Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Just when supermom was needed the most, the ragweed kicked in and gave me a terrible sore throat, gunk, headache and fatigue. The 2-3 hours of Lincoln's wake time never seemed to drag so much than when I am sick. I usually enjoy it very much and try to fill it with as much cuddle time, reading and playtime as I can. However, he is a fairly clingy baby in general and especially when he is sick, so he has been more hands on than ever. No rest for the weary.
My sister in law let us borrow this awesome thing called a 'Jumperoo'. I call it the 'command center' because its a swivel chair on springs surrounded by an activity center. He loves it and I thought that it would help me be able to get some stuff done around the house while he played in it but when I go out of his view he freaks out. As I am about to start working (tomorrow, I am going in to do a refresher for myself and to figure out how to get the giant, heavy machines off of their mounts and onto the floor) I hope that he will be ok with the new set of childcare ladies at our new YMCA. I will only be doing 30 minute sessions tomorrow, Thursday and all next week. It should be a nice gradual transition. I just hope we are both back to 100% by then. No one likes a snotty baby...or Pilates instructor for that matter.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I am very excited to say that I am going to be the new, first-ever Pilates reformer instructor at the Foster Family YMCA. I am beyond thrilled to be a part of the beginning of this new program. After 6 months, I am ready to get back in the saddle again and cannot wait to bring my new prenatal and postnatal experience tony students. And just in time, my 4 pack is starting to show up again!!!
The as-vegan-as-possible lifestyle and the workouts are paying off. I have a new appreciation of what my body is capable of and I'm so proud to be a strong, fit, healthy mom for myself and my family. It wasn't easy at first and my cardio abilities are not completely back but it is worth it to keep working at it.
Friday, October 5, 2012
5 chicken breasts or 2 bags of fake chicken
1 package of wonton wrappers cut into strips and fried
1 head of lettuce, washed and chopped or torn into bite size pieces
4 green onions chopped
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cups slivered almonds
Over low heat, combine
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ajinomoto
1/4 cup salad oil
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
Note: ajinomoto is MSG and can be left out
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tbs rice wine
1 tbs water
2 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs brown sugar or agave nectar
3 garlic cloves, pressed or grated
Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
Note: if you are not used to cooking Asian food and don't have a lot of these ingredients, don't worry. They don't cost much and keep forever!
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Needless to say, I have shed some friends along the way.
As a very loyal person, and a person who tries to treat my friends very well, I have been continually surprised at how hurtful girls can be. From the nutjob that brought cocaine to my family's vacation home without my knowledge and certainly without my blessing, to my childhood best friend who drunkenly screamed my personal business (most of it untrue and exaggerated) to a house full of people to the most recent heartbreak. My best friend made a comment about my mothering that I'm not sure I can recover from. There had been tension mounting for a while. She works and I stay home with my son, so she had invited me to happy hours and movies and things in the evening when I like to be home to feed my son and put him to sleep. He had been in a very clingy stage, and I had been going through hell trying to get him to bed some nights and I didn't want to leave him while he was having this issue. I tried to explain this to her at an afternoon Starbucks chat, and she looked at me like I had been lobotomized.
It took me a month or so to confront her about this, I admit to being a bit of a coward when it comes to confrontation, and when I did, I was almost sorry I had. She remembered the conversation and knew exactly what I was talking about. And while she said she was sorry for 'hurting my feelings', she said that she thinks that I intentionally made my son dependent on only me 'on purpose, to make myself feel important'. I was absolutely crushed and floored. As she is not a mother, there was no way that I could explain to her that it's not about me anymore. That when it comes to my child, it's whatever is best for him. 'making myself feel important' doesn't even enter into the equation. As a stay at home mom and breastfeeding mother, it is natural that I am more physically close to my son. I am his main source of food, love, clean diapers, etc. My husband is great with him. The absolute best at making him laugh, however, when it comes down to it, I spend the most time with him and he gets nourishment from my body, so OF COURSE he is dependent on me.
