Monday, April 29, 2013

Sayonara to Law School

Almost three years ago we quit our jobs, packed up our house, and left our family and friends.  I would have rather gone to any other school than the one Josh had chosen and it had been a point of contention in our marriage. I thought we were headed into three years of misery. But the last three years? They've been really awesome. We've made great friends, we've worked hard. Our relationship has been strengthened by the challenges we've faced together, without the help of our families.  Highlights of the last three years (completely unrelated to actual law school) include the Vegas Bowl
vacationing in Hawaii
 finding out I was pregnant
finishing my bachelors
and welcoming Noah into our family.
The last three years have been demanding, exciting, and rewarding and there's nobody else I'd rather have done it with. I'm proud of you, baby, for all of your hard work and I can't believe we're done!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013

This & That

Wearing this:
Zoya polish in Neely. I love it because it's a little bit of a mint color but is still subtle. 

Ate that:
Pizza is one of the things I've missed the most since eliminating dairy from my diet. This cheese free pizza is awesome!

Watched this:
Politics, a strong female lead, and a presidential love triangle?! I can't get enough.

Read that:
This book is like taking a really interesting, informative nutrition class from a girlfriend. She's funny, down to earth, and it was an easy read. The author found out she had incurable cancer in her early 30's but it was progressing slowly and she was given 10 years to live. She decided she would dedicate all of her time to learning about how to keep her body healthy and slow the progression of the cancer, and this book is a compilation of what she discovered. It ultimately made reconsider the widely held views I had about what is "healthy" and I'd definitely recommend it!

Cooked this:

Vegan Stuffed Avocado Pesto Quesadilla. Delish! Even Josh, the ever-wary-of-vegan-food-guy loved it.

Listened to this:
The Glee version of Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now). Something about Blaine and a piano just rocks my socks. Fantastic! The fact that I already have four versions of this song on my iPod may indicate I have a bias, but whatev.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday: Half Marathon Training and Postpartum Weight Loss

Monday: 4 miles in 44:00
Tuesday: Tracy Anderson Post-Pregnancy Workout
Wednesday: 3.5 miles in 36:20
Thursday: Rest
Friday:3.7 miles in 38:00
Weekly Mileage: 11.2

This week my total mileage was really low and I realized how much slower I am now. I wanted to finish this half marathon in less than 2 hours (last half time was 2 hours, 20ish seconds), but I'm starting to think that's too lofty of a goal. Based on my workouts this week, I'm thinking that finishing in under 2.5 hours is a more realistic goal.

On the subject of health and fitness, I'm about 4 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. This has taken way longer than I had anticipated, but to be fair, I haven't really dedicated myself to losing the weight either. So, it's time to get serious! I'm  down 26 pounds from the day Noah was born, and still 17 pounds away from my goal weight. Here's to getting it done!
Linking up with A Daily Dose of Davis!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Sunday, April 21, 2013

8 Must-Read Baby Books

When I was pregnant with Noah, I spent so much time reading baby books. Here are the one's that I found to be most helpful:
Get Ready to Get Pregnant: Your Complete Prepregnancy Guide to Making a Smart and Healthy Baby by Michael C. Lu, M.D., MPH. This book is full of great info on preparing your body for pregnancy. It includes information on a healthy diet before and during pregnancy (like foods that are beneficial for fetal brain development and toxic food that should be avoided), what to look for in a prenatal vitamin, how to eliminate toxins in and around your home, and how to strengthen your immune system.

The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg. What I love about this book is that in addition to giving you what a typical baby name books does (popularity, nicknames, etc.) it also provides a short list of similar names, so it's great for brainstorming. So, if you look up Noah, for example, it gives Hannah, Maya, Chloe, Ivy and Abigail as similar girl names and Jonah, Ethan, Caleb, Owen, and Eli as boy names that go well with Noah. I spent hours looking at this book!

Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie F. Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy. If you read our birth story you know that we prepared for a natural birth by taking Hypnobirthing classes. This book has great information about proper breathing, positive affirmations, and relaxation techniques. I loved the positive tone and the "you can do it" attitude of the author. It was a great complement to the five week course we took.
The Breastfeeding Book by Martha Sears, R.N., and William Sears, M.D. I read this book cover to cover while I was pregnant and have referenced it many times since Noah was born. It covers everything you could possibly need to know about breastfeeding your baby, from basic information about lactation and how to properly latch to more specific topics like pumping and how to deal with things like engorgement, thrush, and mastitis. Next to lactation consultants, this book has been the thing that has helped me most while nursing Noah these last 5 months.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. The information in this book helped us more than anything else in the first month or two of Noah's life. Dr. Karp converted us to the 5 S's: Swaddling, Shushing, Swaying, Side/Stomach, and Sucking. This stuff works!

The Vaccine Book by Robert W. Sears, M.D., FAAP. Vaccines are such a hot-button issue and I feel like there's so much information out there (on both sides) that is based on opinion. This book is the most unbiased discussion on vaccines that I've ever encountered. Each chapter is dedicated to an individual vaccine so that you can learn about and make an informed decision regarding each one individually. Each chapter is set up like this:

  • What is the disease and what course would it take if your child were to get it?
  • How common is the disease?
  • When is the vaccine for this disease given?
  • How is the vaccine made and what ingredients are in it?
  • What are the different brands of the vaccine and what are the ingredients in each brand? (This is helpful if you're wanting to reduce your child's exposure to aluminum, for example, because you can choose a brand that contains less of the ingredient)
  • What are the side effects of the vaccine?
I love this book because it's full of research, not popular opinion. If you feel like you want to know more about vaccines and are interested in learning about them in an unbiased way, I'd definitely recommend this book.
Love in Spoonfuls by Parenting Magazine. We're getting ready to start Noah on solids in a few weeks and this book has provided me with a lot of good information. Along with lots of general information on feeding babies (when to start, how often, how much at each sitting) it also contains over 70 fun recipes (like pea-mint puree and asparagus with applesauce) divided by age group.

Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads by Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Hayden. Josh is not at all the type to read a baby book, but he finished this one quickly and loved it! It's written like a boyscout manual and is a mix of practical information (deciphering baby's cries, bathing basics) and funny stuff, like "bidding farewell to the breast". Ha!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Half Marathon Training Playlist

As I've mentioned before, I'm training to run my second half marathon in June. A huge part of staying motivated when I feel like my energy is totally sapped is listening to music, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite songs to run to, divided into categories based on what running pace they're best for.

Sprints (7.0 MPH+)
Untouched- The Veronicas
We Found Love- Rihanna
Beauty and a Beat- Justin Bieber
Shake It- Metro Station
Hey Ya- Outkast
Do Somethin'- Britney Spears

Running (6.0-7.0 MPH)
The Boys of Summer- The Ataris
Till the World Ends-Britney Spears
If I Lose Myself- OneRepublic
Audience of One- Rise Against
Rockin' Into the Night- 38 Special
Animal- Neon Trees
Crossfire- Brandon Flowers
Until the Day I Die- Story Of The Year
E.T.- Katy Perry ft. Kanye West
Womanizer- Britney Spears
Girl on Fire- Alicia Keys
Praise Chorus- Jimmy Eat World
Dog Days Are Over- Vicci Martinez
Umbrella- Rihanna
California Gurls- Katy Perry
Futures- Jimmy Eat World
Love is a Battlefield- Vicci Martinez and Cee Lo Green
Fighter- Christina Aguilera
Stronger- Kanye West
Boom Boom Pow- Black Eyed Peas
Burn this City- Cartel
Chicago is So Two Years Ago- Fallout Boy
Crystal Baller- Third Eye Blind
Gold Digger- Kanye West
I'm a Slave for You- Britney Spears
Ocean Avenue- Yellowcard
Bulletproof- La Roux
Last Night- Diddy ft. Keyshia Cole
SexyBack- Justin Timberlake

Slower Jog (5.0-6.0)
Bittersweet Symphony- The Verb
Buzzin- Shwayze
Young Forever- Jay-Z
Vindicated- Dashboard Confessional
Love the Way You Lie- Eminem ft. Rihanna
Battlefield- Jordin Sparks
Fall- Something Corporate
Meant to Live- Switchfoot
Say it Right- Nelly Furtado

Cool-Down and Stretching
Come on Get Higher- Matt Nathanson
Free Fallin'- John Mayer (I hate the original but love this version)
Better Together- Jack Johnson

