Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Baby & Body Update: One Month

Success! We have survived our first month as a family of four.

Just like any major life change, the last four weeks have been a big adjustment period for everyone. Leo and I are exhausted, E is trying to figure our his new role as "big brother" and poor Baby W is just trying to make sense of night and daytime.


The first lesson I have learned as a new mom of two:
Celebrate the everyday small victories!

I will be honest. This morning has been really overwhelming.

As I sat at the kitchen table comforting the gassy baby and answering the toddler's millionth question while we ate lunch, that first lesson dawned on me. This new season in life greatly overwhelms me when I think too far ahead to what I need to do tomorrow or the next week or month.

Everything goes so much better when I take the day one moment at a time.

Latest Victories:
  • The toddler actually ate some homemade mac n' cheese for lunch.
  • Sometimes Baby W gives me a 4-hour chunk of sleep at night.
  • I mowed the lawn today and it felt really good.
  • Cloth diapering a newborn has been 100 times better than I expected!
  • I did 2.5 miles of RUN-walk intervals on the treadmill this morning. It's great to run again!
  • We baked chocolate chip banana muffins.
  • I am loving the Fruit of the Spirit devotional from SheReadsTruth!

Baby & Body Update: One Month


Baby W:
  • Has an easy-going personality. 
  • Loves cuddles. 
  • Gained 2 lbs by three weeks old! 
  • Eats. A LOT.
  • SMILES! Though I haven't caught it on camera yet...
  • Spits up big-time at least once a day (seriously).


1 Month Postpartum:
Baby W was born at 38 weeks and I gained a total of 25 lbs. At 1 month postpartum, I am down 22 lbs though I still have a little "baby belly".

My focus isn't getting rid of those extra 3 lbs but instead finding my "new normal" body and a regular exercise routine again.

Exercise - My main exercise was walking with the boys in the double stroller, wrangling the toddler and nursing a whole lot. At 4 weeks postpartum, I started run-walk intervals and that has felt great! I am starting with 2 minute walk/3 minute run intervals and easing into more running over the next month.

Running Goals -
July: Run (or run-walk) a local 5k.
4 Months Postpartum: Run a half marathon.
1 Year Postpartum: Run a full marathon.

Nutrition - I need to drink more water to keep up with nursing and pumping. I'm working on including more protein and fiber in my diet. Hungry all... the... time. While I'm up in the middle of the night, I always have a granola bar or muffin sitting by the bed. My goal in the next months is to make healthier snack choices - not to eat less but to eat better.

Emotionally/Mentally - Baby W has been such a joy to take care of! My challenge has been E's moodiness that came up after W's birth. He is now ultra independent and is certain he doesn't need mom anymore. His favorite phrase: "I do'ed it myself!" His potty training didn't regress but this attitude change is something I didn't expect from him! I am learning big lessons in patience... that is for sure.

What mindset helps you adjust to major life change?

Linking up with Fitness Friday, Mommy Moments and Jessica and Jill at the Fit Dish link-up. #dishthefit

Thursday, June 18, 2015

5 Natural Products to Enhance Your Health | Xlear Care Kit Review

As a Moms Meet blogger, I was given the opportunity to review the products included in the Xlear Care Kit by Xlear Inc.

It felt like Christmas when the Xlear (pronounced 'clear') Care Kit arrived in the mail!


The Xlear Care Kit includes a variety of natural, health-enhancing products from Xlear Inc., an industry-leading manufacturer of xylitol-based products in North America. These products are made with natural sweeteners, such as xylitol and erythritol, which are found in wood, fruit, veggies, and other natural sources.

What Exactly is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that has a crystalline, granular structure with a sweetness comparable to sugar. It naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables and is produced by the human body. The word xylitol comes from the Greek roots xylo- which means “wood” and “–itol” signifying sugar alcohols.

A Closer Look: The Xlear Care Kit Products

By reviewing the Xlear Care Kit, my family and I sampled a variety of Xlear Sinus Care and Spry Dental Defense products.

Here is a rundown of the products we tried:

1. Spry Xylitol Gum

Xlear's Spry peppermint gum is a refreshing, candy-cane flavored sugar-free chewing gum sweetened with 100% xylitol! The Spry gum is also available in the cinnamon, spearmint, green tea and fresh fruit flavors.

This gum left my teeth feeling clean after meals or drinking a cup of coffee but I found that the flavor was not very long-lasting.


