Monday, July 25, 2011

The weekend was so much better!

Hello, wonderful readers! I’m happy to report that, although I am still sick, I am back to my normal, chipper self. No more negative Nancy, thanks to a wonderful, relaxing, fun weekend. It’s amazing how good times with great friends followed by a lazy day at home with my little family, can be so energizing and refreshing.

Saturday, JP and I went to one of his work buddies’ wedding. It was really beautiful. I decided to try to look extra nice, because JP and I don’t dress up often, so I wore a pair of wedge heels that I don’t normally wear. I was super cautious in them and made sure to take note of unlevel floors, loose gravel in the parking lots, etc, because, as we all know, I am clumsy. It started before I got pregnant, got worse when I was pregnant, and has not gone away. I managed to make it through the wedding and through the reception without so much as a wobble. Proud of myself, I was on my way back to the car to go home, and I suppose I got too sure of myself because, you guessed it- I fell. And I fell HARD. So hard I skinned a huge spot on my leg (through stockings, mind you!), twisted my other knee, and ripped, scuffed, and otherwise totally ruined a great pair of shoes. Two days later, I’m still limping a little and the scrape on my other leg has proven to not only be a large wound but is now a big bruise, as well. When I do things like this, I do them right. I don’t just fall and be done with it. I fall and it takes days to recover. Please also note that I have NO idea what caused me to fall. I didn’t trip, there was nothing in my path…I just fell. (Please also say a prayer that Lily has not inherited my clumsiness.) All four of my worst falls have been completely random, over absolutely nothing (one while I was 9 mos pregnant resulting in 2 skinned knees, one 6 mos before our wedding resulting in a broken ankle, one at age 12 resulting in a dislocated knee and subsequent knee surgery, and this one).

After nursing my wounds and switching over to flat flip flops, we picked up Lily and headed over to another friend’s house for a get-together. There, Lily made a new friend in Madison, a two and a half year old girl two of our friends may be fostering. I was really excited for them to be able to play together, because Lily hasn’t really had many opportunities to play with other kids close to her age. Not only was she able to play with her, but she was lavished with attention by all of the grown ups there, too. She was so good! I was a very happy mama. She shared her toys, learned everyone’s names, and had a blast. And, she was worn out when we left so she slept SO good! It was a great night for me, too, because I got to hang out with some of my great girlfriends, who I don’t get to see nearly as often as I’d like to. JP and I really needed a night out with friends.

On Sunday, we had planned to do house and yard work, but decided that since it was the first day in a LONG time that we were together, just the three of us, with no where we had to go, that we were going to spend the day being lazy together. We ended up taking a short trip to Rick’s Comic City, because we’ve decided we want to start indulging our inner nerd again with comic books. Lily loved the comic book shop, and she did really well not touching things and just looking. She kept saying “Oh wow! Mama! Wow!!” at everything. JP and I are pretty happy, because it’s clearly obvious that we have a little nerd girl on our hands. We decided on the way home that the Sundays when he is off work and we are both at home with Lily together are, from here on out, declared “Nerd Sundays”. These will be the days we have family time, watching movies, reading comic books, and catching up on our Syfy tv shows like Warehouse 13 and Eureka.

It’s really nice to be able to take the time to put the chores to the side, not leave the house to run a million errands, and just be with one another. Yesterday was such a great day. I took 2 naps with Lily, and we just got to relax. We don’t have those days nearly enough. It was definitely a “stop and smell the roses” day.

Friday on the homefront...

I wrote this Friday, and unfortunately blogspot gave me some errors, so here it is, late.

Have you ever had one of "those days"? I'm pretty sure you have. You know the kind I'm talking about- nothing huge goes completely wrong, just a bunch of little things go awry. But, at the same time, nothing at all goes completely right, either. This is how I would describe my entire's been day after day of "those days". Nothing catastrophic has happened, but nothing fantastic has, either. I have felt down and under the weather this whole week, and have had some mishaps that have resulted in the feeling that everything is at a down hill slant. But, in an effort to remain positive, I'm going to try extra, super de duper hard not to complain in this blog (at least, not too much).

Most of you know this, but for those that don't, Lily doesn't go to daycare. My Mom quit her job shortly after JP and I got married, and has basically been counting down the days until we had a baby so she could be the caregiver when I went back to work. This has been a huge blessing to us, not only financially (even though a huge plus is that she won't let us pay her), but also I know Lily is getting one on one attention and the best care. I really do believe one of the reasons she is so advanced with her language skills is because of the attention she's lavished with all day long. However, I learned this week that this arrangement does pose a few problems. Tuesday morning, keys in hand, Lily on my hip, about to walk out the door, I get a phone call from my mother, who as it turns out, is really sick. She couldn't watch Lily, and this resulted in me having to stay home from work because it was too short notice to get someone else (or even get her to someone else without being really late to work). Wednesday, Mom was still sick, but I knew in advance and was able to enlist the help of my in-laws, who were more than happy to accommodate the little miss for the day.

Unfortunately, the little miss was not so receptive to the idea, and spent half the day crying (until she was bribed with food, her cousins Thai & Landon, and the Bubble Guppies). Don't get me wrong, Lily loves her BB and D-Daddy. She was just thrown out of her routine, and she normally doesn't stay with them for extended periods of time. Couple this with cutting molars AND an apparent summer cold, and you have a stage set for big sobbing crocodile tears. By the time I picked her up, though, she was happy (albeit tired from crying) as a clam, and had been for a majority of the afternoon. It was the morning that was rough on her (and filled Mama with unrelenting guilt).

