Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Size 10 Pants

I did not think the day would ever come that I'd say that my size 10 pants need a belt.

Could that mean that I am actually losing a few pounds?


Okay, let me back up. Remember when I said I was going to throw away my scale? Shortly after I did that, I went clothes shopping. Because I no longer fit into my size 4 pants and I couldn't wear sweat pants in public forever, I did it - I bought bigger pants (and a few shirts to update my mid-twenties and fabulous closet to now say almost thirty and cool mom). Ha!

My first week back to work, I was able to get 3-4 exercises in, a 5 mile run! and feel pretty good about my efforts towards my new mom body. Then our baby came home from daycare with a cold and infected our entire house. So week 2, I did no exercise. ZERO. Brad and I were so sick from those baby germs that I had no desire to get out of bed. Let alone wake up early and exercise. And just when I feel like I made it past the snot and sneezing, I bought Girl Scout cookies. I couldn't just buy 1 box, I bought 3 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. FAIL.

During my third week back at work, I slept. I slept in as long as I could (through 2 alarms) before I was going to be late in the mornings. I slept with Jo on the couch when we got home from work/daycare. I slept in the rocking chair as we got her ready for bed. I slept anywhere it was possible to sleep. I was feeling so much better than the week before, but I clearly just needed rest.

We are now at 4 months post partum (I'll post some before and after pictures once I gain the confidence to share them with the entire internet). And since Monday (yes, I'll admit that I've been wearing the same jeans for 3 days now - cool mom? lol), I have been PULLING UP MY PANTS at every turn. I didn't even realize that I was doing this until yesterday! I had completely pushed the guilt and negativity of exercise and losing weight out of my mind that a light bulb went off in my head...

Pulling up pants = pants getting too big = LOSING WEIGHT?

No way! Not possible!

We've been doing some meal planning to try and save time (and avoid having popcorn and wine for dinner). Planning healthier meals has definitely helped. And this week I'm back on track with working out (I've had two morning workouts so far). I'm hoping that as I keep chugging along through this new life of ours and making healthy choices, I will slowly keep losing weight.

I do not plan to go out and buy another scale. When my pants start falling off my waist, maybe I'll try on my size 4's collecting dust in the closet. Until then, I might have to wear a belt!

Just another mommy trying to find time for fitness between the organized chaos

Monday, January 18, 2016

Living Life a Little More Unplugged

I'm happy to report that we survived our first infestation of baby germs and week 2 of our work/school routine (I didn't think we were going to make it)! I know, I know... sometimes I exaggerate the situation a bit. But come on, day care should come with some kind of disclaimer:

Dear New Parent,
Welcome to our school. Please be advised that your child WILL get sick during their first week with us. Please be prepared for all hell to break loose.

Your Child's Learning Facility

No one actually told me what would happen. They just said, "oh yeah, that's to be expected". Expected by who? A baby professional? Maybe they don't tell first-time-parents so that they don't scare them off. Okay, that's a better reason. Anyways, we survived. We are all alive with all of our limbs intact. Maybe our noses are a little rough and peely around the edges but that's the most damage those baby germs left behind.

So, lately I feel like I've been complaining a lot about how little time I get to spend with Jo and Brad during the week. I know that most of you are thinking that the easy solution to that problem is to stay home full time. But that suggestion is just an extreme on the other side of the spectrum (and I don't know if I'm built to do that either). Anyways, I really started thinking about WHAT I CAN DO to improve the quality of time we spend together and that answer was so EASY....

Spend less time distracted by technology (i.e. spend more time "unplugged").

Brad and I are trying our hardest as parents to keep Joanna from watching TV for her first two years. I know what all you other parents are thinking, "GOOD LUCK!". Or, "Yeah right, that will never happen". And I know this is going to be a difficult challenge. Let me repeat that, yes - this will be a very difficult challenge. Because how do you entertain a complaining kid in a restaurant or what do you tell them to do when you are trying to get dinner ready and you've lost all patience in your day? Most people would say, let them sit in front of the TV.

I will be honest with you, I don't know the answer right now. I don't know how I'll try to entertain her when we are on a long car ride and she keeps asking, "are we there yet?" and probably gets on my last nerve. I don't know what we'll do when we need her to sit still for 10 minutes. Right now she is not mobile enough to need that type of entertainment and she doesn't speak so I don't have to think twice about giving her my iPhone and putting on a Netflix show. 

What I do know is how much I loved my childhood and how much it didn't involve the constant sound of television in the background or an iPad in my hands. I remember playing with the water hose with my brother and sister in the backyard. I remember playing some "war" game we made up where we threw toys across the room and then were yelled at and had to pick them all up. I remember building forts in our bedroom. I remember learning how to ride bike from my sister. I remember flying kites with my dad and brother in the field nearby. I remember playing basketball and always losing (and then crying to my parents, every time). And I know that I want Joanna (and and any other future children we have) to make memories together the way that I did when I was little. I don't want them to get caught up in this technology craziness that now exists.

This past weekend I basically spent Saturday "unplugged". I left my phone in my purse as we visited with some Dallas friends and it felt great. I wasn't constantly checking Facebook or Instagram or buying something on Amazon. I keep thinking to myself, how in the world am I supposed to teach Jo that there is more to life than the phone attached to your hand if I'm constantly consumed with that said device myself? Brad doesn't have the same problem that I do. If you ask him where his phone is, he usually doesn't have it attached to his hip like I do. He doesn't spend a lot of time on the computer either - but he does like to watch TV and movies. So I know that the challenge of living life a little more unplugged is still going to be hard for the both of us.

How much time do you spend online? Or watching television? Or with your eyes glued to a screen? I know I spend more time than I should and that's the last thing I want to teach my children.

Life is happening right before our eyes! My baby is growing up right under my nose and the last thing I want is to be distracted during those little 3 hours I get with her a day. So, we are going to be spending a little more quality time together and a lot less time with our eyes glued to a screen.

Mama Stephanie

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sick Babies Are a Game Changer

Brad and I don't get sick often. Actually, we rarely get sick. I know this probably sounds like BS (oh, those people who never get sick), but seriously we just don't. The last time I was sick was when I traveled to New York in January 2015 for 4 days and I blamed my bad cold on the subway germs. It may have really be caused by my compromised immune system and subway germs - when I came home from that trip we learned that we were pregnant! Anyways, before those oozing boogers in New York - it had been about 2 years since I was sick and maybe 3 years before that. In the last 5 years that Brad and I have been together - he's only been sick once! You get the picture... it just doesn't hit us very often.

Well, sick babies - they are a game changer. I mean, of course they don't have all of the years of warrior-strong immune systems like the rest of us do (except for a few key individuals at work who I feel are always sick - does anyone else feel like that?). But still, I wasn't prepared for what was about to happen. 

We I already planned to stay home this past weekend because the weather in Dallas was going to drop significantly. Okay, for this Florida girl - anything fewer than 55 degrees is significant, but still. It was supposed to drop to mid-30s + wind + cloudy on Saturday and Sunday it would reach 40 degrees with sunshine. You already know that I was not planning on getting out of my PJs. Thank goodness my dogs have learned to relieve themselves in the backyard - could you imagine walking a dog in 30-40 degree weather? I cannot (sorry puppies).

Joanna came home from daycare last Thursday with what sounded like a little bit of a stuffy nose. We kept an eye on her and she slept fairly well Thursday night. Friday she only went to daycare a few hours and I'm sure those baby germs just made it worse. That night, our lives were about to change. We thought we had this baby thing figured out, then she goes and gets sick on us (or maybe its our fault because we sent her to daycare (insert working mom guilt here) ... (and again here). I keep telling myself that although its tough to see our baby with congestion, her immune system is going to get stronger. But seeing a 3.5 month old baby get sick is the most heart breaking thing in the entire world.

The ENTIRE world.

This is how our weekend went:
Friday night
7-8pm: bath, massage, feeding, ready for bed
1030pm: Jo wakes up and Brad rocks her in the glider
12am: I take Jo to our bed and she sleeps on my cheast
6am: Jo wakes up and we nurse and go back to sleep in the bed together
730am: we wake up for the day

Saturday during the day wasn't bad. She had good naps (in her crib) and she nursed well at all of her feedings. Brad made a delicious beef pasta dinner for us. Saturday night, all hell broke loose.

Saturday night:
7-8pm: bath, massage, feeding, ready for bed
10pm: nurse and go to sleep in our bed
1am: nurse and wheezing, coughing and crying
230am: Brad and I decide that we need to take her to an urgent care. We pack a bag, snacks, our coats and get in the truck. We drive 15 minutes down the road to find out the urgent care is closed (it said it was open 24hrs). Joanna finally calms down from the drive and the wheezing stops and she is breathing much better. We decide to go home instead of finding another.
3am: arrive home, Jo and I go to sleep on the couch together
6am: nurse and go back to sleep
9:30am: we finally wake up for the day

Sunday, after we woke up and she started moving around - she started to feel much better. I thought we were getting through the worst. Her nose went from stuffy to runny and her coughing wasn't consistent. We hung out at home again and she had good naps (in her crib), good feedings and I had hope that Monday would bring me a happy, non-sick baby.

Sunday night:
7-8pm: bath, massage, feeding, ready for bed
8-9pm: rock, rock, rock in the glider
9-10: rock, rock, rock in the glider. Every attempt at putting her in the crib results in massive crying. She just wants to be held so Brad and I made a game plan.
10pm-130am: Jo and I sleep on the couch together. She wakes up coughing and that's Brad's queue to switch.
130-2am: Jo cries and doesn't settle down easily. I try to nurse, she doesn't want it. Brad tries to soothe her so I can get a few hours in the bed.
2am-530am: Brad sleeps on the couch with Jo. My alarm goes off at 530 and I go and try wake up Jo to feed her.
530-6am: I try to feed Jo, she isn't taking it. I pump because I'm engorged. We try to feed her the bottle - she doesn't want it. She doesn't settle down - I n a mere panic, I call my mom asking her what to do next. While on the phone with my mom and me holding Jo upright, she settles down and falls asleep.
6am-645am: Jo lets me put her in the crib for a nap. She is extremely tired (first time she slept in her crib in the evening hours all weekend). I get ready for work.
6:45am: Brad feeds her the bottle
7am: I leave for work

Needless to say, I started off the week pretty tired. I had big meetings on Monday afternoon that I didn't want to bomb-out during I drank half a Dr. Pepper in hopes that the caffeine will keep me going. Monday and Tuesday were pretty rough but I made it through both days. I received my first project which I was super excited about! My new project team is very helpful and I'll get a chance to learn a different aspect of my industry.

By today (Wednesday), I hit a marathon wall. Done. Kaput. I dropped off Jo at school this morning so that Brad can get some more sleep, he's pretty sick too. By the time my 11am meeting came around - I had snot coming out of every hole in my face and sinus pressure like you couldn't believe. So I did what any new, working mom would do - I wrapped up my day around 1pm and headed home. At 3pm I went to pick up my baby early and we both napped on the couch and cuddled and played until dinner and bedtime.

I'm all ready for bed!
Maybe the nap helped me feel better. Or maybe it was just the extra baby time I got this afternoon. Either way, I'll be disinfecting our house this weekend and hopefully all of the germs will find a new place to live!

One Sick Mama

Friday, January 8, 2016

First Week Back to Work

Disclaimer: this is a long one. Possibly my longest post to date!

I was very excited to return to work - sad to be leaving my baby... but happy to be back in the corporate world! I mean, we did just move half-way across the country for my new job, I can't really decide now that I want to stay home (maybe part time would be nice?).

A few things I learned this week:

1. Pumping is no joke!
I was pumping 1-2 times a day over the last 6 weeks trying to build up a freezer stash (and then some) so that I can feel comfortable with our milk supply. I am supposed to begin traveling for work in March and I'll be gone about 3 days every other week. I'm glad to report that our freezer stash is nice and healthy with 200+ ounces of milk! (Brad says that we are running out of space - I say we just buy another freezer! joking, no but really) ... but apparently pumping 1-2 times a day still doesnt prepare your nipples for the amount of pumping you do when you go back to work.

2. Your schedules HAVE to be flexible!
This was the schedule I saw in my head (and what we'd been practicing):

2-3am: Jo occassionally wakes up - daddy feeds her a pumped bottle
4:30-5am: mama wakes up and pumps, eat a piece of fruit
5-6am: 30-min exercise video and eat breakfast
6-6:30am: get ready for work
6:30-7am: mama wakes up Jo, feeds her, changes her, dresses her for school
7am: mama leaves house and drives to work
8am: daddy takes Jo to school

If Jo has a good night - then that means I get to sleep 6ish hours straight and I have the energy to exercise. If she doesn't go back to bed after her 2-3am feeding and I hear her and daddy struggling - I usually try to relieve him so he can go back to sleep (best husband ever award goes to him for taking on this feeding so I can sleep!). Usually my plan goes out the window if she doesn't have a good night. My new favorite quote about parenthood: "You just have to roll with it". She seems to have gotten the hang of sleeping through the night - but she doesn't do it consistently yet. This week I was able to get in 3 out of 5 morning workouts and I am taking that as a WIN!

