Monday, February 24, 2014

Full circle. Nourishing a healthy lifestyle.

It sure has been quite the journey in my life since I started this little blog here. In the beginning I was shopping for mountain bikes and planning spontaneous trips to Georgia to ride. Now I'm shopping for tricycles and balance bikes for 2 children and planning family trips and worried about arranging for pack and plays and high chairs.  

The healthful aspect of the blog had been put on the back burner while I birthed and nursed 2 children. For the past 3 years I've been listening to my body and eating whatever it has told me to. This has usually consisted of snickerdoodles and brownies. The sugar cravings during periods of sleep deprivation are pretty intense for me. But now I've come back around. Now my second and final baby is 3 months old and we are all sleeping better and it's time to get back to my pre first child weight once and for all. 

Being a stay at home mother of a baby and a toddler creates some challenges when it comes to slimming down. First, the 3 month old is still exclusively breastfeeding. He is a big boy and he has yet to start solids or formula, so every calorie he takes in comes from me. So I have to consume those calories. Typically a breastfeeding mother should add 500 calories to her normal diet which puts me at around 2,000 for the day. But in order to feel good those calories all need to be packed with the proper vitamins and mineral required to keep my stores up.  In order to feel good I can't rely on a diet solely consisting of sugar. I gave in to those cravings during the initial 3 months of "survival mode" because my happiness depended on it.  Plus I still have a toddler to take care of and keep up with so I can't deprive myself of anything during this stage.  But now Ben is 3 months old and we're all getting a little more sleep around here (most nights) and it's time to shift my focus back onto nutrition.  

I have a lot of responsibility. I have to keep Amelia healthy. She's a tiny girl, holding strong at the 5th percentile for weight. So she still needs lots of healthy fats in her diet. I, once again, have cholesterol in the 250's so I need to consume a low fat, yet high calorie diet. And my husband works on his feet 60 hours a week so while he's not home for hot meals or to help me in preparing them, he still likes to have satisfying food and leftovers in the fridge. And I need to do all of this on a limited budget because I have stopped working in order to take better care of my family during the first few years of their lives. 

My last challenge in this quest for health is making sure I focus on healthy body images as a roll model for my daughter, and son too for that matter. That means loving my body, or at least not hating it, even with all it's stretch marks and loose skin. That means never ever saying a negative word about the way my body looks. 

So I'll use this blog again to keep up with documenting a positive active and healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. I'll blog about getting my 37 year old body back in shape after having 2 kids in 2 years and I'll blog about the healthy toddler/ baby/ husband/ nursing mother friendly meals I prepare to nourish us. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Meet Ben.

Between 5-6am every morning is when it hits me that I'm going to be a zombie for at least one more day. I got sleep from 12am-2am and about 30 minutes from 4:30-5. This baby is laying next to me right now with his belly full, his diaper dry, his pacifier moving a mile a minute and his eyes wide open.  He's wrapped all comfy in his blanket and the white noise is kickin.

I wish he could talk and tell me what he's thinking about behind those eyes. Is he thinking about when his sister is going to wake up and start asking for him right away?  I am. Is he wondering what kind of adventures the day ahead has for him?  Is he thinking of the adventures we went on already?  Is he thinking how comfy he is and how awesome this creepy ocean/heartbeat music is?  Is he thinking "my hands are huge!"  Or "Is Santa real?"  Or "I wonder what color my eyes are going to be?" Or possibly "man I should let my mom close her tired eyes for at least one more hour before she starts that pot of coffee?"  Or maybe it's "meh, she can sleep from 12-2 tomorrow night". Actually that would be tonight now, wouldn't it?  


Really he's probably not thinking any of that because he's a tiny new baby 5 weeks old. But these eyes. There's something going on behind these eyes for sure. 

World, meet Benjamin James. The newest addition to the family. 

He joined us on 11/12/13 and made Amelia the best and most loving big sister. He made our family complete. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Year in Review

I have a 1 year old girl!  I almost don't believe it.  I should, after all I was there the whole time and I've been witness to all the changes.  I was there for the sonograms, for the delivery, for the first nursing session, the first rollover, the first steps, Easter, Christmas, birthday party, and more.  And now I'm witness to a little girl running to me from across the room to tightly wrap her arms around my neck and give me a squeeze.  We've nursed through a yucky virus, she's fallen down and bit her tongue pretty badly, and now she's sporting a bruise on the bottom of her chin from face planting on the YMCA basketball court (which by chance I sadly got on video).   Her favorite foods started out being moms milk then rice cereal with bananas and avocado, and now she eats entire waffles and pieces of pizza!!  Her favorite things to do are run and play anywhere she can, pull the dogs tail, and move things into and out of and back into again boxes and bags and pails and baskets. She has 8 teeth with 4 molars soon to make official appearances. She's finally growing a little more hair. She sleeps 12 hours at night and takes 2-3 hours worth of naps every day.


Her dad is a great father. They love each other so much. He has to work long hours but on his days off when I have to go to work he takes her to the aquarium and to the park and texts me pictures.

Me. I'm a mom now.  I'm still finding the balance.  I work about 10 hours a week outside of the house and take care of the house and the baby full time.  Keeping the house working, playing with my girl and keeping our 2 dogs exercised could easily be all I do, but I am learning to make time for myself too. Amelia loves our trips to the YMCA now.  She no longer hates being in the car and rather I would almost venture that she might even enjoy it, so we are going more places without anxiety.

I'm still breast feeding which kind of blows my mind. My "plan" in the beginning was to rent a pump from the hospital for 3 months, then return it and that was it.  But when she was 6 weeks old I went to the hospital store to rent the pump and things changed. I met with the specialist and she said that from seeing me with my daughter and talking to me she was pretty convinced I would nurse longer than 3 months. She introduced the possibility of purchasing one instead. I can probably thank this woman for the majority of our success. I used that pump until Amelia reached 9 months. Once Amelia was 9 months she a very good crawler and my free time was lessened and I retired the pump. She only took 2 bottles a week on the 2 nights I was working so we decided a little formula wouldn't be such a bad thing anyway, especially for the extra iron. Turns out she doesn't like formula. Or cows milk, now that she's a year. She will drink small amounts of almond milk on occasion but not near the 16 ounces she needs, so I still nurse. I never thought we would still be sitting in the glider for an hour each night still, but alas, that's where we are. She is not ready to stop and I'm not ready to tell her she has to. I feel like its mean to tell her no, "no baby I know that this makes you feel safe and comforted and that its good for your brain and your immunity, but its not socially acceptable so you have to just deal with it". I can't. She is a petite girl, only 11th percent in weight, and if thats the milk she wants than dammit I'm giving it to her. When people outside of my family and groups of friends hear that I'm still nursing they often tell me "you need to stop that". And I ask why and there's never a real reason other than they just think so.  But its just so easy for someone else to judge.   We will get there. But for now we are going with "I'm the mom" and "I said so".

I might not blog again for a while so I'll leave you with a little clip of my girl at the beach.   Enjoy!

SAND!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

YMCA

Well I'm back in the gym!!  I can't believe how long it's been and how out of shape I've gotten.  But it feels GREAT to be sore again from working out.  So far I've gotten in a couple of 20 minute sessions on the treadmill, a pilates class, a yoga class, and a bodyflow class and I swear I'm already seeing a difference in the way I wear my clothes.  When Brian is at home he keeps Amelia home with him for the hour long classes so I can just pop in and pop out.  When he's at work I bring her to their nursery so I can do 20 minutes of cardio.  I'm hoping to get that up to an hour of workout time and a 15 minute shower eventually, but she's new at me leaving her and she's starting with that mean ole separation anxiety so we are starting small and increasing our nursery time by 5 minute increments until we have a setback like we did last visit, and then back to 20 until I know she will be OK.
In the meantime we had a bake sale at work to fund our annual peanut butter drive, and I made snickerdoodles, so I don't expect to lose any poundage this week, but I am definitely feeling stronger and that's what I'm looking for. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

First Day Back on the Trails

The last time Brian and I rode a trail together was the last day we woke up not knowing we were about to be parents.  That day we drove to Balm Boyette and did about 8 miles before I whined enough for him to let me head back to the car.  It was so hot out and I felt really abnormally shaky and a little queasy.  On the way home we stopped at CVS for some home pregnancy tests, and that afternoon our lives changed.  Now it's 15 months later and we have a person!  She is a beautiful, strong, determined little baby who will be pedalling with her mom and dad in no time!
 
