Cleaning up the Eats

Hello friends.

I hope you are having a fantastic start to your weekend.  I simply cannot believe how fast time in flying.  I really can’t believe Evan is 10 weeks – he is totally growing like a weed.  As a breastfeeding mom, who wants to loose a couple post-pregnancy pounds eating has been a challenge.  While pregnant, I had no cravings (well, maybe watermelon, but I have always been a huge summer watermelon person, so I really can’t tell) but while breastfeeding I can tell my body isn’t getting something because I CRAVE things.  I crave dark chocolate (this could be because of a slight case of sleep deprivation, my body wants a quick fix) and I crave eggs and protein filled foods – quinoa is like the best thing on the planet to me these days (did you know that it is a good source of protein?).

But I also go for simple eats, and I was once a portion control freak… now not so much.

I consider my little family to be clean eaters.  We do not buy much processed, anything.  We have bread (we are not a gluten free family), we have some easy cereals (Barbara’s Puffins, Quaker oatmeal squares), and my hubby likes his processed goodies (scones, baked goods… the devil in disguise, whatever ;-) ) – But we really do make an effort to buy healthy items for the house some must haves are:

1. Organic baby greens:  Usually spinach but now my new kick is TJ’s (Trader Joe’s) power green mix with chard, baby kale and baby spinach. Oh m gee. Awesome.  I’m big on it being cooked and like to pair it with the quinoa and an egg for an extra protein boost:

Quinoa, Tj’s power greens (steamed) and one egg – yum.

2.  Fresh Fruits:  You will always, always find bananas in my house.  I have one every morning.  We also buy in-season fruits so right now you’ll find apples – lots of apples.  We also will pick up pears around this time of year. I’m a huge berry person so if I can’t find them fresh, you bet I’m picking up some frozen.  Berries are so easy, throw them in a smoothie, some yogurt or eaten alone – they are my FAVS.

3. Veggies!  We are big on veggies but we are also big on letting them go bad :( – I HATE throwing out food so I’m trying to be better about this and not buy so much at one time (this is wear that meal planning comes in handy!).  Again, we buy frozen here too and then it doesn’t go bad ;-) – The great thing about buying frozen is you can get anything even when it is not in season.

Salad bar at Whole Foods – I’m sharing because I love all the veggies ;-) the more colorful the better in my book!

4. Whole grains:  Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa (huge right now) and oats.  We LOVE these things.  As I am breast feeding I do get a LOT of oats I try to throw them in wherever I can (smoothies, fun fitnessista recipes).  – Suggestion buy out of bulk bins and save a ton!

5.  Eggs: Hector and I go through eggs like CRAZY.  We are huge egg people.  We have them in the morning, and I could eat them for lunch and dinner.  I don’t care about the cholesterol debate and don’t mind just egg whites but love the whole egg ;).

6.  Chicken – Organic.  Can you tell we have a large budget for food?  We do what we can with what we have but what goes in our bodies are important to us.  We usually focus on chicken but Hector loves his red meats.  We do not have all our meals with meat, so that helps.  There are tons of other wonderful options for protein but we do sneak chicken the most often.

7. Nut butters:  We love nut butters in this house.  You will always find peanut butter and almond butter (sometimes raw, sometimes salted, sometimes with roasted flax seeds) we are bold – we switch it up ;-) – PS goes great with apples and bananas!  You don’t always have to put it on bread.

Those are always in the cart when we go shopping.  We never run out of those staples above.  It helps keep our diets as clean as we can without thinking to hard.  Although, in the next few weeks Hector and I are going to challenge ourselves to a 14 days of real foods diet.  Where everything we eat will be clean and no processed anything – wish us luck.

How do you clean up your eats?  Do you wish you didn’t go for the processed stuff?  Or do you feel like you can’t live without it?

Fact: My skin has NEVER been better since eating clean.  I can tell my insides are happy.

Oh, and always make sure to get an insane amount of water in!

I hope to get in a post about tackling the bulk bins at whole foods.  They can be intimating (or at least to me they are) but they really do offer some great ways to save a bit o cash on some everyday staples.

I could babble on about this forever but have a date with the family to celebrate birthdays – my bro is coming to town.  Today is the perfect time to bust out the grill:

 

Learning to Deal

So, there are many many moms on this planet.  There are many many many different ways to parent.  Why do people get on such a high horse on how to raise OTHER people’s children?  I think it is wonderful that some parents offer advice, but the manner in which they do it totally can be refined sometimes.  Especially with new moms, who think about everything before they do it.

I can’t get over how little he was 10 weeks ago!

