End of School…Beginning of Summer

Friends, happy Friday! How was your week?

Ours was jammed packed with the 50 events schools like to cram into the last week of school.

Tuesday Nelps had her ‘End of the Year’ party at school. Her class had a water party outside followed by a picnic. I stopped by for a little bit, then left because it was crazy hot outside and little man needed to be in the A/C…diva or what?! ūüėČ

nelps_endofyear

On Wednesday Sophia had her ‘End of the Year’ party in her classroom. Unfortunately Nelps had a stomach ache (probably from playing in that nasty water the day before…) so I kept her home with me and we missed Sophia’s party. I did stop by in the morning to let her know I couldn’t be there later and to give her teacher a gift and a giant hug for being so amazing this school year.

Side note: I literally cannot NOT show up after telling Sophia I’d be there. Do your kids take things you say as a blood oath like mine do? I would hear it for WEEKS if I’m not somewhere or do something I tell Sophia I would do. She keeps me on my A-game!

Yesterday¬†Sophia graduated preschool with a dance performance and graduation ceremony. I shed a few tears just thinking about this precious chapter of her life being over. Off to “real” school in August with uniforms, grades, ¬†reading tests, homework, and all those scary things! Do you ever look at your child being all excited about growing up and you just smile and think to yourself,¬†“if you only knew…” and then start crying inside?¬†Stay little, little ones! ¬†Geesh, this week has been so emotional.
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sophia_last day
Don’t mind my post-partum self in this picture…it’s just the way I look right now. LOL

So, now that we’re on our official 1st day of summer today, things are going to get a little nuts this next week. And by that, I mean I will probably go nuts. The girls are home all day, every day next week and thankfully (seriously PRAISE JESUS) my mom had already taken this next week off to help out!
We have a few activities planned for them including this fun Westfield Family Summer Series! Click here more info! –>¬†Westfield Family schedule. Stay tuned for a post next week featuring some more summer fun around Tampa!

XOXO

Garlic Parmesan Chicken & Asparagus

Hey and happy hump day to you!

It’s the middle of the week, so I know you don’t really feel like cooking…

and you definitely don’t feel like cleaning a big mess after cooking…

so what’s a person to do?!

Make this for dinner tonight using only one¬†pan! ūüôā¬†Not only is it an easy peasy clean-up, the garlic and Parmesan team up to give big flavor to this chicken dinner. This may become a summer night favorite!

Garlic Parmesan Chicken & Asparagus (2)

Garlic Parmesan Chicken & Asparagus

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts, cleaned and cut into tenders
  • 1 lb asapargus, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Line chicken tenders up on baking sheet.
  4. Combine melted butter, minced garlic, and garlic powder.
  5. With a basting brush, brush chicken tenders with garlic butter mixture, leaving some for the asparagus.
  6. Then season liberally with lemon pepper seasoning and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Take chicken out of oven and outline with asparagus.
  9. Drizzle remaining garlic butter sauce over asparagus, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
  10. Place pan back in oven for 15 minutes.
  11. Serve & Enjoy!
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/05/25/garlic-parmesan-chicken-asparagus/

XOXO

 

What’s Inside? Hospital Bag

Hey there!

As many of you know, about 11 days ago we welcomed an early baby boy! My babies have never come early, so everything from the minute my water suddenly broke was a frenzied panic. So much so that I ran out of the house with nothing but my two girls in tow. I left in my soaked shorts, messy hair, the only flip flops I could find, and of course, without a hospital bag. I did have ALL¬†the items I needed to pack my hospital bag, but they were scattered all over my house in random Target bags and Amazon boxes. I called my gal pal Alisha on my way to the hospital to ask her the huge favor of going to my house (front door probably left wide open) and packing me a bag. I also sent her a text that read “I can’t really think right now but yeah…just bring a bag with whatever.” LOL

Besides your ID, insurance card, and properly installed infant car seat, the hospital can thankfully provide every single item you need for yourself and baby. But, who wants to pay $59 for a prenatal vitamin, or wear those ugly, crunchy, brown hospital socks that don’t fit. Not I.

When you go through the birthing experience for the third time AND go to the hospital without a bag of items you packed yourself, you start to realize what’s important and what’s not. Like I said before, the hospital can provide almost all items for you and baby, but you will probably want your own specific things/brands…so pack it in your bag and have it ready!! Preferably a month¬†in advance!

