Monthly Archives: February 2013

Taking Care of ME

I guess it’s pretty obvious that I haven’t been taking the best care of myself lately. I thought I was doing a good job holding it all together in front of people but now I am kind of embarrassed to know that wasn’t the case at all. I came to this realization recently when some people in my life reached out to me to make sure I was doing okay with everything that I have going on. One was a friend of mine who wrote me an email, asking if I was sleeping and eating well and remembering to take care of myself, and if I needed any help. The other was my chiropractor who actually sent me a handwritten note in the mail. I have seen him every other week since last July when I was pregnant. He wrote that he was concerned about me because I haven’t seemed as happy and healthy as I was even a few months ago.

My first reaction when reading these notes was to feel defensive. That lasted approximately 2 seconds before I realized they were right. I feel extremely lucky to have people in my life who care about my well being enough to reach out and make sure everything is okay. This was a big wake-up call for me. The truth is that it has been hard to make myself a priority. I’m sure anyone reading who has kids can understand, that once they are here EVERYTHING CHANGES and they become your world. I absolutely love being a mom with all my heart. Nothing makes me happier. However, it’s very easy to get so involved in making sure your child is happy, healthy, and their needs are met, that you put your own needs on the back burner. For me, this is not an intentional thing at all. It just happened over time, and I guess I have gotten used to what I thought was my ‘new normal’ way of living.

I decided yesterday that I was tired of my ‘new normal.’ It is time to make a change. I’m sick of being stressed and exhausted all the time. I’m not getting enough sleep because I try to do too much at work and at home. I hardly run at all anymore and never do other things for myself that make me feel good. I took a hard look at myself in the mirror, and I know that I’m looking a little rough these days. I love my baby and my husband and I (sometimes) love my job, but I need to remember how to love myself too.

So I dedicated this weekend to rediscovering how to take care of myself again. On Friday after work, I sat down to relax and drink a nice big glass of wine. It felt amazing.

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Instead of spending the evening grading papers and doing house work like usual, I took advantage of a super snuggly baby, who is growing up way too fast and usually not very interested in snuggling anymore.

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That night, my amazing husband told me he was on baby duty, and gave me the whole night off. I can’t even explain how good it felt to get some solid sleep and how much I appreciated him doing that. I woke up early the next day refreshed and feeling great. Nobody else was awake yet and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to take a relaxing bath and give myself a pedicure. I even shaved my legs- something that (embarrassingly) has been put on the back burner as well.

After pampering myself a bit I went out for some more R&R. For Christmas, Kevin bought me 3 massages from Groupon, and today I used my first one. I haven’t had a massage in over 3 years, and my body has been through a LOT in that time. It felt amazing and I drifted through the rest of the day with a smile on my massage table indented face.

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After my massage, I stopped at the drugstore to get myself some products to treat my skin. It’s been looking pretty bad since having Kevin and while a lot of it is most likely hormonal, I know I can take better care of it. I got myself a good moisturizer for my body and another for my face, plus eye cream. I feel like since I haven’t been caring as much about my appearance I have aged a lot in the last 5 months. I know it’s vain, but I want to feel pretty and confident again, and for me that starts with good skin.

My last stop was the running store. I finally used a Groupon that was about to expire to get myself a beautiful new pair of my beloved Brooks Adrenalines. New shoes = new motivation.

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When I got home I ate lunch, and we put the baby down for a nap. Then we went on a cleaning spree. We have been seriously slacking on keeping the house clean since we’ve been so busy. Even though cleaning isn’t necessarily relaxing, it felt really good to get everything organized and spotless, kind of like a fresh start.

After cleaning we headed out to meet Kevin’s sister and her husband for dinner at a Japanese steakhouse using yet another Groupon (can you tell we love Groupon?). I haven’t been very social with family and friends lately since I’ve had so much going on, so it was a lot of fun to finally be out and about again. Plus, Kevin’s sister is pregnant and due in less than a month, which is so exciting! After dinner we all walked around Buy Buy Baby together talking about everything baby related. I loved every minute of our evening, even when Kevin had a massive blowout that went out the back and down his leg in the restaurant. I just felt relaxed and happy, and it was so, so nice!