So this may be one of those blogs that turns people off/or away but I’m super curious about this.  As I have been home with the baby the past 10 weeks.  I have been reading a lot of mommy blogs, and mommy boards.  I love that people are passionate about parenting and I respect a lot of people’s ideas but I have noticed that some people are downright mean!

I’m part of a mommy group, and I think the more personal comments there are more warranted as we have grown to know each other, and some posts warrant a little more passion that others.  However, in reading some blogs I find some people’s comments to be hurtful and I’m pretty positive there is not relationship there.  Also, I have found quiet a passion for people to bash others for things they may have, or give their child.  Who CARES how much I spend on my bath products, yes maybe you don’t spend that much but we do.  They may not be essential to you… but they are essential to me :-) – If I choose to breastfeed and want to share my passion about it, don’t get upset – it is what is working for my family and same the other way around.

Two of my three main men ;-)

I guess I just wish that some people wouldn’t come off so catty.  It isn’t easy being a mother, I think it is totally worth if of course. But lucky for me I have a strong backbone and can deal with hurtful comments and in my mind do the middle finger and eye roll.  Some moms, at their wits end (colicy babies, sleep deprivation) don’t need to be told what they are doing wrong, without telling them that they are doing something right.  So I guess I wish people would come off supportive instead of negative right away.  You are absolutely entitled to your opinion but if you cannot articulate that without coming off mean, maybe you should keep it to yourself.  – OBVIOUSLY there are extremes to this – child abuse or neglect but that is a WHOLE different story.  But if you are coming down on me because I choose to buy bath toys and call them essential (maybe the word-choice isn’t awesome but do you think about a word choice for more the a second?)… :-/ I’m just trying to share what we love.  I’ve always been crazy sensitive about peoples feelings so when I read comments that I know will hurt someone, I sorta want to karate chop the person who typed them’s fingers (and I’m really not a violent person, not at all).

Learning to deal with anxiety is what I’m really focusing on these days…I’m having some anxiety about returning to work (some anxiety is an understatement) and trying to cope.  I’m very lucky to have such support but am wondering if there are any back to work mommas that can tell me, the first week will be rough but I’ll get through it.  Last night I finally slept OK, which is progress but I know we can do better.  I’m definitely trying to redefine my time a little, so I get SOME time away from baby, even if it is just 15 minutes to type the end of this blog.

Last night I went out with people from work and took Mr. E to a bar (I wonder how many evil comments are brewing in peoples heads, YES I took him to a BAR).  He was hanging out with his week younger buddy, (there were TWO babies at a bar last night)!  It was nice to get out and be around grown ups for a while, but OH MAN did I pay for him not getting in his evening nap.  I felt awful, but at the same time it felt nice to comfort my very angry elf baby (does that make me sound weird? That I like to comfort an angry child?).

It is so strange how when you become a mom – things that mattered to you before, don’t and things you ever thought would bother you, do.  It changes your life… in the best way possible.  I really do enjoy hearing people’s opinions but I always ALWAYS gauge my audience first and offer comfort, before advice to someone who is struggling.  How do you deal with mean people?  Strong minded individuals (I have TONS of strong minded friends, maybe that is why I can brush off unwanted advice?).

Birthdays

Well, since having Evan, I realize just how important birthdays are.  They should absolutely be celebrated.  They should be cherished.  As you get older people seem to get less and less excited about them, and although I understand that argument, I think mine is stronger.  Each year you are one more year wiser, you have new memories, another year with friends and family… So much can happen in a year.  Even years that are plagued with loss and some sadness, it is a year of growth and you can celebrate a new year with a positive attitude.  We are blessed each day we wake up, we have to celebrate that.  Life should be celebrated EVERYDAY but especially on your day of birth.  If not for you, do it for your parents.

When I had Evan, I realized just how much my mother must love me, it is an intense feeling and completely overwhelming.  I spent a few nights thinking about the fights my parents and I had through the years, those moments when you think they don’t love you… They NEVER stop loving you.  It is impossible.  I know not all parents are the same, but my mother’s love for me suddenly makes sense.  Those days when I was a complete witch (with a capital B), she didn’t deserve that.  I think mothers should be celebrated on their child’s birth, because they day you are born is a magical moment for the baby and the mother.

25 years young – that is how old I was for a whole year.  That year brought me:  a marathon, a marriage, a new job, a baby and a completely new outlook on life.  It was the best year yet.  I have the most amazing friends a girl could ask for, no joke, I’m sickly blessed.  My husband amazes me every day.  He is an amazing husband and father.  Then there is this little boy, he has only been in my arms for two months… but he has completely changed my life.  I really can’t imagine life without him.  He even makes bouts with mastitis (might blog about later, its pretty sucky, but yeah) worth it.

