Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekly Milestones: Introducing the Crib, Rolling Over and Bumbo - Month 3

14 weeks postpartum

Like I mentioned in my last post, Jackson has grown leaps and bounds this past week. He's smiling more. He's rolling over like crazy and he transitioned into his crib!
Taking a break from rolling over from back to tummy and tummy to back

Jackson's biggest accomplishment (besides moving into his crib) for the week was rolling from his back to his belly. Or so I thought. I noticed this week when we'd put him down, he'd crank his neck like crazy, but there wasn't much room in the bassinet to move around. I wasn't sure what the deal was. He'd sort of fuss and then move his neck in the weirdest position. Part of me felt like he wanted to roll, but I thought maybe he was too young for that. That was until we set him down on his Jungle Gym Mat. He cranked his neck and flipped! We couldn't believe it. Soon he was rolling all over. The guy is a little Olympic athlete already! Here's a video clip of Jackson rolling over -
Jackson cranks his head and then flips from back to tummy! So fun to watch.

I also noticed when I'd pick Jackson up from homecare he was extra smiley! And with that, his mouth was open a lot more than usual, almost like he wanted a huge laugh to follow. Instead he'd try to suck my shoulder off. I'd hand him toys and he'd immediately stick whatever he could in his mouth! I gave him a teething toy that was in the freezer and he licked it like it was a Popsicle. It was hilarious!
Jackson loves putting everything in his mouth

We tried putting Jackson in his Bumbo for the first time. He loved it. He gets to explore more!
Just chillin in my Bumbo

Jackson has also figured out his daddy. When Karl walks through our door and up the steps, Jackson gets the BIGGEST smile on his face ever. Both Karl and I teared up the first time Jackson did that because it was priceless. It was the coolest thing to see.
The boys bonding!

Friday night we decided we had to bite the bullet and transition Jackson into his crib. I was pretty nervous about it but I knew it was time. I thought it would be horrible on all of us. I thought Jackson would be up all night and he'd put up a huge fight. He surprised us. He fussed a little bit but soon he was out. I was waiting for him to wake up throughout the night, but I slept so solid and nobody in the house budged until 5:30 the next morning. Karl went and checked on Jackson at 5:30 (we couldn't figure out how to get the video monitor all set up)! Guess who was still sleeping? Score! We all slept till 7:30 - slept a LOT longer than that!!! 

I could not believe Jackson took to his crib so easy. I know I hadn't felt that great in a long time. I felt like we took a huge step forward. I felt like a new woman. I felt rested!

Saturday night we tried again and he didn't fuss as much and was out a lot quicker. I heard him a little bit around 4, but fell back asleep. By 5:30 I was up feeding him and he went back down. He slept until 10:00 a.m.!!! I was cleaning up the kitchen, doing laundry, going through bills, making many chores as I could get done before he'd get up. Now that I'm not home during the week, I have to power through the house chores twice as fast any chance I get on the weekends. How do people with cabins do it??? Might have to work on getting the hubby to wake up with me so I can get some extra help...otherwise that cleaning service is sounding better and better. *hint hint*

My next goal is to get Jackson sleeping by 7:00/7:30. My question is: how will he go the entire night without needing to eat??? I feel like he'll be starving! I usually feed him when I get home from work - 5/6 p.m. Would that be his last feeding of the night then? How is that possible??? Right now his last feeding is around 8/9 p.m. and he's in bed before 10. And can go until 4:00/5:00 without needing to eat. That works for us, but it also doesn't give Karl and I any time together at night.

Uncle Ben and Aunt Kelly stopped by on Saturday so I could get a longer workout in at the gym and hit up the grocery story and Karl could catch up on work at the office. Jackson slept most of the time but he did have some fun with them!
Jackson and Aunt Kelly chillin out
Jackson and Uncle Ben having a blast!

I've noticed Jackson has become less wiggly when I'm holding him. He seems very content. I love that. I have also noticed every time he eats from my left side he raises his hand, twirls his hair, flaps his ear and then slaps my chest and he repeats this. It's pretty cute.

