About pintofgoals

I am a wife, teacher, runner, and lover of food who lives just outside of Madison, Wisconsin. My blog, Pint of Goals, will follow my adventures in life as an optimist, getting through it "one taste at a time."

Chicago Trip

I wasn’t planning on putting a post together but I’m awake this morning already and Finley is sleeping. One can only check Facebook so many times!

This weekend happened before Cincinnati, so we had two big weekends in a row.

Our main purpose in going to Chicago was to have Finley attend her first Blackhawks hockey game that Friday night. Brody bought the tickets months ago, and we didn’t have high expectations for seeing much of the game as it started at 7pm…which is Fin’s bedtime.

We had lots of fun through the first period of the game. After that, Finley was getting close to melt down mode, so we took off. She sure looked cute in her Toews jersey!





We spent the rest of the weekend at Brody’s high school friends’ house, Sean and Nina. They have a 4 year old son and a baby on the way. They were awesome hosts, and we had our own living/sleeping space in their basement.

On Saturday after Finley’s morning nap, she and I met a few of my college friends for brunch. It was great catching up with these ladies!



Because Finley’s bedtime makes going out at night difficult (and expensive), our hosts had invited friends over for dinner Saturday night. Lots of basketball was watched, (no surprise) including one of the Wisconsin games. Sean made a fantastic dinner of coconut shrimp, mustard greens, rice and beans, and mango avocado salsa. Nina baked a ridiculous chocolate cake with caramel frosting. I was so full!


Sunday morning we relaxed with our friends and their son until Finley was awake from her nap. Then we packed up, said goodbye to our friends, and drove to meet another one of my college friends for brunch on the way out of town.

Although it was a crazy long wait (at least an hour!!!), it was a nice brunch and so good to see Carrie and her husband, and to finally meet their little girl.

Brody and I have lots of friends in Chicago, so we always love to visit. But as with any weekend away, it’s nice to get home.

Cincinnati Trip

Good afternoon! Brody, Finley and I had a fantastic weekend, so let’s get started with the recap.

We planned this trip for two reasons: to visit our very good friends, Bridget and JP, and fly with a baby. We’ll be visiting Brody’s dad and stepmom in Switzerland at the end of May, and we wanted to have one flight with Finley under our belts before that.

Our flight was direct from Madison to Cincinnati. Although I wasn’t thrilled that Fin woke up at 5:45 Friday morning, the timing worked out well because the flight left at 8:45am. I nursed Finley as we took off, and she fell asleep in my arms shortly after for a short 30 minute nap.


Playing on the floor of the airport

Bridget and JP picked us up, and we spent about ten minutes figuring out the car seat Bridget had borrowed from a friend. Let’s just say carabiners were involved. It was so sweet of Bridget to have borrowed a car seat, pack n play, stroller, and high chair for Finley this weekend. It made traveling so much easier! Thanks Aunt Ridgey!

The five of us went to grab lunch. They suggested Mac’s because it has great pizza and an impressive beer selection. Bridget and I had vanilla porters while the boys drank IPAs. For pizza we had a gyro pizza and one with have pesto primavera and half meatball. Finley ate plain Cheerios and a squeeze pouch of sweet potato and apple. We left with full and happy bellies.

At Bridget and JP’s house, Finley went down for her afternoon nap, and the four of us sat outside in the sun. Yes – sun! It felt soooo good on my skin. Unfortunately, Finley woke up after 41 minutes and had a dirty diaper, so there was no chance of her falling back asleep.


Just call her Fin Diesel

After a clean diaper and a nursing session, we jumped back in the car and headed to Rhinegeist, a brewery that Brody’s college buddy works at. Finley ended up falling asleep when we were almost there – apparently she was still tired. It was an odd nap, though, and she was moaning and moving her head back and forth a lot. Bridget stayed in the car with me, and once Finley woke up (short 25 minute nap), we joined the boys in the brewery.


Family pic

As you can see, the space is open and very industrial. They have a bar in one corner, and then lots of picnic tables for sitting and ping pong tables for playing. I ordered an IPA, and it ended up being the only beer I drank there (not because it wasn’t good – I just was distracted with Finley and friends). We chatted with friends and even set up a little play area on the floor (read: concrete). Babies in a bar playing on the floor – ha! Finley loved meeting and playing with Corrine, and I was so happy to finally meet her mama, Bridget’s good friend.


Babies love breweries

Finley started to feel a little warm in the early evening, and she was acting a little clingy. I put a few things together (lots of drool, moan-y nap, low grade fever) and realized she was feeling the effects of teething. Thank goodness I packed along Baby Tylenol!

Friday night we ate takeout and watched basketball. Finley’s sleep was crappy, so at 10:15pm, I pulled her out of the pack n play and brought her into bed with me. Brody had already volunteered to sleep on the couch, and he was going to stay up to watch (some of) the Michigan State game.

