I’m the worst blogger on the planet. I feel like Garth from Wayne’s World when he’s testing out the “Suck and Cut.” When he tests out the appliance, hilarity follows as the experiment goes awry and he screams, “MAKE IT STOP! IT’S SUCKING MY WILL TO LIVE.”
ellie turns SIX months this month. What? Where have the last six months gone? I know I haven’t slept much, so it really does feel like one long day.
He talks up a storm. He runs around like a tornado. He jumps and climbs on everything. You can find him in the most impossibly high and dangerous places possible. He’s incredibly smart and very stubborn. I wouldn’t say he’s in the “terrible two’s,” but he definitely challenges us and is constantly trying to disobey. It’s like having a little angry terrorist in your house who is trying to hold you hostage.
His favorite things to say and do are:
- “Now wait a minute!”
- Still calls Josh “Josh” (not “Dad” or “Dada”)
- Favorite foods are: pomegranate seeds and Pirate Booty
- Favorite movie is: Despicable Me (“Pickle Me”)
- Loves CrossFit. Seriously. Kid is sipping the Kool-Aid.
- She can roll over both ways and scoot.
- Is happy 99% of the time unless she’s not being held or talked to.
- Makes the LOUDEST happy noises on the planet. We jokingly say she “chirps.” Really, it’s more of a screech.
- She wants to put everything in her mouth and is desperate to eat solid food. We did baby-led weaning with Jack and it worked great, so we’ll try that with Ellie and see if it is also successful.
- Still nursing around the clock, including waking up every 3-4 hours at night to nurse. Longest stretch we can get has been 6 hours, but after that she’s hard to get back to sleep. That’s killing me, but we’re powering through.
- She dresses better than I do.
She has such great taste.
Anyways, once life starts slowing down and we eventually find our rhythm I will blog more. Yes, I still religiously go to CrossFit. Yes, I’m still working in the ER as a nurse. Yes, the kids stay home with me. Yes, we’re all still sane (barely). Life is busy and crazy, but we love it and wouldn’t trade this for the world.
Disclaimer: I’m writing a personal blog about my own education and experiences of exercising during pregnancy. In no way am I trying to tell anyone what to do during their own pregnancy or claiming to be an expert on fitness during pregnancy. While I am a personal trainer and fitness instructor, any exercise done during pregnancy should be under the supervision of your OBGYN/Midwife. No new exercise programs should be started during your pregnancy. In addition, modifications should be performed (and were DEFINITELY performed in my case) as your pregnancy progresses to ensure the safety of both you and baby. The goal is to share my passion for health and wellness through allowing you glimpses of my personal fitness journey.
Before pregnancy: As I’ve posted in a previous blog, I’m part of the cult of CrossFit. That being said, once I found out I was pregnant I wasn’t prepared to give up everything I’d worked so hard to achieve in the past year. Luckily, my OBGYN knew that I loved to work out and let me continue doing so (I modified when I got later in my pregnancy). If anything, she encouraged me to be active and do what kept me most sane! My coaches at CrossFit also were familiar with my level of fitness (and insanity) and kept a close eye on me my entire pregnancy. When they heard about my easy labor and delivery they took personal credit for the success as if they’d delivered that baby themselves. I also continued to teach fitness classes and taught my last spin class at 38 weeks (only reason I stopped was because we moved 2 weeks before Ellie was born).
During pregnancy: I started modifying exercise moves about half way through my pregnancy. I really didn’t decrease my weightlifting at all, having thoroughly researched why squats were better than Kegel exercises for strengthening pelvic floor muscles. Running was difficult about 5 months in, so I swapped that out for the rowing machine or Aero-Dyne. Around 8 1/2 months, pull-ups became impossible, so I modified with ring rows. Sprints became power-walks. Headstand push-ups became seated press. Cleans, snatches and anything I couldn’t do from a rack position became step-ups. I think some of my coaches especially got a big kick out of making me do weighted step-ups several times a week.
Me: “So, can’t do that move. What’s my modification?”
Me: “But, the move you’re modifying isn’t even remotely close to step-ups.”