To add to worrying my head off about Lily being so upset, I woke up Wednesday with a throat so sore I felt like I could breathe fire, and a head that felt as big and heavy as a mini-van. I, too, have a summer cold, and boy, it's not awesome. I have been taking Claritin-D or Zyrtec-D, as well as Tylenol cold and sinus, and so far, all I've been left with is a sore throat, runny (then stuffy) nose, and the worst case of that drowsy, head in the clouds "medicine head" ever. Last night, neither Lily nor I got really any sleep, and I spent a majority of the night sitting up with her alternately napping and crying in my lap, in the recliner. For her, the only thing she is even mildly receptive to is the Tylenol. I tried putting the saline in her nose and using the snot sucker…it felt like I was fighting with a mutant octopus crossed with a rabid spider monkey implanted with a banshee’s voice box. Being sick myself probably didn’t add anything good to this mix. By the time I was done fighting with her, her nose was clear, but by then, she had worked herself up so much that she stuffed right back up from crying so much.

I’m hoping that tonight goes a little more smoothly, and that maybe we can set the stage for a good weekend. We do have plans, and I’d like to feel better enough to see them through.

Monday, July 18, 2011

On the way to a new me

Today marks the dawning of a new era for me. It is the era of the fit, trim, healthy me. That girl used to exist, and years of no exercise and a penchant for McDonald’s at all hours of the day or night, did her in. Until now, when my determination is stronger than ever to bring her back.

I remember, when I was 19, hearing people a little older than me, talk about how they used to eat whatever they wanted, and then one day, it caught up with them. Or, “I wish I could eat like you and not gain a pound. One day it won’t be that easy for you. Mark my words!” Did I listen to them, and start to change my eating habits or exercise habits? Of course not (after all, this is Amy writing this. I’m known for my stubbornness when it comes to these sorts of things). Now, don’t get me wrong, here- I did eat healthy sometimes. I loved (and still do) turkey burgers and ground turkey meat (instead of red meat), grilled chicken breasts, veggies, and fruit. I kept really healthy options at home. It’s just, well, being a 19 year old college student with 2 jobs, I was never home to eat them. But, because I was a 19 year old college student with 2 jobs, I burned off all the fattening calories as fast as I consumed them.

And then, I left college. I got a job working 2nd, then 3rd, shift. I also met JP, who was also still in the “I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight” phase of his life, and who thought nothing of eating a quarter pounder with cheese, large sized, at 3 am. So, we played off of one another with bad eating habits. And then one day, it hit us…we weren’t losing the weight like we had in the past. We decided to eat better, and we started our countdown to our wedding. We both had high hopes to be slim & trim for our big day, and then…I broke my ankle and was completely out of commission for close to 5 months. Laying on the couch with minimal physical activity shot “Operation Hot Bride” right out the window. JP slimmed up a bit, but not as much as he’d hoped, either.

Lack of motivation is contagious.

Fast forward from that a few years, and JP and I had both gotten on a good track. We were both regularly in the gym, we were eating better (though still not awesome) and we were both losing weight. I saw numbers on the scale that I hadn’t seen in a while, and it seemed like the weight was just melting off. I was feeling better, looking better…and then, I got pregnant. I barely gained weight during my pregnancy because I was so sick, so I can’t really blame pregnancy for throwing me off track. In fact, I REALLY can’t blame pregnancy at all, because 4 weeks post-partum, I was back down to what I weighed the day the test showed a big fat “positive”. 12 weeks post-partum, I had gained most of the baby weight back, and 5 months post partum, I had added an extra 20lbs to that. Stress, bad eating habits, post partum depression, lack of time (and motivation) to go to the gym, and other factors came into play for this to happen.

But, ultimately, excuses are like butts. Everyone has one. My excuses have gotten me nowhere, except feeling badly about myself. There is nothing worse, for a woman, anyway, than feeling that she is no longer attractive to her significant other. And while JP in no way makes me feel unattractive, I know I don’t look the way I did when we first met, and I am disappointed that I have become the fat wife. Also extremely detrimental to the female psyche is looking in the mirror and only feeling disgust.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law have told us a story of when they knew they were past their prime attractiveness. They were both so comfortable with each other that they didn’t really worry about it anymore, and one day, when they were eating deep fried donuts, they realized they were never going back to how they looked when they first met. They called this moment “jumping the shark.”

I’m not ready to jump the shark.

I’m not ok with how I look. I’m not ok with how I feel. I’m not ok with the kind of message I’m putting out to my child, with regards to being healthy and active. Things have to change, and they’re changing now.

I have been doing Weight Watchers, and have had success, just not the success I’d been hoping for. This is not because there is a flaw in the program (it’s a great program), or because it’s too hard to do (it’s actually quite simple, if you eat the right things), it’s because I have not been as strict on myself as I should be. I was, at first, and saw great results, and then I just got lax. And more lax, and more lax. I realize that I can’t do this program and see results if I don’t follow the rules. So no more “Oh, I’ll eat these M&M’s today and make it up at the gym in activity points tomorrow” (which, I never did, by the way).

I have also joined a weight loss challenge group on Facebook with some friends. We will weigh in every 2 weeks until Christmas, and whoever loses the largest percentage of weight wins. The first 2 weeks, I didn’t do so great. But, I really wasn’t trying as hard as I could’ve either. So I’m hoping for a better weigh in this Saturday.