2. Spry Gems Mints

The Spry Gems Xylitol Mints were by far my favorite product. I shared the peppermint Spry Gems with my family but no one could get the berry-flavored mints away from me. I hid them in the diaper bag and told our toddler they are "mommy treats". The berry mints have a great raspberry and blackberry flavor with no bad aftertaste!

These mints combine the tooth-protecting properties of xylitol with a tasty, pH-balanced formula to maintain the health of teeth, gums and oral tissues. Plus, the Spry Gems are available in a variety of other flavors including peppermint, cinnamon, lemon cream and spearmint.


3. Spry Oral Rinse

The cool and refreshing Spry Spearmint Oral Rinse with xylitol has a great flavor and no nasty after taste. Plus, it doesn't feel like your mouth is on fire for 60 seconds while using the product! Used daily, Spry Spearmint Oral Rinse helps wash away bacteria and keeps your mouth fresh and clean. This product is also available in coolmint and wintergreen flavors.


4. Spry Non-Fluoride Peppermint Toothpaste

The Spry toothpaste is rich in xylitol (at least 25% of the total weight) which not only tastes great but also promotes oral health. This toothpaste leaves you with a healthier smile, fresher breath, and a cleaner mouth.

Because this is a non-fluoride toothpaste, it is safe for everyone in the house over 2 years of age! E was excited to take part in trying this product. If the toddler is excited about brushing his teeth, mom is excited, too!

This picture totally captures his personality...


As a bonus, the Spry bamboo toothbrush was included in my Xlear Care Kit. This toothbrush has a high quality, durable and easy-to-grip handle and is made entirely from bamboo. My husband has claimed this stylish bamboo toothbrush as his own!


5. Xlear Nasal Spray

The Xlear nasal spray is a patented, non-addictive nasal spray designed to aid in the relief of irritation caused by pollutants, allergens and germs in the nasal passages. It is the ONLY nasal spray that has combined an effective amount of xylitol and the health-promoting practice of a saline to help wash, hydrate, and moisturize the nasal passages.

Working in the agriculture industry, my husband's allergies make him very uncomfortable in the Spring and in the Fall during harvest time. The Xlear nasal spray is very effective in soothing annoying allergy symptoms.

Xlear nasal spray is available in a squeeze bottle or the handy pump mist bottle!


Try the Xlear Products for Yourself!

Get the Xlear Care Kit (valued at $65) for only $25 by using the code SAVE50 now through June 30th. Visit xlear.com/xlear-care-kit-special to order.

Have you heard of xylitol before?
Which Xlear product would you most like to try?

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Linking up with Mommy Moments and Jill at Fitness Friday.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Fit Dish Interview

Today on the Fit Dish link-up, co-hosts Jessica and Jill and everyone from the #fitfam are being interviewed to celebrate what it means to be an active woman. 

This is a great opportunity to meet the #fitfam women!

Let's jump right into this interview:


WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?

Hands down, my proudest "achievement" is being mom to our two handsome little boys. It feels weird calling them achievements... Let's say they are my husband's and my proudest blessings!

My proudest fitness-related achievement would be running my first marathon in 2009. Running 26.2 miles is a bold move for someone who had never ran on a cross country or track team (or ran a half marathon) before. That race started my love for long distance running and was one of my best decisions ever!

WHAT KEEPS YOU PASSIONATE?

My passion for life comes from the Lord! God is the "fuel" to my fire as everything good comes from Him. Pushing myself to be my best motivates me and I love to encourage others in their journey as well.

WHAT MAKES YOU THE MOST PROUD TO BE A WOMAN?

God's design for womanhood makes me proud to be a woman. He created women to be soft - nurturing, compassionate, relational, caring, respectful - yet so strong at the same time (childbirth = the ultimate endurance event!). Being a strong woman means being courageous yet feminine. Living as a godly woman requires a lot of strength because it means being counter-cultural.

WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S SO IMPORTANT FOR WOMEN TO UNITE AS A SISTERHOOD AND EMPOWER EACH OTHER?

Living to encourage and build others up is a much more productive than tearing others down. Everyone is going through a struggle of some sort in this life and we can lean on each other for support and learn from those who have been there before.

WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF SOME SMALL WAYS WE CAN EMPOWER THE WOMEN AROUND US IN OUR DAY TO DAY LIFE?

  • Treat everyone with respect. 
  • Sincerely compliment someone. 
  • Be a good listener. 
  • Avoid gossip. 
  • Be an encourager. 
  • Have patience. 
  • Pray for others. 
  • Don't compare yourself to others. 
  • Think before speaking.
  • Just smile!

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH THE FITFAM?

Have the courage to be yourself! God knit each of us together with our own unique passions and gifts. We need to be bold enough to be the person He created us to be. Follow God's lead for your life, don't be afraid of what others think and give all the glory to the Lord.

Linking up with the Fit Dish link-up.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My Postpartum Fitness Plan + A Life Hack

Two weeks down and I'm really loving our "new normal" of being a family of four! Today I'm joining up with Jessica and Jill at the Fit Dish link-up but first let me briefly introduce My Postpartum Fitness Plan.

My littlest man is two weeks old!

But it's only been two weeks!?

Why have a fitness plan so soon? I have a plan this time to MAKE MYSELF take it easy. Yes, forced easy-ness and recovery time.

After our first son was born, I started walk-run intervals just after 2 weeks postpartum and ran 5 miles on the 3-week mark. My body recovered quickly after a smooth delivery and everything worked out fine. I ran a marathon 7 months postpartum and finished in 3:37:37. That was a good finish time for me and I even placed in the top 10!

BUT...

I was exhausted. Longer training runs were more burdensome than enjoyable. In the peak mileage of training, I came down with a nasty sinus infection, missed a week of running and told myself "never again!". I'm running a half marathon this time ;)

Running a full marathon so soon after baby is fine for some women but it just doesn't work for me. Lessons have been learned and this time I'm taking a different approach:

My Postpartum Fitness Plan: Weeks 2-4

My "workouts" over the past week have included:
  • Trying to keep up our house while constantly supervising the boys (the toddler and newborn just don't "play well" together right now!).
  • Playing in the backyard.
  • Going for walks with the boys - Around .5 mile to 2 miles long.
  • Nursing our littlest man around the clock. That has been one serious workout! Baby W is up one pound from his birth weight already and I'm hungry all... the... time.
  • A quick set of assisted push-ups and planks.

Runner's World shared a guide to returning to running after childbirth in their "Up and Running" article and I plan to follow a version of their plan:

Up and Running by Runner's World

My main recovery rule is no running until 4 weeks postpartum. I'm itching to run again and feel more "normal" but I need to get some more sleep before I start up again!

I am still trying to adjust to the wild nightlife of a newborn and waking up for an early morning run just isn't happening right now :)

.....

Now for the Fit Dish link-up, I have one interesting life hack to share with you!


On my last trip to the grocery store, the checkout girl shared something that changed my life. I had to look it up right away when I got home. It just seemed too weird to be true!

The internet confirmed it and, because everything on the internet must be true (heavy sarcasm), I am now a believer in freezing eggs! I haven't tested this technique myself, as our eggs disappear fast in this house, but I hope to test it out soon.

Freezing the yokes would come in handy when making a recipe that calls for only egg whites. Don't waste those yokes - freeze them for later!

Check out the full article on Lifehacker to preserve extra eggs longer:

View full article here.

How do you handle "recovery time" from childbirth, injuries, etc.?
Have you frozen eggs before?!

Linking up with Mommy Moments and Jessica and Jill at the Fit Dish link-up. #dishthefit

Friday, June 5, 2015

Five Things Friday: After-Baby Edition

Happy Fitness Friday!

Here is a quick run-down of five things this Friday:

ONE: Life as a Mom of Two.

The first week was stressful. The combination of a moody toddler, not being able to move around quickly myself, not sleeping and my husband returning to work all added up.

Week #2 has been much better! I'm so thankful for nice weather and feeling good enough to take the boys outside on walks. Being outside makes everyone happier!


TWO: Chocolate's Best Friend = Macadamia Nuts.

My youngest brother brought me a bag of Mauna Loa Coconut Milk Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts yesterday and they are basically gone. Guilty as charged... they are addicting. I can't have these around the house anymore, otherwise the remaining baby weight will never leave!


THREE: No Run on National Running Day

After our first son was born, I was doing walk-run intervals just after 2 weeks postpartum. My body felt ready for it, as delivery was rather "easy" (for childbirth?), but this time I'm waiting until the 4 week mark. Plus I'm not running a full marathon at 7 months postpartum this time. Lesson learned! I'm going with the half marathon this time ;)

So no running for me on National Running Day. My body feels healed up and I do miss running but walking with my boys is good enough for me! Two more weeks until I'm back on the run...


FOUR: Running Double.

