Where have I been?

Where have I been?

I wish I had a good answer to that. Like maybe I have been climbing mountains in the Alps, finding my inner peace in Bali, sunning in Tahiti or eating my way through Europe…but no. I have no good excuse for neglecting my blog other than, “I’m so busy.” (Who HATES that phrase?! It literally makes me cringe when I hear it.)

Being busy is nothing new to any of us. When you’re in high school you think you’ll have free time in college but that just gets filled with “study groups” and late night beer runs. After college you think you’ll buy a house and have some much time to enjoy all that cash you’re making (right…) but then you wind up mowing the lawn or walking the dog and buh-bye free time. Maybe when you settle down and have kids you’ll have time because you’ll be forced to be home more. Nope! Wrong again. Now your time is filled with coloring books and playing dress-up. (Not such a bad thing.)

My point is, that no matter where we are in life, we are always busy. There is always something to be done. (And if someone tells you that they can’t join you for a ladies night out because she is “just so busy” you are 100% within your rights to call her out on her selfishness. We are all busy. Make time for your friends. Unless you’re friends are annoying. Then get new friends.)

So, back to where I have been. As you know, I have a toddler. She turns 2 this month and I honestly can’t think of where the last couple of years have gone. Here’s a quick synopsis of what’s up with me…

  • Got a promotion at work.
  • Became a representative for Wildtree. (Check it out if you’re curious. I’m obsessed!)
  • Husband got a job offer in another city.
  • I got a new job (working from home) that I LOVE and allows me some opportunities to travel. (Bonus!)
  • We are working on selling our house…moving…finding a rental…and building our dream house.

Maybe when I retire I will find some of this “free time” people refer to? Likely though, it will be filled with sleeping in, long lunches with friends, rounds of golf, and visiting all of the places I can’t afford to go right now.

How about you?

“Wayne ME every ever NEVER heating back hair…”

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I’ll be honest, I don’t love Taylor Swift, but I also don’t hate her. (I pretty much sing her songs better than she does…when I am in my car…alone.) I DO, however, love Rhett & Link on YouTube, so please, … Continue reading

Operation: My-Desk-Job-Is-Making-My-Ass-Flat-And-My-Abs-Round

Operation: My desk job is making my ass flat and my abs roundSo here’s where I stand today: Back to by pre-baby weight (not all that unexpected – she IS 15-months-old) but things just aren’t where they used to be. Working out 5 times a week has gotten me back to where I was, but I’m ready to do better than that. For whatever reason, I am feeling compelled to get fit. Like REALLY fit. The kind of fit where you can say, “A 10k? this weekend? No problem!” or “Try on bridesmaids dresses? Next week? Love to!” I’m close, but there is work to be done.

Here’s the plan. Since my work-BFF left me in the lurch (who goes and has a BABY anyway?!) I have some mid-day free time for at least 12 weeks. Since it’s summer, I figure I better get out there and walk, so today I started. Just 30 minutes over lunch, but it felt great! Plus, I didn’t sit in the cafeteria, overeat and then feel sleepy mid-afternoon.

My daily exercise goal is about 80 minutes – give or take. It seems like a lot, I know, but it’s completely manageable. You can do it, too. It helps to have a job that’s flexible, but Smile readers are smart cookies. You can figure out how to make this work for you, too.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  • 5:00 a.m. Workout at home – Usually 30-40 minutes of strength (I LOVE the FREE Nike Training Club app), kickboxing, or HIIT. {Helllooooooo TurboFire!}
  • 11:30 a.m. Walk at work – I aim for 2 miles, more on a good day, but I REALLY need to push to get it in in under 30 minutes. Then I grab my lunch at my desk.
  • 5:30 p.m. Walk with the family – We always walk the dog in the evening, so this is typically a 20 minute stroll (we don’t push for time or distance) through the ‘hood.
  • 8:00 p.m. Workout at home (MAYBE) – On the days I am feeling supercharged (or super PO’d at my poor eating) I try to get in another 20-30 minutes of cardio, maybe HIIT if I hadn’t done it in the past 24 hours. (Doing HIIT too often is hard on your body and decreases its effectiveness.) If I skip the cardio, I sit upstairs and watch TV, BUT I do make myself stretch while I watch. Sleep is usually AMAZING on these nights.

