Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All Things Divine in '09

It's amazing to think back at just how fast 2008 passed by. So many special things happened to our family this past year. So many that I cannot list them all, but here are the big ones that stick out to me:

  • Randy and I celebrated our 5 year Anniversary.
  • Our family grew by one more and was blessed with a healthy little girl...making our "Table for 4" complete.
  • After 4 long years, Randy graduated from Medical School and moved us to South Texas for Residency.
  • Josiah was blessed with another year of life; and turning 2 has turned out to be quite an adventure for all parties involved.

The Lord definitely carried us this past year. With the many things that happened, and we're not too proud to say, that without Him, we wouldn't been able to get through them as well as we did. Reflecting back on where we've come from only makes us excited about where He is going to take us next.

Continuing to reflect.....it's time for New Year's Resolutions. After all, I LOVE making lists and the feeling that crossing out completed tasks gives me. Last year, I set out to accomplish 6 goals. And I'm sad to report that I'll be dragging over some, if not all, of last year's resolutions to the 2009 List. Specifically, the half-marathon (it was too lofty of a goal to expect my body to be in the shape necessary to complete a 13.1 mile race 4 months after having given birth), learning to bake bread-from scratch, getting organized, and paying down debt.

So here is the list for 2009:

1. Lose 20 lbs. by May 1, 2009 (yes, the most popular of New Year's Resolutions made my list this year, but only because it is the year of the wedding).

  • Complete a few 5 and 10K races....and maybe a half marathon in one of the cities I'll be visiting over the summer.

2. Get Organized

  • Sort all of Josiah and Alayna's first year pictures in an album
  • Implement and stick to 'zones' for cleaning the house. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord".
  • Continue with meal planning (boy, does this make grocery shopping so much easier)

3. Pay down debt while saving

  • Last year, I tried a lesser expensive diaper for Josiah and they worked. For 2009, I will use cloth diapers for Laney when at home to cut down some of the expense associated with buying two sets of diapers. And hopefully, Josiah will become potty trained sometime this year, so I won't need to buy many diapers at all.
  • Implement and stick to a budget/envelope system (I know quite a few folks that use this methodology of budget control and it works--my big thing is just sticking to it and avoid getting sucked into the airline mile-accumulating credit card).
  • Set aside some monies each month to go towards a family vacation, plane tickets, or Christmas gifts.

4. Take a picture every day....with my new fancy schmancy digital SLR that my husband surprised me with on Christmas. I'm SO excited to enhance my photography skills, I can hardly stand it.

5. Invest in relationships....my friends, including my friendship with the Lord, my husband, and my children, are my lifeline. I LOVE getting to know people, especially those with whom I've met via the blogosphere. I LOVE keeping up with what my friends are doing (another reason why I LOVE the blogosphere and Facebook). Nothing is sweeter than opening an email and seeing a quick message or comment from a friend, letting me know that they are thinking of me. So I resolve to do the same for my friends.....send a quick email, comment via blog or FB, or even an ol' fashioned note in the mail. Sadly, I've lost touch with so many friends I've made in my 31 years...you know, life just gets in the way sometimes. I also resolve to rekindle some of those long-lost friendships, including that with my husband. With all of the med school/residency chaos and our family expansion projection during the last 4.5 years, our relationship has fallen from the top of the priority list. In 2009, I resolve to schedule (if we don't schedule it, it won't get done) one date night/month in an effort to rekindle the love/relationship we had "back in the day".

6. Get involved in a church....the last 4 years have been pretty tough on us with regards to finding a church family. When we left our "family" behind in FTW, we never expected for it to be so hard to find another loving "home". We have learned, the hard way, that we cannot put God or the way He ministers to us in a box. We have to be open to learn of Him in new ways with new people. We think we have found a new "home", I feel comfortable there and they have a wonderful Children's Ministry. We just are still seeking His confirmation. I'm looking forward to the day we make the decision so that I can offer my time to a couple of women's ministries.