Spencer/Josh: “Doesn’t matter. Do it.”
I didn’t watch the numbers on the scale obsessively. I knew I didn’t need or want to go over a certain number, but I really made it a goal to eat as clean as possible and focus on being as strong as I could be for me and Ellie. It was really pleasantly surprising to see numbers stay a consistently low gain, that still resulted in a 8 1/2 lb baby and super healthy mama. My blood pressure was always low 100s/60s, heart rate mid 60s-70s and glucose tolerance test was also a breeze.
The point being: you can maintain a level of moderately intense physical activity being pregnant and still carry a healthy, term baby. I am not super woman. I tend to be whiney and dramatic. But I love the community and accountability that comes with being part of such a special group like CrossFit, so I was determined to keep going to be the best pregnant version of myself I could be.
Delivery: (read my whole blog about it here.) I labored naturally until 7 cm, when they broke my water. After that, from epidural to baby went by verrrry quickly. My OB was putting her gloves on and yelling, “DON’T PUSH” as Ellie came into the world in less than 1 push. No tearing, no pooping on myself, and I could still move my legs with the epidural. It was an incredibly easy delivery. All those squats paid off!
After pregnancy: With my OB’s permission, I went back to CrossFit 10 days post-partum. I modified SIGNIFICANTLY for the first 6-8 weeks. I eased myself back into things, especially knowing that my joints were still loose (thanks, Relaxin) and my body still healing. My coaches, once again, have supported me unconditionally as I’ve slowly began to rebuild my endurance and strength. But, no surprise here, it’s been relatively painless (other than running, which sucks no matter how in shape I am). I’m lifting heavier weights than ever, I can do some skills I could NOT do pre-pregnancy and lost the baby weight. I’m still soft in areas I’d rather not be soft in, but I know I’m a steady work in progress and I’m ever so thankful for a strong body that carries and sustains life.
Being pregnant is not an excuse to be sedentary. It’s a chance for you to get creative with workouts and find what works best for you. For some it’s walking and water aerobics. That’s GREAT! I’ve taught fitness water classes for pregnant women. It feels INCREDIBLE to be weightless for an hour when you’re 7+months pregnant. For me, it was CrossFit. I love how it made me feel strong and powerful during a period of my life that is normally not a confidence-boosting one. I also learned to appreciate my body no matter how it looks and hopefully will be able to teach my precious daughter that strong is beautiful and numbers on a scale don’t matter.
We’re 1 month in to a new life with two kids under the age of two. For the most part, it’s wonderful. Hectic and chaotic, but wonderful. Jack loves his little sister, Ellie, especially her “feets” and toes. We’re working really hard on “GENTLE.” I always feel like I’m back training my Great Dane, Frankenstein, when we work on the act of gentleness with Jack. It’s goes like this:
He’s patting her feet and touching her toes. “Hey bud, let’s be gentle. Gentle. Soft touches with baby Ellie.”
Not quite getting the reaction he want so he’ll move on to poking her pacifier in her mouth and pinching her feet. “Jack, I said “Be gentle.” Hugs and kisses. No pinching.”
Now he’s trying to shove her paci in her mouth since he’s starting to get some sort of reaction. “JACK. GENTLE.”
Screw the paci. He’s going straight for the good stuff. One final war cry for curious boys everywhere, “EYEEEEEEEEEES.” “GENTLE, JACK! GENTLE, JACK! NOT HER EYEBALLS. DON’T POKE OUT HER EYEBALLS!”
So far, his sister is unscathed by big brother Jack. Although Dr. Doubter was really worried that he had given her a black eye when he was here gracing us with his presence (and making some absolutely amazing food).
However, in the midst of dealing with a new born, I’m in the throes of toddler hood. So, I’m nursing around the clock while trying to keep him from killing himself. Then it dawned on me:
I’m being held hostage by a Kamikaze pilot. In addition to trying to kill himself he’s making it his mission to take me out with him.
DISCLAIMER: any events happened are true stories and medical advice was consulted when necessary.
