Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Prenatal Workout to Work Your Core...By Making You Laugh

I finally opened the Prenatal Workout DVD that John got few a weeks (or more?) ago! Well to be specific, John opened it for me while I lounged on the ground and mustered up the courage to attempt my first "workout" since becoming pregnant 6 1/2 months ago. (Just's been much longer. I didn't work out before I got pregnant either! Well, unless you count nursing as a work out...which I do.)

Get ready for a review of:

What originally intrigued me about this is that there are 6 Mix & Match Workouts for Cardio, Strength, & Stretch - which for someone like me, means I can do 1 short workout, or if I am feeling like a crazy pregnant lady, a combo of all 3, etc. I like having options as I get bored very easily. I tried prenatal yoga once with Jack and hated it. My version of relaxation involves a glass of red wine & some chocolate, not a smooth talking, undeniably thin, & toned woman encouraging me to "stretchhhh" "hold ittttt...." or "exhale softlyyyyy." 

Anyway, last night we did 2 workouts - "Barefoot & Pregnant" (I love not wearing shoes so this had my name all over 26 weeks it is already difficult to reach/tie my shoelaces around this baby bump) and "Cute to the Core". Corny workout names but what did I expect from a DVD called "What To Expect When You're Expecting: The Workout"?

Here's what I loved (or loved to laugh about):

#1 - the fact that my husband did the entire workout with me. Every single part. Even this next one...
#2 - the "body roll" move. Hilarious. If I was successfully rolling my mid-section, no one would have noticed because when you have a basketball on top of your abs, that's pretty much the center of attention from what I can tell.
#3 - the fact that the woman representing the "6 months pregnant" mama was WAY bigger than me. WAHOOO! Sounds awful, I know, but guess what, when most of the world makes you feel like a big, fat, tall, big, wide pregnant's encouraging to look small in comparison.
#4 - one of the core moves that advised that you use a core muscle (which I could not identify through thought or action) to "hug your baby." Not sure what they meant by that because I didn't know how to move that part of my body. It was something with your something or something like that. I'm sure John did it perfectly but I was too busy laughing to notice.
#5 - the side plank move. The first set I did...nothing. Stared at the screen trying to determine how to make my body do that. The second set I accomplished! Or so I thought, because of John's affirmation. In reality I was maybe 1/4 inch off the ground and still ready to fall over.

The good news is that the plastic wrap has been removed off the ol' prenatal workout DVD, I got a great laugh in (+1 for mental health) and afterward, I celebrated by having a few scoops of french vanilla ice cream with fresh raspberries, chopped almonds, and a little tiny bit of dark chocolate syrup. Fabulous evening if you ask me.

I was smiling just like this during the entire workout too.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mama Moments

This should have been a link up over at Track 8 for Keepin' It Real Mondays (cause this was real!!!) but since I was too tired to blog last night (let alone shower...just kidding...I mean sort of...I didn't take a shower but my hair still looks pretty good today :)) this here post is making an appearance today (Tuesday). So I'll file it under "Mama Moments" instead. 

I got home from work right at 5:15 which was great (nothing like work-life balance to put a smile on your face if you are a full-time workin' mama!) because I'm trying to support John in his healthy eating/exercise (since I sure as heck am not doing so well myself!). So off he headed to Spin class at the gym and Jack and I cuddled up to read books & play. Dinner was ready in the crock pot and life seemed good. (This dish was tasty & we used veggie pasta that you don't have to boil separately, you just throw it in towards the end, and with all those veggies it didn't even need a side salad in my opinion, so check it out if you are interested: Crock Pot Broccoli Chicken Pasta). I was cherishing my alone time with Jack (since we get a lot of that on the weekends but it's normally limited on Monday evenings) when all the sudden he went into mad/sad/fussy baby mode. This is rare for my angel child. John mentioned (before he left for the gym) that he had given Jack some baby Tylenol because he's teething (eye teeth & two more molars?) but Jack is such a champ when it comes to teething that I didn't expect it to affect my poor baby so much. Before I knew it he was crying and whining and just generally seemed ticked off. And then he went into full meltdown mode. Walked over to the front door (crying) and started pounding on it...yelling..."DADDDDYYYY!!!!" Repeatedly. My mama heart broke INSTANTLY. DADDY?! What?! Mommy was there! Mommy has been the favorite parent (dare I say this? I know my husband reads this blog...) since I carried this child for nearly 10 months with my own body, pushed him into this beautiful world with my own body, nursed him for a year with my own body (you get the picture). But yesterday...yesterday. Daddy. Daddy!

If, like me, you are wondering why Jack said Daddy, there are two possible reasons:

Option 1) Mondays are John's day home with Jack. So they are the best day of the week for my boys! They hang out at home, do some chores, and then play play play. Yesterday they had an especially fun day though. They went to the park by our house, stopped by the post office (very exciting for a 15 month old; apparently Jack walked all over and was quite entertained), got frozen yogurt, and played outside at Jack's very own water park (in our backyard, photo below). So maybe...maybe...that's why Jack wanted Daddy. Because Daddy is fun and Mommy is boring and wants to read books and fold laundry.

Option 2) Sometimes Jack says "Daddy" when he wants something. For example, he loves brushing his teeth. So if we are in the bathroom and he sees a toothbrush he yells "Daddy!!!" until I give it to him. Not sure how this got started and not sure how it will end. The kid knows A LOT of words for a 15 month old so we're not worried about his development. Probably just a phase. 

Either way...broken mama heart. By the time John got home (totally pumped from his amazing workout) I was sad and tired and it took both of us to feed Jack some dinner & get him ready for bed, and we didn't eat our no-prep crock pot dinner until 7:45pm, so then instead of walking with my mom at 8:00pm as planned (I thought it would be a good foray into the "light exercise" recommended by my OB) I stayed home and baked lemon bars (with whole wheat flour...pretty tasty actually) & banana nut cinnamon muffins (for breakfast...also whole wheat...also tasty). And baking is fun and great except when you can hear your OB's voice in your head recommending that you do not indulge in both lunch & dinner desserts. Because deep down I know that the whole wheat flour doesn't quite cancel out the butter & sugar in the recipes. (Too bad!) 

That's all for today! Here's a cute picture of Jack at his backyard water park. It includes a slide (on the lawn, not pictured), kiddie pool, playhouse, sand/water table, hose, and towel floor as an attempt at a non-slip surface/red carpet. Super fun. No wonder the kid loves Daddy.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Dad

August 16th is the day I think about my Dad more than ever - because it's the day he died. I didn't even really know how to address it because it still seems so unreal. But yesterday, we marked the one year anniversary of his death, and it was tough. But every day of the past year has been tough. I remember thinking (the day after he died) - how will we ever survive this? I hoped and prayed that it would get easier in time. In small ways, perhaps it has, but in most ways, the void left by his tragic & premature passing is just as immense. I wanted to share the eulogy I gave at my dad's rosary, because although it was literally the hardest thing I've ever had to do, it's the easiest way for me to share with you how I felt then, and how I feel now, about my Dad. I remember walking up to the altar to speak and feeling so afraid, but also so proud. I knew how much it meant to my Dad (from up in heaven, where I am certain he was looking down on all of us gathered there to pray for him & remember him). I can recall conversations with him about death, and funerals, and eternal life, and as I stepped up to the podium to speak, I knew I would at least be able to speak these words:

This is such a hard thing to do – but I would be crying whether I got up here to speak to you all or if I did not, and there are so many things that I want to say about my father, so bear with me as I struggle through this. My dad’s death was untimely and unexpected, but surprisingly, he actually prepared us for this day. He lived his life in a way that demonstrated that his goal was to reach heaven; he often reminded us that there was no way of knowing the day or the hour that your life would end. At times I thought this was morbid, and I often said, “Dad, stop talking like that!” But his objective in talking about death was enormously important – he wanted his children to understand the importance of living a virtuous life, so that they would be in a state of grace and make it to heaven – thereby experiencing the joy of life after death. He was the spiritual leader of our household and made it clear (often when he was disciplining us) that he was not supposed to be our best friend…he was supposed to help us get to heaven.  In this time of sorrow, as we miss him unbearably, I am so thankful that he was not only a loving husband, father, and grandfather, but as much as he was these things, he was a holy man of God. I have so many memories of my dad, but I will share with you the ones that made me admire him the most. When I think of him as a husband, I recall that every morning, my dad woke up before my mom, and made her coffee (just the way she liked it) and brought it to her in bed. I do not exaggerate when I say he did this for 29 years. As a child, I saw my father demonstrate sacrifice, tenderness, and affection each morning when he did this for my mom, and I saw how much she loved spending time with him before we went off to school, drinking coffee and chatting about the day to come. When I think of my dad as a father, I remember countless games of basketball at our backyard court. He always included everyone…and if someone didn’t want to play, he always said, “Come on! It’ll be fun! I’ll give you a free shot!” I took advantage of this and when I played, not only did no one guard me, but my dad would throw any rebound my way so that I could shoot (and miss) again and again. He was such a joyful man, and playing basketball with family and friends in our backyard was really living the dream for him. When I think of my dad as a grandfather, I see him holding Grace, Joseph, and Jackson in his arms with all the love that any man could give. When I think of him as a grandfather I also remember a few weeks ago when I was at my parents’ house for dinner. I was holding Jackson and my dad turned to me and said “You are such a good mom.” He was so genuine and always had a way of speaking that melted my heart. When he said something, it was so clear that it was authentic and something that he believed to be absolutely true. As a friend told me a few days ago, he was quiet and gentle, yet the power of his personality was incredible. We will miss him so much – the void left by this loss is immense, as he filled our lives with everything we needed and more. 