Well, I think that's it. More details may follow as I lunge forward into the action plans. I may have no idea what I'm up against, but I'm pretty excited about it.

So are you, too, one of the many millions of folks around the world who participates in Resolution planning? If so, what have you included on your list?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Recap

Alternatively titled: 12 days of Christmas--Martinez-style (and my attempt to be creative)

Now that the house is quiet, I thought I would take a quick minute to share about our Christmas vacation.

We are now back home after a 5 day vacation to West Texas to visit Randy's family. We left as soon as Randy finished up in the clinic on Tuesday, drove straight through, and 12 hours later we arrived at the house Randy grew up in. We LOVED being at home, visiting with everyone....all 17 of us, under one roof. Unfortunately, the baby got sick, making our vacation less than spectacular. In fact, we were so distracted with her illness and sleep deprivation that we have little-to-no pictures documenting this milestone--First Christmas--for her. *sniff, sniff*

I won't bore you with all of the details, but I'll leave you with a song (to sing in your head--trust me, you don't want to hear me sing), adjusted to provide a recap of what the Randy Martinez family experienced.

12 hour drive to Pecos
11 x 11 ft. room to sleep in (all 4 of us)
10 homemade tortillas
9 new toys
8 on-the-road DVDs
7 dozen cookies
6 bottles of medicine

5 pounds gained back

4 songs on SingStar
3 trips to Walmart
2 vomiting children (and car seats needing to be washed)


1 trip to the Emergency Room (for 105 fever, vomiting, dehydration, & to rule out RSV, flu, and ear infection)

And just in case you're wondering, the children are doing much better. We are now treating Josiah for fever, cough and congestion; and Laney will continue to receive her antibiotic treatment through Friday, but she is back to nursing and bottle feeding (although not fully back to "normal") without vomiting and is sleeping without being held (although she was insistent on sleeping next to me in the bed just as she had for the last 3 nights). We learned that we will NO LONGER leave on a trip without a medical kit containing the nebulizer, Xopenex, stethoscope, oto/ophthalmoscope, tylenol, motrin, baby vicks, and benedryl.

And because we didn't want to "push" the children, we decided to break up our trip and stop half-way, in San Antonio. During our lay-over, we drove to a suburb known for it's Christmas lights. It was awesome. Our most favorite home won 2nd Place in the Creative Lighting category (1 of 8 categories). They had synchronized a light show to music which you tuned into on your car radio. It was very similar to this.

Anyway, I suspect it'll be a while until things are back to "normal". But till then, I'm just trying to survive being without Randy 24/7, unpacking, washing vomit covered laundry, and finding storage for new toys.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Home Sweet Gingerbread Home

We finally did it!!!! It took us 5 days, but Josiah and I planned, constructed, and decorated our very first gingerbread house...from scratch. YAY! I was never so excited to pull the soup cans away (used in place of stability beams) from the roof panels and see it stay in place instead of crumble to the floor!

Josiah is just old enough this year to participate in projects like this, which is why it's so exciting and special. I've been chomping at the bit waiting patiently to start some family traditions. This will definitely be added to the list.

Once I got past the fact that it's not going to even slightly resemble those showcased on Food Network, it was a very enjoyable project for both of us. Josiah was so excited to share what he had done with his daddy (he helped me with the M&M roof tiles).

And without further adu.....

Can you see Josiah's monogram?
I thought it would add a little some extra to his house.

While I definitely enjoyed this project, I learned a few things...things that may make next year's project go a bit smoother:
  • make a house HALF the size (the roof panels alone were 7x11").
  • use larger candies for the roof tiles--placing each M&M became tedious and Josiah lost interest).
  • use candies that I don't have any interest in eating to decorate the house. wink
  • combine the peak and the front/back square into one piece instead of relying on the triangle cookie to maintain it's shape and size during the transfer from countertop to cookie sheet.
  • try buttercream icing instead of royal icing for the edible cement. I think I need something a bit more thick in order to keep the candies from slipping during the drying process.

