SPIRE Ride at SPIRE Fitness

spirespinstudioOn Saturday, I decided to try out a new fitness studio in Milwaukee. Since all Saturday classes at The Barre Code were booked solid when I went to sign up for class on Wednesday, I took advantage of the free first class at Spire Fitness.

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I first heard about Spire Fitness through a Facebook post. I was really excited to see a spinning studio coming to the Milwaukee area and was very eager to try it out. Spinning was always my go-to heart pumping, cardio workout before I discovered cardio classes at the barre. I was a little nervous because the last time I took a spin class I was pregnant with Madelyn, so it has been awhile.

I signed up for the 8:30 a.m. ride with Hubie. When I got there, I checked in and they gave me a fresh towel. I put my stuff in the lockers that they had in the lobby and walked into the cycling studio. It was set up with like your typical spin studio: the bikes were all lined up stadium style with the instructor bike being in the front of class. There were mirrors in the front of the class. In the mirror I read this quote: “The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.” The words were written backwards on the wall, only to be read the right way in the mirror.  Loved this design element and motivation.

The bikes had dual platform pedals with the option to clip in if you had bike shoes. I don’t have bike shoes, so I chose the bike that also had the shoe straps. I got my bike set up and the instructor looked it over before we began class. There were 5 of us in class and we had one latecomer to the class. For the most part, most of us were new to this studio and needed help adjusting to the bikes. Because of this, class started 6 minutes late. I didn’t care so much because I didn’t have anywhere in particular to be, but I could see how this could be a little annoying if you’re working out before work or something else.

We finally began our workout and it was amazing! From the music and the light changing to the awesome instructor, I had a great workout. We started out with a warm up and the lights were a warm orange. I felt like I was under a heat lamp, warming up my body. Once we started getting into our workout, the lights changed to a cool blue, which helped me focus on working hard. We did 1 minute sprints at the end the lights went out! It was pretty cool to ride in the dark.  Hubie was a wonderful instructor too. He kept reminding us to engage our core and to make smooth circles on the bike, using those push/pull (quads/hamstrings) muscles. He was really motivating, riding with us the entire time. I’ve taken spin classes where the instructor hops off the bike and walks around the room “motivating” (more like shouting at people) to work hard. Not a fan of that. I knew the entire time what I should be doing and how hard I should be working.

Pros:
-Great Instructor
-Free first class
-Easy parking 3rd ward parking @8am
-Fresh towels incase you forget one
-Great retail area
-Option to take other classes: they offer yoga & rowing
-One of a kind cycling experience

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Cons:
-The price. For a monthly unlimited it is $160, it can be kind of costly.
-Late class start.
-The lockers don’t have locks. They’re just lockers to store your stuff, so I wouldn’t advise bringing anything of value in with you.

Overall, this spin class was really good and I’m looking forward to trying it out again. They offer a new client special of 8 days unlimited classes for $20. I might try it out in December or the first of the year because I’d really love to try out their yoga and rowing classes. This is a great addition to the Milwaukee fitness scene and I’ll definitely be back!

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The Family that plays Together

Happy Packer Day! Madelyn clearly knows what’s up. 

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I hope everyone’s week is going well. One day closer to the weekend and to my little cousin’s wedding! I’m thrilled to watch her get married, and I can still remember when she was born…how’s that for feeling old?! 

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Al & her fiance at our wedding

We definitely started our week off with a bang. On Monday, Madelyn spent some quality time with her great grandparents and my mom, while hubs and I hopped on the Amtrak and ventured down to Chicago for the Cubs vs. Brewers game. I can’t remember the last time I was at Wrigley Field for a game, but it felt good to be back in familiar territory 🙂 

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When we got into the city, we ventured into Old Town and visited the Fleet Feet there. Of all the stores to visit in Chicago…clearly I have a problem. I think I love this store so much because it’s my first experience with running stores. I remember calling my mom after my first visit there and saying, “They just have so much stuff for running!” I also participated in a few of their fun runs during my Chicago days. As we left Fleet Feet, it started to pour. We didn’t really have an agenda until the game, so we kind of ducked out from the rain and then decided to head toward Wrigley.