Monday, April 15, 2013

20 Things About Bre

I'm joining Becky at From Mrs. to Mama for "What My Loved One Says About Me"! So, in the words of Josh, here are 20 random things about me.
Breanne is...
  1. Hard working- Who else works part-time and takes a ton of credits while getting a 4.0?
  2. Always wanting to learn- She reads and researches until she has mastered the subject.
  3. Refuses to give up/not give 100%- She will run until her foot is bloody or not quit a game until she wins. She is a competitor.
  4. Thinks of others- She always tries to make others feel good (even when they deserve the mess they are in).
  5. A great mom- No explanation needed. Noah lights up when he sees her and she takes AMAZING care of him.
  6. Future doctor- Bre reads so much on baby stuff, we have like 20 books and Noah isn't even a toddler yet. And she stumps the doctor with her complex questions.
  7. Cheerleader- She cheered for many years and loved it. Her squad got sixth place at nationals.
  8. Pretty good at board games :)-Especially Ticket to Ride and Phase 10, but still working on Boggle and Farkle.
  9. Has a bit of a feisty side, but this is good because she makes sure I don't get out of line.
  10. She's kind to others.
  11. Fun to be around- Whether it's a boring walk or an exciting day on Lake Powell, Breanne is a hoot to be with and makes the day better.
  12. Throws a good party- Whether it’s dinner with friends, our wedding, or a gender reveal party, Breanne knows how to get a group together to have fun
  13. Scholar- Bre studies so hard. She graduated with honors despite the fact she worked full-time for most of her degree, or took an unfathomable amount of classes, and she still put the rest of us to shame when she got her report card.
  14. Cares about animals- I don't know why this is special, but I think it is sweet how she cares about every living thing (except for snakes, spiders, and criminals).
  15. Amazing wife- She makes me a better person in every way. She is always encouraging me, helping me fulfill my obligations, and she always finds a way to make me feel good (even when I'm a grouch).
  16. Wannabe decorator- She loves looking at pictures of home decor and planning what we'll do when we buy a house. 
  17. Awesome gift-giver- She ALWAYS thinks of something that is so cool, but you never saw coming.  She is so creative in her giving that it makes the gift extra special. Like the time I got a present every hour for my birthday. Who thinks of that ? Breanne does, because she is that cool. (Note: Pinterest thought of that, but thanks Josh)
  18. Wants to try new things- Bre is never boring, she always wants to try new ethnic food or activity (like tennis or snowshoeing). She always tries to add flavor to life.
  19. Future lawyer- If Bre decides medicine is not for her (see #6) she would be a great jurist. Law school teaches me to argue and I think I am pretty good at it but she smokes me. Plus she gets the law, in fact her business law teacher told her she should attend law school. Breanne has no problem holding her own in an argument about politics, religion, or who spilled food on the carpet. For whatever reason I love that and respect her for it.
  20. Did I mention she is a great mom? I know I did but it is so much a part of her it deserves to be mentioned twice. If I didn't mention it twice I would point out that she is ambitious. Breanne is always looking to better herself and for a new adventure; not just for herself but for our family too. She is always trying to make life a little better and a little sweeter.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Noah's 5 Month Update

5 months!!! Here's a little about Noah this month:

Our home measurements have him at about 17 pounds and just under 27 inches. He's wearing 3-6 month clothes and size 3 diapers.
He's suddenly become way vocal. He "talks" all the time and it's my favorite thing in the world to hear. He usually wakes up once a night to eat, and afterwards he'll lay in his pack and play for at least a half hour and just babble (quite loudly I might add). I may or may not have 5 minutes of this on video.
He likes to stand up and always seems to be moving around. When this little guy starts to crawl, I have a feeling he'll be going non-stop. He's also getting much better at using his hands. It's fun to watch him touch and grab things intentionally.
Nicknames include Baby Love, Mr. Noah, Little Man, Big Guy, Lovey, Love Muffin, Little Love, Booger, and Stinkeroonie.
He laughed for the first time on the way home from his first trip to Utah, which I talk about here.
He rolls around town like this:
We just barely started weaning him from swaddling and he's started napping in his crib. He's still sleeping in our room at night because I'm So. Freaking. Attached. I just really like having him in there with us. 
Tubby time is still one of his favorite parts of the day.
He's still spending lots of time in the new carrier.
(That middle finger's for Grandpa Todd ;))