Whew, now that the BIG project is done....it's time to bake a couple dozen christmas cookies.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fat Ticker Friday

Please forgive me as I'm not going to sugar-coat my report today, unlike the gingerbread house that Josiah and I are constructing.

My unfriendly scale read this morning that I have gained 2 pounds since last week. On one hand, I'm surprised. In the last 7 days, I was able to get in 5 workouts:

Friday--1 mile, strength train
Saturday--5 miles
Monday--3.5 miles
Tuesday--1 mile, strength train
Thursday--2 miles, strength train

But then on the other hand, the gain doesn't really surprise me, I can feel the water being retained by my body (thanks, hormones). And I'm sure the fact that I've helped myself to some of the candies I bought to decorate our gingerbread house didn't help either (note to self: will only buy candies I don't enjoy eating for next year's activity). AND since my knee is still giving me troubles, I've had to lay off the long runs. All leading to a darn gain this week. UGH!

I was really hoping to report that I had reached my Christmas goal of 15 pounds, and I really think that without the extra water and M&Ms/peanut brittle, I would have. Bummer. Now I really have to watch it during our vacation. An just how do you propose I resist Glorified Rice, Tripas, and Christmas cookies?

I won't be weighing in next Friday since I won't be bringing my unfriendly scale with me to West Texas, but you can bet that I'll be stepping on it first thing Monday AM. ;-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fat Ticker Friday--Strength in Numbers

Even though the "Hot for the Holidays" challenge ended last week, I'm still keeping up my Fat Ticker Friday posts....mainly, to keep me accountable for my weekly workouts. Nothing kept me going more than knowing that I was going to have to post on my progress for the week.

Quite a bit happened this past week.....

  • I lost another pound, making my overall loss 13 pounds since starting in October. Only 2 more to reach my Christmas goal.
  • I found a running/workout buddy
  • Instead of waiting until Randy gets home at whatever hour, I get up at 4:15AM, nurse the baby, and head out to join my friend for an early morning run at 5AM.
  • I managed to wake up on time and workout EVERY morning.
  • I started incorporating strength training 2 days/week.
  • And lastly, I made a tough decision not to run in the Austin Half Marathon in February (sorry, Sabrina and Christie). Money is a little tight, and the race fee + trip to Austin would have easily equalled a plane ticket, 1 of 5 we'll need to buy this summer for all of the wedding travel. However, I'm going to continue training just as I would be if I were running the race.

In addition to finding a running buddy and changing up my routine a little bit, I joined TWO groups (one online and one IRL) of ladies to help me continue my journey to lose the baby. Christie, our hostess for HFH, at Baby Tea Leaves started up a new challenge, Quest for Greatness; and my MOPS group started a Biggest Loser challenge. I'm super excited about each of these opportunities to gain overall health, shed weight/fat, and do it with other ladies who share similar goals.

The "rules" behind the Quest for Greatness are....

  • Rule #1: There are no rules.
  • Rule #2: Find an event somewhere around Feb/March
  • Rule #3: PAY for it. It's harder to back out once you've put down $$.
  • Rule #4: Weigh in, focusing on completing runs and workouts
  • Rule #5: Add the event (rule #2) to Christie's calendar, so that it's there for ALL to see.
While I no longer have a mid-February "event", I'm still training for it. Plus, I'm planning to participat in a 10K scheduled for January 10. It should be pretty awesome, and I'm really excited about it...it's the Causeway Run. The cool part about the race is that the run is on the causeway bridge from Port Isabel to South Padre Island. FUN!!!!!