Our evening schedule seems to be working out pretty well though (knock on wood... until there is a parking lot of cars on the interstate due to an accident or a work meeting that runs late). When either of the above happens and I am just really late, I imagine Brad will pick her up and start our evening routine and I'll jump in once I get home.

4pm: mama leaves work
4:30-5pm: mama picks up Jo from school
5:30pm: nurse Jo at home
6-7pm: dinner then playtime/reading, usually 20min nap
7-8pm: bath, baby massage, ready for bed, pumped bottle
8-10pm: wash bottles, prepare next day bottles, clean kitchen, pack lunch, shower , pump one last time ...then bed

3. Now, I understand why people live for the weekend.
I knew that working was going to be time consuming. Come on now, most people work 8 hour days, some people 10 hours - not including your commute. What I didn't expect was how few hours I would actually get to spend with her. I leave the house at 7am so I only get 30-45 minutes with her in the morning (daddy drops her off at school between 8-9am). I pick her up between 4:30-5pm so by the time we get home, I've only got about 2.5 hours with her before she goes to sleep. When I add up how much time I actually have with her, its sad. We went from spending all day together (she sleeps in her crib since we moved to Texas) to roughly 3 hours a day. As much as I love my job, I do look forward to the weekend when we can spend more time together. Our limited time is definitely more meaningful and I try not to take it for granted - even when she is being fussy. Needless to say, I can't wait for the weekend when we can do fun things together. Plus, I'll be happy not to look at that pump for 2 days.

4. Sick babies break your heart!
I'm sad to say that between the continuous change in weather this week (30s one day and 65 the next) and her first week of daycare - Joanna may be coming down with a cold (to be expected). This is the first time she's gotten sick so you could imagine how first time mommy feels over here. FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS! She started with a stuffy nose (no fever) and although she still has a smile on her face, you can tell the extra gooey in her nose and throat doesn't feel good. She just wants to be held and cuddled ... and that's all mommy wants to do too. I find myself just trying to do whatever I can to make her feel better because it just breaks my heart to see her not feel well.

5. Communication is everything!
Brad drops off Joanna in the morning and I pick her up on my way home from work. He usually only sees Teacher A (who is the lead teacher for her room) and I usually only see Teacher B. I realized I have to do a good job at communicating anything that is wrong to Brad (and Teacher B) so that they can both relay the information to Teacher A. Needless to say, parenting is the phase in your life in which you HAVE TO SPEAK UP. I guess I'm usually a little passive-aggressive (who isn't?) and I don't like to upset people. But when its something about your baby (or about how many bottles you feel like you are washing a night), it's best to communicate your concerns. For us, life has continued to get more complicated over the last 6 months (and now that Brad will be starting a new job with opposite hours it's only going to get more complicated) and the only way we can survive is by being honest with each other and communicating our needs/wants.

6. It's important that your spouse feel comfortable with baby
Let's face it - new mommy's are control freaks. Even before we decided to have children, I was really the one who planned our schedules (outside of work) and even our meals! When we realized that I would have to travel more a lot for work after we moved to Texas, I had a reality check on my control freakness. Basically, I had to give it up. As mommy (and go to parent in the beginning since I was spending so much more time with her than he was), it was going to be my job to make sure that he felt comfortable with her and confident enough to take care of her when I wasn't around. None of this "I can't leave my baby with my husband" stuff. Nobody has time for that nonsense. So, this is what I've been doing to prepare us for going back to work:

1. We have a dry erase board on the side of our refrigerator with the time of her next feeding so we can both better gauge when she is hungry and when she is tired.
2. We also list 3 dinner meals for the week - which we have ingredients for in the house and they can be cooked after we run out of leftovers. Brad is a much better cook than I am... reason number 247 why I started this blog ;)
3. Brad and I alternate feeding her before bed. I nurse or he gives her the bottle. She needs to get accustomed to being put down by either of us in the event that one of us is not there.
3. Show your partner what you have found that works and doesn't work with baby. Although you communicate that baby likes to be held in position A versus position B - you have to let them do their thing without hovering.
4. That doesn't mean you don't check on them when crying has lasted more than 3-5 minutes (people like to feel supported). But don't go running into the room asking to take the baby when crying has only just started either; give them the opportunity to soothe baby themselves.
5. Trust your partner! They are their parent too!