Here’s¬†what’s in my hospital bag!

hosputalbag

HOSPITAL BAG CHECK LIST

  1. Hospital Gown
  2. Chapstick
  3. Phone/ipad chargers
  4. Slippers with grips
  5. Glasses/Contact case
  6. Nursing Pajamas 
  7. Flip Flops
  8. Toiletries – Toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, face wash, deodorant, hair ties.
  9. Nipple Balm 
  10. Prenatals
  11. Snacks – High protein and dense in nutrients snacks like nuts, protein bars, peanut butter packs to eat with bananas or apples from hospital cafe.
  12. Pineapple juice – An amazing anti-inflammatory gift from God for your entire swollen body after giving birth. Drink it up!
  13. Baby Newborn sleepers (2-3)
  14. Diapers
  15. Wipes
  16. Swaddle blankets
  17. Boppy
  18. Baby’s ‘Going-Home’ outfit
  19. Mommy’s going home outfit¬†¬†– I¬†prefer a loose comfortable dress since you’ll basically be wearing a diaper home too!
  20. Pillow and outfits for dad ¬†– He doesn’t need much and when you’re having baby #2 and beyond, your husband will usually go outside of the hospital walls once baby is born, to be with your other babies waiting at home.
  21. Gifts for older siblings – Not only is this a good idea for installing that first positive thought in their minds about the new baby, but others might bring gifts for baby and we don’t want them to feel left out. Ideas: new baby doll, Lego set, activity books, play-doh, and disposable camera for them to take their own pictures.

This list may seem small to some people. All my births have been vaginal and don’t require me to stay in the hospital for more than 24 hrs after delivery. If you are in the hospital longer, you will need more clothes, more diapers, and of course, more snacks!
When you go to the hospital, you’ll also want to bring along your packed diaper bag, if it’s ready to go yet. That’s another post.

What are some items, not on this list, you had in your diaper bag? 

XOXO

Weekending: Better safe than sorry

Hey y’all!

How was everyone’s weekend? If you’re in the Tampa area, I hope you got outside (poolside) because it was hot and beautiful!

Weekends with a newborn are usually on the fun scale of 3…as in you’re getting adjusted to this new life of yours and going out anywhere isn’t on your agenda. Basically because your boobs have to be out and available 24/7. ūüėČ LOL

I don’t really like taking my babes out in public too much in their 1st month of life, but when you are on baby #3, it’s definitely¬†not really in the cards.¬†Especially if your other little ones¬†are involved in sports or any activity.

For example, Penelope had her first gymnastic class on Saturday!

weekend_nelps

We took the whole family to watch her and I’m so glad we did because Angelo had to be in the class with her. I mean, what would I have done if he wasn’t there?! ¬†We’ve been on the waiting list at this gym for months and finally got the call that we have spots in class! Sophia starts in a couple of weeks and was very unhappy about Penelope getting to start before her. ūüėČ
Her and Rock got to hang out and watch the action. Rock slept the whole time underneath his MilkSnob <РLOVE this thing!
weekend_gym

After gymnastics, literally nothing was on our calendar for the rest of the weekend…then my mom came home from work not feeling well.
She didn’t know exactly what it was, maybe the flu, maybe just food poisoning, but it gave me flashbacks of when Penelope was 10 days old in the NICU with RSV. HORRIBLE! Cue the tears….
I knew I had to be safe than sorry, so I told Angelo I was booking a hotel room until my mom felt better.

Off to the Marriott we went for the night. The girls and Angelo went swimming for a couple of hours while Rock and I hung out in the shade. Then we went back to the hotel room, ordered dinner from room service, and had a hotel party  called it a night.
The next morning my mom felt back to normal (so probably just something she ate the night before) and that she had disinfected the whole house. ūüôā
I mean do I sound like a total crazy mom or what?! Yes, I know I do, but I take no chances when it comes to my newborns getting sick. Sorry not sorry.

Sunday was spent hanging out at home, swimming, grilling Brats for dinner, and some more hanging out. One of those boring perfect Sundays at home. ūüôā
weekend_pool

I hope everyone had a safe, fun, and healthy weekend!

XOXO

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

New baby in the house = the dinner struggle just got real. Unless I want to eat pasta every night (the only dish my husband knows how to make), then I still need to find the time, energy, and ingredients to feed my family during the week. Weekends are excluded because I’ll be damned if I’m cooking on the weekends too! ūüėČ Around here, weekends¬†are meant for sandwiches, men on the¬†grill, and take-out!