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We ate at Mo’s Cantina before heading to the game. The day turned out to be perfect. Great weather and an awesome date, what more could a girl ask for? 

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After the game we met up with Kristine for a few drinks and before we knew it, it was time to catch the late train back to Milwaukee. But not before stopping for some Lou’s. Of all the Chicago style pizza the city has to offer, Lou Malnati’s is my absolute favorite. That crust tho! Unbelievably delicious. Hubs ordered our pizza to go because he didn’t think we’d have enough time to eat there. His plan was just to have us eat it at on the train. I had a better idea. Instead, we sat in the park near our old apartment, shared some pizza and talked about the old times. This is the same park where we took Oliver on his first walk and where we had our engagement pictures taken. By far my favorite place in Chicago.  

IMG_00671Today, I met my mom for lunch at Sven’s Cafe. I haven’t been here in a while, but I stuck with my usual. Mixed greens salad with goat cheese, chicken, walnuts, grapes and balsamic. It never fails me. I also had an Italian soda with pumpkin. It was good, but just a tad bit too sweet for me. My mom had the coconut Italian soda and that tasted much better.  

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I also decided that today would be my last day of work for the week. I have so much to get done before this weekend and I want to spend some time with Madelyn before she heads down to Chicago (for the first time ever without us!!!!) to spend time with her grandparents for the weekend. I know she will have a blast, it’s me that I’m concerned about 😉 

Tonight, I was really feeling a bike ride. The last two runs (the only runs this week!) I’ve had have not been the greatest. My legs have felt heavy and I’m left feeling defeated. I don’t know if it was the humidity or the fact that I ate like crap this weekend (or both) but I haven’t been on my A game. So I decided it would be best to give my leggies a little break and head out for a bike ride with my entourage in tow. 

IMG_00811It felt really good to work my legs but in a different way. We rode up to Leff’s Luckytown for some food before the Packer game, and then rode our bikes back. The best way to consume “not so healthy” food. I told hubs it felt great to work off the food we just ate as opposed to just sitting there and letting it sit in our stomachs.

Tomorrow, I have a barre class on the workout schedule and then taking the day to chase Madelyn around while trying to smuggle her with hugs & kisses. it’s funny, I’ve spent a whole month away from her so you’d think a weekend would be no problem, but it never gets easier. 

What’s on your workout agenda for the weekend? Any other fun plans? I’m also headed to a marathon Q & A session at PRO this weekend! I’m thrilled for that! 

Chicago Marathon Training Recap Week 12

Hey guys! Happy September! I can’t believe it’s already that time of year and that football starts this week! EEEEEK! Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. The temperatures become a little more bearable for outside running, pumpkin in everything, and cozying up in blankets with the scent of fall candles are all of my favorite things.

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Kinda like Christmas

Happy Monday!  How was your weekend?  Ours was pretty jam packed over here: birthdays, baseball games and the discovery of a new to me running store…10 minutes from my house {DANGER!}

PROAfter work on Friday, I headed over to Performance Running Outfitters (PRO) to get fitted for running shoes.  Last time I got fitted for shoes was shortly after Madelyn was born.  I kept buying the same pair when the previous ones wore out.  This time, I wanted to talk to a professional because, since training for the marathon, my left calf and heel seem to get really tight after my runs.  The lady who helped me had me do a few exercises and then got me on the treadmill to video record my feet while I ran.  I have neutral pronation, my foot rolls in very slightly as it lands on the ground.  My running form has gotten tremendously better since the last time I got fitted for shoes so the shoes I was running in had much more stability than I actually need anymore.

After running in a few pair of shoes, I decided to go with the Saucony Guide 7…and a pair of Newtons.  I’ve been eyeing up Newton’s since my mom’s friend told me about how much she loved running in hers during the Get Lucky 1/2 Marathon.  I initially went to PRO with every intention on just getting the Newton’s, but because they’re more of a natural running shoe, there’s an adjustment period with them so I needed another shoe to rotate out.  Lucky for me PRO gives a 10% military discount and they also honor Newton’s 20% military discount.  After looking at their website a little bit more, I later found out that the woman who helped me, Jessica, was actually the owner of the store.  She was so nice and down to earth.  I’ll definitely be back for all of my running gear 🙂

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Another awesome benefit of shopping at PRO?  For every $200 you spend, you get $25 back to use on your next purchase. I went back the next day and bought this $70 Brooks running jacket for $17.  It was marked down on clearance and I had my $25 to spend.  WIN!

