Friday, February 28, 2014

Fun food

My son is a big kid, but sometimes he will just not eat a thing!  When the going gets tough, I try to get creative with his meals.  This one was great--fruit strip hair, pancake eyes and mouth, banana/blueberry eyes, and a strawberry nose! It took 5 minutes and makes breakfast so much more fun!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Scrapbook pages from August 2012! 

Life with two kids: no walk on the beach!

Life with two kids is no walk on the beach. As I write this, it's 10:30 am, I'm in my pajamas and typing with one finger as I cradle my newborn in my arms. While I remember spending many days in this position with my first, I can honestly say that this is the first time since her birth I've stayed in my pajamas this late.

It's hard with two. I've been trying to wake before my son in order to get his lunch packed, breakfast ready and get showered and dressed before he gets up. A few days ago, I added pumping milk to that routine which added the extra challenge of waiting for baby to have her last nighttime feed before I got up. The first few days were great timing as she'd just finished eating when dad was leaving for the day (5am) so I was promoted at that time to get up & get moving. The last two days however, she didn't wake until 7 for that feeding---of course I stayed in bed until then! 

Waking up late presents challenges getting everyone ready & out the door in time for school. Yesterday, my car broke down so I didn't have to get myself ready for the trip to school. That's the only reason I'm trying to take advantage of this late morning snuggle/nap time.

During the day, once my son gets home from school it's a whole new battle for mom's attention. My son had some behavior problems for a little while before baby arrived, but having me home seems to have curbed that. But, he still gets very needy at the least opportune moments. Usually while I'm nursing and therefore cannot fetch his stuffed animals from the out-of-his-reach net, or get him a glass of juice. He's actually grasping the concept rather well and melt downs have been few and far between, but I still feel spread  very thin. It would be a lot easier to just veg out on the couch in between feedings than to have to do a new art project every free minute. At least the experience seems to be making him a little more independent, although he definitely needs more work on that. 

Night time presents a whole different set of challenges. My husband gets home after 5 most days and is usually pretty tired. He's the primary cook in the House, and although I've helped a little since being home, I still leave it up to him for the most part. Once he's home, he usually does some yard work outside which means my son will finally go outside (it seems no matter what I offer to do outside, he never wants to do anything outdoors with me). It's usually late by dinner time. My son usually gets pretty amped up when daddy is home which means he sometimes forgets the rules and gets in trouble. It can be a battle for baths, eating, teeth brushing, turning off the tv, and pretty much anything else at that time of day. 

Hey, I get grouchy too at nighttime so what can I expect? And guess who else is a grouchy butt at bed time? Baby! Yep, perfect angel all day but when it comes to the last nursing session of the day, she fusses, fights, and squirms. Of course, this led me to google every nursing issue on the block--ultimately coming to the conclusion that she's just fussier at night.

Around the time of the fussy feed, it's my son's bedtime. He was always a great sleeper until I got pregnant. Then he insisted on sleeping with me. I'm currently sleeping in the nursery so that just won't cut it. I try to give baby to daddy and lay down with him, but sometimes the timing just isn't right. It can be a whole other battle!

We're working out the kinks and I think I'm doing a pretty good job, but man! This is no walk on the beach!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Eating Healthy for Energy & Fitness

1. Eat every 2-4 hours, balancing protein, carbs, and fat. (I like the 40-40-30% rule, which you can easily track using a website like or the app provided by the same 

2. Along those same lines, don't deprive your body of fat, your body NEEDS fat. Just keep in mind that there are good fats and bad fats, and you should be trying to chose Healthy fats instead of trans-fat (i.e. avoid the words hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated).

3.  While you should not cut out any whole food group, I think it goes without saying that you should refrain from eating an too many carbs, especially sugary carbs, processed and over-processed carbohydrates.

4. Eat foods that are as close to how they occur in nature as possible!  (This is what people refer to as "clean eating" and if you try to follow this rule, eating healthy seems to follow).

5. Avoid excess sugar.  When choosing foods, look at the labels, the lower the sugar content the better. Avoid processed foods (you know its processed, for the most part if it comes in a box or a package).  NOTE: white flour is highly processed.  This is important because the more processed, the less nutrients! 

6. Avoid eating a lot of starchy carbs like corn, bread (esp white bread), pasta (esp white), white potatoes, etc. ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT.

7. You need calories.  Especially if you are working out.  Just work on improving your diet. 

8. Stop drinking sodas, eating candy bars, pizza, processed foods, etc. and work on getting consistent with eating NUTRITIONALLY DENSE, BALANCED meals every 2-4 hours. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Guide to post-partum healthy eating

For me, eating healthy and staying active after the birth of my daughter was more about maintaining a healthy mind and high energy levels than anything else. After my son, I experienced serious post partum depression & anxiety and didn't even know it until sometime later. Looking back, it's easy for me to see the mistakes I made.  If that wasn't motivating enough, it is a real challenge having two children--I wanted to be sure my son did not miss out as well because I was so tired.

Back before I was married, I learned a lot about diet and excercise while working with a trainer and having an addiction to the message boards. I read Oxygen & Fitness RX magazines and read Tosca Renos books. At the time of my wedding I was in great shape & felt great! 

My plans for my post partum health & fitness routines are based on the concepts I learned then, but with flexibility! 

Generally, eat 6 smaller meals a day as "clean" or healthy as possible--but not to overly restrict myself because of the limitations that I will already face. For example, my aunt brought over my favorite chicken enchiladas when I got home from the hospital--there was no way I was going to say no because I was limiting my diet. Further, I continued to eat the left overs for days---I barely had time to eat much less cook, so why would I let the good food go to waste? 

