• Letting It Out*

    Well, it happened. I had my first major “This is so hard” moment on Saturday morning and I let it all out.

    Don’t get me wrong, there have been many, many hard moments since Prince Will’s birth, but I’ve been trying really hard to keep my focus on all the good things that have happened in our family since we grew from four to five. And really, there is so much good. He is the sweetest little boy and I love seeing Ruby and Hank love him as older siblings.

    Having three kids is definitely busy, but despite the busy-ness, I’ve been managing okay. I get overwhelmed sometimes, but most days I was getting a break while the boys napped and I was getting a decent sleep at night. I can function on three to four hours of sleep as long as those hours are consecutive.

    And then October happened. I mentioned it a little in my last post, but my sweet wee one just… stopped sleeping. I know all about growth spurts, sleep regressions and teething, but last week was just ghastly. There were no naps, and his night time “sleep” regressed to hourly wake ups (if he slept at all), which was even worse than when he was a newborn. Right now he won’t take a bottle and is exclusively breastfed, so night wake-ups are my shift.

    By Friday evening I was a zombie. By some miracle I actually got him down in his bed by 8pm so I was faced with a choice: do as my body commanded and go to bed immediately, or do as my brain / heart pleaded and go out for dinner with friends to preserve my sanity. I opted for dinner out, and it was so, so lovely. For two whole hours no one needed me. I ate my food with both hands, and I talked to grown ups. It was magical.

    But I paid for it dearly.

    Friday was probably the worst night the baby has had since coming home. He first woke up at 11:30, then it was hourly wake ups before deciding just to be awake from 3:30-6:30… which of course was when Hank and Ruby decided to get up. The Hubster took everyone downstairs for me so I could take a few minutes alone to shower. To say I was fried was the understatement of the year. I turned on the shower, stood there in the heat and sobbed. Like shoulders heaving, my soul is broken sobbing.

    I thought I had it all out, but as I left the bathroom and went to my bedroom to get dressed, there is was: my bed. My glorious, comfortable bed that I had slept in for all of two minutes the night before. All I wanted to do was crawl back in (forever) but of course we had a million things on the go that day that couldn’t be canceled so my exhaustion took over (again) and I had another good cry. The Hubster found me this time and held me while I cried, and cried, and cried.

    It didn’t do much to help with the exhaustion, but somehow letting all that out felt so much better. My mom had already planned on coming down for the morning, and she held the baby while we talked and talked… and by the time she left I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The Hubster took charge of Hank and Ruby so I could sit with the baby in our recliner and sleep.

    Parenting is really hard. (I originally had the word “sometimes” written at the end of that sentence, but let’s be real here.) I sometimes feel like admitting that this is hard and showing emotion is viewed as a sign of weakness or inability…  The lack of sleep combined with very little no time for yourself and the pressure to do everything “right” can be really overwhelming. I’m still working on finding my balance, but it’s a work in progress. I know this part passes and things get so much better, so for now, I’m hanging in there. I’m trying to take things day by day, though some days it feels more like hour by hour.

    We seem to be through the worst of whatever the last 3 weeks was. He is napping a little again, and when he is awake he will lay happily on his mat or in his bouncy chair and doesn’t need me to hold him on my shoulder all. of. the. time. Last night he even slept from 10:30 – 3:30, which is the longest stretch he has done in weeks. I feel like a million bucks today. :)

    I’m still learning that this isn’t a perfect process, and I don’t have to be perfect at it. I am doing my best, and though my best might look different from someone else’s, that’s okay. There will be days when I need to cry it out, but I also know the sun always comes out tomorrow.

    In the words of Anne, “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it. (yet.)”

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  • Velcro Babies and Sweet Dance Moves*

    Every time I think I’ve found my rhythm, life happens and it takes me a few days to readjust. My little prince has been refusing naps and is only calm and sleepy when I am walking / bouncing laps around my main floor. My shoulder hurts and my back is killing me, but between my walk this morning and all my pacing, I hit 16000 steps today! Win!

    I know it’s just another phase and it will pass–today was better than yesterday, and I’m hoping this has just been another growth spurt. At this point I’m fairly positive that I am raising a hulk child… he is easily as big or bigger than Hank was at this age. I’ll know better at his next doctor’s appointment.

