2009 at a glance

2009 has been a year of transitions, excitements and new beginnings. I would say the word of the year is transition because I am still working on adapting to the changes in my daily life!

In January, we traveled to Walt Disney World to watch my sister run the marathon - that was our last plane trip since Nick was born. This picture is from 37 weeks - the last one that I took!

Nick was the excitement and joy that came into our lives in February, 2 weeks early.

At the end of March, I did my first race and 20 mile training run in preparation for Boston.

April was the Boston Marathon which was just spectacular and an amazing experience. Nick's first Easter.

May was my first Mother's Day, and a decent Broad Street run.

June was when my running started to deteriorate and I started to burn out!

July was Nick's first real trip to the beach (in busy season/beach weather), and August more beach time,

September was weird not starting out the school year - and tough. The Philly Distance Run was a PR. Nick's first Mets game.

October - Nick's first Halloween and first time he won a contest!

November - The Philly Marathon!

December - Nick's first Santa's lap and ChristmaS! First snow storm!

It was a great year and I look forward to 2010! This year definitely flew. I don't have any

All in all:

1645.5 miles ran
- 10 days and 22 hours (compared to last year's 1748.4)

Best thing about the year: Nick

2nd best thing: Boston Marathon

Biggest surprise: Breastfeeding at all?

Biggest changes: Running is not at the top of my priority list and doesn't hold as much importance in my life as it did pre Nick (meaning if I miss a run or don't hit my weekly mileage, I don't care as much!)

Biggest disappointments: Lack of motivation that hit in June/July and being unable to drop the last 3 lbs of baby weight.

Biggest challenge: Not going back to work for this year, missing my identity. Having little time for myself.

What does 2010 have in store:
More running, but not a marathon until the fall
Ocean Drive 10 miler
Broad Street Run
Perhaps a sibling for Nick
Hopefully moving from a townhouse to real house

It should be an exciting year! I have no set resolutions, just to stay motivated, stay positive and eat well (despite the toast and butter/carbs problem right now).


Cravings and Overdoing it

I have not been doing too well this holiday season and feel pretty gross! It started with Christmas eve, I hate that feeling of fullness when you just eat too much and feel very uncomfortable. Something didn't sit well with me and for the next 2-3 days I was just bloated and didn't want to eat anything but toast and butter, or pasta and butter. For the past few weeks, I've been anti veggies. I can do potatoes, california mashers, and tomatoes but broccoli, spinach and anything I overate at Thanksgiving, I cannot handle. I had this experience in college with marinated mushrooms - I would eat them all the time. Finally, I could not look at them anymore. That is how I feel right now about broccoli, spinach and most vegetables. I could eat toast for breakfast lunch and dinner, and I'm totally into cheese, and could eat pizza everyday (but haven't had it since that time a couple weeks ago when that was all I wanted).

Luckily, I've been running and doing good with the workouts, especially here for the last week of the HBBC! But I wish I could get the fruits and veggies back up!

Other than that, I'm keeping busy planning Nick's birthday (airplane theme) and taking pictures with my new camera! For a first birthday, did you give/get favors?

My sister took me to a place in town called SPRINKLES... DEADLY!
You get a HUGE cup (they are oversized as part of the ploy) and fill your own soft serve (around 12 flavors) then get your own toppings (39 of them to choose from) and then weigh it and pay 40 cents an ounce. For both of ours it was $11 ! For Ice cream! The good thing is it is actually soft serve froyo so half cup ranged from around 100-120 calories. Here's some pictures below:

my mix: cake batter and chocolate and vanilla w/ oreos, reeses, cookie dough


What I got for ChristmaS!

Christmas was so nice with Nick this year. Very exciting and fun! It was more fun opening his gifts than our own, and I don't remember the last time I was so excited to get up. Nick was jumping up and down in his crib. So cute! Just turn down the volume because my baby voice will make you never read this blog again!

What did you get for Christmas? Nick got tons of clothes, toys and books and a rocking chair.

I got:

A flip video camera - very cool and small
A locket to hold pictures of Bill, me and Nick
My mom and dad totally shocked and surprised me with an awesome Nikon Camera for my birthday!

My brother taught me basics of photoshop

I got a cool warm/cold underarmour long sleeve running shirt that is reversible for warm/cold weather.

My friend Nicole got me PBK and Pottery Barn gift cards so I can go crazy there!

Also a bunch of small things

I have a handful of returns to make but am so happy with everything that I got!