I wonder what's in store for this week? Still waiting for that amazing laugh. We hear a giggle slip every now and then, which has been pretty sweet to hear. Can't wait!!

Adjusting to Going Back to Work - Month 3

week 14 postpartum

I thought after I pushed out an eight pound, three ounce baby I could handle ANYTHING. Now when the going gets tough I tell myself, "Remember, you did a REAL HARD thing just a few months ago - nothing in the world compares to that kind of pain. You can do it!"

I found a worse pain.

The day I had to leave my baby and go back to work.
Look mom! Dad dressed me all cool!

The day I dreaded for years had come. Leaving Jackson struck my heart in a way I'd never felt before. My heart physically hurt. My stomach churned. The lump in my throat kept growing to the size of a boulder. The guilt ate me alive.

Wednesday night arrived and I didn't get much sleep. Ever since I became pregnant - in my mind - I was always going to be the caregiver for our children and this daycare stuff was all new. I thought we'd be able to find a way. I believed some sort of miracle would happen. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. I never learned by example how to be the working mom - it wasn't in my blood! I was feeling crappy that I wouldn't be able to follow in her footsteps.

Reality was right around the corner - I was NOT going to be the primary caregiver for our son throughout the day anymore. Plus, I wasn't sure how everything would go yet. How did I know I wouldn't have a major meltdown at work? I was so NOT in the right state of mind to deal with even more change. I was using all my energy to trick myself into thinking work would be so much better than looking into my son's eyes - like I had awesome projects waiting for me, I'd be getting a break...and whatever else I could think of to help me. Instead I started internalizing and laid awake for hours. Horrible time for insomnia to hit. Finally, I let out my frustrations to Karl hoping that would help me sleep. I had learned I can't keep things in anymore. But getting everything out didn't help because the frustrations I expressed didn't come out right. I was never able to get to my point.

Instead, I walked downstairs knowing very well I'd be going back to work functioning on less than four hours of sleep and I'd be doomed. I started writing a blog post for the Star Tribune about everything I had dealt with over the past three months. Tears filled my eyes. I swallowed them back. I couldn't go into work with puffy, swollen eyes. I tried to block the funny feeling creeping up my neck and in my stomach. Finally my eyes became heavy and I slid back into bed.

I didn't need my alarm to wake me. I had Jackson for that. I had an hour and forty five minutes of sleep under my belt. I don't know how I managed to shower and put on clothes (that fit) and made sure my pumping machine was ready to go and all the parts were washed, that I had a lunch, that I put mascara on both eyes. But I did.

Jackson looked so sweet lying in his bassinet. I wanted to jump in with him and spend forever there. My husband would have to pry my fingers from the edge. I could barely stand to look at Jackson because it hurt so much. He'd soon be waking and and his mom wouldn't be there to greet him. What would he think?

I couldn't hold back the tears anymore when Karl hugged me goodbye and told me everything was going to be OK. No it wasn't OK. I kept telling him how unfair the situation was even though I knew Jackson would be in good hands. I had my parents come up and stay over with us Thursday and Friday to help me transition into my new routine as working mom, but even with them there, I still wanted to be the one home with Jackson. At least I knew he'd be in a familiar place even if his mommy wasn't there.

I cried in the car. I bawled when I found the note Karl had left for me in the passenger seat of my car, telling me I was an awesome mom and he and Jackson loved me no matter what. I was so angry though. Why did I have to go through this?? Why wasn't I smart enough to save more money? All that money I spent at the bar when I was younger and stupid...why didn't I put that in the bank instead? Why wasn't I rich enough to afford staying at home and saving for Jackson's future? Why was I being punished? Why? Why?

I cried all 30 minutes to work and then I turned my brain off, sucked it up and kept my head down all the way to my cube. Soon my parents were sending me texts and pictures of Jackson and I knew he was OK. I started to get into the groove of things, though I had to find an extension cord for my pump so I could go in the bathroom every three hours and not have to worry about going through a truckload of C batteries, and then I had to get a chair moved in there. I was barely at my desk because I had to get that all set up. Soon I was flying to the bathroom, pumping (crying all the while) and then pumping again..and pumping again. Before I knew it it was time to leave.

