Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Christmas

Christmas baby
Nicky and Olivia
We really looked forward to Christmas this year because Andrew was able to understand pretty well the whole concept of visiting with family, Santa, and of course, presents. Also, it was our first Christmas as a family of four and we got to show off how big Olivia has gotten, so that was fun too. The plan was the same as the last few years, get going first thing Christmas Eve to spend the day at Nicky and Ken's house and drive back home so we could have a low key Christmas Day at home. It started out with Olivia sleeping a full 8 hours on Friday night and going back to sleep for a couple more hours after a quick feeding. I fed her again before we hit the road and like the wonderful, magic, sleeping baby she is, she slept the whole way there. Andrew ate his breakfast on the road and did a good job entertaining himself in the backseat.

Papa John, Maga Suzi, and Olivia
Olivia with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa
We got to the Bingham's late morning and the first thing Andrew wanted were Uncle Ken's monster trucks. He'd actually been asking about them all week as soon as I started telling him we would be going there. (I'm always impressed at the things Andrew remembers as the last time we were there was over the summer.) After a little while, Dad and Susan arrived to spend some time together and exchange presents. They were very good and didn't bring a boatload of toys this year, but gave some thoughtful and fun gifts. Andrew had a great time playing with Papa John and Olivia showed off in the new Christmas gear they gave her. They headed out after a couple of hours and part two began with Mom and John aka Uncle Bubba, and Amy. I'd have to say its a toss-up between Uncle Bubba, Papa John, and Papa (Andy) for who is Andrew's favorite play buddy. He always has a blast with each of them, and Christmas Eve was no exception.

Fist bump with Santa
Open my M & M's!
After Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Lisa arrived, it was time for a visit from Santa. Unfortunately, seeing Santa in person was a little scary for Andrew who did not want to get too close, except for when Santa was opening his M & M's. Olivia was having a fussy moment and wasn't too happy about seeing Santa either. Maybe next year!

Santa and Mom
Opening presents with Uncle Bubba
Having mysteriously gone missing while Santa was visiting, John reappeared and we started on the rest of the presents, 97% of which were for Andrew and Olivia. Andrew took a seat with Uncle Bubba and they opened all his presents together while I opened Olivia's. I didn't even see most of what Andrew got because Olivia had so many of her own presents to open! Obviously, these children are very loved (not that presents = love, but you could see how much fun everyone had picking out gifts and seeing them be opened). We were jonied by Ken's family and eventually dinner was ready (a great meal prepared mostly by Nicky with contributions by others). It had gotten pretty late, so once dinner was finished we packed up and hit the road. Thankfully Olivia slept the whole way home and Andrew slept most of the way and fell back sleep fast when we got home.

Christmas Day was a day to be in jammies all day and relax. We woke up around 8:30 - when Andrew got up, of course. Ann Marie arrived a little while later to have our celebration together. We made some breakfast and then it was time for more presents! Ann Marie (Mimi) got some good cuddle time in with Olivia while Andrew played with his new camera and truck. She had to go home after awhile for more celebrations and we continued our lazy day. Papa (Carl's dad, Andy) arrived after nap to join us for dinner. Andrew had fun showing him his new toys (only a few...I'm going to be rationing them out to keep things slightly sane). We gave Andrew his last few presents from us, he was really getting the hang of opening now, and had some more play time before getting ready for bed.

All in all, we had a great Christmas this year. Time spent with family and being fortunate enough to give and receive gifts, what more can you ask for! We're getting back in the swing of things today, although Andrew has asked "where's Santa?" and "more presents?". It will probably take a few days of explaining that we have to wait till next year for Santa to visit and bring presents again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Moments to remember

It's only Tuesday and already we've had a few moments this week that I want to be sure to remember. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures or video because these were spontaneous little vignettes, but the stories are funny/cute on their own.

The first one was yesterday in the morning. Andrew is getting quite good with the potty so we try to give him plenty of opportunities to go. When he got up, instead of just changing his diaper I said let's go sit on the potty. Well, he decided his Special Agent Oso doll needed to work on potty training too. So Oso joined us in the bathroom and Andrew positioned him on the little potty then got on his potty seat on the big toilet. After successfully doing his business. Andrew got down and picked Oso up off the potty, checked out Oso's bottom, and told Oso "good job!".

Then in the afternoon, Andrew was playing nicely with his crayons, coloring and then pretending they were treats and offering some to me too. This treat sharing went on for some time. The crayons were still out when I had to change Olivia's diaper. We came back out to the living room a few minutes later to find Andrew hiding under the dining table eating a crayon! I'm not sure whether he was hiding under there because he knew he wasn't supposed to be eating crayons (we've had that discussion many times) or if he was imagining a secret fort or something that I could never imagine. Regardless, I got a kick out of it!