Of course, most everyone is familar with The Biggest Loser, so I don't need to go into all of the specifics. About 15 of my fellow MOPSters have joined in on the fun and challenge to change their bodies. We all put $5 into the "pot" and signed an agreement stating that should we gain, in either inches or pounds at any monthly weigh-in, we owe $1 per inch or lb. to the "pot". We will weigh in each month till our last MOPS meeting in May. And there are also incentives...not only will there be a big "stash" earned by the one of us that loses the highest percentage of weight loss, prizes will go to the one who is most consistent with their workouts each month. You can bet that I'm working my tail off to earn the most prizes. (It's no secret, I love gifts--it's my love language. That, and I can be very competitive person). My particular weight loss goal for The Biggest Loser MOPS Edition is 20 pounds, which would put me 10 pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant with Laney, which was 10 pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant with Josiah. I just love that trend. :-)

I am hopeful that I can achieve my goals with a little bit of support from my bloggy and IRL friends...and that there's some truth in the whole "strength in numbers" thing. :-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thanksgiving (Better Late than Never)

So much has been going on that I've been saving my post, a very comprehensive post, about our Thanksgiving until I've had more than 5 uninterrupted minutes. And now that all three kids are in bed.....

Mom and Dad arrived on Wednesday evening after a 20 hour drive from IL. Don't ask me why they drove, it's just something they've always done. Plus, Mom had a trunk full of Christmas gifts, her fancy sewing machine, and luggage; flying just wouldn't have allowed her to bring everything they did. However, I think after they experienced just how faaaar south we live, they'll be considering flying next visit.

Thursday morning was spent cooking relleno and jello cups, two side dishes I agreed to bring to our Program Director's home for Thanksgiving dinner. Josiah helped Dad wash the car and clean out the garage, Mom worked on assembling a display shelf for Laney's side of the kid's room, and Randy kept Laney entertained. I also had a fun time experimenting with Mom and Dad's new fancy camera. That afternoon, we spent a lovely dinner at Dr. Liebert's home and enjoyed a yummy dinner with his family and a few of our friends. It was during this dinner that Laney experienced her first bites of food, straight from the table...mashed potatoes, turkey, and a roll. Now that she's tried "real" food, she has very little interest in her fruit and veggie purees. Oh well, who could blame her?

Friday morning Mom and I avoided the craziness of the mall/WalMart/Target, and started on our craft project, curtains for the kid's room. I intended starting the project 4 months ago, I even purchased the fabric. But as we got closer to Mom and Dad's visit, I decided just to wait so that I would have Mom's sewing expertise. And I'm so glad I did...they couldn't have turned out more perfect. If I had tackled the project alone, I know that we'd be re-doing them once Mom got to town. Here are a couple of pics of the newly decorated room for the kids. It's almost done. Now I just need to track down some natural wood frames to create a memory wall/collage in the last bit of open wall space.

Friday afternoon, we decided to take Mom and Dad to the Island. Yep, the beach in late November. Wanna come visit? It was a lovely day for the beach, a little breazy, but lovely. Josiah even got in the water....there's very little that would keep that kid from the pure joy of splashing around. And Laney just LOVED watching him get tackled by the incoming waves. For dinner, we sat outside on the restaurant patio, taking in all of the sights and smells of the beach. It was lovely.

Saturday morning Mom, Laney, and I were out the door by 9AM to drive 45 minute to McAllen to do a little bit of shopping, mainly in search of a couple of potential bridesmaid dresses for a wedding in May. Well, we were very unsuccessful in finding the particular dresses, but we did find Josiah some black dress pants for his Christmas outfit and Laney a cute little romper to open on Christmas day. We were home by 1PM to enjoy freshly grilled turkey burgers. The rest of the day was spent just enjoying each other, some football (Auburn where were ya?), and a nap here and there. For dinner, we took Mom and Dad to a locally owned restaurant known for their brisket and banana pudding....yummm, what a combination. It was a delicious meal, except that Dad still thinks that Randy's dad's brisket is the BEST. I'm with ya there....once you've had Rudy's brisket, you can never go back.

