21 Day Fix – Day Three

3 days down, 18 to go!

Our Sunday Funday of food prepping is paying off.  I am loving having warm, healthy, clean meals to eat for lunch.  It’s tasty and satisfying.  Simon hit is limit today, however, and is requesting a bit more variety next week.  I only made one carb – sweet potato – and two similar proteins – chicken and pork loin.  Ill have to brainstorm some new ideas for the next round.  Any great ideas!?

Unfortunately, our diet and exercise needs don’t compliment one another very well.  Simon struggles to gain weight while I struggle to lose it.  So, I’m having to be creative with my meal planning so that he is getting the healthy fats and additional calories he needs without consuming too much of it myself.  Making zoodles instead of pasta, for example, has not satisfied him because although the nutritional benefits are high, the calories are very low (which I love!). Thank god for Pinterest…!

The best thing is that Simon has decided to join me in the workouts.  We’ve never really exercised together – we’re not that adorable couple that takes early morning runs together – so this is new.  New and great!  We did our first video tonight and having him by my side was motivational and I enjoyed sharing the time with him after we each spent the evening away from one another tending to our kiddos.

He even wrote a quote from 21 Day Fix founder, Autumn, on our kitchen blackboard wall!  Probably just because he thinks she’s super hot, but whatever, I’ll take it! 🙂

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Although my official weigh in will not be until next Monday, I was pleased to see that my weight is down 3lbs already and I am just 2 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight!  Again, I was already overweight so my {first} goal is still 7 pounds away.

Today’s menu was:

Breakfast: 2 eggs cups with kale, mushroom, ham and cheese (1 red, 1/2 green, 1/2 blue)

Snack: Yogurt and berries (1 red, 1 purple)

Lunch: Pork, sweet potato, broccoli and cauliflower (1 red, I yellow, 2 green)

Snack: Red & yellow peppers with hummus (1 green, 1/2 blue)

Snack: Handful of nuts (1/2 blue) – this was an extra snack I shouldn’t have had but I was really hungry when I got home.  I need to re-evaluate my meals earlier in the day to avoid this from happening!

Dinner: Pad Thai (1 red, 1 yellow, 1/2 green…and then some) – not a 21 day fix approved meal, unfortunately.  Simon really wanted to make it and it’s tough for me to eat something different because Toby is in the ‘if-i-see-you-eating-it-then-i-want-it-or-ill-tantrum’ phase.  This is where our unaligned goals can have a negative effect…

Snack (after workout): Cottage cheese & strawberries/pineapple (1 red, 1 purple)

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Introducing the 21 Day Fix – Time for a Change!

It’s time to make a change.  I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life.  I’ve yo-yo dieted, I’ve gone on exercise and couch potato binges, I’ve cancelled plans with dear friends because I felt too fat, I’ve missed opportunities to take my boy swimming because I refused to get in a bathing suit.

I’m done.

I want to quit this nasty cycle and re-invent myself.  I want to stop looking at other people’s impressive transformation pictures and start sharing my own.

I want to show both of my children what strength and confidence looks like.

So, HERE WE GO!!!  Today was Day 1 of the 21 Day Fix.  It’s a Beachbody program that incorporates a daily 30min at-home workout  with a nutrition plan that teaches healthy portion control. Six colored containers are provided, each of which is used to measure out portions of different food groups – yellow for carbs, red for protein, green for veggies, etc.

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A key requirement of this program is meal planning which helps to ensure that you are eating the right amount of food.  Depending on what calorie bracket you fall into, you are allotted a specified number of each colored container.

I’ve decided to meal prep for breakfast, snacks, and lunch (and a little bit for dinner) to ensure I have the right foods on hand.  So, yesterday I made the following:

  • Roasted cauliflower
  • Roasted broccoli
  • Sauteed kale and mushrooms
  • Baked pork loin
  • Baked chicken
  • Baked sweet potato
  • Baked egg cups w/ ham, kale, mushroom & cheddar
  • Lean ground beef meatballs w/spinach
  • Sliced red/yellow peppers (not pictured)
  • Apples (not pictured)
  • Almond butter (not pictured)
  • Hummus (not pictured)
  • Yogurt (not pictured)
  • Mixed berries (not pictured)

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I prepared it buffet-style so that I could pick and choose what I wanted for lunch each day.