Today was another "caught in the act" moment when I was again in the other room for a few minutes tending to Olivia. It was very quiet and when I walked into the kitchen, I saw that the dogs' water bowls were empty and there were two rags on the floor. Andrew was also there with the mop, cleaning up the mess. He said, "Mommy, I'm cleaning." I reminded him that we don't play with the dog bowls and thanked him for cleaning up the mess.

One other cute thing from today was during yet another diaper change for Olivia. Andrew brought his step stool over and said, "I can change her." He really did try to help, but isn't quite capable just yet :)
getting the diaper ready

In addition to these fun memories from the last two days, I have some new fun Andrew quotes to share. Like most two year olds, you never know what is going to come out of his mouth!
"That sounds great!"
"I'll have a caramel mocha. That'll be it."
"This is my beer."
"(enter name here) can help us."
"What's wrong, Olivia?" (not funny, just cute that he cares when his baby sister is crying!)
"Great job, Mommy!"
"I'm so proud of you!"
"It's on Facebook"
"That's for grown ups"

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Easy Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken

For dinner yesterday, I ended up using items I had on hand to make a tasty cheesy crock pot chicken and it turned out great! The best part is there are few ingredients needed and you can easily adapt the recipe to your tastes. Here's what I did:

Easy Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken

2 lbs chicken breasts (mine was still partially frozen)
1 can cream of chicken soup (use reduced fat and low sodium for a healthier version)
2 cups cubed Velveeta (use less cheese or lower fat Velveeta for healthier version)
3 tbsp minced garlic (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp ground mustard
Salt and pepper

Rice or noodles (I used egg noodles)

Place chicken in crock pot and season with salt and pepper. Add minced garlic and ground mustard. Pour in undiluted soup and cheese cubes. Set crock pot to high or low depending on how long you have until dinner time. After cheese is melted, stir contents of crock pot. Pull chicken apart with forks about an hour before eating.

Prepare rice or noodles and pour chicken and cheese over to serve. Serve with salad or veggies.

This was a really simple meal and tasted very good! It's not super healthy, but not bad either. As mentioned above, you can choose lower fat and lower sodium versions of some ingredients. You can also serve with brown rice or whole grain pasta for added fiber.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Month Old!

Yesterday was Olivia's one month birthday! So of course we celebrated by having a photoshoot. As you can see, Andrew is a sweet and loving big brother :) We'll get updated stats on Olivia at her check-up tomorrow.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Settling In

It's been three weeks today that we've been home with Olivia. It's strange, but Carl and I agree that it's already hard to remember what our life was like before she arrived. Perhaps sleep was a little easier to come by and the logistics for doing just about everything were simpler, but I'd say we're settling in to our new family of four (six, really, counting the four legged furry ones) and learning what it means to be caring for a newborn while chasing after a two year old.  I have to say I think we're managing quite well so far, but we have had a fair amount of help in various ways.

We made it through our first week with my mom's help. She did a lot of cooking (thank goodness because I was pretty much constantly ravenous)and a lot of errands too. Keeping Andrew entertained was also a huge help. I know she was exhausted by the end of the week!  My dad and his wife, Susan, were then here for a coupe of days and they also did a good job keeping Andrew busy. He had a great time running around the mall and playing horsey and marching band with them.

There were also visits from my brother and sister-in-law. Andrew always has fun playing with Uncle Bubba and Auntie Amy...and I enjoy the opportunity to catch up with them too :).  Nicky came down for a couple of days as well and helped stock our freezer with some tasty meals. She also played with Andrew at a playground while I took Olivia in for a weight check (back to birth weight a day before 2 weeks!). I also have to mention the visit from two of my best friends this past Friday. It made my week to get to see Claire and Sarah (and Oskar!) and introduce them to Olivia.

The other great help we've been receiving has been from the awesome moms and dads that we know from playgroup and preschool. They have been taking turns bringing meals over for us for the last two weeks (not sure exactly when our last delivery is!). It has been so great not having to worry about what we're having for dinner each night and also fun to see what everyone brings over. I've also enjoyed the chance to catch up a little with these friends since we haven't been to playgroup since Olivia's birth. Having such a supportive group of families around us and offering whatever help we may need reiterates to me how important it is to have a network of positive friends. I feel a strong sense of community with this group and am so happy to be a part of it!

So despite the lack of sleep and extended time it takes to prepare to go anywhere, life is good. With all of these amazing people in our lives, we have much to be thankful for this on Thanksgiving this Thursday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Olivia's Birth Story

Today was my official due date. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been home with Olivia for over a week already (though I had a feeling that “Baby X” would be born early and would be a girl. I’m claiming mother’s intuition.)! In honor of my due date, I thought I’d share Olivia’s birth story.

