A Day in the Life [12-11-14]

What better way to fill you in on my life than a this-is-what-I-did-in-day-if-you-care-at-all post. Oh, and it never shows up in what we did today, but I’m pregnant and due June 4! Finley will have a little brother or sister who is almost two years younger than her.

5:50am: Finley is awake but it’s too early for everyone.

5:55am: I’ve successfully soothed her back to sleep.

6:20am: Now she’s awake for real.

6:25am: Diaper change

6:30am: Sesame Street in Mom and Dad’s bed

7:00am: Breakfast with The Today Show playing in the background

7:30am: Bake pumpkin muffins

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7:40am: Finley watches the rest of the Sesame Street episode.

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8:00am: Diaper change

8:05am: Play time with breaks to sample the muffins

9:30am: Drop off at gym’s daycare

9:35am: Kickboxing class for Mama

10:25am: Shower…alone with no toddler trying to open my hairspray or use Qtips

10:35am: Pick up Finley from daycare

11:00am: Home and diaper change

11:10am: Lunch

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11:35am: Play with Mom’s wallet and attempt to eat coins

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11:45am: Read books in Finley’s room

12:00pm: Diaper change

12:10am: Sing “Twinkle Twinkle” and put Finley in her crib

12:20pm: Finley is asleep.

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12:25pm: Make Starbucks hot chocolate

12:45pm: Address Christmas cards in the basement

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1:20pm: Work on this post

2:00pm: Odds and ends: make guac (avocados were on their last legs), fold laundry, brush teeth (whoops, hadn’t done that yet today), pick up a little, etc.

2:30pm: Relax on the couch, meal plan, and make grocery list

2:55pm: Finley is awake – quite a nap!

3:00pm: She has a kids Chobani tube and we watch Mickey’s Christmas Carol. *Normally we only watch an hour or less of tv a day (typically Sesame Street), but I saw this recorded and wanted to see it too.

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3:30pm: Finley eats peanut butter granola with milk, and I have crackers and cheese.

4:00pm: Walk the dogs – Finley cries for the last half of it while I try to keep her happy by singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and the ABCs.

4:30pm: Home and diaper change

4:40pm: Play and wait for Dad to come home (plus another diaper change at some point)

5:25pm: Brody is home, and I watch while he entertains Finley.

6:10pm: Dinner – we all fend for ourselves.

6:40pm: Finley gets a bath.

6:55pm: Brody and I read Finley holiday books.

7:10pm: Lights out for our little one

7:15pm: Couch, pineapple, tv (Blackhawks are playing), Facebook, blogs, Instagram, text with my sister, and this post

8:45pm: Get ready for bed

9:00pm: Lights out for the adults

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My Unwarranted Advice for Soon-to-be Moms

A handful of my friends are pregnant right now. Some with their first, and some with their second. I love talking about all things pregnancy and baby related, and I realized I had never done a post like this before. While I am far from an expert, here are my two unwarranted cents.

1. Read The Happiest Baby on the Block before Baby is born. Read it again after Baby is born. A friend recommended this book to Brody, and I am SO thankful. It was an invaluable resource and helped prepare us for making Finley comfortable in her new, scary environment (aka the world and not the uterus). I suggest reading it after Baby’s birth because you’ll likely have missed or forgotten something, or it will just make more sense now with a tiny being in front of you.

2. Attend a mother baby hour from early on and as long as you can. When Finley was three weeks, I went to Meriter’s (my hospital) weekly meeting for first time mamas. There are three groups: 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 months. I went almost every week and looked forward to each meeting. I found it to be a safe place to talk about my struggles and ask questions. So many moms were going through similar things, or had recently gone through it, and I learned a lot from them and the nurse who facilitated the meetings. A group of about twenty moms formed a Friday play group so that we could continue to get together past nine months, let our kids play, and be there for each other.

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Finley at one of her last Mother Baby Hours

3. This one is quite trivial but enjoy your thick, luscious hair during pregnancy and for the first few months post birth. Because it’s going to fall out. As someone with thin hair, I loved this part of pregnancy. Thanks to the extra estrogen in our bodies, the hair follicles hold on to the hair you’d normally lose. So when your hair starts coming out and clogging the shower drain, it’s releasing all the hair it’s been hanging on to for over a year. I’ve also been dealing with awkward re-growth of hair on the top of my scalp.

4. Don’t become obsessed with napping like I did. Looking back, I see how much energy I wasted regarding Finley’s napping. Finley was never a bad sleeper (although she had her rough patches like all babies). There’s so much I could say here, but I won’t. I only wish I would’ve been more “go with the flow” and not have been so much of a nap slave. (Do you feel the same way Jena?)

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Sleepy baby

5. You don’t need to change Baby’s diaper very often in the night. For the first few weeks of Finley’s life, I changed her diaper every time she got up in the middle of the night. This would often extend her time awake and make her upset (cold air, cold wipes, etc). I finally learned that unless the diaper is soiled or she’s had it on for a long time, it’s unnecessary to change it.

6. Leave Baby with your partner overnight as soon as you’re ready. Or maybe sooner. I went on a girls weekend trip for two nights to Lake Geneva (an hour and a half away) when Finley was four months old. Brody stayed home with Finley, and he did awesome. I appreciated and needed the break from my role as a mommy.

7. Consider joining Netflix. This was something Brody told a couple recently, so I’m stealing it for this list. Newborns sleep A LOT. I watched the first season of Orange is the New Black in a few days. This winter, we watched all seven seasons of The West Wing.

8. Make as many freezer meals as you can before Baby is born. Even though babies sleep a lot early on, you’ll often be so exhausted that cooking is not appealing. I spent Finley’s naps cleaning, napping myself, or *gasp* relaxing (reading or watching tv). Freezer meals that involve a slow cooker would be ideal. A simple search on online (or even my blog!) will provide lots of options.

9. Keep food and water next to the chair where you feed your baby. I was hungry and thirsty all the time when Finley was first born. Before Finley went to sleep, I’d put an extra water bottle and a small snack (trail mix, Larabar-like balls, etc) next to the rocker.

10. Find a babysitter you trust and use him/her to go on date nights with your partner. Or get a haircut by yourself. We left Finley with a babysitter for an afternoon when she was six weeks old. That may be earlier than some parents are ready for, but we felt confident in our sitter and weren’t going to be far from home. A former neighbor of ours recommended our sitter, who recently graduated from college, and her mom lived across the street from us. I know other moms have had luck with care.com and the UW Job Center website (if you love in the Madison area, but I bet other colleges have something similar). If you’re lucky enough to have family members in the area, take advantage of when they offer to watch your little one.

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Brody and I at a wedding sans baby

Questions:
What was some good or bad advice you were given about pregnancy or babies?
How have you helped a new mama out during those first few months?

WIAW (but actually WIAFriday) and Day in the Life

I’m finally doing a WIAW! It’s been a very long time. Thanks for Jenn for being such a gracious host.

Finley wakes up around 7am. She gets a clean diaper and nurses. Then it’s my turn to eat!

Breakfast: coconut Chobani, banana, and Eat Live Run’s granola
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That was the last of the granola – sad. It was my second batch, and you better believe I’ll be making another one next week. As I eat, Finley plays in her exer-saucer thing.

We go upstairs to her room to play and read books before nap #1. I enjoy a cup of coffee with a little cream and milk.
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Squeezing a workout in during this nap is the best chance of it happening. I had picked up a Jillian Michaels’ Last Chance DVD from the library, so I give it a whirl – the workout I choose is a good one!
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I take a bird bath (shower without washing my hair) just as Finley wakes up. After feeding her, she plays on the family room floor as I Swiffer our wood floors.