My meals today:

  • Breakfast: 2 egg cups
  • Snack: Yogurt & berries
  • Lunch: Pork, sweet potato, cauliflower, broccoli
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Lunch

I’m embarassed to admit that I was sooo close to skipping my workout tonight…on day 1!  I came home from my first day back at work which totally sucked and I missed my baby girl desperately, then jumped right into nursing, getting Maya down for her last nap, eating dinner with my boys, then nursing again, joining my boys for a bedtime story and then getting Maya down for bed.  It was close to 8pm, I had a headache, was tired and hungry.  Well, I wasn’t actually hungry, but my mind convinced me I wanted food.

But, I trudged downstairs, unenthusiastically pushed play on the video and just 30 minutes later I was done and feeling great!

So, that’s day 1 in the bag!  Now I need to go pack my food for tomorrow.  It’s all about being prepared!

We’re Settling in as a Family of Four

Im a shitty blogger.

Or maybe Im just pressed for time with two crazy kiddos at home!

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Im going back to work in a week.  I can’t believe it.  Im dreading it – both because I am going to miss Maya desperately and do not believe a 3 month old should have to separate from her mother this soon and also because this time away from work has confirmed for me what I already knew – that I dont want to go back. Im not happy in my current job, but Ive been successful there, have moved up quickly and make decent money, so leaving is hard.  Especially since both kiddos and Simon are covered under my health insurance since his company doesnt offer any (what! – I know, it’s ridiculous.  A successful for-profit company doesnt offer health insurance…).

Life is wonderful, chaotic, and stressful.

Maya is 11 weeks old.  She’s stunning, incredibly active, gives great smiles, and is an excellent sleeper.  She’s also relatively fussy, pretty sensitive to sudden change, isn’t a big eater, and is itty bitty little. She’s just 9 lbs 13.5oz and in the 5th percentile.

Maya’s weight is a focus of attention right now. In her first few weeks, she was in 20-25th%.  She has since steadily dropped and has been coasting at the 5th for the past couple weeks.  The doc isn’t overly concerned at this point, but does want us weighing her every other week.  If she drops off the chart, we’ll have to take action – starting with adding some formula to a bottle a day to help add in some extra calories.  Unlike with Toby (who was also itty bitty), I am not concerned this is a supply issue.  And very unlike me – I don’t think it’s much of an issue at all.  I think I just have little kiddos.  Maya looks great, has energy, and sleeps well.  But, we’ll just have to wait and see…  I think a big contributor is Maya’s fussiness because she absolutely refuses to eat when she’s upset. Especially during her witching hour(s) that can last 2+ hrs in the early evening…awesome. She’s almost 3 months though and their bodies usually start to regulate and become more comfortable around that time, so Im hoping we’ll have a happier, hungrier baby soon!

That witching hour has been brutal but it seems to be calming down a bit (fingers crossed). For weeks on end, Simon would arrive home with Toby around 5pm and they would walk into a complete shit show. Maya would be screaming while Simon and I tried to cook dinner, feed Toby, eat ourselves, and get Toby to bed. Poor Toby rarely got (gets) to share a meal with both of us and watched as we frantically rush in and out of the room relieving one another after we hit our limit with Maya’s cries and have exhausted all of our soothing techniques.

Luckily the days with her are definitely better and we get to enjoy lots of time cuddling, smiling at one another, talking, and laying on the floor and staring up at bright, shiny colors 🙂  her naps range from 45mins to 2+ hrs. Oh, and most nights she gives me a nice 8-9hr stretch which is a damn miracle.  I swear I didnt get more than 3hrs from Toby until he was 8-9 months!