Having had an induced labor with Andrew, I had no idea what to expect this time around.  Would labor start spontaneously or would I need interventions for one reason or another?  Of course, I hoped that labor would start on its own, and it did.  I had been having contractions for a couple of weeks so I was a little anxious every time I started to notice the tight feeling in my belly.  There was no regular pattern of contractions until the Thursday before Olivia arrived.  I started noticing the contractions that afternoon, and while not painful, I was able to time them and see that they were coming about every 8 minutes.  After a few hours of timing and no change in frequency or discomfort, I decided it would be best to try to ignore the contractions until they became uncomfortable enough that I had to pay attention.  The contractions continued throughout the day on Friday so I tried to keep busy to take my mind off the possibility that our baby was coming soon.  By Friday evening, I wasn’t feeling much in the way of contractions, so I went to bed as usual.  When I woke up for a bathroom trip, I started feeling that tightness again.  After I lay back down, I realized the tight feeling was coming regularly and was more uncomfortable than it had been the past 2 days. I timed the contractions for awhile and they ranged from about 5-8 minutes apart and weren’t getting more intense.  I figured I would need my rest (regardless of whether baby was coming or not!) so I tried to go back to sleep.  When I woke a few hours later (around 6:50 AM), I felt a strange sensation followed by warm fluid.  I jumped up from the bed and ran to the bathroom.  Sure enough, my water had broken.

I tried to wake Carl gently, but I think his reaction of springing up in bed with a racing heart is probably normal when a wife tells her husband that her water broke.  We called the hospital to tell them we’d be heading over soon and Carl’s parents so they could come take care of Andrew.  We got to the hospital around 8 AM and checked into a triage room so a nurse could see how far I had progressed.  I was already dilated to about 5cm and they moved me to a labor and delivery room.  Once we were moved, the contractions started coming closer together and became more intense.  After a couple of laps around the floor, I told the nurse I was ready for the epidural. I had a few pretty intense contractions while the anesthesiologist got the epidural ready and placed, but I quickly felt relief when she was finished.  My legs became completely numb which was a super strange feeling (I still had some feeling after the epidural with Andrew). The nurse checked me again and I was dilated to 7cm and she said she didn’t think it would be too long before I’d be ready to push.

I rested comfortably for a couple of hours (the movie “Hot Fuzz” was on and kept us entertained).  I did some practice pushed with the nurse starting around 3 PM and she called the doctor in to deliver our baby and told us that baby had lots of hair.  The doctor came in and after a few more contractions, Olivia entered our world. It is such an amazing feeling seeing your child for the first time.  Nothing can quite compare to those first seconds.  The doctor told Carl to announce the sex of the baby and because of the way the cord was wrapped around, he said “It’s a girl…I think!” After a quick double check, we knew we had a daughter and we smiled at each other and cried some happy tears. The nurse allowed Olivia to stay cuddled with me for about the first 45 minutes of her life, and I am so thankful to have had that immediate opportunity to hold her and nurse her. 

Eventually it was time to get Olivia cleaned up and get her measurements and time for me to have something to eat.  I was STARVING!  I ate a sandwich and some veggies and was feeling good.  I even made a couple of quick phone calls to share the news.  Then I started feeling hot and nauseous and proceeded to get sick.  My fist thought was that I just ate too much, too fast.  But then I started feeling woozy and was seeing stars.  The nurse quickly laid me back down (my legs were still numb) and checked my bleeding.  As she pushed down on my belly, I could feel the gush of blood and knew that wasn’t a good thing.  She called the doctor and started pitocin to help my uterus contract down and gave me 2 shots of something to help stop the bleeding.  When the doctor came in, he said there was still too much bleeding and he needed to take me back to the OR for a procedure to get it to stop.  Everyone around us worked quickly, but calmly, which I think helped Carl and I both stay as calm as we could. 

The next part is a bit of a blur because I was feeling so bad and was a little freaked out about going into surgery.  My epidural had been removed so I had to go under general anesthesia.  I think if I had been awake for the procedure, I would have really been scared, so sleeping through it was probably a good thing.  I vaguely remember waking up in recovery and barely being able to open my eyes.  Carl came in with Olivia so I could feed her, with his help and the help of a nurse because I was so weak.  I was brought back to the labor and delivery room for the night and the nurse checked on my frequently to make sure the bleeding remained under control.

In the morning, the doctor came in and said he wanted to give me some blood because I had lost so much (a third of my blood – gone!).  I signed the papers to get started and continued resting for the day while the 3 units of blood were transfused.  My mom arrived at the hospital in the early afternoon, followed by my dad and his wife a little later.  I was happy to see them all and know they wanted to see for themselves that I was recovering.  Andrew was finally able to come visit with Carl’s parents later in the afternoon as well.  He seemed put off by me being in bed with IV’s attached to both arms, but he had fun visiting with all the grandparents.  By the time the third unit of blood was finished, I rapidly noticed improvement in how I was feeling.  I could open my eyes and carry a conversation and even sat up without feeling like was going to pass out.

We were moved to a post partum room that evening (Sunday) and expected I probably wouldn’t be released until Tuesday.  My vitals were so much better by the morning that the doctor said I could go home that day if I felt up to it.  I spent most of the day resting in the hospital, but was ready to be back home that afternoon. 

