Fitness Update

I thought I would post an update to my previous post about working out and eating right again. I’m on my third week of following Weight Watchers and the Fitness Blender workout plan, and I feel great! I’ve lost almost 4 pounds, and I feel like I am getting better and better at the workouts I’m doing. My arms and legs look and feel more toned, and I feel better overall. I have been sleeping much better as well. Now that I am actually below my weight goal, I’m really focusing on toning up and getting rid of the jelly tummy left from carrying a human being around for 9 months. I really can’t say enough good things about the Fitness Blender workouts and training plans. When I joined my previous gym, I had 3 sessions with a personal trainer, which I really loved. The workouts were simple but effective, and I felt like the time I spent at the gym was really efficiently used. I haven’t felt that way since until I started using the Fitness Blender plan. I know this sounds like an infomercial, but no one is paying me to write this, I promise!

I bought some new kicks because my heavy stability running shoes were not comfortable for all the plyometric exercises. I picked up these ASICS Gel-Invasions, and they are light and bouncy in the right places.

Love my new cross-trainers. Way better for my @fitnessblender workouts than heavy motion control runners.

As a Weight Watchers lifetime member, I can go to meetings free and get eTools (the website and apps for tracking) for free as long as I stay within 2 pounds of my goal weight. So now I’ve been going to WW and weighing in so that should keep me motivated to keep the weight off hopefully. I have a feeling when Margaret completely weans (she nurses twice a day now) I will have to adjust to less food again so I’m trying to be proactive about it now.

I will continue to keep you posted! I’m really looking forward to seeing my progress at the end of the 8-week workout program. I plan to purchase another one of their plans at that point since this one has been so awesome!

Working out again and a review.

Hello, long time no see! For several reasons, this past weekend I started working out and watching my diet again. At my physical, my doctor noted that my HDL levels are in the normal range, but could be higher. The best way to improve that number is exercise so he is going to check back with me in 6 months to see if I’ve been able to improve it with lifestyle changes. Also, in the past two months I gained around 5 pounds due to BabyFab’s decreased nursing. I guess I have to start eating like a normal person again without the extra calorie burn! For diet, I’m using the tried and true Weight Watchers plan. It has always worked for me, and I like the apps on my iPhone and iPad for easy tracking.

For exercise, I am using Fitness Blender’s 8 Week Fat Loss Program.


I stumbled upon the Fitness Blender YouTube channel one day when I was looking for a quick warm-up to follow before going for a run. Wow, it is amazing how high quality the free workouts they have created are! Unlike some of the other online fitness gurus who shall remain nameless, they are not selling sex. They are personal trainers who are fit and attractive, but are attainable role models. The videos are simple with a white background and a voice over explaning the exercises. Also, they are tough! Once I tried a few different workouts, I decided to spring for one of their $6 ebooks that give you an 8 week training plan to follow. It’s nice to just do whatever workout they say on any given day and not have to plan out my exercise on my own. The equipment required is minimal. So far, I’ve just needed dumbbells, an exercise mat, and something to use as a weight bench.

The first day of the program was a fitness test, which was nice because I’ll have something to compare with after I finish to see my progress. I don’t really need to lose more than a few pounds at this point so it will be important to have other benchmarks for progress. So far I’ve done a (super intense) cardio/abs workout and an arms/shoulders workout. Their warm-ups are nice and effective, and I really loved the pilates cool down after the strength workout last night.

I will update you as I progress through the program. So far, it is a lot of bang for the buck when you think about the cost of a Beach Body program, which only gives you one set of videos to repeat over and over. Those programs (I’m thinking of P90X and Chalene Johnson’s programs) work, but I enjoy the gimmick-free videos from Fitness Blender. Nothing to roll my eyes at! Daniel and Kelli are providing some really high quality fitness content and using the internet to its fullest extent with their offerings.

This week in fab.

This week in life.

This was a really hectic week at work, even though it was only four days after working the weekend. I was not as good about exercise this week. I just have to make myself do it, but at night I really want to relax and read or veg out with Netflix after I get Margaret down and get things ready for the next day.

This weekend was fun. We had a Christmas party with our book club. There were a lot of kids there for Margaret to watch and “play with.” She’s still a bit young for them but loves to be around big kids. We had a great time with our friends since we were able to put her to bed in a pack and play at their house and stay a bit later than we would otherwise.

I ordered two card games based on episodes of Geek & Sundry’s Tabletop series: Gloom and Munchkin (the Space and Western ones). Dan and I played Gloom on Thursday night, and it was a lot of fun. I don’t think I can do the game justice so look it up or watch the Tabletop episode. It’s a twisted game full of dark humor.

This week in BabyFab.

Margaret hit two milestones this week. She clapped for the first time and took a step! We haven’t gotten her to repeat the step without holding our hands, but she’s a little more consistent with clapping.

She also continued to eat more table foods. I made turkey meatloaf, a favorite of ours, and she loved it! I ground up her portion and let her pick up some green beans to eat on her own.


Turkey meatloaf for mom and baby.