Exhibit A: When Ellie was 2 weeks old she decided to kick her umbilical cord off prematurely. Naturally, she bled a little bit which sent my husband in a panic. He asked me a dozen times if her guts were going to spill out (no, they weren’t), or if she was going to have an outie (no, she doesn’t). After the belly button drama we all start calming down. Josh goes into the living room to get something and I start to nurse Ellie to sleep. While Jack is quietly playing in our room I hear him say, “Water, mama.” And I look up as he’s takes a swig of the rubbing alcohol he swiped from off my dresser on which he has climbed. Immediately I yell for Josh, because OBVIOUSLY this is his fault, and he sprints into our room thinking the world is ending. I knew one swig wouldn’t hurt him, but I called Dr. Doubter in a panic to verify. This drinking binge was in addition to him climbing on our dining room table and taking a sip of Josh’s pale ale.
Clearly my son has a drinking problem.
Exhibit B: My friend, Amanda, graciously brought us an amazing meal after Ellie was born. While she was admiring my beautiful baby, Jack walks up to give me a big hug from behind. I then said, “AwwwwwwwwSONOFAB*TCH!!!!” as my son proceeded to bite my butt as hard as he can. My son who never bites. My son who is so sweet and loving. My son just bit my ass.
Clearly my son is an angry drunk.
Exhibit C: Any chance he gets, Jack climbs to the highest point on the tallest piece of furniture in our house. Counter tops, piano tops, sinks, etc. The week Ellie was born he learned to climb out of his crib. He has no fear. Of me or gravity.
Clearly my son has a death wish and he’s trying to kill me by ways of panic attacks and/or heart attacks.
Also, P-Kiddy (or “Teow” as Jack calls him) is missing, We’re praying he comes home soon. Tear.
Pray also for my sanity. And the longevity of my son’s life. God have mercy.
Me: “I’m not pushing!”
As life typically goes, a lot of things seem to happen in a short period of time. It always surprises me how Josh & I tend to think the same things in the back of our head but it takes a couple of incidents to really bring our ideas to the surface.
Biggest change on the horizon (other than having another baby REALLY soon) is that we bought another house! Now, don’t get me wrong. We loved our house in Oak Cliff. We poured blood, sweat, time and money into that place to make it our home, but once we thought moving out of state was inevitable, we knew our home needed to be shared with someone else (by the way, they haven’t done anything to it yet… I also just revealed that I occasionally stalk my old house…) and that buying another house in Oak Cliff wasn’t an option because of schools. I went and saw the house without Josh and made an offer on the spot because I loved it so much. They also have a mini-trampoline in the back which won Jack over (I also asked for it in the contract and got it — WHOO! super excited about that. mostly because I can’t bargain).
Now, onto the series of unfortunate events that brought this to fruition.
Jack is a toddler. Toddlers walk really loudly. They stomp. They don’t mean to stomp; it’s not a conscious decision to move as loudly as possible, they just DO. Our neighbors downstairs from us DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS. A few weeks ago I was cleaning up Jack’s breakfast. He’s stomping around with his ball in hand yelling, “Ball, mom! Ball!” Throwing it to me. Chasing the ball as I throw it back. And I hear, “BANG BANG BANG.” The first thought that pops in my head is “Surely I did not just hear what I think I heard…” Then I hear it again, except louder. Jack looks at me impishly, thinks I’m playing a game with him and starts JUMPING UP AND DOWN.
BANG BANG BANG
STOMP STOMP STOMP
BANG BANG BANG BANG
STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP
So, Jack thinks it’s a game. The dude downstairs thinks I’m being a huge ass. I KNOW he’s being a huge ass – it’s 11am for crying out loud. And I’m getting angrier and angrier. I call Josh, who, like a good husband, tells me I’m crazy and imagining things. Uh, no sir. I am not. And if you tell me that again I’m going to make you move in with that guy downstairs. At this point Jack is still jumping because homeboy is still banging. So, I tell Josh I’m going downstairs to have a chat with him. Josh then sobers up from his joking and realizes that I’m dead serious and am probably about to chop this guy’s head off verbally (I was still thinking physically, too, at this point). However, reason won and I called the apartment manager (I do grown-up things sometimes). She explained we have a toddler and he whined that he works nights and needs his beauty sleep during the day. Two HUGE issues here with that statement:
1) I have a toddler. So, I obviously do not get sleep, either. Also, since I’ve worked nights I know what to do when I get home and need some sleep. I WEAR EAR PLUGS OR NOISE CANCELING HEAD PHONES. You can’t expect people around you to stop living a normal life because you don’t.