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On Saturday morning, I headed out the door to break in my new Saucony’s.  I did 6 miles, out and back and my legs felt great!  A little sore, but nothing like what I’ve been experiencing.

first6milesI had my route mapped out and kept an eye on my pace the whole time.  That was the first time I focused on my pace as opposed to the distance, and I think it worked out well for me 🙂

After I was done running, I had a bunch of errands to get to(including heading back to the running store!) for someone’s birthday!! Larry turned 30 this weekend and we were having a little party at our house to celebrate him.  I purchased cupcakes from Miss Cupcake and a dozen vegan cupcakes from Classy Girl cupcakes.  I picked out the “manliest” cupcakes I could find: Beer Nuts, Stout, and Maple Bacon.  The vegan cupcakes were banana with chocolate-Madelyn LOVED them and all weekend I kept hearing a little voice saying, “cupcake, cupcake!”

cupcakesHubs knew about his party, so I surprised him with an awesome gift…Cubs VS Red Sox in BOSTON!!! We’ll be heading to Beantown at the end of June and I can’t wait!  We haven’t boarded a plane for a trip since our honeymoon three years ago.  He was really excited as well.

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After the party, we headed out to the bars for a little bit and then woke up in the morning to get to the Brewers/Cubs game.

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Note the water in Larry’s hand 🙂 We just can’t hang like we used to…nor do I want to 🙂

It was a great weekend with awesome friends and family.  30 looks good on him if I must say so myself 😉

I’m excited to break in my Newtons.  I think I’ll take those for a little spin on the treadmill tomorrow!

What’s your favorite piece of workout gear to go shopping for?  Nothing beats a good pair of shoes and a supportive sports bra!

Chickmas #18

Happy Sunday!!  Who’s ready for a Packers/Bears Showdown hashtag fighttothedeath?  We are!  Unfortunately though, we live in a house divided and someone is going to be very sad at the end of the game…hopefully it’s hubs 🙂 I can’t wait to watch the return of Aaron Rodgers and cheer on my Packers!

So last night, 6 of my girlfriends and I celebrated our 18th Girls Christmas together.  I was talking to someone at work about this and they were amazed.  “How is that even possible? You’re not old enough!”  Well we’ve been doing this since we were in 6th grade, so yes it is possible 🙂  Normally, we get together at someone’s house sit around and eat, drink and gossip.  This year I volunteered to host and decided to mix things up a bit.

There’s a place in the village of Tosa called Artè that I’ve been wanting to try out and thought it would be so fun to go to for girls night.  The concept behind Artè is that you “drink until it looks good”.  Painting & drinking-a winning combination 🙂

We started out at my house with tons of appetizers and Christmas Sangria.  Afterward, we headed out to our painting class.  This place is so cool.  When you first walk in they have a separate part where you can just go and paint a little canvas and sit with some drinks (a fun place for a date night!).  In the back area of the bar is where they have the class.  The instructor takes you step by step to create your canvas work of art.

arte1 arte2 arte3It was a lot easier than I had anticipated and was really happy with the way that it turned out.  I had so much fun with my girls and I see a fun little date night in mine and Larry’s future 🙂

With the New Year coming up, I’m trying to get back on track with healthy eating.  These past few weeks have been so tough with the holidays!  Tina over at Carrots N Cake has started an 8 week Get Healthy Stay Healthy.  Each week, she posts a new challenge to follow for the week.  This week’s challenge is to keep a food journal.  This is a big one for me since I feel like I have a good base as far as working out goes.  The food part is always the hardest for me when it comes to losing/maintaining weight.  I’ve always found that if I keep track (whether is just writing it down, counting calories/weight watchers points) of what I’m eating, I have better control over my weight and I make more conscientious choices.  So today, I started tracking what I’m eating over at MyFitnessPal (my username is MLC1102 if you want to join me!).

