Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Cat Adventure

I'm pretty sure the only one who really enjoyed the chaos of moving this past weekend was James. His first evening in the house was spent bounding around on the hardwood floors, sniffing every box, exploring every corner and sporadically checking in with me (asleep in bed). I, of course, slept through it all, but apparently his friskiness was noisy enough to keep Joe awake most of the night. Then on Sunday, for the first time in a year - not including his week in the wilderness fending off coyotes after he jumped three stories from the balcony - James spent a day exploring the great outdoors.

I let him out in the backyard, but it didn't take him long to find his way to the neighboring yard, which is home to four adolescent outdoor cats. Shortly after he left the backyard I heard a cat growling and assumed it was James (that's typically one of his favorite ways to communicate). However, after tracking down the source of the growl, I found him sitting in the neighbor's yard looking all zen while a gray striped cat hissed and growled at him. I tried to tempt James back into our yard with a can of tuna, but James completely ignored my presence and seemed curious but unphased by the other cat.

Eventually he lost interest in the growling cat and ventured further into the neighbor's backyard. The growling cat was perplexed, and followed him a few feet into the yard, but James disappeared into some bushes and I lost track of him. When I went back outside looking for James a little while later, Growly was still guarding the yard, but James was nowhere to be seen. 

Several hours later (after making my rounds every thirty minutes looking for him - with Joe asking me if I was going to stalk Ezra every time we let him outdoors) I heard another cat squeal, and went outside to check. This time an orange cat was staring James down, with his back arched and his fur all bushy. Again, James just sat there, smack dab in the middle of the orange cat's territory, with his zen expression. Again, I tried calling him back to the house with tuna. He stared up at the sky, or off toward some bushes, or pretty much any direction except where I was standing. The orange cat slowly backed away from James, and gave up his territory to the new cat on the block. I gave up and went back inside.

When he was good and ready, James showed up at our doorstep, a little dusty but otherwise unscathed, meowing loudly for his promised tuna.

Later that night, Joe and I watched Almost Famous, and Joe compared me to the psyho, over-protective mom in the movie (Frances McDormand). James was out trying to make friends with our new cat neighbors, and I was embarrassing him by waving cans of tuna and giving away his nicknames (Mr. Lovebug). Whoops. I don't know what I was worried about anyway, if he could handle packs of coyotes with an injured hip, of course he could handle a few tomcats.

After James conquered the neighborhood, he crashed out on the bed for the whole night. In the above photo he is actually sitting on Joe's lap purring. Purring! Anyone who knows him, knows that's unheard of. His normal form of communication with Joe is hissing and growling. Sometimes Joe will corner him, and James will sit on his lap taking shallow little breaths while waiting for the right moment to bolt. Maybe a few more trips outside and he'll resemble a normal cat?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weekend Recap: Allergies, Moving, & Exploring

That squirrel looks how I feel. Too bad I can't flop down on my belly anymore or I'd join him.

Spring Fever got to us last week, and we thought we'd spend our lunch break wandering around the park near our work. We saw these crazy ninja squirrels doing flips and somersaults and side kicks at the base of a tree not too far from us. The weird thing was that they would act like little psychopaths in that one specific spot, then run away and act like a completely normal squirrel again. Then a different, seemingly normal squirrel would run up to that same spot and suddenly turn into a psycho ninja. The squirrels are kinda small, but you can still see their psychoticness for yourself in the following videos:

Looking back, those squirrels were probably warning us about the dangers of the park. Almost immediately after our walk my eyes were itching and watering uncontrollably and Joe was all congested and claimed he was dying. Our Happiest Baby on the Block Class was a haze. We went home and spent an exciting evening doing saltwater nasal rinses, which are a ton of fun, if you've never tried it. I felt much better afterward. Joe felt less congested, but he had flu symptoms as well, and a nasal rinse has limited healing abilities.

The next three days (and counting) went by in a flurry of boxes. Saturday was all the big stuff (couch, bed, appliances, dresser, treadmill...). Sunday was all of our food and kitchen essentials, plus most of my closet. We also got to make an unnecessary trip between the new and old place when I realized I'd left the keys to the new place at the old place. Fun. Now we're down to packing and moving the small, seemingly useless stuff, that we should probably just throw away but want to sort through first.

