Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 Things I Love // 1

I love a lot of things and I really like to share these things, so I am starting a new weekly post just to talk and share and maybe hear about what other people love. Love it!

First of all, I hope everyone had a chance to reflect of the life of Dr. King today, whose words never become antiquated. Today more than ever his speeches, his work and his method of non-violence are great examples of how to fight for social justice. Every year I spend some of this day talking to Maddie about Dr. King's message and I can only hope that it helps form her and inspire her to be a change agent in her world.

On to much less meaningful things now: five things I am totally digging.



1. Nars blush in Orgasm. I have had this on my to-buy list for ages and was forced urged by my husband to finally buy it Saturday afternoon before a date night. I love it. It is the perfect color, the perfect amount of shimmer and actually lasts the whole day. Sold.

2. Bastille Kitchen in Fort Point. Speaking of date night, we went on one of those Saturday night for a friend's birthday and decided to grab dinner before meeting up with everyone at Bastille Kitchen. The only reservations on Open Table were really early or really late but instead of going to another restaurant, we decided to wing it and try and get in. Lo and behold, as soon as we walked in the two seats at the end of the bar opened up, which was prime real estate for two lovebirds without their toddler. We sat, ate delicious food and talked and it was awesome. The steak frites I had and the scallops Matty had were fantastic, as was the chocolate mousse tart with bruleed marshmallow that tasted like a smores (YUM). Also, the butter that comes with the croissants has salt soaked in earl grey tea made by the chef and it was awesome. I am looking forward to going back, for sure.

3. My new belly band that has once again given me the ability to run comfortably with this big ol' 7 month pregnant belly of mine. I have been having bad pain in the thinned out muscles under my belly button and hopped on-line to see what other third trimester runners have used in the hopes that others have dealt with this too. I discovered rave reviews about the Gabrialla Belt, including endorsement by pregnant marathoners. I ordered it off Amazon, got it yesterday and immediately went to the gym to test it out on the treadmill (it was a still a bit too icy out to give it a real test). It really made a difference and had I not just had a big lunch with a big need to pee, I felt like I could have run a lot farther than I have been able to lately. I am hoping this can carry me through until I pop this baby out; maybe I will run to the hospital to make sure I am dilated enough...

4. TINY BABY CLOTHES! Once we found out we were having a girl this time around we knew we were all set in the clothing department, but we have wanted to get a special little coming home outfit to put her in for the first trip home. Maddie and I hit up the Assembly Row shops with my AIL and were met by Matty so we picked out the cutest teeny tiny outfits. Anchors and bikes! I die! I am so excited for a teeny, squishy baby!

5. Birchbox, One of the besties got me a subscription for Christmas and I am obsessed. I love make-up and samples and all things beauty and it is just so fun to get random treats in the mail each month. Such a great gift idea (thanks, K!).

And that rounds out five things I am loving; be back next week with some more Stefanie approved randomness :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thanks, Vacation.

We left Boston last Wednesday when it was hovering just under the double digit degrees and when my nerves were well under a 10 on a scale of one to having it together.It wasn't until well into the third day of our vacation when it hit me how very badly I needed to be on vacation. Something about pulling yourself out of your daily routine really gives you the opportunity to look at how things are going, what things aren't working and where more energy needs to be allocated.

 I've spent a lot of this pregnancy sick, which is really difficult for me; I don't do rest well and I don't like feeling unable to give life my all, which is exactly what bronchitis, pneumonia and a bit of pregnancy induced asthma created. So we decided to take a vacation; just a week and just the three of us to get away somewhere a little warmer with no house projects or work schedules or alarm clocks. Like I said, it took a few days for me to unwind. A specialist I saw put me on an extended round of steroids that made my anxiety a lot less manageable than usual and left me feeling aggravated and jittery, so after a few days of rest and one breakdown I decided to stop them. I've felt so much better since and was able to run, well, just as much as my pregnant pelvic muscles will allow, but I can breathe so well. It's glorious to be back to running after Maddie and spending time running, swimming and breathing again!

Vacation gave me a chance to pause and get ready for this next chapter of our lives. I've got some big moves to make at work and only a few more months before I take some time to focus on taking care of our new baby girl. Although I've been planning for this for the past 7 months of knowing I am pregnant, I don't think I have thought enough about how I need to unplug from the world (and work) and dive into caring for a tiny baby, a three year old and me. I was able to really process this, make some plans, talk to my lovely husband about our team approach and really start to wrap my head around the fact that I am about to bring another person into our family and all the things that go along with birthing, breastfeeding and raising siblings.

On top of all this relaxing and thinking and sleeping in (yes, well past 7am every. single. day) we also managed to have an awesome vacation! We did a day at Disney, a couple rounds at Downtown Disney (aka free Disney), a day trip to Daytona to see one of the besties and her family (who happened to also be down in FL), another day trip to Tampa to go to an aquarium and hit the beach and a whole lot of time in the pool with a certain little fishy who just could not get out of the water. It was, indeed, exactly what we needed.

Here are some pictures from our trip (sorry if you have already seen them all over social media!). Now I am going to go put a million layers on and take that kiddo of mine to gymnastics class. Brrrr.

My little beach bum!

These two are the BEST.

Even a cold beach is an awesome beach.

Sandcastles and selfies. 

Her first snow cone, which was mine after two bites because POOL!

Maddie's first ride at Disney - Dumbo!

She has all the brave.

Alright life, let's do this!



Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell, 2014!

I wish I could say that I was ending the year on a bang, but really I am ending it on my sick bed (er, at my desk at work being sick). For the second time this pregnancy I have bronchitis, which is just as fun as it sounds. Luckily, I seem to be slowly getting better and not progressing towards pneumonia like had happened in September. It has definitely been the pits feeling crummy over the holidays and I feel sad that I haven't been able to play with Maddie and her new Christmas toys as much as she wants me to, but here is hoping I will be on the mend soon.
2014 was a pretty huge year for our family and I just wanted to do a little end of the year recap to say goodbye to a wonderful year and hello to another exciting one!

The Big News
This year we became homeowners! This was a goal that had been HUGE for us and while the process was anything but awesome, the day that we closed and opened the door to OUR home was amazing and (almost) worth all the chaos leading up to it. Then, the day after we closed, we found out we had O'Shea Baby #2 on the way! A whole lot of excitement in 24 hours! All three of us are very excited to welcome a new little lady into our family and I have a hunch that Madeleine is going to be a pretty awesome big sister.

That Awesome Man of Mine
Matty has been taking classes and will be finishing school in early 2016, which was a huge personal goal for him. He is acing everything, which has me in awe because he is taking really hard classes that I can't even imagine juggling with everything else he does. This year also welcomed a very well deserved promotion for him, again, something he is acing even while being the most awesome husband and daddy in the world.

Maddie
Oh this little lady of ours - she never ceases to crack me up and make me want to take a nap in the same breath! She is a bucket of energy, giggles, creativity and wonder and I cannot imagine being a mama to anyone else. I have no idea how she keeps up the energy levels that she has or where she gets the hilarious things that come out of her mouth and I cannot wait to watch her grow in the next year. She is still in gymnastics class and spends a lot of her day doing "artcrafts", looking at books, practicing her letters and learning everything she can about animals. 2015 will bring the "big sister" title as well as her first day of school and I just know she is going to handle both like a champ.

Personal Triumphs
I am also making some exciting changes at work and hope to share all about it in the early days of 2015 (cliffhanger!). I have been working my butt off and feel really fulfilled with what I do, where I am and where I am going in my career and am looking forward to this next year.
I have continued to volunteer with Back on my Feet and although my running pace has slowed, I have continued to run and am looking forward to a healthy post-pregnancy comeback. I managed to get another marathon and a couple of halves earlier this year, including the third of the Cape Cod Trilogy of half marathons at 13 weeks pregnant. I also joined up with the Dorchester Running Club when they formed this spring and have spent most Saturdays pounding my neighborhood pavement with the most awesome group of ladies. I love that I know so many people in my neighborhood now and always have people I can call up for a run!
I got really lucky this year and had my bestie move from Western Mass back to the city, so I get to spend more time with her, and am looking forward to getting back to my regular yoga night with another bestie after the holidays. I feel so very lucky to have a really amazing group of friends that not only love me, but totally help me out with Maddie and the village mentality necessary to raise an awesome kiddo.

