Making peace.

This morning was a blur in my house. I have averaged possibly 4 hours of sleep in the past 72 hours. And not because of baby. I have a fog horn that refuses to see a doctor that shares the bed with me. We got up late to meet a friend for a walk. I had to do some serious multitasking to feed baby, pump milk for baby, eat my own breakfast and tend to a dog whose eyeballs were practically floating.

Because it was a breezy, cool day as compared to the summer-like weather we have been having most of the week, the walk was put on hold. Instead, we took an hour to decompress from the rush-rush of the morning with some yoga. Then we bundled up (well, baby bundled up) and set off for a run. If I’m going to put together a local stroller run on May 31st for National Stroller Run Day, then I need to be able to run A LOT better with that dang stroller than I can currently.

We, of course, ended up taking a little break down at the public landing of the little town I live in. The town I’ve taken up a cozy wpid-img_20150508_115840.jpglittle spot in, is a lot like the cozy little town (or village) I grew up in. The only differences are my hometown is also hometown to Andre the seal and comfy cedar sided cottage style homes. The town I call home now, just twenty minutes south, is home to huge homes from the late 1700s and early 1800s that housed captains and their families, and it also has Thomaston Grocery – the down-home style grocer, where everyone seriously knows my name.

This town called home has had this ability to bring me back to center when things have been blown off course (no pun intended there, honestly). I’ve come to a lot of decisions about different aspects of my life sitting on the dock at that public landing.

I’m sure most of you reading this have heard about the app for smartphones called Time Hop. Each day, it shows you what you have posted to your various social media accounts on that day in particular, for the time span that you’ve had those specific accounts. wpid-img_20150508_115902.jpg

Mine for today was a post to Facebook a year ago. The day I sat on that dock with my dog, and came to peace fully, on being told that even with the medical intervention of In Vitro Fertilization, the chances of me being able to have a child were only 30%. I had always thought that I was okay with whatever happened. I truly believed that I was okay with or without being able to be a mom. But that day, I realized I wasn’t fully okay with whichever way the wind blew.

It was like the finally lock clicked open inside. Or at least this is how I tell the story, because on June 22nd of last year, I found out I was five weeks pregnant. I became the one that confused every doctor that had been a part of the almost three year journey. I defied the science of the tests that I had to take. I can’t explain what happened that day any better than, I finally found contentment with whatever may come my way. Of course, doctors disagree with me, because, well… Science.

Today, I stood near the dock, (not on the dock, because that is just absolutely sketchtastic with a baby in a stroller) and I reflected on the, no better way to explain it, miracle that took place. The miracle with bluish brown eyes, watching me curiously as I snapped a photo of him, then the harbor before us, then our feet. The miracle who is sitting in my lap, right now, watching me type out this blog, while munching on his hands and making happy little sounds.

This is what truly happens when you open your heart and soul, and make peace with what is out of your hands.  wpid-photogrid_1431100941008.jpg

 

This is motherhood.

Motherhood has been an easy transition for me. I feel that’s mostly because of how I tend to my crazy dog, Dunkin. And, how I have been with my relationships with friends.

The hardest part of motherhood has been… letting things go.

For almost twelve weeks now, my household cleaning schedule has been mostly non-existent. Yard cleanup, which typically starts happening the second all of the snow is finally gone (if not sooner, because yes, I do tend to rake around snow piles when I just want to get it started), didn’t start happening until this past weekend. Weeks after the snow finally completely melted away.

My car hasn’t been vacuumed in, I can’t remember when. I did however, manage a speed wash and wax just a few weeks ago. Which shows because I have wax blobs in all the nooks and crannies that I’ll be forever digging out.

I look around my house, or I climb into my car to run a few errands and have to fight the urge to cringe. I used to vacuum daily. My car was washed weekly and the inside was cleaned just as often.

Right now, I’m looking at the baby’s playmat that still needs to be picked up and put away. Just around the corner, I have, somewhere under a pile of baby related things, a dining room table. In my bedroom, under stacks of baby books, a burp cloth, and a bib, you can find my nightstand and a dresser.

Even my laundry basket has been taken over by baby things that need folding and putting away. And I don’t even want to get into what my laundry room or bathroom look like.

Yet, with the sun shining on this beautiful day, a day in which our temps finally pushed into the 60s and near 70… I found myself curled up on our bed, my little guy snuggled up with me and my dog at my feet. The windows open, giving us the sounds of the world outside still buzzing about.

Today was the first time since Valentine’s Day, that I was able to just let it go. With only 15 days left of my maternity leave, I have finally learned how.

Just like Elsa. I let the messy house, the messy car, the want to hit the pavement for a run, take up the weights in the garage… I let it all go and for once (despite my OCD pounding at my mental door) embraced the chaos.

Workout Wednesday: Baby Yoga.

The week that I was cleared to finally start hitting the weights again, I started getting my feet, or, well, body, back into yoga. I was super tight from six weeks of doing nada, and I was also getting sore from it too.

I had heard of Mommy and Me yoga before, but it wasn’t until today that I finally decided to give it a shot. Weighted jump squats and working on getting my weight slowly back up in back squats from Monday’s workout have some serious muscle tenderness going on in my quads and hammies, and in my hip area. So active rest has come into play. wpid-img_20150429_195611.jpg

Through the wonderful world of YouTube, I found a little Mommy and Me yoga series for Moose and I to try.

The great thing about doing yoga with your little one is, it gives you a whole other way to connect and bond with them, all while getting some movement and exercise in. It’s good for the body and the soul.

The little guy and I both enjoyed it. He laughed and had a good time kicking away while I was bending, flexing and stretching away. Then he chatted away with me while we had him bending, flexing and stretching his little chunky limbs. The only time he seemed to doubt the fun of what we were doing, was when the instructor in the video got to the part where were were almost bending baby into a pretzel.

We’re looking into more videos and even seeing if there are any live classes going on in our little area, because now we’re hooked. It gives me more time to spend with my favorite little dude, which, as I near the time in which I have to return to my job, is very treasured.

A Food Thing: Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread.

If I thought there was never a dull moment in this household before, having a baby has certainly changed that. Everything has changed, yet it’s all still the same (if that makes any sense to someone who doesn’t have newborn baby fried brain like me).

I like to cook. Baking? I have very little patience for, and I often miss steps. Therefore, messing up the recipe. So I sat on Jamie Eason’s Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread for quite a few weeks post baby before I finally grew a set of woman nads, and stepped up to the stove.

I prefer to eat my protein in foods and meals. If I can stay away from protein powders in shakes, I do. And as a breastfeeding momma, I know the importance of a well balanced diet. I also know just how doubly important it becomes to make sure I’m eating enough and enough of what I need when those weights found their way into my hands again.

However, because of baby, meals sort of got tossed by the wayside and replaced with things I could make and eat one handed. Those pesky things we all know as… Snacks.

Which is what prompted me to start searching out one-handed snacks that I could make, and met my needs (notice I’m not using macros? Why? Because right now is NOT the time in any new moms life to be focusing on meeting macros). The Turkey Meatloaf Muffin’s from Eason’s Live Fit Trainer have been a perfect middle of the day meal. I typically pair one muffin off (sometimes two muffins) with instant brown and wild rice.

Yesterday, the baby decided he was going to nap all on his own and didn’t need my body within a 1/2″ range (I have come to believe that my child fears the great dingo will come after him if he’s not attached to a warm human body). The sudden freedom gave me a chance to tackle protein bread. Something that I hoped would be yummy and could serve as a quick grab and eat during the day.

The verdict? Let’s just say it’s still out on that one. Could be because I tweaked the recipe a little (see why I’m such a crappy baker?). They’re not horrible, but I definitely think it’s the oat flour. Which I have concluded is certainly an acquired taste.

What I used (the actual recipe, if you want to do it exactly like Eason did, can be found here):wpid-img_20150428_191459.jpg

What to do (this is the full directions from the BodyBuilding website):

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8 X 8 inch Pyrex dish with non-stick spray.
  2. In small bowl combine: (set aside) 1/3 cup Ideal (Xylitol) 2 tsp cinnamon
  3. In a large bowl combine: (whisk together) 1 1/2 cups oat flour + 2 scoops vanilla whey protein, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup Ideal (Xylitol) or 1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw
  4. In a medium bowl combine: (whisk together & add to lrg bowl), 2 egg whites, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (Almond Breeze), 1/3 cup or 1 4oz jar of baby food applesauce and ¼ cup low sugar vanilla yogurt (optional)
  5. Pour a shallow layer of batter into the loaf pan (about 1/4 of the batter).
  6. Sprinkle heavily with half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining batter & cinnamon/sugar on top.
  7. Draw a knife through the batter to marble. Bake for 24 to 28 min. Let cool for 10 min. Bread will be dense.

Workout Wednesday: Getting back in the game.

It’s not “This is what your brain is like on drugs”… It’s more like: This is what MY brain is like in anticipation of the first workout after WEEKS of not being able.

First, the brain does a line of sheer ecstaticicity (yes, I’m going to go ahead and make up a few words today). The response is all the bright lights start flashing and sending, like a strobe picture show, images of barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, bands and more.

Next, the workout has been picked. Over-excitement sets in, because, let’s face it, you cannot wait. You wake up exhausted, every day, for an entire week because you’re doing this workout in your sleep. That’s how much you cannot wait.

Then, you realize, you possibly have been overzealous is picking said workout. It has been six weeks since you’ve done anything other than walk or lightly jog. By the time the doctor’s appointment arrives, you’ll be at 45-days postpartum. AND you DID just have your guts cut open practically… Hmm… Maybe we should rethink that workout.

So, you scrap that workout.

And pick a new one. Made by someone else. But that’s okay. You’ve done this one before and know it’s probably the best “first” workout for you to do.

Then that day comes. It’s like Christmas time. You’re actually awake before the baby is awake and ready to feed. That’s something that doesn’t happen yet. Instead of running to the window to see if there’s snow like you do as a child on Christmas morning, you come downstairs and grin excitedly at that basket of your select favorite weights. You might even wink at it and tell it “Soon my darlings, very soon.”

When the moment comes to workout… You completely blank on what the hell a snatch is. That’s right. You stand there, looking at your kettlebells thinking “How the fuck do I do these again?”

Muscle memory is awesome. It really is. However, memory only works when your brain is on board. And yesterday, my brain decided, as I was working through “The Great Destroyer” from Jen Sinkler’s first Lift Weights Faster, to take a temporary hiatus when it came to the snatches. Each time through.

Naturally, that effected how many times through I was able to do the circuit in the given time frame – not like I was expecting anything fantastical in that department. I figured if I could do three, I’d be doing good.

I managed to do just that. Swing, snatch, squat, clean, press, push up and row my way through three rounds in 15-minutes on the dot.

Back to muscle memory though… Untitled copy

Today, while my baby was napping happily in his swing, I got the chance to hit another workout. This time, it wasn’t a preset workout. It was more, futz around and get done what I get done. Testing my strength in certain areas so I can assess and draw up a solid workout plan that keeps me on track for NOT hurting myself (I find myself reminding myself that I did have a pretty big surgery and even though I look healed and feel top notch, it doesn’t take much).

Wrapping up my workout, I tested my balance and lower body strength. I suffered the most strength loss in my upper body, which was expected given that’s my “trouble spot” when it comes to strength. Lower body was still rocking it right up until I went into labor. And apparently, I’ve still got it.

I successfully did three pistol squats on each side. Yes, I was a little wobbly on one side as compared to the other. And, form on the last one for each side was hovering just at the “acceptable” line. But I did it. I didn’t have to cue my body to do anything really. My core knew when to tighten and hold, my legs knew exactly where to stay in line with, my upper body moved naturally with the movement.

Muscle memory. It’s a beautiful thing.

Foodie Friday: Jamie Eason’s Turkey Meatloaf Muffins.

Two things have changed in my life so far since becoming a mom. The first, it’s always going to take at least an hour for me to get out of the house now. The second? Getting my nutritional needs on target each day is a lot harder now.

Eating when I’m hungry isn’t always a possibility. And, if it’s not something that can be made, or held in one hand to be eaten… It’s a no go, because it’s not exactly easy.

Protein is such an important part of a daily diet, especially when you’re a nursing momma.

My younger sister had made a lot of Jamie Eason’s recipes from her Live Fit trainer when she did the program, and suggested the Turkey Meatloaf Muffins. Looking the recipe up on BodyBuilding.com, 20g of protein in each muffin? Um, yes please!

I gathered all of the supplies today, and with baby strapped to me in the Moby carrier (he was, of course, feeling needy for momma when I needed both of my hands), made my first batch. Since I only have one 8-muffin tin, I had to technically make two batches.

Which was convenient. Being super hungry, with said needy baby in hand, the second one from the first batch cooled, I taste tested… And holy cow these are good! wpid-img_20150327_204848.jpg

Ingredients:

Directions: Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Spray muffin pan with olive oil, then mix all of your ingredients together in one large bowl. Roll mixture into balls and put them in the muffin pan (muffins should be the size-ish of a racquetball). Bake for 40-minutes. The recipe makes 12, but I got a baker’s dozen of good sized muffins.

#takebackfitspo

Life never really goes as expected. Yet, we never fail to hope, and in some way, expect that it will.

The entire time I was trying to get pregnant, and even when that miracle finally came, I had expected to gain a crap ton of weight. On both sides of my family, history shows a pretty significant weight gain during pregnancy. And shallow me (which does come out once in a blue moon), held out the hope that I’d have a lot of weight to work with post pregnancy to build my dream body. That body that I could only get if I could gain weight and keep it on (dangnabbit ectomorph doom). What I never took into consideration was this: My lifestyle was completely different. My activity level, my eating habits, everything. When the scale tipped out at a 32-pound total weight gain just two days before I went into labor, I was actually heartbroken.

That same lifestyle has also quickly taken all of that weight off. No, I’m not quite active yet, as I had a c-section and am on the bench for the first 6-weeks, but I’m still eating the same as I was pre-pregnancy and while I was pregnant. Just two weeks after birth, I had lost 27 of those 32-pounds.

It was also the first time in my life that I ever had a moment of severe body-image crisis.

In the changing room at TJ Maxx, I found my glimmer of hope. As an ectomorph, I’ve never had any natural shape. I’ve had to use exercise to create any illusion of curves on my small frame. Up until the last two months of pregnancy, I was still wearing my regular, every day pants and slacks. When my belly started to drop, I hopped on the legging bandwagon, as much as I hated to (I’m just a jeans kind of girl). After I came home from the hospital, the day I was to go to my two week check-up, I pulled on a pair of those jeans, got them all the way up, and had just given into the fact that I just was going to lose out on all fronts when… I couldn’t get them buttoned. I couldn’t even get the button remotely close to the hole.

Does this mean I have hips now? Does this mean I no longer have to dig through the pant racks of the juniors department in search of a non-bedazzled butt?

Was the sun trying to part the cloud of doom that had started to crush me mentally?

It was. I could get them up, but I couldn’t button them. And after examination, it was because of hip bones, and not belly. I. Had. Hips.

I tried on, and fit into, at the age of 31, my very first pair of big girl pants (and they made my butt look amazing at that). My mood instantly improved.

Happily exiting the dressing room after I strapped the baby carrier back on, I filled my husband in on the excitement and swapping the jeans I had in my hand for my adorable, pudgy-cheeked baby, we set off back to the woman’s department so I could get more.

Half-way through my digging, I noticed my husband looking a rack over, with an annoyed look on his face. Looking over, I saw a fellow newby mom, her little one tucked inside a carrier as well. I smiled and nodded at her, and told her congratulations, only to receive a scowl in response.

Under my breath, I took back my smile and uncongratulated her. My husband said that she had been watching me like that since I had come in the store, and said she had looked me up and down and even rolled her eyes in my direction at one point.

Why? Why must we as women do this to one another? Over all of this time, society has ingrained it into our minds that we need to compete with one another. That we can’t just accept everyone for the reality of it all: We’re all different. We come in not just different colors, but all kinds of different shapes and sizes.

Some people tell me I’m lucky. While I think of myself as otherwise. But, to some, I appear to be just that – lucky.

My genetics are different. My lifestyle is different. One can’t be changed (and I took a long time coming around to accepting that), and the other can.

The one that can, always is subject to assumptions from outsiders. I workout and eat the way I do to lose weight. I workout to stay small. I workout to make others look bad (if I only had a dollar for every time I heard that one).

None of it is true.

I workout because it makes me feel good. It makes my aches and pains from spondylosis feel good. It keeps me going, keeps the spondy from progressing. It keeps my mental health on the level. I’ve always known a good run, or a good, solid workout session has kept me on even keel, but I never realized just how much it did until I hit the middle of my pregnancy.

I eat the way I do because it makes my body feel good. It keeps my cortisol levels in check (which with PCOS, cortisol will always be an issue), which in turn makes me feel good. It gives me energy to get through the day without a slow down. I get sick a hell of a lot less. It fuels me to perform athletically.

I don’t have to justify myself, no one does. Yet, we find ourselves so often doing just that.

It’s always funny to hear of peoples shock when I talk about my own body. Yes, I’m okay with the skin I’m in, but that’s it: I’m just okay with it. I am in awe of all the things this body can do (make a baby, push/lift the weight it can in the gym, etc…), but looking at it is completely different.

“You’re so confident though!”

I hear it all the time. Confidence does not even come close to equaling having good/positive self-esteem.

The absolute greatest thing I have seen out there today is Mama Lion Strong’s #takebackfitspo movement. wpid-img_20150321_163903.jpgHer words were “I decided I was tired of worshipping fitness model’s bodies online. So I started worshipping my own body. That felt WAY better.”

The reason behind #takebackfitspo is to empower women of all shapes and sizes. All fitness levels. To even put the fun back into fitness. Make it feel less like a job, because that’s what fitspo has done to us. Given us an ideal that we are supposed to idolize and want to strive for, despite the fact that in most cases, it’s extreme, unrealistic – and even at times: dangerous.

While I was pregnant, I did my best to squash the “ideals” of what fitspo images are (what this definition outlines), I wanted to promote that fitspo should be ANYONE, all shapes and sizes, etc… Working to just be healthy, and happy, and not trying to be like the fit pros, etc, out there. Not trying to shame anyone. Make them feel poorly. I don’t know if it worked, I don’t know if I helped break that cycle for anyone, I can just hope I did.

I don’t think this should just apply to the fitness world though. Take it, and spread it throughout.

Join the movement and #takebackfitspo.