So there you have it! My 2-hour workouts in college were all-at-once so this is new to me, but I am loving it so far. The short bursts keep me from wearing out and (so far) seems to keep the metabolism humming. Snacks have become by best friend. {Hellooooooo MyFitnessPal.com}

So what do you think? Could you stick to a schedule like this? Will it work for me? (No idea. But worth a shot…)

Exit Light, Enter Night – Tips for Getting Baby to Sleep

Exit Light, Enter Night - Tips for Getting Baby to Sleep

By no means do I claim to know anything about parenting. Mostly what I write “has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.” (And now THIS is in my head.) However, when I was approaching the 12 month marks with Peeks, I became pretty nervous about how I was going to handle bedtime after I stopped nursing.

You know what? It REALLY wasn’t a big deal. (Nor was moving her to her crib, starting formula/cow’s milk or switching to a sippy cup.) It seems – and this can come as a shocker to some of us – if you let the kid lead the way, things are pretty smooth!

I’m not a babyled weaner by any stretch, but have found that many of the things she relies upon for comfort (pacifier, swaddle blankets, swing) just become less important as time goes by. So, all of that being said, here are some of the things that have worked for us in getting baby to sleep…without a boob.

  1. Rocking and Singing – Same song. Every night. “You are my sunshine…”
  2. Reading a Book – I just feel like it’s vital to introduce kids to daily reading at an early age.
  3. Standing and Swaying – Sometimes she’s just a little pistol and rocking in a chair won’t work. If she seems more interested in playing, I start the next round of steps.
  4. Laying her Down While Awake – She does OK with this until I kiss her forehead and walk out of the room, at which point she wails away. However, at over a year old I know that this is not a true cry. In fact, there are usually not even tears involved. I typically stand outside the room for about 5-10 minutes (long enough for her to start wearing herself out), then go in, lay her back down, give a kiss then do the next step.
  5. Stoke and Hum – Simply rubbing long strokes down her body while quietly humming can put her in a trance. Hum something you like, this can take a little while. Journey? Kiss? Metallica? She doesn’t know the difference.
  6. Apply (Gentle) Pressure – When the eyes start getting heavy, I rest a hand on her chest or thigh and just wait until the breathing changes to sleepy-deep breathing and make my exit. Don’t smoosh your baby.

Now, tell me what I’ve missed! I’m always looking for new sleepytime ideas…and good book recommendations!

Time for Tubes – My baby has ear infections

Time for Tubes - my baby's getting ear tubes I don’t have much time tonight (I REALLY want to go to bed early!) so I will make this quick.

We found out today that Peeks (that’s what I’ve been calling her lately – she LOVES peekaboo) needs to get ear tubes. She’s had an ear infection for – oh, about 8 weeks – and 4 antibiotics have not been able to do that trick. So, today we went to ENT and discussed options. I loved that the doctor never said “You need to do tubes,” but instead explained everything to me and then asked, “So how do you feel about tubes?Uh, well, I think it’s a hell of a lot better than more antibiotics and poor sleeping.

In about 10 days we’ll have the surgery. Because I work at the hospital, and have been pretty involved with the Pediatric Point Team (a group of superstar nurses working to improve the pediatric experience) I already know a lot about what to expect AND a lot of the staff. I suppose that puts my mind at ease about the whole experience. Besides, I had surgery (pyloric stenosis) as a 6-week-old after losing 11 ounces. If my Mom could deal with that, then I can deal with this!

Tubes themselves take about 5 minutes to put in, but the whole process takes about 2-3 hours. Most impressive to me is that 1) I don’t have to worry about keeping water out of the ears post-op and 2) kids are back to regular activities later that day and can be back in daycare the next day! (Thank goodness…)

Now for my confession. When we went in for an ear check after the third round of antibiotics, we had the “It-Might-Be-Time-For-Tubes” Talk. Admittedly, I felt a little relieved that I wasn’t going to have to keep remembering meds AND I would get a day off to sit around and cuddle! (Obviously, surgery isn’t ideal, but I am trying to see the positives here.)

Sooooo, all that being said, my question is – who has had tubes, how old were your kids, how did they respond to anesthesia, and are there any tips for a first time mom/baby going through this?

p.s. After hearing the word “Eustachian” so much today, I think I will be dreaming about crustaceans. Weird? Maybe.