Sunday: Rest day/Game day…no dinner plans
Monday: Barre Bee & Run 3.5 miles + Chili
Tuesday: Last Blast of 2013 Bootcamp Style workout +NYE soiree at my sister’s house
Wednesday: Barre Bee (gotta start the new year off right!) + Chicken Noodle Soup
Thursday: Run +Gym workout with my mom 🙂 + Fish/veggies
Friday: Barre Bee & Run

Barre Bee Fit in #MKE

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Barre workouts.  I took classes at a barre studio in Chicago and when we moved up to Wisconsin, I started a collection of different DVDs…total of 6 I rotate through.

The DVDs were good, but I missed going to class and getting the best possible workout.  There’s no one there to encourage you or to push yourself harder.  And a sturdy chair with a high back doesn’t even compare to the ballet barre. Continue reading

Belly Up to the Barre

Hello friends!  How’s your week going?  I’m PUMPED to be hosting my second Thanksgiving, but our first one in our new house.  I love to cook, so this is my favorite holiday ever.  AND our new house has a double oven!! So, I was on a cleaning & shopping mission today and I was successful 🙂

But before I got down to business scrubbing counters and sweeping floors, I had a very fun and interesting morning.  So a few weeks ago I mentioned that  Milwaukee would be getting its first ever barre studio.  I learned through Lululemon’s facebook page that Barre Bee Fit would be hitting the Third Ward early December.  To say I was excited to hear this news is an understatement.  Barre is by far my absolute favorite toning workout because it gives you results that you can see just after a few weeks of going to class.  It’s amazing.

Last week the owner put out a message that she was looking for people to come to a live preview class because Fox 6 news was going to be there.  I had planned on taking off of work anyway to get some Thanksgiving day errands done so I decided to add this my day as well.  I’m so glad that I did.  The space is beautiful and it was nice to get a little sampling of what to expect in the class.  I can confidently say that this will become an addiction.  I am already a big fan and like it over the Bar Method classes that I took in Chicago because it also has cardio intervals.

This couldn’t have come at a better time-with the weather being brutally cold already in Wisconsin, this will be a good alternative to doing cardio on the treadmill.  AND barre classes are excellent cross-training workouts for runners because it targets and helps strengthen all of those injury-prone areas 😉

Check out the Fox 6 Real Milwaukee footage **here**!

As a thank you for coming, the owner gave us all a pair of grippy socks, a voucher for a free class and then I bought the white tank top.  I can’t wait for their opening day which is happening December 7th!