2) Everyone’s ceilings in the building are 12 feet high (no exaggeration). If you really are THAT tired, why the hell are you standing up in your apartment BANGING ON THE CEILING IN UNISON WITH THE TODDLER UPSTAIRS. I know you aren’t lying in bed! You’re standing up! And probably yelling the same expletives I am! Again, we obviously have serious common sense issues here, bro.
The dude still bangs occasionally, but I don’t really care because A) I won the apartment employees over by bringing them three boxes of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, and B) I can’t get Jack to walk softer, so the situation is out of my control.
Second reason Josh and I both realized we needed a house ASAP: I can’t park my car worth a damn. I’ve already scratched my 4 Runner a few times in small parking garages, and this garage is no exception. I drive well. I’m safe. I’m aware. I’m defensive. I am even good with directions. However, I cannot park in small spaces. Since I scratched the car recently in the same spot as I have in previous parking sins I thought Josh wouldn’t notice. I obviously forgot who I was married to because he noticed less than 8 hours later. Whoops. Now he makes me practice parking with him in the car. I feel super cool when we do this. Not. I have flash backs of running into my parents’ garage with my dad’s brand new truck when I was 15. So, I get panicky and anxious. Not exactly a recipe for parking precision.
So, in May we move on to single-level living and safer parking situations. I’m praying Ellie decides to chill for awhile longer to give us time to move and unpack. We shall see what happens. Have I mentioned how pregnant I am?? I’ll post pictures of the new house when we close in April. It really is an answer to prayer — we specifically prayed that we’d find a house that needed only aesthetic stuff done and that was move in ready. Even the paint colors in this house are perfect for us – so we really found a perfect match. Let the nesting begin!
it’s shameful it’s been over a month since my last blog post. I feel like life (this pregnancy especially) is flying by with so many memories and precious moments as a family of three that I don’t want to lose.
My mom tells me constantly to write these precious moments down to freeze them in time. Reminding me how fast her babies grew and how fast mine will. Being a mother is hard. It’s emotionally and physically exhausting. But daily I stop and remind myself that Jack won’t be this size for much longer so I will gladly trade sleep for time spent reading together or playing in his tent. Times where he kicks his shoes off SOMEWHERE on our way to the park and I have to trek back 5 blocks to find it before we can actually play; his hand reaching for mine so he can lead me to this giant tree house just to count all the stairs we climb together.
We spent some time in San Diego this week, tagging along with Josh as he conquered the business world. Jack and I were able to spend a significant amount of time wandering the city together. On and off trolleys. Walking miles upon miles to see lions and pandas and pet goats and sheep at the San Diego Zoo. Getting so frustrated he wants to be active so much, when really it’s all I’ve ever wanted. His giggles. The desire to climb on everything. His sweet hands trying to “high-five” the orangutan through the plexi-glass. His loud “HI” that he shouts to everyone we pass, causing them to stop, smile and say “hi” back. These special, wonderful moments. Just us.
Soon there will be another wonderful addition to our family. She’s getting bigger. Stronger. She knows our voices, including her big brother’s sweet little voice. She’s active, similar to Jack, and I know that all the burpees and pull-ups I do in CrossFit probably don’t help much. I’m excited and scared to see what she’ll be like. To meet her for the first time and experience that same rush of overwhelming love that I felt with Jack.
For now, I’m trying to savor the moments with my current baby. Letting him sleep in my bed (heaven forbid I let him cry himself to sleep), skip the nursery in church or MOPS just because he cries, “Mama, up! Up!” Then does the sign for “please.” I love him. And I know he’ll be an outstanding big brother. We’re slowly understanding “gentle” and practice it daily with P-Kiddy.