We took Mom and Dad to the Lutheran church service on Sunday morning. In the many places the Randy and I have lived thus far, we have not lived somewhere where there is a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod...until now. And what's interesting is that the Pastor of the church, here, in Harlingen, is an old Concordia classmate of the current Pastor of my parent's church. What a small world. After church, Mom and Dad stayed just long enough to take a few more pictures, change clothes and load up the car....and then they were on their way back to IL, another 20 hour drive.

Thanks, Mom and Dad for a wonderful visit. Randy and I so very much appreciate the long hours you spent in the car so that you could spend some much needed time with your precious grandchildren (and us, too). We enjoyed showing you where we live and introducing you to our new "family members". We only hope that it's not another 6 months before we get to spend time with you again. We love and miss you.

1 Year

Over the weekend, Table For 4 celebrated its 1 year Blogoversary. Yay for a wonderful year of blogging!

It's hard to believe that a little over a year ago, I really didn't know what a blog was. But thanks to my SIL, Elizabeth, I have found a new addiction extra-curricular activity. I always enjoyed reading about what my niece and nephew were up to since we lived so very far away and only got to hug and kiss on them once a year. And because Randy and I were expecting a new little one and were preparing for a move, I thought a blog would be an awesome way for our friends and family to keep in touch with us. I never expected to be so sucked into the blogosphere the way I have....and I LOVE it.

The blogosphere has been a wonderful way to stay connected with old friends and build relationships with new ones. I have accrued/exchanged many wonderful recipes and stayed on track coordinating weekly menu plans for the family, joined in a weight loss challenge that has kept me accountable and helped me lose 12 pounds thus far, and has encouraged me to learn more about my camera and take better pictures. The blogosphere has been amazing!

I don't have anything too special to share on my blogoversary, except that in the last year I have submitted 132 posts, and I have linked you up with my favorite. Josiah was only about 18 months when I took the video....we (including Josiah) LOVE watching it.

Thank you, readers, for your support (and comments). Looking forward to what the next year of blogging holds.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday~December 8

I know, I know, it's been forever since my last MPM post. Rest assured, though, I have still coordinated/stuck to a plan even though I never got around to posting it. This time of year is so hard for me to stay focused, all I want to do is party, shop, and enjoy time with my friends....leaving the cleaning and, most definitely, the cooking behind. But I have forced myself back to a semi-routine, and that means trying new recipes again (using old, tried and true recipes is just waaaay easier). Everything planned for this week is NEW. I'm excited to see if they become repeat customers.

Monday--Lemon Chicken with Green beans & New potatoes
Wednesday--Pork Tenderloin, rice & veggies
Friday--Skillet Sausages & Peppers
Saturday--MOPS Social

For more menu inspiration, visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

From the Desk Mouth of Josiah

As we drove through a neighborhood, on our way home from our progressive dinner last night, Josiah noticed all of the Christmas lights.

Josiah: "Look at the lights. They're pretty!"

Randy: "They are pretty." "Is mama pretty?"

Josiah: "No, lights are pretty."


Me: "Is daddy pretty?"

Josiah: "No, lights are pretty."

More laughing.

Randy: "Daddy's handsome, not pretty."

Me: "Is daddy handsome?"

Josiah: "No, I handsome!"

If we hadn't been in the car, we would have been rolling on the floor.

This afternoon we spent some time outside (how could we not, it was 75 degrees outside). Josiah enjoyed rolling around the grass, literally.

Josiah: "I don't eat grass, I not a dog."

We just laughed at the randomness.

Later this afternoon, Laney was rolling rocking around on the floor, just cooing.

Me: "Wow, Laney, is that right?"

Josiah: "She's talking Spanish."

Me: "She's talking Spanish, huh?"

