It’s Friday!

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Nate and I went on a wonderful date together the other day, BUT – alas – I lost my point and shoot camera in the process.  So no fun pictures of us modeling 3D movie glasses and eating Panera.  ;)  I’m thinking that it has to be around here somewhere, but I just can’t seem to find it.  And knowing me these days, it could be anywhere.  Thank goodness I hadn’t yet gotten rid of my old camera…  It’s frustrating because it gets jammed and not all the features work.  But at this point, it’s a camera!  Ha, ha!!

So I shall be busy combing my house and looking for it…  I shall also be preparing for three Father’s Day celebrations this weekend, along with packing for a mini-getaway.

So if I don’t blog much, that’s why.  ;)  But I’ll be back soon and will catch you all up!!

What are YOU up to this weekend??

Bits O’ This and That

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  1. Can we pause a moment to reflect on the awesomeness that are these paper towels? I mean, they have Minions on them!!! I discovered them, when I was pet-sitting for my sister this past weekend. I almost left a note on her kitchen table that read, “It was no trouble watching your cat. Oh, and thank you for the paper towels.” Because obviously, I needed them!

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.


2.  Can we also pause a moment and talk about the fact that there is a Minion movie coming out next month?!?

Yes, I did just turn 32.  But no one is ever too old to love Minions…

Moving on…  :)


3.  For lunch on my actual birthday, Nate treated me to a picnic of pizza and iced coffee at the lake.  Yes, that was pizza twice in one week.  But when you’ve gone so long without dairy (and without pizza), you have some ground to make up.  Plus I’m still limiting my dairy intake, so – you know – I have to make it count whenever I do have it.  ;)

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.


4.  Brady went ‘swimming’ for the first time in his new pool the other day, and he loved it!  (By the way, the bathing suit is supposed to be for an 18 month old.  He’s six months.  No explanation needed when you check out his milk belly).

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.


5.  One of my favorite times of the day is when Brady is winding down for sleep.  He’s extra cuddly, and he loves to snuggle up against me while I read him his favorite book:  Moo, Baa, La, La, La.  My heart melts every time…

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.

6.  Cupcakes!  :)

My best friend Liz had a birthday last week, and I made her these as a special treat.  They just might be my favorites out of all I’ve decorated so far.  They’re simple, but elegant.

And I also decorated cupcakes for the mom of one of my friends this weekend. 

I decided on a flower theme, and I heard that they were a hit at the birthday party.  THAT made me soooo happy!  I love baking for others and putting a smile on their faces!!

(I already have an ‘order’ for another batch of these flower cupcakes, come July, for a little girl’s Dinosaur Garden Party themed birthday)!  :)

7.  Brady already has two teeth that came in…  How is he getting big so fast?

8.  My cousin started selling Jamberry nail wraps, and Nate told me to treat myself by buying a few.

I’ve never had a pedicure, so spending money on nails isn’t usually my thing. But that being said, I love having nicely painted nails, just as much as the next girl. ;) I’ve just always painted them myself (and hoped no one looked too closely and noticed that my right hand looked as though a six year old did it).

Anyway, I love that the nail wraps are non-toxic, that they have no fumes, no dry time, and they’re supposed to last up to two weeks. That is way more practical for a mom like me who most definitely doesn’t have time to touch up her nails every other day!

I received them a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t had the time (or energy) to figure out how to use them though!! :) Hopefully I’ll try them out this week, and I’ll write up a review for all of you! (Have any of you already tried Jamberry nails? If so, what do you think)?

9.  I’ve been doing SO much better when it comes to slowing down!! I’ve said ‘no’ when I need to and made sure that I’m not over-booking myself. Today, I had absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to go, which still doesn’t happen all that often . So I spent the day snuggling with my lovebug AND I even took a nap!!! Yep, it was an amazing, rainy day, for sure!


10.  Life is Good!  :)

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.


32 Candles

8

I turn 32 years old today.  :)

Apparently, I am still immune to the usual aversion that many adults have in regards to birthdays.

I was as excited as always to celebrate an early birthday dinner with my family (which is the present I ask for every year). I guess maybe pizza had a little something to do with that excitement too. ;) After having given up dairy for over five months, having my first slice of pizza was a pretty big deal.

But enough about pizza…

Birthdays.

You know, there’s a whole lot of products out there meant to help us hide just how many birthdays we’ve had. Creams to diminish wrinkles… Dye to hide grays… Spanx to pack in the lumps and bumps.

But now more than ever, I’m realizing just how much of a blessing those wrinkles, grays, and love handles really are; because – well – not everyone gets to live long enough to have them.  I mean, I’ve always embraced life and tried to appreciate every single day. Over the past couple of months though, I feel as though life has become that much more precious to me.