When I do start running again, I will be breaking in our double stroller. My arms better get pumped up soon... Our BOB Duallie Infant Car Seat Adapter is on it's way! I was hesitant to buy one but we found a good deal on ebay. Woop woop!


FIVE: Today is National Donut Day!

Now this is a day I CAN celebrate! But we don't live anywhere near a Krispy Kreme... Someone please eat a donut for me.

Krispy Kreme - Get a free doughnut today!

Did you celebrate National Running Day or National Donut Day?

Linking up with Fitness Friday.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Baby W's Birth Story

How the time flies! Baby W is already 11 days old and he has gained back his birth weight plus 5 ounces.

I love baby cuddles...



Before another week passes by, here is W's birth story:

First of all, we made it to 38 weeks! By a whopping 40 minutes :) I could feel that Baby had dropped at 37 weeks and was sitting head-down, but I didn't realize this would be my last "baby bump" picture:


Thursday, May 21:

E and I started our morning with bread-baking and playing in the backyard. No running that day as I planned on doing prenatal yoga in the evening.

12 NOON - We had our last appointment with our midwife and she dropped off the birthing pool. Talk about perfect timing.

While E was down for his nap, our neighbor stopped over and gave me a before-baby mani/pedi. That was a first for me and it was really sweet. She is really gifted. I can hardly stand the thought of touching other people's feet!


I started having contractions but I couldn't tell if they were strong Braxton Hicks or the real deal. E woke up from his nap shortly after my neighbor left. We picked up the house and headed outside for more play time.

The contractions continued through the afternoon and by the early evening they had formed a pattern of every 5 minutes, about 30 seconds in length. They weren't super intense so I didn't know if Baby was coming soon or in a couple weeks. Our midwife was at a birth 3 hours away so we definitely didn't want to have the baby that night!

8:00 PM - E went down for bed. Leo and I kept our midwife updated and after drinking some water, using lavender oil and just laying down, I was able to sleep through the contractions.

Praise God for the rest and labor not progressing at that time! (Don't worry, if labor had progressed, we did have a back-up plan.)

Friday, May 22:

Right away that morning the contractions were much stronger. Leo left for work and E and I cleaned up the house.

9:30 AM - The contractions were strong enough that I couldn't keep up with E anymore. A friend kindly offered to watch E if this situation came up and now was the time to call her! E had a fun time playing with his toddler friends and I got in some last minute power-nesting.

12 NOON - Leo came home for lunch and, by that time, I was really uncomfortable. My emotions were a bit haywire and it was hard to see him leave again while I was at home laboring by myself. The toddler-free house was way too quiet for me!

Another friend stopped over after lunch and she basically became my "doula" that afternoon. She was a great help because we know each other well, she is so calm and has been through birth many times herself - including two homebirths with the same midwife that worked with me.

We walked laps around the neighborhood and visited all afternoon. I took some rest breaks but tried to stay moving for much of the time by doing labor lunges, swaying back and forth or walking around. The movement made contractions much easier to work through.

5:00 PM - Leo came home just before supper and brought E with him. We all had supper together and our midwife arrived soon after. I was dilated nearly halfway that point, so we were making progress! After supper, Leo had to go back to work for a couple more hours and my doula-friend went home to her family. Our midwife caught a nap on the couch, as she was up the whole night before at another birth, while I got E ready for bed.

7:00 PM - We did the usual bedtime routine and I struggled to read the bedtime books during contractions. I told E, "Hold on, mommy needs to rest" just before the contraction came. He told me, "No rest, mommy!" Oh, if only he knew what was going on...

After E was in bed, I laid down in our bedroom attempting to get some rest. His door cracked open a few minutes later and he exclaimed, "Potty, potty!". We hurried to the potty, he did his business and then went to bed. For real this time.

9:30 PM - By the time Leo made it home, active labor was in progress. Laboring with his company was much better and he was able to put counter-pressure on my lower back and hips during the contractions. He tried to close his eyes in between contractions to rest a little but neither of us got any sleep. The baby was coming soon!

Through the contractions, I focused on laboring efficiently rather than on the pain itself. Each contraction was one step closer to meeting our baby. I did my best to listen to my body and move around to whatever was comfortable, working with the labor instead of against it. Most importantly, staying relaxed. Being afraid of the pain in labor only slows things down and makes labor more painful.

The Christian Childbirth Handbook

11:00 PM - Contractions became VERY intense and labor was moving fast. I was back and forth between the restroom and the bedroom. Finally I decided to just stay in the restroom. The mucus plug passed and it hit me that there is no going back - we are meeting our Baby #2 tonight!