I’m excited for this new year and since 25 set the bar so high, I’m going to have to push this one a little harder.  I have a great feeling about the future, it has honestly never looked so bright, I guess that is what you get when you start to see the worth through a child’s eyes again.  Sure there will be sucky days (it is life, this happens) but I definitely plan to outnumber those days with happy fantastic ones.

So today starts with a cup of coffee and some pictures from yesterday:

I have accepted I’m no longer the star of any day ;-)

I’m still not feeling the best, so don’t mind my disheveled look lo;

New lulu from the hubby! <3

Cake <3

followed by a meltdown

Balloons! Including one from Evan (via my wonderful thoughtful mommy!)

My day was perfect.  In every way.  Spent with some of the people I love most.

Oh hey!  I’m now on facebook!  I’d love it if you’d “like” me :) - http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fit-Wife/500067030004065


Two Months Old

Dear Evan:

Today you are two months old.  I still cannot believe how you have changed our lives.  My life is so much better with you in it.  How did I live before?  The days before you that I’d wish away… I wish I could add those minutes to our time together now.  I honestly cry tears of joy because of you.  Each breath I take, I thank God for you.  My beautiful healthy little boy.

Today you went to the doctor.  I feel evil for making your appointments on your birthday, so I promise not to do that anymore (your next appointment is December 1st, I’m sure it will be here before we know it).  I of course am a lucky mom with a healthy baby that is in the 90th percentile for height!  No wonder everyone remarks on how big you are!  But your weight is right on track.  You are my long lean cutie machine (and swaddle escape artist!).  After the doctor looked you over and told me you were perfect, you had to get shots.  Mommy cried, and you handled it awesome.  You were such a strong little boy, who cried for a very short while, I nursed you and you went right to bed.  You woke up in some pain, I could tell, your cry told me. So I gave you some medicine, held back tears and placed you in the Moby.  I love to hold you close (you are sleeping in the swing now and it is taking everything for me not to come take you out and snuggle, but I know you want and need your rest) and you slept some more.  You woke up and weren’t in a bad mood, so I tried to take some pictures:

before I changed him into a his two month onesie – see his little band-aids? :-(

He wasn’t his usual smiley self, and the lighting wasn’t ideal so we will likely do a round two tomorrow.  But, I of course think he is perfectly handsome.  My sweet baby.  I love him.

New things: He is smiling, a ton! Especially at daddy.  He also will talk off your ear, and I love every second of these sweet sounds.  He definitely loves to follow people and he makes my heart flutter when he is in someone else’s arms staring at me. He is just amazing.

Things he loves:  His mobile!  He will lay in his crib and just stare and talk to it, it is the cutest thing.  He also loves snuggling with his bamboo Aden & Anais blankets, be brings them up to his face because he likes the feel. He loves his swing and when daddy talks to him! Eating! He loves stories.

His crib and mobile

Things he doesn’t like:  Shots.  Definitely doesn’t like those. Not a huge fan of cold wipes (plugged in the warmer!) and he loves bath time but doesn’t love the cold transition from bath to lotion to clothes. <3

He is so much fun. I love him a ton and I take way too many pictures (well, I don’t think I do… everyone else does is five thousand excessive?):

I love this face <3

Happy birthday my sweet baby.  I think you are finally stirring, and even if you are not I’m ready for my cuddling fix.  I dread the day you don’t want to anymore so I need to make sure to soak up these moments now.

I love you,

Mommy.

 

 

It Is About Time

Well.  Time to make a serious change around here.  My shoes need replacing!  The current shoes I’m running in are FAR overdue for retirement.  As good as my Brooks have been, it is time to bid adieu.

They have been with me for some very serious, life changing events!

They have seen:

many pre-run strech sessions…

Many early mornings in Chicago racing races… or prepping for them…

Crazy long marathon training runs…

CARA 20 mile ready to run

MY FIRST MARATHON!!

They were guests at my wedding:

Even the photographer got a few shots (see above ;-) )

They were at the interview where I got a part time job at lululemon & were on my feet in a first trimester prego run (I didn’t know it but I was 5 weeks pregnant here):

a 26 weeks prego 5k:

and finally… a post baby 5k:

Many miles, many memories – these things are closer to me then some of my family.  They weren’t bought for their beauty – but I got a lot of green workout pieces because of them.  I’m going to make sure my next pair sees as much action as these babies did (well I’m not making another baby… or getting married again – but as far as races go ;-) )

Tomorrow I’m off to Fleet Feet, to see if my running stride has changed at all (I’ll blog more about this later) – Pregnancy can change your feet, so I need to have them rechecked for the correct size and make sure I still have a neutral stride.