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Toby…the kid is too much!  He has us laughing all the time.  Or…so frustrated we want to scream! 🙂  His language is unbelievable.  It’s made such a huge difference being able to talk to him and for him to be able to effectively communicate his wants and needs to us.

Me1: Toby, what do you want for breakfast.

Toby1: Toby want o-a-t-a-m-e-a-l for breakfast.  No banana, mommy.  No Toby like banana.

Me2: Toby, do you want to set the table with me?

Toby2: No, mommy, Toby no want to set the table.  Toby’s cooking. Do it yourself.

Haha.  Love him.

He’s continuing to handle the transition well.  He shows Maya so much love, care and concern, and tenderness.  His hitting is far less frequent and we can usually read his mood and behavior well enough at this point that we remove one of them before it happens.

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As for me, Im doing pretty well.  Like I said, dreading going back to work but it is what it is.  Luckily my office is a welcoming one and my co-workers are great. Im totally recovered from surgery and have begun a journey to better health.  I have done one round of the Beachbody program, 21 Day Fix, which is an exercise and eating plan and have really enjoyed it.  Im going to do a few more rounds of it before I move on to another program.  As inspired by my fellow blogger over at Taking Our Family From 3 to 4, I think I am going to begin expanding this blog so that I can share my journey (and hopefully feel accountable to you in addition to me!).  I’m 4 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight but unfortunately that was already way higher than I should have been, so I have a ways to go.  But, I’m moving in the right direction.

Finally, Simon.  All I need to say is that he is my everything – our everything.  We are so lucky to have him.

We were only able to get Maya a 2-day slot at Toby’s school for at least the next couple months, so both Simon and I are taking off one day a week to be with her and he’s “working from home” the other day. This is going to be a big change for him and will likely be hard at first but what a special way for dad and daughter to have an opportunity to grow and strengthen their connection.

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Maya is 5 weeks/Toby is 2!

I have no baby in my arms or toddler tugging on my leg – it’s a miracle!  🙂

As cliche as it may sound – where has the time gone!?  I cant believe Maya is already 5 weeks and Toby turned 2 yesterday!

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Everything with a new baby is SOOO different this time around. Whew. (when I compare and contrast this post to Toby’s 6 wk update, I think it highlights the difference between the experience of a first and second time parent!

We spent most of December as a family of 4.  Toby was off school for 11 days so we had a crash course in parenting two under twos.  It was hectic and stressful at times, but we had a blast with Toby, enjoyed spending time as a family and it gave us all a chance to get to know Maya and acclimate to our new life together.

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Maya:

  • She looks so much like her brother. Just more feminine. It blows my mind. And I love it.
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Toby on left, Maya on right