You know how I love easy and quick recipes…well that love just got stronger with a newborn in my arms. I need them easier and quicker than ever at this time. ¬†So, send in the Crockpot for my saving grace. All hail the Crockpot.

If there’s one chicken recipe you need, it’s this one. You can do so many different things with this beyond flavorful chicken.¬†From serving it over rice or salad greens, using it in bowls with your favorite toppings, or for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and nachos.

Seriously, make it, eat it, or freeze it for later… it won’t go to waste!¬†I made this recipe 3 days after giving birth (it’s do-able!) and have used the chicken for dinner the past two nights.

crockpotmexchicken

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

A multi-purpose chicken recipe! Delicious, juicy chicken to serve over rice, salad, or use for tacos with favorite toppings!

Ingredients

  • 4 large chicken breasts, cleaned
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 10 oz can Original Rotel (Diced tomatoes with green chilies)
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mild salsa
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour 1 tbsp EVOO on bottom of crockpot and put in chicken breasts laying side by side.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients on top of chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or high for 2-4 hrs)
  4. Once chicken is tender, take two forks and shred chicken. Stir shredded chicken into juices to absorb.
  5. Serve over rice, salad, or use for tacos with favorite toppings.
  6. Enjoy!
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/05/18/crockpot-mexican-chicken/

XOXO

Weekending: We had a baby!

Hey friends!

I haven’t deserted you…We had a baby!

My water suddenly broke, 12 days early, at home while I was organizing the girl’s crazy mess of shoes. It was just the girls and I at home and I panicked. My previous babies came in 3 hours after my water broke, so I was expecting this baby to pop out right away! I had a panic attack over having the baby at home by myself with the girls (talk about nightmares for years!) so I called Angelo and let him know I was driving myself to the hospital. I loaded the girl’s in the car, called my mom (who was in California and terrified I was driving myself to the hospital), called my best friend Alisha to let her know I was driving to the hospital without a hospital bag, ¬†and pulled up to the hospital’s valet. The valet guy freaked when I told him my water broke and was there for the women’s center. LOL “What are you doing driving?!” Well…ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

Sophia was freaking out a bit and didn’t understand that my water broke. She kept asking “what broke?!” while Penelope was just tagging along. We got checked in and right when they got us into my room, Angelo arrived from work. Sophia did not like all the hospital equipment and was really worried about what was going on. Angelo took them back downstairs to meet his sister and mom. They ended up having a wonderful time with them, eating PDQ and making a trip to Target for new dresses, of course. ūüėČ
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ophia guessing the size of the baby (totally accurate) and Penelope letting grammy know we are about to have a baby!

The first time they checked me when I arrived I was 2 cm dilated. They let me sit for a couple hours to see if I was progressing fast (like my others) but nothing was going on. Meanwhile, Alisha shows up with a two bags full of supplies for Angelo and I!

Side note: I have to give her a shout out because she was a complete blessing to me during this whole thing! Thank you Alisha!

They started the pictocin and things went from 2 to crazy. By 11 pm I was having insane contractions and asked for the epidural. GIVE ME THE DRUGS!

The¬†anesthetist who administered the epidural made a last minute guess on the gender. She guessed Boy coming in at 7.1 lbs. (All the nurses started making their guesses and it was mix between girl and boy.)¬†I told her my epidurals never worked and I was really hoping she’d break that trend. She absolutely did and I was completely numb. Weirdest feeling in the world! I got nervous about how I was going to know if the baby was coming or not. They let me know I would start feeling lots of pressure down there when baby was coming. Um..ok!

So, just when I think we’re close to the grand finale, my contractions slowed wwayyyy down to almost nothing. I found out they had taken me off the pictocin before they gave me the epidural to not have things go to fast and stress out the baby.

The pictocin was turned back on.

This time I couldn’t feel any contractions but the nurse kept me informed that they were definitely¬†there. They wrapped my legs around something called “the peanut”. A big ball in the shape of a peanut. These peanut balls are used to promote dilation and descent of baby.
peanut_birthPhoto Source

This little thing worked and baby was dropped down in position in no time. Dilated at 8cm and basically ready to go, I kept telling the nurse I think the baby was coming because I felt a lot of pressure on my pelvic bone. The doctor was called in and by the time the doctor came in to check me, I was fully dilated and ready to push.