I am still amazed by how quickly I have been able to recover.  I was still fairly weak for a couple of days and tired as all new parents are.  Thankfully, the rest of my body is cooperating by not feeling too sore or achy.  I have been more comfortable moving around than I was after Andrew’s birth.  There is definitely something to be said for being in good health before and during pregnancy because you never know what could happen.

Sweet big brother
So, we’ve been home for a little over a week and everyone is doing well.  Olivia eats and sleeps very well and makes plenty of wet and dirty diapers for us to change.  Andrew has been a great big brother so far.  He likes to hold Olivia (with our help) and gets worried when she cries (“my baby sister…”).  He was also protective of her when his friends at school came close to look at her.  I am sure we will have sibling rivalry at times, but we are off to a great start! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Welcome Olivia Jean!

On Saturday, October 29th, we welcome our baby girl, Olivia, into the world. She has been a wonderful baby so far and we are excited to watch her grow!

I'll be writing about her birth in a separate post as soon as I have a chance...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tasty treat

Yesterday I was really wanting something sweet and unhealthy. So instead of seeing if I had everything to make cookies or brownies (don't think I did anyway), I whipped up a quick batch of chocolate Shakeology no bake cookies. They are so good and for me, make a good replacement for my beloved Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (which I'm totally craving these days especially with Halloween coming up). The only problem is that I always want to eat more than one or two (they are filling though)! Since I'm enjoying these so much, and so are Carl and Andrew, I thought I would share the recipe here.

Chocolate Shakeology No Bake Cookies:
1 cup chocolate Shakeology powder
1 cup oats
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 - 1/2 cup honey or agave nectar (enough to help cookies stay together)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with hands until a dough forms. Roll dough with hands into balls, about 1 tablespoon each. Keep cookies in refrigerator or freezer and enjoy!

These are so simple and delicious and I don't have to feel bad about satisfying my sweet tooth. In fact, I think I'm going to make more before baby is born so I have a stash in the freezer!

You can find out more about Shakeology on my website: or send me a message (I have samples!).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My "Surprise" Baby Shower

I already knew I had great friends and last night was one example of why they are the best! Even though Baby X is our second child and you typically don't have a shower after your first, they arranged a shower to celebrate this new baby with me. It was supposed to be a surprise, but I accidentally found out when Holly was visiting last week and Andrew was playing with her phone. I checked to make sure he wasn't calling anyone or otherwise getting into anything he shouldn't and he had pulled up the evite. I was confused because I didn't know if she knew another pregnant Colleen so I said out loud what I saw on the screen. Then she and I looked at each other and immediately I said "oh no!" I was sad the surprise was ruined, but excited for the upcoming party.
Azucena, Holly, Stephanie, Kim, Me, Kelly, and Lisa

When I got to Holly's I saw the cute decorations and cupcakes that Kim had so craftily made and smelled the tasty dinner Holly had prepared. We enjoyed the delicious meal and laughed a lot due to our wide-ranging girl talk. It was so nice to have a few hours to just hang out with the girls and chat and be silly especially since my schedule will be pretty full for awhile in a couple of weeks. I got to open presents and I am happy to say that Baby X will have a clean and dry bottom when he or she arrives. Its great to have one more thing to take off my to do list!
Lisa, Holly, Stephanie, Me, and Kim modeling our tissue ball hats

I can't say how much I appreciate the thoughtfulness and support of my friends! It was sweet that they had even thought to invite my family and friends who don't live in town (of course Friday night is a difficult time for anyone to make it down here, but it's the thought that counts!). I came home last night feeling loved and happy :)
Me and the party planners

Friday, October 14, 2011

A peek at baby

Last Friday, we got to see our baby who appears to be smashed into a very cramped space (as evidenced by the smushed look of baby's face!) He or she is estimated at a healthy 6 pounds, 5 ounces already. My doctor was happy with the progress of things and reinforced that we're at the point where we just have to wait and see when this baby decides it's time to come out. Meanwhile, I'll be going in every week to make sure that everything continues on the smooth path we've been on thus far. We're anxious to meet baby, but not too soon! :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

35 week update

I've made it to 35 weeks as of today and that means only 2 more weeks until Baby X is considered full term. It's exciting and scary to think that we could be meeting this baby so soon! While I know there is not much you really need to have ready when you bring a new baby home, I feel like we've kind of been procrastinating (denial, perhaps?!) in getting Andrew's old baby stuff out and making a list of items that we will definitely need (diapers, etc...). Maybe this is normal with a second baby. We've done this once before so there is not as big a sense of urgency in terms of preparing. Or maybe we're just being lazy!