There’s so much hurt in this world, and that hurt really carried over into people I know and care about. There was a suicide… A suicide attempt… And then, very recently, a very dear friend was diagnosed with stage four cancer.

It shocked me. Shook up the world I knew. And it reminded me that every single day is an opportunity for me to show love to those around me. It’s an opportunity to reach out a hand to those in need. And it was a reminder that every…single…day… is precious and should be treasured.

Every morning, I greet baby Brady with a bright smile, and I ask, “What adventures are you going to have today?”

Because I want him to grow up viewing life as an adventure. I don’t want him to live for the weekend, or vacation, or for the next big thing to happen. I want him to cherish and experience every day. I want him to just live it. :) So while we might not be working on colors, letters, or counting quite yet; I’m already trying to teach him that.

So all that to say, as usual, I was excited to see my birthday come around; and I plan to celebrate it with as much gusto as ever. The family and I enjoyed our pizza party the other day…

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.

I’m hoping for a bit of mommy-time this weekend at the mall… AND the hubby is taking me to the movies next week.

But as for today? Today I’m going to just celebrate one more beautiful day that God has given me. Because it’s a gift that I don’t ever want to waste!

Piano Recital!

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When I first started teaching piano to the children of a few friends, I had no idea that it was actually going to become a thing. At that point in time, it was more like a hobby. I was working full-time, so I’d just pop over their houses after work and give their kids a free lesson. I had thought, “Hey, why not?” I had over 13 years of private lessons under my belt, and I had continued playing both for weddings and for church. Teaching was just another way that I could challenge myself musically.

The thing that shocked me, however, was that my handful of students actually learned. Like they were doing really well… My hubby had believed in me from the beginning, and he just kind of shrugged and said, “What did you expect?”

I don’t know what I had expected. But I certainly wasn’t prepared for the rush I felt, when those kiddos began to play an instrument that I had been passionate about for years. I suddenly realized that it was so much more than just teaching a child to read notes. I was sharing a love of music with them. And that love of music doesn’t just happen overnight. It begins with lots of practice and dedication (which often isn’t fun) that eventually grows into a beautiful talent and passion.

It’s a process… and I was excited to be a part of it!

So although it was terrifying when I did it, quitting my full-time job last January in order to teach part-time just felt right. I knew that I wanted to be home as much as possible once I had a kiddo of my own. And I also knew that teaching piano was something that I truly believed in.

Flash forward to this month, and I’m up to 18 students (soon to be 23 students come this fall, which means I’m officially full right now). AND I had my first ever piano recital on Thursday. :)

As I was setting up and getting ready before the students arrived at the church, I paused a moment and thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, I am going to be hosting my first ever recital tonight!” And it blew me away!! I had played in that very church for my first recital at the age of 6 all the way to my last recital at the age of 18. Never had I imagined that one day I’d be the piano teacher!

The evening turned out SO very well! Granted, since it was my first, there are definitely things that I will do differently (a.k.a. better) next year, but – still – I’m happy with it!  I definitely received positive feedback from the parents, which was encouraging!!  And the students did so incredibly well! Wow, I am SO proud of them!!!

I also played a duet with my piano teacher who was there to cheer me on, and that was really special. :)

Now I have just this week of lessons, and then I’m on vacation until the end of July! I’m really looking forward to slowing down this upcoming month and to regrouping for another great year of lessons. But mostly, I’m looking forward to spending LOTS of quality time with the hubby and tater tot! :)

Second 5K

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My second 5k of 2015 arrived much like the first… A little too fast, preceded by much too little preparation. I mean, let’s face it, babies don’t exactly plan their nap schedules around their mom’s workout routines. In fact, I’m fairly certain that my little guy finds great satisfaction in throwing tantrums just around the time I planned on going for a peaceful walk through the neighborhood.

Well, so much for that workout… There’s always tomorrow… Or, even better, there’s always Monday.

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.

So there I was, warming up on the morning of yet another 5k and feeling very much unprepared. My dad patted me on the back and said, “Just make sure you don’t come in last!” That’s his pep-talk before every run… My dad is insanely competitive, but he takes it easy on me when I haven’t prepared for a run. But still, there’s no excuse for me to let myself come in last. ;)

Normally that isn’t a concern of mine, but I quickly realized that this race had the least amount of runners out of any other race I had run. It was a local run to benefit bullying prevention and pop warner, and I’m talking under 40 runners in all. And there were a lot of fit-looking women lining up in front of me, ready to run the race.

I groaned. Last place, here I come! Sorry, Dad!

The gun went off (or, well, a woman shouted ‘go’), and the crowd of runners took off. Now if there’s one thing I’ve learned from running 5k’s is that everyone likes to start off fast and strong, because there’s this adrenaline rush to get to the head of the pack. I used to get caught up in that too, but I found that I would burn out quickly. Now, I usually line up towards the very end of the runners, and I start off very slow and steady, gradually picking up speed throughout the race as I catch my stride.

Soooo, the entire pack of runners took off, as usual, and I was left in the very back, just feet behind my sister. It was a hot day, and she was unfamiliar with the racing route (as was I). So she decided to pace herself as well.

I was very soon relieved that I had started off slow and steady, however, because the route had hills. No sooner would we be up one hill, when we’d see another hill in the distance. I also quickly realized that the route was marked by traffic cones, and the runners had to know to turn when they saw one. But I was so terrified of missing a marker and running straight (therefore getting lost in a local town that I wasn’t all that familiar with) that I came to one conclusion.

I couldn’t let my sister out of my sight.

Her pace was slow and steady for her usual speed, but it was much faster than I’m used to. But still, I actually felt pretty good. So I stayed a few steps behind her, and sometimes even ran alongside her. We’d chat occasionally and it just kept my momentum going. I soon realized that we were passing a ton of people, some of who had stopped to walk and others who were just running very slowly.

So many times I wanted to stop and walk, but I pushed through the pain and decided that I was going to finish this strong! And in the end, it paid off… Not only did I not finish last, but I was the second woman to finish!!! And my sister Sarah came in first!!!

WHAT?!?

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.

I was pretty pumped, especially since I had shaved 7 minutes off my last time, crossing the finish line at around 32 minutes. Hey, I’ll take it!

Now let’s hope I’ll actually prepare for my next 5k, which is in two weeks. ;)

Foodie Baby

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From the beginning, I’ve been determined to embrace and enjoy every single stage of mommyhood, because I know that it’s going to fly by SO fast.  Too fast.  So even on the rough nights, when I used to cuddle Brady late into the night because his belly hurt, I’d focus on the soft curves of his face and realize that – even despite the exhaustion – I was happier than I could have ever imagined.

Here’s a little secret though…

Every single stage only gets better.  More fun!

I did love cradling him as a newborn, watching him sleep and rocking him by the light of the Christmas tree.  But every single month, more of his personality comes out, and it warms my heart to see it.  He is just SO happy!!  So smiley and giggly.  It makes me realize that he’s his own little person, and that someday he’ll have his own goals and dreams.  It makes me realize that absolutely everything is new to him.

Absolutely everything!  And that includes food.  :)

My chunky tater tot (who seems to be finally over those tummy troubles) has been introduced to a few solid foods by this point, and it makes me positively giddy to watch him experience the different flavors and textures.  He is SUCH a foodie, just like his mama, and nothing makes him happier than mealtime.  And although I’m only steaming veggies, I love that I’m ‘cooking’ for him.

THIS is fun and my favorite part of mommy life so far.

I am over the moon with happiness and excitement when I think about making Saturday morning waffles, baking up batches of chocolate chip cookies, and serving up a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs. But for now, I get to start at the very beginning and watch him try his very first spoonful of oatmeal…

or zucchini…

or prunes…

or sweet potatoes (which are his absolute favorite).

Speaking of food, since his stomach is much stronger and my breastmilk doesn’t bother him like it used to, I have been able to bring back fish, eggs, and nuts into my diet. AND I’ve been adding back a tiny bit of cheese as well, just to try it.

Yeah, life is good right now! Exhausting… busy… BUT very, very good! :)  And I couldn’t be happier!!

The Plumber Story

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Because you asked for it…


When Nate and I moved into the house we now call home, we quickly discovered two things…

#1. The bathroom faucet was on backwards, so to take a hot shower, we had to turn the dial to ‘cold’.

#2. There was no hot water.

Apparently, the hot water tank was busted or not strong enough. Something like that… Anyway, as a result, we have enjoyed lukewarm showers for years, faithfully putting away a bit of money every month so that we could replace the water heater with a cash payment.

So on the day the plumbers arrived this spring, I was positively giddy. This was it! This was the last time I had to shiver my way through a shower. This was the last time that I had to boil pans of water in order to take a warm bath!

The father and son plumber team arrived early, but it wasn’t an inconvenience since they worked in the basement. In fact, they were down there for hours. I went about my daily routine, playing with Brady and making sure he had his nap.

