Archive | January, 2014

Running Soundtracks

30 Jan

I love the power of music to transport you back to different times in your life or remind you of things you hadn’t thought about for years. Music reminds me of many different things, but one of the most significant is running.

morning_run_29393

“Bigger Than My Body” by John Mayer reminds me of running on the treadmill as a sophomore in college, trying to cancel out all the alcohol and pot-induced munchies I had consumed the night before.

“In This Moment” by FFH reminds me of running by the Mississippi River on West River Parkway as a junior in college. As a new believer, I loved the way Christian music reminded me of the new truths that I was learning – and understanding – for the first time.

“Long Way Around” by Dixie Chicks brings back memories of training for my first ever road race – the White Bear Lake Rotary Freedom 10 Mile – the year after I graduated. It was during one of the first miles of that race that Travis first heard me fart. (Hey, it’s hard to hold them in when you’re running!) Driving home from that race, my car was rear-ended and nearly totaled. Luckily, all of us in the car were fine.

In 2010, I ran my heart out to lots of Lady Gaga and “Sexy B!tch” by David Guerra during my first attempt at training for a marathon. I was forced to drop to the half in the Malibu Marathon due to an over-tight IT band.

I listened to at least one song from the album “All Sides” by O.A.R. every workout when training for my Olympic triathlon in 2011. Those songs remind me of running laps on our gym’s tiny, 10-times-around-is-a-mile track.

In 2012, I successfully trained for and ran the Mayor’s Marathon in Anchorage listening to copious amounts of Harry Potter audio books. HA! But I also listened to “Undo It” and “Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood quite often.

And now, on the cusp of training for my first race post-baby, I have compiled a new playlist – or running soundtrack, if you will. Let’s hope these songs are just as inspiring!

  1. Uprising by Muse
  2. Counting Stars by OneRepublic
  3. Take a Walk by Passion Pit
  4. Roll Away Your Stone by Mumford & Sons
  5. Safe and Sound by Capital Cities
  6. Wake Me Up by Avicii
  7. Best Day of My Life by American Authors
  8. San Francisco by The Mowgli’s
  9. Out of My League by Fitz and the Tantrums
  10. Chocolate by The 1975
  11. Ho Hey by The Lumineers
  12. I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons

What songs are your favorites for running?

To Wean or Not to Wean

28 Jan

I honestly thought that I’d have no problem weaning Emma once she got close to a year old. I mean, think of the freedom! No longer would I have to be the one getting up at 5:30 am to feed Emma. Or staying up until she goes to bed. Or missing out on time with friends because I have to go nurse her in a different room (the nursing cover was given up on a LONG time ago). Or interrupting my work day to go pump in a room with as many as 6 other women (yes.).

I could start wearing regular bras again.

I wouldn’t have to tailor my wardrobe to what’s easiest to nurse in.

Oh and did I mention not having to pump anymore?

I’ve been thinking fairly seriously about weaning because I don’t really produce that much milk anymore. I pump twice a day at work and get 2-3 ounces each time. I’m guessing that Emma gets maybe 3-4 ounces when she nurses. I hate the thought of nursing and giving a bottle for each feeding, so I’ve just been nursing her on a 3-hour schedule still, plus 3 meals of solid foods a day. Before bedtime, I give Emma a 4-5 ounce bottle of formula, and then nurse her.

Emma seems content and is growing well, so I guess what we’re doing works. But then I think it would be so much easier and simpler to just be done with nursing. My goal was only to make it to a year anyway, because then Emma can have cow’s milk and not need expensive formula.

Faced with the actual reality of not nursing anymore, though, I realized that I’m not ready to give it up. I can’t put my finger on why but I just can’t get myself to pull the trigger. Part of it is that bottles are a lot more work – to make, clean, store, warm. Nursing is convenient. Emma has also stopped pulling off as much to look around and inspect things, so it’s less frustrating.

But I think most of it is that nursing is my bonding time with Emma. She’s never been a cuddler – these days, she barely wants to be held at all. She’s on the move! So nursing is a special thing.

Side note: The other night, Emma woke up and had a bad cough. She didn’t want to lay in my arms like usual, so I held her upright against me and she leaned her head on my chest – she hasn’t done that since she learned to hold her head up! It was 2 a.m. but I was in HEAVEN.

A day will come, though, when Emma no longer needs – or wants – to nurse. Then it will be on to the next stage in our relationship.

But that day is not today.

 

If You Give a Mom a Muffin…

25 Jan

forgala

Emma got some of the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” books for Christmas. I had actually never read any of them before that, but they are very cute!

The other day, I saw this poem on Facebook and thought it was hilarious. After a little searching on the interwebs, I found the original post and author.

So go read If You Give a Mom a Muffin. It’s worth it!

That’s all I got for today. We’re getting our gutters installed and having a painting party. Sunday and Monday, we’ll be busy packing everything up for carpet to be installed on Tuesday. And we’re meeting with our realtor again on Friday. The to-do list is getting shorter! I’ll post pictures once our house is on the market.

Have a great Saturday!

9 Months Postpartum

22 Jan

Every month, I feel more in the groove of being a mother. In the past 3 months, I’ve started to once again make dinner, exercise, have date nights with Travis and read. We’re also in the thick of learning how to do house projects with a baby. We couldn’t do them this quickly, though, without a bunch of awesome friends who are willing to help us out. Thanks friends!

So here’s life at 9 months (almost 10 months…) postpartum:

Physical Recovery

Obviously I’m long since recovered from actually giving birth, but my body is still not the same. Most noticeably, I can’t sleep on my left side for very long because it ends up hurting my stomach. ?!?!? And I can still tell that my joints are achier/weaker. But maybe that’s just me getting old and/or out of shape…

I still have a linea negra on my belly, though it’s *almost* gone. And I still haven’t gotten my monthly visitor back, which I thank breastfeeding for.

I would also like to note here that my body has mostly adjusted to chronic sleep deprivation. Even on days when I feel like a zombie in the morning, I can usually turn things around after several cups of coffee and be fairly productive/interactive. But to maintain that, I have to go to bed between 8 and 9 every night. Emma is an early riser!

Body Weight / Image

3and6monthspostpartum

9monthspostpartum

I am down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but as I mentioned in my 6-month update, I was in marathon shape and very muscular then, so being the same weight doesn’t mean I’m the same as I was then. The 2 main differences that I notice about my body now vs. pre-pregnancy are 1) my stomach is squishier and 2) my butt is flatter – not necessarily a good thing. I’m sure things will start firming back up, though, now that I’m actually working out again. I’m planning to start training soon for a 15K in April. It’ll feel good to have a goal again. Until then, I’m just getting back into the groove of running with some 2 and 3 mile runs.

I’ve also been doing some strength training at home, and last week, I checked out a bunch of workout DVDs from the library. The only workout DVDs I currently have are either too long to do during naptime, or too intense for my poor joints, so I’m looking to add some to my collection. I haven’t been going to the gym for workout classes and stuff as much as I thought I would – usually because it’s either Emma’s naptime, or will be soon, and she is known for having meltdowns when she’s tired and not with mom. But I don’t want to use that as an excuse to not work out at all – hence the DVDs. In our new (bigger) house, I’m hoping to have an exercise room where I can have my bike set up on the trainer, an elliptical (my birthday present from my parents last year! We just don’t have it at our house because it’s too small), a TV for workout DVDs, free weights, exercise ball, etc.

Since the new year, I’ve also been eating healthier. Most notably, I’ve been eating a fruit or veggie with (almost) every meal or snack, cut WAY back on my sweets and wine intake, and cooking something for dinner besides a frozen pizza. Planning is key. If I fail to plan, I fall to pizza. Anyway, eating better and exercising more has helped me start feeling more like my old self, and not so much of a blob. It’s nice.

Emotional

I still have my moments, but overall, I am really enjoying being a mom right now. Emma is such a delight and even when she’s screaming, I can’t help but smile and say “Oh, she’s so cute! I could just eat her up!” I love the noises and faces she makes. I enjoy seeing her little personality emerge. I love when she giggles, and how she loves being held upside down and spun around in chairs. Crazy little girl!

During one of Travis’ recent work trips, I realized that I’m not scared to be alone with Emma at night anymore. I’m not scared of her waking up, or her screaming bloody murder for no reason. Because I’ve done it all and survived! But really, I think it’s because I know Emma so much better now. There are still times when I have no clue what’s wrong, but for the most part, I know what’s up and can remedy it. It does help to know, though, that the world won’t stop spinning if I don’t get much sleep one night. I just look forward to Travis coming home so that I can have a nap!

It’s hard to believe that Emma will be 1 year old in just a few months. It’s gone fast, and yet so much has happened during that time. I’m probably the only one, but I honestly do not feel like time is going too quickly. I don’t want Emma to remain forever young. I want to know her personality, to find out what she’s interested in and talented at, to experience the world with her. That means she has to grow up. And I welcome it! Maybe someday I will miss the baby days, but right now, I’m enjoying the baby days but excited for all that the coming months and years have in store.

{Reblog} A very present help in trouble.

19 Jan

I was thinking about these ‘customized’ verses this morning and thought I’d share them again. Though they’re not authoritative like God’s Word, they are still good reminders of Truth, and of His love. Enjoy! (I’ll be back soon with my 9-month… almost 10-month… postpartum update!)

379111290_9c3a80cded1.jpg

Originally posted June 9, 2010

The past two months (since April 8, the day we got Charlie*) have been a blur. As a person who does not handle busyness well but who has been ridiculously busy (in my book), I have been pleasantly surprised more than once that I have only had 1 or 2 meltdowns. That, my friends, is a new record.

I have not handled every situation well. I have yelled, cried, slapped, whined, slandered, complained, pitied, and doubted God. All of which Satan pounced on to make me feel like a horrible person who deserved nothing but a swift kick to the head.

Then I stumbled across Psalm 46 one morning (after having searched for the verse the previous morning and not been able to find it):

God is our refuge and strength, 

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though it waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

This was exactly what I had needed – and wanted – to hear. The storms of life aren’t evidence that God doesn’t love or care about me. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God has been teaching me in this season of life how to weather storms with Him instead of apart from Him. Clinging to the truth of His love for me, instead of believing lies like “God doesn’t care about what’s happening to me” and “He won’t help me with this; I have to do it myself.”

To make this hit home even a little more, I rewrote that passage of Psalm 46 in my own words:

  • God is my refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore I will not fear though all order breaks loose,

though everything I do immediately gets undone,

though I am overwhelmed and underequipped,

though my sanity is upheld by the tiniest thread.

  • God is my refuge and strength,

a very present help with dogs who are trouble.

Therefore I will not fear though I cannot tame them,

though they do not listen to my commands,

though they destroy my home and possessions,

though they try my patience to its breaking point.

  • God is my refuge and strength,

a very present help in trials.

Therefore I will not despair though I feel condemned by my sin,

though I feel insufficient and worthless,

though I am accused of not being enough,

though my flesh is weak and my heart fails me.

No matter what life or Satan or my own stupid fault throws at me, I have hope because “This I know, that God is for me.”

Another rewording of mine, from Psalms 46 and 70:

The river of grace is a constant stream.

It makes glad the dwelling of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

God lives within her; she shall not give up.

God will help her when she needs it.

Though she is poor and needy,

God will hasten to her rescue.

He only is her help and her deliverer;

He will not delay!

……………………

* Now, this could be changed to “since April 7, the day Emma was born”!

Where I’ve Been + Where I’m Going

9 Jan

Where I’ve Been

At the beginning of last year, I set the goal of writing down one thing each day that I was thankful for. Well, after March 11, I failed. Miserably.

But all is not lost, because I did spend the year learning how to be thankful when life is hard. Becoming a mom has challenged me in more ways than anything ever has – even more than getting married. It has forced me to let go of my to-do list and agenda daily. It has changed my identity. It has changed how I spend my free time (what’s free time again?). It changed my marriage. It changed my career. It changed my home.

I’ve discovered, though, that no matter how much in my life changes, or what season I’m going through, whether things are easy or hard, whether I’m satisfied or discontent, giving God thanks is always the path to joy. Because in giving thanks, I accept the life God has given me and deem it Good.

I admit, it is HARD to give thanks when you want to yell and scream and kick against the circumstances God has allowed. When you want to send the meal of your life back to the kitchen and order something else. But because we Christians have the promise of eternity with God, and a purpose for things that is bigger than this visible world, we can be thankful for ALL THINGS.

Where I’m Going

I thought that making one goal for the year would increase my odds of actually achieving it. But I proved that theory wrong last year. So for 2014, I’m aiming a bit lower with ‘areas of focus.’ Ha. Mostly the New Year just coincides with me finally deciding to get my act together and stop making excuses. So without further adieu, here are my 4 ‘areas of focus’ for 2014 (in order of importance):

1) Spend time with God daily. God is the most important aspect of my life. If I can make time for anything else, I can make time for Him. It doesn’t have to be sitting down and reading the Bible, though that’s usually what it looks like. It could be listening to a sermon while running, just praying for an extended amount of time, soaking in worship music on the way to work, etc. Just something that gets me engaging with God and reminding my soul of truth every day.

2) Eat healthy foods. Over the past year or so, I have found myself regularly eating things that before getting pregnant, I would have only eaten once in a blue moon. I’ve also been slacking on eating the healthy stuff. So what this ‘area of focus’ entails is:

  • Include a fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack.
  • Drink wine only one day a week.
  • Eat only one sweet a day, if any.

3) Exercise. I say that this is one of my passions, but looking at my tracking in MapMyRun, you would never know it! I’ve been thinking recently about the reasons why I haven’t gotten back in the groove, and my ‘reasons’ are pathetic. If I can find time to go to Target 3 times a week, I can find time to work out! So no more excuses. I just need to do it. Already this week, I’ve gone on my first run since Thanksgiving, my first swim since May 2012 and done an 8-minute Tabata workout that made me sore. Man, I am so out of shape. But fortunately, I just enjoy being active, even if it’s a pale comparison to my pre-pregnancy fitness.

4) Stick to a budget. God has blessed Travis and I with abundance, and until Emma, we were a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) family, so while we’ve had a budget for the past couple of years, I don’t think we’ve actually stuck to it. Ever. However, since I’ll probably no longer be working when we move, and we plan to have more kids in the next several years, we will need to learn how to! I also feel convicted that we aren’t being the best stewards of God’s money by not knowing more about where all our money goes.

Our main problem with sticking to a budget is that even though we are fairly practical in what we buy, we make a lot of purchases that aren’t planned for. They’re usually paid for out of what we call the ‘slop’ in our budget (a.k.a. the money we’ve budgeted for other things that we didn’t use this month, but might need next month). So we will definitely need to learn delayed gratification.

On a similar note, we’ve recently decided that I am going to take over handling our finances, paying bills, etc. (GULP) since I’m the one who spends most of our money. I’m toying with the idea of going back to using envelopes of cash (Dave Ramsey style). Best part of this is that I am now in control of the (nonexistent) Gun Fund. 😉

So there you have it!

Emma Grace: 9 Months

7 Jan

Emma has learned a lot of new things in the past couple of weeks. Here’s what she’s up to at 9 months:

Size

Emma had her 9-month pediatrician appointment yesterday and she is now 19 lbs, 10.5 oz (74th percentile) and 28 inches long (66th percentile). She’s wearing 9- and 12-month size clothes.

I’ve been on a mission to find a pair of shoes that fit Emma’s feet and don’t constantly fall off. She has really small feet and every pair of shoes I’ve gotten her are either still too big or fall off after 5 seconds. After seeing a friend’s baby wearing them, I finally bought Emma a pair of Ministar Designs at Target. They stay on!

IMG_5307 (Large)Eating

Emma got 3 new teeth this month! The 2 middle teeth on the top and the one to the right of them.

IMG_5339 (Large)When she got her bottom teeth, she had 1 bad week of sleep and then was done. But these teeth have taken forever to come in – about 3 weeks. At the same time, Emma also had a bad cold with lots of congestion – she coughed a lot and sometimes, coughed so hard that she gagged and even threw up. Poor girl. She’s been pulling on her ears a lot too, and actually cut them up a bit with her nails, but the pediatrician said that her ears look fine. That’s good but I wish I had an explanation for why Emma still seems crabbier than normal.

I’m pretty sure Emma also went through a growth spurt recently, as she went from eating 1 container of baby food 3x a day to 2 containers for lunch and dinner. I think this means that we need to start feeding her more substantial foods, instead of just fruit and vegetable purees with some yogurt here and there. Emma has tried cheese, turkey and chicken, and likes them, but it takes forever for her to chew them. But she has gotten really good at feeding herself Cheerios and puffs so I think we’re really to start doing more finger foods.

IMG_5306 (Large)Emma has also started indicating when she wants to nurse by pulling at my shirt, leaning her head down and sometimes biting! She has only bit me while nursing once (thank goodness) but she has bitten me randomly a few times. Those little teeth are sharp!

20131220_105214

Sleep

With the teething, cold and growth spurt that Emma has been going through, plus being away from home for 2 weeks, her sleep for the past 2-3 weeks has been pretty terrible. She woke up 1-3 times per night while we were with my family for Christmas, and then 3-5 times a night when we were with Travis’ family. It was really nice having grandmas and grandpas to watch Emma in the morning while Travis and I got some more sleep.

Nursing comforts Emma in the middle of the night better and faster than anything else, so I’ve been nursing her almost every time she wakes up. I’ve probably created a monster now, so once I’m a little bit more caught up on sleep after going without it for an entire night on our drive home, I’ll start weaning Emma off her middle-of-the-night feedings again.

Other than that, sleep is pretty much what it was at 8 months.

20131215_083957Development

Talking and rolling is where I feel Emma has grown the most in the past couple of weeks. Right around 8 months, Emma started rolling over to play on her tummy all on her own, and she has continued this. She’ll even stay on her hands and knees and rock a bit, but we have to put her there. She’s rolling enough now, though, to require much more attention on our part – and faster diaper changes!

20140106_140045She also loves standing and has started to pull herself up on things. I’m pretty sure she’s been practicing this skill in the crib because every time I go in there, she’s crammed all the way in the corner, and one morning, her sleep sack was busted open. (So we are retiring the sleep sack.) At church the other day, she was standing up holding on to the couch in the nursing mothers’ room and discovered a new game – lean back, let go to stand all by yourself and mommy catches you before you fall over!

As far as talking goes, Emma loves the ‘buh’ sound. Maybe because we call her Biscuit and say “Buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-biscuit” to her all the time? She also says “ma ma ma”, “da da da”, “yah yah yah”, “blah”, and my favorite, when she’s going to bed, “aye aye aye”. It’s so freaking cute! I’ve tried to record her but she stops talking every time I get my phone out.

20140106_140107Emma loved being pushing around fast in the walker at grandma’s house. Their kitchen has an island that was perfect for cruising around. She’s a pretty good sport about most things, but if she’s not in the right mood, even things that she usually enjoys and giggles at can make her cry – like getting her neck blown on.

Emma has started to raise her arms to be picked up, and lean toward me to be held when being held by someone else.

Loves:

  • Standing
  • Grape Tylenol and Hyland’s tablets
  • Playing with kitchen utensils and small toys that have good spots for chewing
  • Being held upside down, and being held on one hand in the air (these are daddy’s tricks)
  • Spinning around in her high chair
  • Eating, especially feeding herself
  • Singing The Wheels on the Bus (we help her do the motions)

Doesn’t Like:

  • Being thrown up in the air
  • Her carseat
  • Being alone or not getting attention
  • Being licked in the face by dogs a lot
  • Getting her winter coat put on
  • Wearing things on her head

20131215_083716