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Baby Kevin with his aunt KK

As soon as I hit publish on this I’m heading to bed with my two favorite guys. We aren’t setting an alarm- luckily if we bring the baby to our bed when he wakes up in the morning he will sleep a few more hours with us. Tomorrow includes going on a family run eventually, and I plan to spend some quality time with my foam roller and stretching- two other things that I have neglected lately. Maybe some more wine too 🙂

Future ‘taking care of me’ plans include making doctors appointments that I have been putting off- the dentist, the dermatologist, and my PCP for thyroid blood work. I want to finally go back to Body Pump after 5 and a half months. I want to try to run more than once a week. I want to plan a weeks worth of healthy meals and actually stick to it. I want to go to bed earlier. I want to smile more. I want to remember what is really important in life. And I want to try not to be so hard on myself if I am not able to meet these goals every day. Here’s to a brighter, happier, healthier ME.

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Mom & Baby: 5 Months

I feel like I just wrote Kevin’s 4 month update. Where is the time going? I say that every month, but it’s so true! He’s such a little boy now!

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Baby

Last month I said that Kevin is becoming so much fun, and that is even more true these days. He is truly such a happy baby, full of smiles, giggles, and loud noises! He is cooing and babbling like crazy, and he only cries now if he gets too hungry or tired. Such a nice change from those fussy newborn days.

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We will be taking him to the doctor on Wednesday for a check-up, but I know according to our home baby scale that he is at LEAST 12 and a half pounds, and has grown another inch or two as well. He’s so tall! I’ll update this once we get his official measurements.

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Here are the monthly comparison shots… 1 month to 5 months.

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He still in 0-3 month clothing (barely), and we’re just now starting some 3-6 month stuff. The pants fit in length but not quite in the waist since he’s a long and lean baby. They fit better when we have him in cloth diapers though. We have been using them off and on though, because he’s been dealing with some nasty diaper rash. We have had to break out the strong medicated stuff to fight it, which is not cloth diaper safe. My babysitter told us that her son would get a nasty rash when he teethed, so I think that may be upon us. He’s showing lots of signs: excessive drooling, gnawing (not just sucking anymore!) on anything and everything, diarrhea occasionally which is due to swallowing saliva. Who knows when a little tooth will actually pop through!

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99% of the time I think he looks exactly like his dad. This gets to be more and more apparent as he gets older. However, sometimes I’ll see glimpses of myself in him, too. I like those moments 🙂

Daddy's twin!

Daddy’s twin!

One thing that Kevin started doing right at the beginning of this month was blowing bubbles! It is his new favorite thing and it is so cute!

He loves sitting in my lap and turning his head back to look at me. So sweet!

He also loves sitting in my lap and turning his head back to look at me. So sweet!

He is SUPER grabby and wants to touch and hold everything that comes into his line of sight. He will grab it and put it directly into his mouth. This includes toys, my hair, his burp cloths, blankets, our phones, etc. Lately he has loved holding his own bottle. It is hilarious to watch him when we bring it over. His eyes get big, he reaches for it, and brings it right into his wide open mouth. He’s able to hold it there himself for a while now too. Such a big boy!

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Another new development is that he can now roll from back to tummy. We first noticed it when he was swaddled and sleeping in his crib. I heard him make a noise and looked on the monitor to see him on his belly. It scared me to death, because him rolling while swaddled was something I didn’t want to happen! Luckily we were able to catch him doing it and I started swaddling him from the waist down instead. Since then he has rolled many, many times without a swaddle. The first time was at 20 weeks and 3 days (February 2nd). It took him a little while to learn how to roll over his arm, but he’s a pro now. We put him down on a blanket and just watch him go.

One of the first nights he slept with his arms unswaddled

One of the first nights he slept with his arms unswaddled

He is now big enough to go in his Baby Einstein jumper. He absolutely loves it! It’s so fun to watch him explore all the toys and learn how to use his legs to jump in it.

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We did take him to the doctor a few times this month. Last month at his well baby check up our pediatrician wanted us to bring in a poop and urine sample to test for any signs of allergy or infection. Since he has been slow to gain weight, he just wanted to make sure that there wasn’t an allergy or something that was causing him to not absorb all the nutrients, or some kind of infection (like a UTI) burning up his calories. Both tests came back clear, so that was good. We are continuing to monitor his weight, but the doctor said that may just be his growth pattern since he seems perfectly healthy in every other way.