You might be scratching your head at this point, asking yourself, “What makes right now so different than the previous 14 months she’s been talking about losing the baby weight? Where’s all this motivation coming from all of a sudden?” I’ve just gotten so tired of looking this way and so disgusted with myself for not being more determined, that I’ve reached my breaking point. I have got to do something. There is no more “maybe” or “I might”. It is “I can” and “I will”.

I have also joined a group at my gym, called the Anytime Fitness Elite. This is something my friend Joe, the owner of the gym, has started. He will be documenting our progress over the course of the program, through journals we keep, before, during, and after photos, and group and one on one meetings. We are going to have fitness plans, and probably even meal plans or at least, meal ideas. This structure is what is motivating me.

Sometimes, I have a hard time getting to the gym. But, on the days I get in there, I have a hard time figuring out how to maximize the time I have. What can I do to get the best workout and burn the most calories, in the time I am there? I tend to stick with what is comfortable- the stationary bike and the treadmill. I avoid the weights and the machines, not because I’m afraid, but because I don’t know what to do or where to start. So I’m looking really forward to having a plan.

My main goal, of course, is to lose weight. I want to look better in the clothes I wear, or even wear smaller clothes hanging in my closet collecting dust. But, losing weight is not my ONLY goal. I want to be fit. Slim is one thing, but fit is another. Have you ever seen the magazine covers, pointing out who has flab in Hollywood? Most of those women aren’t fat. They’re thin, but they’re not fit. They’re what I call “skinny-fat”. They have flabby bellies, jiggly arms, and thighs that rub together, but they don’t weigh more than 115lbs soaking wet. I don’t want to be that. Likewise, I don’t want to be so buff that I lose my feminine “softness”. I’d like to be somewhere in the middle- just fit. I don’t want to live my life eating Lean Cuisines and rice cakes (though I’m willing to do it for the time being), and passing up ice cream on a lazy Sunday with my daughter. I don’t want to be the person that puts gym time ahead of family time. I want to find that balance where I’m happy, healthy, and not cringing when I look in the mirror (or at a size tag in a pair of jeans). I want Lily to understand the importance of eating healthy and being active, not because we tell her but because we’re examples.

My husband and daughter are my whole world. I want to be around for them as long as I possibly can, and I want them to be proud of me. I want to lose this weight and get in shape for the two of them just as much as myself. I didn’t get involved with these programs because I want to “win” in the sense of prizes and rewards. I want to win by losing weight and hitting my goals. I don’t care if I’m in first place or last place, as long as I have personal success, that’s all that matters. I joined these groups for support, motivation, and direction. I am not a competitive person, so I normally don’t do well in challenges, particularly physical ones, but I’m going to give both of the weight loss/get in shape challenges I’m involved in my best shot. Not to win, but to see results.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Things I've learned from my daughter

Lily is now, amazingly, 15 months old already. I can’t think of another 15 month period where my life has changed so much. It’s amazing what an impact a 31 inch tall, 21 lb 4 oz person can have on everything from how early I get up in the morning (6: 15 am, or earlier if munchkin dictates), to what we eat (because we will inevitably be met with fierce demands of “Bite! Bite!! BITE!!”), to where and when we go somewhere (Has Lily had a nap? Do we have a baby sitter? How late do we want to be out past her bedtime?), to even what tv shows we watch (Bubble Guppies. All the time. The same 6 episodes, over and over again.) So, in honor of my sweet, strong-willed angel, I have compiled a list of the top 15 things I’ve learned in the last 15 months of being a Mama.