The old apartment - a total mess
The new place - also a total mess
Sunday evening we took a little break from the packing chaos and went to explore our new neighborhood. There's a path that begins at the end of our street and circles around a lake. We walked about halfway around before I was exhausted and we turned back. We did get several bird photos along the way though:
Ducks flying in a V formation
Birds of several feathers flocking together (in the last bit of sunshine)

We got back home, unpacked a little more, ate some fried Mexican food, and then crashed on the couch to watch Almost Famous. Highlights of our productive, though not very exciting, weekend:
- Getting all of our clothing in one place
- Having a nearly functioning kitchen at the new place
- Discovering you can make eggs on the George Foreman grill, which is standing in as my stove until the gas company hooks up our oven
- Letting James explore the outdoors for the first time in months (more on that later)
- Buying a $40 book shelf from Goodwill (I already have a renovation project in mind)
- Setting up our wifi

Slowly but surely it's starting to feel like home.

Monday, March 25, 2013

34 Weeks Bump Update

34 Weeks Pregnant
Ezzy is almost 5lbs and 18 inches long! (Notice that I'm avoiding my weight from now on.)

Symptoms: Heart burn and feeling achy all over - especially my back. Allergies have not been fun this past week either, but that's not really Ezzy's fault. Also, my innie may officially be an outie. I've been denying it for weeks, but I think I may have to accept that I've officially "popped":

Best Moment of the Week: Thanks to friends + fam we got all the major stuff moved in over the weekend and spent our first two nights at the new place. We have so much more room now, we actually need more furniture to fill the space. Added bonus: James LOVES it there and finally gets to go outside again, which makes me happy.  
What We're Reading & Watching this Week: We don't have cable or internet hooked up yet, so we missed the new Walking Dead. I keep reading Facebook posts about how amazing it was, which makes me sad. Thanks to moving, we haven't had much time for TV anyway, but we did have a nice lazy Sunday evening watching Almost Famous (an old fave for me, but Joe had never seen it).
Food Cravings: Any combination of peanut butter, bananas, and honey. Milk. Donuts. Frozen Yogurt:
Fro Yo with Lucky Charms Marshmallows, Birthday Cake, and Blueberries
Exercise: Packing, unpacking, and making four moving trips over the weekend was my main source of exercise. Once we got settled we took a walk around the lake near our house on Sunday, and we hit up the gym on our lunch break today.
What I Miss: Sleeping without waking up to switch sides every hour. Although part of me knows this is probably the best sleep I'll have for a long time. And that makes me sad.
Happy or Moody? Moody. My patience levels are non-existent on some days.
Movement: Yup, he's a squirmy little guy. From the outside it's looks like there's an alien trying to break out of my stomach.
Looking Forward to: Finishing the move and having everything unpacked. I'm not really looking forward to the process, but it will feel great once everything is out of the old place and put away at the new place. Right now the rooms are cluttered with boxes and the small collection of clothes that actually fit me are packed away somewhere.

Bonus pics of James Bond (pre-move):

Friday, March 22, 2013

Time For a New Healthy Challenge: 10 Days of Brown Bag Lunches

I know we're well into March, but I never really wrapped up the February Salad Challenge. I'm not sure if I actually ate one salad as a meal for 28 days straight, but I definitely increased the amount of fruits and veggies I was eating by a LOT. I was buying spinach by the pound, and some days I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, I was more likely to choose a salad when we went out to eat, as opposed to the fried and cheesy stuff I was loving in my second trimester. I even started eating more veggies as snacks, instead of sugary snack bars or candy:

Afternoon Snack: Crackers, Cheese, Tomatoes, Sweet Pepper, Mandarin
As you can see from my salad pics, I'm a big fan of fruit as a salad topping. I also like slightly weird toppings, like veggie "chick'n" nuggets or homemade veggie burgers. Nacho toppings on lettuce are also an old fave. As for dressing, I'm not a huge fan of most dressings, but some of my faves that I use at home a lot are: salsa, hummus, and fruit juice mixed with sweet chili sauce.

A few more salads from February:
Now that March is nearly over, and I haven't been focusing on my "salad challenge" for the past few weeks, I've fallen back into a sugar haze. There's still more than a week to go til Easter and I've already eaten more Cadbury Cream Eggs than I can count, not to mention a whole bag of Hershey's Coconut Kisses. I even ate frozen yogurt with cookie toppings for dinner the past two nights. (As a sidenote, Yogurtland has ONLY the marshmallows from Lucky Charms as a topping - it's like they know me!)

