Friday, January 31, 2014

The Most Un-Pregnant I've Ever Been Since Being Pregnant

Well guys, we've hit a milestone of sorts.

Today, my Anna-Boo is 8.7 months old. Which means that I've been "un-pregnant" for 8.7 months. Which also means that this is the longest period of time that has gone by since 2010 in which I am not with child.

I found out I was pregnant with Jack in May 2010. After losing him in September, I got pregnant with Emerson 7 months later. When Emerson was 8 months old, I got pregnant with Anna.

It's crazy to think how much of the last 4 years has been spent carrying a baby. It's also crazy for me to think about Sunday. Sunday is February 2nd. February 2nd will always be Jack's day but it's not Jack's day.

For those of you who came to this blog in more recent years, February 2nd was my due date. On February 2nd, 2011, I was supposed to welcome a bouncing baby boy into this world. But he and God had other plans. And now he has two beautiful sisters and two parents who think about him every day.

Still, it's hard to believe Jack would be 3 now. My best friend has a little boy who is almost 3, and sometimes I see little Connor and get sad, thinking about how they'd be best friends, and how I too should have this messy, adorable toddler boy in my house. Even as I type this, I have tears in my eyes. It's been over 3 years since we lost him, and I have two beautiful girls who I wouldn't trade for anything in the world, but the pain is real and will never go away. I will always have a lump in my throat when I think about him, and what he could have been for our family.

I have learned so many lessons about life and love since then, and I know without a doubt I am a better parent to my girls because of the loss we suffered. But February 2nd will always be a day of longing for me. Longing for something that will never come true, but accepting that life here wasn't in God's plan for us or for Jack.

And because I sign every message like this in the same way, just in case he's reading this somehow.... we miss you buddy. Every day.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Healthy Me" Update - Month 1

Hey ya'll, hey.

I am holding myself accountable and posting my "Healthier Me" updates from month one. I think the end of January is where most New Year's Resolutions typically go to die, but I am hoping I keep my momentum going because it's paying off!

Diet: I'm not on a "diet" but I have been limiting carbs to only complex carbs found in vegetables, and trying to save my whole grain carbs like quinoa or pasta for one meal a day. So, since I only ate meats and veggies for lunch yesterday, I had pasta for dinner. Not super scientific stuff here. I also cut out most sugar except coffee creamer and what is naturally found in foods. Though I did cheat the other day and had half a doughnut AND a cupcake on our non-snow day, because, reasons.

I am having ALOT of fun experimenting with new veggie/meat recipes. I've had this spaghetti squash recipe 3 times already, and it's so yummy and filling. I also signed up for the Six O'Clock Scramble meal planning system and it has been awesome. The recipes are healthy, can be substituted if I don't like a suggested meal, and it gives me a grocery list with everything I need. This system is perfect for a working mom who wants to streamline the dinner process. I love that each recipe has reviews too. I pretty much just love everything about it. And no, they didn't pay me to say that, I'm just a huge fan!

Body: Amazingly, I am down 7lbs, and now weigh the least I've weighed since 2010. I'm not gonna lie, I am thrilled/shocked with these results and hope to stick to it to lose about 10 more. I know they say most of weight loss comes from the beginning stages, but it sure is a good motivator. Maybe once I get the courage, I'll share some before and after photos so that you can all barf.

I've lost 1.5 inches in my waist, 1 inch off my hips, and .5 inches of my thighs. Clearly I am a pear-shaped person, so it will take awhile for the inches to balance out, but inches are inches, yo.

Most importantly, I feel better in clothes. The biggest difference I've noticed with eating fewer carbs is that I never feel bloated. And with 3 pregnancies in 3 years, it's hard to believe your stomach can ever look/feel flat again, but it's really working. I feel more confident, and even if the changes are imperceptible to others, I notice and that is by far the most important thing.

Exercise: My favorite part of my healthier me initiative. I believe it was Elle Woods who said, quote 'Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands. They just don't." So, lucky for Jon, I have all kinds of endorphins now. I've been doing the Tone It Up Love Your Body Challenge, and I've realized that variety and flexibility is the key to making me stick with working out. I can't do the same things every day otherwise I get bored. This challenge has made me try new things, work out different muscle groups, and has given me so much more energy. Sometimes it's hard to squeeze in a workout after the girls go to bed, but I always try to find time to do something. If it's a night where Emerson goes to bed a little later than usual, instead of going to the gym, I'll do a HIIT workout from YouTube. HIIT is awesome and super efficient, which is perfect for me because with two kids and a full-time job, everything requires efficiency. Well, at least from Monday to Friday. Weekends are a whole 'nother story.

Mentally:  Emerson is as happy as ever, and Anna is developing by leaps and bounds every day, so my parental anxiety has gone down significantly since the fall. Plus, with three vacations planned for this year, I have zero to complain about. Everyone is happy and healthy, and so now I have some free time to dedicate to keeping myself happy and healthy as well.