This was also Noah's first year of March Madness and yes, he had a bracket! The way we did it is if Josh and I both had a certain team winning a game, we put that down on Noah's bracket too. But, if Josh and I had put down two different teams, we would ask Noah and whichever one he "reacted" to with a smile, a coo, whatever, we put down. Ridiculous, I know, but we thought it would be fun to get him started early because it's such a big deal in my family! And you know what? He got 3rd out of an 18 bracket pool! Here's a picture of Josh and Noah supporting the Broncos on selection Sunday:
And just because it's cute, a picture of Noah helping out with laundry.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Vegan 101

When I tell people that we're almost-vegan, they usually gasp in horror and ask, "What do you eat?!" I totally get it. Meat has grossed me out for the last 15 or so years, but up until Noah was born, I was all about dairy. Cheese, yogurt, ice cream....I loved dairy! Then, when Noah was a few weeks old and showing signs of reflux, our pediatrician recommended that I try cutting it out of my diet. Two weeks later, his reflux symptoms and his demeanor had improved noticeably.

In the first few days of eating dairy-free, I subsisted on Clif bars (but only one particular flavor because most of them contain milk) and cereal with almond milk. Part of this was due to the fact that we had no time to go grocery shopping with a new baby and Josh in the middle of finals, but part of it was that we had no idea how to eat this way. It was pretty miserable, but we figured it out quickly and now eating (almost) vegan feels pretty normal. Here are some of the animal product replacements we like:
  • Almond Breeze Almond Milk and Chocolate Almond Milk
  • Extra-Firm Tofu (no brand preference)- Tofu can be used to give a dish a little more substance, and we usually use it in place of chicken or eggs.
  • Boca Meatless Crumbles- A ground beef replacement that we use in spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, and tacos.
  • Mozzarella, Pepper Jack, and Provolone Soy Cheese- Cheddar's nasty, in my opinion. We're not picky about the brand, but Go Veggie is what's in our fridge right now.
  • Tofutti Sour Supreme- Obviously a sour cream replacement.
  • Brianna's Poppyseed Dressing- I hate vinaigrette's, so this is one of the only dairy-free salad dressings I've tried and liked.
In addition to lots of fruits, veggies, whole wheat pasta and bread, and eggs (this is the one animal product I do eat regularly), we also love these vegan recipes:
I eat eggs and the occasional turkey sandwich. When I'm finished nursing I'll probably add a little dairy back into my diet. We're not swearing off animal products for the rest of our lives, but both Josh and I have been surprised by how much better we feel, how much easier it is than we thought it would be, and how good some of the animal product alternatives are. If reducing or eliminating animal products is something you're considering, hopefully this provided you with some basic information to get you started. Good luck!

Monday, April 8, 2013


Today I started training for the half marathon I'll be running in June! I'm freaking nervous about taking on such a huge physical challenge this soon after having a baby, especially because I wasn't allowed to work out for the last half of my pregnancy and I feel like my strength and stamina took a hit. But, I've done harder things and I know I'll be glad I decided to take on this challenge when I cross the finish line. And to inspire myself a little, a picture of the last (and only) half marathon I ran in July 2011.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


I was 21 years old and newly married. Josh and I were both going to school full-time, working full-time, and we both had church callings. He was studying for the LSAT and we were figuring out which law schools we wanted him to apply to. We were living in an old house that always seemed to have something wrong with it in a sketchy area. We lived there in order to save money so that we could pay off my car and save as much as possible in preparation for law school, which we knew would cost a significant amount of money.