I couldn't WAIT to see our little guy. I flew out of work and panicked when I hit traffic. Don't you people know I have a baby to see? Move!!

And then there was my little man. We were reunited. I threw my beloved cell phone aside and just snuggled. I fed him and massaged his arms and smoothed his hair and told him over and over how much I loved him and missed him. He'd look at me and smile and all was right with the world. I wanted to freeze the moment.

Friday came and leaving wasn't as hard. Still sucked. Maybe because the weekend was right around the corner, I was feeling OK. But I did pull out of a volleyball tournament so I could spend all day Saturday loving him up. Sunday dread started building the minute I woke up. I'd be going back to work the next day but this time I'd be bringing him to homecare and I'd be away from him five days instead of just two.

Monday morning came and even with getting everything ready the night before I was running all over the house hoping I wasn't forgetting anything. Then Karl grabbed me and scooped me into a hug. I bawled all over again!!!!!! And I sobbed, "This isn't fair!!"

Dropping him off wasn't as painful as I thought (but it still stung) and I think it's because our homecare person is AMAZING. She made me feel so much better. Jackson warmed up to her and her kids were so great around him. And every day gets better and better. I miss him like crazy and it still doesn't feel right being away from him but I get updates via email throughout the day. I hear about how Jackson is smiling and playing with her kids. How much he's eating so I know how much I should be pumping. How long he's napping. A routine is building. Jackson has grown leaps and bounds in the past week. I feel like we have an angel watching our Jackson! I feel so blessed and lucky. So many great things are going to happen to Jackson because of this opportunity. Yes, I wish I was more a part of it. But I count my blessings every day we found such a wonderful homecare.

I'm still on a mission to make my dreams come true though! And experiencing this has given me the push I needed to really kick things into high gear.

What helped you through your first week of daycare?
Dad dressed me again in this crazy outfit!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Star Tribune Post - 15 Things I've Learned in the Three (short) Months I've Been a Mom

Week 14 postpartum

Exciting stuff! My latest blog post - 15 Things I've Learned in the Three (short) Months I've Been a Mom -  is featured online in the Star Tribune! Check it out! And moms, let me know if you have anything to add. And I just found out it's one of the most emailed stories right now. Goodness gracious.

Look! It's me on!

One of the most emailed articles!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jackson is 3 Months Old - 13 Weeks

13 weeks postpartum

Jackson turned 3 months old during week 13. And I went back to work. Ugh! I'm saving a separate post for the going back to work deal...
I'm 3 Months Old!

Let’s start off with the positives!

We got back from our trip to Illinois. Jackson did wonderful again in the car. He practically slept the whole time in his car seat, which made me worried we’d have a rough night. Nope! He slept a good 6/7 hours for us. He’s just the best.
Such a champ in the car!

Tuesday Jackson and I had to take Karl’s car in to get the oil changed. Plus, the darn Sonata decided not to start for us in my parent’s driveway. Maybe there was a reason for that, but 20 minutes later, it started. Phew! Though part of me wished it broke down so we didn't have to come back and I'd have to push starting work off another week. I found out there was an issue with the brake and electrical signal. Jackson was so great at the dealer – everyone kept coming up to me saying how great he was. He sure makes his mom proud! No nap for him though.

After the car appointment, we stopped by our homecare provider’s house. I was a little nervous because I could feel change tickling the back of my neck all morning, but I knew I needed to see how Jackson would interact with her three kids. Jackson was fussy by this time we arrived because he  went the whole morning without a nap, and he was starting to get hungry. But Jenna was a PRO! Her kids gave Jackson kisses and were SO SWEET!! I was able to see firsthand how things would be and a HUGE calm came over me. We have been SO fortunate to have found Jenna. I know Jackson will be in good hands. And that makes me feel a trillion times better. Does it make things easier? No. I still wish I could be with him all the time.

