup nuts.
  • Pour into a greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining nuts. Bake at 350° for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 1 loaf.

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The addition of the Greek yogurt gives the bread a nice flavor, and adds in the ‘cream’ flavor without the added calories & fat of REAL cream.

The house had such a nice smell while it was baking, and of course I could barely wait for it to cool before slicing it. So I had to cut a few slices since the first couple crumbled, which meant I had to eat them. Smile

I know that there are THOUSANDS of banana bread recipes, but I guarantee you this one will not leave you disappointed!

I know it’s hard to think about, but tell me your favorite part of Monday.
Mine is that it’s long run day!! I truly enjoy starting the week off with a long run- usually 12-13 miles, just depends on how my legs feel…and if my child will continue to nap Winking smile

If you eat Chobani, what’s your favorite flavor?