In the meantime, Brian and I got a chance to go back out on Sunday.  This time we were easier on me and went to Wilderness Park to do the full loop.  Grandma came over and we headed out.  My first inclination of what I have in store for me in getting back into the groove was when I went to clip my camelbak at the same setting it was the last time I put it on, 15 months ago.  It was just a little tight.  OK fine, I could barely get it to snap on both the top around my chest and the bottom around my waist.  I made Brian take a pic of me squeezed into the same setup as the old days as motivation to get back there, but no one else will ever lay eyes on that photo.  So then I loosened up the straps, buckled in, hopped on the ol Mamba and off we went.  The first 5 miles were pretty awesome.  We went through some mud and I got to get dirty.  My left foot was covered in mud and I thought "I can't wait to get a pic, this is awesome!!"  Then the next 5 miles were more mud.  And more.  We made it to about mile 10 before the storm hit and I got exhausted.  It was a "12 mile loop" Brian swore to me, so I toughed it out and paced myself for 12 miles.  Then we were at 12.5, then 13, then 13.5, WTHHHH?  It was pouring so hard I could barely see.  Any mud I once proudly wore was long washed off and I could have left the camelbak behind because I was sucking in so much rain water.  I was worried about my phone getting ruined in my camelbak, but that minor worry was soon replaced with fear of death by lightning as the cracks of thunder were directly over our heads for a short time.  I wanted to walk my bike through some of the mud but the water was about 3 inches deep and I felt safer on the bike because at least the rubber tires grounded me a little better.  So I popped in in lowest gramma gear and plugged away.  The good news was that the 3 inches of water sitting on the sugar sand made that part of the ride a piece of cake and the easiest part of our whole day.  I definitely felt the 25 extra pounds I'm carrying from last time I rode that loop.  But it was still super awesome to get out and feel free again.  I didn't start missing my baby girl like crazy until around mile 11.  Brian was awesome as my lead for the ride.  We decided I was comfortable at around 9 mph and he stuck to my comfort level.  A couple times I told him it was cool it he broke out for a bit or tagged off with some guys who passed us as long as he just waited for me at the road, but he stayed with me and warned me of each deep patch of mud, and keep up my spirits with jokes like "are your feet wet?"   Even at the end when I as exhausted and barely pedaling he still stayed with me.

The last .5 miles are on the pavement back to the parking area and the rain had finally stopped.  Everything was so fresh and green and the air didn't feel so hot on our wet clothes.  I felt so accomplished (even if my quads were unbelievably sore and tight).  I can't wait to do it again. 

This was our loop.


This is him cleaning off our bikes


And this is me afterwards.

I'm only showing this pic because in another 15 months I'll show one where I'm 25 pounds lighter and muuuuch less tired.  (with much smaller milk jugs).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eh What's Cookin Doc?

In light of a recent discovery that even nursing mothers can gain weight, I have started to take what I said about eating healthier to heart.  When I go to my OB for my routine well woman exam next month I will get a proper weight.  Then I will give myself until Mothers Day next year to get back to my pre pregnancy weight.  On Mothers Day 2013 I will run the Mothers Day 5K with Amelia, my friend Carolyn, and her incoming baby girl.  This gives me about 12 months for about 24 pounds which should be pretty doable without going overboard since I plan to nurse until around Amelia's first birthday in December. 

So.  My body is working hard to make milk to feed my baby.  For anyone who hasn't nursed before, it makes you hungry.  Ravished really.  Top that off with the fact that you don't get much time to sit and eat in the day, and it becomes very easy to eat a bunch of crap, simply because it is easier and the sugar rush is satisfying because by the time you get to eat your blood sugar is low and all you crave (or at least all I crave) is carbs and sugar.  I first realized I have a problem when I was at work and tasted a tiny bit of sugar to make sure it wasn't salt before making a batch of simple syrup.  I knew it wasn't salt, but it didn't taste like it should.  It didn't taste like sugar at all.  It tasted like crunchy air.  I've been doing this simple taste test for 9 years now and the sugar always tastes like sugar.  Now it's like I'm immune to it, and I think it is a combo of lactating and also just eating way too much friggin sugar. 

