Pregnancy Aftermath: The Good, the bad, and the unexpected

The Good, the bad, and the unexpected:

When I went into labor on that hot day last September, I couldn’t have felt more ready. My bag was packed with everything (and more) that I could possibly need to give birth, our nursery filled with items to last our baby until her first birthday, and my mind overflowing with knowledge from the plethora of research and reading I had done over the last 9 months. I left for the birth center with a “bring it” attitude. How hard could this whole parenting thing be?

The moment Hadley was born all of my preparation went out the window. I had nothing in my bag, in her nursery,  or in my mind that could help me now. This tiny, helpless thing laying on my chest was mine, and it was up to me to take care of her. What did I get myself into?

No book, blog, or person told me that my baby might have colic, AND reflux, AND struggle to breastfeed. No one told me how much my boobs would leak during the night or how painfully emotional I would be the days after birth. No one told me how amazing it would feel to see my baby smile for the first time, or how much sleep I would lose once we moved her out of our room and into her nursery. No one told me any of these things. And looking back now, I am glad they didn’t. They couldn’t really, for each experience is different from the next.

This has been the greatest, most challenging adventure I have ever embarked on. Not knowing what to expect has challenged me emotionally, mentally, and physically. Being ill-prepared (which is something I have rarely ever been my whole life) has made me a better mom, and a better person.

When I finally feel like I have got this whole parenting thing down,  Hadley reminds me of just how little I know. While there is little I can tell you (look at it as a blessing)  that will actually prepare you for motherhood, I would love to share some of the good, the bad, and the unexpected at six months post-baby.

The Good:

I’m not pregnant anymore: As much as I LOVED being pregnant, I will be the first to admit that it feels good to have my body back (for the most part). It still isn’t entirely mine, for as I type my daughter is grabbing my shirt in hunger.

My body is also different, but I can sleep on my stomach, wear non-stretchy pants, and paint my own toenails. It’s hard to believe my belly ever looked like that!

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Also, trading being pregnant for this?

Priceless.

The Love: Everyone told me that the second my baby was born I would fall in love instantly. It’s not that I didn’t love her from the second the midwife laid her on my belly, because I did. Its just that she wasn’t the “baby bump” I had bonded with over the last nine months. She was no longer that profile I saw on the sonograms, the kicks I felt late into the night, and the little girl I pictured in my mind for 9 very long months. It took us a minute to get acquainted and start our love story.  Each day, I fall more and more in love with her.

Baby gets the attention rather than my belly:  I must admit that part of me loved the attention you get when you are pregnant. But toward the end of my pregnancy, the “when are you due”, “you are carrying so low”, “you can’t only be 6 months pregnant” comments got old FAST.

Ever since Hadley was born, the attention went from my belly, to the baby. Which is a good thing, because I sure hoped no one would comment on my belly after giving birth.

It is so fun to see the smiles, laughs, and conversations having a new baby has started. Even when my husband is home to watch her so I can go to the grocery store, I find myself wanting to bring her because I am just so proud of the sweet girl she is. She smiles at everyone she sees and I feel like she can make someones day who needs it!

The only attention I no longer get is from men. I’m not quite sure  how I feel about it, but I truly haven’t been hit on ONCE since having my baby. The closest I got to attention was when I was out at happy hour with my girl friends, some guy totally checked out my boobs…which leads me to the next topic…

The Boobs: As a former “A cupper”, I never really understood the upside of boobs. My previous small boob mindset caused me to only think of the negative things associated with them such as, “it would hurt to run”, “you can’t go bra-less”, and “guys don’t really like them big”. Apparently, I didn’t know what I was missing.

While these babies are only on rent, I will not take them for granted. Breastfeeding for the win.

The Bad:

Hair Loss: When I read about losing hair post baby I didn’t know what they meant. I have always had a LOT of hair and wasn’t concerned that I might lose a little more hair in the shower each morning. At around 3.5 months post-baby big chunks started falling out. Nobody told me that I would lose HALF of my hair. These are the times when people focusing only on Hadley is really beneficial :)

Hair from ONE time of brushing it

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Birth Control: Normally I like birth control. I am a very routine person who doesn’t like surprises, and with birth control, you always know what (and when) to expect. Even after I started taking the “mini pill” (which is a progesterone only pill safe to take while breastfeeding) I still had no idea that I wasn’t going to get a period each month. That you take the packs back to back . That it’s not nearly as effective as the birth control I was on BEFORE we got pregnant. So it’s like Russian Roulette. Fingers crossed that my period doesn’t start while I am wearing white skinny jeans . Talk about ill-prepared…

Periods (or lack there of): The last time I wished for my period was on my 13th birthday. I felt like all of my friends were “becoming women” and I was still stuffing my training bra just trying to fit in. But seriously. I am going on 16 months without a period and it is sort of freaking me out. I am ready to feel like a woman again! 13 going on 30 for real.