Finley and I slept until 1:15am, when she woke up hot, hungry, and with a dirty diaper. We were awake until 2:45am, when I nursed her (again) to sleep. Luckily, she didn’t wake up until 7:15am, so I kind of got to sleep in. (There are too many “until”s in that paragraph but I’m too lazy to revise it.)

Saturday morning was low key; we ate a small breakfast, Brody ran to Whole Foods with Bridget, we played with Finley, and she took her morning nap.

For lunch, we braved the elements (i.e. rain) and went to Dutch’s for lunch. This was probably my favorite “thing” (because just seeing Bridget and JP is my favorite) we did. Our food took a while, and Finley became grumpy and sleepy. Brody managed to hold her for a 41 minute nap. As she was napping, our food came. Impressive multitasking!


Dad of the Year!

I had a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich with fig jam and arugula. It was amazing! The meat and cheese platter was also delicious. I was like a bottomless pit. Bridget and I ended lunch with a bottle of prosecco.

Back at the house, Bridget’s friend and her little one came over to play. Corrine is a week younger than Finley, and it was cute to see them interact. They even brought a gift – an adorable board book! Thanks guys!

They left and Fin took a short nap in my arms. I’ll never get tired of those.

Saturday night was a big night for Badger fans. I ate a little leftover pizza and vegetable pad thai before the game, and then a brownie sundae with Graeter’s ice cream. It was a good night because Finley slept well in the pack n play and the Badgers won!

Sunday morning, Finley woke up at 6am, so I brought her into bed with us and she slept another hour. We played and ate breakfast. Then, I did something I haven’t done forever – YOGA! Bridget is almost done with her yoga teacher training, so we took a class at her studio. It was incredible, and I was reminded how much I love (and miss) hot yoga. So much sweat.

Once we cleaned up, we all got back in the car and went to meet some of JP and Bridget’s friends for brunch. They have a little girl also, so it was fun to chat with them about parenthood. Cora is seven months and a cutie. The food was awesome; I had an eggs Benedict type meal with artichokes.


Funny faces from Dad and Finley


Bridget and JP with two pretty ladies

We made it home right in time for Finley’s afternoon nap. The rest of the afternoon was pretty chill: watched basketball (Michigan State played and lost), read Bridget’s copy of Gwenyth Paltrow’s new book, and walked for a few miles.

Our flight home left at 8pm, so we got to the airport around 7pm. We checked our one bag and got through security quickly. I had Fin in the Ergo and wanted to see if they’d let me keep her in it. And they did! Brody grabbed us sandwiches at Bruegger’s Bagels, and we ate at our gate.

The flight back wasn’t the greatest. Finley was way overtired. She moaned, cried, and squirmed. She took a thirty minute nap, and then was awake. We rolled with it and fed her Cheerios to keep her occupied.

As always, our trip to Cincinnati and time with Bridget and JP was lots of fun! Finley is already asking when she can go back. Well, that’s not true because she can’t talk yet, but I am positive she would be saying that if she could.

I’m in Another Monthly Food “Group”

If you’ve been reading about my life for a while, you know that I get together with a fabulous group of women once a month to eat food, share the recipes, drink wine, and enjoy each other’s company. I love our monthly Wine and Recipe get togethers!

Two ladies in this group are also in a Freezer Meal group. They explained it to me and suggested I give it a shot. After speaking to Brody about it, I told them to count me in.

This was my first month doing it, and I sadly couldn’t even attend “the” event (explained later), but here’s the gist of it.

One (super) woman in the group compiles recipes from everyone else as possible meals for the month. Last month there were categories, like breakfast, Crock Pot, and soup, with two options in each. We have a private Facebook page, and everyone voted for their favorite option.

Once the meals are decided, said (super) woman does the shopping for the majority of the ingredients. Considering there are nine ladies in the group, that’s a lot of food! She also tells us what we need to bring to “the” event. This month, everyone had to bring one pound of raw chicken breasts, two cups of cooked cubed chicken, one pound of cooked Italian sausage, and one pound of thinly sliced raw steak. The meat cost me about $25, and we all owed (super) woman $28! Only $28! Seven meals for under $60!

This month’s night of assembly met on the last day of February at 7:30pm. You can tell these are all moms because it starts after the kiddos go to bed. Unfortunately, this was the day Finley had a fever and went to the doctor. It ended up being teething and has been the beginning of a very rough time for her (and us).

Anyways, back to the food. My meals were put together by the rest of the group, and a friend dropped them off after around 9:30pm. Apparently the whole production is like a well-oiled machine, and I can’t wait to be a part of it in March.

Here are the recipes and links to the freezer meals from February:

Teriyaki Pork Chops
*I used chicken breasts but they dried out a little. I’d like to make this again but with boneless pork chops.

Szechuan Steak Stir Fry
*I made this already and it was really good. However we used frozen veggies, and if I made it again, I’d use fresh or somehow get some of the water out of the frozen.

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup
*I’m making this for dinner tonight!

Chicken Pot Pie
*This one is SOO good! I made it for dinner on Sunday and have been eating it for lunch. Not the healthiest but great comfort food.

Parmesan Sage Meatloaf

Baked Brownie Oatmeal
*I’ve been eating this for breakfast and loving it. This morning I heated up a square and then added a dollop of peanut butter to the top. Finley likes it too!

Quinoa Chili

If I didn’t add a comment under the recipe, it’s because I haven’t made it yet. This month I’ve been a little too excited to try everything – next month I may need to pace myself and spread the meals out. Or not.

It’s been so convenient to have these meals all ready to go in my freezer. Although it does require a little planning ahead (i.e. taking the food out to thaw), everything is done! No extra runs to the store for a missing ingredient. Not that that’s ever happened to me. Not like that happened last week when I was making tacos and didn’t have seasoning…and had been at the store earlier that day.

I hope to share the freezer meals I come home with every month.

Do you stock your freezer with food or meals?
Are you or do you know someone in a freezer meal group?

WIAW: Finley and My Eats

“Hello, little person. How are you today? Is your mood quite terrific, or only okay?”

Who can name that quote?

I’ve doing pretty well, between terrific and okay. We’ve been having a rough time with Finley’s nighttime sleeping (which I’ll address in a future post), and last night I got about seven hours of sleep in three chunks. Compared to other nights, that’s actually pretty decent. During one of the awake times, I worked on this post. Might as well do something productive, right?

Thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting!

Breakfast: brownie baked oatmeal and a fried egg

This was such a yummy way to start the day! It came from a Freezer Meals group I’m in now. (I’ll also discuss this in a future post.) This wasn’t a very Paleo/Primal meal, or day for that matter, but at least I snuck in the egg fried in bacon fat for some good protein and fat.

Finley’s breakfast: brownie baked oatmeal and mango

This was Finley’s first time eating mango on her own. Back when we first started solids, I gave her mango mashed into a purée, but as you can see I cut it into matchstick size pieces. She loved it! I think she enjoyed the slippery texture as well. Although not a ton of food made it into her mouth, she played with and explored her food.

Snack: chicken sausage

A few hours later, I needed something. When I met Mel (who eats Primal) for lunch a week ago, she mentioned eating chicken sausages from Costco. The next time I went, I found them and bought the 24-pack. They’re precooked, so after thirty seconds in the microwave, it was ready to eat.

Lunch: chicken pot pie and (unpictured) strawberries

My lunch was also from this month’s Freezer Meal bounty. I made the pot pie for dinner Sunday night and have been enjoying it for lunch every day since. Brody doesn’t eat leftovers, so it’ll last me at least through Thursday. At this point in the day, I realized that every meal of this day would be from Freezer Meals as I had taken the bag of teriyaki chicken out of the freezer yesterday to throw in the Crock Pot for dinner.

Finley’s lunch: turkey meatloaf, steamed broccoli, and mango

Finley again didn’t eat a whole lot, but she’s bringing more food to her mouth area. It’s so cool to watch her eat real food like a little person!

Snack: whole milk plain yogurt, shredded unsweetened coconut, blackberries, and almond butter

At Woodman’s, blackberries were 79 cents – amazing! I bought two packs and ate both this same way. It made me super excited for all of the summer fruits; I’m sick of oranges, apples, and bananas.

Finley’s snack: puffs and yogurt

I hadn’t planned on giving Fin any food, but she was reaching for my yogurt mess bowl. We sat at the table, and she ate a bunch of puffs and a few spoonfuls of her own yogurt. Up until now, she had never eaten any puffs, just played with them, but she was shoveling them into her mouth.

Dinner: teriyaki Crock Pot chicken, white rice, and roasted asparagus


Although I cooked the chicken on low for an hour less than suggested, it was still too dry for our liking. The flavor was good, though. The recipe actually calls for pork chops, so I’ll have to try those next time.

Finley’s dinner: cottage cheese, broccoli, mango, puffs, yogurt, apple cranberry purée
*no picture – sorry

This girl loves cheese! She’s been eating pieces of medium cheddar and, like tonight, cottage cheese. I bought the Daisy brand 4% milk fat because it only has four ingredients – thanks again to Mel for this suggestion! Finley went for the cheese first, ate a little mango, briefly touched the broccoli, and ate a few spoonfuls of yogurt and fruit purée.

Post-dinner sweet treat: dark chocolate covered coconut

<a href="http://pintofgoals.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/20140305-090552.jpg”>20140305-090552.jpg

After putting Fin down for the night, I had a small handful of these. I bought this bag from Costco a few weeks ago, and it’s been just the thing I need to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Well that’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed my eats from yesterday. Have a great Wednesday!