Sometime around noon, Brady showed signs of being hungry, so I carried him upstairs to our bedroom in order to feed him. Now Brady has been very particular about breastfeeding from the very beginning, because he had difficulty latching for the first two months of his life. So he prefers the lying-down position, where we can easily cuddle while he drinks his fill.

So there I was, lying in bed with a baby attached to my breast, when I heard the younger plumber (the son) say, “I need to check your upstairs bathroom.” Booted footsteps coming up the stairs immediately followed.

Now my bedroom is attached to the bathroom, and my door was wide open. And there I was, reclining on my bed half-dressed.

Please let me emphasize that I understand breastfeeding is natural and a woman’s right. Please do not take this, in any way, as an attack on women who breastfeed in public! I just choose not to do it, because – well – that’s my personal choice based on my personal comfort level.

So needless to say, I FREAKED. I guess the smart thing to do would have been to roll off the bed and hide? I don’t know… All I know is that I panicked and seriously just froze, because Brady had a good latch and I couldn’t just rip him off of me. Because the boots kept coming closer and closer all too quickly. Because apparently my body shuts down when I’m nervous.

I knew I had to call out to Nate, who was with the plumber, to close the door. Maybe he could quickly close the door before the plumber reached the landing as well?

So I casually as possible yelled, “Nate, can you please shut the door first?”

Just as I finished my sentence, there was the plumber. Nate apparently was walking up the stairs behind him. So we just kind of made eye contact and froze for a minute.

(Now I reenacted this with Nate later on, and there’s no way the plumber saw much of anything. Brady does have a huge head after all). So really, I should have acted calmly, because I was just feeding my baby in the comfort of my own home.

But, again, this was all happening so fast and was all so awkward. All I knew was that some strange man was looking at me. I had no idea how much was visible and there I was just lounging around with practically no shirt or bra on. So I did the perfectly sensible thing and started to desperately reach for a blanket with my free hand… while also swinging one of my feet towards the quilt at the end of the bed. The only way I can describe it is to say that it looked as though I was swimming in bed.

Just keep swimming… swimming…swimming…

The plumber’s eyes widened, because I’m pretty sure none of the apprenticeship with his father had prepared him for this one. He quickly muttered an apology and continued his way into the bathroom. Nate was upstairs too by this point; and his jaw pretty much dropped, hit the floor, and then bounced back up.

Sooooo long story short, after Nate had closed the bedroom door and I was safe, I called two of my best friends and told them the story.  This was all while half sobbing and half laughing hysterically. They both told me that I’d look back and laugh at the story one day. And they’re right, it is pretty funny in a wow-that-was-totally-humiliating-sort-of-way.

Oh, and you want to know what the best part is? Apparently, Nate hired local. The plumber lives six houses up the street, and I’ve seen him several times now when I’ve gone for a walk. It takes a whole new meaning to the phrase “won’t you be my neighbor”, let me tell you!

The joys of being a breastfeeding mom! :)

So who wants to share their most embarrassing story with me??

A Hairy Situation

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This is a pic of me last summer…

This is a pic of me from a week ago…

Since I have no shame, I’ll point out that my hairline is very thin, thanks to post-partum hair loss.  At first, I was totally devastated and freaked out, rambling to my husband that I hope he didn’t mind but I was going to spend a small fortune on hats.  Or brown paint…  Do you think brown paint would hide the fact that my hair is thinning?

Nate, being a typical male, freaked out.  And ran to the store.  And came back with a heavy-duty, strainer-type contraction for the shower drain, because – heaven forbid – I clog the drain.  He’s proud of how great it works.  I’m horrified, because now I can see just how much hair I lose on a daily basis.

“It’s all Eve’s fault!” I groaned to a friend.

You know the Biblical story…  Eve tricks Adam into eating the fruit that God forbade them to eat.  And as punishment, God said that – among other things –  childbirth would be painful.  My version of the story is that Eve gave birth to her first son, and she was a little bit too cocky after having a natural, pain-medicine free labor.  So God added post-partum hair loss to the punishment.

I’m not trying to be sacrileges or anything…  But as painful as labor was, the hair loss definitely has kept me humble.  I mean, when your hairdresser gasps and asks if you tried to cut your own hair, you know that you hit an all-time low.  Sooo, there you have my theory.  Post-partum hair loss is Eve’s fault too.

The funny thing though is that it bothers me a whole lot less than I thought it was going to.  Sure, there are days during which I can style it so that the thinning isn’t quite as noticeable.

But for the most part, I just ignore it.  I had my freak-out moment, but now I’m pretty much just shrugging it off and thinking, “Eh, it’ll grow back.”  On the really bad days, I just ignore mirrors.

