Making A Memory

Recently, when my parents were in town, my mom said something that for some reason has stuck with me.

She was holding LM, and had a strange look on her face. I asked her if she needed me to hold her, and she just shook her head. So I asked her if she was okay.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m making a memory.

I didn’t ask her what she meant. But her comment has been sticking with me. Because as I near the halfway point of my not-nearly-long-enough unpaid maternity leave, I know exactly what she meant. And I felt my stomach sink somewhat, as I realized that I need to stop and capture the moments more than I’m already doing.

I treat maternity leave like I treat everything. Each week I make a to-do list of things I want to get done. I’ve started making daily lists, and crossing things off makes me feel accomplished. For example, here was yesterday’s list:

(full disclosure: Looking at this list makes me feel somewhat crazy. And yes, I did accomplish all of the list yesterday …)

So, her comment has had me wondering – is this really how I should be spending my leave? Is this really how I want to be spending my time? If I can’t just relax and enjoy the moments on my maternity leave, will I ever be able to?

Then, last night, it was raining, so in lieu of our usual nightly walk, we were all sitting on the porch watching the storm. FW was on B’s lap and I was holding LM. I found myself thinking about what I should put on the next day’s list, and I stopped myself. I took a deep breath in and looked around. I closed my eyes, picturing how the four of us must look – a dad and his son, a mother with her newborn daughter. I immediately thought, I am so lucky. With my eyes opened, I started to take it all in. The smell of the rain. The sound of the storm. FW’s face and long eyelashes. LM’s chubby cheeks. I thought about taking a picture of the four of us to capture what we looked like, but stopped myself. I didn’t have to – I was making a memory. And with slight tears in my eyes, I realized exactly what my mom meant and what she’d been doing.

The days and weeks go by too fast. I can’t stop time or change how many minutes are in an hour or hours are in a day. And there’s nothing I can do about it. But maybe if I stop each day and look around, the memories will last a little longer.

Chunky Chocolate Cherry Bars

I LOVE chocolate chip cookies, especially blondies. They’re one of my favorite things to bake because they not only taste delicious, but they’re so easy – just pour into a pan and bake!

So when once again Northwest Cherries reached out and asked if I’d like to try some of their cherries, I of course said yes.  I mean, look at these beauties.

This time, I was planning on doctoring up some blondies to include some of their delicious cherries. I used one of my favorite blondie recipes (found here) to come up with a chocolate cherry blondie. Because chocolate and cherries not only look good together – but they taste good, too!

And, I chose today to share these with you. Do you know why? Because it’s National Rainier Cherry Day! Did you know that was a holiday?

That’s right,  July 11 marks National Rainier Cherry Day, commemorating this sweet treat named after Washington state’s famous volcanic peak. Nutrient-rich volcanic soil along with more sunlight in the Northwest creates an optimum growing environment making for high-quality and extra sweet cherries. (So, maybe that’s why when I toss cherry seeds into our garden, they don’t grow into cherry trees?)

To celebrate, I highly suggest you make these. The chocolate + cherry combo is PERFECT.

Chunky Chocolate Cherry Bars

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips – I like to do half chocolate and half white chocolate chunks
  • 1 heaping cup of cherries, pitted and cut in half  – I used this to pit the cherries and it works SO much better than doing it by hand!

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 8×8 baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Melt butter. When we first moved into our new home, we didn’t have a microwave, so I had to do this on the stove. Now, it’s even easier because I can do this in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl.
  3. Add brown sugar to butter (if you did this in the microwave, use the same bowl – just add the brown sugar to this bowl!).
  4. Add in egg and vanilla.
  5. Incorporate the flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Fold in cherries and chocolate and white chocolate chips/chunks.
  7. Spread mixture into prepared baking pan. I like to set aside a few cherries and chocolate chunks to place on top of the batter because it looks nice 🙂
  8. Place in oven and bake for 32-38 minutes. (Mine were done in 37 minutes)
  9. Let them cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes. Then, let them cool completely outside the pan – I like to let them cool for at least 1 hour.  Cut them up into bars and enjoy!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like the chocolate+cherry combo?
  • What’s your favorite cherry dessert? Least favorite? Believe it or not, I do NOT like cherry pie!

Disclosure: Northwest Cherries provided me some cherries to sample. All reviews and opinions are my own.

Tuesdays on the Run – HOT Out There

Happy Tuesday! This week started out as another HOT one, but once again, I got in a few walk/runs, walks and one run! Wish me luck as I hopefully get approval from my doctor this week to resume regular running now that it’s been six weeks since LM was born.

Here’s a bit how the week looked:

Monday: 3.9 mi walk/run on the treadmill

Tuesday: 3.65 mi walk/run on the treadmill

Wednesday: 2.5 miles run with FW in the stroller outside! It was the first time I’ve run with FW in the stroller in several months – B typically pushed FW while I was pregnant with LM. It was 4th of July and we all were home, and it was fun to get outside with him. Plus, now that he’s older, I think he may have even enjoyed the ride!