  • She’s a great sleeper.  So good in fact that I had to work very hard to encourage her to wake and eat in those first few weeks.  And she often had no interest and dozed off between every. single. gulp.  Feeds were terribly frustrating.  It was driving me nuts and stressing me out to no end.  So after a few satisfactory weight checks in the first 2 weeks, my doc gave me the green light to let our sweet girl sleep and eat when she was ready.  Immediately things improved and I could tell that she was getting the same amount of milk, if not more, with fewer feeds.  She takes 2-3 good 2-hr naps in the day in addition to some cat naps.  And her night sleep is awesome – 2 wake ups a night since day 1.  Pllllllease let it stay that way.
    • For the first few weeks, she would sleep pretty much anywhere but of course she has hit the ‘Im Going to Wake Up the Moment You Lay Me Down’ phase so she is spending most naps in my arms or in a carrier.  For nighttime, she does well in the rock n play next to our bed.
  • She’s healthy and thriving.  She’s bouncing between the 20th-26th percentile, makes lots and lots of good poops and pees, and is filling her newborn clothes out well (currently about 8lb 5oz).
  • Nursing is going so much better than last time.  Although I breastfed Toby for 9 months (I dried up), I would venture to say we never really got in a groove.  Months in, nursing was often still rather painful.  I dont know why…  With Maya, it’s just been easier.  Even physiologically, it’s different – for instance, I never once felt a let-down with Toby.  Now, I feel that burning sensation in my breast (of course I did let-down with Toby).  I’ve also started pumping earlier (I hate pumping and it was a huge source of stress and anxiety last time around).  For about 2-3 weeks, Ive been trying to pump after the morning feed. And about a week ago, I introduced a second pump at the end of the night.  Most mornings I get between 4-5oz so that’s helping me build a little freezer stash before I go back to work.
  • She’s…unfortunately…pretty fussy. Not as fussy as Toby’s colic had been, but definitely not the easy-going baby I was hoping for.  It’s made the transition to two that much more challenging.  She requires a lot of attention – bouncing on the ball, shushing in the ear, etc.  Often, nursing (pacifying on me, really) is the only thing that calms her which means it’s usually me dealing with these cries.  Im handling the fussiness itself far better this time around but what’s worse is that all that time and effort I put into calming her is taken away from time I would otherwise be spending with Toby.  I sometimes struggle to find the time to play with him after school the way I would like and rarely ever get to do the bedtime routine with him since that coincides with the witching hour/cluster feed time.  That makes me so very sad and I continue to miss my boy tremendously.
  • Regardless of her fussiness, Maya is a sweet little baby.  When she is happy and alert, I love to watch her eyes scan the world around her, widen with awe as she stares at the fan or the streaks of sunlight coming through the window.  I love to cuddle her and kiss her and take in her sweet newborn smell.  We all do.  We know how lucky we are.

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Toby

  • My little boy 🙂  He turned 2 yesterday and we had a great time celebrating him.  My dad, brother, sis-in-law, nephew, and cousin all flew in for the weekend and we spent it showering Toby with love.  And he clearly felt it 🙂  It was a great weekend!

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  • Toby loves his little sister.  Her calls her ‘M-I-Y-L-A’ and it sounds so damn cute when he says it.  He insists on holding her pretty much every day, gives her good morning and good night kisses, and goes running to be by her side every time she cries.  Each time, he announces ‘baby sad!’

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  • Coupled with all the love he is showering upon her, he has also started hitting a bit.  Although that’s normal 2-yr old behavior , we hadn’t had to deal with it until now so we’re experimenting for the first time with different discipline tactics like time-outs, time-ins, or simple redirection.
  • The first few weeks were a challenge as I mentioned in my previous post but things turned around quickly.  Our strategies (such as providing choices, counting to 3, etc) that stopped working when Maya came home, suddenly began working again which made diaper changes, bedtime routine, etc manageable again (THANK GOD!). And he’s back to going to sleep on his own – as long as his door is left open.  I would say that except for the infrequent hitting and the meltdowns after one of us picks up Maya and he falls apart screaming , ‘no baby! no baby!’ (again, pretty infrequent), things feel pretty normal.  I do have to remind myself that even if he’s behaving far better than I expected, he is certainly still wildly affected by this big change and I need to be thoughtful of that.  I think our efforts to do so have helped keep things on an even keel.

Me

  • Recovery from the c-section was…different.  Last time I spent 5 full days in the hospital, struggling (and failing) to get my pre-eclampsia under control.  I was on magnesium so spent my first many days in a haze.  This time – alert as could be – I was much more aware of the pain of recovering from major surgery.  That day or two in the hospital were pretty painful (duh!).
  • Making it 2 wks without picking up Toby was my biggest challenge.  And while I didn’t lift him during that time, I did push myself further than I should during playtime, walks to see neighborhood Christmas lights, etc.  I picked Toby up with care in those first few days and then was doing everything including lifting him in and out of his crib by week 3.
  • I bled on and off for 4 wks (compared to 4 days last time) and experienced some abdominal pain and burning on the side of my incision.  But all of that has subsided and I am feeling completely back to normal at this point.
  • My anxiety has reared its ugly head again, likely fueled by all the hormonal crap going on in my body, and it’s definitely been a challenge I continue to struggle with daily.
  • Weight loss has not been a priority and was hindered further by the holidays but Im beginning to feel frustrated and insecure by it and need to make at least a little effort!  I gained 44 lbs and am now 16 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight.  I only have one pair of non-maternity jeans I can fit into – a pair that I bought postpartum about this time last time around. Im determined to return to work in much better shape (and with more confidence) than I am now, even if not exactly where I want to be.