In no particular order…

  1. Babies make messes. Big ones. Even when they’re newborns. There is spit up. There is slobber. There is poop…lots and lots of poop. I still, to this day, have no idea how something so small can poop that much. Then, when they’re past newborns, there is baby food. And more drool. Then, there is that little period of time we’re in now, when they’re not quite babies, but they’re not totally toddlers, either. They’re eating regular foods, usually with their hands, and it goes everywhere, including to the dog. Toys go everywhere. Books, everywhere. More often than not, we end up changing Lily’s clothes after every meal. She refuses to wear a bib (and removes it hastily if we try to sneak one on), and has to feed herself everything (even mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, and spaghetti). This is all a part of her development, she has fun doing it, and hey, that’s what Tide Stain Release, Spray N Wash, and bath time are for. And the dog—my sweet, fur covered vacuum cleaner. I was told when I was pregnant “You haven’t seen anything until you start washing baby laundry. You will do more laundry than you ever thought was possible.” I laughed this off, thinking “Baby clothes are so tiny, and it’s not like the baby is going to be making messes.” Ha. Famous last thoughts! Another thing I hear a lot is “Shouldn’t she have a bib on? Oh she’s made such a mess.” And I think, “Of course she has. But she has managed to use the spoon 5 times this meal, so her dexterity is improving. Yes!!” So, yes, babies make messes. And yes, you spend a lot of time cleaning and washing such messes up, but, I wouldn’t trade the mess for anything.
  2. I gave my child formula and she…GREW AND THRIVED!! I’m not knocking breastfeeding. Not one little bit. My plan was to breastfeed and give Lily breastmilk until she was a year old. After the first 2 weeks of her life, when she had only gained 1 oz, still had terrible jaundice, and hadn’t even made it back to her birth weight, I realized that exclusively giving her breast milk was out of the question for us. Our pediatrician, my ob/gyn, and our lactation consultant all agreed that we needed to supplement with formula while I tried to up my supply and while we worked on Lily’s latch and suck. Her latch never got better and my supply never really did, either, in spite of taking over the max dosage of all of the herbs and teas supposed to help, and drinking gallons of water every day. Every single problem (with the exception of thrush) that a baby and a mother could have during breast feeding, we had. Poor latch, flat nipples, low supply, poor suckle, cracked nipples, clogged ducts, post partum depression…I can go on. At 4.5 months, after I was back to work and had even less opportunity to pump, my supply went down to less than 3 oz a day. If we had not chosen to supplement, and ultimately switch to, formula, my child would have failed to thrive completely and been starving. I was disappointed that I couldn’t breastfeed the way I’d planned. I beat myself up over it for a while, and then I realized that I was doing the best thing for my baby, especially after she nearly tripled her weight from 2 weeks to 6 mos and was finally out of the 10th percentile for weight. I made the right decision for her, which is ALL that matters. I will not be made to feel guilty, or like I failed her, for not being successful at breastfeeding. I’m not apologetic about my feelings towards militant breastfeeding supporters, who have flat out told me that I could’ve “done more” to be successful at it, and that I clearly “gave up” when I should’ve pushed through.
  3. Bath time is the best Family time. Ever since Lily was old enough to hold her head up on her own, we’ve taken a different approach to bath time. I fill up the tub and put the toys in. JP puts on swim trunks and gets in the tub with Lily. She gets to play and climb all over JP and he gets Daddy/Lily time. I sit on the outside of the tub and do the washing and get splashed. She gets to stay in the tub longer, because he is in there with her playing, and it’s the greatest bonding experience with her and JP. Now she’ll stand at the side of the tub and say “Daddy!! Daddy!! Bath time!!!”
  4. Murphy’s Law applies doubly to babies. A few times, I have had the ridiculous thought “I am only running to the store for a minute. I’ll just leave the diaper bag at home.” Or “Surely I won’t need to take a change of clothes, we’re only going to be gone for a few hours.” Fast forward to me frantically buying a pack of diapers and wipes we didn’t need, or a new outfit for Lily when she has a closet full at home. Sure, lugging around a diaper bag (which we’ve now managed to trim down to a toddler back pack), sucks. It’s heavy, and it’s full of stuff you never need when you carry it for a 5 minute trip to Kroger. But trust me, the one time you don’t take it is when your precious angel will have a poop-splosion to beat all.
  5. Kids hear everything. I know, you all are thinking “Duh! Of course they do!” but that is really something we had to learn. Fortunately, we didn’t have to learn this in a terribly hard fashion. Lily has repeated a few words we would’ve liked for her not to say, but, she’s only said them in the confines of our home, when JP and I were the only readily available ears. We’ve been extremely lucky not to have had her yell out something inappropriate in public…at least, yet. Even when we think she’s engrossed to the hilt in Bubble Guppies, or her building blocks or books, she’s listening, and her little sponge brain is soaking up what we say so she can clearly and articulately repeat it to us at a later date, to our shock and chagrin.
  6. You have to find what works for you and your child. Lily gets her diapers changed standing up. She has never liked laying on her back, even as a newborn she preferred her side. So, around 6 mos old, she started getting squirmy during diaper changes and when she was getting dressed. Since parenting is ever evolving for us, we started letting her get into whatever position she felt was good, and diapering her that way. This was, and has continued to be, standing up with her hands on the wall (kind of like she’s about to get frisked). It’s what works for us so we roll with it. We co-sleep. I slept on the couch with Lily for the first 6 mos, then I moved to the bed and now we all sleep in the bed. She’s never slept in her crib for more than an hour or two. She probably never will sleep in the crib, and at this point, we’re going to just transition her to a toddler bed when we’re ready (which I’m thinking will be sooner than later). This is what works for us. We have other things that we do that works for us, and things that we don’t do because they don’t work for us. If another family does something we don’t, more power to them because it clearly is what works for them. We don’t knock it, just like we appreciate people who don’t knock what we do.
  7. People will always say inappropriate things. Complete strangers have tried to tell me how to parent my child- she had a meltdown in Kroger over a $9 helium balloon that she wanted and I wouldn’t buy- and a complete stranger told me that I needed to buy it for her to make her stop. Excuse me? How ‘bout YOU fork over $9 for a balloon she only wants because I said she can’t have it? People have also asked me if I breastfed, then shook their heads- some because they were disappointed I only did it for 4.5 mos, and others because I did it at all. And I cannot count how many times I’ve been asked about her eyes being two different colors. Most people just ask if they are, and I tell them yes, one is blue and one is brown, and go on my way, and this is fine. I don’t mind people asking that. It’s when they follow the question with “OMG! WHY?!” or “What’s wrong with her?” that irritates me. Then there are all of the people in the world who, when Lily was drenched in pink, asked me if she was a boy or girl.
  8. Don’t fret over milestones. Lily hit all of her milestones right on track with the emails I received talking about her development. Then, she was supposed to crawl. And she didn’t. She crawled one time, at 5 months old, and not again until close to 11 months. Of course, by then, the emails were saying she should be starting to walk. She had been holding our fingers and practically running since she was 6 mos old, but she flat out refused to walk…OR crawl. She didn’t take her first step until last month, at 14 months old. She can crawl at the speed of light and she’s come a long way in a short time with walking. But it didn’t stop me from fretting over it. She hit those milestones late, ohmygoshwhatdoIdo!? Well, it could be that her head is in the 94th percentile for size (meaning, only 6% of children her age have heads bigger than her) and she hovered down in the 30-40% range for height and weight (until the last visit, when she showed above average in height, but still down low in weight), so she was top heavy. Perfectly normal and well proportioned, but just needed a little extra time to be able to get her balance. And, I kept neglecting the fact that she was hitting many, many other milestones early (cutting teeth, eating with a spoon, drinking out of a straw) and her language skills are off the charts. Most children her age know 15-20 words, and here is Lily with close to 100 words and is even putting together basic sentences. I’ve learned that my child is strong willed, and stubborn, and it doesn’t matter if she CAN do something…if she doesn’t want to, she is NOT going to do it. She could crawl, she just didn’t want to. Given how fast she’s taken to walking, she probably could do that, too, and just didn’t want to. I fretted over nothing.
  9. TV, and sugar, won’t rot your child’s brain or teeth. Just this morning, Lily watched an episode of her favorite show “Bubble Guppies”. On this show, they discussed colors, and she turned around and said “Orange” and then “Purple” to me. I thought she was just repeating what she’d heard, but I asked her to show me something purple. She pointed immediately to my cell phone, which has a purple silicone case. I asked her to show me something orange, and she pointed to one of her blocks, which was, in fact, orange. She is not staring at the tv mindlessly, in a fog. She is learning things. I credit everyone around us talking to her all the time and reading to her often, as part of her language development, but I also owe credit where credit is due: to Moose & Zee on Nick Jr, along with Dora, Diego, the Backyardigans, and most recently, the cute little “gukkies”. As for sugar, for the longest time, Lily did not have a sweet tooth. At 10 months, I gave her a piece of brownie and she gagged and threw up. She still doesn’t like cake and other sweet confections. She does, however, like ice cream and cookies. A cookie, or a few spoonfuls of ice cream, every few days, isn’t going to hurt her. She will be fine, as long as we teach her that sugary treats are just that: treats. She still would rather have a piece of broccoli or a green pea over a cookie any day of the week, and I am totally ok with that, but I will not make sweets off limits or restrict them completely. I have seen this back fire with a lot of my adult friends- the ones with the worst sweet tooth were the ones who weren’t allowed to have treats when they were little.
  10. It doesn’t matter what (or how many) toys a kid has. Lily is spoiled rotten. I’m the first to say it. We’re all guilty of doing it, too. She really is a good baby, so it’s hard not to buy her stuff. She has so many toys, both bought and inherited from her cousins, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. She doesn’t care if she has one toy or one hundred thousand toys. A few nights ago, she played with a Scentsy bar (in the plastic case, of course), JP’s shoes, and a DVD case she pretended was a phone. She had literally a hundred things (blocks, stuffed animals, books, etc) around her, and those were what she bee-lined for. She is perfectly happy trying to wear my high heels or trying to climb on JP’s foam roller, or stacking up and knocking over her blocks, it’s all one and the same to her.
  11. If you think your child won’t be interested in it, can’t reach it, or won’t try to open it, he or she will definitely do it. Every time I have said “Oh, she won’t try to open that cabinet” or “She isn’t interested in your xbox remote” or “She doesn’t know how to turn the tv off”…she does. It’s like deep down, she has to prove me wrong (it’s clearly the teenage girl coming out in her early). So we’ve baby gated, baby proofed, moved things higher than 31 inches (plus a few more inches in arm’s reach), and hoped for the best. And as I watched her try to scale the tv stand last night in an attempt to get closer to the Bubble Guppies, then later, pull DVDs off of the DVD rack and barely miss her head, I realized we still have work to do, and I should never say “Oh, she won’t…can’t…doesn’t” because she will, can, and do.
  12. No matter what you do, someone will think it’s wrong. Whether the debate is controversial like to pacifier or not to pacifier, to co-sleep or crib sleep, formula or breast, or non-controversial such as letting your child sleep in a diaper instead of pajamas, or letting them eat with their hands at 13 months old instead of spoon feeding them, or giving them a brownie after dinner instead of apple slices…someone will have a differing opinion than yours. Someone will think it’s wrong, will have a better way to do it, and will not hesitate to tell you. The best thing in the world is to take their “advice” with a grain of salt and keep doing it the way you were (unless of course it’s genuinely detrimental to your child’s health). Not everyone is going to agree with your style of parenting, but as long as it benefits your child and works for your family, keep it up.
  13. Not everything will go according to “The Plan”. In my labor and delivery class, we talked a lot about birth plans, but then we also talked a lot about complications and issues that can arise during the birthing process, as well as with newborns. I decided that I would not be making a birth plan, and that I would just go with the flow of whatever happened. And, given our situation (at the doctor one day for my 36 week check-up, and at the hospital the next night being induced 4 weeks early), it’s probably a good thing that I was able to squelch the “planner” inside of me. And, thus far, nothing has gone the way the books describe. Nothing. But, don’t get me wrong—this is not a bad thing. Everyone always tells me I am so laid back and calm about Lily, and 99% of the time, I am. We have just been through so much with her- the whole problem at the end of my pregnancy (which could’ve resulted in us losing her), the deal with her eye (and the scare of tumors), etc- that I’m not sweating the small stuff. I mean, is being anal about precise feeding times and nap lengths going to benefit us if she’s still hungry (or overfull) or still tired (or overly energized)? No. “Ideal” for us would have been a full term, breast fed baby who sleeps through the night in her own crib. We didn’t get any of that, but you know what? Lily is absolutely, 100% perfect, happy, well-adjusted, and extremely smart, and I have no regrets about any of our decisions.
  14. Sometimes other people’s advice is worth hearing. Sometimes, every so often, good advice comes out of the midst of all of the drivel of advice a Mom receives. This advice generally comes from the same small group of people (who have children of their own, usually under the age of 10), is not meant maliciously or to insinuate bad parenting, actually is extremely helpful, and, best of all, is usually solicited (and if it isn’t solicited advice, it’s prefaced by something along the lines of “I know you haven’t asked my opinion, but I can tell you something that worked great for me was….”) Read this line: THIS ADVICE IS WORTH HEARING. Even if you don’t take it, it’s still worth hearing, because every baby isn’t the same, and what you don’t do this go round, you might do the next time.
  15. I never realized how fast time flies by. I can’t believe Lily is already 15 months old. It’s been 2 years since I found out I was pregnant. I also can’t believe how fast babies grow, learn, and develop. She’s still on the petite side for babies her age, so sometimes I lose sight of how much bigger she is. Then I find a pair of newborn socks, or a onesie I forgot to pack away and it makes me sad to see how much she’s grown, yet at the same time, amazed to see what she is growing into. She is a funny, curious, mischievous, extremely smart, stubborn, tomboy princess who is a perfect mix of JP and I. You can’t help but smile when you’re around her because her personality is huge and infectious. I can’t wait to see what is in store for us.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weight Watchers!!!