It really is hard to say goodbye.  I’m sure these will sit in my closet for a while ;-) we really have bonded.

OH! and follow me… http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fit-Wife/500067030004065

The Fit Wife – On Facebook

Yep, I did it… Made a facebook page :-)   http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fit-Wife/500067030004065

There are so many little inspirational things I’d like to post, recipes and youtube videos to share and all that fun stuff – facebook makes it easy to share my likes, dislikes and learn a little bit more about my short (hopefully getting longer) list of followers :-)

so please go and like :-D

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fit-Wife/500067030004065

 

 

 

What We Are Loving…

If you were like me, you spent hours and hours thinking about what you  were going to do with your baby.  What you wanted to wrap him in, what you were going to wash him with, how many kisses you were going to give him…

You really don’t need much for a newborn.  Some loving arms, diapers, a way to feed them (formula or momma’s milk), some clothes, and a car seat.  Those are musts, but everything else is just extra.  We have a lot of extras around here and even though nothing has gotten more use then my arms, there are some favorites around here and I’d like to share them ;-)

MOBY!  We are loving the Moby around here:

Shopping with Evan in the Moby

I use it around the house to get things done and when we go shopping.  I LOVE that it keeps him so close to me.  He loves it too.  I did a lot of research on babywearing and although tying this thing could be a little annoying with all the fabric (next time I’ll buy the Baby k’tan so I have the Moby and the k’tan) it is worth it because Evan really is happy in it and I feel close to him, which I love.  You can find the Moby at Target, Amazon and Buy Buy Baby.

Babo Botanicals:

 

This family LOVES this product.  It is made in the USA, it has pure flower and plant extract, has no synthetic fragrances or colors, no chemicals, is paraben & phthalate free and is a great idea for parents with super sensitive skin!  It smells like heaven, has no harmful chemicals and has kept my sweet baby’s skin soft and moist.  We have never had issues with cradle cap (which I know he was starting to get, you can see it when their hair is wet – it is gone now – never a flake), dry skin and his baby acne was very mild.  The Oatmilk calendula moisturizing lotion is awesome too!

You can buy this on Amazon, or at Buy Buy Baby (I got a great deal on them on MyHabit.com).  We are huge fans and although it costs a little more than competitors with babies a little goes a long way and what is going on his skin is absolutely worth it to us and I would absolutely pay full price for this product in the future.  As we get low, I have their calming lavender products and I will let you know how we like those!

California Baby Candula Creme & Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm (and Nipple Creme, not pictured):

These two products are also chemical free (can you see where I’m going here?) – They are amazing and smell great too.  The calendula cream is for dry skin – I put extra amounts of this on his head when I feared he was getting cradle cap… gone!  Daddy has also used it for some of his chapped skin!

The bottom balm is amazing too, he really helps with the little bit of redness E gets here and there.  This is also multi use and can be used as a rescue ointment for bug bites and burns (for the parents!) we like things that we all can use – again skin is important to us. :-) – We are only given one body!

The Swing:

 

He cuddles in this swing so often.  He LOVES it.  We will babble to himself and take naps in this wonderful contraption.  <3

Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets <3 LOVE LOVE:

 

He has been wrapped up in these every day since the day he entered the world (he was just two weeks old, how was that a month and a half ago already?!).  We have 13 of them.  I have bought their boutique (pictured above) paparazzi pack, their Oh Boy! pack (sold at Babies r us), an organic wrap, and their Bamboo Pack (our favorites, Evan’s FAVORITES).  They are great for swaddling, covering his car seat, nursing cover, burp cloth… everything.  The bamboo ones are AMAZING.  They are softer (didn’t think it was possible), and Evan loves to pull it up to his face (which I don’t freak out about because these things are extremely breathable).  As you wash them, they get softer… LOVE these. Plus the patterns are SUPER cute! I HIGHLY recommend their products.  We have their burp clothes too.

Our BOB Revolution SE:

Evan’s first trip downtown labor day weekend – BOB pictured with the infant adapter and car seat attached.

We have two strollers the Peg Perego P3 and the BOB.  The P3 is great for the mall, and is pretty light and compact for what we use as a travel system, but we do have a favorite stroller.  The BOB.  We were very prepared just to use the P3 because babies can’t jog in the stroller until they are at least six months old.  But one day (that turned into several days) Hector forget the P3 in his trunk and I was stuck without a stroller so I ordered the infant adapter and man was I glad I did.  We get a lot of use out of this thing already and my best friend has it for her son and she has told me she loves it!