At first, all I could manage to say back was 'WOW, OK'. She told me that she is sorry she hurt my feelings that first day, but that she is not sorry that was her reaction and that is how she feels and will never be sorry she has opinions on things. How do you argue with someone or make up with someone who isn't even sorry for making assumptions about your personal life or the way you raise your child??? I told her that we needed to take a breather and think about how to move forward. Now that I have thought about it, and the deep hurt and anger from her remark has set in, I'm just not sure how to move on from this one.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Now, as far as the actual products, I LOVE the multi-surface cleaner, which smells fantastic. I don't think it will disinfect heavy duty stuff, (like raw meats on the counter, but we don't have that stuff in our house anyway) so if you need something natural and that disinfects, use plain white vinegar. It doesn't smell good but it will kill any bacteria. Then use the surface cleaner afterwards.
The stain remover, I have not used yet on anything heavy duty, like ketchup, but it did get peaches out of a white onesie. It also smells fantastic (lavender).
The healing balm has done really well on minor scratches and skin irritation, including a dry, red rash on Lincoln's cheek. It doesn't soak in quickly though and is a bit oily so watch your clothing if you pick up your baby after applying. It might be best to just apply it right before bedtime.
My favorite products might be the shampoo/body wash (vanilla orange) which smells like a creamsicle and the body lotion. Lincoln has eczema and these have not irritated his skin. I love the peace of mind I have now, knowing that everything I am putting on my baby is safe. The fact that it smells great and was produced in an environmentally conscious way is icing on the cake. Thanks, Jessica Alba. I think your company is going to go far.
I am not totally vegan, but I have come a long way. Three months ago I thought I could never give up cheese. Chile con queso was it's own food group in my diet. However, when my husband suggested we do a 30 day vegan challenge, I accepted. He had read about numerous marathon runners and other athletes who ate a plant based diet and that they were leaner, meaner, had quicker recovery and had great vitals.
I used the book "The Engine 2 Diet" by Rip Esselstyn for the foundation of understanding how your body operates on a vegan diet, the benefits, and facts/myths about plant based diets. I used "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freeman and Kim Barnoun for meal planning. I had read Skinny Bitch years ago, but I hadn't been ready to take the next step. It's pretty in your face, and when I reread it, I felt it came across pretty harsh. However, I remembered how it lays out at least four weeks of meals in the back of the book and as I was not a huge fan of the meals in the Engine 2 book, I needed some other ideas. You can get it pretty cheap on Amazon.com. I would like to share some of the best of the best. I have made a few duds in my time but I have refined and honed my 10 years of vegetarian cooking know-how and cut out animal products. Here are my top Vegan meals. I will post a recipe or two at a time.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
After I put him down the fourth time, he was still slightly awake. As soon as he hit the mattress, he woke himself back up and started crying. I knew he was dry, fed, and unhurt, so I closed his door and went back to sleep. I think he fussed maybe 5 minutes or so and went back to sleep. Today, I have been determined to keep developing his self soothing skills. I have put him in his bed when he started to show signs of sleepiness, rocked him for a few minutes and then put him down. The first time, he cried 2-3 minutes. The second time was longer, maybe 10 minutes. It is painful for me to hear him be so upset but I strongly feel that learning these skills is going to be best for us all in the long run.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Off the soap box and on to the soap talks. Usually, products that are cruelty free are also environmentally conscious and free of other nasty chemicals. But not always. I cannot stress enough: Read Read Read. It is amazing how much companies are able to get away with when it comes to the chemicals in their products. Recently, mega-conglomerate Johnson & Johnson, who own Neutrogena, Clean & Clear and Aveeno, to name a few, announced that it would be removing all of the harmful chemicals in their products by 2013. The Economic times reported "Johnson & Johnson, which makes a range of personal care products like baby shampoo, acne cream and anti wrinkle lotion-announced plans last week to remove a host of potentially harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, from its line of consumer products by the end of 2015, becoming the first major consumer products company to make such a widespread commitment. By 2015, consumer products will be reformulated. Johnson & Johnson already vowed to remove certain chemicals from baby products, like its shampoo, by 2013 reports The New York Times." We're talking about some nasty stuff, such as formaldehyde and dioxane, which has been linked to cancer in ANIMAL STUDIES. I say, 2013 isn't soon enough. Why were they ever allowed to use formaldehyde in anything we put on our skin? The United States National Toxicology program describes formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen" in 2010. 2010. Three years previous to J&J planning to remove it from baby products, and 5 years previous to planning to remove it from all products. Additionally, it's not like this is new information here. Formaldehyde is used as embalming fluid, biocide and in the production of automobiles to name a few. Why was it ever used in products we put on the most sensitive skin of newborns?
