Thursday, February 19, 2015

Whole30 Thoughts

So, as much as we as moms are told that it "takes a year" to lose that baby weight, it never quite went away after I had CJ.  Yes, I started fitting into some of my clothes again, but did they look good?  Not so much.  A year and a half after having CJ I was asked twice in one month when I was due with the next one (I wasn't.)  Part of that has to do with my uterine fibroid that is big enough to make my tummy bulge. (A fibroid is a benign tumor that is hormone-fed; at some point I will be getting rid of it) The other part was that no matter how hard I exercised, I was not losing weight.  We eat pretty healthily as well, but maybe just not enough.  Right before I got pregnant with Summer I was in such a good routine exercising-wise; and I was determined to work out much more during my second pregnancy.  Well, then I started bleeding and was not allowed to exercise.  At 14 weeks, when it stopped, it was 6 degrees outside- for like the the next 2 months.  No desire to take a two-year-old out in that. Then, when the weather finally started turning warmer, I was well into my third trimester, blown up like a whale, and completely uncomfortable.  Yes, excuses, but nevertheless, 6 weeks post-second-c-section and I'm starting over again.  20 pounds to go to pre-baby weight, 30 pounds to go to happy weight.  We begin again.  Walking, running, Shaun T.  Other than some treats here and there, eating real food.  Weight not going anywhere.  I know that I didn't start losing more weight with CJ until I stopped nursing, but I still knew that without something drastic that weight wouldn't decrease much.  I actually ran a half marathon almost a year after having CJ and didn't lose much weight. 

I follow many blogs, and a few of them talked about the Whole30 and the writers' experience with the program. Basically, for 30 days, you cut out grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, alcohol, anything with a variety of "bad" added ingredients.  Grains, dairy, and legumes can cause a leaky gut, which in turn can cause systemic inflamation in your body.  And we all know that sugar and alcohol is not good for you. It's essentially a very strict paleo diet.  I read the book "It Starts With Food," written by the program developers, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig and I decided that this may be the thing that really helps me.  Even though for me it was mostly about losing weight, it's not a diet, per se.  You are not supposed to weigh yourself until the end.  The program is supposed to be about changing your lifestyle and just feeling better overall, with the weight loss as a bonus.  Reading enough testimonies online and in the book, it truly does change people's lives.  One woman writes about managing her MS just by this diet.  Some people can go off all sorts of types of meds, and just feel so much more energetic.  It's only 30 days, and then after reintroducing food very slowly, you decide what you want to integrate back in your diet, if anything at all.

So what the heck?  I read the book in the fall, and with the holidays looming ahead, I figured the best chance of success would be starting the program in January when we are stuck in the house anyway and needed a bit of detox from Christmas.  Kevin joined me for support, and because he had some weight and bad habits he wanted to lose.   I made sure to stock up on meat, eggs (not considered dairy), veggies, and almond butter.  We started January 6.  I was ready as the book and the support forums warned that we may not feel great right away- actually hung over for a few days.  I found out very quickly that I would be cooking ALL THE TIME.  With Kevin now not eating his usual breakfast of cereal and cottage cheese and taking his lunch to work instead of going out we went through food FAST.  I also had to make some of my own condiments such as mayo (actually very easy to make) and bbq sauce.  It seems like EVERYTHING contains sugar!  Bacon, beef broth, sausage, the list goes on. Thankfully Kevin helped with many of the breakfasts and lunch so that took some of the load off.  We also didn't feel too badly those first two weeks which I believe is because we didn't eat that unhealthy to begin with. 

While this program is not impossible by any means, we did have some challenges.  Going out was hard.  I had dinner plans with a friend, so I planned my meal ahead of time by looking at an online menu and calling the restaurant to what ingredients were in some of the meals.  I asked the waiter if I could have my veggies sauteed in olive oil as opposed to butter.  Thankfully, they were really cool about it.  I learned to like club sodas with lime.  Kevin had more challenges since he travels for work occasionally and also had a trip up to Rochester.  Those trips required lots of planning on where to eat, what compliant snacks to take, going to the grocery store and cooking his own meals when up in Rochester, and then getting stuck in the airport with no compliant food.  When you can't have something, it makes it that much more enticing too.  But we finished with no slip ups! 

