Sunday, July 31, 2011

My other, other "career": Mommy Muscle

I may not be an expert on much, but I do know a heck of a lot about two things, science (which is convenient since I am a science teacher, and former bench scientist) and health.  If I ever left teaching to stay home with the kids, I think I would finally be bold enough to pursue my "other other" dream career.  I would love to get certified to teach aerobics or spin, or even do some personal training.  Did I go to college for this endeavor, you might ask?!  No, I did not.  Do I think I know a heck of a lot about staying healthy?!  Yes, ma'am I do! 

What makes me qualified to post this information, you might be asking yourself.  Well, I consider myself a "career" athlete in training, per say.  I did my first race when I was in college, my first marathon just after graduating, and I haven't stopped training (save for the times I was pregnant, or had the smack-down from my RE to slow down) since.  With my first pregnancy, I ran until 32 weeks, with this pregnancy I was 35 weeks when I stopped running.  I think it's incredibly important to be a healthy example for your kids.  When you're constantly training, you also have to think of your body as a machine, instead of just eating whatever you want. I know lots of tricks to lose fat & gain muscle, in all the right places.  Am I an expert, not by trade, but I think I do a heck of a good job training my body, even at 33 after 2 kids.  Plus, it definitely helps when you know the biology behind nutrition.

These pix below are of me at 6 months pregnant, the second is before a race

So...(you're probably thinking) what's the point of all of this?  Well, since I love training my body and nutrition, am recovering from pregnancy (just like many of you are or will do soon), and I enjoy blogging, I thought I might share some of my tips and tricks.  You can take it or leave it.  But it works...I swear! 

So here it is...
TIP #1 to be a Healthier Mommy:  Make Workout Time a Priority in your New Life! 

The excuse many moms give when trying to get healthy during or after pregnancy is, "I don't have time".  Sorry, folks...that's a load of crap!!!!  I get it, pregnancy makes you exhausted, and being a new parent...that's a whole new level of exhaustion.  I've been there!  I'm still there (DD is only 3.5 months old). Then when you have multiple LOs, you are spread thin.  I get it!  But, there is ALWAYS a way. 

Will you be able to workout 7 days a week?  No! 
Will you be able to workout as long/hard as you used to with a clear head?  Absolutely not!  You will always have your LO in the back of your mind, and that ever-present mommy guilt (we all have it and it sucks!).  But, mommy's guilt aside, you WILL BE A BETTER MOMMY if you make time. 
Can you still train for races/events?  Absolutely!

How, you might be asking me?!  There is always a way.  For a new mommy, especially those that work outside the home, it's hard to convince yourself it isn't selfish to hit the gym after work and miss precious time with your LO.  I agree, that's a hard argument to win.  But, why do we have to workout outside the home?  Or, could you incorporate your LO into your workout?! Here's the beauty of being a Healthy Mommy, you don't have to choose just one option.  I suggest you "mix it up".  Go to the gym a time or two (or just on the weekends when you have your SO's help).  And try some of these options too...
1.  DVDs are really "hip" these days.  They work!  Plus, if you need to "pause" your workout and tend to your crying LO, you can!  Workouts are still workouts, even if you only do 20 of the 30 minutes.  It's better than nothing.
My personal favs:  Jillian's 30 Day Shred, P90X, 10 minute solutions: Rapid Results Pilates, Tight on Time: Hotspots, Be a Knockout with Kendra, Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30, Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones, or some "workout with baby" options.

2. Get up early.  This isn't a popular choice, I know, but once you do it, you'll realize it's possible.  I try to get up to workout 2 times, sometimes 3, per week.  Sometimes it's just running on the treadmill, other times it's going to a class (I prefer spin) before anyone in my house is up.  I go before my DH goes to work (he leaves at 7am) so as long as I'm back before he needs to get on the road, I can get it in.

3.  Ask for help!  SO should be cool with you going to the gym to have personal time at least once a week.  Or, ask your childcare provider to take LO a bit early or keep them a bit late.  Lots of gyms also have childcare options.  I have a 4 year old and he went to the gym daycare at times.  He survived and is a very happy, well-adjusted little boy.  Don't feel guilty! 
4.  Invest in equipment for your home.  We started out with hand weights, a balance ball, a band & a mat.  I had only those pieces for years.  All of these options are affordable, and easy to stash away is small spaces.  We did add a treadmill (I got a great one from the Livestrong delivery or S/H charges, and $$ went to cancer research) this spring when we had another child.  It was definitely possible to get to the gym with 1, but with 2 kids, it was too hard. I also recommend  a bike with a baby seat (when LO is big enough) and a jogging stroller (if possible). 
5. mix it up!  Don't just run.  Run, swim, go to classes, do a DVD, walk with your baby, etc.  Your body will respond better and quicker to different workouts. You would be shocked at how great you'll feel after only 20 minutes in the pool.  So if you don't have an hour, try swimming! 

6.  Find your local Strollerfit chapter and join.  With DS, this was a savior.  When I went back to work, I would pick up DS, change my clothes and feed him, then set off WITH my baby to an outdoor fitness class.  I didn't have to give up the special time I had with him after work, I got to meet other mommies, and I got fit.  Bonus!  I believe they also have Baby Bootcamp, as another option out there.

Have questions?  Leave me a comment, and I'll be glad to respond. 

Stay tuned for my next Healthy Mommy tip...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Simple Life IS GOOD!

Welcome readers from Toddle Along Tuesday!  Thanks Mama G & Kristin for hosting!  I love comments, so if you visit, please comment, so I can follow you back & follow your journey as well! 
A little background on us (for you new readers):  I'm a teacher (originally from the windy city) and met hubby (a computer programmer) in college.  We moved to the 'nasti, and had our DS (now 4).  After over a year of SIF struggles (read here for that journey), we met our awesome RE, and after treatments...welcomed our DD (now 3 months).  We are an active, toe-headed family of four (maybe five if I get my way), that love sports and the simple life (hence this post)!  Hope you stay and get to know the fam.  Enjoy!
Last night I was sitting down to dinner with my beautiful family of four, and I just felt content.  The past 2.5 years have been a stressful struggle, so it's nice to feel genuinely happy.  It felt good to sit down and talk to our 4 year old about his day, or laugh over what our 3 month old was doing, instead of worrying about our SIF or the pregnancy.  It was a simple, everyday moment, but I just felt so lucky.  Every time I reflect on my life, I just feel good about where I've been and where we're going as a family.  That's a nice feeling to have.  It's wonderful to share silly moments of excitement like this...

T's first soccer practice

Or this...

B plays with toys on her playmat, after 3.5 months of hating it!

 Or even this silliness...

T feeding the hungry mommy ducks his sandwich (even though a sign clearly said "Do Not Feed the Ducks/Geese" :).  I should have been mad, but I just laughed and enjoyed the moment. 
Our generation is getting back to our roots.  We are teaching our children to be polite, independent and active (no helicopter parenting!).  We show our children by example, getting involved in runs, triathlons, biking, hikes, adventure races etc.  We're growing our own food (see our garden below...I'm so proud), and we're teaching better eating habits to our kids.  We support organic farmers, buy food at newly renewed farmers markets, buy more natural products that are made in the USA, cloth diaper (I can't take credit for this one, but I respect those that do), breastfeeding is on the rise, we recycle and buy fuel-efficient cars.  This generation of parents are just determined to make this generation of kids different than the video game generation, and do what we can to preserve and better the planet.  Getting back to the simple life, I love it!

My 2nd year having a garden...and I love growing my own food!  I wish we could have chickens like Kate Gosselin, but I bet our suburban neighbors and our homeowners association wouldn't be too pleased.  From a city girl, I certainly love the ideas of the country!:) 

From L:  Strawberries, Caesar lettuce, spring mix lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, basil, oregano, carrots, green peppers, zucchini, yellow and green beans).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Milestone Monday

Happy Monday lovely blog readers!

This week B has been all about her feet!  She will poo-poo at her toys or any other entertainment.  Lucky for us, she has her feet with her all the time (lol), as they are hours of entertainment. 
 Oh, and we can't forget her thumb obsession.  Thumb and feet...and she's a happy camper!

 T had a very exciting weekend!  He attended his first monster truck rally with Daddy (Mommy and B refrained due to the noise, heat and fumes).  T is also now "free", as we finally removed the lock from his bedroom door.  We have such a good little boy that he really never even got out of his bed after we put him down for a nap or for the night.  So the fact that he can now get out of bed and get up on his own was a big step for him!  I think it makes him feel like a big boy, which is important as we transition from him being the prince, to sharing the spotlight with his sister.  So good.  I have to admit he's scared the crap out of me a couple of times when I was either dead asleep or running downstairs on the treadmill, and he appeared like a stealth bomber.  I almost peed my pants!  But he loves the added responsibility, and I quite enjoy that he's not screaming my name in the morning, since we still share a room with the little peanut. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

::taps mic:: Anyone out there?

If you're reading my blog, please leave comments whenever you visit!  I would love to hear from you, so I know I've not gone completely off the deep-end and started talking to myself (although I admit I do that from time to time). 

So let me leave you something to comment about...
What is your biggest fear/struggle right now as a mom or mom-to-be?


Oh, and some Saturday Sweetness bonus! Brynleigh says "talk to me, people" :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Family Friday ~ Summer SAHM

Teachers might not get paid close to what we're worth...but you definitely can't put a price on being home with your kids in the summer.  It's truly the best of both worlds! I definitely wish we could maintain this lifestyle and have me stay home until both kids are in 1st grade.  However, I would be giving up way too much if I left my job right now, my great schedule, my status & my current position.  So, I will continue to be a part-time SAHM, dreaming of it being my only career. We have a heck of a time together, the kids and I.  I'm an active mommy with a very energetic 4 year old, so we are go go go all summer long.  Here's just a small sample of our week.  Family is everything! 

 We start everyday with snuggles
We've taken swim lessons for 2 sessions, a total of 4 weeks!  This was the last day when T got to go down the slide he is normally too small for. 
 Playdates are a staple.  This is his buddy Landon at a local water pad!
 We have amembership to our local amusement park...which also has a huge water park attached.  I took the kids there alone in the evening to cool off and have some fun.  I always pack, so this is our dinner time-out.
 The fam also has a zoo membership, and I try to go once a week. Now that I have the sit n stand, it is so mch easier.  Here's T with the monkeys, and my awesome new stroller (with B inside of course)
 The best pix I could get of the two of them on the train at the zoo (I had to hold B)
You can't say "family" without mentioning our often neglected first baby, our mutt Cincy girl.
 On a stifling day, we baked! :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Favorite Things ~ Month 3 Edition

As is the tradition, here are the additions to my favorite things (also known as things I couldn't live without and/or I think are really awesome baby items!)  Links are included.  Hope this is helpful for you first time moms or moms-to-be:

1.  the bebepod ~ aka the poor man's bumbo

I know I'm probably gonna get called a liar, but I'm actually really glad I got this alternative to the "trendy" bumbo.  It came with the tray (the bumbo tray is extra), a toy, an insert if you don't want to use the tray & 2 custom-fit placemats.  It's great for Bryn's practice of her head control, to feed baby (our friends with a 9 month old used it when they were staying with us) and great for when mommy wants to do some laundry or go to the pool but doesn't want to hold baby the entire time.  It also has straps (which bumbo doesn't have) and, according to my bumbo-owning friends, has larger leg holes for those chunky baby thighs :)  I love it!  So all you bumbo lovers, any chance I could convert you??  Probably not, but that's okay!  I love my bebepod just the same!

2.  My awesome sit n stand stroller ~  Joovy Caboose Ultralight sit n stand in blue

I resisted buying this, as I was hoping with a 4 yo I could survive with only one lightweight stroller for B.  I was dead-wrong.  As a SAHM for the summers (and pretty much since April due to B's birth) I'm incredibly active!  We do the zoo, pool, amusement park, parks, water parks, swim lessons, gymnastics, etc etc etc.  It's imperative for me to have a spot for T to rest and "ride", as well as a spot for my infant carrier and LOTS AND LOTS of storage space for our lunch bag, beach towels, swim suits, sunscreen, my NIP cover...etc etc etc.  I adore my sit n stand!  It's lightweight, easy to maneuver, has lots of storage & has a great neoprene parent organizer.  Basically, I don't know how I lived without this baby!  I recommend spending the extra $$ on the lightweight Joovy, as every other sit n stand I tried was a huge boat & incredibly heavy!  If you have two kids that are/will be 2-4 years apart, get one of these babies! 

3.  Gilligan & O'Malley nursing tanks/bras from Target

I seriously couldn't live without these!  The tanks are awesome for under other summer tanks or clothes, great for sleeping (so when you get up to feed it's quick, easy and comfy), & when I get home from the gym, I can throw one of these on without an additional bra and be able to feed her quickly.  I'm in love with these for the comfort, price & convenience.  Plus, they come in lots of colors/sizes/variations!  Go out and get em!

4.  Bumpy Name Orbit Inchbug Labels
I was IN LOVE with these with T, and still adore them with B.  I think they're genius!  If you haven't heard of them, you need to check them out.  Although I EBF, eventually we'll be taking bottles to my MILs and to daycare.  Plus, taking sippy cups out to parties, playdates, pools, parks, etc. What better way to know what belongs to your LO than using these great tools.  They're rubber rings that you can personalize.  They fit easily & securely around any bottle or sippy, and you DON'T HAVE TO TAKE THEM OFF when you wash the bottles/cups.  They're also dishwasher safe!  I love love love them.  You can put whatever form of personalization on you want (I have their first and last name), a little icon & you can have up to two lines of text.  I have blue for T & purple for B.  I have also bought these label for countless baby gifts, once the baby is here and named so I can personlize them.  Every person I've given them to loves them!  Check them out!

5.  Shoe socks

After two kids, I have realized how completely RIDICULOUS and unnecessary shoes are for babies that are not mobile.  You might MAYBE use shoes when a baby is crawling and pulling up, but that's about as early as is worth it.  Those NB and size 1 or 2 shoes are not necessary (although they are adorable!). I had so many pairs with T, and didn't use but 1.  So instead, try "shoe socks".  You can get them just about anywhere, target, meijer, walmart, baby stores, online, wherever. 

6.  JJ Cole Diapers & Wipes Pod
For you mommies of 2+ this is a savior.  Instead of carrying around a gigantic diaper bag full of stuff, I attach this with the snap on the top handle to my stroller and take it everywhere we go.  It always has the following in it:  the changing pad that comes with it, a wipes container, 3 diapers (at least), sunscreen, some type of toy or lovie & my lipgloss :)  It's perfect, just enough to get me through a day at the zoo, in a restaurant or at the pool.  It's also waterproof.  I love it!  There are other patterns available, this is just the one we have currently.  Love!

Just a few more of my favorite baby products.  Hope you've enjoyed my Month 3 edition.  Stay tuned for more next month! :) And just for kicks, here's a pix of our princess.  It's not the best photo, she was not cooperating with mommy, and refusing to smile, but at least I got them done on time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Milestone Monday

B finally has good head control & she can last longer than 5 minutes in both the bebe pod (the poor man's bumbo).  She can also push herself up a bit more during tummy time.  It's a small step...but a milestone for us, nonetheless
 T caught his first fish all by himself while fishing with Papa & Daddy over the weekend.  It was fun watching him get excited over the smallest bluegill.  Simple pleasures.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lets Do This!

I have a problem, this problem is an addiction to adrenaline & endorphins.  I love to compete, and marathons & triathlons are my drug of choice.  When I was struggling with SIF, my addiction was blamed for my inability to get pregnant, my lack of "the proper hormones" to sustain a pregnancy. So while trying anything to make my dreams come true, I had to give up one of the things I love the most,training for races, in order to try to have a baby.  It was incredibly difficult to give up that part of my life for over 2 years (over a year trying to get pregnant & the time being pregnant and recovering).  But...I think I'm ready to throw my hat back into the ring. 
I was inspired by two of my very close friends kicking butt in a half ironman this weekend, and another close friend training for a full.  If you don't know what a half ironman is, prepare to be wowed!  It's a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike & 13.1 mile run!  It's a killer race, and takes the "average" triathlete about 7 hours (and I say "average" in quotes because you can't quite be average if you're doing a 70.3!)  Watching them successfully complete the race made me so proud of them, but also sad, as 2 years ago it was supposed to be me.  I trained for my own 70.3, and 2 weeks before competing was hosptalized for 2 days with severe pneumonia after an olympic distance tri.  I never got my chance to prove I could do it.  Have I missed my chance completely??
It's been a tough road getting pregnant.  It was an emotional and physical journey, and one I would never EVER regret.  My baby girl has fulfilled every dream, and I love our little miracle more than life.  However, it was quite difficult to give a piece of myself up during that time.  Can I ever get it back?  Am I a "former" marathoner & triathlete??? 

I would like to find out!  I'm thinking of signing up for a marathon in December.  Am I crazy?  I still plan to be breastfeeding then.  Will doing 40-50 miles/week affect my milk?  Is my body ready to train?  Can I not just "finish" but really compete with my previous 8 times?  Is it fair to my two children to be training for something when they need me?  How about fair to my hubby?  But if I don't do it now, will the window close?  Will I never return to the competitive sports that I love?  What to do, what to do?   

Friday, July 15, 2011

Playground Etiquette

Okay, so this might be a controversial post...but I've been chomping at the bit to unload what I think are very simple rules of the playground to my blog readers.  What has prompted this post, you might ask?  Well, I had a bit of a "confrontation", if you'd like to call it that, with a hyperactive granny at a playground this week.  After said "situation", I felt like the simple rules of playground etiquette were a prefect blog topic.  So here goes...