I am guilty of using these products myself. They were given to me with shower gifts, and I blindly used them because they were there, and because J&J marketing team is really good at making sweet, warm fuzzy commercials that melt our hearts. Has anyone seen the You're Doing Ok Mom commercial? Tears every time. And I don't mean to just pick on J&J. They just happened to be in the news lately and at least they are trying to amend their practices. Vegan diet book, 'Skinny Bitch' says, "The Skin is the body's largest organ.. Every day, we slop all sorts of potions and lotions and makeup on ourselves, and rub them into our skin. Ever read the ingredients of these products? Ever consider that you are putting chemicals directly onto your largest organ? Ever think about the pores all over your body that you're putting inside them? Hopefully, you will now. Buy natural beauty products. What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body."
So, since many companies out there do not care about you, the consumer, or your baby, and what goes on your skin or in your bodies, we have to take charge and inform ourselves. One great site is The Organic Consumers Association which gives the names of 'green' companies, as well as political action you can take in your state to advocate on a larger level for safe products and farming practices. Pretty empowering, huh? PETA, while a bit radical in some of their stunts, even for me, does have a great way of searching for cruelty free products Cruelty Free Cosmetics, get the Be Nice To Bunnies app in your iPhone, and you can always look for the cruelty free bunny logo on products. Also the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a good resource to find out what is in the products you are using. And finally, Consumer Reports has a pretty comprehensive list of all things baby, including safety and recall information. Do a little reading, you'll feel more empowered as a consumer, and for the long term effects that some of these chemicals may have, it will be worth it!
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I started out strong, walking most days, and doing some smaller weights. I even pursued my Pilates certification at 2 months pregnant and began teaching at a Lifetime Fitness. However, all of that came screeching to a halt when I found out that I had Placenta Previa. I had a partial previa, meaning the pancake shaped organ that gives nutrients to the baby and is vital for survival, was partially blocking my cervix, the baby's escape route, making a Cesarean likely. However, my doctor thought that it would move up where it was supposed to be on it's own. As a precaution, she put me on modified bed rest for 8 weeks. This was not easy for a busy body, workout fiend like me. I recall numerous heated discussions with my husband over me trying to do too much.
|170lbs, 8+ Months|
At about 3.5 months postpartum, I was 137, almost back to my starting weight. My goal is 130lbs, and at the time, that could not seem further away, even considering how far I had come. It seemed like no matter what I did, my weight wouldn't budge anymore. Then, a couple of weeks ago, my husband suggested a 30 day vegan challenge. Having been a vegetarian for many years, I readily accepted the challenge. At the suggestion of a good family friend, we ordered the book The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn. It is a great guide to kick-start a vegan challenge or a vegan lifestyle. My husband lost 20lbs in 3.5 weeks, and I lost about 3 (137 to 134). After a bit of adjustment, I really like the food, feel great and plan on continuing this lifestyle as much as I can, knowing that occasionally some evil fatty cheese will probably pass my lips at some point.
|160lbs, 3 days postpartum|
|134lbs, 4.5 months postpartum|
Monday, August 20, 2012
2. My eye for danger - I drive slower, notice sharp corners, hard floors, and that the door to the nursery at the YMCA is way too close to the door to the exit for the building and someone could easily walk out with a child.
3. My social life - I no longer care that much about 'happy hours' and any drinking I do involves the couch, my husband and doesn't occur until after the baby is in bed.
4. My sleep cycle - I can safely say that I have been up at ever single hour in the night. 3:00 am is no longer a time I stay up until, it is the slap in the face that comes just after I have settled down after getting up 3 hours previous.
