William’s First Flight

William’s first flight was last Wednesday as my family traveled from St. Louis to Cleveland for my little brother’s wedding.  While I was a little nervous bringing my almost three month old on the plane, I’m happy to report he did great!  But I’m so not surprised; William is seriously the best baby ever. I’m working on a “tips for flying with a baby” post as I took several suggestions from my mom and sister to make the trip as seamless as possible.  For now, some pictures from William’s first flight experience.

We got to the airport around 7:15 in the morning with lots of stuff.  Two large bags to check, one carry on, a stroller, car seat, diaper bag, and baby.  Then we saw this pretty lady who had beat us to the airport with her husband and two kiddies.

stephanie

Starting off the trip with a sister selfie.  Typical.

Followed by an Audrey selfie shortly after.

audrey

My mom was there, and like always, a HUGE help with baby William.

mom airport

Jonny and Jacob entertained themselves by being best buds, hanging out, and throwing up the U sign.

jonny jacob

I failed to get a picture of my dad, Poppy, Mama, Papa, or Phil.  But they were there, too.  It was a family flight, y’all.  The very best kind!  Quick funny story: the plane we were on was very small and all of my family members were in nearby rows.  Right when we landed, Jacob stood up on his seat and with the biggest smile announced, “We have arrived in Cleveland!  Hello, Yaya!  Hello, Mama!  Hello, Poppy!” (and to everyone else he could see)  Hilarious!

Eventually, we boarded the plane and I had William asleep in my ring sling.

airplane

My mom sat next to me, so naturally we had to do a plane selfie of the three of us.

mom plane

Jacob was a row in front and Audrey a row behind me and they kept peeking their heads through to talk to me and William.  It was adorable.

jacob audrey

William woke up mid-flight, and after I nursed him, Stephanie demanded I pass him back.

steph

Another William selfie for the books!

Check out this awesome picture Stephanie took of Audrey peering out the window:

piggies

William’s first flying experience was a positive one! I’m grateful for all the help my family always gives us!  Here’s one last picture of him on the plane with his growing cheeks:

cheeks

He’s a champ!

Do you know what your first flight was? I think mine was to visit my cousins in Houston.

what you ACTUALLY need in your hospital bag when having a baby

Oh my goodness what an absolutely marvelous weekend in Ohio with my family watching my little brother get married!  We got back home last night and have several suitcases to unpack, loads of laundry to do, and a baby to love on.  So today I’m sending you to my friend Sarah’s blog at Creating A Better Tomorrow as I’m guest posting for her.  By the way, this lovely lady is currently pregnant with not one, but TWO baby boys!

When I was 35 weeks pregnant, I wrote my packing the hospital bag post.  After having baby William, I wanted to revise that list and share my commentary on what you ACTUALLY need in your hospital bag when having a baby from my experience.

what you actually need in your hospital bag when having a baby

I get real with y’all about what actually happens and what you need/want, so be prepared.  Plus, I throw in some other random tips that I found helpful or wish I had known before.  Giving birth is no easy feat, and the last thing you want to worry about is packing correctly.  Follow my list and you’ll be good to go!

william first look 1

CLICK HERE to read the post on what you ACTUALLY need in your hospital bag when having a baby.

Mommas: what would you change about what you brought to the hospital?

Summer Pasta Recipes

Summer pasta recipes – I’ve got them for you in today’s post!  The other evening I threw together a pasta that ended up being way better than I expected.  Jonny and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I decided I just had to share it.  Itz light, delicious, and perfect for summer.

pasta

Ingredients:

  • whole wheat pasta
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced in thirds
  • yellow onion, diced
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • fresh spinach
  • shrimp, cut
  • corn
  • Parmesan cheese
  • NuNaturals stevia (or sugar or sweetener of choice)

Note: I didn’t list amounts because I just used whatever we had at home.  I did use a one-pound box of pasta and was very generous with the vegetables!

Directions:

  1. Prepare pasta as directed.
  2. Saute yellow onion in olive oil.
  3. Add in cherry tomatoes and let simmer.
  4. Stir in stevia.
  5. Combine corn, garlic, and shrimp to the mixture.
  6. Toss spinach in and cook until wilted.
  7. Mix in Parmesan cheese.
  8. Pour over pasta.

