They say third times a charm…I’m a firm believer of this. This is the third time this blog has been re-booted and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I originally created this blog as a connection to friends and family in Chicago back in 2014. Following the birth of my second daughter in October 2014, it fell to the wayside. I attempted to re-start it in 2017 after the birth of my third daughter, but yet again it got sidelined. I’m seeing a trend here…🤔 To be completely transparent – I’m not pregnant and have had no other babies. So why am I trying this whole blogging thing for a third time, you ask?! Because it’s not in my DNA to give up on something so important. So stay tuned…lots of fun coming on how I find the extraordinary in the ordinary when it comes to being a stay at home mom of 3 beautiful girls, a Type 1 Diabetic, and a health and fitness enthusiast.
After having my third girl, (yes she was planned and no we were not trying for a boy), like many moms, I struggled with postpartum feeling overload. Ah, Mother Nature – she’s a real b**** for postpartum moms. Not only do you have to go through the physical challenge of birthing a human, but then you then have to manage through all the crazy feels while being sleep deprived. Thanks for that Mother Nature – much appreciated. Postpartum wasn’t terribly different from my previous two rounds, but there was one thing that got the best of me.
In an effort to crawl myself out of postpartum feeling overload, I was reading the book “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. One of the early chapters started with a quote by Lao Tzu “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the future.” This quote spoke mountains to me. Before reading it, I felt this feeling in the pit of my stomach but I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was – kind of like the word that sits at the tip of your tongue. This feeling took hold of me and I started to obsessively worry about what was going to happen next in my world as a SAHM and if and how I was going to be able to deal with it. Eventually, my thoughts were consumed by this feeling and I was not a pretty person to myself or my family. Negative thoughts about what could happen swirled around my head over and over again. I played out different scenarios in my head – if the baby gets up at 8:30am, how am I going to be able to feed her and get the girls to school by 9:00? If I wake up the baby at 8:00am is she going to cry for the next two hours? I was consumed with worry and mom guilt with every action I took. Once I read Tzu’s quote, it was like a lightbulb clicked on. The feeling overload I was having was anxiety. This anxious beast was taking my already worrisome personality, putting it on steroids and making it monumentally harder to get through what were already long days. But the simple act of labeling what I was feeling allowed me to find solutions to calm the anxious beast that lived in my head. These are some of the things that work for me and I incorporate anywhere from 2-4 of them within my daily routine:
Yoga – One of my very best friends introduced me to yoga and I am in love (she’s pretty awesome too)! There is nothing more satisfying than sweating out every negative thought in your head while holding poses you didn’t think you could hold.
Gratitude Journal – I started this about 2 months ago and am seriously in love with it. Each night, I write at least three things from my day that I am grateful for. Sometimes, they are small things like drinking coffee at the perfect temperature. Other times, they are things that are bigger than me, like Little Sister “reading” to the baby for the first time. Either way, having this journal forces me to examine my day and look for the good in it as the last thing I do before going to bed.
Running – I never thought of myself as a runner until I became a mom. One day, I just forced myself to go for a short run and now, I cannot picture my life without it! It’s my escape from reality, my opportunity to see what my mind and body is capable of. With each mile I run, I learn more about who I am and who I want to be as a person, wife, mom, daughter.
Mantra’s – Y’all these are no joke! They can be simple or more complex depending on what you need to hear. Write them down on post-its and hang them front and center. One of my favorites to say in my head when I am “negotiating” with my one or both of my big girls is “You are a Mother F***ing Rockstar!”. You’ve got to be your biggest cheerleader!
Exercise – If I’m not running or doing yoga, I am moving. Maybe a walk outside or a quick at-home sweat session. For me, exercise clears my head and helps me to let go of things that need to be forgotten. Plus, as my girl Elle says, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” ‘Nuogh said.
Being Present – This one is easier said then done, but I am working really hard on putting the phone away and ignoring my to-do list for a few minutes throughout the day so I can play with my girls, give them a cuddle, or read to them.
Get Away – Go to the bathroom, shut the door, and take 2 or 3 minutes. Get a babysitter and go to Target BY YOURSELF. Have your best mom friend over for coffee – let the kiddos play outside while y’all talk inside. Send your kids to Mothers Day Out or pre-school. Give yourself a break – trust me, it works.
With 3 kids under the age of 5, all bets are off on what can and will happen throughout the day. As a result, some days are easier than others when it come to dealing with my anxiety, but given the right tools I can tame the beast and run my days through my heart instead of my head.
To get all y’all up to speed here’s what has happened over the last 2 years in 200 words and no particular order:
-Got certified as a group fitness instructor and taught BootCamp style classes 2x’s per week
-Put our travel pants on and went to the Ozarks (with kids), Austin (no kids), and London (no kids).
-Became a runner (what the what?!).
-Ran my first half marathon and did not die
-Had a third baby girl (yes – we chose to have a third child who ended up being a girl).
-Got my zen on by becoming a member of a local yoga studio
-Did at least 500+ loads of laundry (that should be a Guinness world record right?!)
-Celebrated 12 years of marriage to the same person, whom I have also known for 18 years!
-Aquired the status of Aunt for the second time
-Changed a semi-truck worth of diapers (another Guinness record?!)
-Watched the Cubs play in the World Series
-Helped (very loose term) my parents move 15 minutes away
Beyond that, my goal continues to be keeping my 4 year old, 2 year old, and now 4 month old alive. Easy, peasy right?! Some days are tougher than others! 😳
I bet you thought I quit this blog…as I tell my girls “No ma’am!”. Stay tuned – I’ve got lots of great stories coming your way, especially since adding another baby girl to the adventure we call life.
Well, I am at it again! Not only am I a SAHM to 2 beautiful girls, President of my neighborhood association (next up -taking over the world!), and on a committee to bring a Spanish dual language program to the girls’ future elementary school, I decided to become a group fitness instructor. Now before you go all skeptical on me, keep in mind two things: I am a type A personality, therefore I literally do not know how to just do nothing. Plus, I genuinely want to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
When I told some friends and family members about my new endeavor, there were two typical responses – the first, and most common, was “don’t you have enough on your plate?”. I am the first to admit, there are days where I feel like I am busting at the seams running on 5 hours of sleep and trying to keep up with the girls and the house. Add anything else on those days and watch out for my infamous water works (in case you didn’t know, I’m a bit of a crier). The second and less common response was “that’s awesome!” followed by “what made you decide to do that?”. At first, my response was “I’m basically at workout class 4-5 days a week, why not get paid for it?” Sure – it will be nice to bring a little money in per month and be able to attend workout classes for free, but after some reflection there is a bigger driver of taking this leap.
I subscribe to “A Mighty Girl” feed on my Facebook account and have been since Little Miss was born. Wanting to raise a daughter (and now I have 2 daughters!) who is strong, independent, and kind among other things I knew I was going to need all the help and support I could get. This news feed is just a small tool in my toolbox. Each time I see a post, I am inspired by it and look forward to sharing them with the girls when they are a little older. Each post shares a story of a “Mighty Girl” who made a positive impact on something either in the past or present. As I read the stories, there is always a moment where someone inspired the “Mighty Girl” to push beyond their limits, break barriers, and make a positive impact on someone or something around them.
So why did I decide to take the leap and be a group fitness instructor? I want to inspire those around me. Wether it be the first-time mom who didn’t think they would be able complete a 5k, half marathon, and/or marathon soon after having their baby to the mom with three kids under 5 whose daily win is getting out the door to go to workout class. But even more than that, I want to inspire my girls. I want them to see that little things can produce great, big results. I want them to feel the joy of breaking down barriers and achieving goals. I want them to feel pride in improving something around them. In short, I want for them to be the “Mighty Girl” in their own life, whether they be the person who inspires or they are the person who is inspired.
As Dr. Suess says “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
I realized half-way through this afternoon’s workout that I had smears of dried poop on my forearm. I changed 4 poopy diapers and ran 3 errands this morning….how long has that been there…?
When hubby and I bought our house just over a year ago, we knew that we wanted to do some remodeling. Specifically, we wanted to gut and re-build our kitchen (my oven was over 20 years old and so small it wouldn’t even fit a Thanksgiving Turkey!), put hardwoods in 4 rooms and replace our entire HVAC system. We started this remodel the first week of March and needless to say life has been a bit messy these last few weeks! Friends and family who have gone through a remodel told me that I will find dust everywhere and they are not kidding – there is dust in my bed, in my closet, even in my refrigerator. What they don’t tell you is that your two year old will suddenly become a Twonager. What’s a Twonager you ask?! It’s simple really, just picture your toddler exercising her right to be a teenager. Here are some real-life examples to help you understand if your two-year old turned into a Twonager overnight:
Example 1: When you ask your two year old if she wants to play outside, she pouts and says no in her angry voice. Less than 2 minutes later, someone other then you asks her if she wants to play outside and the immediate response is an enthusiastic yes!
Example 2: You go in to get your two year old out of bed in the morning and her response is that she wants to stay in bed all day. Clearly, this is not an option and you start your day with reasoning/guilt-tripping/bribing her out of bed, in that order.
Example 3: Slamming doors accompanied with “No mommy!” is a daily, and sometimes hourly, occurrence.
Example 4: While acting silly, your two year old looks at you like she wants to disown you or die – whichever happens to be easier at the moment.
Example 5: All your two year old wants to do is watch TV so you employ Example 2’s “get out of bed tactics” with the hope that Example 1 doesn’t happen to each of your suggestions of things to do other than watch TV.
If one or more of the above has happened in the last 3-5 days, you have a Twonager (or Threenager, Fournager, etc.) on your hands. As someone who is currently dealing with a Twonager, my advice is to stay calm and let it ride. Also, a little bribing goes a long way and never hurt anyone :). This too shall pass and your little person will be back to the little person you know in no time (or when your remodel is through!). Good luck to us all!
-You have as many snacks in the diaper bag as your 2 year old.
-Your glucose tablets are affectionately known as Mommy’s Candy.
-Your 2 year old knows how to open your blood glucose meter case and put a strip in the meter.
-You get as excited about getting new equipment (insulin pump, blood meter, etc.) as your 2 year old does about getting a new book (Little Miss LOVES books!)
-You don’t share food with your 2 year old because you already carb counted to take the appropriate amount of insulin and sharing with her means setting yourself up for a future low blood sugar.
-You have as many wellness appointments per year as both of your children combined.
-You get up in the middle of the night more than your 2 year old and 4 month old in order to check your blood sugars
-Your glucose tablets are strategically stashed next to your 2 year olds snacks in the car(s) and the stroller(s).
I like to think of myself as a “mostly judgement-free” mama. I don’t outwardly judge other moms since it does no one any good, but I do judge other moms inside my head every once in a while. I will continue to work on being a judgement free mama, but I know I have come a long way in the last year. And for the record, we all know there is no such thing as a 100% judgement free mom and if you say you are, you’re lying.
I am also a 100% breastfeeding mom. I took everything in my breastfeeding class to heart and for better or for worse I developed this mentality of “I’m going to hell if I don’t breastfeed my child”. Breastfeeding Little Miss was arguably one of the hardest things I had to do as a mom, but I did it for just over a year. I was not one of those moms that loved breastfeeding – I liked it during the day and learned to tolerate it during the middle of the night. But what got me through it was the phrase “breast is best” and my SUPER-competitive personality – “of course I will breastfeed, its what is best and I have to be the best”.