All in all, we survived our first week. If there is one thing I know for sure, it's that parenthood is just adapting to the constant change and trying your best. I feel like we are really in a good place for our first week. No metldowns, no tears. A few hours of lost sleep and a few workouts missed - but hey! you just gotta keep adapting.

Mama Stephanie

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Back to Running

The day I came home from my 6 weeks postpartum appointment, I attempted to go for a "run". I had been walking pretty consistently 1-2 miles a day since the baby was 2 weeks old. I'd take the jogging stroller out (and walk) with Joanna and days I needed a mental break or it was too difficult to get out with her, it would just be me and the pavement. That Tuesday after my OB appointment, I was pretty excited to get back to running... until I really started to pick up the pace and everything jiggled. I'm not even joking! I started out slow and easy, attempting 1 mile at a time. 

While we were staying at grandma's house, there was a perfect 1 mile loop that we'd walk together. Once I was cleared for exercise from the OB, I started jogging that loop. I started out between 12:30 and 13 minute miles. I was a little sad realizing how much fitness I had lost in those last months of pregnancy. But, I was happy to be getting back outside.

Now that we are in Texas, its a little harder to get outside. I either try to get out the door first thing in the morning or right after one of Jo's feedings. But, since the start of winter we've been getting some pretty cold weather that I'm just not used to. Running in 40 degrees while it's dark (first thing in the morning) makes it feel like 20 degrees. But, once the sun comes up - 40 degrees is perfect! Needless to say, my running efforts haven't been very consistent. As much as I'd like to say that my few attempts are purely for the happiness of running, they aren't. I would like to starting losing the last 25 pounds of baby weight (said no mom ever) and maybe sign up for a fall half marathon to keep the motivation going.

So, I've started dedicating 30 minutes a day to work-out videos. I've been waking up between 4:30 and 5am (usually engorged and ready to pump) and getting in 30 minutes of 21 Day Fix Extreme or JM's Killer Buns and Thighs (come on - I'd like to fit back into those size 4 jeans collecting dust in my closet). When the baby has a rough night ( the whole house is awake) or I just don't have the energy to get up, I try to get in a 3mile or 30 minute run later on in the day.

The only way I can make any of this fitness happen is because of Brad. He's taken the 2-3am feeding and I keep sleeping until my boobs are screaming "PUMP ME!" (this is a real thing). He's been really supportive with feedings and encouraging me to exercise (I'm sure he's also tired of me complaining about my baby weight... sometimes I am tired about me complaining too). That's one reason why I decided to throw away my scale.

Joanna was 9 weeks old when I decided that I wasn't going to let the number on the scale define my happiness (I also didn't have any space in my suitcase to pack it in my flight to Texas - but that's besides the point). I was doing work-out videos at grandmas house and running 8-10 miles a week and the number on the scale just wasn't budging. Like nothing, it just didn't move. I became so discouraged that I would literally go eat a cookie (grandma has lots of yummy snacks in her pantry). 

We got to Texas and I bought new work clothes for my new job and my new body. One thing I didn't buy? Was a new scale. I just keep telling myself that slow progress is still progress. I would focus on being healthy and getting my fitness back. And today, 5 weeks after we moved to Texas (and 5 weeks since I threw away that scale), 8 weeks since I started exercising (while still indulging in all those holiday treats) and 14 weeks after Joanna was born... I'M HAPPY TO REPORT THAT I RAN 5 MILES!

I can't even believe it. So instead of focusing on the number on the scale, this year I'm going to focus on how many miles I can run without dying, how many (insert booty exercise here) I can do without stopping, how many ounces of water I can drink and how many fruits and vegetables I can eat in a day. I refuse to let the number on the scale define who I am! And just like that, I'm growing confidence that I can be a healthy mom - because that's all I really want to do, is be a healthy mom (and maybe fit back into my size 4 jeans - eventually). [end rant]