I remember feeling really overwhelmed with responsibility at this phase of my life, especially as I paid attention to my co-workers and classmates who were around my age. Many of them were going to school or working, but not both. None of them were dealing with the challenges of the first year of marriage. They weren't concerned about an LSAT score or impending six-figure student loan debt. At the time I felt like it was a lot to handle at 21.
Packing up to that very old house to move for law school, 2010
I look back at that time now and realize how easy things were then. Our life now is the best it's ever been, but it involves more work and more responsibility.  It's more challenging. The funny thing is that when I was struggling with feelings of being overwhelmed at 21, I would think, "Wow, a few years ago things were so easy and I didn't even realize it".  My point here is that as we pursue new goals and take on additional responsibilities, life is obviously going to get harder. When I'm feeling challenged or overwhelmed, I need to remind myself to appreciate how much easier my life is now than I imagine it will be in a few years when we have more children, a house, additional financial responsibilities, and Josh spends more time away from home. One day, when we look back at this time in our lives, we're going to realize how simple it really was. I just want to appreciate that simplicity now, while I'm living it, instead of focusing my attention on the challenges we're currently facing.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Last week we had the opportunity to visit Utah and stay with my grandparents. As our trip came to an end and I was thinking about all of the things we'd done and friends and family we'd been able to spend time with, I realized that Noah wouldn't have the opportunity to know my grandparents the way that I do. Many tears followed and I decided to write down a little bit about them so that one day Noah can read this and learn about them.

Grandma is super smart and can have a conversation about anything. When we visit, we stay up for hours talking about books, current events, stories from her past...everything! I think she's so intelligent because she reads all the time. Her signature phrase is "Oh Mercy!" and she has a great sense of humor. Grandpa is....thorough in his explanation of, well, everything and Grandma (and the rest of us) sometimes gives him a hard time about it. He was in the middle of one of these lengthy explanations when Grandma pretended to fall asleep and then proceeded to slap herself in the face in order to "stay awake". So funny. She's also a great cook and always prepares yummy, healthy meals. Another interesting thing about Grandma is the way she speaks. She sounds so darned refined, pronouncing things like 'nauseas' and 'restaurant' in a way that I've never heard anywhere else.

Grandpa is constantly concerned for the welfare of others. For example, he spent his 70th birthday helping a neighbor do yard work. When we visit, he explains to us (for the 27th time) how to work the shower properly so that we get a good, consistent temperature. He goes into the basement with us and helps us set up our bed and makes sure we have everything we need, even though I've slept in that basement at least twice a year for probably 15 years and could get everything set up in my sleep. More than once, I've left a bed unmade or clothes unfolded for just a few minutes, and discovered it taken care of when I return. He's always thinking about and serving others.

Grandpa throws himself into everything he does. He's doesn't just attend church choir practice the way most people do; he practices the songs on his own so that he has everything right. His church calling is coordinating the cleaning schedule for the building, which usually just involves making sure the church is cleaned once a week. But Grandpa has charts, lists, a whole system for how it's all done. He even does some of it himself so that it's just right. He goes above and beyond in everything he does. Grandpa also loves to sing to the grandkids. I (and likely many of my cousins) have memories of him singing 'Away in a Manger' while I sat on his lap in the recliner. Overhearing him singing this same song to Noah last week brought me to tears. Grandpa also loves ice cream. Anybody who has been a guest in their home has seen the 15+ flavors of that are brought out for dessert. It's like a mini-Baskin Robbins.
I love and so appreciate the way that Grandma and Grandpa have accepted Josh into the family. Grandpa refers to Josh as his grandson, which makes my heart happy because all of Josh's grandparents have passed away and I know he misses them terribly. I feel so lucky to be part of such an awesome family and to have these two as my grandparents. They're funny, hardworking, and dedicated to their family. Their marriage is an example of unconditional love and commitment. I love them, I respect them, and I treasure the time I get to spend with them.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Break

Spring break included lots of time with friends and family, including Grandma and Grandpa McDermott,
a trip to Temple Square,
naps with dad,
and, of course, lots of time in the car.

We kind of threw a lot at this little guy.  Like most babies, traveling throws him off a little,  plus he had his shots two days before we left, and we think he's teething. He was a trooper but it was a little challenging. But, on our drive home we heard Noah's first real laugh! While we were on the road he woke up screaming, so we got off at the nearest exit so that we could calm him down.  After probably ten minutes of crying, I started massaging his belly and he stopped crying and laughed! Um....what?! Oh how quickly this little boy's moods change. We grabbed the camera and got this video.

We had a lot of fun spending time with our family and friends and left feeling really grateful for the incredible people in our lives.
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