5. My freedom - I can't just pick up and go somewhere when I want to, but the bonus is I have the most adorable little guy to take with me wherever I go. I just have to wait until he's had a nap and eats.
6. My patience - I used to be the queen of instant gratification and when something needed to get done, I would usually knock it out quickly. Now, I am on Lincoln's schedule and have to squeeze in household chores and errands, and workouts when he's ready.
7. My confidence - together, my husband and I created life, it just doesn't get much more amazing than that.
8. My 'ick' factor - I spend a fair amount of time these days covered in spit up, drool, and elbow deep in poop and pee, I don't even gag anymore.
9. My protectiveness - I have much less patience with people who previously I would tolerate a lot more from. I have distanced myself from people who create drama, are codependent and who look at me like I am crazy when I tell them that I want to put my son to bed every night.
10. My marriage - Sure, we don't have as much time to spend just the two of us, but that time is extra special. Sometimes I find myself looking at him with our child and thinking what a miracle we made together and seeing him make endless goofy faces to make Lincoln laugh makes me love him even more.
11. My shopping habits - I would rather buy stuff for Lincoln than for myself.
12. My body - I expected the change in the look of my body, but I didn't expect the newfound respect I have for what it is capable of. I'm a walking buffet. An even though the occasional leak here and there is a minor annoyance, the fact that I am producing the most perfect nutrition for my baby never ceases to amaze me.
13. My priorities - My dog is no longer my baby, and Lincoln getting in a good nap is more important than being on time. To anything. Ever.
14. My fashion - Like I told my doctor the other day, I pretty much dress like a gym rat/hobo every day because I pretty much got spit up on 3 times a day for a while there. However, I do try to at least do my hair and put on some makeup, and get dressed up every once in a while, which always makes me feel better.
15. My spirituality - It's pretty hard to look into your baby's eyes and not believe there is a God.
As a first time mom, I was nervous, anxious and excited about having my first child. I had talked to numerous of my friends who had already had children about their experience and on the whole, I felt confident that everything would be ok, and my beautiful baby boy was the light at the end of whatever tunnel I had to go through to get to him. I was, of course, hoping to not have any complications or end up having a Cesarean. I hadn't considered the thought that my complications could be due to incompetence or lack of compassion and work ethic on the part of my labor and delivery nurse.
I had been having contractions for a couple of days, and they had started to get closer and closer together and I was growing more and more uncomfortable. We decided to go ahead and go to the hospital late in the evening even though I knew it wasn't quite 'time' yet. However, I thought that I could at least get my epidural started and I would be able to sleep so that I could be rested for the birth.
We arrived, were put in a room, and the night nurse got my I.V. started. She didn't do a very good job because my hand hurt for the next two days and was sore for a week after. She also gave me some kind of drug to make me relax. It not only made me relax, but made me hallucinate. I was seeing cartoons in my head and cracking up laughing trying to tell my husband the hilarity that was going on in my mind. Finally, I got the epidural and thought I would be able to sleep. No such luck. The blood pressure cuff that was around my arm kept going off every 20 minutes, even though my blood pressure stayed around 108/60 the WHOLE TIME. Then, the batteries in my epidural pump were dying, and kept beeping like a dying smoke detector. I told at least 3 hospital personnel who promptly forgot and so I didn't sleep at all between the beeping, my aching hand and the blood pressure cuff.
The next morning, the nursing shift changed and I met the woman who would be with me throughout the delivery. She changed the batteries immediately in the pump and I thought I had found my guardian angel. However, the moment my doctor came in for rounds in the morning, the nurse started an argument with her, and it was downhill from there. She upped the pitocin because I was not dilating fast enough. Meanwhile, my epidural had run out but since the nurse was waging war with my doctor, she never came in to check on me. My contractions were off the charts, back to back, no break in between, I was shaking like a leaf on a tree from head to toe and my nurse was nowhere to be found. My husband was coaching me, talking me through each contraction and getting me through. My mom finally went and found another nurse to try to get me some help, and I finally got some relief when the anesthesiologist upped my dosage and refilled my pump.