1.  If you go to a playground and your child is being hit or pushed, remove him/her from the situation quickly, however, refrain from yelling at either the offending child and/or the parent
2.  It is not your responsibility to scold other people's children, no matter the situation.  Remove your child, and walk away!
3.  Do not create a scene telling the other child/parent what you deem as "appropriate" behavior.
4.  Do not run out like a raging lunatic screaming at a situation you weren't paying attention to in the first place and pointing the finger when it was clear you weren't watching your child to begin with.
5.  If offender's parent is already diffusing the situation, let her handle her own child.
6  Just because your child/grandchild is the younger of the two DOES NOT mean he/she has no ownership in the confrontation/situation at hand.
7.  If you are 60 years old+, you probably shouldn't be wearing a 2-piece bathing suit TO THE PARK!

That is all!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Buggie Turns 3 Months

Age: 3 months

Stats: no idea...I'm guessing 11.5-12 lbs, but since I don't own a scale (for my own sanity), it's a guess. 

Size (diapers, onesies, etc.): still in size 1 diapers & 0-3 clothes, but I think I'll get out her 3-6 stuff next week to wash.  She can fit in some 3-6 stuff from Old Navy, it runs small. 

Sleeping: We are STTN about 5-6 nights a week, which I'll take.  She's falling asleep earlier now, around 10pm, and sleeping until at least 5, but usually 6 or 6:30am.  Then she goes back to sleep until 8.  Here's her current schedule (and yes, we actually have a schedule! whoot whoot)
sleeping 10:30-5/6am
feeding/diaper change
back to sleep until 8-8:30am
awake until about 10
nap 10-12:30-1pm
awake until 3
nap 3:30-5
awake until 7
short cat-nap
awake until bedtime

Eating: Still EBF with great success!  She has gotten rid of her clicking...which is both more comfortable for me (for obvious reasons) and better for her (no more princess puke!!!).  She's eating every 2-3 hours still, except at night, when she normally goes about 8 hours!  I've banked about 500oz+ of breast milk, and still have a month until I go back to work.  Our only concern at this point is that she sucks at the bottle, and I wish I meant literally.  We have to give her more practice, but I'm barely ever away from her long enough.  Plus, who likes to waste that beautiful frozen stash, ya know?!  But, for her Mimi's sanity when I go back to work, she needs more practice.  BF has become a breeze though, finally!

Milestones: TONS of laughing, cooing and smiling.  The best is when I go get her in the morning and she smiles at the sight of me :)  She's also finally self-soothing with sucking her thumb or palm (which is wonderful at night!).  She's STTN and on a schedule.  We're finally feeling like we can do this 2 kid thing :)

Here's a video of her "talking". :)  Don't mind my ridiculous baby voice & her hiccups!

Memorable outings: Her first time in the pool this month! (see Water Babies post)

Favorite toys/activities: bouncer, thumb/fist :), stroller and car seat (believe it or not, once she's in she's usually happy), being outside (she loves sleeping outside!), her pink & green lovie (see favorite things Month 3 edition for specifics). 

Funny moments: Explosive poop in Panera on the way back home July 4th weekend...I literally had to "bathe" her with wipes...and lots of them!  I also LOVE when T tries to get her to laugh or smile by using my words/sayings.  It's hilarious how much he picks up!

Looking forward to: Our trip to Myrtle Beach,SC is in 3 weeks, so I'm anxious to fly with her. I'm glad I'll have my parents for help, and a hand-off if necessary.  But, knowing her, she'll be asleep instantly.  She loves noise and motion.

Stay tuned for the following new posts (coming soon!): 
"Playground Etiquette", "The Age Difference Debate", "Garden Report~ Summer 2011", "Mommy Nutrition, "What are we feeding our kids" and "Finding ME Time". 

7 lbs

...that's how many I have to lose to be back down to my PP weight.  7 lbs!  :(  I'm trying to convince myself that my nursing boobs weigh that much, do you think it's possible?  Neither do I! ::sigh::  I even googled "how much do nursing breasts weigh"...ummm...I was desperate!! 7 lbs seems like 70 because I am truly doing the best I possibly can.  I've been working out since a week PP, even going back to the gym 9 days after having Bryn.  I have a treadmill in my basement, and even get up at 5am on Fridays to do a spin class.  I gained 5lbs less with B than I did with T, and I worked out more.  Hey body...I'm trying. 

The balancing act is definitely in the food consumption.  I have to eat a certain number of calories to make sure my milk doesn't dry up.  I also get soooo hungry at certain times in the day, like evenings when she's cluster-feeding.  I am a healthy eater, and continue to be now.  So...what gives you dreaded 7 lbs?!?  Why do you torture me so?!?  Why are you preventing me from fitting in my favorite jeans and some of my much-needed work pants?  Why are you stopping me from being able to use my gift certificates from my birthday for new school clothes?  I HATE YOU!