It's also been almost 2 weeks since my last fitness class and I have to say I am feeling the effects of not doing any real workouts. Sure, I'm staying active by going for walks and chasing Andrew around, but I feel so much more achy and tired since stopping. I know it was time to stop Turbo Kicking for the time being, but I have decided I need to step up my efforts a little in hopes of staying more comfortable and hopefully sleeping better for these last few weeks. So my intention is to do more walking and some yoga each day. I actually don't feel like I have the energy to do much, but I am pretty sure my efforts will pay off with less back pain, fewer headaches, and better sleep (much needed sleep!). Of course, I won't be skipping my beloved afternoon naps either :)

Another thing I've experienced this time around is more digestive discomfort in these last few weeks, including heartburn. I had to ask Carl if what I felt was heartburn because I had never experienced it before! Between that and feeling full after eating a small amount I feel like my nutrition has suffered a little. I realized this week that this is probably contributing to my low energy so I'm getting back to my daily Shakeology and and being more thoughtful in my food choices. I figure good nutrition is one of the best things I can do to ensure my health and the health of my baby.

I have an ultrasound at the end of the week to see how big baby is getting and can't wait to see what's going on in there! It will be fun to see if this baby has hair waving around in the fluid the same way Andrew did and if it looks like it will be similar in size. Hopefully we get some good pictures to share!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turbo time is over...for now

I'm winding down my fitness classes this week until some time after the baby is born. It's going to be so weird next Monday when I don't have to get up when it's still dark out to head to class. I'm so happy to have been able to continue this long (last Turbo class will be Friday at 33.5 weeks) but I have to admit that my body has been telling me for awhile to start slowing down and I have been trying to ignore those messages. There is no doubt that exercising 6 days per week has helped me in many ways throughout this pregnancy. I have managed to gain less weight this time around and also have minimal swelling (can still wear my wedding ring most days!). While I've been experiencing more aches and pains the last few weeks, I would bet that they would have started sooner and been worse if I had been sedentary. And we all know the effect that crazy hormones can have on women...the stress relief of exercising has helped me avoid alienating everyone with major mood swings (right family and friends?!)

I will miss seeing all of my hard working participants every day and look forward to when I can get back even though I don't know exactly when that will be. I'm also excited for the girls taking over my classes. I know they're going to love teaching and will ddo a great job! Hopefully my participants still want me back when it's time :) Meanwhile, I'll be enjoying taking it easy these last weeks before we get to meet Baby X!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Big Week for Mr. 2 Year Old!

Obligatory 1st day of school photo
Andrew has been 2 for a whole week now and has had a big week of accomplishments to mark the occasion.  First, this was his first week at preschool.  Two days per week for three hours (but only 2 hours this week for adjusting).  We got to school on Tuesday and Andrew walked into the classroom and started playing right away.  Seeing that he was entertaining himself, I signed him in, gave him a kiss goodbye and headed out.  The teacher gave an excellent report when I returned: no crying, had fun playing, etc.  On Thursday, Andrew remembered that I had left him there on Tuesday and kept holding my hand and showing me stuff.  I said goodbye and I would be back soon and handed him over to the teacher.  Andrew made a sad face and cried a little.  When I got back, another excellent report!  He recovered VERY quickly when I left and "played hard" according to the teacher.  The evidence came in the form of a three hour nap right after lunch and a declaration of "I want to go back to school" when he woke up.  Sure, not all two year olds will be ready to go to preschool on there own, but I think this will be a wonderful thing for Andrew.

The other big news for the week is that Andrew used his potty for the first time Thursday night before bed.  We've had the potty for a few months and encourage Andrew to try sitting on it (usually after bath) to help him get used to it.  But we have not been doing any "training" at all.  So last night I asked Andrew if he wanted to use his potty before getting his jammies on and next thing I know, there's pee in the potty and it's singing a happy little potty song!  This was unexpected and very exciting!  Attempts for a repeat performance this morning were a no-go so when we were getting ready for nap and I asked if he wanted to go on the potty, I didn't expect much.  But viola! Success!  I couldn't be more proud.  So now we have to figure out what's next.  We didn't plan on potty training before the new baby arrives, but looks like we may be on the start of a road toward only one child in diapers.  Yipee!!  Stay tuned to see how it goes...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Andrew's 2nd Birthday Party

Very proud of my cake creation!
Andrew's 2nd birthday party was a huge success! A lot of family members made the trip for the party and some great friends were here as well.  We did miss those who couldn't make it.  Andrew had a great time and is the proud owner of many, many, cars, trucks, and other transportation toys.  One big highlight was when Andrew got the John Deere tractor that Mimi gave him.  It'll take a little practice for him to get good at driving it, but he's certainly up for the challenge!

I'm so grateful to all of our family and friends who helped make Andrew's birthday so special.  They all contributed so much to his party, and also to his life.

Don't text and drive!

Big digger from Uncle Bubba and Aunt Amy

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy birthday, Bug!

It's Andrew's birthday and I can't believe he's two years old already. He's become such a little person with none of the baby left that he was a short time ago. I can't even say how proud I am to have such an amazing son. Yes, he has his moments like we all do, but they are greatly outweighed by the gift of watching my child grow into a caring (and super cute!) person. I'm doing what I can so we don't forget all the special moments that happen along the way and smile thinking about sharing those memories with Andrew and his friends (future girlfriends!) in the future :)

Happy, happy birthday, Munchkin!!
Newborn Bug
Enjoying a cupcake on his 2nd birthday

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Favorite Andrew Quotes

I've been working on a list of some of my favorite Andrew quotes so that I don't forget them and thought I would share some.  Maybe I should try to get some on video...would be better future blackmail material :)

"I'm gonna be back" - keys in hand, heading to the front door
"I gotta eat" - climbing into his chair at home or at a restaurant
"Good boy, Mommy" - while I'm changing his poopie diaper. Have tried explaining that Mommy is a girl, but haven't quite gotten that down yet.
"I love you, Daddy" - has said much more often than I love you, Mommy.  Oh well...
"Please" - while rubbing his belly, the sign for please
I love driving!!
"Thank you" -we're raising a polite boy :)
"Don't worry, Mommy"
"Be quiet, Sunny!"
"Sit down!" - to either of the dogs while we're eating
"I need something" - when I go in to check on him at bedtime
"Bye! I gotta go to work"
"I have to ask"

I'm sure there's plenty more to come and I plan to update the list every so often (mostly so I can remember, but also because it might make others smile).

Friday, August 12, 2011

27 Weeks along and still kickin'

Turbo & PiYo day
People are sometimes surprised when I tell them that I am still teaching Turbo Kick this far along in pregnancy.  In fact, current recommendations state that pregnant women should exercise most, or all, days of the week at an intensity that allows them to carry on a conversation.  (no more keeping your heart rate under 140 beats per minute!).  Maintaining your current fitness level throughout pregnancy provides an array of benefits ranging from being better able to cope through labor, to returning to pre-pregnancy weight faster, and there are even studies that show that children whose mothers exercised while pregnant score higher on IQ tests!  Those are good enough reasons for me to keep up my workout routine as long as possible!  So I thought I would video myself (and my class) doing Turbo this morning to show those who are curious what Turbo at 27 weeks pregnant looks like.  Yes, I have toned it down quite a bit, choosing squats over burpees and skipping tuck jumps.  But I'm still sweaty and working hard.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Things to be thankful for

I like to remind myself every once in awhile of some of the things in life I am truly grateful for, so here's what I've been thinking about lately:

It feels like the last couple of weeks have been filled with news of babies being born and more friends expecting in the coming months. Among all of this wonderful and exciting news, there have been people I know facing challenges in these same areas.  This leaves me feeling incredibly fortunate for my pregnancy experiences thus far and for Andrew being the happy, healthy boy that he is.  I am grateful that I am able to continue my normal activities during pregnancy and can expect to do so for as long as I feel comfortable being as active as I am (5 Turbo classes per week can't last forever!).  Despite some minor discomforts and fatigue, I do my best not to complain because I know that others have had much more difficult pregnancies than me.  Hearing other peoples' stories and how they have handled unexpected challenges with grace and courage helps me to remember not to take having an uncomplicated pregnancy and healthy child for granted.

Monday, August 1, 2011

100 days left!

Down to 100 days left in this pregnancy!  It has gone by fast, but November still seems like a long ways away.  Even so, I am getting anxious to meet this new little one and have been imagining what life will be like with 2 monsters running around.  Carl and I have both been going back and forth on whether we think Andrew is getting a brother or sister, but I did have a dream that it was a little girl.  It was the first time I've had a dream like that.  If I'm right, I'll have to claim mother's intuition...although 50/50 odds also work in my favor :)

I've also been thinking about all the things we used when Andrew was little that were especially helpful and that we will definitely use again.  The first item is the Miracle Blanket.  Swaddling worked wonderfully to keep Andrew calm and help him sleep when he was little.  This blanket made swaddling so easy, and he was unable to break out.  The little arm wraps to keep baby's arms at his/her sides (we call it the baby straight jacket) are key!

See the resemblance??
Another item we used often was our Moby Wrap.  If you've ever looked into babywearing, you've probably seen the Moby Wrap and other similar carriers.  Both Carl and I could use the same wrap and both really enjoyed having our baby close.  Since Andrew didn't like to be still while sleeping, the Moby Wrap was a lifesaver.  I could wrap him up and walk around the house (or anywhere) and he would quickly and peacefully fall and stay asleep without killing my arms or back.  I've even loaned it out to a couple of mom friends because I knew they'd love it too.  Of course, I'll be getting it back by the time "Baby X" arrives!