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Birthday Extravaganza

Wow! What a busy weekend and work week (even though it was only a 2 day work week).  There’s so much to write about, I’m not even sure on where to begin.  I’ll start by telling you all that I celebrated my birthday on Saturday, but because we had drill this past weekend, I pretty much celebrated the whole week leading up to it.
Friday, I stopped at Francesca’s after work and picked up something to wear for date night.  Since I spend the majority of my days in a uniform or workout clothes, I always buy myself something new when it comes to special occaisions.  My birthday dinner/date night definitely qualifies 🙂
purpledressWe went to Parkside 23 for dinner, since I’ve been wanting to go there since it pretty much opened.  PS23 is Wisconsin’s only restaurant with an on-site farm.  Their meats are from local, organic farmers so that no hormones or antibiotics are ever used.  All of their vegetables and herbs are grown in their garden and their menu changes seasonally.  Their Motto: There is a simple way to bring food to the table.  It starts with a respect for the land we cultivate.
PS23’s menu is broken into pricing tiers: $7-$12, $13-18, $19+ and sides.  The $7-$12 is where you can find your starters, small places and some side vegetables.  Larry and I shared the roasted beets: scarlet & gold beets with Wisconsin chevre, maple-glazed walnuts, apple cider vinaigrette and leafy greens.  The beets were diced up really small and made the perfect main vegetable for this salad.  It was a great way to start out our meal.  For my main meal I went with the Scallop & Lobster which was served over fresh linguini, newberg cream and sarvecchio parmesan.  There were also some other fresh vegetables mixed in there.  It was one of the best seafood pasta dishes I’ve ever had and the portion size was just perfect, not too much and not too little.  Their pasta isn’t gluten-free, but they do offer a gluten-free menu.  Larry enjoyed the lamb chops, which were also very good.
ps23pastaOverall, we had a fantastic dining experience and will definitely be back again!  Since we were childless for the night and didn’t have to be at drill until later in the morning, we decided to check out a wine bar in the Tosa Village, Ruby Tap.  I cannot begin to express to you how much I love this place and their concept.  They have featured wine on tap that customers can choose from, but if you’re not feeling that you can also opt to check out the WINE VENDING MACHINE!
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You open a tab at the bar which is connected to a card they give you.  You take the wine card and go over to the machine and pick out the wine of your choice and then decide if you want a taste, a 3 oz pour or a 6 oz pour.  Genius!  They have a Thanksgiving day wine pairing event a few days before turkey day that I plan on going back for 🙂
rubytapAfter drill on Saturday, I went out for pizza with 3 of my favorite gals: My mom, sister and Madelyn.  My mom bought me the Runner’s World cookbook I have been lusting over and graciously paid for our dinner and my sister got me a very cool Wisconsin necklace I had pinned on one of my boards MONTHS ago!  I love that girl and the way she thinks outside the box.
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On Monday, I did something crazy:  I auditioned to be an instructor at the Barre Bee Fit opening in Milwaukee early December.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get it BUT she did say that I had a very solid audition and that my form and my familiarity with barre was a plus.  She could only take on so many instructors this first round and strongly encouraged me to audition again in a few months when they have more openings.  Either way, I’m just thrilled to see Barre finally coming to Milwaukee.  After my audition, Larry and I ventured up to Lambeau Field for The Packers vs. Bears game.  It was our first time going to a game together.  We had a lot of fun!  I just wish for my sake, that the game would’ve ended differently 🙂
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There’s #12-the second man of my dreams, right before he got sacked and taken out of the game :-/
Thanks for letting me play catch up!  I’m off to go work on some art projects for Madelyn’s class 🙂 Have a great night!

Pinterest IRL: Slow Cooker Lasagna

Happy Friday Eve my friends!  The week has flown by and I’m looking forward to a fun-filled weekend that lies ahead-bridesmaid dress shopping, birthdays and baby showers, oh my!

This week has been a very brisk one in Milwaukee.  A high of mid-40’s just came out of nowhere!  Dinners this week have consisted of soup and slow cooker meals.  When I was planning our meals on Sunday, I resorted to my Pinterest boards for some inspiration and decided to try out slow cooker lasagna.  It looked amazing and there wasn’t much prep work involved. WIN!

Slow Cooker Lasagna

The whole preparation took a total of about 15 minutes and it made plenty so that we were able to eat some for leftovers.  Overall, I thought the recipe was very good.  I will definitely be making it again, but I think the next time around I would add more sauce.  I like saucy lasagna and I didn’t feel like this had a lot BUT I do have a bigger slow cooker than what I think the normal recipe is for.

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It looks like a ton of cheese on top only because I forgot to save some meat sauce for the top layer..Oops!  Hence why I needed more sauce 🙂  Definitely not dairy free, so if anyone has a good dairy free lasagna recipe they’d like to share with me, I would greatly appreciate it!

So, I read some very exciting news tonight via Facebook!  If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know by now that barre-style workouts are my favorite toning and strengthening workout.  Well…Milwaukee is FINALLY getting a barre studio!!!!!! I feel like a little kid at Christmas 🙂 Barre Bee Fit will be opening some time soon in the Third Ward and I cannot wait.  While, I’ve never tried this particular studio (they did have one in Chicago, but I had a membership at the Bar Method), I urge everyone in the Milwaukee area to try it out! I’ve tried a few other barre classes and it really is an awesome workout.

I’m off to catch up with some other blogs, have a great weekend!

Summertime, Please slow down.

Happy Monday!  My weekend went by way too quickly as it usually does.  This past week, I’ve been super busy getting stuff ready for the baby and finishing up other things I wanted to get done before the baby comes…like finishing our wedding album. So I took a little break from blogging this past week to focus on that.  It’s almost done.

On Friday, I celebrated my mom’s birthday by going taking her to Lululemon and buying her her first Lulu top, dining at Via on Downer, and finishing up with some frozen yogurt at My Oh My.

We started our meal off with the Crostino Milano appetizer with gluten-free bread.  On top of the bread was spinach infused with olive oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes and goat cheese.  It was very good and just what I needed.  I’ve been skimping on veggies the past few weeks because they just haven’t appealed to me in the raw sense, but this was very satisfying.

For dinner I went with the pizza.  They have some of the best gluten-free pizza I’ve tasted.  LC and I visited their sister restaurant a few months ago, and enjoyed it so I knew this place would not disappoint.    I went with the La Bella pizza and added chicken and goat cheese.  The last time I was at Via, I had a pizza with their garlic sauce and it won my heart so I ordered another garlic sauce based pizza.  My heartburn hasn’t been too bad this pregnancy, but I wanted to err on the side of caution and forgo a tomato based sauce.  The pizza originally came with artichokes, cheese, and onions.

After dinner, we headed to a new frozen yogurt place in Milwaukee.  In the land of ice cream and frozen custard, I’m so happy to see a frozen yogurt shop.  There were tons of them in Chicago and I’ve now seen two pop up in Milwaukee.

I loved the way this place is set up.  We walked in and a girl offered us little sampling cups so that we could try whatever yogurt we wanted before we decided.  It’s self serve and their flavors change daily.  I decided on 1/2 dolce de leche and 1/2 NY cheesecake.  I topped it with some strawberries and was on my way.  You can also top your frozen yogurt with whipped cream at the cashier’s station.  The yogurt was very good and I would decide to have this over ice cream any day.  Lately, ice cream and I haven’t really meshed well.  Last time we went to Culver’s for frozen custard, I opted for a lemon Italian ice instead.  Baby really prefers fruity and cold 🙂  My mom said it was the perfect ending to her birthday 🙂

On Saturday I went into work for a little bit and then came home and cleaned the house.  I finally understand this “nesting” stuff.  I’m constantly cleaning up our house every chance I get and I’m starting to drive my husband crazy.  After my cleaning frenzy, we went to El Fuego for dinner and headed down to the lakefront to watch the Festa Italiana fireworks.  It was the first fireworks show that I’ve seen all year.  We missed the 4th of July fireworks due to the drought/dry grass this year.

On Sunday, I had my girlfriends over for a girls brunch and some pool time.  It was nice catching up with everyone and getting together just for fun without it revolving around a baby shower, wedding shower etc.

For brunch I made a crustless quiche and overnight baked french toast.  A friend of mine also brought over a fresh fruit salad to share.  After brunch we headed over to the pool to sit in the sun and swim around.  It was the perfect afternoon with my girls and will probably be the last time I see some of them before the baby arrives.  We all agreed that we don’t get together often enough, but when we do we pick up right where we left off.  As we get older, life gets in the way.  I’ve been extremely blessed to have the same group of girlfriends since middle school (16 or so years?).  Two of them are also pregnant and due in December.  They both recently found out that they’re expecting girls, which makes me even more anxious to find out what we’re having.  EVERYONE keeps telling me that I’m having a boy (my sister is sticking to her guns and saying girl).  And last night I had a dream that I gave birth to a boy. In the beginning, I had dreams that I was having a girl and I’ve also had a few dreams that it was a boy.  Maybe that’s because it’s what everyone is guessing that I’m having?  Who knows, but we’ll know soon enough 🙂

I’m off to the craft store for a DIY project for the baby’s room and I’ll be back later with a pregnancy update!

Something to talk about: In my opinion, summer goes by way too quickly as an adult.  What’s your all-time favorite memory of summer as a child? My grandma was a teacher’s aid, so I remember spending a lot of time with her in the summer.  We’d spend time baking, going to the library, movies, and the little wading pool in our neighborhood.  I also remember making homemade GAK with her 🙂