Travel
We did a bit of traveling this year including a first-time trip to Yosemite where Maddie and I had the honor of being in a beautiful wedding. While out west we also hit up San Francisco and got to see a lot of my family. I had a business trip to San Diego in May, which allowed me to see my Grandparents and Aunt, who we will hopefully be visiting again soon after the baby arrives in 2015. We also had some trips to NY, Cape Cod and Vermont and are looking forward to starting 2015 off with a babymoon in FL.

Looking Ahead
I am pretty sure that every year I make financial stability my main goal, but now that we are homeowners I feel a little more positive about making some real progress in this area. We have A LOT of debt to pay back and I have a looming maternity leave that won't see much in the way of pay, but we are really committed to making changes in the way we spend and save in 2015 and will hopefully see some progress in this area.
Personally, I am looking forward to being the mama of two girls and am really hoping to have another healthy, uneventful delivery and a successful go at breastfeeding and co-sleeping with this new babe. I am also very committed to making sure that Maddie has all of the love and security that she needs from everyone and am working on preparing her for life with a sibling the best that I can.
Once I recover from labor, I am hoping to hop back into training and be ready for the Louisiana Marathon in January of 2016 and maybe even bring a little PR. Of course, I will just be happy to be back out there in those long miles, but speed training is definitely on my radar for 2015.
Maddie will be starting pre-K in the fall (!!!) and we are actually going to an Open House at the end of January to start the process which is so, so crazy to me!

So, just a little wrap up of the year behind us and a big welcome to a new year filled with new experiences, more adventures and hopefully a lot less bronchitis!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Our Christmas!

Even though this Christmas seemed to come and go at lightning speed, it was a really, really awesome one. At one point I was washing dishes and I thought to myself how awesome it was to be in our OWN home that we own forever and ever, celebrating Christmas with our little family. It was so comforting to know that next year we would be in this same home and have another little person to share in the magic of Christmas with!

We didn't do anything over the top and the focus was more on Maddie than anything else, and it was perfect. She got lots of presents from all of our wonderful family and friends and seemed so truly thankful as she opened each one up. All she asked Santa for was a giraffe that was big enough to ride one, and when she walked into the living room Christmas morning to see just that I think her little heart soared right out of her chest. She turned to me and said "Mama, is that a giraffe? For me?"; it made my heart melt as I watched her hop on with her sweet little bed head and rock back and forth. Christmas with littles is just so rad.

Matty and I tried to keep it small for each other this year since we are still trying to get caught up from the home buying experience, and I really couldn't think of anything else that I was in desperate need/want of aside from a new blender. So, I got an awesome new Ninja for all my smoothie making needs and some other sweet gifts and really had all I could have wanted. I got the mister some fancy duds and a stove top espresso maker that he is already manning like a pro. We spent the morning relaxing and watching Maddie play with her new toys and then had brunch at my AIL's with one of the besties. The only thing the day lacked was a nap, but I did a lot of laying on the couch and snuggling with that cute kiddo of mine, so it was not all a loss.

I hope you had an awesome Christmas, too! I am at work today with a pretty terrible cold but looking forward to being home this weekend and helping Maddie organize all her fun new toys.

Here are some pics from our day, as well as some from our weekend down the Cape (and ride on the Train to Christmas Town)!

Giraffe-o-rama.
Mama got new slippers and a chance to relax!
She asked me to write all her people's names on her cupcakes she made.
Find the toddler in the present pile!
Making pizza for her rocking giraffe.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Deck the Halls!

