Christmas 2014

We bought the house we did because we wanted to be able to host our families and give as many people beds as possible. This Christmas was the first go at that, and I’d say it went splendidly!

I’ll avoid a detailed recap and just share pictures (which are mostly of Finley) with some captions/explanations.

We watched Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol on Wednesday.

Brody ordered matching pajamas. We modeled them for the rest of our family Christmas Eve after Finley had gone to sleep. Nothing says “the holidays” like footie Christmas jammies and booze (for Brody, not me obv).

Finley ate the rest of the cookies left behind by Santa Christmas morning. She had a lot of sugar that day.

We did manage to take a sleepy-eyed family shot.

Here’s a good view of our tree and Finley’s new kitchen, a gift from her grandpa.

The tea set from Grandma Lee was a hit.

Breaks from gift opening were needed Christmas morning, mainly to eat Sara Lee coffee cake and drink coffee.

We helped Finley get started on the unwrapping, but once a corner was torn, she did a pretty good job finishing up.

Finley had lots of gifts to open, including a ton of books.

We saved a few presents for Finley to open once Grandma Chris, Aunt Laura and future Uncle Ben arrived.

Grandma Lee reading a new book to Finley.

Uncle Dan was a trooper and put up with a lot of estrogen during their visit.

This is how we managed to prevent a meltdown during Christmas dinner. She loves the episode Mickey Mouse Saves Santa.

The holidays were exhausting for Moose as well.

Finley and her Aunt Erin made a delicious eggnog loaf the day after Christmas.

Thanks to my sister and SIL for taking some of the photos above (which I stole off of Facebook).

I hope everyone had a happy holiday! Now is it just me or is it time for all these decorations to come down? 😄

I Whine for a Bit and Then List Ten Happies (not a real word)

Like everyone, I’m in shock that it’s August already. In my previous life as an English teacher, this is when I would start to freak out/get excited about the beginning of a new school year. I’d be planning units, getting my classroom ready, and reconnecting with colleagues. I miss that. Whoa – I didn’t intend for this post to get all down-in-the-dumps so quickly, but it’s been a little rough around here lately.

Big “first world problems” happening in our household. For one, as I explained already, we sold our house. Fast. Now we don’t have a new house to move into…that is unless you count our friends’ basement. We’ve been packing up the last seven years of our lives, and our dining and living rooms are filled with boxes. The walls are empty and closets are half full. It’s sad, but I’m okay. We are so incredible fortunate to have amazing friends who have offered up space in their house to live and/or store some of our belongings that we don’t want in storage.


This week, we were THIS close to having a great house. The house was on the market last year, didn’t sell, and was for sale again. We put in a few informal offers, and it seemed like she may accept. Then she changed her mind. And then we almost had it again. And then she said she was going to take it off the market. Hope, sadness, hope, sadness. After this last rejection, Brody and I have both moved on and realized this house will not be our forever home.

Our options now are to either wait for a house (in our price range that we like) to come on the market in the one neighborhood (fully developed, elementary school, pool, sidewalks, green space, etc.) we like, or build in a different neighborhood (which is also a really nice area but still being developed obviously). If we build and commit by September 1, the house would be complete by January 15. Such big decisions.

Another “first world problem” we’re dealing with is Finley. Oh my. Fevers, crabbiness, runny noses, night wakings, and did I mention crabbiness? I keep reminding myself of how horrible she must feel. I’ve heard that if adults experienced the pain babies feel when their teeth come in, we’d all be on high strength pain killers.

There have been some very good moments too in the past couple weeks. It’s not like me to be such a Debbie Downer, so here are ten awesome things about my life:

1. Finley is becoming a walker! It’s so cool to see her moving like a person.


2. We took a family trip to the zoo (on Finley’s super crabby day), and we had a great time. It’s some good and interesting people watching there on the weekends! Finley seemed to like the ostrich the most.

3. As we pack, we’ve also been purging. Lots of trips to Goodwill and lots of crap thrown away (we bought a Bagster and will have Waste Management pick it up before we move).

4. I’ve had a few good long runs alone and with friends. However, Brody and I have decided to not run the Madison Mini anymore. This was going to be a race we ran together, and with him getting sick and injured and us moving, we’re not ready. We’d like to do a fall half marathon instead.

5. My mom sold her condo and is moving up north to the cottage permanently. She’s officially retired and will be living in a beautiful house on the best lake ever.

6. I made a delicious dinner two nights ago: PaleOMG’s Thai Pork and Veggie Meatballs. The sauce is ridiculous. If I wasn’t trying to clean out the random food in my freezer, I’d buy more pork and curry powder and make it again soon.

7. Finley loves her Radio Flyer. Every time we walk past it in the garage, she points and grunts. She holds on to the handlebars, and it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.

8. Starbuck’s iced caramel machiaccto with whole milk = yum. I crave these all the time. I mean, why wouldn’t I? It’s the perfect combination of sugar, fat, and caffeine.

9. Today Brody and I are taking a pasta cooking class at A Pig in a Fur Coat with a bunch of other friends. We went in with two other couples and bid on the class through a raffle at a charity event. Yes, I know pasta is a grain and not Paleo/Primal. It’s a conscious cheat and will be worth it.

10. I read a book! My friend loaned me A Fault in Our Stars, and I really enjoyed it. I haven’t read a book for MONTHS (my previous English teacher self is scolding current SAHM self), and how I missed it. I once owned this book, but a student borrowed it and never returned it. Anyways, I’d like to see the movie now. Ha! Like that’ll happen.

Happy Saturday folks! Have a good weekend!


A Day in the Life with Finley [11-11-2013]

Just over a month ago, I did one of these posts. Not only are things changing a little as Finley gets older, but I’m now watching a 17 month old part time. This shows what a pretty typical Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (the days I watch Adalyn) is like for me.

6:33am I hear Finley talking to herself. She slept very well last night: 6:15pm to 2am (with a dream feed at 8:30pm), 2:30am to 3:45am (Brody got her back to sleep – yay Dad!), and 4:15am to 6:30am. Brody goes to get her and bring her to hang out in our bed for a bit.

6:35am Finley soaked through her diaper so I get up to change her while Brody showers. Question to moms: During the night, if your little one didn’t poop or have diaper rash, do you change his/her diaper?

6:45am I brew coffee, pick up clutter, and do a few dishes while Finley hangs out in her Bumbo. Brody comes down to make breakfast and “chat” with Finley.

7:10am My coffee is done, and I pour myself a cup to sip on while I nurse Fin.

7:20am She’s not very hungry and barely nurses, so into the bouncer she goes.

7:30am The dogs get let out to pee, and I make a yogurt mess bowl for breakfast and continue drinking coffee.

8:00am Finley and I play on the floor waiting for Adalyn.

8:18am Finley rubs her eyes, and it’s been over an hour and a half of awake time. I put her down for nap #1. As an experiment, I use the swaddle strap to see if it makes any difference in the length of this nap.

8:25am Adalyn arrives, and I put her in the high chair to finish eating her breakfast. However instead of eating the English muffin with peanut butter, she licks the peanut butter off and gets it all over her face.

8:45am The rain has turned to snow. Adalyn and I stare out the window at it (while I cry inside a little…I dislike the cold that comes with winter and snow).

9:03am Finley is awake. It’s a 42 minute nap – better than last week’s 28 minute ones. Maybe the strap did help.

9:35am Finley nurses. Adalyn has started carrying around her blanket – her nap time is coming up soon.

9:55am I put Adalyn down in the pack ‘n play in our guest room. Finley and I play in her room. I put away her clothes from the laundry basket.

10:15am It’s impossible to shower when both Finley and Adalyn are awake. I bring the bouncer into the bathroom for Fin to play in while I shower. She starts to fuss right as the conditioner (and fistfuls of my hair) go down the drain.

10:30 Fin and I read books in her room after a failed attempt to nap. She’s not ready yet.

10:45am Now she’s ready for nap #2. I put her in the swaddle strap again.

11:15am FOOD! I need food badly. My small-ish breakfast four hours ago wore off an hour ago. I make egg salad and put it on a wheat high fiber tortilla and have a small apple on the side.

I’m still hungry (no surprise) and eat a Sierra Trail Mix Clif bar. It satisfies my sweet tooth and fills me up.

12:15pm I get dinner cooking in the slow cooker; we’re having Iowa Girl Eat’s Crock Pot Thai chicken.

12:30pm Adalyn wakes up from her nap, and it’s lunch time for her.

12:45pm Finley wakes up, gets a clean diaper, and plays on her favorite mat.

1:00pm I clean up Adalyn’s face and hands and change her diaper. Finley hangs out on a blanket on her tummy.

1:20pm Adalyn’s mom, my friend, arrives and we catch up.

1:54pm Finley nurses and I respond to text messages.

2:10pm We go upstairs to have some quiet time in the nursery. I read a few books to Fin, including one of my favorites: Hand Hand Fingers Thumb.

2:33pm Nap time for Fin.

2:45pm Snack time for Mama! I have a handful of tortilla chips with a BLT dip and then an orange. I definitely did not eat enough fruit this weekend.

3:10pm After folding a load of laundry, I sit down to watch an episode of Parenthood.

3:20pm Finley’s eyes open. I attempt to soothe her back to sleep but to no avail.

3:30pm We bundle up for a trip to Woodman’s.

4:22pm We’re home from the store. I put away the groceries and Finley jumps around.

4:45pm I nurse Finley. She again eats for a short period of time – strange.

5:06pm Diaper and outfit change required – poop everywhere.

5:15pm I attempt to put Finley down for a nap (it’d be #4) but she was not interested. I decide to not fight it and let her have a longer awake period. This means she’ll be ready for bed around 6:20pm (three hours after the last nap ended).

5:20pm Brody gets home!

5:45pm Rubba-dubba-dub, Finley’s in the tub.

6:00pm Brody reads a few books to Fin before saying goodnight to her.

6:15pm I change Fin’s pajamas (she spit up all over the first pair she was in), put her in a sleep sack, and sing “Twinkle Twinkle” to her.

6:35pm Finley falls asleep.

6:45pm I finish making dinner, and Brody and I eat while watching The West Wing.

7:30pm We continue relaxing on the couch but switch to The Voice.

8:49 Normally I dream feed Finley around now, but she has woken up, and instead of soothing her back to sleep, I feed her.

9:30pm Bedtime for Mama.

What’s the best part of your day?
What’d you eat for lunch and dinner yesterday?

Sleep is Good

I think I have an unhealthy mental obsession with sleep. And not for myself. For Finley.

I had NO idea how much babies slept. This aspect was not discussed in the baby classes we attended and it never came up in conversations with my friends with kids.

Sleep is so important for babies. Here are some things I’ve learned in the last few weeks:
~ the more babies sleep during the day, the better they sleep at night
~ between naps, babies are awake for only 45-90 minutes
~ an 8-week old (which is how old Finley is) should sleep around 15 hours a day
~ sleep is important for babies’ brain development


Finley sleeping on Bridget – aww!

At Mother Baby Hour a few weeks ago, a mom mentioned the book The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program by Dr. Polly Moore and what a difference it made in her child. I got my hands on it last week and read it in a couple days (skipping the section for babies six months to a year). The gist of the book:
~ babies operate on 90 minute sleep and awake cycles (often times they’ll sleep and be awake in 90 minute increments)
~ Dr. Moore recommends establishing the N.A.P.S. routine: note time of waking, add 90 minutes to know when baby will need to go down again, play (this includes eating), and soothe baby back to sleep
~ watch for baby’s sleep cues: yawning, rubbing eyes, fussiness, blank stare, etc.
~ whether a baby sleeps for 20 minutes or three hours, the 90 minutes of awake time begins

I’ve been tracking Finley’s daily schedule using the Total Baby app for weeks now, and it was interesting to go back weeks before I knew about the 90 minute “theory.” Often times, Finley was awake for 60-90 minutes between naps!

If anything, this book has made me pay closer attention to Finley’s sleep cues. Also, the book offers some piece of mind in that if a baby goes past 90 minutes and becomes inconsolably fussy, she’ll likely be ready to sleep after another 90 minutes.

The unpredictability of Finley’s sleeping (which really has been amazing in what I’ve gathered from reading and hearing about other babies) is what gets me. Last week, Finley slept for almost nine hours STRAIGHT one night.

She apparently blew lots of bubbles and ended up with these funky white lips.

Early on I felt a teensy bit of anxiety each night when going to bed, not knowing when I’d be waking up and for how long. I do my best to create a safe and soothing sleep environment (swaddle, swing, pacifier, white noise, my nursing tank), but beyond that, I cannot control how long Finley sleeps. This includes her naps, which typically range from one to three hours each.

Yesterday was not a good nap day, and it was so frustrating. While she took one 2-hour nap in her carseat (which included a walk to Orange Leaf), all of her naps were 40 minutes or less. I felt so defeated, and it made me very nervous that we were in for a terrible night of sleep (see first bullet point). To my surprise, she slept like a champ last night: 8:30pm – 1:30am and 2:00am – 6:10am.

So what did yesterday teach me?

a) I can’t control everything. No matter how much I read about sleep, Finley’s going to determine when she sleeps and for how long. All I can do is help her go down when she shows that she’s ready.

b) I need to chill the heck out. When things don’t go as well as they had been, this doesn’t mean it’s not going to get better.

c) I need to keep napping. It had been a few days since I had napped, so I think this made point a difficult and created point b.

When Finley woke up yesterday morning after a less than awesome night of sleep, I sleepily shuffled into her room, bent down to pick her up out of the swing, and she smiled at me.


Way to put me in my place Finley.

What To Do When You’re Overdue

Only about 5% of babies are born on their due dates, so it really shouldn’t come as a shock that mine has come and gone.

Physically, I’m doing good. I’ve been staying quite active (two trips to the dog park yesterday = four miles of walking) and did just over an hour of cardio (treadmill walking and elliptical) at the gym this morning.

Mentally…well, not horrible but not as good. I like to be busy and have stuff to do. As much as I complain about the grading that comes along with the school year, I love working. Typically by this point in the summer, I have started babysitting. Instead I’m at home, waiting…

What is an overdue pregnant lady to do when she’s not working and at home waiting for her life to drastically change?

Watch TLC, specifically A Baby Story, Long Island Medium, and What Not to Wear

Some tears have been shed with those first two shows.

Read a good book

I am loving Gone Girl – I just got to a really good spot and a big twist in the story.

Make lists of mundane (and maybe important) things to do

Doesn’t it feel productive to cross things off, even if it’s “clean coffee maker”?


Not only is exercise good for you and the baby, but some say it may help get labor going.

Meet up with friends

Yesterday, I met up with Nicole and her daughter at Orange Leaf – so good to see her again! Oh ya – and I have a frequent buyer card now. So dangerous. On Monday, I met my friend Jeana and her 7 week old daughter Avery at Starbucks.

Check Gmail, Facebook, Feedly, and Instagram (too often)

Been doing WAY too much checking of social media lately.

People keep saying things like “Enjoy these last few quiet days.” I am trying, but when I have no idea what it’s going to be like with a newborn, how can I understand?

At least the dogs like having me at home during the day. They follow me around, get to go outside more (including the park), and take selfies with me.

Any productive or completely mundane tasks I should add to my to-do list?

First Afternoon of Summer

First and most importantly, I want you all to know I celebrated National Donut Day yesterday. I couldn’t decide on just one donut, so I had two halves.

So good and tasted great with a little iced coffee.

Yesterday around 12:30pm, I graded my last final exam. My fifth full year of teaching was complete. It felt awesome but weird.

Next year I’ll be taking off the entire first semester to stay home with Baby. Knowing I wouldn’t be back in the building or seeing my students and coworkers for many months was surreal. I had many colleagues stop by to make sure I made it, wish me good luck, and chat about pregnancy/birth/kids. I will miss working but know I’ll enjoy being a stay at home mom for a little while.

It’s always a funky transition from the go-go-go of the end the year to the beginning of summer. I literally walked in to my house and had NOTHING to do. Truly nothing.

So what did I do?

I took a nap here.


I talked on the phone with this pretty lady (who is due with her second boy in two weeks!).


I went to the dog park.


I ate an amazing dinner with Brody al fresco: steak from Jacobson Brothers and grilled veggies.


I read a little of Gone Girl before turning the lights out at 10pm.


As I said on Facebook, I am so proud of Baby for listening to my request and waiting to make her grand entrance. But now she can come – we’re ready. Like, maybe tomorrow…

Any teachers out there get what I’m saying about the transition into summer?
How would you spend an afternoon with nothing to do?
Do you eat outside often during the summer? Favorite outdoor meal?

Baby Shower

Happy Memorial Day!

While I should be bummed that it’s cold and drizzly outside, I’m not. A day inside relaxing on the couch, watching Newsroom (a fabulous HBO show), grading research papers, and writing a couple blog posts is just what I need. Okay, I could do without the grading part, but it can’t be all rest and relaxation.

