Happy Halloween!

Keeping this under wraps has been near IMPOSSIBLE!
It was only natural the big guy dressed up as none other than a CHUNKY MONKEY!!
Grandma D made Marcus' costume. MADE IT. FROM SCRATCH.
"Waaaaait a minute... There's a tail!"
All the Macke grandkiddos geared up for Halloween.
Switching gears ever so slightly, here are our pumpkins this year.
Is it as obvious to you, as it is to me, which Scott carved and which I carved?



Pumpkin Frappuccino

This week we're still hitting 80 degrees most days, but it's Fall and I'm going to pretend I need my cozy sweaters and cute scarfs.

You might say I have a coffee problem. I just say it's a healthy love affair with the bean. My mornings almost always consist of six cups of coffee (give or take a few). However, there's something about the 12:00 hour that sends a mental trigger - I just cannot have hot coffee after noon. Thank GOODNESS I found this! Now I can get my coffee AND pumpkin fix, all at the same time!

The second I saw this I did a mental inventory of the ingredients, figured I had them all, and then promptly got up and made it.

A few changes were made from the original recipe and I'm pretty much in love with how it turned out.

Pumpkin Frappuccino
1/2 cup chilled black coffee (I made my coffee two times stronger than how I normally drink it - perfect! If you are able to make espresso, use that rather than coffee.)
3/4 cup milk
1 cup ice
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar (you may want to use more if you like your frapps super sweet)
1 Tbsp Maple syrup
3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin spice

Dissolve sugar into coffee and refrigerate until cold.
Blend pumpkin and pumpkin spice until well mixed.
Crush the cup of ice cubes in a blender. Add cold coffee, milk, pumpkin mix, and Maple syrup.
Blend until smooth.
Do a little taste test and add anything you see fit (more pumpkin, more sugar, etc).
Top with a dash of cinnamon. And, if you want to get real fancy, add some whipped cream.
I searched high and low for a glass that would be appropriate for a coffee drink. Obviously I came up empty handed. But, a big ol' beer glass did the trick juuuuuust fine.

Now, go get your self some pumpkin frap!
Source: Monster Mama

This recipe is linked up with Food Friends Friday, click the link to check out more great recipes!


Happy Marcus Monday!

This is big for us. Huge, actually.
With a little help getting to the sit position the big guy can sit up on his own.
I kid you not, I never thought the chunky monkey would never sit still long enough to sit up. Then, just like that, there he was. Sitting. 
Just don't tell him he's sitting... The second he realizes he isn't moving the sitting disappears. 
Let's not get carried away and overlook the fact that our "sit sessions" only last a short while, because then we're back at it, all over the place and into everything. 


First Foods: Butternut Squash

Butternut squash was up in the food rotation. I was certain the little man would like it.
After a quick taste test I concluded mushy butternut squash tasted a lot like sweet potatoes. That meant these were a sure hit.
Upper left: He wants NOTHING to do with the squash.
Upper right: Willing to try a bite or two.
Lower left: Not real sure what to think of the new food.
Lower right: Things are starting to look up.
We kept at it...
Upper left: Starting to doubt this new food and its taste and texture.
Upper right: Contemplating whether or not this is no good.
Lower left: It's official, he isn't a fan.
Lower right: Totally and completely defeated.
 Butternut squash, obviously, wasn't a favorite. We managed to make it through a few meals with more than a bite or two. However, more often than not Marcus wasn't about to stomach too much of the orange veggie.


Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Cookies (to me, that word is STILL like nails on a chalk board, but I'm working on it) are not something I make often. Mainly it's because Scott only likes the chocolate chip variety, whereas I'm not so much a fan. But, the other evening I was chatting with my mother in-law and she was in need of a pumpkin cookie. Naturally, I couldn't resist a challenge to find a good fall baked good. 
Before you go and whip these up keep in mind in these there is no chocolate, no nuts, nothing fancy. It's strictly Snickerdoodle with a hint of pumpkin. I think that is precisely why I loved everything about them. To keep myself from inhaling eating more than I should I dolled them out to friends.  

These little treats are so moist and scrumptious. Pair a few with a nice glass of milk and you have a great afternoon snack. 

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
1 stick butter or margarine
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp honey
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large egg
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 400.
Mix together butter, honey, sugars, pumpkin, and egg; beat well.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; mix until well-blended.
Chill dough for about 30 minutes. I seriously could not wait that long, so I went the express route and popped the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Roll dough into balls the size of small walnuts.
In a separate bowl combine all topping ingredients, mix well.
Roll dough balls in the topping mix until dough is completely covered.
Place dough balls about 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 7-9 minutes until lightly browned, but still soft. I baked mine for 8 minutes, and once out of the oven I left the cookies on the sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack - perfection!
The original recipe says this should yield 4-5 dozen cookies. Apparently my idea of a "small" walnut was a bit off mark. I only yielded 3 dozen, whoops. 

Source: Six Sisters' Stuff


Surf City Beach Obstacle Course

I wish this was my view every time I went for a run!
This weekend Scott and I participated in Huntington Beach's Surf City Beach 5k Obstacle course. Holy toughness!
Ready to get our obstacle on.
I'd run 5ks before. Lots and lots of 5ks. This 5k was possibly one of the hardest runs I've done in quite some time. Running just over three miles isn't difficult, unless you throw in sand (the entire time), and obstacles every quarter mile. Though incredibly challenging, it was a lot of fun, and a different way for us to enjoy the beach.
How fun does this finish line look?!
Scott, God bless him, ran shuffled with me. Poor guy, I know he was just itching to bust into his normal stride and finish with a time that was more acceptable for his ability.
Notice how all of the pictures of Scott are from behind? For the life of me I couldn't go fast enough to get in front of him to take a few pics.
After the event I was exhausted, yet had the overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
See how all the pics of me are from the front? That's because Scott would take the camera, sprint ahead of me, take the pics, and then let me catch up, or he'd run back to continue running with me. Ha! 
A big thank you to Scott for sticking with me. Though I encouraged Scott, on several occasions, to go on ahead of me, he insisted we started the race together we would finish the race together.