Happy Weekend!

1. Yesterday Finley and I hosted our weekly play group! It was a great time, and about six mamas and their babies showed up. Finley slept through the first 1.5 hours of it, but woke up in a happy mood and played with her friends. Actually, the playing looked more like baby fight club as they’d steal toys from each other or play tug of war with them.

2. My mom is coming to visit for the weekend. She hasn’t seen Fin since the end of December, and I know she’ll be excited with how big and mobile (read: rolling, not crawling) she’s becoming. She also made her amazing sugar cookies – yummy!

3. Speaking of cookies, kind of, Brody and I are considering experimenting with a Paleo or Primal diet, which cookies would not be a part of. Initially he suggested vegan because our friends Bridget and JP are doing a vegan and juice cleanse, but I think Paleo or Primal makes more sense for us. I’ve been doing a little research online learning what each eating lifestyle allows. Really I think the most important part is that we cut out processed foods and gluten. I’ll keep you updated.

4. I made a Paleo friendly meal yesterday: PaleOMG’s spaghetti pizza pie. I really liked it, and ate it for lunch and dinner yesterday. It may be smart for me to find a handful of Paleo/Primal meals before we start. Brody hasn’t tried this one yet, but I think he’ll like it.
Note: I tried linking this recipe but that function in WordPress is not working. Grrrr…

5. My favorite cooking show is The Pioneer Woman. She’s so relaxed, her recipes always look delicious (and not Paleo/Primal – see how this is going to be so hard?), and her life on the ranch is pretty cool. I don’t follow her blog but I do visit to her website for recipes from time to time.

6. Brody got me a FitBit for Christmas, and I love seeing how active I am. On the days I exercise, I almost always get to at least 8,000, and many days (like yesterday,) 10,000 steps. Sometimes, though, I’m pretty lazy. Those days tend to be the ones I don’t leave the house.

7. Finley didn’t have the best night of sleep last night. She went down easily at 7pm, I dream fed her at 9:15pm, and she woke up at 12:45am. I fed her but could tell she was awake. After an hour of rolling around and talking to herself loudly in her crib, I changed her diaper (not poopy) and fed her again (she didn’t eat much before), and she fell asleep while nursing. This was around 2am. She woke up at 4am, and I was tired having been awake for an hour and a half in the middle of the night, so into our bed she came. She slept until 6:45am.

8. Moose and Frankie have had a rough winter. Pre-Finley, I took them to the dog park almost daily. Because of the cold and Finley, they now get a couple ten minute walks a day and maybe one trip to the dog park on the weekend. It’s so sad. We’ve gotten them into daycare every so often but not enough. Spring and summer, and the daily walks with Finley in a stroller, can’t come soon enough for them.

9. Tomorrow is Brody’s birthday. Finley and I are very excited to give him his gifts!

10. I pulled out my baby photo album and a couple of Brody’s baby pictures to see who Finley looks like. What do you think?

I’m six months old here, and Brody is five months.

This is Finley today right after she spit up all over herself.

Have an awesome day!

WIAW (but actually WIAFriday) and Day in the Life

I’m finally doing a WIAW! It’s been a very long time. Thanks for Jenn for being such a gracious host.

Finley wakes up around 7am. She gets a clean diaper and nurses. Then it’s my turn to eat!

Breakfast: coconut Chobani, banana, and Eat Live Run’s granola

That was the last of the granola – sad. It was my second batch, and you better believe I’ll be making another one next week. As I eat, Finley plays in her exer-saucer thing.

We go upstairs to her room to play and read books before nap #1. I enjoy a cup of coffee with a little cream and milk.

Squeezing a workout in during this nap is the best chance of it happening. I had picked up a Jillian Michaels’ Last Chance DVD from the library, so I give it a whirl – the workout I choose is a good one!

I take a bird bath (shower without washing my hair) just as Finley wakes up. After feeding her, she plays on the family room floor as I Swiffer our wood floors.

Now it’s lunch time. We’re eating a little early because I didn’t have a morning snack and we have errands to run before nap #2. Finley eats avocado, egg yolks mixed with plain whole milk yogurt, and pear.

Lunch: two egg scramble with salsa and cheddar cheese, quarter of an avocado, two pieces of wheat toast, and some canned pineapple

Finley and I pack up for an afternoon away from the house. Our adventures begin with a Woodman’s run.

I quickly drop the groceries off at home while Fin stays in the car, and then we take off for a coffee shop. I’ve timed it so that Finley’s nap #2 will happen in the car. She took a good morning nap, so I’m okay if her other nap(s) isn’t as great. As expected, she sleeps on the drive to the coffee shop and wakes up as I park.

Friday afternoons we go to a play group formed from the Mother Baby Hour we attended. I really like the moms, and Finley likes looking at the other babies and sharing toys.

This was also the time I needed a snack.

Snack: chai latte, kombucha, and an unpictured banana

We stayed at play group until 4pm and then headed home. Once again, I timed it so Fin would take another cat nap in the car.

Surprise, surprise – I’m hungry again. As I eat, I prep an apple for Finley for the next few meals.

Snack: apple and peanut butter

Brody gets home around 5:30pm, and his dad and stepmom arrive soon after. We all watch as Finley eats her dinner. Her grandpa and step-grandma try to hold her, but she gets pouty. Like many babies, she isn’t always okay being held by new people. I’m hoping she warms up to them before they leave.

After a quick bath and nursing session, I put Fin down for the night. She falls asleep within five minutes a little after 7pm.

I join everyone downstairs and stuff my face with three pieces of pizza. This is one more than I normally eat, and in the end, a mistake. I also drink half a bottle of wine.

Dinner: Salvatore’s pizza and red wine

My father-in-law and his wife drive back to their hotel; they’ve been awake for almost 24 hours (they live in Switzerland). Brody and I plop on the couch and watch The West Wing. I fall asleep during the second episode (we’re already in season seven!) – wine does that to me.

It was a good day: a workout, errands, friends, good food, and family.

Finley Update: Seven Months

Finley is changing so quickly! I swear she looked like this yesterday:


But no. That was seven months ago. Incredible. Here’s what’s up with Miss Finley Marie.

Height and Weight:

Finley continues to be in the upper range for all three measurements; at her six month appointment, she was over 100% for height (28 inches), 96% for weight (19 lbs. 11 oz.), and 85% for head circumference. That was a month ago, so who knows how big she is now. I’d guess over 20 lbs. for sure. She’s almost too big for her infant car seat, so we already purchased and installed the convertible car seat.



Physical Developments and Changes:

Sitting up: She’s very stable on her own but will sometimes topple over. If I’m not going to be right by her and she’s on a harder surface, I’ll put the Boppy behind her. She spends lot of her awake time sitting up playing with toys.


Crawling: This isn’t happening yet, but we’re getting close. During play time, I’ll set her on her belly. She’ll stay there for a bit, but she also likes to roll onto her back. A few times she’s pulled her butt up and was on all fours. I’m excited for this new phase!


Teeth: Finley has two teeth coming in! While we were in Maryland, the first bottom one poked through, and less than a week later, the other bottom middle one broke the skin. She’s had no teething symptoms (knock on wood), but I have heard these are the “easiest” teeth.

Talking: Of course it’s too early for Finley to be saying any words, but in the last month she has become very vocal. She says ba, blah, ma, wah, and other similar sounds. I was an early talker, and I hope Fin is too.

Eating and Drinking:

As I mentioned in a previous post, we started solids on Fin’s half birthday. Since then she’s tried the following: carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, avocado, banana, pear, apple, mango, cauliflower, peas, lentils, and whole milk yogurt. Her favorites are yogurt, banana, and sweet potato. We’re skipping rice cereal, so for iron, we’ve been giving her lentils.


After talking to the nurse who runs the Mother Baby Hour I attend and reading more, I decided to try eggs. Brody and I have no known allergies, so instead of just giving her the yolks, I scrambled one egg. She was not a fan and actually spit up a little after a couple bites. Brody also thought she looked a little splotchy around her mouth afterwards. She could be allergic, or it could’ve been nothing. The egg white is that part that causes allergic reactions, so we may try giving her just the yolk for the iron. The idea of having a child who is allergic to anything now freaks the heck out of me.

Although I thought we’d do more of the baby led weaning approach, she really prefers feeding herself or being fed by us with a spoon. Maybe baby led weaning will work better once her teeth come in and she’ll be able to chew. There’s also a part of me that’s nervous about choking. I keep reminding myself that there’s no need to rush these things; she’s still getting the majority of her calories from breastmilk, and this is all practice and exploration.


Sleeping (naps):

Fin’s daytime sleeping is becoming more predictable, and I, in turn, have been experiencing less anxiety related to her sleeping. She takes two to three naps a day, and her awake times have increased to two to three hours. Often she’ll wake up after thirty to forty minutes, and I’ve started letting her hang out in her crib. If she doesn’t fall back asleep after thirty minutes, I pull her out. I’ll change her diaper right away and very likely she’ll have pooped (it’s hard to smell poop with cloth diapers). No wonder she couldn’t fall asleep again, especially with how the poops have changes since starting solids. The afternoon nap, then, is most consistently the long one. And by long, I mean an hour and twenty minutes. However she did sleep for almost three hours Sunday afternoon.