So how do we feel?  Neither of us feels extremely different than we did before.  Kevin definitely has more energy, especially on the weekends (no drinking), but I definitely did not feel differently.  Along with the Whole30 I was finally making myself get up earlier to work out so it takes awhile to get used to that.  I also began to wean Summer from nursing.  I did it much more gradually than with CJ, but I still felt the emotional and physical effects.  To truly see the effects of this experiment, I probably should not have changed anything else in my lifestyle at that point.  Oh well.  We have both introduced all of the foods back into our diets fully expecting to not feel well on some of them.  It seems I can tolerate everything just fine, but the jury's still out on dairy for Kevin.  We both also lost over 10 pounds!  I still have more to go, but Kevin's happy with his weight now (not that he needed to lose much anyway...) 

Of course we don't want to go completely go back to our old habits, so what did we gain from this challenge?  The biggest change, I feel like, is with our snacking habits, especially at night.  It seemed like every evening we would have a snack after dinner to the point that I would feel hungry 30 minutes after eating in anticipation of popcorn or even just a piece of string cheese.  We are trying our best not to snack at night.  I really feel like I do need some grains throughout the day for some carbohydrates (I really don't like sweet potatoes enough to just constantly eat those) but we really want to cut down on bread and pasta.  I will integrate some paleo meals into my meal plans and lunches throughout the week as I did find some winner recipes.  Wildtree even has many paleo-friendly products and freezer meal workshops that will also help keep some of those meals in the rotation.  I have stopped using the artificial (but oh so good) creamer from my coffee.  I'm not drinking it black like I did during the Whole30, but now I use coconut creamer from Trader Joe's.  Kevin is having almond milk with his cereal.  So as you can see, there are lots of little changes that came from this that hopefully will help our diets overall.  If you want to overhaul your diet and have a lot of willpower, I would definitely recommend trying this out- even though we didn't see life-changing results, so many people have that it's not going to hurt to see what it does for you.

I guess I should include a little blurb about the kiddos- hahaha.  After what seemed like cold after cold after cold, they are both good and healthy.  A little stir-crazy (maybe that's just me) but good.  Due to holidays, workdays, and snowdays, CJ has not his full weekly 3 days of school since before Christmas.  Thankfully, he is (fairly) good at entertaining himself, and he also likes to accompany me while I work out in the basement and "help" me cook.  He  has begun to "play" with Summer and she gets quite entertained by him.  (Funny enough, she is the most entertained when he is crying about something!) This helps during that awful time when she starts to get tired but I also need to cook dinner.  We have found that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse also helps.  She is not crawling yet, but rolling around the room and starting to shake her butt when on her tummy to try and move.  She might be one of those babies who drags themselves along the floor.  A tooth is finally starting to break through which may explain why her naps were very short for a period of time.  CJ still is obsessed with his books, where his favorites at the moment are Skippy Jon Jones, and Eric Carle books.  He still plays with his trains and is also now into learning about the planets. 

We are definitely looking forward to warm weather!  Only a month! (Hopefully)! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thoughts on Preschool, etc.

First of all, Summer is 5 months old!  She is smiling, laughing, and for about the last 2 months she has been ALMOST rolling over.  I can remember how CJ would almost hit a milestone for what seemed like forever, especially with walking by himself.  Remember how he walked on his knees?  Seems like just yesterday.  I am not one that misses the newborn/infant days, but I will miss Summer's baby rolls when those thin out.  CJ was long and lean, but we call Summer our little "Pork Chop."  She has cheeks that you just want to squeeze- especially when she is giving you a big gummy grin which is pretty much all of time.  She is such a happy baby so we feel pretty lucky.  However, poor thing has been battling a cold for more than a month now.  I don't think CJ had his first cold until he was one, but OLDER SIBLING IN PRESCHOOL.  Who also puts his hands in his mouth all.the.time.  Oh, and likes to "pet" his younger sister.  I remember everyone told me that I would be sick 24/7 my first year of teaching, but I was fairly healthy that year so I was hoping the CJ would also have the immune system of my 23-year-old self and escape the fall colds in these first few months of preschool- not so much.  CJ, and I have long been back to health, but we're still running the humidifier and cleaning out the nose for the baby.  It just makes me want to hibernate in the house and keep CJ down in the basement when the baby's awake (not a bad idea? hehe).  I guess she'll build up her immunity early...

