Saturday, December 31, 2011

The 21 day sugar detox starts Monday!

I just signed up for the Balanced Bites 21 Day Sugar Detox! I am beyond ready to stop eating treats and return to my healthy paleo ways. I've actually been pretty good with the paleo breakfasts, lunches and dinners lately -- it's what happens in between that gets me. Nutella cookies, sugar in my coffee, chocolate covered almonds. Too much fruit, too many bad decisions at restaurants, etc. Blech! I'm so done. For the next three weeks, it will be all meat, veggies, eggs, healthy fats and more veggies. Maybe a few almonds, definitely some coffee (I'm so glad coffee isn't prohibited on this program) and probably a cup or two of herbal tea each day.

Fortunately, I won't be alone in my efforts -- my sister-in-law Sheryl and my friend Summer signed up, too. I know it always helps to have a support network like this, so I am super excited that they are participating. Hello, accountability!

The difficulty for me in all of this is going to be the planning. I'm going to have to keep the fridge stocked and I'm going to have to cook. This wasn't a problem for me a year ago, but now I'm so busy with the baby all day long. I'll figure it out, and I'll get it done. But it is going to take effort and commitment. I'm hoping that by the end of the 21 days, my desire to eat cookies will be gone (again). That is my main goal. I'm also looking forward to trying some new recipes (the program guide includes a bunch of recipes and The Food Lovers Primal Palate is publishing shopping lists and recipes that are detox-compliant, too) and getting my kitchen back in action. And, it would be a major bonus if I managed to loose the rest (or at least some) of the baby weight (12 pounds)!

And with that, I'm off to celebrate New Year's Eve with one glass of wine and a (probably) a bunch of sugar staring me down. Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Labor and delivery: A positive experience

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and also the day my baby turns two months old! We've had a ton of all-nighters, lots of tears and a few meltdowns. But those tougher moments are easily overshadowed by her smiles, her cute little sighs and how it feels to hold her. I am so very thankful that Carl and I decided (kindof on a whim last January) to have a baby.

Before I was pregnant, I was apprehensive about becoming a mother. For a lot of reasons. One of those reasons: childbirth itself. It scared me. I wasn't sure I could handle the pain. This fear continued well into my pregnancy, until one day it was just ... gone. I knew it would be excruciating, but for the most part I had no fear. I did have a few brief moments of panic, but they always passed quickly.

I'm not going to say that labor wasn't as painful as I imagined (it was) or that I enjoyed the 60+ hours of contractions (I did not). But despite all of this, labor and delivery turned out to be a very positive experience for Carl and me. We couldn't have asked for a more ideal situation. Though we were in a hospital, it didn't feel clinical at all. I didn't have bright lights in my face or tons of medical equipment around me. It was just me, Carl, our friend/gym coach/trainer Kili, the nurse April and my midwife Jody. The experience was very special and very intimate. I feel so blessed to have had these three women in our presence when our daughter was born. I didn't even know April until that day, but she was an incredibly kind and supportive nurse. Jody was The. Best. Midwife. She seemed more like a friend than a medical professional simply there to do a job. Her passion for her work could not have been more obvious.

Mostly, though, I don't think I could have done any of this without Kili. Not only was she there for me throughout my entire pregnancy (helping me stay fit, healthy and sane), she got out of bed at midnight to meet us at the hospital when I called to tell her we were on our way. When the triage nurse told me that, despite my intense contractions, I was only at 1cm and could either go home or walk around the maternity ward to try to speed things along, Kili walked with me -- for two hours in the middle of the night. When I was in experiencing the worst of the pain, she rubbed my back and kept reminding me that I was strong and that I could do this. When it came time to push, she stood beside me and encouraged me for 90 straight minutes until the baby was out. She was a rock star of a labor coach and is one truly amazing friend. I honestly cannot find the words to express how grateful Carl and I are for her role in our daughter's birth. Did I already say I'm not sure I could have done this without her? I really mean it. I think every mom-to-be needs a friend like this in the delivery room.

As for the specifics of labor and delivery, I decided I'm not going to blog about all of those details. But I will say that everything went well. We had no complications and no surprises. Labor took forever, but once I started pushing everything moved along at a pretty quick pace. I did have an epidural, and at some point I'll write a post about why I went that route. I also plan to write a post about how I think my workouts helped with childbirth (hint: I think staying fit during pregnancy makes a BIG difference). Maybe next week, when my baby's grandma and grandpa (I might have some more time to write!). Happy Holidays, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What to wear after having a baby

I am still 12 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. The weight isn't really a big deal to me right now (my baby is only two months old!). But extra pounds and inches create a pretty significant problem: nothing to wear. It was either try to squeeze into my old jeans (they zip, but not without muffin top and a great deal of discomfort) or continue wearing my maternity pants. Neither option was acceptable to me, so I decided to go shopping. I called Nordstrom, scheduled an appointment with a personal stylist and packed up the baby for her first (of many!) trips to my favorite store.

I'm a big fan of Nordstrom's complimentary personal stylist service. As much as I love wandering around the store and looking at all the beautiful clothes, right now it is just easier to park myself in the dressing room with the baby and let the salesperson bring everything to me. And even though the stylist initially brought in a bunch of outfits that I specifically said I wasn't interested in (premium denim, designer accessories, $100 sweaters), I left feeling very satisfied with my purchases. Everything is comfortable, washable (dry-cleaning does not make sense when you are carrying around a baby all day) and does a pretty good job hiding what I want to hide. I didn't really get all that much (13 items total, and that includes shoes), but everything mixes-and-matches so I won't be wearing the same outfit every day. And it allows me to be comfortable without falling into the whole frumpy new mom look (I've had friends warn me that if they ever catch me in frump wear, they'll stage an intervention -- and I would totally want them to!).

For pants, I went with two styles from Nordstrom's Zella activewear line -- the 'Balance' reversible pants and the 'Live-In' leggings. Technically, these are gym pants. But they are surprisingly versatile, and I know they will still fit (albeit a littler loser) after I lose the weight. I don't plan on working out in these pants for the time being, but later on (when I can fit into normal pants again) they will be perfect for the gym.

Zella 'Balance' reversible pants.

Zella 'Live-In' leggings.
I also choose three Zella shirts -- the 'Z T 3' tee in black and the 'Easy Breezy' hoodie in black and purple. The black tee goes with the 'New Intersect' jacket (in blue empire -- such a pretty color!). I wear all three (and the jacket) with the Balance pants and a pair of black and turquoise New Balance sneakers that I found on clearance at DSW. I'm usually not the type to wear sneakers when I'm not running or swinging kettle bells of whatever, but this just seemed to look the best.

Zella 'Z T 3' tee.

Zella 'Easy Breezy' Hoodie

Zella 'New Intersect' jacket.
To wear with the Live-In leggings, I got two Frenchi Dolman Sleeve tees from BP (one in gray; the other in a purple-ish color) and a super-cute pair of boots ('Runway,' also BP, in cognac).

Frenchi 'Dolman Sleeve' tee

BP 'Runway' boot.
New Balance sneaker (similar to my new pair).

My final Nordstrom purchase was a Hinge Princess Seam camisole in sand, to wear under everything. I love love love this cami and kinda wish I had a few more (it comes in five other colors!), but I'll have to make due with the two Satin Strap Lace Trim camis that I got at White House Black Market (one in black; one in pearl dust). I do like these a lot too, just not as much as the Hinge one.

Hinge 'Princess Seam' cami

White House Black Market 'Satin Strap Lace Trim' cami.
The one thing I forgot to look for at Nordstrom was a nicer outfit to wear to the one-and-only holiday party on our calendar. I suppose I was secretly hoping I would be able to fit into my favorite dress. No such luck. So, two days before the party I panicked and went shopping again -- this time at Banana Republic (where everything was 40% off, woo-hoo!). I decided to pick out something really basic that I could wear to other events, and miraculously the very first outfit I tried on seemed perfect. Within 30 minutes, I was out the door with my new black pencil skirt and a kindof of shimmery black cowlneck top (I can't find a photo of this one online). I still need some accessories for this outfit. I wore it the other night without a necklace or scarf and thought it seemed kinda blah, but it won't take much to brighten it up.

Banana Republic black pencil skirt
And then, finally, my random shoe purchase -- the Me Too 'Lysette' flats (from DSW) in pewter metallic. I don't know what I'll wear these shoes with, but I had to have them because I love ballet flats, and I love metallic shoes (I have metallic pumps, strappy metallic wedges, metallic flips flops, and now these flats).

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find jeans or any other normal pants that fit me right now. That's OK, though -- I like the leggings and stretch pants. I'll probably be sick of them by spring, so hopefully I'll be able to fit into my pre-pregnancy pants by then.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My post-pregnancy paleo diet fail

I wish I could say that my diet has been impeccable since the arrival of my sweet pea on October 24th, but the reality is it has been a mess. There are good days and bad days (even a good week here and there), but unfortunately eating ice cream for lunch or deciding to reach for the bread basket while dining out have become far more commonplace than I would prefer. Oddly, I don't feel terrible -- but I am dealing with some fairly painful joint inflammation in my hands. I'm convinced that cleaning up my diet will help alleviate the symptoms.

I attribute the onset of this two-month quasi-hiatus from paleo to my own poor planning. I did not prepare freezer meals for those first chaotic weeks in advance of our baby's arrival. Carl wanted to, but I thought everything would go to waste. Plus, I don't really like re-heated frozen food and I really didn't want to cook while I was pregnant anyway. I guess I just thought that since we had a bunch of meat and chicken in the freezer it wouldn't be a big deal. Big mistake. It started a vicious cycle.

With a newborn baby in the house there is absolutely no time to even think about taking chicken out of the freezer. No time to go to the store to buy veggies to go with said chicken. And cooking? Haha! I think we managed to cook one real dinner (spaghetti squash) during our baby's first two weeks. The fact that Carl was recovering from a bad case of kidney stones at the same time I was recovering from childbirth added a whole new set of challenges. So, I found myself eating toast or cereal at 3am instead of a normal dinner or breakfast (because when you are up all night with a baby, you just go for whatever is quick). We went out to dinner and I ordered pasta (garlicky pasta, which my baby did not like -- she cried for hours that night!). I didn't say to no to dessert. It hasn't been everyday-all-the-time, but it has happened more than enough. I wake up every morning with the best of intentions, but at least a few days each week I do not make it through the day without at least one indulgence (this weekend it was the Nutella cookie -- trust me, you do not want the recipe!). It has gotten better recently, though. The baby is sleeping LOTS at night and we are getting into a routine, which gives me more time to prepare healthy meals. I'm hoping it won't be too long before I break the bad habits.

I know, of course, that a healthy paleo diet is super important right now. I want my baby is get the best nutrition possible and that it will not happen if I continue to allow sugar, grains and other junk to creep into my diet while I am breastfeeding. I've already determined that she is sensitive to dairy -- when I was in my ice-cream-for-lunch phase a few weeks back, she broke out! It was a pretty bad case of baby acne. Not surprisingly, when I quit the ice cream her skin cleared up within two days. No more ice cream for me!

So anyway, that is where I am at right now. I need to re-focus my efforts and get back on track before I wind up starting from scratch (and gaining back the pregnancy pounds I've lost).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Life with a newborn

I've heard people say that they don't remember what they did or what they talked about before they had kids. So far, I haven't experienced that phenomenon. What I can't figure out is how/why I didn't do more with my day, and how on earth I ever thought I was busy. While my days used to be filled with work, domestic activities, socializing and working out, now they look like this (or at least this is what my day looked like yesterday ... I know things will change day by day):

8am: Baby wakes up hungry. I feed her, and she immediately goes back to sleep. So do I.