Sleeping (night):

Bedtime is between 6:30-7:30pm. After a bath, pajamas, and a few books, I feed her. At this point, she’s often very drowsy but not totally asleep. Around 9:00pm, I dream feed, and up until a couple weeks ago, I was nursing her one more time during the night. Randomly, she began sleeping through the night (and I’m not talking the five to six hours STTN but like eleven to twelve hours). We did nothing to bring this on. When she would wake up, she’d either need her pacifier if it was out of reach or talk to herself for a bit. It was an adjustment for my body to so abruptly stop a nursing session, and I only had to deal with a little leaking. There have been a few nights when I have nursed her if she wasn’t falling back asleep. Like always, she typically wakes up between 6:00-7:00am. I cannot complain at all.


Finley’s been in mostly 9 month clothes for a couple months. She even has two pairs of Target sweatpants in size 12 months. I bought a few things for her from Old Navy last week, and the two onesies are 12-18 months.



She is a very happy baby, and she loves to be around people. I’ve been taking her to Mother Baby Hour (MBH) since she was a few weeks old, but unfortunately the 6-9 month group meeting time doesn’t work with my schedule. Luckily a group of moms formed a play group that meets on Friday afternoons, so I’ve been going to that. Last week we met at a coffee shop in Fitchburg. Finley also “interacts” with Adalyn, the 19 month old I watch, three mornings a week.


Finley is pretty awesome, and we love her to pieces.


Finley Photo Dump vol. VI

I organized this photo dump! There were lots of photos to share so it made sense.

Early Christmas at my mom’s






Our first Christmas as a family of three






Play time (aka put everything in the mouth)





Tummy time





Time with Dad





Coming up: Finley’s seven month update and some new recipes I have recently tried.

Hope you’re having a nice Sunday!

Going to the Chapel…

I’m so behind on posting what’s been going on in my life. I went to New York City for my SIL’s bachelorette party, we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s, Finley turned six months (probably skipping that update since she’s almost seven months), and there were other both fun and mundane events. Maybe I’ll go back and share those moments, and maybe not.

However, I most definitely wanted to document Erin and Dan’s (my sister in law and now brother-in-law) wedding. It was an amazing weekend!

Brody and I flew out the day after Christmas. That was a whole debacle; in short, our second leg of the flight was delayed by three hours before we even left Madison, but luckily Delta found us a different flight which got us into Baltimore two hours earlier than we were originally supposed to arrive. Amazing!

Finley stayed at our house with my mom and sister. While we would’ve loved to have brought her, it didn’t make sense. Brody and I were both standing up in the wedding. We briefly considered bringing my mom along, but then we’d be paying for another ticket and another hotel room. Plus, it would all disrupt Finley’s life and would pretty much suck for my mom. So although it was hard on us as parents, it was best for Finley.

We met Brody’s mom and Bridget and JP in the Baltimore airport, picked up our rental car, and drove to Easton, Maryland where the wedding festivities would take place.

Thursday night, after dropping off our bags in our rooms, we met everyone who was in town already in the restaurant/bar area of the hotel. We ate, drank, and chatted with friends and family. It was the night I drank the most out of our stay there. It was the only night I needed to pump and dump.

Brody enjoying a “hot nut”


Not sure what I’m doing here…

Friday morning, Brody went to a coffee shop to do some work while I relaxed in bed and read a book (American Wife if you were wondering). I met Erin and my MIL for lunch at this cute restaurant. Having only eaten a banana, Larabar, and cup of grapefruit slices, I was starving. I ordered an Italian sandwich with a cup of the tomato bisque soup, both of which I housed. My MIL commented how much I eat and how small I am – I took it as a compliment :)

The three of us walked back to the hotel and met up with all the ladies (bridesmaids, friends, and family) who wanted to get their nails done. Initially I was only going to get my nails done, but my feet were in need of some love, so I splurged and got a pedicure as well.

The rehearsal began at 4:30pm and went smoothly. Erin and Dan asked Dan’s aunt and uncle to officiate the wedding, and there was also the hotel’s event coordinator there to help.

The rehearsal dinner was at an Italian restaurant in Easton. The owner shut down the restaurant for the party, and it was cool to have the whole place to ourselves. Brody and I both had a pasta dish with chicken, roasted red peppers, and artichokes in a cream sauce. It was so yummy and rich. One funny moment of the evening was when Brody stood up to thank Dan’s family for hosting the dinner and to congratulate his sister and Dan. Instead of saying “Erin,” however, he said my name. Ha! This has happened before, and is an easy mistake to make with both of our names starting with vowels. Brody didn’t realize his error initially, but everyone else did. We all got a good laugh out of it.

After the dinner, the party moved to a bar. With a full belly of pasta, it was difficult to drink; nothing sounded good. Plus, the bar was very crowded. I think Brody and I called it a night around 11pm. I wanted to be well-rested and not have icky looking skin the next day for the wedding.