The unexpected:

Phantom Kicks: The last few months I thought I was going crazy. I would be sitting there playing on the floor with Hadley, and suddenly feel a baby kicking in my belly. After two negative pregnancy tests I decided to do a little research. While I found no hard evidence from a reliable source on this topic, I was relieved to see many other post-partum ladies feeling the same thing. One theory points to our increased awareness of our body, making it easier to feel every twinge or gas bubble (which feels like a baby kick). The other theory is that our uterus is slowly contracting down to it’s normal size causing a kick-like feeling. Whatever it is, it is the weirdest feeling ever…to be looking at my baby and “feeling her kick” all at the same time…

The Questions: I thought people were nosy about pregnancy, but didn’t expect the loads of questions after baby aside from the “what is her name”, “how old is she” small talk. Boy was I wrong. While I am not shy about most topics, it is crazy that complete strangers have asked me questions such as “are you nursing?” or “have you lost your baby weight yet?”. But my FAVORITE is the “when are you having another one?” Really? I seriously JUST had a baby! I am trying to enjoy every second I can and all everyone else wants to know is when the next one is coming. I don’t even know just yet IF there will be another one. I am having WAY too much fun with this one to think that far ahead.

I’m not the mom I envisioned:

Before we become moms, we all picture what we will be like. A well dressed, perfect dinners every night, homemade baby food making, scheduled, nursing cover wearing mama…well I discovered VERY QUICKLY that that’s just not me. And it took actually HAVING a baby to realize it.

I am lucky if I get a shower before 8pm. Most days I don’t change out of my workout clothes. Some nights we have frozen chicken nuggets and a salad because I just can’t think of anything else. Hadley hates the baby food I make so we feed her the same things we eat.  Steak and whipped cream are some of her favorite foods.  We have no schedule. She eats, naps and plays as she likes. I nurse my baby wherever she pleases,  and if someone doesn’t like it, they can look away.

But I am so happy I am not the mom I envisioned. I am more laid back, silly, and messy than I ever imagined. We play, and sing, and dance. We hike and explore, sing the alphabet while we drive, make funny faces at each other and just let the house get messy. Hadley has dictated the kind of mother I am, and I am forever grateful to her!

Every Day is different: Whats works one day, doesn’t always work the next day. Right when I think I figured out how to get her to nap, she decides she doesn’t need to nap anymore. When I find a food she loves, she spits it out the next time I try to feed it to her. I have learned to never get used to things because they change. I live by the motto “this too shall pass”, and it always does.

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Motherhood is an adventure you just can’t prepare for. Our education system fooled me into thinking that studying it enough would lead me to success. But success and parenting aren’t two words that go together.

Motherhood has humbled me. It has calmed me, challenged me, and absolutely completed my life. If I do nothing else great in this lifetime, I can look back and say I did the greatest thing of all. This adventure, that I was never prepared for, has been the greatest one of all.

XOXO

My Life, As a Stay At Home Mom

I know, I know, it’s been FOREVER since I have posted. Thank you to all my loyal followers who have have encouraged me to get back to writing!

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The last month has been incredible. Hadley has finally become her own little person, and has turned into such a happy baby. After the 4 months of colic, it feels so good to see her laughing and smiling. Looking back to those challenging months, it’s hard to believe how different life it today.

I think I haven’t written lately because I just can’t stand to be away from my girl. I LOVE rolling around on the floor with her reading books and singing her the ABC’s. We love to go on hikes, go shopping, swim in the pool, and play with her friends. She sits up now and she is so proud of herself. She sleeps 12 hours at night and takes naps during the day where, and as she pleases. She is spunky, but boy do we LOVE her!

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We just got back from a trip to Disneyland which was AMAZING. Hadley has a blast, despite a cold and ear infection.

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I was hesitant about taking her to Disney for 3 days at 5 months old, but we had such a great time. She napped in the stroller and I fed her in the special room for breastfeeding mamas. It was wonderful! It was so fun to watch her just take it all in.