The wubbanub!

 

Enough said, the cuteness factor of these things makes them worth it haha!  They are also so much easier to find then just the pacis.

So there are quite a few things we love, but the products above are the ones I will babble about to anyone who asks :-) – All babies are different, so I can’t say everyone will LOVE these products… But I did a lot of research about the anti-chemical stuff and I’m glad we stuck with them <3

To Join or Not to Join…

That is the question.

Do you have a gym membership?  Or are you an at-home kinda person.  Are you a lucky one with tons of equipment (i.e. a treadmill, full weight rack, a dip bar, a bosu, and other fun favorites?).  Or are you a light at home fitness junkie (dvds, maybe a set or two of weights, a yoga mat and some awesome running shoes to take outside?).

Speed work last summer with my pups

I’m technically somewhere in the middle.  I have some fitness equipment like a pull up bar, weights, a yoga mat (which I want to upgrade as a birthday gift to myself), a small collection of DVDs (I have a love/hate to love relationship with Jillian Michaels) and I have totally taken advantage of some of my mom’s goodies in the past.  But I also have a gym membership.  Which is currently suspended due to my little bundle sleeping on my lap as a type this post. :)

My reason for typing this is because, I LOVE my gym.  I literally day dream about it.  I have always called it my happy place. Although I may have to break up with it (tears will fall my friends) in the not too far future (details below) – I thought I’d write a post about finding your perfect gym.  Because as I evaluate mine I am slowly starting to feel as though it isn’t the perfect fit for me anymore. :-( (it really is like breaking up… the thought hurts my soul)

** We live in the Chicago Land area, so we have lots of options as far as fitness facilities go and my examples of clubs may not apply to you.  Please note, these clubs may not be found in your area but I’m sure that there is something out there for everyone if you are looking to join a gym.  If a large scale club isn’t near you – look into park districts, local schools and even hospitals (my gym is located in a hospital.. and it is amaze-balls, seriously)! <3

1.  Location:  Is your gym easy to get to?  Seems pretty simple, right?  Well a lot of chain gyms offer a membership to their location as well as other locations.  Or for a small fee (or large, better ask!) you can go to some of their higher-end gyms.  Examples are Xsport Fitness (Piper’s alley costs more as well as some other centrally located clubs), and FFC (Fitness Formula Clubs) (a few of their city options are more money).  Some fitness facilities, like mine, only have one location.  So I don’t have an option to go to a place that is close to work, close to home or on the way home or on the way to work that larger chains can offer.

* My gym is currently located VERY CLOSE to my work.  But is not convenient from home, which is one reason we might have to break up.  With a new baby, I can’t just run to the gym after work anymore, I’m going to need to bring my little nugget home.  Which brings me to my next point… hours.

FFC West loop pool (Source FFC.com/westloop)

2. Hours:  Are you a morning person?  Night person?  LATE night person?  Hours at a gym  are pretty essential.  Some are very limited (again, like my gym 5 a.m. – 10 p.m., shorter hours on weekends).  Or some are open 24-7 like Xsport.  FFC is open 24 hours Mon-Thursday close at a later hour Friday and have long but not overnight hours on the weekends.  This may vary, by state but it is how it is in IL.  Be sure to think long and hard about this, before I was a mom the limited hours at my gym worked.  Now it might be kind of nice to have extended hours because as many new moms know, sometimes you get up at 2 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep, why not get in some weights or a swim or a long sweaty run? And leave the sleeping (or not) baby at home with daddy ;-)

3. Price:  This is usually what people focus on the most.  In my experience, the higher prices are usually worth it.  But there is something out there for everyone, even those on the tightest budget (Planet fitness offers a year membership for 100 bucks, or like $9.99 a month, crazy… Yep!).  But at Planet fitness, you are getting the bare minimums if it is your thing to just go sweat and leave… this is the place to go, not much there but what you need to get in a decent workout. Bally’s is now LA Fitness – I would say they are the next cheapest but I’m not sure on the pricing at LA Fitness as they are pretty new to our area but I think they might be closer to that of XSport which will run you from the low 30s a month to around 40 and maybe more if you opt to use their special gyms (like described above).  FFC offers a more high-end experience than the run of the mill Xsport and it usually comes at a price of around 65-70 dollars a month.  They do have a nicer facility and more amenities usually.  If you live in Chicago, you can always go the East Bank route, but prepare to dig deep into those pockets.  A membership will cost you around 150 a month, plus parking ;-) – I’m not going to lie, the facilities are sorta worth it… but you can check it out yourself, here.  If you are one who drools over celebs, that is the gym to visit.  I’ve been lucky enough to see and try out the insides (thank you my dear friend! amazing.) and it is pretty much a dream facility, oh no wait… it is THE DREAM facility.  *sigh* Equinox is another high end gym, which offers some pretty sweet amenities but this club will also run you about 100 bucks plus a month.