WEDDING DAY! The bridesmaids all met in the lobby and walked to the salon. One of the bridesmaid’s husbands was in charge of picking up bagels and orange juice (and champagne of course), so we snacked on those while getting our hair done. I was hoping to do a low side bun thing, but surprise, surprise – I didn’t have enough hair, as it’s still falling out in clumps. (When does that stop????). She ended up pulling it half up and curling what was down. It looked nice, and I was happy.

Back at the hotel, the bridesmaids and my MIL met in the bridal suite to be with Erin as she put her dress on. She had shared a picture of the dress when she found it months ago, but it was even more spectacular in person. The layers of lace and the beadwork made it so elegant.


Erin putting on her dress


Putting on the final touches

Dan and Erin chose to take pictures before the wedding, so they had their “first look” before the ceremony. We then took pictures with the families and the bridal party.

The navy dresses were from J. Crew, and the purples pashminas were gifts from Erin


Action shot of Erin and some of her bridesmaids

It was then time for the ceremony. Dan’s aunt and uncle, who live in London, did an incredible job. They have officiated weddings before, but I’m sure this one was so much more special. They used the word love as an acronym as their theme (I’ve sadly already forgotten what each letter stood for) and shared personal stories from their marriage.

Post-ceremony was a cocktail hour, which I missed most of due to pumping, and then the reception.

My FIL gave a fabulous speech: he was sentimental (even got a little choked up) but then also had many people on their feet clapping and laughing when he said he had never imagined his new son-in-law would have less hair than he does. The night continued with a great dinner (crab cake – my second of the weekend), drinking, dancing, and spending time with friends and family.

The happy couple’s first dance

Sunday morning, Brody, myself, JP, and Bridget, drove back to Baltimore to catch our respective flights. We arrived on time in Madison at 4pm and were greeted by my mom, sister, and Finley. I knew they were planning on bringing Finley but kept it a secret from Brody. He said he had a feeling they’d all be there, but it was still so sweet to see him rush down the stairs to see her.

A picture my sister took as they all waited for Brody and I in the airport

I am very lucky to have a SIL who I would be friends with even if we weren’t related. The man she now calls her husband is also such a great person – Brody and Dan got along from the beginning. I foresee some joint family vacations in the future!

“I’m a Nursing Mom”: Pumping and Traveling

Breastfeeding has been an incredible part of being a mom, and I feel very lucky that Finley and I have had no issues along the way. I never imagined I would enjoy it like I do, and I hope to continue breastfeeding for a while.

This fall and winter, I had plans that pulled me away from Finley for days at a time: in October, I went on a girls’ weekend in Lake Geneva; the first weekend in December was my SIL’s bachelorette party in New York City; and the last weekend in December was her wedding in Maryland.

Because the breastfeeding relationship I have with Finley is so important to me, I did my best to not compromise it. Here’s what I learned and what worked for me.

1. I knew these weekends were coming up way in advance, so I began building a supply of milk in the freezer early on. I would typically sneak in a pumping session in the morning during Finley’s first nap. Your prolactin levels are the highest from 3am – 10am, so you will likely get the most milk during this time. Sometimes I’d get 5-6 ounces, and other times I’d only get 1.5 ounces. However, it all adds up. I recorded the date and amount of milk on each bag right away. When the milk freezes, it expands and can make it seem like there’s more milk than there really is.

2. Calculate how much milk you’ll need. This is difficult if you’re EBF because you have no idea. I assumed Finley was drinking about 30 ounces a day. When Brody and I left for the wedding and would be gone from Thursday 10am to Sunday 4pm, I had about 140 ounces saved up for my mom to give Finley. She actually ended up drinking 35.5 ounces a day! No wonder she’s a monster. If possible, then, try to have an extra day’s worth just in case.

So your baby is set. Now you’re off alone…weird.

3. Do your best to pump when you would typically nurse. I feed Fin about every three hours during the day, but when I’m pumping, I can go four or five (but I prefer not to go beyond four as I was worried it could affect my supply).

4. At night, I would become engorged super quickly. This was an odd and annoying surprise because I dream feed at 9pm and then only nurse her once at night, normally between 1-3am. While apart from Fin, though, I’d pump (approximately) at 9pm, again at 12am, again at 4am, and again at 8am. I would get tons of milk each time, too. Here I thought I’d get to sleep more away from Finley but the opposite was true. This happened on all three of my weekends away.

5. Keep your pump supplies in a gallon Ziplock bag. This makes changing pumping locations easy.

6. Buy a travel size container of dish soap and keep on hand a small towel. I washed my pump parts a few times a day, and I could do it (almost) no matter where I was. I kept both of these items in that gallon Ziplock.

