currently linking up

i am trying my first link up with OT and ET... a nice relaxing and dare i say easy blog post for the day...

visiting: we are getting ready to visit one of my very best friends out of town this weekend.  it's a two hour drive for us and the longest we will have ever been in the car with a, since she is a baby straight from heaven above... i am not anticipating much drama (watch it will be nothing but... i shouldn't put all my eggs in one basket)

working: out a lot.  i have made a commitment to work out six days a week.  five tough cardio/strength training and one day of yoga.

creating: dinners?  not much... this saturday i am cooking ribs, cheddar biscuits, au gratin potatoes, and green beans for that super cute hubby and b-i-l of mine.  i am looking forward to that.

loving: my daughter.  seriously gets better every day.  and i love the love that she has with her dad... i know she loves me but no one cracks girlfriend up more than her dad.

post baby workout

you know the recommended 25-30 lbs that you are supposed to gain through pregnancy?  yeahhhhhh... i gained 50 and i went into labor at 36 weeks... i think God was just trying to spare me those extra couple lbs at the end.

last belly picture i have.  i was definitely out of creative ideas on the chalkboard by that point.  

so post baby fitness.  couple facts: i did have a c-section so i wasn't cleared to work out until 6 weeks... i did try to work out beforehand.  and i could tell i wasn't ready.  at about that six week appointment i felt "ready" when i was doing my workout dvds.  i was/am nursing so i do have to keep my calorie count up.  

i lost 24 lbs in the first two weeks or so, which i definitely attribute to nursing and just eating slightly healthier than i did at the very end of my pregnancy.  at my six week check up though, i had only lost an additional three lbs or so... definitely still had my work cut out for me.

since i am staying home right now... a gym isn't really feasible budget/time wise.  but girls, i am kicking ass at workout dvd's right now.  a's naps are minimum 30 minutes and that is enough time to work out, promise.

i have been alternating 30 day shred, ripped in 30, yoga for stress relief, no more trouble zones, and yoga for weight loss.  i like the shorter work outs because i can guarantee to get the whole thing in while babe naps.  nothing is worse than missing a cool down or being halfway through a workout because she is ready to get up.  plus 30 minutes is manageable.  i just ordered insanity fast and furious and a cardio program since i think right now that is what i am lacking.  the yoga and no more trouble zones are great for strength training but in my heart i am a runner and it has been killing me not to run (6 am runs alone in the dark/snowy/cold just aren't jiving yet, maybe this summer?).  so i am hoping the insanity cardio kills me as it seems to do everyone who has left a review.

i am currently about 10 lbs away from my pre-baby weight and at this point, i am expecting not to lose those until i am done nursing (a lot of people say your body stores just a little extra fat while nursing to produce enough milk) but working out has seriously boosted my mood so much even though i hateeeeeeee getting ready to do it.  

and you know what keep me motivated? i put an "x" on each day on my calendar that i work out.  so silly but it's like giving myself a gold star and acknowledging my accomplishment.  and it's a cumulative effect over the whole month, seeing them all add up!

anyone else trying to accomplish a goal fitness wise? or getting in shape for spring?

wants and wishes

hello spring!  or in ohio... hello mud! rain! overcast days that make you feel like you are nearing the end of the world!

oh no... just me?  okay.

anyways, back to the topic at hand.  i like to pick up a few pieces every season to help update the wardrobe that i already have.  sometimes i pick up expensive key pieces... but usually it's 3-4 cheap look of the moment pieces.  here is what i am coveting or have already picked up

one // two // three // four // five

maxi skirt: i am kinda over jeans... (1) not comfortable (2) i like dark washes so they never look appropriate in the daytime (3) i feel i am almost always showing crack... not pretty but true.  maxi skirt pluses (1) versatile (2) comfortable (3) won't be flashing people as i get babe in and out of vehicle

jeggings: i abhor the word but with a closet full of black leggings worn as pants, i need something new and fresh for spring.  at ten bucks a pop these aren't going to break the bank if i don't like them.. should still be comfortable and hopefully won't ride down.  i picked up an electric blue and white (so classic) to spice up the wardrobe and match my tops

lace panel top: they offer this in neon but purchased in grey it can last more than one season and transition to fall.  i love victorias secret because i really feel their clothes hold up well through washes (hello spit up!) and there is always something a little bit sexy about their fit but still forgiving.  

maxi dress: the other reason i like victorias secret is that they recycle their clothes a lot through the seasons, just updating the colors/prints.  for example, i scooped up one of these dresses for $27 bucks around christmastime, the print was different (purple and yellow).  i know it will be comfortable in the summer, last me a couple years and i can dress it down with a plain white t over top or up with a sexy necklace and bangles.

zip mini:  do yourself a favor... these are still on clearance and just buy one.  it is THE SINGLE MOST COMFORTABLE skirt i have ever owned and it is sexy as hell.  i wore mine over leggings with a black top for a date with the hubby but it will transition into spring with bare legs and t-shirts.  i bought mine in the electric blue and a subtle animal print. 

so there you have it, i am still waiting for the jeggings to come via mail but as soon as i get them... maybe i will do an outfit post??  what's on everyone's wants come springtime??

thoughts on motherhood

tomorrow we are going to attempt to give a cereal.  we tried last weekend but girlfriend has a meltdown 2 seconds in due to wanting to nap.  (as her parents we are clearly ALWAYS clued in to what she wants... especially since the "tips" specifically stated... do not attempt when fussy)

since she is nursing, in my thoughts and heart this marks one of the first times that i am no longer enough.  i'm still her mom but she has needs that exist outside of what i can fulfill.  it's very bittersweet.  as a female and a mom there is such a transformation that takes place with having a child.  they go from literally not being able to survive outside of you in the womb, to coming out yet still existing almost as an extension of yourself although the umbilical cord is cut.

but that time is short.  and soon they begin to embrace their own autonomy.  existing solely within and off themselves and not as an extension of you.  i pray that although i gave her life, i will always recognize her independence in living it.

so many moms especially, either live through their kids, try to control the kids life, etc.  and i understand the desire to do so.  it's difficult to resist if you look at your child as an extension of yourself.  but they aren't.  even as a baby, my a has her own personality, temperament  dreams, desires.  they might not be fully manifested yet, but they are there, waiting to be nurtured and cared for.  and so my prayer is for autonomy, both within myself and within my child.

yes, my identity is forever changed by being a mom.  but i can't have it be my only identity.  a deserves a mom that sets an example of independence and passion, that shows her how to live this very short gift of life and that offers her the opportunity to be her own person.  

i will be her parent and so i pray i will offer protection with freedom, independence with love, and advice with a very soft heart that listens more than it speaks.

sleep, or lack thereof

from the beginning, a has always been a good sleeper for us.  as a newborn, yes she was up every 3 hours to eat, but between those feedings?  it was sleep city.  the hospital was actually the roughest part as even though we were supplementing with formula at the time the nursery would always kick her back to us when she was hungry fussy. and we hated keeping her in the cage basket thing that they provided so jim and i were always up.  but once we got home it was smooth sailing.

so currently, little a is at 4.5 months and i am a little bit lost.  i have been loosely following healthy sleep habits, happy child but with my type a personality it was almost doing more harm than good as i was forcing her into a schedule at too young of an age and disrupting the good thing that she naturally had going.  but now... well now we are all over the map.  her bedtime is consistent, 7 pm.  however, recently at 7:45 she has been waking up INCONSOLABLE until i go in and nurse her.  jim and i do practice some CIO methods but we do have our limits, and i am just not able to let 45 minutes of inconsolable crying go by if i can fix it.  20 minutes of crying and then asleep for 8 hours?  that i can do.  but after nursing at 7:45 she then promptly drifts to sleep and i don't hear from her until a feeding.

at three months, she was doing great.  bedtime was between 9-10, one feeding at 4 and then up for the day around 8.

now we are all over the place, sometimes she is up as early as 1 and then 2x more throughout the night, sometimes she has made it till 4:30 without waking up.

and her nap schedule is just as inconsistent.  she is usually laid down for her nap around 9:30, sometimes she is asleep for an hour, sometimes it's 2.5.  i just don't have any way to plan it.

and i'm not sure what is causing it... her ped's gave us the ok to start cereal... will that help?  is it because she is teething?  is she having nightmares?  or are we causing it by giving in so to speak?  is she going to bed too late (the child is seriously sleepy by 6 but if i lay her down to early will that cause her to wake up early?)?

first time parenting is tough.  and i know we will figure it out and it is winter so we don't have a too many things to get outside for... but it is tough to not have a schedule because the kid is losing her shit every time we leave the house because all the sudden she is tired and i had no way of knowing.  i just want to make sure she is getting the sleep she needs and also start her on a consistent schedule to avoid future problems...

pajama monday

baby and i are having a pajama monday today.  as a sahm i often feel pressure, put on by myself of course, to constantly "do" things to make sure i am needed/worthwhile.  gotta clean, gotta cook, gotta read the baby a book (ok rhyming skills need help).

but today.  i am relishing the quiet, knowing that these days are going to be a memory quicker than i would like.  and i am giving myself the day off, letting myself do only what i want to do today.  enjoying the bright sun from the comfort of my heated home, smelling the new fragrance from my bath and body plug in (it's this one, in case you are curious), and knowing that i am very very lucky to be at home with my little girl enjoying these moments.