**Note, these prices are estimates, be sure to check around for pricing and deals and really work with the people at the facilities to see if you can get a better deal.  A little birdie told me that the best time to join is in the summer (sorry folks, late post) because not as many people join in summer months.  Also, many facilities have a initiation fee so be sure to discuss that with whoever you sign up (see if you can talk them down a bit).  Are you signing up a whole family?  Many places will give discounts if more than one member joins or if you refer a friend.

4.  Amenities:  This is super important to note.  Are you someone who is just going to get on a tredmill and hit the weights and call it a day?  Are you going to want to shower at your gym?  Lock stuff up in lockers?  Do you need a pool?  A steam-room? Do you want to take a TRX class? How about some Zumba?  Hot yoga? (YES! some gyms now offer hot yoga!! FFC West Loop!!! and LIFETIME fitness clubs!) Oh how about a rock-wall?  Before making a commitment to a gym, be sure to check out all the contenders in your area.  A 10 dollar price difference may make your experience go from OK to amazing.  I know, that I have fallen IN LOVE with my gym’s basketball court, pool, and women’s only steam room and sauna.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to join a gym that doesn’t offer these things (and trust me, they all don’t).  Have a child?  Do they offer child care?  Do they have ways to get your children involved?  Do you need a massage?  FFC, Equinox and many other gyms around the 70 dollar plus range offer spa services (with extra charge of course).  

No idea where this gym is, but it is pretty isn’t it? Does your surroundings matter to you? I found that a prettier gym motivates me a bit more ;-) – Don’t get me wrong… I can just hammer it out anytime and anywhere – but a nice facility is worth it to me. (source)

**MOST gyms especially ones priced around 70 or below a month will offer free passes.  Don’t be afraid to use these!!  It is crazy important to see how that gym may work for you! Try things out.  How do things smell? (no really, does it smell like crazy BO or are the machines dirty?) How is the staff?  How is the parking?

 

(above is the AMT machine, love it for cardio – so many options)

My list could continue forever, but the main points are to be sure to find a place that offers what you need.  One that keeps you excited and a place you LOVE to go.

My current gym is AMAZE-BALLS (as Guiliana would say, she works out at East Bank, btw).  I love everything about it, except the no childcare room and sorta crappy hours.  The staff, the machines (fat ropes, kettle bells, weighted balls, bosu, TRX bands, you name it… they have it), great stretch areas, huge indoor basketball court, the class offerings (yoga (not heated), Pilates, spin, zumba and others), indoor track, pool and awesome locker room complete with closed in showers, a whirl pool, sauna, and steam-room (no boys – they have their own!).

I look forward to returning to it, and daydream about my sweaty workout sessions.  However, for several reasons I may have to break-up with my gym.  My heart aches at this, so I’m not going to make any crazy decisions, yet – but I do need to roll with the punches and make sure I am at a gym that I use frequently, and that has the best hours, location and family friendliness I need.

Do you love your gym?  Do you prefer to workout at home?  What are your gym must haves?  Is it your happy place too?

Quick breakdown:

Cheaper (under $20 bucks a month):  Planet Fitness, HOME!! (although, buying equipment for your home can be expensive and I’m obviously not including those costs)
Middle range ($50 or less a month, even with upgrade package):  LA Fitness, Xsport (including Piper’s Alley and other Chicagoland locations)
Upper middle (Between $60-$80):  FFC, Loyola Fitness
Pricey (yep, about $100 plus):  East Bank Club (EBC), Equinox and LIFETIME fitness (not really in the Chicagoland area, but surrounding suburbs).

I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of places so feel free to leave some feedback.  Do you LOVE Your gym?

Again, do yourself a MAJOR favor.  Try out a gym before you commit.  That is the best piece of advice I could give.  :)

Dealing with Guilt

The previous post I wrote a few days ago and just got around to finishing.  This one has been a long time coming and might be a wordy nightmare, but I warned you ;-)

As much as I love being a mother and a wife, as time goes on I find myself feeling increasingly more guilty about things: am I spending enough time with Evan?  Am I making time for my husband?  That run could have been longer.  Should I go back to work?  Really Jen, fit in some more time for fitness.  Did I just eat that cookie? Nope I had 4.  Who am I? I don’t do that.  - Yikes.