So speaking of preschool, it has for the most part been going well for CJ.  Aside from a day or two, he is really happy there, and has some very caring teachers.  I think his anxious side (thanks to his mom and dad!) is showing up in new ways at school so we have been learning ways to help him through certain situations.  Aside from a few weekends away, getting a babysitter here and there, and dropping him off at the gym childcare for an hour at a time, CJ is with me all of time so it's weird to not know or be in control of every little thing he is doing for 9 hours a week.   It's also different being on the parent side of the parent-teacher relationship.  We all are adjusting, though.  Instead of now not telling me anything about the school day, he now tells me EVERY day that he paints his Percy train. Progress.  AND, he can sort of say the Pledge of Allegiance.  AND, he randomly started stating what he was thankful for the other night.  I think, though, as we continue through the school journey, and if history repeats itself we may have our work cut out for us as parents as we learn to support our anxious little boy.  Kevin had a hard time adjusting to school, and I was just stressed about getting good grades so we'll have all of the bases covered!  Summer will be our laid-back kid and we'll have no idea what to do! :)

CJ is not napping anymore (not by choice, I keep him awake otherwise he will not go to bed until 11:00!) so even though I have a baby that naps all afternoon, I have a 3 year old who needs to learn to entertain himself for a little.  However, I can only "work" in the office for so long until he starts bothering me to come into the family room.  Or it just becomes super quiet which either means there is crayon on a window or he is passed out on the family room floor and it takes 30 minutes for me to wake him out of that nap-groggy-crankiness.  So, I must end here- but I leave with some pictures from the past couple of months! 

Obligatory Kid Fall Picture in Leaves #1

Obligatory Kid Fall Picture in Leaves #2

Halloween- CJ was the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Summer was the (Not-so) Grouchy Ladybug. Kevin's pumpkin carving talents were apparent yet again in the coordinating pumpkins!

Friday, September 26, 2014

What's Been Going On?

Recently, some family members have mentioned my blog and wondered what happened to it.  Sadly, while I enjoy writing and keeping all that care to read it up to date, other things always get pushed ahead of it.  Believe me, in the past year, I have had A LOT to write about.  My last post was June 17, 2013 and little did I know that exactly one year later would be the birthday of our second child, Summer Juliana!  All you have to do is just a little bit of Facebook stalking to know about the pregnancy, me getting involved with Wildtree, Kevin starting a new job, the birth of Summer, the absolute Hell of potty training, etc.  There were many mornings where I would come up with a great blog post while in the shower, but just like everything else that pops into my head at that time, it goes right out when I step out of the stall and so none of the posts were written.  So what happened?

Mother's Day at the OBX- and I still had over a month of pregnancy left

TOO MUCH.  Probably what I really would have like to write about when it was happening was how I just said "yes" too much.  Some people (Kevin) thrive on having tons of stuff going on.  I was always one to participate in one major activity and spend my time with that other than having a ton of extracurriculars and splitting my time.  This time last year I was working on a Pearson project, the MOMS Club President, and just joining Wildtree while also keeping busy with CJ.  We would try to get out every morning and then I would do "my stuff" during the afternoon while he was napping.  It was just too much for me- I felt like I couldn't spend enough time doing anything right.  Then, I found out I was pregnant and shortly after starting having some issues along with normal first trimester nausea.  Without getting into gory details, I had to put some things on hold so I could take care of me and the baby, and for the first time I was okay with that.  Relative to my pregnancy with CJ this one was a bit harder- even after the earlier issues resolved I was uncomfortable a lot earlier, swollen earlier (the pregnancy ended with mild pre-eclampsia), and just overall in much more of a funk.  The freezing winter could have also had something to do with that too.  The recovery time after having Summer was longer than with CJ and life with a newborn and a potty training 3 year old was not easy.  But, I am happy to say that life is much more under control now than it has for a year I would say! 
These two.  I can't even.

So now that I feel more motivated and energized during the day (and am not nursing a baby around the clock) I am hoping to regularly update this blog.  We'll see how it goes, but I will keep it the same with family updates, recipes, and other topics that I come up with while taking a shower.  :) Have a good weekend! 
Summer's baptism last weekend.  Not sure what CJ was doing that was so amusing. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer At Last!

Every week I make a "To Do" list for the whole week, broken down by day.  This includes workouts, meals, things on the calendar, and then all of the random stuff that needs/or I want to be done.  Unfortunately "Update Blog" is always one of the only things to not be crossed off at the end of the week because there's always something else to do.  Not this week, my friends! 