But, the idea is that MOST of the time, eat clean & healthy & often! As I was thinking about eating healthy, I decided to make a list of my go-to healthy foods.  Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list, but it's a good start if you are trying to eat healthy.  These are good staples!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Birth Story

Joe was born at 8:58 a.m. On Saturday, February 15,2014. She was due on February 10 and I was scheduled for an induction on the 17th at 41 weeks. 

At my 40 week appointment, my doc indicated that basically I'd had no progress since they started doing cervical exams at 36 weeks. I was still only 1 cm dilated and baby hadn't dropped. He gave me a likely hypothetical which was that I would be in labor for 12-24 hours because I'd likely need Cervadil to thin the cervix and Pitocin. Needless to say I was a little scared and upset when I left that appointment, but at the same time, I was happy to know that she would for sure be here on that day & I actually expected her delivery to occur the way he indicated so I stopped thinking that every contraction was the start of labor. It eased my mind a little bit.

My husband and I have never celebrated Valentines day, so Friday night we had his brother and our friend visiting from out of town over for tacos. I felt pretty tired and sore (id been having painful Braxton hicks  for weeks at night) so I went to sleep around 8:30. Chris stayed up til 12 with our out of town guest.

I woke up at 1:45 feeling a contraction & headed to the bathroom for one of my 20 per night trips to the bathroom. When I sat down, I noticed more fluid was dripping out than I was used to. 

I actually woke Chris up at that point to let him know that I was in a lot of pain. Of course, he had just went to sleep so he wasn't giving me much sympathy. I told him I thought I would take a hot shower, but instead sat in bed for awhile longer and sure enough, the contractions kept coming. I used a contraction timer and tried to cuddle and get sympathy from my sleepy husband. 

After just a couple contractions, I decided to jump in the shower. I had planned on putting on some makeup before my delivery, but I just didn't want to. It took changing my underwear 3 times before I wised up and put on a pad. I forced my husband out of bed and told him this wasn't a drill as I continued to use my handy app to time contractions. We gathered up our things and by the time we left at 2:45, the contractions were already 1 min long and 5 mins apart.

We dropped off Marley and hit the 24 hour Starbucks on the way (we ended up leaving Starbucks because they failed to come to the window after we ordered so we stopped at a gas station).

We got to the hospital around 3:40 and thankfully I was admitted right away after they noted I was already dilated to a 4.5/5. Even more thankfully, they got the anesthesiologist there right away! However, the first epidural didn't work and he had to come back to do it again. 

Contractions are the worst so I was super happy when I got that relief! I rested a little and Chris took a good nap. I was texting and facebooking at that point, even after the nurse said I was dilated to a 9!

At around 8:30 I was at a 10 and the nurse said it was time to start pushing! I pushed 2x before they called the dr in. I pushed one more time and my beautiful girl was born! The first thing I said was "that was easy!" 

I had a "marginal cord insertion" so the placenta didn't come out in one piece, dr had to feel around for it (thank goodness the epidural was still working). 1 stitch later and I was happily recovering! 

Joe scored a 8.8/10 on her APGAR and only was marked off because she was a little purple when born.

Everyone commented how much better I looked after this delivery than my first (duh, I wasn't pushing for 3 hours in a 14 hour delivery). Baby was great--she nursed right away for a few hours and again all night. Non issues for either one of us & I was ready to get home!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


My son loves to do "projects" as he calls them--he's quite the little artist.  Making stamps out of potatoes is such an easy way to turn ordinary painting into something different for preschoolers!!  Just cut the potato in 1/2 and carve out whatever shapes you want!!  I think it would be easier to use an exacto knife, but I just used a regular kitchen knife because I didn't have one.  We used Crayola finger paints, and as you can tell, he had a blast!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rethinking your coffee pot

Although I significantly cut back on caffeine while I was pregnant, I am a bit of a coffee junkie.  I love me some Starbucks, and we brew coffee at home pretty much everyday.  I recently saw an article somewhere that mentioned the health problems with the at-home coffee maker.  It comes down to the fact that bacteria grows in moist, dark a coffee maker. This includes the pipes and reservoir systems as well (the parts you can't see), so this isn't just the grounds you accidentally left in the maker while you went on vacation that started growing mold. Gross, right?

This article from 2013 mentions that coffee actually has anti-bacterial qualities, but counters: "While coffee brewed from roasted beans does have some antibacterial action due to its acidity, there is research which shows that it is only about 50 percent effective in killing bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus mutans, and molds." 

Experts recommend cleaning your coffee maker with a vinegar solution once a month.  With our last coffee maker, we'd had it for FIVE YEARS and never did anything like that.  Luckily we never got sick, but reading about this filth really had our family rethinking our coffee maker.  The lesson is really to clean your coffee maker more frequently to avoid the funk. 

We recently got rid of our five year old coffee maker and upgraded to a Starbucks Verisimo.  It's sort of like a Keurig, but made by Starbucks and uses different pods.  In doing some preliminary research on health concerns, it seems the main concern of the Keurig-type machines is the BPA in the plastic pods & environmental concerns.  I haven't seen the mold-growing-staph-infection concerns I found with traditional coffee pots.  Plus, you can buy a cleaner to use once monthly.

Ultimately, I like the coffee made with my Verisimo better (and the tea).  And I like the convenience of being able to make just one drink at a time.  I think it will be even better when I'm back on my triple-shot iced latte kick & I can easily make 3 shots of espresso & just add milk!