Finally, it was time to start pushing. I could see the end. I got to the point where my son was crowning, and they called my doctor. The nurse took this moment to again bash my doctor for not being close by and go on and on about how she should be there and shouldn't have gone back to her office. I'm laying in the bed about to cry wondering why my doctor had abandoned me, to hear the nurse tell it, and then random people start coming in my room, like it's social hour. Talking about things that have nothing to do with me, while I'm spread eagle on this hospital bed trying to have a baby. I have heard that when you give birth that all dignity goes out the window, but I ask, why is that acceptable? I am a very modest person, and I expected the doctor, and nurse, and was even ok with the giant 'scrub tech' GUY, but I didn't expect Admin ladies coming in and talking about their lunch plans.
At long last, my doctor arrived and it was time to finally meet my son, just in time, my epidural ran out again. I felt EVERYTHING. Later, my nurse told me that she knew it was running out but didn't get it refilled. Even women who go the 'natual' route have the option of having a local anesthetic for the crowning. Nope, not me. My nurse let me suffer the crowning, tearing and stitches because she had some issue with my doctor. She even told me, as she was wheeling me down to recovery, that she was taking an extra amount of time with me because she didn't want to deal with her next patient because she was being a 'diva'.
I talked to my doctor about what had transpired at my follow up appointment. She was very sympathetic and urged me to file a complaint, which I did a couple of weeks later. It made me feel better to have my grievances heard, but I was still bitter. I couldn't watch delivery shows on TV, and didn't want to hear about other women's positive experiences because it made me want to cry. I had envisioned this amazing experience, and don't get me wrong, once Lincoln was placed on my chest, not much else mattered, but I suffered more than I had to and I will always look back on that experience as stressful and unnecessarily hard. I did not know my rights as a patient. I did not know if we could request a different nurse. I was scared to cause a problem and so I kept quiet. I know that next time, I will make sure that I have a nurse that is attentive and that I feel comfortable with. We (and our partners)have to be our own advocates to get the care that we deserve.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
I started my journey into mommyhood as most planners do, with the best of intentions, armed with books, magazines, gadgets and gizmos to educate myself and satisfy my son's every need, help establish his schedule and have some predictability. However, I quickly realized that there is such a thing as too much research and too much rigidity. I started out trying to get him on the Babywise schedule. This proved to be too stressful for both of us. I was waking him up out of naps to force him into this predictable 3 hour schedule. In theory it sounded great, I would supposedly always know what to expect of him, be able to plan grocery store trips, gym runs, and dinner with my husband all according to this schedule, plus three is my favorite number so I thought that Babywise and I were going to get along great.
I soon realized that babies have their own personalities, own needs and own schedules. I realized that it was way more important for him to sleep as much as he needed rather than me trying to force the book/my schedule upon him. During the most frustrating moments when I would refer back to the book, especially the chapter about 'When your baby cries', and wish one of these 'experts' come spend a day with me and tell me what to do when I was supposed to be letting him 'cry it out' and he stubbornly would keep it up for 20+ minutes, escalating in volume and pitch every minute. It is still a work in progress, but now, after 4 and a half months, I feel like I am finally settling down and letting Lincoln take the reins.
Back to the Universe. A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine from college texted me and asked how I have been doing, with a smirk, I thought, "Do I tell her, or reply a glib 'fine, just busy'"? I decided to let her have it, since she asked, and I will do the same now. Here it goes. In the past year, we're talking since January, it is now August, I have planned a wedding, got married, had a baby, had surgery on my nose, had our townhome flooded by the neighbor's hot water heater, ruining our floors, had an air conditioner leak in our home, ruining the ceiling and walls, had $10,000 worth of work done, which still isn't finished, had multiple attempts to get my tooth fixed that I cracked while I was pregnant, and worst of all, my nephew that was born 6 weeks after my son was injured, spend 3 weeks in infant ICU, then a week in Hospice and passed away.
I do not know what I would have done without my wonderful husband and beautiful son, who are the loves of my life. I cannot wait to share our story, and document my journey as a reformed control freak.