Wednesday was another busy day of chiropractor appointments and our final ECFE class. I was so sad to leave. I almost cried when I said goodbye and thanked the teacher. I love all the moms I’ve met! And I love all the topics we discuss every week. I'm able to be open and know these women totally understand. And I really like learning the songs and singing them to Jackson throughout the day! It’s funny how all the memories I had as a kid with some of the songs flood back!! Itsy Bitsy Spider. The Wheels on the Bus. Yeah, I know you’re remembering these songs too!!

We again discussed co-parenting and the role of fathers (or at least a father figure). I love talking about stuff like this. We also talked about the high divorce rate and how we really have to work at communicating and being on the same page. It’s SO interesting to realize all the effects parents and their relationship with one another have on their children. Kids are SOOO smart detecting stuff. I just want to make sure Jackson is always in a happy environment. Some of the BEST advice I received during one of my baby showers is for me and Karl to love one another... Jackson will take notice.

My parents came up Wednesday night because Thursday was my big day back to work. I played volleyball Wednesday night and was so out of it because I kept thinking about going back to work. I thought I would start on a Thursday and have my parents up to ease into things and so I could see how things go with them. I was getting picture texts and updates from them every 30 minutes!! I loved it.

The negatives: I went back to work. But that post is coming!

Milestones for this week:
During ECFE class, I put Jackson on his tummy on a blue blanket and there was a green bowl in front of him. He worked his way toward the bowl and reached for it!
Also, when we put Jackson on his mat under his jungle gym on his belly, he'll turn himself in a complete circle. It's fun to watch.
My mom and Karl's dad have both said they think Jackson is going to get teeth sooner than later. He drools like crazy. And Karl's dad stuck his finger in his mouth and thinks he felt teeth coming through. We'll see!
My mom also said Jackson rolled over from his stomach to his back. He did this a couple times for us a few weeks back, but only when his arm is tucked under him. His arm was sort of tucked under him when my mom saw him flip. But I can tell he'll be doing this more and more.
My mom said she could tell Jackson felt like someone was missing and he'd fuss a lot. I hate that. I just want him to continue living up his life and being happy. This being away from him is HARD!

Friday, July 20, 2012

First Long Car Ride and Other Milestones - Week 12

Week 12 postpartum (Note: a week late posting)

My first week of being behind posting something! Is this a sign of what's to come? Hope not!
What? I'm 12 weeks old??? Thanks Grandpa Powalish for the hat!

Jackson's 12th week was a busy one! We went to his first baseball game in Eagan to watch a neighbor friend's son of the Koester's pitch. Whenever we bring Jackson anywhere, he causes a scene. Everyone wants to hold him. But soon he started to get fussy so we went home. I needed to feed him and didn't want to do it in front of a bunch of high school kids. Later in the week we visited Grandma Koester at her work! She was pretty excited to see Jackson and to show him off! We went after our ECFE class.

Visiting Grandma Koester at work!

Speaking of our ECFE class... we talked about what kind of parents we want to be when Jackson is in pre-school, grade school, high school. It was weird thinking about it, but good too! And we talked about the importance of the father in a child's life and how HUGE their role is in the development of your child. Made me realize how much my dad meant to me growing up. It's so interesting the stuff you remember about your own childhood when you become a parent yourself!
There should be no bonding problem between these two!

Jackson took his very first (long) car ride - 5 hours to be exact. Of course I was worried...would he scream the whole time? Would he sleep that night?

Well, well, well! Jackson showed me!

We were supposed to leave around 4 but Karl didn't get off work like he hoped and we didn't leave until 6:30 - the exact time I was supposed to feed Jackson. Doh!!! I was all worried we'd make it 20 miles to I-94 and have to feed him. He surprised us by going five hours without wanting food! Half way to Illinois, we pulled into a Culver's parking lot so I could feed him and enjoy a delicious chocolate malt. Side note: Every time we go to Culver's our order never comes back right. I think it's because Karl forgets he needs to ask for lettuce and tomatoes and all that good stuff. It drives Karl crazy, yet we always keep going back!