So what HAVE we been up to for the past 2 months?  Well, aside from waiting for the temperature to stay consistently above 70 degrees, a lot of traveling.  So much so that we really need to buy a little IPad holder or something to put over the seat in the car so CJ has something to keep him happier on trips.  He's great for an hour or two, but after that every toy ends up on the floor with a "Uh Oh! Drop it!"  We made several day trips to Pennsylvania in May to visit family and unfortunately mourn the loss of my Grandmother.  Kevin and I made our yearly trip down to Charlottesville for Foxfield Weekend to catch up with my Pep Band friends.  The weekend after CJ and I drove up to Syracuse and after dropping him at the inlaws I continued to Rochester where I met up with Kev and watched him perform with his old college acapella group, Eight Beat Measure.  Finally, at the end of May, we spent the week in Nags Head with my parents.  I'm glad that we have had a bit of a reprieve this month, and only have a few things on the horizon over the next few months.  Sometimes it's just nice to have some weekends at home! 
Nags Head

Foxfield Weekend

In the car again

Eight Beat Measure Alumni

CJ has been talking up a storm now, and we can actually hold somewhat of a conversation with him.  It usually consists of:

CJ:  Do you hear the birds?
Me:  Yes I DO hear the birds.
CJ:  Chirp chirp!  Do you see the moon?
Me:  The moon comes out in the nighttime.  It's daytime.
CJ:  Sun in the daytime.  Moon in the nighttime. Have fun at the beach?  Have fun at the bridge? (he means pier) Have fun at the tractor?  Have fun at the playground?  Have fun pick strawberries? 
Me:  Yes, we did have fun [at all of that].  Stop hitting mommy. 
CJ:  That's rude.  That's bad.  Say sorry. 
Me:  Yes, you should say you're sorry. 
CJ:  Want to play with Thomas?  Okay.  Want ice cream please?  Okay.
Me:  Sure. 

It's so awesome that he is becoming observant, and remembering things that we do throughout the day.  He also is remembering names of friends, and calls all of the grandparents by name (well, sort of.  He calls them all grandma).  I love that CJ actually is having fun at the things we do instead of just being along for the ride.  We have started going to Great Country Farms again every week to pick up our CSA box and so far this year so he has loved picking strawberries and riding on the tractor.  Last year he would just glare at me from the stroller.  I have been finding lots of things to do in the mornings, but the one thing we have not utilized yet is the pool.  Hopefully soon!
Strawberry picking

Although typically CJ is very well behaved (we can still take him out to dinner and as long as he sits in a high chair, we're good) we still are starting to experience toddler behavior (aka hitting, screaming, spitting, throwing, some tantrums).  I know it's normal, but still annoying.  Today in I had to push the grocery cart with my arms stretched out to dodge CJ's smacks.  

Yesterday was Father's Day and as we did last year, our family of 3 drove to Annapolis for crabs and a nice walk along the waterfront.  We went to Cantler's Riverside Inn for lunch first as it is a few miles away from "downtown."  CJ ate his first crab cake!  Kevin and I shared snow crab legs, and then I had a crab cake sandwich and Kev had the crab melt.  The wait, even to just park, is definitely worth it!  We then had a nice afternoon at the waterfront where we watched people on a boat trick kayakers with a remote control alligator, ate some yummy ice cream, and looked longingly at the people relaxing at a waterfront bar (CJ is good, but not sit in a high chair for 3 hours while mommy and daddy have a few drinks and people watch good :) ).  Seriously though, a great day to celebrate a great daddy. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Thoughts on My New Part Time Gig

Family picture on Easter
Back when I was first making new friends in the Mom's Club, I was engaged in some small talk and learned that one girl worked from home part-time for Pearson Education, a company that publishes textbooks and other educational materials.  Her job is to write math assessment items-which is actually what I have done as a summer job for Fairfax County Public Schools for several years.  Although I had an infant at the time, I filed this information in my head, but didn't pursue anything because well, I had an infant.  A couple months ago I received a call from this same friend who let me know that Pearson was looking for more writers and wanted to know if I was interested in working on a project.  I will admit that about a year ago at Kevin's encouragement I did reach out to my old summer coworkers (some of them have leadership positions now) and asked if they had anything available for me to do at home as I was still technically an employee of Fairfax County.  Didn't really get much of an answer, wasn't devastated.  But now, with a serious offer, I had to think about it.  My friend was asking me how much I knew about the Core Curriculum Standards, national standards that more and more states are moving towards adopting for their state tests.  I am only familiar with the Virginia Standards of Learning, although in the 8 years I taught they seemed to change in some way every couple of years or so- who knows what they will look like whenever I actually go back to teaching?  Will all schools be using the CCS?  Not only will I have to possibly reteach myself trig and certain other skills (again) but will I have to learn all new standards?  Having this job would keep me at least a little bit in the loop, and will help me keep my math skills fresh.  It will also help fill in that possible 10 year gap that will be in my resume once I venture back into the working world.