I can hardly believe that Christmas is just a week away! Life has been so very busy with the day-to-day but we are really trying to take some time everyday to enjoy the season and see the magic of it all through Maddie's eyes. It was a lot of fun to deck the halls of our new home and I am already excited to hit some of those post-Christmas sales to add to our arsenal for next year. Having such festive walls makes it pretty hard to forget that Christmas is coming, even when we are swimming in work, school and new baby preparations. I just wanted to pop in and share some pictures that I took the other night and wish you all a happy one week until Christmas!

Our Christmas tree!

We love getting Christmas cards! This year our hallways is a great place to display them. 
The tattooed Nutcracker got extra tough with a Maker's Mark scarf this year. 
Another gift from Maker's Mark; oh how I miss thee in my eggnog. 
Maddie has her own tree in her room with Thomas, a firetruck and lots of Candy Canes.
Some of her Christmas books, not including the dozen or so we have out from the library right now. And, of course, the countdown to Christmas calendar!
Lots of baking going on in this kitchen lately. 
A surprise afternoon at the Boston Holiday Pops! It was a rough start but the sing-a-long really brought Maddie into the spirit of it all (and maybe seeing Santa helped, too).



Monday, December 8, 2014

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

It is pretty appropriate that I am sitting down to write this as snow flurries and super-cold temperatures are going on outside, with some sort of Nor'easter/winter storm headed our way,but it is very much winter, and Christmas is definitely on the way! I love this time of year and all of the beauty, magic and joy it can bring, and experiencing it with Maddie is like getting to see it through new, wondrous eyes, which is just so awesome. Pretty much from the weekend after Thanksgiving until Christmas we have at least one festive commitment each weekend with another option or two if we are feeling up to it. Here are some of the fun things we have been doing to celebrate the season so far:

The weekend after Thanksgiving the Mayor and Santa rode around in a trolley making stops at different parks in the neighborhood to light trees; by some awesome coincidence the tiny little playground on our corner was one of them, so after dinner we walked on over to take part in the lighting. I ran into a few of the ladies from the Dorchester Running Club who were there with their families and was introduced to some other people that live around us; running with them has been such a great way to get to know people in the neighborhood and connect with other parents. Maddie ran around with some of the other kids and then we listened to carolers from a neighborhood school as Santa and his posse rolled up on the trolley. Maddie was actually excited to see Santa this year and went up to him to say "Hi Santa, I am sorry I was scared of you before" and then commented on how her Daddy wears glasses too. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever and Santa was definitely smitten with her!

Waiting for Santa to come to the playground!
This past weekend our new church hosted a pancake breakfast with Santa at the school next door (bonus that I got to check it out before I enroll Maddie next year), so after Mass we joined a whole lot of other families and their kiddos to have some pancakes and get a picture with Santa. Maddie was again super brave, though she did set some reasonable boundaries by asking Santa if she could just stand next to him instead of on his lap, which she did so quiet politely, following up with a request for a "giraffe that she can ride on" for Christmas. I think they are sending out the pics soon and I can't wait to see it because she had the sweetest little smile on her face in it! She also got to send Santa a letter and, with the help of a volunteer, affirmed her request for the giraffe and threw in a lion for good measure. Santa better get some zoological training before he loads up his sled for our house! We then let her run around the room with a pack of older neighborhood boys in the hopes of tiring her out for a nap (totally worked!). The boys were super sweet with her, letting her win "races" and overall just letting a crazy toddler follow them everywhere they went.

Throughout the week I have been unveiling a new Christmas book every night (thanks, Boston Public Library!) that we read after she moves her little candy cane marker from day to day on her Advent calendar. I am also trying to get her to watch some of my favorite holiday movies; she likes the original Grinch and Charlie Brown's Christmas so far, so I am hoping I can get in some more classics this week. We are also making sure to get out and see the lights in our neighborhood as much as possible, including multiple strolls by this amazing scene just around the corner from us.

