Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Four Pounds

Joanna just turned 9 months last week. Nine months! This feels crazy. One day last month when I went to pick her up from school, I caught my reflection in the window of the daycare as I was running speed walking in my heels. I stopped for a minute and all I could think to myself was, this is me... adult, wife, MOM, project manager, living in Texas... and I have a baby. It felt so unreal to say those things to myself out loud.

If you've been following my not-so-well-documented journey - you'd know just a little bit about how I've been struggling with letting go of the number on the scale. For a while, I threw out my scale and refused to weigh myself. Then, my size 10 jeans were feeling a bit loose so I bought a scale! (still trying not to focus on the number and what I had left.. just trying to track my progress). And here it is:

February: 3 lbs
March: 3 lbs
April: 1 lbs
May: 1lb

Well, in May I lost 1 pound. This was extremely discouraging because on May 1st I had just made a commitment to running again, found a running coach and ran 45 miles. FOURTY FIVE MILES. I haven't seen numbers like that since my ramp up for Chicago Marathon training in 2014. Geez, it's been that long. Still... discouraging! I know, I know... I'm not doing this to lose the weight... I'm doing this so I can find my love for running again. I'm doing this so I can feel healthy and strong and confident.

Well, I kept running and I kept moving.

4 mile run to/from Hansen Dam in
Southern California last week

Most of our Ganey family has a Fitbit. This has helped trying to get my butt out of my desk chair when I'm at work. I find a reason to walk the building in between meetings and I get a little bothered when my brother-in-law doesn't sync for 24 hours and then randomly puts 18 thousand steps on the leader board. How am I ever going to win one of those challenges? (Note: my brother in law, Matt, doesn't have a desk job like me - so when he is at work he gets in TONS of steps.)

So unfair.

But this has motivated me to keep moving! 

Well, I took a leap of faith and stepped on the scale on Sunday morning and guess what I saw. I HAVE FOUR POUNDS TO GO! ...Until I reach my pre-pregnancy weight. Granted, I was at my heaviest the day after I came home from Chicago (which was my last weigh-in at the doctor's office before I came back 6 weeks pregnant with 10 extra pounds). But, I'll take it! Just like I told myself when I put on that extra 5lbs for Chicago, your body does what it needs to do to survive. During pregnancy, I put on 52. Not my finest moment  but my body and baby needed it (well, maybe it didn't need all that ice cream... ha).

For anyone thinking about the weight they are adding during pregnancy or the weight they are trying to lose afterwards, YOU GREW A BABY INSIDE OF YOU! Don't stress the weight... try to eat right and try to exercise (even though sometimes that feels like a crazy idea with all of the life changes happening). Most importantly, give yourself grace.

Sure, there are some women who snap right back 6 weeks or even 12 weeks after delivery but you know what? I wasn't one of them. Between selling our home in Florida, moving 4 states away and adjusting to a whole new city, with a new baby AND a new job (plus my efforts to exercise were inconsistent).... it just took me a little longer than I expected it. But at some point I just needed to let go of the frustration with the scale and live my life. Because my baby is only going to be a baby for so long and I want to remember having fun with her and not stressing 24/7 about the weight. Just go out and buy bigger pants - and then go for a walk with that little baby.

Just like that, 9 months flew by and the weight is almost all gone. In the end, I'm more proud of the mama I've grown into over the last 9 months than I am for losing 48lbs in 9 months. Everyday I am learning that perspective is everything. The time will pass regardless so I might as well enjoy it with the people I love.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rosemary Roasted Pears

Everyone is pretty aware that I'm not the greatest cook. My father was the cook in my family and my mother still admits to this day that all of her children left without learning that one essential skill. I have to give him credit though, he did tell me to find a guy who knew his way around the kitchen! It's been a long process of "domesticating Stephanie" and although I have come a LONG way in the 5 years that Brad and I have been together, he still rocks the kitchen. In our home there are a few separation of duties we are both proud of - I make the milk and Brad makes the baby food :)

Joanna started rice cereal just after her 4 month check-up. I was really excited for the stage of solids. We love food (probably one of the reasons why we love/need to exercise) and we were excited to share our love of flavors and textures with her.

Once she got a handle on the cereal, we began introducing small amounts of puree. We were fortunate enough to be gifted a baby food steamer/blender from my previous manager. Did I ever mention that we Brad makes our dog food too? My manager thought we'd be "those people" who'd enjoy making our own baby food... because we make our own dog food.. and dog treats! Well, let me clarify - the boys eat store-bought, dry dog food every day. But instead of can dog food, Brad prepares a rice, chicken and vegetable mix for them. Just like baby food, he cooks this up in big batches and freezes in smaller portions.

Did I hit the husband-in-the-kitchen lottery or what? :)

Well, purees are pretty simple and easy for us. I know there is this big thing about Baby Led Weaning (BLW) where you just give your baby what you are eating at dinner... but thats where the problem started. We've been eating chicken salads or crockpot meals or other things that just doesn't seem okay for Joanna to be eating from the start. But, our go-to-purees are quickly coming to an end and it's making me a little sad. Our little girl is growing and she needs to learn a little independence in the feeding department. She needs to explore with her hands and begin feeding herself (and I'd be crazy to say that I want to feed my child spoon-by-spoon until she is 5 yrs old).

In preparation for finger foods and purees with texture, I decided that it was time to put in some effort. So, I made some roasted pears with rosemary and almond butter. The word roasted and the rosemary makes it sound so fancy (at least to me, ha). But in reality, all I really did was wash/peel the pears, slice them up and throw them in the toaster oven for 30 minutes. Well, I did harvest the rosemary from the garden one day while it was raining (that sounds kinda fancy, right? ... but I can't even take credit there, it's Brad's garden). Oh how I wish making adult food was that simple. 

I've also been steaming carrot, sweet potato and white potato sticks. These have been pretty easy to (again) wash/peel, cut up and throw in the steamer. Joanna's afternoon snacks at school are pretty much that - a snack and opportunity to feed herself. 

Since I lack creativity in the kitchen or any real knowledge about baby food, I purchased a recipe book thats been helping us along the way. Its called REAL BABY FOOD by Jenna Helwig and you can find it here

Rosemary Roasted Pears
makes about 2 cups

4 ripe (but not squishy) pears
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons of almond butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Peel and core the pears; slice into 8 wedges. Toss the pears with olive oil. Spread them out on the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until tender and lightly golden brown. Cool slightly.
3. Transfer the pears to a medium bowl. Mash the pears with a fork until you get the desired consistency for your baby. Stir in the rosemary and almond butter.

Chef Stephanita