Here is the result of my new camera and photoshop lesson:


Merry Christmas! Christmas Eve menu

Merry Christmas!

Nick made out with tons of toys, a rocking chair and clothes.
It was definitely more exciting opening his gifts than mine!

The spread for Christmas Eve:

multigrain cracker and chips,

Cheese, Hot salsa

Hummus and veggies

Spinach and artichoke dip (so easy to make!)

Toast circles with herbs de provence

Spanakopita (that I made way too big) and
pigs in the blanket (only non vegetarian item,ha!)

Spinach and mushroom veggie lasanga!

Everything was so good! I ate way too much! Good thing I ran yesterday morning and then went out again in the cold with my sister so I ran almost 11 miles on the day. This morning and all last night I felt awful. I hate when you overdo it. Running definitely made me feel better - just 4 miles this morning and I want to just be active all day in preparation for tonight's dinner, where I have to TAKE IT EASY!


Merry Christmas!

Here is our Christmas card. I couldn't decide on one picture and really liked this one, so I did a folded card and went all out. These didn't turn out so well scanned in, but here it is:

The front!

The inside had this picture and then some writing on the other side.

" May you view the holiday season through the eyes of a child" - Bill, Natalie & Nick

Back - no one looks at it but totally necessary, right? Not really.

I got an early present or two - a blender just a little while after cursing about the one I've been using to make Nick's food, Bill picked up on that one! and an umbrella stroller from my mom/dad. Yippee! I am like a child at Christmas for sure.

Last minute wish list?:

**Those laces that go on your shoes so you don't have to tie them? Yaks?
**Arm Warmers
**Cricut Cartridges? Anyone know what they are? Just got into this and bought a machine!
(for scrapbooking, making etsy things, oh yea!) and I had my first etsy sale over the weekend! Whew!!!!

** No lace shoes - slip on sneakers/comfortable shoes
(**Shopping assistant and new wardrobe)

What's on your list? Think you are going to get it?

Best wishes to all! Delicious food to be posted tomorrow : )


High Chair Review: Graco Blossom

I have to just rave about this high chair that I got for Nick a while back because when I was looking for high chairs, I had NO CLUE.

This is the Graco Blossom in Bombay. It says it is a 4 in 1. I think it is more like 3 in one - it can go on a seat as a booster, used as a high chair and used without the tray just pushed up to the table. The best feature, I think, is that the seat reclines! This means if Nick is having a bottle, I can put his seat back and it is perfect. The tray comes with a top that comes off for cleaning(which is necessary now almost everyday with finger food going on), and it is nicely cushioned and easy to wipe down. It is also on wheels and easy to move.

Pros: Reclines, wheels, plastic tray that comes off for washing, leather easy to clean padding, comfortable (I believe), 3 different settings (grows with your child!)
Cons: It does not fold up, it is $$$ at 179.99 (however use a 20% off coupon that comes out almost all the time!)

I totally recommend it.

In other news, last night I made the veggie lasanga for Christmas Eve dinner - I used whole wheat noodles with ricotta mixed with spinach and used cut up mushrooms as one of the layers after the tomato sauce. I have to take a picture tomorrow.

Today I made spanakopita - pretty easy but time consuming and a chocolate cake I'd been eyeing up on the 10x box. I think both turned out well - for tomorrow night!

need to brown it tomorrow!

one of the layers pre-icing:

cream cheese chocolate icing - mmm I think Angela K would love this!!

2 more days (really 1) till Christmas! Hope everyone has their shopping done!


Baking;Cooking;1 mile race

1 miler!
Running Laur was holding a 1 mile virtual race/run for this week. I did my 6 miles this morning and saved one to "race" during Nick's afternoon nap. I ended up warming up one and going at a decent clip for the 2nd mile coming in at 8:02 - on the treadmill. It would have been cool to go to a track to do it and get my real time, but that wasn't in the cards. Maybe one of the days over the break! This was a great motivator though - it made me do an extra mile today!

Tis the season
Today started the cooking and baking for Christmas Eve. I am making a semi-healthy lasagna, some yummy dips and hope to make a chocolate cake for dessert along with Christmas cookies that have been frozen since baking extraganza a few weekends ago. I am not in the mood at all to make any more cookies!