Waving hi to himself in the mirror?

Waving hi to himself in the mirror?

We are still supplementing. It’s gotten to where he gets my milk probably only 25% of the time and formula 75% of the time. That is due to yet another supply drop during my second post partum menstrual cycle, and his increasing appetite. His belly can finally handle larger amounts without spitting up a ton, and he can easily eat 5-6 ounces per feeding these days. All of this eating has led to a lot more pooping. He went from pooping once a day to many times per day. It also looks different, which is most likely because of all the formula. As a sidenote, I hate having to buy formula. It’s so expensive (especially since we have to buy the hypoallergenic kind) and makes me mad every time we have to get some.

The cheeks are getting chubbier!

The cheeks are getting chubbier!

Sleep. We are at the end of the 4 month sleep regression. It has lasted over a month (ugh!) but I can tell he’s slowly getting back to where we was with his sleep. When we had to stop swaddling his arms due to his rolling it seemed to bother him for a few days, but he is okay now. We bought a sound machine that plays all night long and that has helped. It takes a while to get him down for the night, but once he does he will sleep for 4-6 hours. After that he will wake up and we’ll try to get him back to sleep in his crib. If that doesn’t work we take him into our room. He will then sleep for a few more hours. Sometimes he will wake up in his crib and roll around, making happy noises until we go in to him. How can we be upset with him when he does that? There have been a few nights lately where he lasted in his crib all night long, so that is encouraging!

Wide awake saying, "Come play with me mommy and daddy!"

Wide awake saying, “Come play with me mommy and daddy!”

Baby Kevin is quite the little flirt. He will smile at anyone, but he especially likes other babies. It is so fun to watch him with my friend Alicia’s baby, Olivia, who is 3 months younger than him. He will reach out to touch her and stare at her with a concerned look on his face when she cries. They have had a couple play dates already and it will be so fun to watch them grow and interact more in the future.

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Body

As I mentioned before, I had my second cycle this month after pregnancy. Let me tell you, I think my body is making up for not having a period for a year. It is back with a vengeance and I can tell my hormones are all out of whack. I had the WORST acne I have ever had in my life during this month. It was little bumps all over my chin and forehead, two prime spots for hormonal acne. It was so bad that my fifth graders asked me what was wrong with my face. Ouch. It disappeared after my cycle was over. I also had horrible, uncomfortable cramps that feel like the beginning of labor, my supply dropped again during my cycle, and my period was super heavy. I hope it’s not going to be like this every month!

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Unconditional love!

I’m still at 130 pounds which is my pre-pregnancy weight, but thanks to emotional eating and no core/strength-training I look exactly the same. Honestly, it’s hard to make my body a priority right now when I can barely fit in time to run! I’ve been running pretty much once a week, which is my long run. Not a form of training I would recommend but I know it’s only temporary. It will be easier to get back to it once things slow down at work and the sun doesn’t rise so late and set so early.

Laughing at me while I do the 30 Day Shred :)

Laughing at me while I do the 30 Day Shred 🙂

Here is the comparison of all my post partum photos. I didn’t take a picture this month because I have looked exactly the same since 3 months post partum.

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Mind

I wish I could say that everything has been great with me mentally and emotionally, but that would be a lie. I had another tough month after my last good one.  I felt like I had a million responsibilities, things that I wanted to do and things that I had to do, and I wasn’t doing any of them well. After Winter Break my work stress increased a TON, and I just felt so overwhelmed with everything in my life. Between school work, home work, taking care of baby, being a good wife, trying to fit in exercise, trying to get enough sleep, and trying to make sure I could produce enough milk, it was too much and turned into a vicious cycle. No matter how hard I try, I can never get caught up with all the school work I have to do at home in the evenings, even when I stay up until midnight. This means I don’t get enough sleep and I am extra cranky and have no energy. Having no energy means I don’t run which doesn’t help my mood at all. Plus that would require me to miss out on more sleep or not do my school work.  I feel guilty that I have to use my time in the evenings doing this rather than spending time with my baby, but it’s literally making the choice- do I want to keep my job or not?  All of this stress combined takes a big toll on my already terrible milk supply, along with the annoying constant comments from people that our baby is so small. That hurts.