But back to the point of this post (which is not to consume as much Yogurtland as possible before they take away the Lucky Charms). I was trying to think up a new challenge to motivate me to be healthy, and while we were hanging out with some friends on St. Patrick's Day, they mentioned that they won an award from their son's preschool for making the most nutritious lunch. That got me to thinking about what vegetarian options I'm going to pack for Ezzy's lunch (in the distant future). Before I knew it, I was on a Pinterest trail (which I'm pretty sure is never-ending) of vegetarian school lunches, where I found all of these adorable ideas:

Breakfast for Lunch from Happy Little Bento
Breakfast for Lunch (again), this time from the Lively Kitchen
Vegetarian Chili by Veg Kitchen
Cooking With Trader Joe's: Easy Lunchboxes by Family Fresh Cooking
All these lunch ideas inspired me to go on a quest for my own lunch box. I wound up with two circular containers, similar to the one below, from the 99 Cent Store:

Round Lunch Box from the Lively Kitchen
So now I have no excuses not to bring my own lunch to work. I'm actually pretty excited to pack my own food in my new lunch boxes, although I don't want to get anyone's expectations up because the odds of me packing animal-shaped food for myself are approximately one in a million (and that's only because you should never say never, right?). The biggest challenge will be planning ahead and making time to pack a lunch the night before, because there's no way I'm waking up earlier than necessary for this.

My Brown Bag Lunch Challenge is only going to last 10 days, because after that it's maternity leave time for me! I can't believe it's so soon! Once I'm at home, there won't be much need to "pack" a lunch, but I still plan on eating home-prepared foods and getting in the habit of being healthier. We can't expect Ezzy to grow up eating healthy food if we're eating ice cream for dinner in front of him. (By "we" I really mean "me" - I've never seen Joe eat ice cream for dinner.)

Any tips or suggestions for easy, non-meat, prepare-ahead meals are much-appreciated! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

33 Weeks Bump Update & Baby Gifts

33 Weeks Pregnant
Ezzy is the size of a pineapple! (I'm not sure if that includes the spiky crown...)

Total Weight Gain: Who knows?
Symptoms: Ezzy is wedged in between my lungs, which makes breathing a lot of fun. The doctor says he'll probably stay there for another four weeks or so and then drop down and create a new set of symptoms (aka - peeing every few minutes and cramps). Can't wait!
Best Moment of the Week: March has been a whirlwind so far. Between baby classes twice a week and slowly packing and moving, we somehow managed to see a lot of friends in the past two weeks, which is really nice because I hear that doesn't happen too much with a newborn. Catching up with Nevin at BJ's was a lot of fun (added bonus: I hadn't had a pizookie in like 5 years!). I got a lot of good/scary pregnancy and baby stories at Bella's birthday party. We had a mini-family reunion with Joe's mom, her husband, and my aunt at the Mexico Cafe. A coffee and baby-shower planning date with Jessica turned up a lot of good ideas which I'm really excited about. And we spent St. Patty's Day with Joe's high school friend, Jerell and his family. They have two kids and will also be our new neighbors (relatively speaking) so I see plenty of play dates in the future :) Wow, no wonder I haven't had a chance to post a blog in over a week. We've been busy (in a good way)!
What We're Reading & Watching this Week: We're watching season 3 of 24 and we're finally caught up on Walking Dead, which makes me a little sad. Only two episodes to go and then we have to wait until fall for new episodes. I feel like I should really get started on reading What to Expect the First Year, but I don't see that happening this month. That will probably be a maternity leave project.
Food Cravings: Chocolate! A milkshake has also been sounding good lately, but I haven't had one yet. Oh, and Taco Bell. In other words, nothing too shocking compared with my pre-pregnancy cravings.
Exercise: I'm still pedometing. I actually averaged over 11,000 steps per day the last week. The trick is to have plenty of magazines to make the treadmill less boring.
What I Miss: Sleeping on my back. And sleeping well in general. I love my sleep...I really hope Ezzy feels the same.
Happy or Moody? Happy
Movement: Ezzy's getting strong in there. Sometimes it feels like he's trying to break out. And he's very territorial. If anything is pressing on my stomach, he'll push back.
Looking Forward to: Saturday is the big moving day! It will be nice to have everything in one place. Also, the crib, dresser and changing table came today. Yay, thanks Mom! It's a huge relief that we actually have stuff to put in the nursery. Speaking of which, we've been getting tons of gifts and useful hand-me-downs from our very generous friends and family. I don't have pictures of everything, but here's a little glimpse of Ezzy's newest loot:

For Ezzy from Sondra & Her Family
Hand-me-downs from my Cousin Aimee & Baby Sophia
From Jerell & Helen's Family
A Sneak Peak (notice the Pepperdine colors)

So Cute!! I've been eyeing that Carter bulldog design for awhile.
Sophia's Old Monkey Bounce Chair - I hear these things are lifesavers
Babies R Us Shopping Spree in our near future! Thanks Nevin & Ramona :)
 Thank you everyone! Ezzy is going to be one stylish lil guy.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Weekend Recap: Keys & Hiking

Maybe it was because the stress of house-hunting was over, or because we had already had an impromptu date night at the Clippers Game, but by Thursday night I was exhausted. So instead of our plan of dinner and a movie, we had dinner and then went home to watch TV and relax.
Green Street: Salads, Zucchini Bread, & Chips
Friday night called for more relaxing. Saturday was exciting though, because we got the keys to our new place:
Our First Box in the New Place!
As you can see, we still have a lot more packing and moving to do. Thankfully, we have our "old" place until the end of the month, so we can do a slow move and just drop stuff off on our lunch break, or after work.