9:15am: She wakes up hungry again. I feed her and change her diaper. Then, I pump 5 ounces of breastmilk (to store in the freezer) while she hangs out in her bouncy chair.

10am: Baby dozes off. I play with the cat for a few minutes while she sleeps (my poor kitty doesn't get nearly the attention she used to get) Then, we go upstairs. She continues her nap in her other bouncy chair while I take a shower.

10:30am: Baby wakes up crying -- her diaper is wet. I change her, but by this time she is hangry. I feed her, and then we sit in the rocking chair and snuggle/talk about life. Somehow I also manage to eat a pseudo breakfast (a Lara bar) and make coffee.

11:30am: Another wet diaper. After I change her, she seems sleepy so I put her down in her bouncy chair so I can brush my teeth and put on make-up. I also decide to try on some of my pre-pregnancy clothes. Nope, the pants still don't fit. But, they fit maybe a tad better than they did last week. Baby wakes up, demanding to be fed NOW.

12:15pm: Carl arrives home for lunch. He rarely makes it home mid-day, so we're very happy to see him. Lunch is steamed broccoli and leftover roast beef. We gush over our baby while we eat.

12:30pm: Carl and the baby hang out while I go upstairs and answer a few emails.

1pm: Carl heads back to work, and the feed/change cycle starts back up again.

2pm: Baby and I need a change of scenery, so we hop in the car and head to Trader Joe's where we buy lettuce, tomato, avocado, bananas, snow peas, beef jerky, dark chocolate, chicken sausage and cereal (the cereal is for Carl). Several stores employees and shoppers comment on Baby's cuteness. I must admit that I agree -- she is pretty darn cute! She is wide awake, enjoying the attention and taking in the scenery. 

3pm: I don't feel like going home, so we wander around Target and Nordstrom Rack. By this time, Baby is fast asleep in her carseat. I try on a few things that look like they fit while on the hanger. They do not fit. Why do I continue to torture myself?

4:30pm: We're home now. Baby is still asleep, so I let her nap while I do some writing and snack on beef jerky and dark chocolate.

5pm: She wakes up, and it is once again time for a diaper change, feeding and playtime.

6:30pm: Carl arrives home. He and Baby catch up on their days while I chat on the phone with her grandma and grandpa.

7:15pm: Feed, change, play, repeat.

8:15pm: Baby is dozing off, and I wonder if she might actually be settling in for the night. I place her in her swing and quickly brush my teeth, put my pajamas on and crawl into bed. No such luck. Within 10 minutes, she wide awake again.

8:30pm: We introduce Baby to Carl's cousin Eva via Skype. Baby participates in the conversation for about 15 minutes. Then, she starts getting antsy so she and I head into her room. We sit down in the rocking chair and I talk to her about how darling she is and how much I love her.

9:15pm: She misses her dad, so I hand her off the him and go downstairs to clean up a few things in the kitchen. I look in the fridge for something to eat. Nothing. Well, except eggs and chicken sausage. But I'm way too tired right now to cook. Then, I remember a co-worker of Carl's telling me that she nukes her eggs in the morning. I decide to try it. I am pleasantly surprised, and decide that nuking breakfast is the way to go (at least until my routine gets a little easier).

10pm: Feed and change, again. This is also the time of night Baby starts to get a little fussy. We swaddle her and follow the Happiest Baby on the Block routine, which works -- it just sometimes takes a few rounds.

10:30pm: I throw in a load of my own laundry (seems like I only wash diapers and baby clothes these days) and answer a few more emails while Carl continues trying to the sooth the crying little one. By now I am losing track of time. All I know is there is more feeding and changing and swaddling before she is finally ready to fall asleep.

12:05pm: She is finally asleep, and within a few minutes so am I.

4:40am: Baby wakes up for her early-morning feeding. By 5:30am, she is back in bed and fast asleep.

8am: Everyone wakes up, and we start all over again!