Simon

  • All I can say is that this man is the rock of our family.  I don’t know how I got so lucky.  He is such an exceptional dad.  It literally brings me to tears just thinking about it.  His patience for and care of Toby during this time has been incredible and has helped me to deal with the reduction in time I have to spend with him because I know that daddy is showering him with love…constantly.  I wish you could all see him in action – he’s truly amazing.
  • Just as Maya’s fussiness has taken me away from Toby, it has also taken Maya away from Simon.  I know that he is saddened by the limited time he gets to spend with her between working in the day and caring for Toby in the evenings.  But, that time will come – the opportunities are just not the same the second time around…

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What a change this has been.  It’s been incredible to welcome a new life into this house and to be able to complete our wonderful family.  It’s also been one of the greatest challenges we’ve taken on.  But, it’s so worth it.  And Im so happy to have such a wonderful family to love.

Maya Juliet

Our sweet Maya was born at 11:11am one week ago today, on December 4th!  She is pure perfection and looks absolutely identical to Toby at this age.  It’s uncanny.  She was 7lbs 3oz and 19 3/4 in long.

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I’ll write a longer update soon – the numbness from carpal tunnel is still hot and heavy and Im just not up for typing a long update. BUT, I wanted to introduce our dear, sweet girl.

We went with the scheduled c-section and it’s a good thing we did because Maya was practically perpendicular in utero and would never have engaged properly in my pelvis in order to be pushed out vaginally.  In fact, the doc had such a hard time getting her out that she had to make a slightly larger cut in my belly and also suction her head.  It was wild – I saw the doc over the curtain because she was bent so far over, shoving her hand as deep as possible trying to get a good hold on her.

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To my great relief, the spinal worked splendidly so I did not need to be put under.  So, I got to hear my baby girl’s first cry, hear her apgar number reported (8.9!), and even listen to the conversation between my doc and the anesthesiologist about their holiday plans, lol.

I also got to put her to breast far earlier than last time and was far more alert during her first days of life in the absence of magnesium, etc.

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She’s doing really well – she’s a typical newborn eating, sleeping, and pooping. She has a particularly long wake time in the early evening (not great for Toby’s schedule) and likes to cluster feed at that time.  Im trying to keep her on a pretty strict breastfeeding schedule since i struggled with supply so much last time and Toby’s weight was always on the very low side.  Im waking her up for all the feedings overnight and many of them in the day too.

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Toby has done really well with the transition.  He loves his sister and wants to be around ‘the baby’ all the time – he strokes her head, tickles her belly while saying “tickle! tickle!,” kisses her head and holds her hand.  He likes to lay next to her while both are getting their diapers changed and wants her to be in the bathroom while he bathes and in his room for story time before bed.

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Toby is also being a bit more challenging when it comes to simple things like diaper changes, putting shoes and coats on, and getting ready for bed. He wants to be in total control and that slows things wayyy down.  It’s a little frustrating but we’re trying to give him some time.  He’s also not doing great going down to sleep alone so Simon is spending a lot of time sitting in the chair beside his bed while he settles and drifts off to sleep.  Again, we’ve decided to give him a few weeks of special attention before insisting we get back on track.

The hardest part for me as definitely been Toby – I am missing him soooo much.  Between a demanding nursing schedule including cluster feeding which coincides with Toby’s arrival home through bedtime and my inability to pick up and hold him, I’m struggling and its breaking my heart.  Mommy mode is officially over and it’s all about daddy.

All in all, it’s been a pretty successful first week. There will be many challenges but even more exceptional moments ahead.  I’ll try to be better about sharing them all.

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Dearest Toby

To my dearest Toby,

Tomorrow, you’re going to receive the greatest gift your daddy and I will ever be able to give you.  You will receive a beautiful baby sister – a sister who I hope will remain your dearest friend, closest confident, and biggest source of support for the rest of your very long lives.