Our midwife and Leo rushed to get the birthing pool set up and filled with just enough water. Not too long after they finished filling it, the urge to push came and there really wasn't any stopping it.

Labor felt so fast that I wasn't sure if I was fully dilated and ready to push. Our midwife reassured me to listen to my body and push.

Saturday, May 23:

12:00 AM - The contractions maintained intensity but the warm water helped me to relax in between each one. Because beginning and end of the contractions were more relaxed, I had little rest time even in the peak of labor.

Shortly after pushing started, we heard a loud "pop" that meant my water broke. That really surprised me, as it was something I didn't experience with my first delivery (because they broke my water for me).

After 35 minutes of pushing, our baby was out! Baby laid on my chest for a while and, finally, after guessing this whole pregnancy, we had to find out...

We had a baby BOY!


Baby boy weighed in at 7 lbs and measured 20 inches long.

He remained nameless for the next hour or so as we tried different names from our list to see what fit him best. We decided that Weston was the perfect fit for him. (On the blog, he will be referred to as "W".)

My Thoughts on Home Birth:

Having a home birth seems crazy to most people. It isn't very common around here and the unfamiliar tends to make people freak out. Some have home birth horror stories that they heard from a friend of a friend of a friend or they have their own stories about how their baby would have died if they had been born at home.

Personally, I'm not interested in persuading anyone to have a home birth. It's not a good fit for everyone or for every pregnancy and that's okay. The women that I know who have had home births had positive experiences and all I want to do is share my experience with our first home birth. Having our baby at home was a great fit for us as we wanted a natural, non-medicated water birth and I had a low-risk pregnancy.

Our decision to have a home birth was not a hasty one. I did my research by reading books and articles on home birth, watching a couple documentaries and finding one awesome midwife! We prayed a lot about having our baby at home and God gave us peace in this decision.

There isn't one thing I would change about Baby W's home birth. It was beautiful. God blessed me with a great pregnancy, labor and delivery and I am so thankful for that. Our midwife was absolutely wonderful and Baby W was the 456th baby she has delivered. Now that's a lot of babies!

If we are blessed with another baby in the future, I'm not sure if we would go with a home birth again or if we would try a birthing center. It all depends on the pregnancy and what God has planned for us. I DO know that I would love to work with our same midwife, have a waterbirth again and have the freedom to move around throughout the entire labor and delivery process. Being able to move freely is really important to me in labor and it sure makes things move smoother!

One Week Later:

Eleven days into life as a family of four and we're all tired yet feeling so blessed at the same time. I'm so thankful to be the mom of two sweet boys and I can't wait to see them playing together (and likely fighting at times). Big brother E is so proud of Baby W!


In the future, I will be sharing our experience adjusting as a family of four and also training for my first race after Baby #2!

Home Birth/Natural Birth Resources:

The Business of Being Born (free to watch on YouTube)
More Business of Being Born
The Christian Childbirth Handbook

What were the best resources that helped to prepare you for childbirth?


Linking up with Mommy Moments.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Homemade Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

I am taking a little siesta from writing while we are in this early time of adjusting to life as a family of four. I will post now and then as I have this recipe and a product review to share with you next month. Oh, and in case you hadn't heard the news, take a second to meet Baby W!

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I made my first batch of caramel rolls for Mother's Day and they were a success! Here is the recipe I used:

Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

Rolls:
  • Frozen or fresh, homemade bread dough
  • 1 cup white sugar, mixed with 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
Topping:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
Start out with a batch of homemade bread dough (I use a version of this recipe). Don't allow bread to rise.

Break off into bun-sized pieces and roll in the white sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place rolled dough in greased baking pan.


After all of the dough has been broken into pieces and rolled in cinnamon sugar, set rolls aside and make topping.

Melt the butter and pour into remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Stir well. Melt ice cream and add to mixture. Stir until evenly combined.


Pour mixture of butter, ice cream, cinnamon and sugar over the rolls of dough. Allow rolls to rise for 20 minutes in oven heated to 170°. Remove from oven after risen.


Preheat oven to 375°. Return rolls to oven and bake for 30 minutes.


Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy and share with others... if you want to :)


Bonus: These are toddler-approved!

Have you made caramel rolls before?
What is your favorite homemade treat?

Linking up with Jessica & Jill at the Fit Dish, Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments.