Friday, January 30, 2015

Currently Craving

Trimester one is rapidly coming to an end. It's crazy how fast it seems to have gone - especially since we've known about the little peanut for so long. I can only hope the last two trimesters go as quickly.
I spy a bump.
Week 12's top five…

1. Tuesday we had the first trimester screen. It was pretty awesome to see M² moving around, waving and kicking. The screening went well and the doctor was extremely pleased with the results. We are still waiting on blood work, but the doctor is confident we have nothing to worry about. In the doctor's words, "such a cute baby; a perfect ultrasound model." I mean, how can you walk away from that appointment without a beaming smile? You can't. And you don't.
The blurry bit up top is the baby waving hi!!
Directly below the hand is the facial profile.
2. The morning sickness is allllllllmost gone. Almost. Wish I could say the same about being so dang tired.

3. The dreams. Goodness I forgot how vivid and frequent dreams are during pregnancy.

4. I haven't had many constant cravings, except a Waldorf Salad from the Cheesecake Factory. If someone could kindly hook me up with one (or 50) of those I'd be forever indebted.

5. Aside from the salad there haven't been any other constant cravings. BUT, the list of random triggers (and totally unhealthy) cravings is kind of ridiculous:
A) A double double from In and Out Burger. Guys, I haven't had a beef ANYTHING in about 20 years. I wouldn't even know what a legit hamburger tastes like. But, last week I totally wanted one. However, no one wanted to leave the comfort of our home (on a Friday night at 10PM) to get one. Thankfully that craving has since passed.
B) Soup. Specifically broccoli cheddar from Panera. Give me all the soup.
C) Cheese quesadillas from Taco Bell, and potato oles from Taco Johns. I'm pleased to say neither craving was fulfilled.
D) Pudding. Those little individual pudding snack packs are basically the best thing ever. I've been eating one a night. I justify that as being better than a heaping bowl of ice cream (because I could totally go for that every night of the week).
And this, my friends, is why the running and the working out are mandatory.

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Swing by Sweet Turtle Soup

Today one of my favorites, Courtney from Sweet Turtle Soup has me sharing a little bit about myself over on her blog. If you haven't had a chance to stop by her blog I strongly encourage you to do so. Courtney has the cutest little lady, Aria. And together they craft, create, and do some of the most fun things in preparations for holidays.

Courtney was so kind to ask me to guest post for her today. Here's just a snippet of the Q&A:

Just how long have you been a runner? Has it always been something you've enjoyed or did you have to talk yourself into it before figuring out that you enjoyed it? It's weird to call myself a runner… But, I've been pounding pavement for about seven years. In the beginning I really had to talk myself into it, but I was looking for an inexpensive way to get into shape. It was after many, many, many miles that I found I truly loved running. However, there are so many days where finding the motivation to run is difficult. The first steps out the door are often the most difficult. But, the reward after a run is indescribable. 

There are also questions of how I told Scott and Marcus about Baby M², baby-moons, and the excitement of having two kiddos under one roof.

Click >>HERE<< to get the full interview!

A huge thanks to Courtney for allowing me to take over her space in the bloggosphere!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Staying Sane Inside

I'll admit it. We are incredibly lucky… We don't have too many days where we are forced to stay indoors. Southern California has some pretty remarkable weather, and even the "cold" days generally don't require much more than a sweatshirt. So, there aren't many days where we are forced to retreat indoors and stay there. Which is a blessing, considering my child isn't one for staying inside, or sitting still for any length of period.

There are times, however, when indoors is our only option: Early mornings. Evenings. When I'm prepping meals. The occasional rainy day. Those times always prove challenging when it comes to finding creative, fun and educational activities for Marcus.

When we are forced inside (ie. yesterday - thanks rain) I have a limited bag of tricks that can generally keep my little guy stimulated, entertained, and happy.

Sure, we have the toy room full of, well, toys.
But, after a few minutes the novelty of all of that stuff wears off. Plus, Marcus has access to these items all day every day.

Marcus' kitchen and toy foods have proven to be the greatest distraction for Marcus when I'm in the real kitchen. I'll be prepping a meal over the real stove while Marcus creates his own culinary masterpieces.
When we don't have a choice but to stay inside shaking things up tends to be beneficial for both of us. I'm not one for activities that create a lot of hassle and mess. I'm all for those special indoor activities that often require easy clean up, or little to no clean up.
Play-doh. Paint Dabbers. Aquadoodle. Your typical line up, and the makings of my very own Picasso. I've even learned to just let it go when it comes to the Play-doh colors getting all mashed together (oh the horror…) These activities are good for a solid 15-20 minutes, tops. Then it's on to the next thing.

We read every night before bedtime, but most days Marcus can't sit still long enough to get through a book. UNLESS it's something interactive, like High Five (Highlights for toddlers) or Hidden Picture books.
Throw in stickers for the hidden pictures and we are good to go for at least 10 minutes. Fifteen if we're lucky.

These last two we have recently started adding to our indoor rotation. And, I love them. A lot.
Starfall.com
This site. There are not enough high praises. It's free (unless you want to pay for the full version - thanks but no thanks, free 99 for me), and chuck full of educational activities, games and songs. Yesterday, Marcus was playing a math game while I was cleaning up after lunch and I heard him say, "Ten minus seven equals three." Mind. Blown. Some of the activities are as simple as the ABCs, while others are more complex, such as multiplication and division. Obviously I don't want my child glued to a computer all day, but when there are those moments when I need him safely contained and occupied, this is the place I want him to go. Unlike TV shows where he just sits and watches, Starfall.com prompts interaction. If you haven't tried this with your little one(s) I encourage you to check it out. I don't know what it is, but this site just sucks them right in.

The Wii.
When is the last time you pulled out this gaming device? Marcus thinks the bowling is just the greatest thing since sliced bread. Naturally the read deal is my preferred way to play. But, in the evenings when it's too dark to play outside and I want to keep the little guy moving? Bowling it is. In the past week it's been crazy to see how well Marcus' eye-hand coordination with the remote has improved (it was pretty brutal to watch the first few rounds).

Now tell me, what indoor activities do you do with your little(s) to get through those days/times where you just have to stay inside? I'm always looking for new and creative ideas to keep our days full of fun.

Linking up with the lovely Stephanie {{Wife Mommy Me}} for Mom Talk Tuesday.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy Marcus Monday!

2.10 
Two years, 10 months.
And, not a day has gone by that you haven't filled our lives with laughter, wonder, joy, and an abundance of love.
Happy Monday!

Friday, January 23, 2015

11/40 - Top 5 From the Week

Holy moly another week has come and gone. I  don't know about the rest of the world, but I am ready for a low-key weekend filled with naps, a few good pavement pounding sessions, and more naps. 
Hitting up Week 11's top five::

1. I say this with extreme caution… But…. I *think* the morning sickness is finally loosening its nasty death grip. There have been a few hours where I didn't feel like I was recovering from an epic hangover (sans the headache. Or the booze.).

2. Thanks to a toddler who has succumb to my persistence, there are naps happening (for both of us) every afternoon. While the 2 1/2-3 hours naps have diminished to mere 60 minutes, I'll take what I can get.

3. Cravings aren't a thing - yet. And that is a good thing. BUT, Ashley did mention Lucky Charms last week, and that has sounded magical ever since.
All my clothes fit with relative ease (except my bras, we're moving on up >> insert Hallelujah Chorus<<!!). However, by the end of the day I have been noticing my stomach tends to pop out every so slightly.

4. This week Marcus and I FaceTimed with my folks. Grandma and Grandpa asked Marcus if there was anything in Mommy's tummy. He quickly replied, "There's a baby in Mommy's tummy!" Either our constant reminder has sunk in, or he's kind of getting it. He has also requested a baby sister when asked what he would prefer. We shall see, Little Man.

5. We head back to the doctor early next week for the first trimester screen. I'm so anxious to see our little peanut again.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Strawberry Coffee Cake Muffins

A few nights ago I had a craving for muffins - which is weird because right now nothing sounds good, ever. I thought maybe if I slept it off the craving would go away. The plan failed me and I *needed* muffins. So the next day I was on a mission to make myself some fabulous muffin-y goodness.

Thankfully, for whatever reason, strawberries are SO good right now. It's January… Weird, right? And, I had a bunch on hand.

Naturally, these coffee cake muffins were born.

Full disclaimer: my cravings immediately vanished the second I pulled these out of the oven. However, I was able to subdue the morning sickness long enough to actually enjoy a few. And, they were truly  marvelous. 

The cake was perfectly moist, the strawberries bursting with juicy flavor, and the crumble gave the perfect touch of sweet.
Strawberry Coffee Cake Muffins
Yields 12-18 muffins 
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes 

Muffins:
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Crumble:
1/4 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

How they come together:
1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
2. Line muffin pan.
3. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.
4. Beat in egg.
5. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
6. Slowly add milk and flour mix to butter mixture until fully incorporated.
7. Beat until completely combined.
8. Add about 2 Tbsp of batter (or an ice cream scoops worth) to each muffin liner.
9. Load the muffins with strawberries.
10. In a mixing bowl, beat crumble ingredients until it's crumble-y.
11. Sprinkle crumbles over the strawberries.
12. Reduce oven heat to 350º F.
13. Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes.
14. ENJOY!
If you can get your hands on some stellar fresh strawberries I suggest giving these a shot. They're easy to whip up, and a nice little change from your typical Cheerios breakfast.

Recipe Source: Living Better Together, Adapted from All My Recipes

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Marcus Monday!

We had an uneventful weekend, and it was positively glorious. 
The two, however, were caught sudsing up our vehicles. 
I absolutely love how excited Marcus is to help with any chore. If only that enthusiasm would continue into his teens…

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Quarter of the Way

The cat has been out of the bag for some time so I thought now was as good a time as any to do a little Q&A and a quick update on Baby M2. 
Welcome to the weekly bump-date shirt!
Let's start with the most frequently asked questions.

Q1. How far along are you? And, when are you due?
A2. As of today, 9w6d (9 weeks, 6 days - but I'm rounding up to 10).
Estimated due date: August 14.

Q. You announced your pregnancy kind of early, didn't you?
A2. Yes, and no. This pregnancy did not happen as quickly or easily as with Marcus. So, when we found out we were finally pregnant keeping things hush-hush until after the first trimester just wasn't an option for me. We were thrilled and we wanted to share the good news. 
While I pray every day this pregnancy is smooth sailing, if something should go wrong I'd rather have support than quietly suffer alone. Plus, every baby deserves to be celebrated, regardless how far along in gestation. So, to the old "wait 12 weeks rule," I say BEAT IT!

Q3. How are you feeling?
A3. First things first: ALL THE EMOTIONS! It's a roller coaster over here. Everyone hang on.
Moving along to the physical aspect: The first few weeks I knew we were pregnant I kept telling Scott, "I don't feel pregnant!" So, I did what any rational person would do. I kept buying pregnancy tests, and taking them, to confirm (several times) that I was in fact pregnant. Then Week 5 hit like a Mac truck. The nausea has been overwhelming ever since. There have even been a few occasions where I haven't been able to hold onto my meals. Let's also note the sheer and utter exhaustion. Pregnancy itself is a tiring bit. Throw in a tornado toddler to chase all day long and it makes for early bedtimes for this momma.

Q4. Was it like this when you were pregnant with Marcus?

A4. Not. At. All. I can count on one hand how many times I felt sick with Marcus. This is just constant, all day, every day queasiness. 

Q5. Are you craving anything? Avoiding anything?

A5. There isn't a single thing I'm craving. I'm avoiding so much, though. Over the holidays I couldn't stand the sight or taste of turkey, which I normally love - and I made a huge turkey breast for Christmas. I've also seemed to have lost the sweet tooth that I generally have. This is not a bad thing. Ice cream, thank goodness, is something I am still able to enjoy. 

Q6. Are you going to continue to run and workout?

A6. Yes! For as long as my body (and doctor) deem it safe and possible. I slacked big time in this department with Marcus and paid the price. I gained entirely too much with him, and losing the baby weight took much longer than I planned. I'm really hoping to keep up with workouts so I don't face the same issues I had with Marcus. Plus, working out is about the only time I don't feel like I'm going to lose the contents in my stomach.

Q7. Are you going to find out the gender?

A7. We are still undecided. The planner in me is begging to find out early. However, the surprise on delivery day seems like such a magical moment. 

Q8. Do you think you're having a boy or a girl?

A8. My gut tells me boy. I had an incredibly vivid dream the other night that we were, without a doubt, having a boy. 

Q9. Do you have a preference on gender?

A9. I'd be lying if I said I don't care. A little girl would round out our family so nicely. However, I could see our house bouncing off the walls with two crazy little boys. Either way, I pray for a healthy child. 

Q10. Does Marcus know what's going on?

A10. Marcus has no idea. I'll tell him there's a baby in my tummy, he will then lift my shirt, look at me like I'm a total fool, and say, "There's no baby in there!" 
Sorry buddy, but there is indeed a baby in there!

So, there you have it. Ten weeks in, and food is gross. Cheers to Baby M2

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy Marcus (and Cousins) Monday!

Just a few more reasons why we can't wait to get back home.
Photos courtesy my sister-in-law, Carolyn.
Happy Monday!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hey There! I'm Back!

After a nearly three week blogging hiatus I figured it was time to get back in the writing saddle. The break was over-due and very much needed. Taking a step back from this little space allowed me to focus exclusively on my family during the holidays. There was no pressure to take photos, to write blog-worthy content, edit a million pictures, or read and reply to comments. It was so incredibly refreshing.

Now, the reset button has been hit, and I'm ready to jump back into it all.

On the flip side, I have to mention that I've genuinely missed connecting with so many of my blogging friends on a daily basis.

Before we get into Fridays Five, I want to wish my amazing mom a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! We hope you have the most fabulous day filled with lots of laughter, love, and cake.

On to the high-fives.

1. I'll spare all the details of Christmas, but it was awesome. Marcus had the grandest of times with both sets of grandparents and cousins. And, seeing Marcus begin to 'get it' made the holidays that much more magical for this momma.

2. Many of you have probably seen this floating around the social media networks.
To say we are excited is an extreme understatement.
This afternoon we have our first appointment and I'm simply giddy with excitement. I cannot wait to see our little peanut.

This will also provide me with some content to work with for the next, oh, say, forever. I'll have a more detailed post coming up next week on all the details.

3. In direct relation to the growing addition of our family I've decided to loosen up on my blogging schedule. For the last two years I've posted every Monday-Friday. I'm not so sure I can keep that up anymore. Before the little blogging break this space was beginning to feel more like work than anything. The pressure to get a decent post written and scheduled had just become too great. I don't want that. This blog is not my job, it's my hobby. And, to be honest, I would be ok if I never heard Scott say, "You're married to that computer," ever again…
via
Don't be surprised if the posts are scaled back to only a couple each week.

4. Here's one from way out in left field:
My latest favorite app and time suck… Trivia Crack.
via
If you like trivia of any sort, this is your game. Look me up (@desireedudding) and we can have a grand old time answering pointless questions together.

5. Returning back to California after a week in the frozen tundra wouldn't be complete without an absolutely breath taking costal sunset.
No filter, my friends. No. Filter.

Now, I'd be totally lying if I said I was going to go back to December 26 and catch up with all the blog posts I missed. So tell me, what did I miss??

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

From Our Family to Yours

Merry Christmas!

To fully enjoy our time celebrating with family and friends we're taking a little blogging break.
See you next year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Yep. These are those delightful bars that stare you in the face while you're ordering your Grande Peppermint Mocha at Starbucks.

Make a batch of these copycats, keep them refrigerated until you want need your next cup of coffee, and then bask in the gloriousness of your coffee and Cranberry Bliss Bar.

And, these come just in time for all your holiday gatherings.

You. Are. Welcome.

Side note: Don't be intimidated by the number of ingredients and steps. These bars were actually quite easy to make. If you can measure, stir, and pour than these can be made. The most difficult part for me was drizzling the chocolate to make it look 'pretty.' And then waiting to devour them… That part is always the most difficult.

Cranberry Bliss Bars - A Starbucks Copycat
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Frosting:
8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 oz white baking chocolate, melted
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

How they come together:
Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly spray 9x13 non-stick baking pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir to blend.
In a separate bowl, whisk sugars with butter, eggs whites, oil, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients in two additions until batter is very well blended. If batter looks 'crumbly' rather than smooth, add one drop of water at a time, until batter smooths out.
Fold in white chocolate chips and 1/3 cup cranberries.
Spread batter evenly onto the baking pan (baking tip: use the back, or underside, of a measuring cup to ensure batter is smoothly evened out).
Bake 15-25 minutes, or until edges are light brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Don't over-bake or bars will be dry.
Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Prep frosting; in a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until well blended.
Frost bars and sprinkle with remaining cranberries.
Drizzle with melted white chocolate (baking tip: melt chocolate by placing in microwave safe cup and heat for 15 seconds; stir. Add another 15 seconds; stir until chocolate is melted).
When chocolate sets, cut into triangles.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Enjoy!
Linking up with Elizabeth and Courtney's Christmas Desserts and Tacky Sweaters party!
Sweet Turtle Soup
Recipe Inspiration :: Skinny Taste

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Marcus Monday!

2 years, 9 months. 
It's been quite the trip, little man. I can't wait to see where this ride continues to take us.
Happy Monday!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hand Prints, Hand Holding, and Holiday Happenings

It's Friday and the Hallelujah Chorus is on repeat.

It was a difficult week but we had some pretty solid highlights.

1. A few weeks back Marcus and I spent an afternoon creating Christmas cards. I'm hoping all our recipients have received these by now.
 By some sweet miracle it wasn't too difficult of a task to get the Santa hand prints made.

2. Marcus has taken to his big boy bike.
He is such a little man.

3. I seriously can't get enough of the cuteness these two bring to the table.
Their innocence melts my heart.

4. Teu continues to have fun around our house.
Assisted by the fire truck to hang ornaments // Fort building // Marshmallow roasting 
Teu was found hanging out by our back door, and he had gotten into our holiday window decorations. Too bad he had a few things mixed up.
Teu asked Marcus to rearrange the holiday saying and fix up Santa's upside down issue. Marcus was more than happy to oblige.

5. Days 13-19 are in the books for the #2014christmasphoto challenge on Instagram.

13. Pajamas // 14. Celebrate // 15. Green
16. Cookie // 17. Tree // 18. Gifts
19. Inspiration

Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Meet Teu // Countdown to Christmas

This is the first Christmas we were lucky enough to have an elf visit us. Apparently Santa wanted to wait until he was sure Marcus had somewhat of an idea of what was going on with a strange little elf moving around our house.

We informed Marcus that he was in charge of naming the elf. After several minutes of the deer in the headlight stares (from Marcus), along with a few prompts for names (we threw out names like Mickey, Toodles, Donald, Goofy - see a theme?) we were greeted with silence. Finally, Marcus piped up, "Two!" I repeatedly asked if Marcus meant, "Toodles." Each time I was greeted with a resounding "NO! TWO!" So, our elf became Two. Except neither Scott nor I could quiet digest the name. We then did what any other parent would do. We made the name slightly our own. We kept the pronunciation of the name "two," but changed the spelling to "Teu."

And, that's how "Teu" came to be.

Since December 1 Teu has been so generous as to leave Marcus a new Christmas/winter themed book each morning. Thanks to Teu, Marcus and I have gotten into a routine of finding Teu, grabbing our new book, and snuggling up to read the book before moving along with our day. It's one of the best ways to start our day and I love it.
On Christmas Eve Teu will pack up all the seasonal books and take them back to the North Pole, until next year, of course.

Most nights Teu simply moves from one location to the next. However, there have been a few evenings where Teu has gotten creative…
One morning we woke to Teu's rendition of a snowman. I guess if you don't have real snow you get creative!
Teu thought it would be sweet if Marcus and Teu, and Twinkles, could all match.
Teu and Twinkle are big on sweets. They thought our candy cane decorations were a pretty sweet spot to hang out.
Teu couldn't help but hang out on the mistletoe.
Teu and Twinkle took a spin with Thomas.
Teu found it fun to add silliness to our family picture.
One morning Teu and Twinkle made their own donuts with Cheerios, frosting, and sprinkles (of course), and were so kind to leave Marcus his own donuts. 
Teu doesn't do too many mischievous things, as the point of his visit to our home is to encourage good behavior.

May it also be pointed out a second elf joined Teu not too long ago. Marcus won the little elf during our Santa Train experience. Elf number two was named Twinkle, and he and Teu became fast friends, and go everywhere together.

While Marcus doesn't totally get the gist of our elf/elves his excitement when finding Teu and Twinkle each morning makes my heart swell. Sharing the holiday joy with him is by definition, priceless.

What fun and mischief has your elf been up to this season?

 Linking up with Beth for her Christmas Countdown!
Our Pretty Little Girls

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Want to Talk About the Fun…

I almost don't want to hit the publish button on this, but I kind of have to. Maybe if I do it will take some of the… Tough… And wash it away. At least I can hope.

I want to talk about how much fun we've had on our last two bowling outings…
Bowling: possibly the best indoor/rainy day/too hot to play outside activity for toddlers, no joke. And, it's cheap!
Bowling really was so much fun.

But, I don't want to pretend that things haven't been difficult. Because, dammit, things have been downright hard.

I get it, toddlers have more mood swings than any woman during Shark Week. But, shoot. This last week has been one for the books.

With a few exceptions (see bowling photos above),  there have been several meltdowns (both on Marcus' and my part), tears from all parities involved, and more than one occasion where I threw in the white flag and simply gave in to a two-year olds demands, because I just.couldn't. keep.going. My calm voice of reasoning basically said, "See ya!" And then I handed over three dozen cookies to stop the madness. Because we all know copious amounts of sugar is a solid decision regarding toddlers.

And that was just Tuesday.

The rest of the past week has been much the same.

After a phone call with my mom explaining Marcus' behaviors she asked me, "So, tantrums?" Yes, tantrums. I'm not unfamiliar with occasional outburst and crazy toddler-ness, but this? Lately?
Ho. Ly. Chit.

Some one please pass me the biggest bottle of wine. Or a Lunesta so we can both just sleep through the rest of this phase.

Yesterday I thought we hit a turning point. My little monster slept till 7:30 (and then the angels burst into the Hallelujah Chorus). We had a merry little morning of baking and eating cookies for breakfast, and we had an afternoon play date to round things off.
Then it was like the good mood just decided to up and jump off a cliff. WHY?!

I keep reminding myself this too will pass. It has too. Seriously. IT HAS TO, or I will absolutely, without a doubt, lose my freaking mind. I do not want to head into next week, and all the gloriousness of Christmas, with a child who simply wants to cry, scream, and beat his fists on the couch because I handed over a half full sippy cup instead of a totally full sippy cup.

I'm praying that one of these mornings my sweet yet stubborn, loving little boy will wake up and hang out with me like we used to.

Now, about that wine…