The stevia may sound a bit strange, but it really does work.  Itz a little trick my grandma taught me when cooking with tomatoes.  Jonny and I were talking about how shrimp doesn’t typically “go” with red sauce, but this really isn’t a red sauce at all.  The whole thing is light yet very flavorful.

Here are some other summer pastas by FitFluential Ambassadors.

summer pastas

Mmm!  Let’s talk pasta for a second, more specifically carbs, because I feel like carbs have gotten a bad rep.  I know too many people who won’t eat carbs… even healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, or quinoa!  My personal opinion is that eliminating any type of food is not a great idea.  I mean, there’s some people I know who won’t even eat starchy vegetables.  They’re vegetables for crying out loud!

Remember the whole fat free fad back in the day?  Yeah, that didn’t last.  FOR A REASON!  Fat is healthy for you… well, the healthy fats are just like healthy carbs are.  We need carbohydrates.  They give us energy. I’m not saying to eat a loaf of bread.  Everything in moderation, friends.  Stop fearing the carbs.  I eat pasta once in awhile and I choose to eat whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta, or quinoa pasta, and I always load it up with plenty of vegetables.  And I think I’m doing alright.  In terms of other carbs, I always make sure to incorporate some type of carb with my meals and snacks.  Sometimes itz in the form of fruit, vegetables, or whole grains.  Itz all part of a balanced meal.

Check out this post for additional information if you’re someone who fears the carbs: The Smart Way to Eat Carbs by Pamela at Thrive Personal Fitness.

End soapbox.  William agrees with me, just for the record. ;)

william12

What would you put in a summer pasta?  

photo dump

I’ve had several pictures on my really fancy camera iPhone that I’ve been meaning to share, so today we’re going to throw them all out there – photo dump style.  We’ll start with, what looks to be, a William selfie.

selfie

Two months old and taking selfies already.  Totally my baby.

Remember how I said William is like my niece Audrey’s real life doll?  Proof:

audrey

She’ll probably be babysitting next year.

My six year old nephew is becoming quite the reader.  He’s going into first grade and reads on a third grade level.  Very impressive.  And he lost his first tooth a couple days ago!

jackson

I obviously can’t show you a picture of Audrey and Jackson and not Jacob.  So here’s one that Stephanie took before Jacob’s preschool graduation.  He’s such a stud.

jacob

Five going on fifteen.

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom is a baby whisperer.

yaya

Plus, she’s taught me everything I know about being a mom.

My grandma Mama has the magic touch, too.

mama

Sooooo comfy.

William is an obvious Cardinals, Mizzou, and Miami fan.  However, my sister-in-law lives in Texas and bought him some onesies.  So he can pretend he’s a longhorn once in awhile…

come at me bro

Tell me that’s not the cutest little tough guy around.  Come at me, bro. Bahahaha.

Check out these beautiful eyes.

eyes

And we’ll end on a typical super smiley super adorable photo of my little man.

william smile2

What would be your photo dump today?

Where’s William?

Where’s William?  Can you find him? ;)

baby dolls

Stephanie and I think that part of the reason Audrey is so obsessed with baby William is that he’s:

  • a) a real life baby doll
  • b) likes to play with dolls as much as she does

Plus, he’s obviously just such a ladies man which is why he’s so happy next to those girls.

How cute is my little family?

jonny

Love them.

Weekend fun involved a trivia night on Saturday.

diana

my bestie Diana

And believe it or not… our team got SECOND PLACE!  Trivia night was so fun because we actually knew a lot of the answers.  I hate trivia nights that leave me feeling like the biggest moron ever. This was not the case. I dominated the cereal tasting round.  Yes, they passed out bags of cereal and we had to identify them.  Easy peasy.  Childhood memories for sure.  We’re talking fruity pebbles, corn pops, lucky charms, kix, and more!

Linking up with Healthy Diva for Marvelous in my Monday today!