Now it’s lunch time. We’re eating a little early because I didn’t have a morning snack and we have errands to run before nap #2. Finley eats avocado, egg yolks mixed with plain whole milk yogurt, and pear.
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Lunch: two egg scramble with salsa and cheddar cheese, quarter of an avocado, two pieces of wheat toast, and some canned pineapple

Finley and I pack up for an afternoon away from the house. Our adventures begin with a Woodman’s run.
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I quickly drop the groceries off at home while Fin stays in the car, and then we take off for a coffee shop. I’ve timed it so that Finley’s nap #2 will happen in the car. She took a good morning nap, so I’m okay if her other nap(s) isn’t as great. As expected, she sleeps on the drive to the coffee shop and wakes up as I park.

Friday afternoons we go to a play group formed from the Mother Baby Hour we attended. I really like the moms, and Finley likes looking at the other babies and sharing toys.
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This was also the time I needed a snack.

Snack: chai latte, kombucha, and an unpictured banana
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We stayed at play group until 4pm and then headed home. Once again, I timed it so Fin would take another cat nap in the car.

Surprise, surprise – I’m hungry again. As I eat, I prep an apple for Finley for the next few meals.

Snack: apple and peanut butter
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Brody gets home around 5:30pm, and his dad and stepmom arrive soon after. We all watch as Finley eats her dinner. Her grandpa and step-grandma try to hold her, but she gets pouty. Like many babies, she isn’t always okay being held by new people. I’m hoping she warms up to them before they leave.

After a quick bath and nursing session, I put Fin down for the night. She falls asleep within five minutes a little after 7pm.

I join everyone downstairs and stuff my face with three pieces of pizza. This is one more than I normally eat, and in the end, a mistake. I also drink half a bottle of wine.

Dinner: Salvatore’s pizza and red wine
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My father-in-law and his wife drive back to their hotel; they’ve been awake for almost 24 hours (they live in Switzerland). Brody and I plop on the couch and watch The West Wing. I fall asleep during the second episode (we’re already in season seven!) – wine does that to me.

It was a good day: a workout, errands, friends, good food, and family.

Non-Baby Topics (No Lie…Not Even One Picture)

Let’s chat about something other than sleep, breastmilk, and all other baby-related topics.

First up, TV! Now that I’m home full-time, I’ve been watching more TV (should I be ashamed?), or at least having it on in the background. Brody and I also continue to watch our shows at night.

My daytime TV starts with The Today Show. I was embarrassingly excited when they announced that Carson Daly is joining the team!!!!
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I always defend Carson when Brody pokes fun of him on The Voice and thought he was fantastic when he was a guest host for The Today Show a month ago.

I also regularly watch What Not To Wear and The Chew, both of which I DVR. Sometimes I’ll see an episode of Long Island Medium or The Dr. Oz Show.

At night, Brody and I have a handful of shows we’re into. This section demands a list:

1) Have you seen The Newsroom? If not, you have to watch it.
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It’s in its second season and is SO well done. The writer and producer, Aaron Sorkin, also created Sports Night and The West Wing. The show gives a (fictional) behind the scenes look at producing a nightly news program. The characters are well-developed, and the plot is just smart.

2) Sons of Anarchy started up again, and we watched the first episode the other night. I forgot how violent that show is: anal rape, torture porn, drowning in a tub of urine. Oy! And I’m sure all of the S.O.A. and Fifty Shades of Grey fans out there heard that Charlie Hunnam will be Christian Grey in the film version of the very popular trilogy (which I never read).
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3) The Food Truck Road Race is another one we keep up with. Quite a 180 from S.O.A., right? Tyler Florence hosts this show, and I’m guessing the title gives away the premise.

4) Brody started watched Revolution on Netflix on his own, and I got sucked in a couple weekends ago about ten episodes into the first season. We enjoyed Lost, and this is by the same writer, JJ Abrams. It’s a slightly futuristic setting in which the “lights went out.” No power, no electricity…well, sort of. This is the perfect lazy weekend show.

Second non-baby discussion point, FOOD!

Last weekend, Brody was gone, and a kind friend brought over soup for me. One less meal to figure out? Awesome! The soup (with kale, ground turkey, and carrots) was delicious, and with the cooler temps, I’m ready to start making more comfort foods. I found the recipe my friend used (link above) and made myself a batch. Instead of rice, I added some potatoes that were on their last legs. It was the perfect quick and healthy lunch for me last week.

I was craving something sweet (no surprise) I found this protein powder peanut butter cookies. They were what you’d expect from a healthy cookie, but I actually prefer this protein powder cookie dough. Brody came home, saw the cookies thinking they were “real”, and got excited. I quickly intercepted his reaching hand – he would’ve spit the cookie out and given me that “I can’t believe you eat this” look. Because I’m an awesome wife, I made “real” cookies for him this morning…with peanut butter, and butter, and sugar. Smitten Kitchen has the best cookie recipes, so I followed hers. Peanut butter cookies for the win! I broke my rule (more of a guideline) of not eating chocolate before noon and had two. Then I had two after lunch. I’ll probably have more before the day is done.

This is kind of food related: a commercial was shot at my house on Wednesday. Like a legit commercial that will air on TV (only on the east coast, though). How did this come to be? A neighbor of mine knows the woman who was responsible for finding locations for breakfast sausage company’s commercial. My neighbor suggested my house since they were looking for a kitchen space with a breakfast bar. Out of a handful of houses, mine was one of three selected! A crew of thirty some people arrived at 7:30am and occupied the entire first floor of my house. Lots of cars and an RV lined the streets around my house, camera and lighting equipment was set up inside and outside, and there was a food buffet outside…cause that’s when you know it’s the real deal.
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They left at 8:00pm (after doing a very good job of cleaning my house) and handed over a nice check. Plus, they left a package of breakfast sausage in the freezer for us! It was a very cool and unique experience.

Third and final topic, exercise. I’m kind of back on that horse; this past week I went to kickboxing on Tuesday, Zumba on Wednesday, and ran three miles on Friday. My body feels good, but I can definitely tell something is different with my knees. They ache when I crouch down and stand up, even if I hadn’t recently worked out. Also, I don’t notice it’s any worse after running. Pregnancy can affect ligaments, and I’m guessing that’s what is going on. I also need new shoes. It could be that.

I didn’t even mention “she who will not be named” once. Bet you didn’t think I could do it? It was hard.

Questions:
What show(s) are you into?
What’s the best thing you’ve made recently?
What’s been your go-to way to exercise recently?

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
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Some tears have been shed with those first two shows.

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

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

Meet up with friends
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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)
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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.
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Question:
Any productive or completely mundane tasks I should add to my to-do list?

Views of a Memorial Day Weekend

It’s Monday but it feels like Sunday. I love that. This week is going to fly by!!!

I attempted to take more (random) photos than normal this weekend, and I somewhat succeeded.

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Brody used his Phish mug from Bridget for the first time Saturday morning. People have told Brody that with a baby, coffee is going to become a regular drink for him. He was practicing.

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I have been loving Corn Chex lately. Dry or with 1% Sassy Cow milk, and it hits the spot. I never have cereal for breakfast, though – only as a snack.

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I took the advice of Liz and made some muffins for easy breakfasts once Baby arrives. I’ve had this recipe for sweet potato muffins forever and finally made them. They are delicious!

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I am at 37 weeks and 5 days in this picture and getting ready for a Memorial Day BBQ at our friends’ house. I was semi-patriotic with a red tank under a white shirt.

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Brody rode his new bike to the BBQ (15 miles in 50 minutes – impressive!). I drove and was responsible for choosing Brody’s beer for the day; I bought Capitol’s new IPA, Bell’s Oberon, and O’Douls red amber (for me).

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There was lots of good food at the BBQ; I had a cheeseburger, taco dip, lots and lots of fruit, and a cupcake. I brought screwdriver cupcakes (meant to be a bundt cake but worked great as cupcakes), a recipe from a Wine and Recipe night, and people loved them.

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On Monday, we all woke up to cold, rainy weather. While Brody and I were happy to have the weather match our level of ambition, the dogs were not thrilled. Lots of pouting going on around here.

Enjoy the last few hours of your three-day weekend!

Not a Weekend Warrior

My weekend update is a little late, but I have a good excuse: last night I judged a Forensics tournament at the high school I teach at and didn’t get home until 9pm. As they say, better late than never.

Brody was MIA this weekend (aka bachelor party in Chicago). He was gone from Friday to Monday and had a great time with his college buddies.

Knowing I’d be home alone, my mom and sister came to hang out. We had no definite plans, and that was fine by me.

As the title states, I was not especially productive this weekend, but I did still did stuff; plus, I actually remembered to take some pictures!

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Already on Friday night Moose was missing Brody, staring at the door into the garage, waiting for him to walk in. I was missing him too, but I didn’t lie down on the tile floor and stare at the door.

I was super lame-o on Friday night, but it was awesome. My mom and sister weren’t coming until Saturday, so I’d turned to Netflix for some entertainment. I watched Goats and Hungry for Change. Bridget, via text message, challenged me to watch three documentaries this weekend, but I failed. Instead, the movies became less “intellectual” as the weekend continued: Knight and Day, Mirror Mirror, and The Five-Year Engagement. Maybe next weekend Bridget!

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The walk into the dog park was like an ice rink. Inside the park wasn’t much better.

The sun was out both days this weekend, and the temperatures weren’t bad at all. Saturday I went solo, but my sister joined me on Sunday. Some parts of the park are very dangerous right now, and a dog park lady and fellow Golden owner scolded me for coming while pregnant. I was careful, though, and walked off the path in the snow or shuffled slowly over the ice.

Along with walking for forty-five minutes each day, I also made it to BodyPump Saturday morning. My hope of getting to a yoga class did not happen. Can I say “Maybe next weekend” for that too?

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A Food Fight gift card was burning a hole in my wallet, and I rarely go out to eat when my mom is in town. I took my mom and sister to Monty’s Blue Plate Diner, where I hadn’t been since right after college. We had to wait for about thirty minutes, and my hunger pangs told me I needed something stat.

Insert image in mind of a massive cranberry muffin.

My sister had a bite, and I had about half the muffin. Luckily I had some self-control and saved room for lunch.

My mom had a grilled sandwich with chicken (still makes me want to gag), bacon, and goat cheese; my sister chose the Florentine (two poached eggs over sourdough toast with spinach, tomatoes and a mornay sauce); I ordered the “hippie” sandwich with grilled tempeh, mushrooms, onions, and avocado.

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We were all very happy and left with full bellies.

The weekend also included shopping (Home Depot, Marshall’s, hair supplies store, and the Dollar Tree), eating (frozen pizza, burgers, salad, and potatoes with sour cream), baking (macaroons), reading (I finished The Good Soldiers), and even a little grading (sonnets written by my freshmen).

Very proudly, I’ll also admit that I was sleeping by 9:30pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Before I turn in for the night, I’d like to give a shout out to my friends Jess and Brad who welcomed their baby GIRL (they had kept the gender a secret), Hadley Grace, into the world. She came two weeks early, but considering she was 8 lbs. 10 oz., I think she was ready!

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Photo posted on Facebook and Instagram by Jess

Stuck in a Rut

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

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

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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!

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

I am Ridikolus

Did you catch that 30 Rock reference? Many seasons ago, LL Cool J had a guest appearance with Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, and Alec Baldwin. Someone told LL Cool J something was ridiculous; he responded by saying “I am Ridikolus.”

Ridiculous has so many meanings (stupid, funny, amazing, etc.). As a writing prompt for my students the other day, I provided this question: What is ridiculous? I had fun answering the question myself.

Teenagers having babies.

Drivers who attempt to merge on to a highway going less than 55mph.

The Walking Dead (and now Jericho while we wait for season three to start up again).

How unsatisfying NA wine is.

Teenage girls cutting themselves to get Justin Bieber to stop smoking weed.

That first semester of the school year is almost over!

The Notre Dame quarterback who made up his girlfriend.

Swiss chocolate.

Getting a huge box of maternity clothes from Brody’s coworker’s wife (who has had four kids).

Root beer floats.

How long it took me to buy new bras.

Eating the same thing (shredded beef meant to be for French dip sandwiches) four days in a row.

The pink elephant scene in Dumbo.

How many questions a three year old asks.

Question:
What is ridiculous to you?

Ten Facts About My Life Recently

I can’t believe break is almost over. Even with those two extra days, it has flown by. Good thing I’ve got a couple big things to look forward to!

Today I have lots of random thoughts and pictures to share.

1. We had a nice Christmas with my mom, my sister, her boyfriend, and Brody’s mom. It was pretty low-key and we barely left the couch or kitchen table. Brody cooked two rib roasts (long story) Christmas Eve. We opened gifts Christmas morning while eating Sara Lee butter streusel coffee cake.
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After presents, my family (except me) went to church, and we spent the afternoon watching movies. Oh, and we ate – a lot and often. ‘Tis the season!

2. Brody got me a fabulous gift: a babymoon! Over my Spring Break in March, we are going to New York for four days!!! We’re staying in Soho, and the only thing set in stone as of now is we’re going to see The Book of Mormon. Any restaurant recommendations?

3. Moose and Frankie have been loving the snow. Those first few days were hard on their paws, though. Snow packs easily between their pads, so every few minutes, they are licking at them (which only makes it worse). Both dogs also LOVED the bull pizzle (aka bully stick aka bull penis). Unfortunately their stomachs didn’t love the pizzle, and we’ve been dealing with some nasty bathroom issues. To let everything work its way out, we switched the dogs over to rice and boiled chicken.
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Frankie was not happy about his rice breakfast.

4. Our friends, Barret and Kelly, parents of Owen, sent us our first official piece of baby clothing: a Blackhawks onesie!
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It is so adorable – even Brody said so with a big smile on his face. Whether this kid is a boy or girl, it is already determined he/she will play hockey and will be a Blackhawks fan.

5. Real Simple failed me. I know – I am still in shock.
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Normally their recipes are great, but this one (pasta with sausage, arugula, and bread crumbs) missed the mark. Brody thought the arugula was too strong, but I tasted lots of thyme from the toasted bread crumbs. We both didn’t even finish our meals. I had a small bowl of Cedar Crest vanilla ice cream and Brody made nachos. Healthy alternatives around here.

6. I went to yoga yesterday! It was my second class at Bliss Flow Yoga on University Ave. Groupon had a deal a while back: $20 for 20 classes. Even if I only make it a few more times before it expires in April, that’s still a good deal. I felt comfortable doing just about everything as my belly isn’t getting in the way yet.

7. Post yoga, I met Brody for lunch. We went to Gates & Brovi, a newer restaurant on Monroe St. We both started with soup: roasted cauliflower for me and clam chowder for Brody.
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For the main course, I chose the chick pea tuna sandwich. Obviously it had tuna and chick peas but also included slices of hard boiled eggs, pepperocini, capers, kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. It was salty and delicious.
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Brody had a classic burger and was very happy with it. Besides the good food, the decor is very inviting and casual with lots of reclaimed looking wood and high ceilings.

8. Real cream in coffee is SO much better than milk or flavored creamer. I bought half and half for the mashed potatoes on Christmas Eve (which you need to have with a roast), and there is at least half a container left. Yum!

9. It hasn’t all been eating and relaxing around here. I made it to work for four hours on Thursday and got lots of work done. My teaching license is set to expire in June, and in order to renew it, I need to finish my PDP (professional development plan) and submit it to DPI (Department of Public Instruction). Sidenote: The number of acronyms in education is incredible. I worked on my PDP for two hours and then planned lessons and emailed parents for the last two. At home I finished lots of grading on my two snow days and then yesterday I began grading research papers my juniors wrote. My goal for today is to finish one class, which has only seven papers left. I can do it!

10. My weekend plans involve the dog park (of course), the gym, Best Buy (to pick up a camera, a new point and shoot, Brody and I ordered), grading, watching a video about Huck Finn, seeing Django Unchained, and definitely some couch time.

Have a fabulous Saturday!

Questions:
What was your favorite gift? The best gift you gave?
What good restaurant have you been to recently?
What do you have planned for the weekend?