Breastfeeding - Do I give up?
Until right about a month ago, things were going fine. Nick was definitely losing interest quickly and I was getting frustrated. I gave up on feeding him directly from the source except first thing in the morning which means that I pump 3 times a day. And pumping 3 times a day only gets me 6 ounces, which is enough for his bedtime bottle. Part of me doesn't want to quit since I just have about a month and a half till 1 year and the other part of me just wants to throw in the towel, give him formula for another few weeks and start up the whole milk. I think it is great he gets 2 servings of breastmilk everyday, but in the end, I don't know how much it matters. The whole thing of drying up has been frustrating to someone who didn't even want to do it pre-baby.


the best way to spread christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear~
:) Elf

We got around 18 inches of snow here near Philadelphia.
We took Nick out and he wasn't too thrilled - he did not smile until we made it back in the house!
I think everything is more fun with a child so the snow was just that much more exciting having Nick around and taking him to the window and outside in the snow, something I normally would not have done!

Yesterday was a really fun day overall!
I made some whole wheat bread for Nick's sandwiches - he's a big fan of hummus on bread,
and we went outside twice. Today I made some coffee cake and we took him out sledding (though the snow was way too soft) so it turned into pulling him around.

I was supposed to meet Rebecca today for a run but the snow changed up our plans - hopefully soon we'll meet up for a run! Yesterday in the afternoon I did 7 miles on the treadmill - it was ok. This morning I did 7 and it felt GREAT. I need to finish about 2 more miles to get to my 30 miles for the week, so I'm hoping I 'll get that in this afternon!

In the meantime - here's Nick's Santa picture!
He sat there very serious looking and after about 2 minutes he cried.



I was doing really well and tracking everything for almost a week and then I just didn't have the time for it, you know? And over Thanksgiving I was eating so many veggies while away, that when I came back, I did not want to look at a vegetable. I'm digging fruits right now, and trying to sneak in the veggies.

All I could think about this morning while I was swimming was pizza. The crust and taking a bite of it. Oh my gosh - it was awful. I was getting more hungry as each minute went on. I had to stop thinking about it. Last week I had pizza Thursday and Saturday and I could have had it every other day in between. My swimming is just not progressing - I feel like I am trying so hard and not moving. My stroke feels terrible and I feel like a big splashing whale pounding through the water. I don't know why!

I went to the produce market that I've been going to this morning and I have to say, it's an awesome place and I spend around $25-30 on a TON of produce, but the workers just suck. They are really not friendly people and act like we are privileged to shop there. I don't know why it bothers me but I never bring my cart back to the rest of the carts because I figure it will make the workers work extra. Isn't that mean? In the spirit of giving...

Ever since trying my first pomegranate a few weeks ago, I've bought at least one per week - delicious! They are so refreshing. In addition I've snagged some grapefruits from my parents house that were probably going to go bad, and these are refreshing too. The only thing I don't like about grapefruits is having to cut them in the outline to scoop out. It's hard - and I feel like I am always wasting fruit!

In Nick's world - he's crawling everywhere. He wants to walk everywhere with our help. He's having fun kicking a ball and then following it to kick again and pulling up on everything. It is pretty cute when I'm in the kitchen doing something and I feel the tug on my pants. How long from when they start walking with assistance do they walk on their own? It must be a scary process for sure! And his morning naps have been super short with a long afternoon one. When does the morning nap phase out? I like it for sure, so I'm not ready for that, but I bet then the afternoon one gets longer? Or maybe not.

And I think MCM is my best bet - great feedback!!
Happy weekend to all! We are getting some snow here tomorrow.


Over the last week, I've been trying to put things in perspective and have talked to a few friends who have reminded me that this time goes so quickly... so I've really tried to remember that.
Also, I've talked to a friend from work with a 2 year old who went back to work and is struggling. So.. the grass is always greener!

Running - I won't say I'm running when I feel like it, but I'm running on my normal schedule and trying to get my miles back up to 30 miles/ week, not sure why but I liked meeting that goal each week.

Swimming- I was kind of reaching burn out mode with that but you have one good day and you feel better.

Plans for 2010:
I'll do a few races for fun in the spring and maybe run a fall marathon - Chicago? Marine Corps? Maybe none! I probably won't be up for traveling by flight, so Marine Corps might be the best bet... anyone done that? Other ideas?



Thanks for the support on my last post. Ah - the struggles and questioning about going back to work.