Just a random mommy/daughter weekend selfie.
 So.... so far, so good I guess? Bring it on, February! 5 months till bathing suit season, and I WILL be ready.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to Stay Warm When It's -11

Yep, you read that right. It's -11 here in beautiful Ohio. 

You know... I love my state. I love OSU/KSU football. I love the changing of the seasons. I love that my entire family is here. But so help me Bob, I am over this weather. And it's still January.  

Today, our university cancelled classes, but faculty and staff still had to report. Brutal. 

Yet, instead of complaining, I am here to offer my services as an optimist. So here we are, a list of ways I'm staying warm when it's -11 outside.

1) Putting sriracha sauce on everything. Eggs, toast, salad. Whatever. The sky is the limit. 

2) Wear fleece-lined leggings under your jeans. Thanks to my NY resolution, I have a pair of jeans that is a little big on me, so I can essentially wear sweatpants under my pants and no one would know. Except, now you all know. 

3) Coffee. Today is the day when you can drink all the coffee in all the land. 

4) Warm your heart with looking at pictures of snow rollers. This rare weather phenomena has made it's way into our area, and these suckers are so cute it's almost like looking at adorable puppies. Almost.

 5) Dream of your summer vacation. In May, we're headed to Napa, and in August, we're taking a family vacation to Folly Beach, SC. Sometimes when I'm walking to my car and I'm cursing out loud in a very un-ladylike manner, I visualize myself frolicking on the beach and it makes the walk go by slightly faster.

6) Snuggle your babies, who/whatever they may be. Children, spouse(s), pets, beanie babies, what have you.

7) Watch this Ricky Martin video

8) When all else fails, do what I do... drink more coffee!

Stay warm my friends!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Thoughts on a Monday

I found out last week that, at 29.5 years old, I have my first cavity. Womp womp WOMP. I was mortified. I'm that person who loves going to the dentist and hearing that gratifying "no cavities" spiel each time. My, how I've taken that for granted. Couple that with needing to get glasses and dropping a shelf on my foot (it's probably broken) and essentially, I am falling apart as a human. 

It's freezing in Ohio. Actually freezing. Tomorrow the wind chill is supposed to be -35 with a high of 7 degrees. Are those numbers even real? It's this time of year when I start looking for jobs in the Carolinas, so I have to be very careful not to make any rash decisions due to being cold. This is also why you will never catch me complaining about the heat in the summer. Humidity? Bring it on. Heat rash? Sounds great.

My 'Healthier Me' resolution is actually going really well! I am going to post an update in February, but thinking about how successful the first 4 weeks have been keeping me motivated! See? There's at least one thing I'm doing well right now. 

Proof that my children are better than me - take a look at these eyelashes that my beautiful Anna B did not inherit from her mother.

We started work on our basement this weekend! I am excited about the plans we have for this space. It's going to be a combination of playroom, office, bar, and entertainment area. Yep, all those things in about 700 sq. ft. It'll work. I swear. We have a vision. 

I mean, right now it looks like this:

But is made so much cuter with a smiling toddler right??

And our goal is to have it look like some combination of these:

Sidenote: We had about 45 cans of leftover paint from the previous owners that they kindly left in our basement. On Saturday night, I decided, hey, why not put these cans on Craigslist Free and see what happens? I kid you not, I had no less than 25 emails within 45 minutes, and within an hour all of that paint was gone. Did I mention it was blizzarding at that point? Somewhere down the line if you find me traipsing through the 'Free' section of Craiglist on a Saturday night, looking for people's used garbage, please have a talk with me about my priorities.

Happy Monday!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I failed at LASIK and other random failures

Funny story about eyesight...

In 2007, I made the huge decision to get LASIK eye surgery. I was in grad school, aka poor, but I somehow found a way to pay for, ahem, finance, it. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. My eyesight was horrendous and I was completely dependent on glasses and contacts. I had astigmatism. My eyes were 20/475 and 20/300. For those lucky non-glasses needers who don't understand those numbers, just know that I was blind as a blind mouse. A blind mouse in the dark. With a blindfold on.

So then I got LASIK and it was like "Ahhhhhhhhh!" angels singing and my vision went to 20/15, which is better than perfect. I saw the world crisper and clearer than I ever had before. Like a superhuman or something.

So, yeah... about that. 7 years, 3 pregnancies, 18 months of nursing, and many sleepless nights,  I noticed that my vision has gotten worse. I can still see, but just not that crisp vision that I loved post-LASIK. So I went to the eye doctor, who told me that sometimes LASIK fades after a few years, particularly when your vision was horrendous (my word) before. Huh??? I must have missed that in the fine print.