Check out this gorgeous giant hibiscus that finally bloomed in our backyard:

flower

Jonny gets all the credit as he planted tons of flowers and takes care of our backyard.  I have no green thumb, but do enjoy the views!

Sometimes when William sleeps I watch him because he just might be the most precious baby ever.  Not that I’m biased or anything…

william sleep

See, Mom? I don’t hold him all the time. ;)

Oh, and how about one more picture of this little stud muffin?

william10

Just look at that face.  Ladies man, for sure.

What was your favorite childhood cereal? 

Patio Party

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ruth’s Chris. All opinions are my own.

Last night was Ruth’s Chris Patio Party and it was the first night I went out since William.  I got home and it was late (aka 9:30pm), so I decided to go to bed instead of recapping the event right away. Party.Animal.

sleep > blogging

But lucky you, you still get to see hear from me – just a little later than normal!  My good friend Heather came with me and we got to hang out in the VIP blogger section of Ruth’s Chris patio.

heather1

We’re big time, people.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure how rad a patio party at a steakhouse could be.  I’m just sayin’. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. First of all, there were TONS of people there (but it wasn’t overly crowded) which made it fun to socialize and people watch.  Second of all, the appetizers were AMAZING! Let’s be real, you know I’m always all about the food.  In the blogger’s private lounge, we had our own feast of light bites. When the servers brought them out, we all rushed over…. to take pictures in true blogger fashion!

rc apps

After the photo opp, we rushed back over to fill our plates.  Naturally, I tried one of everything… and then some.  The food was GOOD and so not typical bar food – way better.  I’m not surprised though; I didn’t expect an upscale steakhouse to have typical bar food.  Ok here’s what was served from their Sizzle, Swizzle, & Swirl happy hour menu:

  • Seared Ahi Tuna: I’m not usually a seared tuna fan, but these were surprisingly good – very flavorful.
  • Spicy Lobster: My favorite. Itz a must order item.
  • Prime Burger Sandwiches & Crab BLT Sandwiches: The burger was good (Jonny would have LOVED), but the crab blt stole my heart.
  • Vegetables: Ya know… they were vegetables.
  • Cheesecake Bites: I may have had more than a few. They were delish.
  • Beer & Wine: I had a few sips of red wine; my first time drinking since William.  And right when I got home I pumped and dumped because I was nervous haha.

So that was the food in the blogger lounge, but the patio served food, as well.  Heather and I just HAD to try that, especially since it was different than our lounge, so out we went!

heather

We enjoyed cheese cubes, chicken wings, crab ragoons, barbecued shrimp, and more cheesecake bites. I’m tellin’ ya, we were there for the food!  The only bummer of the evening was that it kept drizzling and raining on and off. Most of the time we took cover underneath the awning, but a couple times we headed inside which was filled with people, too.  I really was so pleasantly surprised at how fun the patio party was.

Ruth’s Chris wasn’t a place where I’d think to go to enjoy nightlife in St. Louis, but their event last night changed my mind. Itz not just a steakhouse. Plus, their location in Clayton couldn’t be better. They also have a downtown location which I’ll hopefully get to check out next month!

Oh, and bonus point: my friend and fellow FitFluential Ambassador, Katie from Mom’s Little Running Buddy was there, too!

katie

We were rockin’ our buddy Pavement Runner’s peace sign look. Come play in STL, B!

Oh, and if you were worried about baby William… don’t be.

steph

He was in good hands.

What are your plans this weekend?

good stuff

There’s lots of good stuff happening here today.  [good stuff = technical term] William is going to help me with today’s post and share some of his thoughts, as well.

Good Stuff #1: Yesterday we went to a Mommy & Me class and William got to hang out with his [future girl-] friend, Carly.  This was actually the third time they met, but the first time he tried to put some moves on her!

carly

Despite their apparent disinterest, they really did like each other!

As a blogger, I receive offers to review items frequently, but I pick and choose only things I believe in and use myself. The following products were sent to me to review, but I also love them and spend my own money on them because I like them so much.