The Breastfeeding Weight-Loss Myth

The Breastfeeding Weight Loss Myth - SmilesAndPiles.com

Me and my baby giraffe following my half marathon and her first 5K. :) Trying to get that baby weight off…8 months post-partum.

I’m all for breastfeeding. It is an awesome way to bond with my baby as well as provide a myriad of health benefits that will last throughout her lifetime…it’s a gift that keeps on giving! However, if you’re doing it to help lose the baby weight, don’t hold your breath. Yes, breastfeeding burns mega calories, but it also tends to make you hungry. All of the extra noshing can make it difficult to drop the weight, especially those last 5-10 pounds. (I’m still convinced Beyoncé was power pumping – pumping ’round-the-clock to burn mega-calories – and making the rest of us look like slackers.)

As a woman who gained 39 pounds during my pregnancy…even with working out 6 times per week in boot camp and kickboxing…I was looking forward to the extra boost from breastfeeding. Having a C-section made it impossible for me to work out for 6 loooooong weeks post-op (not that I really felt to doing much anyway) so I tried to walk a lot. The weight did NOT fall off.

HOWEVER, once I got Baby Cakes in a routine and felt good enough to workout HARD (Tae Bo, kettle bells, running) and tracking my caloric intake – it started to happen. Not fast, but the baby weight started to drop. My fear was that I’d lose weight too quickly and my milk supply would drop, so I waited until she was around 8-months-old and was diligent about pumping. Initially, yes, there was a slight dip in supply, but nothing a little fenugreek couldn’t fix!

A friend once told me that you won’t lose ALL of your baby weight until you stop breastfeeding. (Not true for everyone, but something to keep in mind.) It seems that my body, like my friend’s, holds onto the fat stores to help maintain a healthy, womanly weight – not science, but it seems to hold true for me. On the other hand, actual science DOES show that for women who hold onto their baby weight more than 2 years post-natal, it is likely that it will stick for the rest of her life. So, it behooves all of us mamas to get back into the swing of things as soon as the doctor and your body tells you to.

DO IT.

So I’m curious…how long did you breastfeed and did you lose weight more easily?

When Toddlers Attack: Babies Who Bite

When Toddlers Attack - Babies Who BiteEarlier this week, I picked Honey Buns up from daycare and the moment I walked in I was greeted with, “We have some bad news…” Suddenly I was overridden with anxiety. Is a teacher leaving? Did she crack her head open? Drink some other mother’s breast milk?! No. None of the above. In fact, all that happened was a bite. Just a bite! Whew.

I realize that many mothers get upset about this – of course, that’s your baby and she was hurt by another kid. You may wonder, were the teachers not paying attention? How often does this happen? Why MY child? WHO DID IT?! (They won’t tell you.)

The thing is, none of that matters. Of course the teachers were paying attention, it’s their job to care for your child. If you trust them enough with your baby, trust that they are doing their jobs. However, this does NOT mean that your baby will never fall victim to a bite, a fall, even a scratch now and then. How many times has your baby been injured in your care? Now that mine walks, she’s constantly falling into things with sharp edges. I can’t prevent every little bump. Daycare is no different.

There is 1 teacher for 4 babies. Once those babies are toddling around (or sprouting teeth) the risk of ouchies increases significantly. I, for one, don’t expect that her teachers will be able to stop every bite. Kids are sneaky fast. Besides (and this is the REALLY important part) it could just as easily have been MY CHILD that was the BITER. Obviously we tell her “No Biting” when she tries to bite at home, but kids have free will and no empathy or understanding of consequence. They are going to do what feels good. Sometimes that means taking a chunk out of a friend’s back. I’ve decided there are bigger things to worry about, so for now I say, “She’ll live.”

But if this little nibbler becomes a repeat offender, well, we’ll see…

TurboFire Review – Results in 30 minutes or less!