Also cutting my hair shorter helped.

And on the really, really bad days, I put a paper bag over my head…

Not really…

But almost.

Ultimately though, this little guy is worth every single strand of hair that is falling off of my head.  :)  He makes me realize what really matters.  He helps me see true beauty and worth!  And trust me, a hair-do has absolutely nothing to do with the joy bubbling inside of me every day.

And I think the hair loss is slowing down now… fingers crossed!

1…2…3… GO!

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I ran my first 5k of 2015 a couple of weeks ago, and it was kind of rough. But then again, the only thing I did to prepare was run… once. That’s right. Once. If that’s not a couch-to-5k training program, than I don’t know what is. ;) Now granted, it’s not a method I recommend using, but – hey – desperate times call for desperate measures.

And when you’re terrified of how badly you’re going to do, well, it’s easier to be surprised at how well you did. Sure, I came in #70 of about 120 people, sooooo not so great when written down on paper. At the same time, I crossed the finish line in just under 40 minutes. And I had expected to take so much longer than that (considering my severe lack of preparation), so – yeah – I was happy with the result.

But wait, I’m ahead of myself… Let me start from the beginning…

I laugh when I think back to the weight-gain goals I had set for myself, when I first became pregnant. I was aiming for 25-30 pounds, because that’s what the preggo websites and books said was a healthy average. (Ha! I’m pretty sure those books were written by a man). Because those websites and books don’t account for an overabundance of amniotic fluid… or never-ending meat cravings… or a baby twice the size of the baby you were expecting. Soooo, yeah, let’s just say that my expectations and reality were a little bit off.

Okay, fine, they were off by about 30 pounds.

On a positive note, I lost 20 pounds the day I gave birth to my baby boy, because – well – giving birth to a baby who’s over 10 pounds kind of helps with that. ;) And then breastfeeding just worked for me and helped me lose the remaining 40 pounds really fast. (Again, having a baby that’s over 10 pounds helps with that too, because – well – big babies are apparently always hungry. Or at least mine was… And when your body is making 4-5 cups of high-calorie, high-nutrient milk, the calories are going to burn, baby, burn).

As of today, my tater tot is six months old and weighs 22.7 pounds.  The amount of calories I consume during the course of a day to keep up is unreal. Seriously. I have to eat so much that sometimes it’s a chore… (Wow, I never thought I’d say that. But it reminds me that I’m late for my after-dinner snack).

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.

Anyway, I do feel as though I had to put a bit of weight back on to keep my milk supply up (although I don’t know for sure. I’m really not into stepping on scales and all that stuff). My big thing now is that I want to focus on toning, especially since I had a C-section and so my stomach is going to be a problem area for me.

And in all honesty, I’m thrilled with how my body bounced back after baby. Sure, it changed a little. But when I look in the mirror and see that my stomach isn’t quite as flat, I’m somehow cool with that, because – well – I had a 10 pound baby. So while before, I may have had such pressure to look all toned and flat, I now feel as though I’m happy with the fact that I’m healthy and strong. And a few extra curves only make me look more sexy and womanly. (Or, well, at least that’s what Nate says, and I’m hardly going to disagree with him on such a flattering opinion).

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.

I DO, however, need to start working out again. Not because I want to lose a pant size or because I’m planning to wear a bikini anytime soon. No, quite frankly, I just really need to exercise for me. I need to feel healthy and strong, and the lack of physical exercise has put a bit of a damper on that. Plus, running has always been a stress release for me, and I don’t need to tell you that being a new mama can be stressful at times.

The wonderful thing about summer is that naptime provides me with ample exercise opportunities. I snuggle Brady all comfy in the stroller and then set out for a walk around town (or even around the nearby campgrounds). He sleeps (usually); I build muscle. It’s a win / win situation for both of us!

Nicole LeBlanc Beauvais's photo.

The biggest struggle has been to find the energy, as lack of sleep really has caught up with me. So I signed up for a bunch of 5k’s, thinking they’d motivate me to work out. The only problem is that they’re all starting to arrive… and all I’ve done is light walking. I really need to ‘up’ the intensity if I’m going to beat any PR’s. ‘Cause my next 5k is this upcoming weekend, and I kind of haven’t run since my last 5k.

*sheepish grin*

Hopefully all the walking I’ve done will be enough to get me through, just like the last one. And over the next couple of days, I plan to come up with some fitness goals / challenges for myself that I can begin in June. Finding the motivation, energy, and time to work out is going to be a challenge in itself.

But you know what? I think I can do it! :)

So 1…2…3… Let’s GO!