Good Stuff #2: I’ve raved about Cocogo before, several times actually.  Itz powdered coconut water with natural fruit flavoring that comes in convenient packets. (Perfect for staying hydrated this summer!)  It has replaced all sports drinks for Jonny and me and itz much less expensive than regular coconut water.  You can always use my code ITZLINZ to receive 40% off your order. However, they just revamped their website, so they’re offering FREE SHIPPING this week only! Ordering from the cocogo.com website is now easier than ever, so be sure not to miss out! This is the best deal you can get on Cocogo – Jonny and I stocked up for the summer!

cocogo

William is not happy that he’s not allowed cocogo. Though technically he does get it… just through me. :)

Good Stuff #3: WaterWipes are still the only baby wipe that I’ll allow to touch William’s little bottom.  I’ve got my parents’ and my in-laws’ houses stocked with them.  I don’t want chemicals on William’s new sensitive skin, so I use WaterWipes which are 99.9% water and 0.1% fruit extract.  But WaterWipes can also serve another purpose, as well: breastfeeding hygiene.  All mommas know that dried milk does not smell good; itz a fact.  Itz also very important to keep your breasts clean as that’s where babies nurse from (obviously). WaterWipes are the perfect solution for wiping down yourself and your baby, especially on the go.  They’re in my diaper bag anyway, so itz convenient to use to keep us clean! I just bought 3 packs at Walgreens yesterday – they always have sales on them!

waterwipes

Itz true.

Good Stuff #4: I’ve been living in my Fit Plus Wear sound solution capris. There’s a pocket that’s large enough to fit my iPhone which is perfect when I need two hands for baby William. Even though I’ve started babywearing him a bit more, I still need two hands most of the time! The capris are thick which make them very flattering, yet not too thick which makes them perfect for summer. They’re longer in length and higher at the waist which is perfect for my post-baby belly. The stitching on the inner pocket comes in different colors which makes for a nice added detail. The capris are intended to be used for working out, so you don’t need an armband for your iPhone. I wear them everyday and still appreciate the phone pocket. Use code 2HE90CGR5Y4U to receive 20% off your order at Fit Plus Wear.

fit plus wear capris babywearing

William has no thoughts on my capris. He likes when I babywear him though.

Share some good stuff with me!

Disclaimer: I was provided the items in this post for review purposes only. (Except for the baby. She wouldn’t let me keep her.) All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Strawberry Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding Recipe

Itz a Strawberry Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding Recipe – with just a few ingredients and no added sugar, this makes for a deliciously healthy treat!

strawberry chocolate coconut pudding

Strawberry Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

~makes two very large servings… probably more like four normal size servings

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Stir cocoa syrup in to coconut milk.
  2. Add chia seeds and stir.
  3. Mix strawberries and shredded coconut.
  4. Refrigerate for several hours.
  5. Garnish with an additional strawberry, shredded coconut, and whipped cream (optional).

This stuff was awesome.  Jonny and I both thoroughly enjoyed it.  Itz thick and rich and creamy and delicious.  I was sent the NuNaturals Cocoa Syrup and have used it several times.  Itz chocolatey, syrupy, and sugar free!  I think itz best when itz stirred into something as opposed to drizzled on top (though I’ve done that several times, too).  I’ve found it a teeny bit bitter when eaten alone.  Mixed in to something like pudding or chocolate milk and itz just perfect!

strawberry chocolate coconut pudding1

I had to drizzle it on top for photo purposes.  Which clearly didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as I had anticipated.  Which also brings me to my next point.  Food photography.  I’m so not good at it.  I try.  And by “I try” I mean I use my iPhone for a camera. Sometimes I google pictures of similar items to try and replicate them, but they just never come out as good.  Some of my food pictures are better than others, but I always envision something different than what actually happens.  I try to use props.  Doesn’t work.  Someone help me.

In addition to the strawberry chocolate coconut chia pudding, I wanted to make something more similar to ice cream.  So I did the same exact thing as the pudding, but eliminated the chia seeds and let the bowl sit in the freezer all day.

coconut ice cream

And clearly I was out of ideas for how to change up this shot.  Jonny ate it and said it had a sorbet-like consistency.  He ate the whole bowl before I even had a chance to try it.  #typical  He was a major fan to say the least. #heeatsanything

I mean, I’m not trying to BE a food photographer; I’d just like to improve, that’s all.