Enjoy some San Diego photos. Yep, that stupid backpack leash actually happened. I’m ashamed, but it bought us both some freedom and good laughs.
I wrote this last month for LaModeDallas.com, but I think it really applies with maintaining a healthy balance during the entire year and focusing on healthy living rather than weight loss and bikini season. My one resolution for 2013 was to not be pregnant, but as you can see, I already bombed that one (AND I LOVE IT).
“In the busy Emergency Room I work as a nurse, the main problem I’m confronted with is people with chronic health problems expecting immediate results from their emergency care. Patients have a problem substituting emergency medicine for family health practice and they are often disappointed with the results. The same problem applies to the gym. I have clients who are desperate to lose ten pounds in only three days, or are trying out the “Diet Coke and Cigarettes” diet (where they only drink Diet Coke and EAT cigarettes to keep from getting hungry) to lose weight quickly. The results are the same – disappointed patients and clients.
We are part of a generation who wants instant gratification.
It is terrifying to think that way for several reasons:
1) You never get what you want when you want it.
2) Your health and emotional stability suffer when you try to force it.
3) The people around you pay the price for your temporary insanity.
As the New Year quickly approaches, I always hear people talking about their New Year’s Resolutions (NYR) – what they want to change about themselves, how they want to lose weight and be healthier, what areas of their lives need rapid change and improvement to make the next year the best one yet. Initially, they come out of the holidays with contagious motivation. I love to teach fitness classes at the beginning of the year for this very reason. Everyone is so determined to work their hardest and be the best they can be. However, Spring rolls around and classes thin out until you have just the ‘regulars’ left – the individuals who are always in your classes like clockwork. Rain or shine, they come to your classes to exercise and be healthy. They put in the time and they see results. Not as quickly as some would like, but the results they see actually last. The NYR participants get frustrated when they look at the ‘regulars’ and see their dedication, hard work and motivation. They have a hard time remaining consistent with their resolutions because the good, healthy habits haven’t been formed quite yet. They then give up and fall back into crash diets and occasional workouts when they need to look good for an event or vacation.
The challenge I want you to walk away with is this: resolve to be consistent. Start your resolutions now. Christmas is an excellent season to implement change and new beginnings. Take one healthy decision at a time to prepare you for a new year full of opportunity and potential.
1) Make one small change every month. Example: for the end of December and all of January, give up fast food. In February cut out alcohol (minus wine; I’ll always allow wine). In March cut out refined sugars. Each small healthy choice leads to big changes come next December.
2) Serve others. You can burn some mega calories by volunteering and helping others. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter to sort cans or stack food boxes. Go to your local nursing home and give manicures to the sweet ladies who remind you of your grandma. I’m convinced that putting others before yourself helps increase happiness in your life. This increases serotonin and therefore, decreases cortisol (meaning that you burn fat and make someone else smile).
3) Move around for 30 minutes every day. I say this every blog, find something you enjoy and commit to it. Make small changes. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Find a fitness DVD with your favorite love-to-hate trainer and perform 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Browse Pinterest for ‘at home’ workout ideas that you can do while watching TV. Those calorie-burning sessions add up quickly.
4) Recruit friends. Get the girls in your office to sign up for a half-marathon with you. Make your boyfriend do a sprint triathlon with you. Utilize Groupon for cheap deals on new workouts or yoga classes and buy one for you and your mom. You’ll stick with any commitments if you know someone is counting on you to be there.
5) Go easy on yourself. You’re not committing to your health the easy way, you’re committing to your health the long-lasting way. You’re going to screw up a few times and that’s okay. The goal is to make changes that will be around next New Year’s, so you’re not resolving to lose those last 10 pounds or eat a healthier diet. Be proud of the changes you stick with and remember how far you’ve come.
Enjoy the new year and a fresh start. It’s easy to lose focus of our healthy lifestyles when the season of over-stuffing and over-indulging ourselves is right in our faces (or in some cases, has settled in our rear end). The key to maintaining any healthy habits is making sure you set yourself up for success and don’t beat yourself up when you occasionally slip. Just remember, there is no time like the present to resolve to be healthier. I’m right there with you.”
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