Karl noticed there was another couple with a baby in the parking lot doing the same thing! He stopped over when the mom came out and said hi! They were going a lot farther than we were and had about six more hours to go.

Jackson didn't want to sleep after our stop so I showed the book Peek-A-Boo Forest to Jackson for a chunk of time. I was surprised when he reached for it. When we couldn't see the sun anymore, he was out and was out until we arrived in Roscoe. Yay!
Jackson during our long car ride enjoying Peek-a-Boo Forest and playing Peek-a-Boo

I fed him quick and we crawled in bed by 1:30 am. Well, someone was up for his 5 a.m. feeding and again at 9.  I was pretty tired. The moral of the story is mom needs to be in bed by 9 because Jackson will more than likely stick to his 5 a.m. schedule no matter what we do!

Friday was a bit foggy because I was so tired but my girlfriends from UW-Whitewater came over with their kids!! Wowwwweeeee, that was a lot of energy in my parent's house at one time. Now I see how crazy life gets with two. And I thought I ate fast...

It was so great to see my friends though and it made me sad I don't live closer:( Karl, Jackson and I then went out to the new Gun Club with my brother Mike and my parents and Jackson slept the whole time. He wasn't very interested in naps earlier, plus I was putting him in his bassinet for naps all weekend. He's not used to the flat surface for his naps. By Monday, he was taking over an hour nap in the bassinet. So I think I'm going to try transitioning him into his crib now. We'll see how that goes. Fingers crossed.

Saturday was my grandma's 80th surprise birthday party. She was surprised!!!! Too bad it was SO HOT out!! Not as hot as it was at the cabin over the Fourth but hot enough where Jackson didn't want to be in it since he cried most of the time he was outside. Usually during family functions I'd get to catch up with each person and drink and have a grand ol' time. Not this time! I was able to hold a two-minute conversation and would have to go feed Jackson in a room or change a diaper or try to get him down for a nap. That was tough. Eating takes on a whole new meaning once you have a baby.
My Grandma and Grandpa holding Jackson! Favorite people in the world!!!

Jackson did get a little overstimulated again and I'd bring him inside but the good thing was people understood that and just let me be. Or maybe I was more vocal about it? Not sure. But I was much more at ease!

I just know I always feel so safe at my grandparents. I have such wonderful memories of their place and their love for us and one another. I never want to leave!!! But we had to and Jackson was really great the car ride home!! Another 2 hours!

On Sunday I was able to bring Jackson by my friend's house and introduce him to more people! Jackson is one loved baby!!!
New dads and their buddies!

I can't get over how dry Illinois and southern Wisconsin are!!! On our way back we saw the start of a nasty grass fire. We drove next to it. And as we kept looking back, the smoke and fire grew and grew!!! Hopefully it won't destroy too much!

Just wishing we lived closer to my family and friends back home. But what to do? I found a dream home in Wisconsin! But it's probably just that....a dream....for now anyway!

Home in Roscoe!

Milestones for the week:

Nothing too crazy new other than Jackson is using his legs a lot more to scoot when he’s on his back. He always scoots himself off his jungle gym mat. He also will push himself around in a full circle when he’s on his tummy. He’s so fun to watch. Love that little guy.

We also have been reading to Jackson every night before bed. We read the same book, Goodnight Moon, just so a routine is established. (Okay...Karl did have to get a book titled Weezer just because his favorite band in the whole world is Weezer...but the book is about a dog). Anyway, Jackson will look up at me and smile after each page. My heart melts into mush...kind of like the bowl of mush in the book. HA!
We read to Jackson every night! He's loving it!

My perfect sweetheart!

One more week before I go back....I can do this. I can do this...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

First Overnight Trip to the Cabin and Fourth of July - Week 11

week 11

We survived an "overnight" trip to the cabin!

I We did it! Though it was only one night, Jackson survived his first sleep over in a different environment. We'll be headed to Roscoe soon for FOUR nights so this was good practice! The Fourth of July landed on a Wednesday (boo!) this year and Karl only had that day off. As soon as he was off work Tuesday, we filled up the car with a week's worth of stuff (for only one night) and headed up north to the Koester's cabin. The drive is about two hours, so I made sure I fed Jackson before we left so we wouldn't have to make any stops.

Our little family at the Koester cabin

The weather was hot. Like 100+ degrees sweat your butt off hot and there were a lot of people and dogs around. Jackson (okay, mom too) isn't used to all the commotion and I'm pretty sure he was overstimulated beyond imaginable, but I really tried to go with it. It's still hard for me to see Jackson handled by so many people at one time - I'll openly admit it. I can't be the only one who struggles with this, right? I'm just trying to figure out why .... I mean, these people love him and aren't going to drop him. Seriously, what can I do about this anxiety I get?

Anyway, we brought him outside Tuesday night when it cooled some and stripped him down to his diaper and sat in a netted up tent to keep the bugs away. That was fun. He lasted a little bit before he started to get fussy. Then we brought him inside where it was nice and cool but there were a lot of people and a lot of passing him around again... He wailed and wailed. My heart broke. I just wanted to jump over and rescue him. I know he'll be fine but inside I'm not always OK. But I swallowed my anxiety down and let everyone take their turns. When I just couldn't bear seeing him so frustrated, I snagged him away and went into a quiet room and held him close and bounced. He started to fall asleep in my arms and I started to feel less anxious. I guess it's safe to say I just don't like to see Jackson upset. I hadn't seem him cry like that in a long time.
Uncle Ben worked on Jackson's abs of steel.

I wanted to keep Jackson on somewhat of a sleeping schedule since I am going back to work sooner than later and I want to be as consistent as I can be. Right now his last feeding of the day is usually around 9/9:30 and he's in bed by 10:30/11. I'd love for it to be earlier, but for now that works for all of us. I don't allow myself to stay up past 11 anymore otherwise I'm in big trouble. I need to make sure I get at least five hours of sleep, as I never know when Jackson will be up next during the night. I like to say 5:00 a.m. because that has been the norm for three weeks now, but we all know how consistent babies are.

We brought Jackson's bassinet with and set it up next to me. It took some work to get him down, but once all the lights were out, he was sleeping. Success! He woke around 1:30 a.m. moaning and whining, which is pretty normal. Then again at 3:30...and he kept moaning and stirring. So I got up and fed him. It was different changing him on a bed and doing things out of our routine but it seemed like Jackson went with it, so I did too. He's teaching me a lot! I had to keep reminding myself that I need to be open to change.

I was worried Jackson could be a little dehydrated from being outside in the heat, even for that short amount because he did get pretty sweaty. I didn't want him to go a full seven hours without eating anything. Babies sure are smart. He was up again around 6:30 and I fed him again. Like I wrote earlier, at home he's been falling asleep at 10:30/11 and sleeps until 5:20 a.m. He will get up a few times during the night and moan and toss and turn, but he goes right back to sleep.

Dad and Aunt Kelly giving Jackson a cool down bath outside!

Jackson didn't mind the heat when he was naked!

I put Jackson down again after the 6:30 feeding and we didn't get up again until 9:45! Yay! I'll admit I tossed and turned that entire time worrying about things I'm sure all mothers worry about.

It was way too hot to bring him outside and more and more people kept coming. I was starting to feel extremely overwhelmed and uber protective again. And again...not sure where that comes from. So instead of freaking out, I stepped outside by myself and took a quick little breath break. I tried to remind myself I get him all day long right now and it's OK to share, nobody will feed him deer sausages or run away with him either.

*If anyone has any suggestions on how to just go with it and let go, please let me know!*

The break was good for me. I haven't sat in the sun for almost a year (no I couldn't quite walk around in my bikini just yet). I just leaned back in a chair and breathed. I also flipped through some pages in my magazines. I started to feel normal again. Phew. So I knew the break was necessary. I didn't seem so on edge when I walked back in the cabin. I just don't understand where this protective mama bear comes from??? It's nuts. Will it ever go away?