In the year since I wrote those words, so much has come to pass. One of the wonderful things that we did as a family recently (in honor of my Dad) was go to the beach (Pajaro Dunes). I loved going back there because one of my earliest memories with my Dad (Mom confirmed that I was 4 years old :)) was at that shore. We were playing in the waves and I was running all over, and my Dad said, "Kelly, be careful. Never turn your back to the waves!" Three minutes later I was being tossed and turned in the saltwater until I felt his strong arms lift me out. I remember having sand all over. I remember the taste of the salt in my mouth (I swallowed a lot of water!). And I remember crying as he carried me back to the beach house to see my mom, but within just a few minutes, all was well again and we went back to playing in the sand. It was great to be back on that sand this past weekend, enjoying time with my mom & brothers. We had a delicious dinner at Shadowbrook (one of my Dad's favorite restaurants) where we enjoyed a bottle of his favorite wine (Rombauer Chardonnary). I almost fell out of my chair when David (almost 15 years old) said, "I'm trying to decide between the duck and the bison....". He is so grown up! I felt the same way about James as I watched him & John working hard to dig a deep hole in the sand (just like my Dad always did for us; he always had a shovel in the back of his truck!). We also played a great game of two-hand-touch football (Dad always led the charge with these games...I never wanted to play but I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this game!). It was peaceful and relaxing and everything that a family vacation should be, even though we all wished that he had been there with us.

James (who will be 10 in October!) with one of the sand crabs he & John dug up

My beautiful & graceful mama and David (he ended up ordering the duck & risotto, yum!)
Enjoying a little walk around the Dunes. I love this picture because now I see that I love my own boy (Jack) the same way she's always loved all five of us.
That baby bump! 23 weeks (Aug. 9). Growing, kicking & punching like a good little babe.

Jack and I spent a few early mornings reading with a beautiful view of the dunes & the sea. He LOVED the beach and I'm so appreciative of the time we had there.

Our attempt at a self-portrait. We had such a blast all weekend!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What To Really Expect When You're Expecting - Read this article!

Sometimes the things that people (my friends?) share on Facebook are pretty ridiculous, annoying, obnoxious, etc. And sometimes they are fantastic and I’m so glad that at some point in my life I encountered that person and that to this day they are sharing great things with me (well, not me specifically but hey, I get to see the stuff since we are "friends"). Here’s an example – a great article on pregnancy (one of my favorite topics lately…I wonder why).

I have had SOOOO many people give me pregnancy advice. I can’t and won’t share it all with you, because let’s get real…I think most of it was pretty crappy!  Anyway, my favorite/the best advice has always come from my sister in law (Lisa Flynn) who on numerous occasions has reminded me that everything in moderation is good. The first few weeks of my pregnancy with Jack were so overwhelming because I spent too much time:

-worrying about caffeine (tried to go cold turkey at the advice of my husband and suffered from killer headaches for a week), 
-agonizing over what to eat at lunch meetings (one day I had a bleu cheese burger that was cooked medium and after consuming it, I was sure I had poisoned my child with raw meat & imported cheese),
-thinking that I would have to abstain from even a sip of alcohol for 9 ½ months (unless I wanted to risk fetal alcohol syndrome affecting my precious child.)

I had quite a range of emotions going on those first few weeks and let me tell you, most of them were not joyful (& were complicated by constant nausea…I mean throwing up your cereal as you are walking out the door to work just doesn't encourage happy emotions if you ask me). Fortunately I threw most of the advice out the window and was blessed to encounter lots of supportive moms (especially Lisa!) who reminded me that when you are pregnant the best thing you can do for your baby is take care of yourself. And that includes physical, mental, emotional, and nutritional health, but no one needs to take it to extremes.  You don’t have to follow every rule in every pregnancy “self help” book that you encounter. What works for some people does not and will not work for everyone. 

So here’s what I do:

Exercise – try to walk in the evenings or on the weekends when I can. But most of the time my “exercise” involves chasing Jack around. I’m physically exhausted by the end of the day so I’m pretty darn sure my pregnant body is moving enough. I bought a prenatal exercise DVD three weeks ago. I haven’t opened it. My goal is to try it tonight. (That’s been my goal for the last three weeks.)

Diet – I eat what I want. I trust my body! I firmly believe that if I am craving a heavily buttered English muffin… I need to eat it. I don’t believe that I need a cupcake at 8am, but guess what? I’ve enjoyed breakfast dessert on numerous occasions during this pregnancy. I’m not dead yet, and my sweet little baby is doing just fine (confirmed at the doctor this morning). I eat sushi (with shrimp, crab, avocado & cream cheese…yummy!). I drink small amounts of red or white wine (I’m talking 2-3 oz…don’t fall out of your seat there) with dinner a few times a week.  I have one cup of coffee a day, or sometimes tea instead. And sometimes I have two cups. I also eat whole wheat bread/pasta, brown rice, lots of fruits & vegetables…and…ice cream. And frozen yogurt. (Baby needs calcium, and so do I.) As I write this, I’m realizing that it is so sad that I am feeling like people would/will judge me for eating/drinking any of the aforementioned items! Like pregnant women don’t have enough to worry about (carrying a baby inside of your own body is a difficult task) and then here we are obsessing about what we eat/drink and when, instead of using the common sense God blessed us with. Silly!

Other stuff – I take baths (pretty warm ones…bordering on hot but John normally catches me and turns the heat down) almost every night. With Jack I read somewhere (who cares where?!) that pregnant women should not take baths. Uhhhhh, what? Not true. Taking a bath is relaxing and allows me to shave my legs, which by the way, are much easier to reach (over this growing baby bump) when I’m in the bath than when I'm in the shower. Who out there wants me to have hairy legs?! That is not good for anyone’s mental/emotional state.  Anyway. I’m trying to think of other things that I do that I “shouldn't.” Ooh! Got one. Sometimes I lift “heavy” things. Like my 27 lb. son, or a heavy box. And people fall all over themselves and tell me not to hurt the baby!!! But I’m okay. So is baby.

Anyway, the point of sharing this article & my personal pregnancy “plan” is to make you (gentle reader) feel better about your own decisions as a mama. Trust yourself and ignore most of the madness you encounter on the internet, from your friends, from your mom (not my mom though, she gives nice/moderate advice.) Enjoy being pregnant (to the best of your ability). If that includes a strict exercise routine and abstaining from delicious food & the occasional beverage (coffee? wine?) then more power to you. And if it doesn't  keep your head up anyway and know that you are doing just fine taking care of your baby, and yourself. 

Johnny & I enjoying dinner with my family this weekend at Shadowbrook. I indulged in caesar salad, lobster & mashed potatoes, a few oz. of Rombauer Chardonnay, and dessert. Oh, and some bread with lots of butter!
And it was AMAZING!!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

BabyCenter Updates

Today, I got my weekly iPhone BabyCenter update. It’s an app that John loves because he always wants to know what baby is up to. But for me, this app is less exciting. I mean look at today’s update:

SERIOUSLY?! I’ve been pregnant for 23 weeks so far. That’s a LONG TIME. Especially since the first 17 weeks included constant nausea. And in the weeks after the nausea went away I slowly came to the realization that I’ve been gaining weight quite rapidly. Scratch that, I came to this realization quickly, twice. Once here and again this week at my prenatal checkup.  (More on that later). So this hasn’t been peaches and cream so far. 23 weeks down…and 119 DAYS to go. Geez!!! Then when you look at tomorrow’s BabyCenter update, you see that even more fun fun fun is in store. I mean who isn’t genuinely excited about the prospect of swelling feet & ankles?! Wahooo. I didn’t suffer much from this with Jack, but one of the joys of pregnancy is that every pregnancy is different. So you can’t expect anything. Except a baby, God willing. Yowsa!

Anyway, although pregnancy is challenging, I try to just focus on the positive, which is that because of 10 months of labor (pregnancy) and hours and/or days of labor (childbirth) I get another BABY! And that makes me so very happy. I love babies. I mean I really do. I’m probably obsessed. I see a picture of a newborn and my heart melts instantly. I have five friends who are posting newborn pictures on Facebook right now and I adore each and every one. I never get tired of those sleepy eyes and tiny hands and itty bitty mouths and fuzzy hair or no hair at all. I remember after we had Jack, someone asked me (when I had just returned from maternity leave…so he was 4 months old) when we were going to be ready for Baby #2. My initial reaction was “Years from now! We already have a baby! Are you crazy?!” I wasn’t looking forward to another pregnancy or childbirth experience in the least. I thought it would take some major convincing (from God & my husband). But it didn’t. A friend at work brought in her 3 week old baby (when Jack was 9 months old) and it was a sealed deal. The rest of the day I sat at my desk (working away…I do love my job!) but in the back of my mind, I was thinking baby baby baby. I couldn’t wait to have another one. I mean this little newborn was so precious and small and wonderful and I thought to myself, I’ve got two arms! I need two babies! (Or something like that). And then shortly thereafter we were blessed with Baby #2. So now as I struggle through the next 119 days (hopefully without swollen feet/ankles), I’ll be focusing on meeting my next little one. Because I love babies!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

That baby bump

Well, last week I complained about gaining 20 lbs, so you shouldn't be surprised about this topic. Today at work I encountered a coworker who was also pregnant! Wahoo, right? There’s nothing better than experiencing that “we’re in this together!” feeling…most of the time. An example of a time when there is something better than experiencing this feeling is when you compare due dates (me: Dec. 5th; coworker: Dec. 8th) and realize that WHOA BABY, YOUR BABY BUMP IS HUGE! I mean this tiny little woman standing next to me was not even showing. I’m not exaggerating. You couldn’t tell she was pregnant. I’ve been wearing maternity clothes since I was 10 weeks along! (I’m lying…more like 8 weeks. I like maternity clothes! I have a lot of them that are really cute and elastic waistbands are just comfortable when you are busy trying not to vomit/growing a human being with your own body). Anyway, there I stood, in a high traffic area of the office (top of the stairway), feeling LIKE A HUGE PREGNANT COW. She was just so tiny! It’s such a frustrating feeling and I think most pregnant mamas experience this. One day someone tells you “You’re barely showing! You are just so very tiny!” and the next day someone asks “How many babies are in there?!” while you are getting a pedicure. And in your pregnant mama head you are thinking, “REALLY?! I MEAN REALLY?! GO AWAY. AND THEN COME BACK WITH A CHURRO IN YOUR HAND!” I’m sure I’ve (accidentally) made pregnant women feel this way myself. Pregnancy is such an amazing miracle and most people can barely wrap their head around the fact that there is a little baby growing inside of you. With a heart and lungs and arms and legs and fingers and toes. Demanding to be fed (so he/she can grow!), kicking at random times, disrupting your sleep with backaches and leg cramps, and melting your heart as you imagine what he/she will look like, and be like, and act like. Because most people can’t wrap their head around this crazy, amazing miracle, they say ridiculous things, right?

Anyway, back to my exciting afternoon experience with my coworker. While I stood there, feeling huge, we transitioned into my second favorite pregnancy topic. Discussing my baby #1, Jack. Don’t get me wrong, I loveeee talking about Jack. What I don’t enjoy talking about is how “CRAZY!” people think it is that we already have baby #2 on the way since baby #1 is so young. Enter coworker’s monologue about how she can’t even imagine having two kids so close together, and isn’t her daughter a lot older than my son (but we’re both equally pregnant so that can’t possibly be the case, she surmises), and what will my son even do when the new baby arrives?! Blah blah blah.  I normally just try to end this type of conversation quickly by saying (with a big, fat, genuine smile on my face) that we are VERY EXCITED that we’ve been blessed with two babies. Because we are. Jack is a bigger blessing than I ever could have imagined. And so is this next little one!

On that note, I was really grateful that she didn’t transition to my next least favorite topic…what this next little one (baby #2) will be like. Since Jack was a perfect angel baby, who rarely cried, nursed like a champ (evidenced by rolls upon rolls on his sweet chubby baby body!), slept through the night from 8 weeks on, and was/is pretty much content 95% of the time…most people we encounter like to share with us that they think we are in for a big surprise with this next baby. (Because they know?!) And no way would we be blessed with another perfect angel baby. And no way are we just hardworking/loving/attentive parents who will figure it out no matter what happens. Nope…we got lucky with Jack, but that only happens once (according to them) so we better be prepared for an earthquake/tornado/hurricane of a child with this next arrival. I never really know what to say except, “Yeah. I guess we’ll see!” Because who knows what this little baby will be like? Easy or colicky, crabby or sweet-natured, bald or full head of hair, chubby or skinny – we will love this baby so much that it hurts, just like we did and do with Jack. And we’ll get through the tough times and the great times and we’ll probably look back on the months when we had two kids under two years old and say “Whewww weee! That was wild!” and then hopefully we’ll smile and laugh and maybe drink a big fat glass of wine while we reminisce about the day that our family went from 3 to 4. :)

Baby #2 - currently the size of spaghetti squash. I mean where on your body can you
 hide a spaghetti squash if you don't have a big, fat baby bump?