I left that office with a prescription for glasses. Womp womp. It's not a huge prescription, and I won't need to wear them all the time, just for driving, teaching, and reading the menu at Chipotle that is way up high and I can't read it without squinting. Which, the Chipotle menu hasn't changed much in the 10 years I've been patronizing that store, I'm not sure why I need to see the menu clearly, but I digress.

And because I love themes, here are some other ways in which I am failing in 2014.

My resolution to not put sugary coffee creamer in my coffee? FAIL. I love coffee more than most things in the world and I am not going to give up something that brings me so much joy every day. (Sidenote: this is also one of the many reasons why I don't do drugs. You see how addicted I am to coffee? I can only handle one addiction in my life).

Be graceful in general? FAIL. I broke one of my favorite coffee cups this morning. I think I can already dub 2014 as "The Year in Which I Break a Ton of Shit."

Wake up earlier? FAIL.  Not for lack of trying, but I have been sleeping through my alarm so much this year. No matter how loud it is. I think I'm tired?

Get better about proofreading? FAIL. Why don't I notice from is form before I send that email out???

Not spilling stuff on myself? FAIL. Every single day of 2014. That has to be a record.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 - A 'Healthier' Me

I'm alive! I'm just cold!  And enjoying snuggle time with my sweet girls.

Our university had the last two days off due to extreme temperatures. Like -15 temps. The weatherman said frostbite could kick in within 10 minutes of being outside. No thanks. So, naturally, I did what any mom would do. From Sunday PM to Wednesday AM, I didn't leave the house or wash my hair. I did have about 17 tea parties, got 25 Doc McStuffins check-ups, watched way too much Disney Junior, and loved every minute of it :) Some snow day snaps:

She had to make sure Minnie had her own pillow and blanket for movie time :)
Emerson's path of destruction

This beautiful girl is officially saying 'Mama'. I DIE. She is everything.
But time to go back to the real world! Here's what's going on with me in 2014.

I, like probably 75% of America, am starting out 2014 with the goal of being healthier. I wouldn't call myself  'unhealthy' but when I looked at my diet I realized I could clean it up a bit, and though I'm below my pre-pregnancy weight, I am feeling the urge to try and see if my post-3 babies body can look the same or better than it did before. Ironically, I know alot more about health and fitness than skinnier Audra did back in the day, but since 2010 I've either been pregnant, trying to get pregnant, postpartum, or nursing, so I haven't really been able to take this healthy living lifestyle to the next level. Until now. Because why not start now?

First up, I'm cleaning up my diet. As they say, abs are made in the kitchen, and I truly believe that. This article a friend shared recently really sums up how I'm feeling. I'm paying attention to what I eat, and noticing how good I feel when I eat the 'right' stuff. The most controversial aspect of my nutrition overhaul is the low-carb component. I am choosing to go low carb (but not no carb since I am still nursing) because of how good I feel during the day without going overboard on starchy foods. I mean, normally, I'll take my bread with a side of bread, but then I feel like garbage afterward. I am now cutting back to once a day, usually with lunch, and always a healthier option, like quinoa, brown rice, or whole wheat pasta. And since this started on January 1st, I haven't had the 'bloated' feeling I usually get after a carb-heavy day. My stomach looks and feels flatter, and as a mom, this is a good feeling and one I would like to continue.

I'm also going back to my old standby of cutting down/out sugar. If you read this post, you'll see why it worked for me. The hardest part is cutting out sugar in my coffee. I love my flavored coffee creamers, but they just add so much unnecessary sugar that I have to cut them out. I've been using a splash of heavy cream and it does the trick, but also makes me drink a cup less a day. Funny. Was I drinking so much coffee before because I needed it, or because I was drinking dessert? Who knows!

As for fitness, I joined Tone It Up's 6-week Love Your Body Challenge. I LOVE it because it's something different every day, it's efficient, and I can really feel each workout. Plus, looking at those fit and adorable girls and their non-mom bodies is very, very motivating. Once this challenge is up, I am thinking of starting T25. I saw the infomercial at 5:15AM and I was hooked. 25 minutes a day? I can handle it. (Sidenote: I'm a sucker for infomercials. I see one and all of a sudden I NEED ALL OF THE THINGS).

Mentally, I am ready for a healthier Audra as well. I used to consider myself a laid-back person, but the last year really did a number on me. I know there are lots of anxieties that come with being a mom, but 2013 took it to a whole new level. I hope 2013 was simply a tipping point. So that when another "crisis" comes along, I can look at it with a different perspective. Like "yeah, this sucks, but is it as stressful as 2013?" And the answer will probably be no, so I'll have no excuse but to move on because I'll know if 2013 Audra could handle it, 2014 Audra can kick it's ass sideways.

So here's to my commitment to a healthier year! 2014 Audra is PUMPED ya'll! ;-)

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