These feelings of anxiety just happen to be getting worse and worse as we draw closer to me returning to work.  I feel guilty that I need to leave my new son for hours and hours.  I’m simply not ready.  Another thing I feel guilty about?  If I feel guilty already for leaving him with my mother in law while I’m at work, how am I going to spend additional time away from him in order to work on my fitness goals? *sigh*

Life is about growing and adjusting and sometimes I feel what I do isn’t good enough.  That is when I know that I need to hit the pavement a little more, or roll out the yoga mat.  A healthy physical lifestyle is essential to dealing with these feelings, but isn’t it funny how those feelings zap the energy right out of you?  Or how about attempting to fit in, time with baby, time with hubby, time at work, time with my ipod running/workingout, time on my yoga mat (essential), time cooking, oh and lets write a blog while I’m at it… There are only 24 PRECIOUS HOURS in a day.

Lately I find myself clinging to my newborn even more.  How is time FLYING by?  Is he really 8 weeks old? Oh yeah, he is.  Is he slowly (and I mean rapidly) growing out of his 0-3 month clothing. Why haven’t I lost all my baby weight?!  Is it possible that I feel LARGER?  Oh goodness.  My mind races, constantly.  I’m not sure how to deal.

Appreciate where you have been but live to be where you are now. Life never stops… or slows down. Time is the only true constant.

So, as you can see, I’m not really dealing.  I’m attempting to fine-tune my tools that I know will help me deal.  So here they are:

1. Breathe.  Sounds simple right?  We do it to survive.  But I mean to really breathe.  Take a deep breath, live in the moment.  Yesterday I simply picked up my sleeping baby, held him close and smelled his sweet baby hair.  I soaked up that moment in his cute puppy pajamas and reminded myself he will never be this tiny again… soak it in.  Appreciate the moment.  So again, take a deep breath.

2. Organize.  This ISN’T so simple.  But it really is essential in my life.  If I spend another 2 minutes searching for a pacifier, or finding a pair of running crops… I really might scream.  Evan entering this world, really reminded me how quick time flies and how important the minutes are.  Being even more organized (I thought I was, clearly I need some work) – will really help streamline tasks.  Even though the process is intense it is important.

3. Give yourself a break.  If you really only get in a 20 minute run instead of a 30 – don’t beat yourself up.  This is my problem.  Evan will never be this small again.  If I want to spend 5 more minutes cuddling instead of washing the dishes… I need to be OK with that.

4. Plan ahead.  Meals.  I need to start cooking in bulk for the days things go, well, crazy.  How do I do this?  Cook quinoa in bulk.  It takes pretty much the same amount of time to cook 1 cup as it does 3 cups or 4 all at once and a quick pop in the microwave is way easier then pulling out the measuring cups and tiny grains with a screaming baby in your arms.  Same with chicken, a total staple… Instead of grilling one breast or two, we do 4.  Finally, making sure we always ALWAYS have some greens.  Spinach, TJ’s new power greens mix (LOVE!!! omg. love.) which is organic chard, kale and baby spinach – EXCELLENT in my wraps or cooked with anything.

5. Dark Chocolate & a cup of coffee. Well, in my life, this is a must.  It is that happy sugar and caffeine.  I limit myself to one cup of joe and some dark chocolate whenever I’m feeling a bit blue.  Why?  Well… Why not?  You have to live.

6. Tea. Put that teapot on the burner and make myself some herbal awesomeness.  Chamomile is always a favorite but I must admit I have to get a lot of Mother’s Milk down in a day.

So some of the tools above work a little basically to just calm me down, but I’m open to suggestions to any others!! No seriously, any little bit of help. <3

Do you just not have guilt?  Do you work to calm yourself down with some of the remedies above? Clearly I’m not just letting it go but easing it with the things above.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact I always try to over-achieve and I put a ton of stuff on my shoulders just to feel like I’m not cutting it… Which leads to less energy and not so healthy thoughts (i.e., guilt)

 

^^ Pictures like this (taken in Chicago 2011 the day of my 20 mile marathon prep run – A YEAR AGO ALREADY) remind me how beautiful life is.  I don’t want to waste so many minutes worrying anymore.

 

Something I Love SO Much Right Now (and wasn’t sure I would)

While preparing for baby, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed.  Being someone who usually focuses a TON on their diet, I knew that I wanted to try really hard to breastfeed.  Now let me start off by saying:  breastfeeding isn’t for everyone.  I know some mothers cannot breastfeed, some babies have the hardest time latching, and some choose to formula feed, just because.  I just knew breastfeeding (for a variety of reasons) was what was best for my family.  That being said, I love the special time I get to share with my little guy every day when he eats.  Being eight weeks into our breastfeeding journey, I really am so glad I stuck to the breastfeeding.