There will be hard times as our family embarks on this new journey as a family of 4 instead of 3.  There will be times when you will wish your sister away and will be desperate for our lives to return to the way they were before she arrived.  Her presence will take away some of the undivided attention that mommy and daddy have showered you with since birth and that will create a sense of jealousy and insecurity in you. But I want you to know that nothing in this world will shake our love for and devotion to you. You and I have a unique and ever so special relationship that will continue to flourish and grow. And you will always be my first born, my sweet baby boy.

We will need you to help us care for your little sister.  You are such a sensitive, loving boy and the best little helper I know.  You will thrive in the role of first assistant to mommy and daddy and your little sister will be so grateful to you. You can help with diaper changes and bubble baths, feeding and rocking to sleep, but most important, it will be you that she will look to to make her smile and laugh, to teach her to crawl and then walk, and show her how to be a mischievous toddler!

Toby, I prepare to go to sleep this evening with a heavy heart.  It is full of love for you, it is full of excited anticipation to meet your little sister, but also a painful awareness that today was the last day you and I will ever spend with you as an only child and me as a mom of one.  Before I laid you down in bed, I held you tight and rocked and sang to you.  You wrapped your little legs around my waist, lay your head on my shoulder and ran your hands through my hair.  This will not be the last night we share these special moments, but the opportunities will likely be less frequent and often interrupted.  It was a special moment that I will cherish always.

But my gosh, Toby, you know what’s really going to be special? – You’re going to have a sister tomorrow.  And sisters are awesome!  Sibling relationships are a gift in and of themselves. I feel so incredibly lucky to have your Uncle Abe as my big brother and am so grateful that I have him in my life.  I’m going to venture to say he feels the same way and I can pretty much assure you that you will soon feel that way too.

I love you, my sweet boy.  Although I am nervous about entering this next stage in our lives, I am so very excited and I know that it is going to be a happy, wonderful change in all of our lives.

With much love,

Mommy

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Last Day of Work! And a Delivery on Friday!

Today was my last day of work before Poppy comes. Having a scheduled c-section makes everything feel, well, scheduled. It’s been weird knowing the exact day I would be concluding work especially since we’ll also be moving offices while I’m gone so I left my office completely packed up  into two small boxes.  It’s also even more bizarre that I know the exact day AND time that I will be meeting my little girl. How crazy!

I’ve continued to agonize over my decision about the delivery and it’s been taking a toll on my mental health.  The more I reconsider my decision, the more I feel my anxiety rising, the more agitated and grumpy I feel, and the less I look forward to what’s to come. I want someone to tell me what to do, but no one can. There are costs and benefits to either decision and it is up to me (and Simon of course) to determine which route to take.  I’ve made a pro/con list which still left me pretty indecisive, but admittedly I came to the final decision to move forward with a c-section in part because I simply want it to be over.  Because there is no way to know what a week’s delay would bring – I could go into labor naturally and have the delivery I’ve always dreamed of, but I could also endure another week of discomfort and sleeplessness and still end with a c-section or worse, I could develop pre-eclampsia again – I decided it was best for my own sanity to go with the planned section.  I think at this point I’ve just over-thought things so much and at this point I really really want to accept and move beyond my decision and begin to simply look forward to meeting my little girl on Friday.  OMG – I’m going to have a little girl on Friday!!!

My dear sweet Toby is so excited about meeting his little sister -it’s all he talks about these days.  We put the base to her car seat in the car and he excitedly points to it and talks about how the baby is coming soon and will sit in the back with him and that they will play.  It’s so sweet and I cannot wait to see them together for the first time.

My dad arrives tomorrow and will be here to take care of Toby.  Im so grateful that he is  coming and Toby is so excited to play with “Baba” when he gets here.

Im also taking the day off tomorrow so that Toby and I can spend a special day together before we make room in our lives for his baby sister. It should turn out to be a very special week 🙂