Life is A Journey...Come Follow Our's

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Didn't I say this kid will eat ANYTHING?!?!?!

It was a great day (and obviously a big enough day to warrant 2 posts!) here in the Pope house.  Everyone is on the mend and we even had a little excitement tonight while Daddy was out teaching at the community college. 

Quinn was particularly drooly/spitty uppy (okay...he threw up plain and simple) so we needed to take a second bath tonight.  He LOVES his bath time.  Here...take a look:

He really is quite a little water baby.  It's going to be so much fun this summer in the lake with him and on the beach.  Maybe I need to start planning our summer beach trip soon!

Anyway...I get him all cleaned up, turn my back to get some dinner (which is a premade salad that I left on the dining room table) and here's what I find...see if you can piece together the story yourself.  I bet you won't have to use your imagination too much!

Looks like it's time to really babyproof our house!!!

Sick For The First Time

So I don't have any pictures today, but just wanted to share that we have our first ear infection but Quinn is still happy and is taking it like a big boy.  We went to the doctor yesterday and the best news ever was...Quinn is a whopping 16 pounds 12 ounces and is in the 7th percentile!  Way to catch up little man =)

Heading to Chicago this weekend.  I'll be sure to post pics when we get home!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This Kid Will Eat Anything...

...And last night was no exception. Brad and I have decided that we are going to make it our quest to visit as many little Mom and Pop restaurants in Northwest Arkansas as possible.  You see, we are always saying there is no where good to go eat (chains just never seem to impress) so we decided that we needed to get off the main line and go elsewhere.

Last night took us to our first stop, Orlando's Latin American Buffet. The restaurant is owned by a Brazilian woman and her husband and it was amazing.  Each day she cooks from a different Latin country - Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama...and last night happened to be Brazil - her homeland.  The restaurant is not very impressive inside, but it is cute:

The simplicity of it gave it some nice character and the hospitality of the owner made it even better.  What made it stand out as an amazing experience though was the food.  Oh my goodness was it ever amazing...grilled eggplant and marinated cucumbers were my favorites on the salad bar, and then on the hot bar she had beef stew, Brazilian barbecued pork, tamales, a chicken dish, and rice and beans.  The rice and beans were by far the best...even Quinn got in on the action and was able to express his satisfaction with them:

Our little man just adored rice and beans so much that he was wearing them and threw a bit of a fight when we tried to clean them off him.  Dessert was fabulous too...ask Quinn...the passion fruit mousse was to die for!

Next up...we've found an El Salvadorian and an Indian/Pakistani restaurant.  We'll keep the Tums on hand, but if they're even half as good as Orlando's was...we won't be needing them.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Days

Well it happened...we got another snow day!  There is a legitimate 3 inches plus of snow out there and school has already been called off for tomorrow as well!!  As promised in my last blog, I decided to try out my hand at baking today.  Instead of the pretzel rolls I was hoping to make, I changed it up and made hamburger buns for the turkey burgers I was making for lunch.  I should say I tried to make hamburger buns.  I don't know what went wrong since the recipe got such rave reviews online, but my buns were flat and more biscuit like than anything else.  I'm not swearing off the recipe yet...I think I just need some work with my yeast and kneading skills.

Inspite of my disasterous bun making escapade, it's been a really good day.  I've done some cleaning, changed out Quinn's clothes (big boy is finally in 6-9 month clothes!), played with the little man, and took him outside to play in the snow for the first time. I must tell you that Quinn is very much like me...he's a warm weather baby.  Ask me anyday if I'd rather be on the beach or on the slopes and I'll always answer "on the beach."  This picture pretty much sums up Quinn's feelings about the snow:

You might notice that I neglected to put mittens on his hands so that might have a little something to do with why he really didn't like the snow, but still...he's a beach baby, I just know it.  We did go back inside and get his mittens and the end result was this...
 ...a short lived smile and seat in the snow.

Off to get a workout in before the man wakes up from his nap!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

8 months and 8 flights

Yes it's true...Quinn is 8 months old!  Oh my goodness...where does the time go!?!?  Yes, it's also true that Quinn has officially been on 8 airplanes in the short 8 months of his life.  Most recently, we just got home from a weekend trip to Arizona where Brad and I ran the PF Chang's Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon (see next post).  Allegiant Airlines is now flying from Bentonville to Phoenix and we were able to get airfare for $44.99 each way!  How incredible is that?!?!  Well with a deal like that, there was no passing it up so Brad, Quinn, and I loaded up our bags and hopped aboard for the short 2h20m flight west.

Brad and I actually met out in Phoenix when I was doing my masters work and he was working for Intel and completing his MBA so we try to get out there at least once a year to visit friends and family.  This 3 day trip crammed as much family and friend time in as possible.  Friday we woke up and headed up to my grandparents' house up in Rio Verde.  Nonna and Papa had never met Quinn so we were super excited to get to bring him up there.

Quinn with his Great Granparents

Nonna, Papa, Quinn, Maria, and Gigi (4 generations)

Quinn taking a ride on Papa's legs

That night we headed back into town and met up with a bunch of our friends who Brad used to play footy with.  It's so funny how things change when there are kids involved.  From the rowdy group of strong drinkers who loved their ladies (some had more than others) to the now somewhat arthritic, chill and drink a beer while watching our kids play was still the same old fun group that they/we always were.

Saturday was my day to hang out with my best friend Janelle and her family.  Janelle and I met in graduate school at Arizona State and have managed to keep a really strong friendship alive despite the distance that now separates us.  You have some friends with whom you always feel like you can pick up where you left off, well for me, that's Janelle.  Both of us have children now and it really made it fun to grow our frienship and relationship to those of not just friends, but also now as moms. 

Katilin and Janelle, Me and the uncooperative Quinn =)

Kaitlin (1 yo) and Quinn (8 mos)

On Sunday, Brad and I dropped Quinn off with my mom and her friend Joy and headed into Phoenix to the starting line of the half marathon.  In true Arizona style, it was sunny and beautiful...a winter paradise for sure!  After completing our run, we were greeted at the finish line area not only by my mom, Joy, and Quinn but also by my buddy Tyler.  I used to babysit Tyler from the time he was 6 until I went off to college and have a very special relationship with him and with his family.  To me...they are family.  Anyway...Tyler is now a second semester senior at Arizona State University.  With the finish line at ASU, it made it really easy (despite it only being 10:30am on a Sunday) for Tyler to come visit us and we are sure glad he did!

Quinn, Tyler, and Me

Our Supportive Fans

Quinn and Tyler

Overall, it was a whirlwind of a trip, but it was so worth it.  Quinn got to meet his great grandparents, see his Gigi, show us that he can *gulp* climb stairs, and touch grass for the first time while thawing out.  Brad got to see his footy friends and spend some quality time with me (that's me putting that in there...hehe).  I got to see Nonna and Papa, my Auntie Nancy and Logun, my mom, hang out with my bestest friend ever, run a great race with my amazing hubby, and see my dear friends who I used to teach with back in AZ.  It was a short trip, but I wouldn't change a single thing about it and now that we know we can fly so inexpensively, I bet we'll be making the trip a lot more frequently!


Losing The Baby Weight

As soon as I got pregnant with Quinn I announced that I would be running the PF Chang's Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon in Phoenix in order to lose all the baby weight and have a way to get back into shape.  Little did I realize that I would be in better shape after having Quinn than I was before, but nonetheless, I made the announcement so I had to follow through on it.

On Sunday, January 16th, Brad and I headed out to the starting line under the beautiful blue Arizona sky ready to race.  For the first time in my life, I had completed a legitimate training program and was truly trained and ready.  It's not that I wouldn't have been physically capable of running 13.1 miles, but rather that in most cases, I overtrain, get injured and am never able to complete my race.  This time was different.  Every Saturday for the past 6 weeks I was out on the trail (or reluctantly on the treadmill when it was too cold) logging a long run and was hoping to be ready to beat my goal time of 2hours for 13.1 miles.  My training runs had all been going really well, with the exception of some runs with multiple potty stops but I'll spare you the details there, and I was confident I'd be at least able to complete the distance.  My pace for my long runs was always between 9:30 and 10:00 miles so honestly, I wasn't sure if I would be able to hold the 9:00 pace I was hoping for for the entire race.