Josiah: "Uh-huh"


Oh, how my boy just makes me smile.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fat Ticker Friday (HFH)~Weeks 10 & 11

Due to the craziness of Thanksgiving and my parents' visit, I didn't get a chance to post about last week's notsogreatness. So I'm going to share now before I report about this week. Well, thanks to both hormones, if you know what I mean, and Thanksgiving goodies (aka Mom's famous chocolate chip cookies), I gained 2 pounds. YIKES! And the sad part about it was that I was fully expecting it. I didn't make it to the gym one day. Nope, not one day. There were too many things that needed to be accomplished before my parents' visit and heading the gym was the last thing on my "to-do" list.

Now onto this week's details. As the saying goes, "All good things must come to an end". Sadly, the 12 week Hot for the Holidays challenge ends today. But because I didn't find out/start the challenge with the rest of the group, I still have 2 more weeks left, which is plenty of time to accomplish my weight loss goal of 15 pounds. ;-)

While I wasn't any better about getting my butt to the gym this week, I was a lot better about tracking what I put in my mouth and took the kids out for walks around the neighborhood each night to enjoy all of the Christmas lights (I just LOVE it). I'm also experiencing patellofemoral pain syndrome in one of my knees, which is making it extremely hard to complete my runs. Simply, this means that the muscles around my knees (quads) need some strengthening to support the stress of running. UGH! I hate strength training, but my body is clearly telling me that it NEEDS it.

Thankfully, I was able to lose the 2 pounds gained last week. So now I'm back down to having lost 12 pounds. I am kind of bummed because I was really hoping to have lost those pesky 2 plus 1 more. Oh well...at least I'm still a loser. ;-)

HFH Hostess, Christie, asked us to post a pre- and post-challenge picture of ourselves. Sadly, there aren't many pics of me. Instead, I'm the picture-taker, which I'm loving BTW as I'm figuring out how to really use our camera. So I don't have any to share. Sorry. But just know that I'm now wearing some pre-maternity pants and my XL shirts (that I bought to accomodate the nursing boobies) are looking more like drapes. :-)

I can't express just how much I'm going to miss the Hot for the Holidays challenge. It has been a wonderful accountability tool, I've lost some serious poundage (10 lbs is serious in my book), and I've made a couple of new friends along the way. Christie says she has something else up her sleeve as a way to keep the accountibility going, and I can't wait to see what it is. Thanks, Christie, for hosting such a wonderful bloggy event. ((HUGS)).

I enjoyed posting about my weight loss/training progress (and regression) so much that I'm going to continue with it. I know that many of you will bother ask me about it if I miss a week. Thank you in advance for doing so. Bother Ask away. ;-)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

7 Down--5 To Go

Our little princess is 7 months today....she's getting so big. And yes, I do say it each and every month...but really, where does the time go? I can't believe that there are only 5 short months left until we celebrate her 1st Birthday!

Please do let me bore you with the details of this past month....

**Alayna's hair is FINALLY growing! Slowly but surely, but it is, indeed, growing!
**She has FOUR teeth (2 on top and 2 on bottom) and is working on cutting more, as indicated by the constant chewing of her fingers.
**Laney tried pears, sweet potatoes, avocado (which she hated), butternut squash, and apples....now it's time for carrots, peas, and a 2nd go around with the avocado.
**She, too, enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner....1st hand, not through "Mommy's milk"....and she LOVED it. In fact, she loved it so much that she doesn't particularly care for the purees anymore. The look on her face while we eat at the table is one of "You guys get real food, where's mine?"
**We are STILL working on rolling over. Rest assured, she has rolled over at least 3 times, like 2 months ago, but she has rolled over.
**While she may not be the most mobile child, she is working on other things like waving when we wave "Hi" to her...it's so cute. She even tries to mimic saying "Hi" back to us....again, so cute!
**Laney has officially graduated to 12 mo. clothes and easily fills 12-18 month onsies even without the bulk of the cloth diapers (just look at her hamhocks in the picture above).
**And she still thinks that her big brother, Josiah is the greatest....and she laughs at nearly everything he does....she's such a happy baby.

Happy 7 Month Birthday, mama!