I’ve been procrastinating on this post but am excited to share the day with you all and also get everything documented before I forget all of the details. I’ve heard mommy brain is way worse than pregnancy brain.

The first weekend in May, my sister and mom threw me a baby shower. Luckily people (besides me) took pictures using Brody and my new camera: Canon PowerShot XS260 HS. They turned out great and will help me remember this fun day.

My mom and sister, Laura, kept me in the dark about most things, which I was perfectly fine with. They had a pale yellow and pink theme – very pretty.


My mom works at a bakery up in the Appleton area, and the owner made this beautiful cake. I loved the book idea! As I’ve mentioned, reading to our baby is something Brody and I are very excited to do, and we have TONS of books already.

But back to this cake. It was not only gorgeous but also delicious: vanilla cake, strawberry filling, and the most perfect, fluffy, not overly sweet frosting.

Sadly, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law do not live close by, and instead of booking flights to come to the shower, they’re waiting to come visit until the baby is born. Makes sense – this baby is going to be much more interesting outside of my belly. They were both at the shower in spirit, though, and I thought of them every time I looked at the beautiful flowers they sent.IMG_0022

I loved looking at this huge bouquet on my kitchen table for the next week!

Originally, I believe my mom and sister were considering hosting the shower at a restaurant, but Kelly and Owen graciously opened up their house for this shindig. Their house is an open-concept layout with a patio right off the kitchen – it was seriously perfect, so thank you to them!IMG_0024

Owen loved being the only male at the party, and as always, he was such a happy baby.

In case you were wondering, the other boys, Barret (Kelly’s husband, Owen’s dad, and Brody’s law school buddy and now coworker) and Brody, took the dogs up to the Dodgeville area where Barret’s parents have a house and lots of land – like 300+ acres. They all spent the afternoon hiking, and the dogs went swimming in a pond.

After mingling for a bit, my sister had everyone sit and we did the first game and round of gifts. Using pink string, guests had to guess my belly’s circumference – I believe my godmother, Linda, won.IMG_0034

Every guest was asked to bring a book that either they or their child enjoyed. It was so fun getting more books! Surprisingly, with this shower and my one at school (where people were also asked to each bring a book), I didn’t end up with too many duplicates. Plus, I’ve been told, it’s good to have more than one for putting in various places: nursery, first floor, car, diaper bag, etc.

After book opening, it was time to eat. We had quite the buffet: pulled pork and ham sandwiches, fruit salad, pasta salad, veggies and dip, taco salad, and pita and hummus. Of course we also had cake.
IMG_0045And we had cookies made by my sister’s coworker.

IMG_0042It was so nice outside that a handful of guests and myself ate on the patio. Wisconsin had been having such a craptastic spring, so this sunshine and warm weather felt amazing. IMG_0048

After eating, we all came back inside to play a couple more games. My sister did a great job of picking games that were fun but not too cheesy or time consuming. Good work Laura!

Next, it was time to open gifts. While I love getting these gifts for Baby and so appreciate everyone’s generosity, this is my least favorite part of showers. I tried to find a balance between not going too slow, but also taking my time with each person’s gift to show how thankful I am. I also recognize it’s not the most entertaining part of the day for my guests, so I don’t want them to be bored.

IMG_0068By the end of the gift opening, I was a little sweaty, not gonna lie.

People started to head out after the gifts had been opened. The shower started at 11am, and it was around 2pm by this time.

I had so much fun seeing everyone, and there were lots of different groups of friends who came: high school friends, college friends, Wine and Recipe friends, Brody’s female coworkers/friends, and family friends. It was a wonderful day, and I was reminded how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life.

IMG_0041I can’t wait for Baby to meet all of these fantastic people, including the two people who made this day possible: my mom and sister.

When you attend showers (bridal or baby), do you buy off the registry, give gift cards, or get something different?
What’s your favorite and least favorite parts of being a guest at a shower and being the “guest of honor”?

Six for Sunday

1. I might have a hernia. I’m not sure yet because my doctor couldn’t confirm it 100%, but I am scheduled to meet with a surgeon on Friday – kind of nerve wrecking as a 27 week pregnant woman. I’m also unsure how much detail I want to go into this on my blog; we’ll see as I find out more this week.