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Staying at home is the best job in the entire world. Even on the hard days, I am FOREVER grateful to my husband, who works so hard to make it possible. He comes home, and immediately says, “give me my baby”, because he misses her while he is gone all day. There is NOTHING I love more than watching them together. They are best buds and she loves him like no one else.

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Hope all is well out in blog land my friends! XOXO

Post-Baby: How to Achieve YOUR perfect post-baby body

4 months Post-Partum:

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According to statisticbrain.com, 38% of American’s new years resolutions involves losing weight. I must admit that I was part of the statistic this year, as I vowed to finally get serious and shed the rest of my baby weight. Although, losing weight was only a small part of my resolution.

This year, I vowed to “feel like myself again”. Read post HERE. And part of “feeling like myself” involves feeling GOOD about myself. And for me, that means eating well and exercising.

Right after giving birth to Hadley the weight began to fall off. I know, I know, how UNFAIR, right? Well hear me out. The first 18 pounds of my 28 that I gained came off within 3 weeks without doing a thing. The last 10? Well after the last month of hard work it is finally gone. The last 10 was HARD. The last 10 stuck with me and probably would have forever if I didn’t intervene.

My last post was about eating healthy post-baby, and today’s blog is about the other half of my get healthy resolution. The topic of the day is WORKING OUT.

We all want to have a rocking body post baby, right? With all of the unrealistic images of women out there on Pinterest, magazine covers, and TV it can be so defeating.

So here I am today to tell you that you can get your body back. It may not be the exact body you had before you got pregnant, but it can be your best post-baby body. Cut yourself some slack, you brought a human to LIFE with that body.

How to achieve YOUR best post-baby body:

1) Set reasonable goals:

I birthed a child for for goodness sake. I don’t expect my waist to ever be as small as it used to be or to be able to run my fastest mile any time soon, but I do expect myself to work hard and challenge my current self. So what goals have I set for myself post-baby?

My first fitness goal post-baby, was to be active EVERY DAY. Whether is was walking around the neighborhood or doing push-ups on my bedroom floor during nap-time, I challenged myself to get moving every day of the week. And guess what? I have successfully achieved that goal thus far. Even if I only have 5 minutes, I do SOMETHING. Even if that “something” means dancing around the living room with my baby.

My most recent goal was to run a 10K in under 55 minutes. Instead of just saying “run a 10k”, which I knew I could do, I decided to push myself a little harder. This meant I would need to run faster than a nine minute mile the ENTIRE time. The morning of the race I felt more nervous than I remember feeling before any track meet in high school. I felt like I had set myself up for failure and I was  afraid to let myself down.

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As I came through that finish line at 49 minutes (just under an 8 minute mile pace) I felt so proud. It was the hardest I had pushed myself since I literally “pushed” Hadley into the world four months ago.

I love setting goals. Even if my goal for the day is to get in 50 squats at some point. There is something so invigorating about pushing yourself to success.

2) Reward yourself to stay motivated:

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing like a little reward to get your buns in gear. When it comes to motivation, do what works for you. For me, a new pair of workout pants, or new running shoes work like a charm. For some of my friends it may be a pedicure or a new fitness magazine. Here are a few cute ideas I saw on Pinterest  to stay motivated.

Motivation!

Create a motivation board!

I love this idea!

There are also so many great motivational quotes! Definitely helps inspire me!

Workout motivation

Whether it be a new pair of cute shoes after 10 gym sessions, or a movie date night with your hubs after an afternoon jog, go ahead and reward yourself. You deserve it.

3) STOP comparing yourself to others:

To celebrities, your friends, or even other moms in the grocery store. We are all different and beautiful in our own way. We all have one AMAZING thing in common- Our bodies are no longer just our own, as we shared them with our babies.

I won’t even compare my body to pre-baby. Even that isn’t realistic at 4 months post-partum. My hips are wider, my waist is bigger, and guess what? I am more confident that I have EVER been in my life. My body served the biggest purpose of all. It carried my sweet baby safely and brought her into this world.  So instead of looking at old photos of my pre-baby body,  I compare myself to ME, last week or last month. These photos were taken 2 weeks apart. Crazy what  few weeks of hard work can do!

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Only when you stop comparing yourself to others can you become the most beautiful version of yourself.

4) No excuses:

Only when I stopped making lame excuses, did I start seeing results. I used to whine about the fact that I could NEVER get to the gym since having Hadley. After going EVERY SINGLE DAY during my pregnancy I didn’t understand why I couldn’t even make it there once a week! I was so frustrated until I realized that I didn’t need a gym. I could do so many things at home, even with just my body weight. Lunges, push ups, planks, squats, dips, you name it I could do it!

We did end up buying two kettle bells recently, which has added a virtually endless list of new workouts to our at home routines. It’s so fun to write up a workout on our white-board, turn on some music, and get to work. Hadley usually plays on her mat during our 15-25 minute workout. It really helps to have my husband right by my side, working hard along with me. Now THAT is a partner.

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5) Be flexible:

Juggling a new baby isn’t easy. My life pretty much revolves around her. She eats when she wants, sleeps when she wants, and even cries as she pleases. Some days we go on our run at 7 AM, and others later in the day. It is really up to Hadley, but at some point we always get out and get moving.

Some days you just aren’t going to get to the gym and that’s OKAY. Don’t beat yourself up. Just do what you can, and I promise you, anything feels better than nothing. Some days, just a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood with H is all I need.

There are days when Hadley will NOT tolerate being put down. Sometimes I have no choice but to hold her while working out. She seems to enjoy it. I work my arms or abs and she gets to be held. Win, win.

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While I must admit that I had a pretty solid workout schedule prior to baby, becoming a mom has taught be to be flexible.

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I would love to hear from you moms what you are doing post-baby? What motivates you?

XOXO

And just because she is cute, here is a photo of Hadley at 4 months (tomorrow).

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Post Baby: Eating Healthy Post-Baby

Eating Healthy Post-Baby

Let’s be honest. Eating healthy hasn’t always been my strong suit. Luckily I have always LOVED to workout, so haven’t had to worry too much about watching what I eat. But then this happened.

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then THIS

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and now my life is COMPLETELY different in more ways than I can count. My body shape is different, my free time has transformed into “Hadley time”, and my fitness level is nowhere near where it used to be. But guess what? I got this adorable little baby to show for it. And honestly, I would trade just about anything for my sweet Haddie girl.

So now that things have settled down a bit around here, and I have gotten better adjusted to motherhood, I decided it was time to take it to the next level. To stop justifying eating any and everything I wanted just because I was breastfeeding. To begin putting more nutritious things in my body and to start setting a good example for my daughter. If you read my previous blog post, you will see that eating really “good” food was one of my resolutions.  I don’t just have myself to feed, but my baby too! She relies on ME to feed her well and also will look to me as a role model when it comes to health.

Life with a baby makes things that used to be easy MUCH more difficult. Some days I cant make it to the grocery store because Hadley is having a REALLY bad day,  and some nights both the kids have overlapping soccer practice making a sit down family dinner together impossible. Evenings are also Hadley’s fussiest and neediest time of day where she wants to be held and fed constantly. With so many factors working against me making my family a healthy dinner, how do I manage to feed my family of 5 nutritious meals?

Here are 6 steps to ensure you success in eating healthy EVEN with a baby:

1) Plan meals:

Every Sunday, I take 15 minutes to plan our meals for the week. This way, I don’t have to worry about what to make in a rush when the kids have soccer and basketball in the evenings. I then make a grocery list and hit up the store Monday morning with Hadley before nap-time.

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Quick Tip: When you are at the grocery store, pick up a few bags of frozen veggies and some frozen chicken breasts. That way you can never use the excuse “we don’t have anything healthy” when you didn’t have a chance to make it to the grocery store that week. When that happens for me, I grab some frozen chicken, and frozen veggies and make stir fry! NO EXCUSES!

2) Prep ahead of time:

Evenings are the hardest time of day in our house because it’s when Hadley is the fussiest. So instead of waiting until 5 or 6 to start cooking dinner, I use 20-30 minutes of her nap-time for prepping. For instance, if I’m making chicken and black bean enchiladas (recipe below) with a salad on the side, I make the enchiladas in a casserole dish, cover them and put them in the fridge . That way, when dinner time rolls around, and Hadley is demanding my attention, all I have to do throw the enchiladas in the oven, add dressing and voila!

On nights where both the kids have events going on and we can’t eat dinner together, I make each of our dinners in tupperware and put them in the fridge. That way, each person can heat them up around there schedule. As much as I LOVE all sitting down together, some night we just can’t. This way at least I can ensure that my family is getting a healthy meal.

Pictured below is a very simple chicken stir fry

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3) Make easy swaps: 

I was shocked when I realized how easy it was to improve my diet with just a few easy changes.

Here are some the easiest changes I have made that have immensely improved my fiber and whole grain  intake,  lowered my sugar consumption, and increased the amount of veggies I am eating each day.

-Using Sandwich Thins in place of white breads

-Buying lower sugar yogurts (swapping Yoplait Greek 100 for Activia Greek saved me 10 grams of sugar!)

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-Having two vegetables with dinner instead of having bread, rice or potatoes. For example we might have turkey burgers on Sandwich Thins with spinach salad AND steamed asparagus on the side.

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4) Organize your fridge and pantry:

Keep healthy snacks visible and unhealthy ones out of reach. This has worked WONDERS for me. When I am hungry, I feel like I can’t put food in my mouth fast enough, causing me to reach for a granola bar or the bag of pita chips. But with a little oranization, I made the healthy stuff MORE accessible than the unhealthy things.

Here is what the inside of my fridge looks like now. I got these storage bins for a dollar each and use them to keep food accessible and organized. I know veggies and fruit are supposed to go in the crisper drawer but guess what happens when I put them there? They get forgotten about! So now, I keep a few healthy snacks at eye level such as Greek yogurts, celery, baby carrots, and deli turkey. When I am hungry I am more likely to grab a few carrots and a yogurt than I would have been before.

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I also keep the stash of sweets on the very top shelf of our pantry. Out of sight, out of mind. You will be surprised by how much making something less accessible, makes you SO much more unlikely to eat it!

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5) Keep it simple: 

Unless you are having some very important company over for dinner, nobody cares if meals are fancy. Some of my favorite meals look more like dog-food than human food (see sausage veggie scramble below),  but trust me when I say that it is best to keep it simple when you are cooking with a baby.

So where do I get these healthy meal ideas you might ask? I have accumulated them over time from cooking magazines, Pinterest and friends and family. Most them I don’t even use a recipe because they are just THAT easy. I also take meals that were once not that healthy, and swap whole wheat products or skip the sauces and cream to make a healthier version.

In order to keep all of these recipe ideas in one place, I keep a list of them in the notes section of my iphone. That way, when I can’t think of dinner ideas and start to get frustrated,  I have a great list to go to. I also do it for lunch ideas. As I think of new ideas I just add them to my list. Here are just a few of the recipes ideas I have on hand.

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Here are my top 5 healthy and EASY dinners the last few weeks. I don’t use recipes for any of these, so if you would like me to try to come up with one for any of the following, let me know and I will do my best.

1) Stuffed chicken: While it may sound difficult,  it is actually really easy! Just pound out a large chicken breast until it is thin enough to roll. Add whatever ingredients you like such as cheese, pesto, spinach, or my favorite – honey ham, swiss cheese, and stuffing to make chicken courdon bleu! I made it a few weeks ago and paired it with rosemary sweet and red potatoes and a mixed green and feta salad. It seemed “fancy” and was really satisfying!

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2) Salad: I never used to think I could eat JUST a salad for dinner and be satisfied. Then I realized how fun it was to get creative and use virtually any and everything from your fridge and pantry. Be careful not to overdo the dressing, cheese, or croutons to keep it healthy!

In order to make a really good salad, I always use at least 1 item from the following categories:

*I always build my salad in this order because I want my salad to contain the largest amount of # 1 (lettuce), and the least amount of #6 (nuts).

  1. A base: Fresh mixed greens, kale, spinach or romaine. Try to avoid iceberg lettuce as it has little nutrition.
  2. Veggies: Carrots, celery, cucumber, grilled asparagus or zuchinni, mushrooms, or steamed brocolli
  3. Protein: Chicken, ground turkey, tofu, bacon, hard boiled eggs or grilled shrimp or steak. I usually grill up pounded chicken breast, slice it, and then keep a bunch in the fridge for the week.
  4. Fruits: It may seem weird but fruit does WONDERS to a salad. I love gala apples, pears, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, or peaches. If I don’t have fresh fruit I will throw on a handful of craisins or raisins for a little sweet factor.
  5. Cheese: Be careful to use cheese sparingly or your healthy dinner will turn into a high calorie meal in no time. Feta or gorgonzola are my personal favorites but any kind will work!
  6. Nuts: I love candied pecans, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, or walnuts
  7. Dressing: I love balsamic vinaigrette on most every salad, but my current favorite it Kraft’s Light Raspberry Vinaigrette.