So then I tried to get all fancy and do one of those spoon shots.

bite

Nothing about this looks good lol.  Food photogs, how do you do it?!

Here’s just a few fellow bloggers who I think always take beautiful food photos:

Since I can’t leave you with such a terrible looking photo and I also can’t leave you with a William-less post, I’ll share one picture from the baby photo expert, Stephanie Cotta Photography (aka my sister).

william 2 months

What are your food photography tips? HELP!

1000 Meter Swim Workout

Pretend we’re on a beach somewhere warm.  Pretend the sun is shining.  Pretend there is warm sand beneath our toes.  Pretend there’s the most adorable baby you’ve ever seen.  Pretend this baby is wearing nothing but a diaper and a stylish beach hat.  Pretend no longer, because this baby is here.

SAMSUNG CSC

Minus the whole beach thing.

Instead, let’s talk swim workouts in a pool.  Kind of the same, right? Ehhh.

You see, whenever I post workouts, I usually like to post a picture of myself, or the atmosphere, or something, but for my last (first in awhile) workout, I had nothing.  So I had to improvise and obviously William was the best choice for doing so.  Ya with me?

My last swim workout (swimming boot camp), I was over eight months pregnant and took a picture of myself in a bikini with my big ol’ belly.  This time I opted not to.  No more belly per se, just a beautiful baby, and a much softer midsection.

Aaaaaanyway.  On Saturday I went to the gym for the first time and entered the pool for my first “real” workout since William came.  I had a general idea of what I wanted to do, and once I got going I set my goal of 1000 meters.  However, I generally get bored swimming straight laps in the pool, so I like to mix it up a bit.  This workout will be great for beginners because you can take breaks if needed between laps, but itz also perfect for more advanced swimmers as you can swim for time.  Take a looksie:

1000 meter swim workout

1000 Meter Swim Workout

warm up as needed

Part 1:

  • 100 meters freestyle
  • 100 meters breaststroke
  • 50 meters kick with a kickboard
  • 50 meters pull freestyle with a pull buoy

Part 2:

  • 100 meters freestyle
  • 100 meters breaststroke
  • 50 meters kick with a kickboard breaststroke
  • 50 meters pull breaststroke with a pull buoy

Part 3:

  • 100 meters freestyle
  • 100 meters breaststroke
  • 50 meters kick with a kickboard breaststroke
  • 50 meters pull freestyle with a pull buoy

Part 4:

  • 25 meters sprint
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Repeat 4 times

cool down as needed

Have you been swimming this summer? For a workout or for fun? At a pool or at a beach?

leg rolls and shoe socks

Let’s just pause for a moment and quickly discuss: leg rolls and shoe socks.

leg rolls shoe socks

Oh, I could just eat those leggies and feetsies up!  (You know you’re a mom when… you add “ies” on the end of every word. Am I right, or am I right?)

This weekend was a fun one.  They all are anyway, but weekends are especially fun because William and I get to spend more time with Jonny.  Though William is the only one who gets photographed extensively. :) Take a look:

Lots of tummy time happened.

tummytime

He’s getting SO strong!  Speaking of being strong, Momma went swimming on Saturday for the first time since William’s arrival.  It was also my first real workout.  I swam 1,000 meters and am darn proud of it!  I actually love the workout I created, and will work on sharing that with you tomorrow.  Stay tuned, swimmers!

tummytime1

And possibly starting to even enjoy tummy time? Is that a smile we see, Baby?

smile

Now that’s a smile!

Still lots of sleeping…

carseat

But check out how much bigger he looks in his car seat compared to just a couple months ago!  Where’d my itty bitty baby go?!

Linking up with Healthy Diva for Marvelous in my Monday today!

Sometimes we like to eat an arm for breakfast…

arm

But most of all… we just like to snuggle and relax!

relaxed

What’s cuter: leg rolls or shoe socks? 

Finish the sentence: You know you’re a mom when…