He was once this tiny?! It is insane how fast they grow… And how I have been able to plump him up! lol

The one thing I was nervous about while pregnant, was breastfeeding.  I knew that some mothers had such a hard time and there is so much material out there that can freak you out.  However, I must say knowing what could possibly lay ahead really did prepare me for the highs and lows of this journey.  So I thought I would share how I prepared, because I think it really did make a difference in our success.

1.  Online resources.  This is so easy.  You can just hop on google and find a ton of resources.  I found www.kellymom.com very helpful as well as reading blogs (Daily Garnish, Healthy Tipping Point, Fitnessista).  The blogs helped me learn the highs and lows.  For instance, in the beginning can be very difficult.  Your body simply isn’t used to all the stimulation your little one is giving you.  He or she is learning as you learn and that is what I was very happy to be prepared for.  Knowing that some days will be hard, but that it WILL get better.  Sometimes it just helps reading about people you don’t know who have had struggles and overcame them, or how breastfeeding didn’t work for them and them choosing to formula feed, or to exclusively pump!  All these things are important to note because there is no RIGHT way to parent and sometimes paths change, even when we might not want them to.

2.  Breastfeeding Class.  This is a great way to get your partner involved.  We signed up for one through our hospital and it was a great idea.  Hector had no idea how wonderful breastmilk can be for a baby.  He knew it was the healthier choice over formula but he didn’t understand just how much better for mother and child it was.  This helped me created a live-in support system.  Hector still gets up most nights (even if he works) to change the baby so that I don’t have to and I can sit up an nurse.  I know that seems awesome, but he knows that it takes 5 minutes to change a diaper, and 20-45 minutes to nurse my son.  He also knows how to carefully handle my “liquid gold” when I pump (as I’ll be returning to work and my baby hasn’t to eventually get used to a bottle).

3.  Buying a few helpful things BEFORE baby comes.  I found the following products to be very very helpful with some of the discomfort I was having.  I bought breast pads (a MUST have, simple must have, I leaked like crazy in the beginning and still need them even now) and nipple creams.  I bought two different creams, one by earth mama angel baby (you can buy on Amazon) and one by Lansinoh.  The one by earth mama angel baby is way more my cup of tea as far as ingredients go, but Lansinoh did offer a bit more therapy when I needed it most so I was glad to have both.

4.  Knowing that whatever I chose, even if breastfeeding didn’t work, that I was making the best decisions for my family.  Confidence, that no matter what, I had my baby’s and my best intentions at heart.  If something would have went wrong with breastfeeding, then I was OK with that because just to try was a goal.  Goals are important to me, but I’m also ok when they don’t work out.

5.  Making short term goals.  My best friend helped me with this one.  My first goal was to try to breastfeed (at the hospital), my second goal when that was accomplished was to make it a week, then two weeks, then a month.  Now my goal is 3 months.  It will be tested too because I’ll be returning to work.  The longest term goal I have right now is 6 months.  I wish and hope I can do it for a year, but if I can’t I know that I worked hard and did what I could.  Formula isn’t ideal for me, but I was a formula fed baby and I’m perfectly healthy.  Lots of my friends had/have formula fed babies who are all healthy and happy.

6.  It hurts.  Yeah, I’m not meaning to scare anyone but it isn’t the most pleasant feeling the first week or so.  It really isn’t, there is no way around it.  Just be religious about the nipple creme and KNOW it will get better.  Many people find relief with cooling gel pads and warming ones, I didn’t use them myself so I cannot attest but the nipple creme does help.  Bright side?  IT TOTALLY GETS BETTER.  One day you just notice, “hey, that didn’t hurt!” – and now, it doesn’t hurt at all, ever. :)

Someone is getting big!!

For me, nourishing my child really does give me a sense of accomplishment.  We did it.  He is happy and healthy and I’m proud I stuck with it.  Again, don’t feel down if you can’t – it does come easier to some then others, but I think preparing myself has helped my journey.  Some days are better then others, but it really does get better and better as far as this topic goes.  Soon it is second nature.

 

One thing I don’t think I’ll ever like?  Pumping.  Oh my, I feel like a cow.  Sorry I do and I hate it.  I’m going to do it, because I know while I’m at work I’ll need the relief and I also will want to take my son and nurse him before and after work which means I will need to keep up my supply… But yeah, pumping is another post at another time that probably won’t be as upbeat.  It really is about your own journey and I just wanted to start to share mine. ;-)