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3) Chicken Tortilla Soup: I love soup all year around. Even when it’s 110 here in Arizona, I am known to turn the air up in the house and get out my crock pot. This soup is my entire family’s FAVORITE. I even love it so much I make it for company. The recipe is linked HERE.

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4) Rotisserie Chicken enchiladas: This is an incredibly easy meal. All you need is a rotisserie chicken, whole wheat tortillas, a sweet onion, some jack cheese, and a can of green enchilada sauce. This is such a great meal to make in advance and makes great leftovers! I pair it with a big salad and whole black beans.

5) Veggie and sausage scramble: We always have eggs in our fridge which means I always have a healthy meal option. I LOVE making scrambles for dinner so that I can use up lots of veggies that might go bad otherwise. I also always keep a few packs of Trader Joes Chicken Apple Sausage in my freezer because I am OBSESSED with it. I also put it on pizza and with red sauce over pasta.

Here is my FAVORITE ingredients to whip up a little breakfast for dinner: It may not look pretty but it sure is delicious and packed with protien!

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6) Track Your Nutrition:

When I started writing down everything I was eating, I was absolutely SHOCKED at what and how much I was putting in my body. No wonder I wasn’t losing my last few pounds of baby weight or feeling my best. I also wasn’t eating near enough protein or healthy carbohydrates. I now use the MyFitnessPal app on my iphone every day. You put in your weight, height, and how many calories you want to eat per day. It tracks EVERYTHING from the percentage of calories that come from fat, carbs, and protein, as well as nutrient details. It also have a place to enter workouts so that you correctly subract them from your calorie intake. I also subtract calories for breastfeeding so that I make sure to eat enough to feed by little H.

Most people think they know what they are putting in their body, but I challnege you to try tracking it. I guarantee it will help you chose healthier foods! I actually look forward to entering my meals, snacks and exercise each day.

Here is what the daily log looks like:

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It feels SO good to put good food in my body. This way I am not only fueling my body well, but also my baby’s. Anyone have any easy and healthy meals to share? What do you do to make sure dinner gets made for your family?

XOXOX

A New Year, The Old Me: A Resolution to Feel like “Myself” Again

What a year it has been. It is still hard to believe that 2013 is over! 9 months of my year was spent pregnant, and the other 3 were trying to survive being a new mom to a colicky baby. So it’s safe to say that I haven’t really been able to “be myself” for quite some time.

Each new years eve, I try to come up with some sort of resolution.  I usually don’t share my resolution with anyone but my husband because it is usually something too awkward or deeply personal to share. Last year it was to “get pregnant”, which is funny because as we toasted with a glass of champagne at midnight, I already was… Glad to know that I successfully accomplished my resolution last year…

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Here is what I posted on New Years Eve last year…

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Looks like 2013 did just that. The past year has changed my entire outlook on resolutions. Having a baby has changed me in ways I never knew possible. My daughter makes me want to be the BEST me possible. And as I was reflecting on my first 3 months as her mom, it hit me that I haven’t been myself for quite some time.

Isn’t it MY job to teach her to challenge herself, to not be afraid to try new things, and to truly love herself? How can I teach her these valuable life lessons if I have completely stopped doing them myself? If I have completely lost myself, how can I teach her to be herself? Just because I have a daughter who needs so  much of my attention, doesn’t mean I have to stop being myself.

So this year, instead of wanting to change myself in some way, I resolve to “unchange” myself. To get back to doing the things I love and the things that make me, ME.

This year, I am vowing to be the best me I can be, in order to be the best wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend I can be. The following is a list of things that I have neglected over the past year. Parts of me I never want to live without. Things that define me and make me feel so incredibly alive.

1) Run harder: I love to run. I sometimes pretend I don’t because it’s “not always cool”, but I really do love it. My husband just encouraged me to sign up for a 10K in a few weeks. I am thrilled, nervous, and excited to get out and race. While I thoroughly enjoy my daily jogs with Hadley in tow, I really need to “race” every so often to challenge myself.

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2) Eat REALLY good food: From certain perspectives I have been eating “good” food. Sweets, salty snacks, and far too much caffeine. The last year I ate whatever I wanted with one of two excuses: “I’m eating for two”, or “I don’t want my milk supply to go down”. While I did cut out sugar around 32 weeks pregnant, I was still putting many unhealthy things in my body.