After signing some papers and picking up our keys, it was off to lunch with Joe's mom:
We tried two different restaurants, both of which were packed, before we wound up at Buca di Beppo's for some mashed potatoes and eggplant parmesan. As you can see from the picture above, there were no mashed potatoes. Apparently Buca replaced them with roasted red potatoes, which I'm sure are healthier, but they're not really a substitute for mashed potatoes. Joe's mom told the server we didn't like them, so instead they brought out green beans, which are definitely healthier, but no where near the mashed potatoes we originally wanted. We're still puzzling over why they would get rid of mashed potatoes? They're simple to make, the ingredients are cheap, everyone liked them...It just doesn't make sense. Oh well, the eggplant parm was delicious.

Sunday really should have been spent packing, but we wanted to start off with a hike. This week we chose the old Marx Brothers' estate in Alta Dena. This was by far the hardest hike we have done recently. It's not the first time I've hiked that trail, but it's the first time since I've been pregnant. It felt like we were climbing straight up for miles. When we reached the first mile marker, I was convinced that a "0" had fallen off, and it meant to say: Mile 10. But no. I checked my pedometer and we really had only gone a mile. I didn't make it much further than that before we turned around. 2+ miles was good enough for this 7-months pregnant lady.

Pre-Hike Breakfast: Veggie Omelets, Hash Browns, Fruit, & Fruit Pastries
Me, right before I tripped over a rock


Taking a breather
tree tunnel

Post-hike we redeemed a Groupon we had bought for Amy's Patio Cafe. The food was pretty good, but the service was a little slow. Also, they could benefit from some fans or a/c. I got a summer berry and walnut salad and Joe got the savory omelet. He wasn't a huge fan because his omelet had goat cheese. He's tried goat cheese in the past and didn't like it, but he decided to give it another chance. Turns out, he still isn't a fan. Kudos to him for being adventurous though. We split the pancakes. And the highlight of Amy's is their zucchini bread, which comes free with the meal. Sooo yummy.

After that, our plan was to pack. In reality, we were exhausted and wound up vegging out for the rest of the day.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bump Update: 31 Weeks

31 Weeks Pregnant
Ezzy is over 16 inches long and almost 3.5 pounds!

Total Weight Gain: My weight gain has slowed down a lot. Probably because Ezzy is taking up valuable stomach and lung real estate. I can only fit so much food in there at one time.
Symptoms: Same as last week - I'm feeling heavy, and winded, and still loving the dolphin massager.
Best Moment of the Week: We got a new place to live! We picked up the keys on Saturday, as well as some packing supplies, and we're going to take a small load of stuff over to the new place on our lunch break today.
What We're Reading & Watching this Week: We finished season 2 of Walking Dead :( Now we have to wait for season 3 to come out on DVD. In the meantime we're picking up where we left off on 24.
Food Cravings: See's candy (which I ate twice last week), and Cadbury Cream Eggs (which I've yet to buy).
Exercise: We're still doing our weekly hikes and we made it to the gym several times last week (walking + light arm weights for me).
What I Miss: The same as last week: hiking without dying, climbing a flight of stairs without needing a 5 minute recovery period, sleeping on my back, getting up from the couch without help.
Happy or Moody? Happy
Movement: He's doing somersaults in there. I keep watching my stomach to see if I can make out a hand our foot. Nothing yet though.
Looking Forward to: Getting settled in our new place. Also, our first child birth class is tonight.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hello March!

Goodbye February, I had a blast! Highlights:
- Kaua'i (obviously!)
- Valentine's Day was so much fun. And it was so sweet that Joe somehow managed to plan it all last minute after our vacation.
- Sunday Hikes
- Clippers Game
- Finding Ezzy's first home!

Things I'm looking forward to in March:
- Moving and getting settled in our new place.
- Finally getting to work on some nursery ideas.
- Child Birth and Baby Ed classes.

Looks like a busy, exciting month ahead :)