So, I said yes.  The project goes until the end of May, and broken up into 4 parts where I am writing questions for 4 different grade levels.  The first due date was only a week after I got my assignment, and I was only trained for about an hour.  Needless to say, after that first week of staying up late and trying to do what I could during CJ's naps- I was definitely questioning my decision.  I could not do what I normally do being a stay-at-home mom with getting CJ out of the house and not just plopping him in front of the TV AND devote the time needed to do a good job with this project AND get 7-8 hours of sleep with the pace of this job.  Thankfully, since the next due date isn't until April 22 I do not feel the stress quite as much.  Also, I can say "no" to projects, so if it is a particularly busy time, I can just tell Pearson to keep me in mind for the next one.  As long as I get plenty of time to work, I think this job will be just something little to keep my "adult mind" fresh, and more prepared to go back to work when the time comes.  Not sure how I will do when there are more kids and less naps in the picture, but I'll keep you posted! 

Due to a weird what I think was an inner-ear infection last week, I have not cooked anything too notable that I would want to share with you.  Last week was a lot of take-out (dizzy spells and knives-not good), and this week I am just now finally getting motivated to cook again, but really nothing too exciting.  Looking forward to sharing something with you soon though.  Tomorrow night Syracuse will be playing in the Final Four, so I may be cooking something special for the occasion.  Go Orange! 

CJ keeping himself busy in our room while I stayed in bed

Friday, March 22, 2013

Our New Kitchen!

We have been back to normal for a few weeks now, but it took awhile for our lights to come in and be installed, so I am finally going to post pictures of our new kitchen!  After talking about it for 2 years, we took the plunge and replaced our cabinets, put in granite countertops, a backsplash, and replaced all of our appliances (except the dishwasher).  We even had a gas line run so we could have a gas cooktop!  The project only took 2 weeks and a couple of days- pretty quick compared to the 4-6 weeks other companies were telling us, but I feel like quality was not compromised.  And, holy crap I would have punched someone if I had to stay holed up in that basement for much longer.  Especially with the weather not being conducive to spending any time outside.  Here are the before pictures:

 Clutter on the counters!! UGH!
 Complete waste of space.  We have an office, so we didn't need the extra desk so we just put crap on it.  Unfortunately, we still need a place to put crap (mail, etc) so we gave ourselves extra work by having to reorganize the office when we changed this area. 
 HATED this refrigerator.  No freezer space whatsoever.
Oven/stove was okay, but microwave was not user-friendly, and too close to the stove.  

 They had the kitchen demoed in about 2 hours! 
 Apparently our kitchen (originally?) had wallpaper and linoleum. 
Fun in our cave-
 Make-shift ball pit
 A little bit more TV than usual
This picture was taken at the end of the 2 weeks.  I think CJ was about as done as I was. 

But it was all worth it!  

Our pantry is very tiny so the cabinets on the left are more pantry space.  The refrigerator is counter-depth with the water dispenser inside.  Even though there is less cubic feet than our other fridge it just seems much more spacious.  I knew that the double oven would come in handy here and there, but I have already utilized both ovens several times.  I have yet to try the convection baking feature.  
So far, love the gas cooktop!  And I think the hood looks pretty slick as well.  To the left and right of the cooktop are pullout spice racks.  I love all of new space, so I don't have to have as much sitting out on the countertops.  I have organized the kitchen now so everything is in a place that makes sense.  And that in itself makes me happy.  ;)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras!

I am writing this post from our basement, which for the past week I have called my "cave."  When you are spending the majority of the day down here, it certainly does feel like a cave.   Work on our kitchen is going pretty smoothly so far, and it's supposed to be done at the end of next week!  Let's hope we don't hit any snags!

2 weeks ago Kevin and I took a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.  I had been to New Orleans during college, so I knew that it was crazy even when Mardi Gras wasn't going on.  I was not too excited about going during Mardi Gras, but we decided to attend for a couple of reasons:

1.  Kevin's 125 Places to Drink a Beer Before you Die List states "French Quarter During Mardi Gras" as #26.  God forbid we don't check something off of a list- ;)

2.  Check it off the old bucket list, before we become too old to walk down Bourbon Street (more on that later)

So my awesome parents came up to watch CJ and we flew down to New Orleans on Saturday.  We checked into our really nice hotel and ate our first meal at the Acme Oyster House.  The Travel Channel runs a "Chowdown Countdown" all of the time, and this is one of the two places in New Orleans on the list.  We both had oyster poboys and I also had gumbo.  The rest of the day was spent exploring the French Quarter and having some drinks.  That night we ate at Mother's Restaurant, but due to well, maybe one too many hand grenade drinks, I didn't eat much.  Kevin said it was good though. 