Last Saturday, my wonderful Dad took my Mom, me, and Lily to Red Lobster for a fantastic dinner. It was one of those wonderfully indulgent meals that only happen once in a blue moon. Though my main course was actually moderately healthy (as far as options at Red Lobster go), it was negated by the inundation of cheddar biscuits, salad with full fat ranch dressing, and a glorious molten chocolate chip cookie something or another for dessert. This meal was a turning point for me.
I had been toying around with the idea of joining Weight Watcher online to help me lose weight, change my eating habits, and take control of myself. I had even joked through dinner that the meal was a great last hurrah before starting WW. But it was half-hearted. I wanted to do something but I didn't REALLY want to. And then, we went back to my parent's house and I did the unthinkable...something you should never do at 9:00 at night, after eating all day including such a heavy last meal: I weighed myself.
I'm not ready to share the number that popped up on there, but I will tell you this: I wholeheartedly was ready to sign up on WW and did so that night when I got home, and started Sunday.
And I've decided I'm going to blog about this journey. Maybe not every day, but definitely at least once a week. Though I can't bring myself to write the number the scale showed, I will say this: I have roughly 70 pounds I need to lose to get back into the middle of the weight range target for my height/age. I'm sure without even typing the number, you all can estimate what it is, and understand how that makes me feel. I knew I was overweight, and I knew I needed to do something, but I didn't realize how far out of hand it had gotten.
Here is how it breaks down for me on WW: I get 31 daily points, with 49 flex points per week to use (or not). Everytime I do an activity, I gain back activity points that, again, I can use (or not). Right now, I don't have a lot of time to do physical activity-- I don't have time to go to the gym with my schedule the way it is (and thankfully, that'll be changing, soon!), but I do try to fit some in everyday. On my lunch break at work, I walk around Wal-Mart at a brisk pace for about 30 minutes. I gain 3 activity points.
I'm not going to lie: these first few days I've been hungry. I'm still learning how to use my points best and what items to eat that have the most "staying power". I'm starting to get the hang of it, and instead of my snacks being point heavy, like Weight Watchers brownies or pretzels, I'm eating grapes and carrots (0 points per serving uncooked). But all in all, the point system has been easy to grasp, and I haven't gone over my points at all. I haven't really had to deprive myself of anything, either. I've been able to have a Weight Watchers ice cream bar every night with my remaining points. It's not about depriving yourself to lose weight; it's about using your points wisely. I've cut out soda completely, and am drinking around 186oz-200oz of water a day.
Thursday was a bit of a test for us: JP and I went to a member appreciation thing at Anytime Fitness, and there was a taco bar from Salsaritas. Proud to say that I did NOT over-indulge and stayed within my points range. I made it through week one and didn't use any of my activity points and only 2 flex points. I've learned that you can eat pretty much anywhere while on WW, it's just making the right choices there. For instance, a cheeseburger at McDonald's is something like 13 points, but chicken nuggets are 1 point a piece.
I looked in the mirror this morning when I was getting dressed and really felt like I looked a little bit different. I'm definitely less bloated (probably from all of the water) and my stomach looked a little flatter. This is probably all in my head, but it still made me feel good about making this choice to start this program. This is the first morning in a very long time I haven't been completely disgusted and disappointed by what I saw reflecting back at me. I still have a VERY long way to go but I think that I have finally found something that I can stick with. Saturday, I wanted to weigh myself, even though my official Weigh-In isn't until Sundays. As of Saturday afternoon, I had lost 4.3lbs! Today, when I weighed, I found I had actually lost 5.1lbs!
I am moving from the Wal-Mart branch to the Main Office, to a non-teller role, in about 2 weeks. This is excellent for so many reasons: I will get off work earlier, which will give me more time with Lily and JP. I will also be able to start getting up and out the door to the gym by the time JP gets home at 5. I'll be able to cook healthy dinners, and on nights JP is off work, we'll be able to sit and eat as a family. Also, one of my best friends works at the Main Office, and she is doing WW as well, so I will have someone there to help keep me on track. I also won't be sitting in Wal-Mart everyday, staring out into the abyss of chocolate bars, chips, Cheetos, and sodas. I know once I am able to get back into the gym, I'll really start seeing the fruits of my WW labors.
I'm sure the future updates won't be as long. I plan to touch on the progress I'm making, difficulties or struggles, maybe even good recipes I come across, and things like that. JP, in an act of solidarity, decided to join WW, too. He wanted to be sure I had support not only from Shelley at work, but from him at home. He figured it would be easier for me to stay on track, particularly when we go out to eat, if we were both on a points tracking program. Of course, he gets pretty much double the points that I do, but he is still sticking with it just like I have been. I'm thankful for him to be doing this with me, because I can definitely see it being a struggle to eat grilled chicken and steamed veggies when he's chowing down on a big, fat, greasy burger and onion rings.
Starting weight: Not telling yet, but 70 lbs more than it should be
Weigh in: Down 5.1lbs!!!! YEA!!
Meal of the week: I really love the Smart Ones breakfast quesadillas, and also the raspberry dark chocolate ice cream bars
Struggle this week: I need to eat more fruits and veggies
Goals for the upcoming week: I want to lose at least 2 lbs, continue drinking a lot of water (and no soda), not use any flex points, and walk every day on my lunch break