Unfortunately, a cough, teething, and reaction to the Amoxicillin for her ear infection made the latter part of her week a bit rough. Saturday, she only napped if I held her, and she was fussier than normal.


Naps with mommy.

Sunday was much better. She was back to playing, but still not eating as well as early in the week. Hopefully, she’ll be back to her old self once the effects from the medicine have subsided.


Shaking her shaker with the Nutcracker Suite.

This week in crafts.

I made a Christmas stocking for Margaret. I’ll post separately about this and another sewing project I’m getting ready to start later this week. Here is the almost finished product.


Margaret’s first Christmas stocking.

This week in books.

I’m still working on and enjoying The Cider House Rules. With our naps together on Saturday, I got a good bit of reading done. I’m probably about a fourth into the book now.

I finished the audio of The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball (loved it!) and I’m now returning to Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, which is getting better at the halfway point.

I hope you have a great week!

Crafty Christmas

This might be the first time I’ve pinned something on Pinterest and actually followed through with it. I love this tutorial for retro Christmas stockings at Simply Notable.



I headed to a local fabric store yesterday and picked up these fabrics. I apologize for the crappy lighting. It is cloudy this morning, and I’ll never post this if I don’t do it when I have time. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but the fabric on the far right is greenish-blue.


I already have these fabrics in my stash that I think I’ll use as well:


The purpose 0f making these is for Margaret to have a special stocking so I plan to make hers first in case the others aren’t finished before Christmas (which is highly likely). I think the fabric combo below is the one I’ll use for hers. I love that print with the little girl having tea. That will be the body of the stocking, and the cross stitch print will be the cuff. I plan to make the loop out of one of the fabrics rather than using a ribbon as the tutorial instructs. I think that will last longer and wash better if needed.


I just cut out the pattern pieces last night, and it is quite a bit larger than I expected, but that will be nice when we’re trying to find stocking stuffers that will fit I suppose. I hope to have a stocking to show off by the end of the week!

This week in fab.

Let’s see if I can manage to post once a week. I like the idea of a Sunday weekly recap.

This week in life.

I have been trying to exercise somewhat regularly for the past two weeks. I’ve worked up to running 2 miles continuously. I had been doing Couch to 5K to get back into running after baby, but that ended up being a waste of time because I can run 2 miles (as exhibited on Friday) with no problem, even though I haven’t been running. I find myself getting really stressed and squirmy when I don’t get to run so I’m trying to make it a priority as much as I can.

This week in BabyFab.

BabyFab seems to be getting ready to walk a little. She stands independently, and is starting to stretch to cruise between some pretty wide gaps. Tonight at my cousins’ house for Hanukkah, she was doing some major independent standing and almost walking. I am not sure if this is an entirely good thing. Early crawling did not make our lives easier so I don’t expect the progression to walking to be any better. It will be fun at least!

Her "Nothing can stop me" shirt is appropriate to this toy. @citizengeek

Nothing can stop me.

We’re starting to give her more table foods as well. I made Pasta Fagioli this week since the noodles and beans get really soft in the soup. The first night I just fed it to her whole and let her pick some up off the high chair tray, but she gets tired of the effort so I’ve been giving some to her that way for practice and doing a quick blend (not a thin puree) with the stick blender so she can actually eat enough food before she gives up.

Pasta Fagioli for parents and baby.

Pasta Fagioli for parents and baby.


Get in my belly!

This week in books.

I’m currently reading The Cider House Rules by John Irving, and it is nothing short of amazing. Due to the length and my limited reading time, I’ll probably still be reading this when Margaret is 2 years old. I had gone too far in this life without reading anything by Irving, and now I can’t wait to read his other work as well.

I’m listening to The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball. It is a really interesting memoir about a big city girl moving to upstate NY to start a farm/CSA with her fiance.

This week in media.

We had our annual viewing of Love, Actually last night. Seriously, how can one movie be so full of awesome?! I watch this throughout the year but have to get one holiday season viewing in.

I’m pretty much down to How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory for new TV. HIMYM is getting pretty tired. It’s the last season so I want to watch it to the end, but it has lost something. Big Bang Theory is still consistently enjoyable. This week’s episode was hilarious, and Raj has had some hilarious lines lately. Amy sometimes annoys me, but “You want to spank me?” this week was perfect.

I have been watching Frasier on Netflix, and it is so much funnier now than when I used to watch it. I always enjoyed the sitcom, but some of the jokes are more humorous from an adult’s perspective.

What have you been up to this week?

Living Room Update: New Furniture!

I was very excited yesterday when Dan sent me this picture of our new furniture!

The newest member of our household was pleased. The pattern on the pillows is quite mesmerizing. Looking back and forth at all of the pillows, she was seemingly in disbelief of her good fortune in having such pleasing surroundings.


After she went to sleep, I settled in with my Kindle and thoroughly enjoyed my new armchair and ottoman. Tired MamaFab approves.


Living Room Redecoration: Before

This post is the first in a series of posts highlighting the process of decorating various rooms in our house. The first room is the one that needs the most work, our living room.