California Science Center

Grandma D came to visit for a few days, and that meant we had the opportunity to do things we might not normally do with the Chunky Monkey.
Entrance to the Science Center.
For awhile we've been tossing around checking out the Science Center. With Grandma in town we jumped on the opportunity.
Ancient Egypt exhibit, YAY!
I was pleasantly surprised when I learned the current exhibit was on Cleopatra. There is just something about ancient Egypt that totally captivates me. Maybe it's the advanced construction of buildings, or the way the kings and queens lavishly lived. Whatever it is, I love it. The icing on the cake was an entire exhibit dedicated to Cleopatra, one of the most famous, yet mysterious women of all time.
Egyptian artifacts.
There was so much more than the Cleopatra exhibit, too much for us to see and do in one visit. What an awesome place.
Scott enjoyed the space portion of the Science Center.


7 Months Old!

The Big Guy is 7 months old today!
Unofficial Stats
Height: 29ish inches (95th percentile)
Weight: 23ish pounds (97th percentile)
Teeth: 3
What I've learned in the last month:
~ Teething isn't easy, on anyone.
~ Bouncing is the activity of choice. Be it in the jumparoo or anywhere, jumping is the best.
~ Tags are a huge hit in this house. May the tags be on toys, or clothes, Marcus loves them.
~ The little man is crawling everywhere, and into everything. However, the crawl is more "army" than your typical crawl.
~ With all this newly exerted energy naps are longer (YAY!). But, the number of naps has dwindled to three a day.
~ Walking Running is going to happen sooner rather than later. I don't think anyone is ready for the tornado that is about to hit this house.
~ The little monkey can be cranky ALL. DAY. LONG. But, the second Daddy walks in the door from work Marcus' attitude will do a 180.
~ It appears Marcus goes to Mommy when he needs comfort, and is drawn to Daddy when he really wants to play and giggle.
~ There's a bit of an attachment to Mommy and Daddy when the little man is passed off to someone he doesn't know. Sometimes it takes a bit for the monkey to warm up to faces that aren't familiar to him.
~ This mommy may or may not be planning the big guy's first birthday party already. :)
Upper left: You can barely see Drake's nose peaking in on the right side. Notice all of Marcus' chins? Hehehe.
Upper right: This is a typical Marcus pose - arm up, waiting for kisses from Drake.
Lower left: Studying each other.
Lower right: Marcus loves his K-9 buddy.


Happy Marcus Monday!

We tried out the infant swing at the park.
Hahaha, look at those chunky little legs. He has clothes on, I promise.
Obviously he isn't too thrilled with the new form of entertainment. Let's hope that little scowl turns to a smile soon!


First Foods: Broccoli

We tried a new food this week. Broccoli.
His eyes are BEGGING me to put the spoon down.
 The picture says it all...
I had high hopes for the high fiber, Vitamin C packed veggie. 
Nope, not going to eat it.
Not for one second was Marcus having any of it. Marcus clamped his little mouth together like a vice grip. Every meal was a battle of wills, and mommy didn't win a single battle.


Baring It All

The other day I saw -->this article<-- pop up on my Facebook feed. Usually I just skim the feed, but something drew me to the article. And, as I read the article it stopped me in my tracks.
Moms (or anyone with plans to someday become a mom), if you haven't read Allison Tate's article (click provided link above), you really must. Reading her words, it was as if my own thoughts and feeling were staring right at me.

     I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won't be here -- and I don't know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now -- but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother. ~Allison Tate

As a new mom I'm still struggling with my post-baby body. I'd like to think, before my little monkey, I was in pretty good shape. Before the little man I thought of myself as an avid runner, participating in half-marathons, and other road races. Now, when I look in the mirror (which I find I try to avoid more than seek out), I'm not overly thrilled with what I see.
My arms kind of jiggle. I take extreme measures to ensure my legs are covered, at least to the knee. And, my stomach... Though I made it through my entire pregnancy, and birth of a 9+ pound baby, stretch mark free, there's a scar 5 1/2 inches across my abdomen. My body isn't the same... But, I am no longer the same...
Shortly after delivering my little boy I didn't want to look at the incision that traveled almost the entire width of my lower abdomen. It was pink, and puffy, and anything but beautiful. However, now I look at that healing scar and it's my reminder of the perfect, beautiful, healthy baby that has brought more joy to my life than I could have ever dreamed.
Would I like to have my pre-baby body back? Of course. Am I working out and making smart food choices? Yes (and for all those goodies you see me posting, I'm very generous in sharing those with others). But, these days I'm trying to be more health conscious. This little boy of mine will look up to me, and hopefully follow my lead in a healthy lifestyle. And, I want to be here as long as possible, to spend as much time with my baby as God has planned.
After searching all the photos of Marcus since his arrival (and there are probably thousands of pictures) I found about 20 of the little man and me. Twenty. That makes me sad, I need to be present in more pictures with him.
So, starting now, I'm going to do my best to be on the other side of the camera when snapping photos with my little man. There will come a day when I'm no longer here, and I want Marcus to look back on all the pictures we have together and love every single memory we made. He won't remember his mommy because she had perfectly coiffed hair, skinny legs and six-pack abs (though I wouldn't mind those things). He's going to remember how much his mommy loved him.
I may never fit into those size 2 jeans, but I can sleep well at night knowing I will fit perfectly into my little man's heart, no matter my shape or size. I am his mommy, and no pair of skinny jeans will ever feel as good as that.