So as of the 1st, I have been eating really “good” food. Lots of vegetables, lean meats, and plenty of water. I am on day three, and I already am feeling amazing. After a year of eating any and everything I wanted, I am ready to get back to putting good things in my mouth. I am enjoying planning healthy meals and spending more time in the kitchen.

3) Get Creative: Creativity has always been a huge part of me. I grew up with an incredible stay-at-home-mom who always had us baking, crafting, and learning through play. My childhood was one big adventure, and my love for music, art, crafting, and cooking all came from my mom. Right before I found out I was pregnant I began guitar lessons. I love to sing and guitar gave me a reason to get back to it. When my belly got too big I gave up lessons and playing because it was so hard to hold my guitar. I have hardly played since! I also had started sewing in my last few months of pregnancy but abandoned it when H was born. I am so ready to get back to some of my new favorite things!

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4) See new things:  We all want to do this, right? Well I have become such a homebody lately. Partly because I was too afraid to take my screaming baby out of the house, and partly because I have been too exhausted to do anything more than take care of H and the home. But there is SO much I am missing out on. There are so many things in Tucson that I haven’t even done. Trails I haven’t hiked, restaurants I haven’t tried, and historical exhibits I know nothing about. I recently bought a zoo pass, and a Kelty hiking pack for Hadley. I am ready to start exploring the city I live in!

5) More silly, less serious: Being a new mom to a baby that cries a lot sure got me serious. The stress of the colic left little time for everyday silliness and laughter. I am ready to get back to my “weird” self. The self that bakes a cake just to smash my face in it, and roller-skates in the house with the big kids. That self was more fun. I have already started being silly with Hadley. While I am not a funny person, H thinks I am. It’s about to get really weird around here…

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6) Be present: I have been SO distracted. I know, I know, I have a baby and they are quite demanding, but I really need to work on being present more often. When I am feeding her, I vow to spend less time surfing the web, and more time admiring the little human attached to me. When I am cuddling with my husband, I need to spend less time talking about the baby, and more time listening to him. When I am out to lunch with a friend, I want to hear more about THEIR life, and talk less about mine. I apologize to anyone who I have neglected the past few months. I can’t wait to spend better quality time with you all.

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So cheers to the new year, and the old me. It’s day 3 and so far I am already feeling more like myself. What are your resolutions this year. Has having a baby changed your usual yearly goals?

XOXO

Whose baby is this? The light at the end of the COLIC tunnel

At around 3 weeks old, it was very clear that Hadley had colic. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, MayoClinic.com states that “Colic is often defined as crying more than three hours a day, three days a week for more than three weeks in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby”. There is no gray area when it comes to colic. Your baby either HAS IT or DOESN’T  and I PROMISE you will know if they do. ALL babies cry, fuss, and throw fits. THIS IS NOT THAT.

We all just want a healthy baby when we are pregnant, don’t we? I came to realize quickly that I also wanted many things I didn’t have. She was beautiful, appeared healthy, and passed all of her screens, but something was different about Hadley. She was inconsolable in all aspects of the word. When I would tell people that nothing could stop the crying, they would all look at me like I was crazy and offer suggestions. “Have you tried swaddling her”, ” are you sure she isn’t hungry?”, “have you tried putting her in a swing?” Really? We had tried everything. I mean EVERYTHING. It was truly awful. I felt so angry that God gave me THIS BABY after all I had ever wanted in life was to be a mom. As I type this I am overcome with guilt that I ever felt so angry. I felt sorry for myself and also for my baby. I was embarrassed to go into public or have people over. They just couldn’t understand. I felt like the worst mother. Like I couldn’t do anything right. What baby is never happy in their moms arms?

There is NO worse feeling I have ever experienced. To have a beautiful baby that you can’t comfort or soothe. Not only was I struggling to comfort her, I was also struggling to breast-feed her. She is slightly tongue-tied and had the hardest time latching. Some days she would scream and cry and thrash and choke when I tried to feed her. Many feedings I would have to resort to feeding her a bottle because it was easier for her to latch onto. While I was pumping I would cry.

During her awake time she always had this crazy look in her eye. I still see it when I close my eyes as I think back a few weeks and it scares me.  I was literally scared of my daughter. How awful to see my baby this way during her awake time. The only time she was at peace was when she slept. Some days I would watch her for hours and pray that she would wake up calm. More for her sake than mine. I hated seeing her so miserable.