Sunday we had brunch reservations at Brennan's but once again those hand grenades from the night before kind of ruined the meal... very sad.  It will be the first on the list the next time we go to New Orleans.  I accompanied Kevin to #101 on his beer list- Cooter Brown's.  After watching a Syracuse basketball game at this sports bar, we decided to not try to meander around the Mardi Gras parades in a taxi and walk the 5 miles down St. Charles Ave back to the French Quarter.  The fresh air did us both good, and we got to experience how the locals celebrate Mardi Gras.  Since many of the parades travel down St. Charles Ave people just set up tents and tailgate the whole day.  They also have these ladder contraptions where kids can sit on top to be able to see and catch beads and other trinkets thrown off the floats.  By the last parade of the day, which we were able to see, you can imagine the party!  It seemed like the whole city came out!  It also is kind of crazy how nuts people (myself included) go just to catch beads and trinkets (don't worry, the parades are very family-friendly).
A cool alligator float

All of the people in the streets (to the left is the parade)
On Monday, we took a graveyard tour through the pouring rain.  I took one of these with my friends when we were down in college, and again found it very entertaining and interesting.  Afterwards, Kevin and I walked to another restaurant on the Chowdown List- Willie Mae's Scotch House.  Best.Fried.Chicken.Ever.   And might I add that I had it with mac and cheese?  Yum.  Totally worth the line to get in.  The rest of the afternoon?  French Market exploring and then Cafe Du Monde for Beignets.  Dinner was at Emeril's.  Luckily, there was a parade going right in front of the restaurant so were able to catch the end of that- as well as get up close as we were not on a main street.  Lots of beads and even a few trinkets!
St. Louis #1 Cemetary
My favorite meal
Drum dish at Emeril's

Tuesday was Mardi Gras so there were some pretty long parades that seemed to go on all day.  One of the downsides of going to New Orleans at Mardi Gras was that you had to really plan your day around these parades.  We actually were kind of stuck trying to find a place to go to breakfast because there were several streets blocked around our hotel and we had to wait awhile to cross the street.  Coincidentally, the day before the priest that married us and baptized CJ, Father Cool, texted Kevin to ask him if we would be free for lunch on Tuesday as he was coming into town for a wedding.  It was so nice to catch up with him (unfortunately at a forgettable restaurant that I don't even remember the name of, the place we wanted to go was closed due to Mardi Gras).  After that, we made sure we had a beer in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras, and then headed back to our hotel so we could grab our luggage and get to the airport!

Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras
Thoughts on the trip- still love New Orleans.  Would go back tomorrow.  I do not need to go back for Mardi Gras.  I AM happy we did go though and experience it.  It kind of reminded us of going to Spain during Holy Week.  Happy to experience all of the events and see what goes on, but would like to go at not such a crazy time.  Remember when I said that we wanted to go to Mardi Gras before we became too old?  Well, there didn't seem to be many people in their 30's frequenting Bourbon St.  There were the college kids just there to see or show boobs of course, AND there were also lots of people over the age of 50.  That surprised me.  The other thing that surprised me was all the people that brought their kids to Bourbon Street at night.  It seems like much of Mardi Gras is very family friendly, but Bourbon St. not so much.  I saw a couple pushing their double stroller while both holding hand grenade drinks.  With beads hurling above at 60 mph.  At 10 PM.  It just seemed wrong to me.  Anyways.  Overall, a great time, and it was nice to get away with just Kevin for a few days.

My recipe(s) for this week- it's kind of late, but I am providing the links to all of the recipes that I made for our Valentine's Day Dinner.  Every year I try to cook something a little fancy or out of my comfort zone for Valentine's Day- it seems like for the past few years it's been something that Gordon Ramsey is always yelling at someone about on Hell's Kitchen.  Last year I made Beef Wellington (probably won't make it again).  This year, I made scallops, risotto, asparagus, and a chocolate tart.

Sea Scallops with Mushrooms and Sherry - These came out even better than I hoped.  I need to make scallops more often! 
Risotto with Asparagus and Morel Ragout- I actually did not make the ragout part, just mixed in the peas and morels at the end.  I roasted the asparagus separately. 
Chocolate Truffle Tart- Actually pretty easy to make, and VERY yummy.

Hopefully next week I will be showing pictures of our new kitchen!