TurboFire Review - Results in 30 minutes or less!Well, I’ve made it through another Beachbody program. This time it was TurboFire (previously completed P90X and Insanity.) With P90X and Insanity, I followed the workout schedules to a “T,” but with TurboFire, I didn’t. It is a fairly looooong program (as in more than 3 months) and I felt like the level of the first few months was just too easy for where I was, physically. Therefore I started around Week 16, but never really followed the schedule. It’s hard enough to find time to work out with an infant in the house, I certainly wasn’t about to get up before 5:00 a.m. – especially now that she’s sleeping through the night {WOOT! WOOT!}

Anyway, I will give it up to Beachbody…Chalene, like Tony Horton and Shaun T, delivers a solid workout. At first it seemed a little cardio-heavy and lacking in the strength training department. Occasionally, I worked in other fitness DVDs (Jillian Michaels Shred It and 30 Day Shred are a few examples) but I eventually got the hang of using the resistance bands that Chalene incorporates into some of her classes and found it to give a good burn.

The basic idea is that there are 3 different types of classes (as she calls them) that vary in length from about 15-60 minutes. As you get stronger, the workouts get longer, BUT if you’re like me, sometimes you do the shorter ones with weights (I WANT some weighted gloves!) to make it more challenging OR double them up and do a short class twice through.

HIIT ClassesThese are the shortest classes, with the longest being 30 minutes. The basic idea is that you do a REALLY super hard, fast, intense minute (usually about 70 seconds) of work followed by a minute recovery period in which you do nothing but towel off, sip water and catch your breath. You continue alternating work with recovery until the classes ends.

Fire ClassesThese are the medium length classes that range from about 20-60 minutes. Most often, I do the 30 minutes class (because of time constraints) but the 45 minute one has the best music and combos! These are a hybrid of the HIITs and EZs. You do mostly combos but there are HIIT intervals mixed in – about 2-3 per class. Of course those intervals are followed by the lovely recovery minute!

EZ ClassesThey aren’t really easy, and they aren’t short! These are about 45-60 minutes, so I save them for the weekends. They are a lot like the Fire classes, but there are not HIIT intervals mixed in. It’s all a steady pace, but a strong workout.

As for diet, I never really followed any of the diets that come with the Beachbody programs, which is probably why I’ve never had the jaw-dropping results that some people get. I’m OK with that. I eat a pretty healthy diet, and feel good about where I’m at. There is a 5 Day Inferno plan that comes with TurboFire. I DID try it and followed it (mostly) to the letter. I had good results, but understood that about half was water-weight and it came back.

Overall, I lost about 10 pounds in 2 months. Not earth-shattering, but the workouts are FUN, short, and didn’t kill my knees (thanks to lower impact modifications.) I will continue to work Chalene’s classes into my regular rotation. Thumbs UP!

SO what’s next for me? I’m taking a break from Beachbody to try out a new trainer. Lindsay Brin is a mom of 3 kiddos who has her own home-based fitness business. I have followed her on Facebook since having my daughter, and have been anxious to try her workouts. One of her newest programs, “Pretty Fierce Weight Loss” is designed for moms with new babies (youngest baby should be at least 6 months old) who want some help dropping the poundage. She incorporates the exact routines she used to get in shape after having her babies and after seeing her abs – I have high hopes!

I found the 8 disc set for sale on BabySteals.com and got a smokin’ deal on it! If you haven’t already followed them on Facebook, you’re missing your missing out! Until then…you can find me on MyFitnessPal (thomasbf – add me and tell me you found me via this blog!) tracking my food and fitness. It’s the ONLY thing that works for me in the weight loss arena.

Giving Myself Permission to Supplement with Formula

Giving myself permission to supplement with formulaWell, it happened. I finally gave in and started baby girl on formula at 10.5 months. When I was pregnant, I told myself 6 months of breastfeeding was my goal, but 1 year was my dream. I wanted to go from breast to whole milk, and someday tell her she never, ever even tasted formula. Having never done the breastfeeding thing before, I had nothing to base my goals off of, except the recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Sure, I’ll do what they recommend – why not?

Then I started breastfeeding. It was not as easy as I’d envisioned so I started to question myself…and my goals. Breastfeeding was everything I didn’t expect: painful, time-consuming, exhausting…you get the idea. {Note: All of these things can be managed. Talk to a lactation consultant – I did and things improved dramatically.}

One day, checking Facebook while nursing, I stumbled upon many “lactivist” and pro-breastfeeding pages. While initially helpful,I soon realized man practiced attachment parenting, something that just isn’t for me. I honestly have NO judgment for anyone’s parenting style; choose what works for your family.