But I mom and Joy dropped us off near the starting line and took Quinn with them back to hang out until we'd be closer to the finish line.  Brad and I ran, never out of breath, listening to the 16 bands (some better than others), hearing the swish of the 40,000 feet running alongside us, and enjoying the gorgeous weather (by race end, it was 74 degrees...HEAVEN!).  We hit mile marker 12 and I still had a lot of juice left so off we went at an 8:20 pace crossing the finish line with a time of 1:57:17!  We did it!  We beat my 2 hour goal and had an average pace of 8:57. I can only imagine how much faster the run would have been if I would have done some speed work over the course of my training.  Nonetheless, I was so proud of myself.  Not only had I beat my goal time, but I had lost my baby weight (oky...well before the training started for this race), and I had completed an actual training program.

Up next...Bentonville Half Marathon on April 2nd. I'm thinking there will be some more speed workouts before this race.  Hopefully my time will be even better than it was in Phoenix.

Pre Race

Amped and Ready to Go!

Still smiling after 13.1 miles!

New Year - New Goals

It seems to me that I am hearing of fewer and fewer people making New Years' Resolutions and that makes me happy.  It frustrates me to no end when I hear of people swearing off sweets, poor eating habits, laziness, etc full on knowing that by March 1st (if they're really lucky to even last this long) they'll be back to their old lame habits.  It's for this reason alone that I do not set New Years' Resolutions.  Instead, I set New Years' Goals.

My 2010 Goal was simple, to cook one new main course recipe each week.  It was a huge success.  I made 54 new recipes over the course of the year, not counting recipes that I just made up, were for dessert (we made a really good Egg Nog Flan that I wish I could have counted), etc.  The best part of it all is that I now have at least 40 recipes that I have permanently added to my collection because they were such a hit for both Brad and me.

How did I find my recipes?  I am a firm believer that if over 100 people have reviewed a recipe and it still has at least 4.5/5 stars, it must be at least somewhat decent.  I visited websites like (an amazing website if you have never used it),, and to find my basic recipes and then in almost all cases, took the liberty of reducing fat to create my final dish.

What were our top 10 favorite recipes?
1)  Asian Turkey Cups (Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps is what we are calling them):
2)  Crepes with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Spinach:
3)  Pasta with Vodka Creme Sauce (we added chicken, bacon, and mushrooms):
4)  Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas:
5)  Spicy Barbecue Shrimp Kebabs:
6)  Cilantro Shrimp:
7)  Baked Potato Soup:
8)  Shrimp Pad Thai:
9)  Peanutbutter Noodles:
10)  Maple Salmon:

So...after a successful 2010, I've decided to up the ante this year and not only continue with my one new recipe a week goal, but I'm adding another goal and that goal is to read Quinn a book every night.  I do not particularly care for reading but I know how important it is to read to your children so Quinn has been and will continue to get a book read to him every afternoon or evening during 2011.  My goal is to have an 80% completion rate on this goal meaning that I will read to him at least 5-6 times per week.  So far, we are off to a good start though reading books typically is not as much fun as eating books, at least in Quinn's world!

So there you have on the lookout for new recipe reviews during 2011.  So far I've made Chili Garlic BBQ Salmon, Greek Orzo Salad, and Curried Honey Mustard Chicken.  We are expecting a snow day tomorrow, so my 2nd new recipe for this week is going to be Pretzel Rolls.  How fun will that be?!?  I'll let you know if they are a success or not...assuming we do have a snow day!

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas 2010

Sometimes I find it so hard to believe that yet another season has come and gone, but alas, it's January 3rd so I guess it's time for me to come to terms with it all!  Like every other year, we headed back up North this Christmas to visit our families.  Unlike every other year, it was not that cold which is always a welcome surprise when you head back to Snow Country.