Bill is away this weekend and Nick has been great. My sister came to stay with me yesterday and to make Christmas cookies. She came over around 3 and had been out the night before, so by 8pm she was passed out on my couch. No cookies were made. Haha. This morning I made pancake Sunday for her, but she was totally not into my healthy pumpkin pancakes. And as a side note, we met at a raw cafe over the summer and she was looking at her food like it was going to bite or attack her. We don't have the same eating habits and she can definitely eat more than me and still look good. The unfairness.

Today after we woke up and made the pancakes, it was time for some cookie baking. She picked out some recipes - peanut butter chocolate and black and white macaroons. She did most of the work - I have a cookie exchange on wednesday night so I wanted to use one of the recipes for it. The macaroons while totally horrible for you, were the winner since most people are bringing peanut butter/chocolate cookies. I'll post pictures later.

GUM - I was a gum ADDICT. Recently I stopped buying it and have been able to live without it!
I read in Runner's World yesterday that if you want to try to eat something healthier than desserts, buy some sugary cereal for your sweet tooth and you'll get a load of vitamins! So I took their advice and bought some reeses puffs today. Oh man - they are so good. None for Nick though! They are the perfect size for him, but way too much sugar.

For my airplane birthday theme, I'm working on the invites and favor labels. I think the favors will be some kind of food, maybe peanuts for the airplane thing or small cookies - any ideas?
Next I'm trying to think of a birthday banner - maybe airplane scrapbook paper as the background with big letters of his name saying Happy 1st birthday Nick. There is so much cool stuff on Etsy - I go on and get ideas, then make them myself!



Some days it is a challenge. Today was a challenging day. Unfortunately I can't call in sick.
I've been MIA as I've been struggling to put my thoughts together. I'm definitely having some trouble missing teaching and needing something to keep that part of me going. With Nick walking with my help and crawling (more into walking around with me holding his hands), I am spent. I can't find any part-time teaching jobs but I'm just itching to have a class to teach, grade papers and plan for. I keep coming up with small projects but the time to do them - I'm not finding it. I did think of a theme for Nick's birthday - it will be AIRPLANES! He loves ceiling fans so the propeller of the airplane - it was the only thing that I could think of that he had a connection with!


I don't want to pick up any more cheerios off the floor.

I don't feel like cleaning the floor twice a day because there are crumbs from the high chair on it.

I get food on my clothes and on the floor.

I don't feel like making a meal for Nick and then he won't eat it.

I don't feel like washing the dishes after breakfast, lunch and dinner, and cleaning up the high chair during my free time which is scant.

I don't feel like listening to him cry when he goes down for a nap.

I don't feel like going up to soothe him when he's screaming for no reason and standing in the crib when it is naptime.

And I don't feel like going through the same thing for bedtime after doing it for the nap.

I am tired, and frustrated. TGIF.

I've been very frustrated with the abrupt end to breastfeeding - I'm pumping 4 times a day and he nurses in the morning and gets a bottle of bm before bed. I had to get formula (yes, at 10 months wth!) for the other 2 bottles and have mixed with whole milk because at first he wouldn't take it. He hasn't taken a full bottle of formula yet, but it's getting closer to the majority of formula and less whole milk which he isn't even supposed to have till 12 months.

body crap
What really sucks is that with breastfeeding I've read alot of people go lose all their weight and then lose more than their pre-prego weight. I was hoping that'd be me because I was already 3 pounds up from my ideal / goal weight when I got pregnant. Instead from around 2 months on, I kept + 3 lbs that wouldn't go away. If any of you read Ironman Michelle's blog (I'm being very vague with what I post right now - more info later) and you know what she is going through, I am also in a similar situation. So with that, I am frustrated and not happy w/ my body right now, even though there has not been a day in a long time where I didn't workout. Isn't it frustrating to watch friends who can pound cheesesteaks, pizza, cookies and never eat a damn healthy thing and they look good? Maybe their insides don't look good? How will we ever know?

Fitting it all in
With the small projects that I make up - now Nick's birthday, also making up a website to sell things that I make, I want to hone in on them. I like to start something and finish it. That hasn't been possible. When Nick goes to bed, I want to work on my projects - but you also have to make time for your marriage, especially in this baby time where things are all over the place. I've had a hard time with the balancing act.