Seriously, these people are my heroes.
Rudolph is pretty much a daily request right now.
Matty and I also got a chance to go to his company's holiday party at the Museum of Fine Art this weekend, and it was just as gorgeous and fun as last year (even if I didn't get to partake in all that yummy champagne). I got my annual picture in front of the huge tree in the rotunda and we got to dress up, though, so I call it a win!
My super handsome date.
Next weekend we have a friend's party and I am also going to do some massive baking projects, which I am sure my little helper will be a part of. The following weekend we are taking a few days to go down the Cape where we will see some family and do one of those Christmas story time train rides (I am SO excited for that!).

Hope you are enjoying this time of year and being extra good for Santa!

Decorating the tree!
Gotta love the Target dollar bin for all your decorating needs. 
Before our date night (so thankful for that fancy maternity dress I bought last pregnancy!).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I feel like this year, as with all the recent years, I have a lot to be thankful for. Between the awesome fella that I married and this little lady we are raising, there is so much joy, love and laughter in our lives; even if there are tears, stresses and worries in between, the balance is definitely in our favor.

Last year I managed to blog every single day in November about what I was thankful for and it made for an awesome perspective that entire month. I loved looking over the old posts and seeing that I remain thankful for so many of those things that are still a part of my life, and thinking about all the good stuff that has happened this year to add to my list!

Without further ado, the top five things I am thankful for this year.

1. Our new house: Buying a home to call our own has been a goal of ours for many years and this is the year that we made it a reality. It was an awful, stressful, nearly financially crippling experience but we made it out alive and have a really lovely place that I am so proud to call ours.

2. Maddie's third birthday: I am sure many of you know this, but raising a kid is really hard. Consciously choosing to attempt to raise a kind, compassionate, involved kid who happens to have a huge personality and more energy than the fastest marathon runner kind of makes it even harder. It is of course, our choice to parent a certain way, which stems a lot from our childhood experiences as well as the results that I work with every day from parents who didn't put so much effort in. But hey, we did it: she turned three and she is pretty awesome, and we even decided that maybe we could have another one!

3. Baby number two: Once again I was extremely lucky to have a very easy time getting pregnant once we decided to go for number two, and we found out about her the morning after we closed on our house! Although the first eight weeks were pretty awful, this pregnancy is treating me well and I am loving the feeling of this growing, squirming, healthy baby girl in my belly.

4. This Body of Mine: Last Thanksgiving I had just completed my first marathon and on Mother's Day, before we started trying for baby number two, I completed my second. Since I've been pregnant I've continued to run, including a half marathon in October (13 miles at 13 weeks!). While my pace is slower and my miles are shorter, I am so thankful to be able to keep moving, to feel good and to have another healthy and easy pregnancy so far. Running continues to be my alone time but it's also become more and more social as I continue to volunteer with Back on My Feet and have joined my neighborhood running club. Now I spend about as much time running and chatting with someone else as I do solo (well, as much as a 5 month pregnant woman can ever be alone!). 

5. My Peeps: I have really good friends, family, neighbors and co-workers; rarely do I find myself in a position where I'm around someone I'd rather not be (I do take the T 5 days a week, ha!) and for that I am thankful. My twenties were full of toxic and obligatory relationships and my thirties have been all about nurturing and enjoying the people around me. The day I finally figured out that I can choose who I surround myself with was a game changer, and from that point on I have filled my life with amazing people who make me feel like a better person just for knowing them. 
And then there's my favorite peep of all, that man I married four years ago and with whom I'll cheers seven years of love since our first kiss in February. He truly is the very example of what makes a great partner; he is my friend, my equal, my co-parent and the boy that still makes my knees weak. 

This morning Maddie and I slept in and then the three of us completed our first Turkey Trot together! Now we are watching the Macy's Parade and relaxing before dinner with family and friends. 
I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and were able to reflect on all the things that make you happy!

Enjoying the first snow of the year!

Post-turkey trot and pre-big ol' breakfast!