even the dogs are quiet today, munching on their bones.  (and see that terrible mess couch cover... yes that was one of our most recent wastes of $30.  perhaps it's because i have terriers and they feel the need to dig, dig, dig.  perhaps it's just because it's crap but it does not stay up.  however, because my dogs do chew bones and lick their paws constantly... i'm just not ready to give up on the idea of protecting our investment.)

i have been reading the happiness project recently and am about halfway through.  i had hesitated picking it up for a while because the reviews on amazon are so polarizing.  but amazon put the kindle edition on sale for $4.99 and i happily picked it up for the price of basically my drink at starbucks.  and can i tell you i am so glad i did.

are her thoughts and revelations earth shattering?  no.  we aren't dismantling an atomic bomb or anything.  but for this stage of my life, they are so very, very relevant.  in the day to day, of diapers and being alone with my child and making ends meet... how do i maximize my happiness?  one tip is an empty shelf... with our homes full an empty shelf leaves room for possibilities, for expansion and growth, a small reminder that we are not done, not finished... that we can still achieve and g-r-o-w.  so today i cleared it, an empty shelf all to myself.  above our vast tea collection selection and my vitamins.

so there you have it.  an empty shelf and a reminder that we are not done.  happy pajama monday everyone.

secret weapons

when i was pregnant, i was lucky enough to be blessed with raging acne.  i had been lucky enough to escape the worst of it in high school and in college started using the clinique 3 step acne system.

enter pregnancy... no benzoyl peroxide, no salicyclic acid.  my skin care routine was out the window.  enter the raging hormones and well... it was a rough road.  nothing like uncontrollable shine and blemishes to boost your self esteem when you are packing on the lbs like a champion weight lifter.

what i WISH i would have known then, is that i didn't have to use those chemicals to keep my skin clear.  my secret is coconut oil.  this thing is a miracle.
Organic Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil

since using it i am pretty much blemish free, no flaky skin (in addition to acne, i also suffer from dry skin in the winter... awesome), and there are no extra chemicals to worry about since i am nursing.  i buy it in bulk from amazon, and keep one in my kitchen for cooking and one in the bathroom.

there are different ways to use it as skin care, i like to slather it on my full face of makeup and get a wash cloth nice and hot.  i put the wash cloth over my face and leave it on there as a "steamer" i rinse the wash cloth a couple of times in hot water and repeat.  (and yes it removes all makeup better than ANY makeup remover i have ever tried including mascara).  if my face is extra dry than i take another tablespoon and slather it all over my face before bed.  regardless i always put it on my eyelashes to encourage growth and my eyelids to protect the delicate skin.

i have also been using this religiously on my c-section scar to speed healing.  and if j is really lucky i will take a few drops of essential oils (my favorites are orange, lemon, peppermint, and lavender - but not together) and a glob of coconut oil and give a foot massage.

there are literally endless uses for this stuff.  does anyone else use it or have other beauty tips with it?

inaugural post

the very fact that i am posting this at 6:30 am and the fact that i have already been up for TWO hours just because i couldn't sleep suggests one thing... i am very very excited about this blog.  for a long time, i have wanted to join the blogging world...  my conversations monologues with j (the husband) would normally involve any of these sentences

"today on this blog i read..."
"so and so is having a baby from this blog i read"
"people make MONEY blogging... like $1000 a month"

(ps. sidenote, i am not currently making money on this blog)

and i so desperately wanted to join in.  i knew it was getting bad when i was theorizing posts in my head (on my imaginary at the time blog).  ie. "these cupcakes are delicious... i could do a post!" "i juiced today... i could post!" but there were those nagging thoughts...

"what if people you know in real life find out you blog and make fun of you?!"
"who would want to read it?"
and my biggest one
"what if people are MEAN to me via the internet!"

and so i chalked it up to "you can't blog... these people all have fancy blogs with cool pictures and buttons... you can't do that."  

but you know what... i can (kinda, i mean i know this is a work in progress... and i will most likely look back on this very early template and be totallyembarrasedohmygoshwhodesignedthis).  in 2013, i am embracing what i want and my passions... because that's what will make me happy.  two phrases have been sticking with me as i've started to embrace what is important to me.

"what would you do if you knew you could not fail?"
"she believed she could and she did."

so welcome... let's be honest i am probably saying welcome to my husband and best friends at this point who will read because i am going to email them the link.  but ohmygosh i am excited and i can think of no better day to start this then valentine's day.

so happy valentine's day first and foremost to my two very special valentine's and to everyone else.  maybe this will jump start something you want to do (maybe not, i mean come on... i am pretty new at this!) but in any case... i am trying and i am proud.
  and he says happy valentine's day too.