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Never bend over to wash your feet again...

Let me just start by saying, while I'm now fairly certain Insanity won't kill me, it's still more than just a minor accomplishment to simply psych myself up to start the video. So to say I've completed 3 days of it now is a major accomplishment, particularly since I'm hardly the target audience. I did have to stop about 3 minutes before the cool down yesterday, but not because I thought I couldn't finish. It was because my child, apparently, is on the anti-exercise, "Let's-keep-mommy-fat-and-fluffy" bandwagon (she's a lone participant, I think) because she had a total and absolute meltdown last night in her playpen as soon as I started the warm-up. For those of you who know my child, she is really generally such a happy go lucky girl and can entertain herself for hours in her playpen with her toys...when she wants to. So I think that a "total and absolute meltdown" deserves a little further explanation, so you all know I'm not exaggerating.
Total and absolute meltdown- Lily's version: (v): Includes but is not limited to, crying, screaming so loud that the tv is drowned out, throwing herself backwards into the playpen, more screaming, jumping up and down and shaking her fists, and last but not least, sticking her fingers in her mouth until she gags herself or throws up. This stops the second she is picked up, and is a sign of being completely spoiled rotten.
So, after I begrudgingly shut off the workout and picked her up, she smiled, patted my cheek and said "Heya mama! Happy!" See? Spoiled.
After I cooled down, drank water, and made sure my heart wasn't going to stop or explode (JP's warning today before I started the work out was "Keep your phone near you, just in case something happens and you need to call someone for help." I know, it made me super excited to work out, too.) I went on to bed, where I'm happy to say Lily slept ALL night!
Thanks to Rebecca Black's auto tuned awesomeness, I can tell you that today is Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday, and there are some other days that come after that but I don't really care (for the next week, anyway) because as of Friday at 7:01pm, I am on VACATION! Now, don't get too excited. I'm not really going anywhere. I'm just not going to be at work. I'm going to spend the week enjoying my baby and husband, because it's the last week my baby will BE a baby. I keep getting letters in the mail from Gerber, Similac, and Enfamil reminding me of this terribly sad fact. "I am not a baby" they say, "I am now a TODDLER." I am not ready for a toddler but I don't suppose I get much choice in the matter. It's hard to believe this time last year, I was 35 weeks pregnant with a ninja nicknamed Oops, fully expecting to have 5 weeks of pregnancy left. Little did I know my baby girl would get jealous of her Daddy having all the birthday cake and Easter candy and come 4 weeks ahead of schedule.
That brings me to another milestone I get to celebrate during my week off. My husband turns mean...30...on April 5. He was 23 when I met him, and I was 21. It's crazy how time flies, but I can't think of anyone I'd rather be with on this crazy ride.
This weekend, I'm going to finish putting out my garden. I've had pretty good success with the seed starters, and I have several good sized plants to put out. Hopefully, once they get out in the "real" world, and not on my kitchen chair in the window, they won't shrivel up and die. The day I get an actual, edible vegetable will be a great day in my house, let me tell you, because I am hardly the "green thumb" type.
While I'm on vacation, I have a list of non-vacation-y stuff to do, like go to the eye doctor, paint the hallway and laundry room, and go through my, Lily's and JP's clothes and get stuff together for a yard sale (or Goodwill, depending on my patience level at the end of this venture), plus JP's birthday party and actual birthday, and Lily's birthday. I'm interested to see how much of what I have planned to get done actually gets done, because JP is taking some vacation days, too.
Random item of the day
Since I am inside of a Wal-Mart most days, I usually try to take a brisk walk around the store on my lunch break to get a little blood flowing and to break the monotony of staring out at the registers. In my travels through the store, I see a lot of interesting things (and I'm not just talking about the people shopping). Today, I saw an "As Seen On TV" item that is quite possibly the laziest invention known to man, if not by product itself, by tag line. It's a foot scrubber thing. I didn't catch the name, but from what I gathered it affixes to the bottom of your tub and you can slide your feet in it during a shower and it cleans them for you. It looks like a shoe with a scrub brush inside of it, kind of. The best part of this novel invention is it's tag line "Never bend over to wash your feet again!" Now you tell me, how lazy have we become that we want an apparatus that will keep us from having to perform the arduous task of bending over to wash our own feet? Really? The first image that popped into my mind when I pondered this was from the movie Wall-E, where all humans were pretty much fat, lazy, and perfectly content to know nothing and do nothing for themselves. Once I saw that, I texted two people to tell them about it. One was a woman, my friend Jennifer. The other? A man, my husband. Jennifer texted back and said "How lazy! JP, on the other hand, texted me back, "How much is it? I want one! So does Brandon and Joe!" That's the difference between men and women, right there.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Of all the things I've lost, I wish more of it had been weight!

