Tuesday, July 12, 2016

This Amazing, Exhausting Thing Called Parenthood

Before we even thought we were ready for Joanna, I used to find reasons to stay busy. I couldn't sit on the couch for longer than 15 minutes before I thought of a reason to get up. Occasionally Brad would get me to sit down on a Friday night and watch a movie with him and before we got through the introduction, I had fallen asleep. I was a go, go, go! kinda gal and he was definitely a laid back, go with the flow kind of guy.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell the younger version of my self to slow down and sit down on that couch. Or to just to enjoy the silence (minus the two dogs and the cat) for a little while. Don't get me wrong. I'm still mostly the go, go, go kinda "young lady" (I don't think its fair to call me a woman until I'm over 30... but even then I'm sure I won't think of myself as one) but now I do appreciate slowing down.

When I have lots of energy, I'm signing us up for classes or races or bugging Brad to get ideas of new things to discover in DFW. I'll admit it, I don't really like to sit still. But when I'm tired from the long day of parenting, working, commuting and cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, all I can think about is how I want to sit on the couch. Nowadays, my couch time requires for me to be hooked up to a breast pump and I get a few minutes to myself to get some reading in.

When I'm tired and I look over at Brad and I can see that all he wants to do is sit on the couch. But here is right there with me, knee deep in the mud. He is getting bottles and lunch and diapers ready for the next day.  Or feeding the dogs or cutting up some fresh produce. My heart just smiles. It smiles because even though this "new" life of ours (not so new anymore, we've been in Dallas for 7.5 months now!) is incredibly exhausting.. I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

Brad and I were talking about that word the other day, "exhausting" and what it really meant to us. I guess it means that we are falling into bed every night (or every morning for him, when he is working). It means that we are doing everything we can to provide for our family. It means that we are making memories every moment we are together, not sitting on the couch vegging out. It means that we are running or exercising or going the extra mile to eat healthy. It means that my mind is constantly thinking about something...

I need to text the pet/house sitter to confirm for this weekend
I need to send that follow up email for my project
We need to remember to bring a pack of diapers to school in the morning
We need to give the dogs a haircut
What's for dinner tomorrow night?

There is one place that I try my absolute hardest not to let those "I need to..." thoughts come into my mind. It's when we are sitting on the floor with Jo in the middle of our living room. There is this large grey/black/white mat that is the "safe zone". We sit, we lay, we roll, we read, we crawl, we play, we talk about anything and everything with Joanna. Our living room is a kid zone and I love it. Just a big open space where we can be in the moment with our girl.

Joanna 8.5 months old
drooling like a monster
Joanna 9.5 months old fetching toys from her basket

I could have never imagined what this life would be like. I could have never imagined or even truly believed the joy motherhood would bring me. Or even wifehood for that matter (I'm sure I just made that word up but AutoCorrect didn't fix it... ha). I always thought that I would have enough energy to do ALL the things! And somedays, like today where I have a little free time to think about all the things we do to clean up from today and prepare for tomorrow... I dwell on how exhausting it all feels. But I also sit back and think about how blessed we are.

Blessed to have each other to tag-team all of our duties. Blessed to have a child which fills our house with laughter and love (and laundry!). Blessed to have 3 pets who constantly show us love (and Joanna too!) and SHED quite a bit of that love all over the house. Blessed to have a brand new mattress to lay down my exhausted body on every single night because our old one just wasn't cutting it.

Mama Stephanita

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Baby Has an Egg Allergy

Introducing solid foods was one of the milestones I most looked forward to. Brad and I love to try new foods, he loves to cook, I love to eat! I have been very excited to share this experience with Jo as we did our research and tried our best to introduce a wide variety of flavors and most recently textures. She graduated from purees to finger foods between 7-8 months and now all she wants to do is feed herself!

All of that excitement came to a screeching halt around 7 months when we gave Joanna some of our spinach and chicken scrambled egg one morning and shortly after we had to rush her to the urgent care. After breakfast (which she seemed to eat pretty well), she became fussy and started rubbing her face. I thought to myself, those are typical sleepy baby cues - right?! She did nap for about 20 minutes and then woke up crying and fussy again. Second thought, she needs a diaper change! So I laid her on the changing table, unbuttoned her onesie and lifted it up. There is was... redness and raised bumps everywhere. I tried to stay as calm as I could. I picked Jo back up and walked as fast as I could to the backyard where Brad was watering the plants. I opened the door and said in a very loud but calm voice, "Brad, we need to go. I think Jo is having an allergic reaction. We need to go... NOW!".

By this time, her face was red. She was rubbing her face even more and becoming increasingly fussy. We got her diaper bag and rushed out the door. I called ahead and did "online check-in" for the urgent care so we were seen as soon as we walked through the door. I tried so hard not to cry, not to feel like the worst mama in the world because it took me 45 minutes to figure out that my child was having an allergic reaction. Luckily, it was only hives. Luckily, she didn't have any struggled breathing.

The urgent care administered Benadryl rather quickly and made us wait twenty minutes to see if the hives were beginning to clear up. The nurse and doctor continued to check on us and twenty minutes passed and nothing happened. Jo did doze off a bit while I held her trying my best to hold back tears and guilt. The nurse and doctor came back and they informed us they were going to give her a steroid to help the Benadryl. I assume either her reaction was very strong and the Benadryl wasn't enough.... or it was too far along for the Benadryl to do the job on its own. After spending two hours at the urgent care, we finally went home with an extra dose of steroid in the event that the hives didn't completely disappear that evening.

Well, today we received the official news that Joanna has an egg allergy. Of course we already had our suspicions. The nurse called and said that her allergy test results came back and it's "pretty severe" and to avoid all eggs. To avoid egg yolk, egg white and even egg baked into dishes. From the little research I've done, some people with an egg allergy  can tolerate egg cooked into dishes (heated above 350 degrees) and there is a separate test that is done to determine this. We were very happy to learn that the 10-15 other foods in the allergy panel they tested her for all came back negative.

The last several days Jo has been refusing her first bottle at school. She has been less interested in nursing throughout the day on the weekends and more interested in solid foods that she can feed herself. I have been a little stressed as I've been thinking about the different kind of foods we can give her that have no traces of egg, that we can "prep" on the weekends and a variety of them so we make sure we are hitting all of the essential food groups.

It's real folks. You know I am not the chef in our family, I'm not even an amateur cook! But I am the planner. I've been struggling. How are we going to pull this off? We have to start cooking everyday? I know that her primary source of nutrition is milk for the first year, but what do you do when your child becomes less and less interested in it? Brad has come up with a few ideas - little hamburger patties, chicken strips, homemade mac and cheese, waffles, etc. But all I can think about is when the hell are we going to cook these things!

I know. I know. This is just a new phase for us in parenting and we will find our way and figure it out. But add the severe egg allergy to the whole working/pumping/traveling schedule of mine and Brad's overnight hospital schedule + soon-to-be daytime training schedule (on his days off) and I get a little panicked. Oh yeah, he is in the process of transferring from his current hospital which is 25 miles away to a new hospital just 3 miles from our home. This is amazing by the way, less miles on the truck, less time commuting... but the logistics of me traveling and him working more hours while I am gone in order to switch jobs... it's got me bitting my finger nails more than normal.

We can handle this. We just need to find some new go-to recipes, find a way to prep/cook for the week and most of all... we need to communicate when it feels overwhelming. Today, I'm just trying to process it all. Right now, this all feels a little scary.

Mama Stephanie

Saturday, July 2, 2016

June Fitness Stats/Recap

I've been wanting to share my progress with my new coach and my not-so-new-life. But May came and went and the "appropriate" time (i.e. the end of the month when people share what they actually did that month) passed quickly. I love how other bloggers give their workout stats and recap some good things that happened throughout the month. This is my first attempt (I'm even starting to write this post several days before I want to publish it so I can get it in!) so bare with me while I get my groove going.

Steps - 373,278 (12.5k average daily)
As mentioned in my previous post, our family has been on the fitbit kick lately. I have a few competitive bones in my body and I love how "getting our steps in" is fun and also encourages us to get moving. I typically have a challenge with my coworkers and a challenge with my family going every week/most weekends. I'm sure they feel like I cheat when I go for a run in the morning (yes, I still wear my fitbit while wearing my garmin to track my run.. thats totally not cheating, right?!). Since I work in an office setting all day, my runs are typically the only way I can reach my daily goal.

Running - 50 miles!
This is my second month working with Beth. I haven't told her this yet, but I mostly look forward to her funny, encouraging words she puts in my plans every week (and the awesome feedback I get in return). She really gets the work-home-life-running balance I am trying to accomplish and even gives suggestions for incorporating my workouts with Jo. This month during our California vacation, I missed my 7 mile long run and a tempo run that week. I should have had a little more mileage but Beth always seems to carry the positive spirit in our relationship and reassured me that she cares more about the effort I'm putting in when I can. Sometimes when I dread pushing the stroller for 4-6 miles, she reminds me that I'm a bad ass and I'm making my daughter proud. She knows how to tailor the encouragement for her trainees and I love that about her. The mileage is starting to ramp up a bit. My long runs are increasing as we are getting ready for that fall half marathon (more to come on this!).

Strength Training - Two 20min sessions & 1 workout video
Beth doesn't only focus on my running, she also gives me short strength training exercises to do every week. This usually ranges from lunges, planks, squats, push ups, etc. This typically doesn't take longer than 20 minutes or so. As much as I'd like to try to do this while Jo is playing on the floor  - I usually do it after she has gone to bed. This past week we started adding in a workout video. I really like the workouts from 21 Day Fix Extreme but I will admit that this kicked my butt. I did well during the video and the next day I had soreness I hadn't felt in a long time!

Bike - 3.5 miles
As Jo has gotten a little older, I've been trying to think of outdoor activities we can do together. My bike from college has gone unused for several years because of the "aggressive feel" of the handle bars - it's just too uncomfortable on my back. So earlier this month, Brad bought me a new bicycle and a seat for Jo. The intent is to feel comfortable enough on the bike by myself so that when Jo is stable enough and her helmet fits more snug (maybe between 10-12 months), she can start riding with me. Well, I only took the bike out once this month and it was a short 3.5 miles around the neighborhood. I need to try to get out more next month. These are all leisurely rides and meant to keep me moving while giving Jo and I another thing to do together (with Brad the weekends he is off work).

Cute helmet mommy!
This month we got to visit the Ganeys in California. My brother and sister-in-law, Matt and Terri, moved to Southern California last year and we had an absolute blast visiting with them. In the 5 years I've been part of their family, I've never had the opportunity to spend so much time together with them. We had a lot of heart-to-heart conversations about family and our goals/dreams for our new lives in Texas and Cali. We got to see SO MANY sights in Los Angeles and also the Pacific Coast. Brad and I learned and adopted a new way for eating tacos!  The visit with them really rekindled our fire to learn more about Dallas and try new places.

Sure, there are tons of other things I wish I could do. Such as read a new book or sew something or even cook something new and different (because sometimes I have no concept of time and I think, "yeah, I can do that too!"). But realistically, I just don't have the time or energy to take on more hobbies. Most importantly, I have to keep reminding myself that that is OKAY. Brad helps a TON and there is no way that I could travel for work or run if it wasn't for all that he does for our family. We definitely share the domestic responsibilities in our household - and I would hope that is the case with most dual-working parents in the 21st century. 

I'm excited to see what July brings!

Fit Mama