7. You don’t have to wash your pump parts after every session! As long as you put it in the fridge, bacteria will not grow. This was especially helpful when I was pumping so often during the night. The bottles I pump into hold about six to seven ounces which meant I could pump into them twice.

8. Sometimes I had to pump somewhere that had no sanitary place to clean the parts. In this situation, I put everything back in the Ziplock bag and washed it all really well the first chance I got (and of course before pumping again).

9. Speaking of sanitary, remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before each session. I kept a travel size hand sanitizer in the gallon Ziplock bag.

10. If you’re staying at a hotel, call ahead to see if there’s a mini-fridge in the room. When I was in New York and Maryland, they were able to bring one to our room. If this is not possible, you can keep a cooler with ice or ice packs in your room or ask your milk to be stored in the hotel’s fridge.

11. Keep your milk cold, not frozen. Once your milk freezes, if it thaws, you can’t use it. Refrigerated milk is good for five to seven days, so I was able to bring back all of my milk and freeze it once I got home. This was necessary because I only had four weeks between the bachelorette party and the wedding, and I needed to replenish my supply.

12. Remember that if you’ve been drinking and are not safe to drive, you shouldn’t keep your milk. If I’d have a glass of wine or two and pumped, I kept my milk but mixed it with a clean batch from earlier in the day. Otherwise, I dumped it.

13. Take the motor out of the pumping bag. My Medela Pump in Style is velcroed in and came out easily. It fits in my purse which meant I could bring it with me (and not have to carry a second bag) if I was concerned about being gone for too long. I was also able to fit the Ziplock bag of pump parts, towel, hand sanitizer, and towel in my purse.

14. Bring along your nursing cover so you can pump in front of friends and not feel self conscious. On the girls’ weekend in Lake Geneva, my friend Jena and I would pump around everyone and not miss out on the fun.

15. A friend showed me how to cut slits in an old sports bra instead of buying a pumping bra. If I knew I’d be out and about and would need to pump, I would wear this sports bra underneath my nursing tank for quick and easy access. I also wore the sports bra and nursing tank while sleeping; this way, I could roll out of bed, unsnap the nursing tank, and easily hook up to pump.

For the New York and Maryland trips, I had to fly. This brought on a whole new set of challenges.

16. Because I wanted to bring back my milk, I brought along a soft, collapsible cooler and two small ice packs. The cooler was empty on the way there and fit into my large carry on (I did not check a bag either weekend) and was filled with milk and the ice packs on the way home.

17. Bring another gallon Ziplock bag for all the individual bags of milk. When I went through security, I pulled the Ziplock with the milk bags out of the cooler and put it in its own tray. Coming back from New York, the person inspecting carry ons gave me a funny look after it went through. I said, “It’s breastmilk,” and he nodded his head. They are NOT allowed to open the bags of milk or ask you or your baby (if he/she is along) to taste it. I had read that they can swab or test the outside of the bags, but that’s it. Also, there is no limit to the number of ounces you can travel with, and it doesn’t matter if you have your baby with you. Here’s the TSA’s website with more information.

18. Feel free to tell the TSA people that “I’m a nursing mom” and are traveling with your pump and milk. I didn’t do this but it may avoid questions or a hold up. As Brody said, the pump motor on it’s own kind of looks like a bomb.

19. Get used to the idea that you’ll need to pump in odd locations (just remember hand sanitizer):
-Airplane bathrooms: I made the mistake of not telling the flight attendant on my flight to Maryland that I’d be pumping (i.e. be in the bathroom for at least ten minutes), and when I came out, there was a line of six people giving me the stink eye. There was only one bathroom in the back, and Brody said the flight attendant wasn’t letting people use the one in first class. Lesson learned.
-Backseat of a cab: When I arrived in New York, it had been five hours and I needed to pump. The cab ride was going to be at least forty minutes. I attempted to explain to the cab driver (who I believe was not a native English speaker) that “I’m a nursing mom” and what I was about to do. My tip here is to always have the battery pack (and extra batteries) with you to allow random-location pumping.
-Storage room/closet of a restaurant: In New York for the bachelorette party, Saturday night was the “big” night. Even though I pumped before leaving the hotel, I wanted to get another clean batch of milk before I drank too much. I explained how “I’m a nursing mom” and such, and our waitress brought me back to a private room. I kept this milk in my purse for the next few hours and put it in the mini-fridge when we got back to the hotel at midnight.
-Airport bathrooms: It’s most comfortable to find a family restroom or a mother’s room. Even if there’s not a seat, there’s always an outlet and space to spread out. It’s not always smooth sailing though. In Baltimore’s airport, I had my pump sitting on the edge of the sink and my phone on top of that. I pulled on the tubes by accident and my pump motor and phone fell into the sink with some soapy water in it.

Hopefully these tips can help you and your baby maintain a happy, healthy breastfeeding relationship!