Hello lovely readers! It's day 30 of the blog challenge, and I'm on day 24 or 25 topic wise. It's also day 3 of Insanity. That means I not only surived Day 2 (which was the official first day of the workout), but I'm planning to continue.
Let me just tell you, this workout is the most aptly named workout I've ever seen. The workout is insane, and you have to BE insane to do it. I was ready to pass out halfway into the warm up yesterday, so none of you should be surprised to know that I threw up 26 minutes and 43 seconds into the 45 minute workout. But you will be surprised to know that I drank some water, let the room quit spinning, and got back to it and finished the workout. I have done more cardio in the last 2 days than I've done in the last 2 years (at least) and I have jumped more in the last 2 days than I have in probably my entire adult life (and my legs are killing me as a continuous reminder of how fat and/or out of shape I have become). I told JP if I don't lose weight doing this program then something is terribly wrong...between the jumping, running, and throwing up, the weight's gotta go somewhere!
As a reward for sticking with this and a motivator to continue with it, I got to get a new pair of cross trainers. I have a pair of Nikes that I've worn for a long time, and my feet just kill me when I am doing all the jumping. I think the arches flattened out in them just due to all of the wear. It makes me a little sad, because I didn't wear them out with exercise, I just wore them out wearing them around for the last few years.
Today's challenge topic is "Something I Miss" and while I could write about a lot of things or people, I'm going to stay right along with what I've been talking about.
I miss feeling good about how I look.
I miss the days when I could eat whatever I wanted (Hardees for breakfast? Ok! Los Compadres cheese nachos for lunch? Sure! Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner? Count me in! Waffle House double order of hashbrowns scattered, covered, and chunked at midnight? Heck yea!). I miss the days where I could pull on a pair of size 5 jeans (now, I'm lucky if my LEG is a size 5). I miss looking in the mirror and feeling good about how I look, because now I don't even want to look in the mirror because I just hate what I see. I don't like getting my pictures taken, not even with Lily, because of my fat face, double chin, and belly. I miss enjoying the pool (I don't, now, because I'm too busy trying to keep my thunder thighs and bat wing flabby arms under wraps.) I hate these feelings.
So, I'm doing something about it.
I currently weigh 195lbs. That is 55lbs over what "ideal" weight is for my height, and embarrassingly enough, close to 15bs over what I weighed the day before I went to the hospital to have Lily. I lost a lot of the baby weight really quickly after having her, but as you now know, I managed to gain it all back and then some. This is due, in part, to bad eating habits for the first few months after Lily was born, while I was on maternity leave, but is due, more so, to complete lack of physical activity. I have been to the gym a grand total of 3 times since Lily has been alive. that's 3 times out of 356 days. That's ridiculous.
Before I got pregnant, I was really losing weight. I was at the gym 5 to 7 days a week, had a program from a personal trainer, was watching what I ate...the whole 9 yards. I was down to 160lbs, and though I wasn't totally happy with that, I was feeling good. I had started at 185lbs, so I was proud of my weight loss. Then I got pregnant, and sick, sick, sick. It was about 6 months into the pregnancy before I actually gained any weight because of how sick I was. I'd gain, then lose, then gain, then lose. My pregnancy weight gain, total, was 20lbs. About 4 or 5 weeks after I had Lily, I was back down to 165, and now here we are 30lbs heavier. I had every intention of getting back into the gym as often as I could, as soon as I could, but it ended up being a lot more difficult than I had thought. I wanted to spend as much time with my daughter as I could. My mom baby-sits, and sometimes Lily is with her 12 hours a day, and I just didn't want to burden my mom (and have Lily away from us even longer) by going to the gym in the mornings before work. Then my mom said she'd keep her later if I wanted to go after work, so I did a few times. But, picking Lily up at 9 at night didn't shorten the time she was at my parents and away from me, and then I had what felt like even less time with her once we got home, because I had house hold chores to do and she fell asleep. I had a lot of bad mommy guilt and bad wife guilt, so that plan went out the window. Even though I had changed my eating habits for the most part, no physical activity had caught up in a big way.
That brings us to Insanity, here and now. I can do it at home. Whether I get up early, wait until Lily falls asleep, or do it in the middle of the afternoon while she watches me look ridiculous from her playpen, I can do it and not lose time with her. Being at home jumping around like a lunatic requires a clean floor, so the house is staying cleaner so I have work space. I'm going to work on my eating and change those habits even more.
My goal for my family is to be really active and healthy. I want to make sure JP and I are able to instill GOOD habits in Lily so she enjoys outdoor/athletic/physical activity and doesn't wrinkle her nose at a plate of grilled tilapia and veggies because it's not breaded, fried, and nugget shaped. I want to make sure JP and I have ourselves in good shape before Lily is old enough to remember what we look like out of shape.
Rather than sitting around and continuing to complain about how big I feel (all the while getting bigger), I'm going to push myself through to the end of this workout. Then, I might do it again. Hopefully by then, I'll be at my new job at the Main Office with better hours, so I'll have more leeway for gym time. I'm GOING to get back in shape...maybe even better shape than ever!