My issue with these pages (and I know what you’re thinking…just “unlike” them) is that it’s a lot of pressure! Unintentional, I know, but it’s still there. These moms breastfeed until their children are 2+, they carry them everywhere, don’t let them cry, don’t work outside the home…oh emm gee. I can’t. So, when I fully realized that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with pumping at work, I started to panic. I went from having an abundant freezer stash, the fridge-only stash, to having the daycare teachers call me to bring over when I JUST pumped. Whenever I had meetings out of town, I was panicked thinking she was going to starve.

Stress consumed me for about two weeks and then I just did it. I bought a canister of formula.

That night I shed a few tears just because I felt like I should. The next day, I gave it to daycare with the note that she’d never had it before…and there was no more breast milk. “Good luck!” You know what happened? Absolutely nothing. She drank 12 oz. that day, had no digestive issues and slept like a champ.

So I ask this, why do we let this get to us?

Today I went on Facebook and “unliked” all of those pro-breastfeeding pages. Don’t get it jumbled, I still think breast is best and I still plan to keep going until she’s one, but I know that if I can’t pump between afternoon meetings – the world isn’t going to fall apart.  Leaving those Facebook pages was more for my own sanity, so I didn’t feel like a failure, because I’m not.

I once saw a post by a former OB nurse who said, “You have to feed your child. How you do it is up to you.”

A Punch on the Mama Card – Handling a Sick Child

Punch on the Mama Card - Handling a Sick ChildThere are bound to be a few times in my life, as a parent, when I feel like I’ve truly earned the title of “Mama.” It’s during those moments that I think there should be a punch card or some physical document that I can show the world and proclaim – “I’m here for the long haul. You can’t scare me away!” The first punch on my card would have to be the day she was born…via unplanned c-section.

Sure, motherhood was literally JUST beginning (unless you count that whole pregnancy thing – but for me that was mostly fun), but it still seemed like the world was trying to put me in my place. No dice, universe, I dominated that surgery/recovery and am proud of the scar that proves I can’t be defeated by some measly scalpel and a few dissolvable stitches.

My second punch on that card came almost a year later, when I listened to that dreaded voicemail from the babysitter (in this case, Gramma and Grampa – thank goodness!) that “maybe you should pick up some Pedialyte on your way home.” Uh oh. Turns out that we’d be ringing in 2013 covered in baby puke. Poor kid.

I thought that I had managed to avoid the worst of it. By the time we got home (right around Midnight), she’d had multiples baths and PJ changes but was sleeping soundly. She stayed that way until 6:30 the next morning! When I picked her up from bed, I knew immediately that another bath was in order thanks to a few remnants left over from the night before. (She seemed worse off than her mama who had spent the evening cozying up to multiple cherry cocktails! Poor girl had the hangover with none of the fun.)

After the bath we cuddled up in comfy clothes for the day and I began to nurse her in our bed while the hubby showered and Gramma and Grampa packed up to head home. That’s when it happened. She got calm and quiet, really snuggled into me and then the puke-volcano erupted. Everywhere. The bed, the floor, my front AND back sides. Everywhere. Of course, I yelled for my mom to help. J Some things never change! Baby girl and I BOTH got into the tube together and she was magically back to 100% – splish-splashing and partying it up. We made it through the next 12 hours on water and breast milk with little spit up – nothing to write home about, but at bedtime she had oatmeal and over-nursed and we started the cycle again.

Somehow, through all of this, Dada managed to stay puke-free. Lucky bastard. BUT, what he didn’t get was a punch on his Mama Card. Nope, that special privilege was reserved just for me! I feel proud that I made it through her first stomach bug. One of my biggest fears as a parent is how to handle it when the kiddo is sick. Would I know if it was something serious? Would I be able to comfort her like my Mom did for me? Would I call the doctor too much and be one of “those moms?” When it was all said and done, I looked back and realized that no matter when I did, the most important thing was just to let everything else go (I didn’t get to work out, clean my house, work on scrapbooks, watch the Rose Bowl game, take done my Christmas tree or any of the other crap I had planned for my New Year’s Day) but it didn’t matter – because I got to be her Mama.

NOTE: In all likelihood, she had a stomach bug (NOT influenza), but the next few days her dad and I both showed minor influenza symptoms. Thankfully, our whole house had been vaccinated or who KNOWS how much longer we would have been out of commission. Get your flu shots people. Just DO IT!