2. On a more positive note, Brody and I brought a box of books to Half Price Books, were given $16.50 for them, and then spent $45 (after the $16.50 was subtracted) on new books. Ha! But we got a handful of baby and kids books, including a few classics.

Along with the bedding from Land of Nod, we also got some shelves (the natural wood ones).

They’ll look awesome in her room!

3. Last night we had dinner plans with our friends Andrew and Melissa. They’re so fun to hang out with and we all just click really well. We had plans to try Forequarter, but the wait was TWO HOURS! No thank you. Next we drove to A Pig in a Fur Coat, which I blogged about before, and their wait was 45 minutes. Just to see, Brody called Umami, which I also blogged about, and their wait was only 20 minutes. I love Umami and was excited to have everyone try it for the first time. Unfortunately, I forgot my phone and took no food pics, but I will tell you what we/I had: appetizers included pork and chives dumplings, chicken dumplings, beef buns (these were amazing), pulled pork buns, and for my meal I had my go-to miso ramen. Delicious!

4. Today I went to Babies R Us with a neighbor, Robin, to register.

Brody and I decided on most of the big stuff together (car seat, strollers, swing, bouncer, etc.) and put those items on our Amazon registry, so today was for the smaller items. I asked my neighbor because she has four kids (the youngest being 9 months), and Brody was cool with it.
Before picking up Robin, I printed off a registry checklist but ended up using the one Babies R Us gave me.

Robin was so helpful! She gave advice as to what brands work best for her and the boys (yup, four boys) and how many of each item I really need. Even though I had a bunch of stuff already picked out for the Amazon registry, it still took us two hours to go through the store. Here are some of the items I picked: Summer SwadleMe, aden + anais swaddle blankets and burp bibs, Boppy pillow, Avent bottles, Carter’s white onesies, and a quilted sheet for the pack n’ play. There were some items I didn’t like the selection of (e.g. Boppy covers) and some that I’ll buy on my own (e.g. disposable nursing pads). I also noted on our registry that we are not doing pink decor, and hopefully this will deter people from buying us lots of pink stuff.

5. The weather this weekend has been crappy: rain, rain, rain, and some snow tonight. While it’s great that lots of the snow is gone, it has also meant no trips to the dog park this weekend. Sad puppies (and dirty floor).


6. Brody and I finished the day out with some shopping: Costco, Sherwin Williams, and the grocery store. We also cleaned out the nursery even more. Sadly, we did not get around to bathing the dogs. I’m sure they don’t care, but they are getting a little ripe.

Have a good night!

Monday, Monday

“So good to me.”

I know a handful of older rock songs from my childhood. My dad loved music from the 60s and 70s, and as he drove me to and from ballet five days a week, that’s the music we listened to. This includes “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas.

How was your weekend? Did you go out, socialize, eat too much, drink too much, or stay up late? Or, was it a relaxing, rejuvenating two days? Mine was the perfect mix of both.

Saturday was Brody’s birthday, and since we had guests coming in to town and other plans Saturday night, Brody’s birthday dinner happened on Friday. He requested pan-style pizza.

There are lots of recipes out there that mimic Pizza Hut’s pan pizza. I found one, bought the ingredients I was missing, and got to work right after school.

Surprisingly everything turned out! I used my Pampered Chef stonewear deep baking sheet and ended up baking the dough without toppings for five-ish minutes before loading it with a chunky tomato sauce, Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, and cheese.

Post-pizza, I passed out on the couch at 8:30pm while Brody watched Grosse Pointe Blank. I was the life of the party!

We had friends from Chicago come visit this weekend. Adam and Megan arrived around noon on Saturday, and with empty bellies, we hit up The Alchemy for food and beer (obviously none for me). Last time I ate there I had the Matilda sandwich – I passed that recommendation on to Megan and she got it (and loved it). I had the vegetable grilled cheese and devoured it. Brody and Adam each ordered the pork sliders.

Post-lunch, we visited Ale Asylum. The three of them drank delicious hoppy beer (can you tell I miss it a little?) such as Hopalicious, Satisfaction Jacksin, and Ballistic while I sipped water and Diet Coke.

Post-drinking, we ran home to let the pups out and then went to Cooper’s for dinner. I had the fish and chips – not the healthiest (actually quite unhealthy) but it was delicious and I didn’t stuff myself.