Checking out the Illini Union
As Andrew got bigger and too heavy for the Moby Wrap, I tried both a woven wrap and ring-sling carrier.  I enjoyed using both of those as well.  I'm interested in finding other types of carriers to try with this baby.  I've heard good things about the Ergo Baby Carrier and the Boba Baby Carrier.  Both are soft structured carriers that adjust to the user and can be used to carry baby in a few different ways.  They seem simple to use and easy to get on and off.  I'll be looking for people to borrow from to try them out before buying.

I'll be wracking my brain these next few months to make sure we have the items that we're must-haves for us when Andrew was a baby.  While every baby is different, I think this will be a good start toward being prepared.  Hopefully this new baby doesn't throw us too many curve balls!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My fitness and health evolution

Can't sleep and have never written about how I got where I am, health and fitness wise.  Thought it would be fun to revisit the journey to becoming a fitness instructor and caring about my health.  I'll start with high school because I really can't remember enough details before then.

I was always fairly active, though other than playing T-ball in kindergarten and being in a park district girls' basketball league in 5th and 6th grade, I have never been athletic or particularly into organized sports.  Lucky for me, running around with my friends was enough to keep me at a healthy weight even though my eating habits were pretty bad.  I never really thought about it at the time, but a hot dog and candy bar hardly makes for a well-balanced lunch.  My dad usually prepared dinner, and he did a good job making sure we had a vegetable each night, but looking back we definitely ate a lot of quickly prepared processed foods.  I think it's safe to say that nutrition wasn't such a popular news subject back then and what is considered a healthy diet has changed, so with the time and information at hand, I think we did OK with those family meals.

Always having been a picky eater, moving into the college dorms and eating at the cafeteria, gave me free reign to only chose foods I knew I liked.  I remember eating some fresh fruits and veggies, but we also had a soft serve ice cream machine as well as candy "mix-ins" and blender to make our own shakes in the cafeteria.  Delicious, yes.  Nutritious, no.  My friends and I didn't have a car on campus that year in the dorms so we had to walk everywhere and we made a habit of going out dancing several (probably too many) nights each week.  Although I didn't do any formal exercise, getting around campus kept me active.  I was able to avoid the dreaded freshman 15, but I can see a little fullness in my cheeks and midsection if I look back at pictures.  I don't think I weighed myself back then other than visits to the doctor, so I can't be sure about specific weight changes.

I think it was the summer after freshman year of college that I first tried out a Tae-Bo video (yes, VHS).  You know, Billy Blanks and his crew.  My step mom had been using them and I started doing them sporadically.  I didn't know anything about creating a fitness plan or being consistent with workouts.  I bought some Tae-Bo videos of my own and brought them back to campus with me.  I continued to exercise with the videos every so often, but my eating was still not good.  Living in an apartment led to a lot of Hamburger Helper (EW!!!) and eating out.  And I should also mention the late-night fast food stops on the way home from the bars.  Nothing better than some fried cheese sticks to help stave off a hang over!

Cut to life after college.  Living back with my dad and sister and driving over an hour to and from work each day didn't do much for my nutrition.  But the office I worked in had a gym in the basement and I started making a habit of using the elliptical or treadmill over lunch.  I found that I enjoyed sweating it out and burning off some stress with exercise.  After about 2 years, I returned to college for graduate school and that's when I really started to get into the whole fitness thing.

I started taking group fitness classes at campus recreation and took a strong liking to a Pilates class and a kickboxing class that had a dancey flavor to it.  I also began to educate myself a little about nutrition and made a real effort to improve.  After graduation, I needed a way to keep working out at home.  I found some workouts through a company called Beachbody.  The first ones I bought were "Slim in 6" and "10 Minute Trainer".  This put me on the email list for the company and soon I got an email about a new program called Turbo Jam.  It looked a lot like the class I had been taking on campus that I loved so much.  I got it as soon as it came out and shortly after found out that it was the at-home version of the class I had taken AND that I could train to be an instructor myself.  When a training came to our town, I signed up right away.  Meanwhile, I had also started taking classes in nutrition at the local community college.  I found that these 2 areas, especially when tied together, were really exciting to me.  Nutrition and fitness combined can do so much for a person's health and really change lives!

A couple months after the certification, I started teaching Turbo Kick and haven't stopped (except for maternity leave!).  I became certified to teach PiYo as well and love how it balances my Turbo workouts.  I also completed a year of classes at the community college to prepare for the NSCA Certified Personal Trainer exam.  That additional education has been very helpful in my group classes.  While I enjoy working with people individually, the logistics of setting regular training hours at a gym has proven difficult with current family responsibilities, but I do plan to pursue working as a trainer in the future.