The rest of the day consisted of more feedings and eating and sitting in the sun (and one tasty margarita!). Jackson refused to go down for one of his nice long naps the entire day. There was just too much going on and too many people for him to relax and close those eyes for a long period of time. But before I knew it, it was time to go home and I knew he'd be out the minute we started driving.

We caught a doe and her baby cooling off in the corn by the cabin

We were able to catch some firework shows on our drive back and Jackson woke up 45 minutes before we got home. I thought for sure he'd be out the entire drive and for the rest of the night. Those babies love to surprise us, don't they? He had one more feeding and slept until 5 the next morning. His diaper was dry when I changed him, which worried me because usually it's pretty heavy going that long without a change. But after his 5:20 feeding, we were back on track! Phew.

Some Milestones for the Week:
Jackson has been really discovering his arms and hands and loves to suck. He sucked so hard on his arm that he gave himself a hickey. I finally brought out some of his toys because he isn't always interested in his pacifier, nor do I want to get him super addicted to it either. He hasn't totally warmed up to his toys, but he's reaching more for the ones hanging from his jungle gym or he is perfectly content grabbing hold of his burp cloth and snuggling with it. He's SO cute when he does this.

Munching down on his hand!

Jackson has found my hair, my necklace and ears. If he's not gripping onto my necklace, he's pulling my hair or grabbing my ears. I think this is hilarious because I love pulling on Karl's ears.
Jackson has found my hair!

He's also been making lots more noises. He'll sit in his rock n play while I make breakfast and have a full on conversation with himself. It cracks me up. And when I try to make the same sounds back to him, he tries so hard to laugh. Right now a big gasp of air comes out and I can just tell in the next couple weeks a huge giggle will soon follow. But his face lights up and he smiles back. That is the GREATEST feeling ever!!!

It's been HOT all week  - too hot to even walk outside! So Jackson and I hit up the Mall of America on Monday. One lap around is supposed to be about a mile, so we did a total of 50 minutes...3 miles! It was VERY hard to resist the stores, so I stayed on level 3 and looked straight ahead. I can't be spending money I don't have right now!
Walking laps at the Mall of America

In other BREAKING NEWS.... Kerri Walsh tweeted me. Ummm...yeah. How cool is that? We've been pondering having kids back-to-back or waiting a couple years in-between. I read an article about Kerri in one of my Health magazines. She had her boys back to back between Olympics. One is 3 and one is 2. Seems crazy. So I tweeted her asking how it was. And she wrote back! Neat huh?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Body After Baby - week 11

How Do I Get My Body Back Pre-Baby?

So the last "almost" three month have been spent learning how to be a mother. Dear God, I will say these past three months have been the HARDEST three months of my life. Nobody could have prepared me for this. No book. No person. No blog. Nobody. But, I will say I feel like once this week [week 11] hit, I finally started to get the hang of things. *huge sigh of relief* A little bit of a routine has been established and I'm understanding Jackson's cues and cries. I can once again do multiple things at once. I can focus solely on b-feeding when it's that time (OK...I do check Facebook from time to time and catch up on some shows) and enjoy that precious time. I'm getting more than four hours of sleep. I can cook once again (not totally there just yet but good enough for now). I'm thinking things can only start looking up from here on out.
Bod before baby...

But then I try to put on a pair of non-maternity pants or shorts or capris - all that loosely fit me last summer - and I can't even get them up past my thighs. WTF. Part of me wants to cry. Part of me wants to freak out and invest in stretchy pants. And part of me just feels flat out frustrated. What the heck am I going to wear to work??  I better figure out something because I have two in a half more weeks before I go back! There's a huge part of me dying to get back into a workout schedule like I had before, and a much healthier eating pattern, but right now, I can't. There is not enough time in the day and I haven't quite figured out how to fit it in. I try to go to the gym at night, but that's when Karl gets home and I DO really like spending time with my hubs! Otherwise, I feel a little jipped out of my time with him and I want to give him a little break since he's been at work all day. I can't just dump Jackson on him.