When my husband would come home from work I would just cry and hand her over. I was always at my breaking point when he would walk through the door. Many days both Hadley AND I were crying when Daddy got home. He would take her with a smile,  and play with her through her tears. I can say with all certainty that I truly couldn’t have done this without him.

During my nightly meltdowns, My husband promised me that around three or four months she would be a different baby. Even though his first baby was colicky and he had first-hand experience, I just couldn’t believe him.

I was too angry. I had been around so many babies and none of them were like mine. Not one. It seemed that everyone else’s baby was perfect compared to mine. When they would get fussy, they could be comforted and soothed with nursing, swaddling, or rocking them. Not mine. She was either eating (with a struggle), sleeping, or crying. She seemed so unhappy. I thought those days would NEVER end.

But guess what. My husband was right. It’s almost as if one morning (at about 2.5 months) she woke up and she was a different baby. Like night and day. I am still wondering, “where did my baby go?” She is Smiling more, giggling often, and enjoying time on her playmat. She is even happy laying in our arms (most of the time).

Sometimes I still have nightmares that she is screaming. Of her inconsolable cries… Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night afraid that she is going to go back to that colicky little girl.  But then I remind myself that it’s over. The hardest 2.5 months of my life is behind me. To you mothers were going through this. People tell you it gets better. I hated them for saying that, but now I can honestly tell you that it does.

I know now that God gave me this baby for reason. I was born to be her mother. I am so grateful to my husband who comforted me all of those nights when I just couldn’t take it anymore. Who responded sweetly to all of my angry, frustrated texts during the day. Who told me that I could DO this and promised me it would get better. He was right. I DID do it. WE did it.

We are falling more and more in love with her each day. It makes me beyond happy to see my baby happy. There is light at the end of the colic tunnel…

Congrats Cal, we made it!

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If ANY of you are struggling with a colicky baby, and need someone to talk to, I am here for you. Don’t hesitate to contact me!

XOXO

Christmas shopping for a 3 month old…

This will be Hadley’s first Christmas. Last Christmas I prayed for a baby and if you do the math, you can conclude the it is exactly what I got (pretty much to the day…). Hadley will be just 3 months old when Santa comes, and while I know she doesn’t “need” much, and clearly will not know what all the commotion is about, it is important to me that she has gifts to “open” with her big brother and sister. Also, I am a little obsessed with taking pictures and would hate for her to look back and wonder why she didn’t get anything on this special day.

So what am I getting my littlest babe this year? Because she really doesn’t need much, I am doing my best to keep her gifts under $150. Here is what I have purchased thus far.

1) This REALLY cute new stocking from Pottery Barn Kids: I wanted to get H a stocking that will last through the years. I also HAD to have it personalized, so that Santa wouldn’t get confused.

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2) Bright Starts Grab and Stack Blocks: These soft blocks are great for grabbing and stacking.

2) Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube: The little boy I used to nanny loved this thing, and because it is musical, so do I.

3) Baby Sign Book: I definitely want to do baby sign with H. My sister-in-law is an interpreter, and her daughter who isn’t even 2 is can communicate SO well because of signing. This looks like a fun book that we can read with H so that we also learn the signs!

4) Skip Hop Hug and Hide Activity Toy: Hadley REALLY loves her playmat. The toys that make crinkly sounds, the mirror, and the different textures of her mat. Since we can’t bring her mat everywhere, this looked like a fun toy that gives her a lot of the same stimulation.

5) Nalgene Tritan Grip and Gulp BPA-Free Water Bottle: Katie, from God’s Little Grace did a great post on sippy cups. After reading her reviews on numerous cups, she recommended this one. So I got one for H! It will be a while before we use it, but that is what Christmas is for, right? Buying your kids things that you will have to buy eventually and wrapping them up and counting them as presents…

6) V-tech Sit-to-stand learning walker: We saw this at Costco and my husband and I thought it was a good gift for her to grow into.

7)  Minnie Mouse Plush Toy: To get her excited for our Disneyland trip in February. Secretly for me I guess. I am sort of Minnie obsessed.

8) Another Wubbanub: Because I can’t imagine being without one of these again! A few weeks ago when we only had 2 of these things, my husband misplaced one, and the dogs chewed up the other. We were both driving all over town in search of a new one. Our kids just CAN’T keep a regular one in her mouth. I ended up ordering 2 more just to be safe. Plus, they are SO cute!

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What are you getting your little ones this year? Any recommendations for things your kids loved their first year?

Happy Holidays my friends! Can you tell that H is excited for Christmas?

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XOXO