I was pretty proud of my pace considering this is the longest I’ve run at once (in terms of walk/run breaks) and I was pushing a stroller … AND it was hot!

Wish me luck as I go see the dr this week and hopefully some more runs to come!

Some questions for you:

  • Did you do a 4th of July run or race?
  • Did it cool down near you this week?

Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs!

Summer Weddings and Grandparent Time

We had a good weekend. It included a wedding, some berry picking and some family time. Pretty much all things I enjoy!

Friday night started with some sushi! B is pretty skilled – he was able to eat some sushi with his chopsticks AND have FW and LM on his lap.

We got in a lot of playing and reading.

And time with Grandpa and Donna.

 

They were in town to watch the kids while B and I went to one of my friend’s weddings.

FW came to the church ceremony – they even had coloring book programs for the kids!

B and I stayed solo at the reception and it was our first date since L had been born. It was the first night out AND my longest time away from LM since she was born!

It was a TON of fun. My friend Cuoghi, who is in my Ladies Craft Beer Society, got married and we had a BLAST. I love these ladies and can’t believe this is the first wedding we have all been to together!

It was a late night (for me), but thanks to having two kids, Sunday still started early (LM got up at 4 am to eat … and again several times before FW woke up at 8). After my parents left, we got to go raspberry picking at my brother and sister-in-law’s house!

LM wasn’t much help but she came along.

FW enjoyed picking …

… and eating the berries

It was a pretty great way to wrap up the weekend!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s the last time you picked berries/fruit/vegetables? What was it?
  • Do you have any weddings coming up? Yes! We have 2 more this summer. 

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Getting Back Into Running After a Baby

Getting back into running after having a baby is HARD. And I know that it’s going to be harder for me this time around because I wasn’t as active. Yes, I still ran/walked throughout the entire pregnancy, but with FW, I was literally running up until the day before he was born. With LM, the runs were much more walk/runs, so I expect that my return to running will be somewhat similar.

With B and FW after “running” the Cleveland Marathon 5k. I looked a little rougher after the next day’s 10k! Both were done while 39 weeks pregnant.

After running a 5k while pregnant with FW. I ran much more with him!

That being said – I’m getting ready to be back! The weather for the most part has been nice and I am seeing people out running all the time while I’m on maternity leave. And I yearn to be them – running, outside and free!

This week, I did a few walk/runs on the treadmill, in addition to my daily walks with LM outside. I was able to do them on the treadmill while she napped beside me, and were all taken VERY easy, as I’m still a few weeks out from my 6 week check-up. How easy? Let’s say that my first day my goal was to run a mile at a 12 min/mile pace. And it felt HARD.

Here’s how the week looked. In terms of steps:

Monday: 4.3 miles – ran/walk on treadmill

Tuesday: 3.6 miles – ran/walk on treadmill

Wednesday: 3.6 miles – ran/walk on treadmill

Saturday: 1.92 miles total … 95+ degree temps and me being alone with the kids for the afternoon meant not much activity during the day. But when B got home at night, I was really feeling the urge to get out there. Was it super hot and humid? Yes. But after being home alone with the 2 kids for the afternoon, it felt GREAT to run outside for the first time in more than a month! I only did just under 2 miles, but was happy to be out there.

As you can see, it’s not much. BUT – if I can keep it up and continue to run/walk a few times a week, I hope to be back running running soon!!

Some questions for you:

  • How long after you gave birth did you start running again?
  • Was it super hot and humid near you this weekend?

Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs!

A “Toasty” Weekend

We had a HOT weekend here in Cleveland – it was 95ish or so degrees both days and humid. Or as FW says, “toasty!” So, we had to find some ways to keep 2 kids entertained and stay cool.

Friday night started off with a walk to get some ice cream at a nearby ice cream shop. It’s about a mile walk there (FW didn’t make it the whole way there or back on foot).

FW enjoyed sharing ice cream with both of us.

Also, this little lady turned 1 month old!

Saturday morning tarted orly – B and his dad were going to chop down a tree in our backyard. It was starting to grow and invade our neighbors’ house so they asked us to do something about it.

FW joined in – he watched over the chopping with donuts:)

And made sure the ladder was safe to use.

Then, we took a little family walk. It was HOT out so we didn’t make it too far.

That afternoon, B had plans and was out of the house for a few hours. It was my first extended time alone with the two kids … and to be honest – it was hard! They got along for some time, but there were a few meltdowns from both of them at some points. 

When B came home, I was READY to get out of the house. It was past dinnertime and FW (and B) were hungry. So, B went with the kids to pick up pizza, and I went for a short run. It was 90 and humid and I’m so out of shape from not running after giving birth, but it felt SO GOOD to be outside and moving!

And, my favorite local pizza – plus wine and soda! – for dinner.

Sunday morning, we watched some World Cup and went for a walk before it got too hot. We walked to some local lakes where FW likes to watch the fish.

The afternoon included trying to keep cool – hanging out in the AC, watching some World Cup inside, and relaxing on the porch. A perfect weekend for the summer!

Some questions for you:

  • Did you get out and run in the heat this weekend?
  • Do you have AC?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps.