Fight the Fad with Great Grains

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

This post is brought to you by Great Grains

Want to know what I love? Parfaits. Parfaits with extra granola in fact! But it is hard to find a nutritional and yummy granola these days. You either sacrifice on taste or health! When Great Grains contacted me to review their new granola, I was very excited. Not only does it taste delicious, but it is made with whole grain oats, dried fruit and nuts. The perfect combination in my eyes...well, mouth.

Today we are in the midst of Blizzard Juno, so Jack helped (and took the pictures!) put the parfait together using Great Grains "Super Nutty" granola, strawberry yogurt and blueberries. It was delicious! The perfect amount of crunch and taste without the guilt.
 It is made with whole grains oats and seasoned with cardamom, fennel seed and nutmeg. 
 Another granola is the Blueberry flax which I put in one of my morning smoothies that my girlfriend Alison suggested! It added a delicious, sweet flavor. Besides the real blueberries, it also has flax and whole grain oats packed in. Delicious!
Now for fellow busy parents on the go, you will adore this product. Great Grains came out with "The Bar Undone" in two delicious flavors. Jon is very picky about what he snacks on and he loves both of these products. Besides the taste, the size of the bag is easy to handle and it has the perfect amount inside.
 My favorite was the "Dark Chocolate Nut" mix. It has dark chocolate chunks, honey roasted peanuts and almonds with chia seeds, quinoa and flaxseeds. Hello, nice to meet you, delicious bag of salt and sweet.

Next up was Jon's favorite "Cranberry, Nuts and Seeds" made of dried cranberry, honey roasted peanuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds. 

The size of each bag is perfect and it is a guilt-free, grab-in-a-hurry snack to help fuel you for the day.  

Post Great Grains is asking women to ditch fad dieting in 2015 and pledge to go fad-free. It’s time to get real!

Post Great Grains found out that 76% of American women have gone on a "fad" diet, like the master cleanse, the baby food diet, or worse?
Also, on average, women have quit 9 diets in their lifetime – 11 diets among women 40+! However, weight loss isn’t the only goal when women diet. On the positive side, other reasons for dieting include women wanting to improve their health (68%), look their best (51%), and even have more energy (39%).
A healthy diet is about balance – improving your health and feeling and looking your best. 
So we invite you to visit www.greatgrainspledge.com  (or Facebook.com/GreatGrains) and take the Fad-Free Pledge! For every pledge taken, Post Great Grains will donate $3 to AmpleHarvet.org, an organization dedicated to bringing more fresh fruits and wholesome veggies to food pantries across the nation. How awesome is that? Pledge will be live until the end of the month, so go, go, go! 

The Cape 2014

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ahhh, Cape Cod. My happy place. The place I dream about when it is colder than a naked person in the snow. Awkward? I'm tired. Anyways, you have read about our previous Cape trips here, here and here, so I must keep my annual Cape post alive (and post about it in the Winter!)! 

We decided to head down to Rick's beach house early in the afternoon and then head up late that night. The last two times we had gone, Jack really struggled with sleeping and toddler-tude, so we wanted to make it as easy as  possible! Rick's parents were there and his Mom, Patty (a nurse) totally guessed I was pregnant when we used the "Jack is sick, going to be late!" aka "Melissa has morning sickness and will be head first in the toilet for a few hours" excuse! It was hilarious! They all shouted "WE KNEW IT!" when we made our announcement haha. I was only 8-9 weeks at the time.

Right when we got there, Jack was jumping for joy at the sight of Uncle Buddy. They have a special bond and we love it! The boys decided to play a game of bean bag toss (???) or whatever before we ate lunch.
I love Jon in a hoodie. And his muscles. 
No, this wasn't Jack's turn...it was Jon's... :-)
Jon would like me to let you know that he didn't pee his pants 
After lunch, we all packed up and went to the BEACH! QUE HAPPY DANCE! The beach we go to with the Wright's is a private beach (still semi-busy, but never overwhelming) and I swear I can feel the sun and smell the beach now. It is perfect. Jack loves the beach so he was so excited to start building castles, running as fast as he can while his pregnant mother chases him for a half mile and playing in the water.




Want to see something cool? These pictures were taken 3 years apart. Jack's first Cape trip at 6 months and Jack at 3. I love capturing photos like this!
Jon went right in the water with Jack. Who needs a bathing suit? He said it felt amazing since it was so hot outside and he hates the heat. Jack loved every second of it. He lives to play and be just like Daddy.



Now it was Uncle Buddy's turn! 


Ahhh, sand. And of course the only picture of me from that day...I need to be IN pictures more.
I love a sandy foot!
And...for the first time in Jack's life...he fell asleep not in a car...or a bed...AT THE BEACH. I DIDN'T HAVE TO LEAVE!!! It was incredible. He just sat on Jon's lap, said "ni-night Daddy" and was out like a light for an hour. It was so awesome, we were really proud that he didn't throw a fit and told us like a big boy.
We made sure any exposed parts of his body were shaded and fully covered in sun block
While he was sleeping, I took a quiet walk around and snapped some pictures. Nothing crazy, just my favorite things about the beach. It was really nice. You rarely get moments to yourself at your favorite place when you're a mom. I soaked it all in. The sand between my toes, the feeling of the sea water misting your face, the long grass tickling your side, the heat from the sun and the smell of the water. Don't forget the sound of the waves and sea gulls. I could go on and on.


And then...my camera died. Womp, womp! But at least I was able to get pictures of Jack at the beach. Speaking of Mr. Jack, he gave me this beautiful shell and I'll treasure it forever.
We are always so thankful to the Wright's for letting us visit every year. They are wonderful and so generous. They made a delicious dinner afterwards that I am craving right now! We can't wait to go this year and bring Marin too. I think I'm going to start a countdown!

Dear Marin

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hey busy bee,

How are you doing today? I hope you are getting plenty of rest and relaxation in there. I am trying to give you a nice, cozy and healthy home to nurture you in before you make your big debut. I am so excited to meet you in a few months. I can't wait to finally hold you in my arms and give you the all of the kisses I am dying to give you. Just ask your brother, you will get a LOT of kisses from Mommy. I love my babies. I love them more than anything in the world. More than all of the mac and cheese and chocolate milk life can offer. And that is a lot. Just ask Nana and Papa. Mommy loves the mac. But not more than you and your wonderful big brother. Nothing will ever beat that love.

I can't wait to give birth to you. I will always remember how special that moment is. Introducing you to the world. Hearing your first cry. Seeing Daddy light up like the brightest star in the night sky. Daddy loves you so much already, too. His darling girl. His brilliant, beautiful Princess. I have a feeling you will be a Daddy's girl and your Daddy will be the best fit for you. I wonder what day you will pick to enter the world. What time? What will the weather be like? I hope there is no snow. I hope for a nice spring day. But any day you choose I'm sure will be just right.

I feel like I know you already. You seem so lovely and take the world (or my uterus) by the horns. I love this about you. I was a very care-free child. Not a worry in the world besides what games to play or what picture to draw. That is how life should be. And I will make it my mission to give that to you and your brother. I feel very fortunate to be able to grow you and get to know you before anyone else. I am so lucky! I love every kick, hiccup and judo chop to my bladder. Every ounce of heartburn and morning sickness is worth it to know you are growing safe and sound in Mommy's belly. Daddy and Jack love to see you kick too. You are quite strong already! When I cuddle with Jack, he feels you kick his back and he laughs so hard every time!

Speaking of your brother. Your wonderful, hilarious and sweet big brother. Jack is so excited to meet you. He told me the other day that he will never kick baby Marin. That he would never, ever throw toys at her. Sweetie, if he throws anything at you, please forgive him. He is just being a goof. That is the thing about Jack, he makes it his mission in life to make others laugh. To make them interact with each other and show love to one another. There are a lot of family hugs that we give each other. They always light up his sweet face and I have a feeling he will initiate that first family hug of FOUR the second he meets you.

Besides Mommy and Daddy, Jack is going to be the first person to meet you. I want it to be just the four of us for a little bit, so we can get to know our new daughter and baby sister. Both Mommy and Daddy can already picture that moment. Mommy is going to make Auntie Mary take a lot of pictures so we have that memory forever outside of our hearts.

I'm excited to watch you grow. To play tea party with you and to brush your hair while you watch a movie. I can't wait to have dates with you and watch you learn. I wonder all the time if you will want to take dance lessons. I always went to Auntie Sarah's dance recitals and dreamed of having a little girl to watch on stage one day. Daddy is so excited to learn how to braid your hair. I bet you will love him so much. He thinks he is a big Lion but he really is a gentle Teddy.

We have less than 12 weeks left until we meet you, sweet girl. It feels like forever when you are so excited for something. So very excited. Will you have Mommy's green eyes? Or Daddy's brown eyes? Maybe you will have Papa's baby blues like Jack. I see you already resemble your big brother. A cute button nose with sweet cherub lips. But you keep covering your eyes when we try and see them. Don't be shy sweetie! Want to know what Daddy said the other day? "The first time I see her, I want her to be in my arms." I fell in love with him all over again when I heard that. See honey? You are a lucky lady to have him, just like we are. He is so hardworking and wonderful and will give you all the love you will need!

You just kicked me in the ribs so darn hard. Maybe you are telling me to wrap things up. I can only be cheesy for so long, I guess.

So, to wrap things up...Marin we love you. We love you, we love you, we love you. We can't wait to meet you and hold you and kiss you. We can't wait to bring you home and love on you. Everyone is so excited. Papa, Nana, Noni, all 34897 Aunts and Uncles, Nan, GG and countless friends can't wait to meet you! So stay strong, baby girl and keep growing. We will all see you soon.

Love always,
Mommy

Life is a Beach

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Not really. But I wanted a clever title. My happy place is the beach. Or any body of water with heat, sunshine and a picnic. I have mentioned this like 58 times. This summer was a fun beach year for us. We went to the Cape, hung out around local town beaches, went to the nice part of Hampton and so many more. I want our kids to be beach kids. Hell, even lake kids. I just want them to enjoy getting covered in sand, seeing if they have tan lines yet (or most likely burn lines since they will most likely have my wonderful Irish skin) having crusty water hair and enjoying a picnic of sandwiches, cantaloupe, juice boxes, etc.

So one weekend, my Dad and V were up at Hampton Beach (the nice part, to clarify..NH peeps know what I mean) and we tagged along for a day of fun in the sun! Jack lives for his Papa. It is adorable. They kept running from the water to where we were sitting over and over and OVER again (thanks, Dad :-), I bet you slept well that night!). Jack naturally, tried to karate chop the waves and my Dad would lift him when a wave would come.




 I can picture the sound of the water and the feeling of the sand under my feet at this very moment.


 i'm also a firm believer of not being ON TOP of your kids 100%. I know a lot of people fear tidal waves and rip currents (which I of course do as well) but they need to be able to judo chop the waves on their own too.




 So...funny story, my Dad didn't know I was pregnant yet so I was planning on telling him that day. I thought I was soooo clever having Jack stand above the words "big brother" but my Dad was so confused. It was hilarious! He was like "that's nice...........WAIT A MINUTE!" Then he finally got it after I explained it haha!

 Jack loved being buried in the sand!





After we called it a day, we went back to where they were staying for a yummy dinner and a shower. Legos for the win!

 When we left, I pulled over to the side of the road to snap some pictures of the landscape. It was so pretty and calm. I also love to save sand and rocks from beach trips so I grabbed a few beautiful and perfect pebble rocks.



Sorry to remind you of the beach in January, but I love reliving summer when it is colder than Frosty's bottom. I remember telling Jon that I never want to leave New England because I enjoy the seasons...HAHAHAHA I am SO over that. Give me California or Florida please!

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