Archive for July, 2014

  • 10 Months

    Date: 2014.07.24 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, Mark, Norah, Sarah | Response: 2

    About a week ago it hit me that my little girl is only a two months away from her first birthday. That realization has made me a bit emotional, and very in tune with her baby-ness. It seems impossible that her first ten months have moved by so swiftly.

    This past month has been a fun one. In addition to her lightning fast crawling, Norah is now pulling up on everything, bravely and comfortably holding on with one hand, and even occasionally letting go to free stand for a few seconds. She can push toys around the room while she “walks,” and has even started climbing on top of (and falling off of) a few small boxes and the vacuum cleaner.

    Speaking of the vacuum cleaner, she loves to push buttons and periodically accidentally turns it on. Without fail the sudden loud noise sends her scurrying and fussing.

    Norah is so OVER baby food. At night she will only eat table food. I’m increasingly amazed by what she’s willing to eat, ie ANYTHING. So far she has happily and rabidly consumed: steamed broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, turkey meatloaf, raw cucumbers, strawberries, grapes, black beans and salsa. I sat in amazement this evening though as she rejected bites of a chicken nugget in favor of a strawberry. Oh how very opposite my children are.

    Speaking of food, Norah would happily make a meal out of just about anything. So far I’ve caught her eating dog food, cat food, paper and dried leaves. We are constantly going fishing for things she’s stuck in her mouth.

    She’s also got the sippy cup and the straw down. Just like the first time she nursed, when she was given a cup she acted like she’d been using one for years.

    No big surprise, sleep continues to be an issue. We still have a fussy middle of the night wake up about once a week. Still though, that’s improvement!

    I love that she can form a few babble words now. “Da da” continues to be her favorite, but she will now pretend to be a dog with Sarah and they will both crawl around and say, “ruff ruff.” It’s the cutest thing ever.

    Norah bean has the best smile and cackling laugh. No matter how angry she is, when we start singing “Wheels on the Bus,” the tears immediately stop and she breaks into a wide grin. We call it her magic song.

    Ten months is one of my favorite ages. They’re old enough to (mostly) sleep, can feed themselves to some extent, but still need lots of love and snuggles. Today, when we went to pick her up from school, Mark went in her classroom to get her first. He was holding her when I walked in and she tried to swim through the air to get to me, flailing and fluttering every extremity. Girl knows how to make Mama feel good.

    She continues to be a big fan of thumb sucking, despite the fact that her mouth is filling up with teeth. She’s currently working on tooth #7 and tooth #8, which are viciously trying to make an appearance.

    Norah still admires her sister. She loves to watch Sarah and imitate her movements. Sarah gets a kick out of it and is constantly trying out new things to get Norah to follow.

    Our little girl is growing so very fast. Her fun and beautiful spirit continue to blossom every day, and every day I’m thankful to be her mother (even on the ones after nights full of screaming). We love you bean bean.

  • Finding My Strength Again

    Date: 2014.07.16 | Category: Health, Life, Me | Response: 19

    Let me tell you a personal story about failure and success.

    I should start from the beginning. With my second pregnancy I gained a lot of weight – more than I should have. Part of that was due to exercise limits from heart problems, but more of it was due to the fact that I was pregnant during Louisiana summer and I only wanted to lay on the couch in the air conditioning and not move.

    No big deal, I thought, I’ll lose it all when I breastfeed. Did I lose some of it? Yes. Did I lose all of it? A big fat NO. After I had Sarah, the weight came off with almost no effort. I nursed, I exercised some and it flew off. I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes in 6 months.

    I sort of want to punch that version of myself in the face. Or, really, I just want to grab me from three years ago and say, “Do you KNOW how lucky you were?!” Because Baby #2? Yea, that’s not happening. I don’t know if it’s because this is a second baby, or I had a c-section this time, or a combination of the two, but this extra baby weight has been clinging to me with a death grip despite the fact that I’ve been nursing a baby for nearly 10 months.

    I’ll admit, at first I had zero motivation to try to get the weight off. Part of that was total lack of sleep, and the other half was me desperately clinging to the hope that the breastfeeding weight loss would kick in any day.

    When that didn’t happen after several months down the road, I decided I had to do something. My first attempt at “something,” was trying the Paleo diet where you essentially eat foods a cave person would. I know a lot of people who have had success with it and you get to eat as much of the designated foods as you want! I quickly discovered Paleo wasn’t for me. For one, it dried up my milk supply, and for another, I need some grains, dairy and wine in my diet to stay sane and I refuse to believe legumes are bad for you. Paleo and I were not a good fit.

    Exercise, I decided, was what I really needed. I started going back to my regular spin class… except that I quickly learned it’s super popular now and I’m never quick enough to get a bike reserved, so I slowly stopped doing that. Finally, I decided to try out my gym’s new studio location near my house. While it has some equipment, it’s mainly all group fitness classes, which is what I love. I took a class there and was hooked. I signed up.

    After that, I seriously went home and prayed for the strength to take care of my body and to get the weight off. Whatever it took, I wanted the fortitude to do it.

    And then, the stars started aligning. My sisters decided the three of us would support one another on a weight loss challenge. And because we have a tight budget and we were laying down some money for the gym, I felt obligated to go as much as possible. With my sisters’ encouragement I downloaded the MyNetDiary Pro app to track my calories and exercise (including ones burned through breastfeeding so I’d still be ok there).

    What started as an obligation to go to the gym (I promised myself at least two – three days a week), started becoming a strong desire to go to the gym. I quickly started going four days a week – five when my schedule allows it.  And because I hit the gym on my lunch breaks, I bring my lunch to work, thus allowing me to control my calorie intake and my eating out budget and prevent me from eating the whole Indian Restaurant buffet.

    Then my second cousin and fitness instructor, Libby of LibbFit, asked me about doing some graphic design and trading out her fitness expertise. You better believe I jumped on that.

    And just like that, I discovered that the scale was finally, FINALLY moving down again. Just this morning I saw the lowest number on the scale I’ve seen since giving birth.

    I finally understand (and remember) WHY people who are into fitness are always so happy and jazzed about it. It may suck while I’m doing it, but afterwards I feel amazing. In a month’s time I’ve dramatically increased my strength and helped ease a mean, nasty, fiery spot of post c-section nerve pain / scar tissue in my lower, right abdomen. My classes are varied, ranging from pilates and yoga to cardio and weights.

    Is it hard? Sometimes it’s so hard. But the reward has been amazing. I finally feel like my body is waking up and my mood has bloomed into something much happier and optimistic. I’m more patient with my children and kinder to myself. I even managed to say no to my favorite ice cream and amazing looking cake at work this morning. It’s exciting and it’s humbling.

    I still have a long way to go and weight to lose before I even hit my pre-pregnancy numbers. I often have to do modified moves at my Piyo and Body Attack classes, but I’m doing it. And really, that’s what matters.

    Here’s my picture for my Piyo Challenge group I took this morning. We had to take a whacky planking picture.

    P.S. Thanks to Cassie for encouraging me to write this post.

  • Biloxi

    Date: 2014.07.08 | Category: Family, Friends, Holidays, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Travel | Response: 4

    Ever since our beach trip in May 2013, Sarah has been begging us to go back to the beach. She has set up towels in the living room, put on her swimsuit and pretended to swim through the water. She jumps in her kiddie pool in the backyard and tells me she’s a mermaid in the ocean. She spreads newspaper across the living room floor and calls it her beach picnic.

    So, it was with regret that I had to tell her that because Mama had a baby and burned all the vacation time on maternity leave, that a beach trip was not going to happen this year.

    She persisted in playing beach though and continued to ask when we were going to go to the beach.


    Last year my best friend Susan was assigned to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. It was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to her and her sweet little girl as they packed up their bags and moved over six hours away.

    She’s been able to come in town a few times and visit, but the trip for us to go see her was impossible for a while due to new baby and my total lack of vacation time.

    Fortunately though, July 4 fell on a Friday this year and I figured it was high time to make a trip down to Biloxi and see my best friend.

    And while I vaguely knew there was a beach in Biloxi, I was thrilled to drive along it as we made our way to Susan’s house. Sarah cried out in delight when she saw it, yelling “Hey beach! Hi beach!” and then sobbed dramatically when we turned off Beach Boulevard. We had to reassure her that we would be making a trip or two to the beach while we visited.


    My reunion with Susan was sweet and we made the most of it by drinking wine and catching up while we watched our three girls play with one another. We took turns cooking and picking up food. And, of course, there were a couple of trips to the beach.

    The beautiful thing about Biloxi beaches is, that while they may not have the glowing blue water the Florida beaches have, they are relatively shallow and don’t have strong waves. That means they are perfect for adventurous, beach loving little girls.

    We did lots of other fun things too, like visiting the swimming pool and splash pad, tried out some amazing BBQ and event went to a Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives restaurant (Blow Fly Inn, anyone?)

    All of that was fun, but getting to hang out with my best friend for four days was the best part of all.

    Oh yea, and the beach was pretty nice too.