    Anyway.

    It’s been a busyish two weeks. We enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving with my family, and against all odds, my entire family made it together for a photo. Parents, all six kids and 5 grand kids. The shoot was hilarious and the shots we captured on our phones are amazing–I can’t wait to see the real deal!

    Running has not really been happening. It’s been really hard for me to find a good time to get out as the wee squish has been velcroed to my shoulder for the last 10 days. At first I was really down about it, but I decided that I will run when I can and find some other way to exercise in the mean time.

    I’ve always been interested in Zumba, so yesterday I found an introductory workout video on youtube and decided to give it a whirl. I’m sure that I look absolutely ridiculous doing it, but I don’t care. It’s SO fun. As I was learning the routines I wasn’t sure how much of a “workout” it was, but after trying it again today I am definitely feeling my legs tonight. I miss running like crazy, but this is really fun in the interim!

    I’m finally seeing some progress in my weight loss challenge! We are four weeks in, and as of this morning I am down 6.5lbs. Nothing huge, but it’s very motivating and I’m so happy to see things moving in the right direction.

    I have a million other things I want to tell you, but my head is starting to do that lolling thing where it can’t quite stay up straight and my yawns are getting so big that I can’t see the screen. I think it is time to call in a night.

    I wish you worlds more sleep than I’m going to get!! ha.

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  • Weight Loss Patience*

    Losing weight has never been easy for me.

    I’m not saying it’s a walk in the park for everyone else, but I know there is a group of people who seem to be able to stay focused and determined once they decide to lose weight. They buckle down, do what they need to and keep their eye on the prize. I know a few of them, and I’m always so impressed that they look SO GOOD just a few weeks after having a baby.

    I’m in the other camp watching in frustrated awe… eating a McCain Deep and Delicious cake, wondering why I’m not losing weight.

    My problem is this: I have no patience. In my recesses of my brain, I know that losing weight takes time. I know this. And yet, this is still how my brain works:

    My brain: “I ate a super healthy breakfast AND I didn’t eat six cookies this morning. I am soooo skinny.” Steps on scale before lunch.

    Scale: No change.

    My brain: “What? That can’t be possible. I ate healthy for like 6 hours!  Where’s the results?! What’s the point?!” Steps on scale again.

    Scale: One pound gain.

    My brain: “I hate life.” Eats six cookies.

    The struggle is real, friends.

    In the early days of this cycle to get healthy, I always get really frustrated. I’ll start making the changes, do things properly, but nothing changes. My silly, silly brain wants results now, and doesn’t like it when those results take a little longer to show.

    But a couple of times, I’ve been able to silence my brain and work through that early frustration and achieve some real results. And I’m not just talking about lower numbers on the scale (although seeing that is so, so lovely), I’m talking about having clothes that fit and feeling awesome when I look in the mirror.

    I’m about 10 days into my weight loss challenge, and I’ve been working non-stop at trying to change this unhealthy and unrealistic way of thinking. I’m digging deep and reminding myself that real change takes time, and the results I want will not happen over night. They just won’t.

    My sister recommended a Netflix documentary to me, and I carved out some time to watch it the other afternoon while Prince Will slept on my lap. It’s called Fed Up, and something about it really spoke to me. Now I know that many of these documentaries are biased and have an agenda and blah blah blah, but of all the good that I found in this film, one phrase hit home and has been ringing in my brain ever since:

    A calorie is not a calorie.

    Not all calories are equal. Wait, what? Again, I think this is something that I’ve always known deep down, but the way the film lays it out was very eye opening. What my body does with 1000 calories of junk food is not the same as what it does with 1000 calories of fruits and vegetables. BOOM. Exercising and watching how many calories I intake each day is only part of the battle. What I really need to change is the kinds of calories I’m ingesting. I can exercise until the cows come home, but until I change what I’m fueling my body with, I won’t lose weight.

    So I’ve really been trying to focus on removing excess sugar, refined flours and processed foods from my diet… and I’m doing it in small steps. I want the changes I’m making to be sustainable. I want to silence my silly, silly brain and show off some real, lasting results. SO. Let’s talk change.

    First, I’ve stopped eating at night. Let’s be honest… what kind of food do you usually reach for after dinner? Junk. I can count the number of times I reached into my fridge for a head of raw broccoli to munch on at night on no hands. 7pm is usually my cut off, and I’ll go up and brush my teeth to make it official.

    Second, I’m trying to clean up what I eat for breakfast, and I don’t eat any sweets in the morning. I’m eating eggs, smoothies, Greek yogurt, granola and other healthy alternatives for breakfast, and I am trying to only snack on fruit right now. (It helps with the sugar cravings.)

    Third, I’m planning healthy dinners. I’m really trying to simplify what I’m making to a protein with some veggies. That’s it. I’m cutting way, way back on pastas and starches to make room for more brightly colored veggies. Eat the rainbow, friends! (and I’m not talking about Skittles.)

    Fourth, I’m really trying to cut back on my baking. This is a hard one for me. I love baking. It’s very therapeutic for me. There’s something very calming about following a set of directions and having something turn out beautifully. If I bake now, I’m trying to make sure it’s a healthier version–black bean brownies or chick pea blondies, with honey as a sweetener instead of sugar.

    I’m really trying to reduce the processed foods we eat by making things from scratch. Yes, it’s more time consuming but I’m already seeing results. Yesterday I noticed that the shirt I put on looked a little better than usual. I stepped on the scale today and since the beginning of this challenge last week, I’ve lost 4.5lbs.

    My silly, silly brain did a happy dance and it was just the push I needed to stay determined through this long weekend.

    A calorie is not a calorie. Who knew?!

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  • The Weight Loss Challenge*

    So. Two months ago I had a baby. (Surprise!)

    When you are pregnant and glowy, there is also another side effect: you gain weight. There is no avoiding it, and a healthy weight gain is encouraged to ensure you are having a healthy pregnancy. When you’re pregnant it’s kind of awesome because you tend to allow yourself a few indulgences you might not otherwise eat as it’s all for the good of the baby, amiright?

    But then you have the baby and the weight hangs around like a jerk. It’s like that annoying coworker, acquaintance or friend who always overstays their welcome but can’t quite take a hint.

    I’ve gained a reasonable amount of weight with each pregnancy. After Hank was born I decided to make my health a priority and lost all the baby weight and then some. And then I went back to work and got pregnant again, and now here I am, two months post partum with a few extra baby pounds to lose. I know they will eventually come off–it took a year to gain the weight, it often takes the same to lose it–but I’ve been looking for something to help get me started.

    To motivate me, if you will.

    Two weeks ago a weight loss challenge was proposed in one of the Mom groups I follow on Facebook. I knew it was exactly what I needed to give me that swift kick in the rear that I’ve desperately been seeking. I reached out to a few friends that I thought might be interested, and the challenge began. The concept is simple: $25 buy in, 10 weeks of work and weekly weigh ins, and at the end of it, the person with the highest percentage of weight loss wins the pot. The response to this challenge was amazing. Right now I am fighting for a cheque for $450.

    I very rarely splurge on myself… and I cannot begin to tell you how much I want that money. After three babies and yo-yoing weight for years, I really need some new clothes. I need new jeans, new tops and new shoes. And I don’t want to just go out and buy them…

    …I want to earn them.

    We had our first weigh in today. I lost 2.5lbs, which is right on track for what I was hoping. It’s not huge, but I’m hoping to lose at least 2lbs a week to meet my goal for the challenge. Almost everyone had a really great first week–I know the challenge now will be to maintain it and keep it going for another 9 weeks.

    So here is where I need you.

    I started running again last week. I’m out walking with the kids every day. I just tried an introduction to Yoga video and am beginning some easy post partum core strengthening exercises. I’m trying to eat a little better and stop snacking at night. Right now I feel excited and on fire with this challenge.

    But I know myself and I know that when this gets hard my enthusiasm will start to wane. And as much as I want that money, I want the satisfaction of feeling good in my clothes even more.

    So stay on me, okay? I always feel so much more accountable when I know people are watching. I know that I can do this, I just need to stay focused and make realistic, manageable goals. If you have any ideas or suggestions for me, please send them my way! If I go more than two days without posting a running photo, send me yell-y messages and tell me to get my butt moving.

    Help me get healthy… and hopefully some new clothes!

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