I'm in a swim rut, running has been going ok. I swam 2 sessions this week and have been doing some abs but still no lifting routine which I really need to get into and stop talking about it. I'm excited to get in some outside runs even if it is bitter cold. It's fun.

parting thoughts.
Days like today and I don't know how people do this stay at home mom thing everyday. There is no personal time and then you are supposed to find time to cook and clean too? I will take my job over this, at least I can have contact with adults, use my brain, and use the free periods to do some online shopping or things I want to do. In the end, every day isn't like today, but many days are challenging. And it is a huge adjustment to have no time to yourself.


First Birthday

Nick's birthday is in less than 2 months. I just realized you probably send out invites about a month before which is right after Christmas. I started thinking about it as a project because I need to have things lined up to keep me busy - but haven't come up with anything. What cute themes have you seen? What are some ideas? I know I can take it as far as I want - some people go all out and some make it low key. I think somewhere in the middle would be great. I want to have some kind of theme for the cake, invites, decor... and keep it a small crowd. So what are some theme ideas?


What to do with pomegranate?

I got a pomegranate - it looked so refreshing and I hear the season is ending. First one I've bought! I followed directions to clean it and get the ariis out. Yum yum. I ate some scoopfuls with a spoon. What are some ideas for what to do with it?

There was no pancake Sunday today - I overdid it last week and had Pancake Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Maybe next week!

Yesterday was my longest run to date after Philly - 7 miles and it felt great! I was aiming for 3, and kept adding on. I love runs like that! Today is a winter wonderland - with the tree up, lights on, and snow - I'm just loving it! I went for a run w/ my sister outside in the wonderland. It was gorgeous out!

Nick turned 10 months today! Ahh! Everyone tells you it goes fast - and it goes even faster than that! He's getting to be a little man and is so fun. We took him out in the snow yesterday for a rendition of the Christmas story (the marshmallow like snow suit). I'm so excited for Christmas - babies make it

And a friend just started a blog - check it out here - she's studying to be a nutritionist/wellness counselor.


Peppermint, Cheese Sauce, Happy Babies

A while ago, I tried the Happy Baby Food Cubes -

I was a huge fan. I also had free coupons to try the Happy Bites for toddlers. My whole foods is not going to carry these products anymore, and the last time I went I was able to pick up some to try. They had salmon, chicken bites, mac and cheese and veggie burgers. Well... I haven't given Nick any meat yet so I picked the veggie burgers to try. And I've been eating them and they are delicious!! I think they are for toddlers - so over a year, so I'll save some for Nick, but in the meantime, I did need to try them out to make sure they were good for Nick to eat - right?

The burgers have 2 servings of veggies and 110 calories. Here are the ingredients:

Organic Potatoes, Organic Carrots, Organic Corn, Organic red Peppers, Organic Black Beans, Organic Eggs, organic Palm Fruit Oil, Water, Organic Pea Fiber, Organic Cheddar Cheese (Organic pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes), Organic Corn Starch, Organic Onion, Organic Garlic, Sea Salt, Organic Chili Powder, Organic Parsley, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Cumin

They were seriously delicious. Only 3 come in a box and at Whole Foods they were $4.99 so I found that to be kind of pricey, but each time I've bought them, a coupon has been inside - so that is a plus.

Next up - Reading Heather's blog, I made the cashew cheeze sauce (click the link for the blog) for veggies and tofu last night. It was really easy and tasty too. I only had 1 cup cashews, 1 cup water, and 1 tbsp tahini. It was still good.

This week, I've just been doing what I feel like in terms of work outs. I got a sinus infection on Monday and it won't go away. And unfortunately, I can't take anything for it so it's lingering. I skipped swimming Monday and today which was a bummer but I slept in instead and did Jillian. I've yet to get to the gym this week to do some real lifting, but Jillian is a good sweat and toner.
Yesterday I ran a little over 5 miles on the treadmill. I have no aspirations for weekly mileage and it is feeling nice! The next long race (10 miles)I might do won't be until late March so I have time.

Today I made some peppermint tempo (granola) bars - inspired by chocolate mint gu, but this wasn't an ingredient!

I'm seriously missing teaching - grading papers, interacting with kids - I keep looking for college positions for one night a week or one day a week and can't find a thing. I picked up another student to tutor so my 3 hours of tutoring (M, T, W) keep my brain working throughout the week.

I've definitely been slacking off on reading blogs. Nick started crawling and wants to walk with assistance everywhere, and with the sinus infection on top of that, I've been so tired and going to bed early - so I'm going to try to catch up soon!

the thanksgiving giveaway winner

#11 shellyrm.

Please send me your email (tosha25italia @ yahoo).

More to come later...