So naturally, when Little Sister arrived, the plan was to breastfeed her until she was at least one year old. Boy did that plan change! I should have seen the warning signs, but as we all know hindsight is 20/20. In the 2 months that I breastfed her, she would park herself on the boob and fall asleep within 5 minutes. If she didn’t fall asleep within 5 minutes, she would spit up most of what she ate within 10 minutes. She had a terrible latch and there were countless times where she would choke and/or vomit. These were new and big challenges for this breastfeeding mom! So I changed my tactic – I pumped for 20 minutes, 6-7 times a day so that she could take breastmilk from a bottle. As my fellow moms know, pumping is worse than gouging out your own eyes. Even though the bottle had a slower flow, the issues still persisted, albeit less frequently. Fast forward a few weeks, which included 2 ER visits and an overnight stay in the hospital, we learn that Little Sister has reflux and is allergic to eggs, soy, peanuts, and dog dander. If Little Sister came in contact with any of her allergens, she would break out, head to toe, in an itchy, red rash which I learned was actually an eczema flare-up. She would also be more prone to vomiting and/or spitting up most of her meal. So in a family that has no history of food allergies, eczema, or reflux, my baby had all three – and she had them in a bad way. Back to the allergies for a moment and keeping in mind that I was still breastfeeding – can I just say that there is not a whole lot of foods that don’t contain eggs or soy?! Breakfast, my favorite meal of the day, was ruined for the next 10 months. If you know me, you know how I love my omelettes – breakfast, brunch, lunch, and/or dinner. I went through my fridge and pantry and found that over 70% of the “prepared” foods I ate contained eggs, soy, and/or peanuts. I cut those items out for over a week to ensure they didn’t pass through my milk yet her eczema and reflux still flared up which made for a very unhappy baby. So with a heavy heart, I made the decision to give up breastfeeding. For me, knowing that I could potentially contribute to her feeling miserable outweighed the benefits she would receive from breastmilk. Plus having piece of mind that my milk was not a direct cause of her eczema and reflux flare-ups was worth more to me than words can say. In the end, Little Sister got “breast is best” for a little over 2 months and now eats a special amino-acid based formula (if you read between the lines that’s just another name for expensive). While her skin is not always clear and her reflux is not always under control, she is happy more often then not and that is priceless.
Why am I telling you all of this, you ask? 2 reasons – first because you’ll read it (and hopefully not un-follow my blog) and second it’s important to remember that as moms we have to force ourselves to make difficult decisions every day. So instead of judging one another (I can’t believe she is feeding her baby formula when breast is best) we need to support one another through those difficult decisions. You just never know what factors forced a mom to make that particular decision…
Hey y’all! The last few months have been a whirlwind of sleepless nights, diapers, and lots of tears by all the ladies in the house. Little Sister has had a bit of a rough start to life, but slowly and surely we are making baby steps to get her healthy (more on that later).
While I was pregnant, people would give me all sorts of advice from how to welcome Little Sister into our family to how to discipline Little Miss since she will no longer be the center of our world. Today, I would like to share with you some of my “words of wisdom” when it comes to having kid #2. Here’s my top 10 little nuggets – you’re welcome in advance. 🙂
1. Little Sister’s health issues aside, parenting a second kiddo is actually more fun! As a round two parent to an infant, you’re not freaking out about every little sound, what color her poop is and if it is good or bad, will her hair actually grow back?!….
2. It actually does take 2 hours to get out of the house. Some days it will take less time and others it will take more – good luck to you.
3. When you do decide to leave the house, you feel like you need to rent a moving truck because there is so much stuff to bring.
4. Amazon Prime will be your knight in shining armor (see numbers 2 and 3)
5. The amount of laundry increases 20 fold. Why it does this when you added just one more person to your home, I don’t know. If and when you find out, please enlighten me.
6. Inevitably, when kid #1 is having a great day, kid #2 is having the worst.day.ever. and vice versa.
7. There is nothing greater then the love of 2 sisters. I look forward to that love evolving and growing as my girls get older.
8. You would think breastfeeding would be easier since you have done it before. Nope, not even remotely true. Kid #2 has the potential to bring in a whole new set of challenges like terrible latches, vomiting, and my personal favorite falling asleep while eating.
9. There is no such thing as nap when your baby naps when you have a toddler running around the house.
10. Showers are considered a luxury, not a nice to have.
Everyday is a new (and many times frustrating) adventure, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!