Since my parents got divorced a few years ago, we try to always spend Christmas Eve with my dad because it is his birthday and we don't want him to be alone for 2 holidays in one.  This year, all of us (Chrissy, my sister, and her family, Anthony, my brother, Lisa and Ryan, my sister and brother-in-law, and us) made it back on the 23rd...just in time to bring major chaos and life to my dad's house.  We had the best time with Anthony playing his guitar and everyone singing J Sean's "Down" among many other current top 40 songs, eating, playing with Quinn, and just hanging out.  Check out some pics and see for yourselves:

Anthony, Lisa, Dad, Quinn, and Me

Uncle Anthony and Quinn

The Gang...sorry Mark's left out...he's our cameraman

Chrissy, Corynn, Quinn, Anna, and Me

Dad's totally cool with his new 3D Lincoln Book =)

Quinn and Auntie Lisa

After a super fun and quick visit with Dad and everyone, Brad, Quinn, and I headed up to Wisconsin as it was our year to spend Christmas Day with The Pope side of the family.  As always, we had a fabulous time.  Brad's mom is an AMAZING cook (we get along very well) and we were beyond well fed.  It was so nice to have so much family around all the time, so many people to love on Quinn, and so many people telling us to go to the gym so they could have some one on one time with the Q man.  Brad and I would not say "no" to gym time (yup...even on Christmas Day!).

Quinn made out like a bandit this year with so many nice gifts, but like most babies, he preferred to eat the wrapping paper and ribbons more than anything.  Here are a few pics from our time way up North:

A maestro in the making

Oh yes...he is crawling now! Following Cousin Reagan's lead

Merry Christmas!

Grandma and Quinn in the kitchen

 After a wonderful 3 days up in Wisconsin, it was time to head down to Chicago to visit my mom.  I always love going home because there is something about having your mom around to take care of you.  I don't think it matters how old you are, there's something about a mother's hug, your mom's cooking, and just being in the presence of your own mother that is so comforting.  I can only hope Quinn will say the same about me someday.

And I digress...

We had a blast back home in Chicago.  Honestly, we did not do that much and it was so nice.  We ate well (we can always count on seafood when we're home), had good workouts, played with Quinn, and relaxed as much as possible.  Honestly, it was the perfect end to a whirlwind trip.  Just a few more pics...ENJOY!

Gigi and Quinn

Present Time Round 3!!

Quinn, Mom, Anthony, and Me

Quinn Loves His Uncle Anthony

Oh yes...and We're Now Standing Up On Our Own...Watch Out!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

MIA With So Much To Share!

Oh my gosh have I ever been missing in action!  There has been so much going on these past few weeks that I don't even know where to start!  I might have to do a few posts to cover all the Holiday happenings!

First things first...I turned 30 on December 20th!  30 seems like an age that so many people dread, fear, loathe, you name it, but I must say, I was actually looking forward to turning 30.  What's not to look forward to in your 30s?  You're hopefully more established, you're starting your family, you get to watch your family grow, you're not close to 50 (yet), and hopefully you finally have your act somewhat together.  Substitute the word "I" in for "you" in the previous sentence and that's why I've been looking forward to turning 30.

A birthday like 30 deserves to be celebrated for more than one day so Brad helped me to stretch it out over the course of the entire weekend.  We started on Friday night with a birthday party at Fast Lanes...bowling, go-carting, and lazer tag.  I have not been go-carting in probably 18 years and after that night, I have vowed to not let it go that long before I do it again.  It was such a blast!  Here are a few pics from the night:

Saturday, Brad and I hired a babysitter and went out for seafood down in Fayetteville and then went to see Young Frankenstein, the Mel Brooks musical at The Walton Arts Center.  If you have not seen a Mel Brooks show lately, I highly recommend it.  The man was beyond odd, his musicals are always somewhat off, and they are guaranteed to either shock you into leaving or they will leave you laughing!

Monday, my actual birthday I dropped Quinn off at daycare so I could finish some Christmas shopping, go to the gym, and get a massage.  And by Tuesday, I figured my birthday needed to start coming to an end so after a pedicure and lunch with friends, I called it a year!

Overall, it was a fabulous birthday!  Brad surprised me with Cirque Du Soleil tickets so we're heading up to Chicago at the end of the month.  Shoot...I need to get airline tickets.  I better get on that!