Two pushes later, a precious little baby came into this world! All I could see at that moment was his head and the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck 3 times! He was crying, so it wasn’t tight, but still alarming. The doctor unwrapped it and Angelo yelled out “It’s a boy!”
I think I replied with a “For real?!”

Mr. Rockwell had arrived at 2:24 am at 7.1 pounds and 19.5 oz (The¬†anesthetist was absolutely correct…and later came in to tell me that was totally weird and she’s never right. LOL)

IMG_1227
To say the least, everything about this experience was quite the surprise. This was all¬†100% different than any other birth of mine, and still an amazing experience.¬†I’ve never gone early (both girls were born at 40 weeks), I hadn’t even unpacked the bassinet or any of my recent Amazon purchases, I didn’t have a hospital bag packed, and it was a boy!

I think the stress of my mom not being here and the minor detail of half my family saying “Don’t have that baby until we get back!” actually put me into labor. ūüôā I started having contractions the night they left…go figure. ¬†Plus I had so much to do with the new house that day and carrying marble slabs into the house probably didn’t help either. Oopsies!

Recovery went OK. I had a lot of bleeding and clotting, so they put me on another IV bag of pictocin to contract my uterus and help stop the bleeding. Hello massive contractions and hello percocet. All is now well.

We had some great visitors before we left the hospital on Saturday morning. Since I had maybe 3 boy outfits in total, Angelo’s mom, Alisha, and my good friend Lyndsey made sure Rockwell didn’t go home without clothes to wear. I also did A LOT of online shopping during that 24 hour hospital recovery time.

At home, we are currently resting (as much as you can with 2 toddlers) and getting adjusted to our new normal. Rock’s big sisters absolutely adore him, love holding him and giving him kisses. They can’t wait for him to play! ¬†ūüôā
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Welcome to the family Mr. Rockwell!

XOXO

Before I go, remember my Instagram post with the Mini Doughnut Factory doughnuts, saying that someone should make sure I had them in my hospital room after delivery? Well, that totally happened!!! Thank you Bethany for this amazing delicious surprise. This was all that was left after my girl’s got their tiny fingers on them. ūüôā
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DIY Almond Milk

Hi friends, I’m Alex and I’m not a dairy cow milk drinker.
For the past 5 years (or more) , I’ve been buying almond or coconut milk from the store.¬†Even though I think they are a way better alternative to dairy milk (pick your poison), I still see article after article about “are there really any almonds in your store-bought almond milk?!”
Well, what the heck am I even drinking if there’s only 2% almonds in my almond milk?
To be honest, at first I didn’t really care because what was my other alternative…to make my own?! PSHHHH have you seen my busy ass calendar? ūüėČ

About a month ago I bought a bag of raw almonds with all intentions to go home and make almond milk. A month past by and I was still using that blue box labeled Silk¬†Almond Milk in my coffee every morning. I finally put my almonds to soak and there’s no turning back after that.

My¬†mind has been BLOWN to how easy it is to make my own milk. Basically you’re blending up almonds and water and straining it into a container. That’s it…

Since this was my first time, I’m still playing with the almond:water ratio, but for my first time this milk was a win! Creamy, naturally sweetened, totally customize-able almond milk. Made by yours truly.

Makes me feel like some sort of pioneer hippie woman. ūüôā

DIYalmond milk

 

DIY Almond Milk

Yield: 4.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw almonds, organic
  • 4 cups water
  • Water for soaking
  • Flavor/Sweeteners: vanilla extract, honey, agave, or maple syrup are options
  • Blender
  • Cheese cloth or linen kitchen towel

Instructions

  1. Place almonds in a large bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 24-48 hours. *I let mine soak for 48 hours. The longer they soak the creamier the milk.
  2. Drain and rinse the almonds. Discard the soaking water.
  3. Combine the pre-soaked almonds and 4 cups (clean) water in a high-speed blender. *If you're blender is not large enough for all at once, divide into 1 cup almonds/2 cups water.
  4. Blend for 2-4 minutes.
  5. Over a large container, place strainer and line with cheese cloth/linen towel.
  6. Strain almond milk through strainer/towel.
  7. Squeeze towel (like milking a cow) to make sure all milk is taken from almond pulp.
  8. Store in air-tight container for 3-7 days.
  9. For sweetened almond milk: I added 2 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp honey to blender.
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/05/11/diy-almond-milk/

XOXO

Gender Prediction with Old Wives Tales

Hello friends & hello Monday!