The title of this post should really be decorating not REdecorating because we’ve never done any decorating in this room since we moved in a few years ago. We finally ordered new furniture that is actually being delivered tomorrow (after ordering furniture from a store that filed for bankruptcy last year and never getting it).

As you will see, our challenges in this room are copious amounts of wall space and the clutter that results from having a child. We don’t have a room that we want to use as a playroom, and we’d rather have her play in the room with the comfortable furniture anyway since we’ll be wherever she is. This means that we may not have the bookshelves in here that we would like to have since she could (and likely would) pull them down and hurt herself.

Here is a rather rambly video of me showing the room before we get our new furniture. I’ll do another one when the room is finished, and possibly one or two in between while we’re decorating around the new furniture.

July Reads

In July, I finally started to get my reading mojo back. I’m still not tearing through books at the same pace as I did before the baby, but audiobooks have helped me get back into the swing of things. Bossypants and Anna and the French Kiss were both welcome diversions while washing bottles and pump parts every night.

With the help of Dan’s Kindle Fire (which I have commandeered for the foreseeable future) I am now reading while I nurse at night since it syncs through Amazon’s Whispernet with my Kindle Touch. For this reason, I’m sticking to ebooks since I can read them in the dark and with one hand. The Summer We Read Gatsby was a nice light fluffy read that helped me feel like I could finish books again. It was a bit of a nothing of a book though as there wasn’t much substance. 44 Scotland Street was reminiscent of the Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin and just as fun to read. I loved McCall Smith’s characters, especially young Bertie. My favorite read in July was The Absolutist by John Boyne, although it was a tough book to read emotionally. (I received a free review copy from NetGalley.)

I’ve just started reading The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian, and I’m listening to two audiobooks – Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani and Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. We shall see what August brings! What are you reading?

Knitting Update

I haven’t posted about my knitting in a really long time so here is an update.

I finished these vanilla socks (from the basic sock recipe in Knitting Rules) while watching lots of Battlestar Galactica on maternity leave. The yarn is Trekking Hand Art sock yarn.

Trekking Vanilla Socks

I’m currently spending most of my knitting time on this Simple Yet Effective shawl. I need to look for the label of this yarn, but I got it at Maryland Sheep & Wool two years ago. I love the color. The yarn is on the lighter side of fingering weight and is perfect for this shawl.

Simple Yet Effective shawl

My current pair of socks is this ribbed pattern from Interweave’s Favorite Socks. The yarn is Knit One Crochet Too Crock-O-Dye sock yarn. I love the gray. These will be super comfy.

Gray ribbed socks

I’m not sure what I’ll start next after I finish the shawl. I have the yarns below that I’m itching to use. I don’t know what I want to do with them. Any ideas from my knitterly readers? I got the Jitterbug a few years ago on a trip to Charlottesville with Dan, and the Manos is from a recent sale at a local yarn shop.


Manos del Uruguay


Even though I noted in my last post that I didn’t want this to be just a “mommy blog,” it would be difficult for me to write about my life at the moment without discussing parenthood. I don’t think I can quite put into words what the first month or so of being a mother is like because it is such a haze of sleeplessness and emotion (because you have a baby and because your hormones are going insane). I’m convinced that most of the time and energy people spend on planning their “birth experience” would be better spent learning about what comes immediately after. Because the labor and delivery come and go, but the baby is here to stay.

I’ll talk a little about the reality of day-to-day life now that my maternity leave is over and Dan is back at work after taking six weeks off to bridge the gap between my leave and the start of daycare. The first week of daycare was rough on everyone. Margaret had developed major stranger anxiety to the point that even people who she was happy with before could no longer hold her. So leaving her there that first day was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. However, just two weeks into daycare, she is already much better about letting other people hold her and play with her. I’m pretty confident that she needed the socialization she’s getting there because she was getting so used to only seeing mom and dad on a daily basis. Also, even though I miss Margaret when I’m at work, I feel more like myself now that I actually leave the house every day and talk to other adults. One day, I will feel even more like myself when BabyFab decides to sleep through the night. A long stretch of consecutive sleep to me now is 5 hours. This does not happen very often.

One major change (other than a dramatic reduction in free time) with becoming a working parent is the need to be proactive and organized. I have no choice but to have my lunch, pumping supplies, work clothes, and the baby’s milk ready before I go to bed or we would not make it out of the house in the morning. One thing I’m really trying to work on is not sitting down and farting around aimlessly online after all of this is done. I would prefer reading or knitting to playing online, but it is so easy to just waste this short span of time when you’ve been either working or parenting all day.

I am truly grateful for the strong relationship Dan and I have with each other. I cannot fathom how single parents or parents with partners who don’t pull equal weight survive parenthood. Monday through Wednesday, one of us works in the evening so we get a small taste of single parenting on those days. It is not easy, but it definitely makes me cherish the time that the three of us get to spend together as a family.

The huge upheaval resulting from having a baby has definitely been worth it to me. It is so cool to watch her change and grow every day. I can’t believe how quickly she acquires new skills. And meeting your baby that first day is pretty awesome.


First night together.