I worked out my entire pregnancy just so my body COULD bounce back. I will say I'm pretty sure all that working out did help my body recover faster - but it sure didn't help the delivery go any smoother or quicker. I think it was around day four when I got on the scale and 15 pounds were gone like that. Day 7 and I was down 20. But then my husband bought a bread maker and I would eat bags of chocolate and I was eating whatever I could find time to push down my throat the last three months. I've been battling those last 15 pounds. I'd like to lose an additional 20 but I don't want to overwhelm myself. I need to be realistic here.

My weight goes a little like this, and mind you I'm 5'10"....

High school -125 lbs (freshman and sophomore years - yes, people thought I was anorexic)

High school - 135 lbs (junior year)

High school - 145 lbs (senior year...I worked at McDonald's and would order an Arch Deluxe, supersize fry...milkshake and take home a hot fudge sundae three nights a week....Oh, the life!)

Freshman year in college 170 lbs (hello weight lifting and breadbowl salads from Perkins and the cereal bar at the campus cafeteria...and I was introduced to alcohol... Little puffy might I say?)

Sophomore through Junior year - 163 lbs

Senior year - 169 lbs (my BFF and I would run to the grocery store, buy it as we ran back and then order a triple order of cheese breadsticks and eat the whole thing...)

Post college when I moved to Minnesota - 179 lbs ( and more beer and a crapload of working out to make sure I could eat and drink that much. Obviously that doesn't work!)

When I met Karl - 170 lbs (started not being such a freak about working out two times a day because I was so busy getting to know my sweetie pie...)

When Karl proposed -160 lbs (I started cooking my own foods and started drinking 2% milk instead of fat free stuff. Gave up all sugar free and fake stuff. Ate only REAL foods and in smaller portions. Worked out only a few times a week.)

Wedding day - 142 lbs (Skinny ass. Dress had to be taken in two sizes.)

After Honeymoon - 148 lbs (We went all out and ate and drank like Kings. BEST TRIP EVER!)

Pre-baby - I was between 152-154 for two in a half years and hired a trainer to tone me up! My body fat went from 22% to 18%!! I started cooking kick ass healthy meals from all my healthy magazines.

9 months pregnant - 192 lbs (Yep, totally freaked out. Remembered how long it took to get down into the 150s but kind of hoped baby weighed 30 lbs (not really for pain's sake). But kept my weight under 200. That was my goal.)

3 months AFTER baby - 167-170 lbs (I must stop baking and snacking on CRAP! But I'm at home and put anything in my mouth. And I only go on walks for my daily workouts. Not a big enough calorie burn. And I'm breastfeeding. I do not want to mess with my milk supply so I don't want to lose too quickly!)

That's my weight in a nutshell. My awesome trainer from Life Time Fitness was so sweet he offered to train me for FREE (as a congrats on baby). Now every week he holds me accountable by emailing me for my workouts. I need 3-4 cardio and 2-3 lifts in a week. Right now I have no problem meeting cardio because I walk everyday (it's a little tough with it being SO hot out though). It's the lifting that's hard because I can't ever find time to get to the gym. But my sweet mom bought me free-weights and I got an exercise band in the mail from renewing a magazine subscription, so I can do my lifting routine at home. It just won't be as great. But if I can get one good one in at the gym a week, maybe I can get two in at home.

I also just started making a healthy protein filled breakfast every morning so I can make getting Jackson ready, eating breakfast and myself getting ready work when I get up and start going to work again. One day it's two eggs with veggies, a slice of Karl's homemade bread with flax and a side of fresh fruit. The next day it's oatmeal topped with fruit and flax. I need more protein in there and am going to try mixing in Greek Yogurt to see if that will do the trick or Protein Whey. I noticed if I START off with a healthy meal, I am more likely to stick with it all day. I stopped baking (sorry Karl). So hoping to peal off at least 1-2 pounds a week and get back into the 150s SOON!! For now, I'll be wearing the same pants to work for a little while.

I just need to figure out when I can go to the grocery store once I start up work again and when exactly we'll be eating since I'm going to want to spend every second with Jackson once I pick him up from homecare. This should be interesting! Anyone have any tricks???