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Baby kisses make me happy 🙂

Poor Kevin (my husband) ends up dealing with the wrath of it all. He is the one taking care of all the housework I don’t have time for like cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. I feel guilty about this too because I know it’s not fair to him either. I had quite a few emotional breakdowns to him about feeling like I can’t keep up. I hate to blame everything on hormones, but I do think my post partum and period-returning hormones have caused me to feel extra emotional lately. It definitely comes and goes and I have good days and bad days. I know last month I said I was trying not to sweat the small stuff, but the problem is that all of this feels like BIG stuff and I can’t help but stress about it all.

The glue that holds everything together!

The glue that holds everything together!

It has been quite the roller coaster, but no matter how stressed I am my baby and husband bring me SO much joy with their unconditional love. It is the best feeling knowing that they are there for me.

A rare date night with the best husband in the world!

A rare date night with the best husband in the world!

Let’s end this update on a happy note- here is a video of one of the first times Kevin rolled from back to belly. As you can see he is a good listener 🙂

I can’t believe that next time I write an update baby will be HALF A YEAR old! Craziness!

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Previous Post Partum posts:

Sweethearts 4 Ever 4 Mile Run

Ahhh! Long time, no blog! I keep waiting for life to slow down a bit but it never does, and I have a feeling it won’t for the next 18+ years. I’m still running whenever I can fit it in- which is admittedly not much lately. However I did manage to run my second race of 2013 yesterday: the Sweethearts 4 Ever 4 Miler in Fredericksburg, VA. This was my first 4 mile race so it was exciting to try a new distance. Since I haven’t been training for speed at all recently, I went into it with the goal of having fun and enjoying myself, and I did!

One of the best parts of this race was that it didn’t start until 10 a.m.! While we don’t exactly sleep in anymore, it was nice to be able to take our time getting out of the house rather than rush around.

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Once again my favorite support team came out to cheer me on. This was Baby Kevin’s first time riding in the main part of our BOB stroller and he loved it! I quickly found my friends and we all got ready to run.

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We were so busy talking that we didn’t even hear the gun go off, and suddenly everyone around us was running. I didn’t even have my Garmin ready! I quickly found an open path off to the side to avoid the crowds and tried to pick up the pace to one that felt comfortably hard. I ALWAYS go out too fast (even after making that mistake for 5+ years of racing) so I’ve been practicing better pacing on my runs.

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My friends Danielle and Amanda weren’t too far behind me!

SweetHeart 2013

The race went through a park and was partially on a nice paved trail and partially on a fine gravel path. The course was mainly out and back with a couple little loops in it, and a few good hills thrown in too. Once the crowd thinned out I was able to pass a lot of people- especially on the hills. I guess it pays off to live in a super hilly town! I was also able to see my friends a few times, which is always a great pick-me-up.

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The race itself went by quickly, but the 4 mile distance felt strange to me. I’m used to the 5K distance, which for me feels like I’m sprinting the whole time. I did an okay job pacing myself this time, but by the time I hit 3 miles I was ready to be done. I felt myself losing steam and I could tell my training hasn’t been 100% lately.

  • Mile 1 – 8:04
  • Mile 2 – 8:15
  • Mile 3 – 8:16

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I wrapped around the corner and tried to sprint to the finish. It helped to see my two guys on the side cheering for me 🙂

  • Mile 4 – 8:09

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I finished the race in 32:44, an average pace of 8:11/mile. I felt like I used up everything in my tank and did better than I expected, so I was happy! Especially when I saw this baby’s big smiles at the finish line!

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Not very long afterwards Danielle and Amanda came through. They stuck together the whole time! These girls always sprint hard at the end- it is so inspiring!

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We grabbed some water and food and then went to cheer on two more of our colleagues who were about to finish. We all met them before the finish line and ran to the end with them. Gotta love special moments like that 🙂

My next race is my first half marathon post baby! I’m running the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon this Saturday, February 16th! I’m so excited and nervous. I haven’t ran that distance since I was 26 weeks pregnant, back in June. I know I can’t expect anything close to a PR (faster than 1:48:55) since my training hasn’t been great. That would require me to run at the same pace I did for this 4 mile race, except for 9.1 more miles- yeah, not happening! But it doesn’t matter. I’m looking at this race as my return to long distance running, and I’m going to enjoy our mini-vacation with my family! Wish me luck!