So starting this past Saturday I am writing everything I eat into a notebook. I am going to monitor what goes in and see what comes out on the scale, aiming to lose 2 pounds a month.  It is important for nursing moms to get in enough calories for your body when it is making milk, because if you don't than your body knows it and starts going into protective mode so the milk will keep coming.  We are amazing creatures.  Our body will start storing fat and keeping it in reserve, and in return start burning muscle.  Our metabolism will go to basically a complete halt and everything we do eat turns to fat.  No one wants that.  So I am shooting to eat a lot of food.  Every 2-3 hours I will eat something.  I'm trying to just make healthy decisions.  Rather than brownies for dinner, I am having turkey chili tonight.  Rather than a cinnamon bun for breakfast I had a bowl of Cheerios with non fat milk and a banana.  Instead of potato chips for a crunch with my lunch, I had raw sugar snap peas.  For ice cream I substitute Greek yogurt.  For cookies I substitute an apple with peanut butter or an orange with a handful of almonds, blueberries with a handful of walnuts, a low fat mozzarella cheese stick with a bowl of chickpeas and balsamic vinegar. 

This is not to say I won't enjoy my deserts on occasion.  Tuesday night at work someone accidentally rang in a Nutty Marshmallow Chocolate Milkshake.  Well please don't think I would let that monstrosity go down the drain.  No sir.  There were almonds in that milkshake, and almonds are healthy!  Last night I enjoyed the heck out of a piece of Tiramisu also.  But tonight I will be good and have yogurt again, and maybe some popcorn, and I will drink another gallon of water by days end.  Moderation.  And I will not deprive myself.  It's just better for everyone that way. 

Tonight's dinner is

Guilt-Free Turkey Chili 
This is a great source of protein and very low fat, disguised by tasty flavor and a beautiful colorful appearance.  Plus it makes a huge batch so you will have an easy snack and lunch from the leftovers. 


In a large pot mix the following...
20 ounces ground turkey breast, cooked
large can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cans black beans drained and rinsed
1 can corn drained
1 sweet onion, chopped and sauteed with EVOO until slightly crunchy 
1 large zucchini, chopped and broiled
lots of cumin, chili powder and red pepper to taste.
Simmer for an hour to let tastes blend, and serve over brown rice

You can use whatever vegetables you want to get more veggie servings, and you don't need the rice.  I usually have chili with Saltine crackers, but now I'm going for the brown rice for a serving of grains. 









Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My baby is 4 months!

Well actually she was 4 months on the 27th so technically she is 4 months, 1 week and 5 days.  But she had her 4 month checkup yesterday.  Her Dr is great, the best actually, and if we ever have to leave the state I think we will fly back here for our pediatrician appointments because I can't imagine seeing someone else.
Amelia's growth is perfectly in line with where it should be.  She is thriving and is very very strong.  If I didn't already know (which I do), he told me so.   We talked about food and decided that she is ready to try cereal and then some veggies.   She did rice cereal today and there is loves it and then there is LOVES it and that was my girl!  Just like her mama!!

I've got a couple things to do so forgive me if I'm scattered and rushed.  I want to get this blogged anyway though so her ya go, some pics of my sweet girl!!!

Yesterday after her well visit with her Dr her new toy was waiting for her in the mail.  So my sweety and her 2 Scooby Doo band aids played with her new toy for a little while.
Then her dad and I put her and Stifler in the car and drove to Westchase so we could take a nice walk and go to Starbucks and sit outside and drink our Frappacinos because it was Frappicino happy hour, half price at participating Starbucks this week from 3-5pm.  We came home after and took a fantastic 2 hour nap then had dinner at the Ale House.  (by the way, when I worked there 11 years ago that would have been a much more edible meal then it was last night, but the company was good).

Today I decided was the day we would start our rice cereal.  I broke the soft tipped spoons out of their package and got them clean and ready.  I mixed a little rice cereal with some pumped breast milk and put her in her high chair wearing just her diaper.  I started eating my apple and got her interested in eating and wanting to put something in her mouth.  Then she got her first bite.  She wasn't too sure at first but by the end she was licking her spoon!! and chewing at it, and talking to it.

Here's my sweety on YouTube

We did a nice warm bath after
and now while I blog about it between loads of laundry, dishes and general cleaning, she takes a nice nap in her swing.  We are going to go for an awesome walk later.  I plan to blog about our new exercise initiative one of these days but today the cuteness of the cereal victory won!