Good food and beer = happy people!

Now for the best part of the weekend: the Avett Brothers concert!

The concert was at the Orpheum on State Street in Madison which is where we saw Trampled By Turtles two weekends ago. The line to get in was all the way down the block to Noodles. Once we got in line, though, it moved quickly. Inside we luckily found an area to stand/sit and enjoyed the show. They were amazing performers and so much fun. Even though I only recognized about a fourth of their songs, I was still bouncing, dancing, clapping, or swaying along to everything.

And because this post is getting a little word heavy, I’ll wrap up Sunday in a list: Woodman’s to grocery shop, breakfast of pancakes and bacon and baking and cooking (details coming later).


It also involved visiting open houses, napping, reading of The Good Soldiers, and some eating interspersed through all of that.

The weekend was the perfect mix of activity and relaxation and time with Brody, friends and myself. I was ready to tackle the day today having had such a great weekend.

I hope you also had a wonderful weekend!

Coming soon…tuna salad recipe and a banana bread recipe.

What kind of beer do you like?
Who have you seen in concert recently?
What’s your perfect weekend like?

Stuck in a Rut

Good morning! I was awake early, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning just like Jimmy.


Photo of Jimmy, his handler (?), and the SP mayor last year

To be honest, I don’t know what time Jimmy, Sun Prairie’s groundhog, wakes up on his special day. Probably closer to sunrise. I was happy to find out that Jimmy did not see his shadow, which means an early spring. Thank you, Sun, for waiting to come out until after this very scientific event.

Apparently, Sun Prairie is the “official” groundhog capital of the world, and yet Punxsutawney stole all the glory. If you care at all, here’s Sun Prairie’s groundhog website.

The connection I made between Groundhog Day and my life comes from the movie with Bill Murray, who wakes up every morning on the same day. He relives the same day differently, and eventually starts to not care what he does (e.g. drives his car, accompanied by a groundhog, off a cliff). It has been a really long time since I’ve seen this movie, and I don’t recall all the details, but it’s safe to say Bill Murray’s character is stuck in an uncontrollable rut.

I am in some ruts; most I like, and one I don’t.

My breakfast is in a rut…and I’m loving it.

Some kind of toasted bread product, Earth Balance coconut chunky peanut butter on one slice, light cream cheese on the other, sometimes a banana, sometimes orange juice, and always my vitamins (a prenatal and 500mg of vitamin D3).

Oh, you haven’t hear of this amazing peanut butter yet?

Please find the nearest store with the largest nut butter selection (for us it’s Woodman’s), and purchase this. It has a light coconut flavor that somehow complements the peanut flavor perfectly.

I’m in a survival, post-apocalyptic tv show rut…and I am happy with it. After bulldozing through The Walking Dead, we were at a loss. What to watch for a month until season three picks up again on Feb. 10? Brody suggested Jericho, a show about a small Kansas town who does their best to function after a handful of nuclear bombs cripple many major U.S. cities.

Just the other night, we finished season one, and it was very good. Not as addicting or consuming as The Walking Dead, but still a good dose of humans dealing with a world very different from the one we know now.

I’m in a workout rut…and I’m semi-ok with it. For the last couple months, I have been running three miles twice a week, taking BodyPump once a week, and sometimes going to yoga. When it wasn’t negative a million degrees, I also get to the dog park about three times a week. Considering I am carrying a few extra pounds around in my belly, I am proud of how I’ve kept up with a decent exercise routine. While I don’t want to shock my body by doing anything new, I could benefit from taking a step or Zumba class and maybe even jumping on the elliptical from time to time. Anyone know of any good pregnancy workout DVDs?

Lastly, I’m in a non-reading rut…and I’m not okay with this one. I’m an English teacher for pete’s sake! During my first trimester, I was so tired by the time I made it to bed, I fell out of the nighttime reading habit. While Brody read or watched tv, I would pass out immediately. Now I am still quite tired at night, but not like before. With the start of a new semester, I’m not swamped in grading yet, and I have the time. I also just started a new book, The Good Soldiers by David Finkel, and I really like it so far.

Sadly, I forgot to bring my book home from school this weekend. Can blog and Real Simple reading be an okay substitute for now? I hope so,

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

What rut are you stuck in? Is it good or bad?