I hope everyone’s weekend was adventurous and/or relaxing! We knocked another item off our “Family Bucket list” on Saturday and finally took the boat out! I think the last time we went out on it was maybe in July-September¬†of last year, so it was LONG over due!¬†Hopefully we will be able to get some boat days this summer!
P.S. Anyone know¬†the rules for bringing a baby on a boat?! I’ll have to read up on that! ūüôā

Sunday, Mother’s Day, was also an amazing day! We started¬†it out at church, visited the ever-progressing house construction, lunch from Fresh Market, relaxed, then out to dinner at Grill One Sixteen where these happened…House made donuts! #Delicious
grill116_donuts

Over the weekend we also had some fun with gender predictions.
Using my mom’s at-home Doppler we’ve been trying to get the baby’s heartbeat but couldn’t figure it out. LOL So, at my latest doctor’s appointment it checked out to be 128 bpm. I was also 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. The baby is head down and ready to roll anytime. YIKES, I better get my shit together! ūüėČ

A few of the gender prediction old wives’ tales don’t work for me.
I don’t have any real cravings that stick around too long and when I do they’re all over the place. I¬†go from wanting burgers to a milkshake to cheese & crackers to fruit.

I haven’t had any dreams about this baby and I didn’t for my second baby either. The only dream I’ve ever had about the gender of the baby was with Sophia.

I have no intuition about what this baby’s gender is. I swore Penelope was a boy and that was obviously incorrect.

In all honesty, I¬†don’t really think any of these are accurate, but it’s fun to do them!¬†

GENDERPREDICTIONS

Are your gender predictions accurate when you have babies?

XOXO

For the love of moms

Today is Mother’s Day and leading up to this day I’ve seen strangers ask my kids “what are you going to do for your mom on Mother’s Day?” And this always makes me smile because they are 4 and 2 years old.
What could they possibly do for me?!

On the surface,¬† I will do everything for them on Mother’s Day. I will still wake them up, cook them breakfast, brush their teeth, get them dressed, and do everything and anything for them until the day I no longer can…every day.

In reality, they do more for me each and every day than they will ever understand. Everything they do makes me a mom. I wouldn’t be a mom without them. I wouldn’t be the person I am without them. They have twisted, turned, and molded me into this role of their mom. With every cry, tear, smile, worry, laugh, panic attack, and hug they have made me the mom I am today.¬†

I cherish every one of those cries, tears, smiles, worries, laughs, panic attacks, and hugs…because more of those means more life as a mom.¬†

Today I want to pour love and prayers over all moms, current and future moms. Moms who have kids here on earth and up in heaven. Moms who gave birth and moms who adopted or foster their precious gifts.¬† All you moms are the strongest people I know. There is no stronger love than a mother’s love. There is no stronger anything than¬† “Mom Strong”.¬†

Moms are precious, wild (have you seen a mom after she counts to 3?!), honorable, and matter so so much.

Today, no matter what you’re doing or how you feel, or how often your toddler tells you no, just remember…you are an awesome mom!¬†

Happy Mother’s Day!¬†

The people who have made me a mommy!
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XOXO

Margarita Mocktails

Hey to all my fellow pregnant hotties about to sit around and watch everyone enjoy mucho Mexican beers and margaritas…OK,¬†let’s try to keep these pregnancy hormones down a notch. LOL

You won’t feel like your missing out on anything when you’re hanging around with one of these in your hand!

These “margaritas” are refreshingly¬†delicious without the alcohol, plus you’re basically drinking a vegetable! #PregnancyWin
They aren’t only for us pregnant ladies though, they’d make an amazing summer drink by the pool for anyone! Cool as a cucumber!

mocktails_marg2

Auto Draft

Yield: 6 cups

A refreshing non-alcoholic margarita!

Ingredients

  • 4 cocktail cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 24 oz Sparkling water

Instructions

  1. Put cucumbers, lime juice, and honey in a blender.
  2. Blend well.
  3. In a glass with ice, fill half with cucumber mixture and half with sparkling water.
  4. Garnish with lime or cucumber slice.
  5. Enjoy!
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/05/04/margarita-mocktails/