I've been able to extend my reach as a fitness and nutrition enthusiast by becoming a Team Beachbody Coach about a year ago.  I help people reach their fitness goals by recommending products that I have used and believe in.  Shakeology is one of the products that I share with anyone who will listen!  It has truly made a difference in my nutrition.  By the time I found Shakeology, my eating habits had finally improved to a level where I could say I ate pretty well most of the time.  Veggies and fruits as well as whole grains had become staples.  But once I tried Shakeology, I was hooked!  Not only does it taste like a chocolate milkshake (even better with my favorite addition - peanut butter), I felt better every day that I drank it.  I started to notice that if I skipped a day, I would feel more tired and generally not as good.  Also, "nutritional indiscretions", as I call them, would leave me feeling physically ill.  My body became accustomed to good nutrition and would tell me when that's not what I put in.

So that's pretty much where I'm at now.  Still plugging away with 6-7 fitness classes each week until the baby belly will no longer allow for such free movement and doing my best to eat well every day while indulging these nagging pizza and cookie cravings as responsibly as possible.  Realistically, my schedule won't be likely to permit teaching 7 fitness class per week after Baby X arrives, but I will definitely be finding ways to keep up my fitness routine between teaching classes and home workouts.  I'll be on the look out for accountability partners to keep me on track, so if you want to join me to stay (or get!) healthy and fit, let me know!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting things done

Sometimes I feel so lazy with no motivation to get anything done.  Or sometimes there's just too much to do that I don't know where to start, so it's easier just to do nothing.  I think it's easy to get in a rut as a stay-at-home parent because you're home much of the day...there should always be time to take care of things, right?  I feel like, recently, I've been doing pretty well and have had lots of productive days and this has made me wonder what's different about those days when I feel like getting stuff done?  Am I just tired of looking at the big basket of clothes that need to be put away?  Feeling crafty in the kitchen?  I guess those things may be a part of it, but I think it has more to do with getting into the right mindset and remembering the sense of accomplishment that comes with getting things done.  So this is something I'm working on.  Creating the right attitude so I can keep the productivity going rather than sitting around, unmotivated, and being annoyed that the house is messy or that there are a bunch of random tasks piling up.  I'm not talking about anything huge here, just staying on top of your typical everyday business around the house.

For awhile, I kept a "To do" list on my phone.  It really did help me stay on top of things.  I think I'm going to go back to that.  Ever since I became a parent, I can't remember anything (or maybe because I'm getting old! Haha!)!  I space on something I'm supposed to do pretty much every day.  I think having that list in front of me where I can check things off as they get finished will go a long way toward keeping me on track.  OK, so I'm still going to get my naps in when I can.  I am growing another human being after all.  But that doesn't mean I can't still check lots of items off my list in a day...maybe my nap should be at the top of the list?!

I'm sure I'm not the only one who struggles with this.  It's tough to stay motivated, especially when it seems like just when you've finished a task, you have to do it all over again (cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, planning meals, etc...).  I think that improving in this area will not only result in having an orderly household, but help me feel like a more well rounded person who can tackle whatever comes my way.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday thoughts

It's Friday.  Andrew is still napping.  It's been 2 days since I started this thing.  So I guess it's time to write a real post.  But, inspiration has yet to strike.  While I'm waiting for that to happen, a somewhat random collection of thoughts and what's going on.

I am so sore from my PiYo class yesterday morning.  My legs, my butt, even my abs (didn't know pregnant abs could get sore!).  We've been doing the same lesson for 3 weeks know.  This has me wondering if I'm really working that hard or if extra soreness is just a function of the pregnant body.  Or maybe it's due to the extra pounds I've packed on so far.  Regardless, I'm just thankful to be having a smooth pregnancy and am able to continue teaching my classes for as long as I want.

Then there's this heat.  Oppressive, energy-sucking heat.  And the heat warning keeps getting extended.  I shouldn't complain because, yes, we have air conditioning and I don't have to spend long periods out in the sun.  But the summer is supposed to be for playing outside!  I am so looking forward to getting Andrew back outside next week to play in his pool and go to the playground with his little friends.  The dogs are getting stir crazy too!

Despite the weather, I'm excited for some fun activities this weekend.  It starts off with a Lia Sophia jewelry party hosted by a couple of friends.  Our friend, Holly, is our awesome Lia Sophia advisor...check out her website: Holly's Lia Sophia site.  She showed me the new catalog and I'm pumped to see this stuff in person.  The family and friend fun continues tomorrow with the Speed Source (Carl's business) Open House.  Always fun to hang out with friends and grill some yummy food!  Then we'll be off to celebrate the marriage of my friend Lisa at her reception in the evening.  We sadly missed the wedding in Mexico, but are happy to be a part of tomorrow's party!  After all of that, I'll probably need Sunday to recover.  And plan for a trip to the county fair sometime during the week.  I'm already thinking about the delicious, fried fair food I'm going eat!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So I'm starting a blog...

I’ve thought about starting a blog for some time, and recently decided to stop being lazy and just do it! Also, (like anyone with a blog, website, book, show, etc...) I guess I feel I have something to offer to the world above and beyond taking care of my family and home. Whether you can relate to my experiences, find useful information in one of my posts, or are just reading to pass time, I’d love to hear your comments (good, bad, ugly).